Top 10 Tips for Travelling with a Toddler or Baby

Over Pippa’s 20 months in this world, she has in fact done quite a bit of travelling. At 9 months old we took her to Gran Canaria, at 11 months we took her to Santorini and at 19 months we took her to Cyprus and each involved a lot of planning. As we have travelled so much with Pippa, I’ve been asked by lots of family and friends for advice, so I thought I would write down my top tips for travelling with a baby or toddler!

img_2638.jpg

  1. Plan & Pre-Order

As Pippa has got older and the more we have travelled, the less I’ve panicked about it but the first holiday definitely required the most planning. As babies don’t get a seat on an airplane until they are two and with it, a luggage allowance, packing is a challenge, and as we all know babies have THE most stuff! We opted for using our two large suitcases for our own clothes and one of our hand luggage allowances for a cabin suitcase for Pippa and the other cabin luggage as a joint rucksack. However the nappies we shared across everything as there was just so many!

Having a baby who was still having milk 4 times a day as well as 3 meals, I didn’t know where to start with what to pack food wise for her, let alone how much space it would all take up of our minimal luggage allowance!

With Pippa being formula fed, we usually used the powder but as this would mean sterilising water whilst we were away, on top of sterilising the bottles, we decided to take the pre-made 7oz cartons of formula. Now for those who haven’t worked it out, 4x 7oz cartons of milk = a lot, so we decided to pre-order it, along with some Ella’s pouch meals and fruit pouches, to the Boots at the airport terminal. This meant that we didn’t have to use up our precious luggage and weight allowance and as we were collecting once we had gone through security, there were no issues. Harry then filled up his (rather heavy) rucksack with the goods and away we went!

travelling-with-a-baby-toddler-tips

2. Don’t Fret About the Flight

Flying seems to be the biggest worry but on all of our trips I’ve actually found the flying part fine! (up to 4 hours anyway!). On all of our trips I have packed Pippa’s bottle of milk, a cup of water and some food into a separate little bag inside my own so that when it came to security I could easily lay it all out in the tray without a faff. The security staff then call you to one side, scan everything and check it and give it straight back.

Travelling with a baby or toddler also means you get a bit of preferential treatment, getting to go through a separate security for families and early boarding (I’m not sure that’s a good thing though!) and obviously you are allowed to take your buggy right to the gate.

travelling-with-a-baby-toddler
Playing on the plane floor!
3. Pack Lots to Play

On the flight itself Pippa has always been great and happy to sit on our laps and play or sleep. I think people often think ‘oh I must get the baby to sleep on the plane!’ however I found when she slept the hardest! It meant I couldn’t move the entire flight and that meant I was so uncomfortable. Obviously some flight times can’t be helped and if its night time its night time but I definitely prefer a daytime flight with a baby/toddler, maybe with an hour nap squeezed in!

We took a bag of toys to keep Pippa entertained each time and now that she’s older it was actually easier to keep her entertained. We bought a few books and this water magic colouring book which kept her entertained for a good while and can be used again and again. We also uploaded some of Pips favourites to the iPad but surprisingly we didn’t use it as much as I thought and only used it to settle her down for a sleep.

travelling with a baby toddler
Pip joining us for dinner
4. Work With the Time Difference

We also found that on the holidays where the time difference was 2 hours ahead, we kept Pippa to UK time so she could then eat dinner with us at 7ish (5ish UK time) and could stay up until 9 for a little play (or boogie – on two occasions we were at weddings!) when we were out before we put her down to sleep in the buggy. It also meant she would wake at 8am rather than 6am – giving us a little lie in!

5. Spray Suncream

We had always bought spray suncream for Pippa, in particular the Nivea one that comes out blue so you can see where its going and ensure everything is covered. However it always ended up in a bit of a mess and clothes being coloured blue or coated with suncream. That was until our most recent holiday I discovered the aerosol spray suncream! It’s SO much easier to spray all over a wriggly baby or runaway toddler and its mist like quality is cooling too!

13891854_10157273888410026_3745865201005520424_n

6. Pack a Paddling Pool

It may sound silly when you’re likely off to somewhere where you’ll be sat by a swimming pool all day, however we found a little paddling pool was a great way to keep Pippa out of the sun and cool as we could position it under our sun shade wherever we were sat. It also kept her entertained for ages and she was able to play in the water safely without us worrying she’d fall in the giant pool whilst playing at the waters edge.

