The right time Consider the length of the trip . Your baby may adjust to the feeding and sleep schedules, but you may find it exhausting.
Rhiza Valdes, M.D., pediatrician and head of the Section of Ambulatory Pediatrics at The Medical City in Pasig City, says that there is no hard and fast rule on when a baby may travel.
Health alert Before traveling with baby, consult a pediatrician to ensure her health. “Make sure she has been immunized.” says Dr. Valdes.
Watch out for diarrhea and the flu, commonly acquired by children when traveling. Valdes points to unclean drinking water and unsanitary practices as culprits.
Prepare a medical kit for your baby. Ask your pediatrician which medications to bring along.
Have enough water to avoid dehydration. Dehydration, caused by the dry air in planes, will make you feel sluggish, and if you’re breastfeeding, might affect your breast milk supply.
In the event that baby gets sick, Dr. Valdes stresses, “Look for a pediatrician—ASAP.”
By car? Always bring a stroller, so you don’t carry baby throughout the trip. A car seat helps make baby feel more at ease during feeding and nap times.
By plane? “Airlines and travel agents work to ensure the convenience and safety of passengers, especially those traveling with an infant,” says Olive Herrera, reservations and ticketing officer for First United Travel, a travel agency in Makati City. Check with your travel agent and airline representative about provisions they offer to help make you and baby comfortable during the flight.
Parents traveling with an infant are given specific seat designation. Some airlines even provide a stroller or bassinet. Airline attendants prioritize families with small children to board and get off the plane first. Ask to be seated by the window or upfront where the space is bigger.
By bus or by boat? You will have to ask the attendants to give you a comfortable seat with ample space.
In your hand-carry bag, prepare at least two extra sets of clothes for your baby to keep her clean, comfortable, and in good spirit. Spit-ups and spills mean a wet baby; making baby cranky. Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself for spit-ups. Some airlines may have diapers and milk formula available, provided that they are advised ahead of time.
If traveling by air, ask the flight stewardess if you can refrigerate your breast or formula milk and vitamins. Otherwise, freeze baby’s milk and ask for warm water for thawing.
The restriction on liquids, gels, aerosols, and other substances do not affect breastfeeding mothers. However, the allowable amount of liquid to be carried on board should only be enough for baby’s consumption for the trip’s duration.
If traveling by land or sea, use pre-measured formula milk containers and feeding bottles filled with distilled, mineral, or sterilized water for fast feeding emergencies. Consider disposable bottles or breast milk bags readily available in the market.
Rhiza Valdes, M.D., pediatrician and head of the Section of Ambulatory Pediatrics, The Medical City, Pasig
Olive Herrera, reservations and ticketing officer, First United Travel, Makati City