What We Learned in Italy

Each country you visit with a baby teaches you a little bit more about traveling with children. Having traveled to Huatulco with our baby, we had notched Mexico on our belt. Italy was our second international trip and we learned a few things along the way.

Restaurant Conveniences - High chairs are not as rare as one might think... at least not in Rome. We found that probably 80% of restaurants had a high chair. Note: that's high chair, not chairs. The varied in size from normal to rather large and without a safety bar. Still... chances are you might find one. You'll also find local waiters extremely accommodating. Foreign-born waiters did not seem to be as nice or willing to help but we only encountered this at one place, a rather run-of-the-mill tourist stop that I wouldn't recommend. As for changing tables? Not going to happen. We had to change the baby on miniscule bathroom counters, on chairs in the back of a restaurant (thank you to the owners of La Matriciana) and in other random locations (see the picture of my hard at work). Either prepare to let your baby sit in a soiled diaper or be open to creativity.

The Flight - A few simple revelations here. First and foremost, buy your child a seat for the flight. Yes, yes, I know... "but it's expensive!?" AND it's safer - much safer for your baby. Besides, your child will have an easier time sleeping in their seat and you can occasionally have two free hands. If you're worried about lugging a car seat, get yourself one of the items I mentioned in one of my previous entries. We used a Pac Back. Second, if you can, book a bulkhead seat. You'll end up with more legroom, no reclining seats in front of you and, if you're on a big plane, tons of space to play, as you can see...

Packing - Pack more than you need when it comes to basic supplies for the actual journey - diapers, formula, baby food, etc. and have a good stash in your carry-on bag. Better to have too much stuff in transit for your baby than not enough. Let's put it this way - you can't buy diapers or formula in Newark Airport while waiting for your connecting flight. Once you get to your destination, you can go to a local market and stock up. Our baby learned to love Plasmon baby food. Second, bring a couple of new toys for the baby. They'll keep them fascinated. You don't have to spend a mint... just find a couple of $5.00 toys and they'll be happy.

Making the Process Easier - Work as a team. I don't really know how else to put this but have each person focus on certain tasks, split the duties and keep your cool.

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