Thinking of taking a baby on an interstate train trip? No? Good call. I did. And possibly shouldn’t have….
The decision to go and see my beloved footy team play in a rare final in Adelaide was an impulsive one. Dad rang me a few minutes before the tickets went on sale. I didn’t have long to think. Thinking, thinking, booked! Dad and I are going to Adelaide. Yippee! A chance to get out of the house. A chance to get out of Melbourne. Exciting. Dad and I usually go to the football together, but I hadn’t been this year due to motherly duties.
Panic quickly set in. What about Hazel (5 months old, breastfeeding, won’t take a bottle, likes her own bed)? How would we get there (I’d heard flights were filling up already)? How will Hazel cope in a stadium full of 50,000 feral fans (myself included)? How will she sleep in a hotel room with Poppy John (Dad) coughing his lungs up all night (as is his current habit)? A supposedly wise man once said, “Don’t think, do!” So I did.
1)I booked the hotel. Found a twin room with king singles in a good spot and not too expensive. Done. We stayed here.
2)Rang childcare and swapped a day around so my husband could do the pick-up and drop-off for my son (master almost 2) while I was away. Done. Thanks childcare.
3)Transport. Transport. Brick wall. Flights were either fully booked or equal cost to a Bugaboo with all the extras. I shuddered at the thought of driving. Hazel doesn’t love the car, unlike 99.9% of population baby. Dad had a brainwave. What about the train? Thinking, thinking, booked! Shit!
4)I cooked. A batch of anzac biscuits for the train ride along with a double batch of Claire’s Mum’s Best Sausage Rolls In The World. I also cooked a huge lasagna so my hubby and son had food in the fridge while I was away. Go me!
Let’s get this part over and done with. The train sucked. Hazel was crying before we even departed, and it pretty much didn’t stop for 10 hours. In fact it escalated to the point we were both hysterical and I heard a lady mutter, “fancy letting a baby get so tired!” Hey lady. I didn’t “let” her get that tired, circumstances (like taking a baby on an unnecessary self-indulgent gallivant across the country) dictated so. I had this weird false hope that Hazel would enjoy the movement of the train but she didn’t, she hated it, she couldn’t sleep, and when she did she was woken up by 1) the air brakes that were activated because some empty-heads put shopping trolleys on the tracks 2) the lady on the overhead wanted to tell us about this new “breggie” (egg and bread you guessed it) thing on the menu, and 3) no reason, she just woke up. All in all she had less than an hour’s sleep between 6am and 7pm. Utter disaster. So disasterous was this train trip I booked a flight for the trip home not caring about the utopian Bugaboo with the bells and whistles. I think I dreamt of Hazel’s cries that night I’m not joking.
So was it worth it? Almost. Hazel was much calmer the following day and handled the crowd and chaos at the football beautifully. She wore some super-cute baby earmuffs to dull the noise. We got out the sunscreen and hat for the first time after a long Melbourne winter and the warm spring sun was welcome. I felt so proud sitting there at the ground with my Dad and my daughter. Three generations and a tradition to be continued. Spending quality time with Dad was also great. We will certainly never forget our trip to Adelaide, with all its ups and downs.
I returned feeling refreshed and invigorated after spending 3 days in another city, breaking the routine and challenging myself to step outside the comforts of my currently homey life. Hazel on the other hand, enjoyed getting home in her own bed.
That said, there are a few things I learned along the way.
Tips and tricks
- Don’t take a baby on a long-haul train. Just. Don’t. Unless you have a baby who is different to Hazel, and hey, I’m sure they’re out there.
- If you do take baby on the train and baby is crying a lot, walk from carriage to carriage with crying baby. It gives you something to do and shares the love between the other passengers. Mix it up a bit.
- Relax. The train ride will end one day. Baby will sleep eventually.
- Ring ahead to suss out parenting facilities – it’s nice to know what to expect. The Overland train provided a change table in the toilet that is all. No specific space for feeding or bassinet but the seats were fairly private and could just squeeze the basinet on the floor in front of us. Adelaide Oval was comparatively well-equipped and full of other footy mums like me. The parenting room was quiet and spacious and had a huge plasma with the game on it….excellent.
- Don’t forget your preferred baby carrier. I went with Baby Bjorn Miracle. I’ve tried a few other ones but this one is best for me. It is a 100% sometimes-but-not-always life-saver.
- Be prepared for your footy team to lose. The only cheering opportunity may be during the warm-up. Don’t expect them to win just because you traveled interstate on a train with a baby and your Dad when you could have easily watched it on the telly at your sister’s house with the rest of the family whilst drinking tea and eating homemade sausage rolls. No pressure guys.
- Don’t leave the sausage rolls on the bench at home.
- Catch a plane. They’re quicker.
Have you had any memorable experiences with baby travel? I’d love to hear them. I’m open to any further tips and tricks! Comment below…..