Travelling With A Baby Doesn’t Have To Be A Nightmare

About 3 years ago we decided to take the first family vacation trip and we decided to brave getting through an airport. My husband hates traveling by air, because he does a lot of it for business purposes and he constantly sees families struggling with it. However, I managed to “convince” him with the promise that if it turns out to be a disaster we wouldn’t do it again. So, I set off like a true project manager and planned the whole process through the airport. And here are my recommendations.

First of all you will want to come up with a time schedule for the days that you arrive at the airport. I decided that it would be safest to arrive at the check-in desks 3 hours ahead of schedule, so this meant getting to the long term parking facility 3 ½ hours before. This is mainly to account for the potential of delays during security clearance.

Next, you want to pack your carry-on bags as wisely as possible. There are very clear restrictions on liquids and I recommend that you check the TSA website before you leave to get the most up-to-date information. There are exemptions for baby food and liquids, but I would advise to keep it to a minimum and pack all your baby’s stuff in a separate bag, e.g. the diaper bag.

Now for the big tip, that will save you a lot of hassle. My husband had experienced many occasions where he got stuck behind a family during the TSA checks where there were problems with getting strollers through the scanning equipment. This can lead to an awful lot of hassle and time delays. The solution is to get an umbrella stroller.

These types of strollers are absolutely ideal for travelling with a baby. They fold up into a very compact format, like an umbrella, and they are also very light weight. This makes it ideal for getting through security and also to fold it down before boarding the plane. After a lot of research we took the advice given at Baby Wheels and we bought the best lightweight stroller to suite our particular needs. The stroller we went for is a Bumbleride and we have it to this day. Despite being made of very light materials, and now having been on several vacations, it is still functioning as well as it did the day we got it. It is just so easy to use, that it is now even my go to stroller for short trips to do grocery shopping.

Because the umbrella stroller is so small when folded down I can quickly throw it in the trunk of the car and always have plenty of room left, even when using the small Toyota. It is simply great.

Anyway, all my airport planning paid off and we managed to get through security without a glitch. We then went to one of the airport lounges and decided to pay for access to a quiet environment, and that was also well worth it. Had we been majorly delayed by the TSA we wouldn’t have bothered, but we had just over two hours of time to spare, so it was nice to get somewhere calm and quiet.

On the return trip things went just as well and my husband had to concede to the fact that it was wasn’t so bad and that we would indeed be doing it again. As always, I was right ;-)

Stroller Breakdown Of A Different Kind

With our two kids aged 2 and 4 we have long had a double stroller as it is just so much more convenient. I know that our 4 year old should probably not be spending much time in a stroller, but in her defense, we do go very regular and quite long walks. It really would be a shame to have to reduce the distances we can go in the fresh air because we were limited by the range of a 4 year old.

We certainly make sure that she walks as much as possible and because we have spent as much time outdoors as possible since she was a baby, she is well used to walking. But she does eventually get tired and I learned a lesson on one occasion when I had to carry her for two miles home. That taught me a very sore lesson ;-)

When our son was born we knew we needed a double stroller, but we made a fatal mistake by just buying one of the cheapest second hand ones we could find on ebay. The stroller arrived and was in pretty decent condition with no obvious flaws. And in fairness it has worked very well for the past 2 years. There were some things we didn’t like about from the start that we probably would have realized a lot sooner if we had followed the advice over at www.babywheels.net.

The first issue we had was that we went for a tandem style stroller, which was fine for a while, but now that our kids are a bit older neither of them like sitting in the back, because it has such a restricted view. A side-by-side stroller would have suited us a lot better.

Secondly, we didn’t do any research into what other customers were saying about the model we bought. This is a big mistake, especially since I am so diligent with everything else I buy. Needless to say I deserved the blame ;-)

Fast forward to last weekend and we have a catastrophic stroller failure when somehow the back axel broke and half the stroller was scraping along the sidewalk. Luckily this happened just a few hundred yards from our car, after we had spent the afternoon going for a long walk. When I got home I decided to try and put my non-existent mechanical skills to the test and after five minutes had figured out a solution.

I sat down on the couch with my iPad and started researching double stroller reviews on the Internet. Within an hour I had placed an order on Amazon for a Baby Jogger City Mini. We particularly liked that it was relatively light and folds down very easily. The dimensions also indicated that it would fit into the trunk of our cars.

So, today it arrived, and I can confirm that it really is a great stroller. Both our kids love it and we have just come back from our first test drive. It is very sturdy and comfortable, and the best thing is that there is no fighting over who site where. The next thing now is to pimp the ride a bit, and I’m already looking at various different accessories.

If you’ve had any experience with this stroller or other double strollers then please comment below. I love to hear from readers.

