Tips for Travelling With a Baby!

 

So my family and I recently embarked on a vacation to none other than the sunshine state – Florida! Can you blame us? We’ve had what feels like one of the longest winters (ever) here in the Toronto area. We desperately needed the vitamin D! Did I mention that this was our first time travelling as a family and Alexander’s first time out of the country? Yup, it was a big deal! To my surprise, travelling with a baby is not much different than traveling without one – there are actually quite a few perks! Think, a security checkpoint strictly for families and being allowed to board the plane first! With a little bit of research and a lot of advance planning, you to can breeze through any family vacation (although, please don’t quote me on the kind where you’re stuck in a car for 24 hours)!

[1] Pack as light as possible!

This may be the obsessive organizer in me, but I pulled our suitcases out a month prior to our vacation. This allowed me to do an “inventory” of all our summer clothing and pack pieces that I thought we’d like to take. As the month progressed I packed other items like toiletries, shoes and so on. Then, about two days before our departure, I went through each suitcase and reconsidered what I had packed. This is always a great idea, because I ended up removing quite a few pieces that were definitely not necessary.

If you are going somewhere like the United States (as we did) only pack what you’ll need until you arrive at your destination. For example,  there’s no need to pack stacks of diapers or wipes because these are things you can purchase from a plethora of retailers once you reach your destination. Another great tip, If you’re staying in a hotel or an Airbnb make sure to research or ask whether they offer a cot or crib where your baby can sleep. This will reduce the number of items you have you to lug around with you!

[2] Enlist help when/where you can!

Let me begin by saying that a baby is like a magnet for any and everyone, especially in an airport! From people chatting in the security line to those passing you on the plane – be prepared for lots of small talk. That being said, people are also generally patient and for the most part understanding when it comes to travelling with a baby! Whether you’re travelling solo with baby or with others, don’t be shy to ask someone for a hand.

Most airports have staff who will help you unload your luggage and even bring you a large trolley for transporting suitcases. These services are a lifesaver and free up your hands! Not to mention, saving you from the endless back pain of carrying a baby, handbag, carry on and pushing a suitcase (yes, I did this on our way there and learned my lesson on the way back)!

On a more personal note, I ran into a situation where I had to change Alexander’s diaper and didn’t have enough hands to take the change pad out of the diaper bag. Thankfully, there was a young lady who I had made eye contact with at just the right time. I asked if she could help take the change pad out of my diaper bag and she happily obliged. She could see that I was struggling and truly helped in a moment of desperation and frustration!

[3] Catch a late flight!

I mentioned it earlier but I’ll say it again, we were SO nervous flying with Alexander for the first time. We attempted to plan flights around Alexander’s naps/bedtime and it worked perfectly. Our flight on the way there was during his last nap of the day and the flight on our way home was during his bedtime. On the way there, he slept for the most part but did require some entertaining. He also cried a bit, but nothing that was out of the ordinary. On the way home he slept the entire time! Our flight depatrted at 10:05 p.m. – smack in the middle of his bedtime. He slept in my arms the entire time and although not the most comfortable, he was, and that made both me and those around us happy!

[4] Pack/unpack strategically

Start  making lists for mom/dad/baby as soon as possible. I like to open up the suitcases and leave them out in our room a few weeks in advance. This way I can tackle a few items each day, or even per week. In addition to the advantages I mention in tip 1, It also ensures that you don’t forget anything and gives you ample time to review your lists.

Packing strategically is also about HOW you pack and not just what you pack. Packing clothes for optimum room could mean the difference between 10 and 20 articles of clothing! I was reminded by my mother in law how much space you can save when you roll your clothing as opposed to folding it. You’d be amazed! It leaves a lot of room for bringing all of your purchases back! As soon as we get home, I like to unpack. I sort the clothes into laundry piles and empty everything out immediately. Theres nothing worse than a suitcase thats just sitting around – it’s one of those things we’ll just never get to!

[5] Reserve as much as possible in advance!

This includes where you’ll be seated on the plane. It’s also great to confirm whether or not they may have a bassinet available (usually dependant on baby’s age). We also paid a little extra to have seats with more leg room and to ensure that we were not seated in a three person row. When you don’t know how your baby will react to flying,  it’s best to stay as far away from others and be as comfortable as possible.

It’s also a wise idea to check with your accommodations to see whether they have a crib available – these can sometimes be booked in advance depending on where you’re staying. Most hotels will offer a cot but some do have specific items designated for a baby.

