Going on holiday with a baby
When we said we were taking our 4 month old to Dubai for a week before Christmas we got mixed responses, most people were very supportive "good for you!", "How fabulous" "you'll be glad you did it now" and then we got a few "you're brave" or even "Oh. My sister does stuff like that". That one made me laugh. Alba is our first, so we won't know what it's like and if it is easier with a baby instead of a 1, 2 or 3 year old, but regardless we are glad we did it. It was wonderful! But it wasn't easy.
The usual joy and excitement of driving to the airport was replaced with fear that something was going to go terribly wrong and self doubt that we were off our rockers even trying to attempt this. We were mad, we were definitely mad! We booked Simply Park and Fly, a valet service that lets you drop off your car at the terminal - simple right? Wrong. We arrived and there was no one to be seen. It's already gone wrong. It's all going to go horribly wrong!
After 30 minutes of waiting in an empty car park with a sleeping (thank goodness) baby the driver finally answered their phone and we proceeded to check in. The flight departure time was meticulously planned for 8.20pm, approximately 40 minutes before her usual bed time. This worked well, I fed on take off and she pretty much slept the whole way there. Winning. Pick up at Dubai airport went less swimmingly, she cried the whole way to the hotel but honestly I was still counting my lucky stars that she slept through the flight.
We stayed at the very wonderful Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf
and once we were there things became much more settled.
We stayed in one of their Summer Houses on the water, it was like little Venice. They had Agra's (venetian boats) and golf carts that take you everywhere (breakfast, the pool, dinner) and Alba loved the little rides, so curious and interested in the fast moving sunny world around her! To see a snippet of our holiday and our first vlog click here.
A few things happened whilst on holiday that made being away as a family so special, Alba started to roll properly, in fact every time you laid her on her back. All 3 of us found this forever entertaining, the look on her face when she did it was so funny, she looked genuinely proud of herself "look at me Mum and Dad! I don't know what this game is but it's so fun!".
She found her voice. She chats, chats, chats in the morning. Squeals and giggles, all so heartwarming. She also started to chat whilst feeding. This came hand in hand with getting very distracted when I talk to anyone, she pulls off like "hey what am I missing?!".
Most of all, it filled me with such joy to see how much she loved having her Dad there every day, they played and sang and giggled and it just melted my heart.
There were however a few things as a new Mum that I didn't think about. I had this romantic idea that I could sunbathe on one lounger whilst keeping her in the shade on the other. Unfortunately, Mr Sun doesn't quite keep his hat on in that way. In reality, I spent 90% of the holiday in the shade, the old me was dying to lie in the sun and get a tan but the new me knew my responsibilities lied with ensuring Alba was safe, entertained, settled, clean, fed and protected. Me and hubby did try to tag team a little but it quickly set in that 7 days of lounging around the pool reading a book were a distant memory for the next 18 years.
If your thinking of taking your baby up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, don't. The views are great, but the screaming and cries (i'm guessing due to the height and her ears) were not.
Feeding in public. I breastfeed and have never had a problem feeding discreetly in public. However, I am used to getting out of the house every day and home by 5pm, ready to take on cluster feed o'clock with both boobs at the ready, like a woman preparing for battle. On holiday, in 26 degree heat, Alba understandably wanted to feed more and that's fine, but having to eat your breakfast, lay by the pool, have drinks at the bar, all with a baby under a muslin becomes so draining, for both of you. Poor little cherub was getting so annoyed being under cover all the time, I felt bad for her, I just wanted to strip off and scare all the hotel guests. Thankfully for them we just powered through.
We took her out with us every night for dinner. She fed through starter, main and desert for the first 2 nights (again, draining but we were pretty determined to go along with the whole "being on holiday" thing). By night 3, she fed through the starter and fell asleep before mains came out. I put her in her pram and she stayed asleep for the rest of the meal. This continued for the rest of our holiday meaning that we actually had almost an entire dinner, in a restaurant for 4 nights in a row. We drank wine (1 glass yeah yeah) and chatted and laughed like we used to do. It was just great.
We are proud we did it. We had the most wonderful time as a family, we got to experience that warm feeling inside when strangers endlessly coo over your baby, that proud, yes I made her and she's blummin' cute feeling. We made wonderful memories and took pictures that she will look back on when she's older.
We accomplished something that we didn't know we could do. Sometimes in life, and especially as new parents, you just have to throw yourself in the deep end, it's scary, and yes it could go horribly wrong, but you never know, it might just go ok, and you might even get to have a romantic dinner with your husband for the first time in 4 months.
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