Baby in Italy and France
By Maree, mother of Emily
My husband and I decided to take our nine-month-old baby girl Emily with us on a bucket list trip to Italy and Paris before I was due to go back at work from maternity leave. We organised it through a travel agent (usually we’re DIY) to make it easier to arrange things like cots and car seats. We chose night flights there and back with Emirates who were really well equipped for travelling with children of all ages; they gave us a toy, baby blanket and a small emergency pack with a bib, wipes, spoon and baby food. We got through the flights – a 14-hour flight to Dubai and a second flight of six or so hours – relatively unscathed.
All our hotels were centrally located to major tourist attractions such as the Colosseum, etc, to make it easier for us to walk around with Emily. We had three different ways of transporting her: cheap umbrella stroller; Baby Bjorn; and a Mac Pac backpack with a baby carrier attached to the top of it, and we used all three depending on what we were doing. In Rome, doing a three-hour guided tour of the ruins, we took the Mac Pac as this was the most comfortable for that length of time and the most suitable for walking on cobbled stones. In Paris, we mostly used the stroller as there were no problems with the roads. The Baby Bjorn was fantastic when we were in taxis or moving our luggage on the high speed trains. Although we had car seats arranged on some of the organised tours, they were often capsules and she didn’t fit in!
Food wasn’t too much of a problem as Emily was mainly eating off our plates, and we stocked up at the continental breakfast each morning with a piece of fruit and made a vegemite sandwich to take with us. (I took small containers with us for daytime snacking).
Emily was kept entertained by a small bag of toys as well as the attention from waiters and other people we came across on our travels. Most of the time this attention was good, although she became a bit of a tourist attraction with her red hair at times. Overall though in Italy especially (where they love kids) it was great, and in Paris she didn’t stand out quite so much.
We had taken winter clothes with us as the temperature in March was supposed to be between 7-13 degrees. However, what we had wasn’t sufficient for the cold weather and Emily ended up wearing tights under her leggings and a long-sleeved onesie under her top and jacket. Not to mention the scarf, beanie and woollen mittens we purchased while we were there as our cotton baby mitts weren’t warm enough.