Guidelines for NRI travelling to India with Infants

Indian population is living all over the world and they visit to India to share happiness, joy and participate in traditional ceremonies. Many couples are enthusiastic to travel with their new born baby to India. It is a time to delight and share their feelings with parents and relatives.

The enthusiasm is doubled if the baby is born oversees. But many couples do not have idea to travel with an infant. They are expected to face many problems if they are not prepared.

Infants are at high risk for many food related and waterborne diseases. This is not because they are travelling to India. It is simply because their immune systems are not developed. Infants also have the habit of regular hand-to-mouth contact which instantly catch several infections.

Airline service for Infants:

All airlines guarantee that the infants have a safe and comfortable journey. All the aircrafts are equipped with special baby bassinets and packs as well as lot of baby food. Each aircraft normally equipped with at least two toilets with special fold-down tables.

These tables are used for changing diapers. At the time of making reservations make sure that your airline carrier has all these facilities. You will be provided with diapers, a small tube of diaper rash cream and infant food on request.

Couple travelling with infant must carry following items for ease of baby:

  • Formula
  • Juice
  • Diapers

These items will be checked by the security officers at the airport. These liquids should be carried in packs of 3 ounces. Security Officers will test liquids that exceed the minimum allowable limit (3 ounces) for explosives.

There are some of the practical problems faced by couples first time travelling to India with an infant.

Mosquitoes: Couple must protect their infant from agents that transmit disease. Infants born in the Europe and U.S. are not fully immune to the diseases in India. They must protect infant from mosquitoes. Each mosquito-bite leaves a big blister 2-3cm with a reddish inflation and takes at least 3-5 days to heal. Some infants are hypersensitive to mosquito bites and a single bite may cause rashes all over the body. People living in the coastal areas must take extra protections to prevent malaria.

Another problem that trouble NRI couples travelling to India with infants is water. The quality of water in India may cause many diseasesfor baby. The level of pollution is very high in some areas and may affect the health of infants. If their home does not havewater purifier, it is better to buy bottled mineral water.Couples are advised to carry a hot water kettle to boil water for their child as an alternative.

Major problem for NRIs travelling to India is Diarrhoea. Infants are prone to diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal illnesses during a long journey. Change of environment, change in food and other factors has immense impact on the immune systems of infants. It is recommended to couples that they must consult theirpaediatrician and carry proper medication with them. Diarrhoea causes dehydration. The infant must drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. Kelodrolyte, a powered form of oral electrolytes can be taken in case of diarrhoea / vomiting.

If infants is affected by Diarrhoea, couples must keep their infant's toys clean and disinfected. They must have extra teething rings and small toys during the trip.

It is highly recommended that mother must breastfeed her infant. This will prevent food- related diseases and waterborne illness.

Try to use RO water for infants.

Maintain hygiene while handling baby such as one must wash hands properly. Always keep a pocket sanitizer.

While traveling to India, it is very common that infant may get cold/cough/fever. If this is the case, immediately consult paediatrician and take necessary medications.

Diaper Rash is another common problems for NRIs who travel to India with baby.Due to the high environmental temperature the infant may get diaper rashes. It is better to buy a good diaper rash protector. Always consult paediatrician for a good diaper rash cream.

Some important information for couples who are planning to make a journey to India with small baby

If NRIs are planning to travel to India with their infant, it is always advisable to travel before the baby is 6 months old. Most of the airlines provide bassinets only for infants up to the age of 6 months. It is very challenging to have the baby in arms for the long journey.

Take more than required of infant formula and other baby essentials.

Always keep sufficient diapers for India trip. Huggies/Pampers are available in India but they differ in quality. The diapers available in U.S. are of superior quality and are more absorbent. The competing brands available in India may not be very comfortable for infant. Make sure that there are good diapers available at the destination city.

Carry a thermos flask to keep hot-water all the time.

Carry some clothes which are thin and fully cover the legs and hands of the baby. This acts like a natural 'mosquito net'.

Before leaving for India, couple needs to talk to paediatrician about their travel plans. It is likely that they would administer a shot of 'gamma-goblin', which will protect the baby from disease.

Some instructions during the flight:

  1. During take-off and Landing the air pressure difference can cause uneasiness. Babies are likely to cry due to the pressure felt on the ear drums. One way to release pressure is to suckle something and softly pat them at the time of take-off and landing.
  2. Some babies do not sleep onboard and start crying. It is better to discuss with doctor about this. He may recommend a dose of Benadryl syrup (an anti-allergy medication) which will put the baby to sleep for 2-3 hrs.
  3. In flight, mother will not get enough hot water to wash the feeding bottles in transit. It is better to familiarize the baby with disposable feeders in advance. If the baby knows the feeder he will not cry.

It is a good feeling for NRIs to travel India to meet their close ones and involve in cultural celebrations but some precautions for their infants double the happiness.