Home travel How to survive a week on a boat with a crawling baby

How to survive a week on a boat with a crawling baby

by Clare Mansell
How to survive a week on a boat with a crawling baby

Last week our family group of ten (plus two dogs) spent a wonderful seven days on boats exploring the canals in Brittany. Next week I’ll be sharing some photos and video from the trip, but before I do so I wanted to share some tips about how we survived a holiday on water with a crawling baby.


Our holiday was booked just after Alice was born and we knew in all likelihood that she would be mobile by the time we took it. One change we made from the trip we did last year was to share a boat with my sister’s family so that there were more hands to assist, rather than having a boat just for the four of us.

That decision helped enormously, but there were still challenges ahead. A week before we left we realised we hadn’t inquired or made any arrangements for how Alice would sleep on the boat. When we did our canal boat holiday in Wales with an eleven month-old Theo the company we traveled with had a cot that fitted the cabin, but in France our enquiries didn’t lead to the same straight forward solution, so we had to find one ourselves.

There was also the problem of how to keep Alice from falling down stairs or… (heaven forbid).. overboard. We also found a solution for that! In between we had the challenges of storing a buggy, washing a baby on a boat that only had showers and keeping her from getting sunburn during a week when the temperatures in Brittany hit the high 30s.

I realise that boat holidays will not be everyone’s first choice with a young baby, but for the benefit of those who decide to keep holidaying on water despite a new arrival in the family I have made a video about my top five things to take on a boat holiday with a baby. If you read this blog post and find our experiences useful, we’d really appreciate a comment below…

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