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Taking a newborn to Fiji
Risk of not being fully immunised?

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14 replies to this topic

#1 bronhilda

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

Hi all,

We are expecting an new edition to our family in a few months. We had been planning a family holiday to Fiji for April, when baby will be about 4 months old. We have two older children, 6 and 3.

We expect the baby will be formula fed by then (hopefully baby will have 3 months of BM). All things running to plan, baby will have had their 8 week and 4 month immunisations before we travel.

We were planning on potentially taking an electric steam steriliser for bottles, using bottled water boiled in a new kettle brought from home for making up their formula bottles, and hopefully baby will not require solids at this point (my oldest two started eating rice cereal just after 4 months under paediatricians advice, but we would use formula to make this up, so I see this in the same category as bottles).

A few questions.......
Has anyone taken a child this young to Fiji?
Did you have any concerns with their lack of immunisations at that point?
Did they get sick while you were there?
Were you able to sterillise bottles through your resort using a microwave steriliser?


#2 flipped out

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:57 AM

I haven't taken a newborn to Fiji before but if possible I would try to extend your breastfeeding a bit longer so they are still breastfed whilst you are there. That way you won't have to worry about sterilising and also they will have extra protection from any bugs from the antibodies in your milk original.gif

#3 bronhilda

Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:09 AM

Ideally I would, but my experience with my older children tells me that this probably won't happen. I will not be weaning to bottles by choice, but by necessity (if it happens again).

Realistically we need to work out what to do if we will be bottle feeding at 4 months - if we aren't, great, but if it really is more risky then we would prefer not to book this trip at this time.

#4 *LucyE*

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:57 PM

If you are staying at one of the big resorts, in a mainly touristy area, you have little to worry about.

Has anyone taken a child this young to Fiji?
The youngest I've taken a child to Fiji is about 8mth old.  I would happily take a 4 month old because they are not crawling and getting into everything.

We took DD to Phuket when she was 4 months old as a comparison.

Did you have any concerns with their lack of immunisations at that point?
Generally, no.  Talk to your Dr and possibly even go to a travel specialist Dr for specific advice about the areas you are travelling to, closer to the time.  

Our kids were up to date with their selective vaccinations.  At 4 months, the vaccinations don't provide the longer protection compared to the full schedule, it still does provide immunity. To my understanding, that immunity just wears off sooner.  

If you can maintain breastfeeding, that's supposed to help too.

Did they get sick while you were there?
No.  The only illness we've ever caught while travelling was DH once with giardia in Phuket which we linked to the men's poor handwashing habits post toileting, and DS and myself with gastro from a poor menu choice in Fiji.  We travel regularly and these 2 occasions have been our only issues.

Were you able to sterillise bottles through your resort using a microwave steriliser?
I have never used them because I breastfed, but all resorts I've stayed at have had microwaves.  I would possibly consider the size of your sterilizer because some of the microwaves have been very small.  I would take a mini thing of dish washing detergent and a bottle brush though.  It will save the hassle of having to find it over there.  I wouldn't bother with your own kettle but maybe take a glass bottle for storing cooled boiled water (I reuse gourmet juice bottles with a wide mouth).  

I don't know how much formula a baby needs, but maybe take sachets rather than a big tin to save on space as well as save the hassle of bringing food stuffs back into Australia.

Honestly, I would enlist the help of a good lactation consultant if you can, and try to keep breastfeeding.  It is just so much easier.

And I would choose my resort carefully.  

Holidaying with a newborn is perfectly do-able and not much riskier if you are sensible.

#5 kiwimum2b

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:09 PM

An idea would be to look into the sterilizing BAGS..work on the same concept as big tub 1 you put in the microwave but alot easier to travel with.
We traveled (not to fiji) with our 10week old and just took the bags..worked really well and fit in the small microwaves that resorts tend to have.
We also used the sachets of formula..was more expensive but again, easier to travel with and very easy to use.
Take a small bottle of dish washing detergent and bottle brush, and we just used bottled water.
Have a great trip

#6 Boombox

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:16 PM

I would also consider extending BF for the trip- the safety benefits are huge, not only in BM being much cleaner and not requiring cumbersome sterilisation. There is also the bonus of the immunity passed from BM giving the baby that extra protection.

I've taken a 5 month old to Fiji, along with a 3 yr old. I was fully BF him so it was easy peasy. The BF on the plane was especially useful as well.

I'd had no concerns about immunisation, it's pretty first world over there. No one got sick. Also our 4 star resort didn't have microwaves in the bures- it'd be important to check on that when you choose a resort.

#7 Pop-to-the-shops

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:28 PM

My biggest concern would be picking up a bug on the plane.

Having just been through whooping cough with my four month old I wouldn't do it.

But my older kids get asthma and allergies too, so I'm pretty conservative. We have travelled a lot os with babies but not that young.
The thing about Fiji is you are a long way from hospitals too if you go to and island or away from Nadi.

#8 Jersey Caramel

Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

How long are you going for? Could you take those poppers of ready to drink formula?

We travelled O/S when DS1 was 5 months, he was fully BF but as I was going for a conference we took bottles and pump for me to express, plus some poppers of formula as a back up. We just washed the bottles in hot water and detergent and then sterilised in Milton solution (took the fizzy tablet thingies). Easier than trying to find a microwave.

#9 fliss9

Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

I would agree with Jersey Caramel with taking Milton tablets. It'll be much easier (& lighter) than lugging so many pieces of equipment.

