The good news is, we're home! We survived Bangkok, without breaking our backs or our weight limit. The bad news is, we're probably travelling further the next time. But that's actually good news, depending on how you look at it.
Here's my take on flying / travelling with an infant if you'd like to read -
|Look at the view mum! Woah!|
1. Distract, distract and distract!
As with most infants, humblet is extremely curious. The slightest crackle of a snack wrapper and she's turning her head everywhere trying to locate it's source.
She was using all her strength to rip apart (not an inflight) magazine on the landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and thus didn't notice the pressure dip. On the landing back home, she was once again too busy trying to crush an empty water bottle too cry about the pressure change.
No sane mum would say no to sleep. A sleeping infant makes for a blissful flight.
Little humblet decided on being angelic and slept more than half of each flight. People advised me to plan the flight according to her usual nap times. AS IF. There was so much to see, so many to wave at and so much to do for the tiny social butterfly. So instead, we worked ourselves up to the flight with no earlier nap coupled with a full meal. Nothing works better than food coma (only to be used in emergency situations, such as being confined in a cabin with a potentially cranky baby).
The only downside? Well, there was no bassinet available. Read more in the next point.
3. Sans bassinet + sans stroller
Since we decided on a budget airline, there was no bassinet for baby. There was a little red infant seatbelt though, which was highly uncomfortable for us both, to say the least. So humblet sleeping for more than half the two hour flight meant peace for the rest of the passengers, but a sore back and very numb limbs on my part. Not complaining though. I would be insane to complain about a sleeping baby. Bring on the tingly hands and feet anytime!
Also, we decided against bringing the stroller. I mean it's Bangkok, the population density plus the sweltering heat combine... Mya would probably get heat stroke in the stroller. Plus maneuvering those vendor-filled street turns would require more precision than an F1 race driver. In short, it was too much effort. So we decided on a rechargeable handheld fan combined with a mesh four-direction baby carrier. And when it got too hot, we simply went indoors to one of their huge malls for some air-conditioning.
|Mandatory elephant shot|
If you want to travel light and still allow baby to enjoy the view, we highly recommend this Ergo 360 Cool Air four-way baby carrier, especially for warmer climates. During her wake time, all we had to do was seat her facing outwards and everything / everyone else did the entertaining on our behalf. Friendly Thais waving, talking and offering her food. She too repaid their kindness by rewarding them with big smiles and enthusiastic waving. When she got tired, we simply turned her inwards and she could curl up to sleep as we continued shopping, sightseeing or eating (okay, mainly eating).
4. City baby
Choosing a city for humblet's first trip overseas was purely practical. We would have preferred a mountain homestay or a rural village, but we decided to be realistic on our first attempt.
Cities make great travel destinations for babies, whether or not they are one of the "top ten baby-friendly cities in the world" didn't matter. Not enough wet wipes? There's a convenience store right downstairs. Finished diapers? Supermarket just ten minutes away. Hungry in the middle of the night? Wait, that would be us, not baby. Nonetheless, street food glorious Bangkok street food!
Remember the packing dilemma I had at first? To J.G. it was a complete no-brainer. Can't fit five days worth of diapers in our suitcase? Buy! Possibly not enough onesies or pajamas? Buy! Not allowed to bring fresh food or fruits onboard the plane? Buy!
We simply packed the bare necessities and only bought what needed, when the need arose. Had we (I) decided to pack all that I had planned to initially, we would have brought most of it back unused.
Humblet's (Final) Packing List
1. 5 diapers (we bought the smallest pack we could find on the first day)
2. 4 onesies / rompers (whatever you call them)
3. 2 sleeveless dresses
4. 2 long john type pajamas (one for the flight, over her onesie. the other for nights.)
5. 4 packs of fruit smoothies (we mixed these with rice or noodles for a softer feed)
6. 3 of her favourite snacks in 3 1 ounce containers
7. 1 water bottle
8. 1 swimsuit
9. 1 teething toy (which she ignored as she preferred bottles and magazines, refer to point 1)
10. 2 towels (one for bath and one for the pool)
In the end, three of us shared one 24-inch suitcase. WIN!
5. Baby-friendly, NOT baby-centric itinerary
The only reason I did any research at all was because it was my first time travelling with a baby. In the course of doing this, I found that I had created an itinerary completely around Mya's schedule. But J.G. did not pay for this trip so that we could only go out during her wake times and spend the rest of the time cooped up in the hotel room hoping she'd sleep. It was a family trip, he reminded me, and we would take her wherever we wanted to go.
|Siam Ocean World Shark Walk|
Certainly, we could include baby-friendly touristy things like the Siam Ocean World, which was really a surprisingly wonderful experience for us all in the end. But that wasn't all we did. We also walked through lanes and alleys to find hipster cafes, and ignored her usual bed time to eat our way through their infamous night markets. Sometimes, we enjoyed a quiet latte on our own, while she slept. At other times, we let her amuse onlookers with her weird baby antics, as we drank Cha Yen and slurped up Thai Style Wanton Noodles with lots of chili flakes and fish sauce.
|Quiet lunch at Casa Lapin|
Travelling with baby is certainly more challenging and more expensive, but we're family and we will continue to travel together regardless of the inconveniences. As we travel further, take longer flights and go to more adventurous places I believe humblet will too learn to enjoy as we do. Sleeping on overnight bus rides, not bathing for days or snacking on critters while watching a movie outdoors.
Grateful to have a family to travel with.
Have a great weekend everyone!