We travel a lot and don’t really stress about traveling with our baby but since starting our blog I’ve discovered that a lot of people are apprehensive about travelling with babies especially when it comes to feeding. Well here are our experiences and top tips for weaning while travelling.
We vowed that travel wouldn’t stop when we had a baby and we are lucky that, now as parents to a 9 month old (where did that time go), we can still say that travel is a big part of our lives
Baby E’s 9 month Stats
- 11 flights
- 10 cities
- 7 countries
- 1 cruise
- 1 Christmas in the Countryside
We think we’ve done pretty well but there are definitely things we have learnt from our first 9 months of travel with our daughter
When we had our baby people frequently told us that all our travelling would come to an end! We hoped in that foolhardy way of impending parents that this wouldn’t be the case for us. Now we’ve had to eat our words on many things but thankfully we haven’t in regards to travelling. Baby E is now eight months old and has been to seven countries, on nine long haul flights, on a Mediterranean cruise and on nine city breaks. And 2017 is going to bring even more travel – so why do we travel with a baby?
One of the first holidays we did with baby E was a cruise around the western Mediterranean. As experienced cruisers we knew what to pack for us and for Baby E so thought we’d put together the essential list for others considering taking a baby on cruises. Whether you are new to cruising or perhaps new to cruising with a baby we hope this list will be of use
On embarkation day you leave your main baggage in the cruise terminal which will be delivered to your stateroom later in the day. If you are lucky it will arrive quickly. If you are unlucky it might not arrive until after you have had dinner. So here is what you should bring in your carry on
- Enough milk / food to last until the next morning ( longer if the next day is a sea day)
- Enough nappies and related paraphernalia to last until the next morning ( longer if the next day is a sea day)
- Pram if you want to use to take to dinner or go for a stroll around deck
- Outfit for dinner and other clothing changes as required
- Swimwear if your cruise allows babies and toddlers in the pool (has a baby pool)
- Pjs for all the family
It is mandatory for all cruise guests on the first day to do an emergency evacuation drill. To prepare for this you will need:
- Sun-hat, sunscreen or cold weather clothing depending on cruise location i.e Caribbean or Alaskan!
- Baby carrier – A baby carrier is an essential. If you decide not wait for the lift and use the stairs you will definitely need the carrrier for safety on the stairs.
Have you cruised with a baby? What do you recommend bringing on in embarkation day?
I don’t know about you but when I use to book a city break I would get straight onto google – best restaurants, best things to do etc. Now we have a baby however our search terms have changed substantially … where can we buy x, is y available and what I found is that it is hard to find all the information in one place. That’s where I hope to come in! So this will become a regular feature telling where you can buy essentials, details about changing facilities and accessibility of various locations and anything else that would be on use to parents – so first up everything you need to know about taking a baby to Rome.
We recently spent some time in the beautiful Rome. Rome stole my heart when we first visited ten years ago so I was really keen to take Baby E to visit our favourite city and wondered whether we would have such a good time as parents. but really Rome is the perfect city break for parents with small children. Here’s why:
Depending on what stage of the weaning process you are in, the food in Rome can be very child friendly. Who doesn’t love Italian food?! Pizza, pasta and gelato need I say more.
There are lots of family friendly accommodations from AirBNB to luxury high end hotels. We chose to stay at the Westin Excelsior, (you can read a full review here), a 5* hotel on the lovely Via Veneto which was absolutely great for a family travelling with a baby. The rooms were big (I’ll admit we way overpacked so needed a large room) and the staff were very accommodating with the Baby.
Many people say it is impossible to do Rome with a stroller. I am sure in some places such as the colosseum and Metro this is true. But if you are anything like us and enjoy walking, Rome is actually a very easy place to get around with a pram or stroller. We managed to visit the Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain all in one day walking with a stroller.
Many of the Piazzas are pedestrianised which means that you aren’t worried about safety. It also means that if your child is at the toddling stage, there are plenty of safe places to give them a run around in the city. Most also have a fountain, a Bernini one if your lucky ! It’s also a great place for weary parents as most Piazzas are filled with restaurants and bars to sit and rest your tired toes!
For me all great cities have at least one great park. In Rome this is Villa Borghese Gardens (you can read a full review here). It is filled with plenty of places for kids to run around, suitable playgrounds and even a small boating lake. There is also plenty of shade if you need to escape the summer sun.
But for me the top reason to visit Rome is …
I know its a cliché but Italians really love babies! There was no where we didn’t feel welcome. From small cafes to 5* hotels Baby E was literally welcomed with open arms. Waiters would keep her amused which gave us the rare chance to eat a meal somewhat together and helped with any request. Everywhere we went our Principessa or our Bella Bambino was showered with attention and love. It was like going on holiday with a celebrity. Baby E loved the attention and we loved the welcoming family atmosphere.
For me Italy really is one of the best places to take a baby on holiday. If you would like further advice on travelling to Rome with a little one take a look at our Essential Information Guide for Travelling to Rome with a Baby! (Coming Soon)
If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy our practical guide for parents visiting Rome including top tips about where to buy baby products, changing facilities and getting around in Rome.
If your kids are slightly older why not check out this guide of things to do in Rome with kids by our friends over at Learning Escapes
Friday brunch is a staple activity of expats in the Middle East. Whenever we have visitors we always take them so when my parents visited to meet Baby E we decided to take them to one of our favourites, Vine at the St. Regis. We love the range of foods, the live cooking stations and variety of drinks both Non and Alcoholic. The sushi and seafood area for us is the best at any Doha brunch and I love getting a taste of home with their roast dinners. But is brunch a good activity to do with a baby?
