Thursday, 9 June 2011

Delight of the week... Sleeping bags

I can remember when I was in junior school writing a test on idioms. The one I strangely remember getting wrong was "sleeping like... a log". I wrote "sleeping like... a baby". It has taken twenty odd years or so for me to finally comprehend the error. Sleeping like a log obviously implies lying in the place you fell. Sleeping like a baby (or in our case Leah), however, does not.

Our little lady's nocturnal habits involve wriggling her way around the cot in her sleep and occasionally crying out in frustration - while still asleep, might I add - when she finds herself stuck in a corner.

We thought that a baby sleeping bag might help. While it certainly doesn't keep her still - she somehow manages to crawl and stand up in hers, aspiring to be a star in the sack race one day - she is at least warm while on her nightly missions. She loves hers, and will actually now tell us when she's ready to go to sleep by snuggling up to it.

The perfect baby gift, my favourites are by Aden and Anais (Leah is pictured in this one) and The Gro Company.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Bali Baby

A few piccies of our recent trip to Bali with one curious and very sociable young lady. I think the photos say it all really... a lush escape where one is constantly greeted by friendly, welcoming faces. We stayed at Laguna Resort and Spa, Nusa Dua, and while we unfortunately got the very drizzly end of the rainy season, we did have one beautiful sunny day in Ubud hiking through the rice paddies, meeting locals and watching Leah's very special first encounter with an elephant just about her age.

If this all makes travelling with a baby look effortless, trust me, we've had to clock up a few air miles (Dublin, Perth, South Africa...) to master the art. And I believe there's still more to learn.

Before we had Leah, Gav and I dreamily talked about trips and hikes we would take with our new little addition. Why on earth would things change that much? I pictured him/her watching the world, wide-eyed from a snazzy sling... us snapping away at the sights (and our adorable munchkin)... our back packs now also holding a few biodegradable nappies and pots of baby food. Chuckle.

Now that my rose-tinted sunnies have shifted slightly (well, actually, they've been gnawed on by the teething tot and are falling apart), I can say that while showing the world to your little one is hugely rewarding and entertaining, it requires a little more planning than simply throwing nappies in your knapsack. A friend (who's just had her first little boy) emailed me asking for tips on travelling to Bali, so here is what I can offer...

Doing Bali with a Baby?
Breast is best - If you breastfeed, do. You won't have to worry about sterilizing bottles and boiling water to ward off Bali Belly. You'll also you save a fair bit of luggage space leaving out bottles and formula, and your baby's beverage will be there and ready whether you're in the airport lounge, 40 000 feet up or trekking through a forest. 
Add salt - Pack rehydration salt sachets or tablets in case you or bub do end up with a bit of a stomach upset. 
Bug off - Don't forget the Deet-free mozzie repellant. If you can get your hands on something like So Pure Mosquito Spray (it's pesticide-free, non-toxic and smells great... the girl in the shop told me I could even eat it!!) all the better. 
A bit of a squeeze - Chances are that you won't be able to cook or easily get your hands on pre-prepared baby food? Forget about packing an inventory of bottled nosh and go for easy squeezy baby food sachets like Rafferty's Garden, Organic Bubs and Only Organic. Life Savers!!! 
Stroll in the park - If your baby is still light enough to be carried in a sling or Baby Bjorn-type carrier, you'll save yourself a whole lot of space, luggage weight and stress leaving the stroller behind. I recommend leaving the stroller behind whenever travelling, if possible. I've had airport staff admitting that folding up some baby buggies requires a degree, and you can't be certain that yours will come out in one piece on the other side.
Resort to this - Now is not the time for camping out in a tree house (unless it's five star, of course). You'll all have a far better break if you treat yourselves to a hotel stay. The restaurants will happily provide a few extra pieces of fruit for babies at meal times. Chances are high that you'll also get a few free minutes to enjoy some wonderful Balinese cuisine as the waiters whisk your child away for a game of "chiluk ba" (peekaboo). And a hotel with a spa means one thing... you and dad can take turns enjoying hard-earned massages while your less-seasoned travel companion naps. 
Save a seat - Ask your hotel to arrange for a taxi pick-up at the airport, with a baby seat!
Baby-friendly sightseeing - Seminyak may be one of the main tourist attractions for its shopping, but with that comes with streets buzzing with motorbikes (and some serious headache-inducing fumes). Your time will be better spent up in the hills of Ubud (scenes from Eat Pray Love were filmed here), enjoying the tranquility of the forests and rice paddies. The Elephant Safari Park Lodge is also located in Ubud, and nothing lulls a baby to sleep like the lazy, lumbering steps of an elephant.