So, you’re about to embark on your first holiday with baby in tow. Or maybe you’re undecided about whether to take that leap yet. Depending on who you ask, going on holiday can be just the thing to restore, rejuvenate and congratulate new parents on getting through those first few months of bringing up baby. On the other hand, going on a holiday that involves airports and plane travel to some is just more hassle than it’s worth and might prefer to keep things more local. Whichever side of the fence you sit on, there are some travel tips and safety advice to consider wherever you might be travelling to with the newest and smallest member of the family.
Are we there yet… Long waits, whether at the airport or in the car, chances are you’ll find yourself needing some form of entertainment getting to and from, and probably even at, your destination. Sometimes, being in new surroundings such as airport departure lounges and Duty Free shops, will be enough to keep little ones occupied if you take the time to talk to them about what they can see. Standing at the big windows to watch all the planes taking off and landing on the runway may possibly entertain them for the hours you need to wait! If your little one is a more sensitive soul, however, all those bright lights and new sounds might just be a bit too much. Taking things slow, as well as lots of cuddles, will go a long way to keep baby feeling secure and may help calm you down too. Making sure you’ve packed a couple of their favourite toys, small enough to fit in to your handbag or hand luggage for quick and easy access, will help to make your little one feel a little more at home and comforted as they take in all their new surroundings.
Keeping clean… Airports, planes, service stations…probably none of them measure up to your hygiene standards when it comes to baby. I am always tempted to take more hand gel than my luggage will allow! However, while most of us don’t really want to end up paying for excess baggage in bottles of gel, sprays and wipes, it is obviously wise to ensure you’ve got the basic hygiene staples sorted before you go. Germs spread easily, especially within the small confines of an airplane. A small bottle of anti-bac hand gel, a multipack of handy size tissues and a packet of baby wipes will help you keep little (and big) hands and faces clean, as well as those hand rails, fold down trays and door handles that are in reach and waiting to be grabbed.
These items will also help at he other end of the journey. Floors you haven’t been able to clean, TV remote controls you haven’t wiped down and restaurant tables you haven’t been able to spritz won’t fill you with dread knowing you’ve got those anti bac wipes and sprays. It’s your holiday too so anything that helps keep your stress levels at bay is worth it.
Sun safe… Holidays are all about relaxing and having together as a family. Knowing how to keep everyone safe in the sun will ensure you spend longer being able to do just that. The rule about avoiding the sun during the hottest part of the day is well worth adhering to. Between the hours of 11 and 3, having a long, leisurely family lunch is a lovely way to fill some of those hours. Take the time to spend some time eating and talking together about what you’ve been doing and what you plan to do tomorrow. Engage in all the new flavours on your plates. Afterwards, have a wander round the local (air conditioned) shops together, or indulge in a little nap time with your little one! Wake up ready for a dip in the pool before dinner – perfect!
When you are in the sun, keep baby’s skin exposure to the minimum. Cover them in loose, lightweight clothing with arms and legs covered. Hats with a neck drape will protect their neck and forehead from harmful UV rays. Use an SPF swimsuit with arms and legs for when they are swimming and be sure to reapply suncream to exposed areas as soon as they come out. Remember ears, feet and toes, hands, noses, cheeks, foreheads and chin. Apply SPF lip balm, an area often overlooked but that can easily become sore in the sun.
Take a large parasol or sun tent with you to the beach. Choose a shady spot where the air, and the sand, will feel cooler. Take care not to let baby to burn their feet on hot sand.
Foreign flavours… While being in a new country provides a fantastic opportunity to try new foods and flavours, bear in mind baby is still developing an immune system as well as the ability to digest their food properly. Think about introducing something new just once a day rather than at every meal to give their tiny tummies time to digest and acclimatize to new foods. Don’t force your little one to eat something they really don’t want to try. As much as you might want to cultivate your child’s palette, you might be better off waiting until they’re a little older and instead allow them to eat their favourites while you’re away (toast, beans, bananas, whatever it may be). By all means offer them a bit of what you may be adventurous enough to try, but do it alongside their favourites so they feel safer knowing they have something they want to eat. It’s baby’s holiday too and food is a big part of it, so let them be comfortable with what is on their plate at mealtimes.
Remember to pack some of your little one’s favourite foods so you know you have something they’ll eat if nothing on the menu tickles their taste buds. Things like crackers, breadsticks, dried fruit, cereal and crispbreads all travel well if you package them in airtight containers. You can always buy things to go with them like hummus, yoghurt and cheese when you’re there. (Bring some cutlery with you if you are not self catering).
Above all, wherever you decide to holiday, whether far flung or closer to home, it’s all about having fun and bonding as a family. You’ll be giving baby the opportunity to experience somewhere they haven’t seen before. Keep them feeling safe and loved and you’ll not only survive this milestone, but enjoy it too!
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