Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Travelling with Baby - What to wear

I'm just back from a 5-night sejour in Paris with my family. We brought a stroller for our 3 year old, and my wrap sling and pouch slings for our nearly 4 month old. I ended up using the wrap sling constantly, as it allows me to wear a jacket over it, important in October! I was a little apprehensive about feeding Noah in the wrap sling as I'd only gotten the hang of it in the last week or so at home. I figured if the worst came to it i could sit in a cafe/ on a public bench if sunny and feed him whenever he got hungry. Turns out it worked perfectly as it was. I wore him in the front wrap carry (see my youtube video for tutorial) and just hoisted it a few inches to the side to feed him when he was hungry. The awkward bit was pulling up my outer top while wearing baby in the sling, as the sling held everything so tight to my body, but I wore oversized tops so wasn't afraid of stretching them.

My "uniform" for the holiday was:
Black biker boots
Opaque tights / black leggings
Shorts / mini skirt
Inner cotton vest to be pulled down for feeding
Outer oversized cotton tshirt/tank top
Long cardigan / Parka

I found this look was really versatile, it looked good going into cafes and bars, and was comfortable for shopping and sightseeing. I swapped the boots for Converse hi tops for our day in Disneyland yesterday.
So my baby got fed in the sling on buses, trains, walking the streets of Paris, in shops, watching the Disney parade, everywhere. We didn't miss a minute of Paris life, as he latched on and fed on the go. He tended to always go to sleep, or be in "standby mode" (more on this in a later post) so I was conscious of not going too long without stopping to change his diaper or lie him out on my jacket if we were stopping for a while, to let him kick around and play a bit. If he was happy in the sling and I needed to use the toilet I 'd just go with him right there, holding his head for support if needed. I didn't bring a handbag to Paris, instead used the buggy, or tucked a muslin and diaper into the sling, and the breastpads into my pocket. I tucked my full sized wallet into the sling too (on the days I brought it out), and it was safe from pickpockets.

What about diaper changes?
No changing bag full of wipes, talc, creams, changing mat for me, I'm too impatient and lazy. I put enough wipes for the day (6 or 7) into a thin plastic nappy sack (disposiable scented bag for soiled diapers), tuck a few diapers into the sling or my parka's pockets, and away we go!
I changed his diaper sitting on my lap in the plane, lay him beside me on the bus, in public toilet changing areas (France doesn't respect babies modesty, all changing tables were right beside the sinks!), I lay him on park benches to change him, and on the seat beside me in a cafe. I've gotten changing (urine only) diapers down to a fine art, and nobody saw, even in the cafe, we were in a corner, and I put a scarf over him like a blanket when we were interrupted mid-change by the waiter clearing the table. I don't bother wiping him every change if we're out and about, I change him immediately he's wet, and let him kick in the fresh air a lot each day. I've done this with both my sons and they've never had nappy rash. I don't use barrier creams either, just whip the wet nappy off and replace it. You can feel it getting hot against you, or pinch the front and see if the gel inside is wet and mushy. I never leave a wet nappy on him, he cries, and just like you wipe the spit-up milk away immediately, I feel it's disrespectful to the baby to (knowingly) leave him in a wet or dirty nappy.
Which brings me on to my claim to fame!
One afternoon we were sitting at the Hotel de Ville by the Seine, watching a street performer make the biggest bubbles ever (Charlie had a ball running after them to burst them!) and drinking red wine, eating a picnic lunch of baguette and comte cheese (the BEST cheese!), and I was approached by a female journalist from a Sunday newspaper, doing a piece on eco-friendly families. She said it was the colourful red sling that caught her eye, and she asked me a bit about what I do to save the planet. Her question was "What's the one thing you couldn't give up in order to save the planet?", and I said "using disposable nappies". It's something I considered when pregnant with my first son, but given the high start-up cost, the laundering and the amount of times I change my babies diapers, it was something I let go. I still recycle, buy vintage and secondhand whenever possible, buy organic food and cotton, fairtrade, am vegetarian, breastfeed, cycle etc, so I feel I'm doing my fair share. I do feel bad when I see the amount of nappies going to landfill, but I'm working on Elimination Communication, so feel I'll be using less and less as my son gets older, so that will be a positive. They then photographed me and Noah in the sling (asleep as usual), and she promised to email the photo to me. I'll post it when it arrives.
What are your tips for easy feeding clothes on the go? At home of course we can let it all hang out, but every mama has her own style for public feeding. Please share!

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