By the time we made it onto our 6:30am flight to Fiji I was beginning to wonder if this really WAS a good idea. Could my husband and I really spend a week with our toddler AND enjoy a relaxing babymoon?
Three years ago, pregnant with baby number 1, my husband and I thought nothing of having a babymoon - sleeping, chatting, reading and doing whatever we pleased in a beautiful location. Our biggest concern: where we’d eat for dinner that night. Sigh.
My, how things have changed! Having spent the past two years working full-time with a baby/toddler, I was exhausted and ready for a break. Our son is not quite three so I was worried whether we could really relax, unwind and mentally prepare for our new bub - or would travelling be an expensive disaster? Well, I’m happy to report that a “holiday” really is possible when you’ve got a toddler in tow. But for best results, I’d recommend keeping these things in mind…
Budget definitely comes into play here but it’s not your only consideration. Wherever you choose to babymoon with a toddler, you need to make it as easy as possible for yourself. Knowing we’d be leaving in Sydney winter I wanted to be as warm as humanly possible and Fiji seemed like a great idea. Know what I mean… Some quick research and recommendations from several friends and colleagues told me you can’t get more family-friendly than Fiji, and they were right! Our itinerary was four glorious sun-filled days at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort in Sigatoka, followed by an incredible three-night stay on Castaway Island, Mamanuca Islands, just over an hour’s boat ride from Denarau Port.
Adjust your mindset; it’s a holiday but not exactly like you remember… Both the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort and Castaway Island offered amazingly flexible and affordable nanny (Mei Mei) and Kids Clubs services (which I’ll get to in more detail later). And this allowed us some special time to really unwind - a bit like those pre-baby days. But even then it’s so important to remember that this is a family holiday. Just like weekends at home, holidaying with a toddler is busy times! They’re up early (although slightly later for some reason in Fiji) and they’re expecting lots of action. Be prepared or go somewhere where the action is supplied for them. Be prepared to throw routine out a little bit. I was mentally preparing for Harry to be awake late and up early most mornings, but I was so pleased (thank the gods!) this did not happen. Sure, bedtime was more like 9pm instead of 7:30pm but wake-up time miraculously became 7:30am or 8am, too.
If it’s important to you to keep things exactly as they are at home - maybe rethink the holiday idea altogether! So much of the fun of this break for us was not having to stick to the pretty exhausting routine of home life. Harry still had his day sleeps every single day, but they again were slightly later than normal and no harm was done. I know that every child is different and this was our experience, but it’s important to mentally prepare yourself for holiday life. Go somewhere warm so it’s easy and don’t commit to too far away. We only had seven days away together so I didn’t want to spend too much of that time travelling to our destination. So Fiji was absolutely perfect! An hour longer on the plane and I don’t think I would have enjoyed it half as much.We had a three-and-a-half hour journey from Sydney and a four-hour return trip. By the time we arrived in Fiji after our early morning flight, it was time for a nap and a swim and an early dinner before hitting the sack for a new day ahead!
I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily we relaxed.Babysitting and nanny services were affordable enough to say ‘Yes.’ I had reservations about using babysitters on this holiday because I work full-time and feel like I already miss so much! Both Outrigger Resort, Fiji and Castaway Island offer amazingly flexible nanny services and Kids Club. They’re available from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 11pm every single day. Once I got my head around the idea (and we tested Harry out for an afternoon session first), he loved it. Both Outrigger and Castaway Island had so much on offer to wear out our little guy, it blew our minds! We spent most mornings on the beach or in the pool and then sent him off for a couple of hours to Kids Club.Harry loved being able to play with other children his age. Both centres had a huge sandpit (a real hit for our guy), lots of toys and dancing and painting activities done as a group. Each time we picked him up he was happy, fed and relaxed and our nanny, Fifi wrote up everything he’d played and eaten over the afternoon.
I quickly adapted to the idea of ‘me time’. We had two special nights out for dinner alone and an afternoon spent in the amazing Bebe Spa at Outrigger Resort in Nadi. My, oh my, was that a gorgeous experience! Their beautiful treatment centre was an oasis of calm, green tress and sweeping views across the Coral Coast. Yes, that was tough … When we headed back that afternoon I honestly felt like I was floating.
Get your indulgence fix … just in smaller doses. So much has changed about how we think about “holidays”. It was was great to have so much family time together and be warm and happy when the weather back at home was just turning winter on! So I guess my advice here is don’t dream TOO big with these babymoon breaks. You’ll get a taste of everything you love about holidays, but you need to be realistic too.If your budget allows heading to a resort-style venue like the Outrigger Fiji or Castaway Island, it is worth every cent. I didn’t think about cooking, shopping, washing up or cleaning for seven days and my pregnant self relished the break. It really means YOU get a rest and you’re not just doing everything you normally do in a different location.
Some other last minute tips:
- Food in both resorts was simple and fresh but if your toddler is fussy like ours, you might also need to prepare yourself for the fact they will eat all the chips AND the ice cream. But let’s face it, so did we!
- Pack some favourite toys. They will be a lifesaver on the plane and also mean you get to enjoy those twilight hours when eating out together. There will be mixed views on this but our iPad loaded with a few favourite shows was indispensable at dinner time!
- Our son Harry slept in (till 8!) most days. But if this doesn’t work out the same for you, make a routine up between yourselves and take turns enjoying sleep-ins.
- Also share nap times. We opted to head back to our room every day for a nap after lunch because one of my #holidaygoals was getting more sleep! My head hit the pillow every afternoon faster than Harry’s. But if you don’t want that kind of rest, split that shift up too and indulge yourself - even if you’re just reading on the beach with a cocktail in hand. It’s pretty tough going, but I think you’ll manage it.
Embrace the babymoon … after all, it could be the last holiday you’ll get for a while!
This article was reprinted with permission from Kidspot.