Travelling with a baby or toddler: Tips from a frequent traveller mum

PHOTO: Instagram/ahjoomahan

Travelling with a baby or toddler can be challenging - you never know what is going to happen, or not happen (like sleep!).

My husband and I always try to make the best of the situation and improvise with what we have.

Once during a flight to Cambodia, I gave my then-21-month-old daughter a roll of masking tape (genius tip from another mom) to entertain her.

The flight was easy as she was fully engaged in unrolling the masking tape and taping random things.

It was while we were making little "people" out of masking tape that I realised I had forgotten to pack Baby, her favourite doll.

I quickly grabbed one of the masking tape "people" that we had named "Chingu" ("friend" in Korean) and said: "New baby!"

I must have been pretty convincing, because she clutched and hugged her new masking tape doll every night as she slept for the rest of the trip.

Here are some hacks for travelling for a baby or toddler that have worked exceptionally well for my family. Hope they work for you and your children, too, on your next holiday!

TURN THE COUCH TO THE WALL TO MAKE A "TODDLER BED"

My three-year-old once fell off the bed at our Tokyo hotel and bruised the side of her face.

I contemplated buying her a portable toddler bed for our future trips, but decided against it because it is just one more thing to pack.

During our recent trip to Phu Quoc, Vietnam, we turned the couch around to face the wall and created a "toddler bed". My daughter had nowhere to roll and literally slept like a baby the entire trip!

CREATE YOUR OWN HIGH CHAIR STRAPS 

My friend once recommended that I take a portable baby chair that you can clamp on a table when travelling with a baby, because high chairs can be hard to find.

That seems like a pretty bulky thing to carry around, especially when you are already packing for two kids.

I have been pretty lucky finding high chairs while travelling, but the chairs often do not have safety straps.

During our first meal at Phu Quoc, my 10-month-old baby kept climbing out of his high chair.

We looked at the items we had and realised we could use the velcro straps from our baby carrier to secure him to the chair. So, we were able to enjoy our meals with our infant secured in his high chair for the rest of our trip!

USE A VIDEO APP AS YOUR BABY MONITOR 

Instead of packing a baby monitor, use a video calling app like Facetime or Whatsapp Video on your phones.

We usually pack an iPad and call one of our phones via Facetime. Just connect both devices to wifi and you can easily check on your baby napping in the other room.

PUT YOUR BABY'S FOOD IN A BIB POCKET 

There have been a few times at restaurants when there were no toddler-friendly seating options.

If your child is at the age where she is just starting to feed herself, one option is to  put a bib with a "catcher" on her and put her food in there (choose food like plain noodles).

You can prop her on your lap while she feeds herself.

It is not ideal, but it works well in places like hawkers and night markets. Also, any food they drop just falls right back in their bib!

USE A RAINCOAT AS A BIB OR TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD'S CLOTHES 

When we went to Seoul, South Korea, I packed my toddler's raincoat in case it rained.

It did not, but the raincoat came in handy while my toddler ate sticky pancakes and then when we happen to do a painting activity.

I was able to wipe the syrup and paint off the raincoat and her clothes were untouched.

BRING FROZEN BABY PUREE IN BREASTMILK BAGS

Store-bought baby puree pouches are convenient and easy, but the cost does add up and I do like feeding my baby homemade food.

Before our trip to Phuket, we made puree and froze them in breastmilk bags.

I put all the bags into a freezable lunch bag right before we left for the airport.

Before each meal, I would grab a bag from the freezer and run it under hot water for several minutes. My baby's meal would be ready within minutes!

This article was first published in Young Parents.

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