WELLNESS WANDERERS IN BALI
Recently our little tribe of three ventured north to the island of Bali. I had never been there and had no desire to ever go. My husband had been a number of times on surf trips but of course travelled quite differently with not having a family in tow, for example happy to sleep in a hammock in a warung so he could be first in the water each morning and fuelling on Pineapple Pancakes and then Nasi Goreng for lunch and dinner each day. When we began looking at different destinations for a holiday Bali did fit all our needs: good surf, yoga, and affordable, so Bali it was.
Our days in Bali were fabulous. We were lucky to be there when there was swell everywhere we went plus perfect weather. Our days consisted of waking when Jet woke BEFORE the roosters when it was still dark, normally around 4:30 – 4:45 am. Although early, it was beautiful to witness Bali at this point before everyone else had risen. Just before first light, my husband would head out for a surf so Jet and I would watch the day begin over the ocean, usually snacking on apples. I would then go to a morning yoga class once Sheeds (husband) would come in and Jet would have his usual 30min catnap. After yoga and Jet’s nap, we would all have breakfast together, this was my favourite meal of the day in Bali, maybe due to starving from Yoga. We would then venture out or head to another beach and to lunch before returning for an afternoon surf. For dinner, we would either stay at our accommodation and put Jet to sleep then arrange dinner, as Jet goes to bed early around 6pm. Otherwise, we would head out for an early dinner, having Jet showered before we left and then he would fall asleep on the way home in the carrier. Which was nice and easy without the wrestle to put him to sleep.
Thankfully Jet was fabulous and would sleep anywhere, either in the carrier, on the scooter or on a daybed by the ocean or pool. Making it easy to not have to be back and stuck in our room at certain times.
This may sound all peachy and while looking back it actually was, the first 5 days were actually quite stressful and my head got in the way with worry and over-thinking until I came to an interesting realisation. I was wondering why I wasn’t completely relaxed yet and also resenting my husband for surfing, which never actually bothers me. As I usually just love sitting in the sun and reading a book or getting extra naps in while on holidays, then I figured it out, with having a buba on holidays I don’t get that downtime while my husband is surfing.
The only time I get is my 1.5hr a day that I go to yoga. The rest is just like I’m at home, nappy changing, bathing, sorting food three meals a day, breastfeeding, putting Jet down for his sleep, just mum duties in general and the constant thinking and planning that goes along with that. The acknowledgement that going on holidays as a mum, your full-time work goes with you! There is no downtime from the daily baby life, ever! It was also the added stress of sourcing healthy foods for Jet, thankfully after recognising this and being frustrated for a day, I was able to accept it and then just get on with the holiday. Plus we were able to find places for food for Jet and I got into the swing of being ok with him eating recurring meals and having extra vegetables with us. From this acceptance I was then able to learn my new level of relaxation as a mum, letting go of the old holiday self and embracing holiday life with bub in tow.
THE FOOD SEARCH
We are lucky with Jet that he is not reliant on purees and feeds himself finger food. He has always eaten pretty much everything that we have put in front of him. Although Jet is used to eating a variety of fresh foods, that proved to be a little more difficult in Bali. To start with it was very stressful, as a lot of places didn’t have a highchair so Jet would be distracted with the freedom to crawl around and explore at meal times, which got super messy. We found a local fruit shop where we could grab a lot of Jet’s favourite fruits however there were minimal vegetables.
The days there was not much else for Jet to eat or he only wanted the sweet fruit we quickly saw a change in his behaviour and sleep, so we needed to reduce his fruit intake. I ended up just asking the kitchen staff for whole cucumbers and capsicums when we ordered food I could save for other meals and snacks rather than fruit. I also searched online for all the organic cafes in the area, knowing they would have a large variety of fresh foods and not soak the food in the nasty cooking oil that the Balinese seem to use (this is a separate topic that grossed me out how much nasty vegetable or who-knows-what oil they would use). Anyway, we got in a flow and see below what Jet would eat, although not much variety nor not as much as at home, he would eat thankfully and he also increased his breast-feds while in Bali to compensate. I was happy with this though to help pass on needed immune fighting antibodies to keep him healthy as well as hydrated. At restaurants/cafes kids meals did not suit Jet’s whole food diet so we found by ordering him sides and then asking to add on to these with extra certain vegetables or proteins, plus green smoothies at most meals. Some meals are quite random but we were just happy that Jet was eating.
