#TravelDiaries: A Day Out In New York Made Me Realise That My Baby Loves Travelling!

My baby Avyaan looked at me with anger as I kept him back in his baby stroller. He was enjoying the view of the ever crowded and energetic Times Square in New York city and he didn’t want to sit back in the stroller.

My husband and I were surprised to see how much he was enjoying the street acts and the shiny lights on the buildings.

He clapped when everyone clapped and screamed when everyone screamed to applaud the people performing on the street, as if he understood everything.

He was looking at everything with such great curiosity and innocence. I think he felt like he was in another world as it was the first time in his life he was experiencing something like this – so many lights, loud music & a huge crowd full of energy.

It was a wonderful evening. After reaching US, it was the first time that we had actually stepped out to explore a new city. What added to our excitement and happiness was the fact that our baby, who had been our main cause of concern throughout the journey, was also enjoying with us.

We felt at ease and happy. Whatever guilt we had for making the baby travel so far and the constant worry about whether he was comfortable or not, disappeared when we saw him happily enjoying with us. He was laughing, making faces, insisting on walking on the street. In short, he was being himself and we loved it.

We were walking past Times Square, just looking at the things around us and our son was busy giving flying kisses to everyone who crossed him. People on the street responded the same way and he got so much love from unknown people in an unknown country.

As we were walking, he pointed at an ice cream stall nearby and insisted we went there. He is just 1 year old and in no way he understands what an ice-cream tastes like (at least that’s what we feel) but may be the cartoon lights on the stall attracted him.

Though he couldn’t have any ice cream but he enjoyed the closer look of the cartoon lights on the stall while me and my husband enjoyed some icecream together.

After enjoying for an hour and a half on New York’s most crowded street, he yawned, signaling that he was sleepy. We started walking towards our pre-decided restaurant for dinner as it was already time, while Avyaan sipped his warm milk and peacefully slept in his stroller cuddled up in his warm blanket with dreams of this wonderful day we had in this beautiful city.    

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#TravelWithBaby – Who Asked You To Travel Alone With Baby When You Can’t Handle Him?

“Do you need any help?” I asked the worried, frustrated, and perplexed mother of a 4-month old who was travelling with me on the same plane from Frankfurt to Mumbai. She looked at me as if I had said something she was longing for.

I was returning from a trip to the USA with my husband and my 1-year old son when I couldn’t help but notice this new mother. She was all alone in the window seat with two strangers sitting next to her. 

I initially thought one of them must be her family member but their ‘PLEASE DO NOT BOTHER US’ attitude towards the helpless mother made me realize that she was travelling alone.

I did not pay much heed to it initially as I was occupied with my own son, who had recently started walking and was too excited to explore the entire plane on his two little feet.

I was with my husband and believe me, it was difficult for even the two of us to handle him. My husband held the hot water thermos while I put the milk powder in his bottle as my baby wailed for his milk, my husband changed his diaper when I somehow managed to hold him still in the extremely small baby room, we made him walk in the plane pathway and tried to make him sleep in our arms turn by turn, as it was too much for one person to handle. It was proving to be a task for both of us. And, here was this lady, stuffed in a small seat, trying to handle her crying baby alone.

She tried to feed the baby but he just would not eat and kept crying. She also tried giving him bottled milk but he ended up vomiting. That brave woman somehow calmed the baby, cleaned the mess the best she could. Because she could hardly move in that little space, she had to constantly take baby to pathway so that she could swing the baby in her arms and make him sleep. And everytime, she had to cross two sets of legs, somehow fitted in the not so leg–room friendly economy class, and endure the frustrated looks of her co-passengers.

After all the failed attempts to calm the baby down, she somehow covered herself and tried breast-feeding him and by God’s grace, the baby calmed down. Breast-feeding was another challenge in such limited space, when the baby was comfortable in a position, her elbow poked the person next to her and the moment she moved a little, the baby cried with all his might and she had to again make him latch, which was again a big task. It was all so difficult to look at

I was looking at her with all my sympathy and my husband kept telling me not to stare at her as she might get offended but I couldn’t control myself.

It was an 8 hour long flight and every minute was a challenge for her. She couldn’t eat or drink properly. Every time she had to take out something from the cabin she had to keep the baby in the bassinet and do it herself. Let me add that the baby just didn’t like being in the bassinet and was so uncomfortable. Going to the washroom was a challenge, as she had no one to leave baby with. I asked her to leave the baby with me and go, if she needed to, and she happily gave in. I’m sure that her primary worry was bothering and disturbing people around her rather than her distressed baby. As for me, the mere thought of travelling alone with my baby petrified me looking at this woman struggle.

I counted my blessings and thanked God that my husband was with me through all this. I just wanted the flight to get over soon as my son was getting restless now, but more than that, I wanted that mother to be relieved from this constant pressure and stress.

It was such a relief to see the mother and the baby leave plane safely and I felt happy as even I had become a small part of their journey.

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Things to add to your cart before delivery

Waiting for the “THE” day to arrive can be a game of lot of patience.Your desire to see your little one, increases proportionately with your growing baby bump.

