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!

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.

Five Ways to help baby and new siblings have Harmony

Congratulations, you’ve decided to grow your family!  While this is an exciting time, you may be concerned about how your older child will react to the baby.   And while this may not be your first time bringing home a new baby, because there is already another child in the home, it introduces some different challenges regarding integrating baby in to the family. 

These five tips will help you when bringing new baby home so that everyone can enjoy being part of a growing family.

1)    Have a present ready for older children “from the baby”.

Babies need a lot of attention and rightly so – they are helpless as newborns and parents need to spend a lot of time with them to bond.  A special present for an older child “from the baby” acknowledges that the sibling is important, plus can provide a welcome distraction when Mom or Dad are busy with the baby. 

2)    Set some special time aside to bond with your older children.

Remember that your firstborn was once the focus of Mom and Dad’s attention, and now that attention has shifted to the baby.  Try at least once a day to have some special time with your older child.  Whether it’s reading a book together, playing a game, or letting someone else (grandparent, friend, postpartum doula, neighbour), watch the baby while you have an outing or a snuggle.  Make time and remind your older child that they are special too.

3)    Let siblings help around the house. 

As children get older, they can start to assume small responsibilities and chores.  This is ideal if you can start this before the new baby arrives.  That way, they can do small things and feel like they are contributing to the family.  “Everybody does their share” is a great phrase to use.  This is an opportunity to explain that the family dynamic will change when baby comes, and that the older child is needed to help.  Children take pride in accomplishing things and this is an opportunity to build their self-esteem (and keep them busy when parents are busy with baby!)

4)    Let siblings help care for baby.

Even young toddlers can do something to help with the new baby, like a simple game of peekaboo.   Older children can read baby a story, and help with general care like bathing and diapering.  It’s a learning opportunity for them and shows them that they are an important part of the family. The important thing is to not make it feel like a chore, so that they are not resentful.  Pour on the praise for the older child when they help, even if it’s not perfect.  Be gentle, this is new to them as well.

5)    Have a sibling basket by your feeding basket.

Just like new moms need to have a basket filled with water, snacks, and entertainment when feeding a baby, for older children (especially toddlers!) having a sibling basket is a great strategy for managing feeding time.  Fill it with special toys, books, and games (that you can play one handed!) that are to be used ONLY when baby is feeding.  That way, the novelty takes longer to wear off (you may have to rotate to some new items) and it makes the time spent feeding the baby a special time for them too. 

Remember, it is challenging to bring a new baby home, sibling or no sibling.  But by preparing in advance, lining up help, and using these strategies, it can help reduce friction between siblings and help set a foundation for a more harmonious transition for your growing family.  

Do you need a helping hand with bringing baby home?  Doula Care Journey has postpartum doulas that can help with the transition.  Contact us to learn how we can help.