Please sign in to post.

Berlin in February with a Baby.....are we nuts?

My husband has a business trip this February in Berlin and I'm going to tag along with our son who will be 9 months old at the time. I'll be alone with the baby during the first week in Berlin. We plan to stay an extra week in Germany once my husband finishes work. Any suggestions for what I can do with a baby in Berlin? Anyone know how to find a reliable English-speaking babysitter? Should we stay in Berlin for the full 2nd week or is there a nice baby-friendly place nearby that we might also visit? Any other input is greatly appreciated!

Posted by
809 posts

Hi Bronwyn -

I would. Throw baby in stroller (bundled up) and wander around a museum or the zoo. Do you need to spend that whole first week in Berlin? While my son is older he loved the Amsterdam, Prague and Krakow. Also, at nine months it doesn't really matter (to the baby) if the places you visit are baby friendly - as long as you can put him in a stroller or a front pack snuggly thingee you'll be fine.

Have fun.

Bronwen

Posted by
8064 posts

Try and get an apt. rather than a hotel room. This way you can cook if you desire and probably have a bit more space. Berlin has 1000's of apts. to rent and they are often much cheaper than a hotel too.

Bring a little stroller, walk around the city, visit museums, you will have a great time there.

For a babysitter, you might check on Toytown, the Berlin section of the forum, or if you are in a hotel, they may have child minding services.
http://www.toytowngermany.com

Posted by
2779 posts

The German word for babysitter is... babysitter. So you can easily google that. Berlin is a great city with many, many, many things to see and do. So is nearby Potsdam. Granted, February might not exactly be the nicest month in Berlin. Unlike in Western parts of Germany it gets really, really cold in Berlin. A very dry freezing cold - we still call it the Siberian cold ;-). Having 1st hand experience what it's like traveling with a now 1 year old I'd recommend a visit to the Zoo and a city tour by boat (you can see all of Berlin Potsdam by boat). The engine sound and vibrations on board made our daughter fall asleep while we had a chance to conveniently watch the sights. If you like it a bit less ice-cold than Berlin spend your 2nd week along the Rhine river where it's much milder (still cold, but you don't feel like a fish stick anymore). Or base yourselves somewhere South of Munich and enjoy sleigh rides in the Alps in the snow...

Posted by
2297 posts

Babies under a year old are actually relatively easy to travel with. A bit easier than a roaming toddler anyways ...

So yes, do tag along. And as mentioned above, rent an appartment so you have a bit more room to spread out and facilities to store and prepare little snacks to keep your baby happy.

Personally, I would skip the shopping with a baby in tow but seeing the sights, museums ... that works just fine. In fact, if you're interested in visiting the Reichstag and see the glass dome you'll get preferential treatment: people with babies/strollers don't have to stand in line and can get in via the entrance below the West portal to the right (West C).

Posted by
582 posts

No one is ever nuts going to Berlin, any time of year!
Berlin is the most wonderful city!
Keep warm going around Berlin using the Hop On/Hop Off Bus. They have a good system there, and will drop you off to all major museums. They run often and is worth the money. But much cheaper than taking a taxi everyplace. You never have to walk far in the cold for that bus stop. It is very cold in Berlin, so bundle up!
I was very cold in November!! But, have fun anyway!!!

Posted by
1357 posts

Good for you for going! I agree with other posters about getting an apartment if you can. Especially if you're going to be coming back during the day for naptime, it gives you some room to read, watch TV, get a snack, etc. in a separate room while the baby's sleeping.

Posted by
1014 posts

Nope, I would leave the little tike with loving grandparents and consider this a welcome vacation with my husband. First -H1N1, why take the chance. Crying baby on airplane for 6 hours because of hurting ears, stuffed up nose, etc. Diarrhea from changed schedules and different foods means cranky child and mom. Speaking of that, where do you plan to get diapers, food, etc. Are you planning to haul 20 pounds of food and milk with you? Met a mother last year in Chicago. She and her child had been stranded at the airport for 3 days. She was down to her last 2 diapers and no baby food after the feeding she was doing, and there is no where in the airport to buy baby food or diapers, I checked. Also, taking a small child means stroller, toys, and lots and lots of clothes because it is cold there. All in all, I would leave little feller home and enjoy time with husband.

