Our twins were born at 30+4 and were both in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or also known as Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU), Henry only for 6 weeks followed by 2 weeks in Special Care and Archie was in the NICU until he was term and then transferred over to Queensland Children’s Hospital for the remainder of his short, yet inspiring life.

You can read more about Archie’s Story by clicking here.

What is NICU?

The NICU is not something I had ever heard of before I needed to know about it. The NICU is dedicated primarily to premature babies that aren’t quite physically and developmentally developed and are unable to transition to the outside environment as well as full-term babies. I say primarily because during our time in the NICU we did see a couple of term babies who required additional support.

Looking for gift ideas for parents with babies in NICU?

This is a question we get asked a lot now. Reflecting on our 5.5 months of living at a hospital, there are a number of things that made that journey that little bit easier, and it was thanks to those family and friends, and sometimes strangers who gave us the most useful gifts.

NICU Milestone Cards

I would recommend Miracle Mumma. We were gifted some by a complete stranger and they became so very special to us. It is not normally something you buy in advance of having a baby, but when your baby hits those incredible milestones, it’s nice to have a card for your pictures and memories.

Parking vouchers

Parking at a hospital costs an absolute fortune. After my cesarean, catching public transport or walking to the hospital was out of the question for a month or so. We were paying $110 every 5 days for parking and the costs added up very quickly.

Meals

After you’re discharged and you are spending every single day at the hospital, you head home in the evening to try and get some sleep… in between pumping every 3 hours for your baby/babies… and it is hard to think about yourself and your nutrition. We had friends deliver some frozen meals to us so we just had to reheat when we got home. We were also given vouchers for Deliveroo (this link will give you $12 off your first four orders) and Uber Eats so we could get some meals delivered.

Outfits

Most NICU babies aren’t wearing outfits for a while, but when they do, I can nearly guarantee you that unless they were expecting a premature baby, they will not have the right size clothing. I had a bundle of 00000 size outfits, which were still too big for my boys when they were able to be dressed, but it was so nice to have something for them. They will need to be outfits that have buttons to allow for the numerous medical leads that are attached to the little one. Also check out Miracle Mumma who have specially designed little outfits that are suitable for the cables too.

Premature Baby Record Book

When we purchased ours, there was nothing out there! We had to order our book from the US and is called The Littlest Peanut Book. Now, Miracle Mumma has tapped into what is very much needed and has her own range of record keeping books for premature babies. Check out her books here.

Birth Poster

We were gifted ours by a wonderful group of preemie parents after we lost Archie. It was arranged through Miracle Mumma and is absolutely perfect.

thewelltravelledfamily birth poster for nicu babies

Premmie Dolls

I ordered a Premmie Doll for each of my boys. It is really nice to see how far they have come since being born as such an early gestation. Miracle Mumma sell these and they are a really great quality. There is usually a wait list (as you can imagine these are very popular). The dolls are the exact height and weight as your baby when they were born.

Pram Tags

When you are finally able to take your baby outside, you need to be super careful as their little tiny bodies are prone to picking up every infection going around. These pram tags by Miracle Mumma are a wonderful addition to your pram.

Lactation Cookies

I know this one sounds a bit weird. But I was pumping for twins and was barely getting enough milk for the both of them. In addition to medication, a friend told me about Lactation Cookies and made me a double batch of cookie dough I could just pop into the oven when I was ready. They helped me a lot with my milk supply and saved me heaps of time by not having to make heaps myself. They cost quite a lot of money to buy packets from the shop so I found it cost effective to make them myself. Here is a recipe I used.

Support

Just be there. Send a message every now and then so they know you’re thinking about them. They may not have time to reply but knowing they have a huge support crew ready for when they need is so important. Quite often bubs born early don’t get the typical congratulatory start to life as term babies. Friends and family are likely to be unsure of what to say to new parents of a prem bub as their journey can be so uncertain. Remember to acknowledge the birth of their baby/babies and congratulate them. Normal happiness tends to be forgotten.

Reusable Drink bottle

Staying hydrated is so important and often forgotten. I would recommend a reusable 1L or 2L drink bottle, like a Tupperware one that they can take with them every day, or leave at the hospital for each morning.

Cleaner/Housework/Washing

The simple things that just can’t be done. After spending all day at the hospital, it would be so nice to come home to a clean house. Either a cleaning voucher, arrange someone to come around, or offer to do this yourself (but instead of asking, just say you will be at their place at say 7.30am before they head off and will leave the keys in a safe space). Try not to let them say no! They will thank you for it in the long run.

Babysitting

If the family has a toddler at home, offer to babysit or take the child for a sleepover.

Grocery / Coffee delivery

Dropping off a ‘real’ coffee at the hospital, a sandwich for lunch or snacks for the day would be really helpful. Also offer to do a grocery shop so they have fresh groceries for at home.

Handsfree pumping bra

Something that most will need to rush out and buy. Check the sizing first as that is pretty important but I used the Medela one and it was a critical item that is used every 3 hours for up to months on end.

Do you have any suggestions of items that should be added to this list? Please let me know in the comments below.

