I spent the majority of my twenties working as a nanny for a number of pro golfers. This mainly involved looking after their babies while travelling around the globe. Suffice to say, I quickly became an expert at caring for babies on the road and I’m here to share some of my tips with you.
As well as ensuring the babies slept well (I was normally the one who shared the hotel room with the baby, so this was in my best interests!); I was also in charge of feeding their little ones while away. I learnt to be quite resourceful when it came to feeding and weaning babies without a kitchen.
Writing this article enables me to combine two of my favorite subjects: eating and travelling! So here are my top tips for feeding and weaning your baby while on holiday:
Until they reach one year old, your baby’s main source of nutrition can be milk feeds. If they eat a little less while away they will compensate by taking more milk. This is absolutely fine and nothing to worry about.
Keep up the fluids
Appetites naturally decrease in hotter climates (unless, it seems, you’re an adult on an all-inclusive holiday!) Don’t be at all concerned if your baby’s solid food intake decreases while away. The only important thing is that they drink plenty of fluids by way of water and milk feeds.
So always ensure your baby drinks plenty of fluids, especially if it’s hot. Keep a beaker of spring water on hand all day and offer your baby sips from it- especially at meal times and also overnight.
Be bottle wise
When making up bottles, it’s best to not use tap water. Even in countries where tap water is deemed safe, it can contain different levels of minerals which can upset sensitive tummies. Bottled spring water, which is available in most supermarkets, is best.
For convenience, you could always take cartons of pre-prepared formula. These can be packed in your suitcase to go in the hold. Alternatively, you can order them in advance from the Boots store past security at most airports.
When flying you can take over 100mls of fluids in your hand luggage – security may just ask to see you taste the water or formula.
Don’t shy away from taking a few pouches of food, there are some great choices on the market for occasional use. A holiday is the perfect excuse for using these convenient ‘cheats’ after all!
Also, pop a bag of your little one’s favourite baby cereal in your suitcase (but throw away the box as it takes up far too much shoe space!) This way, you can ensure your baby gets at least one decent meal a day. The cereal can be mixed with formula, expressed breast milk or local full fat cows’ milk.
Share your own meals
You will be able to give your baby some of the food you are eating- whatever their age (although you should be aware of salt content and salad washed in local water in certain destinations).
You can offer boiled potatoes, sticks of cooked vegetables, breadsticks, toast fingers, flakes of fish, fruit (such as watermelon, mango or banana), cucumber, hummus, cheese and the occasional chip. These are all nutritious and available at most hotels and restaurants.
Make the most of local resources
There are plenty of ways to keep your baby eating well while you’re away. For example, if you mash together avocado and banana with a fork, you have a readymade super-food meal. You could also buy some tins of salmon or tuna in spring water to increase your baby’s protein intake.
Eggs are a brilliant source of protein and calories and, as long as your baby isn’t sensitive, they can be offered from six months onwards. Most hotels and restaurants will cook your egg to order. You can even cook your own egg without a kitchen- a kettle in a hotel room is a perfect place to boil an egg! Remember, eggs don’t actually need to be refrigerated and so can be kept in a hotel room.
It’s a good idea to choose fruit with a natural skin, such as mango, melon, banana and avocado. They don’t need to be washed and so the risk of contamination from local water is minimal.
If you are concerned about offering your baby foods like cucumber, cherry tomatoes or peppers because they may have been washed in local water, you could fill a cup with spring water to wash them in.
I always have a tub of cashew nut butter with me. It’s an easy way of adding calories, nutrients, protein and fats to any piece of toast, banana or breadstick!
What does all this mean for your baby’s nutrition? Without doubt, even if you don’t offer any extra foods from your plate or any pre-made pouches, your baby will thrive! Here are some examples of foods you could offer your baby while on holiday:
- Fats: nut butter, full fat milk, formula, avocado, egg, olive oil or butter on toast.
- Protein: nut butter, full fat milk, eggs, formula, fish.
- Fruit and vegetables: banana, avocado, mango, watermelon and other melons, cucumber, tomatoes
- Carbohydrates: cereal, banana, avocado, mango, watermelon, toast, breadsticks.
As you can see, it is possible to utilise local resources while you’re away. Your baby doesn’t need to eat a huge variety of foods to get the nutrients and calories they need. And remember, whatever happens while you’re away, you will slip back into your baby’s normal eating patterns once you return home.
If your baby starts waking for extra milk feeds at night, try offering water first. It may simply be thirst, rather than hunger, causing them to wake up.
If they do need one milk feed overnight while you’re away (this could be due to the drop in calories), go with it and then eliminate once home. It is very rare for a weaned baby to need more than one overnight milk feed.
While the thought of feeding your baby while travelling may be worrying, I hope I have demonstrated how simple it can be! By being organised, making the most of local resources and trying to relax, your baby’s holiday mealtimes don’t need to be stressful.
Have a great holiday!