Ever wonder what it would be like to travel overseas with a baby? Try travelling with triplets under the age of 1! Well… This interview with Kimberly Gibas will give you a realistic look into exactly what type of prep goes into travelling with 3 babies and how to actually travel with triplets.
Inside Scoop: Kim is a good friend of mine from University that also happened to marry my husband’s best friend and then of course go on to have some super adorable triplets. She is totally one of those feel good people but also completely down to earth. Following her Instagram gives me daily laughs with her super adorable trips. Check out her Instagram page here.
Travelling with Triplets : Interview with triplet mom Kimberly Gibas
First off… Tell me a bit about yourself and your husband in case people have never met you
Im a born and raised Alberta girl who loves her family, a great cup of coffee, and am a total food and fitness junkie! I love to cook and spend a lot of time in my kitchen, and before having my kids, my husband and I spent a lot of time travelling, shopping, cycling, and sitting for great lengths enjoying eachothers company at local coffee shops.
I first met my husband Ben in high school, although we didn’t really know each other well, only that our last names were almost identical, and we started dating during the last month of both of our undergraduate degrees in Physical Education. Approximately 7 months later we jumped on a plane to Australia, where I spent the next 2 years getting my Masters Degree in Physiotherapy. Ben was able to join me for the first 9 months of my degree, after which he returned home and our relationship survived the distance thanks to technology – Skype. He left me in Brisbane for a great job opportunity, which has led him to his current job working for the County.
Before heading off on maternity leave last summer, I was practicing as a Physiotherapist in a sports clinic and leading group fitness classes, specifically spin, core, and HIIIT. Fitness has always been my first love and I’ve been lucky enough to have been teaching classes for the past 11 years. And although I miss it, I am currently settled in nicely to my newest role as a triplet mama and couldn’t be happier.
What are the names of the triplets?
Triplet A (boy) – beating Triplet B out of the womb by 1 minute, is Gabriel Johannes. Also known as: Gabe or G-baby.
Triplet B (boy) – who was quick enough to beat Triplet C out of the womb by 1 minute, is Luca Christopher. AKA: Luca-love
Triplet C (girl) – the smallest and youngest of the bunch, is Hallie Dawn. NOT Haley – although she gets that a lot – pronounced as you would Halle Berry. Also known as: Hallison, Halbert, or Hurricane Hallie
How old are they?
They just turned 10 months last week, although being that they were born 9 weeks pre-mature, medically and developmentally they are considered to be 8 months “corrected age”.
Do they have different personalities or act differently?
They are SOOOOO different! Its probably one of my favourite things about having fraternal triplets. Even when I was pregnant I knew exactly who was kicking me or wedging themselves under my ribs because their temperaments, energy and movements were all unique.
Hallie has always been our easy baby. She was the smallest when she was born (2 lbs, 9oz), yet somehow has needed the least assistance to thrive, is content to just “be” while we deal with the boys, and has always seemed so decisive and independent. Although its important to note that she is definitely the bully of the group these days and is officially on the move crawling everywhere, so we’ve got to watch out for that one!
Luca on the other hand is our most sensitive baby. He needs to have his soother within arms reach at all times, and can switch from happy to sad and sad to happy at the drop of a hat. But boy does this kid love to laugh. His smile and giggles are so infectious and can make the daily frustrations completely disappear. I have never known a baby to laugh uncontrollably like he does and I hope that joy and laughter stays with him always.
And lastly, Gabe. He has the most expressive eyes that seems to draw people to him. He loves to eat, and he probably receives the most cuddles out of the three. This is due to the fact that since our Germany trip he has not been sleeping well in his crib, and as a newborn was not too happy when you put him down. But, his warm sweaty head and hands, and adult-like snore make him the ultimate cuddle-er.
So let’s start from the beginning… What was your reason for travelling to Germany with the family?
Ben was born in Germany and lived there with his parents and sister before immigrating to Canada when he was 12. Ben’s Grandma was celebrating her 80th birthday and we wanted to celebrate that milestone and give his extended family an opportunity to meet the triplets while they were still babies, and of course while they could fly for free!
