How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day When You’re Married with Kids

How To Celebrate Valentine's Day When You're Married with Kids

 

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day When You’re Married with Kids

 

Celebrating Valentine’s Day when you’re married with kids is no easy feat, but it’s more important than ever. Before having kids it was easy to make any day special, though most of us probably didn’t think to take advantage of this while we could!  When little ones enter the scene, any chance of romance seems to be crushed by the spit-up stain on your shirt, or the endless “it’s your turn” diaper changing battles. Sure, there are so many fun things to do on Valentine’s Day with your kids, but when it comes to making sure that you and your spouse get the one-on-one time that you need, it often gets put on the back-burner. 

Don’t put your love on the back-burner

 

Why is it Important to Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

You can justify it all you want. “We don’t need to be spending money”, or “It’s just a made-up holiday, anyway”. But the truth is, Valentine’s Day is the one day out of the year, aside from your anniversary, where you have an excuse to show your spouse how much you love them. One Romantic evening can reignite the flame, remind you and your spouse why you got married in the first place, and boost your intimacy. 

It’s really not even about Valentine’s Day itself. The holiday simply provides a good excuse to do something we already should be doing. Regular date nights for a married couple can maintain your romantic bond and provide you with much-needed relief from being in parent mode all the time. Additionally, romantic gestures can go a long way in strengthening your marriage. Even the “tough guy” husbands who act as though anything romantic is too “mushy” for them can appreciate feeling special. Maybe feeling special for them is receiving a home cooked meal, or a pre-planned moment of solitude, but there is absolutely some way to show them that you love them. 

 

Related Post: I Married a Traditional Man…On Purpose! *Gasp*

 

Learn Their Love Language

One fun idea for Valentine’s Day this year is to learn your spouse’s love language. Dr. Chapman, the author of the book you see below, breaks down love languages into the following 5 Categories: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. He believes that every person has one primary and one secondary love language. After learning more about each of these love languages, it didn’t take much for me to determine the primary and secondary languages for myself and my husband.

Once you have it nailed down, it becomes fun to come up with ways to show them you care. In addition to the tips and ideas listed in this post, you could surprise them by showing your love in the exact way they need you to. If you haven’t already been doing so, and learning their love language is a revelation to you, this change will be incredibly apparent and more than likely heavily appreciated. 


 

Let’s talk about some great ways to make February 14th special this year…

 

It’s all about timing

What’s the number one challenge with celebrating Valentine’s Day when you’re Married with Kids? Let’s be honest here, it’s the kids. It’s definitely the kids. So, how do you find a way to celebrate when you don’t have a sitter or when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday? 

Need to get baby on a schedule? Read Why I chose a Parent-Led Schedule

 

Pick a Different Day

My husband and I are all about picking a more convenient day to celebrate holidays when necessary. If Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, we will celebrate that weekend. Or if we can’t find a sitter for the weekend, maybe even the following weekend will do. The important thing is that we get to spend the day celebrating the way we want to, not that it falls on the exact holiday. Not to mention, it can often be easier to get a dinner reservation or it may be cheaper to book a hotel room on a different day. 

 

Take Advantage of Your Morning

Wake up early and start Valentine’s Day off right! If you’re awake enough, some early morning intimacy is sure to put anyone in a good mood for the day, even if you or your spouse have to go to work that day. Follow it up with a spectacular Valentine’s Day breakfast and you’ve already made the day far more special than your average day! 

Why not have a little fun with breakfast? Try out some of these Valentine’s Day Breakfast Ideas

 

Celebrating on a Workday

If you or your spouse has to work on Valentine’s Day and you still want to make the day special, try to find a couple of ways that you can still show them your love while you’re apart. Does your spouse have a commute? Why not create them a mix of songs that will remind them of your dating days, your wedding, or other memories that you both cherish? My husband and I use Spotify, so we can create and share playlists with almost any song you can imagine. If I create a playlist that is the length of his commute, he can start off his day with a hefty dose of romance. 

If you pack your spouse a lunch for the day, include a sweet note, or send them romantic messages or emails throughout the day. Of course, if you really want to spice things up, you can send your spouse some steamy text messages. Whether it be your thoughts on the festivities to take place later in the evening or some “creative” photography, your spouse is sure to enjoy these little surprises. 

