Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

It is true that we can have it all, especially as breastfeeding moms. If taking a child out to see the world by RV, plane or any other mode of transportation has always been on the bucket list, there are plenty of ways that we can breastfeed and travel at the same time.

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Sure, everyone who is breastfeeding and traveling with their child will need to plan and prepare in advance, but it is completely doable with a few extra steps and some creative thinking. The world has become vastly more accepting of breastfeeding moms, which means that there will be more spaces available and fewer disapproving stares from strangers.

Anyone who is ready to hit the road with their brand new bundle of joy can do so! Just follow these handy tips for a fool-proof plan to see all that the planet has to offer with the bouncing baby in tow.


Set Up Boundaries

Anyone who is traveling to see friends or family for the holidays might encounter those who have trouble taking no for an answer when it comes to the little ones.

These well-meaning relatives and friends might not understand that the baby is on a strict feeding schedule, and will insist upon holding him or her even when the new mom tries to intervene. Save everyone some stress, including the baby, by putting a foot down. It’s important to remember that the baby’s health and happiness come before relatives’ hurt feelings. Most people will understand and apologize.


Keep The Pumped Milk Cold

Amazing Ways to Travel and Breastfeed at the Same Time

Nobody ever knows when they will be able to feed their child, or when they will have to resort to the bottled stuff. This is where pumping and dumping come in handy. Keeping a few extra bottles of pumped milk on hand is a great idea.

The other reason why new moms should do this is that they never know how travel will affect their bodies. Some types of travel are just not conducive to milk production! Having enough supply of pumped milk means that the baby can eat all of the time, but you need to keep it cold.

Don’t let the milk go sour or get too warm. Instead, pack some bags of ice or even medical cooling pads to wrap around the bottles. Keep them in a small cooler to ensure that the temperature stays right where it is supposed to be. Always pack more ice than seems reasonably necessary, as most people underestimate how warm certain types of transportation can be.

Simply planning and packing ahead can save moms tons of time and anguish when it comes to feeding their little ones. All anyone needs is just a little bit of ice!


Stick With A Strict Feeding Schedule

When one is a breastfeeding mom, it pays to travel by land instead of air because they can stick with a strict feeding schedule! RVs are an ideal way to travel for new parents. There’s plenty of space, one can pull over at any time, and there’s no need to try to find a private place to pump or feed.

The American Southwest is a fabulous destination where one can find their perfect RV rental in Las Vegas and see the majority of the country from the comfort of a classic and reliable RV.

Land traveling by an RV is really the best option for many breastfeeding moms out there who want to see the whole world while maintaining the strict pumping and feeding schedule that their little ones require. Cross-country travel is also a great option for those who want to travel at their pace and see the country on their terms.

tips for breastfeeding and traveling

New Positions Could Come In Handy

When we are in the comfort of our own home it’s easy to snuggle up in the favorite chair and feed away, but public transportation is a whole different story. Airplanes are notoriously cramped, and unfortunately, they don’t give new mothers the benefit of a little extra legroom.

As such, the little bundle of joy might be squished or uncomfortable, to say nothing of mom! It makes sense to save ourselves some grief by trying out new positions before getting onto the plane or train. This way, new moms know what works for them and their babies, and positions can be tried out in the comfort of the home. It’s truly a smart strategy for anyone who is planning to hit the road.


Dress For Success

For logistical reasons, it makes sense to dress in clothes that will provide the baby with easy access to his or her food source. When traveling, wear flowy clothes and nursing bras that allow for some semblance of privacy along with ease of access. Some good options include larger shirts and sweaters with deep v-necks and button-down cardigans. It is also a good idea to bring along a scarf or nursing blanket for a little bit of privacy, in case one needs to stop at a rest place or public area to nurse.

Many people realize that nursing a baby is a natural act and would never dream of judging a mother for simply exercising her biological connection with a child, but some are still surprisingly judgemental. There are also plenty of moms out there who prefer to have a little bit more privacy while they are breastfeeding. Nobody knows what mood they will be in at any given time, so it is best to bring along a shawl, blanket or nursing cover just in case.

There is no reason why new mothers can’t see the world with their young children if they’d like to. Today, the planet is friendlier than ever towards nursing moms, and there are plenty of wonderful options out there for road trips, plane adventures, and boat trips.

As long as one plans ahead, there is absolutely no reason why breastfeeding or pumping on the road needs to be a chore, or why new moms and their babies need to be home bound.

Tips for Traveling with Babies and Toddlers

Tips for Traveling with Babies and Toddlers

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage

Traveling in general can be difficult for anyone. All the planning, packing, and effort can make trips feel more like work than a vacation. When adding a baby or toddler to the mix, traveling can become even more overwhelming. However, having kids doesn’t have to stop your adventures. Try out these tips for traveling with toddlers (many work for babies too) to make your trip as stress-free as possible.

Book Hotel Rooms Wisely

When it comes to booking a hotel room, it’s better to ask specific questions when making your reservation to make sure the hotel has all the accommodations you need before you arrive. If you have a baby, you can check if your hotel has cribs available. You may want to consider booking a suite or two connecting rooms; otherwise, you may be stuck using a flashlight trying to do work in the bathroom while the kids are sleeping. Plus, you will want a bigger room to fit the crib and your luggage. Trust me, the extra square footage is worth it. When booking a hotel room, ask if you can have a room that is away from pools, elevators, ice machines, and other areas you don’t your kids to be near. Request a room that is not on the ground floor as they are easy to break in; however, make sure the balcony doors are secure, so your kids don’t wonder out there without any supervision. Lastly, check to see if your hotel room has a mini bar with sensors (meaning if you touch or move anything in the fridge you will be charged). If so, you may want to ask the hotel to empty the mini bar so you can use the fridge for milk and other snacks and not have to worry about getting charged top dollar for candy bars (your kids won’t be able to resist them!).

