How to prepare for a successful get away with a baby

When my husband and I used to “go on an adventure”, it meant diving with sharks, rock climbing or jump from a plane. We would leave on a Friday night after work and come back to work the following Monday morning. We travelled light, with a small hand luggage each and would sleep in no fuss backpacker hotels.

Well, that was before. Now the story has changed. Going on a trip for the week-end has a slightly different taste. It was when my first daughter Ines was born, that I realised that I needed more energy to think about everything I needed to pack, rather than merely working out what location we would be Bungy Jumping from! And I learned over the years that the key to a relaxing get away with baby is organisation.

Some people will tell you to pack light. These people do not have young children. The lovely long week-end you have dreamed about to escape cold Autumn days might become a nightmare if you feel stressed about packing (which is normal for all mums!). 

So here is my top 10 packing tips, which I hope will delay your white hair!

  1. Check the temperature of your destination a few days in advance and the day before you go and pack your bag accordingly. It seems obvious but the weather can be surprising!
  2. Write a list of what you need by category: clothing, feeding, bathing, entertainment, diapering, baby gear, bedding, medicine and admin (Passport, Medicare card, etc). It will clear your mind and you will feel lighter!
  3. Wether you are traveling by public transport or by car, choose clothes for your baby that you can quickly remove or add through a 3 point harness, such as a cardigan, little boots / socks. No need to look good! Your baby needs to be comfortable, not too hot, not too cold and with clothes that are soft and can stretch.
  4. Bring toys. Take the ones that your baby love to play with. I personally always take the colourful and easy-to-clean ones.
  5. Prepare a bottle of water if your baby is old enough, even if you are breastfeeding. It will help you in situations such as traffic jams!
  6. If you can, leave straight away after you have fed your baby or the other way around: feed your baby just before you need to go. With some luck he will fall asleep quickly after your departure.
  7. Pack few pacifiers. Between the one that will fall on the floor and the one you will lose when opening the car, having 2 or 3 in your pocket is not a bad idea!
  8. Of course have nappies, wipes and plastic bags. You can even get disposable kits that contain all three in a conveniently pre-packed kit.
  9. Don’t forget your own nervous system. Take a break when preparing the bag, when you are travelling and when you have finally arrived. Have a coffee, tea, juice, whatever works for you, look after yourself too!
  10. When travelling, a practical blanket can help. The Babynomade is the ideal travel companion. Its shape, with legs and without sleeves, follows the curve of the shoulders for easy closure of a 3-point harness. The velcro fasteners permit baby to be wrapped without being disturbed. With a generously sized hood and a choice of soft fleece fabric for cold destinations or lightweight Fleur de Coton for warmer climates, it can suit any destination on your list.
The best advice I would give however, is to pack early in advance. Packing always takes much longer than you think! Not because you are not organised, or are inexperienced but because as your children grow, their needs change, so we always need to add or remove things from the bag. If you are calm, your have more chances that your baby will be too, so 50% of the job is done!

Organisation is the key, but it's also important to remember that even if you forget one thing, it won't be the end of the world... unless you are intending to spend five weeks in the bush with “Crocodile Dundee”, there will always be shops and people around you to help you soothe your adorable little baby!

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