 

An Inexpensive Night Out

So, you finally have a sitter for the night and you want to go out, but the cost of diapers has you and your spouse worried about spending money on yourselves for once. While it may seem like the appropriate Valentine’s Day Date night activity is to spend a fortune on a fancy dinner, it’s hardly the most exciting option. Here are some great alternatives to the traditional steak dinner…

Get Competitive

Bowling is a cheap and fun way to engage in some silly competition with each other. For whatever reason, no matter how many times I go bowling, I’m always pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had. I’m no pro bowler but getting ridiculous gutter balls and the occasional surprise strike is what the fun is all about. 

 

Get Creative

Doing something creative together can be a really great way to bond as a couple. Try taking one of those wine and painting classes together. Wine & Canvas has locations all across the U.S. but there are many others to choose from as well. These classes are particularly good for those who may not be all that artistically inclined. You’d be surprised how well you can do with the simple instruction they offer! At the end of the class, you get to take your creations home with you, along with a great memory. 

 

Get Active

If you’re the active type, find a way to make your favorite activities romantic. Take a bike ride on a beach boardwalk, or go on an evening hike and watch the sunset together. Of course, this depends on the weather in your location in February. We are from Arizona originally, where an evening hike would be no problem in February, but in our new home in New England, it’s not exactly pleasant to hang around outside for any longer than you have to this time of year! 

 

A Romantic Evening at Home

If you aren’t able to get a sitter, or you just don’t want to spend a fortune on Valentine’s Day, there are so many ways to make an evening in special and romantic. 

Start by pouring yourselves a glass of wine, lighting some candles and playing a song that screams romance – like your wedding song. Dinner can be a home cooked meal that your spouse loves, take out from your favorite restaurant. or a meal that reminds you both of something special. If you want to have a little fun with it, you can make some Valentine’s Day themed food as well.

 

Post Dinner Fun

Follow up dinner with an activity that you both enjoy. Watch a romantic movie or play a board game. My husband and I love to find new video games that we can play together. Whatever you do, make sure that you are spending time together. None of this playing on your cell phone while a movie is on in the background nonsense. Snuggle up and be present in the moment. Play a game that will make you interact and laugh. Valentine’s Day is about you and your spouse spending time together in a romantic way, not an obligation or a hassle. Set aside your daily stress, your constant kid related thoughts, and your financial worries. Just focus on the two of you in the best way that you can and have some fun! 

 

Intimacy

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a little intimacy. Married couples often struggle to maintain intimacy on a regular basis, particularly after they have kids. Valentines Day is a great way to get things moving again (no pun intended). If you need a little help getting things started, try playing a game or mixing things up by moving the party to a new setting. If all else fails, just start by making out like you did when you were dating. It may feel silly at first, but there’s just something about making out – trust me on this one. 

 

The Takeaway

If there’s one thing that you take away from this post, please let it be that you and your spouse need to make time for each other this Valentine’s Day, or on whichever day you choose to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, it just needs to be about the two of you! 

 

So, what are YOU doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

Let me know in the comments below! 

 

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10 Best Finger Foods for Toddlers

10 Best Finger Foods for Toddlers

 

10 Best Finger Foods for Toddlers

 

Admit it! You have been through a stage when you have asked yourself and others—maybe shouted in your mind or at the house, too—“What the heck do I feed my one year old?!” Got you there!

 

Feeding your toddlers can be a tricky affair. First of all, you find yourself wondering what kind of food is suitable for them, and if they will like it. Secondly, your toddler has reached the age when they want to eat everything themselves, which may become a big source of frustration for you and for them. This may create a problem in deciding which finger foods to choose. Toddler food must be small enough to be held properly by your child, yet powerful enough to fulfill all of their nutritional requirements.

 

Below you will find the best finger food ideas for toddlers, all of which are 100% natural. We promise your children will love to get their hands on these scrumptious snacks!

 

  1.     Small chunks of Banana

Banana is considered an ideal food for both babies and toddlers. It is easy to digest and holding loads of essential nutrients in them. Because it is a soft fruit, it can be a perfect finger food for your toddler. Just make sure the banana you are giving your baby is very ripe so that they don’t have trouble chewing. You can also mash the banana—though it is going to be a mess—if you feel like your toddler won’t be able to hold the chunks properly. Bananas can be quite slippery!

