A bit about Travel

And just like that – I’M BACK!

After spending all summer in Auckland, my little family had three weekends of travel. First to Hot Water Beach for a wedding, then to Whananaki for five days, then to Wellington for a weekend to watch another amazing couple tie the knot.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous about all this travelling with my six month old. Not only had we never been further than the city, he struggled to sit still longer than fifteen minutes in his car seat, and he is an incredibly headstrong little bug.

Guess what? We were fine. Also, I learnt a few things about babies and travelling. Wanna read?

1. Ditch the nap times

I was really trying to nail down a routine for Ashton before we went travelling. My whole parenting journey so far had been very baby-led, but his night wake-ups were starting to get to me, so I decided to give a sleep routine a try. I don’t know what possessed me to think this would be easy enough to continue while on holiday! As soon as I got to Whananaki, my phone went off and my fitbit went straight into the glove box of the car. I had no way of trying to keep track of time, except for the sun and the moon.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, remember, you are on holiday! Sure, it might not mean you get a break from your child, but how about give yourself a break and just listen to your baby’s cues instead?

It worked wonders for me (and Ashton’s naps!)

2. Expect the unexpected

I assumed Ashton would sleep through the whole flight to Wellington. I assumed wrong. I spent the hour flight bouncing him on my knee, feeding him crackers, trying (and failing) to stop him from hitting the person next to me and keeping him happy as much as possible.

He fell asleep as the plane landed, would you believe it, and I then had to carefully carry him down the steps and across the tarmac, in the rain, through all the noise of the aircraft jets. He stayed asleep in my arms the whole time and only woke once we were back in the comforts of the airport.

I then assumed the same would happen on the flight back. I fed him as soon as the plane took off, and he promptly fell asleep.

I spent the majority of the flight with this gorgeous baby in my arms and when he did wake (near the end of the flight), he sat pleasantly on my lap and was silent – except for a few stinky farts.

The flight landed and as we were waiting for everyone else to collect their overhead luggage and head down the aisle, Ashton landed one gigantic, wet fart. I say “fart”, but I knew it was more than that. He stank.

Off I went, with Ashton on my hip, off to the first baby friendly bathroom we could find. He smelled, really badly. Actually… I smelled! I pulled my hand out from underneath him and sure enough, it came out streaked with poo. Lifting him up off me for a closer inspection, I realized his nappy had leaked all over the bottom left half of my top.

Lesson learned: Take spare nappies and a spare change of clothes (for you and baby) in your carry-on luggage! I had to wait patiently, covered in poo, for my luggage to arrive on the conveyor belt so that I could change into something else.

3. Put your baby first

The week we were due to travel to Hot Water Beach, Ashton had a high temperature. His usual chirpy mood had changed completely and he was either spaced out or incredibly irritated and grumpy. He absolutely burnt up during the night and I only had three hours sleep. While I first attributed this to teething, by day two I realized something more serious was at play.

We spent two hours at the doctors, taking all the necessary tests, to be told it was probably some kind of virus.

On day three his temp was almost back to normal and his attitude had returned, so we dosed him up with pammol, hoped for the best and set off on our three hour drive.

The wedding was magical and he did incredibly well, falling asleep for an hour and a half in his pram. However at 7 o’clock something odd happened. Little red dots appeared all over his face. I could see people staring at him – and not in the usual “oh he’s so cute!” kind of way.

I was also incredibly worried. Thankfully a nurse at the wedding was able to identify that it was not a life threatening rash, but it was spreading all over his body very quickly and we still had a three hour drive ahead of us before we came home. I was terrified.

We stopped many times. Poor baby.

A trip to the After Hours Doctor revealed it was still the virus, wreaking havoc with my poor baby’s skin. I was so relieved it was nothing more serious.

So I say this: It doesn’t matter what the trip is. It doesn’t matter what your plans are. Your baby is your first priority and if something is wrong, the best thing to do really is pack up and go home (or to the doctors!).

4. Give your baby some credit

I kept my baby happy, I kept him fed, I kept him safe. He did the rest and he did amazingly! Our babies use us to gage the environment around them. If you’re calm and relaxed, they will feed off that. I knew that Ashton would be cheerful, chipper and calm (except for when he fell sick) and sure enough, he was.

And that’s that. Do you have any travel tips to share?

Next up: Our big trip in September, Taiwan with a 13 month old! Help me.

Rachel Chen