[6] Have a plan

Having a plan will always save you time! When you’re prepared, you don’t need to question yourself or have discussion with others about “whats next”.  Things you can plan in advance include, how  you’ll get from the airport to your destination? What you’ll have to eat when you arrive and what you’ll do on your first day. It’s a good idea to pre-book your transportation when possible and to make sure that ride sharing services such as Uber, are available at the airport where you land. Part of planning includes determining your options. Depending on where you’re going, private vehicles may be a better option – think New York? They may also be more cost-effective.

Will your flight be arriving late? Make sure you bring snacks or purchase food on the plane that you can take with you and eat once you’re settled. Sometimes things don’t go as planned (think delays) and the last thing you need to deal with is a starving baby or  husband!

Was this helpful? Feel free to leave me a comment or question!

 

Happy mommying,

Jennifer ❌⭕️

Gift Ideas for your Baby’s Easter Basket.

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I know Easter is still a good three weeks away, and that we haven’t yet celebrated St. Patty’s day,  but it’s never too soon to start planning! Growing up, all holidays were a fairly big deal in our home. As children, we were always excited for “holidays”. Now, I put holidays in quotations because this included anything from Valentine’s day to Christmas and in between. My mother always did such a wonderful job at making each one unique and involving us as children. We would bake together, decorate the house, shop for new outfits and so much more. I am a self-proclaimed “choco-holic” so Easter was always one of my favourite holidays growing up (Cadbury cream eggs? I’d wait all year for them!).

Some of my fondest memories as a child involve a holiday. This is all thanks to my parents and the effort they put in to make each one extra special for my siblings and I. One of my favourite easter memories, that to this day still stands out, are the footprints (melted chocolate) that the “easter bunny” left all over our house. As a new parent myself, and someone who hates messes, the trouble they must have gone through to form chocolate footprints all over their spotless floors, and then clean them all up – now that’s true love!

The lovely memories I hold near and dear to my heart, are what have contributed to the excitement I have for my newborn son to experience each holiday for the first time. He’s only five and a half months old, but I want to make sure we document all of his “firsts” and that he knows how special a time each one was. With easter quickly approaching, I’m particularly excited for his  basket. I purchased this exact one from Pottery Barn Kids (below) and can’t wait to fill it with goodies!

(Note that Pottery Barn Kids Canada will no longer add a monogram to items)AD1E9041-8541-45E5-8616-6F06F819989A

The following guide includes some of my favourite goodies to include in your newborns easter basket – many of which I will be adding to my sons. Be sure to select each link to view the product and where it can be purchased.

[1] An Easter Book “If I were a bunny” (great for 3+ months)

[2] Rattle Set “My First Easter” (Something to keep them busy on the day of)

[3] Bunny Ears (Super fun for photos with family throughout the day!)

[4] An Easter Outfit (growing up we always dressed up for the occasion!)

[5] Plush Stuffed Bunny (Something your little one will have forever)

[6] Bib “My First Easter 2018” (Great for photos and to add to your childs keepsake box)

[7] Hooded Bunny Towel (Perfect for any upcoming vacations!)

[8] Bubbles (Any dollar store will also have a large selection)

[9] Bunny Socks (Final touch to your easter outfit or any outfit for that matter!)

[10] Bunny Teether (All natural maple wood teether)

 

BONUS A large Kinder egg for mom and dad!

 

Happy mommying,

Jennifer ❌⭕️

The top 5 Baby Products I Cannot Live Without!

Note: Tap each photo to identify what it is.

For first time parents like my husband and I, shopping for baby products can be an overwhelming process. We hadn’t had a baby in our extended families for over 12 years and as technology has evolved very quickly so have baby products. We had found advice from relatives to be quite out dated. In my quest for all things baby, I spent a lot of time online in “mom forums”, reading articles and researching latest products, trends, and consumer reviews. The lists of products were endless – there is something out there for everything (think wipe warmer)! If I wasn’t already feeling confused, I sure was now. To ensure I was organized through this process, I began researching around 4 months into my pregnancy and created lists with products that interested me along with their various price points and where they could be purchased. Staying organized gave me ample time to make sound decisions. I made multiple trips to various retailers( because lets face it, sometimes you just have to see an item in person!) and even dragged my husband out with me a few times.

