Contrary to popular opinion, you can travel with a baby! In 2015, a British couple made the most of their 10-month maternity leave, donning rucksacks and exploring Asia, Australia, and New Zealand with their 10-week old tot.
Evidently, long-haul flights and living out of a back-pack with baby isn’t for everyone but, in general, holidays and trips should not be avoided due to the arrival of a little one. Many will be met with exclamations of “It’s too dangerous!” or “It’s irresponsible!! And the real clincher, “It’s very selfish, babies need routine.”
As a new parent, chances are you won’t be travelling to Thailand for full-moon parties, so, unless travelling to war zones, danger is all subjective. Deciding upon a location with good access to healthcare is recommended as small babies are more susceptible to illness, but when they are tiny and immobile, you have more control over what they come into contact with.
In truth, travelling abroad with your baby is likely to be difficult. However baby-free trips can be just as stressful and we still like to indulge in them. Granted, there is definitely more to packing than slinging a swimsuit and a pack of nappies into a suitcase, but what is a little extra effort for an incredible experience with baby at your side?
Aside from clothes, toys, and food, babies need to sleep and it is imperative to have a calm and stable environment for those afternoon naps. Hostels are excellent accommodation for solo travellers, but are no place for you and your baby. As a result, do not be alarmed that the price of your trip could be more than you allowed for when you factor in hotels.
Adjusting your normal travelling pace has to be done when baby is along for the ride. Cramming your days full with activities and sight-seeing will result in an unhappy and tired baby. Similarly, creating a new routine for your baby whilst out of the country is a must and the tips below will help your travels go seamlessly.
Going armed with what may seem like too many packs of baby wipes is a necessity and they are a parent’s best friend. Not only do they keep baby clean and happy, they can also be used to mop up post-meal expulsions, for wiping sticky hands and faces, or even used as toilet paper – just remember not to flush! They can also be utilised to wipe down any questionable surfaces and, teamed with hand sanitiser, public bathrooms can be a little more hygienic.
When travelling, the humble pushchair will take on many forms; highchair, bed and pack donkey. Depending on your destination, choosing between a lightweight or all-terrain stroller will be desirable, and do not scrimp when it comes to stroller budget. Having a pushchair that is a dream to push and quick to fold up is best and a pushchair with a canopy can offer shade to the little one.
Although it can get a little bit toasty in warmer climes, slings or baby carriers can be used as blankets, change pads, or nursing covers, as well as for carrying baby. If a sling isn’t for you, lightweight cloth baby carriers and wraps offer excellent support, and can allow Mum and Dad to go hands free and save on space when packing.
Although not for every woman, being able to eliminate the lugging of bottles, sterilising equipment, and formula across the globe can be extremely beneficial. As well as breastfeeding requiring no preparation other than getting baby comfortable and latched-on, the milk from Mum contains valuable anti-bodies that protect against illness when you’re away from home.
So, politely nod at all the exclamations from relatives and friends, get a new mind-set, and enjoy the adventure of travelling with your baby. If the jet-set new-born lifestyle isn’t for you, perhaps consider a few nights away in a destination a little closer to home. Mum and Dad still deserve a treat, whether that’s in Cornwall or the Caribbean.