Our First Summer Family Getaway to Los Cabos, Mexico



“A vacation is like love — anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia.”

This trip was our 14 month old son’s first official summer vacation.  Some of my favorite memories were made in this past 1 year travelling with our son. The funny incidents, the little mishaps, the closeness shared and so many other lifetime memories have been made on our getaways.

Vir started travelling in flights since he was 3 months old. His first trip was to New York, followed by India, Switzerland, and Amsterdam and recently to Mexico. Our little one has already been to 4 countries in this past year!

Travelling with a baby/toddler to any destination needs a lot of planning from packing,  scheduling flights around their nap time, flexibility of stay, meal preps at the destination and things to do with a little one. Through my past travel experiences I am constantly learning and getting more and more comfortable with it.

So this time for a short getaway we decide to go somewhere close to Texas .Los Cabos, Mexico has long been known as hot getaway for honeymooners, sport fishermen and spring breakers. The truth of the matter is that this sunny destination at the tip of the Baja Peninsula also makes a fantastic getaway for families. The price of a family vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. Cabo, all-inclusive resorts abound, and many of them offer very reasonable rates and promotions. It was the perfect destination for us from the point of flight duration, pricing, length of stay and activities with a kid.

If you follow me on my Instagram you are aware that the place completely stole our hearts. I posted so many pictures on my feed and uploaded tons of insta stories to share our fun and excitement with my followers. We ate our weight in guacamole and tacos, swam in the pool, and Vir did something he’s never done before say Agua ! (Water in Spanish)

I’d love to share a few anecdotes and photos, if you’d like to see.

Oustide a local souvenir shop near the marina . I love shopping at local flee markets. Bought the straw bag

Some lovely views from our hotel of the Cabo marina

Strolling around the downtown sipping some milk

One of the best things about an All inclusive restaurant is the food! It was also a matter of convenience

Vir’s first Catamaran ride at a sunset tour to the Land’s end at Cabo San Lucas

The perfect ocean and pool view from our room balcony

There was no shying away from the sun ! He loved playing with the sand

Enjoying our time in the pool !

We had some beautiful views on our 2 hour catamaran ride. We saw a lot of sting rays jumping out of the water.

Exploring some local restaurants at downtown Cabo

 

 In the end, of course, our vacation or, as my friends put it, our “relocation” was filled with many lovely moments. Our son learned how to say a few new words; he danced in front of a live Mexican band; he fell asleep on the beach under the shade, took a catamaran ride with us and watched the sunset .He kept waving to so many people at the resort while eating his meals and enjoyed all the attention.On the flight he slept most of the time or was busy in his books and toys. When he started to fuss and was restless to get out of our laps, we had to finally use the iPad to calm him down.

I spotted a baby, no more than a few months old on the flight sleeping calmly in the baby carrier and whispered to my husband. “Remember when Vir was so small ?”. “I miss those days,” I said, already sure that, in just a few years, I would be saying the same of these.

You can check my previous Travel posts and Tips here- 

Also for any parents travelling with kids on long haul flights and other countries , read here for advice from a Pediatrician.



We had an All inclusive stay at Hotel Sandos Finisterra in Los Cabo and travelled by Spirit airlines. I always look for deals on Hopper.com for flights and for hotels on Hotels.com. I recommend  checking reviews of the location before travelling to any destination on Tripadvisor.

Have a great summer .

Love

arushi

Our Much Awaited Vacation to Switzerland 

“The best things in life are the People we love the, Places we have been and the Memories we make”. 

I am very excited to share with you our sweet memories from our recent trip to Switzerland . This was a very special trip and I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures.

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The first picture we took after landing in Zurich

Whenever I am at a vacation I make sure to capture as many memories, as many shots as many beautiful locations and as many sweet moments I can, as I believe there is something very special about reminiscing in the past.

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The magnificent Bernese Oberland region

While planning for our much awaited vacation, I was sure of one thing-  that we needed to be extremely close to nature. And for that reason Switzerland had always been on the top of my 2017 travel goals for its awe-inspiring natural beauty.

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Capture of Mt . Jungfrau from Interlaken

We have travelled earlier with our son to New York and Delhi since his birth last year. However, this trip was our first family vacation, where it was only about traveling, exploring and relaxing. Although he will not remember any of it, he still got to enjoy the experience of traveling in trains, looking at swans, enjoying the long and breezy lake side strolls and so much more.

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Lake Lucerne was one of our top favorite spots

If you follow me on my social media Instagram or Facebook you must be aware that we had a really bumpy start. Not only were our flights cancelled and delayed our baggage also arrived two days later. The stress and anxiety and the  chaos we were caught in didn’t linger once we stepped out of the airport. You cannot be in a negative state of mind when you come across stunning countrysides and the friendly people of that country.

