When we became parents in 2018, we had already decided we didn’t want to be housebound with a baby. We were out for breakfast at our favourite local cafe a few days after arriving home from the hospital. And we had plenty of outings around town. People were a bit surprised to see us out and about so soon.
But then we ‘next-levelled’ outings with our decision to go caravanning with a newborn – going away for a few days when Gemma was just four weeks old.
Now, I will say that we have been very fortunate that, so far, Gemma has been a very happy, content baby. If we had a baby suffering from colic or reflux, we might not have been so enthusiastic about travelling.
So where did we go? We stayed close to home and headed to Ledge Point Caravan Park – it’s one of our places of choice for a quick trip away. It ticks a lot of boxes for us as it has great grassy sites and is pet-friendly. And the staff are helpful and friendly. The only real downside is that it’s a bit of a hike to the beach so we usually drive and take the car down on the beach to find a spot on our own.
Our tips for your first test-run of caravanning with a newborn (or any baby really) are:
- Book a park relatively close to home that you are familiar with.
- Go mid-week so it’s quieter.
- Ask for a site away from other campers so you don’t have a grey nomad on your case if baby decides to cry all night.
- If you baby is still small, you might well be able to wash them in your kitchen sink (if you have one) and we found that our baby bath fits nicely in the bottom of our shower recess. And you could always just shower with them or give them a top and tail.
- If you don’t have a bathroom in your caravan, pick a park with a family bathroom so you can use the sink for bath time.
- The dining area bench makes a great change table when your baby is small (and you might still be a bit too sore to be bending down on the floor) – I’d recommend switching to changing on the floor when they get more wriggly.
- Bring a baby rocker type seat – nothing fancy, we just have a hand-me-down on and we pop it on the bed while we are travelling. It is very useful to have a safe place to pop baby in when your hands are full.
- Bring a baby sling type carrier if your baby is still small and disappears in a regular baby carrier.
- Babies have delicate skin – be very vigilant about covering up. The sun can move very quickly and what was a shady spot can suddenly be in full sun. Hunt around for a newborn hat with a little brim and we also purchase a shade tent for going down the beach (angled away from the water to minimise the glare from the ocean). You can buy infant sunscreen but the advice on most are not to use under six months and instead to avoid sun exposure.
Was it a successful trip? Yes! We booked for two nights and ended up staying for four as things were going well. And so began the travels of Gemma!
Got a baby? Been caravanning (or thinking about it)? Share your ideas or questions for success when caravanning with a newborn.