For OFW moms and dads, it's a challenge to give birth abroad where the culture is different and your extended family is not around for support. The birth of a baby is a joyous celebration for the parents and the whole family. For Filipinos especially, it's a custom to introduce the new member of the family to the rest of the clan. This is mostly done in a baptismal celebration and in holiday vacations.
To prepare for your baby's coming home trip, here are some tips for preparing for a hassle-free first flight.
#1 Book plane tickets earlyYou only need your baby's name to reserve a flight ticket. The soonest that you do this, the cheaper your air fare might be. An extra fee will be charged for your baby - even if a seat is not necessarily included.
#2 Get the required documents for passportFirst on the list is your baby's birth certificate. If it's in a foreign language other than English, the Philippine embassy will most likely require a translated version. Both of these need to be authenticated (by a local court and by the Philippine consulate). Devote some two weeks or more to have this step completed.
Next to get is your baby's national ID or ARC (alien resident certificate), if citizenship is not automatically acquired through birth. For married couples, have your marriage certificate from the National Statistics Office ready for verification.
#3 Apply for a passportYou should be able to jump straight to the front of the line because babies are a priority. You might be required to have your baby photographed right on the site. Be patient when waiting for an acceptable mug shot, especially if your baby fusses at the time.
If on an ARC, the passport number may be required information on your baby's ARC. Be sure to update it before you leave.
#4 Pack lightRemember that your baby is the most important one you'll have to hold. If you're travelling as a solo parent, that leaves you with limited capacity to carry other things. Strollers will need to be checked in before boarding the plane.
Bring only the essentials. Your hand carry basically means bottles, diapers, and wipes. For any other stuff, you can request your family members back in the Philippines to prepare it for you in advance.
#5 Brace yourself for the long flightTime seems to slow down between the plane's take off and touchdown. Expect your baby to fuss, cry, and get uncomfortable from the long flight. When seat belt sign is off, walk around and cradle your baby as you like.
For other experienced OFW parents out there, how did you prepare for and survive your baby's first flight home? Share in the comments below.