Here are some additional tips for staying in a hotel with a baby or toddler.

Baby sitting on the floor of a large hotel room.  A large hotel room is a tip for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Betty – Mom Brite


Travel Overnight or During Nap Time

We have traveled extensively throughout my toddler’s life so far, both domestic and international and including long road trips and plane travel. The best tip I could give after all this traveling is to try and plan, at least the bulk of your journey, overnight if it’s a long trip. If it’s a short flight or drive then take it right around nap time!
As well as making the actual travel experience much easier, keeping baby or toddler in their usual routine will make things run much more smoothly when you get to your destination.

Run through your normal routine before you leave the house or whilst at the airport. If you usually do pajamas, story time, milk and a cuddle, for example, do this exact same routine at the airport. Sure, it won’t be exactly the same but the familiarity will still be there.

We recently flew long haul from Brisbane to London. I paid a tiny bit extra to get flights both ways that traveled overnight. I was sure it would be a total nightmare and my daughter would not sleep but to my surprise she had a 9 hour sleep on one of the flights!!

Baby sleeping on an airplane seat.  Traveling during nap time so baby sleeps is a tip for traveling with a baby

Sophie Marie – Baby Toddler and Kids


Take One-Day Trips by Car

Traveling is awesome, but many new parents fear traveling with a toddler. And, sometimes, I have to agree that it is not easy. However, we discovered that taking short trips by car allows us to both travel and to get back home in one day, have the child sleeping in his bed, and avoiding the stress of traveling by public transportation or airplane.

The first trip we took with our son was when he was three weeks old. We took a day trip to the mountains and we had a great time. We packed light – just the bare minimum – and it was more than enough! Diapers, food, a change of clothes and that was it. Oh, and there was another vital item: a good mood!

We had a great time that day and took many more such trips ever since. It’s something that I recommend to all those who can easily get to some wonderful places within 1-3 hours – so that you have enough time to enjoy that place and make it back in the evening.

Toddler sitting in a car seat in a car

Loredana – Earth’s Attractions


Plan All the Details Ahead of Time

Traveling with kids requires more planning than traveling alone. However, it can be daunting to try and remember all the details and plan them out ahead of time. I use a family travel planner to plan all the details in advance. I set a goal to work through a certain number of pages of the planner every week until the trip is completely planned. This has made traveling with my son when he was a baby and now as a toddler so much easier because we are appropriately prepared for each aspect.

It’s also helpful to use checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Filled out pages of a family travel planner.
Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn at Nurturing Family & Self

Use a Lightweight Car Seat

One piece of gear we always seem to need on our family trips is a car seat. Our best hack for making flying with a car seat much easier is to bring a lightweight travel car seat rather than the bulky full-featured car seats we usually use at home. They all pass Federal safety testing and are fine to use, but a travel car seat could weight nearly 20lbs less! It’s easier to transport through the airport, get through security, install on the airplane, get to the rental car… and do basically everything else you’ll need to do during travel days. There are many different options for travel car seats depending on your child’s age and size, so check out this extensive guide to choose the right one.

Toddler sitting in a car seat.  Traveling with a light weight car seat is a tip for flying with a baby or toddler.

Get a Lightweight Travel Stroller

One of our hacks for traveling with a baby is to take a compact travel stroller with us.  There is only so much baby carrying that my back can cope with so to have a stroller when we travel is an essential item. But, when we first traveled with a baby we took a full size one and it was such a pain to have to haul it around with us on and off the buses and trains. I started to resent having it with us even though it came in handy at times. So, we did a bit of research and discovered that compact strollers have really come on in the last few years. Forget about flimsy umbrella strollers that are no good to anyone, things have moved on and you can now transport your little darling in complete comfort and luxury in a stroller that folds up to the size of cabin baggage. You’ll be amazed by the latest lightweight travel strollers. They weigh almost nothing and can fold up small enough to take on the airplane with you. There is even one that would fit in a handbag!

Baby sitting in a lightweight travel stroller.  Lightweight strollers are great for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Don’t forget all the other essential items when traveling with a baby or toddler!

Take a Beach Wagon

I have three young kids including twins (at one point I had three kids under three!) so I know how challenging it can be when traveling with multiple toddlers and a baby. They are older now, but we still face challenges if we go for a day out to the beach or the zoo. There is always a lot to carry with drinks, snacks, picnics, hats and sunscreen….and the kids don’t want to carry anything! Plus our youngest always gets tired legs and she is just too big now to be carried.

Thankfully we discovered a folding beach trolley solved all of our problems! A folding wagon can carry all of your things to the beach, park, sports event or festival and the bonus is that it can also carry tired toddlers when they can’t walk anymore! You can even use an empty wagon to lay down a sleeping baby or toddler when you’re on a day out or a night out for dinner. It has been a game-changer for our family. Plus everyone wants to pull it, so we no longer have arguments about who is carrying what. It folds down small meaning it is really great for road trips, even if you are short on space.

3 kids sitting in a collapsible beach wagon.  This is a good item to have when going to the beach with kids.

Embrace Babywearing

When it comes to traveling with kids my first tip is always “get a carrier!” It keeps a runner contained, a doddler moving, a fussy baby close and (more) content, and your hands free. Baby is close to you, easier to monitor, and you don’t have a bulky stroller to navigate through crowds, over stairs, and around obstacles. We use carriers for our kids from newborn until they are three or four years old (and I know people who have put older kids “up” when they needed that close connection).

