Explorer Mommy Breaking Cliches & #MakingItWork
What happens when a mother goes backpacking with her 9-month old baby, exploring the length and breadth of the country? Shivani Garg shares with us how she is slaying as Mommy traveller and breaking stereotypes.
“I am an Army Brat and being a nomad was always a part of my childhood. Independence and freedom are two aspects of my life that make me who I am.
I chose to join NIFT over medical for my bachelor's as I wanted to explore different facets of my personality rather than being someone who was just "good in studies."
I started my career with Lowe Lintas and was one of the few creative people who handled creatives as well as copywriting. I moved on to working with Digital5 and dabbled in 'new media' when it was still nascent in India.
But a 9-5 job rather a 10-10 job was something that I found very restrictive to my personal growth. Having trained under fashion photographer, Vishesh Verma, I went on to doing freelance photography for Fashion Magazines like L'Officiel and then widened my scope of work.
Now I photograph 'people' whether it is for portraits, weddings, events, concerts or the recent addition of kids & baby photography.
The first road trip with my 2-month old munchkin
The first road trip happened when she was 2 months old. The road trip was a pact between me and a school friend who is also a mother. In Bangalore, I reconnected with more mommy friends from school and four of us went on this mom & baby self drive road trip from Bangalore to Mahabalipuram.
It was great for all us especially for me as I was able to break away from the shackles of traditional motherhood and get to be what I have always been.
There were nights when we discussed the hardships and joys of motherhood and supported each other in our career plans.
I realised then what my priorities were and how I would amalgamate my passion for travel and photography with motherhood through professional blogging.
I want my blog to inspire mothers and aspire to be themselves even after becoming mothers because that's all that matters.
Travelling with a baby, scary?! Nope.
It's actually quite easy to travel with a baby and it is a great conversation starter if you want to have a local experience.
People are thrilled to see a happy baby travelling everywhere with her mother be it at Social in Bangalore or the midnight street food markets of Indore.
They want to strike a conversation with you and know how you manage to travel with a baby and in turn open up about their own lives to you.
And that is exactly why I started travelling - to meet people, have conversations and learn something about life from each other.
Feeding the baby time to time
You have to manage your time. You can't be out travelling the whole day as the baby needs sleep and food. You can recover some time if you're confident enough to nurse in public and don't have to time your outings every 2 hours. Babywearing helped me a lot with nursing in public. We have nursed everywhere from crowded cafes to deserted beaches.
The feasibility of travelling with a baby is in one's mind. I had decided that my baby is going to be a mobile baby so I started preparing her for it from Day 1.
Flying with a baby is easier than a road trip and our first flight was at Day 24. We have taken 4 flights since then. Some of the things I did to make it possible are:
Buy the right gear - A car seat, a ring sling, a soft structured carrier (SSC).
Start early - I put my baby in the car seat on Day 12 and now she enjoys her car seat because she knows car seat = outing! Same with the baby carriers, I carried her for the first time when she was 25 days old and have been doing that ever since.
Be confident of nursing in public - Babies get hungry every 1-2 hours and you can't be hiding every time you need to nurse your baby. You have to become shamelessly confident of nursing in public.
Start with getting out for smaller durations - To build the confidence to travel, get out of your comfort zone for 2 hours. Pick different kind of places (because sometimes you don’t get to pick a sophisticated restaurant when travelling) that are near your home so you can get back quickly if you have to.
Get over your OCD for sanitisation - If you have an OCD for sanitisation, traveling with a baby is not for you. You cannot sanitise everything when on the move. You can draw a line but you have to be friendly. In my experience, exposing your baby to bacteria and germs is good but you have to be careful.
Pack a foolproof Diaper Bag - You have to pack everything that you might need for the baby in a compact diaper bag. The checklist needs to be foolproof. This is my traveling with baby checklist.
Travel with other moms - Moms understand and they will help. Kids love babies. It will also be a great bonding exercise.
Take your husband in confidence - This is the most important aspect. The husband is as concerned about the baby as you are. He needs to have undying faith in you and your decision making capabilities to be encouraging about traveling with a baby.
Give a damn - This might sound rebellious but a mom has to be thick skinned. If your husband is okay with you traveling with a baby, you dont need to worry about anyone else.
My support system were my 2 mom friends, on call 24 X 7. All I had to do was message them or call them and I would know what to do in any situation.
For lack of a better term, we are 'school sweethearts' and have literally grown up together and know each other inside out.
I guess that helps. You need undying faith in your wife and her decisions to let her live on her own terms with a newborn in tow. You also need to be able to turn a deaf ear to others genuinely concerned about the baby's safety. I was told by my in laws that I’m putting my baby in danger.
I'm sure my parents would have advised the same, had they known about my road trip plans. You also have to be mature enough to understand their genuine concerns and try and put them at ease.
Future as an explorer/ travel blogger
I am a travel blogger at www.hobogobo.com and I have plans to expand in the future. I want to inspire new moms to travel with their babies, either with other moms or their husbands.
S*****The baby is actually 7 months right now :) Request an edit.
AnonymousYou are creating those best memories of childhood for your kid, I'm sure this creates a special connect that may not be possible in the the comfort of home. Would love to do this:)