We will be traveling to Europe in August when our babe will be 7 months. I have an Ergo and a Maya Sling. The Sling I can only wear for about 20 minutes before my shoulders start hurting and little one is not comfortable in the Ergo because her legs don't spread apart quite yet. I'm hoping her legs will be longer and able to spread more by 7 months so we can use that one; I'm assuming it will be more comfortable for me than the sling. Anyway, I'm still thinking we should buy a lightweight stroller since I'm not confident wearing her for long periods of time without back pain. We have the Chicco travel system stroller, but that seems too big to take with us. Should we just buy an umbrella stroller? We'd use it in the airport if my back hurts and I can't wear her, or if we walk around all day like we usually do in Europe. I've never done a back carry. Is that a lot more comfortable than a front carry for long periods? Perhaps I'll try to learn that with the Ergo.
What other things should I think about having? We'll probably be walking a lot most days because that's just what they do there. I'm not sure how to do naps while traveling. She doesn't fall asleep when I wear her, but she'll fall asleep in my arms if I just hold her, so I don't know if she will just fall asleep if we're walking around.
I don't have stroller advice, sorry. but I will say that my little guy got used to being worn and got used to napping in a carrier. Once his legs got longer he was more comfortable having his legs spread apart and I started wearing him for longer periods of time and lo and behold, he just got used to falling asleep in there. If I were you (which I kind of wish I was, you lucky duck going to europe!) I would wear your LO lots in the coming months so she super used to it come trip time. I would also get a woven wrap (better for heavier babes then a stretchy wrap like the maya wrap) and practice nursing her while carrying her. this has been a lifesaver for me. It took some practice, but it has been soooo worth it. Could you also have you partner do some of the wearing throughout the day to give you a break? Maybe bring along the ergo for when he wants to wear her and also have your wrap handy for when you want to snuggle her and nurse her to sleep. Good luck!
My DH and I have been to Europe a few times, although before having kids. We always felt sorry for people we saw with strollers. Things are just not set up well for strollers. What comes to mind specifically is cobblestone streets/sidewalks and brick walkways, also public transportation - turnstiles and escalators, elevators not always being available. I have a 7 mo old now and have just recently started using a SSC a LOT with him. I also tried wearing him in it on my back for the first time yesterday and he fell asleep. I was surprised. I think travel to Europe would be so much easier wearing my baby, you'll have a lot of stuff to lug around as it is. I hope you have a wonderful trip!!
PS maybe you can sell your Maya and use some of the money for a carrier that fits a little better? Just a thought. I have heard the Ergo is wider in the seat but I don't know which one you have and that could be wrong. I have an Angel Pack LX which is a nice SSC. Pretty sleek and comfortable. I have used it with 2 babies now from 4 mos all the way past 2 yrs of age. I have used it almost every day, sometimes for a few hours a day, and it is very comfortable.
Gracecody - So, your 7 month old's legs separate far apart enough now to sit nicely in the Ergo? I have the Original Ergo Baby Carrier so hopefully it'll work better in a few months for her. I would love to wear her on my back also, but still her legs aren't long enough and she hates having them froggied :)
I know what you mean about the ergo- my DD is now about 16 lbs and just big enough to use it correctly. You can also have your baby sitting sideways in it, which doesn't spread her legs like the usual way of using it.
For the Ergo you can try:
*putting a hair tie around the area near the baby's bottom to make it more narrow
*frogging her legs instead of spreading them
*rolling a receiving blanket under her bottom to raise her up and give her a bit of a seat
I would second a woven wrap, though. I might be tempted in this case to get something more like a Moby. A woven supports better, but the stretchy fabric of a Moby allows you to just keep it on and pop the baby in and out.
We are traveling internationally this summer with a 3 month old, and our 4 other children. I'll wear the baby in a wrap through the airport, dh will probably wear the toddler in the ergo, and we've found some pretty cool connect the carseat to the suitcase contraptions. It turn the carseat into a stoller/carry-on.
