We have just arrived home from our very first family holiday. To say I was nervous in advance of the trip is an understatement. Although I packed every item ever created for babies on holiday's, and read up on everything from mosquito bites to cooling techniques for warm weather, I felt entirely unprepared and lacking in control. It's taken me almost four months to feel like a very confident & competent mother so the thought of taking an enormous step back due to time different, unfamiliarity & heat was a little overwhelming. Having said all that, I couldn't have been more wrong.It was a fabulous trip and I now can't wait to go again soon!
Let's kick off with the flight. The night before travelling, I of course couldn't sleep. I spent the entire night running through various lists in my head, meaning that when the alarm buzzed loudly at 5am the morning of the trip, I was suffering with a pretty bad headache. In terms of luggage, we weren't travelling light. Two huge suitcases for check in, one for Harry... one for the hubs, myself and Harry. Two pieces of hand luggage, one with all the usual changing bits, plus a few welcome additions.. a change of clothes for the baby and for me... in case of any 'accidents', Calpol sachets (just in case), a seat belt extension (most airlines don't provide then anymore), several sterilised bottles and many dummies. I was advised to dress the baby in layers as it can get cold on a plane with all the air conditioning so I did just that. The second piece of hand luggage was an empty wheelie, ready for all the milk that we were collecting upon arrival at the airport.
Once the milk was collected, the bags were checked in and the pram dropped off, it was time to get comfy. As we were travelling from Luton, our plane was small, this meant no basinette's. Not a huge problem, just a little uncomfortable for a 5 hour flight. After take off (I fed Harry on the way up to avoid ear popping) he fell nicely asleep and remained that way for 97% of the flight, not quite as good as his stats for the way home where he fell asleep during take off and woke the next morning having been through landing, customs, security, the drive home, a change and a dream feed! His only brief wake up was due to a explosive poo. A poo that not only beat a nappy. but beat a vest, a t-shirt & a jumper! Normally not a problem, but this poo decided to rear it's rather ugly head just as we were about to land. This meant that I was crammed into a teenie weenie plane toilet, with a extremely pooey, laughing baby. The plane was going down pretty quickly which was making me feel a little dizzy. By the end of the change I was pretty much on my knees, much to the amusement of my little man!
I'd decided after much debate not to borrow my friends pram, or take my new SilverCross proper pram. I decided to take my SilverCross car seat and new Pioneer base as the wheels are really big, ideal for sand and the shopping basket is huge, ideal for a big old changing bag, a parisol, fan and some shopping! I'd worked out how to tie the seatbelt securely round the car seat, so we were good to go!
I'd spoken to the hotel in advance to ensure we had a travel cot in our room, so once checked in, and unpacked, it soon felt like home. I'd taken small play mat, my own sheets for the cot & lots of toys to make it feel as familiar as possible and I think it worked. We had no issues putting Harry down at night... not to say there weren't any issues on the trip. as you'll soon read!
I've never really been one for poolside holiday's. I usually get itchy feet and want to go explore which ever village, town or City I am closest to. This holiday was different, having not been a way for a year (the honeymoon) and in that year had a baby & purchased and moved into a new home, it was time for a break.I was well aware in advance that this would be no normal holiday. Books wouldn't be read, sleeps would not be had and iPods would not be listened to. Having said all that, both myself and the hubs had time to relax, swim and sunbathe and of course spend lots of delicious bonding time with our little man. We took a tent with us on the trip, and to say that this was useful is an understatement.
A friend had recommended the contraption and I was a little dubious at first. How wrong I was, this tent was amazing. It had a blow up floor so is super comfy, is cool, UV protected and protects against bugs. I filled it with toys and it became Harry's favourite place to be. It was also brilliant for a change when I couldn't face walking to the nearest toilet (lazy I know!)
A few other items also made the trip a little easier, the snooze shade was amazing. As were only two hours ahead, we used the plane as an opportunity to switch our timings a little. Bath time was at 6.30pm as usual (local time) followed by the nightly feed. After this we'd put the baby in the cot until we were ready to go to dinner (around 9pm) at which point we'd gently transfer him to the car seat (no need to strap him in as everything was in walking distance) and on the snooze shade would go. He was such a good boy, not waking once in the evening whilst we were out. Transferring him back to the cot was tricky without waking him so we used it as an opportunity for a quick top up and change. This worked well and meant that he almost slept through (he usually wakes around 5am and wants a little cuddle or chest rub) pretty much every night. We managed the temperature by putting the air con on before we left for supper and turning it off when we returned, this meant the room was cool but not freezing, not only that we avoided the dry eyes and colds that come from a night spent with the air con on. When out for dinner we usually sat outdoors as it was quite cool in the evenings, but a few times I did move us indoors if I felt it was a little warm.
Well, up until day 5.
Day 5 we noticed Harry was pooing a lot more than usual. 5 or 6 times in a day which for him us highly abnormal. He had no fever, wasn't dehydrated and seemed happy so we decided to keep an eye on it but not panic. The next day, the penultimate day of the holiday we were out and about when I became very distressed. Harry had poo'd 10 times and it was only 1pm. After a further explosive, runny and very light coloured poo at around 1.15pm I decided enough was enough. I broke down in the cafe we happened to be frequenting in a sheer panic that my baby was unwell. It's funny because even though I was in a state, blubbering to the hubs, I knew in my heart of heats that he was fine. He had no fever, had lots of wet nappies and was happy. I of course couldn't take the risk so bundled us into the first available taxi demanding through my tears to be taken to the nearest hospital (the poor taxi driver must have thought I was insane). 3 minutes later, one call to the ambulance service, the taxi driver made the call and handed me the phone (I think it thought there was something seriously wrong with the baby) and we were there. After a VERY thorough examination he was confirmed that he was fine. He had picked up a tummy virus, maybe from the flight, maybe from the pool, maybe from anywhere and it would pass in a few days with no treatment. This was of course all true and by the next morning our little boy was back to normal.
The evening of the hospital panic day was kicked off by my first bath with Harry. I've always left this task to the hubs as I feel it is important father son bonding time, but after the day I'd had I needed to spend the extra time with my boy. I don't know if he was rewarding me for my horrible day, or just found bathing with me particularly funny but I've never heard him hysterically laugh like he did in that tub. Giggling and chuckling away made the whole horrible ideal disappear and I soon felt happy and relaxed again.
And that was that. A week in the sun flew by and I wish we could have stayed for longer. 99% of the items I included on 'the holiday packing list' had been used and it was time to come home. Another first out the way, another milestone to tick off. I had a brilliant trip and can't wait for the next one... funny isn't it that these babies have no idea that they are being taken abroad, must be quite odd for them suddenly experiencing heat and seeing so many new things! I wonder if Harry will remember his first holiday? Probably not, thankfully I have hundreds of photos to jolt his memory :-)