Dear Father Hood: should we take our baby on holiday?
First thing’s first, can you afford it? If the answer’s yes, then my response is yes. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to take him or her? Oh wait, I know. It might be the crying? Or the feeding? Or the fact your baby doesn’t have a fully-functioning immune system, so you need to sterilise everything? Or the luggage allowance-busting 40kg of clothing you need to pack? Or… I get the picture. There are a multitude of reasons why the easiest thing to do is stay home and ogle other people’s beach snaps on Instagram. But having taken our little man on a transatlantic adventure at the age of three months, I can exclusively reveal a) that the white noise on the plane sent him to sleep, b) that the less mobile they are the easier they are travel with, and c) that it’s not as painful as you think. Especially if you…
- Don’t take the baby to the Passport Office. They don’t have to be there in the flesh, so why would you put them through the dull office building, metal detectors and seemingly endless queue?
- Stay with family or friends. Partly so they can help look after the baby. Partly because they will pick you up the airport. And partly because their houses are likely to be bigger and more set-up to accommodate a baby than a hotel room.
- Go to a country that sells all the same brands of baby products, which is pretty much most of the world.
- Check the predicted weather before you pack. You’d think this would be obvious. But. Um. Scotland in September. Heatwave. No short sleeved tops. Tears (and that was just Daddy).
- Take a car seat that attaches to a buggy. This isn’t that essential, it just means one less piece of junk to lug around.
- Don’t overtly focus on routine. If he or she sleeps at 3pm and is wide awake at 11pm, so what? You’re on holiday. Make hay while the sun shines and grin and bear it when it doesn’t.
- Understand it’s not going to all go smoothly. Because it’s not. There will be tantrums. You will have forgotten something. And someone will probably get ill. But it’s all part of the fun and always remember it could be worse.
- Don’t sing Selena Gomez’s Hands to Myself when changing your baby in a public bathroom. Particularly the line: ‘Can’t keep my hands to myself. I mean I could, but why would I want to?’
Well, what are you waiting for? Bite the bullet, book a break and get ready to ride the holiday roller coaster.