Last week, I posted a two part article-slash-survival-guide on traveling with babies and toddlers. The first one focused mostly on getting to the airport, checking in and going through security. The second part focused on the activities after that – waiting for your flight, boarding and finally flying.
Today, I’ll talk about another travel-related topic, which is actually just as important, and that’s preparing for the trip and packing the right essentials. When it comes to packing, it’s important to pack right and bring everything you need. Indeed, any roadtrip adventure can quickly turn into a nightmare of sorts if you forget any essential item. Imagine taking a five hour flight, only to remember that you didn’t pack enough formula? Or, going on a roadtrip without your little one’s favorite toy or security blanket. In order to prevent a harrowing experience while travelling, create a packing list ahead of time to ensure that you have the items that you’d need.
Here are some essentials that you should not forget:
- Comfortable clothes that aren’t too bulky are a must-have when you’re traveling. If you’re going on a roadtrip, make sure that your bag has extra clothes, which will come in handy when there’s spillage or an “accident”. It’s also useful when your kid becomes drenched in sweat. Bring cottong wipes and swaddle blankets for small infants, too!
- If your toddler is not yet potty trained, make sure that you have extra diapers on hand as well. It’s never a good idea for your kid to stay in a soggy diaper, since it may lead to redness and rashes.
- Baby wipes are useful to wipe off any stains or runny noses – it’s a plus if your baby wipes contains antibacterial properties. Make sure that your baby isn’t allergic to any ingredients of the baby wipes.
- Alcohol or hand gel is an essential part of the trip as well. It’s always a good idea to disinfect your hands, baby’s hands, and the general surrounding when you’re traveling, especially if you’re in a public vehicle or a plane.
- Bring a first aid kit if this is your first time traveling with your toddler. Make sure to include disinfectant for cuts, medicine for queasy stomach, fever or headache medicine just in case your child feels out of sorts during the traveling period.
- Depending on the season, you may need some sunscreen to shield your child’s skin from the harsh rays of the sun, or you may need some extra blankets or mittens in order to keep the cold at bay.
- Disposable baggies are a must-have when you’re traveling in order to store those rubbish and trash that you are bound to collect en route to your destination.
- Make sure that you don’t forget your child’s “lovey” or plush back at home! You don’t know how many parents have endured howling and tantrums just because they’ve forgotten their child’s security blanket back at home.
- Food – bring formula, bottles and snacks. You may want to use bottles that hold “drop ins” or disposable liners, or formula in single-serve ready to feed bottles.
Traveling with a toddler can put you at risk for a wide range of unideal situations, but you can alleviate your stress levels by preparing the essentials. Don’t forget some fun games and stories to play during travel time, too. Don’t forget to enjoy!
While I’ve mostly talked about baby tips and lists of the best baby products, today I’ll delve into something a bit more serious – and that’s sustainable living.
With hectic schedules, little time and limited budgets , it can be difficult and expensive to seek out organic food alternatives. However, store-bought and commercialized food is a part of an unsustainable food system. It’s processed systematically and riddled with chemicals and preservatives, things that you don’t want in your body. Taking care of your health is the best thing that you can do to yourself, and starting with the things you eat is a part of a huge lifestyle change that will help you feel and look better. Choose the benefits that come with sustainable eating.
What is Sustainable Eating?
Our attention has been called to read labels to avoid certain ingredients in food, but we fail to realize that the best food are actually those which do not have labels, since they come directly from organic, free-range farms or even our own backyards. Partaking in sustainable eating helps us improve the quality of our diet, and our health, since we are not exposed to chemicals or preservatives that can damage our bodies.
Going sustainable is also better for the environment, since it does not make use of any synthetic materials that will seep into the soil and water. It also supports local farms and improves local economies, rather than giving additional profit to bigger corporations which disregards our need for a healthful body and safer environment.
How Can You Do Sustainable Eating?
- Take the time to seek out a farmer’s market and prepare an entire meal out of the things that you have bought. No preservatives, no chemicals, everything’s truly organic.
- Check out the Slow Food Movement in order to learn more about sustainable eating.
- Even if you don’t really have a green thumb, take the time to grow vegetables or fruits that don’t require much work. Some of these are tomatoes, carrots, and basil. Get the kids to help you and start them early!
- Research on fruits and vegetables that are in season in order to ensure that you’re getting the freshest products.
Sustainable eating has been around since time immemorial, until preservatives and other compounds have been introduced into our diet. If you have time, it helps to do a complete turnaround and change the way you eat. Your family’s health will definitely be better.
But, that’s not all. You can take things up to the next level by supporting different products (not just food) that are manufactured through sustainable practices. Many brands, like California Baby, for example follow sustainable business practices and use organic and biodegradable ingredients. Babyletto cribs, apart from being beautiful pieces of furniture, are great picks use 100% sustainable New Zealand pine that’s quick to grow and replace. The Eco Friendly Cotton Blanket uses natural cotton. Not as soft as poly-fibers but they’re the real thing!
What about you, are there other ways you can recommend to promote sustainable living?