 

  1.     Green Peas

Whole peas can be a new taste and texture for your toddler and will give them a pleasant surprise. Green peas can be offered steamed, boiled or simply frozen. In all forms, peas are healthy options of finger food for toddlers. If offered frozen, green peas are effective relievers for teething gums as well. Moreover, green peas pose no threat of choking as they are small and easily pass through the baby’s gut.

 

Ready to Wean from Breastfeeding? See how I did it quickly and painlessly in 10 days

 

  1.     Chopped Hard-boiled Egg

Although it was believed that egg whites should be kept away from kids below 12 months of age, it is now proven that eggs are a completely safe food option. Eggs are an excellent source of healthy nutrients including protein, iron and Vitamin D. These nutrients play a vital role in developing your toddler’s healthy bones and improving their immune system. Chopped hard-boiled eggs are an effective finger food option for toddlers as they are easy to hold, and do not pose a choking risk.

 

  1.     Pasta or Noodles

Many toddlers like pasta and noodles as they are delicious and easy to handle. Toddlers are completely engrossed by their soft texture and are often seen eating pasta and noodles as their favorite food. So, if you ever plan on having pasta for dinner, invite your toddler to join as well. They will thoroughly enjoy the occasion! Just make sure pasta strips are cooked really well and are cut into small pieces to avoid any choking hazards.

 

  1.     Small pieces of Steamed Carrots and Potato

Raw vegetables should be considered off-limits for babies and toddlers until they grow teeth and are able to chew or swallow hard food; however, steamed and well-cooked vegetables are healthy finger food options for babies around 7 to 8 months old since they do not create any risk of choking. Steamed carrots and potatoes, in particular, quickly become the favorite food for your toddler as these little bombs of nutrients and energy are also flavorful. Before serving any vegetable to your baby, make sure it is soft enough and properly cooked by squashing it between two fingers. If you have trouble doing so, it is not soft enough to serve to your little one. 

 

 

  1.     Well-cooked Beans

Once your child is able to grasp small objects and eat food on their own, they should be provided with multiple food options to develop their taste buds. Beans are a healthy finger food as they contain the accumulated power of folic acid, proteins, and fiber, and are naturally fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free proving to be a safe food choice for babies. Their mild taste and soft texture readily make them one of the best finger foods of toddlers. Always ensure proper cooking for safe chewing and swallowing.

 

  1.     Soft Fruits

Fruits are always a healthy food option for toddlers with their nutritional value. They have an added advantage of being eaten raw making them efficient and easy finger food for toddlers. Soft fruits like seedless watermelons, peaches, mangoes, and plums can be peeled and cut into long pieces or small cubes for little ones to hold and chew with ease.

 

  1.     Cucumber Strips

Although a hard food for your toddler to bite before they grow teeth, cucumber strips are invaluable in soothing sore gums. Cucumbers are rich in vitamins and antioxidants making them helpful in preventing dehydration and constipation, curing stomach disorders, and controlling skin eruptions and burns. To prevent your child from biting off a large piece, cut the cucumber into long and wide strips.

 

Not sure when to feed your toddler? Learn more about Parent-Led Scheduling

 

  1.     Soft Bread

Small pieces of soft bread and bagels are also a safe finger food for toddlers. Having a soft texture and mildly sweet taste makes bread a favorite toddler food. You can also toast the chunks lightly for added taste. Also, if you want to add extra vitamins to your baby’s diet, spread vegetable or fruit purée on the bread.

 

  1.     Small pieces of Steamed Meat

Fresh, soft and easy to chew meat is a nutritious finger food choice for toddlers. Meat contains nutrients like iron, protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fat which are essential for your child’s growth, proper hemoglobin count and enhanced body stamina. Fish and chicken are especially vital in this regard. To serve meat to your baby, steam or broil it without salt and cut into small pieces or long strips.

 

Conclusion

Remember, your child’s health takes priority over everything, so skip processed finger foods in favor of the above-mentioned natural and nutritious food options. Enjoy your food and let your toddler enjoy theirs!

 

Do YOU have any awesome finger foods to add to the list? Comment in the section below.

 

About the Guest Author

Sana Ahsan is a mommy blogger, who loves to write about parenting, pregnancy and baby care on her blog TheAdorableBaby.com. In her free time, she surfs the web to get motivated about life and nature. Follow her on Twitter on @AdorableBaby134

 

 

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You Are Not a Bad Mom (Even When You Think You Are…)

You Are Not a Bad Mom (even when you think you are...)

