Archive for the ‘Babies’ Category

How to make your baby sleep when travelling abroad

Sleep. It’s a major issue when you’re travelling abroad with a baby in tow. Will your little one nap on the plane or will they cry and disturb other passengers? How will they cope with a different cot and an unfamiliar room?

That’s why we’ve come up with seven simple strategies that will soothe your baby to sleep while you’re away…

Preparing to fly

1. Choose your time carefully

Quieter midweek flights make travelling during term time the ideal option for babies. So if your tot doesn’t have any older siblings at school, make the most of this opportunity. The tickets will be cheaper too.

Not sure what time of day to travel? If your baby has settled into a routine, we suggest taking their feeds and naps into account when you book your flight.  Nine am flights can work well, as your little one should be ready for a post breakfast nap during the flight. Early afternoon is ideal for babies who snooze after lunch.

It’s also worth considering an overnight flight. If you pop your baby into their pyjamas, allow  them to nap and wake them just before you leave the house, they should stay awake while you check in and crash out after takeoff.

 

2. Request a bassinet

A baby bassinet is a basket that can be hung from the walls of an aircraft or placed on a specially designed shelf. Hiring one allows your little one to lie down and sleep safely during your flight.

While bassinets are available from most airlines, you’ll need to check that your baby fits the age and size requirements before you book one. We also recommend taking a bassinet cover or swaddle blanket with you, so that you can block out any light from the cabin.

Fidgety babies might need to be settled in their parent’s arms before they’re transferred to their bassinet and if you encounter any turbulence during the flight, you’ll be asked to remove them.

 

3. Take a baby carrier

If your baby won’t settle at all during the flight, popping them into a carrier or sling will enable you to walk around and gently bounce them to sleep. Taking a baby carrier also makes carrying hand luggage, boarding and exiting the plane much easier, especially if you have to retrieve your buggy from the luggage carousel.

Once you arrive at your destination, transporting your little one in a front carrier will help them to feel secure and free up your hands for taking those all important family photos.

 

4. Establish a routine

Establishing a bedtime routine before you travel abroad will help you to recreate it while you’re on holiday. Does your baby have a favourite lullaby or song? Try singing it just before bedtime, so that your little one associates it with going to sleep.

If your baby’s bedtime routine also includes a story, we recommend sticking to a handful of favourite books before you travel. Read the same stories while you’re away and your baby will be comforted by their familiarity, making it easier for them to settle.

 

When you arrive

5. Recreate familiar surroundings

Your baby will sleep better if you add a few familiar touches to your hotel bedroom, so why not pack their usual sleep sack, a couple of their crib sheets, a few favourite teddies and a selection of bath toys? ,

If you’ll be taking your own travel cot on holiday, getting your baby used to sleeping in it before you go should make a real difference when bedtime arrives.

 

6. Stick to the schedule

While travelling with a young baby is generally easier if you prioritise their naps, there will be times when this isn’t practical. Thanks to the fresh air and stimulation of being on holiday, your tot will probably snooze while you’re out and about, but we recommend keeping an eye on this. Allow them to sleep for too long and they simply won’t settle at night.

If you’ve travelled to a hot country in the summer, expect to get a little less sleep than you would at home. To combat exhaustion, try napping with your baby, as even a twenty minute catnap can work wonders. If you get desperate and end up with the baby in your bed, don’t beat yourself up. Simply enjoy the rest and reintroduce your normal routine as soon as you arrive home.

 

7. Create good sleeping conditions

When bedtime arrives, it’s a good idea to keep the lights and your voices low. Bring a book to read while you wait for your baby to settle and consider packing some temporary blackout blinds, which are cheap, portable and easy to put up.

Hotel a little on the noisy side? How about downloading the Sound Sleeper: White Noise app, which uses familiar sounds and sounds from nature to soothe baby to sleep?

We hope our tips help your little one to sleep soundly while you’re away. After all, when baby sleeps, everybody sleeps. Here’s to a relaxing time abroad!

Do you have any sleeping suggestions to share? We’d love to hear them.

Tips for camping with babies and children

Camping is a great way for children to appreciate and enjoy the great outdoors by taking part in activities that bring you together as a family. Here are some tips to help you plan a fun camping trip and ensure that everybody stays safe.

