Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Category: Baby Love (page 2 of 4)

V is for Vacations with Babies

V for Vacations.

If you are anything like me, then you would have stressed and fussed and lost sleep over your first vacation with baby in tow. We went on our first vacation with #BabyT when he was 9 months old, and the whole idea was to celebrate my birthday in a fun & relaxed way. How wrong was I?

For an entire week before our first vacation, I was suffering from stress migraines, babyT was being his fussiest best and I had also fallen prey to the pre-vacation anthem “I have nothing to wear”, “nothing fits” and “Oh my God, I need some spa & parlour treatments, like now!” It was a nightmare.

But… my baby surprised me and taught me a very valuable lesson. That I need to let go and learn to “chill mom” Yes my 9 month old taught me how to enjoy a vacation. I came back with a list of why it actually makes total sense to travel with a baby. Here is why I completely urge you to pack your bags and leave right now with baby on board.

  1. Babies enjoy holidays – we were so skeptical and anxious about whether babyT will sleep in a new bed and if he will be comfortable in a new room. However the moment we entered our hotel room, he got so excited to see the nicely made bed and the crisp sheets that he leaned towards the bed and insisted we put him on it. He then spent the next 10 minutes rolling around on the bed and we breathed a sigh of relief. He loved the big french windows, the spic and span bathroom and the ride up the elevator to the room. It was so cute to see him marvel at all the sights and sounds at the hotel we stayed at.
  2. Younger babies are fuss free – if they are still breastfeeding then it is an epic win. If they are on formula it is still a win, you can mix it up on the go. But most importantly you don’t have to order special food and then struggle to feed them. Even if they are on solid foods, fruits are available anywhere in the world, require no cooking and so can be offered to baby any time and any place. We went to Goa on our first holiday (obviously had to go to Goa) and even dared to give him fish fry and he loved it. He ate all types of fish. We also learnt here that our baby is a restaurant lover, who got super excited whenever we went to a new restaurant and wanted to try everything that was on our plates. We gave him fish fry, rice and daal freely. We did not carry any baby food from home with us.
  3. Babies have no to-do and to-see list while on holiday – This is the best part, that they have no agendas and you don’t have to revolve your holiday around their plans. You will anyway visit restaurants, beaches or go shopping and babies love being a part of all these environments.
    While they are young, they are still too tiny to enjoy stuff like noisy theme parks or even understand places like zoos or aquariums, so we saved all this for future holidays and just did what we wanted to in Goa.
  4. You can still carry them around – Tiny babies who have not yet sprouted legs, can be carried around in baby carriers. They won’t always agree to being carried once they are walking and exploring.

    This was one of our favourite moments from vacation – we were walking back from the Candolim beach and entered a cafe to grab a cold drink. Daddy grabbed the guitar at the cafe while babyT caught up with his evening nap in his Anmol baby carrier.

    But babywearing is a blessing and I cannot imagine my life at home or outside with a carrier or two in tow. I never leave home without my baby carrier now. I don’t think I know how to carry a baby in my empty arms. 🙂

Having said that, as a parent one cannot help but be all fussy and worried about baby’s comfort while traveling on vacations. But with some careful planning vacations with babies can turn out to be quite enjoyable for you and the little tykes. 🙂

Where to go with babies?

  • Staycations – you don’t really need to go far and wide in order to catch a break. A staycation at a nice hotel in your city can hit the spot quite well
  • Visit family and friends in other cities, towns or even countries – there is nothing like the comfort of a close friend or relative’s house in a new place. You have access to all facilities like a well stocked up kitchen, laundry and the support of other people to mind baby while you take a breather.
  • Hotels with their own restaurants, pools and entertainment facilities– these are the best because you don’t really have to leave the hotel premises to eat or spend some time at the gym or getting a spa service done.

My friend has recently decided to invest in a caravan for them and their kids because they say it’s easier to do that now they have kids. I think it was a great idea for them to buy one of these because they can go on long holidays or they can just have a spontaneous trip over the weekend. If this interests you then read this.

As for the actual travel, packing and vacation itself, good planning is definitely needed to ensure the holiday is stress-free and enjoyable for all of you. There are loads of places that you can go on holiday too, having a young child shouldn’t stop you from doing anything. So if you want to do something like this san diego whale watching experience then you should do it. Whatever you want to do, just remember to stay calm and you’ll have a great holiday. To help me stay calm I enlisted the help of a fellow mommy, Charu Sharma, who first traveled with her baby when he was just 1.5 months old, internationally mind you and then bitten by the travel bug, she kept travelling with her little one and seems to have perfected the art of vacationing with baby.

