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Traveling​ with an Infant

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

For many people, life changes completely when you have a child. Some people become hermit-like, staying in their homes, no visiting others, and making their whole existence about their child. Others continue life the way they have always lived it.

There really is no right or wrong way to spend time with your children. And as much as I like to hermit, I prefer to travel. It is a bit of a necessity in my life with my family living so far apart. 

Therefore, since my son was born he has been a bit of a traveler. Whether it is 3-6 hour car trips, or, more recently, 24-hour plane rides, he's a bit of a pro when it comes to traveling. 

I was terrified at the thought of taking my 4 1/2 month old on an airplane. I was even more concerned about the fact that it would be 24 hours of travel. First, there would be the flight from Ottawa to Vancouver and then the flight from Vancouver to Brisbane.

I had heard horror stories about babies on planes. I had heard that take off and landing were terrible experiences for them. I had heard of parents suffering through hours of travel time trying to console inconsolable infants.

Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the trip. I was excited for the vacation but the aspect of getting there was daunting, even for me, let alone having to make the trip with an infant. A six-hour flight followed by a 17-hour flight sounded terrible. I've never been on a plane that long in my life.

Still, we made the journey and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went. My son did not cry inconsolably. He did not freak out during take off and landing. He was basically his normal happy self for the entire flight there and the entire flight back.

Now, I am not going to make any promises to other parents that their children will behave for a long flight. But I will say that however your child usually behaves is likely how they will behave on a plane. If they are vocal and inconsolable often, then they will likely be this way during travel.

The best suggestion I received for flying was to feed him during take off and landing. I think this saved me a lot of potential trouble during the flight. But it's really hard to say for certain.

There were other young children on the planes with us going both ways and their parents weren't as lucky. There was screaming and crying and parents pacing the aisles trying to get stubborn children to sleep.

I've taken my son in cars, on trains, and on planes and he's been a pleasure to travel with. I may not be this lucky forever, but I'm going to take advantage of it while I can. I think there will be more flights in our future. There will definitely be more car rides. We love to travel and having children just makes it more of an adventure.

I recommend that everyone travels with their children. The more you do, the easier they will find it. And the easier it will be on you as parents. Life is an adventure so you may as well take advantage of it. Show your children your country, show them the world if you can. Explore together, it's such a good way to spend time as a family.

But, it is not for everyone. Some people are content to stay in their homes, stay in their towns. Some people didn't grow up traveling and have no want to do so now. And that is perfectly fine. Do what makes you happy. 

I've always had a serious case of wanderlust and that is something I want to pass onto my children. I want them to explore. I want them to adventure and question things and learn about new cultures.

I don't aim to stop traveling and I don't plan on letting children be an obstacle. It just means we've got a bit more luggage to pack.

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