Traveling with babies

The really painful part about traveling with babies isn’t the noises they make on the plane, or the huge amount of paraphernalia you feel you have to drag around with you, a mound of diapers, dummies, breast pumps, toys, blankets, clothes and everything else you think you might need. It’s not even the occasional grumpy look from a fellow traveller who doesn’t want to hear from your child. No, none of these things are really that painful. They’re all finite, survivable hardships that you can endure.

Jet lag, with a baby, is a novel horror. I’ve had jet lag before; it’s a disorienting experience but nothing too bad. I’ve had to deal with a crying child. I hadn’t banked on the combination being so very much worse than the sum of its parts.

Jet lag is really easy to overcome. You just sleep lots, and try to ensure most of it is within normal hours for the zone you’re in. Unfortunately, if your child decides to wake up and start yelling at 4am, and then needs love and attention for a couple of hours, that’s a whole day you’ll be spending zombified, mutely fumbling with your computer while people helpfully inform you that you look a bit tired.

Meanwhile, your child will be sleeping, conserving energy for when you get home so she can bellow some more. If I’d had any intimation of this, I’d have hidden in the stationery cupboard this afternoon and sneaked a couple of hours of sleep. Instead, I came home and got what started as happy friendly baby but swiftly deteriorated into raging screamer. All I wanted was a few quiet moments with some hummous, not the sound of the end of the world.

I’m beginning to think the right way to go about this is to schedule a business trip that commences as soon as you get home, giving you a peaceful environment to recover in. My colleagues may sometimes be challenging to work with, but never yet have they screamed at me while I’ve been powerless to feed them.

Well, not yet.


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