3 Malaysian mothers share tips on travelling while pregnant or with kids
They kid you not
It's true that your life changes when you have kids. These first-time mums shared their stories with us. This couple revealed how adding a third member to the family affects their relationship. Some would even agree that it also alters the holiday experience. We're all familiar with this. Babies crying on the plane. Kids running up and down the aisle. It's challenging. But not impossible. It's the same with travelling when you're pregnant. We had a quick chat with three Malaysian mums—Elaine Daly, Ung Yiu Lin and Kim Raymond—on how they do it.
How has travelling with your kid(s) been like?
Kim: It's tiring but wonderful at the same time. It's really this heartwarming moment when I see Skylar so excited. I'm lucky that she doesn't fuss much so far. Instead, she's just very curious and excited. Then again, I don't think any plane ride is ever the same with her. I just have to go with the flow but more importantly, whatever happens, I just have to stay calm.
Elaine: I won't deny that travelling with a toddler is always challenging—especially sitting on a plane. It stimulates a lot of senses which would make any child restless. But that being said, it's always fun to take Eva along on our travels and see her experience new things and seeing it through her eyes.
What's different when you're pregnant and travelling by plane?
Elaine: Some people have the misconception that you can't at all but that's not true. You'll need to get a fit-to-fly form from the doctors, assuring the airline that you are good to fly. However, the acceptable duration of your weeks of pregnancy to take a flight varies from airline to airline.
What were some of the challenges you faced and how did you alleviate it though?
Elaine: I suffered from morning, evening and all-day sickness quite badly with this pregnancy. It normally lasts about three months (the first trimester) and so I ate a lot of red ginger and sour sweets to help.
How has your travelling experience changed since welcoming a new addition to the family?
Kim: Well, for example, I don't have as much time to relax anymore—or think of what I'm going to wear. (laughs) And even if I do coordinate my outfits, it will have to be baby-friendly now.
What are some of the things you pack along in your cabin bag when you're travelling with your kids?
Kim: Snacks! She loves them and it always seems to distract her (or maybe she's just hungry all the time). Also, an extra two or three sets of clothes, diapers, baby wipes, water, formula milk, thermos, napkins, baby blanket, baby cutlery, extra pacifiers—everything under the sun really!
What are some tips you can share with new mothers for travelling on a plane with a baby or kids?
Elaine: Babies usually only cry during takeoff and landing because of the ear pressure. They're so young that they don't know how to deal with it. I'd say it's best to give the baby some milk or water so that they are sucking on something. Essentially, I think it's important to travel when you can—and even if/when you are pregnant and enjoy it—as long as you have the go-ahead from your doctor. It will be more challenging with babies and toddlers but it shouldn't stop you.
Yiu Lin: Be smart about the timing, especially if you're going on a long-haul flight. It's best to fly at night because it matches their natural body clock so that means they will sleep through it. If you fly during the day, it means they won't be sleeping and that means you'd have to entertain them. In addition, you should research for the right places when it comes to a family holiday. I mean, you want to be enjoying it too, right? For example, when we're choosing an accommodation, we find a hotel with adjoining rooms and somewhere that has activities for kids. It's all about conditioning. I know some mums who choose not to travel when they have kids but my husband and I have this attitude that having children shouldn't change our lives completely. They should be part of our lives. We start them young so that our kids are more open-minded with travel and as they become more seasoned with it, they become easier to handle. No doubt it's hard at the start because they are new to it too.
Favourite memory of travelling with your kid(s)?
Kim: I haven't actually travelled that much with her yet. We've only been to a few places. Off the top of my head, I'd have to say the trip we did to Tanjong Jara where we organised a little photoshoot. It was also Skylar's first time experiencing the beach and it was so nice to see that she loves the beach (just like her parents).
Yiu Lin: Oh, there are so many. My husband and I prefer more outdoorsy holidays. City holidays are stressful with kids—I don't want to shop when there are children around. (Laughs) Imagine trying to push a stroller around in a shop. Western Australia was, and is, great for kids. You get the sea and the forest. There's a diverse range of activities for them. I love the trip we did to New Zealand too. We were in a helicopter and landed on the glacier. We were in Milford Sound, which was in the middle of a rainforest and had waterfalls all around us. We stayed on a boat overnight where there were snowcapped mountains in the background. These kinds of holidays are enriching to us and it really lets the kids know how to value these kinds of experiences and truly disconnect from the iPad or the TV. At the same time, we are making memories together.