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Travel with your baby

Travel with your baby

When you were a carefree couple, holidays and weekends needed little more planning than throwing a bag into the back of the car. Add a baby to the mix and things suddenly seem a lot more complicated. But having a baby on board need not cramp your travelling style. However, a little preparation goes a long way. Wise packing, taking the right stuff, and above all, making sure your baby is fed, warm and comfortable will mean he probably wont be troubled by trips ??whether they're close to home, or abroad. Here's all the information you need for happy holidays.

Passports

For Singaporean kids all the requirement and eligibility is highlighted very well in the ICA website. You may visit the site to see how to proceed. Once you have a birth certificate you may apply online. Its best to review the ICA Site and make informed decisions.

If the nationality of your baby is not Singapore, you may visit or contact the respective embassies to know the process of application. You may visit this site as a guide to embassy contacts or research?yourself. Embassy Guide.

TIP: Follow the rules about the photograph to the absolute letter. You'll get through quite a few pound coins in the photo booth before you get a photo that ticks all the boxes, but if it's not absolutely perfect, it will be rejected by the authorities. A better alternative to a photo booth is having your baby's picture taken at a high-street photo development store. They'll use a digital camera and will keep going until they get a suitable shot.

Packing

At some point nearly all parents wonder why their tiny baby needs more luggage than the average WAG. But most of us pack too much. Of course you need the essentials ??nappies, wipes, formula milk and bottles if you're not breastfeeding, plus clothes. But unless you are heading for Outer Mongolia, you will find shops selling all these things. And a few simple steps can help you lighten your load.

  • Check ahead too to see if your accommodation has a washing machine, to cut down on clothes.
  • Many hotels and resorts now offer bottle warmers and sterilisers. If not, sterilising fluid or tablets are easier to pack than your giant steam steriliser.
  • Check your hotel or holiday home has a cot, and if in doubt, take along a lightweight travel cot that meets modern safety standards (it's a worthwhile investment as it doubles up as a spare bed when baby visitors come to stay, or need a snooze during daytime visits).
  • If your baby is over three months, an umbrella-folding stroller (with lie back facility for naps) is better than a bulky pushchair. Even older toddlers need a stroller, as they won't like endless sightseeing or late dinners without somewhere to nap. However, tiny babies should be able to lie flat until they're three months old ??so take a suitable pushchair.
  • Take just a couple of favourite toys, such as the bear they always sleep with, a few fabric books and stacking beakers etc...

In the car

  • Appropriate child seats are essential. If you are hiring a car abroad, most rental firms now offer them, but often say they can't guarantee one so you may prefer to take your own. The car-rental seat may also be of dubious quality.
  • Make car journeys more fun by taking along nursery rhyme and story tapes. Or just sing yourself!
  • Check out special activity toys specially made for use in cars, which will keep bigger babies entertained.
  • For older babies and children, snacks such as raisins, rice cakes, biscuits and grapes can be a lifesaver for the journey, providing food and entertainment in one. But do make sure you park for a while when your baby snacks, just in case of choking.

Travelling by plane

  • Even tiny babies can fly, though most airlines wont accept babies less than a week old.
  • If you're going somewhere exotic - especially if you're going somewhere where vaccinations are needed - ask your GP well before you go about cover for your baby.
  • For the flight, take along a dummy or a bottle, or encourage your baby to breastfeed during take-off and landing to avoid the pressure build-up that leads to painful little ears.
  • Let him drink whenever he wants during the flight as babies can become dehydrated in the dry cabin air more quickly than adults.
  • Most airlines allow you to keep your pushchair until you board the plane, so you can keep it with you for those inevitable delays (and mile long walks to the gate).
  • If you have booked a seat for your baby you will usually be allowed to take on your car seat too. But check just before you fly to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • A few new small toys will help stave off boredom. Bring them out one at a time.
  • Long-haul flights can be pretty harrowing with babies and small children, but don't worry too much about jet lag. Small babies' rhythms are much more adaptable than adults'. Adjust immediately to the new time zone, and try to put your baby to bed at your destination at roughly the same time as you do at home, keeping the bedtime routine as similar as possible.

Mums' tips

  • 'I always take sachets of Calpol or Nurofen for Children with us when we travel. You never know when a tooth might make an appearance.'
  • 'Plan lots of stops when on long car journeys. Babies need to feed and get out of their car seats, older children need to use the loo and let off steam. We always plan a decent lunch break for ourselves to keep sane.'
  • 'Wipes are essential. Not just for nappy changes, but for sticky hands and faces too. They even clean upholstery and clothes.'
  • Let him drink whenever he wants during the flight as babies can become dehydrated in the dry cabin air more quickly than adults.
  • Most airlines allow you to keep your pushchair until you board the plane, so you can keep it with you for those inevitable delays (and mile long walks to the gate).
  • If you have booked a seat for your baby you will usually be allowed to take on your car seat too. But check just before you fly to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • A few new small toys will help stave off boredom. Bring them out one at a time.
  • Long-haul flights can be pretty harrowing with babies and small children, but don't worry too much about jet lag. Small babies' rhythms are much more adaptable than adults'. Adjust immediately to the new time zone, and try to put your baby to bed at your destination at roughly the same time as you do at home, keeping the bedtime routine as similar as possible.