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Holidaying with your baby

by Kerryn on January 13th, 2011

We have recently come back home after a a stint of house sitting for Scott’s mom and then a trip on the Cape South Coast with friends. I must say that I found the thought of going away with a 8.5 month old Georgie quite daunting. There was so much to remember to pack, decisions to make about food (take along or prepare while we were there) and the car trip to manage. Then there was the stress of not knowing whether she was going to sleep in a new environment. Wondering again whether I had remembered to pack everything. You may have guessed from this that I tend to over think things, but that is the way that I am wired; so I make extensive lists and do a bit of fretting.

After returning from a not-so-relaxing beach holiday I’ve thought about what I did and didn’t do that will make future holidays more fun:

  • Just accept that the car trip will be a slow affair. This way you won’t mind making frequent stops for feeds, snacks and to relieve the boredom of your baby having to stare at the back seat.
  • Save yourself time on holiday by preparing and freezing purees in advance or buy a ready made brand that you are happy to give to your baby. I made up a couple of big batches of savoury purees, I brought the fruit purees that I had remaining in my freezer and then I used Olli organic fruit purees to make up the balance. It really helped that we had a chest freezer in the house that we were staying.
  • I splashed out and bought a pack of Moltex Oko disposable nappies to use on holiday. I usually only use one at night and cloth nappies during the day. They are biodegradable, so I didn’t feel guilty about using them and it saved me from having to wash cloth nappies every 2 days.
  • Pack light. I think I’ve got our list of essentials down to a manageable amount: pram, campcot, mattress, mossie net, 2 blankets, 2 terry cloth squares (for spills etc), 2 face clothes, 2 pairs of pj’s, one outfit for each day, warm hat, sun hat, sunscreen, a couple of pairs of socks, soap, nappies, wipes, bum cream, thermometer, pain reliever, teething gel and a few key toys. This sounds like a lot and did take up a significant portion of our car, but I feel like it’s our bare minimum.
  • There were so many new things to keep Georgie entertained, including a brazen family of field mice, that we didn’t really need to pack as many toys as we did. A empty bubble bath bottle, a plastic cup and small Tupperware also made great bath time toys.
  • I recommend taking a blanket, big towel or playmat with you. Then you know that you have a clean surface for your baby to play on.
  • Stick to your routine where when you can and don’t stress about it when you can’t. When we were house sitting Georgie’s sleeping routine got a little out of whack. As a result her nights were a lot more disturbed and we were up a lot. As soon as I got her back onto the routine that she was used to during the day her nights improved. I stuck with this on our holiday and for the most part the nights were good. I also followed all the usual pre-bed routines that we usually do and she didn’t seem to mind being in a strange place at all.
  • Most importantly – take some time for yourself! If you’re going away with friends ask for some help. Georgie was going through a patch of separation anxiety and initially wasn’t that happy to go to anyone besides Scott and I. Towards the end of the holiday she got more used to the friends that we were with and could be handed over. I really didn’t take advantage of all the extra hands though. I wish that I had set aside a little time each day to be on my own or to do something with Scott to make it feel like more of a break.
  • I also need to adjust my expectations of what a holiday is. I won’t be having any “lie-under-the-umbrella-on-the-beach-whilst-reading-a-book-all-day” kind of holidays for a good number of years. I do have lots of building sandcastles, fishing in rock pools and bike riding to look forward to though!

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