Camping with a baby – A Guest blog by Sinéad Morrissey.

Recently I was following Sinéad’s facebook posts of her camping holiday with her family in France as we have considered it too and would love a Camper !

It dawned on me that it would be great if Sinéad shared her experience via a guest blog post and maybe could offer a few tips to other families thinking of doing the same so I was delighted when she said yes !

Its safe to say she has a talent for writing that shouldn’t be left dormant !

Enjoy xoxo L.

I had this bright idea while I was pregnant to buy a Camper Van. I always wanted one so of course while a bit hormonal I thought it a great idea to put myself in debt !
Of course, himself agreed 100%. Anything really to keep me from bursting into tears and or going into a rage.
Fast forward eight months and we were in France. In a very small six mtr 1996 Camper van. With a pre-teen and a five-month-old.

What was I thinking?!! Cue nervous giggle!

To be fair it was our first foreign trip camping ever and a huge learning curve.
The realisation didn’t dawn on me until we were in a four-berth cabin on the ferry over that…… EVERYTHING will be revolving around baby’s feeds and naps!! Something I actually, believe it or not, had not considered.
But we managed with the help of a very large flask for his hot water and little individual tubs of formula. I rinsed the bottles and used sterilizer tablets to make up for having to leave microwave steriliser at home. Luckily, he is taking puree, so his milk feeds were quite small.

He adores the organic baby food by ELLAS Kitchen. So, I made sure we had plenty to last the holiday along with plenty of his Lactose free formula so as not to be panic buying something we didn’t know while away.

This carry on of course could have been avoided if I had tried to breastfeed…….but that’s another story for another day !!!

After a very rough crossing we headed off to the first campsite thankfully it was only three hours’ drive so we were not under too much pressure. The website had assured us there would be a restaurant on site, as well as a bar etc.

We were quite excited to have a nice meal and settle in. But, it was not to be…… all were closed ….and we were famished. We walked to the closest village to find everything closed there too. The only one of us content that night was the baby.

In my obsession with making sure baby had everything…. I had forgotten about the rest of us.

Baby slept through the night…. thanks, I think to the fact I brought his mattress from his cot. I made sure he couldn’t go anywhere by using one of those toddler rail guards between him and said teen. So, she couldn’t roll onto him either. He had his usual blankets too as well as his lullaby owl, so everything was normal in his world.

We made a habit of going to bed when baby went to bed because he was up at seven…. which meant we were all up at seven, so it just made sense.
The next campsite was better. The restaurant stayed open until nine so that suited us perfect. The pool was indoors and heated…. another bonus. Baby had a great time in the water. I brought his swim ring that goes around his neck. He loves it. I can take my hands off him here and there and he seems to enjoy the freedom.

We also got out walking with baby in his backpack. He loved being up high seeing everything. He really is a very nosy baby!

Third campsite was a wash out. Ankle deep in muck I was the picture of depression. It was in the middle of acres of trails for walking and cycling yet there was no hope we would be able to use them. I had enough at this stage of moving things around the camper. Shifting buggies, mattresses, rails, backpacks, bumbo, trailer for the bike (really should have left these at home as you can rent bikes and trailers from the campsites). Wet towels due to the dryer on site not working and all the clothes we brought but didn’t wear.!!!!!

Foot went firmly down… metaphorically and physically into the mud !!!

So, off we went to a hotel for the last two nights. strangely enough it was hard to get a family room online. They would only accept one child. But the campsite manager rang around and got us a lovely room in Ibis Budget. It was bare but did the job.

After an eventful ten days altogether, we headed back to the ferry. Bringing onboard enough food for all of us for the 24hrs as there was not a great selection onboard due to the boat being smaller than the summer one.
So, lessons learned…
With babies and kids good weather is a necessity!!! I thought I was being smart going outside high season. But no way would I take them away again unless guaranteed good weather.
I did not need two buggies. Or the bikes and trailer. Or most of the clothes I brought…. or the huge gazebo…. or the small tent.
I did need bibs, way more bibs then I brought.
The rest of us need food too… not just baby.
We need an add on for living space!!!
We should stay on one campsite for longer… I felt I spent most of my holiday setting up and then packing up.
Pre-teen was an absolute godsend…. Especially when baby decided to have a huge meltdown while we were stuck on the motorway!!

Our next trip will probably be when baby is toddling around…… now that will be a different ball game altogether

About Sinéad….

Sinead describes herself as a 38 year old mom to an eleven year old girl who thinks she’s twenty and a six month old crazy baby boy who gave her that second chance she desperately needed.
She is wife to a very patient man and is mum to her furbabies three dogs and one cat. She describes her life as fabulously hectic xx.


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