mom and baby activities Archives - 10 to 12 Baby Lounge

10 Ways to Survive Traveling with a Baby

Guest Written By: Elle Sikorski 
Instagram: @ellevatehealth 
Blog: www.ellevatehealth.com

So long to the days when your biggest travel worry was whether your bag exceeded the allowable weight limit. As new moms, we’ve got a whole new set of concerns when it comes to traveling. In fact, the thought of going anywhere with your infant is one that can send any parent into a panic. Worried about what to pack, anxious about what the other passengers may think when baby is crying, and most importantly, concerned for the disruption of baby’s schedule are just a few of the many concerns a new mom will have while trip-planning. Call me crazy, but when my son, Benjamin, was just 16 weeks old, he, my husband and I took our first trip to Turks and Caicos. Two weeks later, Benjamin, my husband and I boarded an international flight to Poland for a week-long visit with family —on the way back it was just Ben and I alone. If my husband were able to come, he would have. We both felt that it was important for my family to meet Benjamin at this early age. When it comes to travel, I have done my fair share, however, traveling with a baby was a completely new challenge. It was crazy, memorable and fun! So, if you are a new mom and have been avoiding traveling with your baby, I can assure you that is not the nightmare you imagine it will be. Here’s what I learned about traveling with a baby and what I would like to pass on to other jet-setting mamas. 

1. Roll baby’s clothes when packing.

First, arrange all the clothes by outfit, then get rolling. Rolling saves you a TON of space in the suitcase. I brought one large suitcase for the both of us (and the diaper bag as my carry-on). If you want to be even more organized, purchase fold-up fabric storage boxes to group each item of clothing in. For example, pajamas in one box and onesies, socks and bibs in the other. Once they are rolled and packed in boxes, place into your suitcase. Voila! There you have a more organized space for both yours’ and baby’s clothes. 

2. Pack dark clothes for baby. 

Let’s face it… babies are messy eaters. Whether baby spits up his milk, or more of his pureed carrots end up on his shirt than in his belly, outfit changes happen often. That’s why I like to pack darker clothes. If baby has a minor spill, it will be less visible on dark clothing. 

3. Airbnb > Hotels. 

Pre-baby, my husband and I never really considered renting an apartment or entire home while traveling. We would always just find the best hotel, in the best location, with the intention of spending very little time in our room. Fast forward to today. Airbnb over a hotel any day! We always look for an Airbnb or rented apartment with a washer, dryer and kitchenette. With this added luxury, we are able to enjoy ourselves a little better – and Benjamin too! There’s more space, laundry available (which means packing less clothes), and the option to cook healthy meals. 

4. Bring a travel stroller. 

Although baby wearing is a wonderful option for strolling around the airport, at some point during your vacation, you will need a stroller. Whether you are out exploring and baby needs to lay down, or you’re tired of wearing baby on your chest, a stroller is a must. When traveling with a baby, I highly recommend using a travel stroller system. You could take your everyday stroller, however, it would probably be quite heavy to lug around. A lightweight travel stroller, on the other hand, will have a compact, one-handed fold and is generally easier to stow out of the way in small rooms or restaurants. There are also many travel strollers systems designed to accommodate infants. These strollers are specifically made with car seat insert options, so that parents don’t have to worry about their little one being too small for the stroller itself. 

5. Board early. 

Thankfully, most airlines will allow families with small children to board first. Boarding early will give you a few extra minutes to get your baby comfortable while the plane is empty. You’ll also get first dibs at the overhead compartment that’s directly above your seat. 

6. Find empty seats on the plane. 

If possible, and only after everyone has taken their seats, ask if there are any extra empty seats next to one another. This may seem like a long shot on packed planes, but there’s no harm in asking. You may even get lucky and find an empty bulkhead seat for extra leg room and bassinet space. 

7. Feed during take off & landing. 

During airline travel, it’s completely normal for your baby to become restless at take off and landing. The pressure on a baby’s little ears can be especially harsh during these changes in altitude. Whether you’re nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, feeding them during take off and landing will ensure comfort, easing any added pressure to their precious ears.

8. Bring baby’s favourite toy. 

Bring 1-2 of your baby’s favorite toys to keep them comfortable. The familiarity of a favourite toy when in a rather unfamiliar place can go a long way. For Benjamin, it was his “bearsys.” I brought two in case one happened to get lost during travel.  

9. Don’t bring a pack n’ play. 

Every place I’ve ever traveled to has been able to provide a pack n’ play or a portable cot for baby to sleep in. All it takes is an email or phone call ahead of time to reserve one. Don’t lug one with you if you don’t have to! Even Airbnb’s often have them available (just bring a clean fitted sheet).  

10. Find a local babysitter. 

I obviously didn’t need to do this during my trip to Poland, but it’s something my husband and I have done on other trips we’ve taken with Benjamin. Finding a local babysitter can be a great way to get away for a dinner date sans baby — if you’re comfortable with it, that is. So, there you have it. I’m living proof that it’s possible to survive traveling with a baby. I hope these ten tips can help make your next journey with baby a little easier and a lot more fun!