13516474_10157089292245026_4315455281449429653_n

7. Bring a Good Buggy

As mentioned, baby’s come with lots of equipment and knowing what and what not to bring is key. Firstly we invested in a good buggy. We opted for the Silvercross Pop as we wanted something that reclined right back for her to be able to sleep flat in for naps and evenings when we were out for dinner and the Pop was the flattest I’d ever seen a buggy go! It also came with a UV protected hood that pulled fully over the pram so Pip was completely covered, not only for the sun but also general wind/noise around her. And of course it was lightweight and folded easily – very important!

8. Block Out Sun With a Blackout Blind

Before we bought the buggy we had also bought a SnoozeShade, it’s universal to fit any pram or buggy and blacks out the sun and light but allows air in and out so doesn’t create an oven underneath – I would definitely recommend. Something similar we always bought with us but never had to use due to the hotels having blackout shutters, was the Gro Anywhere Black Out Blind. It’s essentially a giant stick up black out blind that packs down very small so is perfect for blacking out a room when its baby’s bed time if needed!

 

9. Keep Sterilising Simple

For our holidays when Pippa was under one and we were still sterilising we used travel sterilising bags rather than lugging our entire sterilising equipment with us, especially as it required a microwave and we weren’t sure what the hotel facilities were. With the bags we just filled with water and added a sterilising tablet. I think it took about 1hr to sterilise but you could keep everything soaking in the bag until you needed it. The only issue was the smell from it was rather strong and toxic so we had to keep it in the bathroom or near an open window.

10. Buy a Travel GroBag

However my all-time favourite holiday/travel purchase for babies and toddlers is the Travel Grobag by The Gro Company. We bought a 1tog one last year for the really hot holidays and this year we bought a 2.5tog one as it was a bit cooler in Cyprus so early in the year. The genius thing about them is that they have an opening at the back and a two way zip at the front to allow it to be used with a 5 point harness. This meant we were able to put Pippa to sleep in her bag and strap her into the buggy to go to sleep when we went out in the evenings, then once we got home we could transfer her to her cot without waking her or taking her out of the bag. We also used it when travelling to and from the airport when transferring Pip from her cot to the car.

Hopefully that covers most things, we certainly found that doing and using the things I’ve mentioned above definitely helped make travelling with a baby or toddler easier and hopefully it will help you too!

11 Month Update

  
So much has happened this month, we’ve had our first family holiday (I’ll write a separate blog about that once I get round to it!), I went back to work (again I’ll write a blog about that too!) and I had my first weekend away without Pippa! So overall this month has felt pretty hectic as we’ve also had quite a few bits done to the house (including Pip’s new bedroom – ANOTHER post I need to write!) meaning we lived at my mums for a week too.  
One super big thing happened this month too, Pippa took her first steps! She had been charging around with her walker unaided the week before and then started walking just holding one hand then one day, she was sat on H’s lap on the floor and I was sat opposite and she just got up and walked over to me! We couldn’t believe it and I think the look on our faces made Pippa realise what she was doing too as she hadn’t even noticed that no one was holding her! She’s done a few steps between us since but that’s all, although she loves walking everywhere holding our hand. 

  
Pippa has also become very affectionate now, not that she wasn’t before but now she comes to us for cuddles and kisses and has become obsessed with her stuffed bunnies, which she’d never turn a blind eye at before! She loves to snuggle and cuddle them which is the cutest! I think another factor is that I’ve gone back to work and she now realises that I leave some mornings so is very cuddly and attached to me.

  
She’s also really trying to communicate now and knows exactly what she wants! She’s very clued up as to where things are kept such as her food and snacks in my bag or the cupboard or where her cuddly toys are and she will crawl and point to anything she can’t get her hands on! She understands what we are saying too and she does certain things if we ask her too such as ‘come here/come back’ or ‘can I have a kiss’, ‘no’ (which can often cause a tantrum!) among other things!

  
She loves to play games such as peekaboo or ‘run away from mummy behind the door’ and giggles when I come and find her or ‘pretend to put something off the floor into my mouth and mummy will come running!’ She then proceeds to show me her open mouth with nothing there and laughs. The fact she knows how to trick me at 11 months is slightly worrying for the future!!

 

Mummy, Pippa & Bunny Reunited
 
Now that Pippa is well and truly on the move, she’s quite hard work and tiring! She even now has the odd tantrum (I thought I had another year until the tantrums started!?) so I was actually really looking forward to a weekend away in Croatia with the girls just to get a little break! However I was worried about how I would cope without her and really didn’t want the weekend to be ruined by me missing Pippa. But surprisingly I didn’t miss her as much as I thought! I was sent lots of photos by H and kept in constant contact which always helps and I managed to enjoy the weekend without worrying too much. By Sunday I couldn’t wait to see her and once Monday came I just wanted to get home to her before she went to bed. Unfortunately delayed flights and m25 traffic meant I didn’t get to see her properly until Tuesday morning and then I had work but it was great to finally get a cuddle! 

