15 March 2012, by Tan Yi Lin
We are going to Bali TOMORROW!
“We” as in me, Dan and baby Coco.
Yes, it will be Coco’s first flight at six — going on seven – months. I’m definitely looking forward to it, in a delirious mix of anticipation, apprehension, work stress, packing stress and lack of sleep.
Under the pretext of being hardworking and putting in a blog entry the day before we leave for Bali, I’m going to dedicate this post to the topic of preparing your baby for her first flight — so that I MYSELF can also double check that I am thoroughly prepared for my own trip! Tee hee hee.
So, here goes:
1) DO YOUR WARM-UP
We took baby steps in working up the confidence to introduce our tiny baby to overseas travel.
When Coco was 6 weeks old, we travelled south — to Sentosa – for a staycation over my birthday in October last year. We wanted to see how well we could survive being “away from home” with our baby. It was comforting to know that we could easily buy any items that we needed from Vivo City and that home was just a short drive away, should we need to abandon our “trip” due to any emergency (like a mummy meltdown.) We are happy to report that we didn’t forget to bring a single thing, neither of us had a meltdown and that it was the first time that Coco slept for 6 hours through the night (this girl REALLY knows how to enjoy life’s luxuries.)
In December, we sped across the waters to Sultan Shoal. Coco was a dream baby to travel with by sea because the bumpy ride across the waves sent her straight to sleep!
We started 2012 on a high note with another overseas trip in January, this time to Bintan island. Again, while adults all around us turned green with nausea, Coco not only managed to keep her milk in, but dropped off into deep slumber, thanks to the violent rocking of the boat. However, she proved to be quite a handful during our stay in Bintan due to a sudden bout of separation anxiety.
All these trips proved to be good training for us as new parents travelling with a baby.
2) DON’T BE OVERLY AMBITIOUS
So what made us pick Bali as the destination for Coco’s first flight?
Firstly, the company. We had friends who had plans to visit Bali and we asked to tag along on their trip! This is the same group of friends whom we hang out with pretty often and we went to Bintan together, so everybody is used to having Coco (and her occasional tantrum) around.
Secondly, the distance. We weren’t going to throw ourselves into the deep end by flying halfway around the world on our baby’s virgin flight. Bali is a relatively short two-hour odd flight from Singapore. So if Coco proves to be a handful on board the plan, it is in EVERYBODY’S interest (and relief) that we would be landing really soon.
3) CONSIDER THE WEATHER
We chose Bali for its similarity in climate to Singapore. Holidaying in tropical weather meant that we wouldn’t have to stress over getting sufficiently warm clothing for Coco and worrying about her catching a chill. A holiday wardrobe of tees, shorts and swimwear would also take up less luggage space, a key consideration given the insane amount of stuff to pack for Coco alone.
4) PICK A SIMILAR TIME ZONE
No, not Timezone as in the chain of video game arcades. Bali is in the same time zone as Singapore, which means that Coco won’t be subjected to too drastic a change in her daily routine while on vacation.
5) MANAGE TRAVEL COST & DURATION
Short-haul trips generally cost less. Length of stay is correspondingly shorter too because you’re not out to maximise the time and money that you have invested in flying long-haul to some faraway destination. If Coco drives us nuts during the trip, we can seek comfort in the fact that we’ll be home in four days. That thought alone may be all we need to retain our sanity throughout Bali. Plus, if the trip gets screwed up for any reason, the impact on our pockets for having “wasted” our short vacation is less painful than say, spending a two-week long holiday stuck indoors with a cranky baby.
6) CHOICE OF AIRLINE
Travelling with infant in tow means dragging along a copious amount of barang barang. We chose to travel on a full-service airline instead of a low cost carrier so that we wouldn’t have to worry about purchasing extra baggage allowance or paying more for pre-assigned seats and a bassinet seat for Coco.
7) MILK, SNACKS, TOYS
In the above order of importance. Milk, in addition to being Coco’s staple food, will help prevent pressure from building up in a baby’s ears when she is fed during the flight take-off and landing, which in turn will prevent pain and discomfort during the course of the flight. Snacks, at this stage, are more for her entertainment rather than curbing hunger. A hard teething rusk or a handful of tiny star-shaped puffs can sustain her deep interest for a good 30 minutes. We’re hoping that Coco will be intrigued by her new environment on board the plane and will be content to touch just about EVERYTHING within her reach and people-watch an entire plane of passengers. If that fails, out come the toys. We’re leaving her books at home for now because all she wants to do when we read to her is to slam the book shut and chew on the front cover. (I suspect that when she starts going to school and telling her teacher that the dog ate her homework – she’s lying. Because she’d probably eat it first. Plus, we don’t have a dog.)
8) BABY-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION
We will be sharing a three-bedroom pool villa with two other couples and another infant. Staying in self-contained family accommodation means that we can enjoy the convenience of having kitchen facilities on hand, should we need to whip up any home-cooked meals for the babies — and even for ourselves if the kids exhaust us to the point of us not wanting to go out. Plus, we’ll be staying put in one resort, so we will only need to unpack once and “set up camp” for the next four days.
9) FREE & EASY ITINERARY
With the exception of a couple of dinner reservations at acclaimed restaurants in Seminyak, we haven’t planned for or made advanced bookings for any other activities during the trip. The whole point of choosing to stay in a private pool villa was to enjoy the facilities provided (namely the private pool) and leisurely pace of life in Bali. It’s certainly a less stressful arrangement for new parents this way without having to worry about missing any scheduled activities due to a hiccup in the baby’s routine.
10) THE PACKING LIST
Finally, this is the most useful part of this entry — perhaps more so for me than for my readers, simply because we are leaving the house at 6.30am TOMORROW and this is the last chance I have to run out and buy anything that I might have missed getting earlier on!
This is what I have chosen to pack for the trip:
– A plethora of rompers, separates and dresses
– Cardigan and long sleeved tops for air-conditioned indoors areas
– Sleep suits
– Socks and shoes
– Multi-purpose muslin cloths
– Laundry detergent
2. Bath & toiletries
– Head-to-toe body wash
– Body lotion
– Diaper cream
– Cream for skin irritations
– “ruyi” tummy oil
– Hooded towel
– Nail clipper
– Cotton squares & buds
– Wet wipes
3. Swimwear & accessories
– Swim diapers (so that we don’t have to struggle to get Coco into cold damp swimmers should we decide to swim more than once a day)
– Hooded robe
– Floppy hat
– Float & pump
4. Disposable diapers
– Including portable “jigsaw” foam playmat
6. Food (in addition to what she will eat with us at the dinner table) & Feeding Accessories
– Milk formula (yes, we’ve started weaning — more on that in a later post)
– Snacks (e.g. Heinz baby biscuits, teething rusks, Gerbers puffs, Heinz fruit jelly)
– Instant potato mash (as a temporary replacement for cooked rice porridge)
– Drinking bottles
– Feeding spoon
– Bottle detergent
7. Medication (which we hopefully won’t have to use)
– Liquid paracetamol
– Insect repellent/ mosquito patch
– Fever patch
– Antiseptic swabs
– Saline drops for stuffy nose
8. Dan & Yi Lin’s stuff (yes, our stuff is now just ONE item under the packing list)
In addition to our hand luggage, we’re going to check-in two large suitcases: one for clothing and the other for food and toys.
The list is not conclusive, so please feel free to highlight anything that I might have left out.
Erm, tell me by tonight, can?
WISH US LUCK!