Wow… I can’t believe it’s August… and that I have finally found a moment where I could start writing this blog. I have been planning to write it since our first trip to Montreal with André when he was 8 weeks old, but decided to wait as we had a bunch of trips planned over the year. I feel this will help give you the best analysis of travelling with a baby at different ages. I will preface this blog by saying once again that I am not an expert nor do I claim to be in any of this baby stuff. I cannot accept any responsibility if you decide to purchase something based on a recommendation in this blog that doesn’t work for you! All babies are different, (even though they’re so similar) but this is what worked specifically for MY child! I spent a year buying every gadget and gizmo to try and make travelling as easy as possible and I think after 15 months of travelling with Dré I have found the perfect combination of things that work! So let’s just dive right in shall we?
(June 2017, First Flight to Montreal, Baby Bjorn Miracle Baby Carrier- ESSENTIAL FOR TRAVEL!!!)
The first trip we decided to take with André was a quick one to see my family in Montreal. Both my grandmother and Zaidi can’t travel as easily as they once could and I really wanted them to meet their great grandson. We packed our bags and took his first flight to Montreal. We drove ourselves to the airport as the car seat base was in our car. We also travelled with our heavy duty Uppa Baby Cruz stroller. At this time, we felt this would make the most sense as all the parts we needed attached so nicely together. Keep it simple was the idea. We also travelled with the Baby Bjorn Miracle carrier… this is absolutely ESSENTIAL on any vacation with your baby. I love the Miracle Bjorn as the back support is excellent and it is super easy to get the babe in and out of the carrier as you have to do so many times at the airport for security and also when the plane takes off and lands. My babe loved to be on my chest at this stage in his life and being close to me meant he slept on me for most of the trip. Actually, he slept then entire trip! Door to door from Vaughan, to the airport, through security, flight to Montreal, to the car rental, and to my grandmother’s house! He woke when we arrived 5 hours later!
(My Grandmother Joyce- aka GIGI, and her Sister meeting Dré for the first time! Priceless! André laying on the BOPPY Newborn Pillow- ESSENTIAL FOR TRAVEL!)
(My Zaidi Abe meeting his great grandson for the first time! So special!)
For this flight, I brought a back pack style diaper bag with plenty of pockets and storage for both my personal items and André's things. Since he was only 8 weeks old I didn't bring a ton of toys for him as he didn't need that yet so was able to manage with just the one bag for everything. We did not bring a portable crib as the hotel we stayed at had cribs available, however the crib was really odd and difficult to get André in and out of so he just slept in the Dock-a-Tot that we brought with us on the bed. We also brought the Boppy Newborn cushion, which I feel is essential for all newborn babies to have a proper place to sit down since they can't sit on their own yet. I was breast feeding at this time, so it was super easy when it came to food. Boobs are attached to me so this was a huge bonus! I bought some formula when I arrived in Montreal instead of travelling with it. The visit with family was short, but sweet. Virtually problem free and easy. André was awake the whole flight home but it’s a 45 minute flight so it was no problem. As I mentioned above, we came prepared with toys, books and an iPad to distract him, but Carlo and I just took turns holding him. I had him in the carrier for most of the flight and just walked up and down the isles with him and before we knew it we were landing. Travelling so early on did make me nervous mostly because people are full of germs and they spread like crazy on planes and trains but everything worked out ok for us this time. Travelling with an 8 week old baby is definitely something I would recommend because EVERYTHING changes after here!
(Making memories... Ibiza, September 2017, 4.5 months old!)
The next trip we took was to Ibiza, Spain when André was 4 months old. As your babe gets older, they definitely need more things which makes travelling super fun! Lol. I tried to pack for both André and I in my luggage. Luckily, I was physically still so big from having the baby months before that none of my summer or vacation clothes fit me and I only had a few combinations of clothes that I could wear. This helped to reduce my load for sure. The part that was challenging was loading like ten cases of formula into the luggage as I had to feed Dré a specific formula, liquid and in cans. As you can imagine, my luggage was so overweight but luckily when I explained at the airport they were kind enough not to charge me for overages.
(Ready to go! First Long flight to Barcelona, September 2017, 4 Pieces of Luggage, 3 Carry-On, 1 Stroller)
André ate his first solid food in Ibiza when he turned five months old, so at this stage I didn’t travel with any food, just formula and boob! After travelling to Mtl with the huge Uppa Baby Stroller we decided it would be better to just buy a small travel stroller. I purchased a $100 Summer Infant 3D light umbrella stroller. This was a HUGE MISTAKE!
(Umbrella stroller FAIL... will discuss more in part 2 of this mini-series!)
I didn’t take into consideration that we would be out a lot and his naps might not be on schedule as they are in Toronto. I started Sleep Training André at 8 weeks and he needed to sleep lying down. The umbrella stroller only reclines to maybe a 110 degree angle and this was a nightmare for André… and me! Anytime we were out and he was tired I had to put him in the carrier and walk with him. 90% of the time, this would happen when we were at lunch or dinner.
(André taking a nap in carrier while mommy got a good workout walking on sand across the beach in circles for an hour! lol!)
The plus side to this was that I lost a ton of baby weight from having to carry André on me all the time, however, I never got to sit down for any meal! I was always moving, so I guess it was a blessing in disguise but honestly, I was so tired from never getting a break! We rented a car and paid to use one of their car seats as we didn’t want to travel with ours. When I booked our tickets, I called the airline directly to select our seats. I requested to have a seat where a basinet could be installed on the wall that would allow Dré to sleep inside flat on his back. This was the BEST thing ever! Make sure you do this if you are travelling with an infant. You can thank me later!