To read more about our family, some tips and tricks if you’re travelling with a family, click here!

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thewelltravelledfamily kangaroo point Brisbane inner-city dog-friendly beach

Looking for a Dog Friendly Beach in Brisbane where you can take your toddler?

If you don’t want the hassle of driving for over an hour to the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, only to stay for less than an because your toddler is tired, then you should consider this, not so secret, inner city dog friendly beach!

We had a lovely time, Millie was able to play with all of the other dogs and Henry was enjoying playing in the sand and getting his feet (or entire body) wet!

Where is the Dog Friendly Beach in Brisbane?

Located along the Brisbane River, just around the corner from the iconic Story Bridge, it is easy to get to, street parking, coffee shops and plenty on offer for everyone.

thewelltravelledfamily kangaroo point Brisbane inner city dog friendly beach

Getting there

On the weekends, street parking in most streets are free (be sure to check the signs or risk getting a fine!). Alternatively, you can take free ferry (the city hopper) to Holman Street wharf and wonder through the park until you reach the stairs down to the foreshore.

What to do

There are relatively flat walking tracks to go for a cycle, walk or run and enjoy the views of the city and river at the same time.

There is also Captain Burke Park where you can enjoy a picnic, the kids can play on the playground or you can have a BBQ at one of the setups there.

We went with Henry (nearly 2 year old) son and Millie (nearly 1 year old) Cavoodle puppy. It is safe to say they both loved it! Personally, I wouldn’t recommend swimming in the river, but I did enjoy walking along the river’s edge, Henry on the other hand couldn’t get enough and was drenched from head to toe!

Looking for something to eat?

There is a gorgeous little pet friendly cafe you can grab a take away coffee, or sit down for something more substantial if you wish. It’s called Medley and it has a great outlook over the Brisbane River.

Planning a day or so in Brisbane?

If you’re looking for other things to do around Brisbane, check out this page.

South Bank
thewelltravelledfamily bribie island butterfly house

Looking for something different to do with your young children? The Bribie Island Butterfly House is a fun way to spend a morning.

Where is it?

Located on Bribie Island, it’s around an hour or so drive north from Brisbane City. The most convenient way to get there would be by car, which means you can also stop somewhere for a bite to eat before or afterwards as well.

What to expect

Butterflies of course! Unless you’re a huge fan of butterflies, I would only recommend this to entertain young children/toddlers for about an hour.

It’s a relatively small butterfly enclosure, which you walk around at your own pace. You are not allowed to reach out and touch the butterflies but a tip is to wear white, the butterflies are attracted to white and will likely sit on your shirt!

Opening Hours & Entry Fee

The Bribie Island Butterfly House is open on Wednesday and Sunday from 10am – 4pm. It costs $12 per adult and $7 per child (4 – 15 years of age). Under 4’s are free. This information was correct at the time of writing the post, being June 2020.

Looking for lunch at Bribie Island?

We picked up some take away fish and chips from Savige’s Fish and Chips and at it by the beach, not too far away from the Butterfly House. It was quite busy (which is a good indication that it is worth the wait) but you can get a cold drink while you wait for your food.

Planning a day or so in Brisbane?

If you’re looking for other things to do around Brisbane, check out this page with some useful tips and tricks.

South Bank

thewelltravelledfamily helinox chairs

Living in Australia, we find ourselves out and about a lot…. either at the beach, camping or at a park. We realised quickly that everything you need to take with you for a day was starting to add up… in size, weight and space. And to add to that, we now have to take stuff along for Henry which means an extra couple of bags with everything he needs.

So, when it came down to looking for the right chairs, we wanted something lightweight and compact so we can store it easily (we live in an apartment) and also it doesn’t take up much room in a bag, or on our shoulder like the traditional beach or camping chairs.

We were sitting in a park one day, and these people sat down behind us and set up these chairs. They were in the smallest bag, and when set up, they were close to the ground and low, meaning those behind you wouldn’t lose their views either. And, they looked super comfy. The brand is Helinox.

Chair One & Chair One Mini

We quickly jumped online to see what they had on offer. We opted for the Chair One and the Chair One Mini (for Henry). We also ordered the Ground Sheet for the Chair One’s so they are suitable to be used on the sand. Once they had arrived we knew we needed the table to match so ordered ourselves the Table One.

thewelltravelledfamily helinox chairs

The Chair one weights only 0.96kg with a weight capacity of 145kg and the Chair one mini weights a tiny 500g and a weight limit of 90kg. The Chair One mini is suitable for kids aged between 2 – 6.

Everywhere we go, someone asks us about these chair and where we got them. They are so unbelievably compact and perfect for anyone who gets out and about, especially those with a family who struggle for space with everything else!

We found this place by complete accident after stopping in for lunch at a restaurant at the top off the cliffs on our way to Paradise Beach.

Imagine sitting there, enjoying the beautiful view over the water and then happen to see these grey lumps moving around in the ocean. I turned to Steven and said, I think they are elephants!

Sure enough, they were baby elephants frolicking in the water.

