بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Back in April, we took our first trip with our baby boy. It was a very long plane ride from Dubai to NYC. The flight took about 14 hours. AZ was 5 months old back then. We stayed in the USA for around 10 days.
I remember myself having similar questions that Mrs Waheeba has in her post. I heard loads of advice from family and relatives. Some were not supporting the idea of traveling, especially that long of a distance, with a young baby. While others thought that we were brave / adventurous (& a bit crazy) to go to NYC as our first destination with AZ. Of course, there were also others who were in full support to our plan. Having all sort of opinions left me more confused a few weeks before the trip. Looking back, I think that I overthought the idea of traveling with a baby. I understand my thinking process at that time though as I was not experienced, so not as confident as I am today. I also think that I overthought the needed preparation & things to pack for AZ. I just stressed myself out by doing so when in reality, it isn’t like how some might make it sound. One thing that I was sure of back then was a baby at 5 months was easier to travel with for me than when younger. There is no way I was gonna go if he was in his newborn stage as I was still recovering from my C-section and also adjusting into motherhood and learning about precious AZ ❤ I also thought that 5 months was a perfect first time experience for me because he wasn’t as mobile as he is today (into the phase of crawling and pulling himself up, wanting to go everywhere now – which I love by the way – and also, since he was on a milk only diet, it sure meant less to consider to pack and take (we only started solids when he was 6 months old). I am more confident as a mother today and I know AZ much more better, I don’t mind taking other trips with him and I think I won’t be nervous like the first time. From my first experience, I can say that I didn’t have to overthink it and I hope that other new parents don’t. So here I am, posting this new post to share how it went with us, in hope o being helpful to other new parents who are about to travel with their babies. With us, we didn’t need to pack so much. The needed baby things were:
1. Clothes of course: From Dubai, we packed his clothes (2x and a bit more in number comparing to the number of days of the trip). A baby can sometimes need to change his clothes twice a day. I didn’t want to do any laundry there, so I thought we should just be prepared. I doubled the number of clothes for AZ. We used most of them during the trip. Baby clothes are small in size comparing to ours, so they didn’t need loads of space. At that time, it was winter season in NYC (one of the very cold winter season). Dubai stores didn’t have heavy winter clothing for babies back then. However, We knew planned to buy AZ winter/heavy jackets and needed clothes on day 1 of arriving in NYC. Keeping baby warm was one of our priorities as we were out a lot. I remember that we had snow a couple days while being there.
2. Stroller: some people advised us to take a light weight stroller; a more cheaper one for two reasons they said: A) The lighter strollers are accepted in all airlines (for you to take up until the plane’s door; instead of dropping it at check in baggage in your first stop in the airport). B) Easier to move around during the whole trip.
Side note: While I agree on point (B), point (A) above doesn’t apply to all cases. We flew Etihad Airways and they accept all sort of baby strollers to be taken to the door of the plane with you. Also, the airline provided a similar model of that lighter / traveling strollers in different places of the airport which you could use until reaching the door of the plane. We didn’t know this until we were there. And only later, I was curious to know what Emirates Airline accepted because that is another airline we take. Just like Etihad, they accepted all baby strollers and provided similar baby strollers to be used in their airport. I didn’t really care to know about other airline because we rarely fly with them.
My mum got us the lighter stroller from Juniors BabyShop as a small gift for AZ before the trip. It sure was easier on us, parents, to move around with AZ, BUT our baby boy hated it. We only found out about it when it was too late already
Side Note: in the airport , at that point I wish I tried the stroller with AZ before the flight to know if he would like it. I also wish I checked with Etihad about their stroller policy.
AZ didn’t like that he was facing outward in the lighter stroller, not facing his mom and dad. He couldn’t see us; his view was the world without his parents at all times because the stroller didn’t come with the option of facing the parents. At that age, we two were AZ main focus. Some babies might be different at that age, but AZ used to get overly stimulated easily and couldn’t take in so much of the new to him things. Also, as I mentioned, we two were the center of his comfort. He was fine for he first 30 minutes in the lighter stroller when awake, but then he was fussing and crying. I was harder to get him to sleep. We had to get him out a lot. Having said that, we survived the 2+ hours airport stay eventually. It could have been easier on AZ and us, but we did it ok overall 🙂 when we reached New York, we spent a few days using the lighter stroller with the fact that AZ hated it because it didn’t sound convenient to get a new big baby stroller — due to the following: A) we already have the light stroller in the trip(which our boy hates; and B) we have the Orbit Baby G3 in Dubai as his main stroller in which we are all in love with.
Therefore, we didn’t see the point of getting another similar one. Beside, what would we do with three strollers??? However, we eventually gave up and got him the Graco Sky Stroller – midnight – from babies R us in NYC. This one is cheaper than the Orbit baby G3, but could face parents and outwards. AZ was then a happier baby when awake in his stroller.
Side Note to all new parents: it is very important for you to know your individual baby / his or her temperament because it helps a lot at making decisions of what to carry and what not. It also helps in the way you parent or the way you do things for them/with them. It can also save you $$$. Your baby might need more or less than what ours needed.
