By Emma Castle
A holiday is a wonderful way to introduce your bub to new sights, sounds, textures and smells, but it can also be an anxiety-provoking experience for parents when it comes to packing and planning for a stay at an unfamiliar place.
Here are some pro tips for holidaying with a bub that will maximise the ‘woohoo!’ and minimise the ‘waaah’.
Do some research before you go to find out if the hotel or resort offers travel cots, high chairs, nappies, baby food and formula delivery (or access to shops that sell them), as well as babysitting or nanny services. Some resorts even have prams for loan or hire, and most car hire companies can arrange a baby capsule or kid’s travel seat so you don’t have to lug yours along.
If where you’re going doesn’t offer any of the items mentioned above, bring them with you. It might seem like a hellish process trying to drag a port-a-cot, pram and travel seat along with if you’re flying, but you will be grateful for them when you arrive. Check with your airline about their check-in procedures, as some airlines will let you take all your baby paraphernalia to the gate where they will then tag it and load it into the hold for you. This is usually offered at no extra cost and doesn’t affect your baggage allowance.
Check with your GP about any vaccinations your baby may need for the destination, and what medication is safe for your bub to take. Once you have a good grasp on what is OK for babies, head to the pharmacy and stock up on a few first aid items.
Most holidays, if you’re lucky, involve lots of time outdoors, so make sure you pack a hat and sunscreen that is safe to use on a baby. While it is recommended that you don’t use sunscreen on a baby under six months of age, there are specially formulated sunscreens that are gentle enough for baby’s skin.
Some restaurants and hotels flat-out refuse to make or serve pureed food, so you need to have a back-up plan. Take some baby food with you, buy some locally or ask about the availability of specific types of food, as food preparation can be a bit tricky if you’re staying in a regular hotel room without kitchen facilities. Once again, ask your GP about foods to avoid as things that can seem innocuous, like cooked rice, can be dangerous from a food safety perspective.
Bring some familiar items, like favourite baby toys or a play mat, to give your baby a sense of comfort in their new surroundings.
Some destinations, like The Hawaiian Islands, have very strict rules around the need for baby capsules in taxis so you will need to book ahead, while other countries are more lax. Generally, you can take babies on buses and trains in baby carriers or prams but it’s worth checking before you go.
Most travel insurers cover dependent children under the age of 18 and, in some cases, 21, under the adult’s travel insurance policy. Regardless of whether you are travelling domestically or internationally, travel insurance is highly recommended when travelling with a bub.
While in many countries breastfeeding is enshrined in law as an explicit right, there are some countries where modesty culture encourages covering the breast or the whole baby with a wrap.
Do you know where the hospitals or medical clinics are in your destination that speak your language? Do you know the local emergency phone number (ie 999 for the UK)? Do you have your baby’s health records saved somewhere (ie on your phone) so you can access them in a hurry? Things like your baby’s blood type and vaccination record are good to have on hand, even to just give you peace of mind.
Hopefully, your holiday will be healthy and filled with lots of happy memories!
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