There are a set of steep stairs that take you down directly from the restaurant down to Tri Trang Beach where the elephants are.

thewelltravelledfamily tri trang beach elephants
thewelltravelledfamily tri trang beach elephants

You can swim with the elephants and get some photos taken. From what we could tell, the Tri Trang Beach elephants appeared to be well looked after with no damage to their skin.

There was recently a number of concerns raised about the elephants, however this does not appear to be able the health of the elephants, rather people were concerned they were destroying corals near the beach by treading on them. DMCR officials have issued a warning, both in relation to the coral, but also ongoing health of the elephants. For now, they continue to be allowed.

thewelltravelledfamily travelling with an infant to one year old

When I was pregnant with the twins, we went overseas to explore Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. I was only 12 weeks pregnant! It was the first trip the boys went on! For that trip, I didn’t have to worry about packing for a baby, as long as the destinations had no risk of the Zika virus it was what you would consider, packing as normal…

When we travel now, it’s a different story, the things you need to pack for one small human is ridiculous! However, before you rule out travelling with a baby to one year old, think again, it is absolutely worth it and hopefully, this post will help you prepare.

thewelltravelledfamily Karon beach Phuket

The main benefits of travelling with a baby under 1 is that your small human cannot run around, they still sleep a lot (Henry slept around 12 hours every night when we were away!), they are lightweight and portable and the most important thing is that everyone loves a baby! You will end up making friends you don’t necessarily want because you have a baby.

These are our tips for travelling with a baby under 1.

Bassinet on long haul flights & an aisle seat

This might sound like a given, but sometimes these seats book up fast. So, you want to make sure you can get on a flight where you have access to a bassinet on long haul flights and on shorter flights, try and book an aisle seat at the front of the plane.

thewelltravelledfamily travelling with an infant to one year old

If you normally prefer a window seat and don’t want to move to an aisle, the reason for this is because at any given time you will need to get up and change their nappy, or go for a walk to keep them occupied and not crying! An aisle seat is much easier for this.

It helps to research the plane prior to picking your seats. We had the side of the plane where only one bassinet was located where in the middle of the plane they often have two bassinets next to each other.

thewelltravelledfamily travelling with an infant to one year old

When can you safely travel with an infant?

It is important to check the airline you are wanting to fly with as each airline has different policies relating to travelling with an infant. Certain airlines allow you to travel with a baby as early as 2 days old, others at 2 weeks of age. I personally, wouldn’t consider flying until after all of their vaccinations have been given and their immune system has grown a little bit. As a mother to preemie babies, I can see how easily these small humans can pick up viruses and can put them in hospital and planes are full of germs and recycled air.

It is, of course, a personal preference, and sometimes you can’t avoid flying for whatever reason.

Take only what you need

Might be easier said than done, but take as little as practically possible. When you’re travelling around, hotel hopping, airports, trains etc, you don’t want to be carrying around all of those toys and buckets and spades.

Think about purchasing items at your destination. For example, if you’re going to Thailand, look at purchase some beach toys when you are there and you can always donate to a local child before you leave.

Below is my packing list for our nappy bag and carry-on bag. I also list what we pack in our suitcase for Henry as well. They don’t need as much as you think they do, but what they do need can often take up a bit of room (especially if you’re formula feeding!)

Take a baby carrier!

An absolute must – take a baby carrier. Our preference is the Baby Bjorn One Air Mesh as it keeps you as cool as possible when carrying a small human around. This is particularly helpful when travelling to a destination such as Thailand!

thewelltravelledfamily travelling with an infant to one year old

Henry slept well in the carrier and it meant we didn’t have to worry about navigating stairs. Not all babies will sleep well in the carrier so try this method before relying on it.

thewelltravelledfamily Karon beach Phuket

For our trip to Thailand, there was no way I was going to take my Bugaboo Donkey 2 with me – it is HUGE and I didn’t want it getting damaged on the flight over. We weren’t going to take a pram at all, but a friend who was living there loaned us their Bugaboo Bee which came in handy for the times you just didn’t want to carry the extra weight or heat. If you are wanting to take a pram with you, see below!

Buy a travel pram that fits as carry-on

We have purchased ourselves a travel pram that folds up and fits as a carry-on. What an invention! You can get the more expensive brands like the Baby-Zen Yo-Yo, or you can do what we did and purchased a similar one, which does the same thing. That’s what we did and I couldn’t be happier. I have not only used it for our domestic flights, but also use it for daycare drop off 3 days per week and we use it for our weekends away as it takes up no room in the boot!

Purchase nappies at your destination

Take only the nappies you will need for the airport, flight and possibly another 1 – 2 days. Then, head to a local supermarket and purchase what you need for the rest of the trip. There is no need taking 2 weeks supply with you – that will take up your entire suitcase!

Pack enough formula (and then some)

I was not able to breastfeed so Henry was formula-fed. I thought I had enough formula to last the two weeks we were away plus a bit extra. But, I didn’t count on wastage due to the extremely hot weather. The last two days, Henry was on rations – I was putting only 4 scoops instead of 6 into his bottles to get me through. I literally scraped every last bit of powder out of my last tin on the descent back into Brisbane Airport to get him through.