I’m really pleased I managed without her as a few months ago I would have never thought I could do it. However as much as I enjoyed my weekend away, I’m glad it’s not a regular thing!

The Wonderful World of Weaning

weaning baby porridge
I can’t quite believe Pippa has been on solid food for 2 months now and although I love it and love seeing her trying new foods everyday, (there’s something weirdly satisfying about seeing your child eating well!) trying to fit in 3 meals, 4 bottles, 3 naps and play time is a bit of a mission and explains why this blog is so late!
baby-led-weaning
I could see from 5 months that Pippa was more than ready, she was watching us eat and mimicking our mouth movements and trying to grab whatever we were eating. So one day, at about five and a half months, whilst having Sunday dinner at my mums we just put a couple of boiled carrot sticks in front of her. And they went straight in her mouth, no issues whatsoever!
weaning
The next day I went out and bought some various veg and purée’d it all. We started off with broccoli and she couldn’t of eaten it fast enough! She was like a little bird, mouth open awaiting the next spoonful and absolutely no gagging or choking which really surprised me.
Throughout that first week we tried a different veg every day from cauliflower, sweet potato, butternut squash to carrot, Aubergine… You name it, she tried it and she ate it. All! At first I used her milk to purée the food with as it meant getting a bit more of her milk into her and also made things taste a little like her milk so would be more familiar to her. However now, more often than not, I just purée it with boiled water or the water that has been used to boil/steam the veg. After the first couple of weeks I then started mixing veg and mixing up different flavours and adding herbs and spices.
weaning baby porridge
I started off with giving her a lunchtime meal and as this was going so well, then introduced breakfast a few weeks later. For this I have just been giving her natural yogurt with fruit purée or porridge (selfishly for ease!) either homemade or the powdered ones by Ella’s Kitchen or Aptamil.
IMG_4862
Again Pippa couldn’t get enough of the porridge so we then went into 3 meals a day. By then Pippa enjoyed feeding herself so for tea I now try and give her more finger foods such as toast with hummus, avocado or homemade pastes and dips on or just some fruit that she can feed herself with. She also loves the Organix finger food snacks and rice cakes and these can keep her occupied for a while!
ella's-kitchen-first-foods-weaning-book
When Pippa was born I was bought the Ella’s Kitchen First Foods book and it has been a godsend. It has hundreds of really simple, easy to follow recipes and takes you through from their first mouthfuls to one year old.
However lets be honest, who has time to prep 3 different homemade meals everyday of the week (as well as feeding yourself) so I also buy the Ella’s Kitchen pouches for those days where I’ve forgotten to defrost a meal (easily and often done!) or if we are out and about. However Pippa has now come to realise that whatever comes out of a pouch is much more appealing than mums home cooked meals…
Up until 7 months this was all going so smoothly and I was busy whipping up exciting foods and freezing them into as many little pots as I could find. (Don’t underestimate the amount of weaning freezer pots you’ll need, there’s never enough!) Then Pippa started to completely go off her food and wasn’t interested whatsoever. Things she had previously loved she was now refusing and the main issue was she was refusing to be spoon fed anymore. So I was now trying to find finger food for 3 meals a day and even then she wasn’t that interested. She then fell ill with a stomach bug and then tonsillitis so it has now been 2 weeks of refusing food altogether and not really taking much milk either. I also discovered yesterday after getting her weighed that she’s lost weight and is now back to what she weighed 7 weeks ago! So here’s to hoping the next few weeks we get back on track with Pippa’s eating and that she starts to feel a bit better!
IMG_5020
And to finish off here are my weaning must-haves:
  • Ella’s Kitchen First Foods Book
  • Weaning pots. These from Jojo Maman Bebe are great for the first few weeks when the portion sizes are small and the addition of stickers for the pots is a bonus!
  • A bodysuit bib – the mess and stains are crazy! This from Sainsbury’s is brilliant!
  • A good highchair. I absolutely love our My Babiie one, it folds away neatly, the height adjusts so easily, the tray is adjustable too and not to mention the funky chevron print!
  • Tommee Tippee Baby Food Steamer Blender – I haven’t actually got this (yet…) but it looks genius!

Pippa’s Weekly Wardrobe

IMG_4451

Some funky poses this week!

