Gina Norman's idea of a blissful vacation is a week in a tent, taking cold showers, fighting the mosquitoes and climbing thousands of stairs–and lots and lots of yoga.
Norman, co- owner of Greenwich Yoga in Greenwich, Conn., and mom of a toddler travels frequently to teach yoga workshops. But few trips are like the one she took in January to the Maho Bay Camp on St. John Island. The rustic retreat offers beachfront access and, for that one week in January, lots and lots of yoga.
Norman talked with TravelingMom Founder Kim Orlando about the pros and cons of taking such a trip with a baby and offers advice to moms who might consider taking a similar trip.
TMOM: Tell me about Maho Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
GINA NORMAN: It’s not your typical vacation spot. For one thing, it’s more camping then resort. So that presented some challenges when traveling with a 1-year-old.
TMOM: Were you worried about your daughter?
GINA NORMAN: I was a little stressed. I’d never taken her on a trip like that – one where we were kind of roughing it – so I just wanted to make sure I had everything Kaia would need.
TMOM: What were your accommodations like?
GINA NORMAN: We stayed in these tent-like cabins with no running water. There were separate showers – cold showers – and the mosquitoes were pretty bad.
TMOM: How did you protect your daughter from the mosquitoes?
GINA NORMAN: We had to put a mosquito net over her crib. We put one over our bed as well. They worked pretty well.
TMOM: What other extras did you need for the baby?
GINA NORMAN: We brought a little tent with a padded mattress inside for the beach. It kept her out of the sun and allowed her to sleep on the beach during the day. So even if we were in the water, we could keep an eye on her at all times. That was probably our best investment – that and the Ergo Pack.
TMOM: What’s an Ergo Pack?
GINA NORMAN: It’s an infant carrier that wraps around the waist and clips and then wraps around the shoulder and clips again. It gives you both upper and lower back support when carrying your baby. This was key in a place like Maho Bay because there are hundreds of stairs everywhere.
TMOM: Did you take a stroller?
GINA NORMAN: No way. Maho Bay is not the kind of place where a stroller would be of any use. That’s why the Ergo was so great.
TMOM: What about food for the baby?
GINA NORMAN: I’d been using goat’s milk to wean her off breastfeeding, but all they had at Maho Bay was cow’s milk so that’s what she had.
TMOM: Why goat’s milk?
GINA NORMAN: The goat is a smaller animal than the cow, so its milk is easier for babies to digest.