I was very fortunate to have had a baby shower thrown for me by my family. This allowed me to create a registry for any and all of our desired baby items. I chose to create mine with Babies R US mainly because of how accessible they are with multiple locations across my province and the fact that it truly is a one stop shop. They have everything from baby furniture to nursing attire and anything you can think of in between! Although there are so many amazing products that both my husband and I loved, I’m here to tell you that after experiencing 4 months with a newborn, you absolutely do not need as many things as you think you do. I’ve always been a believer in quality over quantity and this extends to my choices in clothing and footwear. It’s better to invest in pieces that you know are practical and will last the test of time (think a second or third child) than to accumulate a stack of products you may or may not use. With this in mind, please continue reading for my list of the top 5 products I could not live without. Select the product name to link directly to where it can be purchased and to learn more about it.

[4moms] Infant Tub

I mean, really? Would you expect a company founded by women, and moms to not make it on my list? 4moms have an array of amazing products! One of my favourites is their infant tub. It’s ergonomical, sturdy and well thought out. It contains a temperature feature where you simply place the gauge (located on the tub) under running bath water and it will display the water temperature using colours and levels of comfort zones. They make it so easy to know when the water is just right! This tub also comes with a cup that is used to rinse your baby and includes several “valves” that allow for easy draining of bath water. To make things even better, the tub contains a water reservoir that is separate from where baby lays so that you can use the clean water to rinse your baby. I personally use a combination of the clean water as well as empty out the soapy water by opening all valves and adding clean water. 4moms makes bath time a dream! Especially for first time parents who are nervous as ever.

[Graco] Pack ‘n Play Playard

The reasons that this product works for my family are endless! This was actually an item I hadn’t considered until my mother suggested I add it to my registry. It is so versatile and the best part is you can pack it up and take it with you to a friend or relatives home. We spend most of our time on the main level of our home where our living room and kitchen are located. For this reason, the pack ‘n playard has become a lifesaver! For us,  it was not practical to lug the bassinet up and down the stairs twice a day so that our son could nap in it. It was also not practical to bring him back up to his bedroom where the change table resides, each time we had to change a diaper or his outfit (with a baby you will want to take quick action and get things done as soon as possible). This is where the pack ‘n playard comes into the picture! It contains a reversible napper and changer for newborns up to 15 lbs. Once your baby reaches this threshold you will remove the insert and use the mattress located in the actual playard. Up until our son reached 15 lbs we kept all of his diapers, wipes, change of clothes and several toys in a basket that we placed in the pack ‘n playard. Everything looked neat and organized and there was no need to run all over the house to retrieve things.

[Halo] Bassinest Swivel Sleeper

Oh Halo, I love your bassinest! I’m smiling as I type this. As a sleep deprived mother and one that is nursing, the last thing you want to constantly do is get in and out of bed to nurse and check on your baby throughout the night. The Halo bassinest offers a plethora of amazing features. To name a few, it has a 360 degree swivel which makes getting in and out of bed easy. The bassinest itself, comes right onto or up to your bed (depending on how you choose to position it) so that you can see baby at your eye level. The front opens right up and you can conveniently remove your baby without leaving your bed! This is especially great if you nurse your baby laying down in bed.

[UPPAbaby] Vista Stroller

I know what you’re thinking, especially if you’ve heard of this brand or done some research into strollers. This is one pricey item! I mean for $1100+ (CAD) you could buy A LOT of things. Strollers are a fairly expensive baby item to begin with. Before you overlook this product let me tell you a bit about what it features. It has the option of carrying more than one child via their rumble seats. It includes a bassinet (for easy transfer from a car seat) but also allows for the option of easily connecting the UPPAbaby Messa carets – think not waking baby when their asleep in the car. You could also technically use the bassinet for sleeping through the night in your home. The basket located at the bottom of the stroller is enormous (by stroller standards)! I’ve done full grocery shops and Costco hauls using this basket – no buggy required! The stroller itself,  is easy to open and close and lighter weight than a lot of others on the market. I cannot say enough about this product! If you’re deciding between the UPPAbaby Vista and another brand that is slightly more economical, I would encourage you to spend the extra money and purchase the UPPAbaby.

