Even though I always said I’d continue to travel once I had a baby, I shared some fears that lots of parents have. Some new parents wait a long time before they feel confident enough to take their child on a trip. Others do travel but change the way they used to travel and the destinations they would use to pick. Here’s a first selection of things I was afraid of when traveling with Henrik. Some got confirmed, others turned out to be unneccessary.
Flying: My baby will scream for hours. Even though Henrik didn’t cry a lot and if he did was usually not hard to comfort, I was scared as hell that that would all change once we stepped into a plane. I mean, let’s be honest: We’ve all seen people with babies walk into a plane and sent prayers that they wouldn’t sit anywhere near us, haven’t we? So once you become a parent, you hope you’re baby will be the big magical exception that will never ever bother anyone during their flight.
So far, I must say this fear was not confirmed with Henrik. The only time he really cried was during a flight to Zurich when he had missed his nap. It was out of pure exhaustion and I had made the mistake to take a flight at a time that meant that he wouldn’t get to sleep for a much longer time than he was used to. Still, I am not saying him not crying meant that flying with a baby was pure fun for us. Up to his second Birthday, I would bounce him to sleep in the baby carrier so he would get a nap during the flight. I would also entertain him with books, stickers , food.. And do anything to keep him from pushing against our fellow travelers’ seats. So when we arrived, I was glad he didn’t cry but I was also usually exhausted. Now that he’s bigger, he’s a lot better at entertaining himself.
Sleeping: My baby won’t sleep in a new and unfamiliar place. Regrettably, we’ve had our portion of this one with our first vacation in Portugal. I will get into it with more detail with an own post. But I think the important conclusion of our bad experience is: keep on trying! If you accept that your baby will only sleep well in his own home, you’ll deprive yourself from traveling with him or her. Today we’re happy that Henrik will sleep anywhere, especially if we make sure that he has his favourite blanket with himand we follow the same sleep routine as at home (milk, book, bed).
Jetlag: My baby will suffer from jetlag and so will we. If you travel to a different time zone, this can definitely be an issue. We did this for the first time with a trip to Mexico when Henrik was 1,5 years old. The time difference was seven hours. After our arrival, that meant we got to know ‘Dora la exploradora’ at 4 am, yeey! It was not much fun, but we were on holidays and would just head out early. When we got home however, it was worse. It was hard to get back to work with a baby that was suffering from jetlag. We learned two things: You need to be strict on a schedule to get back to your own time zone. Like not letting Henrik sleep for hours during the day just because you felt sorry about waking him up. And: take some extra days of vacation after you get back. If you have this possibility, it makes it more relaxed to get your baby back to his sleeping routine within your own time zone.
Even looking at the downside of traveling (far) with a child, I am so glad we’ve continued to travel with Henrik. Now we can laugh about the horrible sleepless nights and enjoy the memories we made during those trips. And as a result, have a child who’s easy to travel with!