Flying with baby: 9 tips for taking an international trip with your family

Before we got married, my husband and I decided to quit our jobs to travel the world for a whole year. It was a trip of a lifetime. So when two years later we found out we were pregnant with our daughter, we quickly made plans to travel. We were lucky enough to give birth in California and have generous state-mandated parental leave policies, so we decided to create an adventure out of our respective leaves by taking a trip to France when our daughter was only three months old.

We were greeted with a great deal of concern and doubt from loved ones who thought traveling with an infant would be impossibly difficult. But given travel is woven into the very fabric of our relationship though, we weren't concerned. And with a few tricks, a parental leave adventure is surprisingly doable.


1. Get the green light from your pediatrician

Before embarking on a great adventure, make sure to check in with your pediatrician and discuss your plans. Babies are much more susceptible to illness and germs, so it's wise to be fully informed about potential risks and precautions to take. Our pediatrician recommended moving up a round of vaccines to make sure our daughter was more protected on the long flights we took.

2. Disinfect to protect

Take advantage of pre-boarding and go hog wild on the disinfectant wipes once you get on the plane. Wipe down everything in your seating area, including all the spots most often neglected during quick-turn plane cleanings: the seat pocket, tray tables and the AC vents. If changing diapers, do a quick wipe down of the changing station in the bathroom too. Keep hand sanitizer at the ready and make sure your hands are super clean throughout the flight.

3. Treats for seat mates

There is no reason to apologize to anyone else on the plane for the fact that you are traveling with an infant… but sweetening the deal with your seat neighbors certainly doesn't hurt. For our flights to France, we brought nippers of Scotch, dark chocolate and disposable ear plugs for our seat mates. These little gifts went a long way in winning favor and dispersing bad vibes.

4. Double diaper

The going advice is to bring one diaper for every hour in flight, and that's what we did. It's also common that babies, particularly younger infants, may poop more on a plane because of the change in pressure, so it's definitely wise to be prepared. Because our flights were over 10 hours each, we ended up double diapering our daughter, (i.e. putting on two diapers at once), to protect against blowouts and make the diaper changes quicker.

5. Travel light

The term “travel light" almost seems laughable when you think about taking an international journey with an infant, but you'd be surprised at how doable this actually is. When we went to France, we only took with us a baby carrier, the diapers and wipes we would need for the flight and the first day there, clothes, two bottles, pacifiers, our daughter's sound machine/night light combo, a baby monitor and a handful of small toys and books.

We strategically selected Airbnbs that were listed as “family friendly," so wherever we stayed, we were supplied with a crib and a high chair. Two of the rentals also had strollers and came stocked with diapers. We would restock on diapers and wipes every few days instead of hauling a bunch with us everywhere we went.

6. Bring a hint of home with you

At 3 months old, our daughter may not have been deeply aware of what was home and what wasn't, but she could recognize patterns. Because of this, we made sure to bring with us her night light and sound machine, as they created the feeling of home without a lot of extra load. We also brought an unwashed crib sheet with us so that her travel beds smelled like home.

7. Build a jet lag buffer

Jet lag with babies is a real thing, and no matter how well or poorly your little one sleeps at home, sleep is guaranteed to be thrown off with a major time change. The rule of thumb is that it takes one day for every hour of time difference for a baby to adjust, which we found to be more or less true. But we intentionally kept our daughter slightly off schedule for the possibility of dinners out. This slight schedule change also helped the readjustment when we got back home go somewhat faster. In general, it's a good idea to be prepared for some sleepless nights on both ends as you all adjust to the time change.

8. Invite family and friends along

My in-laws joined for the first week of our trip, which helped us ease into traveling with a baby and offered some much-appreciated assistance. We then had a week to ourselves and ended with a week with friends. It's lovely to travel as a new family, but it can be even lovelier when you have helping hands to offer some relief.

9. Give yourself grace

There will be moments on your trip where you may likely feel overwhelmed and overtired. At one point, I thought we permanently destroyed any decent sleep habits our baby had developed. In those moments, remember to be kind to yourself… and that nothing is forever!

Whether a faraway trip or one closer to home, there is something very special about traveling during those first few months of time with your new baby. Plus, it's so much easier to travel with an infant than a toddler since they sleep so much more and just want to be worn in the carrier! Our daughter is close to a year and a half now, and we still travel regularly with her, but it's a whole different ball game. While our trip to France may not have been as smooth as traveling as a duo was, it was nonetheless a magical memory to create as a new family.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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