As a second-time mother I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way: always pack an extra pair of clothes (for baby and for you!), coffee-time is me-time, and never underestimate the power of a cheap whirlygig to entertain your toddler for hours.
Another valuable lesson is to take care of yourself first. I feel like American parenting puts so much pressure on being the perfect mother, and so much emphasis on placating children that we’ve forgotten the golden rule of motherhood: a happy mom is a happy home. So this time around I decided to enjoy a little weekend babymoon with my girlfriends before the baby arrives — without my husband and firstborn. Sure, some Pinterest-perfect mom somewhere is going to huff, and puff, and proclaim how absolutely terrible that is. HOW COULD YOU LEAVE YOUR CHILD? OMG. But ya know what? She can pad around the house miserable all she wants — I need a break.
After researching some cheap and easy weekend adventures (Venice was on the shortlist…) I decided on Stockholm because it ticked the boxes of what I was looking for in this little babymoon: relaxation. After a quick up-and-down in the airplane, we arrived in Stockholm.
Pregnancy Travel Pro-Tip: Don’t forget compression socks! Swelling from air travel is no joke and they also help prevent deep vein thrombosis.
72-Hours in Stockholm
After landing and checking into our AirBNB, we immediately hit the town in search of something to eat — it was, after all, fika time in Stockholm! We ended up at the super charming 1920s bakery Veta-Katten. With a yummy array of traditional Swedish cakes and pastries, salads and sandwiches to satisfy the hungry tourist, it feels like stepping into an old-world café. Plus, self-service refills of coffee are FREE.
We then stopped into the Fotografiska museum to check out the Patrick Demarchelier exhibit (we are Parisians, after all!).
After, we grabbed some cocktails in the museum café. The café at Fotografiska has one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Stockholm. Grab a window seat and enjoy the brilliant sunset view off Djurgården, the Old Town, and Skeppsholmen.
The following morning we decided to venture outside Stockholm and explore the archipelago. Stockholm itself is actually a collection of tiny islands, but just a short ferry ride away you can really discover the spirit of Swedish life.
The word of the year may be ‘hygge’, the Danish concept of getting cozy, but on the island of Vaxholm I discovered the Swedish concept of ‘lagom’. It’s the idea of not too little, not too much; and it perfectly encapsulates what I found here. First, the food is PHENOMENAL in Sweden. Especially if you’re looking to eat healthy. There’s plenty of fresh smoked salmon or avocado on toast. But you can follow it up with a sweet treat and rich black coffee. Not too little, not too much!
On the island of Vaxholm I discovered the Swedish concept of ‘lagom’. It’s the idea of not too little, not too much.
On the last day in Stockholm we went into full-on tourist mode with a trip to the Vasa Museum and Skansen. The Vasa Museum is an amazing retelling of the Swedish warship, the Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. After hundreds of years preserved beneath the salty, cold Stockholm harbor, it was raised in nearly perfect condition. It’s a truly beautiful work of art and an amazing part of Swedish maritime history. Best of all, the museum was far from crowded so you could take your time to enjoy and relish in the experience. I have to admit, it’s a luxury that’s sorely lacking in Parisian museums!
Skansen is an open air historical museum that showcases idyllic turn-of-the-century Swedish country life. With fully refurbished historical buildings, knowledgeable historical actors, and arts & crafts for purchase, it’s a great place to bring kids (if you’re NOT on a child-free babymoon!) and enjoy traditional Swedish foods like homemade meatballs.
Another unmissable spot in Stockholm is famous historical downtown Gamlastan, known as the Old Towne of Stockholm. With it’s traditional Swedish architecture, and of course, more fika time, I was absolutely charmed. You could wander for hours here, which is normally what I like to do, but since we were pressed for time we simply wandered a bit, checked into some cute little shops, and stumbled upon the narrowest street in Stockholm (Mårten Trotzigs gränd) which is only 35 inches wide! This was one of the only places in Stockholm insufferably crowded – although at 35 inches wide it doesn’t take many people to make a crowd!
Being pregnant on holiday will take a lot out of you. Yes, my feet swelled. Yes, it took me more time to get around the city. And yes, relentless pee-breaks were obnoxious and I wished I didn’t have to monitor my caffeine intake for fika time so closely (otherwise I’d be guzzling black coffee like it was going out of style). All in all, Stockholm was the perfect babymoon getaway. Between the refreshing cold air (pollution-free!) and the amazing food (literally everything I ate was hands-down awesome), I could not have asked for a more relaxing weekend to spend with friends… and get one last respite before life as a family of four!