We’ve been having an amazing time in Japan and I’ll be posting more about the trip but first, here’s one on doing Tokyo with a baby.
When we first considered the option of bringing a 3-month-old Theo along to Tokyo, it seemed like an insane idea. But the thing you need to know about us is that we have these insane ideas and then we just do them. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t and sometimes, right in the middle of doing it, we’re all “WHAT DID WE JUST DO??!!” but then it’s too late and we figure out a way to roll with it.
Thankfully, this is one of those yay, it worked out times. Sort of. So if you ever decide to do Tokyo with a baby, perhaps this might help.
1. Contingency planning.
Have back ups. And back ups for your back ups. The baby will have a massive blowout kind of diaper situation at the most inopportune times and you will need to be prepared. At any given time, I have a stash of back up baby supplies with me and another set of back ups with the husband.
2. Bring a stroller.
Navigating the streets of Tokyo and the subway system with a stroller is surprisingly easy. People walk fast and it gets crowded but there are strollers everywhere so we were in good company. We brought along a Peg Perego that’s comfy enough for sleeping, plus it doubles up as a nappy changing station for those emergency situations I was talking about earlier.
3. There are nice baby rooms in malls. Use them.
We spent most of our time at the touristy places like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza and Harajuku so I can’t speak for the other areas but all these places have big malls and these big malls have great baby room facilities for nappy changes and baby feeding.
4. Breastfeed on the go.
I wasn’t sure if breastfeeding in public would be an issue in Tokyo but turns out, totally not a problem. I fed Theo everywhere in Tokyo – in the middle of Shibuya Crossing while being flanked by 5,000 people; strolling along Takeshita Street in Harajuku; in malls, restaurants and cafes. Whenever we stopped to eat, the baby ate too. So far, nobody has even given me a second look so I’d say it’s gone very well indeed.
5. Finding diapers in Tokyo is harder than it should be.
I thought that Tokyo, being the land of Goon and Merries, would have diapers available everywhere but diapers almost impossible to find here. We spent 2 days combing supermarkets, comvenience stores, drugstores and malls in Shinjuku and nothing… until we got to Odakyu and found 2 packs of Merries diapers hidden in a drawer on the 9th floor. HIDDEN. IN A TINY DRAWER like it’s a super secret prize in a ridiculous treasure hunt.
We asked like 5 people for omutsu until finally, a nice lady brought us to a corner and started digging around in a drawer for it. There were only 2 packs left, both in size S. It’s a tad small for Theo’s fat thighs but it seemed like these were the only 2 packs of diapers left in the whole of Shinjuku so GIVE IT TO ME I’M TAKING IT.
6. Have some serious skills.
There are some skills you need to have before you decide to venture into unfamiliar territory with a baby, such as changing a poopy diaper in tiny confined spaces. We were having desserts at Henri Charpentier when Theo decided to make the big poop. The toilet, while gorgeous, was tiny and didn’t have a changing room. I thought of changing him in the stroller but this wasn’t the sort of place to be seen scraping poop off a baby’s bare bottom. The nearest changing room was 5 minutes away in the rain.
So I did what I had to do while sitting on the toilet seat with the baby propped up on my crossed left leg. That badass move totally deserves some kind of advanced nappy changing award.
7. Relax and have fun.
Even with the most detailed plan, things will sometimes go wrong. Babies will get cranky and fuss and be upset and it’s ok. The first night in Tokyo, we were recovering from a red eye flight and I had already been up for 48 hours. Baby Theo decided he wanted to stay up till 3am to fuss, before sleeping in 45 minute stretches for the rest of the night. But after that terrible, terrible night, he’s been sleeping like a champ, one night for a record 6 hours straight.
Traveling with a baby can be challenging but I’m happy to have him here with us. Feeling his sleeping baby weight on my chest as we strolled down the streets of Tokyo exploring new places felt just right.
At just 3 months, this baby already has all the makings of a jetsetter.