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!
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.
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