Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Travelling with baby

Last month, we took a two week whirlwind tour of Canada. We crammed in a wedding, a 90th birthday, lots of visiting, and of course, introducing our wee man to the rest of the family. From Vancouver, British Columbia, to Kingston, Ontario, all the way up to the Yukon, we managed to cram in an unbelievable amount of visiting in the two weeks Stephen got off from school (we are now enjoying the school holidays and recuperating from our travel). While there are many great stories from each specific visit, I wanted to do a wee survey of how we successfully (read: no screaming by Hector or us) navigated our various modes of transportation - plane, train, automobile, and boat, to name but a few.

For a start, we booked our long overseas flight from NZ to Canada at night. This meant that we did our normal-ish bedtime routine in the airport lounge, boarded the plane and Hector went straight to sleep. Although we booked the bassinet seat, H-man did not like sleeping in it, but with the extra leg room, I was much more comfortable holding him the whole time.

On flights when he didn't sleep, we took it in turns to coral him up and down the aisle - making friends with many a passenger and many of the flight attendants (always try to use their first names, it's such an easy thing to do and so immensely meaningful). Breastfeeding him on take off and landing helped so much. Not continuously, but whenever he got a bit whiny (which I took to be weird feeling in the ears whiny). We were indeed lucky to earn the compliments of our surrounding passengers as to Hectors' quietness.

Once in Canada, we had planned to drive as little as possible, so we brought Hector's regular mountain buggy. I considered taking a smaller umbrella stroller, but the comfort of the reclining buggy meant that Hector could easily take the odd nap on the go so we could get more travelling done. Also, remember to bring your rain cover,you may not have family on the other end with an extra.

When we did drive, we rented a car seat along with the car. This meant we didn't have to lug one around and that we knew it was approved by the government safety people. We tried to do as little driving as possible, as it is our least favorite mode of transportation, but when we did, we were sure to have lots of toys and snacks available for all. And we made many stops to ensure bladders were not over stretched and legs were not under stretched.

We also did a little bit of bus travel in Vancouver. This was fun and easy.

Boats made an appearance as well. The only word of warning here is to hold onto your (and your childs') hat. We lost Hector's sun hat on our last trip over when a random gust of wind whipped it off his head - much to his delight.

Trains - our favorite mode of transport on this trip. We took the train from Kingston back to Toronto to avoid holiday traffic (and being in a car) and it was fun. We could watch the countryside rumble by, play with Hector up front in the luggage area where there was empty space, and generally, spread out. We even got cool paper train cars to take home and build.

Napping with mom and playing with dad. Good times were had by all.

Finally, we made sure to take time as a family to just relax. It was an intense trip and there are things we didn't get done, but we took time to just slow down and be together and this meant we didn't loose our sanity.

Please Note: Stephen says I have made it sound like Hector didn't cry. He did. And the thing that got us through those rough patches was the idea that parenting while travelling is not about being good or bad parents, but simply surviving. If holding him while he slept is what he wanted, then by golly, that's what happened. If running up and down the aisle of the plane kept him quiet, then, hey, that's what we did (even the flight attendants believed this). Holidays are all about having a good time, including the little ones, so we just went with what made him happy - then we were all happy.

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