Packing for a UK holiday with a baby – the things you really need!

It’s extremely easy to get carried away when packing for holiday with a baby, and overwhelmed at the thought of remembering everything! Taking a break in the UK when you have a newborn is a great alternative to going abroad because let’s face it, having a car and the option to come back home if it all goes tits up is incredibly reassuring.

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Earlier in the year myself and the sprog spent 5 days over at my Mums, and at the time I made a rough list of things I thought I would need. This week we are away with the family on holiday in Suffolk, and having revised the list of the essentials I feel like I’ve somehow managed to wing a pretty good list together.

So if you are thinking of taking your little one away this year I’d love to save you the stress and share this list:

  • Travel cot/crib *some hotels/holiday parks will provide these for you – double check. In an attempt to recreate the familiar environment of our bedroom at home, we take our Next2Me crib. A Moses basket would work in the same way, whilst also acting as an open suitcase to put other items in for space saving* – some babies are very good at adapting to new surrounding and sleep well in unfamiliar places. But for a bit of reassurance in the very early days I found this the best method to half guarantee a decent nights sleep for both you and baby.
  • Bedding (mattress cover, growbag/blanket) plus a spare for potential leakage/sick up situations.
  • Monitor (both parts!)
  • Bottles if bottle feeding
  • Bottle brush for washing up
  • Washing up liquid
  • Formula milk
  • Breast pads, shields, pumps etc if breastfeeding
  • Travel Steriliser (we have one that you bung in the microwave that will do 2 bottles) or steriliser tablets if access to a microwave is going to be tricky
  • Changing mat
  • Nappies
  • Nappy sacks (alternatively bags/tubs for dirty reusable nappies & cloths)
  • Wipes/cotton wool
  • Muslins (can you ever have too many of these?!)
  • Bath stuff – shampoo, sponges, flannel, water temperature gage, jug, chair/aid, towels, lotion, talc etc etc
  • Meds – if your baby has any. Calpol/Nurofen for back up, infacol/gripe water if you have a windy baby (for us it’s the Gaviscon for reflux) teething gel/drops/granules if you are at this stage. Nappy rash/barrier creams for babies and nipple cream for Mums. Whilst I’m here, paracetamol/ibuprofen for parents. Because, well, parents.
  • Baby clothes for the day (spares galore, the more the merrier)
  • Baby clothes for night – babygrows/pjs
  • Baby outdoor wear – snowsuit/blankets, hats etc during colder months aka most of the year in the UK!
  • Baby swim stuff – swim nappies and nappy cover/swimsuit
  • Buggy & rain cover
  • Sling/carrier if you baby wear – a great way to explore hands free whilst on holiday
  • Baby nail clippers/file (our little one is currently trying to enter the Guinness World Record book for quickest nail growing by a 5 month old, whilst also learning the new skill of clenching and grasping, so we are trimming every other day!)
  • Blackout blind – if you have a travel one fab. Bin liners and tape do a good job if you get desperate.
  • Bedtime story books
  • Toys/comforters
  • Ziplock bags (really handy for keeping things as sanitised as possible. Spare dummies, teethers, meds etc.) 
  • Bowls, spoons, bibs, food, hand blender (if you are at the weaning stage) – this can be quite expansive in terms of what you do with your baby so go crazy, just remember the space you have/haven’t got in the car. Also think about the highchair situation and consider packing a feeding booster seat if you’re going somewhere that definitely doesn’t have one.
  • Bouncer/playmat – not essential but handy for somewhere to put baby and keep them occupied.
  • Phone charger (because there’s nothing worse than being stuck under a sleeping baby with a dead phone…)
  • Baby changing bag (having listed nappies, sacks, wipes in this list, these are all a second set to leave at holiday base camp so to speak – whether it be your parents, a cottage, caravan park or hotel – I can assure you having a second set of all of these is invaluable. The last thing you want is to be transferring wipes from bag to changing station and then forgetting to put them back in the bag, going to change little one out and about and uh oh, they’re not where you thought they were. Easily done.)
  • Oh, and all your stuff! Clothes, toothbrush, make up, shower things, shoes, coats, money, holiday paperwork etc.

I’m going to put a disclaimer out here that this list is *obviously* subjective to personal choice, but in general these are the things that we packed/crammed into the car and actually used! Also it goes without saying that most of these items you can easily pick up at supermarkets near to your holiday destination if you arrive and realise you didn’t pack them i.e washing up liquid, baby food pouches, formula etc. But if you’re anything like I was in the early days, having things prepared can be a life saver, especially if you have a grizzly monkey who needs something fast, or are in a particularly rural location.

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Just remember, it’s a huge achievement to have organised a holiday and reached your destination with a small baby! Consider the time it takes to travel in the car and try to plan breaks along the way if it’s far. Always majorly over estimate the time it will take to get there, and if you do arrive ridiculously early, find a garden centre with an aquarium and let the little one enjoy a free sensory experience to fill time. Not to sound like an OAP but garden centres always have nice cafes and good changing facilities. Result. If you have any extra things that you think I should add to this list please comment below, would love to hear about people’s packing experiences!

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