Travelling with a baby

We have just got back from a lovely break in Norfolk with some family and it came at a very good time as Elbie’s sleep has taken a turn for the worse again. Having family around to help out while in a beautiful holiday cottage was just what the doctor ordered. It was very relaxing, well as relaxing as you can get with a six month old baby. It’s the same as any holiday though, it always goes far too quickly and the days leading up to it go too slowly.

Although this was a short break in England whenever I tell anyone we are going on holiday they look at me then look at Elbie and say “good luck” or “you’re brave” and to be honest before we did travel with Elbie I was thinking the same thing. How on earth were we going to get to get out of the flat with everything?! How would we get to the airport on time let alone manage a flight with a baby and then be in a foreign place? The thought of it turned out to be so much worse than the reality. I still get a little panicked that I will forget something but I think everyone feels like that before they go away and now because I’m so wrapped up in sorting out Elbie’s luggage I usually do miss something, of mine though.

We have been lucky to have had the opportunity to travel so much with Elbie as Eddie gets school holidays off. We always try to get away as much as possible and we end up spending most of our money going on trips. We have been trying to decorate for over a year but never have the money to do it. We may not have lovely looking walls but we do have lots of good memories. Eddie and I share a passion of travelling and we want that to rub off on Elbie too. One day we will decorate I’m sure.

When we first took Elbie on holiday she was only six weeks old and although that sounds pretty daunting it was actually easier to travel with a new born than it is now. Back then all we needed to remember was the pram (it had a carry cot that she slept in), passport and the baby. Anything else we forgot didn’t really matter as could be bought cheaply. Now is another story altogether. Why do such small things require so much? At the end I will list my essentials for our baby travel. We used to be professional light packers but those days are well and truly history. Travelling with a new born doesn’t just requite less baggage but routines aren’t an issue either. There was no drama about staying out late as Elbie would sleep anywhere and had no idea of where she was or what time it was. We could quite happily eat out until midnight with no stress at all and no overtired screaming fits in the day if a nap had been missed either. Not that it is difficult to travel now but it definitely required less planning back then.

Here are my travelling lists.

New born travel (breast fed)-

• Baby (essential)

• Enough sleep suits and vests for days away plus three extras for those little accidents

• Enough day clothes for days away plus three extras

• Some nappies (rest can be bought when there)

• Muslins

• Towel

• Cotton wool (I’m a bit of a clean freak and like to top and tail Elbie in the mornings even though she bathes before bed. We have done this since 3 weeks old)

• Two mattress sheets

• Swaddle blanket

• Blanket

• Changing bag with –

changing mat

Nappy sacks

Wet wipes (more can be purchased away)

Antibacterial wipes and hand wash

• Pram (carry cot)

• Car seat (if needed)

• Baby carrier

We also took a mosquito net when we went to the South of France.

Six month travel –

•Enough sleep suits and vests for days away plus three extras for those little accidents

• Enough day clothes for days away plus three extras

• Some nappies

• Muslins

• Towel

• Cotton wool

• Two cot sheets

• Sleeping bag

• Blanket

• Changing bag with –

changing mat

Nappy sacks

Wet wipes

Antibacterial wipes and hand wash

• Travel cot

• Pram

• Car seat (if needed)

• Baby carrier

• Baby monitor

• Play mat

• Selection of toys

• Three books (totally unaware of the same books being read each night)

• Snack bag-

Small plastic containers

Spoons

Cup

Apron

Non slip eating mat (essential for eating out)

So much to pack! I’m sure I have missed something off somewhere too. If we are going somewhere by car then we also take Elbie’s bath seat and a chair/ bouncer just because we can.

We said goodbye to light, easy, care free travel six months ago. It may take more care and effort to pack these days but it is definitely more fun too.

(Image from National Geographic)

Six months of motherhood

Wow six months! Where has half a year gone? Well they do say time flies when you are having fun and that is exactly what we have been doing over the last six months. I would be lying though if I said it had been plain sailing as it definitely hasn’t been without its challenges. Sleep deprivation being the main bumpy ground of parenthood but every second has been worth it.