How did you prepare for travelling that distance with the 3 babes?
I gathered as much information and advice that I could through reading a ton of different blog posts about tips for flying with babies, reached out to my Instagram followers for any advice that they may have, and also chatted with another triplet family we know who has done some travelling with their three.
Once I had a bit of a “plan” I started by organizing three separate carry on bags for each baby that contained all of the necessities (i.e.: extra onesie, toys, bottle, soother wipes, swaddle, etc…) since we figured one adult would be in charge of their particular baby on the plane. As far as the rest of their luggage, we tried to pack as minimally as we could and managed to fit all of their stuff into half of my bag. We were lucky enough to have access to a washing machine & dryer, as well as 3 cribs, sheets, and a bottle warmer when we were there, so that helped cut down on some of the things we would’ve had to bring.
Did you ever have second thoughts about the trip?
Absolutely! Haha. The closer we got to the trip the more anxiety I had over the whole thing. And to be honest I wasn’t worried about the vacation itself, more so the actual travel days. I didn’t really know what to expect. Even though I was so excited to be away from the house for a while, I found I had some anxiety over how I was going to be able to handle being on the go for a few weeks. I think it is because the babies have been somewhat sheltered since we had been so limited with the ability to do a lot of outings in their first few months of life and I also hadn’t spent a lot of time away from home and out of my baby routine.
How did you manage the plane rides with the 3 babies?
We were able to drive our triple stroller right to the gate at each airport, which was super helpful, and everyone had a baby carrier in case we needed to be hands free or to help the babies sleep. Thankfully we were travelling with my in-laws. You are only allowed to have one baby per adult, so we always had extra hands to take the 3rd. The problem we found was that on each plane there are only a certain number of air masks per row. So not only can you only have one baby per lap, but you can also only have one baby per row. So we were all sitting in different rows, and unfortunately not always that close together.
Did they do well on the plane?
I truly thought they were going to do great. Or at least 2/3 would do great. Unfortunately all of the planning and carry-on bags did nothing when I didn’t make sure the trips got their afternoon nap while at the airport. We had a 6pm take-off, which I thought would be perfect – feed them on the way up, then they can play and fall asleep at their leisure – and all would be good? By the time we got on the plane, they were all so tired that one would cry, causing the other to cry, and then the third. It was legitimately a chorus of cries. And as soon as one would calm down, one of the others would cry and the chorus would ramp up again.
I felt so awful for the people sitting next to us and I even remember telling the couple next to me “don’t worry, they won’t cry the whole flight”. Little did I know that my husband and I would spend 90% of the flight standing in the back by the bathrooms with two screaming boys who refused to sleep. Hallie managed both flights well after getting in a snooze shortly after take off, and I remember there being a 30-45 minute period where both boys managed to calm down and were quiet.
There was another baby a few rows behind us that was unhappy during that time and all I could think about was how we were probably still taking credit for any crying baby on the plane! After learning our lesson, when we ventured back to Canada we made sure to force naps whenever we thought they would take them instead of letting them happen organically. The result was that the babies were AMAZING, all three of them, the whole way.
Did the family get jet legged and How did you manage the time change?
My husband and I didn’t sleep at all on the plane rides and maybe caught 30-60 minutes on the drive from Frankfurt to Black Forest. So… when we arrived later in the afternoon we fed the trio, put them to bed, we went to bed shortly after. We were so tired and slept the whole night too! The babies also didn’t wake up until 7 or so in the morning so it was perfect really. As a result, I think we all transitioned time zones really well and barely noticed the time change. I think living on less sleep for the past 10 months made it seem somewhat normal.
Coming home was a bit of a different story. The babies were all awake at 4am for the first few days and it took just over a week to get them back to their regular sleep routine. Naps well…they took a bit of a hit. I swear, 2 months later and I’m still trying to get them to nap longer than 45 minutes. I’m sure we will get back there…eventually..