As far as naps...your lo is 4mo old, right? I totally wouldn't take anything she does schedule or habit wise to the bank at this point. They change SO much between now and then. I'd say your best bet is to just try to gently guide her into to habits you hope will work then. But, seriously, I woudn't count on it.
I've traveled a lot with my littles, and they just somehow adapt so well usually. Last summer, we drove across the country with a 6y, 4y, two 2y, and 2 infants...in 3 days. We all made it intact. You just do what you have to do in the moment, and it all works out.
"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."
I love my Ergo, and also am using a short-ish wrap for an African-style back carry and sling. My seven month old naps and nurses happily in the Ergo and wrap, although 90% of the time he's in a back carry in the Ergo. The three year old has also been in the Ergo and African back carry a few times on this trip too.
- perfect your superman toss or whatever way you have of getting the baby onto your back easily. If you look awkward, strangers will try to help, and that just makes it worse. I've been wearing DS in a back carry in the Ergo since he was about four months old, but he's on the bigger end of the scale. Wore him in a woven wrap in a back carry from birth, when I had a spotter around.
- if it's hot, be sure to take an extra layer off of baby when wearing her, as she'll get hotter being worn (but I still would rather wear baby than push a stroller)
- get a couple of sun hats with straps, they stay on better in a back carry. And get your companion to make sure the baby is hatted, or check in shop windows.
-decide well beforehand whether or not you're going to start solids before traveling. We did, and thank goodness. DS is eating tonnes! I can't stand store bought baby food or purees, so I'm thrilled that he's eating what we are. Mostly beans, carrots, chayote, rice, fish, bananas, papaya, chicken, yucca, avocado, rice cakes, etc. you might want to bring a baby food grinder. We didn't. But I think I'm a bit braver than most when it comes to letting my babies nosh on food (he also eats eggs and toast and cheese and seafood and peanut butter ... Gasp!). Plus I don't mind giving him ABC food (already been chewed by me) too, which some people think is gross.
- Only bring a couple of small familiar toys from home. We brought his Sophie & his beloved toy truck, and use lots of regular items and friendly strangers and new sights to delight him while traveling.
- get comfy nursing in public. You won't want the hassle of finding discreet corners or dealing with covering up.
- bring a cloth swim diaper. You won't want to pay for sposie swim diapers, or have to find them on short notice. Our DS loves swimming, and it's a great distraction when he's fussy or tired. Bringing him into the hotel shower or tub does the same trick too.
- that said, I recommend sposies for traveling, except for swims dipes. We use cloth at home, but not on the road. Good quality sposies. We brought four packs of 7th Generation. Keeps his bum happy, but takes up a lot of luggage real estate.
- beware of diaper rash. You'll be busy and distracted and might not change her as often as at home. If you're particular about cream, bring your fave. We didn't, but haven't had rashes with either of our kids, even here in the super hot humidity.
- do you use bottles? If so, maybe shift her to a sippy cup before you go. Easier to wash, and less fussy.
- nap her on the go. She'll figure it out, i promise. Don't try to work around a schedule while in transit. She'll settle into it after a day or so. The only time I think about naps is with regards to planes. I keep my kids awake as long as possible beforehand so that they'll nap during the flight.
- start wearing her all the time now, so that you'll be stronger in all the right places when you go.
- think about the car seat issue. Using rental cars or cabs while there? Are you okay with going in cabs without a car seat? We've never done it, but we tend to get a rental when we travel, and install our own car seats that we bring with us.
- think about sleeping. Do you cosleep? If so, be sure to book rooms with a big enough bed. We have two littles who sleep with us, so we book two doubles minimum, preferably two queens. With one child, a queen was sufficient. If you'll want a crib, be sure that your accommodations have those, as I doubt you'll want to haul that along too.
- we get on the plane last, to minimize our time on board before we take off. Love that. You can also send your companion ahead to organize your seats. I like sending DP ahead for that.
- bring her birth certificate, and don't forget health insurance for her too.
