Updated: Jul 19, 2022
In the world there are two groups of people - one that will say that travelling with a baby is a nightmare and the second that believes it's an absolute dream. To which one do we fall? Well, I think that during our first travel abroad with our 3.5 months old baby we experienced emotions and opinions of both groups.
Travelling with a baby is different. Of course, we knew it is gonna be different than the vacations we were used to but we did not know how different it was going to be. The thing is that all the expectations related to the things that you are going to do while abroad, all the places that you expect to see and all the restaurants you plan on visiting are probably false. Why? Cause you will see as many things, and you will visit as many places and try as many local dishes as your baby will want you to. Travelling with a baby is different cause no matter how chilled of a parent you are, there are still going to be things that will scare you and that will put you so much out of your comfort zone that you will feel lost for a good moment or two.
We flew from Tel Aviv to Vienna with Austrian Airlines --> while we weren't given a bassinet (since its a short haul flight) we selected a middle and an isle seats so that it will be comfortable for us to stand up when needed (bye bye window seats pictures). We took both a stroller and a car seat (Doona), which we highly recommend. The Doona was not ours (we rented it out) and it was worth every penny. The flight experience was overall good, our Sophie did not cry even once and slept in the carrier probably half of the flight. I breastfed her both during the take off and landing to release the pressure from her ears. On the way back she was actually asleep while landing but then the steward asked to get her out of the carrier and put her into the seat belt...
The first shock of our trip came shortly after our boots touch the Austrian land - when we were about to drive to my family's place. Even thought she slept on the flight, the time was already well pass 8pm which meant, it was after her bedtime and so she was overtired. (All parents in the world know that an overtired baby is worse than a hungry phyton chasing you - you have more chances surviving the snake attack than whats about to come with your overtired baby) It took us almost double the time to get to my parents place because she would be simply screaming in the car seat out of tiredness. We even had to stop on a lorry car park, where I put her to sleep in the carrier for a few minutes before we resumed our drive. I can't describe the horror ride enough but I think the new grandpa that picked us up experienced a trauma for his whole life.
The second shock came in the next few days when both the extreme heat and the fallen expectations added to the basket. As I mentioned above, no matter how chilled of a parent you are, there will always be something that finds its way to your anxious yourself. For me it was the heat. It was 36 degrees celsius and with no AC inside, I was constantly worried that our little one will overheat. We had three fans pointing at her / us at night. Which then made me worry about possible ear infections....Ya ya ya
As for the expectations, we thought that we will be able to travel in the same pace as before and see new things every day. With a 3.5 months old baby it was not like that as during her 4 sometimes 5 naps a day we needed to focus more on how to put her down than on planning what to see.
Having said that, we managed to make a little gate-away and went to the Tatras for 2 nights. This 3 hours drive firstly took us 6 hours but it taught us that when travelling with Sophie, we need to put her to the car seat right at the beginning of the end of her wake window - before she starts to be fussy. That way she manages to fall asleep in the car seat and we can start our road trip. The way back took us only 4 hours :)
So not to bore you, the second week of our trip was much more relaxed, once we got used to the new way of travelling. And so, overall, I loved the fact that we travelled with our little one. It has been a great, although tough experience but it did prepare us for the next travel that we have planned in a month. It allowed us to see what are not only our boundaries but also the limits of our baby girl and how the three of us need to follow each other's cues. So my main recommendation for travelling with an infant is to keep an open mind and take a few deep breaths from time to time - overall it is a beautiful thing for the whole family to spend some quality time together and learn more about each other while enjoying the fun of being abroad :)