Going on a staycation or spending any time away from home can be daunting when you have children, particularly small babies. Our resident sleep expert, Jo Tantum has shared her top tips on how to make it easier.
Unfortunately, many of us have had our holidays abroad cancelled this year because of the pandemic. Whether your holiday has been cancelled by the tour operator or you have decided it’s not safe enough to travel yet, there are still options for you to have a little break. We are lucky enough to live on a beautiful country so many of us are opting for staycations this year. So how do you make the most of your holiday with a little one?
As you will have realised by now, babies need an awful lot of “stuff”. A top travel tip is to definitely invest in a top box for your car, particularly if you have multiple children. One suitcase and a pushchair is enough to fill even the biggest of boots so you have to pack smarter and lighter than ever. Here are baby sleep experts Jo Tantum’s top travel tips:
1. Keep in your little ones routine as much as possible (easier said than done, we know). Otherwise your baby or toddler can get anxious and upset, especially in different surroundings. Their familiar routine when on staycation will comfort them. So, try to time naps and feeds around the same time as they would be at home. Try and fit activities around one nap so they can at least sleep in their cot for one nap. If possible, try and bring some familiar items such as their own cot sheets and baby sleeping bag. Make sure your baby has slept on/ in these items at least once before travelling so they will have the comforting smell of home on them. A portable black out blind also proves super handy when travelling to avoid early wake up calls and hopefully allow mummy and daddy a lie in!
Other familiar items that can help soothe your baby off to sleep are their favourite baby comforter, their regular nightlight/ white noise machine or their favourite teddy.
2. When packing for your staycation, put your baby or toddlers clothes in separate bags – packing cubes are ideal for this. Not only do they condense the volume down, they can also help organise outfits. A great idea is to label them for example sleepwear, beach wear, smarter clothes etc. That way you can quickly grab a bag and find exactly what you’re looking for without having to sort through lots of things.
If you have a toddler it’s a great idea to take wellies and an all-in-one waterproof outfit – so even if the weather is rubbish you can still go for a walk or on the beach and they will have a great time exploring (and tiring themselves out).
3. Whether your baby is bottle fed or you are pumping, sterilising bottles on staycation can be a struggle. Instead of packing your huge plug in one, buy microwavable sterilising bags. These are quick and easy to use and small and light to pack! If there isn’t a microwave where you are going, another good option is sterilising tablets. With the tablets you fill a bowl of water according to the instructions on the packet, pop the bottles in and leave to soak until sterilised.
Another feeding top tip – if you are sad about having to leave your feeding cushion at home, check out blow up ones. Easy to transport and gives you comfort whilst away from home!
4. Another tried and tested top tip is to take a low cost blow up paddling pool. When travelling with non-mobile babies this can be used as a playpen and as a paddling pool at the beach or in the garden. If the place you’re staying only has a shower, use this pool as a make shift bath and be sure to take your usual bubble bath so baby has a familiar smell too.
5. Only take a few toys of their very favourites with you. You will most likely end up buy more when you are there or because you are in new surroundings, they will be interested in everything else. When spending all day out and about you will find you don’t need to stimulate your baby with toys as much so don’t waste too much valuable packing space on them.
Enjoy your holiday and make wonderful memories with your family!