Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Have Baby... Have Carrier... Will Travel!

Its vacation season so we asked our seasoned OBG travelers to write about their babywearing adventures. Whether your traveling to a family resort, taking a European city break or roughing it back pack style in a developing country we have a babywearing travel story for you!

by Rebecca Hickman

Both my parents and my in-laws live a plane flight away. So it’s not surprising that by 19 months, my son Gavin has been on over a dozen flights. I’ve flown the majority solo, thankfully all of them direct flights. Both my husband, Ian, and I have been on a few together, and Ian recently managed a challenging solo flight. The stroller has stayed in the garage each time we’ve flown.

What carriers work for navigating an airport and on an airplane? How do I carry the rest of my stuff? On vacation? I’ve seen all of these questions come up multiple times on the Ottawa Babywearing Group page in the past year. I’ve found that what carrier works has changed since Gavin was an infant. A short wrap was our best choice then. We didn’t have a soft structured carrier, so the wrap was versatile for front or  back carries and took up very little space. Now that he’s walking and needs some time to run around before getting on the plane, our wrap conversion ring sling is my choice if I’m flying on my own. Our Manduca works best if both of us are flying, or for Ian on his own. On our most recent flight, having only  a carrier and no stroller let us run for the inter-terminal bus without having to wait for an elevator, and bypass the long line of people waiting for gate-checked bags and strollers when we arrived in Ottawa on a very small plane.

Our first few flights everything got crammed into an ultimately overloaded messenger bag. Now, we generally use a backpack as a diaper bag and for travel. I also pack as much as possible in our checked bags and leave my laptop at home for short trips. Using the ring sling when I’m on my own lets me wear the backback and still have both hands free to deal with boarding passes, ID, and buying water for the plane.  Sometimes I need more than just the one bag, usually for winter jackets and mitts in the winter since I can’t risk arriving in Winnipeg in January without them! Putting them in a large reusable shopping bag that I can sling over my shoulder keeps them together without extra bulk.

Anyone with a varied babywearing stash knows how difficult it is to pare things down for a trip. Last summer we spent three weeks at my in-laws in Florida and a variety of carriers was definitely useful since Gavin was only 7 months and needed to be worn or in the stroller my mother-in-law bought whenever we were out. On our most recent visit he was 18 months and very mobile. I brought a size 5 woven wrap, wrap conversion ring sling and Manduca, but the Manduca got most of the use and I think we would have been fine with just that. Being able to babywear while traveling sometimes requires some creative solutions, but I never regret not bringing a stroller.

by Tami Grosset

My husband and I are both British and all our family live in Europe. Traveling long haul is a must and can involve me traveling with two small children alone. We like to bring our own car seats when we travel, based on the recommendation of car seat safety experts and because we feel confident fitting our seats into pretty much any car. The upshot of this is that there is quite a lot to lug through airports; our carry on bags, my 2 year old daughters carry on, my 5 year old son's carry on and a car seat! If it wasn't for a few simple and clever items we would be lost! 

When we visited London UK recently this is how we did it;

*my son and daughter each had a small back pack in which we stashed a small snack, water bottle, book and small toy. 

*my son brought with him his Trunki, in which he stowed more toys, games and books. (Our outward journey was a night flight so these were untouched and ready to use for our return two weeks later, which was an 8 hour through the day flight!) The Trunki is an excellent traveling tool for younger kids. They can ride it like a scooter or sit on it and be pulled along and its the perfect carry on size!

*at our destination we had a Trunki Boostapak for Rory to use in our hire car. Its not legal in Canada as it doesn't have a Transport Canada sticker but it was perfect for our trip and will be used for many more future European trips. The Boostapak is a back pack that doubles as a booster seat- ideal for Rory's age and stage.

*we hired a car seat trolley from Belly Laughs for our trip which made lugging the car seat about a moot point. We put our own carry on bags in the car seat and pushed it about, like a stroller. We got the seat onto the plane easily and the trolley easily stowed in the overhead bins.

