Little Bear has family and friends in Sweden, Germany, the Philippines and even more exotic places like ‘the north of England’. Having such a far flung crew, he’s no stranger to flying. Flying with any little bear can be as easy as a cool breeze or as turbulent and stressful as being caught in a hurricane. Getting ready for the ninth flight with Little Bear, we feel we might almost have it down. The first time we took him with us on a big trip was to the Black Forest when he was 3 months old. It was so easy, we decided that he was a great traveller, and would always just fall asleep in Pappa’s arms the whole flight and get excited about travelling on the train… Turns out, not the case as we found out on the way to Sweden. Here are some things we’ve learnt about travelling with a baby the hard way. Hope you find some of them useful, and please feel free to add yours as comments:
What a week that was. One tiny little germ causing so many problems. The first few weeks with a newborn are probably the toughest because it's all so different from what you've done before, and so exhausting. For similar reasons, caring for a sick baby is almost as tough. I jotted down a few notes for myself for when another terrible baby-bug inflicts my family again [Please add your own tips as comments!]:
Note 1: Don't assume that terrible smell is a broken sewage main. It will only lose you valuable time to change the smelliest nappy you have every come across in your life. People around you will start looking awkward and moving away. If your sick baby looks happy, you are likely to see a brown mark spreading across their baby-grow
Despite the name 'stay-at-home-parent', staying at home too long doesn't really work with an active baby. Little Bear loves his play-mat and ball-bit, but most days he (and Pappa) get a little bored and need to break free.
But lets not kid ourselves, we don't just grab keys and wallet and run for the next bus like we did pre-baby... No.
We grab milk, nappies, dummies, blanket, keys, pushchair, toys, and baby. Then we look for our shoes whilst baby wriggles out of the pushchair. We clip baby in properly following a lot of protest about the shoulder straps, then get ready to get out the front door, before a loud noise comes from the baby's nappy... We unclip baby from pushchair, missing the second bus you'd planned to get, run upstairs to change his nappy. Finish changing the baby, chuck the baby-carrier (almost forgot) under the pushchair and the baby in the pushchair. On the way to the bus, realise you forgot your wallet, etc, etc.
But despite the stress, it's worth it. Little Bear loves a good day trip. Whether it's visiting other babies and their mums (only met 1 other dad so far!), swimming, or trying something a little more adventurous like a baby-concert, another city or a museum, it's great for parent and baby to get out. But the tough stuff in a day trip doesn't stop when you finally get out the door (with your wallet).
Having learnt a few lessons the hard way, I was wondering what a parent needs to think about before they head out with the baby for a day trip. So here would be 7 tips I wish I could have given myself before I started parental leave:
But it starts getting really tough really quickly. Both getting up a dozen or so times every night to feed our wide-eyed (not yet so charming) little troll. As a warning to those who are expecting, there isn’t really anything in life that will prepare you for these first few weeks, especially if your little guy or gal has trouble with breastfeeding (ours had ‘tongue-tie’ which wasn’t diagnosed until we insisted the midwives double checked). We discovered pushy and paranoid parenting fueled by grumpy sleep deprivation was essential to helping your baby...
So if you're expecting and the baby's kicking a lot, be aware he might carry on when he's out...
The baby is still in one piece following a week of dad in charge. Hooray! It's been a pretty active week as well, despite promising myself I'd take it easy. We've met friends, been to the cinema, library, baby group and a weaning class, and finished with visiting Heaver Castle somewhere in 'the country' (outside of London). Although this outburst of daily effort may have cost me my back.
To future dads, get your back in shape before the baby arrives. You'll need it in shape more than ever before, but you'll have less time than before to ever get it into shape.
Thinking Little Bear would do well to get exposed to some culture, my sister and I took him to Heaver Castle, where Anne Boleyn grew up. Forced to leave the pushchair outside, I strapped him to my chest in the baby-carrier. Moments after entering this ten century old house, he fell asleep. Apparently not a history lover... But he did love the baby-carrier...
I'm Dave, dad of Little Bear. Also known as 'Pappa' to the little man as we try and bring out his Swedish roots