Babywearing and travelling
Travelling with little children or babies can be very challenging and demanding. We need to plan ahead. There is so much to organise beforehand, so much to consider when at our destination.
Often, due to baggage restrictions, we can’t take everything travelling with us that makes life with little children or babies easier.
But babywearing can make your travels effortless. You have both your hands free to use while supporting, reassuring and calming your baby in this exciting times of travel.
Often our travel take us unknown faraway places. When we are travelling with a baby or a small child we are faced with challenging situation that don’t occur in our everyday life such as busy roads without secure crossing spots or sidewalks and pathways that are impossible to navigate with a pram. Winding steep narrow staircases, small supermarket aisles, busy public transport with narrow doors and steps are all making life very hard when relying on a pram to transport your baby at your destination. But manoeuvring these obstacles can be very effortless when wearing your baby on your body in a suitable carrier, wrap or ring sling. You can go wherever you want to, while keeping your baby safe and close. Your baby can enjoy all the different sounds, smells and other stimulations while feeling secure and content cuddling you. You will never have to worry about the safety or the contentment of your baby. Babywearing is also a great way to keep friendly and interested stranger at the desired distance to your baby. While come people will try to touch your baby while in a pram, almost everyone will respect your personal space and not touch your baby when in the carrier.
When you take your carrier out with you when on a day trip you are not bound to your baby’s sleeping routine as your baby can sleep and rest on the go in the carrier comfortably. Breastfed babies will also able to enjoy a discreet feed in the carrier wherever you are. It can also be a great way to keep your baby as safe and contained as possible when using busy public transport or taxis. Babywearing can help you cease your holidays. How good would it be to go out for dinner to a nice restaurant, for a beach walk to see the sun kiss the ocean. All these exciting things happen usually well after bedtime for our littlest companions. But when your baby is used to being worn for a sleep, you are not stuck in your hotel room after sunset. You can go out and explore with your baby sleeping on you safe and sound. Please be mindful of dressing your baby according to the temperatures of your destination. The rule of thumb here is: The carrier counts as one layer of clothing. Please refer to the tip Babywearing in summer in our Summer for tips on beating the heat while wearing your baby.
How to choose the right carrier for your travels:
Choosing the right carrier can be daunting, as there are so many options to choose from.
Please try on the carrier before you buy and make sure you and your baby are comfortable in it. You can often try carriers on in Baby stores, at a meet of your local Babywearing Community, or you let a professional Babywearing Consultant assist you choosing the right carrier for the situation, for you and your baby.
There are a few things to consider when picking the right carrier for a trip. If you have already a selection of carriers you use at home take your trusted and most comfortable carrier with you when going away. It is also a plus if the carrier is compact and quick and easy to put on. Sometimes when on the go we are confronted with a challenging situation suddenly and need to get our child into safety quick. When we are comfortable to use a carrier and can put it on ‘with our eyes closed’, we will not get flustered if a whole plane is looking at us putting the baby in the carrier, or if we have strangers assisting us to get the toddler up on our back.
When you are buying a new carrier for travels, make sure the carrier fits your child and is comfortable for baby and you for longer periods of time. First priority is always to keep the baby safe, that means the baby cannot fall and the airways are clear at all times so breathing is effortless. So the carrier should be holding the baby onto your body safely and comfortably, and the airways of the baby should always free and obstructed (keep baby’s chin off baby’s chest)
Ideally your baby is in an optimal position in the carrier which means it is facing towards your body, sitting in the carrier in a supported seated squat position, with the chin off the chest and well supported back, upper neck and head. Please be aware that your baby might fall asleep in the carrier and even stay asleep for prolonged periods of time. So choose a carrier wisely before you leave and make yourself comfortable with the different adjustment possibilities. A little adjustment can go a long way in terms of comfort. Here is a little list to go by if you you have more carriers to choose from:
Is my baby safe in this carrier?
Does the carrier fit my baby? Is the carrier comfortable for me and my baby to wear even for prolonged periods multiple times a day?
Is the carrier quick to put on? If you are breastfeeding your should consider that question: Can I breastfeed in the carrier discreetly? Does my partner feel comfortable wearing the carrier and is it easy to operate? How much room does the carrier take up when not in use? Can the carrier be easily cleaned?
When another person is travelling with you, this person might want to wear the baby as well. So the carrier you are taking with you should be just as comfortable for the other person as it is for you. It is great if the carrier is easily adjustable to different body types and interchangeable to fit different wearers comfortably. These adjustment should be made easy and quickly. Every person that is wearing the baby on the journey should feel confident adjusting the carrier to fit them, putting it on and putting the baby in and out without assistance.
When you are travelling with your child or baby and you are embarking on a journey by plane you want to make sure your baby is always safe. Babywearing can make that so easy. A lot of airlines allow an additional piece of luggage to be checked in with the ticket for the baby. That can either be a pram, a capsule, a portable cot or a different baby item depending on the airline policy. Often you can even take your pram to the gate so you can use it up until you board the airplane.When flying with a little baby make sure you ask your airline for a set with a cot when checking in, so you can put your baby in the cot when asleep or just enjoy the extra leg room the first row has to offer and use the cot as extra handy storage for all items you need for you and your baby during the flight. Babywearing will allow you to carry your baby and to manoeuvre the airport and board the plane with your child in the carrier. Be prepared to take you baby out of the carrier as you pass the Airport security. The carrier has to be scanned together with your hand luggage. You will be getting asked to take your baby out of the carrier hold your child during take of and landing on your lap with a special infant belt handed out by the staff. Because a lot of airline personnel is only trained in how to assist in a case of emergency with a special brand of carriers you might not be allowed to wear the carrier while in the air but it will still help you while boarding or disembarking. Just be aware of your baby at all times when in the carrier so you don’t bump into Often you can wear your child during the flight when all the seatbelt sings have been switched off. It depends on the airline personnel if you can wear your baby in the air. I have been on many flights where I was only asked to take my child out of the carrier for take off and landing but was able to wear my daughter throughout the whole flight. Please check the use of your carrier during the flight with the cabin crew once you have boarded. I have been on many interstate and long haul flights and I was always able to wear my baby once the seatbelt sign was off. It helps to talk with the staff on board and ask them if they are happy for you to hold your baby in the carrier rather than in your arms. With the right carrier it is easy to rest your arms during the flight. Babywearing makes getting up to go to the bathroom or to settle your baby so easy. You can even enjoy your meal or a movie while you wear your baby even when you are travelling alone with the baby. Make sure you choose a carrier that allows you to sit down comfortable. Check for buckles that might be pressing onto your spine or shoulders when sitting before your travel starts. Also make sure your baby’s legs are still in a comfortable position and are not restricted by armrests or narrow seats. Take care when walking through the narrow aisles of the plane to not get the straps of the carrier caught on the seats as you pass.
Even once your baby has grown into a toddler and is able to walk, babywearing will assist you greatly while travelling. You will encounter dangerous situations where it is needed to keep your baby safe. Just put the toddler up on your back and you’ll have your hands free for other things. And they might want to walk themselves but little legs get tired so easily. With your carrier handy your toddler can rest and even have a nap. Taxis will often allow you to board even without a carseat. Wearing your baby in a comfortable carrier will help you there as well as on public transport. When in public transport, it is best to wear your baby on your front and to sit down against the direction of travel. As in case of an accident your baby is pushed against your body and not away from you. Make sure you use the rolled hood of your carrier to support baby’s head and neck to prevent injury in a worst case scenario.
When travelling with multiple children take a carrier with you that allows you to use it for both children one at a time of course. So you might only take one pram and one carrier with you and the children can take turns being in the carrier.