Travel // Travelling with a Baby To Australia at 6 months old

February 29, 2020

Hi! We recently took a three week trip to Western Australia and it was the best three weeks of parenting we've experienced so far. In fact, I kind of try not to think about it too much now that we're home, save for when we bump into people we know who ask how it was and for a brief moment, I'm transported rightttt back there to those beachy happy days, because it's pretty much poured with rain ever since we've been home. And parenting on my own {during the week anyway}, when it's cold and Freya has to wear loads of layers again, is not a patch on that Australian life I can tell you! If I thought about it too much, I'd have wondered why we ever had to come home {although that's obvious, visas, work was calling, not enough money to rent for any longer out there}. But yes, it was a total dream. We booked the trip before Freya arrived, which is probably a good thing as I was a little nervous running up to it wondering how she'd be on the flight, would it disrupt her {and consequently our} sleep for weeks? The first question anyone asks us is 'how was Freya on the flight?!' since it is such a long way. But it was all so much better than I imagined it would be. This post, with a few questions, has been requested by lots of you on instagram who have some long haul travel coming up, so here are my thoughts on things that were helpful/what we did in regards to travelling that far and being out in Australia with a 6/7 month old baby. Full travelogue coming soon for those of you who aren't interested in this side of things! *ad/contains affiliate links and the buggy was gifted.*

First up, the flight...

  • We booked flights from London to Perth with Dial A Flight {for trips that are long haul self catering - in need of flights/car only we’ve used dial a flight for over 10 years and they’ve always got us really great deals. I highly recommend Stuart, he’s just such a nice guy who always gets us great deals and will call a few days before your trip to make sure everything’s ok. It’s really nice to have a travel agent contact rather than booking flights directly with an airline, he also made sure we had a bassinet etc, if you want his number let me know as he works in the corporate part now}. We weren’t picky with airlines, just wanting the best deal price wise and best flight times which in the end worked out to be Singapore Air - luckily for us as they were SO amazing with babies/children. Couldn't fault them at all. 
  • The flight was long, as expected, but Freya was amazing. We took both our ergo carrier and the baby zen yo-yo pushchair with us to the airport/on the plane. The baby zen was game changing now that she'll nap in a buggy, we bought a snooze shade to make it black out and put her white noise mp3 in it and she napped happily at the airport in London, then we used the ergo through Singapore when she was a bit disorientated as it was the middle of the night and wanted to be close to me. We basically used the ergo when she was awake for travel, and the buggy for naps. 
  • I was apprehensive about how she’d be on the plane, our first two trips with her were a lot shorter distance wise and also she was a lot smaller then only really needing milk and cuddles! But she amazed us and whereas at home she wants to be on the go/rolling around all the time, she did sit on our laps for a lot longer on the plane and we gave her some floor space to kick around on top of an airline blanket - the bonus to having a bassinet seat = extra legroom. I’d definitely recommend a teething necklace if your little one is likely to be teething, it kept Freya occupied for ages both chomping it and playing with it. I used this one. 
  • We took some toys and books with us but actually used a lot less than we thought, partly because she slept for a lot of it, plus there were screens with cartoons on that although we don't let her watch at home, were a good distraction and we let her roll around by our feet with some toys and did some walking around the cabin for a change of scene. Other passengers were really nice keeping her entertained with smiles for a bit too - everything is interesting to babies at this age, the remote thing for changing the channel, the menu card, teething toys.
  • We packed 3 change of clothes, tonnes of nappies and a change of clothes for us just in case. I'm still breastfeeding so that made feeding really easy, she actually fed a lot more on the flight than she would at home.  
  • The snooze shade was great for the bassinet to keep the harsh cabin light off at times we wanted her to sleep, it’s breathable but we obviously made sure it was raised up away from her head. We had her favourite toys packed but the best distractions ended up being food pouches to feed her, we packed a bib and spoon, and organix pea crisps to munch! She took her naps at the same time as she would back home then we faked a little bath with some water by the sink in the toilet and got her changed into a new sleepsuit and her sleeping bag at the time she’d go to bed and she thought it was nighttime. The only thing was that we couldn’t sleep well, with a bassinet you’re sat next to another bassinet so even if your baby is asleep, it’s not guaranteed the one next to you will be and I feel like since having a baby I’m hyper aware of noise now? Biologically designed to hear a baby crying I guess! Anyway, the flight was as good as it could have been with a small baby and the staff all really lovely. 
  • When we changed at Singapore we woke her up, it was the middle of the night UK time but morning Australia time so this ended up being really helpful for getting her onto the right time zone and from then on we just let her have naps rather than thinking it was nighttime again. It meant she had a short night/a long day but it worked out really well. It's definitely worth switching onto your new timezone as quickly as you can. When we landed in Australia we had a 3 hour drive to Dunsborough where we were staying and arrived at bedtime Aus time so we gave her a bath and put her to bed as soon as we arrived, she then was on the right time zone give or take! Remember that with jet lag, the light/dark can play a big part in creating natural melatonin so if you want them to stay awake, going outside in the daylight will help and likewise, keeping things dark for bedtime should help.
  • We learnt on the way out that we should have requested a post weaning meal for Freya, so we logged on in Australia and requested a meal for her which was great for the journey home now that she is eating more. With an infant under 2 they assume you don't want a meal for them unless you request one in advance. I'm assuming this is true of all airlines?