 

My goal at Sane Momma is to provide self-care tips and support for moms. But even I lose sight of things sometimes. What’s the number one thing that keeps me from taking care of myself? It’s when I don’t feel like I’m doing a good job. It’s when I get Mom Burnout and I feel like I am a crappy mom and a sucky wife. It could be because my son is misbehaving and I can’t seem to get a handle on the situation. Or maybe my husband said something that affected me, even though it was likely just a snide remark in the midst of a bad mood.

Whatever the circumstances, there are times when I am so down on myself that I skip out on self-care. It’s as though I am punishing myself for my “failures”. It’s times likes these when we mommas need self-care the most. We need to do something for ourselves to get out of our funk. Most of all, we need to tell ourselves “You are not a bad mom“.

 

You Are Not a Bad Mom

 

Chances are if you are a mom who follows mommy blogs like this one or chooses to read an article about how you feel like a bad mom sometimes, you are probably an awesome mom. Maybe you screwed something up this week or perhaps you feel a sense of guilt for not contributing more to the family financially (if you are a SAHM). Regardless, that doesn’t make you a bad mom.

Take a look at the big picture. Are your children as happy and healthy as they can be? What do you do to contribute to that? Most likely you are the one making that healthy food for them or caring for them when they are sick. I would bet that you are the one who makes the boo-boos better too. If you had a rough week, just remember, you are not a bad mom.

Struggling with Anxiety? Check out 8 Ways to Manage Anxiety for Moms

 

The Downward Spiral

Whenever this way of thinking comes in to play for me, a few things happen. The first thing that happens is that my husband and I get into an argument. No matter how big or small, I end up crying. I’m pretty sure I do this on purpose so that I have an excuse to cry out all the emotion that’s building up inside of me. Regardless, my husband is usually completely confused about what just happened.

After the emotion has been released, I usually go into the “why do I even try?” mode where decide that I’m just going to do nothing. This is not a good place for me. By nature, I am an upbeat, energetic and optimistic person. This version of me is exactly the opposite. At this point, my husband (who is grumpy and pessimistic by nature) will usually start pulling out all the tricks.

He will flirt with me, try to get me laugh, whatever it takes. I’m usually pretty stubborn, but he will often get a small chuckle out of me, despite my efforts to stay emotionless. Eventually, my true nature will start peeking through and I will acknowledge to myself that I need to address this funk.

So how do I get out of it?

 

Self-Care is the Answer

Self-care is always the answer for me. When I need to get out my funk, I try to think of one thing, anything, that will make me feel happy. Then I make it happen. Sometimes, that means some alone time with a cup of coffee and my journal. Other times, I just want to get out and go somewhere. I’ve found that I have turned into one of those moms I’m always reading about who loves Target. I swear they must pump something into the air in there because one leisurely stroll through Target can make just about anything better.

If I’m trying to get out of a pretty severe funk, I may even ask my husband to take over baby duty for a while so I can take a long luxurious bath. This of course has to include bath bombs, a face mask, a hair mask, and some relaxing music. I would say candles, but I just can’t do the candles by the bathtub thing. I’m kind of a weirdo about fire so it would just add stress to the equation.

Related Post – Mom Time: 5 Reasons Why You Deserve a Break

 

Keeping It Up

Ok, so the funk is gone. Cool. Back to the same ol’, same ol’, right? Wrong. If you don’t address the problem that got you into a funk in the first place, you’ll most likely end up right back in one. Most of the time, the behavior that allowed me to get into my funk was related to a lack of self-care or a burnout. I was probably taking on more than I could handle and not making any time for me. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who has this tendency.

Sometimes, the problem lies with my marriage. Maybe something is bothering me and I haven’t talked to my husband about it, heck I may have not even realized that it was an issue. Dig deep to think about what really got to you and, now that you’re clear-headed, tackle it. If it involves someone else, talk it out. If the issue has derived from someone outside of your family and it’s a reoccurring issue, maybe you need to reevaluate that relationship to see if this person is worth keeping in your life. Whatever the case may be, don’t just keep going on without addressing the problem simply because the funk has ended.

