Tips for Feeding Baby on Holiday

feeding baby on holiday

Feeding Baby on Holiday? It’s not so tough, honestly!

My daughter was 11-months-old when we took our first family vacation to Cuba. At first I was overwhelmed with the thought of bottles, formula, jars, and bibs taking up all of our luggage allowance and all of my time while supposedly on holiday.

However, like all good vacationers at an All-Inclusive resort, she came home a few pounds heavier! All my worrying was for naught but my organization wasn’t.

If you prepare well, you will be fine. Feeding baby on holiday will be no more difficult than feeding baby at home… Except, hopefully, you’ll be sipping a well-earned cocktail!

Feeding baby on holiday if you are still exclusively breastfeeding:

If your baby is still exclusively breastfeeding, you might want to re-think the cocktail (or at least the number you consume!) but essentially, so long as you’re there, the baby can eat!

Having said that, there are still a number of things you need to make sure of:

  • Make sure you are properly hydrated, especially if your holiday destination is hot! If you need extra fluids, chances are your baby will too – offer extra feeds if necessary. If the water supply is even remotely suspect – stick to bottled water and refuse ice cubes. A worrywart like me might use bottled water to rinse herself after bathing – but that’s just me…
  • Make sure you don’t overdo it. Hike up that pyramid or down that steep trail on a future getaway. Take this holiday at a slower pace with lovely walks and easygoing sightseeing – along with lots of naps and rests. Your energy level (and your milk supply) will thank you.
  • Make sure you eat properly. If your destination requires that you be cautious with food – heed that caution. The old saying from the Peace Corps is “if you can’t peel it or heat it, don’t eat it.” There’s no need to be uptight, but stick to foods that you know your system likes. You can try that road-side taco stand on your next trip to Mexico!

I chose to wait until my daughter was finished nursing before traveling with her, simply because there was no swimsuit known to man that could possibly contain me. Having said that, if you’re up for it when your baby is still really small and portable, it’s probably the least complicated time to get away.

CLICK HERE for more on breastfeeding and travel

Feeding baby on holiday if using bottles or baby is exclusively bottle-fed:

Here is where things start to get a little more complicated – but no more so than bottle feeding at home. Gear starts to become necessary at this stage. So does choosing accommodation that will make your life easier. Travel with baby formula requires planning ahead.

  • Find out if where you’re staying has a kitchen or a kitchenette. If it does, book it! You definitely need a mini-fridge at this stage and a microwave would be super-handy as well. If you do have access to a microwave, bring along one of those microwavable sterilizers. A quick once-through once a day will keep all your bottles, nipples, pacifiers, and other sterilizable things sterile. Now there are also bags to sterilize in the microwave as well. If the place has a kettle, or a stove and a pan, you could just use that for boiling water but it isn’t as easy. However, sterilizing bottles in a hotel room is really not a big deal.
  • If it’s just a plain old hotel room with a fridge – never fear! So long as you have a sink and bring along a kettle (check for voltage issues) you can sterilize your stuff. If your baby takes the bottles with the plastic drop-in – you’ll have even less sterilizing to worry about. Now might be the time to introduce those bottles! Also, now might be the time to introduce formula or breastmilk from the bottle at room temperature. If your baby is already used to it, you don’t have the worry or bother of heating bottles. This made giving our baby’s bottle very easy. We just opened a fresh bottle of water to mix her formula. Make sure the bottled water has less than 20mg of Sodium per litre.
  • If you are 100% sure that you can get the same brand of formula that your baby takes at your destination, than maybe you can get away with bringing enough for a few days. If you’re not, than bring enough for the duration of your trip + a little extra, just in case. Separate it among all of your luggage, so if one bag does end up lost, it’s not the one with ALL the baby’s formula. That tip applies to all the baby supplies, actually.
  • Remember to pack a little bottle of dish soap, even if your accommodation says they supply it. We let our bottles and nipples air dry on a clean towel.
  • If you’re bringing a breast pump, make sure there will be no voltage issues at your destination and all the sterilizing information above applies to the pump components as well. When I was pumping, some told me that I didn’t need to sterilize my breast pump parts, but I did anyway.

