It’s commonly accepted that mums are capable of feats of multi-tasking, not generally thought possible by non-mums. However, air travel with a young one can take the toll on even the coolest and calmest of us. One of our lovely guest bloggers, Evin, has written a blog post for us on traveling through baby-friendly Schiphol airport.
We chose to fly via Amsterdam’s Schiphol airportbecause we had heard good things about how helpful it is when traveling with infants and children. And rightly so with the Schiphol has a babycare lounge created with support from Nutricia. Yes, can’t you just picture little babies resting in velvet banquets while sipping milk martinis and using free WiFi? Well, it’s not that kind of lounge. It is a haven of peace and ideal for regrouping. My four-month-old son was getting tired after we took an early morning flight from Ireland. Though he was a delight on the flight from Cork, he needed a feed and a nap to keep his good mood going. Unfortunately, he’s a social baby so if there are people and interesting noises (even just funky light fixtures), he is too distracted to eat. But the subtly-marked baby lounge (beside the kid play area, by a library) is an oasis.
Enter the generic door and feel a calm out of reach from most airport noises. Peter and the Wolf plays softly on a loop. Dimmed lighting plays on the pastel stripes of the back wall. Long flowing curtains envelope round ‘cubicles’, each equipped with a crib that is flanked by two soft benches. These private areas were definitely designed with baby as well as parents in mind. All surfaces can be wiped clean and there are no crevices where fingers or crumbs can get stuck. The ceiling above each crib is the stage for a playful light show projected from below. The cosy benches each have a reading light and ample cushioning and back support.
Beyond the curtained enclaves the thoughtfulness continues. On the far wall, there is a built-in counter with changing mats and bath-sized sinks. Paper towels and soap are provided. This is ideal for a baby that is soothed by a bath or in case of a mess (you know what I mean). There is also a microwave gadget to warm bottles!
Upon arriving at the babycare lounge, my son was resisting his nap and obviously hungry. We found a cubicle and tucked in with his favorite blanket to have a feed. Next thing you know, the bottle is empty and baby and I are both asleep. A solid 45-minute nap was all he needed to keep his positive outlook on the world (and for me to keep mine).
That one nap for him meant that he was not overtired when we took off on our trans-atlantic flight and he could stick with for normal daytime nap schedule that day. But that starts to get into how to travel with a small baby, which is another blog post entirely. Don’t worry, I’m already writing it!
By Evin O’Keeffe, who can also be found on her blog at EvinOK.