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Views of the beautiful Chapel Bridge at Lucerne

Switzerland has a story book charm to it with ravishing Alpine scenery to quaint villages. From spectacular mountains, flower lined natural paths, lakefront beauty, to picturesque historic centers this beautiful country also has a lot of cultural diversity.

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Breathtaking views from Mt Pilatus

We knew that a week will not be enough to explore all the stunning spots. Yet we planned the itinerary in such a way that we cover some of the best sites of the country. When you travel with a kid there are many considerations to be made and certain restrictions to keep in mind. We had to avoid the Jungfrau region which is the top of Europe and is on a very high elevation. It is extremely cold there and  not recommended to visit with young children.

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A boat trip at the lake is a great way to explore

Traveling in the country between different cities is very convenient. They have an excellent public transportation system. We took trams, boats , buses ,cable cars and of course trains . The ultra-modern trains that operate on the GoldenPass Panoramic are extremely comfortable, they have panoramic windows through which you can immerse yourself in the nature outside.

 

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Panoramic views from our Golden Pass Train ride.

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Changing trains at the Bernese Oberland region

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Views from our cable car to Mt . Pilatus

And did I mention about the food there! Being a vegetarian I didn’t expect to have a lot of food options, but I was pleasantly surprised as almost every restaurant menu had veggie options. The food was extremely tasty but was highly priced. A meal for 2 could easily run upto $60 . We loved the food, fondant , chocolates, pastries ,wine and beer.

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Views of the The Kapellbrücke wooden bridge at Lucerne

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Jet d’Eau Fountain at Geneva

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Vir’s moment with the swans at Lake Lausanne

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Viewing point from Mt. Pilatus

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Mt. Pilatus

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Vir thoroughly enjoyed the lush gardens and lakes at Interlaken

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Old Houses of Switzerland dating back to 16th century

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Hiking on top for the best views from Mt Pilatus. 

 

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Vir wasn’t to happy when I put him on the grass at Interlaken

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The Toboggan ride was an unforgettable experience

We were in Switzerland for 7 days and we traveled to Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Geneva. We spent most of our time in Central Switzerland around Lucerne while the rest of the cities were more touch and go.

I feel like we hardly did the places justice in the time that we were there. To truly savour all the country has to offer, one needs to spend at least a couple of weeks there if not an entire month.

Our trip didn’t end in Switzerland as we caught up with 2 of my oldest pals in Europe’s finest city Amsterdam. Stay tuned for more pictures from our reunion!

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One of the best display of mountain flowers at Interlaken

A Pediatrican’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling to a new country

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As a new parent we have so many questions and fears about travelling with our children for the first time. After travelling with my son to India on a 30 hour one way journey for a 2 week vacation, I now know that vacation or travel plans are not as easy as they were pre baby.  And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there is not much advice for how to manage once you arrive.

In my last post How I survived a Long Haul flight with a Lap Baby I discussed my inflight experience/nightmare and shared some tips. And now, in this post we will be discussing on concerns related to our children’s health once you arrive to your destination.

Infants are at high risk for many food related and waterborne illnesses. This is not because they are travelling to India or any other country. It is simply because their immune systems are not developed. This post discuses some of the practical issues faced by us on our trip to India. I reached out to Dr. Abha Sharma a General Pediatrician and an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to talk more in details about precautions and measures parents can take while travelling to a new country with their child.

Dr. Abha practices and resides in Southern California with her Husband and 2 year old Daughter. I am very thankful that she was able to take out some time from her busy schedule to attend to this list of questions and give us advice on how to prepare ourselves and manage our kids while travelling overseas. Follow her journey on Instagram @healthymamadoc for some great tips and advice on healthy and nutritious meals.

My hope here is to help all my readers with vital information of caring for their child’s health while travelling abroad .

What is a good age to make a long distance travel?

Newborn babies and young infants have developing immune systems and are more susceptible to becoming ill from diseases spread by cough and sneeze.  I usually recommend that parents wait until their baby is at least 2 months old to travel – waiting till 6 months is ideal. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strictly cautions against travelling with a newborn younger than 48 hours old; most airlines prohibit babies younger than 2 weeks old to travel without a Physician’s clearance.

What medications do your recommend to carry, to avoid catching cold and flu in flight.

It has been thought that secondary to recirculated air and limited ventilation in a confined area over a long duration of time, airline passengers have a potentially higher risk of infectious diseases. But, the good news is that one study by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that because the spread of infection is usually by direct contact, the risk is no different than that if you were travelling by train or bus.