Also, take into consideration the possibility of being delayed, or flight cancelled and potential need an additional day or two at your destination. This is something I didn’t think about and we were just lucky everything was running on time!

Henry was a pretty easy going kid – his bottles did not need to be warmed, he would have them at room temperature which made things easy. However, most airlines will offer to warm your bottle up for you if you need.

The airports also have allowances for additional water to be taken through for bottles. We got challenged at the airport in Phuket, they didn’t want me to take through a bottle of water and I had to argue for about 5 minutes pointing at my son saying he needs this water as it has been boiled and cooled ready for his formula to be added. We got through and you wouldn’t think they would turn you down when you’re trying to feed a baby!

Have an early dinner

We used to love eating out at restaurants when they are jam-packed and the atmosphere is in full swing. However, depending on the venue of choice, taking a baby isn’t always an option that will work. We now choose, where possible, to eat at around 5.30 pm so we are finished by around 7:00 pm.

This way, if Henry is being noisy, I don’t feel so bad as it’s mainly other families eating at this time.

The alternative would be to eat late when your baby is asleep and is happy to sleep in the pram. I think this option is much easier when you have an infant. The older they get the less they seem to want to do as you need them to do!

thewelltravelledfamily Karon beach Phuket

Priority lanes! Boarding the plan, security and customs

I always knew families got priority when boarding a flight (and I now know why!) but I didn’t realise we got priority when going through security or customs as well.

This is amazing. When you have a slightly unsettled baby, you don’t want to be standing in a huge line, trying to rush everything through knowing passengers behind you are frustrated because you’re taking so long.

Boarding the flight first is really helpful. The last thing you want to be doing is getting flustered because you’re trying to get everything into the overhead cabins, getting seated and then realising that you left the bottle, or the toy or something up in the bag and having to get back up to get it. All of this is tricky when the corridor is full of people.

Port-a-cot

Where possible, ring ahead and ask the hotel or your Air B&B if they can provide a cot for the room. If this can save you having to bring your own, that would be really helpful.

When we have to take our own, we use the Baby Bjorn Travel cot. It’s super compact, lightweight and easy to transport. We highly recommend this product!

Be Passport Ready

It might slip your mind, but your baby needs a passport to travel internationally. Start the process early so you’re not trying to get things expedited and paying a fortune for the service.

Have your travel insurance sorted before going

You never know when you might need to see a doctor or have an emergency trip to the hospital. When travelling with a baby, you need to remember they can’t tell you what’s wrong so you’re guessing most of the time. You’re in an unfamiliar destination where the water is different, the sun is different, you might be using different products (e.g sunscreen) and there could be a food allergy you aren’t aware of. Travel insurance is an absolute must.

Always carry a spare set of clothes

It happens… it happened to us. I am sitting at the shopping centre in Phuket, Henry gave me this face of concentration. Next minute, it has oozed out of the nappy all over the pram liner. What a mess. In public. Gross. Always have a spare change of clothes for in case this happens! And it will!

Pack laundry powder

Because the above can happen at any time, it’s important to pack some laundry powder. I have used the sink in the bathroom hotel many times to wash clothes. If you’re at an Air B&B, choose a place that has a laundry so you can do a quick load of washing if you need to.

Baby Jet Lag

It’s a real thing, but thankfully with only a 3 hour time difference, we were okay. But if you’re travelling somewhere on the other side of the globe, try to allow a few days to get back into a rhythm again.

thewelltravelledfamily travelling with an infant to one year old

Your routine (if you have one) will probably go out the window

We never really had a routine, mainly due to the fact that we spent so much time at the hospital with Archie, Henry had to go with the flow and he slept when he wanted, was held and fed by whoever so he was one very resilient little baby. So for us, travelling didn’t impact any sort of routine.

But, if you have one, be prepared for it to get a little out of whack. The younger they are, the easier it is for them to sleep anywhere. As they get older, they don’t always like sleeping in random places. But we are lucky that if Henry is tired, he will sleep sitting on our lap, in the pram or in the carrier.

Henry has always been a bit of a cat napper during the day but has been pretty good throughout the night (although he had a huge sleep regression after our trip!).

Air B&B or Hotel

We typically stat at Accor properties. We are platinum members, love the hotels, service and we get 50% off dining with our Accor Plus membership. They have all been so accommodating for us throughout our travels as well.

However, should you prefer the additional space and laundry facilities, Air B&B can provide you with great options.

Ask for a spare seat next to you on your flight

When you are checking in at the airport, ask the staff person if there is a vacant seat next to you. We have found they normally try and seat you there in any case, where possible, but it is nice to have the extra space as you will end up using it, especially as they get that little bit bigger!

thewelltravelledfamily travelling with an infant to one year old

Sometimes it’s best to pay for a better flight option…

I know when you’re booking a holiday, you often want to save as much money as possible. But when you have a baby travelling with you, it can often be better for you to pay that little bit more for the direct flight, or less layover time in the middle. Trust me, the last thing you want to deal with is a baby at an airport terminal who is tired, hungry and bored because they are just being held. If you can avoid this for a few extra hundred dollars… I would say it’s worth it.

