Being a mom,  Travel

Mommy on Train – Traveling with Deutsche Bahn with an Infant.

I love going by train and I had been waiting to finally ride a train with our baby. Ever since the beginning of 2017 we had anxiously waited for the new super fast train line connecting Munich and Berlin. Yup, finally by the end of 2017 the fast connection was opened! Instead of excruciating 6,5 hours or more, it now only takes about 4 hours from Munich into the capital city. And it means for us: instead of 5,5 hours, it now only takes around 3 hours from Nuremberg to Berlin! Yippee!!

So when the big time finally arrived, I was beyond excited to finally try out the new train connection. And to make it even more special, we actually got to try the new connection with our 3 months old baby girl AND to be in the capital to celebrate the new year’s eve!

That was also our premiere to ride a train with our baby and I was honestly very nervous about it. Clemens and I had so many discussions about our luggage, about our pram and baby car seat.. It took us more than 3 weeks to finally decide, which stroller/seat we would actually take to Berlin with us! #crazy.. Considering these facts below, we finally decided to take our Maxi Cosi car seat along with the wheels AND our Manduca – baby carrier.

Pro

Contra

We don’t have to carry the baby during our walks in Berlin Even more luggage to carry and to stow in the train! 
By having our pram, we could carry our baby seat for cars -> in case we will ride car/taxi. Carrying the baby in the baby carrier is much more flexible for the walks / rides in buses or U-Bahn. There is no problem, in case there is no elevator in the U-Bahn-stations .
Baby is more protected from the harsh winter weather. Due to the limited space in the train, it can be stressful to stow away the voluminous pram. 
Baby can lie down and sleep more comfortably If baby is awake and she doesn’t like to lie down anymore, we still have to carry her.. If so, we’ll end up carrying the baby AND pushing the pram..
We have an extra space for our groceries in the pram basket, avoiding us to carry stuffs on our body. The temptation of going shopping with all the crazy sales will be drastically minimized, if strolling in Kudamm/Friedrichstrasse without having the extra pram basket.. GOOD for the wallet!
A lot of Berliner cafes and restaurants are so full and have limited space.. It would be no fun getting into (or out of) the restaurants with a big pram.. With the baby in the baby carrier, we can just get in and out of all places easily, without having to think about cramping up the places we’ll visit.

As for the luggage, we took with us our hiking rucksack (30 liter) and our 65 liter hard-case Samsonite. Especially during city trips within Germany/EU I only packed some diapers for the first night, since it is easy to buy more diapers and baby amenities, thus reducing our luggage remarkably.

Overall the train rides were very relaxing.. Because we can move around with the baby. In the newer ICE trains with baby-compartments, there is enough space for the babies to lie down. The diaper changing table is in the handicapped toilet and is very close to the family / baby compartment. There is usually enough space to stow the pram and your many luggages. After half way, Aurélie was always sleeping soundly, so that Clemens and I could actually relax.. The new ICE connection to Berlin was fast, that it almost felt like flying..

In the small baby compartment
In the family area

Berlin with our baby was just as nice as before baby. Aurélie seemed to like all restaurants we went to 😉

As we found the train trip to Berlin very relaxing, we decided to go to Cologne by train as Aurélie was almost 5 months old. And this was too very relaxing!

Here are some tipps on how to travel by Deutsche Bahn with a baby:

  • Book the tickets as early as it gets, so that you can still reserve the seats in the family area („Familienbereich“) or the small baby compartment („Kleinkindabteilung“). We bought our tickets one month before the trip and still got a very good price (120€ for us for a round trip, where seats were already included). Even when children and babies get to ride freely, we can still reserve their own seats. It is very convenient that the baby has her own seat, as we can put her to sleep there. The current reservation fee for a family is now 9€ for one direction.
  • Pack as lightly and with less luggage as possible.. The ICEs usually stop only for a couple of minutes, so that it will be much more relaxing if you only have one luggage. Rucksacks are actually the best option, especially if you carry a pram.
  • There is a special slot for prams in the wagon, where the family area and small-baby compartment are. Nevertheless the slot is not unlimited. If your baby can already sit down on his own, it’s best to bring a buggy instead of a pram. It is also very helpful to ask the train attendant for an alternative slot, if there is no space anymore.
  • As for baby amenities, it is very recommended to pack 1 diaper/hour, a blanket, one change clothing and a burp bib in your daily rucksack (so that you don’t have to pack out your main luggage, if anything happens during the trip). Pacifiers and some toys would also be very helpful. Of course, if you don’t breastfeed, you need to carry enough milk and hot water for the whole trip.
  • Luckily, people in Germany usually are very helpful. Once they see a woman carrying a baby AND luggages, they would usually offer for help. I was always nervous about getting in and out of the train with a baby and luggage and pram. But there are always people, who offer their hands. If not, don’t hesitate to ask! They rarely say No .. 🙂

I hope that this post can be helpful for those who want to travel by train with their babies! Have a nice trip then 🙂

Love,

Andina

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