3. Baby carrier: this was very, VERY, helpful to us. One of the best things we packed for the trip. We have the BECO Gemini carrier. The exact same one you see below:
Side note: I am planning to do some baby product reviews with the products we have experience with.
AZ was the happiest in his carrier. Note that we were out & about in NY all day – from the early AM up until 8-9 PM. The carrier helped at not interrupting his naps and sleeps. He slept in there just fine while being close to us, in our arms. I could also breastfeed him in it while being covered: no issues there. We still needed the stroller though for when we got tired from carring him. He was only 5 months then -not heavy-, so we could carry him 5+ hours give or take. Also, in some places/sight seeing places, a stroller was harder to move around, so the carrier was perfect. Because of it, we were able to see and do more during the trip, without upsetting the baby. I highly recommend a baby carrier when traveling for your infant. Who wouldn’t like carring the baby while being hands free after all?!
4. Toys: honestly, we didn’t carry many toys with us. AZ was fine exploring the same toy over and over / putting the same toys in his mouth over and over back at that stage. The number of toys we carried from Dubai with us was limited to the following:
(A) Sophia the giraffe (teething toy) which we bought for him before his birth from Toys Store in Mall of the Emirates. (B) his teething fish which I got for him from Mothercare
We packed the elephant, the giraffe , And the monkey with us.
We basically took the jungle’s stuffed toys from that baby gym. Till this day, they didn’t return to his playgym because he outgrew this gym , but he still likes to hold on the plush toys and put in his mouth. I like him to play with this sort of stuffed toy because they aren’t fluffy. I learned that the fluffy sort of toys are not recommended for young infants due to the possibility of allergy development to some babies. It might be ok for AZ or your baby but I didn’t / don’t want to risk it anyways. Now though at 8 months, AZ loves new toys and loves exploring everything new. He gets bored from old toys.
5. Other needed stuff: we packed the other needed things, like his Mustella face wipes and body lotion/ moisteriser, baby oil, cotton balls and ear coton, bibs, Johnson & Johnson extra sensitive diaper wipes, diaper rash cream, Mustela shampoo and body wash, diapers, socks, blankets, towels and I am not sure if I am missing something, but basically, the things that you carry for your baby when you leave the house.
6. Adol and Ocean Spray: These were the only two medication we could use if he was down the weather. Ocean spray is a spray used for the nose in case of blockage (in case of cold). It consists of water and salt only and is safe to give babies under 6 months of age. We carried the Adol in case of fever. Some people suggested we give him the Adol before the flight to keep him drowsy. I didn’t like the idea and didn’t go with it.
7. Digital Ear Thermometer: we have the Braun Thermoscan Digital Ear Thermometer for AZ which we use to check his temperature.
It was one of the important things we packed for him. There were a couple days were we took his temperature during the trip because he looked a bit off to us, I remember. Thankfully, his temperature was ok. The Thermometer was a good relief to parents tool to use in such cases,
8.Diaper bag: AZ has a couple diaper bags, but I carried the lighter one that had more space. This came with us everywhere during the trip of course. A nessasity for all babies. Here are few things to consider that might be helpful based on our own experience. It might not be everything that one should consider, but just to give you a general idea about what helped us in our case and after some considerations. 9. A suitcase which was similar to ours, but in a smaller version. AZ had his own to put everything related to him in there. I am glad that I decided to bring his own along. We considered combining his things with mine, but ended up taking his own. We also used that bag to put in the gifts we got for family towards the end of the trip.
10. Doctor visit before the trip: A couple days before the trip, we took AZ to his doctor for a check up to confirm if he was fit to travel. The Doctor gave him the green light to join. I was advised to breastfeed him when take off and landing to avoid his ears from getting blocked. I was also advised to use a pacifier if he wasn’t hungry to breastfeed or simply didn’t want to at that time.
On Board experience Breastfeeding when take off and pacifier when landing worked for us just fine. One thing that surprised me was the seatbelt they provide for infants. It simply was a belt that gets attached to the mommy’s belt. You put him on your lap that way when take off / landing and when the seatbelt sign is on. To me, our BECO Gemini carrier is much safer than the little belt that you put around their little waist. One thing that I loved was the infant bed that they provide to the infant passengers which you can use all other times when the seatbelt sign isn’t on. Of course, traveling with a baby in a vacation isn’t like the full vacation experience (in the sense that you get to do nothing other than relax – I didn’t manage to watch a full movie without being interrupted for example and didn’t have the full freedom with time and things to do, but I wouldn’t change anything from that trip. I don’t regret the trip one bit. Before starting the list of things to pack for a trip, one should consider the following:
- Baby’s temperament;
- Baby’s age;
- Baby’s diet;
- Trip’s destination;
- Trip’s duration; and
- Trip’s flight hours (or car ride / train ride hours)
Your list may vary depending on the above consideration, but the basic should be there. I wish all new parents and babies a pleasant experience 😀