Thursday, April 25, 2013

Have Baby, Will Travel - the infant edition

Welp. We're home from my girls (plus one breastfed baby) weekend. Though there were quite a few pitfalls, the excellent catching-up-with-friends times resulted in a net success over all.

I had to be hands free, so I looked much like a sherpa climbing a mountain with someone's gear: Baby in Bjorn, backpack full of baby essentials, diaper bag with carry on items that weren't quite as essential, and one roller bag stuffed to the gills. All of this for what ended up being 3 nights and 2 full days. I am a chronic over-packer and, while I can reduce my own stuff to mostly essentials, there are just a lot of baby contingencies. (AND my friends brought a car seat, pack n'play and stroller. Can you even imagine if they didn't? Guess G wouldn't have gone on vaca).

I picked up Georgia from daycare on the day before our trip and her sweet teacher, who can cuddle babies with the best of them but speaks relatively limited English, greeted me with a, "Oh, sweetie girl Georgia. Lots of diarrhea." AWESOME. This prompted some texts with her regular teacher to get some clarity on the actual poop situation that day. Again, AWESOME. Miss G has been blowing out her diapers everyday - I think due to new diapers - so we reverted to the good ol' Pampers Swaddlers for the trip, a size bigger, and she was fine all weekend. Phew.

I did read a tip about traveling with baby that I thought was helpful ... I packed 4 quart-size ziploc bags with a diaper and disposable changing pad in each, plus accessible wipes. This allowed for one quick grab when it was time to change a diaper (plus a bag to dispose it in) instead of shuffling all through the baby bag. I packed lots of sanitizer wipes and such but the reality is that Georgia isn't really touching anything and I didn't have any free hands once on the plane to wipe things down. Oh well.

Otherwise the essential carry-on bag had a change of clothes for G, a few burp cloths (she is a spitty baby), one quiet-ish toy, dipes/wipes, a bottle of milk with a gel freezer pack in a neoprene wine cooler bag, a bottle of water for me, and my phone/wallet/chapstick. The non-essential carry-on bag had a change of clothes for me and an extra outfit for G, a few more dipes, medicine, breast pump and parts, nursing cover and light blanket for emergency feedings (I'm not a public nurser). My system worked pretty well - stashed the essential bag in front of my seat, non-essential overhead with Bjorn. You can't wear a baby in a Bjorn for take-off or landing, so might as well not use it at all. I also grabbed an extra cup at Starbucks so I could give it to the flight attendant with the bottle to add some warm water. Worked great.

Not much to add other than the expected difficulty napping in a strange place and strange bed. I called ahead to inquire about an iPod dock for white noise, but ended up using a fan in our room and it was perfect (we all stayed in a rented house). Georgia just really only sleeps well at home, which is good for 95% of our life. 

Oh, and a word about pumping. I took a bottle of milk with us on the plane, but didn't really have a way to bring more milk. I had arranged for a sitter for Friday night and Saturday afternoon and all of a sudden it got kind of stressful to make sure I was pumping enough to have bottles for her when I left. I was pumping after each feeding and before bed and barely had enough. I'm not sure how I would have remedied this as Georgia hasn't ever had formula, but I might have packed an emergency single serving or two, just in case.

The trip stress was mostly related to flight cancellations / stuck jetways / delays and layovers in airports. Not much you can do to control that, though it is 10X more stressful with a baby. We were initially flying American who specifically said I didn't need any identification documents for Georgia, though we switched to Southwest at the last minute and they require a birth certificate or immunization record. I never ordered a copy of G's birth certificate (terrible!), so I fortunately had access to her shot record. Plan ahead on that one. Also, Southwest was great so I could board with "family boarding" and get an aisle seat. Seems to me that aisle is best if traveling alone with a small child for easy in and out. I think a window is great with a young toddler and/or if you are flying with another adult.

I took a picture with my iPhone of G in the airport and a quick pic the morning we left just to document that she was there, but otherwise no time/hands for pictures. Here are a few non-travel-related kid/media things I've come across lately:
The Kids Should See This - videos that kids will love, but not specifically made for kids
The Stories Objects Hold at Sesame Ellis 
And, as she links to, Kids Were Here
And an inspiring photo blog of kid pictures - You Are My Wild

Friday, April 12, 2013

At it again ...

I have little of consequence to report; just been the typical routine around here. I'm the sick one this time and - newsflash - your kids are happy to bring home germs AND they don't give two shits that you are sick. I'm wearing my OLD glasses this weekend because I have pinkeye and Georgia can't seem to figure out who I am. Ellen, on the other hand, thinks I look like a newscaster.

I moved Georgia to a four schedule, which is really so great. I remember dreaming of this when I was up so frequently with her during the night when she was a newborn. Following the trend, I worried about it much less this go round ... just casually moved her evening feedings closer together and added some more milk to her school bottles, then just dropped a feeding and she was fine. No biggie. I think she is seriously the most flexible child of all times. I kept pumping before I went to bed to maintain a 5th "feeding", but wasn't getting much milk for the effort. I had such a crazy milk supply with Ellen that my benchmark is skewed and I feel like I don't have enough, yet I'm still putting a little milk in the freezer at the end of each week. I decided to stop with the pumping on most nights and we'll see how it goes.

Her napping is generally quite good. Not at school, mind you, but her Thursdays and Fridays are usually great when she is home. Then Saturdays and Sundays are a little less predictable because she is well-rested, then the process starts all over. The new 4-hour schedule has messed with our dinnertime a bit, as she is zombie-like after school and requires a lot of attention right when we need to get dinner on the table. When Ellen was a baby, I would just put her down and then Erik and I would eat later. Now, we need to feed Ellen and then start the bedtime charade, so there is no time to eat later. Oh well - just another transition. When she is really sitting up and eating some finger foods in a few months, I think we'll be good.

Speaking of finger foods - I'm flying with Georgia next week solo on a trip to visit my girlfriends. I've flown with Ellen solo, but always had food and toys to keep her entertained. Not this time ... send your happy-flying-baby vibes this way, s'il vous plait.

And, per usual, a few more things I've been reading. Do you like this and/or find it interesting?
The Ringya App via Cool Mom Tech - organize groups of school/sports contacts easily
Helicopter Parents are Everywhere, Except Where They're Needed Most - an interesting column on child and car seat safety in response to a viral kid video
A good response to the Victoria's Secret tween-undie scandal via Mom101 -  and, can I say, SOOO not looking forward to the teenage girl years
Why Suckable Fruit Sucks - interesting commentary on a generation of children who eat much of their food from pouches
Related, from Dinner: A Love Story - How to talk to your kids about healthy eating -  I like the "sometimes food" description
And another from them, Dinner: A Love Story - 100 Rules of Dinner

And, finally, I liked this column by Erin Loechner on being a first time mom and creating a baby registry. I have a similar feeling when I read back through early entries on this blog looking to see how I did things the first time. I hope it didn't come across as preachy and know-it-all, but maybe it did. It seems that way to me, at least, a lot of the time. I just think there is something about being a first-time parent and trying to figure it all out (as if it's even realistic to think you can) and for me it was  helpful to process things by writing. If anyone else benefited, even better. So ... thanks for "listening" back then. And still.