Our expert blogger, Mrs ATWWAH dispels the myths that holidaying with babies is a nightmare.
The fear: When I was pregnant with Master ATWWAH a male work colleague, who was a father of two, told me to enjoy my last child-free holiday as they will never be the same again. His words of advice in regard to holidaying with children was ‘don’t refer to it as a holiday, then you won’t be disappointed, see it more as time spent away from home’.
The truth: I remembered these words on our very first holiday with Master ATWWAH, when he was a couple of months old, to Devon. The weather had been nice on the run up to the holiday and Mr ATWWAH and I fancied a few nights away. We’d never been to Devon before so thought it would be a good place to go as a trial run for an overseas holiday.
And, it was perfectly fine. Well, apart from the weather, which took a turn for the worse the day we left. And the fact the hotel was down a very remote country lane which our sat nav didn’t recognise so I spent the last five minutes of the car journey with my head in my hands shouting at Mr ATWWAH that I couldn’t watch as we navigated through a field full of cows convinced we were going to end up in a ditch.
What nobody really tells you, and I do believe that the NCT should include it as a module in their ante-natal syllabus, is taking babies on holiday is pretty easy. A month after Devon, we headed overseas on a four hour flight to Gran Canaria. Admittedly it isn’t a tale of exotic adventure but it was still a holiday involving foreign travel.
Great holiday partners: Babies are generally happy if they have been fed, changed and are having a cuddle. These are all things you can do on holiday. Babies also tend to sleep a lot, which is perfect as their prams fit very nicely next to sun loungers. Heck, you can even put a baby on a sun lounger (just watch they don’t roll off) This means that if you fancy lying in the sun reading a book in between feeds and nappy changes you can.
For those who are more adventurous, there are loads of baby carriers available, which mean you can climb a mountain with them if that is your thing. Or take them sightseeing. They’re probably not quite up for watersports just yet but give it a couple of years.
Getting around with a baby is relatively easy. Most motorway service stations, although not the nicest places around, cater for families with baby-feeding areas, which include the use of microwaves for bottle warming.
Airports are getting a lot better in the UK, admittedly not all overseas airports are quite there yet, but you can generally find a baby change. You can pre-book baby milk cartons from Boots at UK airports so you don’t have to worry about wasting any when you go through security and there is always the milk powder option for when you’re on holiday.
For breastfeeding mums you can express in advance and take the milk through security, although make sure you take multiple bottles as you will need to drink some – most UK airports insist you open half of anything you take through e.g. two out of four bottles would have to be opened.
You can take prams all the way to the gate at UK airports too, although you can’t always pick them up from the gate on arrival so don’t go too crazy at Duty Free.
Everyone I know who has done a long-haul flight with a baby has been amazed at how easy it was once they had done it. Fears about crying babies are rarely realised and if anything most people comment on how their baby slept through the flight.
So, if you’re apprehensive about taking your baby on holiday for the first time. Don’t be – thousands have done it before you and it all turned out fine. Just enjoy it, as the real challenge is yet to come, taking a toddler on holiday!