Breakfast examples: this wasn’t too difficult as Jet is used to having egg and avocado. It was great once we got to places where he could also have a smoothie.
- Scrambled egg, tomato, avocado, fresh coconut water
- Boiled Egg, fruit platter with pineapple, papaya, banana, and cucumber
- Banana, Avocado, Broccoli, cucumber, tomato
- Chia pudding, dragonfruit, green smoothie
- Omelette with feta, mushroom spinach & Banana almond smoothie
- Steam vegetables and bone broth
- Green smoothie, cashew nut protein ball, sweet potato chips and kale chips
- Carrot, cucumber, grilled chicken + green smoothie
- Sweet potato mash, nut smoothie, cucumber
- Sweet potato, steamed vegetables – beans, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli
- Steam vegetables, sweet potato wedges, chicken
- Bone Broth, avocado, cucumber
- Egg white, tomato, broccoli and Cocowhip
- Green smoothie, steamed vegetables, feta, fish
- Avocado and Bone broth
PLACES WE STAYED
Uluwatu surf villas on the Bukit peninsula. Right on top of the cliff overlooking, surf spots: Temples, Secrets, Uluwatu, Racetracks. Surf was pumping at 8ft on the first day then dropped to around 6ft for the days we were there. Sheeds was loving getting in 2- 3 surfs a day. Here the food was fab which they delivered to our villa, even though the restaurant was still being built. No highchairs though and having a crawling baby on the cliffs and villas without railing was a little more work.
Rock and Reef: Right out the front was Impossibles reef break, I could actually watch Sheeds surf from the bed. We stayed in the Big Rock room, which was great as Jet could crawl around the balcony without the risk of going through the railings. Again no highchair so messy eating it was. But there were great organic cafes only scooter rides away, which mostly had highchairs and were super accommodating to creating what we needed for Jet.
Healthy cafes close by: The Cashew Tree – this place was amazing, Jet would have a green smoothie, and steamed vegetables
Buddha Soul – here I got take away sweet potato for Jet to give him later. Note that most sweet potato in Bali is purple.
Swasti Eco Cottages in Ubud: this was refreshing as it was just out of the busy area of Ubud and past the monkey forest. They grow most of their own vegetables and have a yoga shala however the 4 days we were there they only had 1 class so I had to source yoga elsewhere which was a pain when it was meant to be nice and convenient and at the same place we stayed, so check what yoga they have on before you book. Food was good healthy and mostly organic, but meals were small and service was very very slow, like slower than Bali time slow. Do have a highchair that was great for breakfast. After 2 meals here we then chose to eat out as Ubud has endless amounts of healthy places to eat. Thanks to the travelling yogi hipsters demand hehe.
Komune Resort Keramas: here I truly was able to relax and we didn’t leave the resort. They have one of their restaurants that is organic and healthy YAY, and the Beach club food was quite good too. They have highchairs and would happily bring them out to the pool so Jet could eat his lunch viewing the other kids swimming in the pool and watching Dada surf right in front. The staff made it so easy with Jet and a few became best friends with Jet playing with him throughout the day giving me the time to read my book distraction free (thank you Eka). Here they had yoga twice a day also making it easy for me to get to a class then eat a healthy meal with a drink of kombucha. It was awesome and glad we stayed here last.
Bali Survival Tips and what to take from a holistic perspective:
Nappy free time (NFT): saves lugging around tons of nappies or having to wash them out and also help prevents nappy rash. The nappies do pack nicely around surfboards as extra protection. We did use our quick dry eco nappies quite a bit as felt they were cooler for Jet and he could just swim in them also without the heavy liner. Due to NFT there were a few times we had to clean up some sneaky little piles Jet had left behind, first times for everything in Bali haha. TIP: Nappies and clothes dry quicker inside in the aircon than outside in the sun due to humidity.
