10 Tips For Flying With a Baby

Flying with small children/infants isn’t quite as terrifying as you might think. People do it all the time. If you consider how many “bad experience” posts you see online and compare that to how many of the thousands of flights where babies fly with no problems then the chances are you are going to be ok.

Here are a few tips that I have compiled after flying with my infant son who is now almost 2.

1. Don’t wait until they’re too old

I first took my baby on a long haul flight at age 6 months. He was fine at this age just being held by me. When he got closer to age 1 he became more restless as he wanted to explore. I spoke to a number of people who wanted to wait until their baby was 1 before they flew anywhere but from my experience this might put some people off.

2. Book a bassinet

If your baby is below 10Kgs and short enough you may be able to get a bassinet. You have the advantage of being at the front of a set if seats and your baby can be placed in the bassinet for sleeping. I have had flights where my baby slept and flights where he didn’t. Its is worth having though. The only down side is that you may not be able to get out your in flight entertainment as the bassinet is too close. Ah but you will have peace. You can always take it in turns with a partner if they are less obstructed by the bassinet.

3. Reserve your seats as soon as possible

Just because you are travelling with an infant, don’t expect to get seated together. If flying short haul, get your seats as soon as check in opens (usually 2 days before the flight) if you want the best chance of sitting with your partner/other children.

If you are flying long haul you should be able to either reserve your seats online or ring up and reserve them well in advance of the flight.

4. Book an Isle seat

I had a baby who was a dream. He rarely cried and would happily sleep on me. However, on a flight, particularly a long haul flight you will find yourself getting up more often than you might normally. Booking an isle seat helps not to disturb the unfortunate person who booked the seat next to you.

5. Check your baggage allowance

Most airlines will allow you to take 2 baby related items per infant traveller. I usually take a pushchair and a car seat plush a change bag. I check the car seat and take the pushchair to the gate. Don’t worry if you have a travel system style pushchair. They ask at check in how many parts it breaks into so you can be given the right number of tags to track all the parts. Some airlines even give you big bags to wrap the pushchair in at the gate to keep it protected.

6. Keep hydrated

This is especially important if you are breastfeeding. It is easy to get dehydrated on a plane without feeding a baby. You should keep topped up on fluids… and I don’t mean alcohol.

7. Pre clear in Ireland (if going to the U.S. from the UK/Europe.

This can be stressful if you have booked a short connection but being able to walk off the plane in the U.S. as if you have just taken a domestic flight is a wonderful feeling. By the time the flight has ended you just want to get to your destination…not spend hours queueing to answer a series of questions with your baby in tow.

8. Don’t expect preferential treatment

You may be allowed to board first to get settled but this isn’t guaranteed. What you need to remember is: you have an allocated seat and the plane should take off on time regardless of when you get on the plane.

9. Take plenty of snacks/formula/baby food.

I was paranoid about taking milk and drinks for my baby on the plane but most of the time they are quite accommodating regarding baby food and formula/breastmilk. I have heard that you should only take what your baby will be able to consume on the flight in hand luggage though. If in doubt, call your airline and check. I have taken weaning food/mush and milk on planes and have been accommodated every time.

10. Find out if your pushchair will be delivered to the arrival gate or oversized baggage. 

This will depend on both the airport and the airline. You can ask as you board and hand over your pushchair (if you took it to the gate) or ask at the check in desk. Some airlines have buggy’s for you to use if you have a connecting flight. When we connected in Dubai Emirates had pushchairs for this purpose. I would only expect this at large airports though.

 

 

Mother gazing down at baby

5 Ways I’m Going To Be Different On 2nd Maternity Leave

I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and I finish work in my 38th week anniversary. The past few weeks I’ve taken it a week at a time and I think I have one more week left in me. I’d love to be at home now relaxing but I want as much time with my baby after the birth as possible. 

I can’t afford to stop working after having my children so I know I’ll be returning to work. I’ll be going back part time this time (I went back full time after my first as I intended to have another baby quite quickly). I learned a number of things with my first baby and with my first maternity leave so I hope I’ll be able to make it through with more confidence this time.

1. I’m expecting to be terrified again.

When I gave birth to my little boy I loved him straight away but there was an anxiety that I wasn’t expecting. It seems that almost anything you do caries a risk factor for SIDS. No parent wants that and so finding tha balance between advice and what works is nerve racking. I think the anxiety is just a form of mothers worry as I still have it now to some extent. I’m hoping that I can enjoy the moment more this time around knowing that this anxiety is coming. 

