So it’s official: travelling with a baby is the real life-changer that nobody warned us about. When Greta arrived we expected the sleepless nights, foregoing of romantic dinner dates and an onslaught of dirty nappies. But did anybody tell us about the end of our beloved holidays as we know them? No. No, they didn’t.
Having spent the last year pregnant and then consequently the past few months looking after a newborn, I hadn’t considered the implications of bringing a baby on holiday with us. And neither did I get a chance to mourn the days of lie-ins, leisurely two-hour breakfasts, drinks at noon followed by sun-dazed beach naps and no need to research if the hotel ‘accepts’ children. Yes, this is a thing. We no longer get to choose the hotel, the hotel chooses us.
Thinking about taking your wee one away? Proceed with caution as the following is likely to happen…
Always check the flight time. In a vain attempt to grip on to our former footloose and fancy-free existence, and also sticking to the notion we often naively told ourselves when we were pregnant that “the baby will fit around our lives," we booked flights to Mauritius. Error number one. My newborn haze thought we had booked a paradise island only a three-hour flight away. Our actual flight time? Seven hours. And yes, babies do get cabin fever.
You will live for the naps. “Does she look tired to you?” asked my husband, while Greta, bright as a button, smiled gleefully at us. “Yes totally, put her down for a snooze, “ I replied, as I popped on my shades and flipped open my book. The sea air, the warm weather, crashing waves and delightful beach breeze knocked Greta out… for 30 minutes. “I think it’s your turn,” called my husband, eyes clamped shut, from his sun lounger positioned in the sun three metres away.
If you’re used to ploughing through a novel a day while on vacation, think twice before packing multiple reading materials. You’ll be lucky if you get through the first chapter without an interruption from your cherub.
Baby’s luggage will weigh more than yours. As a self-confessed over-packer, this has been quite the revelation. Greta came aboard with a suitcase packed to the brim with carefully styled broderie Anglaise garbs, an abundance of swimmers, a selection of hats, toys and extortionately priced organic suncream, whereas her mama checked in a suitcase that was packed in the dark. How times have changed.
Book a hotel, not self-catering. At least then your towels get cleaned, your bed is made for you and there are no dirty dishes to clear away. This is the aspect of holidays that we really took for granted during LBG (Life Before Greta). Seriously, turn-down service has never been more welcome.
Daily sundowners are swapped for a regime of bottle, bath and bedtime - and when we say bottle, we mean the white milky kind - while dinner is a hushed race of who can gobble down their food quickest before a boisterous waiter noisily clanks cutlery and crockery and wakes up our sleeping princess. And don’t even think about dessert.
From this day forward we will use the word ‘vacation’ loosely. It’s basically the same old taking care of a baby but in surroundings adorned with palm trees. But will we do it again? Absolutely. We have two months before she starts crawling and apparently that’s a whole different ball game…