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what's the etiquette re babies on seats?

(50 Posts)
Clovissa Sat 17-Oct-09 12:25:10

I set off with my 5 week old DS yesterday on our first solo trip. We got on a pretty empty train, I folded the buggy thing and wedged DS nicely on the seat next to mine. He went to sleep. Near London, loads of worker bees got on (though we were out of commuter hours) and pretty much filled up the train. Some were left standing. A man next to us looked rather pointedly at DS slumbering on his seat and I felt I should pick him up and have him on my lap so he could sit down. But I didn't. In my defence, there were two other seats in the carriage with bags on that he could have asked to sit in. And DS was dangerously near feeding time and if I'd woken him up I would have had to breastfeed him surrounded by men (I've only bfed in public a couple of times before and both times have been a bit hectic with DS 'forgetting' how to do it, revealing my nipple to waiters, etc.).

I thought of standing myself, but I must admit, I didn't do that either.

ImMissWorld Sat 17-Oct-09 12:30:42

Don't feel bad. Probably you should have moved DS in the man's opinion, but if there were bags on other seats then you weren't the only one being a tad unreasonable!

Shit happens and it happened to that bloke. But it's nothing to sweat about.

gingernutlover Sat 17-Oct-09 12:30:55

YANBU because the people wth bags on their seats should have moved them, or he should have asked them too.

then if there were still people standing then yes either you should have stood or taken your ds off his seat

IMO bags need seats less than babies grin

mumface Sat 17-Oct-09 12:41:01

I think you should have picked him up, being that small and taking up a seat when paying adults were standing. However as it was your first outing on your own and you were a bit nervous about feeding it is understandable that you didn't. I am just wondering if it would have also have been safer to hold the baby incase the driver ever needed to put the brakes on.
BTW Did you see that pushchair on the news last night that rolled off platform in front of train? (by a miracle baby was fine)

TrillianSlasher Sat 17-Oct-09 12:57:58

A baby (one small enough to sit/lie comfortably on your lap) deserves a seat more than a bag but less than a paying adult.

overmydeadbody Sat 17-Oct-09 13:00:31

Unless he actually asked, YANBU

Especially if there where seats with bags on as well.

Everyone knows they run the rist of standing when travelling by train near London.

NestaFiesta Sat 17-Oct-09 13:09:37

YANBU. If he gave you a dirty look you could have said something to shame him like "Its the only way to keep him quiet" or some such. The commuter should have cut you some slack really. I doubt very much he has ever walked a mile in your shoes.

InSync Sat 17-Oct-09 13:09:45

I think babies and small children should be on knees (where possible) on a busy train or bus.

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Sat 17-Oct-09 13:11:41

YABU. You should have been holding your baby.

diddl Sat 17-Oct-09 13:14:29

Would never have occured to me not to be holding such a young baby,tbh.

dollyparting Sat 17-Oct-09 13:17:29

Sorry but there is no set time when commuters are not allowed on trains, and imo etiquette means that paying customers have an entitlement to a seat if it is available.

Of course the bags on seats should have been moved, but that does not entitle you to have 2 seats.

NestaFiesta thinks he should have cut you some slack - well he did. He did not demand that you moved, and you kept both seats.

Maybe the poor commuter has not walked a mile in your shoes - but not communicating to him about your baby's needs will never help him to understand, and may only cause resentment about mothers taking up seats with their children.

piscesmoon Sat 17-Oct-09 13:22:57

It is very simple-you put the baby on your knee. I would have gone to the bag people first and asked them to move them and if they were all full I would have asked you to move the baby. You didn't pay for two seats. I have sat on a long distance packed train with a 5 yr old on my knee because it wasn't fair to make someone stand for hours. It is common politeness and thoughtfulness for others.

traceybath Sat 17-Oct-09 13:28:18

Well I sort of understand why you didn't want to move baby but must say I think babies should not have their own seats.

In future I'd always hold the baby especially as it would feel a lot safer to me.

Get a muslin/pashmina to cover your boobs if you're worried about flashing people but public bf does get a lot easier.