Nappy Bag and Carry on packing guide

  1. Nappies
  2. Wipes
  3. Disposable Nappy Bin Bags
  4. Baby Carrier
  5. Spare Clothes (for everyone)
  6. Toys – but most airlines will have something so just pack the favourite one or two small toys
  7. Snacks (if your child is up to having snacks). Most airlines will give you a toddler/baby meal but always safe to pack a few things yourself. Security will pass through food pouches if they are over 100ml due to it being baby food.
  8. Dummy / Pacifier (if required)
  9. Change blanket – I use a portable one that folds down to nothing and can double as a little blanket if need be
  10. Hand Sanitiser
  11. Travel Pram (if required)
  12. Car Seat (if required)
  13. Baby Headphones
  14. Inflatable Foot Pillow
  15. Formula Prep Machine. Yes, I know. I took mine with me and it was a godsend. I boiled bottled water and then put that cooled into the machine. I had it ready for the day and it saved me so much time and worry.

Additional baby items to be packed in the checked bag

These are some extra items which we feel are an absolute must and can be packed in your checked luggage

  1. Baby safe sunscreen. Remember, their skin is so sensitive so using the right sunscreen is very important. Where possible, I would keep the child out of the sun – the advice from our paediatrician is until they are one. But that can be difficult, especially when visiting a country like Thailand!
  2. Hand Breast Pump (if you’re still pumping or if you go out for a night)
  3. Milk Bottles for storing and/or making milk
  4. First Aid Kit – band-aids, Nose Aspirator (we use Fess little noses), Fess Saline Spray, thermometer, nappy cream (we use Zinc & Castor Oil Cream), Panadol, Nurofen and syringes and Skin lotion
  5. Baby clothes. We packed double Pajamas and sleeping grow bags as Henry occasionally liked to vomit his milk up so we needed a back up at all times!
  6. Nappies and Wipes. Just enough for a couple of days so you can get to the supermarket and pick up some local supplies.
  7. Muslin Wrap
  8. Travel Pram Fan
  9. Bottle Brush Cleaner (if required)
  10. Bottle Airer (if required)
  11. Milton Tablets for sterilising
  12. Bottles & Teats

Our recommended products

  1. Baby Bjorn One Air Mesh – You can use this from newborn to toddler. It comes with the newborn insert and it super easy to use and helps keep you cooler in the warmer months.
  2. Baby Bjorn Porta Cot / Travel cot. This is a compact, light-weight cot that is easy to take with you.
  3. BabyZen YoYo Travel Pram. This travel pram folds up so you can take it with you as carry on luggage.
  4. Replica Baby Zen YoYo Travel Pram. If you can’t afford the luxury of an additional travel pram (like us) then you might bet able to get away with a replica travel pram, which for us, has been great.
  5. Baby Banz Bluetooth Headphones/Ear Muffs. We found these very helpful on the flight especially for take-off and landing. Also, they are great for fireworks, events with loud music etc.
  6. BETUS Dreamer Comfort Inflatable Foot Rest Travel Pillow. Great for adults to put your feet up or kids wanting to lay flat. We loved using ours!
  7. Tommee Tippee Forumla Prep machine. This was a life-saver for me!
  8. Bottle Airer & Bottle Brush
  9. Pram Fan. An absolute must, especially when travelling to a warm destination.
  10. Packing Cubes. These will save you so much space. You can thank me for it later.
  11. Portable high chair. This attaches to just about any standard seat!
thewelltravelledfamily Karon beach Phuket

We spent 2 weeks in Phuket, Thailand with our then 7 month baby. After visiting Thailand several times before, holidaying with a baby was certainly something different! We mixed things up by changing hotels and staying at 3 different locations on Phuket.


Day 1 – 4: Naithon Beach. We stayed at the Pullman Phuket Arcadia (super kid friendly!)

Day 5 – 10: Patong Beach. We stayed at the Avista Hideaway Phuket Patong (outside of the busy area)

Day 10 – 14: Karon Beach. We stayed at Avista Grande Karon Beach.


We were unsure about how it would be travelling with a baby to Thailand. Would it be too hot for him? How difficult is it with a baby on formula? We had so many questions but we were willing to just give it a go!

Naithon Beach

We really enjoyed how quiet Naithon Beach was! We only wished we had longer to spend at this beautiful resort and beach.

Click here to read more about Naithon Beach and click here to read our recommendation on where to stay at Naithon Beach.

Patong Beach

When you think of Phuket, most people do immediately think of Patong. It is ‘the’ place to go if you’re interested in bars, clubs and nightlife. There is plenty to do at Patong during the day as well, but if you’re looking for somewhere quiet, relaxing and a beautiful beach – I would recommend going somewhere else – Naithon or Karon would be a better choice if you are wanting to stay at Phuket.

Click here to read about our experience about Patong at night with a baby and click here to read about where we stayed at Patong. We stayed a little off the beaten track, tucked away in the mountains which we found perfect for our little family.

