Your whole life changes the moment you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. In an unexpected way. It is a completely new way of thinking. We travelled last year to Turkey with a hyper active, picky-eater, one-year old. Months before travel, I was searching frantically online and offline about what could possibly go wrong and how to handle it. Being a parent, you have to be two-steps ahead of everything. From what to take (and not to take) for the flight, to the myth of babies crying during take off and landing due to air pressure (yes, I found it to be a myth, thankfully), I was looking for help desperately. Therefore, after a year of slacking, here I am with the good, the bad and the ugly of travelling with a baby.
First things first, if your child takes bottle, you can take water for that to the plane. I was very skeptical so I took boiled water (around 30ml) in four bottles because that is what the allowed limit for liquids is, if I remember correctly. Later I realised, I could have taken full bottle, when you travel with a baby, the airline staff takes special care of you. We were travelling through Turkish Airlines and it was a great experience. The staff was super sweet towards the baby and helped us whenever needed. That said, the air pressure myth had me worried as well, but thankfully, no such thing happened and my kid kept on sleeping through take off and landing peacefully. It was as smooth a flight, as you can expect with a one-year old. It would have been more convenient had we taken a car seat for the baby but it seemed like a big hassle to carry it around all over the city and hence we decided not to. The first flight had no bassinet and I ended up holding the baby in my arms for six hours, occasionally handing him over to the hubby. Needless to say, we arrived in Istanbul tired but excited. We had a connecting flight to Antalya, that is where we were headed first. After immigration, we located the gate and waited there. I was amazed at how much the Turkish people loved children. Everyone passing by, would stop and smile at the baby or play with him a while before heading out. The Turkish are a very polite and helpful nation. Almost everyone would actually stop and go out of their way to guide you. An attitude which was very foreign to us. The details of our trip to Istanbul and Antalya will be covered in another post. This one is all about babies! Now, I don’t yet know about other countries, but I can confidently say that if you are travelling to Turkey with a baby, you can rest assured that your child will be treated like a prince/princess. If you have a child, they make you skip the long queues without even asking for it. Every bus/tram we got on, our child was given a gift by a stranger.
During the trip, I ran out of formula and had to purchase new one from a pharmacy. I was very scared because his usual formula was not available in Turkey and so I had to get a new one. But thankfully, the transition was smoother than ever. Every major tourist area with hotels has a big store and/or pharmacy containing diapers, formulas, bottles and basically everything you might need when travelling with a baby. You can take sterilisation tablets with you if you want, but they are easily available in Istanbul as well. Please do take your stroller when you go. It turned out to be a lifesaver. The paved brick-roads are not an issue at all. It was raining half the time we were in Istanbul and it was cold. The stroller with a wind shield meant our baby was sitting inside nicely all warm and dry and comfy. It helps in putting your extra stuff in it too. So yeah, a stroller is a must. We took it all the way to the plane gate, where we handed it over to the staff and got it back after getting off from plane. Just make sure to get a hand-luggage tag for it earlier.
I even took pre-cooked meal for my baby for the first flight but never ended up using it because he slept through most of the flight. Just gave him milk when he woke up. I had taken all his emergency meds in my hand-luggage because it was going to take us almost 12 hours to get to our hotel in Antalya and I wanted to be fully prepared. I was told syrups will not be allowed on plane but I had all the syrups tightly sealed in a transparent ziplock bag. The security staff saw it but said nothing and let me take it ahead. Thankfully, did not need any of those meds through out the trip but I would still take all his meds which I might need, wherever I go.
During that trip, we hit two milestones. One: not sterilising bottles after feed, just wash properly with hot water. Two: Making feed in bottled water and not with pre-boiled water. He was already a year old and was ok with the transitions. My baby had a very specific routine prior to that tour. But what travelling does to boring routine, I experienced first-hand. Him and I, we both got out of the routine life. He would sleep wherever he felt tired. I would give him whatever I felt he could chew easily. The husband and I, we both became less panicked about the baby. Over all, it was a great trip. The baby made it even more special. Travelling with a one-year old is easily manageable if you are just prepared. The most important thing is to relax and try not to take control of any situation. Let things happen, this is how both, you and the baby, will learn and grow.