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:
Public transport in a big city is essential for a good day out. For wheelchair and pushchair users alike, the big must is of course step-free access. As far as cities go, London is a pretty mixed bag. Where they've really tried (and where it was easy), it can be accessible for parents with pushchairs. But it's still a way away from being the baby-friendly city it aspires to be.
For London's underground and overground managers, I have a simple message: put yourself in a wheelchair and try to get around the city in the same way a walking commuter can. Let's not be unfair, several stations are a push-in-the-park for parents, but a lot of them aren't...
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:
I'm Dave, dad of Little Bear. Also known as 'Pappa' to the little man as we try and bring out his Swedish roots