The best thing that Patong is great for when travelling with a family, is the supermarket inside Jungceylon Shopping Complex. You can pick up nappies, wipes and anything else you need at a much cheaper price than the local corner shops. The locals shop here!

Karon Beach

We loved it at Karon Beach as well. The hotel we stayed at was really beautiful and super relaxing. I liked that we could walk over to the beach, enjoy a nice meal or even walk to Kata Beach and enjoy a lunch or dinner on the beach.

It is a much quieter beach than Patong but busier than Naithon.

Click here to read about our recommendation for accommodation and click here for what to do in Karon with a baby.

Have you travelled to Phuket with a baby? I would love to hear your comments down below!

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

Hotel: Avista Hideaway Phuket Patong

Location: Patong, Phuket, Thailand

Room: Deluxe Pool Access Room

Perfect for: Couples & Small Family

Category: 5 Star


Avista Hideaway is set high up in the mountains overlooking the bay at Patong. The views from the hotel are pretty spectacular and being out of the hustle and bustle means you can enjoy some relaxation and quiet time.

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

We are Platinum Accor Plus members which we find super beneficial when staying at an Accor property and love the dining benefits in particular!

Click here to find out more about claiming your FREE night with Accor Plus! Click here to read more about the Accor Live Limitless ‘ALL’ loyalty program. Click here to go directly to their website.

Here is a video walkthrough of the hotel!

Our welcome experience…

The staff at the welcome desk are so friendly and very helpful. Our check-in was speedy and friendly. We were offered a nice cool refreshing drink upon our arrival.

The Room…

We booked the pool access room because we thought it would be easier with Henry – so when he was having a nap in the air conditioning, we could enjoy some pool time without one of us having to go back to the room.

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

The room was spacious and had plenty of room for the port-a-cot and our luggage.

The bathroom was also a good size and included a large bathtub for a relaxing bath at the end of a busy day.

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

The best part about this room was the direct pool access. It was amazing. Stepping out of the room, you have a small balcony which leads you directly to the sun lounges and pool. It was perfect.

Meals…

There are a number of restaurants to try while you’re staying at the hotel.

Sizzle: This rooftop terrace restaurant was by far our favourite during our stay. We ate here twice and were not disappointed. The prices are a bit more expensive than the main restaurant, they are similar to prices back in Australia, however, we were entitled to 50% off our bill with our Accor Plus membership. And if you don’t have the half-price deal, the views are spectacular as is the sunset, and would be great to treat yourself to a night out!

Vista: This is the main restaurant in the hotel. The service was good, the food was also quite tasty. They have an outside patio which overlooks the main pool area and has views over the mountains as well. I personally didn’t like the ‘look’ of the inside of the restaurant, but aside from that, it was nice.

Rendez-Vue Rooftop Bar: This gorgeous rooftop bar provided us with complimentary drinks each evening as part of our platinum membership. It was pretty quiet each time we were there. You overlook the smaller pool outside of our room, the larger pool area and the mountains with the beautiful sunset.

Vida Terrace Bar: We didn’t spend much time here purely because we had the rooftop bar to enjoy our complimentary drinks. However, it looked like a nice spot to unwind.

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

Fluids Bar: The swim-up bar at the pool area is also available. We used it a couple of times and it is so nice to not have to leave your sun chair to have to get a bite to eat!

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

To read more about Accor Plus and how to get 50% off your dining, click here.

Hotel Grounds

The grounds of the hotel are quite lovely. Although, to be honest, because we had access to the pool from our room, we had no need to go too far each day!

The spa area was beautiful. The entrance is stunning!

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong
thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

The main pool area has plenty of chairs for guests and of course, you enjoy the beautiful view from the edge of the infinity pool.

Health and Fitness…

For those who like to stay active on holidays, there is a fully equipped gym located on the grounds.

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

Good to know…

There is a complimentary shuttle that takes you to Patong Beach. I would recommend booking a spot so you don’t miss out. However, in saying that, we had booked on a shuttle and the clock in our room was slow (by about 10 minutes) and when we got to reception we had missed the shuttle – so helpful tip – make sure you clock is correct and you get there a little early!

thewelltravelledfamily avista grande Phuket Patong

If you’re looking for a hotel that’s walking distance to Patong Beach, this is not the hotel for you!

However, if you’re looking for a hotel that is walking distance to one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket, this is the place! Freedom Beach was amazing and we highly recommend ducking down for a visit. And a short drive away you will get to Paradise Beach which is also a lovely day out!

If you’re looking for laundry, there is one down on the street level across the road, as well as some local stores to purchase water or fruit if you like.

Checking out…

Checking out was simple. Reception had arranged a taxi for us for our next destination of Avista Grande Karon Beach.

Above and beyond…

The staff at Avista Hideaway Phuket Patong were super friendly and always trying to ensure our stay was perfect.

The not so good…

The only negative we have for the property was that it didn’t feel Thai. The other hotels we stayed at we got a real Thai feeling, but Avista Hideaway Phuket Patong seemed to lack that feeling for us.

The verdict…

If you’re looking for a nice quiet hotel with beautiful views, a place to unwind but close enough to all the hustle and bustle that Patong has to offer, this would be a great option for you.

