A week before she completed 3 months, we decided to travel. I was feeling so claustrophobic and depressed for being stuck inside the house for so many months. Last two months of my pregnancy, I was so uncomfortable that the only trip I made was to go to see the doc. And after the baby was born, the story didn’t change significantly. My husband came back home for his winter vacations and the minute he landed, I told him if I don’t go out of town I am going to go mental. I need to see open space, I said. Since the sea isn’t very far from Calcutta (that’s where I stay), we decided to go on a short trip. My parents were excited too. I had told them about parasailing and boat rides in Digha and both, one 74 and one 68 really wanted to try their hands at it.
We decided we won’t go to the crowded Digha beach, but go to Udaipur beach which is not so popular and therefore, less crowded. It’s also right at the Bengal-Odisha border and all adventure sports happen in the Odisha side of the beach. We drove down. I was a little jittery going for a 4-5 hour car ride with such a tiny baby. But nervous as I was, I didn’t really care. My elder sister travelled to the hills from Delhi when her daughter was only 49 days old and my eldest sister went on a road trip with her daughter when she was 2 months old. My daughter was older than both before her first excursion so surely nothing could go wrong?
Well, nothing really did, actually. We had a near perfect trip. Whatever went wrong, was because I am a rookie mommy and didn’t quite plan ahead.
Things I didn’t do:
- Carry a hat for my baby. I carried caps that covered her ears but what she needed was a hat. I didn’t really fathom how hot it would be even though we went in Jan. (tip: check the weather before you travel!)
- Always carry your portable steriliser (when you travel) even if you’re purely breastfeeding. I had carried a bottle and formula for emergency situations but didn’t think I’d need it. My daughter anyway hates formula. I had to express my milk because I couldn’t publicly breastfeed and we couldn’t always go out and come back depending on her feed timing; this is something I hadn’t thought about. I had a terrible time trying to boil and sterilise bottles at the hotel (the staff was helpful but it just takes up a lot of time). I hadn’t bought a steriliser because I didn’t need one at home. And since I didn’t think I’d need for the trip, I didn’t buy. That was the stupidest mistake I could make.I thankfully have learnt my lesson now and when my friends asked me what I wanted for my baby, I asked them to give me one.
- Carry a portable night lamp. If you don’t have one, buy one whose light is the same color as the night lamp at home. Your child needs a sense of familiarity and I realised it only when we were back and saw the smile she gave when she entered the room where she sleeps at home.There was a night lamp at the hotel, but my daughter didn’t recognise the light when she woke up at night and she bawled. The first night we had to sleep with the tube light on. The second night, she had become accustomed to the room and the light so she slept soundly. But my husband and I had a tough time to get her to sleep the first night.
- Didn’t bring a front facing carrier. My daughter hated it that she couldn’t see much from the carrier and therefore had to be carried in my arms so that she could look around. Thankfully I had taken her pram though!
There were some things I did right, thankfully!
- I had music that soothes her stored in my phone, my husband’s phone, in my dad’s car and thank god I did. For most of the journey (on the way and back) she slept. But wherever we got stuck in traffic, she’d wake up, start fidgeting, followed by crying. Playing her music in the car ensured that we managed to travel more or less in peace.
- Carry a plastic for diaper disposal. This was the best thing that I did. I am extremely environment conscious and knowing the dearth of dustbins everywhere, I don’t usually take a risk, I always have a packet in my bag so that I don’t litter on the road. There were times when at the beach, I had to change her diaper. With no dustbin in sight, I could at least put it in the plastic and throw it when I could locate one.
My daughter loved the sea and generally had a great time. I hope she has my love for travel in her genes because that she will do a lot! Our next trip is to the North-East in a couple of months. Hope she likes the mountains as much as she liked the sea!