For the Love of Books: Benefits of Taking Baby to the Library

Before we talk about the benefits of taking baby to the library, can I just take a moment to confess something? I LOVE the smell of the library! (And bowling alleys, but that’s a story for another day). There’s something about it that really gets to me. The musty smell of old books; all that knowledge and adventure and imagination sitting on the shelves. A value that only comes to be realized with age. When I step through those doors, I am hit with a very specific sense of joy and nostalgia; as if I am being transported to my first memories of being in the library. I’m a pre-teen all over again, browsing the young adult section for my next literary escape! How many hours have I spent in those aisles? Looking for something specific, or looking for nothing in particular at all? That’s what’s so great about the library, there’s no limit to how long you can walk the aisles (well, unless of course they are closing) and there’s no obligation to take anything home, or to take just one thing home. I never met a library I didn’t like!   

 

Taking Baby to the Library

Now that I got that out of my system, let’s talk about the benefits of taking baby to the library. As you may have figured out by now, I’m a bit of a fan of public libraries. So, of course, I want to be able to instill that same sense of love for books and the buildings that house them in my sweet baby boy.

Books and reading have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. So much so, that I have had a box of my favorite children’s books that has moved with me to every new home I’ve had since I first left mom & dad’s house all those years ago. My husband and I even started collecting our favorite children’s books and young adult novels long before we started trying to get pregnant!

So, when our baby boy was born, I couldn’t wait to take him to the library for the first time. Lucky for us, we have a public library within walking distance from our house! Sure, we have a lot of books at home, and we got some wonderful ones as gifts before baby arrived. But going to the library is a whole different experience that is just as valuable as the reading of the books themselves.

 

A Perfect Mommy & Baby Outing

One of the first benefits of taking baby to the library, is that it’s just a fun way to get out of the house! Our first trip to the library happened when my son was 8 weeks old; I know this because I snapped a pic on my phone to document the event. At this point in my maternity leave, I was feeling stronger and well-rested (my newborn was sleeping 8 hours at night…it didn’t last very long) but I was also starting to feel a bit stir-crazy. It felt so good to get some fresh air, take a walk, and end up in one of my favorite places with my little guy. Wearing him in a sling, we walked up and down the aisles. I read him the titles and combed through the pages. At this stage, you don’t even need to be in the kid’s section because he’s too young to have an opinion and it’s more about the time spent together and engaging his curiosity about language. He is learning about the world around him, so any experience can be a worthy experience, which just begins to touch on the many benefits of taking baby to the library. For the record, I was in the kid’s section because I was just too excited for him to fall in love with stories! We did this every week those first few months, each time checking out a handful of books to take home with us. Our first books were high contrast sensory books for baby. One of our favorite baby books : Look Look! By Peter Linenthal.

 

Borrow Before you Buy

Another great advantage to being a library patron is having a chance to explore a lot of books before you pick out your favorite baby books. You and baby can pull as many books off the shelf as your heart desires, thumb through the pages, take a few home, read them together in your most comfy chair, and then decide which ones you just can’t live without. Sure, we’d all love to have floor to ceiling bookshelves in every room of the house for our extensive book collections (or maybe that’s just me) but the reality is that’s just not very practical. By checking them out at the library first, you can really hone baby’s and your taste. Once you find a keeper, you can then buy it at your favorite local bookshop or online retailer. You’ll end up with a priceless collection of your favorite baby books, instead of a mountain of books you could never find room for or that get left on the shelf untouched for years. Our favorite library find to date : Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld about a little cloud who believed she was meant for something big!

 

Storytime at the Library

Visiting the local public library doesn’t always have to be just about mommy & baby either. One of the greatest things about your local public library is that it probably has a storytime schedule; a time during the week where local kiddos can gather round and listen to some of their favorite children’s books read out loud by a friendly library volunteer. What’s great about storytime is that baby can enjoy it now, and continue to grow and find new joy in it is as he gets older. The things that excite him now have evolved from even a month ago, and will continue to do so for years to come. Sure, at this exact point in time, he may seem more interested in standing and cruising along the bookshelves than sitting and listening to Mr. Jeffries read a story; but I know that he is hearing the words dance around the air around him and absorbing so much from the experience.

Among the benefits of taking baby to the library, storytime is also a great chance to meet other neighborhood local mommies and babies who are in this great adventure with you. If you’re anything like me, you may find it a challenge to make new mommy friends. You know, the kind of mommy friends that aren’t related to you. So storytime at the public library could be a good way to get your feet wet! They probably live nearby, and they probably have a similar schedule since you are there at the same time. Plus, you know that you share the same value of books and learning. Maybe on the first day, you just smile and make friendly conversation. As you start to see each other more regularly, you become more comfortable with each other and may find common interests or experiences. Before you know it, you’ve found a new friend for you and a playdate for your little one. Remember, babies need socialization too! Even if you only ever see each other at the library, it can be meaningful for both of you to make those connections.

 

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