Travel (avec les enfant)

Travel (avec les enfant)

Before I had a baby everyone said ‘oh you’ll not be able to just pop out of the house anymore when little one arrives’ ‘your life’s not your own anymore’ etc. Great.
So when I discovered the joys of the sling (baby sleeps, I have my hands free- win win), I was feeling a little smug. But then I realised. Yes, the sling is awesome, but I had only been travelling around on foot. Oh.

The car
This can be your best friend or your absolute effing nightmare. On a good day, your little cherub will sleep for the entire journey, leaving you to enjoy a relaxing drive whilst sipping coffee, listening to non-nursery rhyme based music and generally feeling like you’ve got this motherhood lark sussed. On a bad day you will wonder why you ever even bothered- quite frankly Jamie Dornan waiting covered in chocolate sauce at the end of the journey is not worth the agro of being trapped in a metal box with a crying screaming baby monster. I invested in one of those back seat mirrors which enable you to see your small person whilst in transit (I have this one from tesco: http://www.tesco.com/direct/lindam-adjustable-back-seat-mirror). Whilst in theory these are a great idea, all they actually mean is that whilst your little one is having their meltdown as you’re stuck in hideous traffic, you get the full visual as well as audio experience without being able to do a damn thing about it. Far better I’ve found is to leave longer journeys til a time when you have a second person in tow who can provide on board backseat baby entertainment.

‘Travel systems’
Ugh, hate that term. It basically means a pram base to which you can affix a car seat or a carrycot. We have the icandy strawberry system- it’s alright. Not as shiny and fancy as most of the other mums prams at baby sensory though. I genuinely could not get my head around why you needed a carrycot for quite some time (and some people don’t bother), but basically it seems to be because it’s not recommended to have your little one in the car seat for more than an hour or two at a time so it is much better for their spines to lie flat (for the first six months at least anyway). We’ve also used ours as a travel cot on occasion in a hotel room or whilst staying with friends. After six months (or whenever your baby is sitting up from what I can gather) you can dispense with the carrycot and affix the pushchair bit to the base, meaning your baby sits upright and generally faces the world rather than you (they’re possibly sick of your face by this point anyway). I haven’t reached this stage yet so have no idea how to assemble the bloody thing. More on that at some point in the next couple of months.

To add to the list of terms I had never heard of before falling pregnant- the isofix base. This is a contraption that you can fix to the back seat of your car (if it happens to be ‘isofix compatible’- another minefield), so that a car seat can simply be slid in and out at the touch of a button. It is pretty handy, I’ll give it that.

Public transport
I haven’t ventured on a bus avec Les enfant yet, but have endured both train and tube. Generally the sling is the winner here again. If your baby can tolerate it it’s far nicer for all involved to keep them snuggled close to you whilst you sit and read the paper. Trying to drag a pram up the steps of a train (or, as I witnessed in a non-baby friendly tube station, trying to squeeze it onto the escalator) is no fun. What I will say though is that during my one experience of catching a train solo with the pram is that people did offer to help, and it was usually the stoner-looking-type teenage boy and not the polite middle class type you’d expect. This was up north though. You Londoners are on your own I expect.
The downside to the sling is that you will have to bounce a small person on your lap whilst you attempt to eat lunch and hold a conversation as you’ve got nowhere to put them. At least until they’re big enough for a highchair anyway.

So that’s it in a nutshell. If I do venture onto a bus (not planning to anytime soon) I will keep you posted. But basically walk everywhere. And for heavens sake buy a sling.

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