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Traveling overseas with a 7 month old

Tips for traveling to SE Asia with your babe

If you have ever traveled with a babe I salute you! Having extensively traveled pre baby I couldn’t imagine not traveling once we started a family. Despite the challenges (I’m not going to lie – there were many!) including a sick babe, followed by husband, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to experience life abroad with baby in tow. Lots of learnings from our trip to Malaysia + Thailand that I’m sharing in the hope that you can avoid some of the troubles we faced. Here’s my top tips for traveling with a 7 month old through South East Asia. Enjoy!
Traveling overseas with your baby

Flights

We chose a day flight because the thought of Bub not sleeping on a night flight gave me nightmares. I can only imagine the stress this would have caused us all (and other passengers!). We took enough food for the entire flight plus some extra in case of any delays. If your little one is formula feed (like ours) then take 2 extra bottles for take off & landing. The sucking action helps them to pop their ears.

We took our full nappy bag on board and made use of the insulated bottle holder (it just meant the first 2 bottles didn’t need to be heated as they went in hot). I considered not taking his entire nappy bag but I’m so glad we did as we used it the entire trip. I found it one less thing to worry about as I knew I could fit everything he needed into it.

Depending on how old your little one is we found keeping Cobi strapped into the Baby Bjorn better than the baby seat belt. It kept him much more secure and he didn’t wriggle around as much. We sang songs and had little chats to distract him until the seat belt light was turned off and he could get out.

We booked a seat with a bassinet but depending on how big your little one is they may not fit. I’ve had friends travel much further distances and had to hold Bub the entire flight. Cobi just fitted in the Air Asia bassinet at 7.5 months (8kgs & approx 55cm tall). If he hadn’t fitted the Baby Bjorn would have worked well for nap time and the empty seat we had would have been perfect for awake and play time.

We flew AirAsia (Melb -KL) and booked the empty seat option so had the entire row of 3 all to ourselves. The crew were amazing too getting us boiled water to heat extra bottles and anything else we needed.

Take off 

(wait until the wheels are about to leave the runway before feeding and then allow Bub to take as much as they like (even if it’s not technically a feed time). It definitely helped settled Cobi in for a great flight.

Landing

On our first flight we made the mistake of feeding Cobi too early (when they first start to descend – which can take up to 40 mins) so by the time the actual landing came around we only had water to give him. Unfortunately it meant for a lot of tears in the last 5 mins of the flight. We quickly rectified this on our 2nd flight a few days later by waiting until the captain asked the crew to be seated for landing. It worked much better and no tears!


Food

Flights

We took enough bottles and solids for the plane trip. We had all of our bottles pre filled with boiled water and into zip lock bags (I got these awesome ones from Ikea). I bought the rafferty’s 4+ months squeeze packs from Coles and a couple of spoons to feed him solids.

Breakfast

Whilst staying at the hotels we would mash banana and add to his rice cereal (we took a pack with us & you can buy something similar from most convenience stores if you run out) with some plain yoghurt. We would use a little bit of formula from his bottle too.

Lunch

We always had some yoghurt (that we bought from 7 Eleven or Family Mart) and banana to give him and then a small amount of whatever we were having – mostly a little chicken to suck on or similar.

Dinner

This was a little more tricky. We didn’t bring enough sqeeze packs to last the full 3 weeks & there’s isn’t a lot a 7 month old can eat from an Asian menu so we headed to the local supermarket and picked up some more food. I wanted to make sure he was still getting his veggies at least once a day.


Pram/Stroller

We seriously debated as to whether to take our good pram from home but because it splits into two pieces to fold down we decided to get an umbrella one. After speaking to friends who have traveled with their bubs and reading a tonne of blogs about traveling with a 7 month old I was convinced a light umbrella folding stroller was the way to go. I picked up a $20 one from Kmart. Unfortunately once we arrived Cobi hated it for more than 15 mins. He was super low to the ground and with minimal storage we could barely head out for more than an hour because we couldn’t take all of his stuff. Plus he couldn’t sleep in it as it didn’t recline and he didn’t have enough support for his body.

