"Did i hear you correctly? With the babies? But they are just 5 months old!"
Pretty universal ‘you must be crazy’ reactions we received when we shared that we were planning a family vacation to Iceland, in winter no less. We knew travelling with a baby isn’t an easy feat, needless to say with twins and without any help! Being a new parent, I have to be honest that I was overwhelmed at the initial thought - the safety of my children, the sanitation, the fussing and the packing. We could have easily left the kids at home with our parents but we knew it was just a matter of time before we needed to overcome the fear of travelling with the bubs, surely this had to happen someday, we might as well muster the courage and make it now!
Travelling with them isn't unmanageable, but rather it requires some intensive research, detailed planning and contingency plans. The key here is to understand that all your activities have to revolve around your babies routine, rather than otherwise. When babies are happy, you will be too. Here are the details of things:
If possible, coincide your flight timing with babies sleep time
Book bassinets early for the long haul flights
Give special instructions for the baby stroller to be available at the arrival gate - choose an airline that provides this service (we were surprised Finnair did not have this service thus you can imagine we had to lug around our carry-ons and carry our babies, do a customs checkout before proceeding to the arrival belt for our pram, which proved to be physically challenging!)
Weather conditions to decide the type of clothing they require
Sanitation conditions (thankfully we didn’t have to avoid any places in Iceland)
Nearest hospitals and relevant emergency numbers stored on both our phones
Availability of hot water facilities in all accommodations
Reservation of baby car seats and get a confirmation with your rental company before the trip
A daily itinerary that included babies’ feed and sleep breaks
Every baby is different. Please consult your PD just to make sure he/she is safe to fly!
And I have not even started on the packing list yet!
The key here is to bring extra of everything. From missing a flight to getting stranded due to bad weather conditions, you never know what could happen. The last thing you want is to run out of milk powder (always carry a fresh packet in your carry-on lugguage), diapers or the right medication if your babies happen to fall sick. Prepare extra change of baby clothes, bacterial wipes, baby moisturizer and prepared baby bottles for the flight. It is possible to bring your own cooked water, you just need to declare it at the baggage scan. Hot water is easily available upon request on board.
And so, here’s sharing Leia & Lauren’s maiden long haul experience.
They flew well for their 12 hour long-haul, happy and relatively cooperative, save for some fussing when they wanted to sit up and stretch after a straight 6-hr sleep or when they purely just wanted their feeds/cuddles. Surely that’s normal. It is slightly easier when they are of this 5-12 months of age, where major vaccines have been done and they are well-established into a consistent sleep and eat routine.
Reality was, we were dog-tired from the trip and not spared from some very stressful moments. Our girls probably won’t remember the -10 degrees weather, the 30m/s gale winds, the erratic snow blizzards, the insane fireworks, the elusive aurora borealis, the breath-taking waterfalls, and all that Iceland has to offer, but still we find this experience all worthwhile as we now have beautiful memories and stories to look back on and share!