If your life pre-baby involved a lot of holidays, I’ve no doubt that like me, you’re hoping to keep going on adventures and exploring the world. However the way we travel changes when 2 becomes 3, and holidays definitely won’t be the same again. Here are some of my top tips to help you plan a stress free holiday that leaves you feeling refreshed (despite the lack of lie ins!)
Kid friendly and baby friendly are not the same
Sadly most of the information we can find online about this new type of holiday mostly relates to having children, not babies. Of course there’s a difference, for one you’re probably not quite ready to immerse yourselves into the full blown kid friendly resort with screaming children running everywhere and splashing you in the pool. Phew. When planning your baby friendly holiday, it will look more like your previous couples trips (whether you like relaxing on the beach all day or exploring!) just slightly adapted in your daily schedule. So choose a destination that give you what YOU are looking for, and your baby will be happy to accompany you as he (hopefully) sleeps in the pram or hotel room while you explore the city or swim in the pool!
Consider your baby’s routine
Plan your days around your baby. Spending all day sightseeing is a thing of the past now. But it’s ok. You’ll do less and feel more energised when you come home rather than feeling exhausted from walking around temples or museums all week. Babies are a wonderful reminder that we all need to slow down and try not to optimise all the time. If your baby takes 2 naps a day, consider them having at least one in their cot to make sure they are rested, and it’ll give you a couple of hours to unwind too, enjoy the pool or read on the balcony! When our baby took a nap at 9am and another at 2pm, we would leave the house just before 9 so he fell asleep in the car or in the pram, stay out for the morning and have lunch in a restaurant, then head back home for 3 to unwind and relax. After he woke up we had a few hours to walk on the beach or have a drink in a bar. Perfect!
Think about sleeping arrangements
All babies are different, so consider your baby’s sleeping habits to ensure a restful break for all three of you. If you can, take a hotel or BnB with at least 2 rooms . To avoid cranky baby during the day, you’re best off putting them to bed at their usual time of between 7-9. Although it might be disappointing to not be able to go out in the evenings, this is just what your baby needs. Pram sleeps just aren’t as restful (for most babies!) So choose accommodation that allows your baby to sleep in one room whilst you hang out and cook or eat takeaway in another. We found BnBs (found on airbnb or booking.com) easier for this than standard hotels, as hotels tend to only be 1 room of course. Even if it’s big room, you still have to be quiet whilst baby sleeps! Many places now offer free cots but check this in advance. If you have to take a standard hotel with just 1 room, try getting somewhere with a bar or restaurant close to the room so you can leave baby sleeping with the baby monitor on close by.
Reverse Lie ins!
So baby doesn’t really get the whole “I’m on holiday so I’m going to sleep until 10” thing. But a key part of holidays for us is resting and catching up on sleep. Please welcome the new parents’ best tool: The reverse lie in. Have an early dinner (and maybe even get some early bird prices :D), put baby to bed and then…. go to bed yourself!!! If you go to sleep at 9pm (you’re stuck inside the accommodation anyway so you may as well) you’ll wake up with baby at 7 feeling fresh as a daisy!
Pack the right stuff
The first trip we took with baby we packed way too many clothes. Assume you’re going to have to do a wash every 3/4 days because babies have accidents and get stuff pretty dirty. When you assume this, you won’t feel obliged to pack a week’s worth of bodies, outfits and clothes for the adults too! If you just pack enough for a few days, you’ll have enough to fill up a washing machine, just bung it all in. That’ll leave space for the plethora of other things babies require (including just in case stuff like food, thermometer, calpol, blanket) plus it leaves you some room to get souvenirs!
Take a baby carrier
These are an absolute must, for the airport and any wandering around towns or villages. Some airports make you check in the pram before the gate (!!!!!) so you would be pretty stuck without a carrier. If you’re lucky, baby will sleep in it at the airport, on the plane and it’s much more versatile than a pram. The you’re out and about they’re great for naps and much easier than pushing prams on cobbled stones or beaches!! We personally love the Ergobaby 360, I did a lot of research and it’s the best one for baby’s back, and yours!