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Travelling
Article written by Helen Pulford - Mum, Midwife and Childbirth Educator, for KiwiParent magazine

This section is broken down into the following sub-categories:

Travelling

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Travelling

While we live in the North Island my family is in Southland and my husband's are in Wales so in order to visit it has meant travelling. I have only had to do this with two children so I'm unsure how others cope with more. A friend told me she travelled back to UK with 10 month old twins and a 2 year old. She said at the airports she had one twin in a front pack the other in a back pack, luggage in one hand and holding onto her daughter with the other.

Planes

When pregnant and travelling by plane check the airlines guidelines. and ask your LMC if you are fit to fly. Most airlines will let you fly with them on domestic flights up to 38 weeks gestation, and up to 36 weeks on international flights. There may be reasons it is unsafe to fly, for example if you have any risks of bleeding (placenta previa) or premature labour. During flights drink plenty of water and get up and walk or exercise your legs when able. Also remember to take your pregnancy record with you.

If travelling overseas with a baby you will need to organise a passport for your child, taking the photo can take a few attempts. They want a front profile with eyes open which can be hard to get with newborns and toddlers as they want to shut their eyes or turn their head when a camera flashes. With newborns before 6 months it is hard to know what to record for their details: Eye colour: blue turning brown, hair colour brown turning blonde, height: changes on a daily basis and signature well that could be interesting.

Ask the airline for a sky cot and baby food (if on solids) when you make the booking.

Taking a tri-pillow is useful if breastfeeding. It is also good for them to sleep on when you need to hold onto them. You may find that you get your baby off to sleep in the sky cot and the plane hits turbulence and you have to take them out and onto your knee with the baby seat belt on. So you may find it easier to have them sleep on the tri pillow on our knee with the seat belt around them. The bulkhead seats have more room, but the armrests are fixed. The airlines often provide you with baby food, but ask about 10-15 minutes in advance of wanting it, as the airhostesses are often busy.

Breastfeed or give a bottle on the take off and decent as it is meant to help reduce the pressure in their ears by having them suck. Changing nappies in the toilets is a challenge as there isn't much room.

Some airlines provide you with a few nappies and baby wipes on international flights, but best to have your own supply just in case. Some spare clothes for the baby and yourself incase they vomit or wet through their nappy. Double nappies is even an option, have a pull-up nappy over top of a normal nappy. Depending on their age, consider a spill resistant cup to give them water, travelling can cause dehydration. A digital thermometer, bibs, new toys (that they haven't seen before), baby wipes and baby snacks in the baby bag all come in handy. You will have to consider if you plan to take your car seat, as most taxis don't carry them. If you have a spare seat beside you can bring your car seat on the plane and strap it (like the car) and have your baby sleep in it for a period of time. Talk to the airline staff re this first to make sure there is room.

I found it easier to try to keep to their normal sleep pattern on the plane and then on arrival in a different country readjust. If going a completely different time zone it will take him some time to adjust and some nights they will wake wanting to play.

There is a web site call Flying with Kids that has lots of air travel tips see www.flyingwithkids.com

When you book your seats use http://www.seatguru.com to help work out which row is best for your needs.

DIYFather.com is an online interactive forum for dads that offers resources, discussion groups and practical information about parenting from a male perspective. DIYFather.com was brought into this world by Wellington-based dads. See http://diyfather.com/content/babies-on-planes

Airlines will have question answer sections on their web sites, for Air New Zealand see http://www.airnewzealand.co.nz about baby amenities.

Baby amenity kits are available onboard long-haul international flights only.

Bassinets are designed for infants of average size up to 8 months old. The bassinets are made up with sheets, pillow and blankets. Bassinets fitted on the Boeing aircraft measure 81x33x25cm (32x13x10") and have a maximum weight restriction of 12kg (26lbs).

Bassinets fitted on the Airbus A320 aircraft measure 75x34x22cm and have a maximum weight restriction of 11kg or 24.25lbs.

There are only a limited number of bassinet positions on any aircraft so it is important to request a bassinet seat when making your booking. Please note that because the bassinets are designed for infants up to 8 months old, pre-allocation of bassinet seats is only available for infants up to that age on a first come, first served basis.

Cars

When travelling by car it is important to make regular stops, allowing your baby to move around for a while. Insure that they don't get too hot and have a baby sunscreen on the window beside them. Dressing your baby in natural breathable clothes also helps to keep them comfortable.Babies usually sleep well in car seats. Most parents have heard a story of someone driving around and around the block trying to get their baby to sleep. There is research about times babies should stay in car seats, as it is good to remember their spines are still immature. See the Land Transport Authority at www.ltsa.govt.nz

Accomodation

If staying overnight book the accommodation in advance, ask for a port-a-cot and a quiet room. If there is no adult bath you can use ask for a baby bath. Otherwise you can have a shower with your baby, but it is not always an easy thing to do.

Parent's Rooms

When stopping in towns that you don't know, it can take sometime finding a parents room to change a nappy. Most shopping malls have parent's rooms and are sometimes better than the public ones. You could always write to your council if your local town doesn't provide good facilities to change and feed your baby in. In New Zealand you can also use the Plunket rooms but in smaller towns these may be only open at limited times. The Plunket web site is www.plunket.org.nz

Buggies and strollers

If you live somewhere with lots of hills a three-wheel buggy is handy. Before buying a buggy check it can fit into the boot of the car. Also if you are considering having another baby can your buggy adapt to hold two children. Most strollers don't recline enough for newborns, you can only use them once your baby has good head control and can sit up.

Front and back-packs

With a front-pack a newborn usually will face inwards and then again when they have head control can face outwards which they often prefer as they want to see everything. They can also see a lot with backpacks, but it also gives them easy access to pull your hair.

For travel equipment see the online shopping pages on babywebnz: Shopping/Baby Travel

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