Feeding your baby while on holiday
One baby. Two cars. The kitchen sink.
This was how we approached our first family holiday, which incidentally was ninety minutes from home. Three kids later and I’m proud to say that I’ve gotten packing lite down to a fine art. OK, maybe I’ve gone too far the other way, meaning we often arrive without the essentials. But we get by!
Holidaying with a new baby is a unique experience and no more so than when it comes to feeding. If you can get away before weaning starts, then please grab the chance. However, if you’ve missed the boat (pardon the pun!), don’t fret. I’ve got you covered with some simple tips on how to feed your baby while you’re away.
So, I want to share with you my Top 5 Tips for feeding your weaning baby while on holiday, whether at home or abroad, from a dietitian’ mum’s perspective.
Tip 1: Firstly, don’t sweat it!
There is a good chance that your baby will eat a lot less than usual while you’re away. A combination of a hotter climate if abroad and being out of routine will throw them off course. However, there’s no need to worry, a week or two with less food isn’t going to cause any lasting damage. They may even compensate by drinking more milk.
It is crucial, though, to keep up the fluids if you’re somewhere hot. If you’re breastfeeding, then continue to feed on demand (there is no need for extra water). If you’re bottle feeding, then you may need to offer extra water. If the water is safe to use, then make up your bottles as usual. Otherwise, you can use bottled water but remember this still needs to be boiled.
If you must use bottled water, don’t choose one labelled as natural mineral water and check the label to make sure the water contains:
Less than 20mg per 100mls of sodium (Na)
No more than 25mg per 100mls of sulphate (SO4).
Alternatively, you could pack cartons of pre-prepared formula. When flying you can take baby weaning food or milk in your hand luggage; security may ask to see you taste it. If your baby is following a special diet, then many airlines will increase your baggage allowance once you have a letter from your health professional.
Tip 2: Pack some staples
It’s worth making a bit of space in your case for a few familiar foods that you know your baby will eat. This will ease your mind if nothing else.
Weetabix, Ready Brek or plain baby porridge is easy to make up even in a hotel room (don’t forget a bowl and a spoon!). Breadsticks, plain rice cakes, smooth nut butter and milled seeds are all handy options.
Baby pouches may not be something you use at home, but they can be useful when you’re away, and it’s easier to bring them from home than trying to Google translate the ingredients. Go for ones that have <5g sugar per pouch and the highest % meat, fish or lentil content you can find. As pouches tend to be runny compared to home cooked foods, it’s worth road testing a few before you go to see which are most like your food. Don’t be surprised if your baby is punching above his age group here! Lastly, when it comes to feeding your baby, always feed using a bowl and spoon rather than feeding straight from the pouch.
Tip 3: Shop local
The fresh ripe fruit is a great option, and there’s usually a better selection of fresh ripe fruit abroad so make use of these as finger foods or mash with a fork (maybe bring one with you!). Avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes (quartered), can all be eaten raw (wash them!). Natural yoghurt, cheese (pasteurised) should also be readily available in most places. Well-cooked eggs are another handy staple (try boiling them in your hotel kettle!), serve quartered as finger food or mashed with some milk or avocado.
Tip 4: Eat together
You may be able to share some of your meal with your baby even if you’re eating out. You’ll need to be careful with foods that have added salt, so ask for some foods to be served plain, like vegetables, rice, pasta, potatoes, meat, or fish (you might need to practice saying this before you go if there’s a language barrier!).
Tip 5: Stay safe
If you follow the same rules around weaning as at home, you’ll have no problems. Holiday time, especially abroad, is not the best time to introduce a potentially allergenic food, so either make sure you’ve offered it lots of times before you go or else hold off until you come home.
Lastly, you’re on holidays so relax and enjoy yourself! Bon voyage x