  • Definitely request a bassinet so that you can put them down when they're asleep, although Freya was pretty snug in hers so I guess on future trips she'll have to share our seat? And remember that with bassinets you have to lift them out if there's any turbulence/can't use them when the seatbelt sign is on so it could be frustrating if this wakes them up. Freya loves to sleep on her tummy so was a bit disorientated being in a bassinet but still slept fairly well considering. 
  • Coming home was a little bit more stressful than going out as it was a night flight so we were very aware that everyone around us was asleep. This meant that when she woke up in her bassinet, whereas at home we'd ssh her back to sleep and she might cry for a couple of minutes, we didn't want her to do this because it would be really loud to everyone trying to sleep! So it did mean she didn't then go back to sleep, and we were all awake from 2am UK time trying to entertain her through the night. I eventually got her back to sleep by feeding her to sleep and kept her on me. It was a little bit stressful but just part of travel with a baby I guess.

The jet lag/time difference...
  • We set a travel cot up in our Airbnb and did the same bath/bed routine as we do back home and so thankfully she slept until around 5am Australian time, we were up at that time with jet lag and the light morning anyway, so we put her in her buggy for a morning walk with the shade down and she fell back to sleep. For a couple of mornings we did this when she woke too early, and she'd take 2 1/2 hour naps to catch up on sleep for the first couple of days - heaven for us as it meant we could have some time relaxing, but after that she was on normal Australian time. 
  • I think because we have a system of naps and use the huckleberry app for her next nap time rather than a strict set time routine, she adapted a lot quicker as she doesn't have a set bedtime at home. We just shifted the naps to fit. So e.g. she woke up at 5am australian time, we logged this in the app and it would tell us when to do her next nap so it went with her timings rather than trying to unnaturally force her body clock into sleeping at the wrong time {although for the first few days she beat these timings and often slept before because she was playing catchup from that short night flying}.
  • On the way home, we had a night flight from Australia so put her to bed and she slept for around 6 hours of it, we then just kept her napping through the day until it was bedtime UK time at home and did the usual routine again. She did wake at around 3am so I gave her some playtime/feeding in our bed before she was tired and went back. I do think babies adapt so much quicker than we do because they have naps? and a simpler body clock perhaps?

On hiring a car & carseat...
  • We thought about buying a carseat to take with us on future trips but on researching the regulations, found that almost every country has different requirements! So there isn't one universal type that you could take with you as they all fit differently in different countries. Australia are super hot on stuff like this and you have to anchor the carseat to the back of the seat. 
  • So in the end we hired one, and found a rental place that had a fixed fee for carseat hire compared to some which really added up given we would be there for 21 days. The company was called Nobirds and we just reserved it online. They helped us fit it. It's definitely worth looking into the cost of hiring if you're away for a few weeks as often it can be more than buying one outright which is crazy when you think about it.
On weaning...

