For a variety of reasons, I still prefer to travel with someone and Sonny is just over 5 months old. We have done small solo trips locally, and a couple of longer rail ones, but largely it manages my anxiety of Sonny’s dislike of the pram by having someone with us! On the positive, we’ve now been out so much I’ve built up my confidence of breast feeding on public transport this way. Of course, it isn’t always possible to have someone with you! Here are some of my musings and tips of travel across London with a small baby.
Be prepared for the escalators! These vary in size widely across London and can be quite daunting for new parents. Some are of course deeper and steeper than others, and won’t have lifts to help you manage. Eg, if you’re arriving to Waterloo station via Northern or Bakerloo underground, to get up to the main exit and overground concourse, you have one of the deepest and steepest escalators I think there is from my 15 year knowledge of the London underground! The jubilee exit from Waterloo is however, step free and would avoid all of these completely!
Unfortunately, you won’t necessarily know which ones are depeer/steeper if you are new to London, though you can find the stations that will give complete step free access by checking the TFL website.
Beware of the gaps! Something that only concerned me previously if I had one or two too many to drink, how times have changed!
These days, I know if we change at certain stations to get to Waterloo, the gap is not something I would feel comfortable with doing independently. These include some lines at Bank station and also arriving on the Bakerloo line at Waterloo. You hope that there may be someone there to help you off and assist you and it would be unusual to not see anyone else on such a central platform, however to be honest, I would still avoid these stations with a pram/buggy.
Try and take a bus in the early days, to build up initial confidence. Buses may take longer, but they are more straight forward in some respects if you know tube changes are involved. This is to avoid having to lug your pram/buggy up stairs potentially alone. They and your growing baby and the many bags that are required going out with an infant are always heavier than you think they are going to be! And knowing that you will be on the bus potentially for a good while, can be helpful in knowing you won’t be off in 3 stops (like the tube, especially if a change is involved), and getting yourself sat next to the buggy in the priority seats is also really helpful. Unfortunately people are a bit more territorial on buses regarding seats than the tube/overground (just me, or anyone else agree?!) so you may have to ask someone to move as of course you will want to sit closest to your pram and your baby if they’re not on your lap. Going off peak is also really helpful, as downstairs on most London buses gets totally rammed during peak hours and it is rather overwhelming and stressful when trying to deal with a small baby in that kind of environment!
Going out with Sonny has been both a challenge and a joy, and pre the second UK lockdown which started 2nd November I have loved taking him to my favourite London spots, including Hampstead, Duck and Waffle in Liverpool Street and for afternoon tea at Fortnum and Masons! Still hoping to show him the Christmas lights in December…
Getting to and from Liverpool Street has been one of our most popular bus journeys!
New and experienced London mums, what else would you add to this list?!