Category Archives: Travel with baby

Baby swimming, pools and oceans

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Pools:

BabyM first experienced swimming at 9 months old in Seattle in August. M and I carried him into the pool and he looked around bewildered. Within a few minutes he got a bit cold so BabyM and I curled up in towels near the pool. That’s when M decided it was time to dive in on the other side of the pool and swam towards us. Screaming and crying insued and would not be calmed until we were safely inside. For two weeks afterwards BabyM hated bath time and anything else involving water. However, he had to endure us picnicking by the pool, and watching his older cousins play in the pool. Finally he stuck his feet in a puddle of water next to the pool and plopped down splashing and giggling.

Don’t take me out of the puddle!

Can we go swimming?


The next time we took him into the pool was at twilight with the pool lights on. He was calm as he took it all in, splashed a bit and decided pools were okay. After that he wanted to be in the pool any time we were close to it!

Baby swimming:

We attended three baby swimming classes with BabyM while we were in Germany in September. Since BabyM enjoyed swimming so much we were eager to get him back in the water. While I expected any chance to play with him in the pool to be fun, I was surprised at how much I learned in the classes! The basic premise is that you can teach young babies how to float on their backs and how to roll onto their backs if anything should happen. During the lessons the babies are exposed to different water scenarios; getting splashed, floating, rolling onto their backs and even diving. Even more exciting was that after the 45 minute classes, BabyM would sleep for longer stretches at night!

Baby pool!


Baby pool:

We visited a friend who had a baby pool set up in their backyard and realized we needed to get BabyM a pool of his own. The more time we can splash the better! Of course, that pool is now being used as a toy box in our Airbnb in Lisbon.

Baby pool or toy box?


The Ocean:

We tried to take BabyM on a walk along the Pacific Ocean at Redondo beach in February but he complained about the wind so he barely even glimpsed the ocean before we left. A week later we wandered along the beach in La Jolla where it was less windy and he slept most of the way. However, the first time we brought him to the Ocean with the intention of going into the water was in Portugal when he was just under 11 months old.

Running after waves in the sand is exhausting!


As usual, first the beach was terrifying for BabyM. Then he took a nap and had a snack and all of a sudden the sand was interesting enough to distract him from his fears. Before long he was watching a boy about a year older playing with a toy cement truck at the waters edge. Then BabyM found his own feet in the water as the waves crashed onto the beach, and just like that he forgot to be scared.

Birthdays, a bike trip and a 6 1/2 month old baby

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When we lived in California, M and I would go on bike rides when we had some free time. Both of us would also frequently bike into work. So, it’s no surprise that after having BabyM we were interested in continuing the biking trips. As I looked into biking with a baby, I came across numerous requirements before BabyM would be fit to biking. One notable requirement was that BabyM be at least a year old.

Now, one of the things we have come to realize in the last year, is that what is considered safe and normal in one country is not in another. Car seats approved for use in Europe and the US are different. Biking is another area of disagreement with Americans thinking the baby needs to be at least a year old, whereas Germans are happy to start biking much earlier. For the trip we borrowed a bike trailer from M’s cousin. It came with a styrofoam insert for babies younger than a year. He giggled the first time he took a ride in it and fell asleep in it easily, unlike when he’s in his car seat.

BabyM napping in the trailer during a lunch break.

We chose a route along the Rhine river between Bingen and Bad Breisig which is just north of Koblenz. The route was flat and famous for the sheer number of castles. We biked for three days for about two hours a day, leaving us plenty of time to explore the small towns along the way. I borrowed M’s mom’s electric bike and pulled the trailer, while M carried a backpack and the bike saddle bags. Each time we went up a small incline I was able to whiz right by him with the aid of the battery pack!

BabyM, J and a castle

Stopping to lather on the sunscreen.

Ooooh! Pretty castle!

Bike path is right along the river bank.

 

Every night we would look at the weather, and it would inform us of an impending thunderstorm the next day. After much worrying, it only ever rained on us as we rode the one mile to the train station the day we went back to M’s home town.

Koblenz, Germany

Bike break on a playground!


In the end, our verdict is that bike trips with babies are entirely possible.