After the birth of my first son, I was a little worried that my traveling days were over for awhile. I had heard many of my friends vow never to fly with their children. Others just left their kids with grandparents. And almost all of them said they wouldn’t take their kids anywhere until “they could remember it.” But, we really wanted to family travel work for us. And so far so good! See my top 5 tips for traveling with a baby.
As 2017 is coming to a close, I’ve started to look back on this year. That’s what people do this time of year, right? We spent our first full year at our new home and have established great friendships with many of our neighbors. My oldest started preschool this fall. My youngest transitioned from a newborn to a young toddler. But what stands out the most in 2017 involves our family travel.
I love toys. I especially like toys that don’t require batteries. My oldest son accumulated quite a few toys when he was a baby. Some are cool, others not so much. So, now that my youngest is 5 months old and started to be interested in toys, I’ve been trying to phase out the lame toys and add in new ones. I do a lot of online research about toys that are new and seem interactive. That’s how I came across Yoee Baby. I immediately contacted them to see if I could review their product. They sent me their Yoee Baby Monkey. (Contains affiliate links.)
I’m always looking for new baby products to try with my 4-month-old son. He’s been having a hard time sleeping and I thought maybe it had to do with the unusually cold weather we’ve had in Seattle. I came across Gunamuna’s Gunapod baby sleep sack and it looked like a great fit for my family. They sent me their Gunapod Alphabet Luxury Bamboo Duvet for review. (Contains affiliate links.)
My family loves to travel, whether it’s internationally or closer to home. This means we pack a lot of bags and have to think smartly about our clothing choices. Gone are the days where I could pack twice as many outfits for myself and fancy clothing for “just in case.” Now that we have two kiddos, it’s all about streamlining and getting the most bang out of our suitcase space, especially when I’m traveling with them on my own. This is where Zutano is a great fit for my family and our lifestyle.
My husband is Chinese and his parents were born and raised in Hong Kong where they learned Cantonese and English. My husband grew up with English as his primary language, but he picked up a bit of Cantonese (mostly how to order food and be polite to relatives). When we found out I was pregnant with Owen, we talked a lot about what we’d like his cultural exposure to look like.
When I was looking at baby products when I was pregnant with my oldest, I was so confused. All the photos showed cribs full of stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, and bumpers. However, everything I was reading about safety said to leave everything out of the crib. I was even more baffled with all the nursery bedding packages that seemed to include everything that was deemed unsafe.
The second-time around, we knew to ignore all the photos of cribs piled with stuff and focus on decorating the nursery, not the crib. We went with a travel theme (read more about How to Create a Travel-Themed Nursery here.) It was so easy to design a fun nursery while leaving the crib undecorated.
When I was pregnant with my son, Owen, I had a complicated pregnancy. This led to me spending half of my pregnancy on bed rest at home and in the hospital. This meant that I missed out on doing a lot of the fun “getting ready for baby” stuff. This included setting up his nursery. I was able to order some wall decals and order a couple of things online, but part of the fun is actually setting it up.
The Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS) has been around since 1983 in the Seattle-area. Their mission is to enable parents of infants and young children to build communities that empower them to meet the challenges of parenting through mutual support and sharing of information.
It’s no secret that I love to travel. The hardest part is usually figuring out which shoes to pack and how much suitcase space I really want to use up. The same goes for when I pack for my toddler, Owen. Sometimes his shoes take up as much room as his clothes! That’s why I love moccasins. They are easily packed in checked luggage or stored in your carry-on until you reach your destination and they make any outfit seem put together.
When my in-laws announced that the next family trip would be in Phuket, Thailand, we were initially thrilled! We had been there on our honeymoon and it was such a beautiful place! Then it hit us that we’d have a 6-month-old baby at the time of the trip.
When Owen was a year old, I took him to a free trial Kindermusik class through The Musik Nest in Issaquah. I had been sampling other programs like The Little Gym and Gymboree and nothing seemed to really click with my son. I was assuming music class would be the same.
I was very impressed that the class was so much more than just music. There was a lot of singing, but also dancing, activities for hand-eye coordination, exploration, baby massage, and snuggle time. Owen was very engaged the whole time and really responded to the teacher. And the carpet had a lot of padding, making it one of the few places where it’s actually comfortable to sit on the floor. After the trial class, we immediately signed up for the session.
Part of music class involves story time. Owen learned how to sit quietly on the blanket, listen to the story, and then help put the blanket away. The same story is read every week and it’s been amazing to hear him saying the words along with his teacher, responding to her questions, and simply staying focused for a few minutes.
He’s been going for a year and a half now and I definitely attribute some of his developmental growth to the class. He is able to pick up the lyrics to songs very quickly, he’s confident, he has great communication skills, he follows directions and he’s able to make decisions for himself. He’s also very interested in counting and patterns and he has a strong memory.
What I’ve noticed fits right in with a recent study from the University of Washington about the effects of music on the brains of babies. The study found a strong correlation between experiencing rhythmic musical patterns and processing rhythmic patterns in speech. Being able to detect and predict patterns in speech helps babies learn to speak themselves.
It’s also been great to carve out 50 minutes of uninterrupted time for us to bond. I’m not tempted to check my phone. We learn new songs and bounces together that we are able to do on our own at home. The Musik Nest is also located across from The Issaquah Coffee Company, where they have a train table, so we usually end up over there with other moms and toddlers before or after class.