CLICK HERE for more on travel and bottle feeding

Feeding baby on holiday if your baby is on solids:

Starting solids is a big deal! That said, the amount they actually eat at first isn’t very much. You can get away with bringing a few jars and a box of cereal. Don’t forget a few bowls and spoons, as well as a wipeable bib or ten. While you’re away from home, though, I wouldn’t introduce a new food.

If your baby is solidly on solids, than your luggage will get a whole lot heavier. Cereal is a great staple and is nutritionally sound, so bring a couple of boxes in different varieties. It’s easy to mix with bottled water. If you’re certain that you can buy quality baby food at your destination, just bring along a few favourites that you know your baby will eat.

Some restaurants and resorts will be happy to puree some vegetables or fruit for you. Make sure they don’t add salt or any other flavorings. If baby is already into finger foods, here is where a buffet becomes your friend. There is always plenty of bread, well-cooked pasta, and other soft things they can feed themselves. Again, I wouldn’t introduce anything new.

My daughter was eating lots of table food when we went to Cuba, and feeding her from the buffet couldn’t have been easier. I’m not really a foodie, so I didn’t mind the food for myself, either. She absolutely loved the ham and cheese toasties from the snack bar at the hotel, as well as the peas cooked in way more butter than Mommy ever would!

Useful Tips:

I packed a meal per day of something I knew she’d eat, two boxes of cereal, a box of crackers, and some pureed fruit in the little plastic cups with foil lids. I was worried the cups would explode in our luggage so I put them in a large Tupperware. They didn’t explode and the Tupperware came in handy to hold all the feeding stuff that needed washing at the end of the day. I also packed some small Ziplocs and containers to hold snacks and leftovers from the buffet. They came in handy for us as well as for her! We also brought along some inexpensive sippy cups for her water, and I washed those at night as well. Families with toddlers we met there said their little ones were just fine drinking the local milk.

A couple more things…If you’re not sure that the restaurants you’ll be eating at will have highchairs, your stroller will do in a pinch (ie – it’s handy to bring a stroller!). You can buy portable high chairs, but that’s one more thing you’ll have to bring. There are little cloth wraps that you can use to help support your baby on a regular chair. But you can’t be sure the restaurants will have chairs stable enough. Bring a stroller, even if it’s just a cheapie umbrella one. If you’re worried about overweight charges for your luggage, there are companies out there that will ship all your pre-selected supplies to your hotel. Just compare the possible overage fees to the cost of using such a company.

Feeding baby on holiday when you’re concerned about food allergies:

We are very fortunate not to have food allergies in either of our families. But I was still very cautious when it came to introducing (possibly) troublesome foods to my daughter. Imagine my inner-panic when I noticed that the (what I thought was) pasta and tomato sauce my daughter had greedily consumed by handfuls actually had mussels in it. We were lucky because she was fine.

That said, I would never have knowingly taken that risk and have been EXTRA careful as a result. I also caution that away from home is not the time to introduce new foods. You just never know and why take a chance? Be sure to pack some baby antihistamine, just to be safe.

If you know your baby has allergies, fear not – you can still go away! You just have to be as vigilant on the road as you are at home. Bring essentials with you, unless you know for certain that you can buy your special formula, soy milk, goat milk or other necessities at your destination. For travel, you can buy the various milks in sealed containers that don’t require refrigeration until opened – heavy, but worth it.

If English isn’t widely spoken where you’re going, and you don’t speak the language, learn a couple of key phrases explaining the allergy and emphasizing the importance of your situation. You can also write or buy cards with this information, and there are apps now too.

Get packing!

Your entourage has grown and your pile of bags is bigger. But you can still enjoy a vacation with your baby or toddler!

There’s a little more work involved, but what’s a few bottles to wash when you’re on holiday?! The thought of feeding my baby truly did stress me out before we went. But it was so much easier than I thought it would be. I want to encourage every family to enjoy a getaway together. Because you all deserve it!

