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Can I Be a Traveling Mom?

9 steps to prepare to move abroad with your family.

Can I Be a Traveling Mom?

Settling down in one place isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t because you become a parent that you have to give up on your dreams of being a globetrotter. That’s right: being a traveling mom is, in fact, possible; and it can be a whole lot of fun!

What got us moving was the “urban burnout” that we started to experience in Brooklyn, as a family of three. With rising housing costs and a lack of nearby family for our toddler, city living didn’t feel sustainable. And so, as we were going over our resolutions for 2018, we decided to take a big leap: my husband would complete a much needed certification in his line of work in Costa Rica, and we would all move there for a few months! Now, my husband’s course was to start only two weeks after we made the decision, so we had very little time to prepare. Thankfully we are experienced travelers and already had valid passports, but never have we left home as a family for this long of a period.

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This new experience stressed me out at first -- there was just so much to think about, and so little time to do everything. So just like with any daunting situation, I made a list and checked it off -- one item at a time. How do you get your family ready to move yabroad in a short amount of time? Here are 9 steps you need to take to make the transition as smooth as possible.

1. Selecting Flights. There are many great sites to find cheap airfare now -- my favorites are Kayak and Google Flights. And on many of the sites, you can save flights and itineraries you want to keep an eye on before actually buying. I used to just purchase the cheapest flight, which could have meant red eye flights or layovers, but now I have to take into consideration my not-so-understanding toddler who will make me pay in other ways for messing with his sleep.

2. Travel Insurance. Travel insurance not only covers the cost of flights but can also cover medical expenses while traveling. Keep in mind that healthcare services outside of your insured region are 'out of network,’ which means they are not covered by your insurance provider. Of course all plans are different, so you should check with your provider. Usually, you can purchase Travel Insurance at the time of purchasing your flight for not very much money. You also have time to cancel it before you trip if you change your mind. Just read all the fine print, as with everything.

3. Housing. Finding accomodations in a place that you are unfamiliar with is part of the challenge. My best advice is to find a short-term place for a week that is in the town center so that you know it’s convenient and safe. Do some prep work from home on Airbnb and get in touch with a Real Estate agent who deals with rentals to get some ideas. Once there, you can visit the places before you settle on a place for your long term stay..

4. Facebook Groups. When you have a child in tow in a new country, you have to hit the ground running. That's why I reached out on Facebook to find my tribe here. One post on my feed asking for connections in our new home led to lots of information, but most importantly to Facebook groups of expats in the area. I was able to inquire about some of the things we would need when we arrived and about preschools, and most importantly, I started to build my mom tribe. Within less than 24 hours of arriving my son said, “Mom, where are all the other little boys to play with?” My heart sank for him, so I jumped on my facebook group and sent out an SOS to my new virtual mom friends to meet up and play that day. It worked. Through our children, we are able to make amazing friends who can really start to make a place feel like home.

5. Passports & Visas. Check the expiration date on your passports, as they need to be valid for no less than 6 months of your intended stay. Also check on visa status of the country you intend to visit. Some, like China, require obtaining a visa before entering the country. Also know the length of stay your visa allows. Most are 90 days. If you plan on staying longer, a quick trip and back to a neighboring country is usually all you need for renewal of another 90 days. Make sure to research this well, as documents like your return flight are needed in some cases.

6. Medicines/ Vaccines. Going to a new country means not only exposing our minds to a new culture, but also exposing our immune system to foreign objects. Check with your healthcare providers about vaccines or any precautionary medicines you might want to consider. For instance, my acupuncturist sent me with herbs to treat Dengue Fever, just in case. I always travel with a mixed bag of medicines that I can use for quick fixes, like Chinese herbs for colds, Ginger tea for upset stomach and Children’s Tylenol for really high fevers. In your new home, you will start to find what locals use to treat illnesses which is usually the best, but until then use what you know works best for you and your family.

7. Turning off subscriptions at home. Unless you are fine with blowing money, you should make a list of all your monthly subscriptions like gym, food deliveries, kid pass, etc to either cancel or put on hold until you are back so that you are not paying for services you are not using.

8. Subletting or Storage. Deciding on what to do with your home and belongings usually comes down to a financial decision. If you can sublet your home while gone, the money could be useful to pay for your accommodations abroad. If subletting is not an option, give away and sell half of your stuff then put the rest in storage like all the other roaming travelers. If you are really pressed for time, some storage companies can take out all the hassle of moving and storage by coming to your house, packing everything and taking it to their storage facility, where you can access your belongings from your personal dashboard on their website.

9. Money and Documents. Like with vacations, don’t forget to alert your bank and credit card as to where you will be traveling so that you are not dealing with blocked cards at your new home. There is no need to travel with tons of cash because you can get money from an ATM almost anywhere and the exchange rates are great. Make sure your will is in order. If there is no will, write a letter expressing your wishes, custody of your child is probably most important, and have it notarized. It’s better than nothing. Travel with copies of important documents like passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards etc or have digital access to them.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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