Heading somewhere warm this holiday season? I am! This postpartum body is traveling to Turks and Caicos on Saturday, and while I’m super duper excited (and grateful) to hit the sea, sand and sun, I also need to figure out how to pack stylish and functional pieces that hit my current mom objectives: new shape, breastfeeding-friendly and comfortable. That said, I’ve perused my closet and the interweb and have come up with a few selections that work for me. And maybe you too!
We just returned home from a trip to LA and while the time change and travel may have knocked us all out a bit, Vida first flight was a success. Since we’d like to travel with her around the world, when she slept for 4.5 hours on the way out and 4 on the way home, it felt like we hit the jackpot. I’m well aware that it could have gone either way, and I’m sure things will change since consistency is fleeting with a little one. But for now, I’m grateful. We can’t be 100% sure why Vida took so well to it, but I’ve rounded up a bunch of our travel tips that I believe could have contributed. I’m hoping this checklist will come in handy for you too. Enjoy!
Travel Tips with the Babe:
Morning Flight: Booking a morning flight worked out in our favor because it kept Vida a bit on the sleepy side. We bypassed her morning nap, which kept her ripe for sleeping on the plane.
Get to the Airport Early: You’ll need extra time to assemble/disassemble strollers, change diapers, feed the baby, and take care of yourself too. Leave ample time to get this done. I recommend heading to airport 3 hours ahead of time which is what we did. It kept us chill and stress-free which for us is worth it.
Change Diaper Before Boarding: Make sure to get your babe changed in a fresh diaper at the gate before you board the plane. You never know how long you’ll be sitting on the plane before take-off.
Use Bathroom Before Take-Off: Once you’re on the plane, it will be difficult to manage the babe and use the bathroom. Make sure to use the toilet before boarding.
Check Stroller At Gate: We went back and forth about whether to check the stroller with the bags and keep Vida in a carrier, or hold onto the stroller until boarding. We chose the latter, and it worked out perfectly. There is lots of walking in an airport so the stroller not only held Vida, but also a bunch of our carry-on bags too. We kept the Ergo as well so we could continue being hands-free once we checked the stroller at the gate.
Disinfectant Wipes: As we all know, planes are dirty and breed many germs. Be sure to pack disinfectant wipes so you can clean off your armrest and tray table.
Breastfeed During Take-Off/Landing: If you’re breastfeeding, it’s best to nurse the babe during take-off and landing. This keeps baby comfortable if his/her ears are popping from pressure. It also keeps baby soothed and sleepy.
Bring Hand Pump: If breastfeeding, it’s best to carry-on your hand pump since baby may sleep for longer than expected. This happened to us and I was happy to have it with me to discreetly pump in my seat. I use this one.
Book Window Seat: If breastfeeding, it’s best to book a window seat so you can nurse privately.
Flye Baby: Flye Baby could be the best invention known to mankind. Vida totally slept in this for a large part of the flight and it gave us the opportunity to be hands-free. I didn’t watch a movie but totally could have!
Scarf for Mama & Cub: Wearing an oversized scarf will not only keep you warm, but doubles as a blanket for baby too. I wore this one.
Change of Clothes: As we all know, babies spit-up and poop on themselves all the time. That said, it’s best to not only pack a change of clothes for them, but for you too!
Pack Snacks: I always have extra snacks on hand, but since breastfeeding (and ALWAYS hungry) I was even more mindful about packing them. I was equipped with food to last me throughout the flight without having to purchase a thing.
Socks/Booties: Make sure to bring booties for your babe, even if it’s warm outside. Planes tend to get cold and their little feet should be covered.
Pack Toys/Rattles: Be sure to bring a few toys/rattles on board. When Vida was up for the short time she was, it gave her some entertainment. Our favorite is the Nogginstik.
Download iPhone Games: If baby falls asleep in your arms and you have one hand free, it’s beneficial to have iPhone games that don’t need wifi.