  • Freya had started weaning around a month before we went away and was just about onto three meals by the time we went away so I was keen to keep this going whilst we were away.
  • I messaged Ben's uncle before we went to get him to take a photo of the baby aisle in the local supermarket in Australia so I could see what kind of range they had. We try to give Freya what we're having most of the time but it was definitely handy to buy a few savoury pouches out there and little snack things. I didn't know what the rules were on taking food in, Australia have strict customs rules with things like meat {in some of her savoury pouches} and I didn't want to end up on that nothing to declare tv show ha. They had a really great range though of organic pouches, so we bought some of these and then mainly just cooked like we would do at home because we were self-catering in the airbnbs. Her favourite food is avocado and they grow SO well out in Aus so we got through LOADS! We also bought porridge out there, berries and ingredients to make lots of yummy lunches and dinners. We discovered chia pudding which fast became our new obsession.
  • I packed a set of little Ikea bowls out with me, a set of spoons, her cup, a packet of baby pasta stars and a couple of bibs which were all really handy to have with us. The airbnb had lots of tupperware which we used a lot for storing food we'd prepared for her in the fridge/taking out with us/keeping for another day.
  • The first airbnb didn't have a high chair so we took a fold up travel one with us - this one - {luckily had lots of luggage allowance with singapore air economy, 30kg each plus baby equipment} which we strapped to a chair, then the second one had an ikea high chair.
On things we packed which were helpful...
  • The snoozeshade, a breathable, blackout, UV cover, we used this everyday for both covering the buggy with for naps but also for draping across to the buggy parasol for extra shade depending on which way we were walking/where the sun was. 
  • A clothes peg to clip the snoozeshade over the clear cover on the top of the buggy to stop the light getting through.
  • The baby-zen yoyo, can't talk highly enough about this travel buggy - it was AD/gifted to us but not in exchange for this post, so lightweight for getting in and out of the car/lifting onto the beach, folds up into overhead locker size, easy to push. We used it everyday out there and she loved being in it and loved sleeping in it with the snoozeshade and white noise. The only thing is that the seat part, not the newborn bassinet attachment, faces outwards so I did miss seeing her face, but she loved looking out.
  • The baby-zen yoyo parasol, this was great for bending and angling into the right position to keep the sun off, and you can change which side you put it on the pram/slide it along. Although Freya ended up pulling it towards her and wanting to chomp on it, one child laughed one day and pointed 'that baby is eating her umbrella' ha. But yes, really handy.
  • A sheepskin pram liner, to keep her cool even when it was really hot - this made such a difference. We have this one which was a better price than a lot I'd seen and really nice quality.
  • A portable mp3 player with crashing waves white noise on
  • A travel high chair
  • These blackout portable blinds, borrowed from a friend but we're going to buy some, for making it darker in a bedroom for cot naps/darker mornings or evenings if it's light.
  • Washing supplies, both airbnb's had a washing machine
  • A thermometer - both for her room and the bath. 
  • Medicine and a thermometer to check her temperature just in case! Plus teething supplies.
  • Sun hats. 
  • A proper UV, tiltable parasol for the beach. I ordered this before our trip to my husband's uncle who lives in Australia, it's a fancy brand {sunday supply} that I've loved and admired for ages so we used it everyday out there but have bought it home for use in the garden on our deck this summer. Thank you extra luggage allowance with a baby! We also took a fold up tent with us for the beach but found it was pretty hot inside so ended up just using the parasol. But for short-haul european hand luggage only trips in future we'd probably take the tent as it was so portable.
  • A big light weight blanket to then put our towels on top of to try to minimise sand/give extra floor coverage on the beach or when out on the grass.
  • Having an airbnb made it feel like home from home and we set up her travel high chair/a rug with her favourite toys on.
  • It was SO lovely to see her chubby, bare legs and little feet out, we'd been used to covering her up for winter back home. I'd kept an eye out for sales on summery clothing for her age range at the end of last year because I didn't want to buy lots of clothes that she then wouldn't get wear out of back home after. Mostly her rompers are as such that can be layered up, or I bought in the size up which still worked size wise for her now but so she can get some wear out of them come the springtime back home. 
  • Singapore Air are generous with their luggage allowance, and we had a car at the other end so whilst we didn't want to take too much with us, it was handy to not have to be totally ruthless about packing light to make sure we had everything we needed. But having a washing machine makes a huge difference whilst away to the amount of clothes we needed to pack.
  • We took a travel cot with us and 1 tog sleeping bags.

  • A couple of things though which we didn't pack but I definitely would for the next time we go somewhere hot would be a buggy fan {like this one with good reviews}, car sun shade nets for the windows, dishwasher tablets {lol} and a carabiner buggy clip for ease of carrying things on the buggy.
  • Also, I wish we'd known about this Beach Powder for getting sand off. Some people recommend baby powder, if you can find one that's talc free? But this beach powder sounds even better. We ended up using a dry muslin to brush sand off but I want to try the powder next time we go to the beach.
On beach days...

