If your baby has just started weaning and you’re trying to establish a routine, don’t let a holiday put you off your stride. From what to pack, to staying hydrated, Annabel Karmel has the answers
“A break away can be just the thing for tired parents. But planning a family getaway is nothing like throwing a few things in a suitcase and booking a last-minute break with your other half. Even a day trip to the beach can feel like a challenge with a young baby in tow, never mind a week or two out of the country. Add weaning into the mix and it can be a genuine worry for parents.
“The good news is that weaning while you’re away needn’t be daunting. With some careful planning, your holiday can be fun, relaxing and stress-free.”
What to take with you
“Admittedly, you can’t travel light anymore, but you don’t need a whole suitcase dedicated to feeding your baby. Here are my top weaning packs:
1. Sterilising tablets – It’s really important to sterilise bottles and feeding equipment properly while you’re away. Cold-water sterilising tablets are a practical and portable solution.
2. Hand blender – If you’re at the start of your weaning journey and adopting a spoon-led approach, a hand-held blender is useful for puréeing small quantities of food. They’re small and light, but don’t forget a travel adapter.
3. Bibs – Disposable bibs are ideal to use on holiday, or pack a plastic one that can be wiped clean.
4. Weaning bowls & spoons – A small plastic heatproof weaning bowl and a few weaning spoons are perfect for when out and about.
5. Storage pots – These small containers are perfect for taking fresh baby food with you to the beach or out to lunch.
6. Non-spill cup with lid – Keep little ones hydrated with a sippy cup or beaker depending on their age and stage.
7. Baby pouches – Packing a few baby pouches can be useful, particularly if your little one is a bit picky with their food. You might not be able find your baby’s favourite brand or flavours abroad so for peace of mind, bring a few meals with you that you know they’ll eat.
8. Formula – If your baby is over six months old and you’re no longer breastfeeding, you may want to check if you can buy your baby’s usual brand of follow-on milk at your destination, and if the ingredients are the same. If in doubt, try to bring enough with you to last the holiday. This is especially important if you’re traveling outside of Europe where there might be different food regulations.
9. App – If you want to cook from scratch for your baby on holiday using your favourite recipes or meal planners, a recipe app is ideal rather than packing your cookery books. My Baby & Toddler Recipe App is perfect for planning meals on the go and will make weaning on holiday easy.
“If you are holidaying somewhere hot it’s important for the whole family to stay hydrated – including you. If you’re breastfeeding, your fluid requirements skyrocket to about 13 cups per day and that’s without the heat, so make sure you drink plenty of water. Up your fluid intake with fruit, fresh fruit ice lollies and salads.
“Children can easily get dehydrated in the heat so try to keep track of how much water they’re drinking. If you’re flying, you might want to offer your baby occasional drinks of cooled, boiled water, as the dry atmosphere on a plane is very dehydrating. Plenty of drinks will also keep babies swallowing, which can help prevent ears popping too.
“Check if the tap water is safe to drink, and if not, always use boiled and cooled bottled water, even for brushing your teeth.”
“If you’re traveling with a baby who has allergies or a food intolerance, you’ll need a bit of extra planning. It’s really important to learn key words relating to the allergy in the language of the country you’re visiting. Try writing them down on a card, which you can use to check food labels at the supermarket or to hand to your waiter in restaurants.”
“One of the best things about holidays is eating out and sampling the local cuisine. Don’t be afraid to let your child try new foods too – from tropical fruits to traditional dishes, holidaying abroad can actually be a great opportunity to encourage them to try new flavour combinations.
“I’m a big believer in flavour-led weaning. As you would at home, keep introducing and encouraging them to try new spices and seasonings. Journeying to the Middle East? Then get them sampling a Moroccan-style tagine. A week in Greece? Some simple freshly caught fish with fresh oregano and dill will tempt their taste buds. Alternatively, if your baby isn’t feeling adventurous, don’t be afraid to ask for some plain chicken, fish and vegetables. Most restaurants will be more than happy to help.”
“On holiday, everyone’s routines fall slightly by the wayside, however, it is important to try and make sure your baby’s sleep and feeds stick to a routine as much as possible. If your baby has a big meal just before going to bed, their metabolic rate and body temperature will increase instead of decrease which will make it harder for them to fall asleep. Instead aim to give them their evening meal 1 ½-2 hours before to bedtime.
“If your baby is still taking bottles, round off dinner with a small warm bottle of milk right before bed. This can have a soothing effect and will help them (and you) catch a few extra winks.”
For lots more on-the-go recipe inspiration download the Annabel’s Baby & Toddler Recipe App – new and updated with over 200 delicious recipes, as well as a host of features, this handy app is available via the app store or visit the Annabel Karmel website.
Introduce solid foods once your baby is six months old, according to the NHS. Before this age your baby’s digestive system may not be ready. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding alongside complementary food up until two years of age or beyond.
Follow-on milk should only be used as part of a mixed diet for babies over six months and not as a breast milk substitute before this age.