Most people are familiar with a soft-structured/buckle carrier (think Ergo, Beco, BabyBjorn, Tula or the dozens of others on the market) and stretchies (K’Tan, Moby). Other options include Ring Sling, woven wraps, meh dai/mei tai, hiking carriers and so many more. Just as every parent and child is an individual, the carrier that works best is individual. I found woven wraps tied a certain way worked best for my daughter on me, and my son preferred a ring sling, while my husband has always worn a buckle carrier.

Carriers exist at all price points, but I recommend spending over $100 if buying new. Quality is important! If you can only get one carrier I prefer a meh dai. The basic carries are quick to learn, it’s easier to tie on someone else, there are no metal bits to worry about if you’re dealing with security scanners, and you don’t have to adjust anything between wearers.

Always be aware of safe babywearing practices.

Baby in Ergo baby carrier looking up at mom. Baby wearing is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Jenn Meria – Meria Inspired


Bring a Baby Carrier

A baby carrier is an absolute essential when traveling with kids and toddlers especially if you will be flying. A stroller can definitely be useful when traveling but if you are flying somewhere in particular, a carrier is likely to be more useful. This is because a carrier is easier to use to navigate through security and immigration checks both on arrival and departure. In fact, often flights will check in your stroller, even at the gate, and you won’t get it back until luggage collection.

A carrier is also invaluable once you are on the plane especially with a non-walking toddler or baby as you can use it to walk around the plane and help calm your baby. Depending on where you are going, a carrier can be very useful at your destination if you are going somewhere without good sidewalks or with lots of stairs. This can particularly be the case in Europe where apartments can be upstairs and streets can be filled with cobblestones or in Asia where sidewalks are often non-existent.

Baby in buckle baby carrier looking up at mom. Baby wearing is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Suzi – Survey Suzi


Breastfeed

As fun and inspiring as traveling with your children might be, it can be very, very tiring as well. Every parent wants to avoid a meltdown on a flight or in the middle of a hot square. Of course there are many ways to calm them down, but I find that the best way to deal with a difficult moment is to nurse them. From the moment we started traveling with our daughter (at about 4 months), breastfeeding has been our biggest asset.

Apart from tackling a (nearing) tantrum, it is perfect for nappy time as well. Whether we would be on a long-distance bus or in a restaurant, when she was tired I would latch her on and she would fall asleep in a matter of minutes. The same goes for night time sleeps, a new bed did not matter as her ‘titi’ (and mommy of course) were always there.

Another big breastfeeding plus has to do with eating. When traveling, it might be more difficult than at home to have snacks and food at hand at all times. Nursing your child will provide them with everything they need, even when you run out of something solid to give them.

Breastfeeding as long as possible is my ultimate hack for traveling with (young) children as it will make your trip so much easier and carefree.

Baby breastfeeding on a beach. Breastfeeding is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Use a Puddle Jumper for an Easy Time at the Pool or Beach

When we first started traveling with our young kids, one of the problems we encountered is that our kids were petrified of the water! We would plan a week-long trip to the beach or a resort and our kids wouldn’t want to get in and swim! Finally, we discovered the puddle jumper, which is rated for toddlers 30 lbs and up. The puddle jumper brings kids faces up out of the water preventing them from getting a huge gulp of water and I think this really helped our timid kids be comfortable. The natural swimming position makes it easy for kids to learn proper the swimming position. Our eldest now can swim independently and we had no difficulties with him being too reliant on the floatie. With the puddle jumper, our kids are really independent in the water and this means that aren’t clinging on to dear life and we can actually enjoy our vacation. We don’t go anywhere warm without this kids travel hack now! 

Here are more details on the best toddler floaties from Tear Free Travel.

Toddler on the beach wearing floaties.  Floaties are a way to make beach travel with a toddler easier.

Travel with a Sound Machine

A must-have for any road trip with an infant or toddler is a travel sound machine. It can easily hook on the infant car seat carrier bar which makes it easy to stay secure and for the baby to be surrounded by the relaxing white noise sounds while traveling.

Our family arranges our road trips around sleep times for our baby and this travel sound machine makes naps on the go possible! Our children use white noise at bedtimes at home, so having that familiar hum is relaxing, calming and comforting to our baby when traveling. It reminds the baby of home and signals to them that it’s time for sleep.

This is also handy when out and about with baby during your vacation. The sound machine can also easily be attached to a stroller to allow for sleeping while touring too. It is my favorite baby shower gift to give and a must-have infant item for every family who ever leaves the house!

Baby in a car seat with a sound machine.  A portable sound machine is a tip for making traveling with a baby easier.

Get more tips from Emily about Traveling with an Infant.


Take a Battery-Operated Night Light

A great tip, especially for those with younger babies, is to take a night light on your trip. We love taking battery operated ones so that we don’t have the hassle of having to take a plug converter with.

When we travel to a few different destinations and hotels on one trip, it can be a bit confusing when you are sleep deprived and you have to remember which hotel you are in and where all your baby supplies are located, so the night light can be a life saver! The night light is fabulous as it gives you enough light to change nappies during the night, to make bottles or to breastfeed your little one without them having to fully wake up from the bright light.

We found it especially beneficial when our little one used to wake up regularly during the night, but just recently we reached the age where our toddler is scared of the dark, and so the night light has been super useful in taking away that fear, allowing her to sleep more peaceful. The night light is a small item that takes up little space, so we never travel without it.

A night light.  Having a battery-operated night light is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Jolene – Mum Knows Best


Bring Extra Clothes

Traveling – whether by car or by plane – can make you feel a bit grimy on the best of days. Add a little kid to the mix, and you can pretty much count on some evidence of lunch – or, much worse, your toddler’s tendency to reverse his lunch thanks to motion sickness – to end up on your shirt. That’s why I always travel with an extra set of clothes for myself and the kids. Diaper leaked all the way through onto my pants? No problem! Lid wasn’t on the sippy cup properly? No big deal. Try leggings, light tee-shirts and other items that can be rolled up and compacted easily. I like storing them in a small zippered packing cube. Bonus tip: bring a plastic bag to hold the dirty clothes, since they’ll likely be wet and/or gross.

