Taking a mini break or a proper family vacation with a newborn? While you might find the idea a little stressful at first, with a little planning it can be a truly wonderful and memorable experience.
Stop! Before you do anything else, have you got, your baby’s passport? Don’t book a trip before it arrives, as it can take several weeks to get it back from the passport office. If you are travelling with a child alone and their surname is not the same as yours, make sure you get the appropriate authorisation and check if you need a Visa too.
Bag it, baby!
First, you need to know what to pack. This can be daunting, as babies seem to need a huge bag of gear just for a trip out for coffee. Fear not, with a little homework and the right gear, you’ll soon become an expert. The four main areas to consider are; sleeping, changing, feeding and playing.
Baby vacation packing list:
- Passports and travel documents
- Clothes and accessories like sun hats, gloves etc – take a mixture of garments to allow for layering, plus items like a swim nappy
- A travel cot plus a sleeping bag
- A few favourite toys
- A small baby first aid kit
- Infant car seat
- A sling or baby carrier
- A travel highchair
- Extra blanket for the stroller
- Breast pump if using, sterilising and feeding gear
- Snacks for all the family
- Storage bags for dirty and wet items
- Baby toiletries including sun cream
- A universal bath plug
- A battery-operated nightlight
- Electrical socket adaptors
- Snoozeshade for the stroller and the travel cot
Cutting back on the amount of gear you have will help your trip go smoothly. A travel stroller is easier to take with you than your large stroller. Some even fold up small enough to go in the plane’s overhead locker. A baby carrier or sling is great for walks in places that a stroller won’t go, such as forests and beaches. If you’re flying or driving, a travel system with an infant car seat may be the best option, so you don’t have to swap your baby from one place to another as you negotiate planes, cabs and cars.
If you’re going to a vacation home, resort, hotel or a friend’s house, try to find out as much as you can about your destination as you can. Do they have strollers, highchairs, cots, car seats, baby monitors, a baby sitting service, a kids’ club or nursery? Are there laundry facilities and how far away are the nearest stores? This way, you’ll know what you have to pack and what you can leave at home. Make sure you have plenty of diapers and wipes, plus a change of clothes for you and baby in your hand baggage in case of travel delays and check to see that you’ll be able to buy your favoured brand at your holiday location.
Choosing a family-friendly hotel or resort means you’ll find all you need for a proper family break. Though it might be a little pricier, it’s a good idea to choose a destination that caters for families .
Choosing self-catering can be a great option, as you can suit yourself and your baby as to what, and when, you eat. It also means that you can feed and put the baby to bed, then share a grown-up meal and perhaps a couple of glasses of wine in safety and comfort.
Manage your expectations
If this is your first trip with your baby, you may think it will be like previous vacations. Lovely as it will be to take your little one somewhere new, it is going to be very different to holidays before you became a parent, so make sure you have the right expectations. Although you won’t be having long lie-ins and late nights at clubs, you’ll be having such fun with your little one that you won’t miss them – and you’ll be making wonderful memories!
Very small babies are much easier to travel with than toddlers who want to run about and get into everything, so if you have always fancied a long-haul trip somewhere exotic, take it now. It’s cheaper too, as your baby will have to be on your lap for the journey unless you book a sky cot. However, if your baby has any health problems or colic, you might want to think about a holiday in the US. Nobody likes being on a plane for 18 hours with a screaming baby!
Feeding your baby on the go
If you’re breastfeeding, you already have all you need. It’s a good idea to feed your baby when taking off and landing in a plane, as this helps with ears popping. If bottle feeding, you can buy travel packs of ready-made formula. You may be asked to taste milk going through airport security - make sure you don’t go over the airline’s fluids limit.
Sleeps tips when travelling with a baby
- Maintain the same bedtime routine as you would at home
- Take comforters or favourite sleep aids with you
- Keep your child’s sleep schedule on your home time zone for short trips. For longer trips, adjust them gradually
- Keep your baby’s sleep space dark, cool and free from distractions with Snoozeshade