Well, we took a brave step this week and decided to take April on holiday to Majorca. After the last year we had we felt we deserved it. We were going to stay in the UK, but we thought it was still going to be as much work trying to entertain an 8 year old and look after a baby, so we may as well do it in the sun.
So, the first hurdle was packing. Crikey, it was not until I started thinking about what we needed I soon began to realise this was going to be no mean feat. We literally had to have a whole suitcase just for April’s things. I mean, yes she has teeny clothes and didn’t need that many, but when you start breaking down everything that you need day to day for a baby it soon mounts up…
- pack of 66 nappies,
- swimming nappies
- 50 disposable bibs,
- 1 tin of formula,
- enough pouches of baby food (fruit/protein/pasta) to last us a week (and travelling),
- baby bottles,
- formula dispensers
- sterilising bags,
- sterilising tablets,
- 4 packs of wipes,
- washing up liquid (yes I know – but how else was I going to wash the bottles),
- spoons for feeding,
And that was without the baby vests, dresses, swimming things, toiletries (yes babies do have toiletries albeit small and not many)
Thankfully we travelled with Jet2.com and we got 22kg luggage allowance, so we had enough room in our suitcases. Mind, gone are the days of multiple outfits and a different pair of shoes for each night for me!
We tend to fly from Glasgow or Edinburgh as Scottish kids have gone back to school and we can save £400-£500 on the cost of the holiday. They are generally early flights, so we tend to travel up the day before and stay over. This time we flew from Edinburgh and stayed in the Holiday Inn Express right at the airport. We had parking included and there was a shuttle bus to the terminal, so it was all relatively easy. The flight was at 6.30am, so we had a really early start, having to get up at 3am…however this was not at all helped by the fact that April decided that she did not want to sleep the night before. I literally had about 3 hours sleep and could have cried when it was time to get up!
I was a bit worried about going through security with a baby and all the things we needed. My hand luggage was now in the form of a baby change bag, rather than beach bag, with snacks, books and magazines, and crammed with everything I could possibly need for April for the next 24 hours. I’d read up online before hand what I could take through for April. I made up 4 bottles of water ready for the journey and had some food pouches ready for feeding times. Now usually you can only take through 100ml of liquids, but with baby food it is slightly different. At security I took out all the baby food and it was taken away to be tested (luckily I didn’t need to sample any of it!) I then carried April through the scanner as her buggy was checked over and swabbed. That was it…nice and easy 🙂 and we were off!
The next thing I was worried about was the flight. You know yourself when you’ve not got kids and you see someone coming to sit down with a small child or baby you cringe hoping they won’t sit down near you, to potentially scream all the time and spoil your journey. I was now this person…and I was dreading “those” looks as we boarded the plane. Luckily we were near the back and could sneak on last. However, I needn’t have worried. April was a little angel. I had heard that you should give a baby a bottle when taking off, so I did just this and it worked perfectly as it was around her normal feed time. However, I probably gave her it a bit too soon and she had guzzled it down before we even started taxiing to the runway. Luckily she fell asleep before we took off and didn’t wake up for an hour or so…it also meant I could top up on my 3 hour sleep from the night before.
Coming home she was the same, took her bottle and fell asleep. She didn’t make a peep! It is quite hard sat in one position for a long time with a baby on your knee, so I stretched my legs once or twice, but my worries of being the mum with the screaming baby were forgotten and instead of people staring or scowling, we got lots of attention and comments like “ohhhh isn’t she good”, so I was a happy Mammy!
Fun in the Sun
We had arranged a private transfer from the airport to the hotel, which meant we had car seats for Eve & April and also meant we got straight to the hotel, than going round the houses. When we arrived our room wasn’t ready to check in, so we were able to have a wander and grab some food. When we did get our room it was great. It was newly refurbished and had everything I could possibly need for a baby. There was a cot, highchair, baby change table, microwave and kettle to boil water. Having these facilities made such a difference to the holiday and just meant things were a little easier.
The hotel we stayed in was very family orientated and it was great for Eve as there was a splash park, so once she made a friend on the first day, we pretty much didn’t see her again (unless she needed us – she was having far too much fun and was far too cool to hang round with us ha!). All Inclusive is great for kids that are a bit older and just help themselves to ice cream, snacks and drinks.
However, one thing about having a baby abroad is that the routine doesn’t stop. Phil set his watch to Spanish time, but I kept thinking in English time and tried to keep April to her normal routine as much as possible. This actually worked in quite well with the timings of meals etc as I could get her sorted before we needed to eat.
It wasn’t easy though and trying to do everything you do back home, in a strange place without everything to hand was hard work. We had to change our routine a couple of times as often at night time when it came to feeding in the restaurant she would just start screaming (then we were those parents with the screaming kids!) I nearly batted one bloke for starring at me! So, we changed our routine slightly. Instead of feeding her in the restaurant, I came in an hour early during the day, got myself ready, then fed her and then got the rest of the clan ready.
Phil and I were like a little tag team on holiday though. As I got up to feed April, he would do the utmost important job of securing our sunbeds for the day. I would then get everyone ready and generally did the feeding, whilst Phil was the walker. I couldn’t bear the thought of walking April in the sun, but Phil quite enjoyed it, so if she was getting grouchy off he’d go with the buggy and come back half an hour later with her sleeping.
Usually on holiday you would get up leisurely and enjoy the sunshine, but with a baby you get snippets of relaxation…mainly when April fell asleep in the day. I wasn’t as concerned about getting a great tan, than just chilling and sitting in the shade playing with April. We’d have an afternoon splash around in the pool, which she loved too.
As well as keeping up the routine and hard work on holiday, April continued with her lack of sleep. I can’t say it was the heat as the air con in the room was brilliant. I just think the change of surroundings, being in a different cot etc must have been unsettling and we didn’t get much sleep at all. I can’t say I feel relaxed coming home as you can’t stop when you go away with a baby and all the hard work continues.
Then to make things even more tricky, April got a cold. She had been poorly a few weeks back where we’d have to give her antibiotics and an inhaler. Luckily I took the inhaler with me as she became poorly again. One night was horrendous as she just couldn’t sleep from all the coughing and spluttering, poor thing. She was very wheezy and full of cold…and then I got it too. Woo hoo – just what you want on holiday! We took a trip to the pharmacy and loaded up with strong Spanish medicine, but April still sounded awful. As soon as we landed in the UK I was going to get her back to the doctor/hospital, but got home too late to make an appointment. Hopefully she will get over it soon and her breathing sounds a bit better, but it really is a worry when she gets poorly; especially abroad!
So, all in all we had a lovely holiday. I wouldn’t say it was the most relaxing one I’ve had, but we had some giggles, made some memories and I’m glad we went. I wasn’t particularly happy about the mountain of washing that faced me when we got back, but 6 loads later I’m through it! I was glad to get home and to get back into my old routine. April is still a bit poorly and refusing her solids, but hopefully we’ll all be back to normal soon.