Packing For a Trip Across Europe. AKA: Popping Out With A Newborn.

The first trip out for our family was probably the same as many others…the trip to the midwives with a cafe stop on the way home.

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During my pregnancy and Ivor’s birth I had some great midwives and some that I wanted to smack over the head with Negan’s beloved Lucille.  Ivor had lost  more than the allowed 10% of his body weight in hospital and wasn’t breastfeeding well so I was somewhat apprehensive about the visit.   I’d also had an episiotomy and forceps birth and getting around was still extremely difficult for me.  At the same time I was really exciting about putting on something that wasn’t my already baby stained grey leggings and over sized Dorothy Perkins t-shirt and heading outside.

But first came the packing.  We were only going a ten minute walk, for what would be a 20 minute appointment…but I felt like we were packing for a trip across the Europe.

  • Nappies
  • A change of clothes for Ivor (vest, babygrow and cardigan – you’re unlikely to get poop or vomit on a hat or socks so we always live dangerously with these items)
  • A spare t-shirt for both of us in case of vomit
  • 2 x Muslins (if you only take one you will either lose it or they will vomit all over it)
  • Milk bib
  • Wet wipes
  • Cotton wool
  • Changing mat
  • Rain hood for the pram
  • First aid kit
  • The little red book (for doctors appointments only, but if you don’t keep this in your baby bag all the time you won’t remember to take it to the doctors)
  • Milk.  (My milk was expressed into a bottle and popped into one of those extremely useful Tommee Tippee bottle bags.  (Ivor never did agree with the breast is best mantra.  It didn’t matter how many midwives tried shoving him onto my breast and declaring a triumph, only for him to fall asleep or latch off seconds later.)
  • Several dummies (if your baby uses them)
  • Nappy Rash, Eczema, or other creams and ointments your baby needs.

This is the MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS list for a newborn.  If you are going out for longer, you need to double the nappies, muslins, and clothing.   As your child gets older you need to add toys, food, cutlery, and formula (for if and when you stop breastfeeding).

I now have two changing bags, one for short trips out that hangs from the handles of my buggy, and a much larger backpack for bigger trips.  One large fancy bag (of which there are many) might seem like a great idea, but there’s nothing more frustrating than searching for a cloth hidden in the depths of a giant bag when mustard coloured crap is running down your baby’s leg in the middle of Wahaca.

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Then we had to dress Ivor in a vest, socks, babygrow, cardigan and coat.  It was August, but we also took a blanket, you know just incase the temperature dramatically changed in the next forty minutes. And ergo the problem when going anywhere with babies.  It doesn’t matter if you’re popping out for ten minutes, or going out all day.  You always have to pack for a trip across Europe.  I’m pretty sure we spent longer getting ready to go out than we actually spent out of the house.

TIP:  The first time you pack your bag,  write a list of all the items.  This will make future trips so much easier. 

So far I’ve left the house without the changing mat, without a spare change of clothes (of course he shat all over himself), without a bib or a muslin (yes of course he vomited) and without milk.  The list means you’re stupid screwed up baby brain doesn’t have to think whilst you’re trying to get a baby that screams every time you put him in the pram out of the door.

Once at the midwives it felt like a baby dressing test.  Off comes the coat, cardigan, babygrow vest and nappy you so carefully put on all of half and hour ago.  For god’s sake don’t bother dressing your baby in some cute vest, top and denim dungaree combo, as the midwives are too busy to care how cute your baby looks and you are just making the test harder.  Ivor was weighed and he had put on 150 grams in 3 days.  Hurrah!  All the hard work we’d out in not leaving the house and getting up every three hours to feed him had paid off.  We didn’t really have time to bask in our triumph though as now came the task of redressing a baby who was now kicking and screaming his head off after being placed on cold scales.  It’s amazing how difficult it is to get a newborn’s arms into a woolly cardigan.  It’s even more difficult when you are being watched.  There wasn’t much else to the visit really, other than another breastfeeding chat (midwives just love to passive aggressively make you feel bad if your baby won’t breast feed).

So we survived the visit, and decide that as we’d only so far had to use one nappy, a wet wipe and a small piece of cotton wool out of our giant baby bag so far, that we would throw caution to the wind and stop for a drink at a cafe.  It seemed like a great idea until I once again remembered the forceps and episiotomy experience whilst trying to sit down on a hard as rocks outdoor chair.  Still, it felt great to be outside, even for just fifteen minutes drinking fresh orange juice and feeling the sun on my face.  It was a really nice change from pajamas, a diet of cheese on toast and endless Comedy Central ‘Friends’ episodes repeating twice a day in the background whilst we tried to deal with a tiny human’s demands.

Your first trip out needs to be something small, like a coffee, or an orange juice and a croissant at most.  Don’t try and go for lunch with knives and forks, or go round a friend’s house where you’ll need to have things like your mental faculties.  Stay near to home in case your baby decides they’re going to shit, scream and vomit all at once.  Enjoy the experience of being out.  You will spend the entire time talking about the baby, or talking to passing strangers about your baby, or talking to the baby.  But you’re not doing it in a vomit stained pair of grey leggings whilst “The One Where Joey Speaks French” plays in the background for the second time today.

If this were a Dr Pepper commercial, The worst that can happen is your baby shits, screams and vomits all at once, and honestly, this doesn’t happen all that often.  So go get that coffee.  And do it as soon as you can.

 

 

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