We finally took baby girl to her first big event! She’s almost 18 months and it’s taken this long, with a whole global pandemic, to get her to her first big event. My side of the family is quite large and there is usually some kind of get together on a regular basis. Because of Covid a lot of family never even got the chance to see me pregnant, yet alone meet Baby Girl when she was a baby, yet alone now when she’s a proper walking, (semi) talking, little human. So, I was super excited that my cousin’s wedding was finally happening and we all got to go: Baby Girl, Hubby, my parents and my brother. Not only was it our first big event, but it was also a staycation in Devon. We had a staycation last summer in the Cotswolds but she wasn’t even one yet and still a baby. Now she’s a fully fledged toddler. Which I was also so excited about but I was also proper nervous: what about Baby Girl’s sleep? What about storm Eunice? Would I remember to pack everything for her, yet alone myself? What if I haven’t prepared enough food for her? There were literally so many questions and in all fairness I was quite anxious that it wouldn’t be a great weekend, and Storm Eunice only made it worse.
But now, a week later, it was a great weekend and I honestly loved it. The wedding was lovely, catching up with family, seeing Baby Girl interact with others, watching her feel the love and love on others, it honestly made my heart full. So lets get into it.
Here’s what we bought ahead of the weekend…
- Clothes: firstly we needed Baby Girl to look the part so we of course bought her a new dress, coat and proper shoes. I say ‘proper’ shoes because, until now she’s only rocked trainers but her first big event needed some proper shoes. She looked beaut even if I do say so myself…
- Travel Cot: we were lucky enough to get a free Mothercare Travel Cot from my cousin early last year which we have incidentally only used once in the Cotswolds, until we went to Devon. When we went to the Cotswolds, bubs didn’t really sleep all that well in her travel cot and I thought it was because it was a lot smaller than her cot at home. So I wanted to buy an extra large travel cot in this instance, so she can sleep a lot better. But after reading some reviews, Hubby and I decided that we’d buy an extra mattress for our existing travel cot instead. Luckily it was a success and Baby Girl slept through on both nights and we had zero arguments on her going down for the night.
- Snacks: although the wedding was the main event, we still had 4.5 hour car ride, and other events to make it through while in Devon. I bought so many Ella’s Kitchen Melty Puffs, Ella’s Kitchen Oat Bars and general fruit & yoghurt. Baby Girl is a big eater and she often gets hangry, I didn’t ever want to be in a situation of hanger at any of the events.
Let’s go on to what we packed for our first big event and staycation – there’s a lot…
I definitely felt like a bag lady, as each time I thought I was done packing for Baby Girl, I would be reminded of another gadget/spare items we would need… What I did find helpful though was Just Chill Baby Sleep‘s holiday packing list. Not all of it was relevant for us based on Baby Girl’s age and the season, but was a great help:
Out & About
- Stroller: through Made For Mums, we got to review the Joie Tourist Pushchair and it is so easy and lightweight to carry when folded down and it takes very little space in the boot. It was great for the weekend as well as her first big event, as it was spread across different areas of an old manor house. It was also really great when she fell asleep at the wedding and we could lie her in it, and get 2.5 hours more of dancing, shots and drinks #parentsontheloose
- Changing Bag: changing mat, spare clothes, extra nappies, rash cream, wipes and nappy bags. We also keep the Milton hand sanitiser, Milton wipes and Dettol wipes in there too
- Steriliser/Bottle Warmer: yes Baby Girl is 17 months and she still has a bottle before bed and sometimes in the middle of the night if she wakes #dontjudge. She took to the bottle at 9 months (you can read about this in my blog about Mum Guilt) so I’m not ready to wean her off it yet…
- Eating Utensils: my bestie’s MIL bought us some really cute personalised utensils so we took them along with us, with some extra bowls that have lids
- Food: I took some cheesy leek pasta I had made (one of her faves) and some meatballs. While we were in Devon, she didn’t actually need the food I had made, she ate lots of the snacks but she ate well while we were down there. We also took whole milk for her breakfasts and night time milk.
- Water Bottle
- I should have brought our Bottle Brush too, but I forgot it #doh!
- Travel Cot & Mattress: the AirBnB (which by the way,was amazing!) had a travel cot which had a great mattress too but we used ours as it was slightly bigger
- Sleep Bag: we are obsessed with the Love To Dream sleep bags. They are more spenny but we’ve been using them since baby was a couple of months old, so we stuck to what we know….
- White Noise Machine: we started using my Kindle as our machine temporarily when we moved Baby Girl into her own room, just in case she didn’t respond well to having white noise while sleeping. Aaaaand a year later we are still using it. We will maybe get an actual white noise machine eventually but this is working for us for now (until we go on holiday and I actually want to read….)
- Pyjamas & spares
- Bed Sheets & spares
- Overnight Nappies
- NooNoos: Baby Girl sleeps with a little Peppa Pig and Ellie the Elephant so we take them anywhere she’ll sleep (naps or overnight)
- We took our Black Out Blinds just in case, but we didn’t need them despite her room only having shutters
- Bath Soap
- Bath Mat – again there were some in the AirBnB but didn’t know that til we got there. It also didn’t matter I didn’t bring any bath toys (I forgot them…) as they had rubber duckies in the bath which she loved
- Wash Cloth & Towel
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Extra changing mat, extra nappies, rash cream to keep in the house, so I don’t forget anything in the changing bag and vice versa
- Extra Dress for the wedding day, in case of any accidents (she still needs to look cute!), which we didn’t actually need
- We took Main Outfits we wanted her to wear each day, and then 3x extra tops and 3x extra trousers just in case
- Thick Socks
- A couple of Cardigans & Jumpers
- Medication: Baby Girl was teething and going through a bit of a sleep ‘progression’ the week before we left and wasn’t sleeping well. So we brought Calpol, Nurofen and teething powder just in case but we didn’t actually more than the teething powder
- First Aid Kit
- Toys & Books: none of which we actually used while there because there was never any time to. I could have used the books on the car ride (especially going to Devon as Baby Girl didn’t really nap) though but I packed them so they weren’t easily accessible #doh!
What I’ve Learnt
- Kids Adapt: I was so worried about Baby Girl going to her first big event after spending the first 17months of her life with just Hubby, me, her grandparents, uncles & aunties. She loved all the attention she got, cuddles and playing with the other kids that were there, LOVED the dancefloor, and trying new food. She had a wail of a time! She also slept through the night and didn’t care that we weren’t able to stick to her usual schedule (and I use that word in the loosest term as we’re not strict routine people). She fell asleep whenever or wherever for her naps, and it didn’t matter that her naps weren’t the usual 2 hours. She just went with the flow and it made me feel so much more relaxed than I thought I could be at the events and during the car journeys
- Be More Prepared During Travel: I was really unprepared for a 4.5 hour journey with a toddler. We used Cocomelon a lot and she napped better on the way home (I think the weekend took it out of her) but I could have brought books and activities for her to be engaged with both going and coming home.
- I Need To Pack Better: I figure if I’m better prepared, I’d be less of a bag lady. I think I might buy some packing cubes to make it easier, especially as I’m very forgetful so will make it easier to see what’s been packed and what’s missing.
But to be honest the main thing I learnt is regardless of how prepared you feel or what you forget, it’s all ok. Baby Girl had a great time regardless. She’s so social despite being a lockdown baby, she slept well and didn’t have any real moments of overwhelm. She dealt really well with her first big event that it’s really put my mind at ease, especially as we have major holidays planned this year, one of which includes another wedding. I’m so excited for future travels we go on with her, especially abroad. I just pray we’re able to go away as planned…
I’ll keep you posted.