We've visited marae a few times with little ones in tow. Most recently for a tangi of an important family member. This following little list has been inspired by our most recent trip, and it may help parents who are visiting marae with their little ones prepare and pack the essentials
What to pack for baby for a marae visit:
- Clothing. For a weekend trip you might take 5 changes of clothes for an infant, and one pair of PJs. Make sure you pack clothes for all weather eventualities. Lightweight merino wool clothing is useful as your cold weather outfit as this is also quick drying in case it gets dirty.
- Nappies and wipes. In this instance, disposables are likely to be sensible as you probably won't have the facilities to wash cloth nappies.
- A few wet bags. This is for all your dirty clothing and dirty nappies, so bring one more than you think you really need.
- A bottle of hand sanistiser, in case you need to change a nappy out and about.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, and shampoo.
- Blankets or a sleepsack, for night time.
- Muslin cloths. Bring a few. You'll use them for nappy changes, to lay baby on the ground, to cover baby, to protect your clothes from spit ups, to shade your baby, and so on.
- A wahakura or other safe sleep space, if your baby is an infant. If your stroller has a bassinet setting this might also work well.
- Sunblock, because you'll tend to spend a bit of time outdoors.
- Definitely an off-road stroller, like a mountain buggy or a bumbleride (click the picture below to find out more). This is very useful when your baby is grumpy and doesn't want to sleep due to all of the distractions. Pop him or her in your stroller, and go for a walk, especially if there's any bumpy farmland nearby.
- A drink bottle for water, so that you can encourage your little one to stay hydrated. Just don't take this into the whare nui.
- If your baby is bottle fed, then all the essentials for bottle feeding. Again do not take this into the whare nui.
- A small first aid kit including some pamol just in case.
What won't you need to take to a marae for baby:
- A baby monitor. You have whanau for that.
- A baby carrier. You have whanau for that.
- A lot of kai. If your baby is on solid food, you will be able to find something that works for them from what's on offer in the whare kai.
- Toys. There's a lot happening on a marae and your baby will find something or someone to play with wherever you go.
Can you breastfeed on a marae?
Yes you can and it is completely normal. Go into the whare kai though.
Our top tips for making your visit stress-free:
- Let other people help you.
- Wait to be welcomed on, and be sure to greet everyone at the beginning so they know who you are and who your little one belongs to.
- Be prepared for spit-up, dirt, and nappy blow-outs. They will happen.
- Prepare a few days before you have to leave, to minimise the likelihood you'll forget something important.
- Pack baby's outfits in individual ziplock bags. This saves a lot of time pulling things in and out of your bag.
- Take your camera.
- Go with the flow.
- Have fun and enjoy your visit.
Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.