If you have an older infant or toddler and are travelling by plane, make sure you carry non toxic sanitizing wipes with you. Germ laden surfaces such as the tray table and arms rests should be wiped down frequently – your little one may want to lick and chew on these repeatedly!

Most OTC Cough and Cold Medications are labeled for use in children above age 6, secondary to the potential for serious side effects and overdose.  Sticking with your little one’s regular diet, keeping them hydrated, and nursing them if you breastfeed, will help prevent illness and help them cope should they come down with the sniffles inflight.

Three items that I would definitely recommend parents take with them when they travel is a Rectal Thermometer, Fever Reducing Medication, and Powdered Packets of Oral Rehydration Solution (i.e. Pedialyte).  For fever, stick with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) prior to 6 months of age, and after they cross 6 months you can use Ibuprofen (Motrin) as well. Consult with your child’s Physician regarding safe dosing of these medications.

Is giving Benadryl recommended to help the baby sleep?

It is not recommended to give Diphenhydramine (commonly marketed as Benadryl) to children for the purposes of the side effect of drowsiness.  Diphenhydramine has the potential to cause several side effects in children, the most serious being overdose and allergic reaction.

What precautions are a must when a child is taken to a different country for the first time? (Vir was on formula and even though we carried bottled formula and took good care of sanitizing bottles he caught a fever and had diarrhea. He lost weight and wasn’t eating properly.)

Strict attention should be paid to hand washing and cleaning bottles, pacifiers, teething rings, and toys that fall to the floor or are handled by others.  The water used to clean these items should be drinkable water.

Parents should be particularly careful to wash hands well after diaper changes, especially for infants with diarrhea, to avoid spreading infection to themselves and other family members. When  handwashing facilities are not easily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing ≥60% alcohol) can be used; hands should be then washed with warm water and soap for 15 seconds as soon as possible.  Hands that have visible soiling are preferably washed right away.

 

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Dr. Abha Sharma with her beautiful family.

Is it important to get the child vaccinated for travel like for Malaria? At what age do you recommend it?

Malaria is a disease contracted from mosquito bite in an area endemic to this disease. To prevent transmission, the first step is to identify if you are travelling to an area with a recent outbreak. The website Cdc.gov/travel and your Pediatrician or Family Physician are great resources to assist you in this. Your Physician will determine if it is recommended for your child to take medication to prevent transmission of this disease.

General preventive measures include:

  • Wearing lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and wearing socks.
  • Mosquito repellents used on skin can also be applied to clothing; it must be reapplied after laundering.
  • Apply lotion, liquid, or spray repellent to all exposed areas of skin; reapply frequently.
  • Avoid the outdoors from dusk till dawn, as this is the peak time for mosquitos to bite

Which fruits or vegetables should be avoided in a new country? Do your recommend and food we should carry? ( I carried liquid formula bottle, cereal and snacks but ran out of it and switched to Indian Nan Pro formula which I mixed with bottled water)

Don’t offer your child food from street vendors, and stay away from food prepared and served in unclean conditions. Raw or under cooked meat should be avoided. All raw fruit and vegetables should be washed, peeled and cut by you before offering it to your child.

Safe beverages include bottled carbonated water, boiled water, and water treated with chlorine or iodine.

If your infant or toddler is formula fed, I do recommend packing more powdered formula than you anticipate you will need. The constitution of formulas abroad may not be the same as the one you regularly use. Additionally, pack plenty of dry snacks that you normally keep at home; if your child is picky they may not like what is available locally.

How to handle breast feeding strikes while travelling? My son stopped breast feeding completely in India. I tried to feed him in the night. Once we were back in US, it took him over 2 weeks to get back to his normal feeding schedule.

A nursing strike during or after travel is not an uncommon issue – you can maintain your milk supply AND eventually get your baby back to the breast. During the strike, pump or hand express the milk at the same frequency as you would breastfeed. This helps maintain the supply and prevent infection; this expressed milk can be fed to your baby.

To help get your baby back on the breast:

  • Nurse the baby during the night or while napping –  babies who refuse to nurse when they are awake will most often nurse when they are sleepy.
  • Switch up the position you use to nurse.
  • Rock your baby or walk around while nursing.
  • Nurse in a quiet, darkened room.
  • Maintain skin to skin contact when nursing
  • Keep the baby close to you in a sling or carrier in between nursing attempts.

How long do infants, toddlers generally take to get over jet lag? What is the best way to help overcome jet lag? Vir took over 10 days to get over jet lag .