*I back packed Rose in our Ergo through the airport and had a ring sling in my bag in case we felt it more convenient once on the plane, but we never needed it. Before entering the plane I moved Rose to my front so she would be in the right position for me to sit down. She sat with me until it was time to taxi to the runway and then she was buckled into her car seat. Once the seat belt sign was switched off and she'd clearly had enough I popped her back into the Ergo on my front, nursed her and bopped up and down in the aisle until she was sleeping soundly!

*in my stowed baggage I packed my woven wrap and my WCMT. I used all our carriers at some point during our visit, at least once!

Very often when flying with a baby in a carrier the airline staff do not know about their policy regarding the use of carriers in-flight. Here is the policy on baby carriers as set out by Transport Canada;

'Infant carrier: these typically consist of a pouch, which holds the infant close to the wearer’s body. Examples of infant carriers include those marketed under the brand names BabyHawk, BabyBj√∂rn, Ergo, Kelty and Snugli. These carriers and other similar-type carriers are not approved for use as a restraint system in an aircraft and may not be used during movement of the aircraft on the surface, takeoff, landing or at any time the safety belt sign is illuminated. Many infant carriers also include a caution to parents that the carrier is not meant for holding infants in motor vehicles and should not be used in place of a car seat that meets FMVSS.' 

This policy appears in the Transport Canada section on in-flight infant restraints which includes car seats and booster seats and is written to reflect the use of an infant carrier as a safety restraint at take off and landing, rather than as a parenting tool to use during the flight when the seat belt light is switched off. This policy does not say that baby carriers cannot be used outside of take off, landing or in the event of the seat belt sign being on. It could be open to interpretation and if your flight crew are insisting you don't use your carrier then you have to agree with them. That said, I've always found it useful to carry a copy of the policy with me and have on occasion managed to change the opinion of the flight attendant after a polite discussion regarding the wording and intent of this policy. In these situations its prudent to be delicately diplomatic... these professionals can ask you to leave the plane if they think it necessary. Always bow to their better judgement, even when their judgement is clearly not better and obviously wrong!!

The first time I traveled with a baby I looked for online advice about what I would need to pack in my carry on and how I could manage. In my research I stumbled upon this awesome site. They have a great number of fabulous little tips and tricks on how to survive almost any trip with your baby as well as some great reviews on 'baby friendly' destinations. My favourite tip for a long haul trip, other than bringing a carrier, is packing a 'Lucky Dip' bag of activities. I packed 2 bags (one for each child) in the Trunki that had lots of little activities and books that would keep them each entertained. Each item was individually wrapped- the unwrapping takes time in itself! Whenever one of them started to show signs of boredom we would bring out the Luck Dip bag and unwrap a new toy, book or activity. The items were all found at Dollarama or the supermarket, or were home made. Stickers with some plain paper folded and stapled into a book became a fun sticker book. A small box of crayons can be split between two children easily to save on costs. A small pot or two of Playdough entertained our 2 year old for hours and wasn't nearly as messy as you might imagine! (And besides when flying long haul cleaning up is not my job!!) A small plastic chalk board and a stick of chalk were great dollar store finds! We also brought a couple of well loved, time tested favourite books and one new book each. And when all else fails, an iPad or smart phone with good apps usually win the day!

Happy traveling!

by Carolyn Telewiak

I have always loved traveling and having children has definitely changed how we travel but it hasn't stopped us!  Babywearing has been the only way we have had the freedom to travel and explore.  

