So now you’ve got the baby basics nailed, it’s time for your next challenge: your first family holiday! Here’s what you need to know.
When you add a baby into the mix, heading off on holiday isn’t quite the carefree affair it used to be. In fact, it’s amazing how much thought and worry can go into catering for such a small person. But don’t let this put you off - with the right prep work your first family trip can be surprisingly fuss-free.
If you’re booking a long haul flight, ask for a bulkhead seat as this gives you a bassinet for bub to lie in as well as extra legroom. It’s also a good idea to book a cot when arranging your accommodation – this will save you bringing your own, plus the hassle of assembling it. If your budget doesn’t stretch to separate rooms, a balcony or patio will come in handy as a place to hang out in the evening… and certainly beats camping out in the bathroom while you wait for bub to nod off. Don’t forget to ask about babysitting services too – after all, you are on holiday and deserve some time to yourselves.
Baby carriers are a great way to transport bub when you’re on the move and give you full use of your hands to boot – which is especially useful when you’re at the airport and need to fish out passports and clear baggage checks. Bub will feel happier being close to you and can even have a power nap while you wait for your boarding call. Trading your usual bulky pram for a lightweight collapsible stroller will also make life easier. You should be able to gate check it at the airport and it’s a more portable option if you plan on using various modes of transport. Go for one that reclines for naps and if you’re heading somewhere hot, a sun canopy is a must.
Unless you’re venturing off the beaten track, you’ll be able to stock up on everyday items while you’re away. So other than enough baby food, formula, nappies and wipes for the first few days, and – of course – clothing, what else should you add to your packing list?
- Passports – not just for you and your partner. Remember: bub will need one too.
- Sterilising gear – if you’ll be making up bottles, microwave sterilising bags are a good space-saving solution.
- Travel blind/curtain – don’t bank on your room having thick curtains – if bub wakes at sunrise, this is your best bet for grabbing some extra zzzz’s (even a black sheet will do).
- Cot linen – the familiar smell of home may help bub settle more quickly at night.
- Toys – just a few favourites to keep her occupied on journeys, plus a couple of new ones to surprise her with when boredom creeps in (the smaller the better).
- Nightlight – this will help her feel secure when she wakes and save you fiddling around with lamps and dimmer switches when it’s time for a night feed (check whether you need an adaptor).
- Universal bath plug – if a warm soak is one of your bub’s favourite bedtime rituals, this is just what you need to turn a shower into a bath.
- Baby first aid – a basic kit is a must-have; and don’t forget pain relief medicine and other staples like nappy cream and insect repellent.
- Sun protection – for beach holidays, a good hat, plenty of baby sunscreen, swimming nappies and a rash vest or suit are essential items. Go all out and buy a clip-on pram fan and mozzi net if it’s tropical.
To ensure you make the most of your trip you’ll also need to pack the right attitude. A sense of humour is key, as is the wisdom to recognise what you can realistically achieve. With feeds, nappy changes and unexpected meltdowns, it takes longer to get from A to B when travelling with a baby, even if that’s just from your hotel room to the pool. Adopting a slower pace and a flexible itinerary is the best recipe for relaxation.
About the author: Jo Sharp
Jo has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Based in Sydney, she covers both business and lifestyle topics and has written numerous articles about pregnancy and parenting. When she’s not glued to her laptop, she can be found out and about in Bondi with her two kid
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