Umrah with a Toddler - Makkah

Tuesday, May 14, 2019



Danna and I completed our first Umrah together with a toddler in tow last December, and it was one wonderful spiritual journey that we both are just dying to experience over and over again.

To be honest, we were not keen with the idea of bringing our then-14 months old Mini along. Upon the advice of our friends and families who have been to Makkah and Madinah, they thought it was best to go just the two of us. Danna and I agreed, after all our intention was solely to focus on our ibadah, yet how can we possibly do so with Mini around, right? I mean, we can't even enjoy our meal together in peace without her acting up for attention at home!

We were convinced we have made the right move and proceed to make the deposit. Until the day I stumbled upon a a random IG profile who shared about her experience performing Umrah with a baby and suddenly Danna and I were doubting our decisions.We started looking up for Youtube videos and blog posts about Umrah with kids and before we know it, we made payment for Mini to tag along. (Fyi, we had to top up $400 for her)

If you ask me now, Danna and I wouldn't have it any other way. Sure there are more pros and our ibadah could have been more focused without Mini but I must say that He has made it very easy for us throughout the trip. All we had to do was pray, have faith and leave the rest to Him. For the benefit of others, and for my own future reference, I'll be sharing my journey and some tips on performing Umrah with a toddler.

ps: very LONG post ahead!


*****

Travel Agency


Our chosen tour agency is Raffles Holiday.

We have a very small group for the tour and they are nothing but an extremely kind and helpful group of people. We all get along very well and they love Mini too, getting her toys and sweets. Too bad my not-so-friendly baby doesn't appreciate their attention at all :p

Honestly the reason why we chose Raffles Holidays is because the lead guide for our group is Danna's good friend. He brought his family along after knowing we have made the decision to bring Mini along and I couldn't be more thankful for that. We've traveled together in the past so knowing I have familiar people around with me makes things easier, especially when Danna and I are first timers and we do not have our family members with us.

The ustaz for our group is Ustaz Adi Ho. A young and funny Ustaz, he is.

Travel Date
26 November - 7 December 2018

I would have preferred to go during a non-busy period if it isn't for the fact that I do not have annual leave. So I have no choice but to wait for the Dec school holidays. We spend the first 6 days in Makkah and the remaining days in Madinah.

I find this arrangement way better than heading to Madinah first. At least we have our main goal done (Our Umrah) before we get to chill down for a bit.

Airlines
Etihad Airlines


Best part about travelling with a baby - privilege everywhere! We get to enter the plane first which explains why it is so empty here.

Do you know Emirates Airlines has Flying Nannies with them? When my friend told me about it, I honestly thought it was a joke. I mean, I've never heard of such services before in my many years of traveling by plane lol.

But anyways, there really is one. She introduced herself once we board the plane and was dressed differently from the stewardess so there's no way you can mix them up. At various points of the flight, she came up to me and asked if we need any assistance, like offering to look after Mini while we eat or use the lavatory. Mini was even given a bag with fun activities inside it.

Anyhoots, our flight had a stop over at Abu Dhabi for an hour before we fly to Jeddah. Alhamdulillah we had a pleasant flight experience with Mini cos lucky for us, all our take off timing falls on her sleep time so most of the time she was zzz away.

Talking about Jeddah, we've heard so many negative stories about the airport - from the cold treatment from the staff to the dreadful long wait. We were advised plenty of times to be mentally prepared and practise sabar at all times. Of cos that got us worried sick. But when we reached the airport, we were super shocked to see it was empty and immigration took only about half an hour. Even our Ustaz and guide leader who have been there several times were pleasantly surprised. The grumpy-looking officer who checked our passport even took Mini in his hands (which takes us by surprise!) and hug and kiss her head.


How it's like when we're in the bus most of the time. It was a lot more convenient for me cos I am breastfeeding and every time I do so in a moving vehicle, my mini goes straight to Lala Land.

Speaking about breastfeeding, I was having doubts about consuming Norethisterone, a prescription-only pill which can be used to delay your period. Obviously I want to avoid that time of the month but on the other hand I was worried if it might have any effect on Mini.

