To drag my baby into central London during rush hour?

(67 Posts)
Rumplestrumpet Mon 22-Feb-16 19:46:49

I'm going back to work from mat leave in August and it looks like I'll have to bring my baby (then 13 months) into work with me to use the work nursery. This is because a) local nurseries are outrageously expensive (ie more than I earn as a lowly civil servant) and b) there aren't any spaces anyway even if I could afford it.

The work nursery is affordable, partly because we pay based on our grade, so those who earn more pay more, and it has really good ratings and Ofsted report. But after getting on the tube today at non-busy times, I can't quite see how I would do it during rush hour. It would involve a 25 min train journey plus a 25 min tube journey into the office.

Does anyone have any experience? Do people use slings or buggies? I can't imagine either would be much appreciated by other passengers....

I'm hoping this will only be 2 or 3 days a week, but as I have no promise of a part time position I can't be sure of it. Will the whole thing just be completely miserable?!

Welcome experience/advice/tips!

coconutpie Mon 22-Feb-16 19:49:54

I think the only way of making it work is by investing in a sling. Bringing a buggy on the tube at rush hour would be insane.

Kennington Mon 22-Feb-16 19:51:53

It is doable - the child will love it!
Sling then when they can walk get them to do that.

cogitosum Mon 22-Feb-16 19:52:22

Sling defintely. I think people are less tolerant of pushchairs and it's also easier on escalators etc. Even if the stations have lifts the wait is often ages. I don't commute with Ds but regularly travel into London with him and sometimes during rush hour. IME people are lovely when he's in a sling.

CurlsLDN Mon 22-Feb-16 19:53:10

I agree a good sturdy sling such as a tula or ergo would be best, if only because so few underground stations have lifts!

When you are making your part time request, could you request to eg start and finish an hour later, or spread 3 days over 4, so that you can miss the worst of it?

BlackberryandNettle Mon 22-Feb-16 19:57:41

I think not even consider it personally, too stressful for everyone involved with that long a commute, especially the tube part. They'll be tired by the end of a long day and cranky if mine are anything to go by. I know that sounds negative, sorry. Just cough up for something locally. Plus if you have a second mat leave or are sick, or just want time to yourself, the local nursery will come in handy. By the way child minders tend to be a lot cheaper than nursery if that's an option. A couple of nct friends used a childminder and found her fab.

Rumplestrumpet Mon 22-Feb-16 19:59:06

OK I'll investigate some slings. We will mostly have step-free access so not too worried about that, just nervous carrying her the 10 min walk to the station but maybe with the right sling it will be doable...

Can't really spread three days over four as then I'll have to pay an extra day in the nursery so it really wouldn't be worth it. But there may be some flexibility, ie leaving early and catching up a few hours after she's in bed.

To be honest I am really quite terrified of the whole thing, I barely have time to get everything done now, I can't see how it will all work once I'm back in the office half the week....

LadyIsabellaWrotham Mon 22-Feb-16 19:59:43

Reading the title I was going to be bracing and say "oh get a grip!" But that was when I thought it was a one off. Twice a day, five days a week? I'm a seasoned Northern Line commuter but I think that would break me, even only 3 days a week. I agree that buggies would be all but impossible, but using a sling for a 21 month old toddler also seems pretty unattractive. Do you sling at the moment?

What I'd do is a) do a rush hour dry run b) give your full travel details and ask the collective wisdom of MN whether there's a special secret route that will enable you to get a seat or at least a less hellish journey c) aim to work funny hours such as 8 til 4 to get a less rush-houry commute.

Housesflatsandhouses Mon 22-Feb-16 20:01:29

Can you take the bus or walk rather than the tube part of the journey? Either would be so much easier

maybebabybee Mon 22-Feb-16 20:02:03

Gosh no I'd never do it. The nursery at my work is way cheaper to but for me I'd rather pay the stupid money than travel every day in rush hour with a baby.

maybebabybee Mon 22-Feb-16 20:02:46

Depends where you work though, I work in south Kensington which is hell on earth.

Heatherbell1978 Mon 22-Feb-16 20:08:12

I don't work in London (I'm in Edinburgh) but actual transport aside, I'd hate to do my daily commute with DS! He's never been great in the buggy and I think I'd find it really stressful trying to manage him into the city and back each day. As it happens we've not long moved but his first nursery was half an hour walk from my flat and he was so tired when I picked him up every night and that walk home was horrendous with him. Now we've moved, we're very fortunate to have a nursery over the road from us and it's great being able to walk 2 mins each way. Plus side is if I choose to have a day off or work from home, I also don't have to make the journey into the city with him which is worth thinking about. Whatever the case, you'll get into a rhythm with it. I remember thinking that it just wouldn't all work and of course it does!

formerbabe Mon 22-Feb-16 20:08:21

Going against the grain but I'd be concerned about using a sling due to worries about very busy trains/tubes/platforms and baby being jostled in the crowds...depends how busy your journey is...I'm just imagining the situation when you're all crowded in like sardines, I wouldn't like my baby to be in a sling in that scenario.

Believeitornot Mon 22-Feb-16 20:10:36

I would look to adjust your hours. Early start early finish?
Also what will you do when baby gets older? Doing that with a toddler will be worse IMO.

