Flying with Baby: Helpful Tips

We took our four month old on her first flight the other day.  We made it a short one – just three hours to West Palm Beach from New York.  When my husband suggested we visit the in-laws, I thought it would be a good introductory flight – not too long of a trip – to see how Eden did.  Well she cried a lot, but not for most of the flight.  She cried when we first got on the plane and for a bit in the middle when she woke up, but not during take off and landing.  Sure, mommy and daddy had a headache post flight, but all in all, I’d say it was a success!  But one thing is for sure – flights  are no longer my happy place where I can relax with a good movie or catch up on work if baby is with me!   While it takes some work to ensure you don’t turn into those people everyone hates with the crying baby, I learned a few things along the way to make the whole experience from pickup for the airport to landing at your destination a very doable experience.

  • Ride to the airport and pickup from your destination – if you are bringing your own carseat, you can use a standard taxi or car service.  However, you need to remember you are schlepping a lot more luggage than when you used to travel.  In addition to the extra clothes, swaddle blankets, and other baby items, you’ll most likely have a stroller and some additional carry-ons for your baby’s food and necessities.  Make sure the car you reserve is big enough to hold everything.  In addition, if you are not bringing your baby’s car seat, make sure the company can supply one.  Legends Limousine was highly recommended on many of the mom’s boards.  Their service is top notch.  Not only are the cars clean and kept in great shape, (they get a new fleet every three years), their car seats are clean, modern and safe. I did try another company before them, and the car seat was very old and filthy.  You may want to bring a blanket to put down where you can on the carseat just in case.   Legends Limousine was established in 1994 and is family owned and operated. For over 20 years they have grown to surpass a fleet size of over 65 company owned vehicles.  Their  fleet includes late model sedans, Minivans, SUVs, Executive Vans, limousines, and charter buses.  To date, Legends Limousine specializes in quality local, corporate and family transportation in over 500 cities across the globe.  You can book online at www.legendslimousine.com Use Code CSE for 10 dollars off your next family trip where a car seat is ordered!
  • Strollers, breast pumps, and car seats are allowed to be brought to the gate and don’t count as carry-ons.  While I still like to keep bags as consolidated as possible so there is less room for leaving things at the security check, you won’t have to feel limited because a breast pump is considered a medical supply item.  However, your diaper bag and cooler for your milk does count as a carry-on, so you may want to fold up your diaper bag and put it in your suitcase and bring just the essentials on the plane in one of your other bags.
  • You can bring breast milk – best bet for the least amount of inspection is to freeze it.  Bring a small cooler with a lot of icepacks.  If they are going to inspect it, make sure the bags or bottles are tightly sealed and ask them to change gloves when they inspect it.
  • If you are breastfeeding, nurse during takeoff and landing to help alleviate the pressure inside your baby’s ears.  It could also lead to a nice long nap.  If you’re not nursing, give your baby something to suck on, whether it’s your finger, bottle or a teething toy.  Our baby was so calm during takeoff and landing, just eating and then sleeping through it all.  I found that carrying the baby in my Lilebaby carrier on the way back made it a lot for more comfortable for both her and me.  When she fell asleep, I had my hands free to watch a movie or read my book which was a really nice break.
  • Request the bulk head section.  Sometimes you’ll get lucky.  If you happen to be pregnant again and also have a little one, make sure you mention you are pregnant when you call to make your reservation.  Many times, they will give you the first row in economy, which has  extra legroom so baby and you won’t feel cramped and you have a bit more privacy if nursing. However, they may tell you that if someone handicapped needs it, you will get bumped.
  • If your baby is awake during the flight, go for slow walks with them on your shoulder or just stand in the aisle and sway side to side and up and down for comfort. If they are a little older, I’ve seen bubbles work as well as a way to calm them.
  • While airlines give you the opportunity to board early, I found that all of the extra time on the plane waiting for everyone else to board made for a very restless, screaming baby.  So on the flight home, my husband loaded up the plane with our bags and stroller and I stayed outside the plane until the last person boarded.  My baby enjoyed watching everyone go by and gave many smiles to those walking past her.  The plane took off just a few minutes after we boarded.  She started eating and fell asleep in no time.  We had a much smoother ride back.

