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Flying with a Baby - During the COVID Pandemic

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

The Travel Bug is universal, and tourists travel everywhere around the world. Even with the epidemic, many people are still traveling. The airlines have taken so many precautions as of recently making it more comfortable for people to actually board a plan and fly. For the most part, airlines have made it casual given the severance of the global epidemic; for people traveling without kids anyway. With kids it’s a TOTALLY different story. With the COVID-19 threat, it has managed to make it more of a headache. Among the most inveterate travel enthusiasts are First-Time Parents, who find life suffocating if they cannot travel. Mothers of the Newborn are already under immense psychological duress, having been mostly imprisoned during the whole period of carrying the child. But traveling with a newborn is a daunting task, and old aunts everywhere advise strongly against it. The current situation is far worse than ordinary times, given the fierce onslaught of the Covid19 Pandemic. This has affected life throughout the world, and every day, there is news of higher infection and more terrifying death rates due to this frightening virus infection.

The toll is higher amongst those patients with less immunity. Mortality is far more frequent with older people, already sick, and young children. In all these cases, the immune system is vulnerable. The Newborn is the weakest, and the young may succumb to this lethal infection far more easily than healthy people with mature immune systems. Since March 2020, sheer panic has gripped the world's population, as daily lists of the infected mount with almost geometrical progression. Lockdowns have been enforced, but it seems yet too early to predict the results.

Curative medicines still seem a long way off, though scientifically tested vaccines now seem nearer. Meanwhile, the most disastrous Pandemic since the last century rages on. It is putting everyone at risk. Traveling with the Newborn is being warned against. But is this as impossible as it sounds, or even as dangerous? To investigate this situation that this treatise has been undertaken, it shed some light on what is often considered taboo. Many people, primarily the older generation and modern cautious types, simply refuse to discuss the alternatives. A new parent traveling with their Newborn is a touchy subject, but some travel is unavoidable, though, in this age of the Covid19 Pandemic, the precautions must be enforced even more strongly.

The Mode of Travel

New parents traveling with their Newborn must carefully sift through the travel options available for the destination selected, and also the environment through which this sensitive Travel must be undertaken, with a newborn baby below 18 months in tow, as follows:

- The Covid19 Pandemic has imposed some special rules on traveling by anyone of any age whatsoever. But the laws are even more to be vigorously enforced, with children below eighteen months of age. Their immune system has still not matured to the stage where the body can fight most infections, and Covid19 is already a particular case. All traveling exposes the Newborn to the external environment. Chances of infection when traveling multiplies automatically. However, what you need to keep in mind is that the mode of Travel influences the risks significantly.

- The act of traveling entails the use of some means of conveyance. Even if it involves traveling on foot, it is still traveling. Children under eighteen months of age are generally carried on the parents' lap the carrier (person), or in memorable travel unique perambulators. These days, even perambulators are sometimes motorized to reduce any hardship on the parents, though many designers of child carriers (machines) disapprove of this, considering the dangers of malfunction of motorized devices.

- Experts Dan and Celine Brewer run a blog they have titled "Baby Can Travel," They strongly encourage new parents to take their children below eighteen months at least on short journeys if only to teach the love for Travel in the and strengthen their Immune System. When she was only three months old, the Brewers started with their firstborn and traveled with her from Canada to Barcelona, Spain. They showed every new parent that what they were saying was not hot air, but fact. Since those early days, new parents have been traveling with their newborns all over the world. This Travel is, of course, mostly based on necessity, but before the Pandemic this year, the trend was increasingly just to slake their "Wunderlust."

- The three most popular ways of Travel are by car, train, and plane, though Travel by ships is increasingly used. Flying with a newborn can be challenging for everyone involved: the parents, fellow passengers, the travel managers, and service staff, and of course, the Baby.

The Pre-Travel Preparations

Traveling with a baby can always be stressful unless certain preparatory actions are taken well in advance. But in this Age of Covid19, the preparations need to be even more rigorous. Some of these advance steps before flying out with Baby are listed below:

* Perhaps the most important consideration when planning to travel with the Baby is the state of health of the child and the mother's health. There is no need to rush the travel date immediately after birth. Sometimes after a C-section, mothers take time to heal properly, and that time must be taken before starting. A seven to nine weeks after birth is often allotted to both mother and child to get better and fit to travel. This also gives more time for sorting out the passport and other necessary travel documents. Mothers need to listen to their bodies and the body-music of the Baby, to be sure. Only then should the date of Travel be fixed.

* The health of the Baby must be checked diligently and frequently until the flight takes off. They are conditioning the child well before a long journey is essential, and it is best to be making baby steps and be very diligent. Exposure to open-air conditions outside the home's controlled atmosphere must be done with all necessary precautions, particularly during the ongoing Pandemic.

* The Covid19 Pandemic has created special conditions for taking babies on journeys. While the parents may already be road-hardened travelers, the infant is not. So intensive planning must be done to take on the first-time traveler (the Baby). Masks are vital, and age-wise sized masks are available in the markets now, compatible with the N.95 type approved by Medical Authorities everywhere for wearing in places where the Virus (Covid19) is rampant. Similarly, Gloves are also available for babies that are comfortable and soft but also close-fitting. All the top mail order companies now have made both Masks and Gloves for infants available, resistant to ingress by the deadly Virus.

* But Masks are next to impossible to put on with tiny babies, particularly in the 0 to 6 month age range. So other travel alternatives are used. One of the most invaluable accessories to take on the Newborn journey is the Baby Bedding Set with Mosquito Net and Pillow, for babies from 0 to 6 months (available on Amazon). This essential kit for baby travel protects the Baby from infections on the route to the destination and even between transfers from one mode of Travel to the next.

