Relaxing amidst lush green fields, beautiful beaches with freezing cold water, eating stinky cheese and baguettes for ten days solid and drinking only the reddest of red wine. Our camper van trip to France was full of potential for our first family of three holiday – and it was fabulous – really lovely. Daisy loved the seaside – shouting with excitement each time she saw dogs jumping the waves, ponies trotting down the beach, and seagulls swooping down to scavenge picnics. To watch her little inquisitive face trying to work out all of the new things that she was seeing was fabulous.
But seriously… nobody tells you that camping with a baby is HARD WORK! I can’t decide if we came back more tired than when we left (actually, we definitely did!), but on reflection it is definitely worth it. So go ahead and book that ferry crossing, dust down the camper and get packing. My advice is: know your subject.
So, here is my holiday essentials checklist for camping with a baby:
– awning or gazebo come rain or shine to avoid sunstroke and to keep the pram dry during downpours
– at least two beach or yoga mats that can be your base when back at camp and can be taken to the beach etc for picnics (beach picnic with baby on the move = very tricky)
– tiny blow up paddling pool (AKA baby bath) to keep baby clean and to cool down on a hot day (we got ours from the pound shop – best £1 I’ve ever spent)
– highchair – this may seen excessive but is probably no. 1 on my list of essentials as Daisy was SO distracted when eating picnic style as she just wanted to crawl around. The highchair enabled me to keep my sanity during mealtimes and prevented Daisy from starving (luckily, we’d splashed out on the Baby Bjorn highchair which folds flat and is super neat, so didn’t take up too much precious room in the camper).
– sterilising tablets to keep baby alive (and another top tip: be vigilant about rabbit poo on the floor = BAD when put in baby’s mouth)
– plenty of hats / bibs / vests / weaning spoons and bowls
– easy to put on / take off cardigans and warm layers
– WET WIPES
– head torch
– warm, runny baby porridge for the morning – drunk from a bowl (I consider this to be the baby equivalent of the early morning caffeine fix….an essential kick start to the day)
– bananas (the simplest, healthiest, easiest of all foods for littluns, non?) and other easy to access snacks (esp. for driving days)
– small selection of toys
Finally, don’t forget to take a healthy amount of humour for the ride – it was much needed at times, especially when the tiredness crept up on us!
Enjoy the trip brave travellers – your baby definitely will – but be prepared to book grandma in for a day on your return so that you can rest up and recover!