Taking your first holiday with your baby is exciting and should be a happy time for everybody, says Cathering Cooper, author of Travelling With Children (£9.99, Need2Know). But it's important to realise that this holiday with be unlike the ones you took as a single person or couple. This doesn't mean it can't be fun or relaxing - just that it won't be the same. Get off to a great start by remembering these important points:
Don't book a holiday close to the birth. In theory you can take your baby on an aeroplane from when she is seven days, but you might be better able to enjoy a holiday once you've got used to being a parent.
Do remember that if you're taking baby abroad, she'll need her own passport. Leave at least six weeks for processing.
Don't over-pack. You'll be amazed at how much more luggage you'll have when you travel with a baby. Find out what you can get at your destination - there's no point taking more than you have to.
Don't give up breastfeeding just before a holiday! The great thing about breastfeeding while you're travelling is that you don't need to take anything with you to do it. If you're holidaying in a hot climate, keep an eye on your baby's nappy. If it's drier than normal, or his urine is a darker colour, you need to feed more often.
Do try out new bottles before you go on holiday. For short trips, disposable bottles can make feeding a lot easier as there is no need to sterilise, but not every baby will take to them. Ready-made up formula is very useful during journeys where it may be impossible to prepare fresh formula, or if you have concerns about the water at your destination.
If you're flying...
- Breastfeed your baby or give him a bottle on take-off. Sucking and swallowing will stop his ears from popping and causing discomfort.
- Pre-book a cot (bassinet) which will guarantee 'bulk-head' seats - they usually have more leg room. These seats are a plus even when your baby is too heavy for the cot (around eight months) as it gives them an area to play/sleep in.
- Take or ask for a blanket to put down on the floor in case your baby wants to play/crawl.
- You can take your pushchair to the doors of the aircraft and ask for it to be waiting by the steps as you disembark.
- If you're driving from the airport, pack your own car seat - then you will know it's safe and how to fit it! Car seats and pushchairs don't usually count towards your luggage allowance.
- When you fly, bring everything you may need for a 24-hour period including food, nappies and changes of clothing, in case you get delayed.