5 Tips for Traveling with a Baby

Did you know that August is the busiest travel month of the year?  With the August long weekend almost here, we want to share our 5 best tips for traveling with a baby. 

A lot of people think traveling with a baby is tough.  It is different from when you traveled without kids, but it is totally doable.  And a postpartum trip can be wonderful to give the whole family a change of scene (as much as we love our city of Toronto, sometimes you just have to get out there!)  Visiting grandparents, extended family, or just taking some R&R, don’t let your new addition put you off traveling.

Babies, especially young infants, can be great travelers! Their lack of mobility makes them relatively easy to entertain and manage while on the road.   We wanted to share with you a few things that will make the trip easier on you, the parents.

Here are our top 5 tips on traveling with a baby:

1.  Get a backpack diaper bag

Having a diaper bag backpack makes toting around your baby gear a lot easier.  The backpack design distributes the weight of the bag when you wear it.  It can also be easily be worn while you are babywearing on your trip! Some of the newest ones even have room for the parent’s stuff as well.

2.       Baby carriers are essential

Whether it is ring sling, buckle carrier or wrap babywearing will make your life on the road so much easier! You can easily navigate security and customs while wearing your baby, pulling a suitcase and wearing a backpack diaper bag.  And you’ll still have a hand free to hold your older child’s hand (if you have one) or a much-needed cup of coffee!

Not only that, but when traveling by plane, wearing your baby helps keep your hands free so you can read while baby sleeps and makes nursing a little bit easier. I personally love a ring sling for plane travel (Maya wrap brand is a favorite!) because it is easy to get on and off and adjust.

3.       Feed baby during take-off and landing

Having baby suck on something, whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, will help to distract baby during take-off and landing.  The swallowing action will also help deal with that pesky ear popping the pain associated with it. Plus having something in their mouth means it is unlikely they will be crying. A good feed will also encourage baby to fall asleep, which, once in their sling, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want/need to do!

If you are breastfeeding, a comfy Nursing Tank is essential to make feeding during travel easy. If you are bottle feeding, don’t forget to prepare bottles before getting on the plane (but after going through security!).

4.      Bring extra clothes

With infants, accidents always happen, especially when you really don’t want them to. Make sure you pack several outfits in a carry on or your diaper bag so that you can deal with the messes. Have a large Ziploc bag with you to put dirty clothes to keep them and their odor separated from the rest of your bag. Footed pajamas or onesies (depending on temperature and weather) are our favorites for traveling because they roll-up small and keep baby warm from head to toe.

5.      Take it slow

If traveling by car this summer, don’t be afraid to take it slow. Especially if you are nursing, prepare extra time in your travels to stop frequently (you should do this anyway to rest from driving!) NEVER breastfeed while a car is in motion! Take your time, stop when necessary, and enjoy the journey as much as the destination!

Traveling by plane? Same idea.  Get to the airport a little early and take your time getting to your gate. Let your older children explore the airport and read our blog later this week about how to pack simply to make traveling a little easier!

For more great inspiration, check this out:  Our clients traveled with their baby and you can read all about their adventures on their blog.

Have you traveled with babies before, or are you planning a trip?  We’d love to hear your tips, travel stories, and how you managed!  Please leave a comment below!

I'm an older mom

I was 35 when I found out I was pregnant for the first time.  I had been married for 2 years and had no intentions of starting a family for most of those 2 years. 

At my annual physical, my doctor asked me about when I planned to have children.  I said, "oh you know, maybe at 40?"  I mean, there were lots of celebrities who were having babies over 40, and I was not feeling ready yet.  I sometimes wondered if I even wanted kids.  I grew up surrounded by kids - being the youngest child of much older siblings, I became an aunt at the ripe old age of 6.  (I have 9 nieces and nephews).  So it's not like I had a lack of babies in my life. 

Besides, our friends fell into one of three camps:

1)  Married in their 20s, had kids, and kids were now older, thus parents were running around shuttling them to various activities.  So no time to socialize with them.