Do you get childcare vouchers?

JeffyJeffington Mon 22-Feb-16 20:12:48

I do 30ish minute train journey into c london. started with a sling at 7mo and changed to buggy at around 14 mo when dd was bigger, less bothered about being held and more up for being read a book/interested in her surroundings. At first i thought it would only be doable with a sling but buggy, as long as you have a small light one like a mcalaren, is fine. Was so lovely once changed to buggy, dd herself weight was fine but was often awkward to juggle that and any other bags. I was honestly dreading commuting with a toddler but it's fine and can sometimes be fun apart from the odd screaming fit where i try to be breezy and deliberately ignore any judgemental glares! People will generally be accommodating even to buggies as long as you avoid the worst of the rush hour. If there's an issue with stairs worth researching to seeif there's an alternative stepfree route. Or can you do a longer walk to get on ahead of a busy stop? my dd is better behaved on busier trains as there are more faces to look at (she doesn't quite understand yet that commuters don't exist solely for her entertainment, and that not everyone wants to engage with a toddler that's not their own at 7am on a miserable monday! grin)

creamoftomato Mon 22-Feb-16 20:17:21

Don't listen to all this negativity! I have an almost 2yo and he has been at nursery x3 days a week in central London near work since 11mo and it's been absolutely fine. Our journey is a bit shorter though, but I think with careful planning and snacks/book/toy you'll be totally fine. I definitely recommend a really good sling. We have a Manduca, really comfortable but worth noting that absolutely loads of babies at our workplace nursery come in buggies and they are almost all coming in on the tube or bus, so clearly not impossible either way. I've found Victoria Line commuters at least extremely friendly and helpful. When DS was younger he'd often have a short snooze on one or both commutes, now he has a great time chatting with fellow commuters grin

I'm actually on mat leave with no 2 right now - when I go back to work DH and I will be commuting together with one toddler in a sling each, 4 days a week (plus occasionally we will have to wrestle two babies at once due to late shifts!) - I am not even slightly worried about it, people are so helpful. (We are very lucky in that we work about 10 minutes walk away from each other). Anyway! Definitely don't panic about this. If you're anything like me you'll also appreciate the extra bit of time you'll get to spend together at the start and end of the day smile

Pinkheart5915 Mon 22-Feb-16 20:17:57

Our son is 5 months and I have taken him in to London from Kent a couple of times, to meet my husband from work and meeting up with friends.

I manage on the train and tube with him ok, I use a sling I don't take a buggy.

Seriouslyffs Mon 22-Feb-16 20:18:14

What's your route in? As Lady says maybe MN can work out the optimum route.

1frenchfoodie Mon 22-Feb-16 20:18:38

Sling unless you get on at the quiet end of a tube line but when older an umbrella type buggy. Any chance you can work from home a day or two a week or - as others suggest, change hours to avoid worst of the rush. I'm a civil servant too and parents using nursery at work tend to start at 8 for that reason.

Baboooshka Mon 22-Feb-16 20:19:22

Honestly, I think even with a sling, a 50min rush hour commute with a baby (and then toddler, and preschooler?) is going to be really, really difficult. Sorry to be negative, but I would consider that Plan Z and try any other option first!

Any local childminders? Can you get childcare vouchers from work and at least get on the waiting list for local nurseries? Or, as someone's already mentioned, try to change your hours so you're at least travelling outside rush hour? Even so, that's a long journey with a small child, especially at the end of the day.

I live in SW London, and have had to take rush hour trains with DD a couple of times, and it's horrible. Everyone pressed together in crowded standing areas, roasting hot, and with the inevitable jostling for people to get in and off. Often we have to let a couple of trains pass before we can find one to feasibly squeeze into. And we're not even on the underground or at one of those stations where you have to queue to get onto the platform.

Spudlet Mon 22-Feb-16 20:19:46

Back in the day when I was a civil servant, there was generally quite a bit of flexibility in working hours. Could you see about moving your start and finish times forward or backwards a bit? An hour either way might help and you'd still be doing the same hours, so no loss of pay.

KathyBeale Mon 22-Feb-16 20:19:57

There are a couple of parents on my commute with little ones. I always think 'rather them than me'. Especially the dad with two little boys in a double buggy on my train home!

I think workplace childcare sounds brilliant but there are downsides. It means you are responsible for all drop offs and pick ups, and what if you're not at work - if you're ill for example?

I second the idea of checking out childminders. They're often a bit cheaper than nurseries.

Moving15 Mon 22-Feb-16 20:21:10

I think that whether or not this will be workable will depend entirely on your route. I could get a buggy onto the tube at my connections without a problem and I think that would be safer than carrying a baby in a sling on packed tube carriages. It's great that you have this option as the rush home after work to pick up in time is stressful and sweaty!

Artandco Mon 22-Feb-16 20:21:22

Just use a sling. We live right in the centre so mine have managed to be dragged up through daily rush hours fine. They now have daily rush to get to school also

lolalament Mon 22-Feb-16 20:21:55

Can you ask anyone that uses the work nursery for advice? They will all be doing similar commutes so may be able to give you some tips on how to handle it.

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