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Moscow, Russia – getting there

The city with Seven Sisters. The Kremlin. St Basil’s Cathedral. GUM. Wow…this city is truly beautiful. But how good was it with Little Man? Let me start off by saying I don’t know any Russian, I’ve never been to Russia before and only looked briefly at a map before picking our hotel and sorting out how to get there from the airport. We did get a guidebook, though.

So, the details:
Travel to airport – car
Airline – BA
Bulkhead – yes
Travelling solo – no
How Little Man got to gate – sling
Age of Little Man – 5 months 3 weeks
Length of trip – 8 days

We arrived early evening into Domodedovo ( airport and through some really bad signage for a taxi rank, we ended up taking the Aeroexpress, the express train straight into Moscow. It was excellent – fast, clean and smoke free and took about 45 minutes to get to the circle line of the Moscow metro system. On arrival into Moscow, we deciphered the metro map to find whlinerrain that would take us close to our hotel and after an accidental wrong train, we made to the hotel without any major incident.

Modes of transportation on that first evening – Aeroexpress and Metro

My one complaint of the metro system was that it is not very friendly for anything requiring wheels. No elevators that we saw at all and only some stations had escalators. Of all the stations we went to, only a very few of them were completely step-free. What was really impressive, though, was that anyone who saw me (or my husband) go up or down stairs with the stroller, they would immediately pick up the other end and help carry it up or down the steps. The strange part of it was they would do it without any eye contact, not saying a word and most often even without a smile. They would just help as it it was a part of their being. A whole lot better than the London Underground…I learned the word “thank you” very quickly.

We arrived on the Sunday with Monday allowing for the three of us to see the sights before my husband had to work the rest of the week and I go solo.

My first impressions – fairly easy to manoeuvre around in the metro system and lots of possibilities of exploring solo.

Next up – a day of sightseeing with the whole family and then the rest of the time solo with Little Man…

What to pack…5 weeks old to 6 months…

I thought I’d start off with a packing list of what to bring. Our first trip we went a bit overboard, but I think most new parents do with their first trip abroad with a little baby.
We also packed rather hastily as we were on our way to see my grandmother and her health took a turn for the worse so we moved our trip up a few days. Since that first trip where Little Man was just 5 weeks, we have streamlined our packing so we can fit everything into one suitcase and one stroller bag.

Clothes – Plan for around one and a half the times of days. If you’re going for a week, pack around 10-12 outfits for your little one. We found it very helpful to do a load of wash during the trip so you don’t have to pack as much for you or your little one.
PJs – I expect Little Man to pee/poo through a couple of them, so one set for every few days
Socks – as many as you use
Sleep suit – this is a sleeveless sleeping bag that lots of companies make now. A great alternative to blankets for Little Man at night. We use a great one from Marino Kids that seems to work for all temperatures. Hotels tend to be too cold…
Jacket/sweater – helpful for chilly nights or air conditioning. We usually bring a jacket and one thick sweater and then a lighter one too
Toys – we have brought our play mat with us with the little bar and a couple of the dangling toys. Also a handful of other little toys of a variety of shapes, textures and noises you can bring out and switch up every day or so. We have been bringing around five or six little toys and the mat and haven’t gotten bored yet. It helps if some of the toys can double up and dangle on the stroller and car seat
Diapers (nappies) and other changing needs – plan for at least the first few days. Most countries will have Pampers and Huggies in pharmacies so you can stock up when you’re there. If you don’t want to use Pampers or Huggies, plan for the typical number of nappies you typically use plus a handful for those extra dirty days. We’ve done a combination of both. In Istanbul and Moscow, we brought all we needed for the trip, everywhere else, we bought extras there.
Books – we bring one or two mettle board books to read and play with
Stroller – everyone has their own preference. We haven’t gone the route of a lightweight umbrella stroller (yet) and are collapsing our day-to-day one in its travel bag and checking it in. The travel bag is big, but it works for us. We can fit a lot of Little Man’s things in the bag and most major airlines allow a stroller to be checked without counting it towards baggage allowance. We use a carrier (currently Beco Gemini) to get from checking in to the gate and then on the other side through to when we get to the hotel. That allows us with two sets of hands on both ends of flying instead of wrestling with a stroller too. We have been known to open up the stroller once we pick it up and use it as a luggage cart to make things a bit easier too.

For the plane…
Dress little one in something warm. Footed PJs, long onesie and socks, track suit, etc.
Bring a muslin (to cover up baby, yourself, extra hand towel, mop up drips…) and if you like a heavier blanket (receiving blanket weight probably) although the plane blankets work too.
Two or three toys – these would be a part of the total number of toys you’re bringing on the trip
Baby wipes – need I explain why?
U-shaped neck pillow – I’ve used it as an arm rest for feeding and also extra cushioning for Little Man during the flight
Hat – just in case…
Feeding – I breastfeed, so I don’t have to worry about any bottles or formulas. Friends who bottle feed have found a few things help.
Some companies make already sterilised bottles you can bring along to use.
Some airports allow you to order the ready-made containers of formula and you can pick them up on the other side of security so you don’t have to deal with opening up the containers and drinking them for security
Use powdered formula so you can then mix up what you need on the other side with bottled water
Solid food – we haven’t gotten there yet…stay tuned

We also were given a flight log book for Little Man on our first flight. Some airlines have one to give to young travellers that the captain or first officer then will fill out each flight. You can probably make your own too…but we’ve kept up with Little Man’s one from British Airways and we keep it tucked in his passport so we don’t forget it.

Starting off

I have a baby, for the sake of this site I’ll call him Little Man, who turns six months old today. He’s absolutely amazing and wonderful and fascinating and…well, I can go on and on about him. I also have an amazing and wonderful and fascinating (I can go on and on about him too) husband who I love dearly. We are currently living in London and are raising Little Man to love travelling as much as we do.

One interesting fact about Little Man is that he has already flown over 30,000 miles. How has he travelled so much, you’re asking? Well…living in the UK, I can get up to a year for maternity leave. My husband travels a lot for work so we are fortunate enough to travel with him.

This past week while wandering around Moscow, I found out that there aren’t many places online that provide information on travelling in certain areas with babies. Sure, there are loads of sites and books about travelling with kids, but not babies or very young children. Meaning tips on where to find the best and cleanest nappy changing areas, ramps for steps for strollers, places discreet enough to breastfeed, good sites and museums to visit and so on and so forth. So I thought I’d start writing about our adventures Travelling with Daddy and pass along any tips we have on travelling with a little one as well as any interesting and fun places we’ve discovered during our travels.
I’ll also go back in time and write about where we’ve already been (not in chronological order): US (Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC, Erie, Houston, Chicago), Switzerland, Turkey (Istanbul), Russia (Moscow) as well as in and around London and the UK.
I hope you enjoy my new adventure of writing this as well as any travels you end up taking with your little one(s).