Stepwise process of rolling an entire baby outfit into a small oval to make it easier to store in a diaper bag.  Taking extra clothes is a tip for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Olivia – Happy in the Hollow


Use a Diaper Backpack

Traveling with a baby is a whole new level of adventure.  Though they are tiny little people, babies require a lot of items for general care and well-being.  From an abundance of diapers, to burp cloths, multiple changes of clothes, bottles, wipes, and a million other items.  Where should parents put all this?  

The best and most efficient baby hack when traveling is to purchase a backpack diaper bag.  Backpack diapers bags are significantly different than backpacks and diaper bags in that they are more portable, made for travel and comfort and provide all the essentials that parents need to store all their baby items.  Diaper backpacks typically have the proper function, capacity, design and storage options needed such as bottle holder pockets, wipes pocket, padded straps, insulated compartments and a host of other pockets and storage areas not typically found in regular bags.  They are compact and designed with parent and babies in mind.  Many diaper backpacks are waterproof and have amazing storage capabilities, which is great for parents.  Check out our guide on finding the perfect backpack diaper bag for your needs at The Elusive Family.

Once you have your perfect diaper bag, use a diaper bag packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything.

A petunia picklebottom diaper backpack.  Using a backpack style diaper bag is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Have a Multi-Purpose Toddler Suitcase

We love this suitcase for toddlers as it has so many advantages when flying! Our 2.5 year old daughter played with this ride-on suitcase for hours at the airports which was great. She loved to move around on it and we loved the fact that she was happy and that we didn’t need to carry her around. We could take the Bedbox with us as carry-on luggage into the plane where she would enjoy having her own suitcase with her books and teddy-bears. The best part though was the fact that inside this ride-on suitcase is a small mattress / cushion which you can put on the aircraft seat. When using the tray of the suitcase you can easily build a small bed. Our daughter felt so proud and loved to just lay down on it. Anyone with a toddler knows how special that is 😉 She slept for hours on her seat / bed. Definitely the best toddler travel hack for us at airports as well as in airplanes!

A toddler suitcase that can be ridden and converts the airplane seat into a bed.

Lauren – Relaxed Babies


Use a Foot Pillow for a Toddler Airplane Bed

Flying long-haul with toddlers can be a challenge.  However, that doesn’t mean that parents should shy away from traveling the world with their tots in tow.  Everyone knows that sleep is absolutely essential for children, but getting a toddler to sleep on a plane isn’t always an easy feat.  Once we discovered a few ways to make a toddler travel bed on an airplane, those long-hauls got a bit easier.  While there are actually quite a few options for creating a bed, such as a suitcase that converts to a bed, or a hammock for a baby, our favorite is using a blow up foot pillow.  While some are marketed as just for toddlers to sleep on during flights, any ‘ol blow up foot pillow will do.  They are extremely affordable and incredibly easy to use.  The only caveat is that some airlines have restrictions on items that could be a tripping hazard, so just check before your flight.  However, we’ve been on dozens of flights and have yet to have an issue.  Knowing that our kiddos have a safe and comfortable place to sleep makes those long flights so much more bearable for everyone involved!!

A toddler sleeping on an airplane bed made by using an inflatable foot pillow.

Invest in Sticker Books

Entertaining young kids during long car trips or airplane flights is a big headache. My life saving trick has always been sticker books. These books usually contain several pages of stickers and several pages of scenes (backgrounds) where the stickers can be applied. Some sticker books have glossy pages and repositionable stickers for endless fun. These books are easy to pack, light in terms of weight, mess free and typically cost less than ten dollars.

Another thing I like about the sticker books is that they are usually themed. If your child is into dinosaurs you can buy one with prehistoric scenes; if your child is into space exploration, you can find one with planets, spaceships, etc. When the “sticky” part is done you can ask you child to “read” the book to you, i.e. explain what is the story behind the scene he/she has created. Sticker books never failed us on any long trips and my kids are actually looking forward to trips because there is a new surprise activity book waiting for them.

Melissa and Doug sticker activity books.

Tatiana – Family Road Trip Guru


Allow Screen Time

At home, I am a strict enforcer of no screen time.  This rule also applies to parents so we’ve made it a habit to even limit our smartphone use around the kids.  Travel days, however, are a whole different story.  On those days, I am a strict enforcer of do whatever works and make everyone’s life (including fellow passengers’) easier.  This is why our trusty Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet is always packed whether on a road trip or on an airplane.  I only pull it out when absolutely necessary but it has been a lifesaver during delays or flight cancellations when meltdowns are most likely to happen.  We preload educational books, apps and shows and while my kids are always entertained, I don’t have to feel too guilty as the rest of the time we are talking, playing, etc.  The best part is you can limit the amount of total time or show time if you want to ensure you don’t go over the recommended screen time for their age.   Free Time Unlimited from Amazon is a great way to curate the educational content for your kids. You can get a month for free here.

Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet.  Having a kid-friendly tablet is a tip to make traveling with kids easier.

Get other great ideas for travel gifts for kids from Matilda.


Snacks and Screens to the Rescue

I’ve traveled with my 3 children since they were infants. Now that they are 3 (twins) and 5, I’ve only found two things that are successful in keeping my children happy and entertained while traveling. Two words: screens and snacks.

