The other weekend, Josh, Maddison and I had our first little trip away as a family.. this meant, our first night away from home with a 2 month old baby!! Which as you can imagine, is VERY different from the usual romantic, carefree weekend getaways that we have had in the past when it used to be just the two of us! There was sooooooo much more stuff to pack, organising logistics like breast pumps but not having a fridge handy, playing Tetris trying to fit a pram, crib AND overnight bags in the boot... I seriously kept thinking like I'd forgotten something, despite writing a ridiculously long check list AND checking it multiple times! But you can never have too many spares with a baby, right mums?!?!
We were heading to Chester for my best best friends engagement party (CONGRATS BABE!) and staying overnight in a guest house nearby! I was adamant we were not going to miss the party, but the initial thought of staying somewhere overnight with a baby was so daunting! Day trips, I had now done plenty of now, but an actual night away is a different story.. and there was no way I was going to leave Maddison with family for the night.. Partly because of separation anxiety, but also the complication of feeding!! (wayyyyy too much for my brain to handle!) So, with the car jam packed with everything but the kitchen sink, we set off around 10am on the Saturday for the journey up to Chester. We'd allowed lots of extra time because of needing to stop off and feed/change Maddie. What should've taken us about 2hrs 40mins... ended up taking 4hrs 30mins, it was endless diversions and traffic - safe to say, we had VERY numb bums urgh!!! It literally felt like the longest car journey EVER and as if we were trying to get to Neverland!! Maddie wasn't fussed at all though and slept 99% of journey.. I actually had to wake her up to feed and change her!! Aren't cars are magical with babies!?! It's just instant sleep as soon as you turn the engine on!
When we FINALLY got to Chester, many coffees later.. we quickly checked in at our room, change clothes/freshened up and headed off to my besties house!! We had a fabulous time and our little angel was so incredibly well behaved, secretly I think she LOVE the amount of attention and cuddles she got! Plus... I'M GOING TO BE A BRIDESMAID!! EEKKK!! Which I am so unbelievably excited about! The only other time in my life when I've been a bridesmaid/flower girl, I think I was around 3 years old.. so can't even remember it really!!
Come 9pm it was time for bed... which sounds early but 9pm feels so late nowadays!! (oh how life changes with a baby haha!!) and in all honesty, I was petrified of how Maddison would behave. The guesthouse we were staying in was this beautiful big country manor house, which was gorgeous, but like most old buildings every sound echos and travels very, very easily!! Meaning if Maddie were to cry, everyone would probably hear it! And lets be real, all babies cry. They can't help it, it is what it is! BUT I still would feel so guilty if we were the ones keeping everyone awake with a crying baby all night! My main priority was trying to make her feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible being in a different environment, by keeping to our usual bedtime routine and we even bought her own crib with us to sleep in! (Luckily we have one that folds down to travel easily!) So that meant a quick little bath with mummy, change into a sleepsuit, feed and be asleep between 9:30-10pm. I do feel like we are blessed with Maddison, she is a pretty easy and well behaved baby, and rarely gets colic anymore. Thankfully she slept perfectly and did her usual 6 hours straight, feed and a nappy change (which usually takes 30 minutes), then back to sleep for another 2-3 hours!!
The next day, we really didn't feel like coming home just yet.. the thought of facing another long and potentially horrendous car journey home was depressing. So we decided that while we are here, (and because I had packed so many spares for us all!) lets go exploring, enjoy the sunshine, do a bit of shopping and stay overnight again. We hopped online and booked a different hotel in Chester town to stay in last minute. You know what.. it was the first really spontaneous thing we'd done since having Maddison. No planning, we just did it! It was such a lovely care free chilled Sunday, and once again our little baba was so happy and content!! I really feel like it was the best idea, I'm so glad we went through with it and didn't cower away or come up with tons of excuses why we shouldn't enjoy ourselves because of having a new baby with us!! (Of course we would always put her first though and if she was incredibly distressed we probably would've just gone home!)
After a long day out and about, we went out for dinner but made sure we were back in our hotel room by 9pm again to repeat our bedtime routine for Maddison. Although she had slept fine the previous night, we were aware it was a different environment again for her, so it didn't mean the night would necessarily work out perfectly! So we made sure we did the same routine that she is happy with and used to! Luckily our chilled little love settled off to sleep and just woke the once for a feed as normal - YES! The next morning after we had had breakfast, we set off pretty much straight away, loaded up the car and got back on the road to face the journey home.. which again turned into a horrible 4 hour long drive, so we were super pleased we had put it off and had enjoyed another day!!
In terms of the logistics with feeding, I pretty much just breastfed Maddison the whole weekend. I was so over cautious and ended up taking all our 3 bottles away with us (clean and sterilised), a few bottles of formula and my breast pump.. a lot of stuff I know but I just wasn't sure what to expect! I ended up only using one bottle of formula in the end and I did try to pump, but soon realised without a fridge, it just all got a bit too complicated for my brain! So I fed her only one bottle of my pumped milk more or less straight away (it was probably still warm from the boob haha)! For me, it was just easier to stick her on my boob! If I were just formula feeding and not breastfeeding, we are lucky these days that many shops are open 24/7, so if I were to run out I could easily pick up a few more!
We really did have a lovely time, and it was so nice having some quality family time, just us three! Obviously every baby is different, and I do feel incredibly blessed that Maddison has a lovely temperament and has always slept well since day 1. We could've had a cranky crying baby that never sleeps! (A bit like I was for my mum... oops sorry mum!) Which I know makes the thought of a night away from home seem like mission impossible... But the one bit of advice I would give any new parents out there wanting to brave a night away from home, is try to stick to your normal bedtime routine as much as possible. Surround your little one with familiar items from home and even bring their crib if you can! (Totally understand that not all cribs are designed to fit in a boot easily!) I really do feel like it helped her by sticking to this and now we've done it, I feel more confident and open to the idea of weekend getaways and nights away from home WITH our baby. I think it's the same concept as when you first have a baby and are faced with the daunting thought of going out the house with a newborn.. it's something completely new! What if you forget something?! What if baby cries and causes lots of attention?! OH WELL! Just go with it, but it's important to break the ice and not get stuck indoors, or you'll never venture out/it'll be harder when you eventually do!!
I guess the next step for us would be trying to go abroad with a baby...
Maybe give it a few more months before we try to cross that bridge - haha! ;)
Any other mums that can relate to the overwhelming though of a night away with a baby? Any tips or tricks that you found helped your little one when your away from home? Love to know! Either comment below or message me via the social page! Love x