Thanks to each of you for taking the time to answer my groping-in-the-dark question!
I feel really lucky to get the advice of folks who have actually done it.
USAmma, it sounds like you had your share of difficulties on both trips. I think you’re a braver woman than me, I’m not sure I would dare to do the trip with a child suffering major medical problems. I’m curious, did you bring a car seat along on your first trip, or would you not have used it as you weren't driving yourself?
Based on all of your combined advice and my own physical limitations (no way I’ll be traveling further than the corner store 2 months post c-section with my degenerative spine) we are going to pencil in the trip at the 5 month mark and stay for 3-4 weeks. I think it’s very true that a babe in arms will be easier to protect from hazards than a toddler, and less exhausting to care for during travel and while we are there. I also think we will be putting off subsequent trips until the LO is 3 or so.
Nuala, I’m really curious about what I should expect when I’m toting baby around in India. Would you be willing to indulge me and tell me more about your experience with people wanting to touch and hold your LO? (and would anyone else?) I’m wondering if you ever had her in a sling, and if so, if it cut down on those requests like it tends to in the west. Also, in what situations did you find yourself getting most requests versus situations when you got fewer?
Meemee, I agree with you about the polio vaccine. There is a 50/50 chance that we will be returning to India to live when the kids are toddlers, so vaccine-free is not the best plan for our family. We’re more about the merits of being selective and delaying. This last week we looked up what the recommendations are in India and then used the info to modify Dr. Sears’ vax schedule (to get the IVP in early).
Thanks for the tip about the baby ID card, I had no idea you could get one. I’m not sure I understand what you mean about time I want away from my baby? We do plan on all traveling together.
I feel pretty good about the alternative vax schedule we are nailing together. The only thing that actually worries me is tuberculosis. TB is far from uncommon in Delhi, and last year DH’s uncle was diagnosed with it! the BCG vaccine is not the easiest thing to get your hands on in the US. I’m going to investigate if we can obtain it as travel-related, (does anyone happen to know that?) but if not the babies will be getting it in India on their first trip.