Travelling to India with an Infant

If you were paying attention to my last post you must know that I went on a trip to India during the winter vacation. Traveling to India was something I have wanted to do for a very long time, but most people did not really understand how I could take my daughter 12,000 km away before she was even two-years-old.

SO- Let me tell you- India was incredible, and my daughter enjoyed it the most!

We started the trip in Pushkar, a small town set on a lake that is sacred to the Hindu 20161224_083228religion. Pushkar was really hospitable and the food we ate there was AMAZING! For just 20 rupees (which is less than 50 cents) you can get an unbelievable rice dish at the market square that will make your head spin – Lentil dal and yellow rice, with tomato, cilantro ,and freshly squeezed lemon juice- Yum! Even though at home we are strictly vegan, we did not want to limit ourselves in India. I believe that food and culture go hand in hand, and if I travelled all this way with an infant in my lap, I was going to have the full experience.

From Pushkar we took an 8 hour train, a 3 hour flight and an even longer car ride to get south to Kerala. We came all this way to get a hug from an incredible woman named Amma. This women, which I first met right here in Toronto, has hugged over 36 million people worldwide and runs one of the largest charities in the world – Embracing the World. Being embraced by Amma is life changing every time you meet her and to see her in India, at the centre of her creation, was special. Amma through her charity  feeds more than 10 million poor people every year throughout India and has built over 45,000 homes for families without shelter.

We then circled back to the North and arrived to Rishikesh, a small town on the Ganges River. This was the time to relax. Every day started with no plans, meals would take forever, and most of the time we just sat back and drank Chai – black tea with cow’s or buffalo’s milk.

20161224_162219Overall, India was not as difficult as I imagined it to be. I thought that because I came from a western background, cultural differences would make the trip challenging, but I  was wrong- I have enjoyed India tremendously. My daughter loved the cows and pigs, and the monkeys weren’t too scary (Photo taken by my husband on the left). Seeing animals out of cages, co-habiting with humans, is something neither she nor I have ever seen before, and it was truly memorable.

Although the impact of tourism has altered India and its identity, I think it is one of the last places on earth that still hold genuine charm. It was evident that the people there are of a different origin- generally relaxed and satisfied with things as they are. If you are considering a trip, I would advise you to go sooner rather than later, as India is constantly changing and adapting to the west.


If you are planning to go India, or anywhere else, with an infant- these are my tips:

  • DIAPERS!!! – I literally packed one suitcase filled with diapers and wipes for the whole trip. You cannot always rely on their availability in a foreign country, and in India they cost more than double the price in Canada.
  • Bring your stroller and carrier– I have a city select stroller that I’m in-love with and that has got me through heavy snow numerous times, but in India the roads are very narrow and this kind of stroller would not be helpful. For this trip, we took a carrier and a very small “umbrella” stroller that we got at a garage sale for 10$. I would recommend taking a cheap, light-weight, stroller that you can always fold and that it wouldn’t break your hear if it got broken.
  • Toys –  Those came in handy during the long flights and train-rides, but make sure that you take stuff that are light weight, low volume and that will occupy your child for more than just a few minutes.
  • Breastfeeding – I still breastfeed my child, and I was really anxious about breastfeeding in a foreign country. To be respectful,  I borrowed a breastfeeding cover and brought it along. In India, no one seemed to have a problem with me breastfeeding , still I tried to be considerate and breastfeed discreetly.
  • Take a connection! – I think making a stop on a long flight could be helpful. Between connections my daughter run all around the airport burning energy, this made our lives easier on the flight, as she agreed to sit down for the most part.

 

Flying with an Infant in your lap isn’t so bad and you do save A-LOT in travel fare. I know that India was an interesting and positive experience for my daughter, even if she doesn’t remember- exploring other cultures makes an impact not matter what.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to share, you can also email me at liron.cohen@mail.utoronto.ca 

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About Liron Cohen

Liron is in her third year of undergraduate studies in Chemistry, Forestry, and History and Philosophy of Science. In Addition to being a student, Liron is also a mother to a two-year-old and loving wife.
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