The calm be­fore the labour

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - Sarah Bryden-Brown

ALONG with the Buga­boo, roll-over feed and or­ganic baby clothes, preg­nancy is a con­tin­ual birth­place for new trends. The latest? The baby­moon. Just like a hon­ey­moon, the baby­moon is all about es­cap­ing the day-to-day, flee­ing the nest for a lastchance ro­man­tic get­away be­fore you’re over­taken with a need to al­pha­be­tise the pantry.

Baby­moons took off in the US a few years ago and have grown to be­come a pre-stork must-do. A sur­vey in 2006 by Lib­erty Travel, and re­ported by USA To­day , notes that 59 per cent of new par­ents have baby­mooned.

Aus­tralia is fol­low­ing this trend, largely thanks to our own baby boom. With al­most 270,000 ba­bies born in Aus­tralia last year, ho­tels and re­sorts are quickly adding preg­nancy com­forts to their in­dul­gence menus.

If a hon­ey­moon is for mak­ing ba­bies, the baby­moon is for mak­ing Mummy and Daddy re­mem­ber just how much they en­joyed their hon­ey­moon: im­por­tant bal­last for when they find them­selves play­ing Baby Chicken at 3am, nine months later (a game that re­quires each par­ent to out­last the other in pre­tend­ing they are asleep while baby cries, forc­ing the other to get up).

Ro­mance may be your mo­ti­va­tion for tak­ing a baby­moon, but more re­al­is­ti­cally for those with a sore back and swollen feet and an­kles, your baby­moon could well be all about or­der­ing room ser­vice and hav­ing a good lie down.

That said, once you’ve eaten most of what’s avail­able on the room-ser­vice menu for lunch and had a nap, you may be up for a spa treat­ment or seven. Most five-star ho­tels, such as the Ob­ser­va­tory in Syd­ney, Grand Hy­att Melbourne and the Sher­a­ton Noosa, cater for mums-to-be with spe­cialised pre­na­tal spa treat­ments.

As you would when book­ing an ad­ven­ture hol­i­day in Kakadu or a cook­ing school in Tus­cany, you need to pick the right place for a baby­moon, mak­ing sure it of­fers all those lit­tle ex­tras such as a pil­low menu, king-sized bed, spa and (per­haps) close prox­im­ity to your ma­ter­nity hospi­tal.

Usu­ally booked for the third trimester, baby­moons can also be taken just af­ter baby has been born, but that re­quires a whole dif­fer­ent check­list.

Baby­moon es­capes are avail­able at Pep­pers Guest House in the NSW Hunter Val­ley, which has mid­week and week­end baby­moon in­dul­gence pack­ages; both in­clude French cham­pagne, din­ner for two at Robert’s restau­rant and a one-hour mas­sage or fa­cial at the En­dota spa for both Mum and Dad. www.pep­pers.com.au.

Palazzo Ver­sace on the Gold Coast of­fers a baby­moon deal (valid to Septem­ber 30) that in­cludes buf­fet break­fast for two, re­ju­ve­nat­ing pedi-spa, two picks from the in-room din­ing ‘‘ crav­ings menu’’ and ac­cess to Salus per Aquum spa. Baby treats in­clude a Ver­sace Baby Rose soap, Palazzo Ver­sace bathrobe, baby towel and Palazzo Ver­sace teddy bear. www.palaz­zover­sace.com.au.

Sof­i­tel MyBed means you can for­get bed­spreads and blan­kets; here we have a feath­ered co­coon that of­fers a plush ho­tel sleep. MyBed means a lot more than just a mat­tress on a box spring; its se­cret is an ex­tra layer of com­fort (a feath­ered sink-into top­per rests on the mat­tress un­der the fit­ted sheet). Sof­i­tel is also rolling out an up­dated ver­sion, the Paris MyBed, made from nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, at its Aus­tralian prop­er­ties, start­ing with the up­graded Sof­i­tel Went­worth Syd­ney in Septem­ber. www.sof­i­tel­syd­ney.com.au. Sarah Bryden-Brown is the ed­i­tor of www.kidspot.com.au. Her fam­ily mem­oir DadandMe (HarperCollins, $24.95) has just been re­leased.

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