In April 2017, we travelled to Cyprus to visit family and have a little holiday.
When I was pregnant, my husband and I decided we wouldn’t take Luke abroad for the first year of his life because it would be too difficult and stressful.
When my cousin contacted me to say she was having her son Christened in Cyprus and would love for us to come, I made an exception! We were incredibly anxious, but I really wanted to see my family. We love Cyprus and I really want it to be a huge part of Luke’s life!
I am half Greek Cypriot, making Luke a quarter. I only went to Cyprus for the first time at 18 years old with my family and since then, we try to go as often as possible. I have family that still live over there and it is lovely to be able to see them and I would love for Luke to learn about where his family were from, and if he picks up some Greek, then bonus!
So, we decided to travel with a 15 week old baby.. How were we going to do this?! Planning, that’s how!
First of all, we decided to stay at a hotel local to the airport the night before the flight. This way, we only had 10 minutes to get from A to B. It was so much better than worrying about parking a car!
Luke was able to play and we were able to relax and get ready without worrying about time.
Next – the plane. Originally, we were going to have Luke seated on one of our laps. It is a four/five hour flight and we were nervous that he wouldn’t want to be held for so long. Although he was little, he was so independent already! We decided to get him a seat, and we took his car seat on the plane. This way, we didn’t have to worry that the car seat could be damaged in transit, and Luke had somewhere to sleep.
He loved it. We were so nervous about his ears popping for takeoff and landing, but making sure we had a bottle and dummy at the ready solved that problem.
He didn’t make a sound! Apart from happy ones. We were so proud. The flight attendants loved him and he loved them.
The next predicament? Sleeping arrangements. When I was pregnant, I bought a Koo-Di pop up travel cot. The intention was to use this when we were at other peoples houses because it is so compact, we could fit it in the footwell of our pushchair.
We brought it along, and it was perfect. We took it everywhere with us – it was like having a moses basket wherever we went. It was brilliant!
The best part? It has a fly proof zip up screen that went all around him. It meant he could sleep outside and he was protected from the sun and bugs.
Hats were an essential – even though he pulled them off. Sun cream just doesn’t rub into a baby’s head very well unless they are completely bald!
Taking lots of sun cream obviously goes without saying. And my top tip? Do a patch test on your baby before you go! The worst thing that could happen is you buy all this expensive cream, or you buy a cream abroad and you find out your child as an allergy to it! Luckily, we tested Luke’s skin first and he got on well with the sun cream we bought. My brand of choice is Boot’s Soltan or Nivea.
I personally liked the ones that tie under the chin.
For my cousins christening, we got him a little suit. HOW CUTE does he look?! We decided on the waist coat as it wouldn’t be too warm.
We took a little play mat for Luke – this one was fab. It is perfect for tummy time and came with a little cushion to help.
It was padded, so was perfect for the hard floors. It wrapped up so small, we could actually fit it in his changing bag!
Luke loved the beach – he scrunched his toes in the sand. We took this on the day he turned 4 months old. What a little cutie!!!
As I had stopped breastfeeding by this point, we were really worried about bottles and soothers, and how we were going to sterilise them. I have posted before about my love for them – but we hugely relied on MAM for this!!
As soon as we decided to go, a microwave was the only essential where we were staying. You can sterilise MAM bottles and Soothers in the microwave with no steriliser! PERFECT! You can even sterilise the soothers in the cases they come in, or you can place one in a bottle when you’re sterilising it. They are fab and they always have the most adorable designs.
I took our own formula too. In Cyprus, they did sell the same brand that Luke has, but it was slightly different, so we brought our own.
Learning to make formula whilst out and about was a challenge as we couldn’t take too many ready made bottles due to the weight! I am aware that the advice changes from country to country on how to make a bottle of formula, but it absolutely blew my mind.
At home, I use a Tommee Tippee Prep Machine and I absolutely swear by it. When we leave the house, I always used the ready prepared UHT formula. The current guidelines are that you make formula with boiled water to sterilise the formula itself. I was freaking out about how to do this out and about! Basically without going into it too much further, it involved cooled pre-boiled water and a flask of boiling water over 70 degrees C to sterilise the powder.
One thing we did find was the nappies and wipes in Cyprus were very, very expensive in comparison to the UK. We took a large pack with us with the intention of buying more out there, but we didn’t actually need to in the end. Phew.
On reflection, the one thing we didn’t bring that I was worried about needing was a baby carrier. I wish we had brought one for the airport. Taking him through security would have been so much easier with a carrier! It was way too hot in Cyprus to use it there though.
The baby carrier I had at home would have been perfect. When it is not in use, it folds away into a bum bag! I should have brought it with me! I keep it in the boot of my car normally, so I have no idea why I didn’t take it.
Overall, we had a brilliant and relatively stress free trip! I cannot wait to do the next one, but now Luke is a walking whirlwind, I am a little nervous for different reasons..!
My Essentials Checklist for Luke
We brought dribble bibs and enough for one per day. Luckily for us, Luke wasn’t too dribbly at the time!
We brought enough for three changes of clothes per day – this was too many. Bring enough for two changes per day, and an extra set for the change bag.
Bottles and Soothers
At the time, Luke was having between 5-7 bottles per day, so we took 8 in total. We took 6 soothers – baby’s manage to lose these a lot!
Muslin Swaddle Blankets and a Baby Sleeping Bag
The muslin swaddles were a brilliant blanket for the hot evenings. The sleep bag was a life saver for the air conditioned evenings!
Formula and Flask
We took a full tub of powder and 12 small bottles of ready made. I also took the flask to prepare the formula out and about.
Nappies, Wipes and Cream
One large pack of 60ish nappies worked out to be the perfect amount. Two packs of wipes was more than enough. We saved up some samples of Sudocrem and took them.
Toys and Mat
We took toys that were easy to clean and pack. We ended up buying a few out there, too.
The Koo-Di fit perfectly in our luggage and didn’t weigh anything.
Baby Wash, Towel and Sponge
I took the biggest hooded towel we had, a sponge I didn’t mind leaving there and a travel size baby wash and shampoo. Childs farm do a brilliant 2 in 1.
Even if we didn’t get a seat for Luke on the plane, we would have taken our own car seat. Lots of people I know have got to the other side and the only car seat available for hire is forward facing, no matter what age your child is. Not worth the risk, in my opinion!
We took our travel system bracket that fit our car seat into it. On reflection, I wish we brought our stroller so Luke wasn’t so cooped up in his car seat all the time.
I know – random one! Our room was a the very top of the villa and we wouldn’t hear Luke if he stirred. I picked up a cheap video monitor from Amazon for about £25 and it worked a treat!
Have you taken your little one abroad? What were your essentials??