Now we have finally gotten you past security and are already waiting for your flight. Here are some things that you can do:
- Check out a play area or an empty gate for your little one to play in
- Use this time to buy snacks and pick up drinks for the flight. Some flights will not allow you to carry milk onboard, so buy bottled water during this time
- Ask airport officials or agents for a nursing or pumping station
- Use this time to put your baby or little one in a new diaper
Airlines prioritize families with small children during boarding, so make use of this chance to get on the plane first and get yourself organized. If you can split up, have one parent go ahead with all the carry on baggage, and the other parent to stay behind with the kids.
Once on board, make sure that all necessary items that you need are within reach before takeoff. These include snacks, milk bottles, baby wipes, diapers and other essentials. If your toddler is to take their own seat during takeoff, make sure that you discuss your expectations with them before flying to avoid tantrums.
Babies and toddlers often cry during takeoff and landing, mostly because of air pressure, and unless they are asleep, you will need to help them. Gum can be helpful with older children, but for babies, you can let them use a pacifier or a bottle.
Babies often sleep well during flights because the motion of the plane an the noise of the engine provide a soothing environment for them. Keep fun and quite activities with you like crayons, coloring books, videos and games like Travel Tangoes that your child an watch when they are sitting in the flight. Bring toys, but try to make them last so don’t take them out all at once.
During turbulence, the FAA recommends that you hold your baby in a way that provides uniform support to their neck, head and body to minimize injury caused by flailing. Keep yourself calm in front of your toddler and tell them a story or keep them preoccupied so they do not feel stressed.
When the plane lands, it is best to wait until all other passengers have deplaned before you do. This gives you time to gather all your belongings and make sure that you do not leave anything. Waiting to deplane last also allows aircraft crew to set up your child’s stroller so that it’s ready by the time you get down.
There you have it – tips to help you survive your travel and plane ride to your destination. Have fun with your vacation!
The prospect of bringing your toddler on a vacation can be fun and exciting. But if you are a regular traveler, you definitely have an idea of how tiring trips can be. Heavy carry-on bags, long queues at the airport, warm (or too cold) waiting areas and cramped airline seats – there are far worse things. How much more when you have a bouncing baby or an energetic toddler with you?
While it definitely helps to fly business or first class and bring a nanny with you, that isn’t really a reality for everyone. The next best thing? Plan your trip properly, and here are some tips for you to do so:
Checking in and flying
Let’s start with the most stressful part – and that’s getting to the airport, staying in the airport and flying to your destination. First tip: get to the airport early! Think nothing is worse than having a mini-heart attack inside your vehicle because you don’t know if you will make it in time for your flight? There is – it’s being in the same situation but having a crying baby beside you!
Also, getting through airport security and checkin counters can be time consuming, and you can’t expect yourself to make a mad dash to the boarding gates with a baby in tow. The extra time in the airport gives you time to settle or give your child some time to play (you can find a play area or empty gate) before flights. Make use of online checkin when you can, so you can secure your seat assignment online and print your boarding pass already. Don’t forget to pack your itinerary and a map of your destination.
If possible, book a hotel with airport transfers, so you don’t have to struggle to find your hotel, especially when the kids are tired after the flight.
Getting to the airport
If you live in an urban area with good public transportation, getting to the airport can be quite a challenge. You’ll need to bring a car seat, which can be difficult to do if you’re taking a taxi or asking someone to drop you off . If you are taking very short trips (think: two to four days), consider off-airport parking. For longer trips, find a car service which has car seats to drop you off and pick you up at the airport.
Online checkin is a blessing for many parents and if this is the case, then you’ll probably just need to drop off your baggage at the bag drop counter.
If the line is long (as it usually is), make use of open spaces at the airport to let your kids run around, while one parent lines up to check the bags. Make sure you don’t go too far in case the agent needs to see IDs or see the passengers
Bring your stroller with you – unless you plan to just use a sling when boarding. Many airlines allow you to push your stroller all they way to the boarding gate, after which they’ll check it at the gate, store it for you and have it ready when you deplane.
To avoid losing your stroller – make sure it has a tag with your name, address and contact details. Make sure that you check with your airline about baggage restrictions, too as baby items like strollers and car seats may not be part of your baggage allowance but the baby’s.
Breezing through security
Security checks are non-negotiable. You have to go through them, and the kids have to go through them as well. Make this stage a breeze by making sure everything is organized in advance. Having loose items and stuff under the stroller basket will take a lot of work for you to gather everything and you may end up leaving something behind.
As with toddlers, make it a point to explain to them what exactly will happen, so they won’t be afraid to remove their shoes and place their toys on the conveyor belt. Most airports have a family lane which employs extra agents to help families get their belongings. Use this lane when you can.
Keep your identification cards and boarding passes within easy reach up until boarding time. Whew. That sounded like a lot of work…. But there’s definitely more and we’ll talk about that on the next post.
You will never run out of breastfeeding tips to keep note of, whether you’re a breastfeeding veteran or a newbie mom. Ask any mom – they’ll tell you that each baby has his or her own preferences, strengths and weaknesses, and this runs true even with breastfeeding. This article will tackle common tips that may help you in your journey.
