Traveling

You are currently browsing the archive for the Traveling category.

Breastfeeding is not an easy task, and part of the challenge is finding a way to breastfeed in public. Thankfully, society is becoming increasingly open and accepting to the idea of breastfeeding so moms have it much easier now than in the past. Still, it takes time to master breastfeeding in public.

Here are some tips:

1) Familiarize yourself with designated areas for breastfeeding.

When you’re going to new places, investigate the facilities and possible locations for breastfeeding. At most malls, there are designated Breastfeeding Rooms. Get to know where they are relative to the elevators, as well as the closest mall entrances so you can park closeby. If the mall doesn’t have one, you can often use the change rooms in baby or maternity stores, or any store for that matter. Department stores such as The Bay or Sears often having nursing areas in the baby section as well, but they aren’t well marked so you may need to ask the staff for more information.

2) Have a breastfeeding cover/scarf/blanket ready.

There are so many breastfeeding covers out there so you should be able to find one that works for you. If you don’t have one, or forgot to bring it out with you, just use a blanket or scarf. If you’re wearing a cardigan or jacket, you can even use that! Unfortunately, Leah doesn’t like to be covered while nursing, so I position myself strategically and cover myself discreetly with my clothes. If your baby doesn’t mind a nursing cover, you can really nurse just about anywhere!

3) Wear appropriate clothing.

Wear clothes that allow you to feed easily (i.e. stretchy and long). If you are worried about exposing your waist, wear a tank top underneath so you can pull your shirt up and pull the tank top down at the neck. You’ll need a pretty stretchy tank top to do this! Make sure you master the clasping and unclasping of your nursing bra with one hand. There are some pretty good nursing clothes out there to help you, like this PTPA winner.

4) Be creative!

Sometimes your situation or location are not conducive to breastfeeding, and the above tips may not help. For example, when you’re dining at a restaurant or attending a wedding banquet, what do you do? Be creative and ask for help. You’d be surprised at how supportive and helpful people can be. I was at a lunch at an upscale restaurant and they allowed me to use a dining area that was currently closed off. Restaurants often have private dining areas that they can let you use if you just ask. If not, feeding in the inner seat of a booth may suffice. At weddings, brides have been very helpful and allowed me to use their bridal suite for breastfeeding. I was at the Public Library the other day and the librarian in the children’s area let me duck into the office for a few minutes to feed Leah. I’ve fed her in the park, in the car, and even in a church stairwell during a wedding! Once you get to know your baby, and master breastfeeding without a pillow, you can do it anywhere!

Check out this great post on nursing in public. The comments are pretty interesting. Ironically, I have used a bathroom for nursing before, being very careful not to let Leah touch anything, but it is definitely a last resort.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Clayton with the Peapod Wrap

There are a lot of baby carriers available to parents out there and selecting one is not easy, but when you pick the right carrier and use it correctly, it can be a godsend! Unfortunately, figuring out which one to use, and when, is not an easy task.

The benefits of ‘baby-wearing’ are well documented on sites such as AskDrSears.com. They include reduced crying, improved physical, mental and emotional development, improved maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thereby reducing the incidence of postpartum depression. On a practical note, baby-wearing is convenient and can give you some of your freedom back. Like I mentioned in my previous post about Leah’s sleep habits, we spent the first 3 months of Leah’s life holding her (both when she was asleep and awake). Though this was wonderful bonding time for us, sometimes I just needed to have my arms available to get a few things done around the house. Putting Leah in a carrier gave me my freedom back and it felt amazing.

We started shopping around for a baby carrier while I was still pregnant and purchased the Baby Trekker at the HIGH recommendation of a friend. I also decided to purchase a baby wrap (PeaPodBabe) since I heard they were really useful as well. A friend of mine loaned me her Hotslings baby sling so I had 3 major types of baby carriers to experiment with. So far, I’ve found that carriers vary in effectiveness depending on the size and stage that the baby is in.

Before I go any further, I want to address the recent recall on the Infantino SlingRider. Like all baby products, it is important to know how to use the product properly and the risks involved. It is important to note that the recall was for a bag-style sling which can be more risky due to the tendency for the baby to be scrunched up, thereby compromising the airway. Like stated on thebabywearer.com, I agree that when properly positioned, a baby in a sling is as safe as a baby in arms.

Here’s a summary of what worked for us.

Clayton with the Peapod Wrap

The Baby Wrap

In the first few months of life, a sling is a great option for baby wearing (again when properly positioned). However, unlike some newborns, Leah didn’t seem to like being in the confines of a sling. The first time we put her into the sling she squirmed and clearly wanted out. This was unfortunate since a lot of my friends had great success with going out to weddings and restaurants (even high tea!) with their newborn in a sling. Without this option, we always held Leah in our arms when we were out and about.

At home, we started experimenting with the baby wrap so our arms could have a break once in awhile. It worked because the wrap supported her easily and adjusted to her small size (like a custom fit every time). Plus this super cute video peaked my interest. At first we put her into the wrap in the horizontal position (cradle hold) like in the video but as she got bigger, she preferred being in the upright position (tummy-to-tummy). We only used it while we were at home since wrapping her was tricky. We’d often have to re-wrap a few times before we got it right and in the process of doing so, the ends of the wrap would drag along the ground. The only caveat was that he would only tolerate the wrap during certain times (after being well fed and burped) and not for too long in most cases (3o minutes to an hour).

