Traveling with an 8 month old - what to bring, what to buy there

Hi there, we will be spending about a month throughout Europe in April with our then-to-be 8 month old. We will plan to buy diapers, wipes and baby food for him there as we travel (several countries). We are assuming we need to bring our own formula (Gerber Good Start) as I am not sure what is available there and don't want to risk he doesn't like it. We will also bring our Boba carrier. We weren't sure about bringing his stroller and since we don't plan to do any car travel, aren't planning on lugging along his car seat. Any recommendations appreciated on brands of food, what to seek out in diapers, thoughts about things we must bring vs not, are appreciated. The two of us typically travel overseas with one small carry-on each only and just wash clothes as we go and buy things as needed, but with baby in tow, we are trying to figure out how to change our "style" and appreciate any advice!

Posted by Angela
Littleton, Colorado, United States
7 posts

We start in Bath then across the channel to Belgium, then Netherlands and then trying to finalize from there either Switzerland or Riviera/Provence.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1978 posts

Angela:
Let me be the one to tell you that unless you just have to be in Europe, there are many more years that will be better to travel with your child. Many people that will read your posting will be thinking the same thing. We were fortunate to have my parents that capably handled our daughter one week per year in her first 5 years so we could give our daughter a vacation (from us.) I still have many places in the U.S. and Canada that we have not experienced. With airfares to Europe at a record high, we're heading to Nova Scotia as soon as it warms up.

Posted by Angela
Littleton, Colorado, United States
7 posts

While I appreciate the post, we do actually "have" to be there, for a family wedding in London. Our baby has an easy going personality, has already been a good traveler domestically, and the two of us are experienced European travelers. We are purposefully planning a fairly low key series of locales with lots of extra time built in for any potential fussy days, etc. So no worries about us - just need to figure out the logistics with the "stuff" regarding the original post! :)

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
755 posts

Funny, as I was reading your post, I was thinking "Good for you!!" There is no reason not to travel with a child this age. IMO, it's an excellent age to travel with a child, probably crawling-mobile but not walking, running-away mobile, and just happy to be close to Mum or Dad in his carrier. ANd it sounds like you have planned a realistic itinerary. Hope you get some replies that actually address your "stuff" question. I can just give you an atta-girl!!

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

Angela, I'm assuming the Boba is a baby carrier. The Back pack baby carriers are terrific for travel, especially if they have a stand on them. It makes the pack into a convenient high chair for feeding, and also enables you to sit while at a station or the airport (or use the bathroom) without having to constantly carry the baby.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1564 posts

I am LOL, not at you but memory of my daughters friend who went to Italy with eight month old and she brought a suitcase full of diapers, wipes, case of baby food, etc. because she was sure she would not be able to find any of those items. Good for you. Enjoy.

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

The great thing about babies (besides the obvious) is that they don't mind if their clothes don't match, dont mind sleeping in a drawer (lots and lots have) and don't mind wearing dad's old T-shirt because theirs is covered in what not. Just bring the formula (or go on-line, they probably carry Good Start all over)and what you would bring to Grandma's house for a weekend. Baby clothes can be easily washed in the sink, and they dry Really Quickly.

Posted by Angela
Sammamish, WA
403 posts

We have travelled extensively with our little ones, who are now teens, since they were 2 mo. old. I suspect your little guy will be quite heavy for the Boba carrier by the time he is 8 mo. old. There is a big difference between carrying a 4 mo. old around and an 8 mo. old. I would leave it at home and take a sturdy backpack carrier, for the same reasons mentioned above. Look for a sturdy stand, comfy fit, and an attached gear bag. You can attach toys to the frame with plastic links to keep him entertained. Consider taking the smallest umbrella stroller you can find. Discount stores are a great place to find cheap ones with no frills that fold down to almost nothingusually about $15. Some places it won't work on the cobblestones, but others it will be a godsend. They are super for getting through airports and train stations, allowing baby to be in a safe place and you to have 2 free hands. You can also hang a shopping bag on the handles, feed a baby in it, etc. Leave the stroller outside when you go in a shop. No one will bother it, and the shops are too small to take it in. Unfortunately, you all will need more clothes traveling with a baby. Messes happen. Take multiple outfits on the plane. Try to book accomodations with laundry available or nearby. Thankfully, baby clothes are tiny and you can pack a lot in a small space. For really awful messes, just pitch and ditch. Not worth the clean up when you're on the road. Pack lots of ziplocs! You can find Pampers or Huggies sold in pharmacies. The baby food is just fine, and of course you can always mash up a banana or a bit of what you are eating.
Lastly, it's worth being a tiny bit over-prepared for illnesses, teething, diaper rash, etc. An uncomfortable baby makes the trip miserable for everyone. If you prioritize his needs, esp. by slowing down, you'll find everyone will enjoy the trip a whole lot more!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7829 posts

