Brooke's Tips for Travelling with a Newborn
So Myles, Billy and I just got back from a week in Queenstown, NZ! It was our very first holiday together as a family and it was so much fun. It was very special to spend uninterrupted time together all day every day.
I have had quite a few people ask questions about travelling with a baby so I thought I’d share some things that I would have found helpful!
Arrange their passport, EARLY.
Figure out exactly what you need to do for the application well in advance. It took me 3 separate Post Office visits before I had everything perfect as I was sent away multiple times due to ink smudges, slight print errors, one signature missing etc. The more time you have up your sleeve to allow for things like this the better! I also didn’t realise we needed his physical birth certificate to be able to submit the application. Registering for his birth certificate was quick online but the certificate took quite a few weeks to get to us in the mail. This meant that I didn’t have the 6+ weeks to be able to wait for his passport to be issued and ended up having to pay over $400 to get it urgently. I guess it’s a good thing you can pay a priority service as we ended up getting the passport in 2 business days! To save yourself the stress and $, get a passport early!
In my opinion, it would be safest to book an appointment with your paediatrician/GP and check whether there are any extra vaccinations recommended for the country you are travelling to. New Zealand has higher rates of Meningococcal B. We were advised to vaccinate Billy before travel which we did and this was a great piece of mind to know he was safe.
The day we arrived we went out for dinner and I bumped into a makeup artist who I hadn’t seen in years. She lives in Queenstown and also had a young baby. She explained to us that the current water status in Queenstown was undrinkable. While we heard this at our hotel, we did not realise or put two and two together that this would also of course mean bath water for Billy. She told us everyone is boiling their water for baby baths, even DOUBLE boiling the water to ensure it is not contaminated. She had mentioned a few babies she knew who had been sick from ingesting the water. I did some research and saw that there was a ‘boil water notice’ for all water in the exact area we were staying in. We ended up only bathing Billy every 2 days and made sure we double-boiled the water for his baths (absolute MISSION haha). If we hadn’t seen her we wouldn’t have known this and Billy could have gotten sick. I would advise just doing a bit of a Google/news search to see if there's anything you should be aware of!
- I breastfed Billy on take-off and landing and he did not seem to be bothered at all by the cabin pressure.
- There were lots of noises on the plane (some of which were soothing for Billy) but things like the overhead speaker going off constantly would wake him up every time he fell asleep which was very frustrating. I packed a pair of ear muffs from Baby Bunting originally hoping it may help with cabin pressure (?) but I put them on him once he was asleep which was great for blocking out noise and keeping him asleep.
- Take a blanket to drape over them/you to block their eyesight as the plane is very stimulating and it was hard to get an overstimulated baby to sleep
- Take snacks for yourself. The plane is hard work haha!
- Let it be. If your baby is unsettled and crying, and you are stressed, it will make baby more unsettled. Try not to worry about anyone else and what they think. You are doing your best.
Heading to NZ I assumed it was going to be freezing. We managed to be blessed with beautiful weather and it was actually quite warm. Thankfully I am a serial over-packer so I had everything I needed for him and while some of these may be obvious, I thought a little list might be helpful.
- Heaps of onesies, light and heavier weights so you have options for changing weather.
- Pants came in handy as the weather was so up and down. I dressed him mostly in pants and a t-shirt/or long sleeve onesie and would pop jumpers/cardigans over the top and layer. He is a hot baby so your baby may need different but I found layers were better so I could take them on and off depending on the weather indoors/outdoors.
- Socks, beanies and a sun hat! The day we arrived it was snowing, the day we left I got burnt so you just want to be prepared.
- Medical supplies- Baby Panadol, Nurofen, nail trimmer, thermometer, snotty boss, saline (all just in case). You don't want to be rushing around all hours of the night for Panadol if baby has a temp or something.
- Backpack for a baby bag. Being able to put the backpack on my back and have my arms completely free was so handy. At home, I use a shoulder bag for my baby bag and I couldn’t believe how much more convenient using a backpack was. Particularly at the airport and when doing changes out and about.
- Microwave sterilise bags to be extra safe. We drove all around trying to find basic supplies and there was not much around which was very surprising. (Milton steriliser tabs are also great for sterilising apparently).
- Baby carrier if your baby likes them
- Travel pram. With Qantas you can take a collapsable pram for free when you travel with an infant. The travel yo-yo pram can go in overhead luggage on the plane which would have been very helpful for the wait times at the airports. We thought it was better to take our big Uppa baby pram to oversized luggage so we could use that in NZ as we thought he would have more chances sleeping in it when out and about during the days but the reality was he just didn’t sleep out at all. (Lol. He had FOMO). I wish we just took our yo-yo. I know it’s only a few hours all up but taking the yo-yo would have been so handy to have at the airport as it is a bit of a stressful time regardless and long waits. (Billy doesn’t love the carrier so if yours likes carrier this may be more convenient for you than the pram)
- Portable bassinet. With Qantas you can take a collapsable bassinet for free when you travel with an infant.
- White noise and anything else you need for sleep environment
- Baby monitor. At home, Billy’s room is close enough that I can hear him but I couldn’t at our accommodation. It was great being able to check him on the monitor while he napped! We use a non-wifi monitor so don't have to worry about security
- Your nappies/wipes if you have a preferred kind. I searched all over town for my preferred brand and couldn’t find them anywhere
- If you plan on hiring a car. Pack a car seat/pram liner. I am a bit of a germaphobe and having this in the hire car seat put me at ease.
- 2 x foldable change mats so you can leave one in the hotel and one in the baby bag
- A couple of blankets. We used one for his window in the hire car as a sunshade and they were just good to have when feeding etc.
- Your soft hand towels for their bathtime if you are bonkers like me. I found the hotel ones too scratchy for his delicate skin.
- Toys, pram toys, bedtime books, tummy time activities etc for entertainment.
Also, expect to be a little out of your routine and know that that is okay. You are going to miss some naptimes and baby is going to be a little more all over the place due to being in a different environment and being out and about. Try and stick to your routine as much as possible but the reality is it’s not always possible. I tried to get at least 1 (ideally 2) good quality naps in his bassinet, then the others we just had to wing it on the go and hope for the best. He was often very tired by the evenings due to missed naps/smaller cat naps so we adjusted his bedtime and got him to bed earlier so he got extra sleep which helped!
Family holidays are so special so soak up every moment, take lots of pictures and videos and remind yourself every day how blessed you are!