 In general, count one day for each time zone crossed to give you a rough estimate of how long it may take your little one to recover from jet lag.  Of course, direction of travel impacts recovery time – eastbound travel, i.e. from the New York to London, may be prolonged in comparison to your westbound return trip.  In order to reduce jet lag, adjust your child’s sleep schedule 2-3 days before departure (Some sleep medicine experts recommend doing this upto 4 weeks prior to the trip).  After arrival, encourage your child to be active outside or in brightly lit areas during daylight hours to promote adjustment.  When returning back from a trip, the same applies – make a trip to the park as soon as you can after reaching back home.

Any other recommendations you will like to give to new parents travelling long distances with babies for the first time ?

Discuss your travel plans with your doctor at least 4-6 weeks prior to your trip, so as to allow any preventive medications that are prescribed to be effective.

Review your child’s immunizations with your doctor, and make sure he/she is up to date with the recommended immunizations necessary for their age.  Other immunizations, including those providing protection against Typhoid fever, Bacterial Meningitis, and Japanese Encephalitis, may be recommended depending on your destination.

Ear pain can be an issue for infants and children during the plane’s descent and landing Pressure in the middle ear can be equalized by swallowing or chewing.  You can nurse your little one, offer them a bottle to drink from, or for your toddler, a chewy snack.

Lastly, if you plan on using your child’s car seat on the plane, make sure it is approved for use. Children weighing between 22 lbs and 44 lbs can use an approved restraint system called the CARES Child Safety Device.

I definitely learnt a lot from this interview with Dr Abha. I am SO glad that she was kind enough to accept my email and request to collaborate on this post. Thank you once again Dr Abha for your advice!!!

We both hope that this post truly helps all the new parents and parents to be, who are excited to travel with their new born babies. Good luck and safe travels!!

You can also follow Dr Abha at her social media accounts on other Twitter and Pinterest.

Check out the  Healthy Travel Packing List by CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) 

arushi

How I Survived a Long Haul Flight With a Lap Baby

 

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I have traveled a lot since past few years for work and leisure. However, in 2016 due to my pregnancy and childbirth my travel plans were restricted and I ended up staying back home for more than half of the year. This is something that has bothered me for last couple of months. Cancelling our “Baby-moon” to Belize in March 2016 due to the outbreak of Zika virus was one of the my biggest disappointment, since I was really looking forward to our last couple vacation before the baby comes out.

(But hey 2016 is the year that changed my life, my identity and my purpose! Life  came full circle when I saw for myself a new LIFE that I made. )

Moving forward, post my maternity leave and once Vir turned 3 months I only traveled for important work meetings to New York, Dallas and Los Angeles last year. In fact Vir flew for the first time with us to New York in August. I was really nervous of flying with a 3 month old but gladly it all went well and gave me the courage to fly with a baby. Check our my previous post Tips for Travelling With a Baby. 

There are several reasons I love my job and one of those is I get to travel and break the monotony of working from home. I was recently informed that I needed to travel to Thailand for a work conference in Dec 1st week !! This was an amazing opportunity and I was thrilled to pack my bags and get on that plane. Since I was going to that part of the world I took a week’s off to stop over at Delhi. This itinerary worked perfectly for our family as Deep could manage Vir at home in Delhi with his parents while I was off to Thailand. Also our son could meet our family members, and get the blessings of his great grandparents.

When one travels to India especially for the first time with a baby there has to be a plan in place. From the Flight to the Baggage, to the Baby gear to the Stay, everything needs to be well planned !

In this blog post I will share with you my experience on flying with Vir on a 21 hour flight from Houston to Delhi and way back, which turned to be 30 hour door to door journey both ways.

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The Preparation! – Thankfully Vir’s passport was ready before he turned 2 months, and I was able to plan this trip. Once I was informed about my travel, I immediately applied for Vir’s E visa to India (which was applicable for a single entry only for a 30 days period. I intend to apply for his OCI card soon) Our tickets were booked 2 days prior to our travel. Due to the last minute bookings me and Deep were unable to get seats together in Premium Economy with United. However I was glad to at least get a bassinet seat after a lot of coordination with United’s customer care. I have to tell you that it was very painstaking task and until I sat on my seat on the flight, I wasn’t sure if I will have a bassinet in front of me.

I made a checklist of all items I needed in India for Vir and packed the luggage accordingly. Since I had to be away for 5 days I was glad that I had slowly started introducing formula to Vir while breast feeding. Thankfully he was accepting both breast and formula at that time and feeding was not one of my worries. For a 2 week vacation we managed to fit in all our stuff in 3 suitcases and 1 carry on. Among the few home chores, we arranged boarding for my fur baby Rio at a local pet home, stopped all the mails for the 2 weeks we were away at the local post office center and got rid of all the perishable food from the refrigerator.

