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4 month old baby in London: will he slow us down?

Hi everyone,

We will be traveling to Germany this fall to attend the baptism of our friends' baby, who will be four months old then. Afterward, we're going to London, and I'd love to have our friends and their son join us. However, I have no idea how realistic that might be. (We tend to be wake-up-early, see-all-the-sights kinds of travelers.) On the one hand, it seems like a four-month-old would be easy to carry anywhere (especially split between four adults), can sleep and eat wherever, and wouldn't slow us down very much. But on the other hand...it's entirely possible that I'm being too optimistic about this. :)

Any tips? Is four months young enough to be nice and portable? (That sounds awful...haha.) We're not expecting to be as ambitious as we would be without the baby, but I'd like to be able to predict whether taking the baby would slow us down a little (say, 15%) or a lot (like 85%).

Thanks!

Posted by
3336 posts

Having had a baby at this age I will say yes, a baby will slow you down. He/she will need changing on a fairly regular basis, feeding, napping, etc. If he/she is fussy then this can really be difficult if you are trying to take in the sights of a museum or church. Eating out can also be very difficult for a whole host of reasons! Honestly, I would never have taken my son on a trip like this at that age...and he was a very easy baby.
All of the gear required for a baby might also be a problem...stroller, diaper bag, sleeping cot, baby food, wet wipes, etc. It's a little like going on safari every time you leave your hotel.
Your friends may not want to take a trip like this with a baby of this age in tow either...you should really find out if they're interested since it probably won't be relaxing or fun for them. Don't underestimate the power of a tiny person to demand to be the center of attention, intentional or not! A trip like this totally depends on the personality of the little one...are they easy or not?? Huge difference. Some babies are content to be slung in a backpack all day and look around...others will scream bloody murder for no apparent reason.

Posted by
13480 posts

I'd love to have our friends and their son join us.

But have you asked your friends if they're up for travel at that point and have any interest in coming to London? I wouldn't ask the question on RS until the question had been posed to them and they were open to it. They may have their own post -baptism plans or a schedule/budget which doesn't allow for that sort of holiday time.

Every baby is different. Some travel easily and some do not so it's impossible to say how much this one might slow you down. It's up to the parents, and up to the baby... which is not even here yet or is too new to be able tell how well he will do. He may not cheerfully eat and sleep on schedule, and have meltdowns at inopportune times.

I wouldn't consider this trip without understanding that this child's needs will have to come FIRST, and that yes, he may slow you down a great deal or not depending on how much attention he requires.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks to both of you. We talked about the possibility of this with them, but at that point we weren't 100% sure of our destination yet. It sounds like they probably won't be able to make an informed decision until they meet the kid and have known him for a few months. :)

However, it's worth asking: it seems to be that a 4-month-old might be easier to travel with than, say, an 18-month old or 3-year-old. Is that, as a general rule, correct?

Posted by
13480 posts

Again, every child is different so there is no 'general rule'. There is simply no way to know at this point, and no way to know how well new parents are going to adjust either. Some have an easier time than others.

But this really is not your decision. You can make the offer with full knowledge that you might not be traveling as you're used to, and be ready to very cheerfully deal with whatever transpires with no complaints. After that, it's up to your friends. This is not your child so the bigger considerations are in their hands.

That you're already concerned about how this wee person may affect your routine is sort of a red flag that it may not be a good idea?

Posted by
8393 posts

Yes, a baby will slow you down. There are so many variables--colic, jet lag, night time feedings--that to be realistic, you should just get on with your own plans.

Posted by
21709 posts

Plan on slowing down about 50%. That is about what we experienced with a 9 mo granddaughter. It gets slower when they get older and have some ideas of their own. You are being very unrealistic.

Posted by
13056 posts

I would say a 4-month old is more portable than a older baby, if he or she can nap in a front carrier (I did travel a bit with my son at that age, and he napped that way just fine). But you still need to consider feeding schedules and allow time and an appropriate place for that. Also consider that your friends may still be sleep-deprived, as many babies do not sleep through the night at four months. Also there is a whole lot of "stuff" to carry around along with the little one.

Posted by
9363 posts

Jet lag won't be an issue for a baby going from Germany to the UK, but yes, a baby takes time. If you are really so concerned with the baby impacting your vacation, don't invite them. It would be terrible to have them join you, then resent them the whole time because of the baby's needs. But I really think it needs to be completely up to the parents. Since I gather from one of your responses that the baby isn't even born yet, it's too soon to tell whether they would even be interested, let alone able, to travel with him at that point. Babies have a way of changing things beyond what you can imagine before they are here. It's absolutely impossible to guess a percentage for how much that change could be.