Posted by
8064 posts

John, your story sounds like a horror story, but also extremely unlikely. Why would someone sit at an airport for 3 days? Unlike the states, most European airports are extremely close to the cities, they also have large supermarkets with the same high quality products as what is sold in the states. Who drags all their products with them when visiting a major capital city?

A 9 month old baby does not need much in the way of toys. They are still fascinated with their toes and fingers, or perhaps a stuffed animal. As to babies crying for 6 hours on a plane. Most babies only cry at take off and landing, though we have all sat on planes with screaming children here and there, it doesn't mean that every child screams while flying.

Some people do not have any one to watch their kids, especially for 2 weeks. Grandparents may be working, unable to do it or many just not want to. Mom may still be nursing, so of course will not want to leave her child behind. I find it is better not to question why someone wants to travel with their children.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks, Jo. I appreciate the encouragement.

John, you make some fine points, but while I understand it's certainly much easier to travel sans baby, I don't have an option in this matter other than to sit at home alone. I'd rather live a little. We're up on our vaccines and I'm sure that Germany sells diapers. But John, I appreciate your logical side :)

Posted by
1357 posts

Yep, Germany sells diapers, and snacks, and baby food. I think people forget the Europeans have kids, too. We've experienced some of the best "kindness from strangers" moments in our travels with our kids.

Posted by
2297 posts

where do you plan to get diapers, food, etc. Are you planning to haul 20 pounds of food and milk with you?

cough I've bought my fair share of diapers and lots of those were purchased in Germany. Not at an airport since I always took enough to help us over potential delays. The great thing about babies under 1 year is that they are so portable. All my kids were still exclusively breast-fed at that age (their choice, not mine) and nothing is more portable and readily available than that. And it's an instant soother to quiet them on the airplane if necessary.

If the child is between 1 and 3 I'd think twice about doing such a trip. That's the most difficult age for long-distance travel in my experience. But outside these toddler years it can be done and it can be fun.

Yes, if there is an opportunity to have a short getaway for husband and wife you should take it, even if the baby is still young. I've done that, too, and it was a great decision at the time. However, Bronwyn said that her husband will be working most of the time and she'd be on her own. And if you don't have somebody to look after your baby that is not even an option.

Posted by
1014 posts

The baby and stranded for 3 days was in Chicago O'Hare Airport. She was flying and had to change planes and the first one was late and the second one had taken off and there was no room in the next 3 planes for her to take. They were full. I, personally went all over the airport looking for diapers and baby food. There was none to be found.

The child will remember nothing of this trip and if anything goes wrong, you will never forget it.

Also, H1N1 is not over yet. That would some concern to me also. Unless they are flying direct each way, this could happen. Also, they could be stranded on their way back at the airport.

I know they sell diapers and baby food in Germany! Point is, is it close to where she is staying. Nothing like being in a strange town, know nothing of the area and walking out by self and child looking for items. Store might be across the street or 2 miles away. Hope they read German enough to decipher the labels on the food also.

They might not have a choice but to take the baby, but the question was phrased in a way that seemed like she had a choice. If not, then I would go with husband and take child rather than staying home for 2 weeks while he gallivanted around Germany without her. Asking about baby-sitters seems to me to say she wants some time with hubby to herself. Well, leaving child with Grandparents gives her that time and free baby sitting services to boot.

Posted by
1014 posts

The baby and stranded for 3 days was in Chicago O'Hare Airport. She was flying and had to change planes and the first one was late and the second one had taken off and there was no room in the next 3 planes for her to take. They were full. I, personally went all over the airport looking for diapers and baby food. There was none to be found.

The child will remember nothing of this trip and if anything goes wrong, you will never forget it.

Also, H1N1 is not over yet. That would some concern to me also. Unless they are flying direct each way, this could happen. Also, they could be stranded on their way back at the airport.

I know they sell diapers and baby food in Germany! Point is, is it close to where she is staying. Nothing like being in a strange town, know nothing of the area and walking out by self and child looking for items. Store might be across the street or 2 miles away. Hope they read German enough to decipher the labels on the food also.