* Having chosen the destination and the duration of the trip, the budget, and a mode of Travel, new parents must reserve their journey in advance. But to do this, not just the tickets but certain travel documents must be readied first. Some very experienced and independent-minded travelers make their preparations. Still, new parents traveling out for the first time have reason to feel nervous about being accompanied by an under-eighteen-month-old baby. The more detailed the preparation, with carefully planned details, the better. It is often better to consult others, friends, and relations, who have faced similar problems in the past, and jot down their advice. Another excellent method is to go online and use social media to contact fellow travelers who have already faced similar situations. Advice from these guys can be precious for the New Parents, and straight from the horse's mouth.

* First, the Birth Certificate and the Passport must be ready and handy. Many countries make a Passport an essential travel document, even for babies. For this, copies of photos are necessary for advancement. Many of the formal rules of adult passport photos are exempted from babies because of common sense difficulties. It is next to impossible to get a baby to comply with the eyes open, mouth closed, and square shoulder posture mandatory for adult passport photos. The infant can simply be laid out on a white sheet at home, and the photo taken with a standard camera. Most up to date phones have premium cameras that are more than capable of taking this picture. Mobile images of reasonable resolution and sharpness are also welcome in most passport offices, allowing the Baby. But most passport offices insist on the submission of Birth Certificates along with the passport application for the Baby. While waiting for the Birth Certificate, which may take a few days, it is advisable to procure the necessary passport forms in advance and commence filling up the details. This saves time.

* Fahey is feeding the child while traveling can sometimes be problematic. The tender age is an important criterion. Breastfeeding solves many problems on the road. Not only does it provide comfort, but it also helps to relieve pressure in a baby's ears, when traveling in noisy transportation, or, in a flight, ascending or descending. It also helps reduce the paraphernalia to carry on journeys.

* In most cases, doctors recommend breastfeeding as it is safe. It also reduces sterilizing bottles and making formula lightens the load. Empty reusable bottles are allowed through security, and new parents must remember that empty reusable bottles are permitted through security. Also, almost every airport these days are equipped with refilling stations at regular intervals. These days, most touristy countries do not blink an eye when the mother breastfeeds the Baby openly.

* But it is best to be additionally prepared when traveling, with alternative feeds for the Baby, carry bags, etc.

* Baby also needs a car seat for Travel, and strollers are almost a necessity. A stroller is a smart idea because you can block germs from the airport or wherever you travel with a stroller cover.

* It is best to be a minimalist when traveling. After all, babies don't need so many things, and most countries or places on the first trip schedule have all facilities for little ones. Some reusable napkins, wipes, changing mat, bottom cream, and the wet bag can be packed in a string draw bag. Disposable napkins, wipes, and diapers may be better for trips as you don’t want to carry around…. Well you know.

* Similarly, other items can be packed immediately on the journey, but extras are unnecessary and only add to the load. But some items help the new parents to travel in comfort with their newborn and should be considered.

* The travel destination may be domestic or across international borders. For domestic Travel, various modes of travel options are open, depending on the distance to be covered, the roadways' condition, the railways, the waterways or the airways enroute, the time factor, etc. The parents need to evaluate the options carefully, focusing on the strength of the Baby. Cars are sometimes very convenient, giving a degree of independence to the travelers and allowing the passengers to stop and start at will. But car rides can be bumpy, with sudden braking and swerving, which may cause the Baby to feel nausea.

* Domestic Travel can also be by trains. These days, some long-distance trains are the epitome of luxurious Travel, with all pros and cons, particularly in the Air Conditioned (AC) pre-reserved classes. The comfort level is relatively high, and the atmosphere control especially suitable for Baby's breathing. The service in some trains approach that of the air flights and is complete with hosts and servers. But even the standard of the ordinary trains has improved vastly, as has the technology.

* Waterways are gaining in importance in Travel, and are sometimes the best option for a healthy, comfortable, relaxed form of Travel. Many of the most famous tourist spots worldwide are reachable by ship, and there are luxury Ocean Liners for crossing large tracts of sea and ocean. These Liners are fully equipped to handle almost all emergencies and have the latest comfort inbuilt.

* Commercial Air Flights have caused anxiety to plenty of passengers long before there was an epidemic. However, most airlines have taken proper precautions like sanitization and social distancing by not filling up the plain to satisfy the need for customer safety. Added to this status symbol, flying is very comfortable, perhaps the most comfortable, of all modes of travel over a distance. Parents, old or new, prefer this mode of Travel to any other, provided of course, it suits their pocket and serves the child's health. It takes the shortest time by far of any means of Travel, and the stress on the child is the least.

* The flights are generally much smoother than any other method. The atmospheric control of the pressurized cabins is the most stable, and except for taking off or landing, the Baby faces the least pressure or stress. The airlines have taken considerable measures to be offered for fliers to make sure their customers are safe and stay in business. They MUST be trying hard because if they don’t take the proper precautions of dealing with the corona virus, they would have an outbreak and be out of business. (to be blunt and obvious; airlines don’t want to lose customers or more money than they already have suffered.

* Fliers from other countries are regarded as the Guests of the Nation and treated accordingly. This courtesy extends to the youngest travelers, who are nursed, and cuddled to their heart's content. All facilities exist for the little one, even some which are not on the rule books. From prams (perambulators) to kids' soft toys to keep the tiny tot entertained throughout the flight, and bottle warmers, and so on, the hostesses are always at the side of the newborn, making sure that they are relaxed and happy. The new parents can relax on these flights.

I wrote a free eBook with more detail about safely traveling with baby during the Covid-19 epidemic. Get your copy now!

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