Another important thing to note is that you have to continue practicing self-care. You may not always have time to take that long luxurious bath that de-funk-ified you, but you still need to take care of yourself. A big contributor for me is staying active and maintaining my diet. First off, exercise makes you happy. Plain and simple. Secondly, your diet may have a bigger impact on your moods than you realize. I practice the Ketogenic diet. This a very low carb, high-fat diet. When I go way off track and consume entirely too many carbs, my body goes a little haywire. I definitely notice a change in my mood. Once I get back on track diet-wise, things start to level out.

Not sure where to get started with diet and exercise? Check out Sane Momma’s 2018 Lose the Baby Weight Challenge! Even if you don’t have any baby weight to lose, this challenge includes a diet and exercise plan that can provide you with permanent lifestyle changes you need to look and feel fantastic.

 

Don’t Give Up

I wish I could provide every mom out there with an extra hour each day for self-care. It is beyond important and so often neglected. You, and you alone have the power to take care of yourself. You can improve your mood and energy level. Only you can give yourself the fuel you need to care for others. You can feel good about how you look. But YOU have to do it. No one is going to do it for you.

Are you a celebrity with a personal trainer and a chef working solely for you? I didn’t think so. (Although if you are, and you are reading my blog, I love you – please support me.) Most likely, if you choose to sit around eating Doritos and feeling sorry for yourself, no one is going to stop you. I am fortunate to have a spouse who recognizes when I am at my lowest points and snaps out of his pessimism momentarily to center me when I need it, but even then, I have to be the one to actually make the change.

 

Alright mommas, are you ready to get out of your funk? Are you ready to take care of YOU? Remember, just because you are having a rough time, or you don’t feel like you’re momming abilities are up to par right now, you are not a bad mom. Did you hear me? You are not a bad mom. You can do this. Just make the decision to be the best version of you and do it!

 

Get up and GO (…to Target…seriously. It’s magic)

 

You Are Not a Bad Mom (even when you think you are...)

 

What do YOU do to get out of your funk? I want to know in the comments below!

 

Subscribe to Sane Momma and Receive FREE Organized Mom Printables!

 

How to Fly with a Toddler

How to Fly with a Toddler

 

There are few things more difficult than getting a toddler to sit still for five minutes, let alone for hours on a long flight. While I can’t offer any magical solutions that will make your trip the most pleasant plane ride you’ve ever had, I can offer some helpful tips on how to fly with a toddler.

Before I get into how to fly with a toddler, I have to mentally prepare you. This is going to be tough. If it’s not, you are one lucky parent. Going into this adventure knowing that it will be a challenge is important. Even if you follow every tip I offer on How to Fly with a Toddler and you are the most prepared traveler in the world, this is still going to be a challenge. That being said, taking the necessary steps to avoid any problems, other than taming your wild child, will undoubtedly reduce the stress. Who knows, maybe your little one will be so in awe of the new environment that you won’t have any trouble at all! My fingers are crossed for you! 

 

How to Fly with a Toddler

 

Booking Your Flight

Before you even book your flight, you will need to decide if your child is going to have their own seat, or sit on your lap. Most domestic U.S. airlines (if not all) allow children under 2 years of age to fly on your lap for free. While this is not usually the preferred option, and of course a car seat in their own seat is technically safer, many parents simply cannot afford to pay for an extra seat. (My husband and I included!) If you are able to get the extra seat for your little one, your may have an easier time keeping them happy and entertained, but will likely still run into the same issues to a lesser degree. 

Contact the Airline

If you decide to go the route of traveling with your child on your lap, you will need to let the airline know after you have booked your flight. I actually recommend calling them first just to make sure there isn’t anything special you need to do when booking. When you do call, this is also a good time to ask about any airline specific policies regarding additional carry-ons for your baby, special boarding procedures, etc. I will cover some of these topics, but it is always best to check with your specific airline as well. 

 

Is the thought of traveling with your toddler giving you some major mom anxiety? Check out my post on 8 Ways to Manage Anxiety for Moms

 

Packing

When it comes to packing, you definitely need to carefully decide where you put things. How many times have you finally settled in on a flight only to realize that the book you want to read is in the overhead bin packed under three layers of clothes? Now think about if instead of a book, it was your baby’s favorite toy and they are screaming at take off. Trust me on this one. Pack carefully. 

Carry-on Allowance

If you choose to get a seat just for your baby, then you can bring two carry-on items for them, just like you can for yourself (one overhead and one under the seat); however, if you are bringing your child on your lap, you are slightly more limited. Most airlines allow you to bring one additional bag as the “diaper bag”. This will be stowed in the overhead bin. There are not typically specific guidelines for the size of the diaper bag, but it’s safe to assume that if you bring an entire suitcase and try to pull it off as a diaper bag they will likely make you check it. 