Cannot even imagine not having a stroller, arms get sore, backs get sore( 10 hours walking around musuems/sites etc all day with child in a baby back pack would kill me, and at 8 months a stroller that reclines will be the perfect change table( do you recall europeon bathrooms, many do not have anywhere to put a child down, or if they do they are not so clean,, and they are usually up or down steep stairs if in a cafe etc. .. strollers are a godsend.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1564 posts

You can also look at graffiti section of this site about travels with children, might give you some good ideas. Many moons ago when traveling with a toddler, never left home without Cheerios, what a blessing they were.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Angela, I wish I could help with exactly what to bring but every baby is a bit different. What I can do is tell you how much fun my son and his wife had taking their then 7-month old to Ireland last summer. They didn't "have" to go, they chose to. And they had a great time. They took his front-pack carrier, not a Boba, but similar, and have lots of cute photos of people interacting with him. No stroller, that would have been cumbersome and a pain to transport. They rented a carseat with the car for the few days they drove. They bought diapers there. As for food, mom nurses him and he eats a little food from the table like bread and soft fruit, so they didn't have to worry about formula or baby food. That will probably be your toughest task, to figure out what you can find there that will be familiar to him ( and you), and what you will have to take along. Babies that age are very portable, much more so than a year older.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2612 posts

My daughter has a baby carrier for her 'big' 8 month old and I think it is called an Ergo. She has said it works great for hours of carrying him around Disney. I would think I might still want a stroller, maybe one of those small portable ones... some variety for baby, as well as a place to put diapers, etc. while you are out.

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

I'd recommend making sure you have a carrier that you and your husband are each comfortable with. If that means two different ones, then bring two different ones. By the time my kids were that age, I preferred a sling. My youngest wasn't a large child, and she could take her shorter, morning nap in it. You should be able to find diapers (Pampers are pretty much worldwide) and wipes and baby food, but the food may not be the exact taste and consistency. If your 8mo eats baby cereal, you may want to bring a box. Definitely bring bottles, spoons, bowls and bibs. If you mix corn syrup in with cereal (for constipation - some docs recommend this) you'll need to bring that as it's a specialty item and not readily available. The other "must have" is infant Tylenol and any other medications you might use/need. Mylicon drops could be useful for the gasiness caused by pressurization/depressurization on the airplane. You could also consider a thermometer if you haven't already developed the ability to tell if your child has a fever without one. Enjoy the trip! I actually preferred traveling with my kids at this age versus at 18 months. They tended to be more happy-go-lucky and less demanding.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7829 posts

Dina,I have never heard of corn syrup for babies or consitpation, you learn something on this forum everyday. I totally second the "bring your babies meds".. I always always brought my kids meds,, its not that stuff isn't available there, of course it is, but you know kids, they get fevers or throw up suddenly at like 2am on a sunday night, hardly ideal time to be looking for a pharmacy. Plus its easier to read dosing information in english, lol. The pharacists as you know are great in Europe usually but its just a case of what is easy and familiar. Bring fever reducer and perhaps whatever cold or tummy meds you are used to using with your child ( if you haven't ever used any I would have a chat with my doctor first).

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

Another vote for getting a small umbrella stroller, one with a reclining back for nap time, but don't bring one of those huge things they sell in the States. In the past century we used McClaren umbrella strollers over the cobblestones. Agree that eight months is a lot easier than once they start walking. Happy time.

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
948 posts

I just got back from Spain and everyone is using super awesome strollers with huge wheels and a disc brake! I guess some of the hillier towns need that extra control for the various terrain. I saw one family with the baby hiking back pack. My issue would be how could the baby take a nap in the baby carrier. If you brought your standard walker, you could recline the baby and have something to carry some of your stuff in.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1978 posts

Angela: I apologize for my initial opinion. We see so many people that are not established travelers going into situations they are not experienced enough to handle. I'm glad you've had two others go through this age. We have a 17 month old granddaughter, and she's very smart, active and full of personality. About as far as we'll travel with her is an hour away. Brynley's a great baby, but she got harder to deal with when she walked @ 8 months. Now she runs, climbs everywhere, dances and sings. Good luck with your trip.

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1632 posts

In the UK shop at Boots (pharmacy plus store) or one of the supermarket chains for baby supplies. Plenty of choice. Boots on-line site to see the ranges they carry. http://www.boots.com/en/Mother-Baby/ Or Tesco supermarket. http://www.tesco.com/groceries/department/default.aspx?N=4294792476&Ne=4294793660 Or a bit more upmarket Waitrose http://www.waitrose.com/shop/NavigationCmd?categoryId=61678&level0Aisle=Groceries&SELECTEDGLOBALFILTERLIST= All three have stores in Bath along with other supermarket chains.

