On our trip to Rome, we stayed for 9 days. What about just being in Rome with a Baby? What do you need to know about traveling Rome with your infant? Well perfect, let me take the time to think about my experience and share it with you.
Staying in Rome
On our last European adventure, we took advantage of husbands hotel rewards program and stayed in some swanky hotels that had us very spoiled. We knew with my brother in tow, and a baby, that this might not be the best idea. Instead, I started looking for an apartment. For about the same price as a hotel I could get us two rooms and a living space that we could be social in. We’d also get some kitchen facilities for breakfast and maybe even a laundry facility.
Because I had experience with airbnb, I spent a couple days looking at apartments. I found something close to the Colosseum and a metro line. I found something with a nice lay out and two bedrooms. I found something for under $150CDN/night.
To the spoiled traveler, the biggest downside of an airbnb is that you don’t have room service. The biggest perk is you have privacy and space. I really enjoyed the experience. I loved having a kitchen and a space for the kid to play and roll around. It was nice to have a table to come together at, and it was in a great location. We walked almost everywhere. Monti was a great neighbourhood for us. It was a little bit of a inner twinge of guilt when the baby was crying late at night and you knew you were probably waking up the neighbours, but I think that just comes with traveling with a baby.
Exploring with Baby
Some days we explored while baby wearing and some days we explored with the stroller. It depended on the mood we were in. The cobblestone isn’t too tough to navigate with a stroller, and there are babies in strollers everywhere. Baby wearing was always much easier, but I never really did see other people wearing their babies.
Your baby will be celebrity. Maybe it’s because Walter is the cutest, but it’s also because babies are few and far between in Italy. People love babies. Don’t be surprised if you get stopped to talk to your baby. I have no idea what people were saying, but I picked up a few basics in Italian. Often the words “Bambini!” were enthusiastically said, or “bellissimo, bellissimo!” I know it my baby is absolutely LOVELY.
Taking the Metro with Baby
We only took the Metro twice. The first time was on a Sunday to the Vatican and it was easy breezy. There weren’t many people on the metro, and we mastered the stations with ease.
The metro is totally affordable and gets you where you need to go. Baby wearing is probably the most ideal because it makes running for a train easy, and navigating stations convenient. Waiting in line for an elevator can take forever since many of the stations were a myriad of different stairs and escalators.
We did take the metro during rush hour traffic with our stroller and baby and this was a BAD IDEA. During rush hour the trains are PACKED! We waited for 3 or 4 trains before finding one. I would avoid this. It probably would have been easier to walk. We actually considered just walking 40 minutes instead. There wasn’t room for the baby in the stroller, let alone the stroller collapsed. #badidea
Eating Out with Baby
Have I mentioned Italians love babies? Seriously, the love them. Waiters will play with them, kitchen staff will adore them and it’s like traveling with a celebrity.
Dinner time in Europe isn’t until 7pm. Most restaurants don’t open till 7pm. This really puts a twist in your life. This is around the time I’m working on putting the baby to sleep. Walter wasn’t going sleep, because we needed to eat. We ate promptly at 7pm. Restaurants quickly filled up around us and we were usually out by 8pm.
Most restaurants we went to had a high chair. Ask for one. In our experience there was one available more often than not.
Most restaurants will not have a change table. Try to change your baby before hand, otherwise you’ll be doing it on the floor of the bathroom. ick. (Chlorex wipes to the rescue).
Don’t forget it’s easy to breastfed your baby in Rome. I never had any problems.
Diapers and More
Change tables are not always accessible. I would say your chances of finding one in a restaurant was just as challenging as it is in Canada. I found them at most museums and attractions, but not elsewhere. Shamelessly, I changed my baby whenever and wherever I needed.
Next time, I’d just bring my own diapers. I really struggled to find diapers in Walter’s size. In a grocery store in the Naples train station, I finally found a bigger selection and I found Walter’s size (size 4). Earlier the little corner stores only had a few dusty expensive options. I bought size 5 diapers in desperation and made them work. Thankfully, this cloth diaper mama had brought her diaper covers and was able to make it work.
I often found diapers to be expensive, about 50 cents a piece. I’m sure if you are a Roman you have the tricks and know where diapers are cheaper. I was on holidays and living in the downtown area. I wasn’t going to go bargain hunting for diapers on my holiday. I found it a pain in my time to have to remember to go find diapers because we were almost out or needed more. Next time I’ll just pack a couple of packages of buggies in my suit case. They’ll be gone by the end of the trip and I’ll have more room for souvenirs!
If you have a trick, fi there is something I’m missing on the diapers in Rome quest, drop a comment. Let me and others know!
General Life Hacks in Rome
Rome is super walkable. We walked everywhere all the time. It takes some time to get your bearings, but if you get a map on your phone you’ll master it. We walked to and from the Vatican, 40 minutes away. Stop a couple times for gelato and you are good.
Rome is super comfortable and easy going. I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. However, there are people trying to sell you stuff EVERYWHERE. Don’t stop, just keep going. You don’t need African bracelets, they aren’t free even if they say the are. Don’t buy a selfie stick, that’s embarrassing. Just act like you are on a mission, ignore them, keep going. It’s hard, its obnoxious, but they are everywhere. Be strong, you have this.
There are public water fountains EVERYWHERE. I bought a case of water, and then filled up my water whenever I saw a spout. It’s the most amazing cold refreshing water. You can’t go wrong. Better than whats in the taps and better than whats in the bottle. If you are even smarter, just bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up on the go. Don’t buy water in Rome. That’s a rookie mistake!
Always order an expresso at the end of the meal. It’s the only way. It truly makes a world of digestive difference. I always felt better, and I always hated the expresso. But do as the Italian’s do, and drink an after meal digestive – a shot of expresso.
Always eat chocolate for breakfast. It’s a must. Again, do as the Italians do and eat a chocolate croissant. You only live once.
It’s okay if you spend your entire trip living on pizza, pasta and gelato. We can talk healthy lifestyle back at home. Don’t forget to try the prosciutto, you wont regret it. Also, check out a market and get some fresh produce. The oranges and pears are amazing. It’s all amazing.
I think that’s all I’ve got. Have you been to Rome? What did you think?