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Advice for Traveling with Baby

Experts weigh in on the best ways to ease traveling with baby.

Advice for Traveling with Baby

Whether you're planning on visiting your far-flung relatives or closing the year with a tropical getaway, if baby's coming along, this post is for you. Infants and toddlers can travel well – that is, as long as their travel buddies (we’re looking at you, mom and dad) are well prepared. And even if they have a meltdown on the plane or develop a fever in a far-away country, fear not: chances are, you will make it back safe, and your holiday travels can still be merry for everyone.

To help get you on your way, we’ve reached out to the pros to give you the lowdown on traveling with baby. Bookmark their recommendations, then pack up, and make your time away with baby count!

On navigating the airport with baby:

Lisa B., former flight attendant at United and mom of 2

"Check your bags. If you want to avoid the check-in line, you can check in with the skycap at the curbside. Carry on only what you need for you and your little one. Stressing about getting your bags through the security screening and finding overhead bin space, while carrying a baby, is overwhelming. This allows you to go through security with limited items. I like to wear clogs that I can slip off and on without needing to untie and retie them. Limit the items you need to take off like belts. If you are carrying a baby in a soft baby carrier, you can usually go through the screening without needing to take the baby out of the carrier."

On making the flight with baby as smooth as possible:

Beth Ann Quinn, flight attendant at United

“Parents need to come on the plane with the same baby gears as they would for any outing: change of clothes, diapers, their favorite doll or stuffed animal, and food. Don’t assume that airlines have diapers or food for your baby. And while we don’t have microwaves on the plane, we can almost always put your bottle in hot water to warm it up. I have doubled up those airplane sick bags and put hot water in them for parents to warm up the milk. I’ve noticed a lot of parents keep their babies entertained with books and toys. More and more, I’m seeing them use iPads and tablets. But you have to remember to turn off the sound or use those cute baby headphones, since no one — adults or babies — can listen to anything without headphones. Overall, I think that if the parents are relaxed and not frazzled, the baby picks up on it and is usually pretty calm too. So relax and don’t forget that, no matter what, the flight will end soon.”

On dealing with a possibly sick baby just before you leave:

Mona Amin, DO, pediatrician at Tribeca Pediatrics

“If your baby is sick prior to embarking on your holiday getaway, there is no need to immediately cancel your trip. If your child has been running fevers, especially for more than three days, it would be good for a doctor to take a look at him or her prior to your trip. If your child is having fevers, it would be nice to let those you are visiting know the situation. If there are a lot of small children and your child is febrile (temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), it would be best to not have them in close proximity. Most fevers in children are related to viruses, and as long as your infant remains hydrated (making wet diapers) and fevers come down with tylenol or motrin, this is something that can be managed at home.”

On "gearing up" for your destination:

Henley Vasquez, CEO/Co-Founder at Passported

“For small babies, the Doona is a more high-style version of the old snap n' go strollers. It goes from car to street and limits the amount of stuff you'll need to schlep. Note: it doesn't have a big basket underneath for carrying so be certain you've got a good diaper bag. For toddlers or older children in the bigger convertible seats, rent one rather than shipping yours. They're big and unwieldy, and you can have one provided on the other side either by your car rental company or by the hotel if you've used them to book an airport transfer. They'll know the car services that have good car seats. Of course you need one [stroller], but go with an umbrella rather than bringing the Cadillac-sized version from home. We love the lightweight Maclarens, the UppaBaby G-Luxe (more robust and reclines for younger babes) or the Babyzen Yoyo, which folds into the overhead compartment of the airplane. No more waiting for slow gate check attendants.”

On making your hotel stay not suck:

Sam Jagger — general manager at Mr. C Beverly Hills

“Think of all the things that make your baby comfortable at nighttime, since you really want the baby to sleep. If it's a bumper pad and noise maker, either make sure to bring it or call and ask the hotel if they have one. In my case, it's a bulky music maker that attaches to our daughter’s crib but it's a must to have it! Also, don't be scared to ask the hotel for anything and everything that would make your stay easier. My wife and I ask for a fridge, microwave for bottles, diaper pail, baby bathtub, baby proofing the room, even a humidifier. You never know what a hotel has or may even be willing to go buy if you have requested it. Many hotels will even clean and sterilize your bottles for you. Lastly, at check in, it never hurts to ask if there's an upgrade available, because having a suite so that the baby has his/her separate sleep space is a life saver.”

