Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Top tips to take the stress out of travelling with kids from Jenny Haddad, Managing Director of Db Babies

Getting ready to embark soon on your summer vacation? It's time to prepare and get packing in order to survive the journey.

Jenny Haddad, Managing Director of Db Babies and mum of two children (aged 5 and 7) give us her top tips and handy products that provide the perfect solutions to common family travel. From navigating the airport with a little one to feeding your baby mid-flight, embarking on a family holiday can fray the nerves but these handy tips will help take the stress out of travelling with kids.

“Part of the reality of living in Dubai is air travel. There aren’t many destinations by car from here so most of us have to prepare to travel by plane at least once a year. Once you have a baby this becomes a task as daunting as moving house. In fact, it can often look like you are moving home when you travel with your baby for the first time! Thankfully, there are many products now available to help make our life easier on the go.”

Feeding

From sterilising baby bottles in mid-flight to endless snacks for toddlers, keeping your little ones fed when on the move is a tough job. “My first flight with my daughter when she was three months old was when I first wished I was still breastfeeding,” says Jenny. “I took about seven baby bottles of sterilised water with me for the flight to the UK just in case there were delays, not to mention the endless stacked formula containers. She didn’t even get through half of it."

“Another problem mums are always faced with while on holiday is that not all restaurants and café offer highchairs,” continues Jenny. “A hungry child won’t wait for you to find one, which is why I always pack a portable chair harness.”



Little Green Pouch Reusable Food Pouches, Dhs65 for 4 (7oz). Suitable for first feeds through to toddlers and young children, they can easily be filled with homemade smoothies, pureés and yoghurts. With an attachable spoon it makes feeding time on the go a whole lot easier.




Beaba – Water Bottle Teat Adapters, Dhs45, can instantly turn any bottle of water into a baby bottle. This can be a lifesaver when you are on the move. If you are renting a car while on holiday, you should also consider packing the Beaba BibCar, Dhs145, a quick and easy bottle warmer wrap to help control the temperature of your baby bottle.




Mini Monkey – Mini Chair, Dhs140, transforms any chair into a high chair and is light and easy enough to slip into your diaper bag.


On the move 

Gone are the days when you can negotiate with your air stewardess to let you take your favourite stroller onto the plane and tuck it behind the last row of seats. Strollers now are whisked away from you at the earliest opportunity. “On our first holiday to Europe with our nine month old daughter I arrived with our luxury stroller safely tucked inside the big travel bag it came with,” says Jenny. “However, along with the endless amount of luggage I had packed – three tins of formula and bumper packs of nappies – it wouldn’t even fit in the small European hire car and we had to upgrade the car! Since then we quickly moved over to a more compact buggy for travelling and left the luxury big stroller for the malls of Dubai.”

A baby carrier can also be a lifesaver at the airport. “It’s great for keeping your hands free for passports, bottle making and, of course, duty free shopping,” says Jenny. “Your little one will be happy to be cuddled up to you and may even fall asleep.”
Lastly – don’t try to take too much.
“Depending on how long you are going to be away, taking both a car seat and a stroller with you is quite unpractical,” says Jenny. “There are some brilliant inventions around, such as car seats that convert into strollers, that save you the hassle and are ideal for short trips away with babies.”



Ideal for longer holidays, the Babyhome – Emotion Stroller, Dhs1,299, is a fabulous compromise between lightweight, compact and durable. It can hold children up to 25kg with a comfortable seat and an expendable leg rest for when they fall asleep. It has a generous shopping basket for all your holiday shopping and a single handlebar for easy manoeuvring. It even has a shock absorbing suspension to make for a smoother ride on those European pavements.


Boba – Air Baby Carrier, Dhs260, is a super lightweight carrier that fits easily into your handbag for the moment you need it.
The Doona – Convertible Rear Facing Infant Car Seat/Stroller, Dhs1,895, is a rear- facing car seat from zero to 18 months that has wheels to convert instantly to a stroller. Pop it in the car then when you arrive simply click and unfold the wheels with one hand.


Sleep 

A little of what you need, a lot of what you love! Sleep turns into a distant memory once you start having children and holidays are no exception. “Everything revolves around getting and keeping your children in sleep and travelling is the arch enemy of sleep and any routine you have in place so it is important to strive to keep continuity as much as possible,” says Jenny. “A great way to get your baby to sleep in their stroller when you are out and about is to put the mosquito net on. It can act as a shade to create some darkness and stop the distractions of the world. If your stroller didn’t come with a mosquito net and rain cover, these can be bought separately from the retailer with some brands. It’s worth taking these with you on your travels, as not everywhere is as sunny as Dubai.

“As for the plane journey, I have seen many children and adults suffering on planes with their ears during my years as an air stewardess. As you can’t instruct a baby to swallow to clear this or her ears, the best thing to do is feed them a bottle of milk upon take off and landing. This will not only distract them but will help clear their ears and, with any luck, send them off into a nice sleep.”


If you are travelling back home to have your baby or are going on a trip with your newborn, the Babyhome – Dream Bassinet, Dhs1,299, is a fantastic first bed solution for your baby from zero to six months. Weighing only 6kg its is compact enough to bring it with you on holiday, giving your baby the continuity of having the same bed, but at the same time is a proper cot that’s super comfortable so your baby has a good night’s sleep. For older babies, the lightest travel cot we have found is the Phil & Ted’s – Traveller Portable Travel Cot, Dhs899. At only 3.2kg it is compact enough to take with you and can accommodate your wriggly toddler up to three years old. 


A few more tips…

How to entertain a toddler on the plane?
I used to bring zip lock bags with different games in each for example some Lego in one, a tea set in another and card game in another. Rather than bringing the full set of anything, just grab enough of each to keep them constantly amused with something new.

What's in your baby bag? A surprising "must have", a "life saver" or "reliable classic" to share with us?
An absolute must have for travelling with my little ones for me was a comfortable changing mat. The places you end up changing your baby when travelling abroad can sometimes be challenging! When travelling I always took a few of the disposable mats too as much easier than trying to keep washing your favourite one in a hotel sink!

What's your beauty secret on the go to keep you looking fresh while traveling?
Eye cream and hand cream. I can’t seem to manage without either. A gel eye cream before landing certainly perks up my face (an old favourite from my air hostessing days!).

Extra reading… I like this packing list for baby and toddler from babyjetsetter.blogspot.ae

Instagram @dbbabies #dbbabies 

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