Maybe it’s partially due to the fact that we are pretty limited in screens and snacks at home, but it works amazingly well. Whether we’re driving or flying, my kids get grumpy from not being able to move. They aren’t entertained for long by new toys or coloring books, AND they tend to drop them. Screens and snacks to the rescue!

I give them each an individual snack cup and fill it up with whatever they want. Once they are a little older, they will graduate to a baggie of snacks, but for now, snack cups it is. If we’re driving, they all watch a movie on the DVD player in the van. If your children are farther apart in age than mine, you could give them separate tablets. Free Time Unlimited from Amazon is a great way to make sure the screens provide educational entertainment. If we’re flying, we use portable DVD players and tablets. It’s been brilliant for us and I couldn’t imagine traveling without them!

A mom sitting between twins on an airplane.  The twins are eating a lollipop.  Snacks are a way to make traveling with a toddler easier.

Caitlin – Twin Mom and More

Speaking of screens, make sure to download these apps for traveling with kids to make your life easier.


Surprise “Gifts”

One of the things that has really helped us during our extensive travels with a toddler is surprise gifts. I don’t mean big, flashy, expensive toys or anything like that. We simply take a trip to Kmart or the dollar store before we travel and get whatever little toys and trinkets we can for a dollar each.

Usually I will wrap them up and hide them in our carry on luggage before we leave. Then, either at set intervals or just when my daughter seems to be getting cranky, I’ll whip them out as a little surprise. She loves unwrapping them and discovering what is inside.

We have had varying degrees of success and I would recommend getting a few extra than you plan on needing. Sometimes the unwrapping is the part she enjoys and whatever is inside gets tossed pretty quickly, other times the trinket has kept her occupied for a good 30 minutes. That half hour could be all it takes to make you feel a bit more sane! Then there have been a few occasions where I’ve hit the jackpot and randomly found something that she has been obsessed with for an eternity.

A baby surrounded by small toys.  Having surprise gifts that are little toys is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Sophie Marie – Remote Rainforest Mum

Want all the info on flying with a baby or toddler? This Ultimate Guide to Flying with a Baby answers all your questions!

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Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Why It’s Never Too Early to Introduce STEM to Your Child

Why It’s Never Too Early to Introduce STEM to Your Child

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Why you should introduce your child to STEM and tips for doing so.

If you are a parent to a young child, it’s fun to imagine what career they’ll be undertaking in 20  years or so. It’s fun to get their opinion, too. What do they want to be? Astronaut? Pilot? Vet?

The truth, however, is that many of our kids will be starting their working life in a job we’re only just beginning to imagine. Some of today’s careers will vanish while some will remain (we’ll always need doctors, right?) but will evolve as technology develops further. Other brand new career options will appear, too.

Here’s what experts in STEM education in Dubai predict for the future.


A Future in STEM

The vast majority of new careers will be related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).  For today’s working generation, STEM has already opened up countless exciting career opportunities in these fields. AI and robotics, IT, aerospace, medicine, and climate science are just a few examples of areas where people are working right now in interesting, rewarding and well-paid jobs. And the list of STEM job titles will just keep getting longer.

STEM careers evolve rapidly thanks to investment, research and fast updating technology. For example, working in IT today can mean many more things than it did 30 years ago. Think about cybersecurity specialists, app developers, and web analysts — these are popular careers that didn’t exist at all back then. Even just five years ago, the picture looked quite different. For example, in medicine, new lines of diagnostics and treatment have led to a demand for new but highly trained staff in nuclear medicine and genetics.

The argument for encouraging your child to take an early interest in STEM subjects is strong when it comes to preparing them well for the future.


Why start early?

The study of STEM through school and into the college years will help prepare your child for a career in one of these areas. If your child is still a toddler or baby, that time is still a long way off. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to wait to get your child interested in the wonders of STEM. Cultivating this interest and curiosity early on is vital if you want to encourage your child to take the path towards a STEM career. And there are plenty of ways to do it.

Here are important reasons why encouraging a love of STEM from the earliest of ages will pay off:

1. Because young children are incredibly curious

Babies and toddlers are innately curious. If you watch them play with even the simplest toys, you can see that they are trying to make sense of their world. Give the youngest child wooden building blocks, for example, and they’ll experiment with bashing them together, observing the noise that they make. Toddlers may investigate how best to stack them to make the tallest tower.

These are young scientists, engineers and mathematicians at work, making observations, experimenting, testing ideas, and making sense of it all. The more we nurture these skills now, the more inclined our children will be to continue developing them.

2. Because “The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid”

This quote from German philosopher Thomas A. Kempis illustrates perfectly why children benefit so much from higher-quality early education. In fact, children who start formal school with a strong foundation in the STEM subjects, particularly math, tend to do better than their peers throughout their school careers.

One study by researchers from the University of Denver has even found that “early knowledge of math not only predicts later success in math, but also predicts later reading achievement even better than early reading skills.”

So, the more STEM knowledge and skills to be gained by preschoolers, the more they’ll benefit later in life.

3. Because you can help accelerate the development of soft skills

When your child experiments, plays with STEM-inspired toys, and takes part in STEM activities, then they are developing a whole range of skills that will benefit them in the future, no matter what career they go on to choose.

Confidence, problem-solving ability, and adaptability are all vital non-career specific skills that are brought on through STEM activities.


How do I inspire my young child and help them get a head start with STEM?

There are many ways you can help inspire your child to love STEM and start to build the foundations of STEM skills.

1. Use STEM language as often as possible

Getting accustomed to basic mathematical and scientific language is a vital early building block. Try to use these words as much as possible around your child and encourage them to use them, too.

For example, talk about toys and simple items around your home in terms of how many there are, how heavy/light they are, how they are shaped, and how they compare with others.

You could use language like, “Which is the heaviest block? How many blocks are in your tower? Which block is square and which is rectangular?”