2. I am going to fight back on people that question my decisions more… especially on breastfeeding.

As a first time mother I was paranoid I would turn into someone who became so over protective that I would hold my baby back. Or even become so different that my friends and family didn’t recognise me any more. I really tried hard to strike a balance but I still feel like I was misunderstood and it left me feeling lonely sometimes. There is no shortage of advice out there for new mothers but it is amazing how many people take offense if you don’t agree. It’s almost like you are treated as ungrateful if you say “thank you but I don’t think that applies to me/my baby”. The biggest issue I had was from people who didn’t understand breastfeeding. I exclusively breastfed my boy and to begin with it wasn’t easy. I enjoyed doing it and despite the sacrifice of having less me time as I needed to be close to my boy I felt it was worth it. 

Others would say that I needed to get out more. When I explained that I could manage an expression or two as a break away from him (he fed frequently) I wouldn’t be in a position to leave him for too long as my milk production would suffer. This would make me dread leaving him for a long time, not because I didn’t want to let my hair down, but because I knew I would have almost a week of getting my routine back and it just seemed too arduous. It loomed over me so I could never really enjoy myself. Maybe I’m just not as milky as some mum’s. I’m ok with it though. I’ll get to have plenty of party time in the future. 

Some people do get offended by this and their comments to convince me to give my baby a bottle instead grate a little. So on that note I’m going to start telling people they are being insulting. If they are taken aback then hopefully they will think about what they have said. Being a mummy is hard enough without having your judgements questions so frequently. 

3. I’m going to keep myself challenged

At the end of my last maternity leave I had a great routine going. I had groups I visited with my boy and I felt in top of my life and how my family was working. It took me some time to get to that point as I lacked early confidence to get out and about. I know I can do it now so I’m going to be a busy bee. This isn’t for everyone though. I’m the type of person that likes to be doing things and having a varied day. It keeps me mentally challenged and this keeps me happier as a person. 

4. I’m going to accept help from more people.

There is often a flood of people who want to help out when your baby is born. This can be overwhelming. I am quite independent and part of me resists help as I see the constant offer of help as someone saying “you aren’t coping very well”. I dig my heels in and say, no I’m just fine. 

The truth is, helping me out just means they get to spend a bit more time with my utterly amazing and charming baby…I mean who wouldn’t? As long as I get enough mummy time, why not let others share in my joy. On the plus side it might even mean less ironing for me to do as well.  I should make a list of jobs now. 

5. I’m going to be generally more confident

I know going from one child to two and it will be a bit of a shock, but hey I’m going to handle it, just like I handle everything. 

I might look back on this post in a year to see how I did. What would be on your list? 

Loving Home Automation

Many moons ago (2004) I purchased a voice activated remote control for my then boyfriend (now husband). It was pricy and don’t work very well.

It seems that now we have finally reached the time when we can now start to integrate these devices in our lives without getting too frustrated. I don’t really use voice activation on my phone so I guess my starting point was the Xbox one. Turning my whole to system on using just my voice has become common place now. I still get frustrated using voice activation to go through the menus but that’s fine. My 21 month old now says “Xbox” whenever he sees a tv screen. One day it will start recognising his voice… then I’ll be sorry.

We’ve had the Xbox for a couple of years and thenaround November last year we introduced Alexa into our house (the Amazon echo). I thought it would be a novelty that would just wear off but I’m actually quite liking it. I tell her to add items to my shopping list as I’m cooking and run out of ingredients and she does! (It’s the small things that make me happy). She tells me stories and jokes: I’ve not been brace enough to make a purchase using her yet though.

Within 2 months of having Alexa we started to look at more home automation technology. We now have Philips Hue bulbs in our living room, kitchen, hallway and bedroom. You need a Hue bridge for this as well but it’s easy to install.

Now I can control my lights by just asking Alexa. My son is amazed… he’s going to have some fun when he can speak properly. I’ve set up extra themes to suit what I want from my lighting. In the living room we have spotlights and lamps. We have dimmed red lighting for cinema theme, ambient yellows for chillout theme and then some practical themes such as “ironing” which lights the spotlights where I iron but leaves the rest of the lights dimmed for someone else to chill and watch TV at the same time. I also have my guitar a practice spotlight that serves the same purpose.

Along with the basic bulbs and bridge we have a motion sensor set up in our hallway. There is only one switch for the light and you need to walk to the other end of the hallway to turn it on. Now the light will turn on when it detects someone walking down which is great!

In the bedroom we have Hue lamps and a programmable switch. The settings give us reading lights, on, off and toilet lights. The toilet lights give us dimmed red lighting for going to he loo in the night. It means we can keep our night vision and not be woken up by bright lights. I’m also expecting my next baby in s couple of months so this setting is going to be great for those night feeds.