Milk and Formula

Within your allowed carry-on luggage, you are  allowed one quart size bag with your liquids (per person) with each container of liquids being no more than 3.4 ounces. One exception to this when traveling with an infant or a toddler is that you can bring their milk or formula. This will still need to fit in your carry-on allowance and it will need to be removed at the Security Checkpoint and screened separately.

You will also need to inform the TSA agent upfront that you have it so that they can screen it accordingly. The quantity you are allowed is not specifically stated, but generally you will want to only bring what is needed for the time at the airport and the flight itself  (with a little extra in case of delays). Once you arrive at your destination, you can buy more milk or formula or breastfeed/pump as needed. 

Other Baby Related Items

In addition to milk and formula, you are usually permitted to bring canned, jarred and processed baby food as well as liquid filled teethers. You may also bring ice packs as needed. These items may need to be screened separately. 

 

 

Before You Go 

24 hours before your flight, you can check in online. This is particularly helpful if you are not checking a bag but I recommend it either way. Depending on the airline you are flying with, earlier check in may mean earlier boarding. While many airlines allow passengers with children to board early, it doesn’t hurt to get ahead of the game, just in case.

When you check in online, you will be able to print your boarding passes. I recommend printing two copies for each person. One copy can stay with you and the other can be placed in an easily accessible place in your luggage as a backup. Additionally, many airlines have apps that allow you to save a  digital boarding pass. I love to use this method, but I always print physical boarding passes as well. 

As you are leaving…

Before you leave the house to go to the airport, make sure to check the status of your flight online. If the flight has been cancelled or delayed, it is better to avoid a longer stay at the airport with your little one than necessary. That being said, you do still want to arrive more than two hours early. Most airlines recommend two hours, but with a baby on board, I recommend giving yourself even more time. Additionally, when traveling around the holidays, you will always want to arrive a little earlier. Depending on the day and time of day, those security checkpoint lines can get pretty long. 

Right before you leave the house, make sure you have your most important items. I like to make a list ahead of time so that I can quickly run through it just before walking out the door. My list usually includes the following: 

  • IDs for all adults
  • Some form of ID for little ones (Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, etc.)
  • Boarding passes
  • Baby/Toddler necessities for feeding, changing, and sleeping
  • Phone and charger
  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Any other documents needed (transportation to and from airport, rental car info, parking info, etc.)

 

When You Get to the Airport

If you are checking any bags, this will be the first thing that you do when you arrive at the airport. There, they will issue you a boarding pass. If you have already printed one at home, just use the new one(s) they provide. You will then go to the TSA security checkpoint. Make sure to take a second before you get in line to get squared away. If the line is long, you may have some time to prepare while you wait, but they might ask to see your boarding pass at the beginning of the line as well. Having your ID and boarding pass handy at the start will avoid any last-minute scrambling.

Get Ready

Before you get up to the front of the line, make sure you have prepared everything for the screening process. Remove your shoes or have them untied and ready for removal. (Better yet, wear slip on shoes!).You don’t need to remove your little one’s shoes. Remove all liquids and tablets or laptops. Take off your coat and remove any belts or metal items. If your little one is in  a stroller, take them out and fold up the stroller.

Basically, when you get up to the conveyor belt, you want to be ready to move quick! Grab the bins and put all the loose items in them (tablets and laptops need to be in their own bin). Put the bins, your carry-on bags and the stroller on the conveyor belt. As soon as you are close enough to talk to one of the TSA representatives, you will want to inform them of any special circumstances. More than likely this will only include the additional liquids you are bringing for your child (milk, formula, teethers, ice packs). 

Be Considerate

If you find yourself at the checkpoint unprepared, step aside and let others go in front of you while you get everything squared away. This is another reason why you will want to arrive a little earlier. Traveling with a toddler is challenging enough. If you are also rushing and worried that you might miss your flight, your stress will be amplified to a level no parent wants. 

 

The Gate

Once you get through security, you will probably be pretty early. But before you rush to the most delicious restaurant in your terminal, make sure to stop by your gate. Check to make sure that your flight is still on time and, if there is anyone working the counter yet, pop over to let them know you are traveling with a child. If you are lucky and your flight has open seats, you might just get an extra seat for baby free of charge!

