Motherhood and international travel
Hi, MFOM-ers! I just got back from a two-week trip to India with my husband and toddler. It was a trip my husband and I had wanted to take back in 2007, as our last gasp as a crazy childless couple–in fact, we planned on starting trying to conceive right after we got back. But with a sudden illness in the family, we ended up cancelling our trip–though not our plans to start our family. In 2008 I was 6+ months pregnant, and in 2009 we had an infant, so each year we considered going to India and then decided against it. This year, though, we realized that we might as well go: our son, at 21 months, is old enough to be excited by travel, by new places and people, and by the animals that roam Indian cities, but also young enough to be portable, free (for all flights, hotels, restaurants), and resiliant.
We met lots of people who said we were either crazy or brave (depending on their point of view) to travel this way with a toddler, but honestly, it wasn’t that hard. The two things that made this trip a piece of cake? Babywearing and breastfeeding! With a mei tai and a sling, our son could take a nap wherever and whenever he wanted, and we could know he was safe in the crush of people that is an Indian train station. With round-the-clock access to the breast, he always had a ready source of untainted liquid to help keep him hydrated in the heat, and a familiar, comforting, nutritional supplement, even on toddler picky-eater days.
My parents had suggested we leave our son with them and make the trip without him, but I knew I couldn’t do that. The longest I’ve been away from my son is an eight-hour workday, and there was no way I was going to be half a world away from him for two weeks. He felt so right, worn on my hip or chest (it was usually too congested for me to be comfortable having him on my back) or snuggled up to me sleeping on a night train–it was a great trip, and I’m so glad we got to share it as a family.
Do you travel with your baby/toddler? I couldn’t imagine not!
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