Manage Expectations: When going on vacation, expect normal routines to change. For us, the plane ride was easy, but baby girl still had to adjust to a different time zone once in LA. Be prepared for anything!
Though I sometimes crave leaving my beloved city behind and b-lining for the beach like mentioned here, I do love New York. Very early on, I had a desire to move into an apartment in the West Village (a brownstone, obv!) and settle down in the urban jungle. New York City just lives in my bones, and it always has (and I think always will). There is no denying it. With that being said, when I reached out to Raluca, founder of lifestyle blog What Would Gwyneth Do (who is actually living out my fantasy on the beach in Southern California), I jumped at her suggestion to offer my take on a “local’s guide to Manhattan”. Uncovering my favorite places “to shop, wine and dine, where to find the best massage, facials, places to take your kids” and so much more, I gave her readers the inside scoop.
Click here to view the post!
Be sure to stay connected with Raluca on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter – a lifestyle blogger with a working mommy slant, her blog (and distinct voice) is one you don’t want to miss: relatable, real and relevant! Raluca can also be found on Huffington Post Parents, The Chalkboard Mag and The Conversation.
I always use travel as an opportunity to expand my mind. Like in Moab, Utah back in March when we hiked and off-roaded down a canyon, although not the most comfortable of experiences, it allowed me to grow. I pushed the boundaries of my limitations and discovered that I am capable of more than I think. And I know now that the next time we embrace a similar adventure, I’ll have a thicker skin and more confidence going in.
After we left Moab, we headed off to Telluride, Colorado which may not seem too adventurous, but I’m way more of a beach gal then a mountain one. We planned to meet our friends from Maui in Telluride which was the impetus for the trip out west – to meet in the middle. Dina loves to snowboard and Jess and Grayson (and now son Cash) love to ski. Me, not so much. I would have preferred traveling to them in Maui! I tried snowboarding back in the day and if I tell you I was petrified the entire time, it would be an understatement. That was the last time I snowboarded. Fast forward a few years later and I attempted skiing with my (also new to the slopes) friend Adriann on a trip to Park City, Utah. I thought skiing could be more my sport then snowboarding, perhaps? Dina and Adriann’s husband were off galavanting down the mountain and we were on the bunny slope with the kiddos. Not for lack of trying, but I really didn’t enjoy it. I mean, there were moments when I was excited and proud to get the hang of it. But the second I started to lose my footing (and confidence) it was all downhill – literally. So much so that after doing our last run with the ski instructor, I had a full-on panic attack approaching the end and needed to get picked up by a snow mobile. True story – I can’t make this stuff up.
Fast forward again now to Telluride. I had a choice whether I wanted to ski or not. In lieu of my past experiences, I wasn’t really into the idea and decided that “skiing is just not for me” and why keep trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? I opted to explore the town instead. A massage and hitting the oxygen bar at Aroma Spa, many lunches at The Butcher & Baker (which I wish was here in NYC – OMG, yum!), a little bit of work in coffee shops, some perusing local boutiques and tons (and I mean tons) of photo-taking were way more my speed. Intermittently, I would meet the gang at the base of the mountain for hang-time, to see Cash take his first run, watch Dina board and attend a mini-music festival.
