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Your baby’s first family holiday abroad

Travelling overseas with your baby can seem a little daunting at first, but with the right preparation it can be fun for the whole family. All those new sights and sounds are great for your baby’s development, as well as being a refreshing and relaxing change of routine for you!

Flying with a baby

Babies can be surprisingly easy flyers. The constant whirrings and rumblings of the plane often help soothe them to sleep, which is why a pillow to lay across your lap can be handy. A simple way to avoid them experiencing ear pain is to breastfeed or bottlefeed on take-off or landing. A favourite toy and book will help keep your little traveller busy if they decide to stay awake and enjoy the ride.

Don’t forget to have drinks, snacks and baby food handy if the flight is going to coincide with feeding time. Take plenty of nappies and wipes, and a change of clothes for any mishaps. You’ll be splashing in the pool before you know it!

Adjusting from jetlag

Babies younger than 6 months are, thankfully, very adaptable to time changes. Babies over 6 months might take a few days to adjust. You can encourage them by moving their bedtimes and naptimes by half an hour each day towards their normal schedule. The important thing is to try to stick to your routine as best you can.

Everyone in the family will benefit from getting on schedule with local time as soon as possible, and from making the most of natural daylight – a great reason to go exploring and make the most of your holiday from day one.

Getting there by road

If your destination is close enough, driving is a great option. Plan to take a break every 2 hours so your baby isn’t in the car seat for too long. There are some great websites that can help you plan your stops before you leave, such as Google Maps, whether you’re looking for full service stations or simple picnic areas. If they’re older, doing long car journeys at night can be easier on your baby who will hopefully sleep for most of the time. And of course, just as at home, never leave your baby alone in the car in the sun, even while sleeping.

Things to have handy: nappies, wipes, feeding supplies, including bottled water if you need to make up bottlefeeds, snacks, a change of clothes and a coolant spray if it’s going to be hot.

Sun safety and staying cool

Babies are much more sensitive to sun and heat than adults. To keep them safe, try to stay in the shade, especially between 11am and 5pm when the sun is strongest. Always use a high factor sunscreen and reapply it regularly. Take a wide-brimmed hat for your baby and give them plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration if it’s hot.

If you’re tempted to bob around in the pool with your baby, a quick dip is best because their body can’t regulate its temperature yet. 5 minutes is plenty. A safe way to cool them down is to dip their feet in the water and have a little game of gentle splashing.

Baby food and drink

You might love trying all the different tastes and dishes that are on offer, but your baby may be happier with familiar foods from home. That’s why it’s a good idea to take plenty of finger snacks and baby cereals that you know your baby likes, if you’re not sure what will be available when you get there. Bottled water is the safest option for making up bottlefeeds and for washing and preparing your baby’s food.

What to take

As well as clothes, a hat and sunscreen, here are some other essentials to add to your list:

• Nappy changing gear
• Snacks, cereals, bowls and spoons
• Milk feeding supplies, including bottles, formula and a cleaning brush
• A modesty blanket or spare sarong for a little privacy, if you’re unsure about breastfeeding away from home
• A thermometer and paracetamol
• A blanket and cot sheet
• A baby carrier or backpack
• A stroller with an umbrella
• Toys

A little inspiration can go a long way!

A happy baby makes a happy holiday so it’s good to have plenty of ideas up your sleeve for quick games and on-the-spot entertainment.

Peekaboo and funny faces usually bring instant smiles, and they’re great for your baby’s development. Check out our Playtime Planner for more activities that are perfect for home, the beach or anywhere your travels take you!
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