Travelling With A Baby - The Real Picture

Sun Island - Maldives
Beautiful travel pictures in vacation clothes against picturesque backgrounds may make it look like all you have to do is pick up the baby and frolic around at exotic locations. But truth be told, there’s a lot more that goes on in the background and doesn’t get captured in pictures. Not
because those pictures wouldn’t be pretty to look at but because you’re not exactly in the mood to take pictures when you’ve spent the past hour putting your little one to sleep instead of exploring the expensive resort you booked for the holiday. 


Strolling amidst tea fields
If I was to give one advice on traveling with a baby, it would be to prepare for and expect the worst and then enjoy the pleasant surprises when your baby responds better than your expectations. If you’re planning to travel (and I don’t mean travel to visit family) with a baby and aren’t sure if it’s the right time to do it, ask yourselves the below questions for starters: 


Strollers and carriers are your new best friends

  • If the baby follows a strict routine, how do they react when the routine is disturbed? 
  • How do they respond to over tiredness? 
  • What is their stimulation threshold? How do they calm down after over-stimulation? 
  • What if day naps are disturbed, cut short or completely missed? 
  • What is their reaction to a completely changed sleep environment at night? Do they observe and have trouble falling asleep or barely even notice and don’t give a damn? 
  • What if their preferred method of going to sleep won’t be available during the vacation? If they only sleep in a bouncer and you can’t carry the bouncer around? 
  • Do they prefer being carried around or love their stroller and/or carrier? 

What waiting at the airport is like
Answers to the above would give you a fair idea about what you will be getting yourself into by taking your little tornado on a vacation. If you’re not sure of the answers, it’s better to experiment in your home environment and be sure of whether this whole adventure is your cup of tea. Because there’s no point spending all that time and money if you’re going to sulk about missed meals and messed up plans because your little traveller decided to get cranky for no apparent reason. It is better to stay home and save your sanity. No, seriously. 


Catching up on sleep in the car
However, if you have truly embraced the super power of parenting and have learnt to laugh through the crankiness and be thankful for the naps (no matter when they come), then book those flights, pack those bags and be prepared to make new discoveries about your baby’s personality. 

In shock after his first tuk-tuk ride
I personally felt 6 months was an awesome age for traveling with Aleyan - not too small to not notice the changed surroundings, old enough to respond to different sights and interact with new faces but not yet into the crawling phase when it would be difficult holding him in one place. He is exclusively breastfed and had not yet started on solids so I didn’t have to worry about preparing baby food, carrying it along and keeping up with meals. Lesser risk of all the tummy issues that solids may bring about.

But was it all hunky-dory?
We were lucky Aleyan responded amazingly well and enjoyed the experience a lot more than we expected him to. So yes, we were majorly flying high.

Did everything go according to plan?
For most part, yes. Except for a couple of disturbed nights and the day we travelled from Sri Lanka to Maldives. Aleyan couldn’t nap the entire day and was a disaster by night. We couldn’t have our dinner which was already paid for and were basically stuck in the room for the entire evening. Eventually crashed on an empty stomach because couldn’t leave him alone in the room once he’d slept and the room service time was over.

Were there moments of frustration?
Many!
But that’s what they were.
They were ‘moments’.
Moments you forget about when the baby finally gets his sleep and you see his smiling face next morning. 

Rise & Shine - After the night he made us sleep on grumbling tummies
Looking back on this trip, we wouldn’t remember those moments of frustration. Yes, we’d remember how he cried and we rushed to close the doors so the neighbors wouldn’t curse us for ruining their vacation mood with baby cries, but that’s about it. We wouldn’t feel, ‘Oh it was such a waste, we couldn’t even have dinner.”

Speed boat ride to the island
Back when Ahmad and I were just a few weeks in as new parents, we found ourselves using the phrase 'thora bara hoga tou karein ge' a lot. Somewhere in our minds, we were already waiting for a break from the 24/7 baby duties. And it's only natural. Pregnancy is an exhausting journey, childbirth may be a physical challenge for the mother alone but takes a mental toll on the mother and the father alike and the postpartum period isn't exactly a stroll in the park. Good for our sanity, we soon realized our lives couldn’t be put on pause because we have our baby to carry around. If we were going to wait for the parenting duties to end before we could do our own thing, we would probably be waiting for life now because once you’re in, there’s no stopping this roller coaster!

Lake Gregory - Nuwara Eliya
So from one set of new parents to others, 
Just do what you gotta do.
Do what makes you happy.

And take your baby and his/her duties in the stride.
Babies thrive on their parents' happiness.
Happy parents raise happy kids.
So stop putting things on hold thinking 'bara hoga tou karein ge'.
If it requires you to change diapers in a stroller (for the lack of changing tables in public washrooms),
And sing lullabies walking around in the plane, 
Just suck it up and do it.
You will be getting dressed while singing ‘wheels on the bus', 
And eating food while your hair get pulled,
But those are the things you laugh at,
Those are the memories you make,
You just have to tune your mind to see it that way.

Temple of Tooth - Kandy
No, it's not all rainbows and butterflies, it's definitely nothing like doing things without having to calculate the next nap time . But where there is a will, there is a way. And mama baba can always find the way 💪🏼
Ready to climb atop the Sigriya - Lion Rock. I was very skeptical about attempting this but we did it!
Enjoying his first train ride - From Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
First helicopter experience that he conveniently slept through
At his first cricket match - we managed to sit through the entire T20 match even though we reached 2 hours before it started!
Clearly in awe inside the temple
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Ramboda Waterfalls - He couldn't stop looking at the water 

And there, taking his afternoon nap at the beach!


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23 comments

  1. I love how you've written this. I think the same but my husband is always so hesitant to take the baby anywhere because it is difficult to manage. I am going to make him read this now :P

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  2. Happy parents raise happy kids. THIS.
    Your baby is om-nom-nom!

