Taking a family holiday is always a good idea, but for new parents, vacationing with an infant can be a very daunting prospect. From worrying about whether the baby will sleep in a new place to balking at the idea of handling a crying baby in a plane, parents can find a hundred things to worry about when thinking of vacationing with an infant. However, it is possible to enjoy a holiday with a baby and if you read on, you’ll find some important tips that will help make vacationing with an infant stress-free!
1. Schedule Flights to Suit Your Baby
As far as possible, try and book your vacation flights to match your baby’s schedule. If you know your baby poops at 8 a.m., avoid taking a flight at that time so that you won’t have to struggle to change your baby’s diaper in a tiny airplane loo! Or if you know that your baby naps at 11 a.m., try booking a flight that doesn’t disturb that sleep time. You really don’t want to board a flight with an already cranky baby! Keep in mind your baby’s routine when you’re looking for flights and vacationing with an infant can be a whole lot easier than you imagine!
2. Carry Your Infant’s Pram
If there is one thing you absolutely must have on a holiday with your baby, it has to be the pram. Do not leave the house without it! You really don’t want to be trudging across airports and shopping malls or even local flea markets with a baby in your arms! Some holiday that’ll be right? If you have the pram, the baby doesn’t have to spend all day being carried around – something that will exhaust both of you in a few hours – or being passed from parent to parent when all he or she wants is to take a nap! A pram will let your baby nap whenever sleepy (important for a happy baby), and give you the freedom to enjoy your holiday. Plus you can always hang shopping bags on the handles!
3. Cabin Baggage Allowance is All for the Baby
Now that you’re travelling with a baby, you need to remember that the cabin baggage you carry is all about that little person. And yes, it is surprising how much stuff is needed for such a tiny human! Avoid carrying books to read and bulky headphones. You’re not going to get a chance to sit back and relax anyway! Flights can be boring for an infant and so you need to be well prepared to entertain. Carry your baby’s favorite toys and books and bring them out one by one so that the baby is kept busy for longer. You also need to be well stocked with favorite finger foods and drinks for a yummy kind of distraction! And of course, always carry several sets of clothes and extra diapers. You don’t want to chance the baby spilling juice all over and then not having a change of clothes do you?
4. Try to Book Baby-Friendly Accommodation
When booking accommodation for your holiday, try to look for a place that is baby-friendly. Depending on your budget, you could book hotels that have dedicated kiddie play areas or provide baby cribs in your hotel room. Or you could look for less expensive family homestays that are comfortable with all the noise and fuss that accompanies a baby! You could even stay some place that has a small kitchenette in your room, letting you cook up meals for your baby just like you would at home. Staying in a baby-friendly place will help you relax and not be constantly shushing or correcting your baby when amongst other guests. Such places are also equipped with baby seats and baby-friendly cutlery that make meal times so much more happy for everyone!
5. Plan a Baby-Friendly Itinerary
Gone are the days when you could sip a martini by the pool the whole day or walk around in the local markets for hours on end when on vacation! With an infant, you need to plan your holiday so that it doesn’t tax your little one too much. So don’t plan to visit three museums in three days. Your baby will definitely not appreciate being tied down in a pram and being pushed around hallways endlessly! And as attractive and addictive as local markets and shopping malls are, try not to spend all day in shops. Your baby needs regular naps and play time. Go to a nearby park or back to your hotel if you can in the middle of the day. Plan your day that allows your little one to take a break every few hours. It’ll help keep the baby less cranky and that’ll keep everyone in a happy mood and that is a sure shot way of enjoying a vacation right?
6. Stick to Familiar Bedtime Routines
Regardless of what you did in the day and what your schedule was, as far as possible, try and stick to a familiar bedtime routine for your baby. This helps make the baby feel at home and lets you unwind. So make sure you carry favorite bath toys and feeding bottles for the night. At the end of a tiring day, nothing will make your baby happier than a familiar and comforting bath followed by happily snuggling in bed for the night.
7. Dress Comfortably
Yes, that short skirt makes your legs look awesome but it also makes it very difficult to bend over and over again and pick up fallen toys, dropped sippy cups and crying babies. And sure, that tutu might make your little baby girl look adorable, but if you’re spending a whole day at the zoo or the park, it might be a little uncomfortable. One of the best ways to help make vacationing with an infant stress-free is to dress yourself and your baby comfortably. If you’re going to a warm place, put your baby in cotton that allows skin to breathe and stay cool. And always make your little one wear clothes that allow for easy diaper changes, especially if you’re going to be struggling to do so in a public restroom. If you anticipate being in air-conditioning for long periods in the day, carry something warm for your baby in your bag. That way you won’t have to worry about him or her being cold and uncomfortable.
8. Do Not Skip Mealtimes
It is very easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun, especially on holiday, and miss out on eating for hours on end! But when vacationing with an infant, try not to do that. A hungry baby is an unhappy and cranky baby. Rule 101 of keeping your baby happy and smiling on vacations is to make sure he or she is never hungry. Always carry enough food for the whole day for the baby – small snacks, finger foods, juice boxes. If you’re eating out, order something for the baby that you know he or she likes so that everyone eats happily. With a full stomach, your baby is more likely to nap in the pram, leaving you to explore your surroundings in peace!
9. Be Flexible
If you can, give yourself an extra day in your itinerary. This will give you the much-needed freedom of being flexible with your holidaying. It is very possible that your baby might need a break from all the fun and just stay in, napping half the day and spending the other half paddling in the hotel pool or running around the garden looking at flowers! Allow yourself that day off. It’ll help the whole family recharge their batteries for the next round of sightseeing and holiday enjoyment!
Holidays can be tiring enough by themselves without adding an infant to the equation. But if you keep in mind the simple and effective tips mentioned above, you should be able to enjoy a stress-free vacation with your infant and come back with some excellent stories and memories to share! Maybe you’ve taken a holiday somewhere with your infant recently and have some more effective tips you could share with us?