How can this time fly so fast? Just yesterday I remember how we cuddled this little being, weighing 3 kilograms, so helpless and fragile. Now before our eyes (almost) runs a small, smiling happiness, which is everywhere. What have these past 12 months been like? What did we learn? What are the benefits of traveling together for a child and parents?
From the beginning, Olive rushed everywhere and liked to surprise us. Even in her belly, she couldn’t last nine months. Well, because what’s the point if there are such cool things going on out there? We knew from the beginning that we had to expect the unexpected and be prepared for every eventuality, to say the least.
The first child is always a challenge – every parent wants the best, tries his best, reads books, gushes on the web to find the most important information, how the child should develop, how to stimulate this development, what are the healthiest cosmetics, the best clothes and the most developing toys, how to nurture the child, how to carry, etc, etc…. Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into a trap here: the more people ask, the more opinions you seek, the more opinions and advice you will hear, and on top of that, often mutually exclusive. Leaving aside the Internet and family – there will always be a few people on the street who will know better that it’s too cold for the baby’s feet (at 28st), and the wind is sure to blow the ears away ;-)
So there I was wandering. And when we managed to find the best solutions, methods that worked for us or the right cosmetics for care, it turned out that we need to look for some books…. new diapers, because the favorite ones changed for the worse…. and this something popped up on the face, so immediately a thousand diagnoses of various doctors…. and it’s about to expand the diet…. and this weight loss, etc. etc. Endless stories :)
Honestly? I learned more in that year than in any other! I know and can do things I would never have suspected myself of, I have explored lactation, infant allergies, dietary expansion, kinesiology, safe transportation of children (and adults, by the way) by car, natural medicine, etc. etc. Every mom knows what I mean. Anyway, Mom is such an institution that should be a doctor, a nanny, a cook, a waitress, an assistant, a chauffeur…. and anyway, who will disagree with this demot? ;)
Table of contents
Travelling with a small toddler
When Olive was born, we had no specific travel plans. We wanted to fully focus on the baby, and there will still be time for trips (or maybe because you can’t buy airline tickets without a birth date?). This does not mean that we did not want to go anywhere. As much as we were tempted, we were putting our feet up, because the time between the flight to Portugal (April/May 2016) and the flight to Sicily (January 2017) was the longest time for us without further travel in several nice years.
We started slowly. Initially a one-day trip to the Lodz area, then a few days in Lithuania, the Tricity, then it was time for the first flights and more trips around Poland.
What it looked like in practice:
- The turn of the 2nd and 3rd month – a week-long trip to Lithuania, with a stopover in Poland, just below the border,
- 6 months – first flight – Sicily,
- 8 months – first long-distance flight – China,
- 10 months – first connecting flight – Azores.
I’m not writing this to brag about where it wasn’t Olive already, but to show more or less at what age she traveled with us and where, because one of the most common questions on forums and groups is precisely at what age and where you can fly with an infant. As you can see, we did not choose destinations typically relaxing (I should add that the aforementioned Sicily took place in January, when there is no chance to enter the sea and we covered several hundred kilometers a day).
What did the three of us get out of traveling?
First of all, we learned that it is possible to reduce the pace of travel ;) Up to now, our travel plans have been filled to the brim, and after the vacation we returned to work even more tired (although mentally rested and with recharged batteries). This time the plan is very flexible (if one can talk about any plan). We plan from day to day depending on the moods, strength and desire of all three of us.
We began to pay attention to things we once didn’t notice. And I don’t just mean changing tables and baby-friendly places ;-) We find time to go to the park, sit on a bench and watch nature, we go to a restaurant where we can sit for an hour, we are able to delight in a dog we meet along the way (and even talk to it!). We notice more around :)
What helps us to travel?
Proximity! We try to practice proximity parenting, but I deliberately write “try” because we don’t do it blindly and fully restrictively. Anyway, I treat the principles behind closeness parenting more as guidelines or tips to help build a bond with the child. However, I don’t want to write about the idea itself, because those who know know what it’s about, and those who don’t, I refer you to the Sears family books. However, I want to emphasize that many of these principles have helped us to travel painlessly.
