Hi Petra! What was it like to travel with such a young baby?
“It went better than I expected. I admit to being quite nervous before we set off: I pictured him screaming constantly during both flights, getting severe sickness and diarrhoea and all sorts of horrors. But instead he mostly slept through the flights, slept well at our destination, and my partner and I were the ones with upset stomachs while Adrian was fighting fit the whole time.”
Tell us about the challenges of long-distance travel with baby!
“I found actually planning the trip the most exhausting aspect. Calling the airline for the umpteenth time to make sure we had seats with a special drop-down baby cot for the baby to sleep in (there are only a certain number on each plane) and working out how to pack the pram and car seat so they didn’t get damaged during the flight.
Then there were all the medicines and other stuff a baby needs, as well deciding how much food, how many nappies and so on to pack.”
What worked well and what didn’t?
“More or less everything went well. Adrian was happy to be carried in a baby carrier at the airports once we’d checked in his pram, he slept well, didn’t really seem to mind the heat and humidity, and we were given a tremendous amount of support onboard the plane and at our destination, where everyone was very fond of children.
Of course, we didn’t get seats by a baby cot, even though we’d called the airline several times to make sure, but the cabin crew fixed this without any fuss.”
Did anything happen that you hadn’t expected at all?
“Yes, but only in a positive sense. I hadn’t expected Adrian to adapt so well to his unfamiliar surroundings and I never dreamed he’d be so happy to spend so long lying in his mini sun protection tent.”
Do you have any travel with baby tips for parents?
“Even though it’s difficult, try to relax and take things as they come. Babies are often more adaptable than we think and as long as they’re well fed with a dry nappy, they’re usually happy. It’s a good idea to try to time a feed to coincide with takeoff and landing, as this is when pressure changes can be problematic for a baby.
Give up any idea of lying on the beach all day like you did before the baby arrived, this is usually far too uncomfortable for a baby. Take a few hours at a time and take breaks in an air-conditioned room in between. If you adapt to the baby’s feeding and sleep patterns, most things go quite smoothly, just don’t expect things to be the same as they used to be. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing ;-)”
Anything that’s especially good to take on a trip?
“Yes, oral rehydration solution for babies; take plenty as you will probably use at least one sachet a day.
Take a travel kettle to use for cleaning feeding bottles and making formula.
Get a rash suit for babies, a sunhat and swim nappies – stay in the shade as much as possible, where the baby can wear just a nappy or even spend time without a nappy. We had a mini sun protection tent with us for Adrian to lie in on the beach in the shade.
If you want to take your pram and car seat with you on the plane, it’s important to have the right models, so check in advance with your airline.”
Family: partner Jonas and son Adrian, 4 months.
Job: journalist specialising in training and fitness. Petra manages Maratonpodden, Scandinavia’s leading podcast on endurance sports and she blogs on blogg.mama.nu/petramanstrom. She published her book “Det är bara att springa” (Karavan förlag) in 2014.