This is my first post on this forum, Hi everyone!
Just a few words to add. We lived aboard our rival 41 anchored in tortola, british virgin islands
from ´82 - 97. I had 2 children
, moved them onboard from 1 month old. Born in 92 & 94
tips: We had the baby sleep with us untill about 4 months then moved him into the v berth with a fillin. We put a board of perspex across the entrance so he could see out but not fall out. Then at night or when unattended we made a barrier over the remaining space with a piece of cockpit flooring
we had found. We took out alternate bars so there was a prison bars effect.this was bolted in. VERY reasuring as he could not get out. ( He was a great escape artist from any carseat etc) It made a great play area etc. I covered the cushions
in plastic there.
He spent alot of his early life naked during the day in the cockpit
. accidents dont matter in the tropics just pour a bucket of saltwater over child/cockpit! At night i found as he got older i was able to cut up the "unused " part of his disposable diaper and push that down the front of his clean diaper!! made them last much longer!
Never try to be quiet "so the baby can sleep" they must learn to sleep through all kinds of noise
, parents shouting at each other!!
I did have a folding stroller
with a reclining back. I found this invaluable especially if we went out ashore in the evening he could fall asleep and i had somewhere to"put" him. I would go grocery shopping
then put groceries in the stroller and baby in a sling on my chest. could carry far more that way!
One piece of brilliant advice I got from an experienced cruising mum was to start baby swimming at 2 months. do the blow in the face then underwater after counting 123. They soon learn to hold their breath. Then EVERY time you play sitting on the side of pool/dinghy/dock and falling forward into the water
get them to turn round immediatly and grab the side. This can save their life. It is still a fun game
. I had baby swimming with armbands and a cutdown "ski belt" from 5 mths. It kept him up that bit more than just armbands but more freedom than a lifejacket. The other advice she gave was to get mini fins...this gave him far more speed and satisfaction. He was swimming without armbands by 2.5 yrs when wearing just fins.
We sold the boat and moved ashore to the costa blanca, spain
, when the kids
were 2 and 5.
That was 10 years ago! The older one remembers the boat and his lifestyle and sitting out a hurricane
on a friends mfv boat alongside the dock! Although they may not remember individual islands etc. he is top of his class in geography and his teacher says he has a different "world awareness" than his classmates.
Goodluck to all of you starting out!
A landlocked sailor/mum