Prepapring for a holiday with your little one

To help you prepare for your first holiday with a little one we have answered some commonly asked questions and compiled a checklist of things to pack. We hope it helps!

Click here for tips on tackling airports and flights with a toddler or baby.

Feeding and sterilising

What water should I use in my baby’s bottles?

Drinking tap water abroad usually is not recommended so it is best to use bottled water. When buying bottled water check its mineral content, look for still water that is low in sodium. Na on the label means sodium, choose one that contains 200mg or less of Na per litre. Sulphate (SO or SO4) should be no higher than 250mg per litre.

Boil the bottled water, most hotels will have a kettle to boil the water and if not, you should be able to request one.

Always check the seal on the bottled water is intact before using it.

If you are going out for the day, take the boiled water in a vacuum flask and take some small sterile containers for the formula.

Sterilizing bottles abroad

Rather than taking your sterilizing unit take a large plastic container with a lid and use cold water sterilizing tablets. You can use the tub to store your toiletries or nappies in your suitcase, so it does not take up too much space.

Can my toddler drink cow’s milk in a foreign country?

The answer to this is ‘yes.’ You can offer your little one cow’s milk as long as it’s pasteurised, refrigerated and within its use by date.

Baby and toddler friendly accommodation

Some parents opt for self-catering apartments or villas so they can stick to their own routine with feeding and nap times. It also means you have somewhere to sit and relax while your baby is asleep rather than hiding out in a hotel room.

Other parents go for all-inclusive accommodation, where there is plenty to keep the little ones busy.

Check in advance what equipment is provided, most places will provide baby equipment such as cots, highchairs, sterilisers, some resorts even provide baby food and have creche facilities. We loved the TUI Sensatori resorts.

Protecting you little one from the sun

Stay in the shade, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. Children can get their vitamin D from supplements.

Avoid putting a sheet or make-shift cover over your stroller, they can make the inside very hot. Instead, avoid leaving the buggy in direct sunlight.

Be extra strict if your child is under 6 months old-Babies skin is more sensitive than adults, always keep young babies out of direct sunlight.

Cover them up- Dress your little ones in loose cotton clothes like oversized t-shirts with sleeves, floppy, wide-brimmed hats that shade their face and neck are also great.

Keep an eye on your baby’s neck and shoulders, these are the most common areas to burn, and a sunburnt toddler isn’t going to be much fun.

Sun cream

Sun cream is not an alternative to covering up, but it is a great extra. Use it liberally, carefully, and repeatedly on all exposed skin, even on cloudy or overcast days. Apply it half an hour before going out in the sun.

Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF and is effective against UVA and UVB. If your child is going to be in water, choose a waterproof one and reapply it often.

It may be worth patch testing the cream on your child before you travel to ensure the one you have chosen doesn’t aggravate their skin.

Treating sunburn

If your child does get sunburn, get out of the sun as soon as possible – head indoors or into the shade.

You can usually treat mild sunburn yourself:

Cool the skin with a cold bath or shower, sponging it with cool water, or holding a cold flannel to it.

Use lotions containing aloe vera to soothe and moisturise.

Give your child plenty of fluids to cool them down and prevent dehydration.

Give your little one child-friendly painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve pain.

If your child feels unwell or the skin swells badly or blisters, get medical advice immediately. Tempting as it is to get back outside, stay well out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone.

Helping your child cope with jetlag

Firstly, anticipate that it is going to take a couple of days to adjust to the new time zone and aim to have a relaxed and flexible schedule during this time. If your child wakes up hungry in the night or decides he wants to play at 3am this is completely normally and will phase out over the coming days.

Here are a couple of suggestions to help speed up the transition between time zones:

Keep yourself and your child well-rested and hydrated on the plane, good hydration gives your body the best chance at coping with jetlag, if you are breast feeding it is important to drink plenty of water to avoid a reduction in your milk supply.

Sunlight- Exposure to daylight in your first few days in your new destination is the simplest method to help combat jetlag. Your body clock is regulated by melatonin which is produced during the night and is regulated by light and darkness. Leaving the curtains/blinds open at night will help your baby wake to the new day naturally.

Our top tips

Organize your baby’s passport in pretty of time. Find out how to apply here.

If you are travelling to a country where you need a visa you will need to arrange that too.

Apply for a free EHIC card for each family member if you are travelling in Europe.

Arrange travel insurance before you go.

Check with your GP about Vaccinations and other health precautions for your chosen destination.

Call the resort or check with your travel agent to find out what baby/child facilities are available.

Click and collect formula or nappies from boots at the airport to save on luggage space.

If you have a baby carrier-take it in your handluggage.

Download your childs favourite TV shows on Netflix or Iplayer and leave the screen time ban at home- Flights are stressful enough without having the extra pressure of worrying about your childs eyes turning square.

Go before your child is two so you do not have to pay for them.

Book outside the school holidays, if possible, this will be much cheaper and less crowded.

What to pack for a baby or toddler?

Pushchair- A compact strolled like the Babyzen yoyo+ is handy and can be stored in the overhead compartment on the plane.

Car seat- You can usually get these from the car hire companies but check before you travel.

Baby carrier- This will come in handy both in the airports and on holiday.

Ventilated sunshade/canopy

Cot sheet- not all hotels provide these, call ahead and check.

Blanket

Bibs/muslin squares

Bottles/beakers

Large plastic tub with lid-for sterilizing

Cold water sterilising tablets

Formula

Nappies

Wet wipes

Swimwear- I prefer 2 piece swim suits over all-in-ones, they make nappy changing easier.

Clothes- Light weight simple outfits, Shorts and tshirts, cotton dresses etc.

Pyjamas

Shoes

Beach shoes/sandals

Sun hats

Pop-up tent- great for shade and can be used as a makeshift cot on the beach.

Bucket and spade

Swim aids

Toys

Changing bag- or bech bag that can double as a holiday changing bag.

Sun cream

Nappy cream

Insect bite cream

Insect replant

Plasters

Calpol

Dioralyte

Nurofen