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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!

To Post or Not to Post: Should My Baby’s Photos Stay Off Social Media?

To Post or Not to Post: Should My Baby’s Photos Stay Off Social Media?

Most parents feel that their child represents the perfect present. And while baby gifts are certainly appreciated at the baby shower or after families come home from the hospital, there’s arguably nothing more precious than their new infant. Of course, one amazing way to commemorate this occasion is with one of the best gifts for new parents that exists: newborn photos or even family portraits.

That said, even the best baby gifts don’t have to be publicly touted. To share is seen as a positive thing, but over-sharing doesn’t have that same connotation. That’s especially true when it comes to posting photos on social media platforms. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to express your happiness or show off your unbelievably cute baby. But while baby photos make excellent gifts for first time mothers, it might be better to keep these memories as private as possible. Here’s why.

Your social media posts could attract criminals

It may be hard to believe that someone would want to use your baby’s photo to hurt others, but it’s certainly been known to happen. Some parents have reported that their children’s photos have been used in fraud or identity theft cases. It’s easy enough to save a photo from Facebook and manipulate the image or even share it as is with a completely made-up name and accompanying story. These tactics have been used to solicit donations from well-meaning people from all over the world. It’s also possible that your child’s photo could end up in the hands of someone with deviant thoughts or who even tries to pass off your child as their own on social media (a practice known as “digital kidnapping”). The chances of this happening may seem remote, but the risk is enough to keep many parents from posting images of their children anywhere on social media — even on private accounts.

Your child may feel embarrassed or be bullied

An image you consider to be the greatest baby gift in the world might not be so well-received by your child as they grow up. Adolescence can be tough, even for the most well-adjusted among us. By the age of five, your child will start to develop their sense of self; if you post images or videos of them without their consent on social media, they may start to resent this behavior and their lack of control over how their likeness is being used. Potentially, those posts could even be used by others to hurt your child emotionally. A photo that seems rather harmless could turn into ammunition for a bully. It’s important to respect your child’s privacy at any age. Subsequently, you might want to steer clear of posting their images on social media altogether.

You might be happier protecting those private moments

In the digital age, we tend to do everything online. We apply to jobs, shop for clothes, talk to friends, and buy first time mother gifts all thanks to the internet. But that doesn’t mean you have to live your life through social media. We’re just starting to see all the negative effects social media can have on our well-being — and all the benefits that unplugging can have. Your family might actually feel relieved to not be forced to share every moment on social media. The validation from likes and comments really can’t compare to the warmth and love that will radiate within your own family. When Mother’s Day was first celebrated over 100 years ago, we didn’t have social media to share our well wishes and memories. Although many of us will gladly post a throwback with our moms, it might be nice if you gave your children the same option: to decide whether or not they want to share those photographic memoirs once they’re old enough.

There’s no doubt that capturing the moment can allow us to relive a lot of joy later on. You can certainly feel free to snap away, whether you’re memorializing all the baby gifts you’ve received or the pivotal first moments of your child’s world. But before you share them on social media, you might want to take a pause.

5 Ways to Incite Romance After Baby

Making time for your partner after baby

The arrival of your newest little one is an adjustment for the whole family. Suddenly your old routine gets completely flipped around by a small, sweet, snuggly baby. When it comes to romance, a new baby can actually be a great time for you and your partner to work on ways to incite romance after baby.

Talk About It

You’ve heard it before, but communication truly is key in relationships. Before baby comes, have the discussion with your partner about how you want to continue making time for them post-baby. Brainstorm some ideas that will work for you, and think through ways you can both try them when the baby gets here. If that ship has already sailed, you can still bring it up to your partner. Every couple is different, and so are solutions for finding time for romance after baby arrives.

You can bridge the conversation with things like, “how can we spend some more time romantic together?” and “let’s find a way to incorporate romance again.”

Avoid phrases like “I need you to give me more attention” or “why aren’t we romantic anymore?”. These can incite feelings of guilt and resentment in your partner. Rest assured that every couple has their period of adjustment to find new expressions of romance after baby that work for them.

Stick to the Plan

If you and your partner make plans to spend time together, at times it is going to be tempting to cancel. Things come up, it’s hard to leave the house and making time for each other takes more work than it used to. However, you need follow through, and show each other that spending quality time is important. Your relationship and well-being will benefit from the investment.

Short and Sweet

In the first few months and weeks, romance after baby can be extremely hard to achieve. Plan activities that take you and your partner out of the house for small increments of time. Taking the baby for a walk in the stroller during her nap time is a great way to check in and chat with your spouse. Enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of wine is also a great way to reconnect without being away for too long. Take up your relatives on the offer to babysit, or hire a sitter for an hour and half. Romance after baby doesn’t have to mean dinner and a long movie.

5 Minutes a Day

Try incorporating the 5 minutes a day rule. For just 5 minutes each day, sit down and check in with your partner. Try to be completely present and listen when they speak. Use this time to speak up about any thing that’s on your mind, or even to plan your next date night. Try to do this when the baby is asleep so your attention isn’t diverted. Everyone can fit in 5 minutes of romance after baby.

