Have Baby, Will Travel

Oh, what a delicious age is twelve-weeks-and-a-bit. The smiles are coming thick and fast (to you, at least), the dribble has started, the thighs are just beginning to plump out into chubbiness, and he’s trying so hard to make sounds that it kills you.

Twelve-weeks-and-a-bit is also the perfect time to take a baby on holiday, in case you were wondering. He’s feeding too regularly to have a proper bedtime, fits compactly into a car seat that can be taken anywhere, and isn’t sufficiently aware of his environment to be unsettled in a new place. We went to the New Forest for Tim’s birthday this weekend, and as far as Henry was concerned, we hadn’t gone anywhere at all: I was there, Tim was there, the boobs were there, the duvet was the same colour and he got dunked in warm water every morning as usual. The only difference was about 80% more Daddy, which for this boy is like asking him whether he wants 80% more unicorns and chocolate sprinkles. Oh, you do? That’s alright then.

Finding somewhere to stay was a bit of a challenge. We were paranoid about him crying in the middle of the night and having angry landladies in dressing gowns and hair curlers banging on the door, so at first we looked for cottages, where at least we’d be self-contained. Turns out cottages are too expensive, B&Bs are baby-haters, and camping in November is cold. So we found a hotel, checked that they really didn’t mind us turning up with Henry, and hoped for the best.

I get ludicrously excited about staying in hotels, don’t you? I am the kind of person who finds the free sewing kit unbearably thrilling. And Henry did just fine: you do get your fair share of old-lady glares in the restaurant over breakfast, but for every pointed sigh by the fried eggs you get twenty oh-look-at-him-what-a-darling-how-old-is-he encounters, especially when you’ve been canny enough to put your kid in a bear suit.

We did country house and beach and forest and eating. Lots of eating. Lots of Henry eating too, obviously, which meant there was only so far we could travel before needing to stop. But it was much easier to organise than I’d anticipated – giving us a nice excuse to sit down for half an hour every once in a while – and we had a marvellous time.

Four essentials to pack for this kind of baby holiday: feeding cover for emergency milk provision; baby carrier for not needing to worry about pushchairs (thank you, Baby Bjorn); thick winter suit for not contracting baby hypothermia; steriliser for not having to wash up your bottles in a hotel bathroom sink.

Did I mention he started sleeping through the night while we were away? And hasn’t stopped since? I think we need to go on holiday more often. I feel like I’ve been whacked around the head with a bulldozer – my body does not know what to do with six hours’ sleep after all this time, so is overcompensating with headaches and silliness – but I confidently expect to feel like a normal person and stop eating so many Jaffa cakes if this state of grace continues.

I wish he could be twelve-weeks-and-a-bit forever. Except that if his attempts to make conversation are this hilarious now, how great will it be when he moves on to using consonants? Quite indecent levels of giddiness.

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