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Traveling alone with 7 month old - by train and in a pedestrian city - tips?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
In less than a month, I'm traveling via Amtrak to visit my sister, taking along my then-7-month-old baby girl. I've reserved a small sleeper compartment for us so we'll have a little room and a little privacy (which should make things like cosleeping and night nursing easier).

I'm still trying to think through the logistics and make sure I'm prepared for the entire trip. My sister lives downtown in Chicago. She and her husband either walk or take public transit (and cabs, occasionally); they do not drive or own a car. I'll rent a car for part of my time there (mostly to drive to Ohio to visit other family), but will primarily be on foot with DD and my sister. It'll be sort of a dry run for my sister, who's expecting twins in August - how to manage the city with a baby!

So, I'd love any tips or advice on the logistics of such a trip. I will wear DD a lot, but what if I need to put her down while we're out? I will, of course, be taking her car seat, and will need a stroller to get it (and our stuff) from the train station to their home. Should I take a regular stroller, or just an infant seat carrier stroller? I've envisioned her sitting opposite me on the train, playing in "her" seat, but then I wondered if I shouldn't get something like a Bumbo to ensure she *stays* there, as she's mobile, already, and getting moreso by the day. Or should I just use her carseat when I need her to be still?

I'm sure there are many more things to think about (and that I've considered at some level, already), but mostly I'm just realizing that I *really* need to get things in order and figured out so that I'm ready in 25 days! I appreciate any tips or info from those who have been there and done that! smile.gif

post #2 of 10

i'd suggest a carseat that will be easy to get in and out of a taxi. also, for the trip itself, i would do a dry run to make sure it's possible to carry everything through the train station. i would take the stroller that is easiest to load up with luggage and maneuver when loaded. i'm about to take my 11mo on a train tomorrow, though my parents will have a car when we get there. in my dry run i found out that it will actually be easier to not bring a stroller, just have the bucket carseat on one arm, the rolling suitcase with the other hand, and wear dd. but that's just me and my particular luggage. try a couple of configurations ahead of time. good luck.

post #3 of 10

many car rental places will rent you a car seat. would you be comfortable with that? some people really want their own carseat. but i have done it, and it makes getting through the trainstation/airport etc much much easier not to have to carry that around.

post #4 of 10

I live in NYC and have a 7 month old and his 4 year old sister.  I don't own a car.  I go everywhere with him in the ergo.  If I have to leave him down somewhere, I either bring a towel in my backpack and lay him on that or take off the carrier for him to sit/lie on (I haven't done this recently when I think about it - he probably wouldn't stay there now) - he sits in high chairs in restaurants or otherwise I just hold him.  I'd bring as little as possible - a carseat stroller would seem to be the handiest.  If I have to travel with a stroller, I push the stroller with one hand and have rolling luggage to pull with the other.

post #5 of 10

I just took a train with my fiance and son in January when my son was 6 months.  Since you will be in a car, I would bring the infant carseat that you can fit into a stroller so you can push them together. I am not sure if you have taken a train before but they have redcaps (which are people who have golf cart type things that can help elderly people, handicapped, or families with young children). I would definatley take advantage of that service. They will take you to where you need to go FAST and can help you load stuff onto the train! You will be all set in the sleeper car, it is much quieter back there and you will have more privacy! 

Also- the bumbo might just make things harder because it is just one more thing you have to carry! Good luck and have a nice trip!

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input!

We'll definitely take our own carseat. Not only am I über safety conscious (and you have no idea the history of a rental), but I'll be taking a bus first, for 4 hours, before getting on the actual train. Gotta love that the 3rd largest city in the country only has one Amtrak route running through it. eyesroll.gif While the bus doesn't have seatbelts, I'll have her in her seat (to protect it from luggage and her from any possible issues). It'll be easier to have a dedicated, safe spot for her, too!

Very interesting to hear Amtrak has redcaps! I've taken the train from Houston to El Paso, once, (with a 3 month old and the rest of the family) but there is no such service here! Of course, like I said, we have ONE train that comes through. Well, two trains - one route - and one train at a time. lol.gif I'm certain Chicago will be a different story!

I think the idea of doing a dry run with everything is great! I will need at least two suitcases as I need one for diapers (cloth) plus another for clothes. Oh, and carriers, which I'll obviously be using a lot! I did get a diaper bag backpack for the trip (one that's bigger than my regular bag but not as big as my always-overly-bulky-Lands End-diaper-backpack). I hope it'll give me enough space without taking up too much of its own, kwim? It can be worn either as a backpack or shoulder bag, so I think that will be useful.

We'll be traveling for about 24 hours (4 by bus, 20 by train). I just got some new Haba toys that I can bring along and get out for her. Hopefully the novelty will help. smile.gif Who knows? Maybe we'll both get to rest a lot on the train with the lovely rocking motion. thumb.gif
post #7 of 10

I was transferring in Chicago so they for sure have the red cap service there...it is definitely useful because it is a hike from the building to the train! Union station is huge!

post #8 of 10

Once you're in Chicago, you'll want to vary what you take for carrying baby depending on whether the "el" you're using has an elevator access. You don't want to be carrying the car seat stroller up and down stairs!


Second the nomination on the backpack. I do a lot of travelling with baby in ergo and all our stuff in backpack. (I'm in NYC-area too.) You can always put baby in a restaruant high chair if you're out - and if you're with friends - they'll volunteer to take the baby too!


I wouldn't bring a bumbo for the train - just let her sit on the floor or chair next to you. Good luck! Chicago is awesome!

post #9 of 10

Do you have a fabric highchair? They're great when on the move, particularly as not everywhere has a highchair and sometimes you need two hands free. I used to have one similar to this: http://www.totseat.com/



post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks, zen! So glad to know they're there!

Whoze, definitely concerned (for me and for my sister once her babies are here!) about the El stations. Apparently the ones nearest her do not have elevators. Thank goodness for babywearing!

Tessie, what a great idea! I actually have/had one that I got for our trip out there two years ago. I hope I can find it! We've packed half our belongings away in the last year so not everything is accessible... But here's hoping that handy little thing is!
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