2)  Married with little babies or kids, which meant pretty much no more socializing with them because they could never go out

3)  Blissfully single and/or married with no kids.  Some by choice, some because they were struggling with infertility. 

My doctor wrung his hands and told me about the risks of becoming a mom over age 35, and that many people struggled with infertility at my age, and if I wanted a child, I should try immediately and come see him in 6 months if I couldn't get pregnant so he could start me on IVF.

We stopped using birth control, hoped for the best, and got pregnant 2 weeks later. 

My daughter was born a few days after I turned 36.  Here's what I've observed about being an older mom:

  • I had many misconceptions of motherhood (like many childless women!)  Because of what I had achieved in my career, I figured a baby would be easy by comparison.  And when things didn't go right and I couldn't find an easy fix, my confidence was shattered.
  • I wasn't the only older mom in the neighbourhood, but I found most moms were younger than me (or those closer to my age were already on their 2nd or 3rd baby).  I couldn't relate to the 20 something moms (or even the early 30 somethings).  As my husband pointed out, "Would you be friends with this person if you didn't have a baby the same age?"  For a lot of them, the answer was no.
  • I was tired all the time.  While this was normal, I couldn't recover from being tired as easily as I could recover in my 20s (all night parties followed by a full day of meetings at a sales conference was a snap compared to motherhood).
  • Lack of family support.  Because of my age, my parents and in-laws were also older and didn't have the strength to help me out with a new baby. 
  • I missed my pre-baby life.  I had 36 years of being responsible only to myself, not having to care for anyone, and basically being able to do whatever I wanted (within the confines of a full-time job and money).  Spontaneous dinners out and weekend trips were easy before baby.  36 years of independent living, filled with freedom and travel, is a lifetime.  Adjusting from that was really hard.
  • Worry.  I worry when I'm too tired to keep up with her at the park.  I worry when I think about how when she is a teenager, we will be qualifying for seniors discounts.  I worry that she will likely watch us retire while she starts her post-secondary education.  I worry that we will be too old to help her care for her own children like our parents were with us.

Despite everything, older motherhood is wonderful. For many, older motherhood is by choice, circumstance, or both.  Whatever the reason, it is still motherhood.  Being a parent is hard, no matter what. 

My daughter is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me.  

Refreshing Summer Melon Salad

It finally feels like the weather is warming up!  You can toss this easy, tasty salad together in 10 minutes for a healthy, fresh meal or snack.  The best part is, it can even sit out at room temperature for a few hours and will still taste delicious.  Perfect for potlucks or as a side to any bbq meat!  Enjoy!

Refreshing Melon Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

4 cups cantaloupe, cubed (you can use honeydew or seedless watermelon too - or a mix)

2 cups cucumber, sliced into half moons

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, washed and sliced into thin strips

Dressing:

2-3 tbsp honey

2-3 tbs fresh lime juice

sea salt (optional)

Method:

  • Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl
  • Whisk the honey and lime together in a small bowl.  Pour over the salad.
  • Taste - you may want to add more honey or lime to taste, or for those who like salt, a sprinkle of sea salt (optional)

Serve.  May be kept at room temperature for a few hours, otherwise, put in the refrigerator.  Best eaten the same day.

Enjoy a taste of summer!

Newborn Sleep: The Real Scoop

Sleep is perhaps one of the hottest topics surrounding babies.  The one question new parents will always hear is "Is your baby sleeping through the night?"

At Doula Care Journey, we are thrilled that author Elizabeth Pantley has shared her guide to newborn sleep with us.  And we're sharing it with you!

Her book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, is a recommended read from our postpartum doula team.  Even better, try to read it before your baby arrives!  It teaches you what is normal and expected of newborn sleep, so you can be prepared for the postpartum period.  It teaches what is a normal sleep pattern and range of sleep for newborns to older babies. 

