Disclaimer: I was compensated for writing this post, but all words and thoughts are my own.
Your first holiday as a new family can seem pretty daunting. You might be worried that your baby will scream through the whole flight, or that you won’t pack enough clothes, or that the heat will be too much and you’ll be stuck with a miserable baby. Most new parents will admit they are scared that it won’t feel much like a holiday, and they’ll arrive home more exhausted than when they left. While it’s true that it probably won’t be the same as a pre-baby holiday, they do say ‘a change is as good as a rest’. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you travel with a baby:
- Choose the right type of holiday - babies are generally quite adaptable, and will fit into most lifestyles, but there are some holidays you may find particularly hard work with a baby in tow. Fast moving adventure holidays may need to be toned down for something a little slower, for example. And clubbing holidays in Ibiza probably won’t be as fun if your bedtime is at 7pm. Think about your baby’s needs, and then try to find a holiday that will fit. Beach holidays, staycations and camping trips are all easy and enjoyable as a new family.
- Pack carefully - most importantly, pack light. Ok, maybe that’s a bit hopeful, but at least try not to ground the plane with your excess baggage allowance. When I had a newborn, I couldn’t even go to the local shops without taking six nappies (yes, you read that right), a full pack of wipes, two muslin cloths, a spare change of clothes and an assortment of toys. My changing bag was straining at the seams and, of course, I didn’t use most of what I was carrying. To avoid overpacking, work out what you can buy there, and what can be washed and reused. There’s no need to take every single outfit your baby has, just take a small bag of washing powder.
- Take a sling - slings are always great, but they’re especially useful on holidays. They take up a lot less room, and can easily be packed into a bag when not in use - no need to push an empty pram round all afternoon. Being in a new place, with new sounds, sights and smells, might be over stimulating, the sling will give your baby somewhere to feel safe. Snuggled into you, breathing your scent, and hiding their face from the world. It also means you have your hands free to do other things. You’ll be able to get stuck into the local culture, all the while knowing your baby is safely tucked into your chest. We love exploring the local countryside when we go away, and babywearing allows us to do this so much better than a pushchair could. We can clamber up steep steps, squeeze through kissing gates and shimmy down hills without a second thought.
- Don’t over do it - remember, you have a baby now, and your holiday pace needs to reflect this. Maybe you used to see every city sight in a weekend, but now you will have to slow down a bit. Naps, Feeds and changes can easily slow you down a good few hours, so plan for this in your schedule - that way you won’t be disappointed at not seeing everything on your list. if your baby always naps at a certain time, try to respect this is in your itinerary. There’s nothing worse than a crabby, overtired baby. If you’re not able to be in your room for nap times, slings are a great alternative. Ebony would always fall asleep in the sling when she was a baby, we spent so many afternoons with her cuddled into my chest as we trekked in the countryside.
- Be careful about sun exposure - keep your baby out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (11-3pm). Make sure you have a sun hat, sun lotion and sun glasses with you at all times to protect your baby from the sun. Remember to reapply sun lotion every few hours, or after a dip in the pool. Dress your baby in thin layer that can be removed or added easily depending on the weather. While it may be boiling outside, your baby might start to feel a bit chilly in a restaurant with a good air conditioning system. Heat can lead to dehydration, so your breastfed baby may want to feed more often.
The most important thing to remember when holidaying with a newborn, is to have fun and enjoy yourself. Whether you jet off somewhere far away, drive to France or take a cruise with a company like Cruise 1st, make sure you make the most of your time away. Take lots of photos, and make the most of every minute of your break. Try to immerse your baby in the local culture, and the accompanying sights and smells. Since having Ebony, we have mostly been on staycations - A weekend in Edinburgh, a week in Dorset and some time in Hebden Bridge. Next year, we’re going to head abroad to find some sunshine, and show Ebony a bit more of the world.
Do you have any tips to add?