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Breastfeeding Parenting Travel

International Travel with an Infant Part 1: Getting There

Traveling with an infant is an adventure all on it’s own. This is just the beginning of how I navigated an international trip with my two-month old daughter.

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

We are very lucky that Hallie is such a good traveler, but I think it’s in her blood. Good thing too, because we had a trip to England bought and paid for before she was even born. Louis and I had a wedding reception planned in England to celebrate with his family, and of course, Hallie needed to be introduced. Whether she wanted it or not, Hallie was in for an adventure.

Prepping for Travel

Once Hallie was born, I spoke with my OB and her pediatrician, asking how we could prepare best for travel. Hallie would have her first round of immunizations by then, and as long as I did something to relieve the pressure in her ears on the plane (like breastfeeding), we would be good to go. If I remember correctly, I popped Hallie back into the pediatrician two days before we left (we would be in Canada for a few days and England for a few weeks), just to make certain we were all good.

First, the car. 

We started our adventure with a six hour drive to Canada, and keep in mind, Louis was already in England (no green card yet). I had the assistance of my family, who were coming as well, thank goodness, but it was still up to me to make sure I had everything packed and ready. I looked at the clock before we left and thought “wow, ready right on time,” and then Hallie projectile spit-up EVERYWHERE. We left 30 minutes later after a full change and clean-up.

Hallie did great on the ride there, because at two months old, she slept a lot. Easy-peasy. We spent a relaxing day baby-wearing in Montreal, and this was also where I gave up on covering while breastfeeding. In a public square, in the middle of tourist season, I’m certain several people saw my boob as I practically ripped the cover and my shirt out of the way to give my screaming child what she wanted. That was the last of whatever shred of dignity I had left after childbirth, and if someone had said a word of disapproval in that moment, I promise you, they would have regretted it.

Then, the plane. 

Skip to the airport. I had a baby strapped to me, two suitcases, a diaper bag, and a backpack. My family was able to help with the suitcases at baggage claim, and having a baby really speeds you right through security, so that was awesome. Hallie and I laid on the airport floor, with a blanket of course, while I let her stretch before the 6-ish hour flight to England.

Once on the plane, however, I was not seated with my parents. I had elected for the free upgrade offered by Air Canada, which included a bassinet when available (pictured below). I had extra leg room, as well as assistance from very kind strangers any time I needed something. This was a red-eye flight, and after nursing Hallie on ascent, she slept the entire flight. I did not sleep at all. Yay! Luckily, I had some very good company, including a very nice woman next to me who actually encouraged me to breastfeed whenever I needed to. It was unsolicited, but her intentions were good. I’ll take the support where I can get it.

Then, the train. 

Once we were in England, we again were swept right through customs due to my baby in tow. Customs did look at me sideways a bit, but with my whole family with me, and a conversation about Dr. Who, we weren’t detained. (I have been detained before, which was nerve-wracking.) My family and I had arrived in London, and we took a taxi to the train station. I may or may not have been almost hysterical with a forward-facing car seat, but taxi laws are different in England, and I was very sleep deprived. I finally slept for a few moments on the ride there, and Hallie obviously did fine.

This is where I would part ways with my family and become a lone traveler with an infant. My family was taking a train to Berlin, and I was taking a 2-hour train to Nottingham where Louis would be waiting. Many strangers took pity on me, which I am thankful for, because hauling two suitcases, a baby, a diaper bag, and a backpack is really hard. I was helped on and off the train, and Hallie continued to sleep for the most part. She’s always been a happy little thing, so even when she was awake she was pleasant.

We made it!

Once we arrived in Nottingham, I was spent. I hadn’t slept in about 30 hours, and according to Louis, I may as well have been in a coma once I arrived at his parent’s home. It was an exhausting trip, but I was very proud of how well Hallie had done. I was also thrilled that Louis would be with me on the way back, because oh my goodness, it was a lot of work. However, Hallie had made it pretty easy. She had traveled by car, plane, and train, and she obviously has more stamina than I do.

In the next edition I will discuss our way back, which was not nearly as easy as traveling to the UK, despite the extra hands of my husband! I’ll also be talking about lessons learned, and tips on how I prepared.

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