We ended up buying a new pram whilst in KL. Things we quickly realised we’re important:

  • A recline in the seat so your little one can nap in
  • Enough storage to fit your handbag and their nappy bag (even if it’s hooked on – it just needs to be sturdy enough not to tip backwards)
  • A bar across the waist – not only is this safer (even though they are strapped in) but it’s a great place to hang toys)
  • A hood to protect them from the sun and rain (check you have a rain cover and mosquito net too – you can buy these from Kmart before you leave if your pram doesn’t have one)
  • Fold down in a single piece – the lighter the better
  • Sturdy wheels – especially in Asia where the streets aren’t the greatest. The more comfortable you can make their ride the better.
  • The higher off the ground the better – it just means they aren’t so low and can see more of what you see

This was seriously the best decision ever! Especially once we got to our first resort in Thailand where there were no baby high chairs only toddlers ones. It meant we could feed him whilst he sat in the pram.


Accommodation

Another big learning here. In KL we were upgraded into a 1 bedroom apartment which was perfect. It meant Cobi could sleep and we wouldn’t disturb him if we were in the room. In Thailand we had a deluxe bungalow but this also meant he was in the room with us, virtually 3 feet from our bed. This would probably be fine if you already sleep with Bub in your room at home and know you can move around without disturbing them. Cobi is super sensitive to noise when sleeping (maybe it was due to time spent in the special care nursery when he was born) so it was challenging at nap time.

I would highly recommend getting a 1 bed villa or room where Bub can be somewhat separate for sleeping. If you can get a room either with a pool or direct access into the main pool from your room you can still enjoy the water & sunshine whilst Bub naps. Otherwise be prepared for hours spent in the room during the day. Cobi caught a cold in the first week so we literally spent 90% of the day in the room trying to settle him and keep him cool. Even if Bub is 100% well they may struggle with the heat so being able to take them in and out of your room would be much easier if you were right outside.

After such a crazy busy last 18 months we definitely needed a holiday but it’s not much of one if you’re stuck in the room for hours on end. Having a pool as part of your room is a big bonus!! – more expensive yes but worth it whilst they’re so little. I’m sure if he was 2 yrs old+ it wouldn’t be a problem.


Transfers

In SE Asia you’re lucky to find cars with seatbelts let alone car seats so we went to the trouble of booking a couple of transfers with a car seat. We thought it was safer especially in KL where the trip into the city from the airport is over an hour. But the car seat was just sitting in the mini van unattached to the seat making it useless. So we ended up keeping Cobi in the Baby Bjorn (facing out) with my parents neck pillow to support his head. This was just as safe so continued this for the rest of the trip.

Tip: Try to sit in the middle or somewhere Bub won’t hit their heads if you stopped suddenly and were flung forward. 


A sick bub 

Heaven forbid your little one gets sick whilst your away but if they do there’s some things you can do before you head OS so that you’re aware of your options should you need help.

Research what’s available as far as hospitals, pharmacy’s and medical clinics go and if they are close to where you’ll be staying. The last thing you’ll want is a long drive if bub is unwell.

You can also check with your hotel if they have a doctor on call or if they have a car that can take you to the emergency department should you need to.

Take a first aid kit designed specifically for Bub with things that are safe for them to take should they become unwell.

Things I now never travel without:

  • Baby thermometer – we used this constantly to check the temp of the room (it’s so hard to tell when it’s air con) and also managing Cobi’s fever Baby panadol (great for treating a fever)
  • Baby hydralyte (perfect for dehydration especially when it’s hot) – Cobi loved munching on these by the pool
  • Baby Vicks to soothe any nose & chest congestion
  • Eucalyptus oil to pop into an oil burner – not only does it make the room smell divine it’s perfect for relieving colds (add hot water to create a mini vaporizer)
  • Infant panadol – great for controlling fever and also pain from teething

Also be sure to take any usual medication your little one might be taking – enough to last your entire trip as you won’t be able to get a script filled OS without a trip to the local doctor.

Cobi become quite ill on our first trip OS with bronchitis. We had him looked at by a doctor and thank fully it wasn’t anything serious. Controlling his fever with baby panadol we picked up some baby vicks from the pharmacy as well as eucalyptus oil and kept him hydrated throughout the day with smaller feeds, hydralyte and plenty of nap time.


Remember……This is based on my personal experience and opinions only. Consult your health professional should you have any medical concerns re your babe. 

(IMAGE VIA: UNSPLASH.COM)