(André in his Zipadee Zip in the Bassinet provided by Air Canada, about to sleep the whole way there!)
The challenge with flying to Europe is that all the flights are generally in the evening, so by the time you get to the airport, go through security, get to your gate and get on the plane hours have gone by. This can be really hard for the baby and exhausting for the parents. By the time we got on the plane André was so over tired he needed to lie down and sleep so badly, but you have to hold your baby upright and cannot put them in the basinet for take-off or landing. Needless to say, he was delirious, so fussy, crying and screaming for at least the first hour of the flight. I kept putting him on my boob to try and soothe but he just wasn’t having it. My anxiety was through the roof because I am someone who is extremely conscious of other travellers. Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you can be an ass hole to everyone around you. I travelled without a child for 20 years and honestly couldn’t handle when people travelled with their kids and are completely unprepared. I will get into this in the second part of the blog!
Finally, once we were in the air we put him in his Zipadee Zip (best swaddle ever!) and inside the bassinet and he literally slept the whole flight to Europe. We came fully prepared with toys, iPad, bottles etc. to make sure he was entertained but didn’t need anything. It was awesome! We landed in BCN and had to take another flight to Ibiza. After flying for 8 hours it was probably a mistake to jump on a second flight. We should have rented a hotel room and stayed overnight and flown the next morning so André could adjust and get a proper sleep but these are all things you learn along the way.
The second flight was on Vueling and we were crammed like sardines as the seats are so close together, we had the window and middle plus André. He was feeling overwhelmed, and was challenging the whole time. Thankfully it was a short flight and once we landed in Ibiza the little bum was smiling.
(Total Rock Star! After 15 hours of travelling the kid was still smiling! Ibiza, September 2017)
We picked up our rental car, had the car seat installed and headed to our hotel. We stayed at a condo hotel, so it was a two bedroom with a full kitchen and den. Three Minute walk to the beach and super comfy. We brought a Jolly Jumper that we could hang from the doorway as this was his favourite toy at this time and the hotel provided the crib. As I mentioned before I sleep trained André beginning at 8 weeks, so by the time he was four months he was a really good sleeper. However, taking him out of his own bedroom aka his comfort zone presented its own new challenge. He wouldn’t sleep without me right beside him! André and I slept together on a single bed lol, and daddy had his own bedroom for sleeping and a nice place to chill and watch TV without waking the babe. My favourite part about visiting Ibiza is seeing the most magical sunsets of all time. We would go out for the sunset and I would wear Dré and even though we got home around 9:30pm we were all happy.
(Ibiza Magic @ Cala Comte, September 2017, Dré in the Baby Bjorn Carrier)
(Cala Tarida Sunsets, September 2017)
I didn’t stick to the same nap schedule that I do in Toronto, but he still needed to sleep almost every two hours. The place we stayed in Ibiza was so close to the beach that it was really easy to bring him back for a nap, often daddy would take him back to sleep and he would do some work and mommy got to drink mojitos at the beach alone! Literally a dream for me! Haha! This trip was also one of the most special and memorable for me as my little babe “proposed” to me one morning!
("Heidi, André has something for you!" Engaged, September 27, 2017)
Carlo and I got married shortly after André was born, but we did a walk-in wedding at City Hall in Toronto, so it was so cute and so special to be proposed to by Carlo and André in my favourite place in the world!
(When you ask for a small piece of Avocado for the baby to eat in Spain... Dré's first food in Ibiza!)
(Magical moments and special memories when you travel with your baby. Full body coverage skirt and tank top bathing suit essential when your body isn't "your body" just yet!)
(You can also use your baby as a body shield to take really cute photos, and hide your baby body!)
Since the flight to Ibiza was relatively easy since he slept most of the way, we assumed it would be easy on the way home too. Boy were we wrong! The flight home was a complete disaster. Before we even arrived at the airport André took a massive explosive poop that went all over his clothes, body and car seat! We knew from that moment this next 15 hours were going to be a challenge! We took the first flight possible from Ibiza to Barcelona at 6am to make sure there would be no issue with the connecting flight to Toronto. We arrived in BCN and went to the lounge, had some breakfast and headed to our gate. By the time we got on the plane and settled down, André had been awake for about six hours! Once we took off, he went to sleep in the bassinet and we were so relieved…but then he woke up 45 minutes later and freaked out because you have to close the top of the bassinet and he panicked. Once we took him out he would not go back inside the rest of the flight. Also, it was the day time for him so his body wouldn’t allow him to sleep as if it was night time so I literally walked up and down the isles with him in the carrier, passed him back and forth to Carlo, and tried every trick in the book to keep him entertained. Thankfully he wasn’t crying or screaming to annoy everyone around us, but both Carlo and I were beyond exhausted once we landed. It was about 8pm once we arrived at home and as soon as Dré saw him own room and his crib he was so happy, and went straight to sleep for the entire night! Overall, travelling with a four/ five month old baby was a success.
(Groove Me Yoga Leggings are perfect for travelling, meditating and working out! Available now!)
The flights were very challenging but still manageable, the stroller we brought was a huge mistake, but ended up losing lots of weight by carrying him on me, so I guess it all balanced out!
(Family vacation photos are my absolute favourite and will cherish these memories forever!)
Stay tuned for “Secret Life of a Travelling Baby Part 2!” where I will really get into the good stuff! All the gadgets that I ended up buying and testing out to make travelling as smooth and painless as possible will be further explored in part 2! Coming soon....