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4+ hr train journey with baby(7 Posts)
Hello all, looking for some advice on long train journeys with babies. I live a 4.30 hour train ride from my hometown where family and friends live. I was hoping that while on maternity leave I might be able to take my baby to stay for a week every now and again. I would dieally like to take him from around 5/6 weeks old. Does anyone have experience of long UK train journeys?
In particular wondering whether...
- I can keep the pram unfolded next to me so that he can sleep in it for some of the way?
- is it realistic for me to singlehandedly carry everything I and baby need for a whole week onto the train? (the pram bassinet is fine for all night sleep so don't need a carry cot yet)
- Is it a bad idea for baby to be away from his dad for a whole week at that age? Don't want to disrupt bonding between them, and confuse baby with lots of new people he's never met at the same time
Thanks in advance!
Usually only room for pram in vestibule or disabled area. Neither guaranteed. However baby may be happy to nap in sling on you (slings make train travel easier anyway).
If you have a big rucksack it is possible to carry everything you need, especially if you get nappies at your destination and keep a few things at your parents.
Bonding... No problem. My DH is army and was away most of baby years and both girls are Daddy's girls.
Main problem is car seat.
We did a couple of journeys like this with DC1 as a baby, but older than 5/6 weeks (probably started travelling closer to 3-4 months old, at 5 weeks we were still getting our heads around the night waking, regular feeding etc so didn’t really want to entertain going away!).
We used a really big rucksack - like a backpacking type of rucksack - to fit in my own clothes and baby’s clothes, some toiletries, a couple of soft toys, that sort of thing. I only packed some nappies (eg 10) as it made more sense to pick up a pack at my destination rather than lug packs on the train. I did the same for formula - but if you’re breastfeeding then you don’t have to think about that (hurrah!) - also if you are formula feeding then I took Milton tablets and did cold water sterilising, I would ask whoever I was visiting for a tub or big bowl and do it that way. This kept down the amount of luggage.
I had a smaller bag at the top of the rucksack which I took out for the journey, eg a couple of bottles, nappies, wipes, travel changing mat etc. I carried baby in a sling/carrier.
Trickiest part was actually nappy changing on the train as not all trains are set up for it in the toilets, so it meant changing in the vestibule (ideally not soon before stopping somewhere!) then using the toilet for washing hands and disposing of nappy in the bin. Again all significantly easier with a sling/carrier.
I had a compact buggy which was folded and by luggage for the journey. I kept baby on me either in the sling or on my lap (sling in particular for napping). I can’t think of any cross country trains that are set up for having a pram unfolded for the journey, there just isn’t the space.
Some people will look at you with sheer fear to see a baby joining a long train journey, don’t take it personally DC1 was quite a reliable sleeper and not loud, I was actually congratulated by two other passengers at the end of one 4.5 hour journey as DC1 hadn’t been disruptive at all and they were convinced it was going to be an awful journey!
While we drove to my parents, it made life much easier to store as much as possible there. They bought a folding cot with sheets and blankets for me, a highchair, I kept nappies, wipes and creams there, a few wraps, baby blankets for going out and about. I still today keep a wash bag there with toothbrush, hairbrush, moisturiser, underarm stuff etc.
I also keep a coat there (actually I just didn't get rid of one of DM's after she died). In your case, keeping a car seat there, too, would be a help. A small section of the bookshelf was allocated to dd, a small basket of toys was tucked away.
Nothing was a major faff (except getting the bed and high chair and that's only for a few years) but, for regular visits, it made life so much easier. I could walk in and her bed would be ready for her. And mine, too. I could put on a load of washing as I walked out of the door or my parents would do it for me (dd was a vomiter so washing was regular).
DD didn't miss her father, had stories to tell when she got home and has the best bond with DGF.
We've travelled by train a lot since DS was born. It's actually my preferred mode of transport with a baby/toddler (much better than car or plane IME).
It works for us because when we visit family they have the big items we need (travel cot and car seat) so we don't have to take them.
One thing I find absolutely essential for the journey is a good baby carrier (we have an Ergobaby Adapt but there are loads to choose from). It just makes it so easy to get on and off the train (and walk along the aisle) with baby safely strapped to you.
When DS was little we didn't even take the pushchair for the journey (PILs had one at the other end) but when he got bigger we took it (our compact, light one, not the travel system) and he napped in it which was handy.
Could your partner come with you for the weekend so he is only away from baby for the working week? I'm sure they would cope fine without each other but my DH would have wanted to limit his time away from baby.
It's fine, assuming one train especially. But if disabled person boards you must collapse your peak. You can book assistance boarding and disembarking
I did a long train journey, with 2 changes, a few times when DD was a baby. Got a family and friends railcard which made it cheaper to pay for her and me (even though she was too young to need a ticket) and meant we had two seats.
Took her car seat and the buggy it attached to with me the first time, car seat just fitted on a seat. I folded the buggy to get on but put it up and attached car seat to get off. People are generally very happy to help if you ask nicely. Bought a small stroller, that folds to the size of a briefcase and can go in luggage rack or under seat for the second time. It is one of my best baby/toddler purchases ever.
Also bought a big rucksack with a small day sack that attaches with a zip. Meant I could carry everything in one unit on and off the train, but quickly unzip the bits I needed once on. DD has her own wee bag with toys and stuff now she is bigger.
Don’t rely on catering on train, we had one journey where they announced as we left the station that there was no catering car due to staff illness. I had enough snacks to keep DD happy, but I was very hungry by the time we got home.
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