“Take a lesson from me – you can leave your heels, hairdryer and straightener, just don’t leave the stroller behind!”…

Travelling with a baby is sometimes a daunting experience but if you are well prepared it could be a breeze. Whether you are going on a short- or long-distance trip, if you have not packed correctly for the baby, it can be the deciding factor as to whether you enjoy your trip or not. The trick is creating a home-away-from-home for your baby and doing your best to ensure that you stick to baby’s day and night routine.

Gail Mabalane, Huggies® Brand Ambassador, recently travelled to Durban with her four-month-old baby Khumo to support her husband running his 11th Comrades Marathon. She sheds some light on travelling with baby and brings you tips on how to make your next trip manageable.

When asked about her first flight trip with baby Khumo this is what Gail had to say. “Wow, travelling with Khumo was hectic. I knew it would be, but it was more hectic than I had imagined. I guess when I last travelled with a child, Zoe was the only child. Travelling with two kids is a totally different ball game. Flying is tricky, especially with regard to my luggage. But overall, the experience was good, and we survived,” says Gail.

Considering that it was Gail’s first flight with two kids, she is proud that she managed it quite well and like any other mom travelling with a baby, she did face some challenges along the way. “I just had to end up leaving some stuff I wanted to take because our luggage was just too much. So, we did not take the stroller for example, therefore we had to carry baby Khumo all the time which I must say, was not a good move… but I’ll know for next time!” says Gail.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Baby Khumo and his luggage bag

Gail’s tips for travelling with a baby:

  • You don’t need to travel with all your baby equipment. “Although I was not able to make use of this service because I did not book in advance, but there are actually companies where you can rent everything from a bottle steriliser to a camp cot. This makes the packing so much easier, and it allows you to travel lighter.”
  • Arrive early at the airport if you are flying. “We arrived at the airport early, so we had time to figure things out. You don’t want to get to the airport late when travelling with kids. Thank goodness Khumo is a very chilled baby, he did not give us any grief. He just had a bit of a cry in flight, probably due to the air pressure.”
  • If you are travelling by car, have a carseat. “Ensure that you have a carseat that baby can comfortably fit in, with padding and adequate head and neck support.”
  • Make sure you have packed a lot of nappies and that they are easily accessible during your trip. “Travelling with kids can be a messy business. To minimise the number of times you need to change nappies, be sure to change your baby’s nappy right before you get on the plane. If you have the right nappy when travelling with baby, nappy changes can be hassle free. I used a Huggies Gold New Baby nappy when travelling with Khumo which really helped me a lot. It has special features such as a wetness indicator that changes from yellow to green when the nappy is wet, fasten anywhere outer tabs to help provide the perfect fit, cottony soft breathable materials and a triple absorbent core with a quilted liner for optimal absorption and skin protection. The nappy also offers a special runny poo pocket to help prevent runny messes at the back of the nappy.
  • Be prepared with bottles/breastfeed to keep baby hydrated. “Keep baby hydrated because airplanes are drying. I also recommend bringing a bottle – something to suck on to help relieve air pressure, especially during take-off and landing.”
  • Bring your child’s favorite toys. “I made sure that I only packed soft toys for baby Khumo, nothing that has sharp edges or that can hurt him if there is turbulence. This will help it feel ‘like home’.”
  • Always sit right next to your baby. “You are his comfort zone, you are HOME to him… mom and dad are everything,” says Gail.
  • Keep your child entertained with music, sing songs, tell stories and make up rhymes.
  • Have wet wipes nearby to wipe those sticky fingers as well as to help with those little accidental messes that kids make.
  • Have fun and try to take lots of photographs – baby’s first flight is a huggable moment worth capturing as a keepsake.
  • If you can, accept help – whether it’s your helper, mother, sister or aunty. Especially if its more than one child – the more hands on deck the better!

There are huge benefits to travelling with a baby. Nothing will make you friends around the world like travelling with a baby. Everyone loves them!

At the end of the day, whether you travel by plane, train or automobile, the idea is to be sure you are prepared – “take a lesson from me, you can leave your heels, hairdryer and straightener, just don’t leave the stroller behind!” Plan well, pack well and have a good schedule and always remember to pack enough nappies and wipes for the duration of your stay.