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21 Responses to Tips for Feeding Baby on Holiday

  1. Shawna at #

    As much as it stressed me out to pack everything that we might need for our baby, I kept one thought in my mind. Washing bottles, mixing formula, spoon feeding baby, it needs to be done no matter where you are. Might as well be doing it on a beach!

  2. Corinne at #


  3. Oliver's mummy at #

    Great article. For UK mums you can arrange to have baby food and other stuff such as nappies delivered directly to you hotel/villa using We’ve found it helpful in reducing the luggage we are carrying.

  4. Great tips on how to feed a baby on a holiday. Usually if you are on a holiday you want to have the least hassle as possible.

  5. Her at #

    So far we’ve traveled domestically (east coast, Hawai’i,etc.) and feeding the baby has been super easy (he’s bottle fed). The rest of this year will be international travel (South Africa, Brazil, Guam and Japan) and he’s almost entirely eating solids so I am a bit worried. He’s a great eater and eats everything so I’m hoping that new flavors won’t throw his off. I’m not concerned about allergies, but more about the different flavors that we might encounter. I guess at the end of the day though, meat is meat! =)

  6. Allison at #

    We loved buffets for our babies and toddlers because we could almost always find their favorites, including fresh fruits and veggies. We often packed our own food for our babies on vacation and pre-fed them before going to a restaurant. That usually made the meal easier because Baby was already full and happy, and could nibble on whatever she liked while we enjoyed the meal.

  7. Rizwana at #

    I find carrying a little stick blender the best tool for traveling with a toddler.
    my toddler loves textured food but doesn’t eat that much if its not pureed (he has only two teeth) so blending his food into a puree works the best in feeding him an appropriate portion. literally you can blend any food you buy or is available at the buffet table:-)

    • Corinne at #

      That is a great idea–thanks for sharing, Rizwana!

    • Norah Alissa at #

      Any suggestions on what brand for the little stick blender? It’s a good idea.

  8. Chris at #

    Hello! We’re going to travel with air canada in February with my 18 month old who has a severe tree nut allergy. She won’t be able to eat anything the airline offers and we can’t risk buying food at the airport. Do you know if we’ll be able to bring her prepared meals and snacks through security? Thanks!!

    • Corinne at #

      Hi Chris! You should be fine with her food and snacks. Keep everything separate so it’s easier for security to inspect. Best of luck and happy travels!

  9. Sarah at #

    Hi, my eight months old eats the same food as my husband and me. He’s never had pureed food. To avoid added salt, all his food is homemade.

    We are staying in a hotel abroad for two weeks on an all inclusive basis. I have no concerns about my baby wanting to eat the buffet food, but I am concerned about him exceeding his recommended daily salt intake. Any advice?


    • Corinne at #

      Hi Sarah! If you ask maybe they’ll set aside some for you prepared without salt? To be honest, I don’t think you need to be too concerned about exceeding the recommended daily salt intake. If you are staying somewhere warm, he will perspire and any salty food will encourage him to drink more water.

  10. qiaraau at #

    It was a great tips on how to feed a baby on holiday. Thanks for this!

  11. This article make me stressed out to pack everything that we might need for my baby.Thanks for the tips.This article helps me to be organize as well 🙂

  12. james at #

    Great post and information shared by you for who is traveling with baby because baby feeding is very important part of your life thanks a lot for sharing this information

  13. Laura at #

    Cereal is definitely your best bet when your baby is on solids… one of those little boxes of cereal makes about a zillion meals, and they don’t weigh very much. Although you probably should bring at least a few jars of food for some variety.

  14. Hi! Thank you for this content. Very-well detailed and commendable!

  15. Joe at #

    I had joined a group of friends from the old school and one of them had a newborn with her. She was so well prepared both for breastfeeding and having some spare pomps and other requirements to prevent waste in case the baby didn2t want to feed at the correct moments.

    I was both quite surprised and amazed by the possibilities we have nowadays.


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