Thursday, 17 January 2008

Traveling with a baby

Since Emmet is below 2 years old most airlines have fixed price. It’s usually around EUR 10.00. During check-in, along with the boarding pass, there should be a tag for Emmet’s buggy so that we can take it to the gate. When it is time for boarding, it’s either we leave the buggy in front of the gate or at the bottom of the stairs of the aircraft door. Somebody will pick it up and throw it into the baggage area.

By the time we land, we can find the buggy at the bottom of the stairs, or beside the gate, or at the carousel along with other checked-in luggage, depending on the airport.

Before making a booking on hotels, make sure to be informed about hotel policy on children. Some hotels do not accept children. Usually if they do, children who stay with parents are FOC. And some hotels do provide baby cot upon request.

Public transportation
So far we haven’t had much trouble with public transportation except when we were in Oslo. Getting a taxi there is quite tricky since they have strict policy on baby’s car seat. You need to get a taxi that has the facilities of babies’ car seat otherwise no taxi would take you anywhere in Oslo. Other places, we usually use Metro and the tricky part is getting up and down flights of stairs with a buggy. We find Quinny Zapp is much handier compared to the Graco we previously used when traveling. But still you need two people to carry the buggy up and down the stairs.

Though you are not supposed to use the escalator when handling a buggy, sometimes you are left with no choice when there isn’t any lift facility around the station. Using the escalator needs some practice, just be careful and hold on tight to the buggy. And make sure you position the buggy at the center of the escalator, you don’t want it to get stuck at the side, could be dangerous to you, the baby and everyone else that is using the escalator. Do consider all buggy facilities before opting for the escalator.

Busses have limited option on disables. Find busses with a disabled sign or a luggage area so you can fold the buggy and put it there. Busses with disabled facility usually allow you to carry the buggy with your child in it, so easier for you.

No matter what your husband says, always carry along a changing mat with you wherever you go with a baby. I am not confident with the changing mat they have around at any baby area anywhere in the world, except for hospitals (they are very very clean). So I always use my changing mat on top of the available changing mat.

Baby changing area is easily available in places we have been around Europe. I have only once changed Emmet at the airport in Oslo, they don’t have baby changing area at the terminal before queuing at the immigration counter. So I had to use the chairs. Wipes are equally important at times like these. So always carry wipes.

For breakfast, I bring a small 0.2 liter container of oat flakes. That would be enough for a 4 day trip. Emmet only eats like 5 heap teaspoon of oat mixed with hot water for a breakfast. And I usually give his breakfast at the hotel before we go out in the morning. So I just asked the hotel for some hot water at the kitchen or the buffet area.

Since Emmet is still breastfeeding, we usually stop at restaurants or coffee shop during lunch and dinner. A round of breastfeed then I would prepare his porridge. His porridge is usually powdered baby rice mixed with hot water and some canned tuna or sardine that we get from supermarket or convenient shop that we can easily find everywhere. For the hot water to mix the rice I just ask the restaurant or the coffee shop for some and they are usually glad to help, FOC. I bring one packet (100g) of powdered baby rice for a 4 day trip on a basis of two meals a day. The tuna and sardine I can just get when we arrived. Baby chair is usually available at most restaurants, but not an important factor for us. My lap would do just fine.

Clothes and accessories
How many clothes and nappies do I bring for a 4 day trip? That’s 3 pairs of outing clothes, one PJ, 6 nappies for a 2 days spare(the rest I find it easier to buy when we arrived at our destination, giving more space in the luggage), I also bring a digital thermometer, winter jacket/ sweater, snow cap/cap, gloves, muffler, blanket and cotton buds.

Baby bag
What I have in my bag;
1. Three disposable nappies
2. A muslin square (to use as towel)
3. Wipes
4. Changing mat
5. Sudocream in small container
6. Emulsifying ointment (used moisturizer and soap)
7. A pair of clothes for spares
8. Spare socks
9. Snacks
10. Drinking water

Out and about
When we are out and about, I always provide him with snacks to keep him occupied. His snacks are rice cake, cream crackers, crisps by Organix (if we ran out of them, we try to find chips/crisps like Walkers that have some healthy choice with ingredients of only potato and sunflower oil and no salt and MSG. But luckily, Emmet usually naps in his buggy half of the time we are sightseeing.

During summer would be lighter to travel. Light clothing, a cap and the buggy must have sun shade. However, I would always bring a rain cover for the buggy in case it rains. Other than summer, Emmet is equipped with sweater/jacket, snow cap, gloves, muffler and blanket.

We have had little problems walking around Europe with a buggy. Most of the time there are wide pedestrian walk path, slopes at road junctions, buggy path beside small stairs, lifts. But I remember when we were back in Malaysia and Thailand, it was quite tricky with so many stairs at the shop lots and too narrow or no pedestrian walk path beside the roads. Even when we had to use the tar roads, there were so many lopak to elak.

Sesi soalan pule…

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