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EUROPE IN A PUSHER - A single mum and a baby in Europe

Miles in EuropeWe made it! That's what I'm thinking as we arrive in Sorrento, southern Italy. It's not the end of our trip, hopefully far from it, but it's the end of most of the travelling that I actually planned. We set out from Australia 10 weeks ago, my 11-month old son, myself (a single mum), my backpack (mostly filled with my son's stuff), and our Quinny Zapp pusher.

It's a matter of logistics, travel, so, how did we cover five countries in two months and survive?  I'm not new to this travelling thing: I've been backpacking since I was 18, but with a baby? My greatest fear was what to take. My second fear was that my son wouldn't cope with all the changes travelling brings.
So first things first - what to take?
The Baby List:Author Jayne and her son Miles
1 Quinny Zapp (only 6 kilos and folds into a bag for travelling)
1 'strap em in' material high chair - brands include 'Let's Do Lunch' 
1 plastic bib
3 pairs of dark pants
1 sleepsuit
One pack of 28 nappies (then buy one a week)
small pack of baby wipes
3 long-sleeved tops
One long sleeved polarfleece, and a polar fleece - they weigh nothing but keep your baby warm.
Baby sunscreen (buy anywhere in Europe where the sun shines)
A 150 ml Safety First drip-proof water cup
3 pairs of sock, or one pair of shoes
Some light-weight cheap toys
A couple of singlets

I travelled with Gulf Air from Sydney to Dublin, purely because they provide a 'Sky Nanny' for that service. During the long flight our designated Sky Nanny helped by getting the baby cot out and keeping him entertained while I ate.

At the beginning of the trip I was a devotee of flying, and cheap flights around Europe are attractive, but, in France and Italy the train was fine, and it was always far easier to get to a train station than an airport. In either case, don't leave you accommodation without enough food and water for your baby each day. Mine tired of baby food quickly, so sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt became better options.

EATING 
Have a store of healthy food in your day pack all the time. There's nothing worse than trying to buy a ticket with a screaming babe, and it's always better to stop the screaming than try to go on with your business. If Miles is screaming for something, and I'm in a queue, I get out, feed him a snack or milk (I was breastfeeding, so I didn't need to bring bottle paraphernalia), or change his nappy, or whatever it is he needs, then get back in line. It's much less hassle in the long run and even worth missing the train for.

ROUTINE
If routine is the secret to a happy baby, then travelling shouldn't work, but it does. Believe it or not, your baby may shed fewer tears while you're travelling because there's so much to do and see. Travelling is about going to new places and meeting new people, which kids love. Miles has spent more time on European beaches playing in the sand than he did when we lived just 5 minutes' walk from the beach in Australia!

Miles often took his morning and afternoon naps in the Quinny while I was out sightseeing. Night sleeping was a little different. In the 10 weeks he slept through four times. If that makes your toes curl, maybe travelling is something you want to forget for a while. I'm just good with broken sleep!

YOU
Occasionally, things go wrong, like you miss the last bus, or it's 8pm and you still haven't found a hotel. It's moments like these when you look at your baby and see them smiling back at you that give you the energy to go on, and put a smile on your own face.

Will Miles remember our adventure? I doubt it, but I certainly will. I've met wonderfully kind people - people seem much more receptive when you have a child. I've had 'escorts' from one train to the next, loads of assistance getting the Quinny up and down steps, and lots of people who give me a rest by keeping him entertained while I write postcards.

So, if you've got the slightest inkling, go for it, because it's a great feeling to see your exhausted son fall fast asleep after a day eating gnocchi, gelati, swimming in the Mediterranean, eating sand and listening to bad Italian singing in an outdoor restaurant.

Article courtesy of the author Jayne D'Arcy  

 living and working in london living and working in america


 

 

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