The Lifestyle is Calling- 1 Travel with baby

Traveling with a baby- stress free

Travelling with a baby: Ciao Bambino

I’m not ashamed to admit it – after five months of figuring out how to mother my child and create some form of order – the thought of going on holiday with him and my husband filled me with trepidation.

How would he survive the plane journey? What if I got mastitus, again? What if he got sunburnt?

Despite the concern, we bit the bullet… and I’m so happy we did. Sure, a holiday with a 5 month old was completely unlike any other holiday we’ve ever had and yes, it was hard work at times, but one thing is for sure – the memories of our first holiday together as a family are without doubt, priceless.

To ease some of the aforementioned anxiety, we researched, researched, researched!

I’m pleased to say the 7 day trip was a big success, so thought I’d share this post to share some of the elements that made it work for us, if you’re thinking of venturing off with your little one.

Planning our trip

We picked Europe as our destination as knew the flight times would be more manageable from the UK than further afield. May, before the weather got too warm and tourist spots got too busy, was our chosen time of year. We also chose to rent a property knowing that we’d have nights in when the little one was asleep, we wanted a decent amount of space to chill out and enjoy dinner and drinks once he was in bed. Funnily enough, finding a place with a microwave also was important so we could use our steriliser! (I was combination feeding at the time)

We chose a rural location in Tuscany, Italy, that was perfect for taking a scenic walk but at the same time central to some places we could do day trips to, as well as being within a 20 minute drive to a town with a supermarket for emergency supplies!

The journey

Our trip began with a flight from a nearby airport to Pisa. Taking a baby on an airplane wasn’t quite as traumatic as I’d thought it might be, some familiar toys and song singing helped. When you check your luggage in, you can hand over your car seat and buggy then and there – if you prefer, you can keep your buggy until the gate too. We checked both in and used a sling until we reached the place as these freed up our hands for that all important pre-flight drink at the airport!
When you check in, there is no harm in asking (if you dont have seats booked) if you can be sat on a row by yourselves – this came in very handy for us as it gave us an extra seat to change the little one’s nappy whilst on board.
When you get on board, you are handed a baby seat belt by the cabin crew – which connects yours to thiers, they sit facing forward on your lap when the seat belt signs are on. Priority boarding for passengers with young children helps massively. A little bit like how you never appreciated baby and toddler car parking spaces in supermakets before you had a little one, you cant appreciate how being let onto a plane without being caught in a huge queue first means until you’re there in that moment!
We found dressing Ethan in a few light layers worked well – you are in and out of so many different temperatures on route – including when you arrive at your (most likely warm) destination. We also opted for a baby grow to avoid loosing socks/shoes on route.

Itinerary

At Pisa we picked up a hire car – Within two hours we arrived at our rental property (La Casa di Villore). We fell in love with it’s authenticity and amazing views straight away and would highly recommend it.
We took day trips to Siena, San Gimigango, Castellina in Chianti and Panzano in Chianti. We researched each place the night before to ensure we knew where we could eat and booked tables where possible in advance. This really helped avoid us being stuck out on a limb with an unhappy bambino. The last thing we wanted was to be trailing the streets for a suitable place to sit down (or escape the sun) if the little one was out of sorts or needed a nappy change!

These were our top five Tuscany highlights:

• Dario Cechini restaurant
• The palazzo in Sienna
• Eating Gelato in San Gimigano
• The view from Castelinna in Chianti museum
• Watching the Sunrise at La Casa di Villore

Tips for travelling with a little one

1. Avoiding the risk of our pram being crushed or broken in transit, and giving us an option that’s easier to carry, I found this Zeta Citi Stroller perfect for travelling.
– its quick to put up and down
– it comes in light colours so the fabric doesn’t get too hot
– the storage in the base was incredibly handy for all your need-to-hand baby essentials
the clips the strap the little one in were super easy to use

2. Keeping the little one out of the sun was constantly on my mind whilst out and about– after exploring numerous options, I found this detachable Infant Rayshade perfect.
– It can be strapped using its four velcro straps to pretty much anything – such as your buggy, a high chair, or even the car window.
– It provides more shade than an umbrella and can stop the sun from more angles meaning you’re not having to move it around every time you change direction.
– It folds down to a flat, lightweight and easy to carry circle in seconds.

3. Following on from point two – I found this pop up shelter perfect for being out and about in the sun as it provided instant, safe shade. It also has a carry handle on the storage bag which was easy to hang from the buggy and pegs to secure to the ground in windy weather.

4. As a final point on sun protection – I also found the best range of simple baby sun hats for Ethan at H &M – I found it best to choose a baby sun hat:
a. in a white colour to reflect the heat
b. with a neck cover for maximum protection
c. that was ok being washed in a washing machine

5. Travel light and be selective – Don’t under estimate how much you’ll have to carry, especially if you’re travelling as a couple and one of you is carrying a baby! We checked in a suitcase each for the hubby, Ethan and I, we had another carry on suitcase and a large nappy bag to carry onto the plane (that’s five bags!) plus a buggy, plus the car seat! We just about made it, with biceps aching once on board.

– You are allowed to bring baby food in your hand luggage – just ensure to check the guidelines here. Boots also offer a service to pick up formula orders at the airport.
– Our little one spent most of our holiday in a baby grow or in his nappy – trust me, when your baby is hot and sticky with sun cream, your not so eager to put on the fancy clothes, hats or sandals you might be thinking of packing.
– We also put our buggy and car seat in protective bags from iSafe before they went in the hold – I’d advise these, it was great to know they had some protection and wouldn’t arrive soaking wet had they got caught in a rain shower on the runway.

6. Car hire – without doubt if you want to explore the area you visit like we did, public transport with a baby is challenging, so if you can, get a hire car – ensure its big enough for the crazy amount of luggage as well as being big enough to fit your buggy. Ours also came in handy for the huge supermarket run we did at the start of the week!

7. I used a collapsible, easy to pack, lightweight fabric cool bag like this one every day on our trip – great for ensuring baby formula/food didn’t over heat and for staying hydrated with some cool water whilst exploring! Make sure you choose one big enough to hold a decent size bottle – even if its a cheeky martini bottle to enjoy by the pool!

8. I brought a blanket that Ethan had slept with for a couple of nights with us too, meaning when we put him down to sleep in a new place, he had a familiar smell to help settle him. I’ve no idea if this worked, but lets face it, you do what you can!

9. Finally these were some other small things which came in handy:
– A dummy clip – if you use a dummy, get one, its not worth loosing a dummy on a long journey or trying to find somewhere to sterilise it if it falls on the floor.
– A mosquito net – for obvious reasons
– Movies loaded on your tablet, a pack of cards, or something for you and your partner to do in the evenings once the little one is in bed – foreign TV channels are only entertaining for so long!
– A small pot into which you can decant some baby sun cream for your nappy bag – this avoids weighing down the nappy bag with a big bottle.
– Patience. Lets face it your baby is in a whole new environment, and the strangeness of being in unfamiliar territory may make them unsettled, but have patience, as with everything, it comes to
pass – take it in your stride, relax, and build the memories you only hoped you could.

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