Keep in mind that the airline employees are no stranger to special requests. Don’t act as though you are entitled to anything. Simply ask them if there is anything that they can recommend to make things go more smoothly and graciously accept any tips or advantages that they provide. If they are short with you, it’s safe to assume that they have had a lot of grumpy customers that day. Just be pleasant. If you don’t get the response you want upfront, your positive attitude might just help you out later on. 

 

 

On the Plane

Alright, you’ve made it this far. Now you have to face the greatest challenge of all. How on earth do you keep a toddler happy and quiet for hours? Well, to be completely, honest, you probably can’t. But you might be able to keep them happy and quiet (ish) for some of the time. Any break from chaos is a relief for a toddler parent. Here are a few tips for managing your crazy little kid… 

  • Electronics are your friend

    • Now is not the time to stick to your guns about screen time. Grab that iPad and let your little one go to town. I recommend reserving this tip for when you’re out of other ideas, 
  • Use your baby carrier for naps

    • Wouldn’t it be great if your toddler slept for even 30 minutes on the flight? That’s going to be tough if you don’t have anywhere for them to lie down. Baby wearing might be your best bet. 

Ergobaby Stowaway 

  • Walk around

    • When permitted, walk up and down the aisle with your little one. They will likely be fascinated by the new environment and the variety of people. If they are smiley, you may even win over some hearts and gain some sympathy if a tantrum kicks in later on. 
  • Make sure baby’s needs are met

    • While you can’t control the situation entirely, you can make sure that your toddler isn’t fussing because he/she is hungry, or has a dirty diaper. Stay on top of these things to put yourself in the best position possible. 
  • Offer a bottle at takeoff and landing

    • If you can get your little one to drink from a bottle or sippy cup during take off and landing, the swallowing may help with the pain of popping ears. 
  • Bring new and exciting things

    • While you probably want to bring some staple snacks that you know your toddler will eat, it might pay off to bring something new and exciting as well. This goes for toys as well. If they have a lovey, you better not forget it, but a new toy might entertain them for longer. 
  • Expect the worst and accept it

    • If you have already accepted that your toddler will likely scream the entire flight, then you can only go up from there. Then, if they are happy for even thirty minutes you can enjoy it. If you go into it thinking that they will be an angel the entire time, then you will just be frustrated that the silence only lasted for half an hour. 

 

I truly hope that some of these tips help you out when traveling with your toddler, even if it only provides a small amount of relief. I wish you the best of luck on your journey, with a toddler, in a long metal tube, thousands of miles in the air, for a long period of time. You’re going to need it! 

 

Traveling with your little one will likely leave you pretty worn out. Don’t get burnt out! Check out my post on 5 Ways to Avoid Mom Burnout

 

Do YOU have any tips for traveling with toddlers? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

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15 Must Have Gifts for New Parents

15 Must Have Gifts for New Parents

As a new mom myself, I had no idea what I really needed when my son was born. Many of the items I thought were necessary turned out to be useless and there were so many things I didn’t even think to put on my registry that were essential. If you are a new mom looking to items to add to your registry, or if you are in search of the perfect gift for a new mom in your life, you will love my 15 must have gifts for new moms. 

 

What do newborns do all day? They sleep, eat, and well, you know….

I’ve broken down the items into each category and added a fourth category called “Why Won’t You Stop Crying?” Let me tell you, whatever gets that baby to stop crying will be the gift of the year. Enjoy! 

 

15 Must Have Gifts for New Parents

 

Sleeping Essentials

 

SwaddleMe

Our son used a swaddle every night until we sleep trained him. He simply couldn’t sleep without either being swaddled or held, and after a few weeks of constant holding, we were pretty grateful to have a swaddle available. As much as new parents love holding their baby, they have to sleep too! 

Hatch Baby Rest

This gadget is seriously cool. It includes a noise machine which is a must for getting babies to sleep, and a nightlight for late night changings. Additionally, as baby gets older, it helps them to know when it’s time to wake up (and when it’s not)! 

 

Wireless Video Baby Monitor

Around 4 months, my son decided that he wasn’t going to sleep any more. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much! We finally decided around 6 months, that we needed to sleep train him in his nursery. I don’t know what I would have done without a video baby monitor. I could always check in on him and make sure he was ok. We also loved being able to use our phone to access the video. Who doesn’t have their phone with them and charged at all times? 