3 Family Exercise Tips

Obesity is a big problem in our society and many adults struggle with weight gain at different points in time. For years I have battled with weight, but so far I have avoided falling into the obese category. Since our first child was born we certainly become more health conscious for two main reasons. Firstly, we don’t want to risk illness or worse, which would have a huge impact on our children. Secondly, we want to set a good example. While a lot of weight problems can be put down to bad diets, many people do not spend enough time exercising, which will be the topic of today’s post.

1) Go For A Run With Your Baby

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This might seem like a strange suggestion but it is something we have done as parents since our eldest was 6 months old. It was one of our neighbors that introduced us to jogging strollers which really gave us a boost in our physical activity. The stroller is designed in such a way that you can easily run while pushing the stroller along with you. For me this meant that I could start an exercise routine that suited my daily schedule, rather than wait for my husband to come home from work; at that time I was often too tired.

But this tip also helps introduce your kids to exercise from a very young age which sets a great example. To this day our kids ask if we can go for a run as they get great enjoyment out of the little trips we make. And it helped me lose a lot of the baby weight I had been carrying.

2) Bring Your Kids Swimming

I have never been a confident swimmer and I wanted to make sure that my kids would be able to swim. This is very important to me as it could potentially save their life in certain circumstances. We don’t have a pool, but many of our friends and family do, so we had to prepare our kids. From a very young age we would take regular trips to a local swimming pool where we would just mess around in the shallow end and get them used to the water.

As they grew older we booked them into kids’ swimming lessons and they absolutely love it. They now go swimming twice a week and it absolutely knocks them out. We have booked afternoon classes, and usually they cannot stay awake passed 7 PM. This is a great indication as to how physically straining it is.

3) Introduce Kids To Sports Clubs

Once your kids are old enough to join different sports clubs you should jump on the opportunity. Most sports will have practice on maybe two days of the week and then maybe a game or race at the weekend. This will fill three days of the week with exercise activity which is more than the average child currently gets. Our eldest child now goes swimming once or twice a week and has joined a soccer club where she has another 2 or 3 days of practice a week.

This makes it a lot easier to fill days with the necessary activities and gives you the time to work out what to do with your kids on the days they don’t have practice. Getting an average of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise in every day is vitally important to ensuring your child’s development.

Creating A Baby Routine

As a mum of two I have had a lot of time to go through trial and error; we simply never stop learning when it comes to parenting. One thing we were advised when we had our first baby was to start thinking about creating a routine as early as possible. Now, before you jump into planning, I should note that there is very little that you can do for the first 6 to 12 weeks, but there are some subtle things you can do.

Your baby will be sleeping a lot and his or her sleeping pattern will not be changed much by what you do. When your baby is tired it will sleep, when it is hungry or needs a nappy change it will cry. That is just the way nature works in the first weeks. But I personally found that setting a certain time of day on certain days of the week as a bath time created a certain rhythm. It also helped me get a plan together for parenting and home keeping duties.

I also started going for a walk or multiple walks at certain times of the day as long as the weather held up. The same goes for playing with certain toys or other forms of entertainment. Lots of small things at very routine schedules all help to create a much smoother running of the day.

Sleep Patterns can be very difficult and you would be fooling yourself to think that you can get your baby to fit into a perfect pattern. Hunger, sickness, teething and a whole host of other things will cause interruptions. But with our kids we found that they got into a routine from a very early age, and you could almost set your clock by it. I can’t say for sure whether or bathing and walking schedules were a huge contributor or not, or whether we are just plain lucky to have two kids with a fantastic sleeping pattern.

As your baby grows older you can introduce things like playing with a certain toy or reading a certain book to start the wind down process so that he or she comes to learn that certain things lead up to bed time.

Feeding Times are also very difficult and while your baby is very young you will simply be feeding whenever they are hungry. You may get lucky like we did and your baby will skip a night feed as early as 6 weeks old; or it could go on for months. But once you baby has a routine of a certain amount of feeds during the day, you should try and set them up for specific times of the day as much as possible.

Play Times can be a bit easier to arrange as your baby will generally be a little bit older. What we did was to have specific toys and books associated to nap and bed times. And to this day our 4 year old knows that we certain things start happening it must be leading up to bed time.

It really is a case of an awful lot of trial and error, but the more you can do to create a regimental schedule for the day the more organised your life as a parent will be. And no, this doesn’t mean that you have to set up a military style operation ;-)

 

The Importance Of Car Seat Research

Keeping your baby safe while traveling in a car is hugely important, as it can literally save your baby’s life in a worst-case scenario. There are just too many bad drivers on the road and very regular news reports of serious injury to babies and children involved in traffic accidents. One thing that infuriates me is when I see parents not strap in their kids safely, which is why I want to share my advice on how to find the best and safest car seats.