Also, with the formula, if your bub was anything like mine, you'd go thru a tin a week, so maybe instead of the satchels others have suggested, just take a brand new, unopened tin in your suitcase.

#10 Emilliam

Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:12 PM

We took our 6 month old just after his needles. We still sterilised (got an apartment with a kitchenette with microwave). As long as precautions are taken, it wouldn't worry me at all taking a 4 month old (beware though, every Fijian will want to cuddle them - I thought it was great as they would pick him up and carry him around the restaurant while ourselves and our two older children ate - but some people are funny about it).

Did he get sick? Yes, he got his first two teeth while we were there so had all the symptoms. Would have happened at home anyway  biggrin.gif (but made for a long flight home)

Have a wonderful holiday - I wish I was going again!

#11 belindarama

Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:25 PM

We took DS2 to Thailand at 5 months. He was still fully breastfed so I didn't have any issues with feeding.

However, on the other questions- no, no problems at all.  It was a great trip.

DS1 went to Thailand at 1. He was bottle fed and I used the bags the PP mentioned. They were a lot easier to manage. Milton is also a good idea. You can get formula most places but all the places I have seen it, like New Caledonia, HK, Thailand etc it has been horrendously expensive so I would try to make sure you have enough. Just take new unopened tins. Sure they are heavy but you can manage on the way there and you won't be bringing them home so it is ok.

I used boiled bottled water and it worked fine.

Make sure you take a couple of extra bottles for the plane. I have had a couple of dramas with bottles on planes that meant I needed more than I planned for.

The other thing I would recommend is a uv/insect cover for the pram. It is really useful if you are out at dusk (mozzies) or want the baby to have a snooze in the pram by the pool.

Also take a bit of washing powder in a ziplock bag or sachets. My kids are pretty messy and while we get laundry done while traveling it is great if you can wash things in the bathroom sink in a pinch!

#12 *LucyE*

Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:04 PM

I agree with the uv pram cover and lots of large muslins. I find wetting them and draping them over the handles an easy way to provide a cool micro-climate.

I know some people don't worry about air con over there, but I like air con-ed rooms. I find it easier for my kids to fall asleep and then I switch it off later.

If you plan on taking bub swimming, I highly recommend the Cancer Council's sun smart shop for full length rashie suits. I know they are ugly but they are good for all over sun protection.

I also agree with hand washing some things in room but rather than washing machine detergent, I take a bar of sards soap. It is designed for hand washing so is much easier to rinse out.

#13 bronhilda

Posted 11 November 2012 - 07:57 PM

Thanks for all the replies - I probably should have mentioned that we have travelled extensively around Australia with our girls (from about age 4 months and up) and even overseas, but not to a place like Fiji. I am not daunted by the prospect of taking forumla tins (yes, a fully formula fed baby needs about at least a tin a week in my experience) and plane travel.

My main concern revolves arounds the immunisation status and the lack of a microwave to sterilise. We were considering the Milton tablets, so good to hear a few have used those successfully.

One question though - how did you effectively boil water for sterilisation without a stovetop? At home we happily use kettle water for bottles as we are pretty secure in the quality of our water supply - but my understanding is that to properly sterilise water you need to have it on a rolling boil for 5 minutes, which is just not possible with a kettle.

And just an aside, I appreciate the advice to continute breastfeeding, but for some of us that is just not possible. I have seen lactation consultants, taken supplements etc, and it doesn't work for my body. I live in hope that my experience this time will be different, but I have to plan this trip knowing that we will most likely be bottle feeding (either EBM or formula) and we have to know we can make this work for us in Fiji.

#14 Vickery

Posted 11 November 2012 - 08:14 PM

We took one of our babies to Somoa at 9 weeks old, and another baby to Penang at 6 weeks old.  Both were formula fed, so each time I took a birko urn and an ice-cream container and used the Miltons Solution to sterilise their bottles.  We took their usual tin of formula and made it up with boiled water.  Our birko does not automatically switch off so we could monitor it boiling.  We had no problems, neither got sick or anything.  We were careful with the sun, and did not take them in the pool for risk of infections etc.

#15 *LucyE*

Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:11 AM

My main concern revolves arounds the immunisation status and the lack of a microwave to sterilise
Go see a travel specialist GP if it helps.  The advice we received from our paed, was as I mentioned above. Their early scheduled shots does cover them, but not for long periods of time which didnt affect us because we were not away for long. The tropical diseases were not so concerning because we were staying in touristy areas. Even when we stayed in a remote village, thesis effects of malaria shots outweighed the benefits. So we focused on long sleeve clothing, lots of different insect repellents and nets and screens. The best thing to put your mind at ease is to go speak to a Dr. We did and were happy to travel with a young baby.

One question though - how did you effectively boil water for sterilisation without a stovetop? At home we happily use kettle water for bottles as we are pretty secure in the quality of our water supply - but my understanding is that to properly sterilise water you need to have it on a rolling boil for 5 minutes, which is just not possible with a kettle.
The 5min rule is for likely-to-be-contaminated water. If you use good bottled water, a kettle should be fine. The Fiji Water brand of bottled water is slightly exxier than the other brands but it's the same ones as sold here in Australia.

Where are you staying?  At the higher end resorts, they would have no problem allowing you in the kitchen to boil on a stove stop. At the mass market places like Denauru, it's unlikely though. At all the places I've stayed at, a microwave has been available in our bure/room. Just ask before you go and I'm sure they can accommodate you.

Edited by *LucyE*, 12 November 2012 - 09:12 AM.

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