 

Want to know more about sleep training? Read about Why I Chose a Parent-Led Schedule

 

 

Eating Essentials

 

BabyNes Formula Dispenser

For moms who don’t plan to breastfeed, this pick is definitely a winner. When your newborn is hungry, it’s best to get them what they want as quickly and easily as possible! 

 

 

Baby Bullet

There are a lot of baby food makers out there, some of which can be pretty pricey. While I thought I wanted something fancy when I created my registry, it turns out, those things can be more of a hassle than they are helpful. The baby bullet is a great and simple alternative. obviously, a newborn baby won’t be eating baby food immediately, but those first few months go by so fast. New parents will be glad to have this when the time comes. 

 

Boppy Nursing PIllow

For the nursing mother, a Boppy is a must. It’s tough to figure out how to breastfeed a baby, especially when they can’t hold themselves up. The Boppy makes nursing much easier. It also comes in handy for so many things we never thought of. I can’t tell you how many times we propped our son up in our Boppy and handed him a toy to keep him busy long enough for us to take a breather (with supervision of course!)

 

Nursing Reminder Clips

No sleep deprived nursing momma should be held accountable for remembering anything. These clips serve as a reminder for which side was last used for breastfeeding. With how often newborns nurse, it’s harder than I expected to keep this straight. 

Bottle Warmer 

Whether you are nursing or using formula, at some point, you will need to warm up a bottle. What I didn’t realize was that you can’t just zap it in the microwave! It needs to be heated slowly and evenly. Before we had one of these, we would microwave a bowl of water and then put the bottle in it, checking to see when it was the right temperature. Try doing all of that when your newborn is screaming! This nifty little device simplifies the whole process. Put some water in the bottom, put the bottle in and turn it on. The light turns off when it’s ready, which is pretty quick! (It’s also super easy to manuever this one-handed, which is always an important consideration).

 

Changing Essentials

 

PeePee TeePees

I’m ashamed to admit how many times my son has peed on me. I swear, baby boys never stop – it’s like a constant stream. These hilarious little things are a life saver (and a shirt saver!)

 

 

SnoofyBee

I just happened to see this on Facebook a while back and my grandma (an avid Facebook user) saw that I liked it and bought it for us! She’s good like that. I just think this thing is so cool. Not only does it keep your little one from reaching down while you are changing them, but it keeps them happy! Our son absolutely hates being changed and this keeps him occupied for just long enough. 

 

Wipe Warmer

I was completely against wipe warmers when I created my registry. I read these articles about the things you don’t really need, and this was listed as one everywhere. Then I moved from the west coast to the east coast. My mother insisted on getting us one and boy am I grateful. Not only does it make my son more comfortable, but I really think it helps with the efficiency of each wipe. Think about it, have you ever tried to wash your dishes in cold water? 

 

“Why Won’t You Stop Crying?!” Essentials

 

Pacifier Thermometer

One of the first things I do if my son won’t stop crying is check is temperature. If he’s sick, I want to know about it as soon as possible. The only problem is that an extremely upset baby isn’t going to be too happy about having a thermometer put somewhere unpleasant, to say the least. Not to mention, if they are squirming around, it can be pretty tough to accomplish. This has to be one of the greatest baby related inventions ever. Not only can you get baby’s temperature easily, but the pacifier also helps with the crying! 

 

Nose Frida

Sometimes baby’s just need a little help clearing things out. Nose Frida can help! I know, it looks kind of gross, but I promise you won’t end up inhaling anything. You’ll be glad you tried if it keeps baby happy. 

 

The Windi

Yet another interesting device by the makers of Nose Frida. One of the most common reasons for young babies to cry is because they have gas. Sure, there are gas drops and other remedies you can try, but this could potentially provide immediate results. And when your newborn is screaming, every second counts! 

 

Safe Baby Handling Tips

If you want to give the gift of humor, this should do the trick. New parents can always use a good laugh. 

 

Coming from a new mom with zero prior baby experience, I’m here to tell you that these gifts for new parents are priceless. All any new parents really want is a happy baby and some peace of mind when they can’t make baby happy (and maybe some sleep too). 

 

New Parents – What essentials can YOU not live without? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Need to get gifts for baby? Check out my 20 Best Gifts for One Year Olds

 

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