Tip 1: Attend a breastfeeding class or a La Leche League Meeting.
Every baby is different when it comes to breastfeeding. There will be some who will easily latch on, while there will be others who will prove to be more difficult and take more time. If you’re a new mother, you may benefit from attending a breastfeeding class offered in your local hospital or even a La Leche League meeting near your place. The best piece of advice that you can learn from these classes and meetings is that despite the rocky start of breastfeeding, you and your baby will eventually find your own rhythm, as long as you persevere. If you can’t find classes or groups in your locality, join forums and groups online.
Tip 2: Make sure that your baby has latched on properly.
Unfortunately, latching on may not come naturally for most mothers. It may take a few frustrating days before your baby can latch on, and even then you have to note if they’ve latched on properly, where your baby’s mouth has covered almost the entire underside of your nipple.
Tip 3: Trust your instincts.
There are a lot of conflicting ideas about this one – it’s either you keep track of the time that you breastfeed your baby and that you keep a strict schedule, or you allow your child to nurse as long as he or she wants and nurse them again the moment they start rooting or crying. In this regard, trust your instincts.
Tip 4: Don’t suffer in silence when your nipples become cracked and bleeding.
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you may develop mastitis, cracked and bleeding nipples, and even clogged milk ducts. This may be a result of the baby’s improper latching, and it can cause days and nights of stress, discomfort and pain. You can make use of nature’s remedies by seeking out herbs that can heal these conditions, such as lecithin, which prevents the clogging of milk ducts; alfalfa, for rich, nutritious milk; lanolin oil or cream, to prevent cracking and bleeding nipples; and blessed thistle, for increasing the flow of milk. Check out various products designed to help make things easier for you such as nipple shields or specially designed nursing bras.
Tip 5: Relax!
Even if your baby can’t seem to latch on and you’re experiencing a lot of frustrations, just relax. Nursing is supposed to be a bonding time between you and your baby, and your baby can tell if you’re tensed and stressed. Invest in a breastfeeding pillow or a nursing stool to help keep you relaxed. Keep in mind that every bump in the road as a learning experience.
Do you have any tips to share for other breastfeeding moms?
It’s never too early to start honing your child’s artistic skills. Drawing, coloring, finger painting, molding and cutting promotes your child’s creativity and ability to think outside the box, improve hand-eye coordination and strengthen fine motor skills. However, since children are also prone to putting things into their mouth, you have to make sure that the art materials that you are providing are safe and toxic-free. Here are our topic picks for non-toxic art materials that you can use during your creative bonding moments.
Mr. Sketch Scented Markers
Teach your little one the different hues with the help of the twelve vibrant shades of Mr. Sketch Scented Markers. The product comes from a trusted educator’s brand of premium coloring products, and it has been certified as a non-toxic product which is safe for your little tot. The bright water-based markers will last you for a long time, since it has at least twice the ink of leading competitors, plus you only have to use a small amount since a little goes a long way.
Chalk Ink 6MM Classic Wet Wipe Markers
Chalk Ink produces one of the highest quality chalk markers since 2005. These wet wipe markers can be used on a variety of surfaces such as mirrors, plastics, chalkboards, ceramics, decor and even glass, in such a way that you only have to use your imagination on where to use it. The eight creative, catchy names will surely capture your child’s attention: clown nose red, piggy bank pink, chalk white, and smiley face yellow, just to name a few. Its chisel tips produce water-based pigment ink which can be easily cleaned with ammonia-based cleaners, making the cleaning experience an easy, hassle-free one.
Crayola Fingerpaints Bold and Secondary Colors
Enhance your child’s gross motor skills with Crayola Fingerprints Bold and Secondary Colors. Make your finger painting sessions fun and memorable with the use of washable finger paints that are enclosed in easy squeeze tubes whose flow you can easily control with the help of the flip top cap.
Melissa & Doug Shape, Model and Mold
Playing with clay has never been this fun! The eye-catching clays are in reds, yellows, blues and greens will surely entice your child to make his own fun shapes and objects, making it the perfect choice for honing the fine motor skills, finger strength and creative expression. This set includes wooden stamping cubes, rolling pins, patterned wheel presses and different cute animal molds on top of each tub.
50 Assorted Plastic Stamps
Got tons of letters to send? Make this a bonding session by encouraging your child to help you with the letter sending and sorting by equipping him with any of the 50 assorted plastic stamps. It includes a wide array of bugs, animals, symbols, smileys and even dinosaurs.
Dough Tools – 5 Piece Assortment
Kids will have fun rolling dough with the various cylindrical tools such as the flower roller, zig zag cutting roller, round cutting roller, plastic blade and the double-sided large hobby craft tool. These are made of durable plastic, preventing the risk of easily breaking. You don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning it as well – it’s easily washable. Best for kids above 3 years of age.
Art time with your child is a soothing yet stimulating activity that provides mental, psychological and physical benefits to both you and your child. It’s a good bonding activity that you must take part in so that you can improve and facilitate your child’s love for the arts and learning.