I’ve touched on this a few times in the past but as Noah is soon to be turning 5 months old I feel I have gained a little more confidence when going out with the boys together. When Noah was first born the idea of going anywhere with him and Freddie made me feel extremely anxious. I always thought the outing would end in me either loosing Freddie or having a breakdown trying to breastfeed in public. Yesterday I took both of the boys to the Zoo for the day and we had the best time, so I decided to write a little post on my tips for solo days out with a toddler and a baby. I hope you enjoy!
Plan- Its always good to have an idea of where you are heading before you leave the house. I’ve wasted copious amounts of petrol and brain power thinking of somewhere to go whilst driving around. Have a place to aim for and it will make the journey less stressful.
Take your time- Don’t rush! There is plenty of time in the day. I found in the early days that I was always eager to get out of the house before lunch. I would always become frustrated if I couldn’t leave on time because Noah demanded milk or Freddie had done a well-timed poo. I take it slower now, get our bags ready as I go and I don’t put too much pressure on time. I’ve found I leave the house in a much better head space.
Pack Lunch- I know a obvious one and I am usually first to say ‘oh lets just grab something there’ but swiftly find myself performing an awful balancing act with a tray of food whilst holding Noah and trying not to loose my 2 year old. I’m not suggesting all of the time but for places where you know there is limited pram space in the cafe or the tables are far from the counter. Taking lunch just gives you one less thing to worry about- if Freddie starts complaining he’s hungry I just whip out the snacks and there is no stress about whether we are near a food outlet or if I can convince him to eat something other than the chocolate cake. We are organised and have a stash of foods I know he likes so it makes lunch time a lot easier.
Pit Stops- If you visit places like the zoo you’ll know there is a lot of open space and walking involved. This often means that Noah is left horizontal for a long time which can be quite boring (I mean I’d love to be horizontal for 3 hours but that’s not going to happen!) I’ve learn’t to plan little ‘pit stops’ and head somewhere to get Noah out for a look around (more difficult in this weather I know.) At the zoo I left the pram outside and took him and Freddie into the Butterfly House- he weighed a bloody ton but loved every second and was mesmerised by the surroundings. It also made me feel good to include him and after a quick feed he was soon snoozing away again.
Take a double pushchair- If your toddler is a similar age to Freddie then walking around the zoo may be too much for their little legs. I tend to judge it based on where we are but, like today, I knew we’d be out for a while so I decided to take out the monstrous double pushchair. Yes its bigger than my car and weighs a lot but boy did it come in handy when Freddie decided he was too tired by the Giraffes. He then got in and out of it throughout the rest of our visit- I didn’t have to carry him and my back was particularly thankful!
Reins- I’m an anxious mother, I constantly think Freddie is going to run away from me. I mean he is pretty quick so reins have been a life saver. Freddie weirdly likes wearing them and always asks me to hold the strap. I know they’re not for everyone but it gives me peace of mind that if I have to check on Noah, for example, I know Freddie can’t go far. If your toddler is anything like mine they love to pretend they can’t hear you when you shout ‘OK, come back now- no that’s far enough.’ My particular favourite is when you pretend you are leaving them and shouting ‘bye’ only for them to shout bye in return. It’s just another little thing that has made my outings much more manageable.
Go to the toilet before you leave the house- OK, a strange one I know and difficult because our babies have weakened our bladders so we are fit to burst if we so much as look at running water- BUT- there is nothing worse than getting somewhere and needing the toilet desperately. Unfortunately most places do not have toilets big enough for giant sized prams- I mean it’s totally acceptable to pee with the door open because you can’t all fit in the loo- we’ve all been there.
Unpack the car slowly- As you all probably know days out with children require a fuck load of stuff. It takes me a good 10 minutes to unload the car and set up the pram- gone are the days of ‘ignition off’ and off I go. I’ve started to approach it with a calmer attitude- to not have the thought of dread in my mind knowing the effort that goes into getting us all in and out of the car and on our way. I take it step by step and think to myself, we will all get our coats and wellies on and make it out of here eventually so there’s no need to stress. This sounds so silly but I’ve sat in the car before completely lacking any motivation to move because of the mammoth task that faces me. Step by step- you will assemble that pram!
Mindset- Much like anything in life, go into these days with a positive mindset. Yes some trips out will be utter hell and you’ll pile the children in the car quicker than you can blink but I do believe going into these things thinking that you are going to have fun really makes a difference. I had the best day I have had so far with my boys at the zoo because I took my time and got myself excited to share the experience with them. I was looking forward to showing Freddie all the different animals and tried to ignore my anxious emotions and just enjoy the day.
I know these tips won’t be for everyone, some may think its odd that I need to think of tips for easier days out with my children BUT solo trips with a toddler and a small baby can be daunting for some people- I panic that Noah will cry the whole time or Freddie will have the mother of all tantrums. These things have just helped ME feel more confident on our outings and I hope they help you too.
Here are some photos from our day out to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Lots of Love