It was our very first family trip overseas and it was very exciting for us. We booked our flight about 10 months earlier and I have been counting days since. As the travel dates get nearer, I googled for tips for travelling with a toddler. So these made us survive our trip.
I brought along my carrier/sling because I know Babycakes won't want to sit in the stroller all the time and I won't be able to carry her in my arms for a long period of time. This carrier is a life saver. It can be folded and kept in the bag, it has no ring, hooks whatever thus making it lightweight yet durable. It's from pupsikstudio but I bought mine at Mothercare for only RM99. It is much cheaper than other carrier/sling that are available. Unfortunately when I bought it (when Babycakes was 2 months+), they only have this colour.
Even though it is ergonomically made i.e. it does not strain your back, one can only carry a 9kg+ baby on her back for so long. Think carrying a baby while walking from one place to the other. It eventually gets really tiring and you gotta give your back a break once in a while too. And your baby would want to run and walk and stretch herself as well.
That is when this thing comes in handy. It's called a harness. I am a sucker for all things pink and girly so obviously I chose this pink butterfly for Babycakes, which is freaking adorable. It's from Bumble Bee, btw. There are other designs too e.g. monkey, cow, bee etc. You would want to give the freedom to your child yet you have to still be in control. God knows where she would run to if I let go off her hands for just one second.
See, Babycakes was as happy as can be and she wanted to walk but you can't expect us to be chasing after her all the time, do you? It's tiring! We do get mixed reactions from the people around. Some were curious looks, some were weird stares while most were friendly smiles but we couldn't care less. As long as we have our baby close to us and as long as we can keep our baby safe, we will do whatever it takes. Of course there are times we played tug-o-war with her but at the end of the day, we won. Haha.
After all that walking and running and a game of tug-o-war, they are bound to be tired and needed their naps so you still have to bring a stroller with you. But make sure you bring a lightweight stroller, like this one. This is an umbrella stroller and it is only 3kgs if I am not mistaken. It is not bulky, it folds easily and it is durable. We bought ours from Toys R Us for less than RM200. It's Hauck brand.
There are certain places that are only accessible by stairs so you will be very glad that you bring a lightweight stroller. It makes going up and down buses, trains, ferries so easy. Don't worry, you don't have to carry the stroller down the stairs, just get your hubby to carry it. :D And do you see the bag hubby is carrying? That is Babycakes' diaper bag during the holiday. Yes, a backpack is the perfect choice for traveling. Don't bother carrying a sling diaper bag. Apart from extra clothes, diapers, wipes and other essentials, contents of the diaper bag include a thermos, a bottle brush and a small bottle of liquid soap for washing your baby's bottle. Unless you want to carry a few bottles with you, I suggest you bring a bottle brush and liquid soap. You can always wash the bottle after using it.
If you haven't been to Australia, please be informed that they are very very strict when it comes to customs check. Make sure you declare every single food item you carry with you because trust me, they will check your luggage thoroughly, especially if you have a baby/toddler/child. We already knew this so we didn't bring any foods for us, except for a few packets of 3 in 1 coffee mix. When the customs checked our bag, we showed them everything that we brought along i.e. milk powder, cereal and biscuits for Babycakes. We told them they're all for the baby. So when he saw our coffee mix, he asked, "Does the baby drink coffee too?" Not sure if he was being sarcastic or joking though. We just answered sincerely that the coffee are for us (duuh). I feel like rolling my eyes but of course I'd be stupid to be sarcastic with them so whatever, just go with the flow and move on. Since we didn't bring the most essential i.e. instant noodles, we had to buy at the supermarket. Finding halal instant noodles ain't easy but thankfully they sell Indomie. Instant noodles can never taste so good at that time. We also bought tuna, cream cheese and bread to make sandwiches.
When traveling with a baby/toddler, make sure you bring her medications too, just in case especially if there is a change of weather. When we were in Sydney, it was autumn and weather forecast showed temperatures between 17-22 degrees celcius but there are days when it gets chilly and there are days when it was just as hot as Malaysia. I brought along paracetamol, minyak yu yi, vicks baby balsam and gripe water for Babycakes. These items also went into the diaper bag so hubby got quite an exercise there. Anyway, due to the cold but dry weather, Babycakes got her nose stuffed and it was so hard to get the booger out because they were dry. She would also scream murder everytime i try to pick her nose. I went to the pharmacy and bought a saline spray. This spray literally saved our lives and kept Babycakes' nose clear. Let's not talk about the struggle to place the nozzle into her nostrils but whatever it is, I managed to spray the saline water into her nose and it cleared her nose and helped her breathe easily. I am not sure I've seen any saline spray selling in local pharmacies though.
So there you go. If you plan to travel with your baby/toddler, I hope you find this post useful. It helped me so it can surely help you too. :) Now where shall we go next?