First off I couldn't fathom flying without babywearing.  Over time we have learned how to have successful trips but its been a learning curve!  We have taken approximately 10 round trip flying adventures with our little guys.  We have gone on two cruises, two flying/camping adventures, and visited friends & family (Vancouver & Calgary).  We have been able to take the little guys to dinner while sleeping, we’ve hiked to remote beaches, navigated through busy markets, they’ve slept through New Year’s celebrations, we’ve taken salsa classes, and have generally explored!
This is us arriving in St. John’s US Virgin Islands after 2 flights, 1 bus, 1 ferry (baby wearing the whole way). And getting ready to bring our stuff to the campground to set up!
Enjoying an island cocktail while Finley (18months) sleeps on my back. Life is good!
Taking a boat excursion with Corin at 7 months (who is now 5) on a family Caribbean cruise.
Hiking in Banff. Finley (4 months) nice and cozy sleeping in the moby while I was wearing my ‘baby wearing winter coat”.

You will note I have no photos of my solo air travel trips with one or both boys.  These trips were purely about surviving until reaching the destination where family would thankfully meet us.  One of the first solo trips was when I was flying alone with our newborn Finley (3 weeks old) and Corin (3 years old) when moving to Calgary for the year.  Our trip was a test of patience.  With Finley in the Moby Wrap and Corin walking we successfully made it through security, bathroom stop, diaper change, and to the gate.  A few minutes before we were due to board they announced that there would be a five minute delay.  Corin was getting tired of waiting and Finley was hungry but we held on as we were getting on the plane so soon!  After about 6 more of these 5 minute delays I was at my wits end; Corin was trying to run around and Finley was now starving!  Then the announcement of all announcements - "the plane was going to be delayed for 5 hours"!!!!!  I started crying, plopped myself down onto a chair, nursed Finley and called my parents to the rescue.  We made it through and after many of the solo trips back and forth with the boys I have learned a lot!   From our experience paying attention to the below tips are key for successful flying in particular #7!

My tips for flying:
  1. Wear your little ones!  You mostly likely will have to take off the carrier through security, although you're more likely be allowed to leave it on with a little sleeping baby in a wrap.  It is easy to get frustrated going through security with the little ones but you'll get through it and the officers are just doing their job.  The other times you will have to remove the little ones from your carrier is during takeoff and landing (flight attendants are pretty adamant about this law so most likely you will have to remove them).  I would recommend not removing them until just before you take off as sometimes there are delays. The longer you can keep them happy in the carrier the better.  We have found that a carrier with pockets is significantly more convenient for airplane travel as it can hold passports and tickets in a convenient safe location (our new Onya carrier was fantastic for this).
  2. Arrive at the airport early.  The last thing you want to do is try to rush the little ones through an already exciting/tiring adventure.  We find that children walk slowly (or quickly in the wrong direction), need many bathroom and diaper changes stops, do not under any circumstances want to rush and want to watch the planes, snack, get on the plane first and socialize.
  3. Airline employees are your allies, be nice, they can make your journey significantly more relaxing! 
  4. Pack carry on items as lightly as possible (check luggage, baby equipment, strollers, coats).  This gives you flexibility in the airport and on the plane. Be sure to pack full change of outfits for all traveling children, spills and accidents can happen and the trip is not going to be fun for anyone.  Snacks, surprise toys/coloring books, empty water bottles, headphones, dvd players are always on our packing lists.
  5. Forget your usual rules!  Encourage TV watching, video game playing, feeding treats, encourage naps out of schedule!  Remember the happier your little ones are the happier everyone is.  Additionally don't assume that there will be a working TV system to amuse older children, a backup tablet, phone, or DVD player is a life saver.
  6. Book seats in advance.  Most airlines appear to have similar seating policies although it is always good to call in advance to find out the details.  You can usually score an empty seat while traveling with little ones.  First when checking in (24 hours in advance) try to choose seats so that there is an empty seat in the middle of your group/family.  The odds are this seat will be one the of the last seats chosen by others as it is neither an isle nor window.  When you get the airport, nice and early, kindly ask if it is possible to put a "courtesy hold" on the empty seat - most airlines will do this (except Air Canada).  A courtesy hold is used to hold that seat empty until all other seats on the plane are full, if there is an empty seat on the plane you will get it and you can use this space to install your child’s car seat or just as extra space for games and books etc. If you can't put a hold on the seat you can still try the above strategy, anyone who ends up in between you and your family will either ask to be moved or move to allow your family to be together.
  7. Most importantly have a glass of wine/beer at your destination to celebrate your successful flight, you deserve it!

by Siobhan Skehan Riff

A different kind of travel?

