Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!
I took an almost month-long break from blogging to enjoy the first month of the new year. I didn’t work as much, I had some legal stuff to take care of and we headed to exciting adventures as a family. Now that the Chinese New Year has just ended, we’re back home concretizing our new plans and new adventures for 2017. It’s gonna be exciting!
New year, new set of goals and travel plans. Yey! Like I said, we just started traveling again, hence, the super busy schedule we now have — juggling parenthood, business plans, work and leisure. But before I share with you about our current adventures, I want to do a recap first of the travels we did last year through this blog post of knowing how to travel peacefully and enjoyably with a baby. Plus, I still want to share with you one by one those places we visited before that I still haven’t published yet (to be done on some future blog posts). But first things, first…
Mahal (my partner) and I have been traveling since we first became friends in 2012. Me, I’ve been traveling since I was 6 years old. My grandfather has this 7-acre farm in Northern Mindanao, we have a 26-hectare ancestral land in Southern Mindanao (2,000 square meters of it are mine, weee!) and my grandfather used to travel a lot for work (he was a lawyer with Ph.D. and was a School Superintendent of Region 10) and he would sometimes bring me to places south of our archipelago during vacation. When I became a self-supporting adult, I would frequent various beaches with my friends. When I retired from government service at the age of 30 and got a fat retirement paycheck, I invested a lot of it and spent some of it on budget travels all over the Philippines and some parts of Asia. Last year, when I was pregnant, we were touring Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon for a month and we even climbed the three levels of Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig Surigao del Sur on my 7th month of pregnancy. Suffice it to say that we love to travel. I believe it’s our only luxury since I’ve already partly given up shopping for new clothes, shoes and accessories ( I used to be a shopaholic in my 20’s and early 30’s and now my clothes are mostly a decade old, lol! Don’t worry, I already did some minor shopping because of a friend’s wedding I recently attended and I plan to shop for some more new stuff before going to our other vacay destinations this year, unless I can find new-looking stuff in my old trunk, hehehe). I haven’t bought anything new using cash in a long time. My handy Citibank Visa takes care of other expenses, hence, the late nights we spend doing work so we can pay all our bills on time. We’re frugal and resourceful that way. After all the monthly bills are paid and there’s extra money left, we spend it on travel. So even when baby Tuz came into our lives, it wasn’t that hard for us to travel. In fact, our lives seem to be much simpler and easier every time we’re on the road heading some place new.
So for those of you who are about to have a baby or already have one and would like to travel peacefully and enjoyably despite the fact that your baby is less than a year old, the tips that I’m about to share with you could be helpful. These tips are not exhaustive though. They’re just based on how we were able to travel with our baby safely, soundly and enjoyably for the first twelve months of his life.
So how do you travel with an infant or baby in tow?
1. Make sure that you have the go signal of your baby’s pediatrician. Pediatricians know when there’s a certain epidemic going on at a certain place. So ask her permission first if it’s safe to travel where you want to go even if it’s just at a nearby mall.
Before Tuz turned a month old, we were already heading out to the mall first just to see what it’s like to have him in a sling while we do our weekly groceries. We were of course concerned that he might catch some disease or something from the people around him. Malls, after all, are always jam-packed with all kinds of people. But since his pediatrician said that there’s no epidemic in the area, then it’s fine. He already received his initial injections, I was breastfeeding him (which is best for babies’ health) and we have no one else to help us run errands for us. So we were really, in a way, forced to bring our baby with us wherever we go. And every month when our baby would get his vaccine, we would always ask the permission of his pediatrician first if it’s okay to go to so and so places. If the doctor says that there’s an epidemic in that area, then we’d change the location of our travel to somewhere safer for our baby.