Take your own Natural Sunscreen as you cover your bub in it all day so best to be mindful of toxins and grab one that isn’t full of rubbish. Same with mosquito spray as we applied this each night to Jet. We use Moogoo sunscreen and Tail-swat mosquito spray
Take a knife to be able to cut up fruit and vegetables. Obviously in your check-in luggage. Also, spare containers to store the fresh produce in, as some days it was hard to find fresh vegetables so always good to have some cucumber, capsicum, and apple in a container. I’d also get an extra boiled egg at breakfast to keep for lunch or a snack for Jet.
Teatree wipes: to wipe down highchairs, bubs hands, anything and everything. Much better than getting pulled into the nasty alcohol wipes, keep it natural and Australian.
Colloidal silver: I sprayed this in Jet’s mouth each morning and night to help with any bugs getting around. Plus if he got any scratches along the way or mosquito bites.
Lavender oil: I used this nightly to help him sleep and to soothe sun-kissed skin. It also can be used down the jawline if bubs have teething pain.
Arnica cream and pilules: in case of any bumps or accidents or upsets. If you haven’t heard of it arnica it is great for any trauma, physical or emotional.
SB Biotic (Saccharomyces boulardii) for the whole family: in case any of us were to get Bali-belly, I took 1 per day as a preventative and to keep my digestion functioning well.
Homeopathic pilules: Chamomillia for teething and calming. Arsenicum for vomiting and diarrhoea, just in case.
Brauer Homeopathics: I took the Teething, and Pain and Fever. We didn’t need either thankfully, but I certainly wanted to be prepared in case Jet’s teeth were moving or he did get sick.
Water bottles for you bub. We always use a glass bottle so we have no plastic/toxic leakage into the water. With it being so hot in Bali keeping your bub hydrated is essential. We also had a CHEEKI insulated stainless steel bottle to keep the water slightly cool and frequently offered Jet water, most of the time he drunk so he must have been thirsty with the Bali heat.
I am strongly against baby food pouches however I did source the most organic and less filled with rubbish as possible and took four over for ‘just in case’. I found Holly Organic pouches at Flannerys. And got the ones that has the least amount of fruit in them. We did use them twice, the first night when there was nothing open and also the last night before we flew out. Jet wasn’t too much of a fan he was unsure of the thick blended texture with the way he moved it cautiously around his mouth, but ate it.
Dehydrated Bone Broth. This was my lifeline when there was not much else for him to have or if I felt his stools were a bit different. I ended up giving him broth most days as prevention and supporting his digestion with the change of foods. It put my mind at ease knowing I could give him broth and knew he was getting nutrients and gut support. Turns out we were all illness free, which was fabulous.
BPA free baby spoons and stainless steel straws: we drink a lot of juices and smoothies and it was nicer to have our own straws than use the plastic ones or bamboo that they provide that can be a bacteria breeding site.
Save taking bibs and just get your bub nude for meals. Certainly saves hand washing and trying to get food out or coming back with stained bibs.
Baby Carrier: this was gold as Bali is not very stroller friendly with all the uneven paths. Jet would happily sit in it all day so he can see the world from my perspective and be close to me in cases like at the Monkey Forest in Ubud. Great for your bub to sleep while in transit and loaded up with bags or on motorbikes. We have a Ergo carrier and used it daily for hours, it was a work out, especially the stairs at Bingin but that is never a bad thing for a little extra fitness.
Baby Backpack. Instead of the normal nappy bag we brought Jet a little Ripcurl back pack which became his bag to carry his food, nappies, wipes, tea tree wipes, water bottle, etc. So much easier to carry around especially when I had him in the carrier on my front I could put his little backpack on my back or vise versa.
Herbals: Of course being a naturopath and medical herbalist I rarely travel anywhere without herbs. We took two on this trip; one for boosting immune if any of us had a sign of illness and one to help Jet stay calm and sleep on the flight – no Phenergan for this family!
When you meet other bubs and mamas, don’t forget to ask for the mamas name too. I found I knew all the bubs names but then had no idea of the mums. We easily loose our identity to our bubs sadly, when we so easily chat about everything our babies do. Remember this is our holiday too and our bubs are great ways to meet other woman (not just mums) to hang out with and yes we have our bubs in common but it is nice to meet other mums from all around the world, just don’t forget to ask her name.
I hope you found this helpful and are excited for your next family holiday, we certainly are 🙂
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