2. Read STEM-based books

Look in your local bookstore or library and you are bound to find plenty of books that help children increase their STEM vocabulary or encourage an interest in STEM topics. Here are the kinds of books to look out for:

  • Books that involve numbers and counting
  • Books that teach shape names
  • Books about people who work in STEM (i.e., vets, doctors, astronauts, etc.)
  • Books about robots
  • Books about space
  • Both fiction and non-fiction that might inspire an interest in any kind of vehicle

For all these categories, there should be something age-appropriate for your child, even in baby board book form.

A great option for babies and toddlers are the Baby University book series. There are so many different books that explain complicated STEM topics in easy to understand ways for babies and toddlers. Parents may even brush up on their organic chemistry, rocket science and quantum physics.

3. Encourage your baby or toddler to investigate their world

Why It’s Never Too Early to Introduce STEM to Your Child

Here are some fun activities that will help develop your young child’s curious nature:

  • Water play. Investigate sinking and floating.
  • Color mixing. Play with paints and find out what happens when you mix colors.
  • Build bridges and ramps together to support toy vehicles.
  • Build with bricks. Lego is an amazing educational resource that your child can grow up with. It inspires STEM play, from engineering the simplest structures in toddlerhood through to robotics for older children.
  • Play with your shadows. Shadow puppets are amazing to behold.
  • Get out the bubbles for some cool chemistry fun.
  • For your child’s first piece of scientific equipment, give your child a magnifying glass and encourage them to investigate anything and everything.

As you can see from these activities, introducing the world of STEM to your baby or toddler is fun. It builds on their natural curiosities. It’s also hugely beneficial to their future progress in school. What’s more, it may well set them up for the most amazing career.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Dizziness During Pregnancy

Dizziness During Pregnancy
Dizziness during pregnancy tips to treat and prevent.

No doubt, pregnancy is an exciting period of every woman’s life because it is the expectation of a little angel in your life. Where pregnancy brings a lot of excitement and thrill in your life, it is also a tough time for an expectant mom. You have to change your daily routine, your food, and your lifestyle.

There are many problems that you can face during pregnancy; dizziness is one of them. It is a common problem, and often ladies feel lightheaded and dizzy while pregnant. You often feel that room is spinning, or you feel unsteady, faint, or week. You frequently experience dizziness because during pregnancy, you’re hormonal, and other changes in the body lead to the relaxation of the blood vessels and cause the blood pressure to fall. Although it is common during pregnancy, it is terrible if you have severe morning sickness.

Here I will discuss what causes dizziness during pregnancy.


When does dizziness occur during pregnancy?

Dizziness often occurs between 12 weeks of pregnancy and the first few weeks of the second trimester of pregnancy.


Is dizziness a sign of the pregnancy?

Usually, dizziness is not the first sign of the pregnancy, but it may be an early pregnancy sign. You are not eating as much during this time because you feel like vomiting, and this can contribute to dizziness.


Causes of Dizziness in Early Pregnancy

Various factors contribute to dizziness during pregnancy.

1. Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes occur during pregnancy that help to increase the blood flow to develop the baby in utero, increase in blood flow changes the blood pressure; often, blood pressure decreases during these changing and causes you to feel dizziness. Usually, low blood pressure is not the cause of concern and returns to its average level after pregnancy.

2. Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

Dizziness may occur if you are experiencing extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It often occurs in early pregnancy due to hormonal changes. In this condition, you may not be able to take in food or water and get weak and dizzy as a result.

Your doctor may recommend several things, including:

  • Particular diet
  • Medication
  • Hospitalize you to provide extra fluids.

Dizziness in the second trimester

Sometimes, the causes and symptoms of dizziness increase as your pregnancy progresses. The factors that cause dizziness in the 2nd trimester are discussed below:

1. Stress on the uterus

In the second and third trimester, the uterus becomes enlarged with the growth of the baby and presses on your blood vessels and makes you feel dizzy.

Dizziness also occurs when you lay on your back during pregnancy because your enlarged uterus blocks the blood flow from the lower region toward the heart. It not only causes the dizziness but many other concerning issues.

Try to sleep on your side to avoid the blockage of blood supply during pregnancy.

2. Blood sugar abnormalities

If you have a low blood sugar level due to abnormal eating or you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, then there are maximum chances of feeling dizziness during pregnancy.


Dizziness During the Third Trimester

Factors that cause dizziness in the first and second trimester lead to the same symptoms in the third trimester. If you are feeling dizziness in your third trimester, then you must see your doctor regularly to avoid the potentially dangerous conditions that dizziness can cause.

Take extra care during this time to avoid falling, avoid standing for long periods of time, and stand up slowly to prevent lightheadedness.


Other Causes of Dizziness During Pregnancy

Some factors can cause dizziness at any time during pregnancy; these factors are not specific to any trimester.

1. Anemia

Most women have a reduced number of healthy red blood cells during pregnancy that can lead to anemia. Anemia often occurs when you don’t have enough iron and folic acid in your body.

Anemia not only causes the dizziness but also makes you feel tired, pale, or short of breath.

You can experience anemia at any time during pregnancy and this is diagnosed with a simple blood test. Your doctor may recommend iron or folic acid supplements.

2. Dehydration

Dehydration is the leading cause of dizziness during pregnancy; you may get it in the first trimester if you experience nausea and vomiting. It may occur in late pregnancy because your baby needs more water.

It’s recommended to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily, during pregnancy as your water needs are greatly increased during pregnancy.


How to Control Dizziness During Pregnancy

There are several ways to decrease dizziness during pregnancy. Some of them are discussed below:

1. Eat healthy food

Eat healthy foods to keep your body healthy so you can avoid dizziness during pregnancy. Add a mix of protein and complex carbs in your diet to keep your blood sugar level within the normal range.