Everybody said that travel would change and in the worst cases stop as soon as we had a baby! We were very prepared for the change but were never going to stop. So how has travel changed in now we have an almost six month old?
The truth is …
In many ways it hasn’t! It has actual surprised us how little it has changed. So what are the ways it has and hasn’t changed.
We have been on several international trips with Baby E mainly to the UK! This is probably the biggest change we have had. As we are expats in Qatar, we have had to bring baby E back to meet family and friends and to hold her christening! Normally we wouldn’t do this many trips to the Uk so close together as we really love exploring new places. However this isn’t a permenant change. Over the next six months we have plans to go on adventures to Italy, France , Spain and the Seychelles so normal adventure service will resume soon.
Whenever we get visitors to Doha the first place they want to go is the Souq Waqif. Why wouldn’t they – the Souq is awesome and gives people a flavour of something uniquely Middle Eastern. Souq Waqif – meaning Standing Market, is located just off the Doha Cornice. A beautiful spot when you can get a real taste for the local culture. It was therefore no surprise when family came to visit Baby E that they wanted to go to the Souq. Baby E was born as we were heading into summer so was this going to be possible?
It absolutely was! But there are certainly ways to do it that make it more enjoyable for all so here are my top tips for visiting Souq Waqif with a baby in the Summer!
Do as the locals do!
Embrace the night-time. The souq doesn’t really come alive until the evening anyway so do as the locals do and head down to the Souq after sundown. This will be a more authentic experience, have a better atmosphere and cooler for everyone!
Baby carrier or pram?
This was a big debate we had. The Baby Carrier would make manoeuvrability a lot easier – The main street of Souq Waqif is cobbled, off which are a series of small narrow alleyways lined with shops and traders which aren’t to be missed for a true Souq experience – but carrying a baby that close to you was likely to make us both hot and sweaty. Given the time of year and the heat we opted for the pram. Yes this was a bit more cumbersome but a decision I am glad we took. When we return in the Winter we would definitely use the carrier but for summer months the pram is a must!
This goes without saying for adults, but follow all the rules and customs about keeping shoulders and knees covered as to not cause offence but remember these rules don’t apply to little ones. Dress your little one in vests only to keep them cool but be sure to have blankets with you as many of the Souq restaurants have fierce air-conditioning.
Ask for Lifts
Some of the restaurants have upstairs with lovely terraces or seating areas. Be sure if you are travelling with a pram to ask if there is a lift. The restaurant we were in had one but it was tucked out of sight!
I personally don’t like taking Baby E to places that are smoky, even with shish smoke (which some people wrongly say isn’t as harmful!), so we tend to visit restaurants where they either don’t serve shisha or where smokers are separated from diners.
These are our top five tips for visiting the Souq Waqif at night with a baby! What advice would you give?
This post was done as part of the #CityTripping Linkup hosted by MummyTravels
Surviving Middle East Summer with a Newborn
As Doha traffic will testify, most expats leave for the summer; trying to escape the Middle Eastern Summer where temperatures can and do exceed 50 degrees. If you are not one of those people able to participate in the mass expat exodus, summer can be a particularly long and difficult time, especially with a newborn! So here are my top tips for surviving a Middle Eastern Summer with a new baby!
Make malls your friend!
I think there are two kinds of people in this world – those that like shopping and those that don’t! I am definitely in the latter of these groups but living in the Middle East, especially in the Summer, you learn to embrace the mall! Not necessarily for shopping but as one of the few places you can go for a walk during the daytime. Many malls in Qatar try to encourage residents to walk 10K steps a day and have routes to achieve this. Ok, I know, it’s not the most riveting walk you will ever go on but it is at least a chance to stretch your legs and have a change of scenery!
Find local groups
While you are stuck at home with your newborn, it can feel like you are the only new mother who hasn’t escaped to cooler climbs but this isn’t the case. You just have to know where to find them. Scope out any local mother and baby groups and go along to one of their events. Let’s face it at this point, outings are more for your sanity than baby’s development so go out there and meet new people.
Become nocturnal (ish)
Ok – this is a piece of advice that I struggle to follow. Baby E is a baby who loves her routine and we have got bedtime down to a tee! I am reticent to change anything that may mess up her sleep schedule but I know other mothers who this has worked a charm for. You will find that many venues in the Middle East only come alive at night – particularly places like the Souq! So do as the locals do and take advantage of the cooler night temperatures! The times we have done it we have had great fun!
Enjoy some culture
Aside from malls, the other thing Qatar is investing is in culture as part of its 2030 vision. There are several great museums in Qatar that you can visit during the summer. The Muesum of Islamic Art and Mathaf are must sees while in Qatar.
Take advantage of baby’s portability and treat yourself!
It seems hard I know, surviving summer with a newborn but I am pretty sure it only gets more difficult as baby gets older and requires constant entertainment. So why not take advantage of the portability and relative immobility of baby and indulge in some indoor entertainment for yourself. My favourites so far have been indulging in afternoon tea at the Four Seasons (see our review) and an array of business lunches at some of Doha’s finest hotels.
What advice do you have for mothers with newborns for surviving the Middle East summer?