You’ve made it to your accommodation, and all is well. Congratulations! Now to have some fun! Here are a few tips to keep your little one in tip-top form and ready to explore this new place with the family.
Whether you’re enjoying the beach, the snow or the city, it’s a good idea to keep the temperature in mind. Babies can dehydrate very quickly in a hot climate, so it’s important to make sure that they have plenty of fluids. You can do this by offering extra breastfeeds and drinks of cooled, boiled water in between feeds. (If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to increase how much water you drink, too).
Babies are sensitive to even small amounts of fluid loss so be aware of the signs of dehydration:
- fewer wet nappies
- sunken soft spot/fontanelle
- becoming drowsy
- dry mouth and no tears when crying
If the weather outside is cold, layers are key – though most well-meaning parents tend to actually bundle their little ones up more than necessary! We lose much of our body heat through our heads, so making sure your baby has a hat on, and that tiny fingers and toes are covered to prevent frostbite, will go a long way toward keeping things comfortable. And don’t forget to strip back several layers when you go inside, or your little one will get hot and cranky very quickly!
If you’re using powdered formula whilst you’re abroad, it’s best to make it up with boiled bottled water, not tap water as you do at home. When you’re buying bottled water, check the label first: the amount of sodium (Na) should be less than 200mg per litre and sulphate (SO or SO4) should be less than 250mg per litre.
Given all this trickiness, some families prefer to just take ready-to-feed formula with them on holiday. If you need to buy more formula whilst you’re away, it’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s website first, as names and ingredients can vary from country to country.
To stay safe in the sun, you’ll want to use a very high factor sun cream, preferably one labeled “sun block”, and apply it to your little one at least half an hour before you venture outside. Loose cotton clothing and a sunhat will also help keep that tender skin safe; young babies can burn very quickly, even with sunblock on, so you’re safest keeping your baby in the shade as much as possible. When you’re out and about, you can use a sun shield in the car and a sun canopy on your buggy; UV proof swimsuits and clothing are also a good way of keeping the sun’s rays at bay.
If you’re headed somewhere tropical, mosquitoes might be an issue. Insect repellents aren’t suitable for children under 2 months, so your best bet is to invest in a net. You can use this over your pushchair, especially at dusk and early in the morning, when mosquitoes are most active. At night, ensure all the windows and doors are shut and use the net on your baby’s cot. To help prevent mosquito bites, you can also turn on a mosquito plug-in before leaving your room in the evening, so that when you return after a couple of hours, any mosquitoes will have been killed. (If, after all this, your baby is unlucky enough to get bitten, you can ease the itch with a cool, damp flannel.)
Your baby, thankfully, isn’t likely to come down with this, but you might! If you come down with traveller’s diarrhoea while you’re away, it’s best to continue breastfeeding; it is highly unlikely that you will pass it on to your baby. Prevention is better than cure, so if you’re in a country where you can’t drink the tap water, try to eat only cooked, hot foods and avoid uncooked fruit, vegetables and salad unless they have been washed in safe water or can be peeled. Drink only bottled water, and remember: washing your hands is the single most important thing you can do to prevent infections.
It may seem like a lot to keep in mind, but it will be worth it – after all, your first holiday with your little one will be in your memory bank forever. We hope you have a wonderful first holiday together!