2. Bring all the essentials with you particularly your baby’s papers, vitamins, medicines and other medical supplements.
Here are the essentials (the number of pieces / amount would depend how many nights you’re traveling and vacationing):
- car seat (always, always, secure your baby in a car seat when road tripping)
- walker (if your baby is about a few months or so and has begun using a walker and you’re staying at a place longer than usual)
- baby sling for infants
- baby carrier for bigger babies
- crib, the foldable and portable kind if road tripping and staying at a hotel (we got ours from GoodBaby via Lazada and it folds quite neatly and doesn’t take so much space at all)
- day clothes, spare clothes in case he soils his clothes, and sleepwear
- extra milk bottle/s
- boiled drinking water (we used to bring a water heater with us like the ones in hotel rooms since we usually stay in budget hotels or tents with no water heater available; and a separate bottle of purified drinking water)
- sweater or jacket
- bath towels
- mini towels
- wet tissue
- his favorite toys
- pacifier (more than one would be better)
- your baby’s baby book in case something happens and you need to have all your baby’s medical information with you
- toiletries (baby oil, citronella spray or oil, Cetaphil for cleaning him up or at least to keep his face and limbs clean, baby soap and baby shampoo for bathing him, baby toothpaste and baby toothbrush)
- breast pump if you need it
- nipple patches if you have too much milk on your breasts
- lanolin-free nipple butter to ease the pain and wounds on your nipple because of breastfeeding
- SPF lotion for kids in case you’re heading to the beach or spending time under the sun
- Prunes, the ones in a sealed foil packaging (when our baby turned about 6 months old, we started giving him mashed or cut prunes so that he won’t get constipated while we’re on the road)
Here are the medical essentials we find helpful to have with us when we’re traveling:
- Glycerin suppository (We used this when we were traveling to Ilocos. Our baby was constipated and it was painful to watch him try to make a poop. So we had to stop at a nearby pharmacy and bought him a bottle of Glycerin suppositories. In no time, he was pooping softly which stopped his crying).
- Manzanilla or Chamomile oil (When Tuz was a few months old, he became gassy. To relieve the gas in his tummy, we would put manzanilla oil on his tummy. We’d do this also after he’s bathed and whenever he’d get fussy. It would usually pacify him.)
- Calmoseptin (We always have a few sachets of Calmoseptin with us which we put on that part of his body with rashes or insect bites)
- Vitamins (Tuz takes Tiki-tiki and Ceelin)
- Pedialyte (This is for when your baby suddenly has diarrhea. It’s good for adults too.)
- Zinc Sulfate (This should be prescribed by the pediatrician. We had this with us when Tuz was having diarrhea and we needed his poop to not be watery).
- Cetirizine Allerkid (This is when your baby has colds due to allergy.) Give this to your baby before bedtime. Dosage according to age at the side of the package.
- Ibuprofen Dolan FP in case the baby gets feverish.
- Emergency medical kit filled with gauze, Povidone, cotton balls
3. Feed your baby on time so he or she won’t get fussy.
4. Change your baby’s diapers as needed to make sure he’s comfortable and won’t contract UTI or rashes.
5. Infants / babies up to six months old would usually just sleep their days off. So let them sleep even while you’re exploring places and taking lots of pictures. Of course this happens while you’re carrying him on a baby sling or carrier. Enjoy this moment. Because once your baby gets to the pre-toddler phase, he/she will be more handful and challenging whether you’re traveling or not.
6. If you’re bringing a pre-toddler with you, meaning he’s already in the crawling-and-starting-to-walk-stage, and he has this so much energy, then let him crawl or walk. Just make sure someone is assisting and watching your baby at all times.
Basically, these tips will make your baby safe, happy and comfy. And when your baby is safe, happy and comfy, then everything else comes easy. You get to explore places you wanna explore. You get to take a lot of pictures like you used to when you were still single or with no baby yet. You get to travel again. Period. But of course rappelling, spelunking, canyoneering and bunjee jumping are out of the question. Reserve that for when your baby is not with you or when he’s much, much older so you can all do it together as a family which we plan to do.
I hope these tips will prove to be helpful for you as well.
A YEAR OF TRAVEL with our very first baby
And now the cute part… here are some photos I’ve collated during our first year of traveling with our baby from November 2015 to December 2016…
Wasn’t that fun? I hope you had fun too and got inspired with the fact that traveling with a baby can be a breeze as long as you’re ready for it. Your carefree life need not change drastically just because you had a baby. Having a new member to your family can be stress-free, or at least not as stressful and problematic as you might think as long as you know your priorities (the baby’s needs always come first) and things are planned well.
To all newbie parents, happy traveling with your baby!