orna is a parenting consultant who works in partnership with families to find solutions to the challenges they face. Little ones grow from newborns to school children and the issues may change, but parents can always turn to Lorna for trusted advice on anything from sleep training to temper tantrums, or getting out of the door in the morning. Lorna believes that anyone can be a fantastic parent given the right support. Where society can pile on pressure to behave in a particular way, she is passionate about helping parents to achieve their own goals, whatever they are. For individual advice you can contact Lorna direct at: www.greatvine.com/lorna-clark
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Planning your first family holiday can be a daunting prospect; you are still adjusting to parenthood at home so taking a newborn off on an adventure is not an easy task. Here are a few tips which should mean the whole family enjoy a wonderful trip.
Babies need so much equipment, how can I take it all on the plane?
The short answer to this is that you can’t. If you are planning to travel by plane you will need to take the bare minimum.
Your hotel may well be able to supply things like a cot and high chair, and car rental often includes a car seat if needed. Check with the companies you will be using to see what they can provide. A hotel might be able to take delivery if you order things like formula online to be sent to them for your arrival. You may also be able to buy things like nappies when you arrive. I know one family who even bought a steam steriliser and left it behind when they returned home. If you do choose this option contact local shops and ask them to reserve items for you, and have a plan B so you are not stuck on your first night if things don’t work out as planned. It is also a good idea to research what is available in the country you are visiting. Local formula milk, for example, might well be different to your usual brand.
There are many things that you can do without for a week or two. If you take a sling you don’t really need a pushchair, and narrow pavements or cobbled streets can make them difficult to use anyway. A towel on the bed will do for a changing mat, babies can be bathed in a sink or share a bath with you and a car seat can double up as a bouncy chair. Take a few toys but plan to be out and about as much as you can and remember that you are the best toy your baby has – laughing and singing are easy to pack!
I love beach holidays, will I still be able to relax?
As a new parent you are probably longing for the chance to soak up some sun but in all honesty, beach holidays in hot countries rarely work well with tiny babies. When your little one is old enough to enjoy swimming in the sea and building sandcastles you might want to return but for now it helps to adjust your expectations a little.
Try to focus on enjoying family time. Keeping flights short, or driving to your destination, will make travel much easier and get everyone off to a good start. In very hot weather you might find yourself trapped in an air-conditioned hotel room so aiming for a climate which is comfortable for the whole family will give you more options. Think about what you will want to do while on holiday. What activities do you like doing with your baby? What will give you opportunities to enjoy being together as a family?
Tiny babies love being with you and taking in the world around them so this can be a great opportunity to do things they might not like as toddlers. Art galleries with brightly coloured paintings, strolling through town or climbing up hills can all keep your baby amused while giving you a much-needed change of scene. If you can persuade your partner to look after the baby while you have an afternoon in the spa, so much the better.
I’ve put a lot of effort into getting my baby to sleep well, how do I enjoy my holiday without spoiling our hard work?
Parents often worry about this, especially if they have had problems with sleep in the past. Luckily, babies’ sleep is really very resilient. If you have had to deal with any problems you might have been told to be very strict with your routines but, while this is true, it only applies to the first weeks of sleep training.
Sleep is like jelly. When you make a jelly you need a rigid mould. The mould must stay consistent; if it kept changing you would never get the jelly to set properly. But once the jelly is firm you can wobble it about and so long as you don’t go too far it will just spring back into shape.
This means that if you have consistent routines at home you should stick to them as far as possible on holiday, but the odd change is unlikely to spell disaster. You could follow your bedtime routine but settle the baby in a pram instead of the cot and take them out for an evening meal. Be as consistent as you can and even if things do slip a little they should fall back into place as soon as you get home.
For more expert information visit: www.greatvine.com/lorna-clark