Finding a Family-Friendly Camp Site

Although many campsites are child friendly, not all will meet your specific needs. Find a camp site that has good reviews for family-friendliness and that fulfils all of your requirements. Coolcamping.com is a great place to start, offering sites that only accept tents and campervans, and which offer separate camping areas for families. With generous pitches your family can enjoy the space without feeling like they’re camping on top of each other. There are sites that offer hot showers all day, which is a must for many families with young children, and grounds which are in a great location for walking and cycling activities.

Packing for Children

Making sure that you’ve packed the essentials will help your camping experience run smoothly. Here is a list to help you pack successfully for a camping trip with young children and babies.

  • Layers for colder weather
  • Woolly / Sun hats, depending on the forecast
  • Thermal wear to keep children and babies warm
  • A sling carrier for babies
  • Swim suits and life jackets, if appropriate
  • Nightlights and some glow sticks to keep an eye on your adventurous children
  • Travel beds and bassinets for colder evenings inside a tent
  • A training potty if one is still needed
  • A family cutlery set, preferably one that’s specially designed for camping
  • Easy meals that don’t need to be cooked in case rain prevents a campfire
  • A drinks cooler
  • A booster with a tray for meal time with a baby
  • A thermos to keep a warm feeding bottle at the ready
  • Buckets and spades, fishing nets and other toys/tools for fun activities
  • A pop-up beach shelter or canopy for relaxing in the shade
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Tissues and wet wipes
  • Anti-itch and antiseptic creams for bites, cuts or rashes
  • A first aid kit, including plasters and bandages
  • Children’s antihistamine for any allergic reactions or hay fever (make sure you ask your GP or pharmacist for advice on dosage and side effects).
  • Backpacks for activities away from the site

 

Making Your Camp Site Safer for Children

Camping is a great way to have some family fun, but with it come a number of risks including trip hazards from cables and scolds from campfires. Here are some ways to make your campsite safer for children.

  • Make the tension cables on your tent more noticeable by marking them out with visible material, such as coloured flags and tinfoil, or by choosing cables in a colour that contrasts with the colour of the ground.
  • Keep a bucket of water near any lit fires and make sure that children don’t go too close to any open flames. Avoid activities that require a lot of movement if there is a campfire nearby.
  • Mark off any areas that pose a significant risk to children with visible ropes, such as areas with poisonous plants or dangerous terrain.
  • Mark out nearby holes and dips with flags or noticeable poles.

 

Camping Games and Activities

Here are some ways to encourage young children to embrace the outdoors by keeping them entertained with fun games and activities.

Scavenger Hunt

Have your children collect items such as pine-cones, shells, flowers of particular colours, feathers and leaves. Create a checklist and have them compete to be the first to find all of the items.

Campfire Story Game

Gather round the fire and take it in turns to come up with one sentence that progresses a story. Children get very creative and will have a lot of fun using their imagination to conjure up some great tales.

Nature Trail

Stretch your legs and get some fresh air by heading out onto a nature trail. Using a guidebook create a guessing game to play with your children. They can have some competitive fun and learn about the different wildlife around them.

Passports for new-born babies

Passports for babies

Depending on how close your baby is born to your holiday date, it is sensible to apply for their first passport in plenty of time. Typically, it takes 3 weeks to get a passport – if urgent there is also a fast-track service you can use.

It is important to go to the official Identity & Passport Service website (see link www.gov.uk/get-a-child-passport). Other ‘unofficial’ websites may appear on google search due to advertising. However, despite claiming they can help you through the application process this usually comes at and additional cost.

The online form is pretty straight forward. Requiring standard information about yourself, your partner and your new bundle of joy. The form is then processed by the Identity and Passport Service, printed and then sent back to you to finish. This includes counter-signing and attaching your relevant ID and photos. Normally, it takes around a week for the initial online form to be mailed back to you.

Note: There is also a chance for you to rectify any mistakes you’ve made when filling out the online form.

How to take baby’s passport photo:

It may seem like an impossible task, to get your new-born baby looking at the camera with no arms or toys in the way. To read through the official Identity and Passport Service photo requirements see link www.gov.uk/photos-for-passports.