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  3. Kudos to both of you!
    It's easier said than done and certainly not even a distant possibility unless both parents are on the same page. Esp the dads. Lucky you.

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    1. Funny how dads usually have a problem being on board when it is in fact the moms who have to do most of the extra work during vacation as well. No matter how cooperative the dad is, the baby is usually more attached to the mom at that age and the dad can't do much if the baby won't go to him when cranky.

      Not disregarding how important it is for the both parents to be on the same page but if the mom is ready to take on the challenge, dad shouldn't be dreading the 'managing' part.

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    2. I knowwww righhhtt >.<

      Though mom would only be up for the challenge if she knows that her husband has got her back. Otherwise she might as well not drain her brain on the 'vacation' lol

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  4. I got Married in December 2014. On our honeymoon we traveled to Seychelles, heaven on earth. We had our baby In May 2015 and since then we had traveled to Malaysia, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey!. The point is, its shouldn't be about "let him grow up" or leave your kid to his grand parents so we can travel the world. We as a parents, loved every second of our traveling with our boy mashaALLAH and he probably loved it even more than us. During flights, Air hostesses were drooling all over his cuteness and in almost half the flight, he was in their Godis literally enjoying every minute of it. In short, i can relate your article to our personal experiences and its totally worth traveling to different parts of the world with your young one.

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    1. I love it when the flight snd hotel staff takes the baby from you to hold him! I had quite a few breakfasts in peace because my baby would be busy playing with the hotel staff. Watching him from a distance while sipping tea was such a luxury!

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  5. Loved your post and your IG stories. TBH we are just like you. As baby number 1 arrived 10 months after we got married we have always travelled with children. Yeah its difficult but like you said u cant put your life on hold. 7 years after our first trip with baby and countless holidays after we are now veterans in the travelling with kids game. And im so glad i never waited for kids to be older. Only provlem is we cant do our city breaks with sightseeing any more just reslrt holidays but thats fine when kiddies are happy mommies are happy too

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    1. I was very skeptical about the Sri Lanka trip because it involved a lot of city breaks and sight seeing and hectic activities, but it went pretty good. But I guess it's also because my baby is too small. Toddlers and older kids are a lot more demanding so I'm sure its a different game for you now :) But whatever works as long as you're getting your breaks!

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  6. I somehow came across your post on Facebook probably as someone had shared it on their feed or might have liked it. I completely agree, that we shouldn't really wait for kids to grow older to fulfill our travel plans and I'm saying this right now while my toddler son is jumping on me. Great post!

    Fatima

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    1. Haha and he'll be jumping on you wherever you go I'm sure :)

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  7. Kids grow very fast and then there comes a point in life when they prefer to travel with their friends more than their parents so keeping this in mind me n my hubby never gave up on our vacation goals since both my boys were just few months old.Now they are 10 n 8 and they choose their desired destination and we follow.They get their own immigration (though I do stand close to my older one n my hubby with younger one) The level of confidence at this age is highly appreciated by foreign officials MA and I m sure this will early exposure to traveling will go a long way helping them in their future ventures. Your pictures totally gave me dejavu of what we went through years back.And ur munchkin is adorable MA

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    1. So true, the exposure from such a young age promises a lot of confidence and hopefully wisdom as well! Can't wait for my son to be old enough to carry his own little bagpack around :)

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  8. U r an Inspiration for the new parents. Loved to c the pics. But for the traveling and stuff ur husband is equally responsible for sharing the responsibility which becomes difficult for them.

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    1. It is an absolute must for both parents to be on the same page and share responsibility. I made sure I used the term 'we' in my entire post :)

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  9. "However, if you have truly embraced the super power of parenting and have learnt to laugh through the crankiness and be thankful for the naps (no matter when they come), then book those flights, pack those bags and be prepared to make new discoveries about your baby’s personality."

    I love that!

    And I loved this post! My husband and I have traveled and explored more with our older daughter than we did before her. We even did three trips to India in just her 2 and a half years which, in all honesty, is a feat considering how painful the long journey can be even without kids. Each trip, whether a 2 hour drive away, a six hour plane ride away, or 24 hour plane journey away, has been an experience, and we're glad we didn't let being new parents hold us back!

    Our second baby is now 3 months old and we're wondering why we haven't planned a trip yet!

    Love your pictures! And Aleyan is such a cutie mashaAllah! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Sidra! I'm sure you guys made a lot of fun memories :)

      Remember my family in your prayers :)

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  10. Proud of you to share and encourage parents to enjoy life with kids. My travel loving husband in a global marketing career flew everywhere while I tagged along with our one , two, three then six kids! Wish we had blogging options back in early 90's but I do have pictures. One thing we would definitely do in every town was to visit the zoo so from Lahore Zoo to Lucknow zoo to the zoo in Riyadh or Taiwan our family travel pics have kids smiling around animals and I see the love of life sciences in my adult kids ...all older three are in health professions now. But all this motivation for me really came from my parents who took a road trip with five kids from Germany to my birthplace Jeddah via 14 countries! You are right ...happy parents have happy kids! Wish you a big happy family.

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    1. Six kids, wow!! That would have been some blog to read :D
      I can imagine how exciting the zoos must be for the kids. Your parents definitely passed on their love for traveling to you and what a valuable thing that is!

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  11. Exactly my thoughts!! I had to drag and blackmail my husband into taking the recent trip. Baby was 7 months old then. EVERYONE told me to not go and wait but i refused to listen and just decided that i HAD to go. I had a tough pregnancy and it was like i was cooped up in the house for over a year. We planned and left within 10 days and it was the BEST trip ever. The baby probably enjoyed more than us lol
    And husband is already planning next year's trip!

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