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Expectations Versus Reality: First time Travelling with a Newborn

I’d always known that when I had children that I wanted to continue travelling and going on holidays… of course I knew it would be different and I was ready for that but you never know what it really will be like. I think when it comes to babies, set your expectations low and hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised about how things actually turn out! Mr S and I spent ages chatting about our first holiday with Oscar and where we would go… in the end we stopped over thinking and booked a last minute trip to Ibiza to make the most of the last weekend of summer and to enjoy Mr S’s birthday. To follow on with this month’s travel link up on judgement, I thought I’d compare the expectation of travelling with a newborn versus the reality.

Expectation 1: The Airport would be Horrendous

Reality: I expected taking Oscar to the airport to be incredibly stressful, having to negotiate crowds, carry a ton of stuff, looking for accessible entrances and places to change him etc. However, it wasn’t stressful at all, travelling business class helped a bit as there were no queues at check in and we had access to the business class lounge. There was a huge baby changing room in the business lounge which was super handy to get him all ready before getting on the plane.

At security, we carried him through with the pram going through separately but this was done with minimal fuss and relative ease.

Around the airport (we were at Heathrow Terminal 5) there are lifts everywhere so it was easy to get him from place to place without worrying about carrying things on to the escalator.

Getting on the plane, families are always allowed on first and plus being in business class we were right at the front of the plane with lots of space. In the end, there was absolutely zero stress at the airport.

Expectation 2: Oscar would cry for the whole flight 

Reality: I was worried about the flight as I expected Oscar to cry and get upset especially on takeover and landing. I didn’t want my baby in distress but also I didn’t want to be that person with a crying baby annoying everyone else on the flight! Almost unbelievably… Oscar didn’t cry once. I’d love to say I have the perfect angel baby but he does cry like any other baby, I was just super lucky that he didn’t then! He sat on my lap most of the time and I breastfed on take off and landing, and he slept the whole duration of the flight. It allowed me to watch a few episodes of Modern Family on my laptop and enjoy my inflight meal.

Mr S took over Oscar duties a few times but I thought we’d be wrestling a crying baby half the time… I was so relieved that we weren’t!

Expectation 3: We’d have to bring a ridiculous amount of stuff… 

Reality: In my mind, the idea of taking a baby on holiday conjures up the thought of having to bring just loads and loads of stuff and arriving at the airport with about ten cases… the reality was we bought one extra case for Oscar plus a travel pram and his changing bag so we didn’t have that much extra stuff to carry. Being a newborn Oscar doesn’t need dozens of toys to entertain him so we pretty much packed clothes, nappy stuff and muslins for him.

I packed his bag using my usual method of packing cubes and he had ‘day wear’, ‘night wear’, ‘accessories’ and a ‘fancy cube’ for his going out wear. Of course I bought way too much… he did not need ten bed time onesies for four nights… I barely touched the ‘fancy cube’ as we just dressed him in comfy vests the whole time. I also did not need the 72 nappies that I bought…`

We asked the hotel for a cot in the room meaning we didn’t need to bring a travel cot. We also asked them to provide a steriliser but they gave us a bottle warmer by mistake but this was actually fine as we bought sterilising tablets with us. As Oscar is breast fed, the only thing we needed to sterilise were his dummies which was easily done in a glass of water with the tablets. The other thing I did bring with me was a breast pump cos I’m prone to getting blocked milk ducts and this helps unblock them, but I didn’t actually use it.
We barely bought anything new for Oscar for the trip, the travel pram was the only big purchase. For small purchases we just bought the sterilising tablets and I bought him swim nappies and a full coverage swimsuit but in the end we decided he was too small and it was too hot to take him in the pool so we didn’t need those anyway.

We didn’t bring a car seat, we arranged for the hotel to provide a transfer from the airport and I confirmed that there would be a car seat in it with a new born insert.

The only time the amount of stuff we bought was a bit annoying was getting off the plane. Mr S had to carry the changing bag (next time I’ll just bring a small nappy kit), his carry on bag, my carry on bag and the pram while I carried Oscar but again this was only mildly inconvenient. We got a taxi to Heathrow airport (again easy) but as we flew back into Gatwick, we got the Gatwick Express home. This was the only bit that really stressed us out, getting all the luggage on the train and then walking back to our flat in the pouring rain.

Expectation 4: Transporting him about would be tough

Reality: Two words: Babyzen YoYo. I’d heard lots about this travel pram with many of my mum friends extolling the virtues of how easy it was to use and how good it was for travel. Before we left, Mr S and I debated all the different options of how to transport Oscar around when we arrived but in the end we decided to go with the recommendation and buy the YoYo. So we left behind our bulky but brilliant Bugaboo Fox and just bought the YoYo… and I must say it was the perfect decision.
Fellow mums will know how easy the YoYo is to fold up and out, it fits in the overhead locker and it’s very easy to manoeuvre. For Oscar we also needed a new born insert and best of all, he absolutely loved it! With the pram being so small, he felt very cosy and snuggly. The YoYo ticked all the boxes of what we needed and I honestly wouldn’t travel without it.

As I mentioned above, we thought about bringing a car seat but instead we decided to ask the hotel to arrange one. This was very easy and meant we didn’t have the extra bulk of carrying one.
The only issue was we couldn’t leave the hotel much as we couldn’t get a normal taxi and the hotel transfer was very expensive. We actually only went out for dinner outside the hotel once and we walked there.

Expectation 5: Oscar Would Have Trouble Sleeping 

Reality: Getting a baby to sleep is probably the biggest challenge of parenthood and I knew if Oscar couldn’t sleep then the whole holiday would be miserable for everyone! When we arrived at the room (those watching my Instagram stories will know!) I saw quite a large cot and I was worried! Newborns like small spaces so that they feel cosy like in the womb, what if Oscar couldn’t sleep in this big space? We wrapped him up in his favourite swaddle and turned on his Ewan the Dream Sheep for some white noise. And do you know what? It was fine. He woke up at his usual times and I fed him and set up a station in the room to make changing his nappies easier. Job done and the thing I’d worried most about was actually a breeze!
Also I don’t usually have afternoon naps when Oscar sleeps as there’s always something to do around the home. But relaxing on holiday meant I didn’t have a pile of laundry to get done, a flat to tidy and emails to answer … so I ‘indulgently’ took a nap and didn’t even need to worry about Oscar as Mr S was there too!

Expectation 6: Going Out for Dinner will Never Be the Same again…

Well this one was true… for ease we had most of our meals in the hotel and got room service a few times. For the most part, this was fine but occasionally Oscar started crying during a meal and it was difficult to placate him meaning one of us standing there holding him with the other quickly wolfing down their food to take over. Or one of us attempting to eat our cold food whilst holding him and comforting him. But we did still manage to enjoy our meals, have a few courses and get out of the hotel once for dinner.
This may have bothered the old me, but current me is much more concerned with Oscar having a good time. Plus I know that when Oscar is bigger we can use baby sitting services and still have our date night dinners. But for now long drawn out aperitifs and night caps are a thing of the past!

Conclusion: Keeping my expectations relatively low meant that I was pleasantly surprised about my first holiday with a newborn baby. Honestly, though I’m happy at home or abroad as long as my baby is happy!

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