Visiting Phuket? – Ideas on what else to see and do

Are you planning on spending a bit of time in Thailand? Click here for more information.

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

It is hard to believe that this time 12 months ago, we were preparing for Archie to take his last breath. A moment deep down, we knew was inevitable, but in our hearts wished it would never happen.

Archie had a rough start to his short little life, a life we shared with our family and friends right from the beginning. The good moments and the bad, the ups and the downs. It was a story we hoped would have had a happy ending.

There are no words that can truly describe that moment, or your feelings when your baby takes their last breath.

Knowing that moment was coming didn’t make the feelings any easier, like I thought it might have… it didn’t help with understanding why this was happening to our brave superhero. It was like someone just ripped out my heart and I couldn’t breathe, I’m not sure I wanted to breathe, at that moment. Everything we had hoped for our son was taken away… what his future might have been like, how he would have grown up with his twin brother, Henry. What mischief they would have gotten up to together. All of these things we would never ever find out.

We felt so lost and so alone. We held Archie for quite sometime after he passed away and I didn’t want that moment to end. I never wanted to let him go. Then, we would look over at Henry, who still needed to be fed, looked after, who was hitting his milestones and demanded our full attention, as any baby would.

I have never experienced grief quite like this. It was the most intense feelings all at once and not knowing how to deal with them. We had to think about Archie’s cot, car seat, bassinet and all of the twin clothes we had hanging up in the wardrobe that the boys would never wear together.

There’s a time that I remember when I never felt so lost

When I felt all of the hatred was too powerful to stop

Now my heart feel like an ember and it’s lighting up the dark

I’ll carry these torches for ya that you know I’ll never drop

***Maroon 5, Memories***

We had a huge amount of support and generosity from our family and friends, which we will forever be grateful for. People we hadn’t heard from or spoken to in over 10 years were there for us. People we had never met before would reach out to us and send their well wishes.

You don’t ever think these sorts of things would ever happen to you or someone you know. So when it does, a lot of people don’t know how to act, or what to say. It’s not their fault, it’s just not something most people are equipped to deal with.

People would say to us, “At least you have Henry, he is doing so well”. I know they meant well and quite often people do not know what to say in these situations, but anything that starts with “At least” is not something a grieving parent wants to hear.

The firsts without Archie…

Our first trip away after Archie had died was hard… wishing we were sharing this moment with him and wishing Henry had his brother to play with. I felt guilty that we were having a ‘holiday’ after we had just lost our son. But the truth was, we needed to get away, just the three of us to spend some time together.

Then, of course, came Henry’s first birthday. This was a day for joy and celebration, but also came sadness and grief at the same time.

First Christmas without Archie

I am probably the most festive person I know and Christmas is my favourite time of the year. But 2019 was a year I wished we didn’t have to do the whole Christmas thing. It was the first without Archie, and I just didn’t want to deal with it. We kept it low key, didn’t even put a tree up. Henry was, unfortunately, sick the week of Christmas, but he was happy being cuddled, which is actually exactly what we needed.

thewelltravelledfamily Archie

Archie’s respiratory Doctor, Dr Suresh, called me on Christmas Eve just to check in on how we were feeling in the lead up to Christmas, one without Archie, the first without Archie. Dr Suresh is one of the kindest, most gentle people we have ever come across. He said that there are patients that come and go but some stay with him forever.. and that is Archie. It was a call out of the blue, but one I will cherish.

We lit a candle in honour of Archie and each had a drink of Archie Rose whisky and had a cheers to our boy who was celebrating his first heavenly Christmas.

One year on…

You know the saying, time heals all wounds? Well, it doesn’t. The thing I have learnt throughout this journey is that time doesn’t heal all wounds, you just learn to live with the pain.

There is this ongoing battle to balance the pain and guilt of outliving your child, something no parent should ever have to do. But at the same time, we try to live in a way that honours Archie, and his short 5.5 months earth-side.

My Nanna was blessed with twin boys as well. And like me, Nanna lost one of her boys, although quite a bit older. I have no doubt that the pain she felt is just like that of what we are feeling.

I have found it is a constant balance of managing grief in one hand and having a happy life in the other. One minute everything might appear to be happy, cheerful and we are having a great time, and the next the guilt kicks in and we miss Archie and wish he was here.

Walking down the street and I see a double pram, I find myself fighting back the tears thinking that should have been me. Walking down the path at the Botanical Gardens where we walked with Archie, I have to fight back tears. Looking at photos or videos, again, I have to fight back tears.

I have found it so important to surround myself with people who truly understand the journey we have been on. There is a wonderful group of mums I met in the NICU who also had a really hard start to their parenthood journey. These women, their husbands and their children are strong beyond belief. These parents and are always there for each other, no matter what. And then there are the nurses who would do anything for you. These people truly understand the journey that is NICU.

The week leading up to Archie’s anniversary

The week leading up to Archie’s anniversary was one filled with joyous memories and incredible grief. We experienced all of those feelings that we felt just one year ago.