I always thought that his type of technology would never catch on but having experienced it I don’t think I’d like to go back. It’s not necessarily the voice activation that I like as much as how customisable he whole system is to making my home that bit more “mine”.

If you are thinking about home automation, the Philips Hue system has been great for us. Im thinking about doing some YouTube demos of how we have our lighting. Let me know if you’d be interested in this.

Mum just happy my home is becoming more homely for me and my family. I just need to plan an occasion to use my disco lights now.

Hank you for reading. Have a lovely day xx

 

Mothercare XXS Compact Stroller

I just can’t get over how compact this pushchair/stroller is. I have had 2 different cars since having my first child and boot space was always important to me as with children you can never really travel light.

The amount of space a pushchair takes up is enormous and incredibly inconvenient. Whether is a collapsible stroller that needs to be placed on top of shopping bags or a travel system that needs to be built after every car journey, there are definitely drawbacks to any choice of pushchair.

The XXS stroller takes up so little space it is just great for quick trips out and about. Its easy to put up and take down and there is a generous amount of storage for a stroller under the seat. This storage will mostly be taken up with a changing bag as the stroller is so lightweight I wouldn’t trust it to hold my enormous bag on the back. Luckily though I have a little changing pod bag for travelling light with this stroller.

I have a second child on the way now, otherwise this would have been my choice of stroller for going on holiday (flying). I know you don’t really get restrictions on the size and weight of your stroller but I might have tried to get this one though in hand luggage so that I always had it from the gate and some airlines do that but others make you go to oversized baggage.

When the next baby arrives this compact stroller is going to grans. She doesn’t have much space at her house and I know she’ll love taking George out on little trips along the canal to give him some quality time.

The only drawbacks to this stroller are that it can’t lie flat so if little bubba needs a nap it’s not the best stroller. Also although there is a sun shade I never had a rain cover so it’s only a sunny day stroller and I never really had the confidence to have it as my sole pushchair. Maybe when the babies are older and rarely need the pushchair but I’m not in a position to judge that just yet.

Here is a link to the stroller on mothercare (it’s a mothercare exclusive) in case you were interested in having a look.

http://www.mothercare.com/buggies-and-strollers/mothercare-xss-stroller-exclusive-to-mothercare/LD3125.html

 

 

Simple Sunday Stroll to Happiness

Sundays can easily slip away from me. I try to get the house in order for the coming week but if I’m not careful, the time zooms by and I’m left thinking I’ve not really achieved much. 

Today started out slightly differently. Last night my Son spent his first night in his toddler bed. I was half expecting him to be up in the night running around or doing the same at the crack of dawn. He didn’t though. He slept through and woke at his usual time. He sat up in his bed and cried for me. I was hoping he would climb out and explore his room. I guess he hasn’t figured out he can do this yet. 

I did manage to get the house in order in between playing during the morning hours. Outside looked fresh. It wasn’t too cold and with no rain it looked like a good day for a walk. We probably would have gone for a country hike but my pregnancy won’t allow that at the moment. We decided to go to a local park and garden instead in Matlock.

I want expecting so many shops to be open in the town. We had a browse around some shops before unleashing the toddler in the park. 

If there is one thing I have learned today it is: puddles are great fun. Even though George isn’t old enough to jump in them yet, he made a beeline for every puddle in sight and pottered through them. He loves his independence and it was so lovely to just watch him enjoying being free to walk around. 

He doesn’t like to hold hands, he is always suspicious that he will be held back… he’s right. 

There is duck pond near the play park and he chuckled as he shouted “duck”. It was one of his first words as my mum walk take his down to the local canal as a baby to feed the ducks. 

I thought the park would be too big for him but there was a great climbing frame that he was able to decsend on his own to climb up to a large slide. I think we could still be there now if it was up to George: he loved it. That and running in and around the other fixtures. 

The park was really clean and had a soft rubbery floor around most of the fixtures so even when George did stumble he stayed relatively clean. There is also a paddling pool in the park which we didn’t venture into today but I’m certainly looking forward to returning in the warmer months. 

It’s little outings like this that make me so grateful for being a parent. It’s also times like this that make me feel like I’m being a good parent; my husband too. 

It’s the simple things that make us happy. I hope you have had a beautiful day. 

Watercolour in memory of my Little Captain Monster

I had a look back through one of my sketchbooks today and found some art that I had been working on last year. I drew this last spring after I bought the pussy willow for my garden. The willow was planted in memory of my little hamster “captain monster” who had passed away. The furry catkins reminded me of my cute little hamster. She had a happy life. RIP.

Pussy Willow

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