Bottle feeding on holiday can be really daunting. What do I need to take, how much of it should I take, will I be able to do this when I’m not even meant to drink the water? The list goes on and on. Throughout the years I have know so many parents who have physically put off going on holiday with little ones because they are worried about the flight, worried about bottle feeding and worried about having to take too much stuff. It honestly doesn’t have to be that scary! I am in such a fortunate position to be able to advise parents on both bottle feeding (Reuben was exclusively bottle fed) and breast feeding (Toby and Edith were exclusively breastfed). So I have put together a top tips for bottle feeding on holiday, my guide to what to take and some things that I found out on my journey through bottle feeding abroad.
Sadly, as with a lot of things this has to come with a disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or midwife. I am a mum and speaking wholly and exclusively based on personal experience – this may or may not work for you, but it worked for me and it is what I did. It is my advice as a non-medical bod and untrained mum of 3. Capiche?
What to take:
Bottle feeding does require a few more things than breastfeeding, it has to be said. My best advice before you run off to pack the suitcase is that you figure out exactly what facilities will be in your hotel or apartment. Will there be a bottle warmer or steriliser? In most hotels the answer is no, though they will warm a bottle for you. Ask and then pack accordingly.
- Bottles. Duh. Don’t go mad and try to pack 60 pre made bottles of your favourite formula, this may sound like common sense but I can’t tell you how many mamas have asked me in the past if they should take the shop bought pre made bottles for ease. They are heavy. They will go off. Don’t do it.
- Your brand of formula. At least one large jar. Most places now have the same availability for formula powder as they do for nappies, but the branded stuff is often just as expensive as the nappies. Be warned! Also, don’t forget the scoop you use – these always come in the tin, but I have know people who take them out and wash/sterilise them and leave them on the side to dry. You can’t measure the formula without the scoop!
- Powder dispensers. It doesn’t matter if you choose to pre make your bottles in the morning and keep them in the fridge or your bag at home, if you are going somewhere hot then a pre made bottle is a big no no. It will sour. You will feel awful and it will all spoil the day. Trust me, I remember. (Once more for the people in the back – not a medical pro, not encouraging you to pre-make bottles… despite knowing that wasn’t recommended, I did it – no judgement on anyone else who did.)
- A travel steriliser. Oh yes. If you are still in the sterilising phase of things then do not assume there will be facilities at the hotel. 99.9% of the hotels do not have sterilisers (excluding UK and USA although it is pretty darn rare that they have them too!). Don’t try to take your big steriliser, it’s too big and if it’s microwavable the chances are you won’t be able to use it. The travel sterilisers are small and easy to pack, they will sterilise your bottles and you can go on your way. You can even keep one in your bag incase baby opts for an impromptu feed.
- A travel bottle warmer. If you feed your baby warmed formula then don’t forget one of these, you will almost never be turned down a glass of hot water to heat your bottle but for that last feed of the evening and first thing in the morning, plus through the night this is an essential.
- Bottle brushes. Don’t forget your brush you will need it to clean those bottles!
- Colic medicine. If you use anything like infacol or colief don’t forget to take it with you, it’s not as easy to get as other essentials are and it is only small in your hand luggage. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist before giving your baby anything, as always.
Top tips for bottle feeding on holiday:
- Bottled water all the way. If you are bottle feeding the general rule has to be what you wouldn’t drink, don’t wash, sterilise or make up your bottles with (excluding rum and vodka – you may drink that, but don’t use it for the bottles!). If you are in a country where the health recommendation is not to drink the local tap water then don’t use it for any part of your bottle making procedure.
- Once you have sterilised a bottle, fill it up with bottled water ready. That way you won’t end up needing a bottle and finding that you have no bottled water to hand. Don’t add the milk.
- Keep your sterilised bottles filled with water in the mini bar fridge. If you have one, use it. It keeps the bottles cool and guarantees they won’t be knocked onto the floor or anything.
- For the plane you CAN take a ready made bottle. Formula and baby food is exempt from the 100ml liquid limit on a plane. Take a bottle with you on board, even if it is just a pre made disposable one. Feed baby during take off and landing, again even if this is only water it will help stop their ears hurting!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you need a bottle heating when you are out, don’t be afraid to ask at a cafe or bar for some hot water. Most tourist resorts are happy to help and most people love to see a baby being fed!
- Keep bottles out of the sun. Even though you won’t add the powder to the bottle until right before the feed, keep them out of the sun as much as possible.
And that’s it! Do you have any top tips for bottle feeding or any experiences that you would like to share. It really isn’t as daunting as you think and should put you off travelling with a very young baby.
Have a wonderful holiday!