It seems,the best way to divert your mind from this though has been to     “SHOP” for most of the couples. In my case, I remember buying new born baby clothes almost every weekend, to get that perfect one set of clothes   that I wanted my baby to wear in the OT just after delivery.
I bought pink and the same night dreamt of having a baby boy so bought blue and then got confused so bought a few neutral colours. By the time I delivered I had 10-12 pairs to choose from.
This is natural.This is your heart’s way of showing the excitement for the arrival of your little one.
Along with all such impulsive buying, what is necessary is some planning  and buying some necessary stuff .Many people believe, that it’s not good  to purchase things before your baby is born as it is supposed to get bad     luck.I would say, it doesn’t hold good in any way. Please remember you   will not be the same person once you deliver.You wont be physically fit,    atleast for some days to go out and shop,also,you will have a tiny baby to  look after all the time.You will neither have time nor energy to shop and  this will lead to frustration.
If you want to settle with your newborn smoothly ,plan accordingly and make a list of the things you  might need.Make a separate list of items to  be carried to the hospital (generally hospitals give you this list)and also   prepare a list of items you will need at home after discharge.Make sure    you have all the items ready before delivery.
When anyone asks about your pregnancy or post delivery experience,     you should have a smile on your face and glee in your eyes with happy    and enriching stories to tell.Lets not make this magical phase sound like   the most horrifying experience of our lives ,just because we lacked some planning and vision.
Few points to remember:
1.Be aware-There is so much of access to information these days, make    use of it.Connect with other experienced moms or moms to be, discuss     your issues and learn from theirs.
2.Online shopping-Make us of online shopping sites.Don’t be prejudiced  that about these sites and products.Buy from a reputed site,you will save lot of effort and time with all your stuff at your footsteps.you can even subscribe to things which you need regularly so that you don’t have to place orders every time.You also get goods discounts if you subscribe.

Few important things to add to your cart before delivery:

1.Breast Pump-Breast feeding is given a lot of importance globally but in India it is still something which is not discussed openly.It is strange that you are expected to breast feed your child but are looked down if you talk about it with your family members.In many families if you will talk about using a breast pump they will look at you as if you are an alien and know nothing.

It’s high time we understand the importance and advantage of things available around us and make use of them rather than cribbing about everything.

Breast feeding is a magical way to bond with your little one but at the same time it can be quite painful and exhaustive.With so much going around inside and around you after delivery you must look for every little thing that will give you a little relief.

Breast pump is an extremely easy to use device.You can use it to express out extra milk that you produce and store it which can be used to feed the baby later.

Initially when you are new to feeding you will realise that one day back you had no milk and suddenly you are full of milk.You will find that your breasts are engorged and hard with too much of milk and you don’t know  how to remove it.Your baby is too tiny and can’t latch properly even if, he does latch, he can have very little of it at one go compared to what you are producing

This may create lumps in the breast which can be a serious issue.Sometimes the nurses will have to express your milk manually by squeezing your breast which is extremely painful and no one wants to experience that.

To avoid all this using a breast pump is a simple and painless solution.There are two types of pumps available electric and manual you can choose as per your preference.Read how to use it before delivery .Also explain your husband about the same so that he can help you assemble it when you need it in the hospital.

Natural baby sucking is very important to trigger the milk supply in your body and hence breast pump is not a substitute for that,pump is to be used after feeding your baby when you feel your breast is still full.

Eventually when the baby grows you can decide how much to use the pump depending upon how much milk you are producing and how much your baby is accepting if you give your stored milk to him/her through feeding bottles.

you can store the expressed milk in the refrigerator for 7-8 hours and give it to your baby after getting it to the room temperature.If you are planning to rejoin your work after a few months you can start storing your extra milk(by freezing it in plastic bags available for freezing breast milk) and use it when you are away from your child.This is allow your baby to have your breast milk for  along time even after you start working and also it will gradually make him used to having milk through bottles.(we will discuss use of feeding bottles in other chapter)

2.Kettle-Buy a water heating kettle which can be used to boil the water if you have to give top feed to your baby .Avoid using traditional methods of boiling the water in kitchen especially if you stay in a nuclear family and don’t have help because it will just add up to your task .You can easily boil your water in the kettle without going anywhere, in the comfort of  your room.It will take not more than 2-3 minutes to do it in kettle.Keep the boiled water in a thermos if you want it keep it warm and use it as and when required.

3.Sterilizer-Buy a good quality sterilizer.Many good ones are available in the market.You can order online as per your requirement.You can sterilize everything from feeding bottles,breast pump,baby-teethers ,toys,spoons,bowls etc.It will save a lot of time and energy not only now but also when the baby grows and puts everything in his/her mouth. That time you have to keep everything clean and using a sterilizer will prove to be a boon.

I think it’s time to change the thought process that you are a good mother only if you sacrifice things for your child or face pain or inconvenience

we should stop deciding the calibre of a mother based on the pain and problems she has gone through in delivery or raising her child..we should encourage the use of products and technology available to minimize our trouble and efforts.

I am sure old ladies who narrate their painful and horrifying stories and try  to take away the lime light in family gatherings  had to go through all that because there were no such options available during that time,had there been things at their disposal ,they would have used them too.

So don’t feel guilty of making things easy for your self.It’s always better to be a smart mother and enjoy this phase rather than being a mother who gets stuck with age old thoughts and cribs about how bad it was all her life.  

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