This week’s Wednesday Wisdom is from Caroline Flint, Midwife and Mother. She gives her tips for ensuring that you all have the time of your lives on whatever holiday you choose, from caravanning in Clacton to trekking through the jungles of Bolivia and everything else in between.
Caroline is a Midwife and Antenatal Teacher. When her baby sister was born at home when she was eight, Caroline was so entranced by the whole atmosphere and the delicious soft skinned baby that she decided there and then that she wanted to be a Midwife. Caroline has been a Midwife for 36 years, she has had three children of her own and countless foster children. She knows from experience how demanding the first few weeks with your newborn are, she makes herself available 24/7 because she knows that it is in the middle of the night that so many mothers need support and advice. You can talk with Caroline on 0906 207 2675 (Calls cost £1.02/min from a BT landline. Calls from other networks and mobiles may vary. 18+)
Taking a first Family Holiday with your New Born
Ideally a Family Holiday is the time where everyone relaxes and enjoys themselves, returning home refreshed and ready for everyday life. Caroline gives ways to make it easier and more enjoyable for all the Family and looks at alternative views on holidays with a New Born.
What makes a Good Family Holiday?
Why are you going on holiday? A Good Family Holiday is when all the members of the Family; Dad, Mum, New Born and/or siblings have the time of their life. They relax and enjoy each others’ company, they rest and feel refreshed, they enjoy new surroundings, they do interesting and different things, they visit unusual and varied places and they eat interesting and delicious food.
It is a good idea to write a list of what is important to every family member and how they find the greatest enjoyment. It could be snorkelling, partying and dancing. It might be lying in the sun or playing tennis, swimming or going boating. It might be eating unusual foods or drinking different drinks. It might be just sitting around for hours talking to people you love.
The New Born should also have a list and that list is likely to be very different from everyone else’s list. It is likely to consist of – No Change, everything the same as usual, same routines, same foods, same music, same cuddles, same people, same pram or buggy, same clothes and same climate as usual. Babies don’t enjoy change – they haven’t been around long enough to need a “break” so many of their most basic needs may clash with what everyone else wants to do. So be aware that Family Holidays can also be a time of great conflict, especially with a fretful new born baby who is uncomfortable and unhappy. The constantly crying baby will make his parents very unhappy and uncomfortable to say nothing of his siblings – a wretched time can be had by all!
Add to that self catering and doing the laundry yourself, this cannot be termed a “holiday” for the parents – often the place you are holidaying in will not be as efficient as your own home so laundry and cooking can be twice as much work. So let’s look at ways of making the Family Holiday an enjoyable adventure.
How can I ensure that I get some time to myself on holiday?
Firstly examine why you are going on holiday. If you are going to Australia, India or South Africa to show your Mum and Dad your new baby then you are going to a place where you will have support and you will be able to rest and recuperate. Ideally there will be willing helpers to do your laundry, to hold the baby for you and you will be spoiled and cherished and will come back home rested and refreshed. The journey will be long and tedious so ensure that you have booked a Sky Cot on the plane. Make sure that you have plenty of formula powder if that is what you are using, if you are breastfeeding the milk will flow lavishly as you sit and relax on the plane so ensure that your clothes make feeding easy, drink plenty of water and perhaps take several sterilized dummies in a sterilized container. Muslins are invaluable for mopping up spills and possets, a soft blanket to wrap around your baby will enable them to sleep comfortably.
If you are going to a hotel or guest house make sure that they are equipped for babies and small children. Some hotels cater specially for the very young with nappy services, baby sitting services, special children’s and babies foods and laundry rooms. These hotels are often not the most glamorous or grand, with scuffed wall paper and sticky chairs but they tick all the boxes for someone who is tired and wants some help with the more mundane family tasks and for Dad it is a place where he can chat to other Dads and compare notes.
Recipe for an Ideal Holiday
Sometimes staying at home and having days out is the best Family Holiday ever. The children and/or New Born have the full attention of their parents who are relaxed and resting because of time off work. The baby can stay in the same routine as usual but you can give yourself treats because of the money you are saving by not going away. There are many Massage services who will come to your home – think of a massage for both tired parents.
Laze in a bath, go out for coffee and cakes. Explore your locality. Go and see that Art Gallery that you have never got round to – you may find that they do regular Art Workshops for kids. Or go to National Trust Properties, they often have really beautiful gardens, lovely home made cakes, delicious lunches. Your local cinema may have a session for parents with young babies (sometimes called Screamers!) Museums that you haven’t visited since you were a child may have really funny workshops and shows that are stimulating and enjoyable. Go for a Riverside stroll, or through a lovely Park. Write yourselves a Programme for your holiday at home and Enjoy!
If you need advice on anything to do with your new born you can contact Caroline through her Greatvine profile