Having a newborn baby can completely change any life – probably more so if you travel a lot than if you don’t. But then again, a life disrupted is a life disrupted – no matter how joyful the disruption itself may be.
To be completely honest, my wife’s nationality (Moroccan) gets more in the way of our travelling as a family than the fact that our daughter needs to be cared for. The daughter has a U.S. Passport and is free to travel just about anywhere without a visa, the wife- yeah- look at what happened with going to Paris – a month wasn’t enough time to schedule even a visa appointment!
Still, if you are going to travel with an infant, here are ten tips to make things easier, more fun, and less of a headache. Long distance travel with kids can become a nuisance and if the child is newly born, it can be dangerous. Most people will avoid travelling along with a newborn infant. Yet, sometimes, it may become necessary or just be desirable. There is no reason to worry about travelling with an infant child.
1) Infants less than 4 weeks should not travel by air. Their delicate systems have not yet become capable of adjusting to the air pressure. It is also not advised (or allowed) for late term pregnancies to travel by aircraft. After 4 weeks, all systems are go.
2)Book in advance and make certain you ask about baggage allowance. While trains and buses often let children travel free and with no notice, you must notify aircraft and often buy an infant ticket. Also, infants are often not allowed a baggage allowance which is idiotic considering you need to bring the nappie bag, clothes, and baby things.
3) You are better off sitting in the front of the aircraft or bus. Find a seat that offers extra legroom. Just trust me on this.
4) Baby travel documents. Just because she or he is a baby doesn’t mean that the governments of the world don’t want to see identity papers, visa’s, and passports. Get all the baby’s paperwork in order ASAP.
5) Contact the airline you are flying with and ask about changing facilities, if you are allowed to bring a pram/stroller, and other services/options available for those travelling with kids.
6) Pack more diapers, baby wipes, bibs, and what-not into your bag than you think you will need. Ever get stuck in the airport longer than you expected? Ever done it with a screaming baby and no clean diapers? Yeah, be prepared.
7) Dress yourself and the baby in layers and dark clothing. Expect to be spit up or spoiled on. Taking off a layer is easier than changing…
8) Breastfeeding during takeoff or landing helps the infant cope with the pressure changes. A bottle with formula also works.
9) Bring extra bottles, extra formula, and by all means get a pacifier (bobo) – even if your infant strictly breast feeds, you will be glad to have the formula when your wife needs to take a nap (assuming like me, you are a man and don’t lactate)
10) Finally, like me, you may find that this one nulls and voids all the above hard won knowledge – make sure your wife has the visa before you book the tickets because if she doesn’t – you can be sure the baby will be staying at home with Mama while you travel without your family – which by the way, isn’t so different from how things used to be, but it sucks to lose those tickets so travel insurance is a great idea.
Overall, just enjoy the time with your baby and happy travels.