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How to Survive a Disney Cruise With Your Kids

There comes a time for every parent when you have to take a vacation that’s just for the kids. A time to press pause on your dream of touring every brewery in Belgium or hiking the Inca Trail, because, well, those little people in your life. Some of you parents might be able to convince your kids to go to an all-inclusive in Mexico (lucky) or a family campsite in Maine. But my kids wanted only to go on the Disney Cruise.

I tried to dissuade them. I told them they might get boat-sick (#badmom), and wouldn’t they enjoy a spa weekend better? But after many months of begging, and watching them squirrel away their allowance money to pay “their share” ($80.46 didn’t quite cover it), I gave in. We were headed for the big, Mouse-eared boat.

The truth is, it didn’t suck. In fact, it was kind of fun. And I learned a few things that will help make the next Disney Cruise (omg, did I just really say that?) even better. Here’s how to survive a Disney Cruise with your kids.

1. Adjust your expectations. You’re not going to the spa. Or beer tasting in Belgium. You’re going to a place filled with kids. Once you wrap your head around the fact that this vacation is more about them than you, you can stop resenting them and start enjoying your time together as a family. The plus-side about being around so many kids? You might realize yours are actually better behaved than you thought. And if they’re not, just blame it on them “being under the influence” so to speak.

2. Travel with friends. You need to take a Disney Cruise. They need to take a Disney cruise. So take a Disney Cruise together! Not only are friends good company, they can help out in sharing the kid-load, so you can fit in a shower without your toddler clawing at you. Plus, it’s a lot harder to pick a fight with your partner when there’s another couple sitting next to you at dinner.  

3. Come prepared. Wait, you’re not a Disney expert? Neither was I, and yet, preparation for the Disney Cruise is sort of essential. Thankfully, there are entire travel agencies that specialize in this stuff. My amazing agent Mouse World Travel was the keeper of all sorts of Disney Cruise secrets, from which deck we should stay on, to how to get facetime with Cinderella, to what we should use to decorate our hotel room door (yes, it’s a THING).

4. Take advantage of the Kids Club. There is a magical place on every Disney Cruise that is colorful and clean and takes your children off your hands for hours at a time… and they don’t even miss you. Drop them off at Kids Club for a few hours and hit the adults-only pool or make a reservation at one of the high-end restaurants on board. The food is actually really good, and of course, everything tastes better when your kids aren’t there.

5. Remember you’re doing it for them. You are literally making their dreams come true. And there’s nothing better than making your kids’ dreams come true. If only it was this easy to make our own dreams come true, right?

Image via Disney Cruise Line

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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