Travel Tuesday – 5 Tips for Traveling with Babies

Today is December 20th- and now that we’re in the “20′s” of December, that means that holiday travel is kicking into high-gear.

Traveling during the holidays is stressful for ANYONE– think of the lines, the cranky passengers, the potential weather delays making for even CRANKIER passengers.  Add baby (or babies) to that mix, and you’ve got a recipe for chaos–or at the very least, a very tricky parenting challenge.

As a travel-pro (and I make this claim only because I’ve flown almost 40,000 miles with my little girl, starting at 5 months of age -her first flight photo is above), I think I’m in a decent position to give some advice on how to get through those long airport and airplane hours. I’d love to hear tips from others as well- while I’m pretty good at traveling with one, I seriously suspect that traveling with multiple will be an entirely different story!

Tip 1- Book that extra seat.

Babies up to the age of 2 are allowed to fly on their parent’s lap on most airlines, but if at all possible think about booking a seat for your baby.  Not because the baby will actually sit in the seat, because in my experience, your kiddo will almost always end up on your lap, but to at least create what I call a “buffer zone” between you and another passenger.  If you’re traveling with another adult, the extra seat might not be necessary, but if you’re alone, a single-seat-sized space probably isn’t enough room for you, your baby, and your gear. Though– I’ve done it, with some luck and some cooperation of friendly row-mates, of course.

Tip 2- Pack light, but pack smart.

In the early days of traveling with my little one, I packed EVERYTHING I thought she could possibly need- including clothes for every single day we’d be away. But if you’re going somewhere that you’ll have access to a washer/dryer- don’t feel obligated to pack the whole dresser. Bring the essentials for about half the days that you’ll be at your destination and just plan on doing a load of laundry while there (and in my experience, if you’re visiting family, you’re going to get gifts of cute outfits upon arrival anyway!)

The on-the-plane necessities actually add up to quite a bit on their own anyway. In my experience, the following are must-haves:

  • a diaper wallet (lugging a giant diaper bag down that narrow airplane aisle and maneuvering it in those tiny bathrooms is just too difficult)
  • lots of liquids (one less thing to carry if you’re nursing)
  • snacks if the baby is on solid food
  • a changing pad
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • a change of clothes (for your baby, and a back-up shirt for you)
  • hand sanitizer
  • a nursing pillow (totally worth the space it takes up in the seat, because once you’re done nursing, baby can snooze on it and your arms get a rest)
  • a nursing cover
  • baby’s favorite book
  • a blankie (it gets cold on planes!)
  • an umbrella stroller if baby is big enough (this will get you all the way to the plane, and then you’re on your own) and, if all else fails-
  • your smartphone

Tip 3 – Nurse your baby on the way up and the way down to prevent the “ear pops”. Changes in altitude have been known to affect even adult ears, so there’s potential that those “pops” can make baby very uncomfortable.  If you nurse, or give your baby a bottle on the way up and down, the swallowing motion eases the pressure build-up and can make the altitude change less painful (for both  of you).

Tip 4Accept Help When it’s Offered. 75% of the travel that I did with my little one was travel alone. My vacation schedule was different than my husband’s, so I often flew back east on my own to see family while he stayed home and worked. This certainly complicated matters– and for those first couple trips, I tried to do it all by myself. Its not easy once you have to turn over that stroller at gate-check and you’re left with all your bags (purse, diaper bag, carry on) AND little one in your arms. Other passengers had offered to help and at first, my reply was always “oh thanks, I have it though”- after a couple trips, I was more than happy to let a nice co-passenger help me get our bags to where they needed to go, and when other passengers didn’t offer, the flight attendants were always happy to help (though, they often wanted to hold the baby, as opposed to the bags, but help is help!) Take the help when its offered and seek it out even if its not offered– it’s definitely worth it!

Tip 5- When all else fails, it really is ok (at least in my book!) to take the “easy way out”. Yes, I’m going to admit to you here that when I traveled with my toddler, when she was done coloring, when we’d read her books twenty times each, when she was bored and near melt-down, I pulled out my smartphone. Yes, I let her watch a movie. Sometimes, we let her play with baby flash cards on the phone. We had always said we’d stick to the American Academy of Pediatrics advice about no screen time before 2- but on the plane, while surrounded by strangers who just wanted some peace and quiet, and no possibility of escape, and with a solution at my fingertips, I took the easy road. And it worked.

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Mama Monday- Nursing at Holiday Gatherings

Over this past weekend I went to a holiday party with my husband, our little girl and lots of friends (old and new). While at the party, a new Mommy arrived with her little one in tow, and after what I assumed had been a long car trip, she immediately stepped into the restroom to nurse.