I hope these tips help you with your next flight.  Most of all, just take a deep breath and relax because I’m a firm believer that your baby will pick up on your nervous cues.  You will still have a great trip no matter how much crying happens on the plane.  If you are organized and prepared, you will get through the first flight like a champ!

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Cape Cod with a Six Week Old!

A close girlfriend was getting married in Harwich, MA on Cape Cod and when I realized my baby would be six weeks old at the time of the affair, I didn’t think it would be possible to go. My pediatrician was telling us not to take her to a hotel room which could be filled with germs or to a crowded wedding, and of course the thought of a five hour car ride was daunting.  However, as it got closer and I had a better handle on what my baby was like at that stage, I felt adventurous and wanted to give it a shot.  In addition, I found a great place to stay that made my decision that much easier.

We drove a few hours from New York City and stopped halfway in Mystic, Connecticut, which was a great place for a break to eat.  My husband tried the pizza from Mystic Pizza and I was ever so happy to have oysters from one of the many restaurants on the water, since I had to abstain for nine months.  It’s a great area for walking and taking in the beautiful scenery.  We then got back in the car and drove another couple of hours to Chatham and the Pleasant Bay Village.  When I saw Pleasant Bay Village online, I knew it wasn’t a cookie cutter hotel and had rooms that were perfect for traveling with a family.  With accommodations to suit many needs, they offer efficiencies with a full kitchen, outdoor furniture, and a BBQ grill, as well as standard and  deluxe rooms with two queen beds and a sitting area outside.  All rooms are non-smoking and have air-conditioning, heat, high definition flat screen televisions, small refrigerators, irons, ironing boards, hair dryers, phones, private bathrooms and daily housekeeping.  They are a green property and, utilizing a 22kW photovoltaic array to generate approximately 25% of their annual electricity and a solar thermal system to reduce consumption of natural gas.  They also use non-toxic cleaners which I think is great if traveling with infants.  So many times the hotel room can smell from the products used to clean them.  They have been awarded the Green Leaders Gold Level Certification by TripAdvisor, Cape and Islands Green Verification and are recognized as an Energy Star partner. 

In addition to the meticulously clean and comfortable accommodations, Pleasant Bay Village also offers a heated outdoor pool near a beautiful waterfall, a hot tub surrounded by an Asian inspired rock garden and Japanese maples.  A zen garden sits close to the waterfall and a Japanese Koi pond and makes for a great spot to relax and meditate.  They serve a gourmet breakfast in their lobby which is furnished with 18th century antiques and lunch is served poolside in July and August.

Just five minutes from Chatham center, main street is a great spot to browse boutique shops and enjoy fresh seafood at restaurants such as the Impudent Oyster (and yes, I got amazing oysters here too!).  Be sure to make a reservation for dinner, as it does fill up quickly.  We went for a late lunch around 2:30 which was perfect for our first meal out with the baby! It’s a quieter time than their busy lunch and dinner hours.  Beautiful beaches are also nearby and great for catching the sunset.

All in all, I would recommend Cape Cod as a trip for those at any age!  If you find the right accommodations to make your visit an easy one, you can make it a great family vacation – even if my daughter did cry and had to be taken out during lunch!

Passport Baby Interviews

Michelle interviews the founders of innovative baby products in her series, “Passport Baby.”

Overwhelmed First Time Parent to Be? Products to Get You Started!

Becoming first time parents can be overwhelming, especially when you make your first trip to the store for your registry.  With products and brands galore, from strollers to breast pumps, how could one possibly know what they need and which ones to choose?  That is how we felt on our first trip to the store, but after a bit of time and lots of research and first hand experience, I have hand picked a few staples to help get you started.   I will be writing a few articles as I discover new helpful products.

