We know that the lead-up to the first summer holiday with your baby can be a rollercoaster of emotions. While you'll be excited to explore a new place with your nearest and dearest, it's natural to worry about leaving something incredibly important behind.
We guarantee you'll have a lovely time away, regardless. But you can help to ensure things go as smoothly as possible by packing some tried and tested essentials. So, grab your notebook and add these items to your packing checklist now.
Lightweight pushchair with shade
You might be tempted to take your everyday pushchair on holiday with you: after all, you know how it works and have practised transferring your baby in and out of it more times than you can count. But we would recommend taking a different and more lightweight buggy away with you for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it's likely you've become quite attached to your existing pushchair — it happens to all of us. So, you'll be absolutely heartbroken if it gets damaged or lost during the journey to or from your destination. Chances are, it's also very sturdy, which can mean it's heavy, too. This won't be particularly convenient when you're having to carry all of your belongings to your sunbed halfway down the beach, or up a narrow staircase at your hotel. So, instead, leave the pushchair you know and love at home, and take a different, more lightweight option on holiday with you. You'll also need to make sure it comes with a shade or invest in one that can be clipped onto it.
Baby sling or carrier
You might find that certain areas of your holiday destination aren't particularly pushchair friendly. For example, many of the most popular European hotspots have narrow streets, lots of steps, and huge beaches that you'll need to navigate. So, for those occasions when pushing your baby around is going to be more of a struggle than it's worth, we would recommend packing a sling or carrier, which will still allow you to see all of the sights with your little one.
Basic baby first aid kit
It's always wise to take a basic first aid kit on holiday with you, as this will allow you to treat any small ailments or injuries, like headaches, cuts, or grazes, without having to consult a pharmacist in a country you aren't familiar with. And, we would recommend putting together a similar kit for your baby. This should include:
- Painkillers that are safe for babies: Liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen are great choices. Calpol can be used if your baby is older than two months and Nurofen for Children will be suitable if they're older than three months.
- Medicine syringes: These typically come with children's medicines, but don't forget to pack them!
- Antihistamines: Just in case your baby has an allergic reaction to anything or suffers from insect bites while you're away, pack some antihistamine medication. Piriton can be used if your little one's over a year old.
- A selection of plasters and bandages.
- Antiseptic solution, wipes, and cream or spray.
- Hand sanitiser.
- Thermometer: We would recommend taking an in-ear thermometer, as they tend to be the most accurate.
- Insect repellent: Most insect repellents are suitable for children who are more than six months old.
- Tweezers and scissors.
By packing all of these essentials in a first aid kit, you'll know you're ready to help your little one if they do suffer from any minor illnesses or injuries while you're on holiday.
Armbands and pool floats
While the sea and hotel pools can be a lot of fun to play in, they can also pose a lot of dangers for young children. So, you'll want to take some precautions to keep your child safe, and one of the best ways to do this is by ensuring they wear armbands (or a float vest for particularly young children) whenever you're near the water. Of course, your little one should never be allowed to play in it unsupervised, but anything can happen if you take your eyes off them for a few seconds. So, give yourself some peace of mind by making sure they'll be okay if they find themselves in the pool without you.
We would also recommend taking some extra pool floats, such as noodles or ring floats, that will make your family's time in the water as fun as possible.
Bathmat and toys
Visiting a completely new country and staying in a different cot can by quite unsettling for a little one, so it's a good idea to take some of their home comforts to give them a sense of familiarity. And, one of the ways in which you can do this is by taking the bathmat and toys they typically use at home. We would also recommend trying to stick to their regular feeding, napping, and bathing routine as closely as you can without it taking the fun out of your trip. And, taking your baby's favourite bath accessories should help to keep them happy.
Sun cream specially formulated for little ones
As we explained in our guide to keeping your baby cool and comfortable this summer, it's important that you sit your little one in the shade as much as possible when you're on holiday. But some sun exposure is still going to be unavoidable — even if you're just moving your baby out of their pushchair and into a highchair that's under a parasol, there's a chance the sun's rays could reach their skin. So, you'll want to pack a baby sunscreen and cover them in it every morning before you head outside. And, you'll want to reapply it every two hours or so.
It's vital that you pick out a kids' sun cream for a number of reasons. For example, it'll be more heavy duty than a lot of the products that are formulated for adults, and it will have also been created with your baby's active lifestyle in mind.
You'll have spent all year looking forward to the first family holiday with your baby, so don't let your trip be ruined by forgetting one of these essentials. And, make sure you also read our guide to packing your baby's travel changing bag to ensure you have everything in that department covered, too.