Lifestyle and parenting blogger Berlin Domingo shares tips gained from her experiences of traveling with her four kids in tow---while pregnant with her fifth!
Traveling while pregnant can be uncomfortable enough. Going on a trip while pregnant with a toddler in tow adds to the stress. But what makes it doubly hard is traveling abroad minus your better half. That was what I felt and experienced during our travel to and from Hong Kong.
This mommy then would love to share some lessons learned on that trip!
Though seven months pregnant, I still breastfeed my son. I made sure I am in my most comfortable maternity or nursing clothes. I often pee as well, so I use those dresses I could manage to take off without assistance. Jumpsuits and rompers can be real fashionable but quite a hassle when one needs to pee. So avoid wearing one if you are a pregnant woman, who frequents the bathroom.
Pre-pack snack food
It's a good thing I always have crackers to tame my hungry stomach. Those same crackers also became a favorite of our little man when we couldn't get 'real food' while in transit. Apple slices, some waffles, or even cherries are a few you could pack hours before the travel.
Make a carry-on checklist
Checking in all your baby’s diapers, clothes, and other necessities is a big no-no. You should have one or two of each inside your carry-on luggage. Not all airports have a convenience store to supply your baby’s needs.
Baby essentials I find important are the following:
- nursing cape (if you breastfeed your child)
- formula and feeding bottles (if you bottle-feed)
- pacifiers (if your baby is used to that)
- receiving blankets (great as a nursing cover-up, keeping baby warm, or may be used as a changing mat as well)
- at least two pairs of clothes
- diapers, wipes, and bottom balm
- comfort toy or a book
- baby carrier or a sling
- a couple of Ziploc bags (they'll come in handy for keeping soiled clothes)
Keep your composure
There will always be unsolicited advice from fellow passengers. Do not engage. Answer them with a smile than thinking of an explanation.
I was walking toward the waiting area after our check-in. A passenger approached me and advised that I let my 21-month-old son walk instead of babywearing him. He must be concerned seeing a pregnant woman carry her son.
I just offered a smile and walked away. I do not want to explain that it would be more of a struggle catching up with a running toddler than carrying him.
Utilize airport facilities
When we arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport, there were baby strollers available. The airport, as my older son relayed to me, is the world’s busiest cargo gateway and one of the world’s busiest passenger airports. Walking within the airport can be real taxing. Good thing my second son saw baby strollers readily available by the entrance and he put my 21-month-old baby there. Our little man seemed to enjoy his ride as we made our way to the gate.
Bringing in an umbrella type stroller is also advisable. But then traveling with four children and a senior citizen, each with luggage to drag is too much already. I opted not to bring our stroller instead.
Use your big belly to your advantage
There are priority lanes for pregnant women, persons with disabilities, and those with a baby in tow. Use that to your advantage. With a big belly, I need not fall in line. I was also given the fire exit side (inside the plane) where I could fully recline my chair, spread my feet, and actually sleep comfortably.
Seat kids away from the aisle
We all know how those small hands are in treacherous reach of anything near them. An aisle seat can be a little dangerous for toddlers. As the food cart passes by, they may reach for the hot or cold water or just anything they fancy. Though an advantage of aisle seats is they don't have to climb over people when they need to use the bathroom, especially if the flight is long, I still find it prudent to choose the window seat for your kid’s safety.
Prepare for takeoff
There was a baby seated behind us who kept on wailing during landing. I soon realized that the pressure during takeoff and landing can be real painful for little kiddos. So relieved that my son was asleep, but the experience taught me to be prepared should that happen to my son. So if flying with kids, we moms may offer a pacifier, a bottle or our breast. I read once that the sucking motion helps relieve pressure among babies.
My experience traveling with a baby was not absolutely smooth sailing, but I managed to survive. I told myself I am prepared for anything, and it boosted my confidence. But more than that, it was the assistance extended by my boys and my mom that made the experience less stressful. And if it would help me calm down, I also reminded myself that "the travel is only temporary and we will reach our destination in no time."
This was originally published on Momiberlin.com. We've republished it with the author's permission.