Baby Does Europe (& NYC)

Full disclaimer: I’m that mom that said while pregnant, I wanted to take advantage of my baby flying free to Europe until 3 years old. I told friends, family and anyone that in the first year I looked forward to our family vacation overseas. Note, this was before a trip was ever planned, it was my daydream…Well, I almost made the one year mark. At 13 months we took Baby B on her first major vacation to Italy with a stop over in NYC (both going and coming back).

She did great and was a champ. This wasn’t her first flight and we broke up the trip with a stop in NYC each way. This made the time change almost nonexistent. I highly recommend if coming from the west coast doing this. I also defiantly know  breastfeeding is one of the reason she also is a great traveler. I swear it’s the all mighty problem solver and make tears instantly disappear, the boobs are powerful. In addition, we never have issues when flying with her ears hurting or crying when taking off and landing. Again, I swear it’s the boob.

While in NYC Baby B got to experience her first Broadway play, Aladdin. We were a little nervous going to the show that she might not be able to hang, but she sat watching the whole play with complete concentration and entertainment. I think she might be a theater girl. I will say as a mom, I was delighted that she was one of the best behaved and was one of the youngest. We enjoyed our time in NYC with her, but the real adventure was going across the pond to Europe.

This European trip was different from anyone I’d done before not because of the baby, but because we stayed in one location and rented a car. Usually we just train and city hop our way around the Countries. This time we picked one country and took only day trips to near by cities. Italy it was and to be more specific it was Montecantini Terme about 30 minutes out of Florence. It’s in between Lucca and Florence, so excellent location to call home base.

Driving in Italy was a breeze and the car was a wagon with a car seat, so plenty of room. We picked this Country as we are very familiar and felt like regardless of what could happen we would enjoy our time here. The new experience for us in Italy was staying in Montecantini Terme. We had never been there and I honestly can’t say enough positive things about it. It was clean, full of attractions, great cafes, high end stores, as well as extremely child/family friendly. There were children’s parks and stores almost every other block. It’s the winter time now, but in the Spring/Summer this city with it’s thermal and mineral spas would be incredible. Many were closed during this time, but I would love to come back and experience them.

We also really loved the city of Lucca, its beyond charming. Pisa was also a new city for us and it’s a one and done kinda spot. Happy we saw it, took the very tourist photo of holding the leaning tower and that was about it. Lucca on the other hand, was where we had one of the best meals of the trip in a very quaint and highly regarded family restaurant called, “Leo’s”.. I read about it in, Tuscany for the Shameless Hedonist. Good book if you are going to have a car in Tuscany and day trip like us.

I will say that having an iPad was essential and now is a must travel item. It was a great tool to have. I used to say I didn’t want my child on the iPad, but on the plane I couldn’t imagine not having it. We don’t take it out with us only on the plane and in the hotel rooms, so it’s not that bad (yet).

One quick hotel room tip: We used a bed sheet in the hotel room on the floor as her “space”. We put her toys, snacks and it was a clean safe spot for her. It worked out really well and also we didn’t need to worry about the dirty carpet in the rooms. Since we co-sleep there was no issues with bedtime or where to have baby sleep.

We also don’t travel with a stroller for multiple reasons, but the main one is it’s a major pain in the ass. I just wore her in the carriers I brought and it was perfect.

For food for the baby we would purchase the most beautiful fresh produce at local markets (like apples & bananas) and whatever we ate she would enjoy as well. It was wonderful to let her experience different food and flavors while traveling. She did get her first gelato on this trip. It just seemed appropriate. When in Rome, right?!

My advice is travel with your baby as much as you can. We loved making the memories and sharing the experiences with her. It’s priceless.

Here are some of the candid family shots of us enjoying Italy and NYC.

Now- go travel!

-XO

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