27 January 2015

15 things to pack when going on holiday with a baby

Before we went on holiday to Australia with our 12 week old, I literally had sleepless nights about what to pack for the time we were away. I knew that realistically we could just buy anything we needed, but our budget is quite tight while I'm on maternity leave and I couldn't guarantee we could get to the right shops given the places where we were staying. 

So we basically packed everything! We flew with Etihad who had quite a generous baggage allowance. And we ended up having four suitcases which was probably more than we really needed. We also had one internal flight with Virgin Australia where we had to pay additional baggage allowance.

Here's what we were really glad we packed and some things we wished we had taken: 

1. Travel bassinet

Asleep in his travel bassinet

Our son was only 12 weeks old when we flew, so we picked a travel bassinet over a cot as we felt he would get lost in a travel cot. We found one from Koo-di that had a mosquito net and a sun shade incorporated. We were a bit worried about whether he would be comfortable in there, given that he had only slept in his Moses basket up until that point. But actually, he loved it and slept really well in there from night one. 

2. Car seat
You can hire car seats abroad, but we decided to take our own as we were comfortable using it and knew it was a safe, quality seat. Also, since our son was small we often use this as an attachment for the buggy as it keeps him upright which is good for his reflux and he can also look around. 

We were a bit worried about it getting damaged on the flight so we bought a travel bag from EBay for around £20. With Etihad and Virgin we were allowed to carry this as an additional item for the baby without any extra cost. 

3. Travel bag for the buggy
We were really worried about our buggy getting damaged during the flight. So we bought a buggy bag to protect it (you can read about it here). When we were waiting for the oversized items to come out, we noticed lots of other parents who were looking for parts of their buggies that had come detached, but we didn't have to worry about that because it was all safe in the bag. 

In his bouncer

4. Bouncer
Our baby loves being in his bouncer and we love him being in there. It means he can sit somewhere safe without us having to worry about him rolling off anything or having to hold him. So it was a no brainer to bring ours. We have a Baby Bjorn travel bouncer which folds down really flat (although it is still quite long) but there are other cheap travel bouncers that you can buy. We would take ours to restaurants and to the pool and he could sit in the shade and watch the world go by. Always in our eyesight of course. 

5. Baby tent for the beach

My son on the beach on Christmas day

Before a baby is 6 months old, it is not recommended that you put suntan lotion on them. Therefore you need to keep them in the shade all the time. A friend gave us a little baby tent which we brought with us to the beach. It was great because he could just chill out in the shade. I think a larger beach tent would also be really useful if your luggage will allow because then you can stand up with your baby.  

6. Jungle gym

My son in the shade on his jungle gym

We brought our Lamaze travel jungle gym with us. You might think this is a bit extravangent. But it didn't take up much space and he loves being in there. It was another really useful tool for us keeping him entertained in the shade. It also meant he could keep practicing his grabbing skills while we were away.

7. Travel baby bath
Before we went on holiday, a friend tried to sell us a travel baby bath but we, stupidly, didn't think we needed it. It would, however, have been useful. Stokke do a really good folding one. 

8. A variety of clothes 
Our son really thrived in Australia. We think he liked the warmth and not having to wear lots of cumbersome clothes. And yes, the large majority of time he could just wear a shorty all in one or just a vest. But sometimes, especially in the evenings or in air conditioned buildings it was cooler. It was also pretty windy by the beach in both Perth and New South Wales. So we often put him in a jacket or an all in one play suit. 

Remember also that you can't put sun tan lotion on babies under 6 months. So if you do want to pop their toes in the sea or pool, they will need to be wearing a long sleeved and leged swim suit and a hat. 

9. Baby sleeping bags
My husband thought I was mad for bringing 2 baby sleeping bags to Australia in the height of summer. But our baby sleeps in one every night and it is what he was used to. And, actually there was only one night in 3 weeks when the temperature in our room was too warm for him to wear one. In the main, he wore the 1 tog bag, but we used the 2.5 tog bag a couple of times too. 

In the shade

10. Sun shade for the car seat and buggy
Even in the car, the sun's rays can get to a baby and our son hates the sun on his face. So while we were out, we nearly always kept his snooze shade over him. He actually seemed to quite like it, even though he couldn't see anything going on. You can get them for around £25 online. We also had a mosquito net for our maxi cosy car seat but we never actually used it. They cost around £8 online. 

I would say that, even with the snooze shade up, he still got pretty warm at the time, so it's probably best to keep it out of direct sunlight as much as possible.  

11. Rain cover for buggy
Even in hot countries and especially in New South Wales, it can rain. We were so lucky that we didn't actually use ours. But we had it there just in case meaning we wouldn't have needed to change our plans if it had rained. 

12. Baby monitor
We were staying in houses the whole time we were away so we needed our monitor. It also meant we could put him down for naps inside during the day and go outside in the garden and enjoy the sun. Even if you are staying in a hotel, I think it's a good idea to bring your monitor because it lets you know what the temperature is in the room. This can help you decide how many clothes to dress them in. We brought our Angelcare monitor which also acts as a night light. 

13. Really good change bag

Pacapod change bag

My wonderful work colleagues bought be a Pacapod change bag when I went on maternity leave. Not only does it look great, it's also really useful. It contains two detachable bags which you can take out separate to the main bag. One of which is a cooler bag for keeping bottles and snacks in. It also comes with clips to attach the bag to the buggy. 

14 Travel steriliser
It was my birthday while we were away and I decided it was a good opportunity for me to have a few drinks for the first time in nearly a year. We used a travel bottle steriliser which worked in the microwave. If you're regularly using bottles while on holiday, I'd suggest you invest in a good one of these!

15. Calpol and baby thermometer 
Our son got his first cold while we were away. I was heartbroken! It was bound to happen with all the germs on the plane. As a mum whose baby had never been ill, I was totally paranoid and was glad I had my thermometer with me. Needless to say he survived after a few doses of Calpol

So those are the most useful things we brought. Lots of them we were given by friends so it didn't cost us that much to get everything together so I'd suggest you ask friends and family before you go if you can borrow anything for your trip. 

Oh, and of course you'll bring lots of other things like toys and bedding and nappies (the cheapest ones we found in Aldi in New South Wales) but these are the things you might not remember that really made a difference. Oh, and we also brought our own corkscrew and bottle opener!

Please note, none of this is advice and I am not a baby expert. You should always make sure that your baby is safe and that you follow safety and SIDS recommendations.

No comments:

Post a Comment