Travelling abroad with babies
Blogger Fi Newsam from A Mum Track Mind is mother to teenage son Zak and baby girl Sophie. Here she shares her tips for a hassle-free holiday with an infant
Summer is almost upon us and with it the prospect of our annual jaunt to warmer climes. This year we will be boarding a plane and heading off to Tenerife for a week of sun, sea and sand. I’m excited on many counts but not least because this is our first summer holiday with Sophie who will be just seven months old. I’ve heard lots of people say that they wouldn’t take a baby to a hot country and that’s entirely understandable but I say, you are missing out! Not only is it perfectly possible to do, it can also be a really enjoyable experience. All you need is a bit of advanced planning and you will be enjoying your hassle free holiday in no time.
Keep your baby comfortable whilst travelling by dressing them in their pyjamas or Babygro. This is not a fashion parade and the more comfortable your baby is, the better. Save the cute dresses for the actual holiday.
Pack enough food so that even if your flight is delayed, you will have enough. Babies' food and drink is not subject to the same luggage allowance rules as everything else, so pack as much as you need. Convenience is the best option - you will not win any prizes for bringing your own homemade butternut squash pureé. Buy a few ready-made pouches and try before you leave so you know your baby likes them.
If you are bottle feeding, pre-order ready-made cartons of formula to the pharmacy at your airport (the one after security), otherwise you will be stopped and asked to try the milk at security. It’s a lot easier to pre-order them and pick them up the other side. This is a holiday, after all.
Bring along a few of your baby’s favourite toys as well as a new one for the novelty factor.
Try to feed your baby on take-off and landing to ease any earache they may feel.
Take sachets of liquid baby paracetamol and ibruprofen in your hand luggage, just in case.
It goes without saying that you will have a spare change of clothes for your baby, but also bring a spare top for yourself. I learned this the hard way after one too many flights smelling of baby puke.
Feeding your baby on holiday
This was my number one concern when I first travelled abroad with a baby. I had so many questions: can I use the water? Which bottled water will I need to buy? How will I sterilise bottles etc. Of course, if you are breastfeeding then this won’t apply but if you are bottle feeding your little one, there are a few things you need to know and prepare for:
Use either bottled water or ready-made up cartons of formula.
If you use bottled water to make up a feed, check the label to make sure the water contains less than 200 milligrams (mg) a litre of sodium (also written as Na), and no more than 250mg a litre of sulphate (also written as SO or SO4).
Double check that you are buying still, not sparkling water – an easy mistake to make.
Instead of taking your electric steam steriliser with you, it is easier to take disposable steriliser bags. I use ones that I buy from Amazon – a 7 day supply is about £11.
Remember to pack a vacuum flask that will hold hot water and some small plastic containers to hold the formula powder in. It is so easy to fill with hot water and then make up your bottle as and when you need it during the day.
It is worth investing in a good-quality sun cream for your baby with an SPF 50+ even though they should not be sitting in direct sunlight at all. You can still burn in the shade or in the swimming pool. I will also be taking an after-sun lotion just in case. Always test the sun cream on a small patch of skin before you travel – you don’t want to arrive and find out they are allergic to the cream.
A sun tent for the beach will provide good protection and shade – they usually fold up into quite a compact size so will be easy enough to bring with you.
Sun suits are a must – don’t bother with those cute little swimsuits or trunks. You need a neck-to-ankle swim suit, with built in SPF and a good protective sun hat.
Bring enough nappies for the first few days. After that, you can buy them in a local supermarket. I advise you to bring your own swim nappies though, as these can often be expensive abroad.
Bring your own first aid kit with medicines, plasters, antiseptic wipes, thermometer – the lot. You probably won’t need it, but you’ll be glad you brought it if you do!
Bring a universal bath plug – many accommodations only have a shower. Pop the plug in and run the shower and you have made a little bath for your baby.
What are your top tips for hassle-free holidays with a baby?