Ever since my son was born, I had confined myself to my home . I was breastfeeding him exclusively and apart from just trips to the store or church, I did not go very far from home. So, once he turned One and transitioned to cow’s milk my husband and I decided to go for a vacation to Minnesota . I needed this break and was really excited . Moments later I was overcome with anxiety . My son was just 13 months old and now apart from milk he was also having solids. I made all his food at home ( mostly Indian food) , my son (Eli) never liked Cerelac or any Gerber food , he however liked the food I prepared thankfully.
One side of me really wanted to go for this vacation and another side of me wanted to stay back home . I was just too scared to venture out with my baby. I was comfortable having him at home. And besides that the very thought of packing all the baby essentials wanted me to give up ( I am sure u mom’s know what I am talking about )
Thankfully , the practical and sane side of me won and as decided we were going for a vacation. Minnesota was a good 6 hour journey from Wisconsin- the place I stay. Before , I state across the solutions to my problems let me share the problems that were bombarding my head.
1) My son cannot stay still in his car seat for long journey’s . The max he can handle is a 1 hour journey. How in the world am I going to handle him for 6 hours ?
2) How am I going to cook food for Eli, if we are going to stay in a motel , hotel?
3) How am I going to manage being outdoors the whole day with Eli ?
4) My son is very very active , does not stay still for a second ? How will I handle his energy outside my home ?
The more I thought the more I panicked and before I could change my mind about the vacation I resorted to google to see if the internet had any solutions for me . Luckily, I came across this amazing wonderful site of Joanna Goddard where she gives us, new mom’s such amazing tips .Through her site I got to know some really valuable information and yes I did go for that vacation and this is how I coped and survived through my problems:
1) Stay : I came across this amazing site in Joanna Goddard’s article, its called homeaway , this site allows one to rent a whole house for any amount of time and the best part is that the house is fully furnished with a kitchen ( you have to buy your own grocery though ), backyard, wonderful bedrooms etc. I was just so grateful for this site. My husband and I could rent a nice big house in Minnesota through this site for a very reasonable price . I had my kitchen wherein I would cook food for Eli for the whole day and be out of the house without any guilt. Morever, we could put Eli to sleep in the bedroom and come watch some TV in the hall and relax. This would not have been possible in a Hotel 🙂 unless we put the volume on mute.
2) Travel Essentials : When traveling with a toddler apart from all the necessary essentials ( like diapers, wipes, extra pairs of clothes, bibs, socks , shoes, sippy cups, towels, napkins, toys, medicines (most imp ), stroller, car seat etc) please do not forget to carry a flask or thermos , we get nice small and decent size flasks at walmart. A Toddler needs at least 16-18 ounces a milk per day, and so on a journey you can just warm up some milk , put it in your flask and you are ready to go. When in Minnesota for our vacation we would leave home early in the morn and come back late at night only. Having the flask around was a big help, as I had my son’s milk ready for him with each meal. Apart from the thermos its important to carry along a small cooler bag, now this is something I didnt realize and just carried my son’s milk in a flask, this led to the milk getting spoilt. Please put the flask of milk in your cooler( with some ice packs around it ) so that the milk remains fresh. However, you can learn from my mistake and not commit the same. I know, its just too much luggage but these are some important essentials which make life easier when you are out the whole day.
3) Car Journey : My husband and I left home early in the morning and luckily my son fell asleep for the first two hours of the journey. We also had my husbands cousins traveling with us and they were a big help. I carried some toys for my son so that he can play with them during the journey and stay in his car seat. My husbands cousins switched places to sit beside my son so that they could entertain him and keep him engaged. My son loves the gummy bear songs, so my husband downloaded these videos and kept it on his phone and everytime eli got fussy we showed him the video. We would also take some breaks and stop over and let him run around and stretch his legs Another thing that I resorted to was music, Eli loves music, so we would play him some songs and that would calm him down and let him stay seated in his seat. All in all I somehow managed to contain him for 6 to 7 hours .
4) Food : We were on vacation for 3 days and so I had to prepare food for Eli for 3 days. I prefer giving him homemade food rather than buying outside , so these are some stuff that I carried along with me for the journey and since this was a car I could manage to carry all of it. I tried to keep it as simple as possible. (The stuff written below may be incomprehensible for readers who are non Indians , please excuse me for this ). It was necessary for me to carry all these ingredients because its difficult to find all this stuff in regular supermarkets and we didnt want to waste time searching for indian grocery stores in Minnesota.
- Little Salt
- Some sooji rava
- Lots of fruits
- Some ghee(you can also carry some butter )
- One can of milk
Sooji halwa, upma and maggi were easy recipes to make for my son and stayed fresh the whole day. Now when I think about it I realize these are also some easy indian food that I can carry for my toddler in the future
1) Dosa batter ( in the cooler ) ( my toddler likes dosa and sugar ) .
2) Moong dal kichdi (However, I have to carry my small pressure cooker for this , which is ok )
3) Semolina ( Sweet and salty semolina are also easy recipes to make and toddlers like them )
4) Chapathi dough ( you can just carry your belan here, in the U.S. we got some nice flat countertops so rolling the chapathi would not be a problem ).
It was necessary for me to prepare these solids for my son because if he didnt eat well , he wouldnt sleep very well at night. Once his tummy is full we both can sleep well.
I would also love to hear from you about what food you carry for your baby when you are staying out for long. I know some mom’s who when on a vacation prepare the following for their kids:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Bread Sandwiches
- Mac and Cheesse
- Chicken nuggets
- Soup etc
5) Eli’s energy : We Indians are not very used to having baby sitters, its a cultural norm for the baby to be with the mother or a close relative . Well, this may seem a bit novice again for non-Indians but yes this is the way I was brought up and this is ingrained in me. Luckily for me I had my husband’s cousins with us for the journey and they would handle Eli everytime I needed a break.
Before leaving for the vacation I was so worried as to how the trip would go. Am sure many mothers go through this feeling, I guess that’s quite normal. I wanted to be prepared for any kind of situation ( some of you may be wondering why I am freaking out so much but when you have a kid a lot of things change , we parents tend to become extra careful about the things we do ) and so I did a lot of research and though I found a lot of stuff I did not find anything in particular for Indian moms and so this is why I decided to come up with this post. I hope you find this information useful. Let me know what you do when you travel with your baby. I would love to hear from you. Your suggestion may be helpful to me so please do share.