I love your blog and your message. You are a nurse from the UK married to a New Zealander and currently on Maternity leave. Sounds normal. However you are spending your Maternity leave travelling around the world! Not just a holiday here and there for a month or so. You are actually backpacking through Asia and constantly on the go with your bub in tow. You are certainly inspiring parents all over the world that their travelling days do not have to be over just because they have a baby. You have made International headlines all over the world. This is a message I strongly believe in too and I have loved following your journey on your blog and instagram page Travel Mad Mum.
What inspired you to do it? To spend your entire maternity leave travelling?
I had travelled extensively before having Esmé and always had this vision of having my baby with me in a backpack exploring the world. Esmé was also a surprise, Shaun and I had travel plans so we just did things a little back to front. Now we are getting married this year.
What is in your carry on luggage for your baby that you just couldn’t live without while you are flying?
Dummy, her cuddly toy, western health conscious baby snacks, tui natural balm for relaxing baby and phone for pics.
What is your advice to parents thinking of following in your footsteps?
Plan finances well in advance and make the decision early so you have time to work to your goal. It will be tough going through packing up your home with a new born, just need to remember you will reap the rewards very soon.
Research destinations and avoid malarial areas.
Get good travel insurance
Keep packing to a minimum, you don’t need everything with you
The earlier you go the easier it is
Try to breastfeed for immunity and ease of having to sterilise
Bring a baby carrier
What is your top tip for flying with babies and staying sane?
Load the iPad with educational apps and favourite cartoons. Not an ideal way of managing busy baby but it keeps them quiet and that’s the main aim of getting through the flight.
Where is your favourite destination?
When I’ve travelled by myself I would say Croatia
When I’ve been with Esmé
I would say Vietnam
Which is the most child friendly country you have visited? Why?
I have two and for different reasons. The Vietnamese are incredibly friendly and just love western babies. I guess it’s because they don’t see them so much. They are so helpful and caring
In Taiwan, they are not so forward with their affection, however, the infrastructure really supports parents with very well set up nursery rooms just about everywhere. Equally the hotels there really make a big effort with baby cots, baths, pottys and toiletries when you are coming to stay with a little one.
What has been your biggest challenge while travelling with a baby?
Not being able to give Esmé social opportunities with other children regularly. I feel she missed out on that.
What did you learn from that challenge?
I am not sure how we could have got around that. I guess I needed to ensure we were stimulating her enough in other ways which was certainly the case.
Most babies thrive on routine. How does this work when you are constantly travelling and on the go?
We still had a routine we just didn’t have the same room every night. We left London when she was too small to get jet lag. We then slowly skipped back through Asia where the time difference might only be an hour. The baby carrier was the biggest life saviour if we were moving during nap times. She happily slept on me.
What do you have to say to people who say that your baby wont remember any of it?
I’ve had a lot of that. I say we have developed her from a sensory perspective. She is very sociable and adapts well to a changing environment. Baby’s develop the most in their first year of life. The experience of seeing a different sight every day in my eyes must be beneficial in comparison to my alternative choice of sitting in my flat in London during the winter, both of us going stir crazy.
Would you do it all again?
I would love to. Firstly hoping to get married this year and then maybe try to extend our family if we are lucky enough. We would use our mat leave in the same way
Where to next?
This year we have Ireland, Cuba, South Africa and a local holiday in the UK
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you for taking time to answer my questions. You are a very inspirational traveling mother and I hope others are inspired by your story and follow in your footsteps.
You can follow Karen and Esme’s adventures here http://travelmadmum.com/stories/
and on instagram https://www.instagram.com/travelmadmum/