Small Gestures

Is there a little something that you did for your partner pre-baby that you can bring back now? They will appreciate the thoughtfulness and reminder of the love you strongly share. Write a post-it note, give a five minute shoulder massage, cook dinner, call for no reason. It’s the little things that truly count when it comes to romance after baby.

Don’t Panic! Hints to Help You Survive a Colicky Baby

Guest Written By: Jess Procter 
Instagram: @north_west_jess
Blog: www.northwestjess.com

Don’t Panic! Hints to Help You Survive a Colicky Baby

Pregnancy can feel like an eternity and by the end of it we feel large, tired and impatient to meet the baby that we know will change our lives – and sleep schedules – forever. It’s so disheartening to bring home a new baby expecting sleepy cuddles and to get hours of inconsolable crying instead; but you’re not alone! So many of us are experiencing or have survived a colicky baby. There isn’t much that makes it easier but there are a few things I learned in my months as a “Colic Mama”. I hope some of them can help you survive, too. 

Adjust Your Expectations

This is number one for most mamas of severely fussy babies. The hardest thing can be to separate your reality from what you thought your Fourth Trimester was going to look like – or what it looks like for your friends or the social media moms you follow. No one expects life with a newborn to be easy but not many mamas expect colic, either. Comparison is truly the thief of joy for parents of a fussy kid, so let go of what you thought would happen and deal, to the best of your ability, with what is happening. Every phase passes.

Lean On Your Village

If you’re not the type to easily accept help this can be a lot easier said than done, but if someone close to you offers help of any kind, take it! Give explicit instructions and don’t be shy – maybe you need your laundry done or a delivery of groceries picked up. Maybe you’d appreciate someone coming over just to hold your screaming child so you can shower. Maybe you want a friend to leave a pizza and a bottle of wine on your doorstep. Accept what you feel comfortable accepting and politely decline what you don’t. 

Give Yourself the Grace to Try and Figure it Out

Even if you don’t have a particularly fussy baby it can take a few months to find out what a newborn likes and doesn’t like. Even veteran moms with five kids have to figure it out with every new babe. A certain type of white noise, that one movement that helps them fall asleep, a baby carrier, a stroller or car ride. It might take a long time to find the thing that works but when you find it and gain some semblance of peace for even half an hour you feel like you just might be able to get through that newborn stage after all! Then again, if you’ve experienced a truly colicky baby you know that sometimes nothing works, no matter how many well-meaning moms swear it worked for their own fussy babe. In that case, just survive. It gets better. Promise. In the meantime, try the gas drops. Try bouncing on a yoga ball. You just never know. 

Be Selfish

This is a time of survival. Don’t feel obligated to cater to others or do things you don’t want to do because you feel like you “should;” there’ll be plenty of time for that later! For now stay home, turn down invitations that make you feel overwhelmed, and don’t worry about putting your life on hold as long as you need to. Everyone will understand. 

Find Like-Minded Parents

We experienced severe colic with my firstborn that lasted for four months and didn’t dissipate completely until she was about six months old. Many of my close friends and family members were having their own babies at that time and I felt so isolated seeing how easily they seemed to manage their lives. Finally I found a Facebook group for parents of spirited and high-needs children and instantly felt understood. Knowing that others were going through something similar didn’t make the days or nights any easier for us but it definitely helped me understand that my child wasn’t fussy because of anything I was doing, she was just having a (much) harder time adjusting to life outside of the womb. Having someone to text in the middle of the night can be bolstering, too.

It’s Okay to Put the Baby Down

There are times when it will be crucial for you to get a break from a screaming baby but circumstances may not permit one. Maybe your partner works long hours, you don’t have a partner, or no friends are available to help out. If your baby has been crying for a very long time and you need to take a few minutes to collect yourself and give your weary arms a break, don’t feel guilty about needing to put the baby down! If she has been fed and changed and is still crying, put her in her crib or another safe place and make yourself a coffee or a quick lunch. As mothers we often feel guilty if we don’t tend to our fussing child every second of the day but she will learn to settle herself eventually and a few minutes here and there is a great start toward her own independence, especially if it saves your own sanity. 

Make Time for Yourself

Obviously during the Fourth Trimester it’s hard enough to find time to sleep, let alone engaging in all of your pre-baby hobbies. But even if you only get fifteen minutes a day you can always find small ways to indulge in a little self care (sometimes very small ways). Short trips to a corner coffee shop for a latte. A few minutes writing in your journal. A phone call to someone who provides a listening ear or a little perspective. A quick bath. One episode of a favorite TV show or podcast while nursing. Invest in a super soft robe or blanket to make those middle-of-the-night feeds feel like less of an obligation and more of an opportunity for comfort.

Most importantly: It’s not you, it’s the baby! It’s nearly impossible not to internalize blame when you experience your newborn seemingly rejecting every attempt to soothe her cries, but it truly isn’t anything that you did or did not do. Colic is awful and it can feel never-ending but it really is such a short time in the scheme of you and your baby’s relationship. As every parent knows, everything is a phase and this one will pass just as all the others do. Soon you’ll find you’re enjoying parenthood a little more every day, and maybe even one day doing the unthinkable – entertaining the idea of having another one! For now, just take a deep breath and go easy on yourself. Good luck!

