When I imagined having a baby I never assumed I’d be going abroad within the first year of having them let alone that I’d be taking a 6 month old abroad. It’s always something I wanted to do, but as someone who suffers with anxiety quite a bit especially within situations where I can’t control every aspect or I’m not in my usual routine, the thought of taking a baby under the age of 1 or even under 2/3 absolutely terrified me. Fast forward a bit to actually being pregnant and having my boyfriends brother and sister-in-law move abroad to Cyprus, it became more of a situation of ‘When are we going?’ from ‘will we go abroad?’. There was no question in our heads that we wouldn’t take Madison to see her auntie and uncle and of course, take advantage of the free accommodation whilst we could (they’re out there with the RAF and so will be coming home after a 3 year posting).
As soon as Madison was born we booked the flights & got her a passport sorted and then it came time to think of all the logistics of taking a 6 month old abroad. Luckily, Madison is pretty solid in her routine and I knew we wouldn’t have to take too much with us for her food and Milk wise. Of course we’re in a pretty unusual situation where Steves brother & sister-in-law have been able to borrow / buy lots of stuff for us out in Cyprus to entertain Madison with and make our lives much easier. So, for the purpose of this blog post and ease of finding certain areas that you might be worried about with travelling abroad with your little one, I’ve sectioned it all up for you!
Milk & Food
As I started weaning Madison at 5 months, food for us was pretty simple. I took her bowl and a couple of her baby spoons that I know she ate well with and made porridge to take to the airport with us for her breakfast before our flight. As we were staying at Graham and Emily’s house and not a hotel, being able to cook for Madison as I normally would at home was really easy and although she was teething pretty bad when we were out there and refused food for a few days, I was still able to make her porridge and still give her mashed up, baby-friendly versions of the meals we were eating. And if all else failed (which it did with the teething) I was still able to give her some fruit puree pouches or yoghurts that Emily and I either made or bought in the store on base.
As for milk, Madison was on 4 bottles a day whilst we were out there and we just made them as we usually would when we were out and about in the UK, with boiled water and her milk powder. Not having her Perfect Prep Machine was a little hard to get used to to begin with but with a bowl of icy water to cool down the boiled water in the bottle, it only took a few minutes to get to the perfect temperature. As she had a bad belly for the first couple of days we did start buying ‘baby water’ (which I 100% took the piss out of originally) which is pre-sterilised water that can be poured straight from the bottle into her milk powder and that was an absolute lifesaver whilst out and about. We’d often asked for 2oz of boiling water in a cafe and then filled up to the 6oz mark with baby water from the bottle. It made our holiday with a 6 month old abroad so much easier knowing exactly what we were doing with her feeds every day.
At home, as with the Perfect Prep machine, we also have a Tommee Tippee Electric Steriliser which is an absolute Godsend and with taking a 6 month old abroad and obviously unable to take that with us (although I did think about it originally) I couldn’t think of what to do. I actually took with me a ‘microwavable pouch’ which I’d gotten in one of my Bump packs whilst I was pregnant and although I think it would’ve done the job fine, we were pretty lucky that Emily had picked up a second hand Milton sterilising bucket with about a million sterilising tablets. We filled this with water and popped one or two of the tablets in every night and used it throughout the day to sterilise her bottles. I know you’re supposed to sterilise everything with a baby under 1, but I’ve never really bothered sterilising things like her teething toys and spoons etc but as she had a bad belly on holiday we were literally sticking everything in there!
Bed Time Routine
Madison has been in a really good bed time routine and slept through since she was about 6 weeks old and although we’d gone to Centre Parcs the weekend before and knew that she’d dealt well with being in a new place for those couple of days and still slept through, there was still a little bit of doubt in the back of my mind as to whether she’d deal with the time difference and being in a different place in Cyprus. Luckily for us, we’d both agreed from the beginning that we would alter her bedtime routine so that it was still in ‘English’ time and it worked really well. We got her in the bath at around 9pm and she was asleep by about 10-10.30pm which with the two hour time difference coincided really well with her English timings. She then woke up between 8 and 9 am which was just perfect for us. Keeping her in English time (as it was only a 2 hour time difference) was definitely the best idea for us and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re thinking of taking your 6 month old abroad (or baby/toddler in general).
I’d purposefully booked flights at certain times so that it would be easier with Maddy, which actually worked out really well because they were cheaper too. For on the way out we flew at 8am which meant waking Madison up from her usually strict routine of 8.30pm bed and 7.30am wakeup at 4am. We changed her nappy, popped her in her car seat and bundled her up with blankets ready for the hour journey to Bristol. Unsurprisingly she was actually really happy and chill when we woke her up and after a couple of minutes in the car she drifted back off to sleep. Once at the airport we gave her some porridge that I’d made the night before and kept her morning milk for the flight and take off. She was amazing throughout and minus a poop explosion that had us running for the gate (lol at my life, I thought we were so organised – who ever thought a 20 minute window was enough when the gate is 10000 miles away?!) we had no issues whatsoever with her. As we wanted she had her usual 8oz bottle as we took of and she fell asleep in my lap for about half an hour. It wasn’t as long as I had wanted but she was happy and content playing with me, Steve and her toys throughout the rest of the flight. We’d also taken my iPad filled with Disney films downloaded from DisneyLife and had grabbed a couple of pouches for her lunch in the air. I’d also bought the Cow&Gate pre-made formula bottles too so that it was easier and quicker to feed her in an otherwise difficult situation.
On the way back from Paphos our flight was set to take off at 10pm which was perfect as we’d been getting her to bed for around that time anyway. Unfortunately the flight was delayed by about 35 minutes and by the time we were on the plane, it had taken a lot to keep her happy and entertained. As everyone was boarding I popped into the in-flight toilet with her to change her nappy and sat down as the doors were being shut. Steve fed her her 8oz bed-time bottle and she fell asleep as we took off. For. The. Whole. Flight. *Love-heart-eyes-emoji*.
We were picked up my Steve’s Dad and she settled into her car seat with a bit of milk at around 1.30am after being so good and smiley through passport control and an extremely quick baggage claim. There was barely a stir from her as we got her home; Steve changed her nappy and got her into the sleeping bag I’d just unpacked for her and she fell asleep almost immediately after she was placed in her cot. She didn’t wake up until 10am. Have I mentioned I LOVE MY DAUGHTER?!
We were so proud of Madison and how she was throughout the whole holiday and getting to see family was the best thing. Taking a 6 month old abroad was a hell of a lot easier than I thought it would be and I can’t wait to book our flights out there again next year! Have you taken your baby abroad? How did you find it? Or are you planning on it soon?
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