Me with the Baby Trekker

The Baby Carrier

When we started going out to the mall or grocery shopping, holding her all the time became increasingly cumbersome. She didn’t like being in the car seat (since we were still using the car seat in the stroller), so most of the time I would push the empty stroller while Clayton held her. Again, not the most convenient arrangement, especially when I started going to the mall with my other mommy friends and without Clayton. I didn’t want to use the baby wrap because it would drag all over the floor while I put it on. Instead, we started trying the Baby Trekker baby carrier and it worked out perfectly since she was able to look around (nosy girl!) and I could push the stroller myself since my arms were free. It was so comfortable that we could wear it for hours! Leah would enjoy looking around and often nap in it as well. The only tricky thing about the Baby Trekker brand of carrier is that putting it on is a bit of a two person task. As long as I had another mom or Clayton around to help me it was no problem but if I was home by myself, it was a bit of a struggle. This is why I later moved on to the baby sling.

Me using the Hotsling

The Sling

A baby sling is great because it is very compact and can fit in your diaper bag easily (unlike the Baby Trekker which I always needed to remember to bring separately). If Leah is fussing, I can quickly slip her into it without needing help from anyone else. I used it a few times at home when she started to get clingy and I needed to be able to move about the house. In the modified cradle carry hold she can still look around. Now that Leah has really good neck and back control, I can even start to use it with her in a hip-carry position. The disadvantage of the sling is that it can be tiring and straining on your back once the baby gets bigger. Carrying Leah in the sling (she’s about 15 lbs) gets tiring after 30 minutes. the Trekker on the other hand never got tiring.

Other Brands

My sister using the Ergo

In terms of different brands, I can only comment on what I have learned from my own experience and from talking to other moms. I thought I would also mention the Ergo since a lot of my mommy friends have had good success with it (and it’s easier to put on than the Trekker). Like the Trekker, it distributes the weight of the baby well, with the help of a waist strap. The standard Baby Bjorn and Snugli don’t have this feature so once the baby gets to a hefty size, your shoulders will start to ache. A friend of mine even experienced plugged milk ducts from using her Baby Bjorn, so make sure you adjust what carrier you use once your baby starts to get bigger. The Ergo however, does not allow the baby to face outwards which is how we typically use the Trekker. Another mommy friend of mine uses the ErgoSport carrier for all of her baby’s naps, so you can imagine how important comfort would be.

In summary, you will likely find that you prefer various carriers depending on the age of your child and how/when you’re using it. For this reason it is useful to have a few on hand and to try them out with your baby. Buying used carriers (in good condition) or borrowing them from your friends can make this feasible.

For a different perspective, check out a recent article on Baby Carriers in Canadian Family.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My friend Tim brought his 7 month old baby on a family sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands and made a super cute video explaining how you can do it too. Check it out by clicking the link below. Enjoy!

Watch the Video

Summary

Bring the following:

  1. Bouncy Chair
  2. UV screen
  3. Baby Sunscreen
  4. Inflatable Tub (Leave water in the sun to heat it up)
  5. Baby Support (For the tub)
  6. Portable Changing Pad
  7. Infant Lifejacket (Available at MECC)
  8. Portable Baby Bed (Co-Sleeper)

Other Tips:

  • Catamarans are easier than Monohulls (Catamarans stay more level in the water)
  • A car seat is unnecessary and bulky in the boat (But may be needed for land transit)
  • Look out for the baby getting too hot (you’ll probably only need onesies for clothes)
  • When flying, feed the baby on ascent and descent (this will help clear the baby’s ears)

Here are two more special tips from Tim (not in the video):

  • Bring extra mini-baggies for the diapers… because you might be sleeping close to your garbage.
  • Bring a grandparent so you can go snorkeling with your spouse!

Guest contributor: Liz

My husband Alan and I went to Arizona with Clara, her paternal grandmother, her maternal grandparents and her aunt for a two week trip.  I was really nervous prior to going; at 4 months Clara was still a short napper with no real daytime schedule, and still waking 2X/night and so my particular concerns was around whether she would fall asleep in new environments or whether she’d get overtired and then scream on our trip.  However, things went great!  The biggest help was that Clara was still at the age where she liked to be carried and didn’t squirm so much.  She was happiest on our laps being bounced or talked to.  Also, she still fit into a sling, which I brought as an afterthought and it turned out the be a lifesaver.  She’d sleep in the sling, which was a great help for the long lineups at the airport post Detroit terrorist threat; and also in the evenings when we were out for dinner I could put her in the sling for a short sleep.  I could make it dark with Clara in the sling by putting another blanket over my shoulder which would shield her from distractions.  I did find that Clara would get quite hot and sweaty in the sling, so I removed layers before putting her in.

At night she slept beside her grandmother on a double bed or between us on a king sized bed.  The hotels we stayed at provided playpens but not cribs and they didn’t look comfortable, so Clara got to sleep in luxury.

In terms of the plane ride, I was asked by the staff to hold Clara a certain way for takeoff and then when we were in the air we’d feed her from a bottle.  She didn’t seem bothered by the pressure in her ears.  For landings we didn’t bother with the feeding, because if she cried we’d be off the plane soon anyways.

In terms of other gear, we rented a carseat with the rental car – not the most comfortable but easier than lugging our carseat from home.  We bought an umbrella stroller while in Arizona – not the best as Clara was still a bit small for it but it was functional for traveling and on the way home we could push the stroller up to the gate and then collect it at the gate after our flight.

Overall, it was a great trip and traveling with Clara was worth it!  The two weeks following the trip were harder – it was hard to get Clara back on a routine, sleeping in her own crib, not held all the time, but she settled in again after a couple of weeks and really now all I remember are the good moments from the trip!

Tags: , , , ,