Violetta is six months old and she’s just enjoyed her first holiday abroad!
It was her Nanny’s 60th birthday and a family week in the sun was booked for all to enjoy.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about what a week away with a little baby would entail; the packing, the change to her routine, the heat, the constant attention and potential overstimulation, just to name a few of the things that were on my mind.
The lead up to the holiday was pretty intense. I had to work out what she would need, what we would need, could the hotel cater for me (a coeliac) and provide everything I needed for her, would I get to relax at all or would I just be constantly worrying about whether she was cool enough, warm enough, hydrated enough; you get the jist!!
I needn’t have worried. Aside from having to take turns sitting inside with the baby as it’s been too hot for her outside in the middle of the day, the holiday couldn’t have been better!
I’ve learnt to relax (a little – definitely never going to be the type to totally switch off) and let other people help with the baby, Iv’e also worked out what needs to be found out ahead of a holiday, what to pack and what not to pack and how to make the most of local knowledge and hotel services.
Here’s an insight into what this week has taught me, a sort of Parent’s Guide to Baby’s First Holiday! I’ve never been a big traveller, so I’m sure there are more seasoned approaches, but this is mine!
1. Talk To Your Hotel
I wish I’d asked these questions ahead of arriving, as they not only help with what to pack but also they mean that the hotel has the chance to help you out and prepare for your arrival.
- Do they provide a high chair and cot?
- If using a transfer service do they do they provide an age-appropriate car seat?
- Is there a bath in your room (if not, can they provide a baby bath)?
- Can you have a kettle in the room (for making bottles/heating food)?
- Do they have a steriliser?
- Do they have baby toys?
- Is there a pharmacy/supermarket in walking distance?
By asking these questions you will be able to eliminate some of the larger necessary items and also know ahead of arriving exactly what is provided in your room and what is available nearby. Had I of asked these questions it would have removed so many of my stresses pre-leaving and on arrival at the hotel when I discovered that there were only showers and small hand basins in every room, but that on asking (very late in the holiday) they were happy to provide a plastic baby bath!
2. What To Pack
I won’t teach you to suck eggs, but this is my guide for a week in the sun with a 6 month old baby
- 10 daytime outfits (cool, easy to move in and easy access for nappy changes.
- 7 evening outfits/changes of clothes
- 2 cardigans or jumpers
- 5 x Socks
- Enough bibs for the first half of the holiday (then rinse them and dry them for the second half!) we took 10 and used them all.
- 5 x Pyjamas. We chose not to turn our air con on, so V went to sleep in just a vest, but if you are thinking of using the air con also take a sleeping bag and longer sleeves.
- Pretty pyjamas (if you want to take your little one out in the evening and then straight to bed)
- 3 x swimming costumes (they take a while to dry and smell of chlorine after being used a couple of times)
- 56 nappies – but only if you use a specific brand – otherwise get them from the local pharmacy.
- Three packs of wipes – same applies as the nappies!
- Muslins (if you still use them- we do, a lot!)
- Teething granules
- Small selection of toys
- Any sleep-aids (Ewan goes everywhere with us for overnight stays!)
- Food pouches and formula if you use them
- Two bottles
- Two spoons
- Sippy cup / beaker. I love the Munchkin one as it’s leakproof
- Sterilising tablets
- Detergent (for washing clothes in the sink – the kitchen will happily wash up baby’s dinner bits if you ask!)
- Snooze Shade – the best invention ever for taking baby out on hot days or bright evenings!
- Buggy / stroller (I would highly recommend the Mothercare XSS which folds down so small you can pop it in its bag on your shoulder and hide it away in the wardrobe when it’s not needed)
3. What Not To Pack!
There isn’t a lot in this list because travelling with a baby means you need quite a bit of paraphernalia, but save yourself the baggage costs by leaving these non-essentials at home!
- Towels – as long as the hotel can and will provide them for baby
- Baby’s bedding – if the hotel provide a cot, they’ll have bedding
- Bowls, plates and all the other ‘essentials’ we use at home for mealtimes
- Too many toys – I took 3 fun toys (links, stacking towers and Sophie the Giraffe) and V’s absolute favourite thing the whole holiday was an inflatable penguin we purchased from the beach shop for €1! We also got a few books and games from the local children’s shop to bring home, so she got to play with those too.
4. Buy When You Arrive
I wish it had occurred to me that I wasn’t going to the middle of the desert, but was in fact visiting a developed country where people need what I needed every day too! Save yourself some weight and agro, and buy these locally!
- Baby bath/shower soap
- Pouches/jars if your little one isn’t too fussy
5. How To Make The Most Of The Hotel
This one’s simple, ask them! Our waiters and front desk fell in love with V and couldn’t do enough for us; from sterilising her bottles and spoons in the industrial steamer in the kitchen, to providing us with a fresh towel each day for the pool and directing us to the best places for babies locally. Your enjoyment is key to them and a happy baby means happy parents!
I hope you find this useful. I’ll be doing a separate post on flying with a baby for the first time, but for now that’s everything.
Feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have!