They might not have a choice but to take the baby, but the question was phrased in a way that seemed like she had a choice. If not, then I would go with husband and take child rather than staying home for 2 weeks while he gallivanted around Germany without her. Asking about baby-sitters seems to me to say she wants some time with hubby to herself. Well, leaving child with Grandparents gives her that time and free baby sitting services to boot.

Posted by
8064 posts

Well, see that is the difference between being in Germany and the states. The airports and large train stations here have pretty decent grocery stores. Pretty much any place you are, has grocery stores, bakerys, drugstores, and pharmecies near by. The cities are built different and are set up for people to walk to all these places, rather than drive. It is actually much more child friendly, and made for strollers. Pretty much any one working in stores in major cities will speak English, especially in big tourist areas like Berlin. I doubt if Bronwyn will have any problem finding whatever she will need for her baby. As to the swine flu, it is just as much a problem in the US as over here, so why worry extra about it? There is no difference whether you stay at home and go about your daily business or go travel.

I am going to guess that John has never traveled with a baby or small child. It is easy and no big deal.

Posted by
8 posts

In all fairness to John, I did ask if I was nuts. I probably am, but that's okay. :)

In any case I'm going to go (plane tickets purchased today), but am always open to good tips and suggestions for travel. Keep 'em comin'!

Posted by
12773 posts

Bronwyn,

To allay any concerns you might have as to where you can get baby "things" (diapers, food, etc.), I suggest you go to these stores in Berlin, since they are pretty economical and numerous: SCHLECKER and PENNY MARKT. Also EDEKA, and REWE. Schlecker has everything, they're everywhere, and you can't miss them with their big blue signs.

You didn't say where you are staying. Near Bahnhof Zoo? There is a market just outside (maybe on Hardenbergstrasse) which has everything, ie. including baby things. In the Charlottenburg area, if you're going to be there, there are a number of Schleckers (on Kantstrasse), also on Mommsenstrasse and the corner of Bleibtreu there's a KAISER's, a little more expensive than Penny Markt. Do you where you are staying, the district?

Lisa---I agree totally with you, no one is ever nuts in going to Berlin; if it's in the winter, just be prepared for it.

Posted by
8 posts

How funny, my maiden name is very similar to Schlecker--only one letter spelling difference.

We are staying right in the center of town, by the Philharmonic.

Bronwyn

Posted by
1014 posts

John has three children and has traveled with them as young as 6 weeks old, but NOT on an airplane. We were driving and could stop when needed. Obviously, before some says it- they cannot drive to Germany. So yes, I have traveled with 3 children all over the US and Europe. I waited until they were old enought to remember the Europe trips. We were lucky and had parents willing and able to keep the children when we traveled if we needed them to.

Posted by
809 posts

I have an only child and have found traveling with just one is not so bad. He and I have been on many adventures together and it's been fine. Make certain if your flying alone that you can easily carry your bags and the baby and that you can gate check a stroller. Simplify is the key. Like others said, don't feel you need tons of toys or accessories.

Posted by
12773 posts

Hi,

That's a nice area to be in...the Philharmonie area is very close to Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn, U-Bahn station. There might be one of those stores in that area, and from Potsdamer Platz there's a direct connection with the U-Bahn to Bahnhof Zoo.

Posted by
2234 posts

Bronwyn, I have never been to Berlin, but I would say -- do not pass up this opportunity. It may not be the trip it would be if it was just you and your husband, but it is still a wonderful opportunity to see what sounds like a fascinating city with plenty of time to get to know the city.

If it were me, I would hop on a train and spend the second week (or four to five days if you husband needs more time to see Berlin) in another city or town in Germany or nearby country and plan to fly out of that country.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks, Everyone! We made it and had a wonderful time. Travel with a baby was slower and had the occasional snag, but we are so glad we all went. We even had a few days in Prague. Europeans were very kind, welcoming and helpful with our baby. One restaurant owner in Berlin even came over and offered to babysit our son so we could enjoy our meal.

Happy travels to all of you!

Bronwyn

Posted by
8064 posts

Thanks for coming back and letting us know how your trip went. Glad to hear it all went well.