Stroller: The UPPAbaby brand baby strollers are all the rage on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  On one block, one may see five different colors of the UPPAbaby VISTA or the UPPAbaby CRUZ.  For city living, I can understand why this is such a beneficial stroller.  The wheels are sturdy and suspension excellent.  It also has a big basket underneath the seat for lots of grocery shopping and errands with your little one.  The vista has a variety of configurations and maneuvers like a single stroller with the ability to adapt as a family grows.  It comes with a bassinet and a toddler seat with multiple positions.  They are both interchangeable and requires no fabric swapping.  The canopy adjusts as your child grows and has an extendable 50+ sunshade.

If you plan on having another baby in the next few years, the seat selections and configurations can comfortably hold two Mesa infant car seats with a direct configuration and no attachments, two bassinets, and two toddler seats.  if you add the PiggyBack Ride Along Board, three can comfortably ride. 

The UPPAbaby CRUZ is also compatible with the Mesa and is streamlined and compact without compromising on function. It has an easy one step fold with or without the seat attached. 

The UPPAbaby G-LUXE is the lightest full size reclining stroller in its class.  It has a one-wheel lock brake, easy access, large basket, an extendable SPF 50+ sunshade, one-handed recline and adjustable footrest. The fabric is removable and washable. 

The UPPAbaby G-LITE stroller is one of the lightest full-size umbrella strollers available weighing 11 pounds.  

The UPPAbaby G-LINK stroller is perfect for someone with twins.  The side by side reclining seats and adjustable footrests have an independent one-handed adjustable recline with four positions.

Carseat:  The UPPAbaby MESA infant car seat is suitable for babies from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height.  It is the only car seat on the market that uses the smart secure system. It has self-retracting mini latch connectors and a red to green tightness indicator that allows for a quick, accurate and easy installation.  It has advanced side impact protection, exceeding the proposed NHTSA safety standards for SIP.  The integrated headrest design keeps an infant’s head stationary during a side impact collision.  The car seat comes in a variety of colors.  If choosing the Henry (blue marl), it is constructed of merino wool, which is fire resistant.  It is a soft breathable fabric that is comfortable in both warm and cool temperatures.

Nursing Bras:  They are not kidding when they say your breasts increase in size when pregnant.  I think I needed a new bra every few weeks through the first half of my pregnancy.  Then in the second half, the belly keeps expanding that your bra needs also seem to expand.  Some say to stop wearing underwires so it doesn’t inhibit your milk production.  Regardless, I think if one can find a supportive bra without an underwire, it’s good for your breast health.  However, as a woman who has always needed an underwire for support, I find it hard to find a good bra that still gives me a somewhat decent shape.  

That was until I discovered Bravado! Design Nursing Bras.  Their silk seamless bras and camis that are so soft and comfortable while also offering great support for women of all sizes.   I have tried the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra, the Yoga Nursing Bra and the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Cami.  Two brand new limited-edition colors are the sea glass for the nursing bra and Dove Heather for the yoga bra.  The cami comes in black and white.  I love the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Cami because it can be worn underneath a shirt or sweater and because the Body Silk Seamless Bra is knitted inside, there is no need to wear a bra too.  The four-way stretch fabric hugs your changing shape and has convertible criss-cross straps.  

The nursing bra also has the four way stretch fabric and it includes a conversion kit that converts the bra to a regular bra once you are done nursing, so you don’t have to worry about spending money on a bra you’ll only wear for a short time.  For maximum skin-to-skin contact, the bra cups drop away fully. 