The kind where you squeeze onto a 16-seater bus along with 37 other people and 20 chickens for a 5 hour journey that, 12 hours later, finally dumps you in the seediest part of town in the dark, and you still need to find somewhere to sleep. 

During the decade after I finished high school this was what I did whenever I could. I quickly learned that the best experiences happen when things don’t go to plan, or even better, when there is NO plan. I went looking for those experiences, in about twenty countries across four continents. All the while rather haughtily calling myself a traveler as opposed to a tourist.

Then at 27 I fell in love with a man who, thankfully, wanted babies as much as me AND shared my love of travel. We also shared a determination to ignore the prophecies of others who warned “you won’t be able to do that when you have children” and “you’d better enjoy it while you can.” We just laughed politely and adopted a sort of motto… kids won’t stop us! 

When I came home from my honeymoon pregnant, I did briefly wonder if that was our last “proper” trip for at least 20 years, but quickly turned that thought around. We just had to work out how to add a kid into the mix. Babywearing was the answer!

Our longer trips since our children came along have been three weeks traveling around Cuba by public bus, two road trips in Europe and a wild month in West Africa traveling overland towards Timbuktu. This fall we may head to Central America with our three children aged 6, 4 and 6 months.
Babywearing makes it possible! A stroller just is not an option if you want to explore the vibrant but bumpy and dirty streets of an African city, or climb up rugged paths in search of ruins, or wade along streams looking for waterfalls.  Not to mention keeping your babe safe as you wander through a crowded marketplace or squash your family onto a packed ferry. 

Clockwise from top left: we explored Djenne’s market with T in a mei tai, hiking in Dogon country in Mali, crossing the Niger on an overcrowded ferry, T doing an impression of a local baby.

Our trusty carrier that we never leave home without is a mei tai, and this has been accompanied at different times by an Ergo, another SSC (made by a WAHM and sold through ETSY) and a reasonably ergonomic hiking pack of Australian origin that managed to carry a toddler as well as all the clothes, diapers and other miscellaneous items two children under three require during the hottest and wettest season in Mali. The other adult carried a backpack with a baby on the front. Packing light is essential! 

Clockwise from top left: Dad with B in mei tai with a sarong for sun protection, early politics lessons-B with Che, self portrait while hiking to a waterfall in Corsica (nose picking was a surprise), exploring the Iles Lavezzi in the Mediterranean.

We like our lightweight and light coloured mei tai best- it lets air circulate better to keep us both cool and it is easily handwashed and air dried. With a smaller baby I often tie a small scarf on in various positions for sun protection. We’ve also used a sarong and a scarf at various times to wrap a baby, strap them to a restaurant seat or tie them to an adult in a busy airport. 

In much of the developing world children are doted upon in a way that can seem a little alien to many raised in our culture. I find it refreshing to travel in places where the village really does raise the child, where a seated stranger will wordlessly grab and then gently cradle your child on their lap while you stand nearby on a crowded bus. In those places we find that the kids are an awesome icebreaker and can lead to all sorts of offers of help and hospitality. Just be prepared to untie and hand over the baby for cuddles!

But sometimes our babies need a bit of a rest from all that attention and the hot and dusty travel, and snuggling up on a parent’s chest is right where they need to be. Their home away from home.
Of course things change. We don’t usually hang on the OUTSIDE of moving trains these days, we travel more slowly and often spend multiple nights in one spot, we splash out on private taxis and we try not to arrive in a strange town at night without a room booking. But for the most part we are still quite adventurous. Adding kids adds risks, but for us the benefits of getting out and seeing the world far outweigh those risks. I could write reams more just on that! But this is the starting point: it’s babywearing that opens up the possibilities.