Charu & her son on holiday

Here’s what she has to say to help with flight journeys, (the parts in brackets have been added by me to add on to what Charu has to say.)

  • While booking tickets, keep in mind your baby’s nap and sleep (and maybe even poop times). If possible avoid travelling in those hours.
  • If you have to take early morning flight, always dress up the baby in comfortable and warm clothes at night before going to bed teamed with a bulletproof night time diaper. (yes we are cloth diapering moms, and yes cloth diapers do last the entire night and some more) so that you can just carry them away while they are asleep and change them when they are awake.
  • Carry a spare sweatshirt for unpredictable AC temperature. (Its easy to take off layers of clothes if it gets warm, but difficult to find warm clothes if it is too cold. )
  • Always carry along a few favorite snacks. Try and keep a few options with you. When babies are being fussy, something edible usually does the trick. She adds that roasted makhanas were a saviour on a 2hours flight as her son kept munching on these throughout.
  • (I loved this one!) Charu says she hides her son’s favorite toy 2-3 days before their scheduled travel date, and this item appears magically inflight when his tantrums are about to begin. She also is planning to get one of those magnetic doodle boards for the next travel and confides in me that the grand reveal will happen mid air. (this woman is genius I tell you.)
  • Pack a small and well planned and well memorized diaper bag. Toddlers don’t give you time to hunt down anything in your bag. Charu uses small wet bags (What is a wet bag you ask? Check my blog post here) to store stuff. It is a bonus knowing exactly what needs to go with you to the baby room if they need a diaper change mid air.
  • Most importantly reach the airport well before those last 45 minutes. Inquire about the baby care room, if you need one. Charu recommends to always feed as well as change the diaper just before boarding. If the airline you have chosen to fly with does not allow you to do web check in with infants, it is best to go early and pick a seat according to your preference.
  • Gate check in the stroller at the aircraft’s gate and if required ask for assistance for storing the hand baggage in storage bin at the aircraft gate itself. Walking down those narrow pathways with a baby and a hand baggage can be little difficult. Airline staff are generally very helpful and one just needs to ask.
  • Priority check in and boarding: If the airlines is not offering, ask for it, specially if you are traveling alone. A calm mommy = a calm baby.
  • If nothing works and your baby is howling and crying despite all your efforts to calm him down, you need to keep calm and not worry too much about those dirty looks (even the sympathetic ones in that particular moment is not looked forward to). Babies cry. Its natural and it happens and everyone goes through it. You don’t have to be guilty about it.
  • most of the airlines don’t allow you to keep a really big diaper bag with you during take-off and landing. So having small wetbags with essential items does help. You can just take out that particular wetbag which you feel you might need and keep it with you during take off and landing, instead of the whole diaper bag.
    Charu is on Instagram as: https://www.instagram.com/charutiwaris/

I feel armed with so many more ideas thanks to all the tips given by Charu here. In fact I am yearning for a vacation now and this time I am looking forward to it. Have you traveled with babies? What was the one thing that you will recommend to someone looking to vacation with a baby?

Note: Did you know I Cloth Diapered while I was on vacation. That was a big win for me and inspirational for many other cloth diapering moms I know. Read the full post here.

U is for Unsafe babycare practices

Once you’ve had a baby you will be amazed at the amount of free advice you will get. People you have never met in your life and who you never even knew existed in your family tree will invite themselves for delivering a session on how you modern mothers know nothing and how they raised perfectly well and healthy babies with all the massaging, pulling, oiling and feeding. They may be well meaning, but not all the baby care norms which have been practiced over the years are entirely  safe or good for baby.

Here is a list of some unsafe practices which we were personally told about and which we heard from our other new parent friends. We also discussed these with our pediatrician to understand the science behind it and if we would be doing the right thing to follow any of them.  Continue reading

P is for Pregnancy Cravings

Well, I had no Pregnancy Cravings. No! Not one. I had no morning sickness, no queasiness, no nausea, no hyper-acidity and no CRAVINGS. Food cravings that is. And that my dear readers is NOT the end of this blog post. There is more to it.. It needs a special blog post. Oh yes it does. And I really wonder what happened to me then and how it changed almost overnight, when I was pregnant. 🙂

Continue reading

L is for Love, Actually

I have watched Love, Actually exactly 35.5 times. Yes .5 is significant too… will get to that later.

