If you’re of the festival persuasion, the thought of adding a baby into the sweaty/muddy wristband queue may make your head whirl. The thing is, Glastonbury will always make your head whirl; that cow shed, come city feels out of this world. I’m here to tell you to do it, take your baby to Glastonbury 2019!
Last year, me and my husband took our three-month-old baby. We were volunteering, so we were on site for a week, but we only camped for the weekend (we’re local). It was a hot one, 32 degrees and we worked two 12 hour shifts with my baby on my back, snoozing in his pram, or sat in a potato bucket to cool down. Our baby did not cry once. Mind you, he sobbed his heart out when we got home, but then so did we. Standard post Glasto blues!
So, how did we manage? More than manage, how did we have an amazing time?!
Firstly, let me be clear. We took a baby. A non-moving, non-weaning baby. Not a zooming toddler! I’ll let you know how that goes next month… When we head to another local festival, Valley Fest 2018. Our lives at Glastonbury are made somewhat easier by having a staff pass (which helps escape the crush) but other than that, our experience is the same as any other Glasto punter. Oh and it was a hot one, not a rainy one! Mud would have been tougher; we lucked out.
People have one of two reactions when they find out we took a three-month-old to Glastonbury; we get called awesome parents or we get called crazy parents. Then these most common questions arise:
How do you cope with nappies?
Easily. Babies are fortunate to avoid the infamous Glastonbury long drops! Just take a small changing mat. Run out of nappies? Head to the NCT tent. Ordinarily, I’m a cloth nappy user and given the green credentials of the festival, I’d love to have used them, but I didn’t. I didn’t have enough cloth nappies for a week without washing, or enough space to save them up to wash on return. So I used biodegradable single-use nappies, same for wet wipes.
How do you get the baby to sleep?
Yes, the bass drum will bounce you from even the furthest reaches of the site but consider this a festival equivalent of a Ewan the Dream Sheep. We made the conscious choice to NOT bring our baby up as an absolute stickler to routine and we were never purposely quiet when he slept. Whether this choice had a baring on our festival babe or whether it is just the wonderful way he is, the only thing he hated were the baby headphones that cancelled out noise!
Glastonbury has two family camping fields. Be prepared to walk for ten minutes and you’ll be rewarded with space. And with the space comes fellow families muddling through just like you.
Isn’t it dangerous?
Certain family members no doubt thought us a little irresponsible perhaps. I can honestly say though, I feel safer at Glastonbury than in the real world. Mounted police circulate, stewards are there to actively look after you and, the real beauty of Glastonbury, is that 99.9% of punters are…nice. More people will offer you a hand there than outside those perimeter walls. The only comments I received were “Wow, that’s a young baby! You are bloody amazing” as they helped lift the pram over Bella’s bridge (FYI there is a flat path besides but we didn’t know that until after).
How do you warm the milk?
I was combination feeding and I just didn’t warm the milk. By three months, he always had it at room temperature. This goes against all official advice you will read, but my boy just takes his milk as it comes, like a good cuppa. I overcame sterilising issues by taking ready made formula bottles and Milton tabs, which I just swilled around in the bottles under a standpipe. Before the health and safety police descend, this is my experience and my baby was absolutely fine. Mums know their babies. I know my baby. He was fine! If your baby likes their milk warm, take a flask and ask a caterer nicely.
Did you get to see any music?
Yes, between our shifts and by using the divide and conquer approach, we saw music. Not as much as our pre child days, but just because our experience was different, doesn’t make it less fun. One of my favourite moments was bopping along to Chic with the boy in my arms. The beauty of Glastonbury Festival is that you could spend the whole weekend on Worthy Farm, not see a single band and still have the best time in the world. If you’re one of those people that glues themselves to the Pyramid stage, you’re missing out.
Here are Glastonbury must DOs when you have a young baby:
- DO manage your expectations. It will be amazing, just a different version of amazing to your pre-child shindigs.
- DO camp sensibly in family camping: with space; near an edge so you have pram access; under a hedge if possible (for morning shade) . Upgrade if you want to! There’s bell tents, caravans and sleeping pods aplenty if you have the cash.
- DO head to the Kidz Field. It’s incredible. It’s worth having a baby just to go in here. The NCT tent is located at the very back and offers changing facilities, advice, free biscuits and soft drinks for breastfeeding mums and a big cushioned dome filled with toys and books. It’s a welly-free sanctuary.
- Do head to the circus fields – plenty of places to sit and watch.
- DO know where you can sit down, especially when wet. Enjoy a film at the Palais cinema tent.
- Do enjoy the music! The littler they are, the more you can go out late. Just be mindful of the crowd size. We had one slightly anxious moment when we saw a Pyramid band and got wedged into the field with a pram.
- DO light up! Fairy lights, flags, solar lights. Make your baby and their vessel visible.
- DO take a rain-appropriate vessel! We had an off-road pram, which we picked up second hand but we took a baby carrier too.
How did you survive?!
We didn’t just survive, we thrived! With the help of a well-packed, yet light bag of essentials. Here is my Glastonbury essential packing list if you’re planning on Glastonbury with family:
- Baby carrier
- Another baby carrying vessel, such as an off-road pram. Take a second hand one in case it gets ruined.
- Tent with a porch -more space and somewhere to store your wet things without muddying the ‘inner sanctum’.
- Buggy clips (prams are handy for carrying your camping gear)
- Baby noise-cancelling headphones
- Backpack, leave your over the shoulder changing bag at home.
- Snooze shade (a breathable sun cover). I bought mine at Apples and Pips.
- Ready-made formula, aka ’emergency milks’
- Sterilising tablets
- Suncream and sunhat
- Raincoat and warm layers for night time
- Anti bacterial gel
- Eco nappies and wet wipes. If you can make reusable nappies work, well done you, tell me about it!
- Warm blankets to lie on at night (it really does get cold).
- Emergency blanket, to reflect sun on the tent.
- Pillow case – you simply stuff with your clothes for a plump pillow
- Lantern/head torch for night changes
- Fairy lights for pram
- Funky band baby vests (it has to be done).
- Sense of humour
Well, I think that’s it! Just remember, there is always someone who will help you at Glastonbury. Just do it!