Kids haven’t stopped us, in fact they make it even more of an adventure!

by Jennifer MacNeil

My son has done his fair share of travel with us; if we talk only about flights for a minute, he has done a total of 5 cross-country round-trip flights, and 2 international round-trip flights from Ottawa to Tokyo and from Tokyo to Beijing (the trip from Tokyo to Beijing was just the two of us). Up next is another flight from Ottawa to Tokyo in just two weeks, but this time it’s only a one-way ticket!

This kid gets around: Red Point Provincial Park in PEI and Botanical Beach on Vancouver Island, BC. To be fair, our trip to PEI was a bike tour, so I guess we could count the bike trailer as closer to a stroller than a baby carrier. Since we biked everywhere, we didn’t wrap a lot but we did use the wrap on the rare occasions that we weren’t biking.

How do you wrangle a baby through 16 hours of airports, 5 weeks of sightseeing, a dozen long-distance train rides with luggage, and countless subway transfers? You leave the stroller at home! Not only is it manageable to ditch the stroller, it makes your life easier.

Transit is so much simpler when you don’t have to keep your eye out for the wheelchair car or the elevator, and you don’t have to worry about wrestling with and finding somewhere to stash the stroller. Even a small umbrella stroller is unwelcome on a crowded subway.

Last November, our family went to Japan for 5 weeks while my husband did some immersion language training for his new job, which he starts in Tokyo in two weeks. While my husband was in class in Tokyo, my son and I had a blast touring solo around Tokyo, Nagano, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Nara and a side trip to visit friends in Beijing. As a family we also went to Morioka (to visit old friends), Hakone, and Kyoto. From my back, my son had his first glimpse of the city that will soon be his home, visited spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites and we even walked over hot coals together in a fire-crossing ceremony in Miyajima!

Hakone: Taking a photo of some other tourists while babywearing in Owakudani, near Hakone—to get to this particular destination, you must take a local mountain train, a jam-packed cable car and a funicular. How the heck would someone even get there with a stroller?

I’ll break down how it worked for us. The keys to remember are 1) pick a carrier that you are confident using that is comfortable to wear; 2) get a diaper bag that works for your needs; 3) pack light!

1) The Baby Carrier:
From newborn to 15 months I nearly exclusively used gauze wraps to carry my son, but at around 20lbs he started to get a little too heavy for it. At 14 months I started shopping around for a carrier that would work well for us, keeping our then upcoming trip to Japan in mind. I was used to wrapping with long wraps, but worried that it would be a bad choice for sightseeing. I went to MEC and tried on every framed pack carrier they had. Twice. Don’t waste your time, they are not built for people shorter than 5’2”. I tried out all the SSCs (Soft-Structured Carriers) and Mei Tai carriers they had at Extraordinary Baby Shoppe. They were all either too big for me or didn’t exceed my gauze wrap in comfort. I did a lot of research online and a few websites suggested looking for a local babywearing group to try carriers and wraps. So I joined the Ottawa Babywearing Group and went to a meetup where I tried a woven wrap for the first time. Finally something that worked! I was delighted, and as soon as I got home I bought a size 6 Girasol wrap from The Babywearing Swap facebook group.

If you are wrapping on your trip, long tails matter less than you might think—sightseeing is different than getting out of your car in a slushy grocery store parking lot and having to deal with long tails there. If you have a pre-walker, you will probably be carrying them the whole time you are outside, especially in inclement weather, so you most likely won’t run into a situation where you have to wrap them outside in yuck. If you have a walker who needs some time out of the carrier, you can always duck into a shop to re-insert them. Although you may have a special carrier that you LOVE, don’t bring it if it needs special care! Bring things that you are comfortable getting dusty, and carriers that can be put in the wash if they get food (or whatever’s coming out of your baby at the time) on it. Once you have an older toddler who wants to do a lot of walking, it’s great to have something that can easily be thrown in the bag and taken out when needed. A braided or bunched up wrap is almost always stashed in my bag; I feel like an incognito babywearer sometimes as my son spends more and more time walking at our destinations lately.

