Travelling with a baby

Newborn | | Louise Broadbridge

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

Whether it’s “up, up and away” or "up, up and stay” planning a vacation for the first time with a baby can be a daunting prospect. How do you make up bottles? What about the water? Will the restaurants help you warm up a feed? And that’s before you try to fit the 16 extra cases you suddenly find yourself needing to transport all your little ones paraphernalia. Here are our top tips for your well-earned vacation (or staycation).

Believe it or not, babies are actually quite transportable. Assuming they have a clean bottom, they spend most of their time sleeping or feeding. Even so, babies are unpredictable little things so it’s best to think ahead and get organised.

First up, comfort! Just as we have ditched the fancy outfits we used to wear for travel, you want your baby to be as comfortable as possible. Light, layered clothing without elasticated waistbands that may dig in will be welcomed by your baby. Always think comfort over cuteness when it comes to travelling.

Don't stress about other passengers! No-one relishes the thought of finding themselves on a long-haul flight next to a baby that has the potential to cry itself across the Atlantic but it is part and parcel of air travel. It may not be the restful flight they were hoping for, but sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Fingers crossed you find yourself sat next to a teenager that loves babies and becomes your new best friend!

Play it cool! Pack a hand-held or battery-operated fan. Arriving in a warm country can leave you feeling hot and flustered as you make your way to your transfer vehicle. Once comfy, you can cool yourself and baby off whilst you take in the scenery.

Remember, if you pack it, you need to carry it! Pack enough nappies for a couple of days and then buy some when you are settled at your holiday destination. Equally, really think about what clobber you need for your baby whilst away. Their new surrounding are likely to be enough to keep them entertained, as they get used to different sights and sounds, so, apart from their favourite comforter, you really don’t need to take many toys with you. Consider a wearable baby carrier for your day’s out, as this can make getting on and off public transport far easier than having to manoeuvre a buggy in a foreign land. 

Sounds simple but make sure you go to the loo before you hop on a plane or head off on a long journey. You really do not want to have to navigate an aeroplane toilet with a baby unless you have to! Although they do usually have fold down changing tables if you do need to do an emergency nappy change. Put a couple of nappies, a small pack of wipes and a small barrier cream in a nappy bag so you can just grab and go! Although the plan is to travel light, take onboard twice the amount of nappies and formula that you are likely to need. Imagine being delayed on a flight and running out of those essentials! Not a way to start or end a holiday!

You may also want to pack a spare set of clothes in your travel bag for you and for baby just in case you’re faced with a poonami or projectile vomit of epic proportions. Your fellow passengers will forgive most things but sitting next to you and your baby whilst covered in poop may just send them looking for a parachute and pulling the eject button!

Although the plan is to travel light, take onboard twice the amount of nappies and formula that you are likely to need.  Imagine being delayed on a flight and running out of those essential!  Not a way to start or end a holiday!

If you are breastfeeding, you really are all set and don’t need to think about too much. Just ensure you have your breast pads, creams and nursing bras with you. If formula feeding, you may need to research what facilities your hotel has for you to make up the bottles. Using bottled water is not recommended, so you may want to consider taking ready-made formula for your trip. That way you are ready to feed baby as and when needed. 

And lastly, enjoy! This planned trip may be starting to feel like more hassle than it is worth but once you are settled in to your new destination, you will realise that change really can be as good as a rest! Time to start making memories!