  • Freya LOVED the sand, and I love the beach and being by the sea so we spent a lot of our time at the beach under the shade of the umbrella. Mostly she would nap on the beach in her buggy and then have some awake time on the sand.
  • We took her swimming for the first time out there and going for a dip in between dinner and bathtime is one of my happiest memories from that dream trip!
  • We didn't take or use any swim nappies as we were in the sea and just took her nappy off when we got her into a UV swimsuit {and we knew she wouldn't poop for a quick swim!} but on future trips if we're in a swimming pool we'll have to get some. I'm hoping there are reusable options?
  • We made sure that we timed going out around her naps and didn't have to wake her to go out/get in the car. This worked well most of the time as we could walk to a lot of places from our airbnb so we did a mix of buggy and cot naps if we were home, but it did mean a couple of things were rushed to get back in time for a nap so that we wouldn't be trapped somewhere if we were out for a couple of hours if she needed to nap. 

On routine...

  • Whilst we have more of a system of naps/timings rather than a strict set routine, we still wanted her to go to bed at a decent time each evening. This did mean being in most evenings, but we didn't mind too much as it got dark around 7.30pm anyway out there and we'd been out all day/had lunch out and then be happy to have dinner in. We'd cook, Ben would work or we'd watch a series together. A couple of times though we did want to go out after her bedtime to catch a sunset, so we'd do her bathtime, put her in the buggy and went out for a walk with the snoozeshade down and then lifted her into her cot when we got back, I'd sometimes feed her at that time like a dream feed and she'd go into her cot without issue.
  • I really wanted to do this to hopefully allow us to do it this summer too at home so we're not trapped by bedtimes on light, warm evenings where we don't want to stay home. 
  • I always say that you'll never remember a good bedtime but you will remember the evenings you mixed it up where you went to watch the sunset/went out to a restaurant. Obviously sometimes it could backfire, but the worst that would happen is that they'd think it was a nap and then you'd do bedtime when you got home and would work it out tomorrow whether they sleep in later or you do an extra nap? I wouldn't want to do this every night but it definitely can work!
  • The only thing that makes that harder is if you need to go in the car/risk transferring them so we just did it with places we could walk to.
  • Most of the time she was in bed by 6pm so it did mean we missed out on some sunsets, but you have to weigh up the fact that travel with a baby is a bonus compared to home? And work out what's important to you. The other option would be to shift your timings so that they go to bed later? 

On the strong sun...
  • Do any babies enjoy having suncream put on? I haven't heard of any yet, it seems like a right of passage that they just hate it. But obviously it's a daily, if not more, task when you're on holiday - or in the sun in England. Ben luckily took charge of this task and it became part of our daily routine there before getting her dressed each morning. We took some suncream with us but actually ended up buying it out there, they have a lot thicker stuff which doesn't go into her eyes, they only sell 50+ out there for kids. Being in Australia we knew we could buy more very easily but if you're going to a remote resort I'd recommend taking more with you than you think you'd need as it would be expensive to buy more if you ran out. 
  • For the most part though we concentrated on keeping her out of the sun completely, either in the shade of the buggy or parasol or finding shady spots to sit. And when in the water we used UV suits and hats {some good options here, here and here}

There were a couple of stressful times where we rushed home to make it back for naptime, and one stressy journey where we got stuck in traffic driving back to the airport where she was due a nap and was hungry but we didn't have time to stop as had to get the shuttle to the airport so yes, that was not fun but 98% of the time was just made up of really wonderful happy family times with time to focus on her properly without the stresses of being home and I feel so grateful for that incredible trip! Travel with children is what you make it I guess, you have to expect stressful times like there can be at home, babies be babies, anything could happen regardless of where you are in the world. I feel like we did get lucky with an ideal time to go with Freya in that she wasn't teething/ill/bad with jet lag? It all worked out so much better than we ever expected it to and felt like such a wonderful relaxing, fun break for us too. I'm guessing we'll need to adapt trips as Freya gets older and dynamics change but for me, travel will always be worth any of the stress of packing/flights/jet lag in the end! 

R <3 xx 

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  1. I love that Ben is wearing a Bunnings hat!! haha Loved seeing all your WA travel pics! I live on the east coast (about 4.5hrs west of Brisbane) and really want to visit WA, but sometimes it cheaper to travel to the Pacific Islands or Bali than it is to Perth!!! This post is also super helpful as I just had a baby 4 weeks ago and I'm already dreaming of another overseas adventure at about the 6-8m mark, and it gives me hope that we can do it too!!


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