Worried about your first family holiday abroad with your newborn? Don’t be! Here are some top tips for travelling with a baby under one, from a first-time-mum, to make your trip stress-free!
I have just returned from our first family holiday to Majorca with our baby boy Jack, who was just under 7 months when we flew. I was so worried about travelling with a newborn baby, that I nearly didn’t go on holiday, but my husband and parents-in-law convinced me and I am so glad they did, as we had the most amazing time!
My main concerns were what to pack and how to cope with only taking hand luggage and I needn’t have worried about either of those things.
If you are a first-time mum like me and have booked your first holiday abroad fear not. Here are my top 10 tips for travelling with a baby under one, that I hope you find useful.
- Choose somewhere baby-friendly
If you are going on your first holiday with your baby I highly recommend picking accommodation that is baby-friendly so that you don’t have to worry about taking lots of additional baby items and equipment with you. We chose an Airbnb that had a travel cot, highchair, baby towel, baby bath and seat, which meant we only had to pack Jack’s baby monitor, which saved a lot of space when packing!
- Check with your airline before you fly
Before you fly check your baggage allowance and weight limits with your airline. If you are going away for a week or two, taking hand luggage only is totally doable. I didn’t think it would be possible, but we came back with so many of my son’s unworn clothes and other items that I would totally do hand luggage only again for a short trip away. Ryan Air allow you to take two items of baby equipment with you free of charge. If you plan on hiring a car when you’re abroad I highly recommend taking your own car seat with its own travel bag/case, not only for your own peace of mind, but also because you can pack so much of your baby’s things in with the car seat and not have to worry about the weight allowance! We packed our son’s milk, nappies, toys, food and even a paddling pool in with the car seat and we didn’t have any trouble whatsoever because it goes in oversized baggage in the hold. This meant that we could pack all of Jack’s clothes in his baby bag. Ryan Air allow you to take a 5kg for your baby in addition to your own cabin bag, and because baby items are so small, you can fit loads in!
- Don’t worry about food and liquids at airport security
I am currently breastfeeding my son and was worried about the amount of milk I would be allowed to take onboard with me. When travelling with a baby you’re allowed to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilised water for the journey. We were delayed four hours with Ryan Air and I am so glad I had a full bag of milk and food because the airport we were flying from (Bournemouth), didn’t have a pharmacy like Boots to buy anything for a baby once you were through security. I packed baby wafers, food pouches and four bottles of milk for Jack and didn’t have an issue. I also had a clear plastic bag with teething gel, toothpaste, antibacterial hand gel, nasal spray and Calpol, in addition to my own toiletry bag and again had no problems at airport security.
- Don’t overpack
We were only in Majorca for a week and I totally overpacked! If you are going somewhere warm you really don’t need to take that many outfits with you. We stayed in a villa with washing facilities so even if Jack had an accident, we could easily wash his clothes. If travelling somewhere hot I would say you only need 5 body suits, two rompers, a lightweight baby sleeping bag, some shorts, a couple of baby bibs, a few muslins, a sunhat and sunglasses. These items will take up hardly any room in your baby changing bag, which will leave space for toys, nappies and wipes.
- Have a bottle, or boob at the ready
Babies can suffer with their ears on take off and landing so have a bottle, or your boob ready! I breastfed Jack on take-off and landing and he didn’t suffer at all and it also distracted him, which was great as we had a very fast and bumpy landing that our son didn’t even notice!
- Take insect repellent
Before you fly check to see if the country you are travelling to has an issue with mosquitoes. I didn’t think about this before we flew to Majorca and we all got bitten. The first night Jack had about 7 bites all over him and I was so worried. Luckily we found a pharmacy who recommended a bite cream for babies, which worked wonders, so I would highly recommend taking a plugin and bug spray and cream with you just incase.
- Pack a room thermometer
I always worry about Jack being too hot or too cold, so I am so glad we took a room thermometer with us to Majorca so I knew what tog sleeping bag to put Jack in at night. This gave me peace of mind that he wouldn’t overheat. Also quite a lot of places abroad don’t have air conditioning. If this is the case then I advise opening a window to cool down the room before you put your baby to sleep. You can also get room thermometers that double up as a baby bath thermometer, which saves on packing an extra item.
- Be flexible
If you want to enjoy your holiday, please don’t be too concerned with your usual routine. If you are flying somewhere with a big time difference it will be very hard to keep to your usual timings so you must try and be a little flexible. I was amazed at how quickly Jack adapted to his new surroundings. Majorca is an hour in front of the UK. We usually put Jack to bed at 7pm, so in Majorca we put him to bed nearer 8pm and he went down easily. Also when we were out and about we fed him lunch when we stopped for lunch, which was a lot later than we would usually have lunch in the UK and he didn’t mind at all. I think they are so intrigued by their new surroundings that they forget about food! The same with naps, we didn’t stick to our usual nap times, we just followed our son’s cues and if he started rubbing his eyes or getting agitated we put him down for a nap.
- Take a sunshade
If you are going somewhere hot and sunny I highly recommend you taking a sun shade for your pushchair with UPF 50+ protection. Not only will it protect your baby’s newborn skin from the sun, wind and insects, but it also acts as a great black-out blind for their naps.
- Just do it!
Don’t be afraid about flying with your newborn baby. Now that I have done it once, I would do it again and again as we had the most amazing time and I am annoyed with myself that I worried so much in the lead-up to the holiday. So if you are umming and ahing about whether or not to go on your first holiday with your newborn baby just do it! You won’t regret it!