A Guest Blog Post from Nicki Ryder
“Gosh! You’re brave!”
I cannot tell you how many times we heard this from people whilst on holiday in Lanzarote in July. Sure, travelling with our newborn, Jasmine, wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to do but with the Great British Summertime once again showing signs of being a wash out, hubby and I felt that we needed a guaranteed week of sun, not only for us but also for our 10-year-old, Olivia. I’d travelled with Olivia since she was 3 months old so applied some lessons learned the second time around. Here are some of my top tips for travelling with a teeny tiny one.
Tip number – LODGING:
Book an apartment or villa, rather than a hotel room, especially if you have older children too. The advantages to doing this are:
· A fully equipped kitchen – including hob and/or microwave for sterilising, to save you lugging a steriliser abroad
· A separate bedroom for any siblings – just because you have to wake up for those nightly feeds, it doesn’t mean they do – it also means that they can go to bed when they need to and you can carry on drinking wine with hubby in the living area
· Not having to eat out every night, especially if baby is unsettled in the heat and you’re struggling to get them out of the apartment
· In most cases, it actually works out cheaper than booking a hotel room that’s large enough for the whole family
Tip number 2 – HANDSFREE:
Some people go for Baby Björns, I decided to go for a Cuddlebug sling. Of all the baby items that I have bought, this has by far been the best and most used purchase and for the bargain price of £20, you can’t go wrong! It comes in just about every colour imaginable – I opted for bright yellow! Bear with me while I digress about this sling for a minute or two. As well as the necessary holiday aid it became, I have used this sling since Jasmine was born to do housework when she wouldn’t settle, go grocery shopping, run errands, protect her from the rain when we had to trek it to Gwent passport office to get her passport in time and (keep this to yourselves, maman) I even used it to sneak her into a West End theatre so that we could all go and watch her big sister perform with her stage school. Jasmine literally drops off within minutes of being safely tucked into mummy’s chest. It takes a few attempts before you get the hang of putting it on but before you know it, you’re an origami pro and setting it up without even thinking about it. On holiday, it was my saviour! Here’s how:
· At the airport: when you need to collapse the pushchair before you get on the plane but you still need to carry baby and bags and herd the rest of the family
· On the plane: after take-off, I tucked Jasmine back in and she slept the whole way there, only coming out for a feed and a change
· At the airport after landing: when you don’t have your pushchair until you get to the baggage reclaim hall – I put Jasmine back in her Cuddlebug as soon as the seatbelt signs had been switched off, leaving me handsfree for the bags and my 10-year-old
· In the evenings: I’d strap Jasmine on, tuck her in and off we’d go for dinner – just be careful when you eat with them on… mind their heads! Oh and remember they’re strapped to you when you push your chair in – basically act like you’re pregnant all over again!
Tip number 3 – BE COOL:
You know when you buy something from Amazon and it says to you, “Hey, because you bought this, we thought you may like this too…” or “Other people that bought that item, also bought this item…” and you think, “Lead me not into temptation, Amazon, I can find the way myself, thank you very much.” Well, on this occasion, Amazon really came through for me by suggesting that, as I had bought a sun cover for the pushchair, I may also like this CozySwan clip-on foam fan that attaches to the pushchair, car seat or cot. Wow, what a little rockstar that petite foam fan was. It not only kept Jasmine cool in her pushchair throughout the day, it could also be sat on the table in a restaurant to keep her cool during a feed. Oh so cheap and oh so effective! Since we got back, it’s been keeping her cool in her cot and has even doubled up as a stand to balance the baby monitor camera on. Winner winner puréed dinner!
Tip number 4 – TIMING:
This is a bit of a nice-to-have but if you can avoid having to get your family up at stupid o’clock in the morning for a stupid o’clock flight, then do. I appreciate that sometimes it’s the best option financially and you potentially get the whole day in the sun BUT think carefully. Travelling with a littl’un is hard enough as it is without adding tiredness into the equation. Same for the late night flights… having one whole extra day in the sun may seem like a good idea but at the end of that day, you need to get yourselves washed, repacked and inevitably end up waiting around either at the hotel or at the (likely cold and overcrowded) airport with overtired babies, bored siblings, a grouchy hubby and who has to hold it all together… MAMA!
Tip number 5 – FAKE IT:
Honestly, even with hubby/family there to support you, there really is little time for actually sunbathing for anything more than 15 minutes at a time with a baby and maybe other little ones around, so there goes any chance of you returning home like the Bronze Goddess you deserve to be! There is also a chance that you are going to feel more tired than energised on holiday and that you are going to be surrounded by lots of pert, fresh-faced young people doing back flips into the pool without a care (or ounce of cellulite) in the world! So you know what I do? I fake it. I get myself booked in for a spray tan 2 days before we leave, I use a tinted lip gloss with SPF, I do my eyebrows with Benefit’s new waterproof ka-BROW gel and I keep my hair back in a neat plait to avoid the inevitable humidity frizz – think Monica, Friends and ta daaa – sleep? Pfft! Sleep’s for the weak!
Tip number 6 – GIN:
#noexplanationrequired – our complex actually ran out of pink gin because of me!
I do hope that these tips will be of some use to you. I know that travelling with bubba can seem a daunting task for many new mamas but preparation is key and as long as you are well prepared, you really shouldn’t encounter any major issues. Ensure you know your luggage allowances, including baby’s and call the hotel to see what they supply too and try to find out what the local supermarket stocks. All that remains for me to say is Bon Voyage… et Bonne Chance! 😉
Nicki Ryder is a very new CheltenhamMaman, having only moved to Cheltenham from Berkshire in April 2016 and giving birth to Jasmine in the guest bedroom just a month later! Originally from London, Nicki and her husband, James, decided that the commuter belt was no longer where they wanted to raise their family and with James coming from Cheltenham originally, decided to up sticks and move out here with their 10-year-old daughter, Olivia. Nicki is currently on maternity leave and although she works for Microsoft, she will be opening her books to take on clients for her new business, Fit Inside Out (website currently under construction) in November. If you are unhappy with how you look, feel tired all of the time and generally don’t know how to eat or train for optimal health, Nicki’s the lady you need! Drop her a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a follow on Instagram