The Flight !
Baggage: I made it a point to travel light and carried only the important items needed for Vir. Between me and my husband we had one carryon bag, a boppy pillow, an umbrella stroller, a diaper bag and a backpack and 3 check in items. The carry on and my diaper bag had all baby supplies.

Security and Boarding: Even though we reached the airport 3 hours prior to our boarding, I was delayed by an hour at security check. I was patted down twice by 2 different officials due to the alarms on my swipe test. Since I had to carry Vir in my arms, I had to use the walk through metal detectors, due to which they had to swipe my clothes and my hands.  And every time they tested it, the machine would sound the alarm. I still don’t know why that happened, but they say it could be due to the use of lotions and hand sanitizers.

Tip( Highly recommend going early then planned to the airport, as you will never know what might cause delays. )

One of the perks of being a parent is that you get to board first and that was a relief! We gate checked Vir’s stroller each time while changing flights.

Bassinet Seating My Nightmare: My fear of not having the bassinet seat came close to being a reality!! As we boarded our long leg flight from New Jersey to Delhi I saw that we had just 1 bassinet in front of the 3 bulkhead seats on the plane!! And to my disbelief I had to share the bassinet with another mom for the entire 14 hour journey. Once the air hostess attached the bassinet in front of us she informed me that it was in the name of the other mom, and claiming subtly that the bassinet is hers. I couldn’t believe the inefficiencies in the system at United and the ignorance of the customer care and the gate managers, as none of them informed me on the bassinet seating policies and arrangements even after checking with them several times. To add to my misery, the flight was full, due to which me and my husband didn’t get to sit together either. Vir ended up on my lap the entire flight, except for that one time when I got the bassinet to use the restroom.

My loving son was truly an angel the entire 14 hour flight; he didn’t fuss at all, slept most of the time and fed properly. His cooperation made this crazy experience worthwhile and helped me calm my nerves. Now my nervousness of flying such a long distances with a baby is out of the window.

(Tip- The thing that worked in our favor was that I booked the flight during his nap time. That way he slept more than half of the journey. Also I highly recommend wearing a baby wrap or carrier that way your hands can be free)

Once we landed in Delhi we rushed to the immigration and were shocked to see no lines. I guess fewer international flights land at 9:30 pm. We also learnt that there we had to go for immigration check at 2 different windows as Vir holds an American passport. We were out of the airport in less than 25 minutes yet it still didn’t feel we were done, as we had another 1 and half hour drive from the airport to reach home.

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Flying back to Houston !

After good 2 weeks of stay, meeting with family members and indulging in a lot of Indian street food it was time to head back. Finally my good luck kicked in and we couldn’t have asked for a better flight experience on our return journey from India. This time I really didn’t care about the bassinet. I just wanted to be seated with my husband, so that I don’t have to hold my pee forever !!

While we were checking in we saw that the fight was almost 80% full. That was amazing as it meant that we had the chances to get an extra seat apart from getting to sit together. We booked our seats in the center row purposely as there were 4 seats in that row, which also meant there was a good chance of getting a vacant seat next to us.

Like I mentioned, my luck finally worked and we not only got to sit together but even got an additional seat for Vir between us on our first flight !! We changed our planes in Munich and requested the gate staff to see if they can seat us next to an available bassinet or upgrade us to the larger leg space seats or check if there is a row with an additional seat for Vir. (It never hurts to ask, you need to be patient and hopeful, something I say to Deep all the time). Thankfully, it worked again and we got an additional seat for Vir. I couldn’t believe that not only did I get to sleep for at least 6 hours, but also saw a movie (Life of Pets)  and grabbed both dinner and breakfast on the flight!!

Tip ( In my opinion a return flight on Monday or mid of the week are not fully booked and there is room to change or move seats.)

If you follow me on Instagram , you would have seen on my stories, that post we landed in Houston we were stuck at immigration for more than 2 hours. I cannot explain how miserable it is to stand for that long with a hungry baby and I cannot understand why all security windows cannot be open when there are 6 international flights landing at the same time! We were glad to be back home as we couldn’t wait to meet our fur baby Rio !! This was an extremely tiring and long vacation for us. We cancelled all our travel plans for Christmas and New Years as I didn’t want to head back to the airport so soon and neither did we want to leave Rio again so fast.

I have a Travel Goal of visiting minimum 5 new places in 2017. I want to get used to travelling with our baby and learn along the way and share my experiences, learnings and tips with all my readers- as I am hopeful it will help some of you!!

