I know that some parents would feel a little reluctant to take a four month old baby abroad – taking them away from their routine, worrying about maintaining their temperature in a new climate and panicking that a potential meltdown could make them ‘those parents who can’t shut up their child’ throughout the duration of the flight.
But we found that taking Taylor to Dubai wasn’t stressful at all, thanks to some great tips from other mums and making sure that we were fully prepared. In fact, she absolutely loved it and thrived being around new people and in new places.
So here are my top tips if you’re planning a baby voyage anytime soon:
Limit the amount you pack: At four months old Taylor only needed a couple of small toys/rattles, and enough clothes for each day/night she would be away (plus a handful of spares in case of accidents). If formula feeding think about how much you’re realistically going to need and don’t take excessive amounts. We also only took enough nappies to last the first few days and then stocked up once we were there. Not being over-burdened with excessive amounts of luggage also helped us to keep more organised once we were on holiday.
Getting to the airport: Legally, you don’t need a car seat to travel in a taxi in the UK (and most other countries), so if this would be your preferred method of travel to the airport, don’t feel you need to drive. If it’s a resort you’re going to where you won’t be needing to travel much, leave your car seat behind.
Don’t forget your baby carrier: We found our baby bjorn so useful, especially at the airports and getting on/off the plane. Taylor loved bobbing around looking at everything going on and we could turn her to face us when she got sleepy.
Book a bassinet for the flight: To ensure that you won’t be holding a crying baby throughout the entire flight, make sure that you book a bassinet in advance. Most airlines have limited numbers of these available so don’t leave it up until check-in to get this sorted. Taylor was a gem and pretty much slept the whole flight (there and back) aside from waking up for feeds. Result.
Stock up on ready-made formula (if formula feeding): Okay, so we ran out of time and didn’t get chance to do this thinking that we might be able to grab some from Boots at the airport – we couldn’t. Obviously we had prepared and had our powdered formula at the ready, but waiting for boiling water to cool down etc just took that little bit longer than we would’ve liked.
At the beach: We had a beach shelter/tent for Taylor which proved invaluable. Not only did it shelter her from the sun and the wind, it also kept her away from those pesky grains of sand. She loved chilling in there – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Poolside: Don’t forget to stock up on swim nappies before you go. Also worth getting a swim hat so you don’t ruin your pretty cotton ones! Also take plenty of cooled boiled water so that you can keep baby hydrated between her milk feeds.
Bath time: When visiting hotels we bathed Taylor in the sinks, lining them with a hand towel first so that they weren’t too cold for her to sit in. You can also place socks over the taps to limit any potential hazards with those!
Enjoying your evenings: The best advice I can give is to not be too hard on yourself about breaking any routine you may have established back home. Being out and about every day meant that Taylor napped when she wanted to and we found that most evenings she would fall asleep in her buggy after her usual 7pm bedtime anyway (following bath and feed), so we were able to enjoy meals out etc as we would’ve done before. Make sure that you take out extra blankets/muslins that you can hang over the hood and of course any usual soothers, additional feeds just in case. We did find that Taylor woke us up more frequently throughout the night, but hey, we were on holiday and at least we could share the load.
My list of essentials (in addition to the obvious usuals):
- Baby bjorn
- Beach tent
- Pool nappies
- Sun hats/ pool hats
- Baby sun screen
- Travel steriliser and sterilising tablets (if you use a microwave steriliser or yours is too big!)
- Extra blankets
- Plug-in night light
- Travel cot (if the hotel doesn’t provide one)
- Calpol/ first-aid kit (just in case)
- Travel black-out blind (the Gro Company do a good one)
And most important of all…enjoy yourself! x