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It’s holiday time and whilst you may be really ready for a break in the sun after a long, cold winter, the idea of traveling with a small baby may be a daunting prospect!
There is nothing to worry about though, and if truth be told, it is far easier traveling with a baby than with a toddler – ask anyone who has had to contend with a bored, tired and fractious toddler traveler!
The first thing is to be organized. Even if you find it difficult to plan ahead and usually end up leaving several hours late having left half your luggage behind, it really pays to be prepared well before D day.
Shop in advance. A month or two before you plan to leave, stock up on holiday items such as sun screen and insect repellents, and don’t forget extra nappies and toiletries as well as any extra special holiday treats. This will not only save you from having a huge shopping expense all in one go , but will also avoid expensive dashes to the shops at the last minute!
Make lists. Start at least 2 weeks before jotting down important ‘to do’ lists to avoid last minute panic.
Organise a first aid kit Essential items to pack include:
- Antiseptic solution
- Antiseptic ointment
- Itch and sting ointment
- Bruise and sprain ointment
- Selection of plasters
- One medium sized crepe bandage
- Two pressure bandages ( one small, one medium)
- Pair of sharp scissors
- Pair of tweezers
- Re-hydration sachets (at least 4)
- Paracetamol syrup
- If your baby is older than 6 months: paracetamol and anti-inflammatory syrup mix
- Anti-spasmodic syrup
- 2 X medium sized Burnshield
- Small bottle of saline solution
- 2 pairs of latex gloves
Get your household in order. Update your personal filing, clear your desk, cancel your deliveries, and get your household lists up to date for your house sitter. Don’t forget to tell someone where your important documents are to be found.
Be prepared for any eventuality whilst traveling. Pack at least 2 sets of clothes and plenty of nappies, food and milk for your baby. Always put in an extra blanket. If you have a toddler, pack plenty of healthy snacks in mini containers and offer them at frequent intervals during the trip. Keep plenty of wet wipes handy. Another useful tip is to wet a small face cloth with hot water before you leave. Fold it up and put it in a small plastic bag, and use it to wipe sticky faces and fingers – better than wet wipes as it has no soapy residue! Offer small toys on a frequent basis to your toddler to alleviate boredom. Story songs and tapes to play on the car stereo are a win (even with babies) – you’ll soon know all the words to “the wheels on the bus” off pat!! Stop frequently to stretch little legs and for a change of scenery. If your baby or toddler suffers from travel sickness, make sure that you give the relevant medication timeously (you will have to get a prescription from your doctor for this)
You’ve arrived! The first thing to do is to suss the area out to ensure it is child friendly. If your baby is mobile, don’t forget to keep an eagle eye on him until you are sure it is a safe environment. Try to configure your baby’s sleep zone to be as similar to that at home (for example, place the cot in a similar spot in relation to the door or window). Give your baby (or toddler) time to settle in to the new environment before whisking him away to another new and strange activity. Spend some quiet time together as a family to get everyone accustomed to their new surroundings.
Keep a similar routine. To the best of your ability and the circumstances of the holiday, keep your routine as close to that at home. Children do not like unpredictability in their lives, and you will find that the holiday will be much more pleasurable if you have happy and secure children. When your children are small, it does mean that sunset cruises, and romantic walks on the beach may have to wait until they are older. If you have changed time zones, expect everyone to be ratty and tired for the first few days, but if you avoid the temptation of sleeping during the day, and keep a day/night routine stable, you should all feel better within a day or two.
Enjoy! Relish this special time when you can be with a family together all and every day of the holiday. However, do take time for yourself, by organizing a baby sitter and having a special dinner with you and your partner, or going for a facial or a massage. Don’t stress about untidy cupboards, eating junk food and having afternoon naps when your children have theirs – that’s what holiday is all about!
By Meg Faure