Wish you all a wonderful 2017  !!

arushi

How I Prepared to Leave My Breastfed Baby for a Work Trip


In my previous emotional post I wrote about my anxiety and fears as a new mom, who was leaving behind her 5 month baby for a work trip for the very first time. It was an emotionally challenging experience and physical one too, as I am exclusively breastfeeding Vir. I couldn’t have left my house without a plan for my family and support of my husband.  As new parents we want to make sure we are doing everything right and at the same time hoping that things go smoothly.

Every mom has to leave the nest sooner or later and to get through this difficult time, I am sharing the list of things I did before getting on the plane:

  1. Introduce care giver ahead of time: I am working from home and of course to be most productive I need to be able to focus without distractions. After my family left, we got a nanny to manage Vir during my work hours. This worked well for us, as by the time I left for work to another city, Vir and my nanny had gotten used to each other. It is hard to trust someone else with your baby other than family, but having a good caregiver can be very comforting.
  2. Enlist a Trusted Relative or Friend: Thankfully my husband could take an off on one of the days in my absence at home and manage Vir. However, I am thankful to have a close set of friends whom I can trust Vir with. It is ideal to have someone living close to your home, just in case.
  3. Maintain sufficient supply of milk in the freezer: Vir is being exclusively breast fed and my biggest worry was running out of the frozen milk. I was short of 7-8 bags as per my calculation and so I made a plan to start pumping after every feeding to increase supply in 1 breast. I pumped only one side, so that I don’t run out of milk on the other. This worked perfectly and I was able to store milk and also give Vir his full feed. Also, I was eating more food that helped in lactation and drinking lots of water.
  4. Leaving behind Mom’s scent: I wore my husband’s T-shirt to bed for 3 days before I left, so that my scent could be transferred to it. In my absence Deep wore the same T shirt to soothe Vir and put him to sleep every night.This strategy also worked for us very well while we were crib training Vir and making him sleep in his nursery. I would leave my t-shirt on the side of his crib, so that he felt that I was around. Note: this might work for younger babies only.
  5. Setting up security cameras or a nanny cam: We bought a security camera for the house through which I could see Vir when I wanted. I could monitor the daily activities live on my cell phone from anywhere. Not only did it give me a sense of relief but I also felt involved. These days baby monitors and security cameras have great features. Ours has a mic function through which I could talk to Deep if he needed something and also see the entire day’s recording. (We have the new Logitech Circle camera)
  6. Make a List of Things related to the baby: A list with all information that is essential for the baby like feeding and nap routines, allergies , medication, place for baby gear and supplies, important phone numbers ,etc etc. This can be very handy for the care giver or your husband. I had emailed it and also printed it and left it on the refrigerator.
  7. Packing your Pumping bag: Even though you might have a temporary break from the baby but that doesn’t mean you get a break from breastfeeding. Our body continues to prepare the milk and that means you can’t forget to carry the breast pump, nursing pads, bottles and the freezing pack. I was pumping daily in the morning and at night, at the restaurants and at the airports. I can do an entire blog post on it, and honestly I hadn’t realized it would be such a complicated affair until this trip. I was able to bring back only 2 bottles of milk from the trip as I had to dump the rest. (TIP: If you don’t have an ice pack, take zip lock bags and put the bottles in it with ice to keep the milk chilled. Also if you have a milk bank close enough to where you are and if time allows you can donate it there. Sadly I couldn’t. Try to carry a manual breast pump too if you want to pump anywhere and not be stuck to a plug.)

I hope these tips come in handy if and when you plan to travel without your baby. There are a lot of things about Motherhood I am still discovering and I hope to share my experiences with all my readers.

Planning ahead of time is key to our sanity!

You can also check my post Tips on Travelling with the baby. (Our short trip to New York)

 

 

 

 

When I had to leave my 5 month baby for a Business trip. 

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The Snuggle is Real 

My head was hurting, my heart was racing. I felt I couldn’t breathe and all of this was happening exactly at the same time while I was waving goodbye to Vir from the window of my cab. Leaving the baby for the first time is not easy and even though I spent a ridiculous amount of time snuggling him and kissing him beforehand, the moment of panic at the door was not going away. I still can’t tell whether at that moment I was feeling guilty of leaving him for 2 days or if I was terrified of the thought of how will he survive without me. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life and is very hard to describe in words. It felt like I was carrying an extra bag that day – A bag of Guilt.

Inside this extra baggage was the guilt of leaving Vir at home while I traveled, guilt of not rocking him to sleep those 2 nights, guilt of leaving my husband on his own to manage an infant and taking leave from work. From the moment I sat in the cab till I reached the airport, I was stuck to my phone the entire 40 minute drive, watching Vir play with his Nanny while I kept taking heavy breaths with moist eyes.