On dealing with health emergencies while traveling:

Mona Amin, DO — pediatrician at Tribeca Pediatrics

"Whether you are flying or driving for the holidays, the most important thing is: take a deep breath and enjoy the experience. Traveling with infants can be nerve-wracking, especially in terms of protecting your baby's health. Wherever you will be going, it's nice to know a nearby children's hospital or pediatric urgent care for any emergencies. This is something you can look up before or simply ask family members you may be visiting. Always travel with your and your baby's health insurance card, especially if traveling within the United States. These emergencies are rare, but it is great to be prepared. If you are traveling internationally, it is good to let you pediatrician know to see if there are any other special precautions or vaccines that are recommended. The CDC website also provides a nice recommendation based on where you will be traveling."

On traveling with baby AND toddler(s):

Brianne Manz, Mom and Blogger behind Stroller in the City

“Traveling with three small children is no easy task. I remember my first trip alone with all three of my children last year. We decided to go to California for spring break, and because my husband was already there for work, I flew solo from New York to meet him there. It was their longest flight ever, and I was panicked for weeks at just the thought of flying with all three alone, but I have to say it wasn't as bad as I thought. A few tips for a smooth traveling experience would be to pack each child a bag of snacks and toys. Pick up snacks and even toys that they do not necessarily have all the time. A great resource for it, if you are too busy to purchase stuff, is Tropic Of Candycorn. They sell a pre-packed backpack, filled with games and treats for your little ones. What I did while in flight was to reward them after each hour completed with a new toy, that way they were constantly entertained. Another tip would be to load up your iPads with new movies and games, as this definitely helps pass along the time. And finally, a lightweight stroller is always a must while hustling through a crowded airport with tons of bags and three little ones. I make sure to put my little one in the stroller, while I had my two older ones holding onto each end. And my biggest tip would be not to stress, children will sense it, believe me. Happy travels!”

Photo courtesy of Passported.

In This Article

    Ara Katz/Seed

    We spoke to Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed, who shared her journey to (and through) motherhood—and gave us the lowdown on how probiotics can benefit mamas and children alike.

    Chances are, you're aware that probiotics can help us digest the food we eat, keep inflammation at bay, synthesize essential vitamins and more. But here's the thing: When it comes to probiotics, there's a lot of misinformation… and because of that, it's hard to know what's actually a probiotic and which is the right one for you.

    That's why we chatted with Ara Katz, who is a mama to son Pax and the co-founder of Seed, a company disrupting the probiotics industry. The entrepreneur told us about her motherhood journey, what led her to start her company and what she wants other parents to know about probiotics.

    Q. What was life like for you before you became a mama?

    I was bi-coastal after co-founding a mobile tech company in New York City with a partner in LA. My life was, for as long as I can remember, consumed by creating and work. I was fairly nomadic, loved to travel, spent many hours reading and practicing yoga, being with friends [and] waking up at the crack of dawn. [I] was fairly sure I would never marry or have children. And then something shifted.

    Q. What were some pivotal moments that defined your journey to motherhood?

    Ha, that makes it sound like motherhood is a destination when at this very moment, more than ever, it evolves daily. I lost my mom when I was 17 and spent most of my life believing I didn't want to be a mother. I had a lot of wiring about its limitations and constraints—I'm sure relics of grief and the fear of loss.

    My journey started with a physiological wanting to be pregnant and have a baby. There was a kind of visceral sense that my body wanted to know what that was like and a strange curiosity that, at least for that period of time, usurped my ambivalence about motherhood.

    Then I had a miscarriage—a beautiful inflection point in my story. I resigned from my company, chose a coast, committed to be more committed to my (then) boyfriend, now husband, and tried again. I got pregnant shortly after that and found pregnancy to be a profound journey within, a reshaping of my life and the tiniest glimpse of how motherhood would unfold.