You can take the photo one of two ways:

  • Go to your local, professional passport photo provider such as Boots, Snappy Snaps etc. and they will take your baby’s passport photo.
  • Do it yourselves, at home. Create DIY a backdrop by laying your baby on the floor with an off white sheet underneath them.

How to get your baby’s passport photo perfect:

  • If taking the photo with your baby on a white sheet as mentioned above, it’s important to remove any creases.
  • The baby’s head and BOTH ears have to be in shot.
  • Arms need to be away from the head area.
  • Babies must not be holding toys or using dummies.
  • Take the photo from about 1.5m away and include your baby from about their tummy upwards.
  • There must be a space above the baby’s head in the photo.

Note: If your baby is less than 1-year-old they do not need to have their eyes open.

You can then upload you pictures online and get them printed. There are numerous websites that offer a printing service such as Frame Lizard and Snappy Snaps.

How much will it cost:

It costs £46 to get a child’s first passport or £55.75 if you use the Check and Send service. You can also pay an additional £3 for your ID to be returned via secure post. You must pay by credit or debit card if you fill in the form online.

If you fill in a paper application form, you can either send your credit or debit card details or alternatively include a cheque or postal order payable to ‘Her Majesty’s Passport Office’.

After you have taken your passport photos and had them printed you will need someone to counter sign them. Here are official details regarding your countersignatory www.gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications.

Note: The person counter signing the photos needs to supply their passport number too.

When sending off your complete application and necessary documents make sure you include a certified copy of the birth certificate with you and your partners name and occupation on it rather than a copy with just your baby’s details on it. This isn’t made particularly clear in the documentation sent by the Identity & Passport service.

How to travel abroad with a child whose surname is different from yours:

As a precaution against child abduction, if you are travelling abroad with a child and you are not that child’s parent, or if you and the child have different surnames, you may need to bring extra documents with you to establish your relationship.

Although not compulsory (see below for exceptions) carrying certain documents or evidence can speed up the process at boarder control.

According to the Home Office, examples of evidence would include:

  • a copy of a birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child
  • divorce or marriage certificates if you are the parent but have a different surname.
  • a letter from one or both of the child’s parents, with contact details, giving consent for the child to travel with you (even if, for example, you are a grandparent and have the same surname).

Note: Full details of regulations that apply at the UK border are on the UK Border Agency website, ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

It could also be beneficial to contact the airline you are flying with to seek advice.

Letters of authority or consent

If you are travelling with children and are not their parent, it may be wise to bring a letter of consent from the child’s parents. Once again, while a letter is not compulsory, it can simplify interviews at boarder control. The letter will include consent from the child’s parents stating that the child has permission to travel abroad with the person accompanying them.

Be mindful that carrying a consent letter may not guarantee that the child will be allowed to travel abroad; every country has its own requirements for children travelling without their parent(s).

Make sure to check the specific requirements of the country to which you are travelling (Full list of foreign embassies in the UK).

Note: Visit the Home Office website for a letter template to follow. It is also imperative to sign the letter, and get it witnessed by a solicitor.

Special requirements of specific countries

South Africa has explicit requirements for parents travelling there with minors. For full details of requirements for travel to South Africa, please see www.home-affairs.gov.za/index.php/civic-services/traveling-with-children.

Botswana has now adopted similar rules when travelling with children. See full requirements https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/botswana/entry-requirements.

The USA requires children under the age of 18 travelling to or from the USA to carry a notarized consent letter from their parents or legal guardians.

Canada requires the same consent documents as the US for children under the age of 19.

  • If a child or teenager is travelling with only one parent or guardian, a notarized consent letter from the parent/guardian who is not travelling with them is required.
  • If a parent/legal guardian has sole custody, then proof of sole custody must be presented.
    Children and teenagers who cannot produce proper consent letters may be refused boarding.

Note: it’s your job to establish the latest requirements.

While many airlines remind make you aware of certain destinations’ specific requirements, they are not obliged to. It is the passenger’s responsibility to find out about current entry and exit requirements and to carry the appropriate documents with them.