This made me think back to the days when I was nursing– my girl was born the week of Thanksgiving, so those first weeks were filled with visits from family which then ran right into holiday gatherings. I spent much of these visits and gatherings nursing my little one either in the back bedroom at our place or in a friend or family member’s restroom, and not out and about with loved ones. I remember wanting to be out with everyone- feeling like I was missing the party, and also hoping that people didn’t think I was ignoring them. It was an awkward time– mainly because I wasn’t sure how I felt about nursing in the company of others, or how they’d feel about me doing so.

Over time, I got more comfortable with nursing, and consequently, more comfortable with the idea of nursing in front of others. The visits, (of course), continued- because any parent knows, there’s nothing that draws a crowd more than a new baby. I started with friends by asking if they minded me nursing (with a cover, because I personally just didn’t feel comfortable going without one). Nine times out of ten, they were cool with it, and those visits were so much easier and much less awkward than the visits in the early days. Interestingly, nursing in front of family, for me, took longer- but I eventually ended up nursing in the company of most of my friends and family.

With so many gatherings happening this time of year, I started wondering what other Mommies’ experiences have been with nursing at holiday parties. Have you ducked out? Nursed with a cover? Without a cover? Were you comfortable with it right from the start? Or did it take easing into?

At the party this weekend, I didn’t get the chance to chat with that new Mommy (my two-year-old went into melt-down mode because she was overdue for a nap). I had hoped to connect with her, to swap stories as a fellow nursing Mommy, and also to tell her about our nursing covers, so that in the future, if she wanted to stay out with the rest of us, she could feel comfortable nursing her baby anywhere, and in any company. I also would have told her that the nursing period goes by way too fast, and to enjoy each and every moment of that special time with her little one– whether she’s hanging out on her own or in the middle of the party.

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Mama Monday: Sleeping with an almost 11 month old and three year old!

I don’t think I have had a decent night’s sleep in close to four years. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but probably not. My girls are only two and half years apart. I had about six months in-between pregnancy/breastfeeding and getting pregnant again. We planned this so I knew it was happening but the funny thing about kids is that even when you plan you have no idea what you are getting yourself into!

Here is my current situation and I happily solicit any and all recommendations. The baby is still nursing throughout the night! Ok, before you judge, let me give you some background: My girls share a room and it is a lot easier to have one baby up in the middle of the night than two. So we have not tested the “cry it out” method as we did with my first daughter because of the baby possibly waking up the three year old. However, mama has just about reached her limit and if I don’t get some sleep I don’t know how I am going to continue to function. This is how a typical night goes….

Dinner/bath/bed – sounding pretty familiar I am sure.  My husband (when he is not traveling for work) usually takes the three year old for teeth/hair brushing, story and bed. Most nights she goes to sleep but sometimes I will have to lay down with her for “one minute” after I get the baby down. As my husband gets the three year old down, the baby and I lay on my bed and I nurse her to sleep. Wondering where the problem is? It starts anywhere from 11:30 pm to 2:30 am. The baby wakes up and starts crying. I drag myself down to their bedroom and retrieve her so she won’t wake her sister. I have tried to nurse her quickly and lay her back down but she always wakes up and starts crying as soon as I put her down. So now I just bring her back to bed with me…. Yes, I can hear the tongues clicking at this. I nurse her back to sleep in our bed and she falls asleep….For like, 15 minutes and then it starts again. And again. And again… This continues until the alarm goes off or our three year old comes in to wake us up.

Obviously, my quick fix solution isn’t working for anyone. I am not sleeping, the baby is not sleeping and my husband may be pretending to sleep but probably isn’t. How do I get this baby to sleep in her crib through the night?

Proof that she does sleep….

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Health Care Reform

International Breastfeeding Logo


We’ve been talking in the office this week about the Health Care Reform and the inclusion of rights for working, breastfeeding moms. Employers are to provide a ‘non-bathroom area’ in the workplace for the mom who needs a quiet, private place to pump breast milk. Regular (unpaid) breaks are also to be allowed until their baby turns 1 year of age.

We don’t currently have any breastfeeding moms at the Bebe au Lait offices, so we talked about previous places of employment and the provisions for this important time in a new mom’s life. Pleasantly, we seemed to agree that in our experience U.S, as well as U.K companies are way ahead of this law.

For more reading on this part of the Health Care Reform go here and for more reasons to breastfeed go here. And please send us any stories you have of breastfeeding/pumping in the office.

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Page 3 of 512345