We brought our DD to Japan when she was 13 months old. At the end of the trip, DH and I each lost about 2 kg For DH, it was the lugging of luggages from Osaka to Kyoto and then to Tokyo; while for me, it was the carrying of DD throughout (as she refused to be carried by DH ) and skipping of meals that did it. Don’t get me wrong however, it was a good trip; lots of bonding time with DD and as she was getting too attached to our maid, we managed to reverse that somewhat by the time we returned
In my opinion, Japan is a good place to bring the little one. It’s clean and child-friendly generally. For example, in every department store, you would be able to find a nursery and baby changing room easily. They are well stocked with diapers (need to pay of course) and you could feed your baby inside these rooms if need be. Public toilets are quite good too. There is usually a baby changing board; and when you need to use the toilet, some cubicles would even come equipped with a child holding seat!
So what do you need to bring? First, let’s start with the flight. If you could, try to take a day flight in case your child is a fussy sleeper. That way, if she doesn’t sleep, at least both parents and her would not have a long grudging day ahead. Day flights also tend to be less crowded and you would have no lack of attention from stewardesses drawn to cute babies. Remember to bring your baby’s milk powder and milk bottle for the flight. As for hot water and cool water, you could get that from the flight attendants, unless you are fussy and want to bring your own. For us, the consideration for bringing along water is whether she needs to drink milk from the time she gets off the plane to the time when we eventually reach the hotel. Sometimes, child food provided on the plane may not be that agreeable with the little one. Do bring along something else as the flight is about 7 hours long. On top of the milk powder, we would bring along some of her baby cereal and a bowl for mixing the cereal (yes, we almost brought everything ) and some Pigeon’s ready-to-eat food packs. The Pigeon baby food packs are great for travelling. You just need to put a pack into a bowl of hot water, and a meal is ready within minutes! Taste great too. I usually buy those that are mixed with rice and I particularly like the brown rice with seaweeds – yummy!
Couldn’t find a picture of that from the website, but this is a sample of the Pigeon baby food pack:
By the way, if you are travelling with SQ, you can specify that you want toddler’s meal, otherwise, you would end up being served Gerber baby food .
As for taking off and landing, as we do not give our kids sweets (not at 13 month – what if she chokes?) or pacifiers, instead, I give mine a pack of biscuits shortly before the take-off or landing. As the plane takes off, I stand by water for them to drink. So far, not a single problem for our numerous trips. Pigeon has many choices of biscuits, each either come individually wrapped or about 4 packs in each box. My children’s personal favourite are the small little round yellow biscuits – the type that melts in your mouth, and fish favoured crackers.
On board the plane, you could keep you baby occupied with her favourite activities, whatever that might be. At 13-14 months, they are not too much into watching movies. The ear-piece is too big for them anyway. Alternatively, just bring her for walks around the plane when she gets too bored. If she is able to sleep, that would be the best. At this age, she should be able to still fit in the bassinet. Once my DD starts having her own seat, I also bring along a neck rest whenever we take those long-haul flights. Remember to bring extra sets of clothings for the flight, including a cardigan in case it is cold.
Once you are in Japan, eating out is easy. For breakfast, if your hotel stay comes with breakfast, there is usually Japanese buffet breakfast where you can have porridge for instance. In our case, we have a mix of that and baby cereal (as that was what my DD ate for breakfast at that time). Lunch and dinner were usually ramen, other Japanese food and occasionally, the pigeon food. Don’t forget to bring a pair of scissors and some baby spoons when you are out dinning, but remember to check the scissors into your luggage or you won’t get pass airport security with that pair of scissors. Other things that I won’t leave home without are hand sanitizer, fruit peeler or knife, vegetable wash for washing fruits, some flu/cough/fever medicine and of course her favourite toys (bath toys are important too to get my DD into the bath tub ) and books.
Lastly, do remember to buy that all too important travel insurance. Seeing a doctor in Japan would be very expensive!