Babywearing to the rescue once again: on our most recent trip to BC, we took a tour through the Columbia Brewery in Creston. Don’t even think about attempting factory tours without a decent carrier, as there are stairs and catwalks and grates all over the place. Even an independent walker is best popped into a carrier in an unsafe environment.

2) The Diaper Bag:
A few weeks before we left Ottawa, I spent several long walks testing out which bag to bring with us as a diaper bag. Finding a bag that works for you is really one of the keys to success, especially if you will the one to carry it and don’t have a travelling companion to share the load. My son was around 17 months old at the time, so most of the time he was wrapped on my back, and I needed a bag that I could carry on my front. Unsuccessful diaper bag candidates included: canvas rucksack that is our regular diaper bag, real backpack with padded straps and sternum strap, open-topped shoulder bag, and a reusable grocery bag. I found that when front-wearing the backpacks, the shoulder straps slipped down uncomfortably, and they were very bulky in front, which blocked my view of the street below me. Being able to see where you’re stepping is a big bonus when you are walking on uneven ground. The shoulder bag slipped too, and I needed a hand to hold it up on my shoulder. It also created an uneven load on my body, which starts to hurt before the day is over.

The winner for solo travel was a specialty cycling bag that my SIL gave me as a hand-me-down to use when we were travelling on our honeymoon. It’s a simple bag with a cross-body shoulder strap AND a waist strap to keep the bag from sliding to your front while cycling. It’s a pretty awesome bag and I used it all the time before my son was born. I can wear it on my front or back depending on where I’m carrying him, and I can adjust the straps so that the majority of the weight is on the waist strap so my shoulders don’t hurt (Note: I just used it the other day for an Ottawa sightseeing day, and skipped the shoulder strap altogether—it turned into a giant fanny pack). It was just big enough to hold 3-4 cloth diapers and related gear, camera, e-reader, maps, collapsible waterbottle, snacks, wallet, folding umbrella, and assorted purse/diaper bag items. I clipped a folding grocery bag to the outside of the bag for carrying sweaters when it got too warm. When I wasn’t using my wrap, I braided it and tied it onto the bag strap.

I was very happy with how the bag performed—this photo was taken on day three of solo travel and hitting a different city every day. When I have someone else to carry the bag, we often opt for a backpack for the second person, since it affords more room for items needed by the extra person.

3) Pack Light:
I love packing light because I like to have things streamlined and I hate worrying about losing things, which is easier to do if you have more stuff. Honestly, just the idea of bringing a stroller somewhere makes me cringe because it is just one more thing that I have to keep track of. I packed 5 days’ worth of clothes and did laundry after my son’s bedtime. I did bring all of our cloth diapers and because of their bulk, had to bring a mid-sized suitcase instead of a carry-on size, which would have been ideal. A single suitcase that you can fit your diaper bag into is great for those long walks from the train station to your hotel in the rain in the dark.

More specific to babywearing, pack light for your diaper bag, because you’re going to have to carry that beast! If there’s somewhere to refill or buy safe drinking water, only bring a bit. If you have the time, scan info out of sightseeing books into a PDF you can easily carry on your phone or e-reader instead of toting around an oversized book. If you know with a good deal of certainty that your child uses 6 diapers a day, only pack what you will use within the planned sightseeing time period (maybe add one extra!). Ditch the extras and stick with the essentials you know that you will need. The less stuff you have to carry, the longer you will be happy carrying it AND your child.

