London Transport with a Baby

Being a London Mum, I’ve navigated public transport with a baby in tow and found ways to make my life that little bit easier.  So here are my tips for travelling around London with a baby.

1. Download the Tube Map to your phone.  Or carry a copy of the Tube Map with you at all times.  You can pick up a copy from any Tube station.  But this little map will be a valuable tool.

2. Plan your journey before you leave.  Make note of which stations have disabled access and which ones don’t.  Disabled access stations are your friend.  Avoid stations that have stairs/escalators if possible.

3.  Don’t forget that London transport also includes buses.  So if you find that your end destination isn’t disabled access friendly via Tube don’t forget to consider the buses.  I often get off at Green Park Tube station and navigate around central on the buses.  I use an app called Citymapper.  This is quite possibly my favourite travelling companion.  You can save your journey so you can access it offline and it’ll show you various different ways on how to get to your destination (plus it’s in real time and lets you know when the buses/trains/tubes are due).  It’ll show you how to get door to door, so need to worry about navigating from the bus stop to your destination as it’ll have it all prepared for you!

4.  When getting on the buses you can use the middle doors and push the pram straight on and park it.  Don’t worry about getting on at the front.  Don’t forget to tap your oyster card though (look for the big yellow things by the doors, if you can’t see any machines near the middle doors you may have to walk to the front of the bus and tap in there quickly).  Babies are of course free!  (If you aren’t from London all bus journeys cost the same price, you can go as far or as short a distance on the same bus once you’ve tapped your oyster card all at the same cost).

5.  When Baby London was particularly young I used to use his rain cover as I way to protect him on crowded trains.  The underground is full of germs, so I felt I was doing my bit to prevent him from getting sick!  He’s a bit older now with a stronger immune system so I’m not as precautious.

6. It is possible to take your pram up and down escalators.  Personally I don’t like doing so, but occasionally it has to be done.  It’s easier to do with two of you there (someone supports the bottom of the pram as well as the person holding onto the handles at the top) but if you’re alone and faced with escalators just stop any random person and ask them to help you, they honestly don’t mind.  I go up and down escalators forwards, only do this with prams that strap your baby in.

7. Out of preference I prefer to use a pram when I’m using London transport.  I don’t feel like a baby carrier would provide enough protection in rush hour.  No one can fight with a pram, but many people might not notice you have a baby in a sling/carrier.

8. People in London do run around quite quickly, but they do help you.  I often hang around at the bottom of staircases waiting for someone to offer to help me lift the pram up.  It doesn’t take long for someone to help.  When going up stairs make sure the pram is backwards (handle going up stairs first).  I learnt that the hard way the first time when baby London was held in just by his straps.  When going down stairs front goes down first, handle last.

9.  Because of Baby London being held in by his straps I always prefer to use a pram with straps to make sure he’s secure.  Even when he was younger I would use his car seat instead of his carrycot for extra protection.

10.  If in doubt hail a black cab.  All black cabs fit standing prams in the back.  Just push the pram on and tell the driver your destination!

London is accessible with a baby but it does often take a little bit longer (I really appreciate now how hard London can be for those who are disabled and have this challenge daily for commuting).  The key things are preparation and making sure you have enough milk/food.  You’ll probably find your baby enjoys being on trains as the white noise soothes them.  I would always make sure Baby London had a full belly before starting a journey.  It took me until he was about 6/7 weeks to take him on London transport, but if you’re nervous just plan a short journey and go for it.  Maybe even the first few times have someone with you.

 

 

thelondonmum

22 Comments

    • A double push chair would un-nerve me too! Have you got one of those side by side prams? x

      • I’ve got both. The side by side is easier to push and less of a faff to put up but the tandem is so much more practical and fits through all doors x

        • It’s the fitting through doors I’ve always wondered about. Because with a one baby pram I sometimes find it hard when going to the shops and I just couldn’t understand how anyone with twins would manage! I guess two prams sorts out all problems 😉 x

  1. Brilliant tips there, we moved out of London when my eldest was 10 months old but often visit with the kids in tow! Gorgeous blog and lovely to have met you briefly at BritMums Live x

  2. I often wonder about this when I am the tube! It must be such a hassle when you first take the little ones out. Great post, it’s made me more aware of the parents trying to get from A to B on my daily commutes!

    • I think nothing now of walking between stations whereas in the past I wouldn’t have considered it! Oh how things change lol x

  3. Great tips. I love citymapper. The other thing I do is ask someone else to take the pram up/down the escalators and carry little A. Only if I have to though, buses are better with the pram!

  4. Great tips! I love a London adventure with little A in tow. I sometimes get a stranger to take the buggy up/down the escalator while I carry him. Otherwise buses are great.

    • That’s a good idea, asking someone else to take the pram up/down the escalator. I do sometimes get caught against the escalator sides with the pram wheels, so that would be much safer.
      Buses are so much easier, but some can take forever! lol x

  5. I had a nightmare when I came to Britmums Old Street Station and Moorgate didn’t have any wheel chair access we had to carry the pushchair up and down the stairs with all our stuff.

    • It would have been easier for you to have gotten off at Shoreditch high street- as it’s a new line they all have lifts. xx

  6. You are braver than I am. I have only just started taking the kids on the tube - now they are both out of the pushchair. Buses were our preferred medium. I always used to park the pushchair with the kid looking outwards, rather than at the wall. An interested small person is a less likely to fuss small person.

    • I find the tube easier only because it’s the way I’m used to travelling. If I do use a bus he’s also always looking out. as long as he has something to look at he’s happy 😉 x

  7. Sling or carrier every time, if the baby is small enough! People don’t crowd you - they leap up and offer you their seat (unless you are a man - no one ever used to offer my husband a seat when he was carrying the baby). Also, escalators are easy alone with a pram - all you need is confidence and practice. I prefer going both up and down forwards (I do it several times a week, so I have experimented with all possible permutations) - backwards is logistically confusing and you’re probably making your life a bit harder than it needs to be. We need more tiny kids, disabled people and old people on the tube - BE the revolution.

  8. I’ve only used the tube with baby once in 14 months, my local station has stair entry only and the next one is escalator only so it’s too much hassle! Having a job that requires transporting heavy papers around made me hate stairs at stations when pregnant! Totally agree about buses, they’ve been brill, I really think we need to improve our tube system though, how do people with mobility problems manage?!

    • I never realised the extent of how hard the tubes must be for those with mobility problems until I had the baby. I know many parts of the underground are old, but to have a working lift at each one or a ramp style walkway would make life so much easier!

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