Tuesday 14 January 2020

PARENTHOOD: Tips for Visiting Family or Friends with a Newborn Baby

PARENTHOOD: Tips for Visiting Family or Friends with a Newborn Baby
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Travelling and staying over at family or friend's houses isn't always the easiest thing to do with a newborn baby. Despite being so small they somehow require a lot of equipment, have an intense feeding routine and the witching hour is never any fun! Over Christmas we spent a lot of time travelling around to visit different family members with our three children, who are 4 years old, 2 years old and 8 weeks old, which came with a number of challenges to overcome. When it came to coordinating travel times, planning ahead with regards to packing and fitting in with other people's plans it we became well practiced in the skill of travelling and visiting family with a newborn baby. There are many events throughout the year that may require travelling around to see family or friends, including Christmas, Easter, Holidays, Birthdays, Weddings, Christenings etc. I thought I might be helpful to share some of the ways which we found the whole experience a lot easier, calmer and generally more enjoyable.

Use Love To Dream Newborn Swaddles to make night time sleeping more familiar for your baby. Rory has loved his Love to Dream Newborn Up Swaddle since he was around 3 weeks old and I have honestly noticed such a difference with his sleep. He used to startle a lot and wake himself up, but doesn't do that at all when snuggled in the swaddle. At home he sleeps in a co-sleeper next to me, so I was nervous about all the travelling and staying at other people's houses over the festive period. We weren't able to take the co-sleeper with us in the car, so he had to sleep in the bassinet part of his pram. By taking the Love to Dream Swaddle with us he didn't seem to notice that he wasn't in an open co-sleeper, but instead in a more enclosed bassinet. I think this is because he was in a familiar and comfortable position, so didn't startle and touch the sides which both our daughters used to do.
Don't travel during your baby's witching hour, which in our case is between 5-7pm. If you know your baby has an hour or two of being unsettled then ideally don't plan to travel during those hours. This can be tricky when organising to meet family or friends, but I'm sure they will understand if you explain the situation and remember that this isn't forever.

Use white noise during longer car journeys and at night time. We have the Soothing Turtle Slumber Buddy from Summer, which I'd highly recommend as it is completely portable and has a sensory lightshow that can be used if travelling when it is dark too.
Take the bassinet part of your pram, if it can be used as a small moses basket during the night. It also saves having to take a moses basket and a pram when space is always limited in the car boot. We have the Peg Perego Team Pushchair with the Navetta Pop-Up Bassinet, which can fold flat helping with boot space if it is limited. It has such a clever, unique design and worked perfectly for Rory while visiting family over Christmas. 

Take a scarf with you if you're breastfeeding. Rory is the first autumn/winter baby I've had and using a scarf as a breastfeeding cover has made life so much easier. I find that when you're at someone else's house it can be tricky to set yourself up a little breastfeeding station so by always wearing a scarf you will never be without a breastfeeding cover. It is such a discreet way of breastfeeding in public, doesn't slip off your shoulder constantly and is easier to carry around than a single muslin cloth. 

Pack more than you think you'll need; this is mainly to reduce any worry about running out of nappies/clothes/wipes etc. If we're visiting family for a day then I'd tend to pack Rory two spare outfits to cover any leaking nappies or sick explosions. It is also always a good idea to take spare clothes for yourself because I've lost count of the amount of times I've been covered in sick and needed to change at least my jumper/cardigan.

Look after yourself as well because life with a newborn can be very all consuming. It can just be little things like taking a water bottle to ensure you drink enough or pack a few snacks for those long feeds. If relatives/friends offer to hold your baby while you have a bath or get ready then take them up on the offer. As a parent who rarely has any help at home it is such a luxury to have other people offer to hold our baby while we have a little lie-in/get ready etc.

If you're bottle or combination feeding then I'd highly recommend the MAM bottles for travelling around with. They are self-sterilising, therefore not requiring an additional steriliser and saving on space. Their bottles are also anti-colic, which can really help in those early days as your baby is establishing bottle feeding.

Take a baby carrier with you, as it can be the only way to have two hands-free. I barely ever wore my first child, but when my second baby came along I discovered the incredible world of babywearing and haven't looked back since. It is honestly life changing and makes parenting multiple children a lot easier. Personally, I love the Baby Bjorn Move, Ergobaby All Position 360 and Fornessi Wrap, all of which I've used since Rory was born and can't recommend enough. Being able to breastfeed while wearing the carrier is an important feature to me because it means that we don't have to stop as often to feed Rory. Out of these three carriers I am able to feed in the Move and 360. The Baby Bjorn Move is ideal for days out or when you want your baby to sleep because you can put the back straps on under your coat/cardigan; then when you get to your destination all you have to do is attach the front carrier section and pop your baby in. It is really convenient that the front part of the carrier comes off completely and since its release at the end of 2019 we've used it multiple times a week. The Ergobaby 360 baby carrier is a firm favourite, especially post four months when the insert isn't needed anymore. The inbuilt sun protector is really handy in the summer and offers some privacy when breastfeeding too. From my experience breastfeeding has been easier in the 360, with or without the infant insert. The OMNI 360 is also an excellent baby carrier option from Ergobaby and doesn't require the infant insert. I have compared the two carriers here, if you're wondering what the differences are. Lastly, the Fornessi Wrap is a compact wrap that takes up minimal space when travelling, can be kept in your changing bag for emergencies and is ideal if you're sitting down at all. 

Visiting family and friends with a newborn baby can seem daunting, but by planning and preparing you can make it a more relaxed enjoyable experience for all.

Do you have any tips for visiting family/friends with a newborn baby?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x


  1. Great tips here. It can be so hard to travel with a baby but you’ve shown that with some forward planning it can be made much easier.

    Rory is so adorable x

  2. I always used to find going anywhere really hard because I don't drive. Means carting so much around.

  3. Great tips! I don't think we travelled with either of our boys until they were about 4-5 months old, I didn't want the stress. Though then my whole family came to see us, which was also a bit stressful though in a different kind of way.

  4. We're quite lucky as our family are pretty much on the doorstep so I didn't have to travel far with either of my two when they were babies. I don't drive either so it definitely wouldn't have been easy if I'd had to!

    Louise x

  5. There are some really good considerations and tips here. I like the part about making sure you look after yourself too xx

  6. Great tips! We travelled a lot from Singapore when my daughter was young and it can be challenging. We also loved the Love To Dream swaddles - such a life saver!

  7. Some great tips here. I'll certainly be keeping them in mind when Babqla arrives on the summer.

  8. These are great tips! I definitely wasn’t as brave as you when mine was little. You make traveling with a baby look so easy 😊

  9. These are great tips for both new parents and those thinking about visiting families with newborns. I did not know about witching hour, what a term lol.


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