Whether you are off in search of some much needed sun, or braving the British weather at a family festival this summer, weaning away from home can be a daunting prospect. Hannah gives us some top tips for weaning and travelling.
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I spent the majority of my 20’s travelling as a nanny to a number of Pro golfers. As well as ensuring the babies slept well (as I was often the one sharing the hotel room with the baby so it was in my best interest!) I was of course also in charge of feeding their little ones while away. I learnt to be quite resourceful when it came to feeding and weaning babies without a kitchen.
Writing this article combines 2 of my favorite things to talk about- eating and travelling!
Here are my tip tips for weaning while away!
First and foremost- relax! Up until a year your baby's main source of nutrition can be their milk feeds. If they eat a little less while away they will compensate by taking more milk
Appetite naturally decreases in a hotter climate (unless you’re an adult on an all inclusive holiday it seems!). Don’t be at all concerned if your baby's solid food intake decreases while away. The only important thing is that they drink fluids by way of water and milk feeds.
- When making up bottles it's best to not use tap water. Even in countries where the locals drink tap water it can have different levels of minerals which can upset sensitive tummies. Bottled spring water is best which is available in most supermarkets locally.
You could, of course, take boxes of formula with you, these can be put into your suitcase in the hold or can be ordered in advance from Boots past security in most airports.
When flying you can take fluids over 100mls in hand luggage – security may just ask you to taste the water/ formula you are carrying.
- Don’t shy away from taking a few pouches, there are some great ones on the market for occasional use - a holiday is a great excuse for using these convenient ‘cheats’ for your baby!
Pop a bag of your baby's favorite baby cereal (throw away the box as it takes up far too much shoe space!) - with this one tip you can ensure that your baby gets one decent meal a day. This can be mixed with formula/ EBM or, the local full fat cows milk.
- Avocado and banana - mash them together with a fork and you have a ready made super food meal for your baby. That’s 2 meals a day sorted! You could also buy a tin or two of fish such as salmon or tuna in spring water while you are at the shop to increase your babies protein intake.
Although you must be aware of things such as salt and salad washed in local water (in certain destinations) you will be able to give your baby some of the food you are eating - whatever their age. Things like boiled potatoes, sticks of cooked vegetables, breadsticks, toast fingers, flakes of fish, fruit such as watermelon, mango or banana, cucumber, hummus, cheese and the occasional chip are all great and available at most hotels/ restaurants.
- Eggs are a great source of protein and calories and (as long as your baby isn’t sensitive to them) they can be offered from 6 months. Most hotels and restaurants will cook your egg to order. You can even cook your own without a cooker - a kettle in a hotel room is a perfect place to boil an egg! Remember eggs don’t actually need to be refrigerated before cooking so they are perfect to keep, and cook, in a hotel room
It is good to choose fruits that have a natural skin such as mango, melon, banana, avocado. This means that they don’t need washing and the risk of contamination form local water, is very minimal
If you are concerned about offering your baby things like cucumber, cherry tomatoes or peppers, that may have been washed in local water, you could fill a cup with spring water and wash them in that before offering them to your baby.
I always take a tub of cashew nut butter with me, its an easy way of adding calories, nutrients, protein and fats to any piece of toast, stick of banana or breadstick!
- Ensure that your baby is drinking plenty of fluids if it is hot. Keep a beaker of spring water on hand all day and offer sips regularly - especially at meal times and also throughout the night.
Breaking the above tips down, what does it mean for your babies nutrition? Without doubt, even if you don’t offer any extra foods from your plate or any pouches your baby will thrive!
Here is the nutritional breakdown:
Fats: nut butter, full fat milk, formula, avocado, egg you could add olive oil or butter to toast.
Protein: nut butter, full fat milk, eggs, formula, fish.
Fruit and vegetables: banana, avocado, mango, watermelon and other melons, cucumber, tomatoes
Carbohydrates: cereal, banana, avocado, mango, watermelon, toast, breadsticks.
As you can see you can really utilize local resources and to get a balanced diet- your baby doesn’t need to be eating a lot of variety to get the nutrients and calories that they need while away.
Whatever happens you can slip back into your baby eating normally once you return home.
If your baby starts waking more at night for extra milk feeds try offering water first incase it is just thirst rather than hunger waking them. If they need one milk feed overnight while away, maybe because of the drop in calories, go with that and eliminate it once home. If it very rare that a baby that is weaned needs more than one overnight milk feed.
When is she isn't manning her own three and sharing her wisdom with us at Up All Hours, Hannah can be found working her magic over at the Yummy Baby Group.