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How to Master Flying With a Toddler

Five mom-hacks to avoid having a meltdown before take-off.

How to Master Flying With a Toddler

Are you ready for take off? Tray tables locked, seats up, belts fastened and your toddler quietly, pleasantly sitting in his seat not kicking the person in front of him.

That whole “getting there is half the fun” was clearly not about getting there with a toddler. I highly recommend pursuing your travel goals with children, but it will take a little more prep work to have “a quarter of the fun” getting there.

To get you all there and back with as few meltdowns as possible, consider these five tips:

1. PLANNING THE FLIGHT

If you have a toddler then you already know by now--go for convenience. Be wary of discount airlines as they usually lack customer service and have zero amenities. Also note any carry-on restrictions when purchasing tickets. Some economy tickets do not allow carry -on luggage, so read carefully before purchasing. Seriously, there is no way to survive a flight with a toddler without a carry-on. Choose direct flights when possible, select an aisle seat (obviously) and consider flights during nap times. There is a price for this convenience, but if you skimp here you will most likely pay for it later in a awful way.

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If you do have a long layover, which is often the case with international flights, research the airport lounges on the airport website or try the app LoungeBuddy. Lounges are not just for first class and frequent fliers but can also be accessed by certain credit card holders or by simply purchasing a day pass. They are a quiet, contained respite with endless snacks, Wi-Fi and sometimes Baileys to spike your coffee.

2. PACKING = LUGGAGE, CARRY-ONS & TODDLER TRANSPORTATION

Check as much luggage as you can because your “flight essentials” and toddler will be enough to lug around. Most airlines will check baby/toddler gear for free such as strollers, car seats, and baby packs (including hiking backpacks). This info can be found on your airline's website under "baggage." So, unload all of this at curbside check in, tip the attendant and be on your way.

For carry-on bags, use backpacks! Your toddler can even carry some of his/her own stuff in a mini backpack. You can use your favorite daily backpack or opt for a larger hiking one from an outdoor supplier if you need to hold more.

While they like to walk on their own, eventually they will tire, need to take a nap or you'll just need them contained. An umbrella stroller which can also hold bags is a smart choice and it can be checked at the gate just before boarding. If you and your toddler are into it, hiking backpacks are great transportation too.

WHAT TO PACK FOR FLIGHT:

-1 diaper per 2 hours, if still in diapers

-Entire package of wipes

-Change of clothes

-Long sleeve shirt or light jacket for cold planes

-Muslin receiving blanket (has many uses)

-5 travel friendly toys & a few small interactive books

-Many snack options

-Sippy cup/ Sport bottle (flight attendant can pour beverage into it)

-iPad

-Hand sanitizer of choice

3. SECURITY

For everyone else not as cute as toddlers, there is a strict no-liquids policy. Little ones who still need their “milky baba” (translation: baby bottle of milk)  can get it through security, but it will take more time (usually only 5 - 10 more minutes). After going through the scanners, your liquids (milk, juice, water etc) will be taken to an area a few feet away for testing. They sometimes require you to open the containers and can test it without even touching the liquid. So no foreign objects are going into your precious darling’s milk (but they eat boogers anyway). Thus, if your little one still has a bottle addiction, don’t fret getting liquids through, but do be prepared to take a little longer getting through security.

4. ENTERTAINMENT: TOYS & SNACKS

Just like at home, constant entertainment is what they need. A long plane ride is a great time to gift a new toy or, if you plan in advance, hide some favorite toys for a few weeks before the trip to make them new and exciting on travel day. The playspace is slightly more cramped, however, so think smaller toys. A tray table is a great surface for coloring books, driving small cars & trains, and wind up toys. Do I need to even mention a fidget spinner?

As much as we know screen time needs to be limited, iPads cued up with some favorite shows and games are really great entertainment in a small confined space. *Bonus Tip: I add French language cartoons so at least he is learning a new language while having screen time.* In case you don’t have time to download new shows or the more likely scenario of not having enough data, many airlines offer complimentary Wi-Fi or in-flight entertainment on your own device. Make sure to have the airline's app to access the in-flight entertainment.

5. WHAT TO WEAR

It goes without saying that something comfortable will make traveling with a toddler more enjoyable such as loose and/or stretchy clothes and slip on shoes, but it’s the right accessories that will make you feel like a mom travel pro.

-A fanny pack (p.s. there are some really hot ones now, check out this super couture one) are where you keep your tickets, passports, credit card and emergency suckers

-A large but lightweight scarf can double as a blanket for a child in a second

-Slip on shoes (for obvious reasons)

Now that you feel empowered to take to the skies with your wild one(s), roam if you want to! P.S. Take it from a travel addict--it does get easier.

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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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