Travelling with a little person

Earlier this month I posted about our recent trip to Noosa, our first flying holiday as a family. Our trip was made most enjoyable thanks to lots of great tips and advice from our family and friends as well as some learned lessons on the way. I’ve bundled it all up in the hope that if someone comes across this post it might be of some slight assistance. Apologies long post ahead! Happy reading.

What we packed

SOoooo as we travelled in autumn I was stumped as to how much ‘summery’ clothes vs ‘wintery’ clothes to pack for the five nights we were away. The forecasts said lows of 18 and highs of 24 which meant basically I had to cover all bases. And I didn’t really want to do washing on holidays / Ethan loves to spew/spill food/change his outfit after every meal… so I packed a handful of tshirts, long-sleeve tops, jumpers, cardigans, a vest, shorts, boardshorts, jeans, tracksuit pants as well as the usual singlets, full length onesies for sleeping, socks, hats (one for the pool and one casual) and a beanie. Basically enough for two weeks.

For sleep-time I packed a 1.0 tog bag and a 2.5 tog gro-bag just in-case it was cool in the apartment. The latter was totally unnecessary as I could have just layered him with a blanket or an extra singlet under his wondersuit. I had some lightweight and some heavier swaddles which came in handy at the beach, on daytime walks to block out sun and at night while out at dinner.

Getting wayyyy to excited about the prospect of putting my little man into the pool and all the cute outfits I wanted to snap him in…I packed around 3x baby board-shorts and 2x long-sleeve rash vests and about 10 swim-able nappies. While Ethan did use the pool (twice!) it was a bit on the cooler side for his little tooshie, and therefore a swimsuit for every day was definitely not required. Let’s hope he can still fit into those cute swimmers for next summer. I was also guilty of packing cute little outfits for Ethan to wear out to dinner. After the first night out I realised how impractical this was. Coming home after dinner with a sleeping baby and needing to undress him and put him into cold sleeping attire was not cool, I mean who wants to wake a sleeping baby? No-one!! We quickly learnt to dress him in his pjs before heading out so that the transfer straight into the cot was less disruptive for him and stress-free for us (i.e not having to undress a ticking time-bomb).

Arriving in Noosa the humidity was beautiful and felt much warmer than 24 degrees. I had of course packed a few too many ‘wintery’ clothes for Ethan. I had also left behind (under my husband’s advice)… a lightweight sleep bag (0.5 tog – which would have been perfect for daytime naps), as well as a couple of short-sleeve onesies. With the beauty of hindsight a few more lightweight long-sleeve tops would have been great to a) protect his skin during the day from the sun and b) can be layered up for cooler evenings.

Aside from the clothing list I packed cherub baby steriliser bags which were super handy for keeping bottles and my breast pump sterilised. We also took our own porta-cot, sheets and mattress protector. I felt a bit funny hiring those items not to mention we knew Ethan would sleep well in his own cot which smelt familiar to him (unbeknownst to us he would be teething on the trip and so none of us would get a good night sleep!). Transport wise I packed our baby bjorn carrier and purchased the Mountain Buggy Nano v2 travel stroller. Both were super handy items. Being able to carry Ethan around the airport and have our hands free was extremely useful. As much as I love my Joolz Geo the thought of lugging it on a flight or it getting damaged in transit/filled with sand wasn’t that appealing so I decided to invest in a lightweight stroller (I have high hopes of lots more flying holidays together). After some considerable research on travel prams and much deliberation later, I selected the Mountain Buggy Nano v2. My intentions were to use the stroller throughout the airport terminal and carry it on board the aeroplane, however despite it being a travel stroller, it’s size was slightly bigger than Jetstar’s carry on guidelines. To be on the safe side we opted to check it in. The stroller was invaluable on the ground in Noosa, even though we walked to lunch and dinner nearly every day, having it, meant Ethan could have his usual naps while we ate or went for a walk.

Travelling to/from the airport

We also hired a car for the duration of our stay mainly to get us to/from the 30 minute drive to the airport (it ended up being more economical to hire the car for 5 days than 2 days split apart). While I am a complete germ-a-phobe and hated needing to put Ethan into a less than spick-and-span baby seat I couldn’t be bothered with removing our car seat, carry it over, trying to install it correctly and so forth…so we hired one. I will say it was quite gross and I wanted to sanitise Ethan every time he got out of the car seat however I just had to suck it up and tell myself that getting exposed to some germs is going to be good for him in the long run.

Having a car was also handy for our visit to Ricky’s River Restaurant as it was only a 5 minute car trip versus a 30 minute walk. After a 5 course lunch degustation ain’t nobody who want to walk back home, we would have had to crawl. We also used the car for a trip to Noosa Heads to the local Woolworths and Dan Murphy (hello holiday wine time!) for some goodies for our stay. There is a local convenience store on Hastings St next to Bistro C if you desperately need something however the range is limited and it is exceptionally expensive.