Discover A Nursery Tailored To Your Taste!

Discover A Nursery Tailored To Your Taste!

Designing the perfect nursery for your newborn baby doesn’t have to be a chore. After all, you deserve a nursery that marries function and fashion.

When you want to craft the perfect nursery that appeals to your tastes, here’s how to bring it to life.

Choose a great crib

Your crib is an investment. After all, your baby is going to sleep in it for most of their life during their first few years. As such, you want a crib that’s safe for your baby but doesn’t clutter up the whole room.

Ensure that the crib of your dreams adheres to the necessary U.S. safety standards for cribs. Even if you love the look of vintage options, choosing a modern crib is the best way to ensure the health and safety of your baby. After all, your baby can sleep in their crib for up to three years, making it a necessary investment. Luckily, the crib bedding and accessories can add a flair of design with minimal effort. If you’re worried about your crib looking outdated, you can always spruce up your nursery with the best baby blankets to create a cohesive space that grows with your baby.

Fall in love with neutrals

You can’t have a beautiful nursery without laying down the groundwork and there’s no better way to do that than by starting with neutral colors. Try painting your walls a calming, neutral white or beige and accent the space with lively, patterned curtains. After all, calming solid colors like purple can help ease anxiety and stress, two emotions which are common in the 15% of mothers who suffer from postpartum depression.

Every splash of color in the room should stem from your baby’s toys, cashmere baby wraps, and the accent pieces placed throughout the room. This will create an inviting atmosphere that doesn’t feel cluttered with too many patterns when you walk in.

Equip your nursery with the best tools

No nursery is complete without premium baby gifts. Along with a changing station and toy chest, your nursery should hold the best gifts for new parents to ease their transition into a family. This might include a stylish cashmere wrap for breastfeeding, a baby blanket made of cashmere, or a cashmere baby wrap designed for comfort and swaddling. Regardless of the mommy’s taste, first time mother gifts can help make their job so much easier.

If you’re designing the nursery of your dreams, start with the luxury cashmere products by 10 To 12 Baby Lounge. We offer only the best premium baby gifts to help your transition into parenthood go smoothly. To view our cashmere baby wrap selection, simply click on “baby blankets” today.

5 Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

5 Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

A new addition to your little family is a big deal. It may seem less daunting than your first, but your second baby comes with his or her own little basket of new adjustments. While you may not be as worried about the nighttime feedings and learning how to change a diaper, there are many reasons why bringing new life into the world for the second time will likely still feel unknown and unchartered. It’s important to keep in mind that you have to prepare your firstborn for their new little sibling as well. Here are 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby.

Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

 

1.) Plan educational activities

Before your newest addition arrives, play pretend with your toddler. Grab a babydoll and ask them to pretend that it’s the new baby! Guide your firstborn on how to softly touch, hold, and kiss the babydoll and explain that being gentle is very important for little babies. Try to play pretend in this way several times before the new baby arrives. You can even ask your toddler to go grab diapers and wipes in preparation. They will love feeling like part of the action. Don’t forget to give lots of extra love and encouragement when your toddler helps out. This is just 1 of 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby.

Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

 

2.) Try to refrain from using the word “play”

Child psychologists have suggested that mom-to-be should try not to use the word play when telling their firstborns about the new baby. By saying “you’ll have a new little sister to play with” the toddler will think that they can play with the baby the way they do with children their age. Then, when the new baby comes, they will be confused when you scream no when they try to play catch with your newborn. Instead take an approach like, “when your baby sister is here, you will love hugging and kissing her!”. Try to incorporate that your firstborn should be as gentle as possible with the baby, because they aren’t as big and strong as their big brother/sister! By instilling a more “caring” attitude in your toddler before you give birth, you will have less teaching moments when the baby gets here.

 

3.) Cater your language

When the new baby comes, it will be hard to focus on anything else for a while. Be sure instead of saying “be quiet, baby’s sleeping” or “We’ll go after baby’s nap” or “I can’t help you right now I’m changing baby’s diaper” try to say “let’s use inside voices” or “we can go after lunch” or “just one minute”. By shifting the blame away from the baby, your toddler will feel much better towards the time devoted to the baby.

 

4.) Be understanding

This is the biggest change that your toddler has ever faced. Be patient with them. While before, they got to have all of Mom-to-be and Dad’s attention, they suddenly have to be placed on the back-burner while their new sibling gets a bigger share of the attention. Try to carve out a few hours in advance for after the delivery to focus on your firstborn and explain to them what is happening. Don’t worry about using concepts and language they’ll understand, kids are much brighter than we give them credit for. The more calmly and confidently you explain the situation and WHY this is all happening, the more assured your toddler will feel.

Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

 

5.) Lots of Praise

Finally, 5 out of 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby. Whenever older sibling does something kind or helpful, make a big deal out of it. Tell the family over dinner, bring it up the next day. Any acting up or attitude after the new baby arrives is normal and can be soothed with some extra love and attention.

 

We hope that these 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby were educational and helpful for you!

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