[Dorel] Baby Knightly Reclining Glider

This glider has been a life saver! Not only is it stylish, it is comfortable and built to last! Although an investment piece, when baby gets a bit older you can transition this to any other room in your home to instantly elevate the look. The thick padding and plush fabric allow you to sit in this glider for hours (and with a baby you may very well be doing just that). It’s gliding motion allows for rocking baby back and forth and is sure to assist in getting your baby to sleep (I speak from experience here!). It also fully reclines to a laying down position so you can put your feet up and sleep or take a nap in the chair. It’s happened to me on more than one occasion. Another bonus, It’s 360 degree swivel makes it convenient to turn completely around and grab things close by (I always keep my pump near by).

Please keep in mind that this post was created solely on the experiences and opinions of both myself and my husband. I understand and respect that others may feel differently or have had different experiences.

Please feel free to leave me a comment or question!

Happy mommying,

Jennifer ❌⭕️

 

 

 

 

How we Organized our Sons Nursery

 

So you’ve made it to the halfway mark of your pregnancy, or perhaps a little further and you’re ready to get this baby out of you! This can be an exhausting time, but there is fun to be had. Planning for your baby’s nursery, especially if you love decorating (and who are we kidding, shopping!) like I do, can bring lots of fun to an otherwise uncomfortable time.

If you’re someone who sits on the other side of the fence on this, then you may feel it’s quite a daunting task. Not to worry, regardless of your level of expertise, I’m here to help! Let’s begin with the basics – the items you will need to complete the room.


Basic Nursery Items:

  • Crib
  • Mattress (including sheets)
  • Change table (including pad and sheets)

Additional Items if Budget Permits, that are Really Useful:

Dresser. If you’ve accumulated quite a bit of clothing up to this point, a dresser is most likely necessary.

Change table and dresser combo. Yes, another dresser – because you can never have too much storage! It’s also quite common these days to find dresser/change table combinations. Talk about space saver? These are great for those of you working with limited space.

Glider or rocking chair. Although an investment, this is a life-saver. A glider will come in handy in the early days when baby is waking to feed multiple times throughout the night. You will want to set yours up in whichever room you will share with baby for the first few months. We originally placed ours in his nursery only to realize it’s much more practical to have it in our master bedroom. When you’re a first time mother waking up a handful of times through the night, the last thing you want to do is wander the halls to get to the glider!

Diaper Genie. This one is self-explanatory! You will want a diaper genie for easy disposal and management (keeps in any odors) of your little ones diapers. They are available in all types of colours and are more an accessory than anything.

Mirror.  This is also considered an accessory, but mirrors are staples in any room. Also a bonus, because as your baby grows you will find they love looking at themselves in mirrors.

Bins and storage baskets. Bins and baskets are another life-savers and can both brighten and elevate any space! They are the perfect way to bring in a sense of your personal style while also keeping all of baby’s most prized possessions organized!

Clothing hangers. Hangers can be used to display items such as outfit sets, pants, shirts, jackets and so forth. You will want to store most items such as sleepers, socks, towels and blankets in either bins, or a dresser.

Shelving. Shelves are an excellent space saver. If you’re limited with closet and dresser space, consider displaying books or toys on a floating shelf!

Accessories (wall art, stuffed animals, pillows, stools, picture frames, lamps etc.) Accessories will help to bring your theme together (if you have one) and make the space unique and your baby’s own. We added a picture board, mirror, stool and a few other items to pull our baby’s room together.


Also consider the following:

The size of the room.

This will dictate how many pieces of furniture you can fit in the room. Realistically, you will need a crib and a change table. Ideally two dressers would be nice, but this isn’t always visible, both cost and space wise.

The colour you will be painting the room. 

The colour you paint the room will dictate the colour or finish of furniture you select. White furniture goes well with pretty much any type of colour palette, so if you know this is what you’re going for then you won’t need too heavily on paint colours. For example, grey furniture with brown walls.

A theme you’d like to use when decorating (if any). 

Very similar to choosing furniture, a theme can also dictate what type of colour palette you will mostly likely gravitate towards. Think nautical or princess – I’m sure the colours that come to mind are blue and pink.

Your budget. 

Your budget will determine what products you’re looking for and where you will want to search.


Where we Shopped for our Nursery:

Crib – Leon’s

Change table/dresser combination – Leon’s

Glider – Baby’s Room

Mattress – Babiese R Us

Rug – Homesense (Queen West Trading Co.)

Stool – Homesense (Queen West Trading Co.)

Toy Bin – Homesense (Queen West Trading Co.)

Love you to the moon and back – Target

Hamper – Target

Storage baskets – Homesense and Winners

 

Happy mommying,

Jennifer ❌⭕️