Somehow it feels like Elbie only entered our lives yesterday as a tiny 6lbs wrinkly baby while also feeling like it was a lifetime ago and she has always been here. I remember holding her not long after she was born finding it near impossible to imagine what she would be like in six months time. Struggling to picture a relaxed and worry free life where I wouldn’t have to keep checking she was breathing every five minutes or worrying that I would somehow break a tiny bone of hers while getting her dressed. The truth is I don’t think that life exists once you become a parent. Just as you stop panicking that you haven’t tucked their blanket in correctly you find something else to worry yourself sick about. I have discovered that parenting is all about feeling on edge and full of anxiety about something happening to your child. Now we have reached the six month mark of keeping our child alive a whole new world has opened and it feels like everything has all come at once. Whereas before Elbie would seem to master one skill at a time and most of her developments although huge achievements were actually quite subtle now they are bam in your face new baby type of skills. My little squidge that I could put on the floor under her baby gym where she would happily lay bopping her hanging toys for ages has now grown into floor gymnast. I can’t take my eyes off her for a second as she rolls back to front in a second and then back again. Everything is of interest and of course has to go in the mouth for testing. She has mastered the caterpillar move by arching her back while on her front and pushing herself forward, not sure if this is an actual thing but it has become a problem when in her cot, mainly with bashing her head and then getting stuck. Vaguely amusing but highly annoying when having to keep going in to move her back. The little floppy newborn is now strong and sturdy and will sit unaided, albeit surrounded by pillows still and will clang around her toys while peering up to check that you are still there.

Six months as a parent is seen as such a huge milestone and it is. The advice around sleep training and weaning all recommend six months and these in my eyes are two massive turning points in parenthood. Sleep training has without a shadow of a doubt been the biggest game changer for me although we did ignore the advice and crumble before six months on this one. We did wait to start weaning though as I didn’t feel that Elbie was ready until she could sit up. The steriliser has now been replaced with a baby cooker (bought by Eddie’s parents and really is the best present any parent could be given when starting to wean). The fear of blankets over heads has been replaced by the terror of choking. Bottles are starting to be taken over by cups and now food preparation is part of my daily routine. As if getting out of the house wasn’t hard enough!

It feels like all of a sudden our baby is growing up. She is so aware of who we are now and has even started reaching for me when she is hungry which I of course find totally adorable. She will blow bubbles if she doesn’t want to do something, this is new in the last few days and I think this is one of my favourite things she has mastered. It makes me laugh watching her blow rasberries in protest, there is literally nothing cuter. Wouldn’t life be so much better if everyone when they were pissed off started blowing bubbles?!

I have officially enetered the next chapter of motherhood and I can’t wait to see what more fun is to be had. I’m learning to embrace the anxiety and fear that comes along too. 
 

Dear Elbie #5

Dear Elbie,

This is a long awaited letter and I’m sorry it has been a while but we have been busy little bees. Over the last four weeks we have been to stay at nana Moose and grandad’s, flown to Switzerland and back and spent two weeks with daddy, granny Jane and grandad Slim. Granny Jane and grandad Slim flew over from Sydney to spend time with you and to shower you with cuddles. It was your first time meeting grandad Slim so it was a very special two weeks. 
You are so lucky to have such loving grandparents and how great is it that you have them not only here but France and Australia too! It’s not easy having family living so far away but it is also pretty cool. There aren’t many little girls out there that have so much love coming from all corners of the planet. You haven’t had the chance to meet all of your aunties and uncles yet but I cannot begin to tell you how desperate they are to see you. In just over a month though I don’t think daddy and I will see you for dust, as you will be whisked up by them all and they won’t want to give you back. Don’t worry though we won’t leave Australia without you. You are one very lucky girl and you are so so loved by all of your family. You’re never going to be stuck for people to visit on holiday that’s for sure.

Love mummy xxx