First thing you should get it out of your head that higher prices mean higher safety. What I found is that was simply an indication of how big name the brand was and whether some celebrity was behind an advertising campaign.

Rear Facing

For a new born baby you will need a rear facing car seat as this provides the maximum amount of protection for you baby. Babies are position in a semi upright position, which means it is very comfortable and provides a lot of protection of the spine. Neither of our babies had any problem sleeping in the car seats. Safecar is a great resource for very practical advice and one of the great resources is is the registration and recall page, where you can find out whether the car seat you are planning to buy has had any safety issues.

Forward Facing

Both our kids moved into a forward facing car seat when they were 12 months old. This wasn’t because they outgrew the rare facing one, but rather got a bit bored not being able to see out. This was especially the case with our son; we actually thought that he was suffering from motion sickness, but once we switched him to forward facing he was as happy as can be.

Toddler And Child

Once you child outgrows a standard forward facing car seat they can be moved to a booster seat. It is very important that you seek professional advice, as your child’s height will have a huge impact on when he or she will be suitable for a booster seat. There are also some car seats available that will cover children from age 1 to 8 years old, which can save you an awful lot of money to regularly upgrade to a large size.

There is also a great website based in Europe that provides extensive test reporting of crash testing car seats, click here to find out more. They have a great system of grading the safety through their results.

The Essentials For A New Baby

The list of things you will need for a new baby is absolutely endless, and even when you think you have everything covered, there will be more. It is practically impossible to come up with the definitive list, but the following is kind of the must haves. I remember the day I came home from the hospital with our first child and I was petrified about whether I had everything I need. In hindsight it was completely unnecessary, as I did have the bear essentials and everything else can be easily sourced.

Diapers, Diapers, Diapers

Yes, you will need a lot of diapers and with your first baby you will change them a lot more often than is really needed. You live and learn, but the last thing you want to happen is to run out of diapers in the middle of the night. We have basically come to a stage where we try to keep a few weeks worth of diapers in storage, just to be sure we don’t run out at the worst possible time.

Clothing

This is an area where especially moms will get a lot of joy. If you don’t know the sex of your baby before it is born, you can simply stock up on vests and baby grows in a neutral color to get you over the first couple of weeks. If you do know the sex, then you will have even more fun doing some baby shopping. I would also recommend getting a warm sleep suit, which are very convenient if you want to leave the house for a while.

Bottle and Baby Formula

Plan ahead and have some bottles and baby formula powder ready. With my first baby I had planned to breastfeed, but it just didn’t work as well as I thought. I did get into it a few days later, but there was a frantic moment the first night I was home and my husband had to go and buy bottles and formula in the middle of the night in a moment of panic. This was a stressful situation made worse by not having planned ahead.

Baby Cot

Don’t try and save on this, especially the matrass. You don’t have to go for the top of the range designer cot, but you will want to get one that you can easily move around. We bought one that came in two parts, which allowed us to quickly detach the sleeping part and bring it with us to another room. It was lightweight and gave us great flexibility. In those first few weeks and months you will want to be as close to your baby as you can.

Baby Monitor

One of the best pieces of advice we got from my dear friend Susan was to get a baby monitor with a motion sensor. One of the biggest worries we have as parents is SIDS, also known as cot death. With the Angel Care baby monitor you will find the standard sound functionality, but also a motion detecting plate that is placed under the matrass. This picks up the minute movements when your baby breathes, and if there is not movement detected for about 15 seconds then an alarm sounds. It does take some calibrating when first set up, so make sure you first hook it up during the day, rather than getting a false alarm in the middle of the night.

What This Blog Is All About

As a parent of two young children/babies aged 4 and 2 I have encountered endless problems and challenges, some of which have caused me a lot of stress. On this blog I want to share some of those experiences and the research, or lack of, that led me to make some good and some bad decisions. Despite all the information available it will happen that parents make a wrong decision, but the more you research the less likely you will be to make some of the same mistakes others have made.

While there are dozens of great parenting and mom blogs out there, I believe that there is always room for one more. There are just so many challenges to parenting, and some of them are really unique, so the more I can add, the better other parents can be served.

Saying that, do keep in mind that we are all human and prone to make mistakes. I generally stay away from giving medical advice, other than for the most trivial things. In my experience it is generally best to go and see a physician or nurse, or make a quick call to your family doctor or pharmacist. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Generally what I will be sharing on this blog is information about products that I have bought and either liked or not liked. I will also be sharing just funny stories that I encounter on an almost daily basis. There is so much to parenting that it would be difficult for me to say for sure what exactly I will be posting about, but if you have any ideas or requests, please use the contact form and provide some feedback.

I really hope that you will enjoy what I have to say and would appreciate if you can share some of the posts with friends and family. The larger the audience the more I will post!!!