ChunkyMonkeysMum Sat 17-Oct-09 14:42:26

Just an idea, but have you considered a sling or baby carrier ? At least this way, you still have your hands free, you don't have to worry about folding/unfolding or lugging a buggy around with you, and also means you have baby with you in your seat instead of having to hold him.

bruffin Sat 17-Oct-09 15:10:28

YABVU There is noway I would have put a baby on the seat by itself even if there had been plenty, you should have been holding him.

I used to travel up to london every couple of weeks with babies and would always have them on my lap until they could sit up for themselves, and then I would have given up their seat for an adult if the train was crowded.

Children under 5 are not entitled to a seat on the underground/train/bus anyway.

bruffin Sat 17-Oct-09 15:12:33

sorry that should have been not have the baby on the seat by itself.

TheDemonicButDandyLioness Sat 17-Oct-09 15:13:01


For safety alone I would never consider putting such a small baby on a seat.

If I did sit my under-5 child/baby on a seat, I would put them on my lap as soon as the train started to fill up. Doesn't matter what anyone else is doing, so other people having bags on seats is a bit irrelevant.

Bucharest Sat 17-Oct-09 15:14:59

(as are the people with bags on seats, as are the people who sit next to the corridor thinking no-one is going to bother climbing over them to get to the window seat)

Dd is 6 and I still haul her onto my knee if an adult is having to stand on a train or bus.

T'was the way I was brought up.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sat 17-Oct-09 15:16:09

Was the baby in a car seat or 'loose?' In a car seat I suppose they are as safe on a seat (wedged) as on your lap but if you just wedged him in with blankets I wouldn't have thought it would be very safe. Anyway, no, YANBU if there were spare seats and it would have been a nightmare if he had woken up, but in future do try a sling, you can sit relatively comfortably and they stay asleep!

Hando Sat 17-Oct-09 15:18:54

OP I do think YAB a little U as really it would have been safer for your baby to be on your lap. Babies on laps IMO.

My daughter is just 5, but when she was 4 she would always have her own seat. She's tall for her age and I'm tall too, so often on the bus or train there just isn't room for both our legs to get in one seat. Plus if I'm on a journey of well over an hour there's no way I can have a 4 yr old on my lap for that length of time without being in serious discomfort!

People used to, and still do give me looks when there's no seats left and my daughter has her own seat! I would of course make her (and me) stand if there was an elderly/disabled person / pregnant lady, but my daughter needs a seat more than the average adult, epsecially if it's a packed bus, so I wouldn't move for an average able bodied person.

I don't get the idea that if you don't pay for a seat them you don't get a seat. people on benefits round here get free bus travel, so do under 16's, so do the elderly - should they ALL be standing? Of course not!

pranma Sat 17-Oct-09 15:46:17

seats are pretty mucky places to put a baby anyway

Fillyjonk Sat 17-Oct-09 16:08:29

I honestly wouldn't stress it re the ettiquette. I think, ideally, yes you hold the baby but really, who cares? It won't kill most grown adults to stand and, as you say, there were seats with bags on.

TBH, and certainly if I were alone without kids, as an able bodied adult it would not cross my mind to expect a new mother to move her baby.

I agree-for the underground with a baby of this age you NEED a sling, makes life SO SO much easier.

starwhoreswonaprize Sat 17-Oct-09 16:12:33

YANBU, same people on that train as the ones who would have watched you struggle standing with your baby or heavily pg. Don't feel bad, grown man or a sleeping baby needed that seat, baby gets it every time.

TheDemonicButDandyLioness Sat 17-Oct-09 16:23:51

starwhore - don't agree with you that a sleeping baby should get the seat over a grown man anytime.

A 5 week old baby would definitely prefer to sleep in his mother's arms than on a seat - prime being in arms age.

And it's not a hardship to hold them when they're that tiny.

As for the people being the same people who watched the OP struggle - warped logic. And irrelevant.

But I still think that safety is the main issue here, tbh. Unless the baby was in a car seat on the seat, but don't think so from the OP.

piscesmoon Sat 17-Oct-09 17:46:59

I may be missing the point entirely- but I would hold a baby of that age anyway. The train seat is dirty and the train may do an emergency stop and take you completely unawares,;at least if you are holding the baby you get the reflex action. I travelled from one end of the country to the other with a 3 month baby and I just held him and bf all the way-even at the points where the seat next to me was empty.

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