We stayed just over 2 weeks with Jon’s family. Before we left I wasn’t sweating things like formula, baby food and diapers (or nappies as the Brit’s would say). I mean, c’mon it’s England it’s not like I’m traveling to a 3rd world country. How different can things be?
And the answer is…pretty different! First, the formula. We feed Ivy the Similac ready mixed stuff. We brought a few bottles with us, plus a small jar of similac powder. She’s never had powdered formula before, but when we went to the supermarket in England, thats all we could find. Oh, and they call everything ‘milk’ which was kind of confusing. Like, they have “Infant Milk” “Follow on Milk” and “My First Milk”. It’s not like Formula from birth to 12 months which is what my bottle of Similac says. I was so confused. According to her age Ivy should have “Follow on Milk” but what the fuck is follow on milk?!?! It compliments the weaning diet according the package.I got her this, I mean she eats solids 3x a day and sometimes has a little diluted juice or water, so thats a weaning diet I guess.
Then I went to the actual baby food. I did get a few things to cook, just like at home, sweet potatoes, apples, etc. but since we were going to be traveling for NYE, and just for ease I figured I’d get her some baby food as well. Oh, the Brits and their food. When I buy the packaged stuff here I can get little pots of carrots, squash, pears, etc. Not in England. Everything was some sort of combination. Nope, not just carrots but carrots and potatoes; or how about some chicken and vegetables AND rice? The one that cracked me up was cauliflower cheese. I mean, really? Can infants even eat cheese? Cauliflower cheese is something you should have with a pork roast on Sunday, not feed to your 6 month old. For the record these foods were all marked as “first foods” and the age said from about 4 months. Further confusing me was the selections that included pasta, and the fact that even the fruit “puddings” contained rice. Maybe I’m completely wrong, but I was under the impression that babies first foods should be simple, single easy to digest things like pureed apples, carrots, sweet potato, etc.
Because I have a lot to cover in this post and also because I try to avoid in depth descriptions of baby poo I will not get into exactly what the combination of powdered milk and a starch heavy diet did to Ivy’s digestive system. I will let you know that it ended in several desperate overseas call to her pediatrician, a glycerin suppository and much to my delight and dismay, lots and lots of poop on our plane ride home. Yes, she waited until we were on our way home to have a proper poo. I say dismay because Jon was sleeping most of the time home and I had the joy of 3 very full diaper changes in the airplane toilet .
Nappies were pretty much the same – they have Huggies, but not the Huggies pure and natural which I use here, but that was no big deal. The most annoying thing about nappie changes was not having my usual set up and constantly bending over the bed to change her, which by the end killed my back.
Ivy slept in a pack and play type sleeper, and much like her current situation in the co sleeper at home, she wasn’t very comfortable. Even with a few blankets to make the mattress soft, it just wasn’t comfy for her. Add in baby jet lag and she wasn’t sleeping well at all. Although you could probably mainly blame this on the jet lag. Oh my word was that difficult at first. As I explained in the plane ride post, Ivy hardly slept on the way over. So, by the time we landed, we had a punchy over tired baby. We got there and spent an hour or so hanging out with Jon’s parents. Ivy was pleasant enough until she got past the tired but happy mark. We then slept for 4 hours, in the middle of the day London time but early morning according to our home clocks. She napped throughout the rest of the day, and then when it was night time and Jon and I were ready to pass out, she was wired. This was probably around 11:00 pm London time, and I was melting melting melting with fatigue. But not Ivy! She was giggling and shouting and just generally not calming down. When she finally did, it was 2:30 am. Lucky for me she slept in until 10 the next morning. After few days, we thought she had regulated as she was going to bed around 10 and waking up around 8. But then she’d throw us for a loop and be up every two hours all night long for no apparent reason. She didn’t want to eat, her diaper wasn’t wet, she just didn’t want to sleep. By the time she seemed to settle into the time, it was time to come home. We then spent several days at home waking up at 3:30 am hungry and ready to start her day.
It was a great trip, and I have lovely pictures for Ivy’s first Christmas and family album, but it was harder than I thought being abroad for an extended period of time with a baby. I guess part of this was also because we weren’t home. Obviously Jon’s parents made it as comfortable as possible but it wasn’t Ivy’s stuff and out normal every day setup, which I take comfort in (and I’m sure Ivy does as well). We went to Prague for New Years Eve and it was in some ways easier. We spent so much time outside walking around that Ivy was absolutely pooped by the end of the day and went to sleep and stayed asleep like a dream. She was really good too, we were out and about, in restaurants and cafes and she just chilled. We even put on her party pajamas and took her out to dinner on New Years eve. We also took her to the square to ring in the New Year, but that my friends is it’s own post (which I promise to try and write sooner rather than later). All in all, it wasn’t totally impossible being in another country but it sure did make me miss the comforts of home.