Daddy is a big NFL (American Football) fan, so having a baby was not going to prevent him going to the games in London. I would not even consider taking a baby to most sporting events, but NFL games are pretty family-friendly. In 2016, three games were held in London, two at Wembley Stadium and one at Twickenham Stadium. The games are usually held in September and October. Here are my tips for taking a baby to the NFL games in London.
5 tips for taking a baby to the NFL games in London
- You will definitely need some headphones for your baby. NFL games are loud. We chose some Babybanz headphones. Daisy repeatedly took them off, but at least they protected her ears while she was napping.
- Definitely take a sling / compact baby carrier (for Twickenham a front carrier). The stadiums do not allow buggies / prams. And the sling gives your baby somewhere comfy to nap. Daisy loves her Tula and slept through somewhere between a quarter and three-quarters of each game. In fact, she missed the end of a very exciting Colts v Jaguars game at Wembley. Oh well. We can tell her all about it one day.
- You can take your baby for free to the games up to 18 months old. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend taking a baby that was too young. My main reason is that young babies have not had any vaccinations so being in a dense crowd does not seem a sensible idea. Also, I would not take a baby that was fully mobile, as they would not be happy sitting still for that long. With Daisy, I would have spent the entire time walking up and down the (terrifyingly steep) stadium steps. So that gives you a window of roughly between 5 and 10 months old where it might just about work.
- Take your normal day trip supplies with you – changing stuff, spare clothes, drinks and snacks. The blurb you get with your tickets says you shouldn’t take bags or drinks. But of course it is ok with a baby. Don’t worry about toys – there is no space and at the NFL games you will get flags to wave. Daisy enjoyed this, as well as randomly clapping.
- Practice changing your baby in awkward spots. Or cross your fingers that you don’t need to change them. I got away with it for 2 of the 3 games. But at one I had to do an awkward change-on-lap-whilst-hoping-she-doesn’t-pee. At Wembley there are baby change facilities in the accessible toilets. But you have to faff around getting a key from a steward.
Getting there (and more importantly away)
One of your biggest challenges of attending a sporting event at Wembley or Twickenham will be getting in and out of the place.
We are lucky enough to be close enough to Wembley to cycle (with Daisy in her bike seat). We took the same approach to Twickenham, parking some distance away and cycling the rest.
Arriving at the event by car or public transport is not too bad. Because of course not everyone arrives at exactly the same time. But at the end 80,000 people are all trying to leave the area at the same time. If you are travelling by car or public transport, be prepared to wait and leave after the main rush. Or skip out of the event early to avoid the main crowd.
Or you could of course book into a local hotel and make a weekend of it. This would definitely be the most stress-free way of doing it if you were travelling from further afield.