Honestly I am so blessed to be a full time work from home mom. I can see my child whenever I want, have the flexibility to manage my work and calls, apart from adding income to the household and doing what I love most. Having a house with an office space I am able to get so much done effectively on a daily basis. And with the help of my nanny I don’t have to worry about Vir either. It’s the best scenario I could have asked for. However being a Sr. Account Manager and handling a huge pool of clients across the country, travel in my job role is inevitable. Honestly, I have always looked forward to my work trips as I not only get to reconnect with my colleagues but also get a break from my routine.

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Likely, most of you are not gasping in horror at the thought of leaving a 5 month baby with his daddy, while mom goes on a business trip. Business travel is fact of life for few moms far sooner than 5 months and many 5 month old babies are not exclusively breast fed. But this is a very big deal for me, as I never left Vir for more than few hours a handful of times until this unexpected work related travel. The very thought of getting on an airplane without Vir had been giving me heart palpitations. I was having anxiety of what might happen when I would be away. Will he be all right , will Deep be able to manage the baby, what if Vir doesn’t take the bottle , what if I miss my return flight, what if things falls apart…..I was losing my sleep. The angst of leaving a kid behind is natural and biological; it is out of concern for our children or even out of the fear of leaving our comfort zone as a new mom. The fact that we control our household makes leaving the responsibility on someone else more difficult.

But having a supportive and understanding husband and a loving and hands on dad can make a mom’s life more manageable. I am so blessed to have a husband like Deep. He is a great dad and I knew in case of any urgency I can count on him to manage Vir. This trip was a huge learning experience for me and Deep on dealing with our fears and anxiety as first time parents. While Deep is now more confident in handling Vir, I am more comfortable in leaving the responsibility on daddy at unplanned situations.

But then there are other situations out of our control, like my nanny was not able to make it the next day while I was out and the ordeal on the date I was flying back….

After a very productive meeting, I was looking forward to getting home from LA and snuggle with my baby. To avoid the crazy LA traffic I reached the airport early only to learn that my flight was delayed by an hour. I immediately rushed to the airlines counter to see if I could reschedule my flight to an earlier time, and I was lucky to get one. But, that luck was short-lived; I was put in another frustrating situation where my rescheduled flight was delayed by 4 hours due to maintenance!! Wow !! That is exactly what I needed on my first trip away from Vir. (Screaming in my brain) It almost felt like my nightmare was coming true. But honestly, there was no point getting mad at that time…  Rather, I actually felt blessed, as the flight I was supposed to initially take got cancelled!

After speaking to Deep and knowing that all was good at home, I finally found the time to get something to eat and make most of the delay with a pumping session.  (If you follow me on instagram , you must have been pretty amused with the instastories I made that day.)I pumped at the ladies room standing for an hour splitting the pumping session on each side while watching Vir and Deep play on the camera, as the nursing room at the airport was occupied. While pumping I was able to speak with Deep through the house camera mic function, it gave me so much relief and I almost felt I was with them. Apart from that, I was glad to take the express milk home, unlike the last few pumping sessions where I had to pump and dump. (I hate throwing away breast milk, it makes me feel terrible)

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After an exhausting 10 hour wait time from LA to Houston between flight delays, traffic and flying time, I was finally home at 11 pm holding Vir tightly in my arms, with a heart full of joy and a needy dog liking my face and asking for equal attention.

Even though we might be connected with rapid transit and wireless technology, the emotional distance while traveling is challenging. I wish I could handle everything at once, but motherhood has taught me the unfortunate rule of being a human: I can’t. We have to make hard choices and cope up with the real world. And as a working mom I have to act like one and deal with my lifestyle changes while coming up with strategies that work for my family.

Yes ! The Struggle is Real !!

…In  my next post I will be sharing with you how I prepared to leave my baby overnight for work  and what I discovered about being a mom when I was off the clock.

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10 Baby Products That Make Motherhood Easier!

 

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Here comes the Baby and so does more stuff then we dreamed of.  Before Vir was here, I did a lot of research on the products we needed for the baby. While I was pregnant I turned to my trusted friends who have already been there and done that and also referred to  the online resources.

I wanted to make sure we get only the stuff we will use and not go overboard. It’s super easy to get sucked into all of the fancy gear and adorable toys directed towards that newborn stage. Whether it were essentials items for the baby, the nursery or for me as a new mom , I had a spread sheet for everything with several columns and rows listing out all details of the products in my must have list. It is almost like a ritual for me that before I make any purchases, I always go online to check reviews from multiple sources, compare products, and find any deals or discounts and post that check out any order as we hate to make returns. (It’s definitely a time-consuming task).

