"Traveling with a baby? That must be hard!" – this is something we often hear, and our response is almost always "no!", paired with a smile.
We often look at younger (or at least single or childless) people and think "partying all night and sightseeing the next day? Now that must be hard!". I'll admit that I've often done this in the past and thought nothing of it, but honestly the way we travel nowadays is much easier. At least on the body.
All the stuff
It seems that people tend to think that having a baby entails carrying a lot more stuff, but in my own experience that is not the case. Yes, the baby will require that you bring some things with you that you wouldn't usually, but on the whole we have simply traveled enough now to know what is essential and what can be left at home. In my twenties I often used to bring a hair straightener, two pairs of high heels and several handbags and other accessories. Now I leave my vanity at home and try to be as practical as possible without forgoing style. I know now that washing clothes during a trip is easy and often necessary, so why bring ten outfits when I can carry three much more easily?
But what about nap time?
All babies are different, but what they all have in common is the need to sleep during the day. Some more than others, obviously, as babies vary as much as us adults. Also, sometimes depending on age, they may have a harder or easier time sleeping during the day. BUT. And this one is very important: but I believe most (at least first time) parents stress over napping way too much! The baby needs sleep, yes, but there is no need for you to spend hours each day trying to get your baby to sleep. As long as the circumstances allow for it, your baby will sleep when he or she needs to. Even during your sightseeing trip around the Acropolis, exploring noisy markets in South America or on the beach somewhere.
Our tip is to let you little one nap in a carrier of some kind when you're on the road, in a stroller if you use those or lying on a towel in the shade. Just don't stress it.
But my baby needs solids…
After a certain age your baby will need more than just breastmilk/formula, and many people get worried that the destination won't have food that is
A safe enough
B healthy enough
C baby friendly
I know several people that have traveled with a suitcase full of purees and dry goods, just to be able to feed their baby familiar foods during their holidays, but if you're like us and like to travel light, know that this is not necessary.
Maya never was a fan of being fed store bought purees and porridges and we like the Baby Led Weaning way of letting our child get used to food, so we didn't bring any food with us on any of our trips (apart from maybe a smoothie or two for the plane ride). for the first few trips where she had started eating solids we were in popular destinations in Europe and therefore didn't even think twice that the food wouldn't be appropriate for her. She mainly had what we had at restaurants, sharing our food by grabbing from our plate or being handed pieces from us.
When she turned one we where in Southeast Asia in what people might classify as an area where food is a bit more risky in regards to the chance of getting food poisoned. Having suffered food poisoning in Southeast Asia previously, we decided that we wouldn't eat anything that we would deem risky, and also that any food we deemed safe for ourselves would be safe also for Maya. That meant that we didn't typically eat at buffets (except breakfast buffets at hotels and one really fancy dinner buffet at a nice resort) or from sketchy street vendors with few customers. We did however have a lot of different street foods at popular markets and in restaurants. When we did we would chose freshly made foods and foods that had been treated with high temperatures, such as barbecued and fried foods.
And we were fine the entire time!
…more to come…