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3290 posts

We took our four-month old on a trip through France, Switzerland and Italy - most of it by car. We found everything we needed in the larger stores - Carrefour, etc. What we couldn't find was a cheap umbrella stroller. Only McLarens, Peg Perigos and the like. We ended up toting her in a Baby Bjorn the whole time. So I would urge you to take a small collapsible stroller, especially since you aren't taking a car seat.

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
755 posts

I keep looking at those suggestions about the umbrella stroller. I think it's a great idea. Folded, about the size of a golf umbrella. Very useful even when Baby's not in it; you can always push stuff around in it, or hang stuff from it.
Walmart has a very basic model, about $15. At that price take it on your trip, and you can just donate it at your last hotel.

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

I gotta say I disagree with the recommendations for a lightweight, non-reclining umbrella stroller. There's a reason why you don't see them sold and used in Europe. The wheels are tiny and without any type of shock absorption system, and if you're an average sized adult, you have to lean over to push it. Neither you nor the child will be comfortable.

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
755 posts

I have to say i kept an umbrella stroller as a backup in my car trunk for years.
I'm 5.5 and I didn't have to bend over to push it. I don't think anyone recommended it as a the sole mode of baby transporation, but as a supplement to the baby carrier, which is absolutely the best hands-free way to travel with a baby. Travelling with babies or dogs - both are great ice-breakers and conversation starters.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4771 posts

I used an umbrella stroller for my daughter and pushed her everywhere in it. (we don't have a car) Cobblestones, paths up to castles, ruins, etc. and never had any problem with it. They are light, and easy to quickly fold up and get onto trains, etc.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7684 posts

Umbrella strollers are not very useful, and can be dangerous, on cobblestones. My family has still not stopped telling the story of when my daughter, then 13, was pushing her cousin, 3, in an umbrella stroller in France. A wheel got caught and she catapulted him out onto the street (no one had secured the little safety belt). No harm done, and it's a funny story now, but I guess it was kind of traumatic at the time.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7829 posts

I guess the compromise is an umbrella stroller with decent tires, shop around for thicker rather then thinner, and I still maintain try to get one that reclines a bit, makes a great change table when desperate.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

The umbrella strollers sold in Europe are a lot more solid than the cheap ones sold in the States--for obvious reasons. This is what Dina was referring to.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4771 posts

Yes, except I bought mine second hand at a flea market in Ohio and brought it back home with me. So, it wasn't European at all.

Posted by Angela
Littleton, Colorado, United States
7 posts

Thank you all for such helpful and great advice! For those "keeping score," here is our list, compiled from your suggestions as well as other recommendations we found: BUY THERE: Baby food, diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, soap for washing stuff in hotel sinks, other needs along the way TAKE WITH US: - Travel crib (we have the "Little Life" brand) - Travel high chair (several cloth versions available that fold up into a bag) - Prescription medication - Pharmaceuticals (gas s, gripe water, tylenol, saline) - Lots of clothes - Disposable bibs - Formula (his brand isn't sold in Europe, I confirmed with the company - bummer!) - Lightweight stroller (we will plan to bring our own with us - it's a "City Mini", so it meets all the requirements mentioned by you all) - Soft carrier (our beloved Boba) - Sun hat - Enough food, diapers, wipes for the plane - Sleep sacks - Bowls and spoons - Toy(s) du jour to keep curious hands busy - Sophie giraffe, etc. - although crinkled pieces of paper seem to work as well!
- A book or two since this is part of our bedtime routine - Plus I am sure we will pick some up along the way Whew, that sounds like a lot! But, at least most of it is pretty small... I will plan to post a review/update when we are back for any curious minds. cheers!

Posted by Georgiatraveler
Atlanta, GA
209 posts

Your list sounds great. My few thoughts after taking our daughter last year to England and Germany who was 9 months old. Don't take the crib or high chair, we never had any issues finding either. In England our hotel provided a pack and play free of charge. In Germany we were given a smaller crib, but we did have to pay 10 EUROS a night for it, which sucked. Not everyone in Germany charges for it though. Take a thermometer. Our daughter caught a cold and appeared to be running a fever but I didn't have one to check and everything was closed since it was Sunday. Its also great to have one of the nasal bulbs to go with the saline if necessary. Babies R Us also sell disposable changing pads, which I wish I had last year and will be taking this year. I would also take at least 1 light weight blanket and/or heavier one if it will still be pretty cool. Use it on the plane to help make it a little darker for him while the lights are on and to cover up while in the stroller if necessary. Don't forget an outfit for all of you in your carry on, just in case there is an accident. By the way, I bought Ella brand in England and Hipp brand food in Germany for her and loved them both! If you want any other tips or have questions before you travel I'll be happy to help. We're heading back to Germany in a few months so this year will be quite different since she will be 21 months. Have a great time!!