All those who know me, even remotely, know that I am an Anglophile. I lived a tiny part of my life in the UK and that was quite sufficient to make me fall in love with the culture, habits, tradition, people, food (yes I love Brit food) Christmas time and everything else English. And Love, Actually is the true epitome of everything British for me. Made by the Karan Johar of Britain (Richard Curtis) and  starring the SRK of British cinema Hugh Grant (my childhood love), it is the perfect capsule of my love for England.

So Love, Actually released in 2003, but it wasn’t until much later that I actually had to chance to view it.. maybe around 2005 and since then I have watched it over and over again. Yes I am that annoying person who repeats all the dialogues over the actual score of the film. And then when I got married I introduced my husband to it, who watched it reluctantly at first, calling it a chick flick, but soon loved it and together we watched it at least 4 to 5 times in a year. We even had an annual Christmas ritual – Love, Actually with expensive red wine, roast chicken lunch and a party with friends in the evening.

So imagine our excitement when we were told we were having a baby and he was due around Christmas time. (babyT of course eventually arrived much earlier.) It was Love, Actually after all.

🙂

But… a big BUT. For all our obsession with Love, Actually try as much as we did, we could not watch it even once during the entire duration of my pregnancy. We made one feeble attempt, but I could only manage watching it half way through (the .5 viewer score I mentioned earlier.) before I was extremely exhausted and fell asleep on the couch. So all through the 9 months of pregnancy we did not watch our favorite movie. I watched every other show on this planet – Modern Family, GOT, LOTR series, HP series, Downton Abbey. It wasn’t like I did not have the time or inclination. But somehow Love, Actually just never happened.  So when the time came for us to go to hospital to have our baby the next morning, I was actually a bit sad for having missed out on this important item from my list of things to do when babyT was inside me.

But the husband had a surprise up his sleeve and he had somehow saved a copy of the movie onto his mobile phone. Sometimes, I tell you, this man sweeps me off my feet. <3

So late at night before babyT came into our lives, we shared a small hospital bed, phone in hand and one ear of the earphone between the two of us, held each other and watched our favorite movie Love, Actually. My pregnancy was now perfect and I could have my baby in peace. He arrived the next morning, first thing and from there on began our own personal journey of Love, Actually.

Is there a special movie in your lives? I would love to have some reccos.

#MommyT’s Tips: How to make baby hair cuts more fun & less scary?

Baby’s first hair cut – its a big step and even more so in the Indian cultural landscape where most communities have some religious or ritual significance attached to it.  Almost every new parent dreads that first hair cut session for their little babies, yet come armed to the event with mobile phone cameras on full enthu mode. And what do the babies do – cry, bawl, howl and generally get all traumatized with their first experience . So too with us!

Look at that luscious mane – BabyT at 1 year

BabyT has had 2 hair cuts now. He was born with lots of lovely hair, and we waited it out to trim those luscious curls that our little rock-star had. If we had had our way we would probably have let them grow out much longer but the hot Indian weather meant he had a tough time with his lush mane and was constantly sweaty and irritated. So we decided to chop it off. The first hair cut babyT got was in MommyT and Daddah’s favourite salon chain near home. Its a pretty well established salon and we have always been very satisfied with our experiences but we realized that baby hair cuts were not their expertise.  BabyT was not too happy and we were equally disappointed with the hair cut. So the second time around, we did manage to hunt for and take an appointment at a salon meant for kids.  We loved the experience and the hair cut. Yet babyT cried his eyes out. We have now realized that there were some things we did right and some we could do better and so here’s my list: Continue reading

Snuggly Wuggly Blankies: We love our #SoulSlings Snuggly

Raise your hands if you received a baby blanket as a gift from all the friends and family who came visiting. And now keep your hands raised if your little one outgrew that blanket in a few months or if it was either too hot or too cold or too ‘synthetic feeling’ for you to use. Yep my hands are raised too! #BabyT’s first year for me has been pretty much about the Eternal Search for the Perfect Blanket. Sounds like a movie title, no? Well it certainly has had all the makings of a good drama – surprise, shock, love and disappointment and some exhilaration. 🙂

Once #BabyT outgrew his muslin swaddles/ blankets, around 8 months onwards, I felt the need for a new baby blanket – one that would be perfect for day naps (no AC, warm Octobers in Mumbai) and keep him warm all night (AC on all night, baby hates anything on his body) And all of us moms and caregivers know that baby blankets go so much beyond just “blankets”. They also become play mats, nursing covers, sun shades in the car (Mumbai has a no shaded car window ruleK) and so many other avatars.