    In the 55 months since giving birth (and I like to use months because I have learned in the moments that I am most frustrated as a mom that he has only been on this planet for less than 14 fiscal quarters), I have realized and surrendered to a definition of motherhood that is a process. One of cultivating, creating, recreating, shapeshifting, learning, feeling, healing, hurting and experiencing the most potent form of presence I have ever experienced—and an aching, expansive love I didn't know possible—not just for my son, but for all living things.

    Q. How did motherhood change your approach to your career?

    Becoming a mother is certainly a persistent lens on all of my choices, but it was really my miscarriage that recalibrated my path. My pregnancy rekindled my love of biology and health and led me to my co-founder and the microbiome. My breastfeeding experience incepted our first product focus, and the newfound accountability for a human inspired our brand.

    Q. What inspired you to co-found Seed?

    I met my co-founder, Raja, during my pregnancy with Pax. [I] was immediately awestruck by his ability to both deeply understand science and to methodically break down a product, dietary question or piece of advice in a way that's educational (you actually learn something about your body), actionable (you understand what to do with the information) and foundational (you can build on that knowledge in the future to continue to make better choices).

    As we spent more time, our combined passion for microbes, their potential impact on both human health and the environment, and how to set up a child for a healthy life became increasingly clear. And through birth, seeding (the process by which we get our foundational microbes and the inspiration for the name of our company) Pax and my struggles with breastfeeding, my entrepreneurial spirit was lit to build something with Raja. His deep experience in translating science to product, and mine in consumer, community-building and translating through storytelling, culminated in a shared vision to set a new standard in health through bacteria.

    Q. Probiotics have been trending in recent years, but they're nothing new—can you talk a bit about the importance of probiotics?

    Interest in gut health and probiotics increases month by month. However, despite the quickly growing number of "probiotic" supplements, foods and beverages out there, there's still a lot of consumer confusion—particularly around what they are, how they work and why we should take them. Probiotics have been studied extensively across various life stages, body sites and for many benefits. Digestion is an obvious and immediate one (and the primary reason most people currently take probiotics). But other strains have also been studied for skin health, heart health and gut health (including gut immune function and gut barrier integrity). But this doesn't mean that any and all probiotics can do these things—this is the importance of 'strain specificity.' In other words, ensuring that the specific strains in your probiotic have been studied for the benefit you desire is critical.

    Seed Daily Synbiotic

    Seed

    Seed's Daily Synbiotic is a 24-strain probiotic + prebiotic formulated for whole-body benefits, including gut, skin and heart health.


    Q. How do probiotics play a role in your life?

    I mean, I take them, I develop them and I work with some of the leading scientists from around the world advancing the field—so they play a big role. As for my personal health, I take our Daily Synbiotic daily and my son also takes specific strains for gastrointestinal health and gut immune function. Beyond that, it's the re-orientation around my microbiome that guides many of my choices: how important fiber is, specific compounds like polyphenols found in berries, green tea and other foods, avoiding the use of NSAIDS like ibuprofen and antibiotics when not needed, exercise, sleep and time in nature [are] all aspects of our daily life that impact our microbiome and our health.

    Q. What are some misconceptions about probiotics that you would like to set straight?

    There's one main myth on from which all the other stem: that probiotics aren't considered a serious science. On the contrary, it's a field of inquiry that demands incredible rigor and extensive research. And when anything and everything from chocolate to ice cream to fermented food and kombucha to mattresses can call itself "probiotic" due to underregulation in the category, that grossly undermines the science and their potential.

    The term 'probiotic' has a globally-accepted scientific definition that was actually co-authored by our Chief Scientist, Dr. Gregor Reid ,for the United Nations/World Health Organization.

    At Seed, we work to reclaim the term for science, through the development of next-generation probiotics that include clinically validated strains and undergo the most rigorous safety, purity and efficacy testing procedures. Because why would you invite billions of unknown microbes into your body without asking "what's in here, is it the correct dosage that was studied, and has that strain in that amount been studied in human clinical trials to do something beneficial for my body"?

    Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what product you plan to launch next?

    We are developing a pipeline of consumer probiotics to target specific ecosystems of the body and life stages, including a synbiotic for children. Our next product will reflect a unique breakthrough in the field of pediatric probiotics, which we are excited to announce soon.

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

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