Speaking of packing light, take a minute to decide if you really need all those carriers with you. Are there carriers that you are thinking of bringing that do the same job ie., do you really need a size 2 wrap AND a ring sling, or can you get a pair of rings and use the size 2 wrap as a no-sew ring sling when you require it? Can all babywearers in your party use the same carrier, or are there sizing or comfort issues, or skill or mobility differences that require separate carriers? When I travel, I bring one wrap. That’s it. My husband and I share the wrap, and if I’m using a carry that requires less fabric, I wrap the excess around me a billion times (just kidding, only a hundred times!).

My husband and I share carriers, and although he is too indifferent to learn to back-wrap on his own, he’s happy to wear my son if I do the wrap job. On a long lunch break, we wandered together through downtown Tokyo and into the Imperial Palace Gardens while our son napped. The funny thing about skipping the stroller is that sometimes people don’t notice he’s even there—the guard at the entry gate didn’t see our son and so he didn’t get an entry token. When we exited, the guard DID notice the baby, and we make a small scene while trying to convince him that we hadn’t lost the token, we just hadn’t received one.

In transit: A lot of people have worries about which carriers to use in the airport and on the plane. My best advice is the same as above, pick a carrier that you are confident using that is comfortable to wear sitting down. Keep in mind that when you are on the plane, all airlines that I know of require you to remove your child from the carrier during takeoff, landing, and any time there is turbulence, i.e. the seatbelt sign is on. This will have a major impact on your choice of baby carrier, as you will need a carrier or a wrap carry you can easily take on and off. Many people like a SSC for the airport and sightseeing, and a ring sling for the airplane. As I said before, I am a wrapper, and I don’t even have a SSC or ring sling. That said, I do really like my mesh pouch sling as an easy in and out carrier, and have used it successfully as my airport/airplane carrier in the past. Lately though, I have been taking only one wrap and I use it in different ways depending on my needs. On our most recent trip, a 2 week visit back to BC to see relatives and friends in 3 different cities, I brought a size 4 wrap. It really is a great size, and probably more versatile than a size 6, which can become cumbersome when you are trying to do a quick wrap with few layers. Don’t think that a size 6 is too much though; a size 6 Girasol was the only wrap I used in Japan, with a variety of carries from Double Hammock with Tibetan tie and Reinforced Ruck with Tibetan tie for long sightseeing, to short front rebozo carry when my son’s little jetlagged body crashed in our hotel room just as we were getting ready for dinner. As an aside, front rebozo with a slipknot is a fabulous carry for use on the airplane.

Ryokan life: After returning from our sightseeing day in Hakone, our son had a jetlag-induced meltdown and crashed in our hotel room. After changing into our yukata to go down to the dining room for dinner, I used a front rebozo carry with a square knot to bring him along too. I used a size 6 and to deal with the tails, I only used one half of the wrap to create the carry, then braided the remaining single super long tail.

If I had to sum up why I love using a baby carrier while travelling, I’d have to say that I love it because it allows my husband and I to be ourselves, and to explore places that we love or that excite us, and I love that we can share our interests with our child now without having to wait until he is more grown up. The way we travel is also the way we live our everyday lives, and when we realized that we hadn't used a stroller in over 6 months, we sold it. We've been stroller-free for almost 4 months, and haven't missed it for a second.

This is us coming down out of a somber wintery alpine valley after a four-hour hike in the Rocky Mountains. This coming July, a friend in Tokyo has invited us to hike with him in the northern part of the Japan Alps. We always have to remember to tell people in these situations that we will be bringing our son, as sometimes we forget that not everyone travels the way we do!


  1. Great tips from all the mamas! Only non-bw comment I would have is to print out the CATSA policy on liquids and gels when traveling with a baby. I had my gel pack confiscated in Toronto. It was keeping breastmilk cold and the policy says gel packs used to keep liquids for infants cold are exempt from the restrictions. Fortunately I had ziploc bags to fill with ice for our 20 hour flight to Asia.

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