I also brought two carriers: the Beco, and a Sakura Bloom. I used both a lot. Beco for more intense hiking/walking days and the Sakura Bloom for more off/on meandering days. He nursed in both, and I was grateful to have them along. I think both nursing Anders and wearing him made for easy transitions.We did not bring a carseat for Anders. With how little car travel we’d be doing (we took trains the majority of our time there), we knew it would be a huge hassle to have to lug a carseat all over Europe. But, I will say, it was something that, in a perfect world, I’d definitely have brought with me. We did rent cars a few times, including car seats, but they were never up to my standards. Meaning he was forward facing and they didn’t have a five point harness system which was crazy to me. I’m not sure if it varies from car rental place to car rental place or if it was a Europe versus America, but it was something I just had to accept if we wanted to go anywhere by car (which we did for various trips–Assisi, Positano, Peak District). I didn’t love it, though!
I got this bag for my camera and a few other odds and ends before leaving. I knew I’d need something to keep my camera safe from all the inevitable jostling but I didn’t want it to scream “camera bag!” That bag fit the bill. I still use it every day–camera or not!
We had this bag for Parker from my last trip to Italy when I carried it around; I’ve since passed it on to him. It’s great for a kid to carry, and it also can snap onto the stroller handle. It was his designated bag the whole trip (aside from his luggage) and he had it filled with toys from home, snacks on the go, etc.
MEDICINE + WELLNESS:
I took First Aid kit packing very seriously. We had this portable, collapsible cooler that I completely filled: thermometer, tons of Boiron homeopathies (for colds, for food poisoning, teething, arnica, etc.; particularly the ones that are in the tiny blue tubes–so easily packed! I’d keep them in my diaper bag too.), children’s Motrin, band-aids, Neosporin, elderberry, colloidal silver, EmergenC, essential oils. All of these things (most, anyway) can be found abroad, for sure, but I wasn’t sure how readily and exactly where. I didn’t want to be needing them and then begin a search for them. Our first stop was Lake Como and a pretty small town at that. I am glad that we had these things instead of having to locate a pharmacy, and then rely on our spotty Italian language skills to get what we needed.
In terms of medical care and insurance while abroad, it’s easy. When we took Anders to the hospital, we showed our passports, filled out some minor paperwork, and have yet to see a bill. He was there overnight too! With fluids and tests! Socialized healthcare, ya’ll.
SLEEPING + JET LAG:
There’s no magical answer to the sleep/jet lag question. I think Anders was at a really good age to take this trip. I wore him a lot, and nursing is a tremendous help for an angsty, tired baby. I’d nurse everywhere. When we arrived in Milan, we were pretty exhausted but it was the afternoon there. After we checked into our hotel, we walked to the Duomo, got dinner, and then headed back for an early night. I remember being awake by midnight with a restless Anders, trying to keep him quiet in a pitch dark hotel room with Steve and Parker sleeping in the next bed (William and Lindsey had another hotel room). Plus, our sound machines (yes, I brought those!) didn’t work–ever. As soon as I tried to plug them in, with the proper converter, they were busted. Something to buy there if necessary. So, to reiterate, there’s really no magical answer. Just assume you’ll be tired, a little out of sorts, and order plentiful cappuccinos that Italy does so well! And drinks lots of water! I think that having some comforts of home is a nice thing for kids too. Like a stuffed animal or, in our case, a few of Parker’s favorite little cars, books, and a few of their favorite movies downloaded on the iPad with kid headphones.
On the plane, both boys slept really well. I’d attribute more of this to their personality than anything else. And Emirates Airline which was very accommodating! Anders got a little crib that attached to the wall in front of me which he slept in for probably three hours of the flight, maybe more. It was amazing. And after watching Cars 2, Steve got Parker cozied up with a blanket, a lucky extra seat in their row, and he fell asleep for the majority of the flight.
For naps, Anders got a lot of these on the go. Parker stopped napping long before we left so that wasn’t a worry. Anders was easy going about napping. Stroller and carrier naps were where it’s at. There were slower days in Orvieto or Switzerland where he would nap in bed at “home” and other days where we were consistently on the move. We didn’t bring a pack-n-play and that was, at times, annoying (though not as annoying as traveling all over with one would’ve been). My monitor didn’t always work, so I ended up staying in/near the room once he was in bed for the night. Not the most convenient. What I might do, if I were there for a long time, is buy a monitor over there (or a pack-n-play, or ensure that your place will have a crib available).
Someone asked the bathrooms question, and I’m having a hard time recalling because I think we were pretty much issue-free here. Parker is good at letting us know when he has to go, and holding it when need be. Plus, there’s bathrooms around! Some may be dirty, but that’s where I’m grateful for little boys and their ability to stand to pee! And hand sanitizer!
We brought a lot of wipes with us but only enough diapers to get us through the airplane ride and then a decent chunk of time once there. Diapers abroad are just fine! We are used to Seventh Generation here, but had no rash issues with the brand over there. I think I just bought the generic Coop ones.
Part 2 to come! I know I’m missing a few questions. If you need one answered, please ask in the comments!