How was exploring Germany with the triplets? Was anything really easy or really hard?
It was unlike any other trip we’ve ever been on! And to be fair, we went to visit family and was less of a “vacation”. Instead of our usual morning runs it was a family walk, and instead of going out for dinners and walking the street late at night looking for a sweet pub, it was beers on the patio while listening for the baby monitor to go off. As much as it was hard somedays to really immerse ourselves into our surroundings because we were often stopping to find a good place to feed or change the babies, it also forced us to slow down and be content just “being” wherever we were and whatever we were doing. If that makes sense? Something we don’t get to do that often, or really at all, while we’re at home. So in many ways it was so nice and having many helping hands around definitely took away some of the hard things of every day life.
Were you able to see and do everything that you had wanted to experience on the trip?
Unfortunately no! We had wanted to sneak away just the five of us for a few days to Munich (my all time favourite city). The timing didn’t work out and we were having some trouble finding an appropriate air b&b. If I am totally honest we were also a bit anxious trying to figure out the logistics of loading up a triplet stroller and the kids and our stuff onto the European trains. So last minute we decided to stay in Black Forest and enjoy the time with family and do a few day trips to surrounding cities instead. Because the triplets were so young still, most of our travel was spent feeding them, haha – although we did manage to sneak in some sight seeing and shopping in between bottles! I do look forward to taking them back again when they’re a bit older and can really experience Germany and create memories that they will remember.
What was your favourite part about the trip and the best place you took the triplets?
My favourite part of the trip was getting to see Ben’s family meet and interact with the babies. His Grandma got to meet her only great-grandchildren for the first time and some of Ben’s cousins also have small children. Being able to connect with them through our kids was very special. They speak only a little bit of English (if at all) and I don’t speak any German, and somehow kids are always a bit of an icebreaker, so it was nice to have some common ground to connect on.
The best place we took the triplets was to the local outdoor pool! I know it sounds silly. But they LOVE the bath, and had never been swimming before. The logistics had never been in our favour to make it happen. But the weather was gorgeous, the outdoor pool was a short 5 minute walk away, and we had extra hands to help us out. We did also have an amazing little day trip to Triberg where we walked the hilly streets, and did all the tourist stuff like visiting the waterfalls and coo coo clocks, and enjoyed some traditional German sauerkraut!
I know what happened on the plane ride home but not everyone does… What happened on the flight home and how did you manage the situation?
Compared to the flight there, the babies did amazing on the way home. They slept well and were in good spirits essentially the whole trip! Our flight was delayed getting into Iceland and as a result we missed our connecting flight and couldn’t fly out until the following night. (Airlines – just a tip for you – always hold a plane for triplet families!!!)
We then had to borrow 3 carseats (actually 4 including our nephew), and take 3 separate cabs between the 10 of us 45 minutes away so we could stay overnight in Reykjavik. By the time we got settled into our hotel it was past 9pm, we hadn’t eaten, and the hotel didn’t have any cribs for us! We had to cross our fingers and hope they all fell asleep on our bed while they called around to other hotels trying to find us cribs! Finally, sometime after 11pm (1am German time) they had taxi’d us 3 cribs, but only 2 of them had mattresses. So we were able to transfer two of the babes to cribs and we could finally go to sleep with the third snuggled in between Ben and I. We did have a wonderful morning the next day exploring Reykjavik before catching our flight home later that evening, and now the babies can say they’ve travelled to three different countries (we did a quick day trip to France one day too!).
What is your one piece of advice to parents that are thinking about travelling with a baby?
Pack minimally! For both you and the babe(s). The less stuff you have to lug around the better! Bring the necessities, a few different outfits for different weather conditions, and know that if theres something you desperately need, you can buy it. Travelling can already be complicated and stressful, so living “simpler” for a few days or weeks feels pretty nice!
Follow Kimberly Gibas and her adventures with her triplets here.
More Pictures from their trip to Germany