Taking our 16 week old baby to the Maldives seemed crazy to some but to us, it was just another trip. I didn’t worry, I just planned. Henry absolutely loved it, had the time of his life in the sea and genuinely adapted to island life perfectly. So here’s a few things that helped:
1. Picking a hotel/resort
I purposefully booked a resort located only a short 15 minute boat ride from the airport, and which also has an onsite doctor. These were my only 2 requirements and Bandos fit the criteria! I was also recommended Kurumba but it costs a lot more.
Anyway, as the resort only needed a speedboat to get to, it was a fun journey rather than a long, tiring sea plane ride.
Our resort provided a crib (which we didn’t use as we took our sleepyhead) but not much else. I know other resorts provide a steriliser and stroller, so it’s worth checking.
We took a lot in just two suitcases! Firstly, and most importantly, we managed to fit our Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine and MAM Microwave Steriliser – all carefully packed in bubble wrap. I also took Milton sterilising tablets in case we needed them (we didn’t) and I highly recommend the Medela microwave sterilising bags. Having the prep machine to make bottles was far easier for us than boiling and cooling water! In Dubai we use bottled water for baby formula rather than tap water – if you normally use tap water at home, when you’re abroad it’s best to use bottled water with the lowest sodium content available.
3. Babyzen Yoyo
I remember arriving in Dubai back in May 2017 and seeing so many ‘yoyo‘ strollers at the airport and honestly thought it was just a trend. Let me tell you, the yoyo is amazing and folds up so small that it fits in the overhead locker on the plane. For the flight alone, the Babyzen Yoyo is completely worth it! Unless you buy the additional newborn pack, it’s only suitable for babies from 6 months so we added a liner to pad it out and kept it on the lowest incline, and it worked very well. It is super lightweight, has washable fabric, a big shopping basket and folds very quickly.
I have the Ergobaby Adapt in mesh after a friend recommended it when I was pregnant. I’m so pleased I went for the mesh version as it’s much more breathable in warmer climates – great for the Maldives! We’d use the carrier for beach walks and to wear Henry on the speedboat safely.
3. Baby bouncer
Yes, we took our baby bouncer! Similar to above, I bought a mesh bouncer (Babybjorn) when I was pregnant and I really thought I’d only use it outdoors occasionally. But we’ve taken it to the beach more times than I can remember so it was a no brainer taking it to the Maldives – especially as it folds neatly, albeit long in size. Henry’s at the (adjusted preemie) age where he can’t sit up but he loves bouncing away in his chair. It’s also great for placing under an umbrella on the beach and the mesh fabric means you can clean sand off without leaving marks.
I mentioned the sleepyhead above and it really is our best purchase. Henry slept through the night and I believe it’s because he felt comfortable in a familiar environment.
5. Travel insurance
I know this is so simple but actually it’s probably the most important and less researched holiday item! I’m a control freak, if you haven’t noticed, so I did research it and realised that quite a few don’t include evacuation from the local hospital if your baby needs to go home for special care. My baby was in NICU for 3 weeks so I’m more cautious here but I paid an extra £15 just to have the evacuation part included!
Henry slept through most of the flight there and back but also didn’t cry once! Amazing. The flight to the Maldives we purposefully booked so it left Dubai early morning (around 4am) and Henry slept the whole way. Coming back, I would rock him to sleep during take off and landing so he wasn’t aware of any ear pain. When booking a ticket on most long haul flights, they should give you a seat with a bassinet but it’s worth confirming this. The bassinet is great! I added a rolled up swaddle to put around his head as a kind of support but he was comfy.
Living in Dubai I thought I knew what clothes Henry would need on holiday, I was wrong. In Dubai we are in air con pretty much 90% of the day, so he wears a vest and sleepsuit. In the Maldives, we spent a lot of time outside so he was often naked with a nappy or in a vest. We used his swimsuit and swim hat a lot and at night he’d wear a long sleeve bodysuit rather than a sleepsuit. We went through around 15 muslin in 5 days though!
I packed for all eventualities including hypoallergenic suncream, a thermometer, nail clippers, calpol (didn’t use) and teething minerals (we did need). Knowing I had it all there meant I didn’t need to worry. I also packed enough nappies for 6-8 per day as I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy any on the island, plus a few more just in case!
9. Lambskin liner
When I bought a lambskin liner, my husband thought I was nuts. I get it, you see fur and think of snuggling up cosy. But it’s so good at keeping baby cool in the summer and warm in winter. It also worked as extra padding in Henry’s yoyo!
I think that’s most things but of course the best thing you can do is to prepare and go with an open mind. I didn’t find the trip stressful at all but that could be as my baby is not yet weaning or eating food, so our only concern was keeping him out of the sun and to ensure he had his formula feeds. It’s also worth pointing out that our baby was born in Dubai so he is used to a warmer climate, which I’m sure made it easier for him to adapt to the hot temperatures.
I really believe the Maldives is a lovely holiday destination for babies around 3-6 months, the stage where they’ll happily sit back and chill out but also don’t yet need purees and homemade food. Let’s not forget that that Maldivian people make such a fuss of little ones!