The feeling of a new baby in your home is almost impossible to describe. Time seems to stand still for a moment and, even amidst crying and gas and sleeplessness, the beauty of the whole thing is almost intoxicating. Somehow Shelby Osmond captures it perfectly in this video. Like, I-should-probably-have-ten-more-babies-perfect. Check out more heavenly baby moments on her blog, Brandon and Shelby.
For every wrap purchased on our site, we donate $1 to our partner charity, Every Mother Counts, 100% of which goes directly to programs that dramatically improve maternal health worldwide. Since we couldn’t think of a better gift Solly Baby could give this holiday season, we wanted to give a little more. For the month of December we’ll be donating $10 of every Burnt Sienna Solly Baby Wrap sold on our site to Every Mother Counts. Check out the rest of their gift guide here.
This is Solly Baby’s family traveling series Wrap Around the World with Solly Baby. Here you’ll find our traveling tips & notes from our five-week adventure across Europe with my husband and three children (ages 5, 3, and 6 months).
By planning our locations and activities as we went along, as well as asking for suggestions from locals and other traveling families on Instagram, we learned a lot and are sharing in hopes of encouraging other families to plan their own “babywearing adventure”. See more pics on Instagram and with the hashtag #wraparoundtheworldwithsollybaby.
+ London was our first stop for a few reasons: it was the shortest flight from LAX to Europe and they speak English. London is also absolutely charming. The homes, the shops, the parks, the palaces, the guards. All of it is perfectly magical, especially in early fall.
We knew we’d be exhausted upon arrival so we wanted to lessen the pain as much as possible. We spent the first three days getting over jet lag, not leaving the house until one or two in the afternoon, so we tried to maximize our afternoons and evenings.
+ We booked an an apartment/flat in Kensington by the Natural History Museum through Orbitz that was okay, but right on the subway line which kept me up all night! The location was great, though. I always look for places near public transportation, a grocery store, and in a very central location so you don’t waste time and your little ones’ energy going in and out of the city.
If you’re staying > 3 nights, book a house through Kid & Coe, Airbnb, or Home Away. If you’re staying < 3 nights get a hotel. Homes were key for traveling for such a long time. We could all stretch out, do laundry, go to the grocery store and you get a totally different feel for each city. We loved using Orbitz for hotels because we kept earning Orbucks throughout the trip, which helped pay for the next hotel, flight, or car rental.
+ Double Decker Bus (great way to begin a trip since you get an overview of big sites and then decide what you’d like to visit from there)
London is an intense city. You can’t just meander down in the subway or you’ll get trampled and lose your kids. We preferred staying somewhere central so we could primarily walk or to take a taxi to an area we’d be staying in for the day. Taxis are pricier, but it made everything so much simpler that I wouldn’t have it any other way while traveling with little ones. Also, London taxis almost all have 5 seats so you can catch pretty much any taxi driving down the road.
+ Paddle Boats on the Serpentine
+ Catch a double decker bus tour to see main sights (Queensway near Notting Hill is a good place to catch bus as well as Buckingham Palace)
+ Covent Garden for market and street performers
+ London Eye and surrounding playground
+ London Zoo
+ Find Britney Spears & Kim Kardashian! (Kidding, they were both there while we were and so we got this suggestions quite a bit)
+ Train to Windsor and Legoland
+ Kensington Palace
+ Stroll thru Notting Hill
+ Southbank to walk along Thames past Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (too much walking for our little ones so we viewed this from the double decker bus)
+ Walk over Millenium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral
+ Buckingham Palace, changing of the guards
+ Trafalgar Square
+ Experience some East London vibes at Old Spitalfields Market or Broadway Market
+ Portobello Road Market
*Parks & Museums*
+ Hyde Park: this is a huge park and has several playgrounds Diana Memorial is the most recommended, Kensington Gardens has a pirate themed playground, and we played at the Children’s Park and played with the ducks nearby
+ Regents Park
+ Natural History Museum
+ Science Museum
+ Tate Modern
+ Crown Jewels at Tower of London
+ National Portrait Museum
+ British Museum
When traveling with small children, I would suggest “doing” things rather than “seeing” things. Long walks just to look at things are torturous for most little ones! Make it a walk to a chocolate shop or to feed the ducks and then look at Big Ben on the way rather than having Big Ben as your final destination. Better yet, do a double decker bus tour first to see all the big attractions and then just fill your itinerary with fun activities.
+ Bakeries (I know PAUL’s is a big chain, but it did not disappoint)
+ Portobello Market for lunch+ Wagamamas
+ The Orangery for tea at Kensington Palace (they were booked when we were there, but I so wish I could’ve taken my oldest daughter for tea time here!)
+ Monmouth Street Coffee
+ Camden Market
+ Borough Market
+ Mother Mash
+ Broadway Market on Saturday
We only ate in sit-down restaurants if we knew our kids were up for it and the food was amazing. I read a tip from Design Mom before we left suggesting to eat before or after busy hours at sit down restaurants for a less stressful dining experience and found that very helpful. Most of the time we’d stop by a bakery for breakfast and grab croissants and hot chocolate or juice and then we’d stop at the markets for lunch and try things. We’d get fresh fruit, sandwiches, and dessert was all too easy. We generally ordered dinner in from an Italian restaurant below our flat or pick up food from the grocery store. Our kids were always so tired by evening and London is not the cheapest city so this helped offset the cost.
+ Hamley’s Toy Store (6 floors of toys!)
+ Harrod’s Kids Floor & Disney Cafe
+ Liberty of London
+ Quaint children’s boutiques around the city
If your kids are anything like mine then they’ll fixate on the toy shopping idea and not focus on anything else until then. We quickly found out that it was best to tell them we would not be doing any shopping and then if they’d had a good day of listening and weren’t too wiped, we’d surprise them and let them pick out something small.