In the short time since I’ve become a Mom, I’ve learned about so many products that I’ve found to be Life Savers or some that are straight up useless. We are so thankful to our lovely friends and family for gifting us most of the baby gear I registered for my shower. I used Baby List for my registry as everything I wanted was at 1 location. Apart from the baby gear from all different websites and stores, you can also register for a Doula, a diaper service  and even homemade meals.

Below I am sharing a list of my most loved Baby products that have made a huge difference in my life recently with little V . Most of these products are not your regular baby registry picks, but products that made Motherhood more effortless for me one step at a time.

1.Silicone Place Mats : I bought this for Vir as I know feeding a baby can be a real messy adventure. These mats are great as they stick easily to most of the surfaces so that they don’t get  ripped out and thrown by your little one, plus it’s sized perfectly for fruit and cereal. I like the Ezpz happy mat.

mini_mats_on_white_food_clean_coral__60444-1453865533-1280-8002.Teal Baby Bamboo Sleeping Bag – I would always swaddle up Vir to make him sleep, but I guess some babies just hate being wrapped up. He would always pull his hands out and kick open the swaddle and I would be wrapping him all over again. Thankfully I came across the Teal Bee bamboo sleeping bag for babies made using natural thermal regulation bamboo, working to keep the baby warmer in winter and cool in summer. Vir loves it and sleep so well.

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3.ORB Bottle Warmer– If you are a pumping mama and store or freeze the milk, the ORB bottle warmer will save so much hassle. It steam heats bottles and baby food without hotspots and is BPA free. Also its very light and portable to carry while you are travelling. Plus it looks cute and can fit  all size bottles.

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4.Car seat handle cushion cover – If you don’t have upper arm strength like me, you will have a hard time lifting the car seat with your inner arm. I looked up online to help me with this issue and came across Itzy Ritzy car seat handle cushion cover which has thick foam padding for comfort and universally fits to all types of car seats.

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5.Baby Carrier for Mom and Dad: Baby carriers are definitely a staple of life with a new born, as your hands are free and the baby is cozy and secure. For longer trips and especially when baby is 5 months over Baby Bjorn is a great carrier to have. It looks great, is sturdy and has a waist belt for support. Also the babies hand and legs are free.  But when I am out with the baby at a park, grocery store or running an errand,  I prefer the Baby K’tan . It is made of 100% cotton and has good stretch too. The material is very soft and cozy for an infant and the best part is it is very light and easy to carry in your diaper bag.

6.Tote Savvy –Tote Organizer: I don’t feel like carrying my diaper bag everywhere, I miss my cute and light totes. I came across  Tote Savvy , it offers the best of both worlds by combining the inner lining of a diaper bag with any handbag. Also it is available in 2 sizes. Its expensive, but it makes sense if you want to be organized and search for your lip stick and car keys in the diaper bag.

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7.Skip Hop Bath Kneeler: Trust me it is so much better to kneel on this cushioned surface especially if your knees hurt. I prefer kneeling to sitting while giving Vir a bath in our bath tub. The bath kneeler doesn’t skid and is washable too. I had registered for the Skip Hop Moby Bath set on my baby registry  and I love it.

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8.Dr Brown’s Bottles – Vir was very gassy  for the first few months and I was looking at all possible solutions to reduce his gassiness. Glad to have found the Dr Brown’s bottles they come with a Infant paced Feeding Valve which helps decrease air intake and helps burping with non squeeze method. They are BPA Free too.

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9. Baby ear protection ear muff or Baby Headphones– There are some events, concerts, games that you just can’t miss and if you are worried about your child’s hearing, I highly recommend getting noise cancelling earphones or ear muffs. We recently attended a concert with 4 month baby Vir and he slept through the entire concert with his headphones on for 3 hours. These ear muffs/ noise cancelling head phones are your best bet if you have a light sleeper or if your baby is sensitive to noise. I wished I had them while flying to New York for the first time with the baby. These headphones are easy to wear and have foam filling cushions that can fit to every child and are available in different sizes and color options. I am glad they make these. We have the Walker’s ear phones for babies.

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10.Squeeze packs of baby food– Vir will be very soon starting solid foods and I am looking forward to make some homemade healthy and nutritious purees. I will like to avoid as much store bought squeeze foods as I can as they are so freaking expensive.  I really liked the concept of  Foodii Squeeze Snack Filling and Feeding System as they are so convenient, compact, easy and also BPA free. You can bulk them up and store it for mess free meals on the go.

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I hope this blog post has helped you find something you need . I will appreciate if you can reply or comment below with your favorite baby products which worked well for you and the baby. .(You can catch us on Instagram )