Born to Roam
Yes, babies are demanding. But most of the time their needs aren’t complicated, and it won’t make much difference whether you take care of them in Quebec or Guatemala.
Newborns sleep, cry, drink, pee and poop, and then sleep some more. In other words, as long as you have arms and a bottle or pair of breasts, you can take your baby just about anywhere.
You can hang out at the local café with baby. You can read a novel in the municipal park with baby. You can have dinner in a fancy restaurant with baby. And, like Kim and Michael, you can slip away to Panama for two months with baby.
“People often limit themselves with a baby because they’re scared,” says Kim. “When we got on the plane with Oliver, I was worried his ears would hurt, that he’d cry the whole time, that he’d annoy the other passengers. In the end, the flight attendants were super helpful and he pretty much slept through the entire flight.”
Not only are planes free for babies under two years old — as long as they sit on their parents’ laps — but newborns travel light. “Babies believe in simple living,” says Kim. “Under six months, you don’t need to drag around 36,000 things and they don’t constantly clamour for your attention.” That’ll come soon enough, so take advantage while you still can.
Obviously, travelling with a baby requires more planning, and mishaps can happen. You could forget your diaper bag at the airport. Babies can develop fevers when they’re teething. If there’s a problem, don’t freak out. There are newborns all over the world. If something happens, you can buy whatever you need or find a qualified physician. But do get some good travel insurance for your little family before you leave.
Another advantage: everyone loves babies. You know that neighbour who never said a word to you in ten years and now stops you every time you go by with your stroller for a tickle? Well, it’s the same thing abroad. A waiter offers you a drink on the house. The hotel gives you a free upgrade. And everyone comes to see you at the beach because your baby is so darn cute.
Obviously, not all babies can be lugged around that easily. If they never sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time, you won’t feel like taking them to Paris. Or maybe giving birth was really intense, and you’d rather spend a month in bed than go gallivanting around the world. What’s important is that you take care of yourself.
And remember a camping weekend in Kamouraska counts as travel too. Kamouraska’s really nice. And new sounds, new smells and new colours are stimulating for babies. As the saying goes: travel shapes youth. Even very early youth.
Questions about your rug rats? We have a ton of advice for you.
Edited on 16 March 2017