Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mama Must Haves {For the Family on the Go}

The first year of Levi's life involved a lot of traveling. We became pros at packing quickly and efficiently.  Here are some of the things we grew to love when we were on the go.

Baby Tent!
They are awesome, why? They are a place to play, sleep, store toys and can be folded up into their little baggie and taken almost anywhere! We have used this baby tent (the PeaPod Plus by KidCo) through all seasons. We’ve taken it camping, swimming, and use it around the house and yard for a place for little man to hang, sleep and play. 
Portable Dining
Some kind of hair chair is great to have and bring on trips.  We have a Minui Handy Sitt Chair that can hook onto almost any other chair, it has never let us down.  We also loved to bring around the Bumbo Seat with a tray attached when our son was younger and learning to eat solid foods.
We also got my older sis a Chicco Clip-On Highchair for her shower.  It folds up into a case, clips onto almost any table  and can turn all the way around. It is pretty cool – and I would probably buy one if I didn’t have the Minui Handy Sitt already
A portable placemat is also a nice way to make sure baby is eating off a clean surface no matter where you are (in the basement during renos, while camping, at restaurants, etc.). Ours is from Kiddopotamus – I love that it has a little trough to catch all the drop offs. You can wipe it down, roll it up and stuff it in your bag. 
Insta-Warmth, Insta-outfit
If you live in a climate where winter lasts more than 6 months you will get your money's worth out of some snowsuits (though they are common hand-me-downs, so ask around before buying).  It is advised that babies do not wear snow suits (or bulky jackets) in car seats, so we mainly use ours for getting out of the house quickly for walks.  You know those days where it is 2pm,  the baby is still running around in their sleeper and we are just itching to get out of the house – we zip them up in their starfish suit, put on shoes and a coat and out we go!
Never Wake a Sleeping Baby, Especially When Traveling
The type of stroller you prefer will greatly depend on what you will use it for but one thing is for sure, a travel system is the way to go with a new baby - you can just move the car seat in and out of the stroller without having to wake the baby.  We use the Phil & Teds Explorer with the Graco Snugride35 (its a larger, heavier car seat but goes to 35 pounds - if you baby still fits at that stage!)  My little sis uses the Baby Trend Expedition with a peg prego car seat. Our strollers are very similar in form and I love how much lighter the Baby Trend is. Although it was a steeper price we are happy with the Phil & Teds as it stands up to almost daily beatings and has the option of adding an additional seat (which we will be needing come summer)

A Bed to Myself
Some parents will choose to bunk with baby when they are traveling. However my hubby is a heavy sleeper and as our son got older he started rolling all over the crib when he sleeps - everyone needs their own space.  I use a run of the mill by Cosco and its okay for a smaller baby - Though I do covet my sis's fancy Graco one (you can raise up the sleeping surface for new babies)

Feed the Baby, Bathe the Baby, Put the Baby to Bed!!
When baby is in that stage where they can’t quite sit in the tub on their own a baby tub is great but too bulky to pack around. The bath sling is nice cause it supports baby in any tub and you can just fold it up and pack it along

Why Carry when You Can WEAR!
Carriers are a pretty personal preference. I’ve used many many kinds and feel that there are two great basics are a backpack (snaps up) or mei tai style (ties on). They are great cause you can carry baby front or back facing, they are usually quick to put on and easy to use.
And for when they are older (heavier) and like to be part of the action a hip carrier is great. When my son had croup I threw on the hip carrier (above left) and walked around the neighbourhood - yeah I took a pic to remember the time. Weird? Nah! We have one from Walking Rock Farm and though I could think of a tweak or two I'm happy with it. It is light, easy, quick, padded, well-constructed and leaves room for my growing belly!
A nice resource for carrier information and reviews can be found at the Baby Wearer

A Place to Chill
A baby chair is a must and really I'm sure any baby sling chair will do. Whenever there was some room or we were going to be somewhere for a few days we would pack the baby chair. Its great cause baby can be part of the action and sometimes there just aren’t spare hands to hold baby.  We loved to use ours everywhere: camping, in the yard, in the kitchen, visiting family, in the bathroom (while mom showered), during dinner, etc.

If you have any Mama Must Haves for traveling families - I'd love to hear from you in the comments section!

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1 comment:

Barb said...

Baby sling from Seven Slings! I carry mine in my purse (yes it folds that small) and I can put it on anytime anywhere when he is fussy and doesnt want to be in the carseat or the stroller.