On the flight

My husband and I are seasoned travellers and have enjoyed many holidays, we’re no strangers to flying, in fact we love flying. We’d also been that couple on many flights praying not to be seated near a family with young kids who were either a) bound to kick our seat for the duration of the flight or equally worse b) scream the whole time. You can imagine our anxiousness as we were now that family. I prayed Ethan would be good not so much for us, but for our fellow passengers who nervously walked down the aisle praying they wouldn’t be seated next to the couple with the young baby.

On the way over we were seated in the last row and were kindly given a spare seat between us. It was perfect as it meant I could breastfeed Ethan without needing to compromise anyone’s space. I knew that take off and landing were one of the most unpleasant times for a baby during the flight process as they aren’t able to pressurise their ears as the flight ascends to it’s designated altitude. I also knew the best way to help them through this was to feed them or give them something to suck on. We sat down and I buckled Ethan into the lap belt, I had held him off his feed for as long as I could so he could feed during take-off. Well, all didn’t go to plan as we sat on the tarmac for ages, I had to feed him before the plane even left the gate. The dummy was the last resort for Ethan to use and it worked a treat. We also brought baby head-phones to help block out some of the noise on-board and also while walking on the tarmac. Ethan didn’t mind them and was more interested in playing with his tray table and looking out the window than anything else. Shortly after take-off he dosed in my arms and the rest of the flight was history. #Success #WeCanFlyAgain.

Fast forward to our flight home and that was a slightly different story. Our flight home departed Sunshine Coast at 7.30pm. Possibly one of the worst times I could have selected, for one it was Ethan’s big bottle time and bed time. In the lead up to boarding we could see he was getting tired and cranky and we knew we had made a mistake, we should have travelled earlier. We boarded the flight, I fed Ethan and we attempted to rock him to sleep in the little space we had, it was futile. The lights in the cabin were bright, he started to whinge and I knew he was getting overtired, I prayed for the other travellers and for us. Thankfully as we taxied down the tarmac the noise of the engines drowned out his little cries and as we took off, the noise and the vibration rocked him into a deep sleep. Thank goodness for that.

Overall for our first trip it was a success we had a blast. My only regret is not staying longer. All the energy and effort to get there in just a few days you’re packing up to come home. From now on any future trips I’ll be making sure it is a minimum of 7 night stay.

Recommended clothing list for a 5 night stay

  • 3x tshirts
  • 3x longsleeve lightweight tops
  • 2x cardigans (one heavier/one lighter) – handy for leaving behind and returning to Melbourne’s cold weather /on plane or wherever air conditioning was running.
  • 3x lightweight pants
  • 2x shorts (both casual)
  • 4x ‘bonds’ wondersuits
  • 1x t-shirt wondersuit
  • 3x singlets
  • 2x lightweight sleeping bags (0.5 and 1.0 tog)
  • 2x swaddles (one heavier/ one lighter)
  • 1x beanie
  • 1x sunhat / waterproof hat
  • 1x swimsuit and swimming nappies (5 max)

other items

  • baby bottles – filled with sterilised water. This meant I had ample water ready for bottles when we arrived / drinking on the plane.
  • breast pump ( I choose to give Ethan a big bottle of formula at night and pump that last feed to use the next day)
  • baby formula
  • baby first aid kit
  • baby nail clippers / hair brush
  • cherub baby steriliser bags
  • stroller
  • baby carrier
  • porta-cot ( Jetstar allows families to bring cots, prams and other baby items like car seats for free as checked in luggage)
  • a few toys
  • Dettol or disinfectant wipes / hand sanitiser – great for use on planes, using public change mats, high chairs
  • baby earmuffs – I purchased these baby banz earmuffs from baby bunting. They were great for blocking out the loud noise during take-off and landing, as well as being a fun distraction for him inflight. As Jetstar is a low-cost carrier and in many of it’s ports doesn’t have aerobridges, passengers are required to walk onto the tarmac to board the plane. For a little baby the noise can be quite loud and frightening. We used the earmuffs when disembarking too.
  • baby sunglasses – Ethan didn’t really use these and he didn’t spend much time in the sun, when we put them on he tried to rip them off because his eyelashes touched the lenses, I gave up the fight, however if we travelled during summer I would have definitely persisted with him wearing them to protect his eyes from the strong rays.
  • baby food and snacks – while I usually home-cook all of Ethan’s meals the initial travel day I decided to pack a few packaged foods just in-case. I opted for Bellamy’s organic range and purchased a few of their fruit and vegetable mixed purees. Ethan had never eaten them before so I was unsure how he’d find them…my mum had told me that my brother and I refused to eat them. Well, Ethan loved them. It was reassuring in one sense that I had them for back-up but I didn’t want him to get too used to them as they did taste sweeter than what I would usually prepare for him.
  • baby spoons, sippy cup, bowl, bibs
  • baby face washers, shampoo, moisturizer
  • baby sunscreen
  • Lots of dummies
  • Nappies, cream, change mat, plastic bags
  • baby panadol and syringe / baby bonjela / little noses: Fess – Ethan was teething when we travelled so baby panadol and bonjela saved us on a couple of occasions when he was very unhappy and in pain.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful. Wishing you happy travels wherever you may go!

 

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