Advice: Caribbean Family Vacations with Baby – You’ll Need Diapers, Sunscreen, and a Hat.
Going tropical with a baby takes effort. After all, your baby does not need a vacation in the Caribbean but maybe you do. For little ones just going to the grocery store is a vacation. You however, may well need the Caribbean vacation or you wouldn’t be reading this.The whole idea is to have fun but to ensure that things run smoothly pre planning is essential.
While the resorts do their part to make young guests feel safe and comfortable, only you know the needs of your family. When planning a tropical vacation that includes a baby or a toddler (or both), lower the stress by taking action early. The suggestions below may seem obvious to some and be news to others. 1. Decide to go.
Discuss the destination being considered with your baby's pediatrician. Unless you already live in the tropics and automatically carry first aid items in your baby’s bag make sure to take ointments for the bites and rashes common to the tropics. Find out what to do in case of sunburn, dehydration or diarrhea. Need to know:
Given the current airport inspections, think twice about what goes in your baby’s diaper bag. 2. Ask before leaving.
Contact the resort directly to confirm that bedding is available for your stay. Ask about car seats if you plan to rent a vehicle. Do they have safety gates? Pool toys? Get the answers and Pack right and light. Pack a few familiar things. Resist the temptation to stay up late washing everything. Babies love and need their comfort smells just as much as touching and seeing their things. Be selective, the keyword is few, not the whole nursery. 3. Prepare by being predicable.
Attempt a predictable schedule in the days leading up to departure. If your vacation destination includes a time zone change, try to move the baby’s schedule to meet the new time. Relax; if it does not work you can adjust your vacation days. 4. Plan travel time.
Try to schedule flying during the normal sleeping or naptime. Use airport time to provide exercise and activity for your young companion or companions. Luckily some airports now have play space for tykes but if that is not an option, while on the ground keep moving. Need to know: The more effort you make in the terminal the better your chances for a less stressful flight. 5. Make your resort space safe.
While resorts provide baby proof rooms for general activities that may not be true for your room or suite. Do a safety check on your own. Before leaving home speak to someone at the resort about the baby safe policies currently in place. If the answer is negative pack your own safe baby kit including socket plugs, cord clips and table corners and collapsible door gate. 6. Stay the same.
Try to remain predictable by establishing a realistic schedule on your first resort day. If you do this well and stick to it, you will have time and freedom and your tykes will have a minimum of stress. Babies and toddlers have resiliency but need predictability. The best situation is that the resort provides the same caregiver each day. Seeing the same face, hearing the same voice and experiencing the same aromas makes a toddler feel at ease. Make a point of introducing your toddler to the caregiver. Consider it a very good sign if the caregiver attempts to meet your child at his or her eye level. Until you are satisfied that your child is adjusted it makes perfect sense to check in from time to time, not necessarily to be seen by your child but to be seen by the caregiver. 7. Do less.
With babies the rule is less is more. Seek quiet comfortable spaces with a limited number of activities. The idea is not to stress the baby by over stimulation during the day, so that the night will be stress free. Napping with the baby is a gift often forgone when busy schedules erode time. Napping on a tropical afternoon will by itself be rejuvenating but will also improve the quality of the evening. 8. Use sun protection.
Sunscreen - get it, pack it, and use it. For babies the best solution is staying out of the midday sun. Think naptime; look for shade. Use hats and light weight clothing when exposure to the tropical sun is unavoidable. Read the label on the sunscreen product before buying it because not all products are baby safe. When applying it to your toddler use the same system of coverage and reapply often. This is not a product to spare. 9. Arrange adult time.
Knowing you have either eliminated or diminished the stress points relax and have fun. Remember vacations are not for the babies. Vacations are for the parents of babies. Need to know: If you desire evening time away from you baby or toddler, ask about babysitting. Do not assume all care givers are certified for infant/toddler, ask. Unless your child is accustomed to being in a group of other toddlers, avoid group drop off situations. 10. Ask for help.
Several companies provide services to ease vacation transitions. Depending on your own situation, it may make sense. We like the two companies below because they understand the craziness of travel with young children and offer help to ease the stress.
Resorts throughout the Caribbean have made adjustments to ensure parents with young children will enjoy a worry free vacation. For example both FDR Resorts in Jamaica provide a Vacation Nanny for each family. And the two companies described below offer solutions to the challenges of traveling with babies or toddler.
Need help with the details of your family trip?
We have three excellent sources for you to checkout and a few of our favorite books to reccommend.
Sun protection from MDMoms.
Protection from the intense sunshine which makes the Caribbean so appealing is essential for all ages but for babies and toddlers it is imperative. And if you have ever struggled to apply lotion to a young one you will see the obvious value of Baby Silk sunscreen towelletes – part of the personal care line of products for babies developed by pediatrician-moms. Perfect for a Caribbean family vacation their sunscreen towellettes will prove indispensible. For sweaty times when no tropical breeze will do they also offer a Delicate Skin Comfort powder is also very useful for everyone in the family. Toll-free 1- 888-MD MOMS2 (1-888-636-6672) or go to www.mdmoms.com
Jet Set Babies.
The company is owned and operated by a pair of Minnesota moms who have had their share of packing separate suitcases just for diapers. This website is dedicated to making the transition to a family vacation anywhere just a little easier. Visit JetSeyBabies.com and order the consumables like diapers, wipes, food, formula, and toiletries. The rest is simply taken care of, and everything will be waiting for them when they arrive at their destination. They carry only the highest quality merchandise and provide exceptional customer service. Get the details by looking at www.jetsetbabies.com Babies in the Air.
Parents who wish to secure their infants while in flight may be interested in a new travel vest. It has a leather strap on the back of the vest which, when in use, is attached to an adult's seat belt. Baby B-Air Vest is a polyester blend garment designed to protect little ones during turbulence in the air. This allows the child some mobility while remaining secure. It has been tested by the FAA and is allowed during flights but not approved for take-off or landing. Toll-free 1-800-950-5120 or www.babybair.com One Step Ahead.
One of our favorite companies offers oodles of items essential to carefree travel with your children. They have a grand menu of products that will make your family trip easier including the clever Trunki – so popular in Europe. Take a look at www.onestepahead.com Our favorite Caribbean vacation books for toddlers. Curious Clownfish.
By Eric Madde & Adrienne Kennaway, Little Brown & Company; (July, 1990). This is one of our all time favorites. The book is a pure delight to share with young children. The large, bright illustrations and the endearing story make this an ideal airport companion. At my teen’s insistence, this book will remain in our family library for the next generation. (Ages 2-5) Anancy-spiderman.
by James Berry, Walker Books; (July 27, 1989). Every young child will be enchanted by the folktales of Anancy (Anansi). This book contains a collection of 20 tales about the antics of the West Indian trickster and his companions Bro Monkey, Bro Dog, and Bro Tiger. This collection is ideal for an airport layover or a prelude to naptime. (3-10) A Caribbean Counting Book.
by Faustin Charles. Houghton Mifflin; (March 3, 1996). The perfect trip companion for parents with young travelers, this book engages tykes in the island culture with rhymes and rhythms typical of Jamaica, Martinique to the Dutch West Indies. Count pawpaws and breadfruit, guava, centipedes, and fish. This book works really well with the lighthearted A Caribbean Alphabet by Frane Lessac's. Both create a sense of place for young children by making them a part of the learning base. (Ages 2-5)
Content created by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Editor Family Travel Files and images provided by staff. Copyright 2011