After much thoughts and advice from friends, I decided to just go see a doctor to get the pills cos the thought of not being able to enter the mosques when I am already at the two holiest cities in the world sounds like such a waste and a risk I am not willing to take. 


We were given about an hour to rest before we get ready for our first Umrah. The feels, I tell you! Excited + nervous + scared all rolled into one. Tak sabar nak tengok Kaabah dengan mata kepala sendiri.



Time ni jangan cakap lah okay. I was bawling my eyes out as I get closer to the Kaabah. Suddenly all my worldly worries instantly evaporate and my mind was going through fast flashbacks of the sins I've done in the past. 


 Allahu Akbar.


At the end of our first completed Tawaf. Mini slept through out the seven rounds, yay! Tip: Bring along a comfortable baby carrier, Mamas! Strollers are not allowed in the mosque so strapping your lil one close to you is the next best option. 

Next is our Sai'e.




Green fluorescent lights indicating where Hajar ran to get to the higher ground. Between these lights, it is Sunnah for men to run at a medium pace while women should continue to walk normally. 



Mini woke up when we were doing our fifth round. Thank God!



Mini be like "Y U BOTAK AYAH?"


Our favourite hangout spot after Subuh prayers. Mini had no problem waking up at a very early timing so we try to perform our first prayer of the day at the mosque as much as we can.

Two things I learned about the Subuh prayers here in Al-Haram. #1. There are two calls of azan for Fajr that are very far apart. We had plenty of time to get ready and walk to the mosque after the first azan. #2. Doa qunut is not recited during Subuh prayers here.


We got ourselves sim cards from this mini booth located outside the mosque. Be sure to present your passport/ID tags when you want to purchase one.


Malls connected to the hotel.


We dropped by Jabal Ar-Rahmah while on our way to the nearest Miqat to make our niat for our second Umrah. Danna had his Ihram under his jubah so that it impossible for us to climb up this Mount of Mercy, which we very much would love to.


"Hmmm I wonder where my parents are..."


"HEY Y U NO TAKE PICTURE WITH ME!"


" Ughsdkfjn grumpy is me ughrf"


"Oh look what's that?"


"Okay all is forgiven omnomnom"

LOL


The Clock Tower.

Okay if you're a Mummy who is planning to bring your lil one for Umrah, you may be wondering what are some of the milk/pampers brands that can be found in Makkah. Here's what I found in Abraj Supermarket located at the Clock Tower.



That tin of Nan costs 56 Saudi Riyal.


You can also check out Bin Dawood which is basically like Mustafa Centre. 

*****


After our second completed Tawaf.
Alhamdulillah once again Mini slept through out the whole seven rounds.

Mini woke up as we were about to perform our Sai'e so Danna and I decided to do it on the second level. (which is also our 'solat spot' for our daily prayers)

What's different at the second floor, you may ask?


Look how much less congested it is! (refer to the earlier gif to compare with level 1) There's a lane for wheelchair only at this level so if you feel tired carrying your baby around you can have one of the staff to push you on a wheel chair (at a fee) or you can try the scooter at level three.


This is our 'solat spot' I mentioned about. I love the huge gap between each row so Mini has plenty of space to play or sleep in front of me.


This was on a Friday. Danna and I had planned to perform our Tawaf sunat after our Subuh prayers. So we entered the mosque at about 10am and immediately change our plans cos people were already busy reserving their spot for their Friday prayers. We headed to our usual spot at level two and to our surprise, every single corner were packed already. So we proceed to level 3 and rest while waiting for Friday prayers. My very first time and I must say I was extremely overwhelmed by the crowd. Definitely an experience I'll never forget!

Some pictures of our last day in Makkah....


& this happened. I was all by myself and obviously so scared cos the people there were merciless I swear. But that feeling, being so close to the Kaabah, is simply surreal.I cried so hard when I get to touch the Kaabah, in fact I'm crying as I'm typing this too cos my heart just miss this place SO MUCH.  T_T



Ya Allah please invite me and everyone I love to set foot on this Holy land, over and over again :'(

xoxo, N

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