2. Stop lying on your back

Try to avoid lying on your back when you are pregnant because your enlarged uterus blocks the flow of water. Try to lay on your side. There are a variety of pregnancy pillows are available which can help with sleeping on your side. You can choose any pillow according to your comfort to improve sleep during pregnancy.

There are some other cautions that you should adopt to avoid dizziness.

  • Do not stand for a long time
  • When you stand to increase circulation, make sure to keep moving
  • Do not stand immediately, take time to stand up, and when lying down, stand up slowly.
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Take supplements regularly recommended by the doctor to avoid dizziness.

When to Visit the Doctor

You must try to let your doctor know about the signs of dizziness that you experience during pregnancy so that doctors can take the necessary steps to diagnose the symptoms, causing dizziness.

If dizziness is severe or you are feeling other symptoms with dizziness, then consult your doctor immediately.

Symptoms that are concerning with dizziness during pregnancy are listed below:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pain in stomach
  • Swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Severe headache
  • Vision problems
  • Fainting

Final Verdict

Dizziness is a common symptom during pregnancy; it may occur for a variety of reasons, but it’s always important to talk to your doctor about the signs of dizziness. You can often decrease or eliminate it by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods. If you notice other concerning symptoms with the dizziness, then consult your doctor immediately to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

5 Skills to Teach Toddlers to Prepare Them for Preschool

5 Skills to Teach Toddlers to Prepare Them for Preschool

Although nursery may seem like all fun and play for kids and parents, it is a crucial stage in everyone’s life.

Preschool gives children a strong start and foundation for their future education. If they have great memories of nursery school, they will be happier and more excited for the next academic year. They will also be more motivated to do well in their succeeding classes due to an innate interest in and love for learning developed during their first year of school.

Because of this, it is essential that kids find their first year of school enjoyable and full of wonderful learning experiences.

5 Skills to Teach Toddlers to Prepare Them for Preschool

Skills That Will Help Kids Shine in Preschool

Toddlers who have the right skillset tend to be more prepared and confident when they enter the best nursery school for baby development. These skills will help them adapt to a new setting smoothly, and actively participate in all the activities they will be given.

More importantly, these skills will enable them to have an easier time as they learn new concepts inside and outside the classroom.

As a parent, you can start helping your kids develop and polish these skills when they reach the age of two. Toddlers are naturally curious and are eager to learn. Because of these reasons, they will be more receptive to your instructions.

Below are the five essential skills that you can start teaching your toddlers to help them be more prepared when they enter preschool:


1.    Self-help skills

Toddlers depend on their parents, older siblings, and other caregivers for just about everything. Most of the time, they are dependent on you, the parent, since you are always with them.

But once toddlers enter preschool, you won’t be with them inside the classroom or campus. Because of this, they won’t always get help anytime they need it. When they fail to get assistance, they may become frustrated and start throwing tantrums – something that you don’t want them to do in school.

Teaching toddlers to be independent will help them function and behave better when they enter nursery school. A great way to start doing this is to teach them basic self-care skills such as buttoning their shirts, wiping their nose, and washing their hands on their own.

To make young kids school-ready, teach them how to open a snack container and water bottles.  Start teaching them how to undress and put on their PJs at night. Allow them to pick out their outfits for the next day as well.


2.    Communication skills

Speaking and listening are things that everyone does all the time, even toddlers. However, many kids who go to preschool have a limited vocabulary or do not communicate at all. These children often encounter difficulties inside the classroom.

It is crucial to help toddlers develop good language skills because when they can communicate well, they can express their wants and needs clearly. When the person they are talking to understands them and provides the expected response or action, these young kids will feel less frustrated.

Additionally, the ability to communicate well will also help kids create positive relationships with their classmates, playmates, and friends.

Reading books to kids and playing games that sharpen their listening proficiency, such as Simon Says, will allow them to improve their abilities in communicating. Having conversations with them throughout the day will enable them to have better language skills as well.


3.    Self-regulating skills

When kids are placed in a group setting, such as inside the classroom, they need to know how to behave or react in a socially acceptable manner. They can do this when they have self-regulating skills.

Self-regulation refers to the ability to acquire, maintain, and change one’s behavior, emotion, and activity level that is most suitable for the situation or task at hand.

Kids that can control their emotions, manage the way they think and behave, and focus their attention will have an easier time adjusting to the changes that they will encounter in school.

Self-regulating skills, unfortunately, can be quite hard to teach to toddlers. These skills often take a lot of time to learn. Additionally, some kids tend to be slower in developing them.

However, this doesn’t mean you should give up trying to teach toddlers self-regulation. Playing some simple, fun games will help kids develop this skill.

Examples of these games are Freeze Dance, Musical Chairs, Traffic Lights, and Jenga. These activities let children practice self-control, and teach them how to behave properly whether they are winning or losing.


4.    Social skills

Once kids start going to school, their social circle becomes bigger. They will meet and interact with their teachers and other children their age (their classmates). They will also mingle with other students from other classes or grades, and the adults or staff in the school.

Since they will be interacting with these people almost every day, they have to know how to make nice with them. As such, you have to teach toddlers how to engage in reciprocal, appropriate situations with others verbally and non-verbally.

Teaching toddlers how to listen actively, take turns, and practice good manners such as saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is an excellent way of helping them develop the proper social skills.

Playing board games with your kids and letting them join playdates are also great for teaching them to share and be patient as they wait for their turn. When you let them play with other children, you will give them more opportunities to hone their social skills.


