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I thought I was writing a 2-part series on traveling with a baby, but I have so much information to share, that I’ve split it out into 3 parts! If you haven’t read the first part of my traveling with babies tips, you can read it by clicking here: “Baby On Board… An Airplane! Help For Flying Families Is On The Way”. Let’s dive in!
Writing strictly from my own experience with my 8 month old daughter, some tips may or may not work with your baby, so please keep that in mind! We traveled for 1 week to an all-inclusive resort in St. Lucia. I’ll do a review on the actual resort later, but for anyone interested, we stayed at Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa and we really enjoyed our time there.
If you’re new to this site, you should know that my daughter is what Dr. Sears calls, a “High Needs” baby (click here for his description). Basically, she is an intense, demanding and determined little one! Not a great sleeper, doesn’t like being held by anyone other than Mom or Dad… just a very strong personality.
As I touched on above, Aurora is not a great sleeper. We co-sleep for half of the night and for the second half, where I’m sleeping beside her, she’s usually pretty good at staying asleep. For the first half of the night, when she’s in her crib, she wakes anywhere from 2-4 times before I go to bed. I breastfeed her and she generally falls back to sleep right away. This is something I’ve been continuing (even months later now) because I find that she is so distracted during the day and doesn’t breastfeed well. Giving her the early nighttime feedings sets my mind at ease, that she’s getting all of the daily calories that she needs.
Anyway, there is a process to get her to sleep and you may have your own process to get your babe to sleep – or you’re lucky and they’ll just sleep anywhere and at any time… I’m jeallllllous.
For us, we brought the whole gamete for our sleep routine. This includes:
- Exercise ball (deflated for the flight, obvi) – we use the Black Mountain Exercise Ball from Amazon
- Air pump – to inflate exercise ball – this comes with the ball
- Sound machine – we use this one: HoMedics Sound Spa Relaxation Sound Machine
- iPod stereo
- iPod with alternating Twinkle Twinkle Little Star & Rockabye Baby (and regular music for us of course)
- 3 bedtime stories (“Ten Tiny Toes“, “Happy Hippo, Angry Duck” and “The Foot Book“)
- Green painter’s tape – we use this one
- Chip clips
I don’t do the “Cry-It-Out” method of getting babies to sleep and Aurora isn’t a self-soother. She gets bounced to sleep on an exercise ball, with white noise on in the background, listening to lullabies or me singing softly. We re-created our bedtime and nap routines every day (except for our flight home – see part 1 above) and it worked beautifully.
You may be wondering about the green painter’s tape and chip clips? I thought I was going to use the chip clips to clip the room curtains closed to ensure total darkness during nap times, but the curtain was actually fastened at one side and didn’t open at the center. As a result, there was about 4-5” gap of light streaming in our room at the wall edge. Enter green painter’s tape. I taped the curtain to the wall! The tape stayed on the curtain for our whole trip and we would just detach it from the wall when Aurora got up from her naps.
Do you have a large family or are you traveling with other family members? Here’s what we did! I have 3 step-kids who are much older than Aurora. At the time of our travel, the boys were 13 and my step-daughter was 15. We got an adjoining room where there was a door that led directly into the boys’ room beside us. This was perfect for Aurora’s naps and earlier bedtime. Once I got her to sleep, I’d slip over the boys side so I could read, shower, sit on the patio, etc. It also allowed for us to have family time in the evenings without having to hide-out in a bathroom, haha!
Aurora gets a bath every night as part of her regular bedtime routine. We wanted to keep this going while we were away, so she could sense some normalcy and understand that bedtime is about to happen.
It worked out just fine for us, but you may want to check to see if the bathrooms have bathtubs… eek! Standalone showers and sinks was what we had in our bathrooms. Aurora enjoyed her sink baths! The big mirror was right there, so she got to look at herself (which is super fun for babies!) and the faucet was offset to the side, so it didn’t get in the way. Here’s what we brought for bathtime:
- Travel-size bottle of Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo and Wash (we’ve used this since she was born and love it)
- Hooded bath towel – we love this one!
- 1 squirty bath toy
- 1 bath book (we brought this one: “Who’s Playing on the Farm?“)
- 2 washcloths
This was Aurora’s first time swimming in a pool! And the ocean! She loves her baths, so we had high hopes that she would enjoy swimming outdoors. When Jeff and I vacation, just the two of us, we prefer to set up shop on the beach and swim mostly in the ocean. It’s not every day that you get to swim in the ocean! With a baby, things are a little different.
We spent most of our time at a small kids pool. Most of the kids were actually in the main, larger pool (where the swim-up adult and kids bars are located), so it was pretty quiet where we were. My step-kids spent a good amount of time with us there too, so that was nice.
I’m going to recommend a couple of flotation devices that will likely work for most babies. Aurora tried these and tried to escape both of them, haha! I really think it’s because of her personality. She just wants to go-go-go and preferred being held by Jeff or I instead of contained in a flotation device. My friend actually borrowed these for their family vacation and her son loved the second one.
- My Baby Float – A great option if you’re looking for the most economical option. Does the job!
2. Swimways Baby Spring Float Activity Center – This one is so great because it has an adjustable sun shade, so you don’t have to worry about your baby’s skin getting too much sun. It also comes with attachable toys!
Swim diapers! You’ll need these, for sure. I packed 2 packages (20 count) of Huggies Little Swimmers, size small. We swam a fair bit and almost finished one of the packs. I also packed a few cloth swim diapers, but I was too nervous to use them for the first time in a public place. I may try them out this summer in our backyard 🙂
I tried my best to change Aurora out of her wet swim diaper right away when we were done a swimming “session”. I didn’t want her to stay wet and damp. No bum rashes occurred, so that was great.
Keep an eye out for the third and final part of this series, where I’ll go over the following topics:
- First Aid
- Carry On – The Way Home
Do you have your own tips? Share in the comments, so other readers (and I!) can benefit!
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