You have not experienced logistical hell until you’ve travelled with a baby. Wherever you’re going and whatever age the baby is, he or she will always need more apparel, equipment and paraphernalia than any other member of your travelling party. The days of grabbing your passport and running out the door are over; say goodbye to spontaneity and hello to exhaustive checklists. But for all the stress and spilt milk, holidaying with a baby can also bring untold joy (especially with all the ridiculous outfits you can make them wear).
Bali is a great place to take kids – there’s a wealth of family-friendly villas, restaurants and activities and above all, the Balinese people love babies. Walk into a shop with your baby and be prepared to be swarmed by staff cooing and chirping at your child. It’s a sight for sore eyes – especially if you’ve been stuck carrying a sweaty, grouchy baby all day. Here are some tips to make your first Bali trip with baby an easier one, as hard-earned by the TLN team.
#1 Go onto Bali Baby and rent everything
On our most recent trip, Bali Baby was an absolute godsend. It started off with a search for carseats to hire and quickly spiralled from there. You can get everything you need from Bali Baby, from airport transfers with carseats to baby baths to strollers to swim vests to toys. They’ll deliver everything to your villa for you, and collect it all after you’ve checked out. What this means: no need to uproot your entire house and bring bulky toys or equipment (they even have baby monitors).
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#2 Order food from Mini Munchers
Hell hath no fury like a hungry baby who needs a pumpkin puree five minutes ago. Enter Mini Muncher, who will deliver your choice of freshly made baby purees, toddler and kids meals or snacks to your doorstep. Prices start from AUD3 per meal, and the food is all organic with no nasties or preservatives. For my 11-month-old we ordered the aforementioned pumpkin puree, sweet potato and spinach puree and pumpkin, brown rice and chicken puree (do you sense a theme?) and he ate every last drop.
#3 Cover every last inch of them with mosquito repellent (and sunscreen)
Bali mosquitoes did not come here to play, and they are everywhere. Dengue aside, the combination of heat and sweat makes mosquito bites even more sore and itchy for little ones, and any broken skin from scratching runs the risk of infection. Keep a citronella spray handy (20 drops of citronella oil + half a cup of water), load up on baby-friendly mosquito repellent (we like Buds Mozzie Clear Lotion) and make sure they sleep with a mosquito net.
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#4 Go for a carrier over a stroller
Unless you’re ideologically opposed to them, baby carriers are a much easier way of carting your child around the island. Pavements can be inconsistent and not in the best nick, roads can be narrow and the terrain rocky. Keep your hands free and your baby close to your chest (just be prepared for the sweat).
#5 Finally, plan small
If your family is anything like mine, they love an itinerary. But babies follow a special schedule all of their own making, which can change at the drop of a pacifier. (Unless you have one of those extremely good babies on an excellent routine, in which case, hats off to you.) Keep your days open-ended and relaxed, plan to spend a lot of time in the villa (why else did you book it?) and don’t stress out about missed appointments. If you must, plan for one activity a day that can happen between naptimes and leave plenty of time for getting ready and an impromptu splash in the pool.