Traveling with a baby isn't easy, and the baby's meals are one of the concerns. It's difficult to make sure you always have food that would stay fresh or have access to freshly made food suitable for babies.
Since Avni's diet doesn't contain sugar or salt (she is 8 months old), I had to plan much ahead to make this 40-hour trip work.
Apart from breastfeeding her at regular intervals, and as often as she demanded, these were her meals.
- We left on Thursday morning at around 6.45 am. I carried some bottles of breastmilk (frozen and brought to room temperature) so that if she got hungry again in the next hour before our flight, she wouldn't have to wait for me to find a suitable place to breastfeed. On reaching Bangalore airport, she ate an apple puree (that my mom made for her and brought along) at around 10.15-10.30 am.
- After reaching the transit stay hotel room and showering, I requested the restaurant to provide us a puree of any fresh fruit available. They had only mangoes, so around 12.30 pm, she had some mango puree. She took a 2-hour nap and woke up in the late afternoon.
- A week before, I had already informed my plan and requested a friend in Bangalore to send us some baby food. Shruthi was very kind to send us mashed veggies and dal* rice for Avni. And also my mom had brought medium-sized idli** made that morning, in a small Tupperware for Avni. So Avni ate three-quarters of idli with mashed beans, carrot & potato, and some dal rice.
- Late that evening around dinner time, I requested the restaurant to boil any vegetable. They gave us 2 boiled potatoes. Avni only ate half of a potato.
- At around 10.30 pm, I decided to give her another meal because I knew the airport formalities could take longer and I may not be able to breastfeed her until I get to the boarding gate. So I made some instant baby meal, an idea I got from Instagram and YouTube. 1 serving of poha (flattened rice) and half a serving of roasted chana dal (split chickpea lentils) turned into powder, just had to add some hot water to this instant cereal powder and mix it without forming lumps. I also added some freshly pumped breastmilk to it.
- And then I carried the rest of the breastmilk in a bottle, and it could be fed anytime in the next 3 hours. I was able to breastfeed her in the baby care room at the boarding gate and on the flight as often as she wanted.
- The next morning, at 6 am German time (11 hours after her last meal) I requested the crew to give some fresh fruits. A friend who was on the same flight a few days earlier told me they had baby porridge, milk, and formula to offer, but I didn't ask for a baby meal because I wasn't sure if the porridge was vegan. Avni likes fruit, so I went ahead and fed her a long piece of muskmelon. I also gave her some watermelon in a fruit nibbler (I prefer to put watermelon in it since it's juicy and has seeds).
- I also fed her some instant baby meal by mixing the hot water that I brought along (I have read on the Internet that it's best to avoid hot water provided on flights).
- I had also asked a friend in Frankfurt to bring me some baby food made for Avni. Haritha was very sweet and she drove all the way to the airport with the oatmeal she made for Avni with 100% almond butter. I also pumped some breastmilk in the baby care room after breastfeeding her and added it to the porridge (always carry a Haaka!). It was quite filling for her and I knew she wouldn't be hungry again soon.
- That afternoon, apart from breastfeeding her at the train station, I also fed her some banana that Vivek brought along when he came to pick us up. She breastfed a few more times and slept all the way home on the train and in the cab.
- After making it home and giving Avni a bath, I had a shower myself and then made her some ragi porridge with peanut butter and breastmilk for dinner.
And that's how we managed 2 whole days of her travel meals.
Edited by Anastasia Sirotkina.
*In Indian cuisine, dal (also spelled daal) are dried, split pulses (e.g., lentils, peas, and beans) that do not require soaking before cooking. The term is also used for various soups prepared from these pulses.
**Idli or idly is a type of savory rice cake, originating from the Indian subcontinent, popular as breakfast foods in Southern India and in Sri Lanka. It's made by soaking black gram in buttermilk, ground to a fine paste, and mixed with the clear water of curd and spices.