baby's first holiday
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Baby’s first holiday

Planning to take your little one on their first holiday? Here are some travel essentials and tips for a stress-free family get away.

You don’t have to stop going on holidays just because you now have a baby. Realistically, you will probably spend the majority of your time away entertaining and comforting your baby, but it can be an enjoyable experience for everyone if you spend some time planning and preparing. Follow these strategies and tips to make travelling with baby a success.

Eating on the go

Food pouches are really handy for feeding hungry little ones when you’re mid travel. You can squeeze the food straight onto a spoon so there’s no need for a bowl.

Don’t forget to pack the essential feeding equipment supplies such as: steriliser, formula, bowls, feeding spoons, bibs, bottles, breast pump, homemade/ready-prepared baby food, snacks, plastic bag for rubbish or dirty items. Your baby’s routine may be all over the place due to early starts or late flights, so she may be hungry when you’d expect her to nap. Try to offer her regular breast or bottle feeds.

Nappy supplies

Use a compact changing bag that is designed for travel. Don’t forget to pack a portable changing mat, nappy accessories such as nappy rash cream, wipes, nappies, nappy bags.

Pack sun protection

Sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under six months of age, so invest in a parasol that can be attached to the side of the pram. UV pop up tents are ideal for providing sun cover for your baby while they play and shelter during nap times. A sun hat will help to protect the sensitive skin on your baby’s head, ears and neck. Full body sun suits and hats for children under six months are a good alternative to sunscreen. Other essentials include a sunglasses, sun lotion, sun visor/parasol for the pram and car window shades.

Bedtime basics

Some hotels will provide a travel cot. If this is the case, you will need to bring a travel mattress. If not, you can bring your own travel cot. Travel blackout blinds are brilliant for blocking out the rays during baby’s daytime naps. Bring along your baby’s usual blankets/sleeping bag, night light.

Carry your baby

A baby carrier/sling can make a big difference in your ability to sightsee and explore. As well, wearing your child close to you will make you feel confident as you wander around crowded areas and use public transport.

Passport check

If you’re travelling to foreign shores, make sure you have given yourself enough time to organise your baby’s first passport. Visit or for more details.

Taking your babies to the skies

If you have a newborn, make sure to check with the airline to see from how many days old they allow babies to fly. Some airlines may ask for a doctor’s note to say both mother and baby are fit for travel. If your baby is less than two years old, she will share your seat and sit on your lap using an extension seat belt. The cabin crew will provide this for you and show you what to do.

To help prevent your baby’s ears popping during take-off and landing, try to time it so that you can breastfeed or bottle feed during these periods. When your baby is awake, take them for a walk up and down the aisle to try and prevent them from becoming bored and frustrated. Let your baby look out the window and take the opportunity to play games and sings nursery songs with her. And try not to feel self-conscious, isn’t it better for your baby to be happy and giggling rather than cranky and crying?

baby's first holiday

Be extra careful with hygiene, airplanes can be rife with germs as you’re sharing a small space with other passengers and their bugs, coughs and colds. it’s a good idea to pack some travel size anti-bacterial gel and wipes into your hand bag.

Choose the right pushchair

If you’re travelling by plane, then a lightweight, fully collapsible pushchair/ stroller is a good idea. Airlines have a different weight limit so phone ahead and check yours meets the weight and dimension restrictions. In most airports, you will be able to use a buggy right up to the departure gate at which point the airline staff will place it in the hold. The pushchair will need to be fully collapsible, as it will need to go through the same x-ray security procedures as other baggage. The lighter foldable pushchairs are much more airportfriendly than the larger models that come apart into two pieces.

A pushchair that is travel-system compatible means that a car seat can be attached to it. There are some travel system packages that include a pushchair, car seat and a carrycot, but it’s also possible to purchase a pushchair and a compatible car seat separately. Check beforehand which car seats will fit in your pushchair.

Some car seats will simply attach to the buggy, while others will require special adaptors. Some airlines offer the option of booking a carrycot for their baby to travel in, which can make the journey more comfortable than if they were in your lap. There are normally weight restrictions on infants using carrycots so do check this with your airline when booking.

What can I take through security?

You are allowed to take enough baby food, milk and sterilised water for your journey in your hand luggage. You may be asked to taste your baby’s milk at security!

Mum’s Tip

Pack a blanket and sheets with a familiar smell – it really helps to settle your baby at bedtime. Bring along their favourite toy or book that’s part of their bedtime routine to make things as similar to what you do at home.

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Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.

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Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.