December Holiday Packing Checklist

A family holiday is a great chance to get away from it all and enjoy some quality time in different surroundings. With luck, your baby may be the ideal traveller and sleep for a good deal of the time. That said, it's surprising how much gear she'll need to keep her comfortable and happy. 

Here's a checklist of items you and your baby shouldn't go on holiday without.

Baby Travel Accessories

Car Seat
A securely-fitted seat is essential for safe travel by car, plane, train or bus. It can also double as a handy baby seat for when you arrive at your destination.

Pushchair
An all-terrain pushchair is ideal for off-road and bumpy walks, while a lightweight collapsible stroller is better suited to town and city locations.

Blanket
Not only will this be useful on the journey for comfort, shade and warmth, but if it smells of home it may also help to comfort your baby.

Baby Sling
A good sling or baby carrier can be invaluable for getting about with your baby easily. Babywearing can be especially handy in a busy airport, train station or city.

Bed and Bath Supplies

Breastfeeding
Take a shawl or muslin square if you would like some privacy for you and your baby when there are lots of people about, such as on a flight. If you want to express milk while on holiday, pack a breast pump too.

SippyNipple
Whenever you're on the go- it's always a relief to have a couple SippyNipples on hand in your travel bag, diaper bag and in the car when energencies arise. Sippy Nipple instantly converts water bottles into baby bottles keeping both mom and baby happy.

Bottled Milk
If you want to bring expressed breast milk or formula, take enough for the journey. You may want to bring enough formula for your entire holiday if you're worried about it being available at your destination. In this case, pack plenty of ready-made formula or formula powder, plus bottles, teats, sterilising equipment and a bottle warmer.

Meals
Pack some jars or tubs of food, either homemade or ready-prepared. Bring more than you think you'll need for the trip, just in case. If you're flying, the usual restrictions on liquids don't apply to your baby's food and drink.

Snacks
Bring plenty in case of any delays. Good options include boxes of raisins, rice cakes, breadsticks and fruit bars.

Feeding equipment
Pack bibs, beakers, spoons and wipes, SippyNipples, plus a plastic bag for dirty items.

Clothing and Nappies

Cool clothes
Choose long-sleeved tops, and long trousers or dresses to keep the sun off your baby.

Warm clothes
If you are going somewhere cool, bring clothes that are easy to layer so that your baby will always be comfortable. Even hot countries can suddenly lose heat at the end of the day.

Hats
To keep the sun off, pack a hat with a wide brim that covers your baby's face and neck. If it will be chilly, pack a woollen or fleece hat for warmth.

Plenty of Outfits
If possible, find out whether there are laundry facilities available where you're staying. If so, you'll only need to bring a few outfits, but otherwise try to pack two complete sets for each day.

Nappies and Nappy Supplies
Pack lots of nappies for the journey. If you're worried about being able to buy them at your destination, you may want to take enough for the whole trip. Also pack nappy rash cream, nappy bags and wipes. You may like to take a travel mat for on-the-go changes.

Sleep Supplies

Bath Plug
A universal travel bath plug fits any plughole, and is useful for turning any basin into a baby bath. A pair of socks over the taps will prevent your little one from turning them on.

Toiletries
Pack your usual sponge, baby wash, shampoo and lotion.

Blankets
Take enough covers for your baby, including her usual sleeping bag if she uses one.

Sleepsuits or Pyjamas
Pack a few pairs so your little one will always be snug at night.

Plug-in Night-Light
This can be useful for night-time feeds and nappy changes.

Other Baby Essentials

Travel Cot
Find out if your accommodation will supply one before you go. If not, you may have to bring your own.

Passports
Everyone travelling will need a valid passport, including your baby. If possible, make sure all passports are valid for six months after your return date. You should also check whether you need a visa to enter the country you are visiting. If your baby doesn't share your surname, you may also need some extra documents, listed in official travel advice from the UK government.

First-Aid Kit
Be sure to take all the important first-aid supplies for you and your baby. Include useful phone numbers in the kit, such as emergency contacts, insurance helplines and the number for your accommodation.

Sunscreen
Pack a sunscreen of at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and make sure it is effective against UVA and UVB. Use a generous amount on your baby. If your baby is younger than six months, keep her out of the sun completely.

Swim Nappies
If you're heading to the beach or pool, take your own supply, as they can be hard to find abroad.

Baby Monitor
This will be particularly useful if your baby is sleeping indoors while you enjoy the evening on the terrace.

Travel Blackout Blinds
If you want to put your baby down for a nap during the day, you may find that blocking out the sunlight helps her to settle.

Travel Stair Gate
This will give you peace of mind if you're worried about doors to balconies or pools.

Plug Adapter
If you're going abroad, you'll need at least one of these so you can use your baby monitor or night-light, and charge your phone.

Camera
Finally, don't forget to capture those wonderful memories of your family holiday! Remember to take your charger and an extra memory card too.

Prep for a Great Holiday

As a parent, there’s no escaping your responsibilities this time of year. Whether your oldest is back from college, or you just drove your newborn home from the hospital, kids present all sorts of unique challenges around the holidays. But with a little practice, you can ace each one. Here's how to survive some of December's trickiest parenting pitfalls.

Road-Tripping with an Infant
Babies aren’t immune to jet lag. You need to help them adjust, or no one’s going to get much sleep this holiday. If you’re only going to be gone for 2 or 3 days, do your best to stick to your tyke's usual timetable. That means if your daughter usually goes to sleep at 9 p.m. in New York, you need to put her down at 6 p.m. on the West Coast, (Also, be prepared for her to wake up three hours earlier than usual.)

If you’re going on a longer trip—or if your holiday plans include a flight overseas—you can help your child adjust to the time shift by putting her to bed and waking her up 15 minutes earlier or later each day in the two weeks leading up to your travel date, Casano recommends. (If you're heading east, shift the times earlier. If west, later.) Whatever time of day it is, make sure your baby’s room is nice and bright when you wake her up, and as dark as possible when she goes to bed. Light is essential to helping set her sleep rhythms, 

And above all, make sure your kid's sleeping environment is consistent: That means lugging around whatever noise machines, humidifiers, or other bedtime accessories you normally surround her with at bedtime, Plus, stick to your usual pre-bed routines, whether that includes a bath or story time, Your child relies on those cues.

Controlling Candy Intake
From gingerbread cookies to candy canes, sugar-loaded goodies are plentiful during the holidays. When your toddler’s eyes get big at the sight of all those sweets, consider setting your sugar concerns aside for a change, When given the opportunity to really go to town, toddlers tend not to eat as many sweets as you'd expect. Small children typically “graze” if left to their own devices—meaning they’re satisfied after just a few bites of most desserts. The holidays only come once a year. “It’s okay to loosen the reins a bit.”