How to Calm Your Fears and Enjoy Baby's First Holiday


Of all the words in the dictionary is there one word that can strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest parents? One word that can cause mums and dads everywhere to break out in a cold sweat and gnaw their fingernails nervously? There is - holiday.

Taking a holiday with children is no picnic, but taking one with a baby is downright frightening. The disruption in their routine, the hauling of endless baby-related paraphernalia and the hourly feedings are, to say the least, discouraging. It's no wonder that many families forego holidays altogether when the children are young.

But you don't have to be a slave to the playpen. It's entirely possible to take your young baby on a holiday without too much stress. And, surprisingly, it can actually be fun for the entire family.

Before you start planning your first holiday with your baby, think about the practical side. Babies require a lot of equipment. You'll have to bring loads of nappies, several changes of clothes for every day you'll be gone, toys, formula and bottles if your baby is bottle feeding, a sturdy stroller and a car seat. In some cases, you may need to bring along a portable crib or playpen for baby to sleep in. Think about the amount of space you will need for all of this gear before you book a cross-country bus ride or a 'cozy' one-room cabana.

Should you venture far from home on your first holiday with a new baby? Some babies simply don't do well with sitting still for long periods of time. A nine-hour drive can feel like an eternity when it's spent with a screaming, inconsolable infant. Some grown-ups can't even sit in a car for that long.

Staying close to home is a good idea for baby's first holiday. It's not hard to find something exciting to do that doesn't require a lot of on-the-road time. There are plenty of national parks, wildlife reserves and historic monuments all over the world. No matter where you live, you should be able to find something that interests you and your family.

If you do decide to brave a long-distance trip, do your homework before you go. Choose a hotel based on its child friendliness. That means finding a place to stay that does not tolerate loud, all night parties. You may have to avoid hotels with bars or restaurants in the lobby since those tend to encourage late-night noise. When you're far from home, it's not possible to simply pack up and head back if the hotel turns out to be a nightmare.

In general, jetting off to exotic locations may not be a great idea with an infant. Besides the obvious logistical issues involved in toting their equipment around, there may be health concerns in some countries. Babies are more susceptible to illness than adults and should not be exposed to these risks at a young age.

A small compact country like Monaco, around a square mile in size, with everything within strolling distance could be the answer for a first holiday for European parents with their baby. French hotels and Monte Carlo hotels are often baby friendly.

Wherever you go, keep your baby's happiness in mind. Take along some beloved toys to make the hotel seem more like home. Keep baby engaged and interested enough that he won't be tempted to scream with boredom. If baby is small enough, take a sling carrier or front carrier to keep him close to you while you explore your destination.

Above all, try not to let stress overwhelm you. Your first vacation with your baby is a learning experience for all of you. It will help to prepare you for all of the family holidays in your future.


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