Traveling with a Little One
Ask any parent, traveling with a little one has its challenges and comes with its fair share of anxiety. That being said, every time I do it, I stress a little less, I pack a little less and I embrace it a little more.
Taking your child on a trip into the unknown is a lesson in patience, ingenuity & flexibility.
When I had Hero I was determined to breastfeed every day and I didn’t want to spend nights away from her while she was still an infant, however, being a hair and makeup artist means I have to travel for work every couple of months for destination weddings or photo-shoots. This meant I had to rethink my travel plans, I love my job and was worried how this would affect the traveling aspect of it and how to integrate it into my new normal.
I weighed up what felt really important to me and came to the conclusion that I would be honest with my brides by adding traveling with my little one to my requirements. At first I thought this would make me lose out on work and I wondered if anyone would still book me with the extra baggage (so to speak ). But I soon realized my fears weren’t valid, everyone was extremely accepting and open to it and it would just open up a new chapter for me in my work life.
So far Hero has traveled 4 times from the age of 3 months to date. I love seeing her thrive in new places. Being in a new environment energizes her and I can just see her little brain firing at all the new sights and sounds. People everywhere love her and always give us words of encouragement along the way. I have to mention that I wouldn’t be able to do this without my wonderful hubby agreeing to travel with me despite his busy work schedule. I’m so grateful for his belief & support in what I do as well as his flexibility and calm nature.
Overall, we’ve forgotten things and we’ve made mistakes but more than anything we’ve had fun and made memories as a family. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
As mommies we try to think of absolutely everything, but each time I pack for Hero I realize I’ve overdone it and I eliminate things that didn’t go to use last time. Conversely, I realize the things that do come in handy and that I missed. Overall I end up packing lighter and smarter every time. Keep in mind that boiling water will do to sterilize most things, clothes can be washed and don’t discriminate… rocks are toys too.
I do try to bring some of her favorite things from home that will help her feel secure, her favorite book for story time or a toy she likes waking up to.
There are babies born everywhere.
This was my mantra the first time I went to the coast. I had all these questions swirling in my head. Would it be too hot? Would I be able to protect her from mosquitos? Is the slightly salty water ok for bath time? Finally I came to a simple realization, there are babies born at the coast as well and they are perfectly fine. As long as Hero has her parents and we take the time to consider her new environment she’ll be perfectly comfortable anywhere. Traveling reaffirms the need to trust our instincts. We naturally know what’s best for our little ones in the moment and that is enough.
Having and maintaining a routine takes sacrifice whether you’re at home or out, because it means your little ones schedule comes before your own. I’d much rather be having a cocktail on the beach at 6.30pm than giving Hero her bath, but routine in travel will save your sanity in the long run and keep baby feeling happy and secure in the new setting. Maintaining a schedule makes it easier to predict her moods and I find that far easier than the alternative. You also want to go home without skipping a beat and without having to reestablish routine.
Sun Protection & Mosquitos
Since most of my travel has been to coastal climates, these have been my two major concerns. Too much direct exposure to the sun is harmful for babies and malaria is a scary thought to any mom. Hats and baby sun lotion are on my priority list when packing and I keep her in full shade from 10am – 3pm when the sun is at is hottest. To protect her from mosquitos, I dress Hero in a thin cotton onesie with covered feet as soon as evening comes round. I put a little citronella oil on the soles of the onesie (not directly on her skin) and carry a mosquito net for her pram or crib. These little steps have protected her throughout our travels.
You can’t control everything
As much as I would like to, I’ve learned that I can’t control everything. The first time we traveled when she was very small she got three mosquito bites right on her cheeks 🤦🏼♀️. There are times when there hasn’t been the food I would have preferred available for her. We’ve had a bad night or two. But within all that lies a lesson on living in the moment, being flexible and letting things go. I haven’t mastered this yet. But I’m on my journey of learning not to fight it but just to go with the flow.