hints and tips

A Special “Thank you” to The William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow

The first museum I have visited which offers free emergency supplies of nappies, wipes, sanitary products and even spare baby and toddler clothes! What a fabulous way to support younger visitors and their families! Thank you!

Spending a Penny

The Great British Public Toilet Map is the perfect resource for finding the nearest public toilet while you are out. You might need to go yourself, you might need to change a nappy, either way you can filter your search to look only for bathrooms with baby changing facilities, or disable access facilities. Directions are provided from your current location. A little piece of genius which is particularly helpful if you are traveling with babies or young children, if you are pregnant or if you have recently given birth.

London Underground – Travel with a pram

First of all I would recommend never travelling during rush hour, which in London means 7.30am – 9am and 4pm – 8pm. Travel by public transport at these times with a pram would be highly uncomfortable at best and near impossible at the busiest stations.

At all other times this is probably the quickest and cheapest way the get around. This excellent level access tube map shows all of the underground stations with step free access. There are a lot more step-free stations than I had expected and even if the one you want isn’t accessible there is usually at least one step-free station somewhere in easy walking distance.

Thames Clipper

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I was pleasantly surprised to find how straightforward and accessible it was to take a boat on the Thames with Lily in her buggy. We travelled from Tower Bridge Pier to Westminster.

There are ramps from the street right up to and across the doorway of the clipper boats so no lifting was required. Once on board there was space at the front of the clipper for Lily in her pram. The Thames Clipper cost £7 if you pay with your Oyster Card or contactless credit or debit card. There was no charge for Lily.     This was a nice little cultural visit, and there are step free tube stations at both Tower Hill and Westminster.

How do museums welcome and include babies?

Manchester Museums and The Museum of London are leading the way in making museums and cultural spaces inclusive towards babies and the under 5s. Here is an excellent report compiled by the Museum of London exploring how babies respond to a museum setting, why it is beneficial for very young children and how other museums could improve their offer.

Museums WANT to be visited by the communities they serve – and that includes very young children.

A Special “Thank You” to Museum of London Docklands

Thank you for offering designated (and super comfy) seating for baby-feeding. Available for those breast or bottle feeding their babies in the Museum Cafe. I have never seen this in a museum setting before and it is a brilliant way to welcome young visitors and their parents. Well done!!

What Pram Do You Use?

At the moment Lily and I have a Doona carseat / stroller. It is small, light and easy to manoeuvre we love it and I would highly recommend this model for city and suburban use.

The main benefit of the Doona is that it converts into a carseat with the push of a button and the stroller wheels fold into the base. This is particularly useful for plane and train travel, or if you are going to be swapping from public transport to car (and back again). It means you always have a carseat with you.

The design also means that you can fold the stroller into a carseat without taking the baby out and carry the lot up and down stairs. This is heavy now that Lily is a little older, but still far more manageable than carrying a traditional pram or stroller on stairs which is definitely a two person job – at least.

The Doona is £299 and is suitable from birth to 13kgs (Typically about 18 months old, or so).

What’s in the Bag?

I like to travel as light as possible and so here is what Lily and I typically take with us during a city centre museum visits.

  • nappies – usually 3 depending on how long we will be out
  • nappy bags (5 or 6)
  • baby wipes – 1 pack
  • small roll up changing mat
  • 2 or 3 sterilised bottles
  • 2 or 3 bottles of premixed baby formula
  • a little emergency kit of Calpol sachets, teething gel, teething toy and a small muslin square
  • Spare clothes for Lily – leggings, top, baby grow, socks
  • baby spoons, a bib, sippy cup, a small pot of snacks for lily

I don’t usually carry a separate bag for me so put my stuff in the baby bag too. In case of rain or sun I hang the rain cover or sun shade for the Doona on the handle of the pram.

If I run out of something or we stay out longer than intended I can always buy extra items while out. So far – fingers crossed – this has never happened.

All of these things fit well into the doona essentials bag, but a rucksack is usually better than traditional / purpose made change bags. It is far more comfortable to carry a rucksack separately from the pram, they are usually cheaper, more nicely designed and you can use it for other things too.