You are looking forward to going on holiday, especially after spending this last year at home. But your baby was born just a few months ago and you're afraid that you won’t be able to travel with such a young baby... Of course you can, if you know how to!
It goes without saying that you won't be trekking at high altitudes or cycling around an island on a mountain bike, your holiday destination won't be on the other side of the world... But it will still be a relaxing holiday, which is always good!
It will be a quieter holiday than in the past, at a more leisurely pace, tailored around the needs and daily routine of your little one.
There will also be plenty of entertainment and fun to make you feel like you're really on holiday!
Read on for our tips and advice on where to go on holiday with a young baby and how to travel safely!
Tips for travelling with a young baby
The first weekend away and the first holiday with an infant often make new parents a little anxious.
Ditching your well-established routine, comforts of home, and the reassurance of being in close vicinity to your usual doctor can all make it quite stressful and want to give up on the idea.
And yet the yearning you feel to see new places, far away from work and daily life, is as strong as before.
Don't worry! Here's how you can make sure that your baby is at ease on their holiday. In turn, you too will feel relaxed and be able to enjoy a well-deserved rest!
Don’t make too many plans
Paradoxically, going on holiday with a baby is often less tiring than travelling with older children, who run about left, right and centre and climb all over the place.
The best destinations for travelling with such a small infant are those you can reach by car (there is nothing to stop you from taking a train or a plane, but travelling by car is more comfortable as we will see in the following paragraphs).
You can go to the seaside or to the countryside with a young infant, both of these destinations offer a relaxed daily pace for your baby.
The important thing is to avoid organised tours and large groups, as with such a small baby in tow, it’s best not to have too many plans during the day.
It is much easier to enjoy a flexible routine whilst on holiday, in line with your baby’s own rhythm and mood.
Your baby’s sleep should be priority. Their other daily habits can be changed without causing too much disruption to them, but not your baby's sleep schedule.
It is very important to maintain the exact same sleep routine as at home (bath, lullaby, etc.) and not to overlook their naps.
If you are lucky, they will sleep soundly while you visit a museum or go for a walk.
If you find they need to take a nap in the hotel room, then you can take the opportunity to relax, perhaps by reading a good book. Or treat yourself to a nice massage in the spa while your partner watches over the baby!
What to pack
Fretting about ensuring we have everything we need will inevitably lead us to pack more than we really need.
Although, there’s not much we can do about it – it’s better to be safe than sorry! Travelling with a small infant requires a lot of things:
- Clothes for all weathers
- Baby carrier
- Car seat
- Various toys to keep them occupied
- Moisturising cream for their delicate skin
- Protective nappy cream
- Changing mat
Your first trip away is always the "heaviest". The next one will be “lighter” as with experience we learn what we really need and what we can do without. Even if we tend to pack it anyway...just in case…..
What should your baby wear
Whether you're by the coast or in the countryside, your baby's summer clothing is very similar.
Dress them in loose, cool, lightweight clothing made from natural breathable material, such as cotton and linen.
Protect your baby's face from the sun with a brimmed hat and don't forget to apply a sunscreen which offers full protection to any part of the body which is not covered by clothing.
What about their tiny feet? You can leave them bare! Babies love to have their feet out and we can let them enjoy the air on their toes in summertime.
Travelling by car
You can travel by whichever means you prefer, such as by train or plane, even with a baby who is just a few weeks old. However, travelling by car is much more convenient for various reasons.
First of all, you can set off at a time which suits your baby's routine.
You can stop whenever you like, for example when your baby is hungry. In fact, you should never breastfeed your baby whilst the vehicle is in motion.
In addition, you have full control over the temperature of the vehicle, so you can avoid having the air conditioning on at full blast. The temperature should never fall below 22°C.
We recommend that you buy sunshades for your car windows to protect your baby from direct light.
Where to go on holiday with a young baby?
If you love the seaside, there are fantastic child-friendly resorts on the Riviera Romagnola, in the Maremma and in Liguria, in Italy.
If you prefer nature and walking, the mountains are an excellent destination. Italy offers some spectacular destinations, such as Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto or Abruzzo.
If you love the seaside, there are fantastic child-friendly resorts along the UK coastline.
If you prefer nature and walking, more rural settings in the countryside are great holiday destinations when travelling with young babies.
To the seaside with a young baby
Small infants really enjoy the seaside: they explore new textures, new games, new sensations... But we need to be extra careful when they are in the sun and the heat.
What precautions should you take?
- Avoid the hottest hours of the day. Take your baby to the beach early in the morning until about 10.30 am and in the late afternoon after 5 pm.
- Your baby should be under the parasol shade and never in the sun.
- Dress your baby in loose, lightweight, breathable cotton or linen clothes.
- Protect your baby's delicate skin with SPF 50 or full protection sunscreen.
- Take a small inflatable paddling pool for under the shade.
Is that all you need? Yes, that's all you need for a trip to the seaside with a small baby, to keep your baby safe and to have fun together!
To the countryside with a young baby
The countryside is perfect for a baby who is just a few months old: good air quality and plenty of greenery!
Another tip is to avoid high altitudes, above 2000 metres. This could lead to physiological imbalances in babies.
Babywearing is very practical when on holiday, especially in the countryside, where you can carry your baby in a wrap or a baby carrier and have a nice, revitalising walk, while they are content and snug, heart-to-heart with their Mummy or Daddy!
It is, however, best to avoid walks that are too long or too strenuous.
In the countryside you will find plenty of holiday homes you can rent for short periods, but if you prefer a little more luxury and being pampered whilst on holiday, there is no shortage of child-friendly hotels.
If you want to travel further afield, in Alto Adige, Italy and Austria you'll find family hotels which are child-friendly resorts for children of all ages even for newborns. They are called Kinderhotels.
These hotels are real playgrounds, and not only for children!
There are spas for the whole family with baby pools, playrooms, nurseries, outdoor games, etc.
There’s everything you could possibly need: from changing mats to toilet seats, blankets to pushchairs, baby carriers to bottle warmers... and even nappies, formula milk, and baby food! You can really travel light!
Many of them provide 24-hour medical assistance (essential for mum and dad's peace of mind) and a qualified babysitting service even for babies who are just a few weeks old.
There will almost certainly be someone who will tell you it is not worth travelling with a young baby as they’re too young to appreciate and remember it. However, you will remember it – and that’s more than enough!
Even if your little one won’t be able to treasure memories of their trip, the experience itself, of being in new places, acquiring new habits, experiencing different things is highly formative, especially when they’re a little older!
Last but not least, your baby will enjoy the undivided attention of their mummy and daddy, far away from any daily stress!