As far as the shopping I wanted to do, it just wasn’t feasible with 3 kids so we’d either split up for a bit so I could explore. It also kept me from breaking the bank.
+ Check out our Pinterest Board Traveling with Kids for our favorite websites and articles on traveling with little ones! London is toward the bottom!
You can win $2500 in airfare, $1500 in lodging, and 5 Solly Baby Wraps of your choice.
If you’ve been wishing you could have a little babymoon, family vacation, or just cure a case of wanderlust then enter below! You can go anywhere, take anyone, and do whatever you want while you’re there.
Don’t know quite where to go? Elle (that’s me!) will be your personal travel assistant if you need help choosing a location or suggestions for how to travel with little ones. Because, honest-to-goodness, I’m just as excited for you to go on this adventure as you are.
Happy International Babywearing Week!
Contest ends 10/27/14 at 11:59PM PST.
+Put it on and keep it on all day for a quick in and out. Fall/Winter is a great time of year to style your wrap since a sweater or coat over easily conceals it when not being used.
+To avoid letting the ends touch the ground, put the wrap on facing a seat or a table and as you pull the ends through, let them rest on the seat or table.
+Mamas, wear a drape style kimono sweater and it will workperfectly as a nursing cover and blanket. (Avoid coats with zippers that could scratch your babe’s face.)
+Breastfeeding mamas: wear a button up shirt! Makes it so much easier to nurse on the go.
+Keep some smaller toys (nothing small enough to be a choking hazard) in your diaper bag to play with for older babies in the wrap. Better yet, keep it handy by having a simple teething bracelet on that you can easily remove for play time.
+If your baby has reflux or a runny nose, use the end pocket for a burp cloth or put a tissue in the hidden pocket for easy access.
+Don’t forget to fan those shoulder straps out! When wearing for an extended time, it makes it so much more comfortable to distribute the weight by spreading the shoulder straps out wider.
In less than 24 hours we’d already ridden in a car, plane, bus, train, subway, taxi, and walked a mile with a hiking backpack, a duffle bag, a rolling suitcase, and two backpacks. We’ve learned a few things I thought I’d share. Let’s start with overnight flights with a 5, 3, and 6 month old:
+ Comfortable Clothing For an overnight flight, put your kids (& yourself!) in comfortable clothes that can work for sleeping and traveling for the flight. Sweatpants, a t-shirt and sweater withsneakers and cozy socks is ideal for older kids and leggings, tee and a cardigan for baby. Then I only needed an extra set of clothing for the baby.
+ Electronics We went all summer without any screen time besides a Friday night movie, but I have zero regrets about having an iPad, easy cases, and headphones for each of my older children on the plane loaded with educational games, movies they hadn’t seen and one classic, and a few TV shows. I recommend not having much (or any) screen time for a week or longer before you leave so that it will be especially exciting.
+ Solly Baby Wrap Obviously, this is was on my necessity list for Frances. I had our black wrap (better for blocking out light when sleeping and keeping clean) on from the time we arrived at the airport until we made it to our flat the next day in London. She slept and played in it the whole time and, basically, I would’ve died without it. (more details on traveling with your wrap soon)
+ Preflight Stretches While we waited on the plane for takeoff, I had my 5 and 3 year old do little stretches in front of their seats. It was a really fun distraction waiting for the plane to take off and helped prep them to be in their seats for 13 hours.
+ Bassinet This was paramount for our flight. We called the airline ahead and requested a bassinet for Frances. They put us in a larger row with a wall in front of us where the bassinet table comes down from the wall. It was incredible. So much leg room that the kids were able to sit on the floor and play when the seat belt sign was off. She was a little big for it, but in the middle of the night, I was able to make an easy transfer from the wrap to the bassinet so I could sleep as well.
+ Forget Bedtimes Although we wanted to get the kids to sleep before they were overly tired, we knew 8PM was not happening 2 hours after taking off on the most exciting trip of their lives. So we let them play and watch shows until the plane started to settle down for the night and the plane lights were dimmed. We didn’t tell them it was bedtime, we just said it was time to relax. Jared and I both took a child and whispered stories and rubbed their feet or backs after getting them comfortable with airline blankets, pillows, and those neck pillow things. They both drifted to sleep easily and stayed asleep until morning.
+ Divvy Up the Kids Before we left we decided we’d each be responsible for certain children while we are out and about for safety and sanity. He primarily watches Solomon while we are out since he’s the most adventurous and needs the most help managing expectations as a 3 year old figuring out what’s going on. I have been in charge of Lucy and Frances since Lucy is 5 and actually quite a help with Frances.
+ Attitude Jared and I made a pact before we left that no matter what, we would be positive, especially on traveling days. So when security at LAX stopped us for literally everything you could possibly be stopped for (bag search, palm swipe, liquid test, etc.) we smiled all the way through it and found a reason to be grateful (even if it was in a funny way) about every single annoying thing that happened. We had literally NO tears on the plane and I am totally confident this is why.
(arriving in London the next day)
In honor of International Babywearing Week next week, we decided to go on the road with all three of our little ones and explore the world using a Solly Baby Wrap. Our little girl, Frances, is just passing the optimal time to use a wrap (0-6 months) so we wanted to get as much use out of it as possible before and, to be honest, we’ve had such a crazy year that we just needed to take a break as a family.
We’ll be sharing babywearing and traveling tips with you as we make our way across Europe with a 5, 3, & 6 month old and we’ll have some mega-amazing giveaways along the way.