While I was pregnant with George I read a lot about travelling with babies. I read tips and advice and a million and one explanations of how travelling helps babies develop into well-rounded children who are open to other cultures and comfortable in new environments.
To be totally honest, I don’t know how true this is. I don’t think you need to travel around the world for a child to develop into a happy, well-rounded, confident and accepting adult.
Maybe it is true but George is only 15 months old and doesn’t seem to care where he is, provided he’s getting lots of attention and an unlimited supply of grapes (although they have to be green grapes, red grapes just won’t do!)
He’s just as happy in the gym swimming pool as he was in the sea in the Maldives and he has a habit of sleeping through really incredible experiences. He’s slept through three seaplane flights, missed the dolphins in the Maldives, was asleep for every gorgeous sunset stroll in Portugal and even missed seeing baby turtles hatching while he was in the land of nod. Try getting him to sleep through a long-haul flight and that’s a completely different story…
Some people think it’s selfish to travel with babies. Why drag them across the world on a plane and take them away from their home comforts if they’re just as happy at home?
So why do I think it’s so important to travel with babies?
It’s for the parents!
Why does no one mention the fact that it’s important to go on holiday with your baby because YOU need a holiday!? Because you need to relax and have fun and spend some time with your partner too.
Caring for a baby is tough. It’s wonderful but it’s tiring and it’s messy and it’s undervalued. You have a never-ending list of chores and it’s unlikely that you’ve just sat down and chilled out for months.
As a new parent, the thought of having someone do all my cooking and cleaning for a week is almost as exciting as the holiday itself. Not only that but you don’t have any of those boring errands like going to the bank, food shopping or appointments. You can spend your entire holiday focusing on nothing but yourselves and your baby and that is the most important reason to go on holiday with your baby!
I had a very wise midwife who was unlike all the others. She didn’t follow a textbook and didn’t tell me what I ‘should’ do as a new mother – she told me to do what made me happy. Of course, mine and George’s health were her priority, but she was a firm believer that a happy mama leads to a happy baby. And if a holiday is going to make you happy then no one can argue with that!
I’m the first to admit that long-haul flights with babies can be tough but once I arrive in my destination it’s actually much easier than being at home. I stick to George’s normal routine but he loves the excitement of being somewhere new and meeting new people. He might not appreciate the historical significance of an old church or the beauty of a pristine beach but he definitely likes to be out and about and seeing new things. And do you know what, constantly going out and seeing new things in your hometown is tough!
Going to baby groups and talking to other mums about nothing but breastfeeding and night time routines and ‘how many words can your baby say?’ and ‘does your baby sleep through the night yet?’ and ‘have you read The Baby Whisperer?’ and ‘oh my goodness, did you know that Jane STILL hasn’t weaned Olivia!?’ Yea, it drives me insane. I have some fabulous mum friends who I love to pieces but I also like having conversations that don’t revolve around the consistency of baby poo.
Not only does George like to experience something new but I do too. I need a break from our normal routine.
Parents with babies rarely get ‘date nights’ or the chance to spend time together without feeling guilty about the million and one things they should be doing
Another reason to travel with babies (if I haven’t convinced you already) is because once babies turn into children things get expensive. You have to start paying for their seat on flights, paying for them to stay in hotel rooms, paying for proper meals (how dare they eat so much!) and travelling within school holidays when everything is busier and more expensive.