The first trip with Nova was always going to be a big deal. I’d imagined it pretty much since the day I had to stop travelling late into my pregnancy. I’d become all glassy eyed at the thought of showing him my world of adventure. Despite all of that it didn’t mean that I wasn’t a little bit nervous about it. After all I am a new mama.
During these last two months I’ve somehow learnt how to put a nappy on a baby – I’m pretty quick at it now (you have to be with a boy!). I’ve managed to figure out the trick to whipping a baby vest off in no time at all (pull it downwards rather than upwards, using the strange shoulder edges). I’ve worked out what my little man’s cries and coos all mean. I can soothe him in an instant and I’m pretty much the funniest comedian ever (aside from daddy), making him burst into a heart-warming gurgle in no time at all.
First Time Nerves
Since travelling round the world in 2007, I’ve continued to explore new countries and cities clocking up a fair few since those backpacker days. Obviously my love for travel has grown enormously, leading to the creation of this very blog. And I spose as a travel blogger I often feel like I’m supposed to have my stuff together and that I shouldn’t feel apprehensive about travelling.
The fact is I’m just like you though. I have emotions and feelings, and that includes feeling nervous about the unknown.
Before I left for my RTW trip I was giddy with excitement, but there was still a part of me that worried about how I’d know how to be backpacker. How would I fit six months’ worth of clothes into a tiny backpack? How would I then carry all of those belongings on my own? How would I carry it up ten flights of stairs to my hostel room? How would I manage to share a dorm room with ten other people? The list goes on.
But just like most stuff in life, you just get on with it and end up having the absolute best time. Travelling with Nova was no exception.
As it was Nova’s first trip Jay was keen to be a part of it too. To be honest this massively helped me, as it was a bit of extra reassurance that if Nova had a bad day or there was something I hadn’t planned for there would be someone to help out. Nova started teething this weekend so I was definitely relieved he was around to help! And yes, my baby seems to be doing everything way quicker than expected!
We took advantage of flying with KLM as they fly to Amsterdam from Birmingham airport, which is just an hour’s drive from home. We had debated booking an afternoon flight, but went with a morning one in the end. We figured he’d sleep in the car on the way up anyway (as cars have that magical effect on babies!), so it wouldn’t matter to him what time we left. Plus, he’s not really a morning person. He prefers to get up late and to then nap. Oh the life of a baby!
We added an extra hour to what we’d normally allow for check-in just in case he decided he wanted a long feed or needed a nappy change. Luckily he didn’t really bother with either.
I was super excited during the drive up to the airport, but as soon as we stepped inside to that familiar hub I suddenly had a fleeting moment of doubt. I wasn’t expecting it, but looking down at my little boy I worried if I was being completely selfish by taking him out of the country so young and I felt hugely protective of him, like I should wrap him up in cotton wool away from the world. Then he gazed up at me with a big, wide grin and those niggling doubts washed away.
The flight itself was short at not even an hour long. This was one of the main pulls when deciding where to go for Nova’s first trip. The KLM staff were great, cooing over him and letting us board first so that we could get settled in. Despite the short flight we were treated to complimentary drinks and cake. Certainly beats a budget airline and the sugar hit was definitely appreciated after the early alarm clock!
I was most nervous for the take-off and landing as everyone had told me that’s when he would kick off (due to the cabin pressure). The guy next to me even warned me to get ready for the cries. Everything I’d read beforehand said that I should feed him during the take-off and landing to prevent it. I wasn’t able to as I was told he had to wear his seatbelt and face forwards. I was fully expecting the cries, but Nova rebelled. He smiled his way through the whole flight. Phew!
Once we were in the air he just wanted to stand on my lap, gawking at everyone else, flashing his biggest smiles. It was so cute to watch.
On the flight home it was a different story. Nova started teething over the weekend, so we had an escapade trying to buy the infamous Sophie the Giraffe (a teething toy that’s supposed to work wonders). We eventually found one and to cut a long story short ended up leaving it in its shiny box on the train on the way back to the airport.
Luckily this time round I was able to feed him on the plane and he basically fed comforted himself the whole way. It kept him quiet so I went with it!
As we were going to Den Bosch we didn’t have to bother with a car seat or travel system (that’s a pram/stroller type thing for you non-parent readers!) as we wouldn’t be using taxis. Travelling to Den Bosch involved flying to Amsterdam, then catching a train from the airport. Once in Den Bosch everything was walkable. This meant that we could just travel with our sling.
We have the Hana Baby Wrap in an olive green colour. It’s made of a bamboo fabric which means it’s super soft. Nova happily snuggles down in it and the rocking motion from walking sends him to sleep. It’s ideal for times when you want to have use of both of your arms and especially when you want to whizz through airport security.
The Overnight Stay
We took our Nuna SENA travel cot with us and stayed in a cute apartment (Bossche Suites). We ended up in the loft room and Nova loved staring up at the beams. We were out all day and went out for dinner with our friends, so by the time we got back he was ready for bed.
We don’t have a strict baby routine and instead, we’re what you’d call baby-led. He seems to have a pretty standard pattern anyway so it works for all of us. Despite being in a new place and different bed, he drifted off in his cot and slept the whole night through.
Travelling with a Baby
I realise this is a long post and obviously I wanted to capture this milestone, but what I wanted to share is that travelling with a baby (even one as young as two months old) is possible and more than that, fun and enjoyable. We all had such a great time and loved it. I knew I missed travelling, but it wasn’t until we were wandering round an unfamiliar city, hearing another language and seeing new foods that it hit me just how much I’d missed it.
If I’d have listened to all the people who told me it would be a nightmare travelling with a baby we never would have gone. I’m by no means an expert and Nova’s behaviour could well have been a fluke, but I’d definitely recommend giving it a go.
Personally, I think Nova has embraced his adventurous spirit and is born to be a traveller, but then I guess I would say that! X