Travelling with baby at Christmas
A few months back, when baby was a bump, you had that dream of spending Christmas with your loved ones as they gaze adoringly at your little one and insist that you sit by the log fire while they take care of everything.
Then the bump becomes your little bundle of joy, bringing sleepless nights, lots of laundry, a wardrobe full of clothes that don’t fit anymore. You begin to wonder if going home for Christmas is such a good idea after all.
Whether you have to drive from one part of the city to another, travel hundreds of miles across the country or go abroad, we have lots of tips from our ClapHandies mums and leaders to help you share those priceless Christmas moments with your loved ones.
Pack smart: With the first baby we tend to overpack. Bring enough nappies, formula, baby food for the trip. You can always buy more when you get there. Same goes for baby clothes, you can do laundry wherever you’re staying.
Medicine: If your knees turn to jelly at the thought of packing baby medicine like Calpol or Nurofen in those plastic bags for airport security checks, you can buy them at Dublin airport’s pharmacy and bring them on board the plane.
Baby sling: This is great for airports in the busy festive period and allows you to be hands-free to rummage in your bottomless bag for passports and tickets. It’ll also help baby feel secure in a noisy environment.
Lightweight buggy: For a wobbler or toddler who may not want to walk what seems like several kilometres to a departure gate or train platform. You can wheel the buggy up to the plane hatch just before boarding.
Snacks: Make sure you have enough formula, baby food for the trip. Always bring a bit more than you think you’ll need to allow for delays. Don’t forget to bring some snacks for yourself, to avoid the mommy meltdown.
Favourite toy: Whether it’s a furry friend or one of those headache-inducing musical toys, make sure you pack it or there’s no point in going – seriously.
Christmas gifts: May seem like a no-brainer but with everything else that you’ve got to bring, you might forget that being Santa’s little helper is part of the job spec. Hide them at the bottom of the suitcase or in the depths of the car boot – under cover of darkness.
Distractor toy: No, not the trendiest, impossible-to-get Star Wars toy, but a small new toy that could buy you a vital 10 minutes of peace waiting to board a plane or a on fuel stop for the car.
Schedule stops: It’s really important on a road trip to change baby, get them out of the car seat and let them stretch on the changing mat or a blanket. In Ireland, we’re not blessed with motorway service stations, so plan your pit stops by finding a town along the route with a child-friendly hotel or cafe where you can all refuel.
Your smartphone and charger: Like baby’s favourite toy, don’t leave home without these. Have music ready on your phone to entertain your little one (and drive you mad). Make sure you have all essential phone numbers saved, including your GP.
Baby, it’s cold outside: Dress baby in an easy-on, easy-off babygro for travel. If temperatures drop, you can add layers for warmth.
Christmas tradition: It’s a good time to start your own family ritual, forget what granny and grandad would do. Buy a festive book, like the Night Before Christmas and read it to your little one on Christmas week. Go visit Santa for that photo opp with the jolly man in the red suit. Treasure that baby picture, it’ll probably be the last time a Santa visit goes as planned!
Just remember, with good planning and saying yes to any offers of help or baby things like a high chair or cot, you will get there. Give you and your little one a chance to settle in your new surroundings. Then you can relax and, you know, actually enjoy the festivities.
Merry Christmas from all the ClapHandies team!