Babymoon a trip for two with three!
For years, we have described a new mom-to-be as a woman in ‘delicate condition’. She is to be protected,indulged and her overall well-being is to be taken care of. Along with unsolicited advice about everything from eating for two (although double servings of dessert have their own charm..), to where to shop for maternity wear, also comes warnings about traveling or moving around too much. The mental and physical well-being of the mom and baby is top priority but that said, at least for some of us, our greatest happiness lies in travel! Exploring unseen destinations beckons our hearts in way that is hard to resist. The thought of mountains to climb, virgin beaches to walk, quaint bistros, boutiques, boardwalks, street food stalls, museums, exotic art and architecture- all get the old adrenaline pumping. Well, now we have a problem, don’t we? The thought of being cooped up at home for the next 9 months looms large- almost as if it were a life sentence.
Therein comes the concept of the baby moon, gladly embraced by many new and repeat parents-to-be around the world. The dictionary defines the word as a relaxing or romantic vacation taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born. There is an alternate definition of the word that suggests that the baby-moon is the relaxing time spent together by the family after the baby is born, bonding with each other. The more common usage of the word in the recent decade however is to denote a pre-natal trip taken by the parents. This certainly goes against our grandmothers’ wisdom. However baby moons are fully endorsed by medical professionals, provided the mom and baby are healthy and the travel is undertaken during safe months- typically in the second trimester of the pregnancy.
Why do we need baby moons? Well, for starters, the little bundle of joy that is soon going to join the household is more than likely going to bring with it, a not so pleasant bundle of waking up in the middle of the nights, frequent diaper changes, doctor visits, temper tantrums and missed adult conversations for many, many months and sometimes even years to come. The days of spontaneous trips where you throw a few backpacks into the trunk of your car and drive away without a thought or the more adventurous ones via a trip to the airport where you can take a flight out to any destination of your choice, just for kicks…well, sadly, they all have to wait.
The opportunity to have that ride with your loved one in the symbolic Ferris Wheel with your hands thrown up in the air for one last “Woohoo” is too good to pass up. This is where you enter the sweet spot of babymoon. It will refresh you, rejuvenate you and fill you with enough energy to last a while, as you take on your new title of Proud Mom and Dad.
Clearly, to mistake a babymoon as any other fun, adventurous or romantic trip you would normally undertake, would be disastrous. It is important to get a clean health chit from our physician prior to making any travel plans. For healthy pregnancies, physicians usually recommend travel between the 4th and 7th month of pregnancy. This is also the time when the mom-to-be has gotten over the morning sickness phase. She may occasionally feel the robust kicks of the baby in her belly, but she is not yet too big or wobbly to move around. Some of the key things to clear up BEFORE traveling are:
– Physicians Letter: Although not mandatory, it would be a good idea to get a letter from the physician and possibly even a health report before your travel. Should any emergencies occur, this will definitely stand you in good stead.
– Airline Policies: Some airlines may request the physician’s letter before they allow a pregnant woman on board. Most airlines do not allow pregnant women to travel in their last month of pregnancy- who wants drama up in the air! So make sure you check out your airline’s policies with regard to flying when pregnant
– Insurance: Must carry good travel insurance policy. This one’s a no brainer.
– Vaccinations/Medications: Depending on where you plan to travel, you may want to get some vaccinations or medications done before your trip.
– Scheduling your checkups: Don’t forget to schedule your monthly check-ups and screenings appropriately, so that you do not miss a critical checkup while you are out. It is advisable to book some time with the physician immediately before and after the trip so that your condition is well monitored.
– Make realistic travel plans: You may enjoy bungee jumping and zip lining. But trust me, now isn’t the time for it. You might want to consider a beach vacation or taking in the pretty sights for your baby moon. Book clean, reliable accommodation where good and healthy food is guaranteed. As far as possible, avoid sightseeing trips with large groups that offer structured tour packages that rush you through the day. Don’t forget those frequent bathroom breaks you will need.
– Pack ahead: You may normally be a last minute packer, but you might want to change that this time. My advice would be to pack more than feel sorry later on. Simple things like having an extra pair of socks to wear on the flight or having a stash of your favorite snacks in your carry bag will make all the difference. Let your partner carry all the luggage for this one trip, since one of you is already carrying!
– Stay connected: Make sure you inform your close family and friends of your travel plans and exchange phone numbers and contact details upfront. Carry an emergency contact list at all times. This is just plain common sense. After all, in the era of Instagramming every meal, your contacts are sure to know your co-ordinates every few hours.
What are the top baby moon destinations? This is a tough one to answer, as it totally depends on what you want to do and what your priorities are. It is certainly possible to plan a baby moon wherever you want, although one needs to be aware and steer clear of areas where recent disease outbreaks or unrest have been reported.
– For international travelers, Europe offers some truly beautiful destinations for a baby moon. Paris, Madrid, Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence – all make perfect romantic getaways. The plethora of museums and picturesque boulevards will ensure that you get your daily dose of walking. All these cities have elevators and escalators inside large buildings, park benches and gazebos to take a break after the long strolls and clean bathrooms pretty much everywhere you go – all of which are key requirements at this time.
– Europe is great for food enthusiasts too. The only downside is that when it comes to baby moons, is that mom-to-be will have to pass up on all those rich vines, exotic cocktails and delicious liquor-laced chocolates and other treats. She may also have to choose her food and desserts carefully to avoid excessive mercury content or alcohol reductions. However for dad-to-be, this is a double bonus as now he gets to drink for the both of you. I hope I am not talking about just my household here!
– For those who like spa destinations, there are several offerings around the world. Karlovy Vary in Prague is a famous spa town that boasts hot springs with special healing powers. There are several resorts in this town that offer a variety of spa options, including custom pre-natal massages. Our own Kerala is a unique travel destination for spa lovers!
– For the more budget conscious travelers, the all-inclusive vacation packages offered by Mexico and many other Pacific / Caribbean islands such as Punta Cana and Turks & Caicos are great options. The level of luxury and comfort you get in these all-inclusive vacation packages cannot even compare to their more expensive European and American counterparts. The vast expanses of resort areas encompass everything you can imagine- beaches, pools, spas, multi-cuisine restaurants with celebrity chefs, scintillating shows, night clubs, casinos, sports arenas- you name it. The all-inclusive packages take the headache out of trip planning. Every expense is paid up front when you book the trip. You don’t ever have to take your wallet out while you are in the resort. That sure sets the stage for a relaxing vacation.
– For history and culture seekers, the world is your canvas. My own baby moon trips to Egypt, Prague and Vienna were driven by the cultural enthusiast in me.
– For the shopaholic traveler – New York baby! Vegas is another sure bet or why not even Dubai!? After all you Do Buy when you are in Dubai!
Keep in mind that while splurging on the babymoon seems like a fun, spontaneous thing to do, you must not forget that your household expenses will shoot through the roof once the newborn arrives. So always keep a check on that account book every time you pull out that credit card.
Conventional wisdom and modern science concur that the baby in the womb is learning and adapting to its surroundings every single day. Everything the mom experiences, the baby experiences too. Your baby moon is the first trip you will take with the little one in-utero, together as a family. Arguably, baby moons ought to be a good way to instill that travel bug in your little one, so that in the years to come, you can look forward to more exciting and fun trips with the three/four/or even more of you!
Hima Rajappan & Raj Brijiraj
Jayamohan Mohan and Ajith Menon
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