The London Underground isn’t the most baby friendly form of transport, but it is perfectly possible to use it to get about with a baby in tow. And on the plus side it is free for under 11s. Plus baby D loves to break the unwritten rule about not making eye contact on the tube, thus freaking people out by staring at them for ages… These are my top 5 tips for travelling on the London Underground with a baby
5 tips for using the London Underground with a baby
- Make sure your Oyster/contactless payment card is strategically placed in an accessible pocket. You don’t want to be fumbling around looking for it whilst trying to hold a baby. Other Londoners enjoy huffing and puffing at people who are unprepared for the entrance/exit barriers.
- If you possibly can, use a sling or baby carrier on the tube. It is much easier to manoeuvre around stations and trains carrying your baby than with a buggy. Personally I prefer to front carry on the tube as it is easier to prevent baby being jostled. And it is easier to sit down.
- If you really need to take the buggy, then do. I have an enormous running buggy and actually it is not too bad taking it on the tube. If you can, plan your journey ahead to avoid changes, escalators and steps as far as possible. Transport for London produce guides to help you avoid steps. And they also give you the walking times between stations, so you might be able to avoid the tube all together. (There is also a toilet map, just in case of poo explosions.) I found that people were generally very helpful with offering to assist carrying the buggy up and down stairs where necessary. Despite Londoners unfriendly reputation.
- Avoid rush hour if you can. This seems to get longer and longer. I would guess avoid between 7.30 and 9.00 in the morning and anything from 16.30 to 19.00 in the evening. But it depends exactly where you are going; some parts of the network are busier than others.
- Don’t hurry and just keep calm. I know, easier said than done… Try to allow plenty of time for your journey. I soon discovered that everything seems to take twice as long with a baby along for the ride. I was always terrified about baby D having a full scale meltdown on the tube. But when baby D was tiny, she tended to fall asleep. And once she was older she liked to people watch. And you can always get off at the next stop.