Olive is acclimatizing quickly. I have the impression that she is not at all impressed by where she is, where she stays at night, because everywhere she immediately starts exploring a new area, but…well, as long as her parents are around. With us he feels at ease, has courage, does not get nervous or angry. He has no problem falling asleep in new places because he just sleeps with us. What surprised us a lot was the quick switch to local time in China – after one night during the day, she switched to a completely different time zone. In fact, it was the same after returning to Poland.
Proximity can also be practiced in a very simple way – by carrying the baby. From birth, a child wants to be close, to feel the warmth and smell the parents (specifically, I’m not just writing about mom). It spent 9 months in the belly, floating and swaying during mom’s movements, so it’s no surprise that it feels calm in a sling or carrier and is eager to fall asleep.
I, for one, knew from the beginning that I wanted to learn to carry my baby in a sling. It seemed to me at the time a practical solution. When it came down to it, I realized that it wasn’t just about practicality. It’s not that I finally have two hands free and can cook dinner (my arms are too short to stand at the pots while carrying the baby in front ;) ). It’s about something more, much more. It’s all about the closeness, the quietness, getting to sleep, the smell, and even feeding in a sling or carrier. Wearing has repeatedly saved us in tricky situations when nothing has helped. I recommend to everyone, even those parents who do not want to go anywhere far with their child.
Initially, we carried in a sling. Until the child begins to sit up independently (important, independently!), he should not be carried in a carrier. At our place, Olive, by a throw of a belt, began to try on the sit-up before flying to China, and there she fully demonstrated her capabilities.
Anything else? Breastfeeding! We are fortunate that we have fed and continue to feed, which helps to bond with the baby, calms and makes the baby feel safe. I’m leaving aside the issues of all the equipment I can’t imagine carrying with me, and I’m very impressed with how other moms are able to pack with a bottle, milk, and are always able to conjure up hot water from somewhere! Recently I witnessed my mother asking for boiling water at McDonald’s at the airport, and there they poured a whole bottle without blinking an eye :)
What do the trips give the children?
You may think to yourself, why drag a child to the end of the world, that this is extreme selfishness. I’ve already written about pursuing my own passions and dreams, but I believe that a child can also benefit from traveling together. While a two- or six-month-old toddler will understand absolutely nothing, an older one is already closely observing the world and taking an interest in what is going on around him. I won’t write about children a few years old, because I have absolutely no experience in this topic, but I will show you that even a toddler can benefit from it, and I don’t just mean long-distance escapades, but also those closer trips.
So what does such a trip give the child? Parents! Both, available 24/7. Sound strange? Think about it, staying at home, taking even a few days off, does it happen that you fully spend time together? As a rule, there are a thousand things to do those more or less trivial, so you separate, once mom, once dad, once grandmother, once neighbor ;) And on such a trip we are together all the time, focused on the child and his needs. It is known, one goes to relax or explore, but nevertheless it is the needs of the child that are in the foreground.
We’ve noticed that upon her return, Olive is much more attached to her dad, whom she sees only in the mornings and evenings during the week, so it makes sense to look at joint trips from that perspective as well.
What else? We were very surprised that Olive is acquiring a lot of new skills on the trips. Coincidence? I don’t think so ;D And seriously, maybe it’s actually a matter of coincidence, but I’ve talked to several moms who aren’t intimidated by travel, and they confirmed the fact that it’s often outside the home that children learn many new things and skills.
We can also see what Olive is interested in, what she pays more attention to. Children learn about the world, other cultures and are more tolerant thanks to the trips. Travel educates at any age! :)
The last 12 months have been special months for us, full of unknowns, requiring a lot of patience, but most of all filled to the brim with love and smiles from this little being, who always makes it merry at home or on the road.
At this point, we wish you to always be as curious about the world, joyful and enthusiastic as you were for that first year, and we will stand on our heads to ensure that you never run out of childish imagination and dreams!
What about the gift?
We have not forgotten :)
We really, really encourage you to learn more about the idea of proximity parenting and this is not the first time we have recommended babywearing to you :)
To convince you even more, together with the online store mamazen.pl we have prepared a special discount code for our readers: ReadyForTula, thanks to which you will get a 10% discount on all Tula products available in the store! Please note, promotions do not combine.
Enjoy wearing it! :)