  1. This whole outfit was bought for Pippa by a friend and I just love it. All from H&M’s Concious collection, Pip looks like a right boho babe in the beautiful sheer harem trousers with little gold stars and those pom pom booties are just the best!
  2. Striking a pose in her Tobias & The Bear Fox Leggings! I love this brand and they even do these in adult version so both H and I have them too!
  3. Such a pretty little outfit, this was given to Pip from her Aunty and Uncle for Christmas. I love the colours, perfect for spring and all from Ladybird at Very.
  4. This was Pippa’s valentines day outfit, a little grey dress from H&M with a tiny coloured heart print, pink tights and her denim shoes from Next (the only shoes that will stay on for more than 2 minutes!)

6 Month Update

6-month-old-baby

Half a year old!! How did that happen! If the next 6 months goes as quick as these past 6 I think I might cry (who am I kidding, I definitely will be crying come August 19th!)
However, as fast as its going, each month I enjoy her more and more as she grows up and learns to interact and her little personality starts to shine through. I love playing with Pippa now as she recognises songs (pat-a-cake, row, row, row your boat and a bit of Spice Girls are particular faves!) and her face lights up as soon as I start singing. ‘Spice Up Your Life’ has even been known to bring her back from the brink of tears! She’s even started dancing this month which is quite hilarious! Another game she enjoys is the ‘throw it and mummy will pick it up’ game, particularly in her high chair and she enjoys pushing over the stacking cups once I’ve built them all up!
6-month-old-sitting-up
Now that Pippa can sit up so well she can also play with her toys more easily on the floor which is great, although we’ve had a few face-plant incidents when she tries to reach too far! She can entertain herself on the floor with her toys for a while which initially I thought was great as I could be in the kitchen washing up or making a cup of tea, however it seems that if I’m remotely out of sight (we have an open plan kitchen/living room!!) she begins to cry or winge and I have to wave and talk to her from a few feet away just to reassure her.
She is also going through a bit of a stage of screaming with any family member other than myself or H at the moment, or if I’m not in her sight. Although she loves to poke and prod their faces from my arms! It even got to the point that she refused to have her milk when I left her with my mum whilst I attended a hospital appointment and she would only drink it once I was back and feeding her, not mum.
teething-baby
Teething trouble also hit this month and we’ve had glowing cheeks, streams of saliva and a very unhappy baby for almost 2 weeks. This week things seemed to have calmed down a little but there was a week where she was waking 6+ times a night and was so unhappy in the day that only calpol would do the trick. Yet, still no teeth.
weaning
Although Pippa is only now 6 months old, we started weaning at about 23 weeks. She was constantly making little chewing mouth movements when watching us eat and grabbing anything we were eating so I could see she was ready. And I couldn’t have been more right. She inhaled her first meal of puréed broccoli and the whole eating thing hasn’t phased her at all! We had no gagging, no funny faces, no spitting it out and she is happy to feed herself, albeit a bit messy!
watermelon
I’m now spending every spare minute puréeing everything in sight and so far we have tried most vegetables and a few fruits and are now starting to mix flavours together. I also let her feed herself with sticks of toast, boiled carrots and even some watermelon this week which she absolutely loves and it can keep her entertained for a while!
I can’t wait to see what more exciting things this month will bring. Pips is desperate to get on the move but I can’t see her crawling any time soon, particularly with her hatred of being on her tummy! Maybe she’ll start bum-shuffling like her mum, we’ll see!

2 Month Update

2-month-old-baby-me-and-baby-g

Month 2 has definitely been sooo much easier than month 1 so things do get easier!

At the start of the month the health visitors were still slightly concerned about Pippa’s feeding as she wasn’t taking much more than 2oz and we were still struggling massively with her crying, fussing and in pain during and after feeds, not to mention the times when she would vomit it all back up again! It was at this point that she was diagnosed with reflux and referred to the doctor who put her on ranitidine and things then started to get easier almost instantly. It was as if Pippa transformed overnight and we suddenly had a happy, content baby and discovered that this was actually what a normal month old baby should be like!