- people will love up your baby and will touch her. Be okay with that, or have a practiced line to fend them off if you don't go in for that kind of thing. We've had more Costa Ricans hold him and coo at him than anywhere else we've been, including home, I bet it's the same in some European countries, the ones who tend to love up babies anyway.
- a funny tip ... When you carry your baby all the time, it's good to get used to putting her down too. Get used to doing a visual sweep of the area, keeping an eye out for hazards and cleanliness. For example, Costa Rica is a very clean country, so I've put him down to sit in grocery stores, shops, banks, hotel lobbies, ice cream stores, sidewalks, airports, zoos, exhibits, museums, restaurants, etc. Did it with his sister too at that age. Putting her down gives you and her a break. Gives her a chance to stretch and move and see new things and make new friends.
- don't bother with a high chair. Most places have them, and if not, most places have a grandma or auntie-type who are happy to hold the baby while you eat.
Phew ... That's a lot!
Now, back to our travels!
Have fun planning your trip!
ps. You better hope she doesn't crawl before you leave, but sitting up is perfect! Especially for when you want to put her down.
I want to echo that I would stick with an assortment of carriers and skip the stroller.
We are currently using a Maya Ring Sling, a Moby wrap (DH), a woven wrap (me, Gypsy mama) and the Ergo with infant insert for our babe (about the same age as yours it sounds like but extra tiny). We will bring all four (plus a water wrap) on our 3 week summer vacation in July. (And, also the Boba for DD1!) I prefer soft-structured carriers like the ergo for back carries but one thing I love about wraps is that we can carry DD in a cradle hold, nurse her while I walk, get her to sleep and then remove my arm and the wrap keeps her in the same position. One of the only ways she sleeps, actually. One thing I love about my woven wrap over DH's Moby is that it doesn't stretch out so quickly so I can wear it for many days without washing. This seems essential to me when traveling! Another thing I love is that it is cooler than DH's Moby. I get sweaty in that thing instantly!
Another thought re: strollers. There will be places you can rent a stroller for the day if you want that... museums, for example. You could also do some research and make a list of companies that rent baby gear to travelers.
I was just out of town until tonight with my 9 month and then we were gone for 2.5 weeks last month as well. This trip was LOTS of walking, I was downtown in a city spending my days going from one place to another. DS2 just lived on my back in my Beco (like an Ergo). He slept back there. I carried a small bag with me with extra dipes, clothes, etc... and would go back to the hotel room one a day to restock and spend a little time with him off of me. He is 21 lbs and I am a rather little person, I can carry him for 2-3 hours straight before I need him OFF for a few minutes. I'll plop him on the floor somewhere for break and then back on he goes. A stroller would of been a huge nightmare. We do use them for older kids who can not walk all day and who are too big to carry anymore it it really does make traveling more difficult.
Since you are traveling with an infant, you can use the handicap lines at security and everywhere else! I doesn't specifically say that on the sign, but Airport & Airline staff understand that you have a kid and let you use it.
Mom of 3 working from home doing http://www.getherhired.com
I definitely did not like the Ergo very much when DS was small, I would scrunch and froggy his little legs up in front of him and although he seemed to be okay with it, it never felt very comfortable. He is now 4 months and almost 15 pounds and totally fine with spreading his legs out to the side. I wasn't sure at first but he doesn't complain and falls asleep in it a lot. he is also long legged though. I wear it so much more now this way. And I agree with the posters who said to wear it around for awhile to get LO more used to it. Oh and I have also nursed him a few times while wearing it - i just loosened the shoulder straps so it lowered, pulled my boob out and we walked and he ate. When he was done and fell asleep, popped him off the boob and tightened the straps again. it has been super convenient. and wearing it on the back we haven't tried yet but i can imagine that getting LO used to it would be smart. I would try to avoid a stroller at all costs! we are traveling to mexico when he will be 6 months and plan to wear the Ergo everywhere.
love of DH and mama to DS born 1/12