|after skiing snack, late December 2012|
Do you have any advice or tips regarding flying/solo roadtrips with a baby?
I did my first solo roadtrip with Sara when she was three months old. We drove from Bergen to our hometown Sandnes, which is a 4,5 hours drive - including two ferry rides that are 45 minutes and 25 minutes long - which makes it a nice and pleasant drive. She slept the whole time, except for on the ferries when I changed her diaper and nursed her. I was quite nervous about the trip beforehand, but luckily it turned out to be a walk in the park.
We have now done this trip several times and it has so far been just fine. (The only other solo roadtrips I have done with Sara have been max 1,5 hour.) Sara seems to enjoy driving and sleeps well in the car. I do try though to time departure to Sara's nap time, so that she spends as little time as possible awake. She tends to get a little grumpy after a while. Normally that is when we are pretty close to our destination. Perfect timing, baby! Music and singing is normally the cure for this grumpy baby. I always change her diaper and feed her on the ferries, and now that she walks, I let her walk around as much as possible. We have so far not needed any other breaks than the ferries.
I did not fly with Sara until she was 10 months old. I wasn't ready for it before that. I was too nervous she would freak out and I would be unable to deal with it. At 10 months I felt that her mood and temper were more predictable, so I felt more confident that flying would not turn in to a nightmare. Our first flight was one hour from Bergen to Trondheim. My mum was already on the same plane (from Stavanger), so I wasn't all alone. Sara was an angel and I was happy.
My first real solo flight with Sara was when she had just turned one year. We flew to the arctic, to Tromsø, to visit my sister and her boyfriend. It is a 2,5 hours direct flight; longer when flying via Oslo - we did both. Sara didn't nap at all on the way north, which of course made her overtired and hand full to deal with when sitting in the middle of a three seats row... She fell asleep on my lap on the way home, which made the flight much more pleasant.
A few practical tips:
- chose your flight times with care - if you can, you want to avoid an overtired, grumpy baby
- travel light (always) - everything is easier when you don't have a ton of luggage to deal with
- borrow stuff on arrival - if you can, borrow pram, car seat, travel bed, high chair - it makes traveling light much easier!
- use a baby carrier - two free hands are so much better than one (Sara loves being carried, so I didn't bring the pram)
- use a small backpack (I use Kånken) as your cabin luggage - again; two free hands are better than one
- pack your cabin luggage with care - keep it light yet well equipped; diapers, baby wipes, extra set of baby clothes in case of emergency, baby food, a few toys, a few waste bags (for diapers, dirty clothes, what ever), water and a snack for yourself
- pack your coat in the checked luggage - you don't need it until you get your luggage back and it is really nice to not lug it around the airport
- chose the baby's travel outfit with care - chose clothing that is not too warm/too cold (layers are good) and make changing diapers as easy as possible (those airplane toilets are solo tiny!)
- chose your own travel outfit with care - if you breastfeed, wear a breastfeeding friendly top, otherwise dress not too warm - carrying your baby/baby on your lap will make you warm enough
- use a pacifier clip - you don't want your baby to loose the precious pacifier
I also find these tips useful: Oh Joy!: flying with a baby | Love Taza: flying with littles | A Cup of Jo: Motherhood Mondays: Ten tips for traveling with a baby
1. How do you find motherhood so far? What are it's biggest challenges?
2. Did you went back to work? How will you combine being a mother and also working?
1. Motherhood is fantastic yet exhausting. It feels like the most important role I have ever had in my entire life. I think the constant adjusting to new routines (one nap or two naps during daytime? learning to eat by herself, learning to like new foods - everyday stuff like that) is one of the biggest challenges. Also, the lack of time to do exactly what I want, when I want. Luckily Sara has mostly been a good sleeper, so I never really feel very sleep deprived.
2. I'm having an extra long maternity leave (Norwegian parents may choose to take a total of 46 weeks of leave at 100 per cent pay or 56 weeks at 80 per cent pay), so I'm not going back to work until the end of September. Sara will be in kindergarten.
Lindsey Alyce asked:
- What do you like best about raising children in Norway? And what do you like least about it?
I think Norway is a safe place to raise children. We have a great welfare system, plenty of kindergartens, good schools and generally great values. I don't think there is anything I don't like about raising children here.
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PS: More motherhood posts