We found ourselves saying, this time last year, Dr Suresh called us in to talk about Palliative Care and signing all of the relevant paperwork.

Then it was, this time last year we had professional family photos taken at the hospital with two amazing photographers, Kim Freiberg and Karen Newsham.

When it came to the day where it was a year since Archie’s Great Adventure, this was hard. It was a year since we got to bring Archie home and to the Botanic Gardens. We got beautiful family photos taken at home by Kristy Lee. This was a huge milestone for us and as happy and exciting as it was, it did mean Archie’s time hearthside was coming to an end.

I would have to say that the hardest day for us has been 17 January 2020, a year since we went to Hummingbird House for Archie’s end of life care. Although Archie passed away on 18 January, we arrived on the 17th. We didn’t sleep and we stayed together outside. The 17th was the day our family said their goodbyes, it was the day we removed Archie’s high flow support. So, for us, the 17th holds so many of our memories.

Always say his name

We will never forget Archie – the loss is always going to be right there, sitting under the surface of all of the other emotions – including happiness. I would rather start crying because you mentioned Archie’s name than you never say his name again.

Some days are harder than others. I don’t think that will ever change. We are watching Henry grow up into a cheeky toddler and always wonder what it would have been like with Archie at home and what sort of little boy he would have become.

I read in an article recently, that although one of our twins is not still with us, we were still destined to be twin parents. But it does mean, when you see one child running around, we see two. When you see one child hitting milestones, we see two. It is something that never goes away.

Thank you, Archie

Thank you, Archie, for teaching us to be strong

Thank you, Archie, for teaching us to love unconditionally

Thank you, Archie, for shining light on everyone that met you, and even those who didn’t

Thank you, Archie, for encouraging those around you to always try harder

Thank you, Archie, for teaching us generosity

Thank you, Archie, for being the best little brother to Henry

Thank you, Archie, for never giving up and always loving us.

And finally… Thank you, Archie, for being you.

“When a child dies, part of a parent dies. That is a fact. From that point forward, parents live in a state of “partial life” due to having what is now called “broken heart syndrome.” We are just beginning to learn all of the facts concerning grief, the effects of grief, and the reality of how grief changes the very physical and emotional make-up of parents. Those who say to parents of child loss that they should have closure and move on simply do not understand the facts of what happens to a parent physically and emotionally when a child dies. There are very real changes that take place. The pain of loss is real. Yes, parents will eventually learn how to ” live within the pain of loss”, but there will always and forever be a part of a parent that is missing. Parents of child loss are courageous beyond words! They are living with part of their heart and soul missing, and there is nothing ~ absolutely nothing ~ to compare to this kind of pain. God bless every parent of child loss this day with the continued courage and strength needed to go on” ~ Author Clara Hinton (2016)

thewelltravelledfamily Patong with a baby

Patong with a baby? Just doesn’t sound right, does it? But, it doesn’t have to be like that! You can still explore Patong at night with a baby, it is just a different experience to what you’ve probably seen or heard before.

We’ve travelled to Phuket a few times before going with Henry. It was definitely a different sort of holiday to what we are used to. In saying that, you can still see and do most things on the island.

Here is a video of us walking through Bangla Road and around Patong with Henry!

When to visit Patong?

We made the mistake of heading in mid afternoon – BIG MISTAKE! It was far too hot for not just us for for Henry too. So I went and spent time in Jungceylon Shopping Complex in the air conditioning for a couple of hours until the sun went down. Steven went and enjoyed a massage.

Once the sun went down, it was still hot but much more bearable.

thewelltravelledfamily Patong with a baby

Is Patong Pram Friendly?

The short answer is no, not really. Unless you have two people and a travel size pram, I wouldn’t bother – use a baby carrier instead.

We had a bugaboo Bee with us on this trip and the footpaths are bumpy with little cracks and steps throughout and there are steps leading down to the roads at most intersections.

It’s not impossible but I wouldn’t recommend trying to do it on your own.

Bangla Road with a baby

It’s different! When they see you’re with a baby, you get treated differently by everyone! You aren’t pounced on for a ping pong show or entry to bars, instead they are googoogaagaa over the baby! The Thai love babies! It’s so sweet, they absolutely loved Henry and it made travelling here so lovely.

So, you can get the gist of what Bangla road has to offer with a baby, you may not be able to go in to the pubs or other establishments that are on offer.

thewelltravelledfamily Patong with a baby

Markets

Enjoy the markets! These are absolutely baby friendly, whether it be food markets or clothing and souvenir markets. Easy to walk through even with a pram and you will get plenty of attention.

thewelltravelledfamily Patong with a baby
thewelltravelledfamily Patong with a baby

Is it worth the trip at night with a baby?

I would say yes! It’s do-able – just be prepared. We have been to Thailand before so have had the experience without children. If you’re after clubs, bars and experiences then I would suggest you get a baby sitter for the night or your partner stays at home while you go and enjoy a few hours and then swap over.

thewelltravelledfamily Patong with a baby

Visiting Phuket? – Ideas on what else to see and do

Are you planning on spending a bit of time in Thailand? Click here for more information.

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

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