Taking Your Baby Out

Taking Your Baby On Holiday

Going on a family holiday with your baby can be a wonderful experience, it just takes a while longer to plan, and pack for! Your choice of holiday destination will also be affected now you've got a baby. Here's our guide on how to tailor your holiday when you have a baby in tow.

Where Should We Go?

There are certain destinations which will mean your baby will have to have vaccinations. It's not recommended that you take your baby anywhere where they will be at risk of more exotic diseases. Babies under 6 months can't be vaccinated against yellow fever, as they could contract encephalitis, and while babies under 2 months can be given anti-malarial tablets, it's still not recommended you take a baby to malaria-infested area as anti-malarial tablets aren't 100% effective.

Travelling On a Plane

Most airlines will accept babies on board when they are a week old, but you may prefer to wait until your baby is older as they are less fragile and easier to look after. When babies start to get mobile, they can take a dislike to travelling as they don't like sitting still, so the easiest time to travel is when your baby is after 3 months of age, but before they start crawling (which can happen from 6 months). If you're leaving the country, you'll need a separate passport for your baby. Leave plenty of time for these to arrive as they take 6 weeks to process.

Take your baby's favourite toys with you to keep her entertained while travelling. The rules on liquid restrictions don't apply to baby milk, so you can take this onboard with you, and remember to pack extra milk in case your journey is delayed.

How Can I Protect My Baby From The Sun?

You'll need to take special care to protect your baby from the sun if you're going somewhere hot. Babies under 6 months shouldn't be out in the sun at all, as their skin is too delicate. For babies over 6 months, you can protect your baby from the sun by making sure they wear a hat and sunblock. Apply sunblock half an hour before your baby goes outside, and reapply every couple of hours, or immediately after playing in water, even if it's waterproof (don't forget to apply sunblock to those often missed areas such as hands and feet!). Keep your baby out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest. It's a great idea to buy a parasol or sun umbrella to attach to your baby's buggy, if you don't already have one, as these keep your baby shielded from the sun while you're walking around. If your baby does get sunburn, wash the area with cool water, apply cold compresses and smooth on calamine lotion. You can give your baby paracetamol or ibuprofen designed for babies to ease the pain and discomfort of sunburn.

Babies are prone to getting a prickly heat rash in hot weather, so to avoid this dress your baby in 100% cotton clothing. If you take your car, or hire one, use the air conditioning.

Altitude Sickness

If you're going to somewhere with a high altitude, such as a skiing holiday, be aware of the potential danger altitude sickness poses. Mild altitude sickness can happen at 2,500 metres, a height which many runs reach. Severe altitude sickness doesn't normally occur at less than 3,600 metres however, a height which most ski resorts don't reach. To help your baby prepare for the change in altitude, increase your altitude gradually. Don't take your baby up to the highest peak straight away; go for the lowest and over the course of a few days you can work up to the higher runs. Signs of altitude sickness are vomiting, loss of appetite, appearing generally unwell, and being irritable. If your baby displays these symptoms, give him plenty of milk, and water if he is formula fed or on solids. Your baby should adjust to a change in altitude in a day or two but if he doesn't get better, move him to a lower altitude.

Tips for Packing

Thinking carefully about what you'll need for your baby while you're away will ensure your holiday goes smoothly. If your accommodation doesn't have a travel cot, you'll need to take your own. As these can be heavy, you might need to buy extra luggage allowance. Take sheets for your baby too, and if your baby wakes when the sun rises, make sure you take along a blackout blind as your accommodation curtains might be thin. If your baby normally sleeps with a night light or you play music from a baby monitor, take this along with you as your baby will be comforted by the familiarity of her usual night time routines. If you're unsure of whether your accommodation has a bath, take along a universal bath plug, so you can turn a shower into a bath. Alternatively, you can bathe your baby in the basin, putting tap covers or socks over the taps. Nappies, wipes and baby milk are usually quite easy to get hold of in most European countries, but pack enough anyway of these to last the whole holiday in case they're not widely available where you're going.

The best types of toys to take away on holiday are small ones that pack easily and you can get lots of mileage out of, such as books and stacking cups. If your baby has a comforter or favourite cuddly toy, make sure you bring that too.

Finally, ensure you pack a camera so you can show your baby where they went on holiday when they were little! Enjoy your first family holiday together and a well deserved break!

Site Links

This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional.