Now, this may sound like a bit of a scary idea, especially if you’re a first time parent. When you’ve got a new baby on board, just packing up for a trip to the park, or navigating public transport with a pram can feel like a mammoth task. So, if you’ve got a vacation (or a staycation) coming up, you may be a little bit nervous doing it with a newborn. Luckily, we’ve got some tips to help you parent confidently and enjoy your holibobs!
Step one: pack
You’ve probably got limited space to pack baby’s things, especially if you’re flying. What to pack also depends on where you’re going. Of course, pack summer clothes for a hot place and plenty of layers for a cool place, but what about all the other bits and bobs? Here’s a checklist of baby’s holiday essentials:
- Passport – yes, babies need passports too! (These are often forgotten).
- A foldable pushchair – check out this list of the most compact folding buggies by Made for Mums. This can go in the plane hold for free!
- A car seat – this can also go in the plane hold for free. You could always combine pushchair and car seat with a handy travel system.
- A well-fitted sling or carrier – this can make life so much easier for holiday walks and activities. If you need help choosing one, we’ve got a fantastic post written by Roamy Hunt, one of the UK’s top babywearing consultants!
- A baby monitor – of course, a baby monitor that can be used on the go can be super helpful. The Bluebell Smart monitoring system will keep working on the plane/in the car to alert you on baby’s breathing, temperature and more. The system can be taken with you and connected to your hotel’s Wi-Fi for seamless monitoring wherever you are.
- Feeding bits – this all depends on your baby’s age and how you feed them, but some ideas for this are:
- A nursing cover if you want some privacy
- A pump and/or pre-pumped milk (most airlines don’t have limits on this but always double check!)
- Bottles, a bottle warmer, a steriliser, formula
- Bibs, sippy cups, spoons
- Nutritious snacks (sandwiches, dried fruit, fruit and veggie pouches, hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks, etc.)
- Hygiene bits – wipes, nappies, nappy bags, sponge, baby wash, cream, etc. You can also turn any sink into a little bath with a travel plug or, if you’ve got the space, you could even take an inflatable travel bath.
- Sunscreen – if you’re baby’s under six months, they should stay out of the sun. For older babies, the NHS recommends at least factor 15 but you’ll probably want to err on the side of caution and go for a higher SPF.
- A changing mat.
- A portable high chair and travel cot (if these won’t be provided). The cot can also go in the plane hold for free.
Of course, every baby’s different and every holiday’s different. This is just a base list of essentials. We definitely advise that you start packing as early as possible as there’s ALWAYS things that come to mind later. If you’ve got one of our baby monitors, once you’re all packed, why not use your app to look at baby’s routine history – it may remind you of something you’ve left out of their bag!
Step two: get there
Everyone’s least favourite part of a holiday (right?). Whether you’re zooming or jetting off, baby’s safety and comfort while travelling is a top priority. Check out our post on travelling with baby for a bit more detail on this.
Leaving on a jet plane?
- Babies can fly from just two days old on most airlines! That’s pretty young though – it’s safer from around three or four months when their immune systems are a bit stronger.
- Try to plan their feeds around take-off and landing, as this can help with popping ears.
- Make sure to take them for walks and let them stretch.
- When you book, request front row or bulkhead seats with a bassinet (super helpful for long flights).
- We all know that planes = dehydration, so make sure that baby stays hydrated (and the rest of the family)!
Catching a train?
- Again, make sure to let them walk, stretch and/or change positions.
- Storage space is limited, so try to be a bit more mindful when packing (if you can).
- A coach may be easier (and cheaper) than a train, plus they have more luggage space. Just make sure you book a seat for baby and take their car seat.
Or driving off into the sunset?
- We know how difficult fitting a car seat is, especially for the first time, but it’s so, so important that it’s put in right. Also, make sure you’re following car seat laws!
- Make sure to take a break of at least 15 minutes for every two hours of driving.
- Take some toys and books – they’ll need some entertainment.
- If your baby falls asleep in their car seat, make sure to take them out when you stop as it can be dangerous to leave them in there.
Step three: adjust baby’s sleep
Depending on where you’re going and what your baby’s sleep schedule is, you may have no issues with this. But routine is so important for a baby, and falling out of sync can be a bit disruptive for them, especially if they’re in a strange, new environment (it may be a gorgeous luxury villa but baby doesn’t know that!). To help reduce disturbances to their routine:
- Pre-plan their normal sleep and naps and try to stick to them while you’re travelling.
- If you’re taking a travel cot, try putting them down for their naps in there for a few weeks before to help them get used to it.
- If there’s a huge time difference, you can start adjusting their sleep the week before you go (e.g. try putting them to bed and down for naps 10-15 minutes earlier or later than normal). Again, this is something that will need to be worked out depending on your holiday plans!
- When you arrive, try to make their sleep environment as comfortable as possible. Take their favourite blanket, invest in some travel blackout blinds and let Bluebell make it feel like home. (your Smart hub plays lullabies and white noise, and has a gentle night light for feeds and changes – perfect!).
- Don’t worry too much about their routine getting a tiny bit messed up – you’re on holiday after all! This study found that infant sleep can start improving after just three days of a consistent bedtime routine. Just try to get back into it as soon as you get home.
Step four: keep baby safe from heat
If you’re going somewhere hot then, first of all, we’re very jealous! We’re sure you’ll have a fabulous time. One thing to keep in mind is how the heat may affect baby. Their little bodies may not be as filled out as ours, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get overheated! To keep baby cool on those beautiful, hot days:
- Keep babies under six months out of direct sunlight (their skin doesn’t have enough melanin to protect them).
- Keep older babies out of the sun as much as possible.
- Dress them in thin breathable layers, keep topping up their sunscreen and don’t forget the sun hat!
- Don’t cover their pram with a blanket to block out the sun. Even thin blankets can turn buggies into a hot box. Opt for a parasol or sunshade instead.
- Take a pop-up tent for the beach – fun!
- Keep their bedroom cool with air conditioning or a fan. It should be 16-20°C (get a Bluebell baby monitor to keep track of the room temperature and their skin temperature and it will alert you if it gets too hot or cold - simple).
Step five: relax
After all of that you’ll be ready to flop down on a sunbed and not get up until the end of the holiday. But once you know baby’s safe and comfy, you’ll be able to relax a little easier. If you have an older baby, you may need to do a bit of baby-proofing when you arrive. And if you’re travelling with other adults, take advantage of the extra helping hands to look after your little one.
Remember that this is your holiday too! Just take it slow, keep an open mind and make the most of this precious time!
Let us know if you’ve got any more tips for enjoying a well-deserved holiday as a new parent.