Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Have Child, Will Travel!

I now like to consider myself as something of an expert on travelling with babies. At least, providing the baby in question is Jess and the travelling in question consists of a 2 hour ryanair flight out to the south of France....

Joking aside though, we've done quite a bit of pootling around. Been out to France three times and out of London on the train quite a few times too. As to getting around London; a work colleague asked me if I was cycling again (answer is not quite yet) and then assumed I was driving. What I'd be driving I'm not sure but it made me feel a bit uncomfortably smug to point out we use the bus, the train or my legs to get around. Although I secretly do feel smug that we use said methods of transport.

Anyway, my tips for flying on ryanair (they don't get a capital letter, I hate them so much) or using any kind of public transport are:

1- Give yourself plenty of time. Our flight left at 6.20 am and meanderingfather very kindly forked out on a cab for us. It's money well spent!

2- Invest in priority boarding. Gives you a sense of security that you'll get on and get a seat but probably not that essential as having a small baby means that people will only sit next to you if it's absolutely essential.

3- Sling sling sling. I may have mentioned before how much I like slings but they are ace on planes and save you having to fart arse around getting your buggy in and out of the hold. I recommend something like the mei tai as you can just about get it on in cramped spaces which isn't really that possible with a wrap unless you are some sort of wrapping goddess. Also means you can zip through the airport at speed without taking peoples ankles out.

4- Less is more. When they are young you really don't need much in the way of stuff and entertainment can be provided with something as simple as a muslin square which you'd likely have with you anyway. More toys just means more to carry around with you. In fact the best distraction you can have for a wee baby on a plane is a boob. Probably won't work so well as she gets older but is ace at the moment.

I don't actively enjoy flying with the child to be honest but that is because I used to plug the ipod in and read for the whole flight but since Jess has developed her annoying, sorry, endearing, habit of chewing everything I can't juggle her and book or earphones. Especially if I have to stop her grabbing the ipod of the person sitting next to me too. On the way out to France this time my next door neighbour actually put her coat over her head half way through the flight. It did occur to me that it could have been because it's hard to sleep while a small child is eyeballing you and trying to liberate your belongings.

Anyway, once at your holiday destination you have a few choices. Once again, I'd tend to pick a sling over any other method of transport. Good for city breaks and country walks alike! I have to be honest and say that I completely ignored the less is more on the sling front and had three with me this time. The mei tai, my new wrapsody (I'd just got it and couldn't bear leaving it at home for three weeks) and my storchenwiege woven sling which I got when Jess was a baby, couldn't get to grips with, sold to meanderingaunty and brought back because my nephew didn't like it. It's ace and I'm sure I'll blog more on it later!

Jess asleep in the Wrapsody at Lourdes, with meanderinggranny.

Your other big holiday dilemma (if you're me) is nappies. I was very lucky this time as meanderingaunty is even more of a nappy addict than me and let me borrow from her beautiful collection and laundered them for me. Brilliant! If you're going away and don't have a very accommodating sister to go to I'd recommend the bum genius flips. The wraps can go in with any load of washing and you can take as many or as few inserts as you want and use the disposable inserts if necessary. I'd also say that the flips are a good all rounder but if you want something uber reliable for long journeys I would actually recommend a wee notion. Obviously they look good, but they seem to soak up an incredible amount of wee for a very slim line insert and if you pop one of their boosters in they'll last for ages. And so far even the most liquid of poos has not leaked. Brilliant!

While on holiday we threw any sort of routine we'd cobbled together for Jess out the window, if she didn't want to go to sleep she didn't and I spent a couple of evenings playing canasta with meanderinggranny, a bottle of wine and Jess on my knee which was actually lots of fun. She also took a bit of a dislike to the travel cot so I gave up after the first night and she snuggled up with me and meanderingfather after he arrived which, although I wouldn't want to co sleep all the time, was lovely for a treat!

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