Many people have been saying how I’ve given them a different perspective on travel with kids through this blog and that it looks so glamorous to travel with a newborn. Well … allow me to be totally honest and frank. Travel with a newborn is not for the faint-hearted. It needs to be carefully planned and orchestrated to be worthwhile and enjoyable. And, if done alone, make sure you make friends wherever you go, so once in a while, you can go to the loo unencumbered 😉
Our flight to Berlin was perfect – we flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg without a hitch and then, after standing in the passport clearance queue for what seemed like an eternity, we boarded our business class flight (again, thanks to Lufthansa) and traversed the continent. Though they had arranged the bassinet up front for our little girl, she seemed more comfortable on my lap and spent about 10 hours sleeping on my chest. The best part about breastfeeding for me is the convenience of being able to feed whenever and where-ever, so on take off and landing, I make sure she is able to feed to facilitate the pressurization of her ears. I was able to eat dinner (most mom’s are able to eat with either hand and develop ambidexterity within a few weeks of the baby’s arrival) and sleep – watching a movie felt like an unnecessary waste of possible sleep hours and I always advise new moms to sleep whenever their babies are sleeping, if possible.
We arrived in Frankfurt, changed planes and nappies and arrived in Berlin. I was able to manage comfortably with the baby sling in front, Doona travel bag on my back (it only weighs 7 kilos and balances the baby in front well) and hand luggage on wheels in one hand and one big luggage piece in left hand. “Try on” your luggage at home and practice walking just to be sure you are able to get through busy airports. We got a taxi (the Doona got it’s usual oohs and aahs from other moms who were lugging around both strollers and baby seats) and made our way to our hotel in Berlin Mitte which is in the area where Fashion Week was held. The hotel was accommodating (pardon the pun, but I thought that was funny) and allowed us to check in 2 hours earlier than the check-in time, so we managed to freshen up and get ready for our first show. Most people are very helpful when you’re with a little baby. The concierge called a taxi for us and I offered to share it with two ladies (I use this term lightly here) who were evidently also on their way to Fashion Week at the Erica Hess Stadium just down the road. My first and only encounter with despicable self-centered Zoolander-like fashion characters were these two women who were glad that I offered to share my cab, but literally hijacked it and drove off as I was trying to load my newborn baby into the taxi. I stood there in shock at first, but later went up to them and told them it was rude. They just stared back blankly – oblivious to their own rudeness.
The first show we attended was Thomas Hanisch. This 22 year old has dressed Lady Gaga, which should give you an idea of his unorthodox approach to fashion. The music was almost trance-like and our little girl drifted into a dazed nap on my lap while I watched his models glide down the ramp in an almost PVC-like fabric. The fabric seemed amazing on the runway, but when I saw one of his friends after the show sweating up a storm, I realized it wasn’t quite suitable for an African summer and didn’t order any pieces.
After the show, our little South African group made our way down to the river Spree for a drink and some pizzas while we waited for our next show. A big thank you to Annette from The Fashion Agent, Lesley Whitter from Heart and Heritage (she won the Lufthansa First Best Collections Competition and hence the trip to Berlin) and Jackie May, the editor of Marie Claire who also doubled as my stroller pusher when needed. One day I will tell our baby girl she had the most stylish stroller assistant in Berlin 😉 My friend, Laura, from Hamburg also joined us later – she is working on an app that helps you decide what to wear based on the weather. Talk about intelligent fashion!
We later attended the Riani show which was dedicated to motherhood and started with a beautiful short film celebrating the sacred bond. I’ll be honest, I was moved to tears, but then again, my hormones are still raging post pregnancy and I cry even with cat-food commercials. All very wearable and I think more my style. The next day we attended the Philomena Zanetti show and it almost felt like Scandinavian cool fashion – simple, but interesting lines.
Anyway, in summary, yes, I’d do it again. In fact, I’m already planning our next trip! And yes, it’s possible to enjoy a trip alone with a newborn. But, you have to go with the flow and understand that a schedule is going to be impossible to maintain and if you over-plan your every minute, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Love and light,
Modern Mommy AKA Jo-Ann