Pregnancy and Nursing Pillows:  Friends kept telling me how much they loved their full body pillow they used during pregnancy. I thought I was doing just fine with my two memory foam pillows – one for under my head and one for between my knees.  That was before I was introduced to the Boppy Multi-Use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow.  If you’re pregnant, you’re probably waking up one to three or more times a night to either go to the bathroom or from restlessness.   I can’t guarantee you won’t need to still go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but I have found I am far less restless when cuddled up to my pillow.  It provides complete head-to-tow support including comfort to your neck, belly, back and hips.  The slipcover is made from 100% cotton, wipeable and machine washable.  According to recent studies, poor sleep can lead to longer labor, preterm birth and gestational weight gain.  Therefore, don’t take a good night’s rest lightly!

If you’re afraid your partner may get jealous of this new addition taking over your bed, the Boppy Pregnancy Support Pillow is a smaller-sized body pillow that provides just the right support for the hips, legs and bump.  

The Boppy Back and Bump Support Pillow is perfect for helping with the recommended side sleeping during pregnancy.  It supports both the belly and back in a compact design.  While I always intend to sleep on my side, inevitably I still end up on my back.  This pillow helps keep me in place and supports the back muscles and ligaments which are getting loser as the pregnancy progresses. 

If you just want a wedge to place at any point on your body, the Boppy Pregnancy Wedge  is a firm, versatile pregnancy cushion you can use on your back, bump or between your knees.  It also makes for a great lumbar support while sitting.  

After baby is born, the Boppy Nursing and Feeding Pillow provides great support while breast or bottle feeding. 

In my next article, I will give helpful product tips for bassinets, carriers, and more!  Keep smiling – your new addition will be here soon and while you will always worry about your child, hopefully you’re a little less worried about about which products are best for getting started!

Fun and Helpful Prenatal Products

Becoming pregnant for the first time can be exciting, but at the same time, it can be overwhelming. A new mom to be wants to make sure she does everything she can to provide her baby with the best chance of being born healthy and happy. It’s not always a walk in the park. That glow everyone talks about most likely will be harder to find when you are nauseous in the first trimester, exhausted and not able to make it past 6pm, getting bigger and bigger with a stomach that has a mind of its own. However, it’s comforting to know there are products that can help ease the symptoms of pregnancy and make it more enjoyable, while also protecting your unborn baby. Below are some of the few I have discovered so far in my third trimester.

Aden and Anais Nursing Pillow: As you get bigger and the pregnancy progresses, some practicioners stress the importance of laying on your left side. The Aden and Anais  Nursing Pillow not only makes for a great pillow for the baby while nursing after birth, but also helps with staying on one’s left side.  It is very comfortable and plump and can be positioned behind or in front of you for nighttime support.  Its removable, machine-washable white cover is made from soft, breathable 100% cotton muslin.  Colorful cotton muslin covers are also available in a variety of  signature prints. For wrapping your bundle of joy after birth, the Aden and Anais swaddles come in many cute colors and sizes.

 

 

 

Belly Armor Belly Blanket Luxe by Radiashield: You work on your laptop and keep your cell phone close to you. But you also worry the radiation can be harmful to your developing baby. Belly Armor is a soft, cuddly blanket that also functions as a shield between your electronic devices at the baby in your womb.  It is a very simple way of protecting your little one in utero.  The Luxe is made up of luxurious cotton micro-fleece and satin.

Belly Bandit’s Upsie Belly:  The Upsie Belly for me is a life saver!  Towards the end of the pregnancy, it becomes more and more difficult to walk due to the pressure of the baby’s head in my pelvis, but I also know walking is recommended and I didn’t want to give that up.  In fact, it wasn’t really an option, considering I live in NYC and still need to get from point A to point B.  That’s where this simple, yet very effective wrap which comes with a heating/ice pack for your back works so well.  It is made of soft viscose from bamboo which makes it very comfortable. It comes in a variety of sizes and has 12 inches of adjustability, so it can be used as your belly grows.   You can choose to slip the pack into the integrated pouch for your lower back for increased pain relief or wear it without it.  It gives  your growing belly the extra support it needs and takes the pressure off of your bladder and pelvis, making it easier to walk.

