We’re travellers at heart, really. Over the years we’ve covered most means of transport and stayed in every standard of accommodation imaginable. Most recently, at 7.5 months pregnant we camped in England. Then, when our daughter Ameli was 5 days old, we travelled to Bath to visit the in-laws. At 11 days we stayed in a hotel with my parents, and a good few trips in between, at 8 months, she had her first camping experience.
My daughter is now nine months old, and apart from the numerous places she’s been in England, she’s also flown to Oslo, driven to France, Belgium and Holland, she’s taken a ferry, been back to France, on to Italy, Switzerland and soon, Croatia.
There are a few things I have learned about travelling with a baby some the hard way. Here are a few of my tips for travelling with babies. If you have any to add, please share them below. I’m sure it’ll save me stress down the line.
Driving with a baby:
- You can’t drive as long as you used to – plan more and more frequent breaks. France has frequent picnic spots where you can stretch your legs and little ones can burn off some energy. You are generally still on the road though, so keep a close eye on them.
- Carry more toys than you would normally. I find if I rotate toys every ten minutes or so, they stay ‘new’ and provide entertainment for longer.
- Have a variety of favourite CD’s. There are only so many times you can listen to one CD over and over before it has negative effects on the parents.
- Keep plenty of water and food on hand. Especially if you’re driving near major cities such as Milan where traffic can delay you for a good few hours.
- Have a sunshade or muslin handy so that you can protect the baby from the sun, especially when you’re in slow moving traffic.
- Keep sunblock in a nappy bag or in the car.
- Sometimes sitting next to your baby helps too. If we’ve been driving for a long time, I will move to the back with Ameli so as to ‘play’ with her – peekabo, funny faces, singing songs.
- A spray bottle of water. The kind of bottle that sprays a mist is really useful when it is very hot, you are in slow moving traffic, (or even fast moving) and you don’t want to use or don’t have an aircon. The aircon uses up a lot of fuel, and on long distances that can become costly. A quick spray of mist over the baby will help keep him or her cool.
Flying with a baby:
- The best advice about flying with Ameli, for me, was breastfeeding during take-off and landing. This reduces the pressure on the ears, just as chewing gum or forcing a yawn does for us.
- Depending on the length of your flight, some way of entertaining – such a toys again, or a lot of patience for peekabo and raspberries!
- Something warm, as planes can often get quite cold. `
On the train with a baby:
- Try to get a seat with a table. I find it easier to keep a crawler contained that way.
- Have snacks, toys and something that can fold in to a pillow on hand.
- Don’t sit with headphones on trying to read. Talk to and play with your baby – they get bored too.
These are things we have learned over the last nine months. Do you have any words of wisdom to share?