Precious Naptime

At a time like this Soul Snuggly walked into our lives. I had been eyeing the gorgeous prints and colours on the Soul website but was really unsure of how their jacquard fabric would fare in the perennially hot Mumbai weather and also mainly because I never could decide on which of the pretty designs to select and hit ‘Add to cart’ on. Soul sent me one for trial and review and I am so glad the universe conspired and brought me what I was looking for.

What’s a Soul Snuggly?

Soul Snuggly blankets are made from the same fabric that is used to make Soul’s wraps and other baby carriers. More details about the Soul Snuggly:

  • Sized at 45” * 48” – perfect for smaller babies and toddlers alike.
  • They are 100% cotton and therefore contain only all natural fibres.
  • The dyes used are baby-safe dyes
  • They are dense jacquard weave patterns which makes them delightful to look at and are strong and sturdy, yet become softer with each wash.
  • Easy to care for
  • So much choice: the Snuggly is available in 10 jacquard patterns, 6 Ikat weaves and 4 linen varieties. And more keep getting added to the stock regularly. 🙂

We chose the Maze Blues Soul Snuggly. And #babyT and our Snuggly have been inseparable since. This is a #nofilter pic.

The gorgeousness that is the Maze Blues Snuggly

After using them for over 2 months, count a sort of wintry January/ February and an already hot March, we have grown to love our Soul Snuggly. What we love about it is:

  • Just right for Mumbai winters – warm without being too sweaty, is breathable.
  • Perfect for nights when we leave the AC on all night.
  • Summer friendly – it got as high as 35* in early March and we found our Snuggly was perfectly breathable and did not discomfort #babyT
  • BabyT is a blanket “Kicker-off’er” – nothing stays on his body and he’s been that way since his newborn days. No caps, no socks, no heavy blankets, no fleece blankets for sure. But, the Soul Snuggly stays. That is a certificate in itself.
  • Gives two looks in one – Our Maze blues is prominently blue on one side and black on the other.
  • Very versatile – park mat, nursing cover, car window blinds on sunny car rides, cuddly time with books.

    ParkLife with Soul Snuggly

  • Great on #babyT’s sensitive skin. Fleece blankets which are so commonly used for babies, were a nightmare for us. It gave babyT rashes and dried his skin up a lot. We hunted far and wide for 100% cotton, but many of those blankets did not live up to the natural claim. Soul Snuggly however has been the best experience in terms of its promise of being all natural and safe.
  • Value for money: Soul Snuggly blankets are priced at Rs. 750 for the Jacquards and Rs. 950 for the newly launched Ikat and Linen baby blankets. Complete value for money considering you can use them from the newborn stage to toddlerhood (2-3 years) and even more.

What we love even more are the newly launched Summer Snugglies – they are blankets in the Ikat and Linen range of fabrics that Soul has. I got mine free during the offer they had on purchase of the Onbuhimo carrier. And they have become our go to blankets for day naps. They are also great for post bath wraps when #babyT steps out (or sprints out) of the bathroom. They dry so fast that I can reuse them as his blanket in the time he dresses up, feeds and slips into slumber land post his bath routine.

Soul Snuggly – Ikat Eclipse

Although I’ve had my Ikat Snuggly only for a week and so not had many opportunities to use it, but this range could easily be used for a stroller cover, crib sheet, swaddle. They would also make great gifts for baby showers and newborns.

If there is one recommendation I could make about the Soul Snuggly is that if it could be slightly bigger. I have a roller baby and at times he tends to roll out of the blanket. I could always get the Soul Shawls which are the same beautiful fabric and designs in a 80” * 40” size, but that would be an adult size (read: Me) and I don’t intend to share. J

Have you used the Soul Snuggly blanket for your wee ones? Tell me what did you love about it and what has been your favourite design?

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