Thursday, 27 May 2010

Travelling with babies - my top tips

So, time to share my top 'holidaying with babies' tips...

1) Get sunhats with wide brims that tie under the chin. Ours didn't have ties so Miss E and Mr A spent the whole time pulling them off. Green Baby do some great ones.

2) It sounds obvious but don't put them in light-coloured clothes to travel in. I don't wear light colours myself for long journeys, so I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea to do so for the babies! They looked thoroughly dirty and bedraggled by the time we arrived at our campsite.

3) Always have an adequate supply of snacks. Snacks are great for distracting them when they get grouchy, and help them stretch if their next meal is going to be delayed until you reach your destination.

4) Good playthings on the plane include cardigan with buttons or a shirt (my babies will spend ages playing with the buttons), chunky necklaces, balloons (these are small to pack but are fun when blown up). I also took along a hand puppet, which was great for entertaining the babies when waiting in queues.

5) Miss E and Mr A were perfectly happy on take-off and landing - we gave them a milk feed if one was due, or a biscuit or some dried fruit to eat if not.

6) The UV swimsuits we bought the babies were a great buy (see them modelling them here). Ours were from John Lewis, and they took away the anxiety of them getting too much sun and were lightweight enough for them to happily sit in them during the day.

7) We wished we had bought one of those pop-up UV tents for the beach. We'd planned to use a parasol to give the babies some shade, but actually it was too windy for a parasol, so a little tent would have been perfect.

8) Pack baby clothes that are good for layering - so long-sleeved tops, tshirts, cardigans etc. Most of Miss E and Mr A's tops are vests, so it wasn't easy to just peel off a layer when the sun came out, or to pop a layer on when it got a bit chilly.

9) We bought some fabric travel highchairs that pack really small and can bit fitted to any dining chair. Ours were from Kiddicare, but they are available from lots of places, and they were really useful for bars or cafes that didn't have highchairs.

10) The advice we were given was to buy nappies out there rather than pack many from home. However, nappies don't actually weigh very much, and we found that they were really expensive to buy when away, so we wished we had taken some more with us.

11) Young Daddy and I both got quite a few nasty mosquito bites, but the babies escaped being bitten. I was sure to lather them in mozzie-repellent in the evenings, and we took mosquito nets that fitted over their travel cots (ours were from Mothercare).

12) Mums - strapless tops and bikini tops are not a good idea, unless you're happy to flash your fellow holidaymakers when your energetic baby yanks them down.

13) The bowl of water play idea was a great one in hot weather because it kept them nice and cool.

14) Another obvious one, but pack spare sets of clothing for the babies (and you if you've got room) on the journey in case of accidents. Mr A was sick on the plane so I had to change his outfit.

15) Cheshire Mum did a great vlog about using sterilising tablets to sterilise bottles when away, and we found this way of sterilising was really straightforward.

16) Because of the restrictions on taking liquids through security we took through sterilised empty bottles, a box of formula, and bought bottled water once we were through security. If you don't make a habit of using bottled water then it's not a problem, and apparently health visitors recommend Evian because it has a low sodium content.

17) For food for the babies while away (if they eat purees), we just packed our little handheld blender and some baby rice and bought stuff to make purees when we were out there.

18) I packed a picnic blanket in my hand luggage so that the babies and I could sit down and play in the airport. This was really useful when we arrived at the airport in Sardinia and we were waiting for our luggage and the pushchairs. 

If I've missed anything, or you've got any questions (or any tips to add) please ask! We definitely found that going away with the babies was a lot more straightforward than we expected and I can't recommend it enough.
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