When we decided to travel to Leh Ladakh with a baby, many eyebrows were raised and disapproving looks were exchanged. I also received comments from people both offline and online cautioning me about the oxygen problem in Leh. Someone even went on to tell me that it is not recommended to travel to Leh with a kid and that the minimum age limit for a kid in Leh Ladakh is 7-8 year old. Sit beats me, where such ‘recommendations’ come from and are passed on without authentication because this is definitely not medical advice.
It was only our inner Army circles who were supportive of travelling to such an high altitude with a baby as they have seen babies as young as 1-2 months old being brought to Leh and these kids acclimatize without any problems. Leh might not be a popular place of travel for parents of infants but there are a lot of people from the defence circle travelling to Leh with kids.
It is not advisable to travel to Leh Ladakh with a baby who are high risk, preemies (premature babies) and babies who have any known respiratory problems. Parents of such babies are advised against traveling to any place that might put the baby at risk, which includes low oxygen, high altitude areas and places known for pollen and other allergies.
So if you have a healthy thriving baby, it can only do you good to take a family trip to Ladakh! A Leh trip with family is an experience that you will always remember and have stories to tell your friends about. I believe it’s not the families that eat together but the families that travel together that stay together !
Other things to consider before deciding to travel to Ladakh with a baby:
- Whether your baby is breastfed, formula fed or mixed fed.
- Have you started solids?
- Has your baby taken well to solids and have you introduced enough variety of fruits, vegetables and cereals and checked for allergies.
- Because fresh fruits and veggies are a luxury in Leh, I’d recommend picking out and your baby’s favorites from some of the packaged baby foods from one of the trusted companies like My Little Moppet, 1st Bites, Early Food or Slurrp Farm.
- You have dealt with the initial constipation, loosies etc after introducing solids.
- If baby is on Formula milk or cow’s milk, please carry enough formula as there is no fresh cow’s milk available in Leh Ladakh. The milk they use is either powdered milk or milk from tetra pack and both are not good for babies.
Exclusively Breastfed Babies
If you are able to pass the first few hurdles of breastfeeding, you will realize that breastfeeding is a boon is disguise ! I find breastfeeding so easy while traveling and it takes lesser time as the baby grows up.
Breastfeeding is just one of those things that can’t be taken for granted and persistence and will is the only way to master the art.
Mi is an exclusively breastfed baby and she had ZERO acclimatization hiccups in Leh and beyond. In fact, right after we landed at Leh Airport, we drove to a higher location.
The only noticeable change was that she wanted to breastfeed more often and refused water. Her solids diet went down by 20% owing to her higher intake of breast milk. So, I figured she was taking all her fluids from me.
For her 3 solid meals a day, I gave her fresh bananas, melons, chickpea purée, potato and fresh veggie purée, Slurrp Farm Baby Food, Home made cerelac and khichdi and My Little Moppet barley. She had no complaints and everything went on smoothly.
Her sleep also has a noticeable change. She wanted to sleep shorter and more often. As a result, the total number of hours she slept remained the same but because the climate in Leh in drying, she woke up to refill her body with fluids.
Formula Fed Babies
I do not have the slightest idea about how formula fed babies would acclimatize to Leh, how their intake of formula vs water would differ, how often they would feed etc. Because formula is heavier than breast milk, and formula fed babies tend to have more milk than exclusively breastfed babies, it is better to consult your paediatrician or get a first hand account from a mother who has traveled to Leh with a formula fed baby.
PRO TIPS FOR NEW MOMS TO GET LEH’D:
- I hope you have already gotten over your impulse to sanitize everything around your baby. If not, work on it before you start travelling. You cannot have a OCD for sanitisation especially in Leh. In Leh Ladakh, or any similar terrain you need to be one with nature and let the baby breathe and touch all that nature has got to offer.
- Travel to and explore less daunting places and terrains first before deciding to get Leh’d.
- Get used to using baby gears like booster chairs, car seats and baby carriers.
If you have decided to keep calm and carry on travelling to Ladakh with a baby – your little bundle of joy, let no one stop you. Follow your instinct and you’ll never be wrong !
If there are any other questions that you’d like the ask me, please leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer them as soon as I can. Now go plan your trip to Leh Ladakh with a baby !