Train with a 3 month old - what have I not thought of?(9 Posts)
I'd like to visit a friend in a few weeks, by which time dd will be 12 weeks. I would be going alone and to drive would be 7 hours plus so I'm not keen on that idea. I worry about being on the motorway and her crying - I know she'll be fine for a few mins but I think the distraction/stress would really affect my driving. Plus I'd have to stop every 2 hours or so which could make the journey 10 hours!
Other options are:
Train part of the way then drive with a mutual friend who'll also be going
Drive part way to said friend, stay over night then continue drive with friend
Train whole way - again 7 hours but v different to being in a car alone.
So, my question is, if I do decide to take the train, what do I need to prepare for?
Current plan would be to have DH or my parents help put me on the train at home as I'll have bags (I can travel fairly light though, just clothes and basic toiletries), her in her car seat and the buggy chasi. Put chasi in the luggage area, bags over head and car seat on the table/in a seat.
I could probably afford to buy an extra seat to put the car seat on as I think putting it on the table would be a bit anti social, really encroaching on the space of the person opposite.
She's ebf and, currently, a fairly chilled baby. Obviously if she does scream I can pop into the sections between carriages to give my fellow travellers a break!
Someone would then pick me up at the other end (or I would ask for a member of staff) to help me carry everything.
Is there anything I've missed? I don't think I can not bring the car seat as that really reduces our ability to get about. This would make things a bit difficult where my friend lives.
Family railcard! Then you will buy a ticket for you (with 30% discount) and a child's ticket for your dd (with 60% discount) and on a seven hour journey this will almost certainly be cheaper, even factoring in the cost of the railcard.
I took ds on a train for the first time at 6 weeks! It was only 3 hours though. I just used a sling but I understand if you're going to need the car seat when you get there. If you can bring a sling to walk her up and down that may help.
Family railcard and buy a child ticket for dc is a good plan.
If you use a ruck-sack for your stuff it will be easier to carry.
I travelled by train with DS at about the same age and it was really easy. I put him
in a sling and used the pushchair to cart around my bags as he was lighter than they were! I didn't have to fold the buggy as the train was nearly empty and there was a disabled space that wasn't in use. Make sure you have plenty of spare clothes accessible for the baby, we had two poo disasters during the journey.
Unfortunately our train hit a person, and our 3.5 hour journey turned into an 8 hour nightmare. DS was absolutely fine but make sure you have plenty to drink and eat if you're breastfeeding in case of emergency.
Family railcard and book 2 seats. Its cheaper than one adult seat to book the baby one too even though you dont have to.
Everyone always wants a table, I disagree, book a double airline seat as close as poss to the disabled toilet for baby change. If it is Virgin they have a number of rows that are labelled 'priority seating' on the online plan. They have extra leg room but anyone can book them. Reason for that for me was privacy as I also ebf on a number of long train journeys. Good news is that will make it so much easier than bottles or all the snacks and distraction you need once they are bigger!
Re the car seat. Yes take it if you really need at other end, but I wouldn't even consider keeping baby in it. Get baby out and stash it in the luggage rack. They are really awkward to position anywhere on the seats or table. And will be too long for baby to be in it. If you have a double seat then baby can lie on or beside you no problem.
Take a sling.
Don't worry about size of your luggage, rather just take one big wheely suitcase that you can move, assuming you can push your buggy one handed if need be. Someone will always help with getting it on and off train when they see you with pram.
Will you have to change at all? Could potentially be tricky if there isn't a lift.
I did a similar length journey with DD age 5 plus 5 month old baby but I only needed a change bag and picnic as dh was driving and had all the luggage. It was fine. I was really lucky to be sitting with a woman and her older son. She kindly held baby when dd needed the toilet and also when we were getting bags etc ready to get off. I was breastfeeding so took a big scarf to cover up a bit and took a dummy too. If bottle feeding take some extra cartons and a clean bottle just in case. And food/drink for you so you won't need the buffet car.
It's actually quite an easy age to travel on a train with them at (the crawling stage is MUCH harder!).
My top tip would be a sling/baby carrier, then you have two hands free for getting on/off the train/carrying bags. Even if you have to take the car seat it's much easier if you have your dc strapped to you rather than in it. It also makes it easier when you go to the loo/move around the train as your baby remains strapped to you and you don't have to lug a bulky seat with you. Both mine would sleep well in the carrier as well and if they got unsettled bf and a walk around in the carrier would work a treat.
I didn't book two seats (most of my long journeys included Eurostar so cost was too much) and generally if it's not too busy you can find two seats together anyway.
Have dc's favourite toy/comforter/blanket handy, and a book/charger for your phone/snacks for you.
You'll be fine
Thank you everyone that's really reassuring!
We do have a sling - a caboo. She's not hugely keen so far but if I put her in it asleep she's fine. Putting her in for getting on and off train is a good tip.
Thank you to whoever said about airline seats for breastfeeding - that's a good point and not worrying about 'flashing' will make it easier. I have fed in public a few times but it can be a pain and she sometimes fusses as I think she doesn't like the material in her face.
I def wouldn't be keeping her in the car seat but I'm not sure if I'd get space for it in the luggage rack - it's quite a busy route, northern city to southern city. I guess I'll just have to see on the day.
Family rail card is a great tip, didn't know they existed! I shall investigate.
I would find such a long journey so exhausting with a baby that age, personally I would postpone the trip but that's only because my baby was terrible at night still at that age.
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