This resulted in Pippa sleeping much better, without having to be upright over my shoulder and she has started to go 4, 5 and even 6 hours once throughout the night which has made us all much happier and feeling normal again. I would say that it was at about 4 or 5 weeks where I did actually start to feel normal again and with Pippa’s feeds now stretching about 3 hours, going out has also become so much easier, so much so that I find I now need to go out every day so as not to go stir crazy!

me-and-baby-g-baby-first-smiles
Excuse the crusty cradle cap!
Our new happy baby also meant smiles! It was great to wake up the first morning, peer over her moses basket to see her smile back! Morning smiles are now a daily occurrence and we occasionally get little smiles throughout the day too – not long till giggles I hope!

initial-tattoo-P

H also had a lot of time off work this month so it was lovely to spend time as a family now that we were all feeling much better about life! We even took a trip to get a tattoo, myself getting a P for Pippa on my wrist and H getting the number 19 (myself, H and Pippa’s birth date) in roman numerals on his inner, upper arm.

The only problem with getting out and about so much was that I barely had time to express which then meant that my milk started to dry up pretty rapidly and with Pippa now taking more at her feeds, I could barely keep up. We started to dip into our frozen supplies to make it up however I have now had to make the difficult decision to stop expressing and move Pippa onto formula exclusively. As much as I don’t want to give it up, the little milk I’m now producing isn’t filling Pippa up, therefore we have started weaning her off gradually, giving her less breast milk feeds each day until Friday when she had the last of the frozen supplies. However, I’m happy that I have given her two months’ worth of my milk and it will make things much easier for myself without having to come home or get up during the night to express.

me-and-baby-g-smiles

This month I have also managed to leave Pippa with Harry a couple of times, once to get my hair cut and another for a much needed meal out with the girls. However, as much as it was needed, I still cried all day and felt so anxious without her and couldn’t wait to come back home for some cuddles. But it had to be done and I now know that Pippa is fine without me, we are even leaving her for a whole day with her grandparents today when we go on (another much needed) spa day for my birthday.

It’s amazing how much Pippa has changed in just a month. Even at 8 weeks she doesn’t seem like a newborn anymore and the more she starts to interact the more fun it gets so I can’t wait for what’s to come in month 3!

Getting Out and About with a Baby

 baby-newborn-getting-out-classes 
There was a time, mainly the first 3 weeks where I thought I would never leave the house with Pippa. I mean who on earth has the energy or time to drag a baby out to classes and coffee shops in between feeds, crying and nappy changes?! One friend who has a 2 year old and a 6 month old would tell me about her weekly schedule of a baby class in the morning and then some kind of activity in the afternoon, EVERY DAY! I thought she was mad. 

I think a lot of it was due to lack of confidence about taking Pippa out (and of course the lack of sleep, constant feeding, crying and nappy changes!). However as the weeks have gone on and Pippa has become more settled into a routine, and i myself have fallen into a little routine, I found myself itching to get out of the house. The days that I would stay in would leave both myself and Pippa rather ratty and it wasn’t nice for either of us, or for H to come home to! 

Initially I started with ‘Baby Rhyme & Tummy Time‘ and went with a friend. As we were both newbies it took the nerves away but actually I’ve found that any mother with a baby will always chat to you so I needn’t have worried about being the awkward young mum in the corner with the screaming baby! 

It’s a lovely little class run by our local children’s center – something I only discovered once I’d had Pippa, offering support, classes and activities. The class is for young babies and we sing lots of nursery rhymes with actions, then there’s 15 minutes at the end to practice some tummy time with the babies, and an excuse for a gossip and baby chat with the other mums!

  
Our local NCT also run a lot of activities, one of which, ‘baby walkers‘ I go to with a couple of the girls from my NCT classes. Once a week we meet up and go on a walk over Dunstable Downs, a beautiful spot with amazing views providing a great place for a walk over the hills. Not only is it a bit of a work out, it’s nice to get some fresh air and chat to the other mums with a coffee at the end!

Before I was pregnant I did lots of Pilates and yoga and whilst I was pregnant I was able to continue these with pregnancy Pilates and yoga classes. Now, 6 weeks after giving birth I’m ready to start exercising again so have gone back to Pilates. This time it’s ‘mother and baby Pilates.’ Ran by the same woman who ran the pregnancy classes, all the same women attend but this time bringing the babies along instead of our bumps! It’s a great start back into exercise and she provides toys and bouncy chairs etc. for the babies (who mainly lie around on the floor in front of you!). It’s also a nice way to catch up with the mums you spent 9 months with in the previous classes. 

  
As Pippa gets older, there’s even more that we can do, I have already signed up to a ‘baby massage’ course that starts in November, once Pippa is 2 months old and I’ve looked at swimming lessons which she can start once she’s 4 months. We’ve also recently purchased an Ergobaby baby carrier so I’m looking forward to more walks with that soon, as it’s only managed one outing so far!

So there is plenty more activities to keep us going over the rest of my maternity leave and beyond!