And now, she has The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns!  Finally, some REAL expectations on new baby sleep!

(FYI - She has also written a whole library of gentle parenting books, so her advice grows as your family does.)

Her approach works on finding solutions that work for your whole family.  She knows there's not one method that works for everyone, and so has a variety of solutions to present.  She's a mom of four kids as well and has been there in the parenting trenches (we love that!). 

Please take a minute and check out her website for more information. 

Just click the link here to download your own PDF copy!

Need help with newborn sleep?  Our overnight postpartum doula services may be right for your family.  Contact us to find out more!

3 Ways to Feed a Newborn Baby

This post is about feeding a newborn baby, in a way that works for your family.

Breast or bottle?  It doesn't need to be either/or.  (But it can be). 

What matters is this:

1)  Is your baby getting the nourishment he/she needs to grow and thrive?

2)  Are the parents feeding the baby in such a way that physically, emotionally and financially works for them?

That's it.

There is SO much pressure for new parents (and especially moms!) surrounding feeding.  Like many things that parents do, this is a hot-button topic that will draw ire and judgement from all around you - friends, family, social media. 

As a postpartum doula that has worked with many families, here are the 3 basic ways to feed a newborn:

1)  Breastfeeding from the breast

It's wonderful, natural, and specially formulated for your baby.  Breastmilk is amazing, free, and has so many benefits.  I don't need to get into them here because if you've done your research you probably know all about it.  What some people don't tell you is that it is very difficult for some moms.  Even second or third-time moms who have breastfed before!  Every baby is different, and there is a learning curve.  Walking is natural too, but we had to learn how to do it.  Some babies figure it out immediately, and some don't.  It has nothing to do with how good of a mother you are.  But it can have to do with your body, your nipples, your birth experience, your baby, your milk supply, your exhaustion level, your diet, your stress level, etc. 

2)  Feeding baby expressed/pumped breast milk

Did I mention latching on to the breast can be really hard for some babies and moms?  There's a reason why products like Lasinoh cream and All Purpose Nipple Ointment exist.  For some moms, pumping or expressing breast milk and feeding it to baby either with a cup, syringe, tube, or bottle is the solution that works for them.  It allows moms the freedom to have someone else feed the baby, while still feeding baby breast milk.  It's also a good solution for women trying to increase their milk supply by pumping while letting their nipples heal.  

3)  Feeding formula

So many different formulas are on the market!  Pick one your health care provider recommends and you feel good about.  You can get powder and mix it with sterilized water, or use prepared formula all ready to go.  You can feed it to baby from a bottle, a cup, or a tube.  Anyone can use formula to feed your baby so it can give mom a break.  But remember to watch the time with any leftover formula that has been mixed but not finished...it's usually only good for an hour on the counter (always read the label and follow safe feeding guidelines!)

But wait, I've left something out.

There's a 4th way to feed a newborn.

Your way.

Many people combine these methods in a way that works for them.  For example:

  • Baby only gets breastmilk, but from a bottle, since mom is pumping
  • Baby gets a mix of expressed breastmilk and formula - tube feeding
  • Baby gets formula from a cup
  • Baby gets breastfed from the breast, but once a day someone else gives a bottle of formula
  • Baby is exclusively formula fed from a bottle.

Etc. 

There is no right answer.  The right answer for YOU is the one that answers my first two questions.

1)  Is your baby getting the nourishment he/she needs to grow and thrive? (for newborns, this means every 2-3 hours, by the way, no matter what method you use)

2)  Are the parents feeding the baby in such a way that physically, emotionally and financially works for them? (every method has its pros and cons, costs, and work involved).

If you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding because someone told you it was right, and it did not feel right to you, how can you fix that? 

How can you nourish your baby in a way that makes your family thrive too? 

Your answer will be as unique as your family.

Doula Care Journey fully supports breastfeeding moms, bottle feeding moms, and everything in between. 

I say, cheers to unique families and fed babies.