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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 September 2018

Travelling with kids: Holidaying with a new baby can have its teething problems

But despite all my research on what to pack and how to fly with a baby, what I failed to do was properly research the hotel and consider the how the weather might affect my sheltered Dubai summer baby

Amanda Tomlinson with her husband Shane and Baby T at the Seychelles. Courtesy Amanda Tomlinson
Amanda Tomlinson with her husband Shane and Baby T at the Seychelles. Courtesy Amanda Tomlinson

Before I became a parent, I was adamant that having a child would not stop me from travelling so last month, 3-month-old Baby T – complete with a freshly printed passportmy husband Shane and I boarded our four-hour flight to the Seychelles.

I had read up on how to make a baby comfortable (and quiet) during a flight, and packed a fortnight’s supply of nappies and wet wipes (even though we were only going for four nights), at least four changes of clothes per day (two for daytime and two for nighttime), a parasol, sunscreen and a few hats. Baby T had a bigger suitcase than my husband and me combined. We had all the gear and no idea.

But despite all my research on what to pack and how to fly with a baby, what I failed to do was properly research the hotel and consider how the weather (or, more specifically, the 80 per cent humidity) might affect my sheltered Dubai summer baby who had never been out of air-conditioning. The little guy had never really been outside.

We arrived at the hotel to discover that none of the restaurants or public areas were air-conditioned. It was fine when there was a sea breeze, but when it was still and sticky, our little boy let us know that his mood matched the clouds – dark and stormy.

With a bit of trial and error, we worked out the breeziest parts of the main restaurant, and put our foot down if anyone suggested we sit elsewhere. We tag-teamed during meals – I would go to the buffet, stack my plate with the nearest food, then race back to the table and shovel it into my mouth, while my husband entertained the baby. Then it was his turn.

One night, we hired a babysitter so that we could go to an a la carte restaurant and take our time eating. Baby T was having none of it. We were called back to our room twice in two hours to settle him. He must have thought he was missing the party.

We got quite a few looks during our family holiday and more than a few comments. People either felt sorry for us, admired us or thought us plain stupid for taking a 3-month-old on holiday.

One man at lunch was quick to tell me that Baby T was “too young” to travel. A woman on the flight said we were brave. And don’t get me started on the woman who was impressed by my husband’s involvement in raising his own child.

All that (mostly) well-meaning feedback got me thinking. Were we brave? Yes, we probably were. Was he too young to travel? Possibly, but you have to start sometime. Were we selfish? Yes ... But while we have the means and the ability, we will want to continue to travel and that means dragging Baby T along for the adventure – nappies, wet wipes, parasols and all.

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Read more:

If you can't beat the UAE heat, your children may be able to help you out

Travelling with kids: Discovering fresh delights in a new city

Travel secrets: well-run children’s clubs contribute to a fun family holiday

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