The Upsie Belly also eases sciatic, back and leg pain and adds hip, back and abdominal support.  It also helps to increase circulation and blood flow, decrease varicose veins, hernias and hemorroids.  Belly Bandit also makes a number of products for after you give birth to help you get back your pre-pregnancy shape.

BellyBuds by Wavhello: A baby’s hearing develops in utero at about 20 weeks, and studies have shown memories begin at 30 weeks.   I think it’s so neat that your baby has a way of hearing the music you love or your voice right near them.  You can let baby listen to the same music you’re listening to while working out or just relaxing around the house.  BellyBuds offer a fun way for parents to talk to their baby or share music and messages through WavHello’s free VoiceShare app.   Some new moms to be feel it’s a great way to bond with their baby in utero.

 

 

Blooming Wellness’ Zenbands and ZTones: Relaxation is very important in pregnancy. As a first time mom, there are a lot of unexpected changes going on in your body. Listening to calming meditations are helpful for both you and your baby. Zen bands make it easy to listen to your meditations and music through their soft boho-styled headband that acts as a headband, headphones and eye mask all in one with removable small speakers. This prevents headphones from falling out of your ears while putting very little pressure on them. Made out of lightweight cotton, they come in a variety of colors to promote the benefits of color therapy. According to their website, people have used them for traveling, running, walking, meditating, sleeping, napping, while at the spa, the pool, the gym, in a train, in a plane, for acupuncture, for hospital stays, in hotels, for hypnobirthing, for meditating and mindfulness, and just for general stress management.

Books: There are a ton of books on the market for the expectant mom.  The one everyone has heard of, ” What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is useful when learning the basics of pregnancy from what tests to expect to the types of delivery.  However, some lesser known titles which can be extremely helpful for the anxious mom to be are “Finding Calm for the Expectant Mom” by Alice D. Domar PH.D and Sheila Curry Oakes and “The Confident Parent” by Jane Scott MD and Stephanie Land.  As someone who thought she was the only one who wasn’t in love with being pregnant at the beginning, “Finding Calm For the Expectant Mom” talks about what many women really go through and helps to ease fears and stress of pregnancy and becoming a new parent.

Carex Bed Buddy Neck Pillow:  After a couple of minutes in the microwave, this soothing aromatic pillow will sooth aways aches, pains and stress, or arthritis in the neck and shoulders.  Using deep, moist relaxing lavender and chamomile aromatherapy, it helps ease stress and tension.  This is the perfect remedy for that tired body or a great way to find calm during your pregnancy.

Janes Wellness Gowns: a very comfortable, attractive alternative to the typical hospital gown, this is a great robe to wear during every part of your pregnancy. With its warm, lightweight knit fabric and wrap closure, they provide total comfort and minimize exposure, allowing you to relax and focus on everything from the ultrasounds to nursing your baby. They are also perfect for lounging around the house or for the day you meet your new baby.

Mama Mio: Your belly and boobs will expand to sizes you never imagined possible.  With that could come stretch marks that don’t go away when your stomach does.  That’s where Mama Mio comes to the rescue.  They offer products to help prevent and minimize the marks.  They also offer creams to help sooth the soreness from breastfeeding. Below are a few of my favorites:

Mama Mio The Tummy Rub Oil – Helps protect growing tummies against the appearance of stretch marks using a blend of omega-packed organic oils.
Mama Mio Pregnancy Boob Tube Bust Cream – Rich in omega oils to protect, cool and soothe both pregnant and new mamma boobs.
 Mama Mio Goodbye Stretch Marks Stretch Mark Minimiser – This is a powerful blend of peptides, fruit and algae extracts and nourishing oils helps to minimise the appearance of both new and old stretch marks caused by pregnancy. With the stretch marks minimiser the newer the stretch mark the better the result.

Mama Mio Lucky Legs Cooling Leg Gel – Help ease weary heavy legs in a flash. Packed with oils and refreshing spearmint to help revive tired legs and swollen feet. A must for any mama-to-be.