Posted by
81 posts

we have traveled quite a bit with kids of all ages - from 13, down to newborn. In the spring we went to Italy with our 7 kiddos - one of them 18 months old. Last summer we took her to Guatemala with us, at 9 months.
If traveling with kids at any age, yes, you need to adjust your expectations, but It's completely doable. 4 months is a really easy time in my opinion because they are still in the snuggle phase and would nap quite a bit in a little baby wrap as you are seeing all the sites. I would say talk to your friends and if they are up for it, do it! It's a wonderful thing to introduce kids to the world :)
Jen

Posted by
149 posts

I traveled with my friends a lot when their baby was between the ages of 4 to 9 months, mainly all over London and numerous places outside London. It all depends on the baby and the parents. My friends weren't going to let their parental duties get in the way of them getting out and seeing things, and their baby went more places before 9 months old than many people go in the first few decades of their lives. When we went to Venice together, the baby was 8 months old. They had things they wanted to do, I had things I wanted to do. Then we had things we did together. But we were open with each other with what we each wanted to do. Planning is important, and them being over-prepared is important. That means a baby carrier, a good, but light pram, and a well stocked diaper bag and extra clothes. Typical things parents do anyway. Them setting aside rest time for themselves and the baby was necessary. Thats when you can go off and do your own thing. So it is possible, but not easy.

Posted by
523 posts

I remember the days of traveling with our children at those ages. They are now 26 and 29! Expect to move at a much slower pace; so adjust your expectations accordingly.

Ed

Posted by
332 posts

It depends on how go with the flow you, your husband, and the other couple is, and what you plan to do in London. If you have been to London dozen of times and are imagining that the 4 of you plus baby will be renting an apartment and hanging out with occasional touring and occasional dinners out, it may be OK.

I have traveled with babies. It was not easy but it was doable. Would I have chosen to do so? No, honestly I would not have done so. There are always people who have angel babies and there are always parents who will say "no problems" but if your friends haven't been parents before I don't think they have any idea what it is to be a parent of a 4 month old at home, never mind on vacation.

You are in a lovely restaurant and.....the baby is not happy. You don't know why. Or you do know why....but you can't make the baby happy. You will not be happy that the luscious (and expensive) dinner you just ordered is not going to be able to be eaten hot. The neighboring tables may smile and coo, but if that baby doesn't settle down quietly and quickly no one is going to enjoy their meal. One of you will be walking outside with the baby until the baby settles down. Even if it is drizzling outside. Those staying in the restaurant (the other 3 adults) will not quite be able to enjoy the dinner bec everyone will be thinking about the person walking the baby. Ditto any museum, point of interest, boat ride, movie, theater, church tour, bike ride, etc. When the baby is good (ie asleep and or quiet), it will be easy as long as there is a stroller/car seat/snuggly available. If the baby has those moments which most babies (and people) do, it is usually loud, it can be scary, and messy. It can be worrying and frustrating. Babies can be silent, wondrous beings...but they also pick up viruses, get ear aches, and can be awake when they should be sleeping. I don't mean to sound hard hearted---babies are terrific. If you 4 adults can be flexible and don't mind tailoring your activities to the baby's current mood, go for it. If you feel like you might feel trapped or resentful when you walk into the museum or concert etc and you have to make a quick exit, I say rethink the timing and perhaps try again later....3 year olds are much easier. :)

Either way, have a wonderful trip to Germany!

Posted by
11450 posts

We travelled with three kids , all under six at one point.

First child was 6 months old when we did a 10 day car trip through western canada , south into states seeing reno and lake tahoe . Baby was great . Stuck him in stroller and he often slept through our dinner at a restauarant. We did have to stop more often for dailer changes etc, but i diont think he slowed us down much. Second son was a fussier child , but we flew from vancouver bc to las vegas , then drove to long beach calfornia and went on a week long cruise, he was only 4.5 months old, and although he was fussier it was nis 2 yr old brother that made it harder. When our daugnter came along boys were 4 and 6 and we were pretty used to kid travel( boys had already been to hawaii twice and thata s six hour flight!) and we were thrilled as she was the easiset kid ever. Never fussed or cried, slept anywhere.

A four monthold baby is far easier then a child over about 8-9 months. Ours would sleep in the stroller, we never had to stop for naps , but by the time a child is 2- 3 they are alot harder.

But none of this matters as this decision is up to your friends. Some parents are good at dealing with a small baby others are more nervous or set in their parenting style, we threw the kid in a stroller or snuggli and went about our day. Other parent stick to a rigid feeding and sleeping scedule.
Keep this in mind too, if baby is not a good sleeper ( and many banies are not when that young) waking up to feed in middle of night etc, then mom and dad are going to be more tired, dont count on late nights out if they are beat, they will slow you down more than the baby( and fair enough)

I think you should all wait and see.