Some parents think that having a baby means having to keep that wanderlust in check. Or that you will need a team of helpers and will have to deal with a logistical nightmare to venture abroad with your little one.
Not so for Sharon Chong and her baby, Lucas. In October, the feisty 29-year-old brought her 10-month-old son to Brisbane on her own to visit her husband, who was there for work. Here’s how she did it in style.
Here, there and “every-wear”
“When I was pregnant, I could not understand why anyone would want to carry their baby in those ‘kangaroo things’ when strollers are available,” says Sharon. “Now babywearing has become a big part of my life, and I wore Lucas for a large part of the trip. It has made travelling so much easier and enjoyable, especially in cooler climates.”
Sharon recommends bringing two types of carriers. A soft structured carrier with full buckles is convenient if you are going to be alone most of the time, and will not have the luxury of an extra pair of hands to hold your baby while you strap on your gear.
For the plane ride, she prefers using a wrap or a mei tai (a rectangle-shaped baby carrier with straps on all four corners), as her baby takes his naps on her.
“Wraps and mei tais are softer and have less bulk around the waist, which is important as you’ll be sitting quite a lot,” she says. “They are also kinder on the shoulders when you carry your baby for a long time.”
However, she will be bringing a stroller on her next trip – but not to carry her baby!
“I’ll get an umbrella stroller to carry bags on the go. It’s light and easily available in most cities, so I can also buy one when I’m abroad.”
Pack it right
“Since it’s just me and my baby, I prefer to travel light,” says Sharon, who opted for just a carry-on luggage on her flight to Brisbane. “Bring the essentials. Do your research – you may not need to bring items or supplies that you can easily buy at your destination.”
For her eight-hour flight from Singapore to Brisbane, Sharon also packed some Children’s Zyrtec (to relieve allergies) and paracetamol, just in case. And her thoughts on choosing a diaper bag? “It’s important to stay organised, especially on long flights, so I used a diaper bag that has many compartments.”
Eat, play, love
Sharon prefers to bring some cooked food along for her baby in a small thermos. “I would cook and pack a portion of porridge or steamed root vegetable. I prefer diaper bags with an insulated compartment, because this helps keep the food warm a little longer.”
She also brings some snacks along, such as biscuits in small resealable clear bags. “You know those tiny Tupperware containers – the ones in the set you thought you’d never use? These are excellent for squish-able snacks.”
In Brisbane, Sharon took Lucas to the beach, where he played with sand for the first time, and to the parks when the weather was fine.
“When it rained, we went shopping or visited the museum. It was great because we could explore the entire mall with him on the same shopping trolley. It helps to do your own planning for baby-friendly activities in the places you intend to visit.”
So where’s next for the intrepid mummy-and-baby duo?
“Bali… end of this year!” says Sharon with a grin.
TRAVEL LIKE A PRO
Sharon shares her packing essentials and other tips and tricks:
- Prepare a new toy for your baby and unveil it only on the flight to maximise the novelty factor.
- Consider serviced apartments if you’ll be abroad for more than a few days. These usually come with a kitchen, which makes it easier for you to prepare food for your baby, and provide more space for him to roam around.
- What to pack for an eight-hour flight:
- 6 diapers and wet wipes
- 2 to 3 packs of tissue paper
- Thomson Baby bottom balm
- 2 onesies
- 2 pants/shorts
- 1 extra pair of socks
- 1 jacket
- 1 soft hat
- 1 thin muslin
- 1 nursing cover
- 1 changing mat
- 2 pouches of ready-to-eat meal in different flavours
- 2 portions of easy-to-feed fruit
- 2 teething biscuits
- 1 cup or water bottle with straw
- 1 feeding spoon
- 3 resealable clear bags;
- 2 toys
- 2 bibs
- 2 small face towels
- 1 small thermos flask
- 1 small tube of moisturiser
- 1 small tube of sunblock
Make sure your baby is up to date with vaccines before you travel