By now you’ve probably realised that motherhood is a lot about really fiddly things – breast pumps, car seat straps, snot suckers…. But once you’re confident with the folding mechanism on your buggy (the rain cover can come later… generally in a mad flap during a sudden downpour, which drowns your phone while you desperately search for a YouTube tutorial), you’ll realise there’s a whole world out there to explore with your baby. But if the thought of going on public transport feels overwhelming, we’re here with a few tips.
Sometimes getting the bus is more practical than driving. Like, if you’re going somewhere with rubbish parking. Or if you, y’know, don’t drive. But getting the bus with a baby can be overwhelming.
Bus tip 1! If at all possible, leave the buggy at home and chuck the baby in a baby carrier instead with all your worldly belongings in a rucksack. You’ll get on and off much faster and won’t risk being denied entry if there are already a couple of buggies on board.
Bus tip 2! Easier said than done, but if you simply must take the buggy, try and venture out at a time when the baby is likely to be awake and reasonably content. Because if it’s a busy route and you’re forced to fold up your buggy, you won’t have to endure the dramas of waking a happily snoozing baby.
Bus tip 3! Don’t have too much loose clutter in your buggy basket, because if you do have to fold it up on the hoof it will all be a bit stressful. Make sure you have a sizeable tote bag or carrier bag that you can sweep bits into if necessary so you don’t have to crush the lot when given 3.6 seconds to fold up or get off.
Bus tip 3! Never be afraid to ask for help. Generally, when faced with a mum flapping around with a newborn, most decent humans will offer to help anyway – whether that’s giving up their seat or resting a hand on your buggy while you sort your bits and bobs out. There are some douchebags out there, though, but don’t let them get you down. The good news about buses is that you can always jump off at the next stop if your baby needs attending to without a grumpy old codger deconstructing your every moment with his judgy eyes.
Sure, there are logistical hurdles to negotiate, but once you’re on board, getting the train is one of the more pleasant ways to travel with a little one. Plus hopefully you’re going someplace nice.
Train tip 1! Allow lots and lots of time and then some more time as well and then double it. Running for a train is stressful enough even when unencumbered by a needy baby, so you want to be able to make it to your seat, avec refreshments, at as leisurely a pace as possible. Things like going through ticket barriers take a lot longer with child. Especially if you’ve hidden your ticket somewhere really safe like inside your packet of wipes…
Train tip 2! Plan your baby carrying device carefully. Car seat on pram base could be a winner, as you can potentially use the car seat plonked on a train seat and maybe even actually read a magazine (or at least look at some Insta Stories) without a baby on your lap.
Train tip 3! Even when your baby is pretty tiny, take some basic toys – a squidgy book or dangly toy can be good distractions if it’s a long schlep and they’re getting all wriggly.
Train tip 4! If you’re rammed into a single seat, make sure you’re well prepared: food, water, entertainment, whatever you might need to feed your baby (hot water/lukewarm boobs etc). And just be grateful they’re not a toddler yet.
Ooh, get you, international jet-setter. Oh, you’re just going to Scotland? Still, it’s a big deal with a little person.
Plane tip 1! That thing we said about allowing lots of time to catch a train? You want to quadruple it for catching a plane.
Plane tip 2! Although you can generally take your buggy right up to the doors of the plane, it’s a different story when you get off and need to make your way to the baggage hall to retrieve it. So make sure you have some other way of transporting your little one – a soft carrier that doesn’t take up much space in your hand luggage is ideal. Some airports have special buggies you can borrow but they’re often hard to come by, and not really suited to little babies.
Plane tip 3! ALL. THE. GIN.