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  • How to Survive Riding PH's Public Transportation With a Baby in Tow: Moms Get Honest

    We ask moms from our FB group Smart Parenting Village to share their commuting mama's survival kit.
    by Cake Evangelista .
How to Survive Riding PH's Public Transportation With a Baby in Tow: Moms Get Honest
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Every Pinoy has lived through the stress and struggle of the daily commute. Lining up under the scorching sun for hours at a train station only to fight for inches of breathing space inside a coach. Flagging UV Express after UV Express just to arrive at your destination haggard and disheveled. Running after buses on the highway without a care for your safety only to realize you’ve no choice but to stand in the bus aisle for your two-hour trip.

    Riding the bus, jeepney or the train can be a soul-crushing experience for anyone in the Philippines. The long commute in this country has been said to be especially difficult for working parents. But imagine doing all of that with a baby in tow.

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    How to navigate the challenges of commuting when you are a parent

    The sad reality is riding mass public transportation may not be conducive for babies and little kids. Yet most Pinoy families have no other choice but to endure it. It’s a good thing then that some moms are “wais” commuters who have mastered the art of surviving the daily commute with their kids.

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    Here, moms from our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village share how they navigate the challenges of commuting:

    1. Breastfeed your baby before the commute.

    The mommies with babies said it’s best to make sure the little ones are fed and full before traveling. But if the baby is hungry, some moms have no issue with nursing in public. One, however, noted that she’s still worried about breastfeeding in public when stuck in traffic.

    2. Dress your child — and yourself — in lightweight, “presko” clothes.

    It’s not only your baby or your toddler who should be wearing clothes made of cotton or a similar breathable fabric. Mommies, too, should make sure they put on comfortable outfits that are easy to move in.

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    3. “Wear” your baby.

    A lot of the moms espoused babywearing. One mom said it’s “life-saving” because she always commutes with her two kids. Another said it made her commute easier even if there are no seats available on the bus or train. “Kering-keri kahit tayuan at ‘di nakakasama ng loob kahit ‘di kanila offer-an ng upuan haha,” she said. It also helps keep the baby safe, one mama said, “kasi minsan ‘di maiiwasan yung mga kaskaserong driver.”

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    4. Pay for an extra seat or extra seats.

    To keep their toddlers and babies comfortable, the mommies also said they tend to pay for an extra seat when riding a jeep, bus, or UV Express. It gives them space to move when breastfeeding or extra room for their bags and things. Also, it’s less hassle for other passengers, too.

    One mama, whose child is prone to motion sickness, said: “When we’re [riding the] UV, most of the time, I pay the fare for four pax. Napapamahal ako pero in that way, makakaiwas kami sa ibang pasahero na ‘di malawak ang pag-iisip, na OA kung mandiri. Iwas away na rin.”

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    5. Choose a backpack-style diaper bag.

    A backpack-style diaper bag is easy to carry and can keep your hands free to hold your baby. It also has enough room for your baby’s things and even your own.

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    6. Have lots and lots of patience.

    “If it’s a long commute, mababagot rin sila at some point so be ready for singing or shouting,” one mom said. 

    You’ll also find patience useful when dealing with judgmental passengers. As said by the mama with a child prone to nausea: “Kaunting tiyaga at pasensya when using public transportation. Hindi lahat ng nakakasakay mo maiintindihan na may kasama kang sukahing anak.”

    The commuting mama’s survival kit

    The moms also share the items you will always find in their diaper bags when preparing to ride public transportation with their babies and toddlers.

    Baby wipes

    This was the moms’ most mentioned item with some explaining that a pack of baby wipes is especially helpful when you need to freshen up your baby on the go. Other cleansing implements in their bags: rubbing alcohol, sanitizer, and liquid soap.

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    Water

    Water keeps mom and her kids refreshed and are necessary when formula feeding. The no-liquid policy in the metro trains earlier this year (that has now been lifted) was particularly challenging to follow, one mom noted. Along with water, they also have feeding bottles, pumped breast milk, and formula milk.

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    Snacks

    The moms said having snacks on hand, from cookies and biscuits to easy-to-eat fruits like grapes, is essential when traveling with a tot. The munchies must be your kid’s favorites, one mama said, “para sure kainin.”

    Clothes

    Practically all the moms agree that having an extra shirt or two is necessary when riding public transportation. Babies and toddlers will probably need a change at a certain point in the day. What else to pack: small towels, lampin, and cloth nappies or disposable diapers? 

    Fan

    Most of the moms recommend getting a mini battery-operated or rechargeable one, but one mommy said even a simple hand fan will do. “Pamaypay kung wala, since maiinit or punuan sa jeep,” she added. And because of the ever-changing weather in the country, some moms also said to bring a cap for the baby and an umbrella.

    Nursing cover

    You use it when breastfeeding, yes, but one mom points out it can also act as a protective barrier for your baby from smoke, pollution, and even fellow passengers who don’t cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing. For older kids, use face masks.

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    Toys

    It’s one way to entertain your toddler when the commute takes more than an hour. The moms said toys keep kids occupied on the road, avoiding tantrums or restlessness.

    How about you? Do you have any commuting tips?

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