Campervans and babies - please tell me things I need to know!

(20 Posts)
pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 08:09:59

Our first baby is due in October, and we have a VW T4 westfalia with a poptop called Fernanda that we use for holidays, day trips, long journeys, camping.

We need to start thinking about what it will be like with the baby, and I'd really appreciate any tips, hints or general experiences.

My biggest worry at the moment is sleeping. We probably won't do overnights til the baby is 6 months, but there will not be enough room for a travel cot. Any ideas what to use? We could put the baby in the bed downstairs and sleep in the roof, but they would still need to sleep in/on something...

pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 08:10:43

Ps whole van is called Fernanda, not just the pop top grin

Iggi101 Sun 28-Apr-13 08:26:05

We got an awning, us on airbeds and lo in travel cot. When very small, they could sleep in a moses basket or bassinet part of a pram (but after 6 months not likely to be safe).
You do get smaller, sort of pop up travel cots that might fit in the space. Or your baby might be one who'll only sleep in your arms, then you might sleep downstairs with him/her while your dp sleeps upstairs. Though be careful with cushions on rock and roll bed, might not be firm enough.. It's tricky isn't it? Have hardly used mine since had dcs sad But with them both past baby stage hopeful this summer will be the one!
(Lots of people are more adventurous than me though!)

AmandinePoulain Sun 28-Apr-13 08:29:00

Hello smile

We've got a T4 conversion, a 5yo and an 8mo. We took dd2 out when she was 4 weeks old but then winter set in, we were meant to go out at Easter but then it snowed so we wimped out grin. We're off next weekend though.

We've got a poptop, dd1 goes up there, we go on the rock and roll bed downstairs. When dd2 was tiny we used a Koodi popup basinette, it was a TK Maxx bargain at £9 and it fitted between the end of our bed and the front seats. Now that she's bigger we've bought the bigger version which we can just about squeeze in. We bought a new thicker mattress for it though, the one that comes with it is really thin.

Our Antilop highchair fits in too for mealtimes. We've got an awning for extra space too. We try to find sites with family shower rooms, and last summer found one near Cheddar with a bath that was fab smile. If we go anywhere more than a few hours away I find somewhere to stop like a country park or castle to break up the journey a bit.

Enjoy, where are you planning on going?

Iggi101 Sun 28-Apr-13 08:56:55

Told you some folk were more adventurous!
Does the 5 year old stay safely in the roof, I have one too (a 5 year old) and have been trying to think how to put some kind of barrier across. But maybe not needed! Don't fancy him landing on my head in the middle of the night!

pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 09:06:51

Thanks so much for the replies Iggi101 and AmandinePoulain

Iggi I also thought bassinet for under six months, but as he/she is due Oct we probably won't go away overnight til April. DH sleeping upstairs is an option too, although I think I may worry a little cosleeping in the van (would be happy to do it at home though). I do hope you get out this summer, I'm sure you'd have a wonderful time.

Amandine great that enjoy your van with your little ones. I bet the 5yo loves being up in the pop top. DH grew up with a splitty and slept in a hammock, he has such happy memories. thank you for the links--the bigger travel cot looks good especially as most I've seen would be too big and I think a cot would be my preferred option.

The campsite near cheddar sounds amazing - does it have a website? Cheddar is close to us, so might be a good place to try early on (ie, we can get home easily if it ends in disaster!). We like the new forest a lot, also go to Croyde, the odd festival. We also thought of going to the T4 rally at Beaulieau in August, never been before and most people will be in conversions but thought it would be fun to meet people...

pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 09:09:09

Iggi there are barriers, eg this blooming expensive one - other cheaper ones out there, I'm sure Amandine will know. Hammocks in the front cab also work well.

AmandinePoulain Sun 28-Apr-13 09:21:19

DH converted a bed guard for dd1 but you can buy special ones to fit.

Bucklegrove is where we stayed in Somerset. It was nice, there is a lovely looking pool that we arrived too late to use unfortunately sad but I'd like to go back.

pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 09:22:42

Sorry, one more question Amandine - where did you find a thicker mattress for the koo-di?

pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 09:24:55

Thanks for the campsite link--good toilet blocks are already a priority for me and I imagine they will become more so!

TheChaoGoesMu Sun 28-Apr-13 09:27:38

I co slept in the van when ds was tiny, it depends if theres enough space to do that in your van though.

pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 09:33:23

I think we'd have enough space, TheChaoGoesMu - this is baby no 1 so I guess we'll see if co-sleeping works for us. Glad to hear it can work though, thank you

AmandinePoulain Sun 28-Apr-13 09:53:19

From Baby Mattresses Online. They make mattresses in any size you want, with several different covers to choose from (we went for corovin (?sp)). I've used them a few times as our crib is an awkward size, they are great. Word of warning though - the mattress that comes with the Koodi folds up at the ends to cover the sides a bit, it's thin so with the original this is fine; but when I ordered the thicker one I just found the travel cot in their menu (they list several different brands, you can then just select the one you've got to save measuring) and ordered that. They obviously measured the original mattress and just used that as their size guide. Given that the foam mattress is a few cms thicker it doesn't bend all that well up the sides! (Does that make any sense!?) So if you go down that route I would measure the base of the cot and just order in that size. I hope you can make sense of that, it's hard to explain without having it in front of me to show you!

pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 13:40:53

No, that makes perfect sense--thanks so much for taking the time to explain.

colleysmill Sun 28-Apr-13 14:33:52

When ds was under 6 months we just took the Moses basket and popped him on the table in the motorhome whilst we slept over the cab blush

In the vw (t25) now he is older (3) he sleeps upstairs in the high top - we made a flap with 2 dead bolts to secure it up just to stop him rolling out for now. It also stops stuff rolling out whilst you're driving along.

pinksky Sun 28-Apr-13 21:58:47

Thank you colleysmill - we'd just pop the baby in a Moses basket/bassinet if we were going at that age. Good to know you fashioned your own barrier for the pop top, we might try likewise in a bit.

colleysmill Mon 29-Apr-13 00:07:10

The flap bit sounds very technical but it isn't really - just a bit of wood, 2 hinges and two lock things super blush

From what I remember in the motorhome when he outgrew the basket we let ds sleep upstairs on the big mattress and fashioned what was to hand - usually the formal barrier and the ladder and a few bungies to be sure. Not recommendable but it worked. Dh and I fell out the top bit more often than ds tbh.

Next time around (ha ha!) I'd probably do something similar and POP them up top with a proper barrier plus our home made jobbie. Or cosleep wink

Arcticwaffle Mon 29-Apr-13 10:16:44

We had a VW pop-up when the dc were tiny. I used to sleep on the downstairs double bed, cosleeping with the baby, and DP slept upstairs with the toddler(s). The babies didn't want to be up in the top alone, but the co-sleeping worked well. we did it at home anyway.

snowmummy Mon 29-Apr-13 21:25:59

We've also got a westfalia t4 with a pop top. The two older children aged 6 and 8 sleep in the pop top (no barrier, they've never fallen out) and the little one, aged 2, sleep with us. We all get a reasonable night's sleep

pinksky Wed 01-May-13 12:09:31

Thanks Arctic and snowmummy--reassuring to hear you all manage to sleep well in the van.

I've realised we are also going to need to get the belts changed at the back (one old and knackered 3 point one lap). I've found two companies in London who can fit them, but if anyone has any alternatives I'd be grateful to know.

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