I did a lot of thinking throughout the days when I was alone while everyone else was off on their adventure on the mountain. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel left out, a bit low on myself and disappointed that I wasn’t able to rally. They were making memories together, bonding, taking in breathtaking views and engaging with nature in a way that intimidates me. They would return with stories and recounts of the day that I missed. For lack of a better word, I was jealous and envious. And it made me sad. I did a lot of soul searching that week and started to think about why I was this way. Was it because my parents didn’t force me to be adventurous when I was little? Was I just born this way? Was it because I was lazy? Was it because I allow fear to get in the way of my choices? Or was it simply because I just don’t like it? I’m still not 100% clear about why I don’t enjoy skiing (or snowboarding) and can’t get over the hump. And I’m not sure I ever will. It’s probably a combination of many variables. What I do know is that we all don’t have to engage in every activity life has to offer. What I do know is that I must learn to find the confidence in not being a part of the experience as opposed to always having to be woven in. Instead of being sad, I want to appreciate their joy and not make it about me. A little boys first run down a mountain, Dina’s euphoria when taking in the views from atop, Jess and Grayson’s first time enjoying a sport together, it was all beautiful. It was all amazing. It was all theirs and I got to witness such bliss in all of them. My ego can get in the way at times and I am constantly checking myself. It’s an ongoing struggle and part of my growth is ensuring that I don’t compare my journey to others. We are all created differently based on our own profound experiences and it’s ok if being adventurous is not one of mine. I have many interests that I enjoy and my bucket list is long enough that not adding sky-diving, bungee jumping and even skiing to it is perfectly fine. Maybe I’ll give it another go, and maybe I won’t, but either way – the lesson is acceptance for all that I am. And for all that I’m not.
Despite the return back from our southwest adventure last Monday, today feels like my first day back to it. Getting into the swing of things has been difficult since Dina was off all last week too. I’d been vibing off her extended vacation and using it to my advantage. With that being said, I decided to put off reality for a few more days and we lined up activities chock full of art, culture and cuisine for our remaining time.
And so our staycation began in our home city on Tuesday with a leisurely brunch at Lafayette, one of my new favorite spots to dine. A Paris meets New York City vibe, the food is right-on. I had the brisket burger which is not my typical mid-day light fare, but figured why not since we were still in vacay mode. Dina had the steak tartar, roasted carrot salad and mouth watering deviled eggs that I will surely be ordering in the future. I’m looking forward to the (hard to find in this city) outdoor space for those inching closer warmer days. For a quick latte and a scone, the restaurant houses a small french bakery for take-away. We got last minute tickets to the opera La Sonnambula for that evening. I’ve never been, but have always wanted to. Lucky for us, orchestra seats became available and we scooped them up. Grateful for the experience, I can’t say I’ll be a buying a membership at the Metropolitan Opera House anytime soon. What’s a stayacation without visiting the spa? I scheduled a massage at Great Jones and Dina checked out the new thermal baths at AIRE. Both relaxed, decompressed and unwound, we met up later that evening and took in an early movie. The Grand Budapest Hotel was a visual feast! Wes Anderson is a creative genius and the attention to detail with cinematography, storyline, wardrobe, props, etc. was next level. A quick bite after at Ribalta, a local joint with a gluten free pizza option! Rare find. On Friday we hit up the Museum of the City of New York to see the “City As Canvas” graffiti exhibit, featuring Martin Wong’s collection. A quick train ride up to 103rd street, I recommend the visit. Such an authentic exhibit which represents much of what the street culture in NYC felt like in the late 70’s and 80’s. The museum had other worthy to visit exhibits including “Rising Waters” which documents via photographs the events before, during and after Hurricane Sandy.
Over the weekend, we spent time with family, hung-out in Washington Square Park and took in one more delicious meal at Perla on Saturday night to celebrate Dina’s new job. Today is day one at Google and I am the proudest wife on the planet. No doubt she is going to kill it. Although I’m going to miss our endless days of adventure, I’m feeling EXTRA EXTRA grateful for the time we’ve had. I know how lucky we are. It’s not often that you get to spend this type of uninterrupted time with the person that you love. It has been an epic three weeks from Utah to Telluride to exploring our home turf in New York City and I’ve cherished each and every single moment. The reality of getting back to work is off and running and both of us are ready to dive back in, feeling more rested, replenished and inspired.
Never forget to take the time you need to breathe and reboot. Sometimes we’re all are on autopilot, and allow ambition and the pressure of success and making money to take the focus away from other important aspects of life. But by stepping away and giving yourself the space to gain perspective, you will always come back with a new level of appreciation, loving yourself and the people around you (and even your job!) more than before! Happy Monday! xx jenny
photo via Sincerely Jules