The joys of travelling overseas with an infant
Emma Dalton-Brown, Gleaner Writer
Since the start of this year, I have been voicing my concerns about getting on a plane to Trinidad and Tobago with my baby and without my husband. He is from the twin islands, and we had decided to schedule a trip over the carnival period.
The master plan was that our little boy and I would fly a week earlier than his Daddy, so that the 'Trini' family could get to know their grandson/nephew. Not for a moment did I consider what it would be like to make such a long journey with a nine-month-old! For five weeks, before our outgoing travel date, there was barely a conversation when I did not mention my concerns.
Close friends must have been thinking, "Not this topic again! Just get on a plane already and get over yourself."
Well, I'm writing this aren't I? So it must mean that I survived the flight. However, it was achieved with plenty of planning. I looked up tips on the Internet (
), I took advice from a friend who is also from 'TnT', and who had recently taken the same route with her infant, and I made a list of what I needed to get through this smoothly. I'm a list lady! I love ticking off the chores I've done. By the time departure date had arrived, I was quite excited that I'd successfully completed my 'to do' memo. Our suitcase was packed, and I would check that in with the baby's car seat. I would take one shoulder bag with all his clothing and cleansing needs, and a backpack with his food, my computer, and a few other things for me.
I ended up wearing the latter and pushing my son in his stroller, with his bag tucked under the seat part. When we got to the gate, the airline took the stroller and we settled into our seat on the plane quite nicely. The flight down to the Eastern Caribbean is lengthened by two stops before arriving in Port-of-Spain. This, in turn, meant we landed and took off six times in total. Due to the air pressure, one's ears do tend to pop. Imagine how painful that is for a small child, especially the little boy who does not know the trick of squeezing and blowing his nose at the same time. To be fair, he did very well. I breastfed him each time, which worked like a dream in keeping him calm, and he even slept for half the journey.
One would think that the safe arrival into Piarco International Airport meant it was the end of any possibility of disrupting an infant's routine. I even cleverly decided to keep him on Jamaica time, which is one hour behind Trinidad's. This way he'd be sure to settle in well, and cause no trouble. Yet again, my child would prove to be the perfect fellow.
Okay, so the first night was not the smoothest. I put him down in the travel cot I'd borrowed from a friend in Trinidad, but after a few hours he was having none of it. So for ease, I brought him into my bed. Tomorrow evening would be better. Not so at all. Perhaps it'd be third time lucky. Well I'm writing this 12 days after landing, and I will tell you that each night has been worse than the last.
My husband and I have kept him on his daily schedule, and he has been quite content about that, but come nightfall, things are not so hunky-dory. Let's just say he's only happy if he's glued to my chest, and we'll leave it like that. Not so joyful travelling with an infant after all.