Holidaying With Kids And a Breastfed Baby ....... Emily's expectations versus reality
Holidaying with kids is…how can I put this? It’s…well, let’s just say it’s different to previous holidays you may have taken with friends or as a couple without kids. And by different, I mean, you may feel like you need a holiday to recover from the ‘holiday’ you just had. Add a breastfed baby into the mix and it’s a whole new ball game where your expectations may be quite different to what really happens!
Holiday Preparations Expectation: shop for new swimwear, get professionally waxed and tanned, buy matching resort wear for the family (imagine the gorgeous Facebook pics you will be posting!)
Reality: find old maternity bathers in drawer and consider if they are decent enough to wear in public. Shave legs. Spot a $6 breastfeeding singlet in Kmart and buy it in every available colour.
Road trip Expectation: pack nutritious snacks for the journey, make a Spotify playlist of kid’s songs and play fun family games in the car like eye spy. Make rest stops at quaint towns with craft markets.
Reality: eat all the healthy snacks before making it out of your home town and listen to the kids ask for Maccas for the next hour. Rest stop at Maccas followed by numerous stops at petrol stations to use toilets, breastfeed and change the baby. Repeatedly explain the rules of eye spy – you need to actually be able to currently ‘spy’ the object, and that object does in fact need to start with the letter you state it does. Abandon kid’s playlist after 4 tracks of torture to your ears.
Eating out Expectation: restaurant with a view where the family can experience the local cuisine while watching the sun set and reflect on the amazing experiences shared by all that day.
Reality: anywhere that serves hot chips, has a kid’s play area, and somewhere to change a nappy without turning people off their dinner.
Couple time: Expectation: put the kids to bed, drink expensive champagne, connect emotionally and physically.
Reality: forget to buy the expensive champagne. Breastfeed baby to sleep and attempt to place in cot as though handling a grenade that could go off at any second. Answer important bedtime questions from toddler such as ‘what noise does a giraffe make’ and ‘how long does it take to count to infinity’. Get toddler a drink. Take toddler to toilet and put back to bed. Disturb baby while resettling toddler. Breastfeed baby again, resettle in your bed by laying down, shushing and closing your eyes until you wake up 3 hours later with the baby asleep between you and your sleeping husband.
Arriving home Expectation: feeling refreshed and relaxed, upload your favourite holiday happy snaps to all your social media platforms while chatting with your husband about where your next family holiday will be. Have a bath and an early night.
Reality: arrive home to an empty fridge and cupboards, hungry kids and 10 loads of holiday washing that need to be done. Eat dry biscuits with butter for dinner and throw all kids in the bath together. Collapse on the couch after unpacking, washing and hanging clothes, cleaning, grocery shopping and finally getting the kids to bed at 10pm, and laugh about how you’ll miss these days when they’re all grown up.
Emily's survival tips
My number 1 tip for surviving the chaos of holidaying with kids is to enjoy the journey!
Remember, you are on baby time nowadays. Take plenty of rest and ‘breast’ stops on your journeys and try to take a ‘go with the flow’ approach rather than scheduling in every activity. Everything takes a bit longer with little ones in tow, but my advice is to embrace it! Take notice of their perfectly soft and flawless skin while you are applying sunscreen to their little faces and bodies numerous times a day. Kiss their tiny pea shaped toes before you put on their shoes for the umpteenth time, one day they will be old enough to do to it themselves and won’t need your help. Admire how they can spread an ice cream from their hair to their toes and everywhere in between without a care in the world. Appreciate how they continually stop to look at things when out and about, one day they’ll stop noticing the ants crawling on the footpath and won’t want to smell every flower growing in a garden. Hold them when they are babies, clutch their hands when they can walk, and carry them when their legs get tired.
These are the treasured holiday moments that memories are made of!
Photo of Emily by Australian Breastfeeding Project -The Australian Breastfeeding Project: Feeding the Change aims to create awareness through education and public participation on the Australia wide photo sessions as well as on social media and via news media exposure. The photo shoot series will be displayed on these platforms and physically in cafés, venues and galleries across Australia to showcase the beauty.
Every participant is involved in helping nomalise breastfeeding together we will fill social media with breastfeeding images and support each other in changing negative stigmas associated with breastfeeding.
Together we are feeding the change!
Emily Brittingham is a mum of three beautiful young children and a qualified Breastfeeding Counsellor with the Australian Breastfeeding Assocation. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Sciences Degree (Health Sciences) as a pathway to becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.