07 Apr Our Sri Lankan Adventure – Travelling with a baby
This is not a sponsored article.
Chanelle and I recently got back from a trip to Sri Lanka. Although Chanelle’s family is Sri Lankan, she hadn’t been there for over 10 years and it was my first time. This trip was always going to be different for us though, as we had a new travel buddy coming along for the ride. Our 7-month-old little man, Jordi George, provided us with a lot to think about when planning and executing our trip. Today I am going to share some of the tips and tricks that we learnt along the way. I’ll highlight what worked well and what went wrong. But before I do, let me start by saying Sri Lanka, WHAT. A. SPOT! The people are beautiful, the landscape is breathtaking, and the food is so, so good! From string hopers to egg hopers be prepared to put on weight. I left Australia a lean, mean, fighting machine and came back an Oompa Loompa. If you head that way, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So let’s get into to it.
Failing to plan is planning to fail, or so they say. So make a plan. Start with the basics. What is your baby is going to eat?
For us, Jordi had just started solids. As first-time parents we were worried about the differences in cuisine. To address this issue, we did two things.
First, Chanelle continued breastfeeding a little longer than she had initially planned. This was a sort of insurance policy that would ensure that Jordi’s belly would always be full. Breastfeeding is convenient and it got us out of a bind more than once. Importantly, through breastfeeding Jordi received Chanelle’s antibodies to help build and sustain his immune system, not a bad thing when travelling overseas.
Secondly, we purchased pre-packaged food to take with us. This was extremely helpful especially in transit. Things like baby pouches, baby rice cereal and tinned food. Buy from reputable brands and only take what you need. Also, make sure that you test the pre-packaged food on your baby before you leave. It turns out Jordi hates sweet potato baby pouches. I wish I knew that before buying 15 of them.
Although it’s important to have some pre-packaged food with you, you must also ensure that you allow your baby to eat some of the local fresh food. Fruits with thick peels, like banana and papaya are protected from tainted water and soil and are considered pretty much safe to eat anywhere.
Hanging around airports is a necessary evil of any good holiday. Holding a 7-month-old, in addition to your carry-on luggage gets old pretty quick. To combat this, we purchased a Babyzen YoYo stroller, and we now understand why it is one of the most popular strollers on the market! This stroller folds down to be small enough to store in carry-on luggage. This meant that we could have the stroller with us in the airport after we had checked in. Jordi could actually sleep during transit between flights, thank god! The cost for this stroller starts at around $800 AUD. This was a little too expensive for us, so we simply got onto Gumtree and purchased one second hand for $150. Best 150 bucks we ever spent.
Once on the plane, it is important to remember that your baby is going to feel a build-up in pressure in their ears during take-off and landing. There are many strategies to deal with this. Some suggestions include giving your baby a toy to chew on or piece of ice to suck. For Jordi, simply breastfeeding during take-off and landing worked well and he seemed comfortable the entire way.
Once your there
You need to plan what you are going to do. A place like Sri Lanka has so many wonderful places to see. But when you are travelling with a baby, you really can’t be stuck in a car all day travelling from site to site. For us, we decided that we would only travel a maximum one hour per day. We may not have seen everything, but what we did see we enjoyed.
We used Ceylon Tours (see link below) to organise a driver with a baby car seat. This costs about $35 per day, but it meant that we were able to do what we wanted when we wanted. Most of the hotels in Sri Lanka provide accommodation for drivers, so you don’t need to worry about the driver at all. We were lucky enough to have Kalinga as our driver; he was extremely professional and a wealth of knowledge. For more information on this, email us and we can pass on his details.
Some of the roads in Sri Lanka are simply not made for cars and although we tried to always keep Jordi in a baby car seat, the reality was sometimes there is no avoiding getting into a tuktuk. In these circumstances we would place Jordi into a baby carrier that was attached to either Chanelle or I. Not ideal, but better than simply holding him.
Sri Lanka has so many beautiful hotels to stay in, and if you are travelling on the Australian dollar, they are pretty cheap. Places like the Weligama Bay Marriott Resort are five star and they don’t break the bank. Most of the hotels in Sri Lanka will provide you with a cot. The only problem is that there is no guarantee that they meet the high Australian standards that we are used to. For that reason, we decided to take our own. We decided on the BabyBjorn light travel cot. It weighs about 6 kilos and was super easy to use. Jordi loved it and to be perfectly honest slept better in the travel cot than he does at home!
Ok, well maybe not a “medical emergency” but heat rash does suck!
After about two weeks the tropical climate combination of hot and humid, coupled with spending a lot of time at the beach resulted in a pretty decent case of heat rash. No very nice for my little man.
Heat rash occurs when the sweat glands are blocked, and perspiration cannot get to the surface of the skin to evaporate. This causes inflammation and eventually rash.
So, what’s the treatment?
- Keep your baby cool and out of direct sunlight
- Keep your baby as dry as possible, so no more swims (of course, you need to bath your baby, but just ensure that you dry them properly after).
- Keep you baby well hydrated.
- Do not apply any baby oils or moisturisers as you normally would.
- In moderate to severe cases apply creams such as hydrocortisone from your first aid kit.
First Aid Kit
Whenever you travel make sure that you have a first aid kit with baby supplies. Remember, baby first aid kits for babies! Anyone who has done my course knows what I’m talking about.
Here is what we took in our kit:
- Gauze pads
- Steri strips
- Band aids
- 10ml syringe
- Antiseptic cream
- Baby Panadol (paracetamol)
- Antihistamine (for kids over 6 months)
- Antiemetic (for mum and dad)
- Imodium (for mum and dad, hopefully not needed!)