5.    Motor skills

Lastly, kids will be taught and be asked to start writing their ABCs and the basic numbers in nursery school. They will have an easier time learning and mastering them if they already have good fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills refer to movements that involve the small muscle groups such as those in the hand and wrist. These are the muscles used in writing, coloring, painting, and holding scissors.

When kids know how to hold a pencil, crayon, and pair of scissors properly at home, they will have no difficulties doing the same in school. Because of this, you won’t go wrong teaching two-year-old toddlers how to write, color, and cut using scissors, and assisting them when they want to do these activities on their own.

Children in preschool will also be asked to dance, run, jump, and engage in other fun physical activities so that they can get some exercise. As such, you also need to help them develop their gross motor skills – movements that involve or are related to larger muscles such as the arms, legs, and trunk.

Toddlers typically have no difficulties developing and improving their gross motor skills since they often get various opportunities to work on them. When you let them play at a playground, explore a local park, and allow them to engage in play-based activities with other children, they enhance these skills.


Although teaching toddlers these skills is essential in giving them a good head start before they attend a British nursery school Dubai (or wherever you reside), you must never pressure and force them to learn them quickly. You have to understand that children have different learning abilities.

If you think your kids are not acquiring these proficiencies fast enough, do not rush them. Be patient and allow them to develop these skills in their own time and way.

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How To Get Free Products for Sharing Your Honest Opinion

How To Get Free Products for Sharing Your Honest Opinion

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

So, I went on Amazon the other day looking for a new cell phone charger. I saw a 5 pack for about $11 that had a 4.3-star rating with 1,916 customer reviews. This seemed like a pretty good deal.  However, I do like to check reviews before purchasing, so I started sorting through them.  The first few reviews were standard about it the chargers working well and the benefits of it being a 5-pack. Because there were so many reviews, I looked at the key phrases I could search the reviews by.  One option was “Barbie Nutcracker”, and I was definitely curious about how a cell phone charger review would incorporate “Barbie Nutcracker” into it.  I selected that phrase and was presented with a collection of reviews for a movie.  I then did the same thing with the phrase “backup camera” and received a group of reviews for a backup camera.  The problem with this is that I was still supposedly looking at reviews for a package of cell phone chargers. I thought maybe this was a glitch with Amazon.  However, when I started looking into that possibility, I found that these mismatched reviews are really just a small part of a much bigger problem.

How To Get Free Products for Sharing Your Honest Opinion

The Chicken and the Egg Cycle

To understand the scope of this problem and why it’s so difficult to correct, we first have to understand what caused it.

When we purchase products online it’s difficult to gain all the information we need from a description and pictures from the seller. Therefore, we rely on reviews from others to make sure that the product will meet our needs and is good quality.  If we are short on time, we might even just glance at the star rating and make sure that it’s 4 or 5 stars.

However, when a product is first introduced to Amazon it won’t have any reviews.  Would you as a buyer decide to purchase a product that had no reviews?  Maybe if it was cheap, but probably not if you were looking for something higher end.  We all know too well that there are internet trolls out their trying to cheat us out of our money. 

Conversely, how many of us regularly go back on to Amazon and write reviews for everything we purchase? I know that I’m tempted to only go to the effort of writing a review if I love or hate a product.  If it is sufficiently average, then I don’t review it.  I’m guessing there are a lot of others out there in the same boat.  That leaves a product with reviews on the two extremes when a large number of people may believe it’s perfectly average.

The end result is a chicken and egg type of situation where a product needs reviews to sell, but it needs to sell a lot to get one review.  So, how can a company get a new product on Amazon to sell?  They hack the review system, and there are a variety of ways they do this.

  • Editing a current product that has a lot of reviews to a new image and description so reviews from the old product get tied to a new one.  This is what seems to have occurred with my cell phone charger situation.
  • Contracting with a company that sells fake reviews.  There are a variety of these out there (many have shut down, but the problem hasn’t gone away).  These charge a fee for a certain number of reviews and then they will leave that many fake 5-star reviews.
  • Reaching out to people and telling them they will cover the product cost and then pay you a small amount ($5 or $10) to give a 5-star rating and post a pre-written review they provide.

All of the above methods result in a large number of 5-star reviews that can boost the product to the top of the Amazon search results.  Then when we get online to make a purchase, the 5 stars pulls us towards purchasing a product that may not be 5-star worthy.


The Solution

Amazon is working to crack down on companies that are utilizing these fake review methods.  However, that isn’t solving the problem that is causing the fake reviews in the first place.  Therefore, we need an additional solution – something that will help companies get these first honest reviews without deceiving potential customers. 

That’s the goal of the Early Review Service (ERS) Team – to help companies get new products off the ground on Amazon by providing fair reviews while providing customers with accurate information about these new products.  This is all done in compliance with the Amazon Pro Reviewer Program.

The ERS Team is really a simple concept:

  1. A company purchases a review package from them consisting of 5, 10, 20 or 30 reviews.  By purchasing a package of reviews, they are being promised that many reviews over an extended period.  However, there is no guarantee of rating or content of those reviews.
  2. The products are posted in the ERS Team Facebook Group where members that are interested in the product can comment that they want to do a review.
  3. Those that will be reviewing the product are sent a Google spreadsheet showing when to order and when to review the product. 
  4. Reviewers order the product, try it out for a few days, then write a review.  After the review is written they are reimbursed for the actual cost of purchasing the product.

The end result is that companies get honest reviews from people really using the products.  Reviewers get to try out products such as kitchen utensils, privacy screens and skin care items that are new to the market and then keep them or gift them in exchange for telling others what they thought of the product.

Do you want to be a reviewer?  If you meet the following criteria, then it may be your lucky day.

  1. Residing in the US
  2. Have an active Facebook account because the group is run through Facebook
  3. Have access to an Amazon prime account
  4. Have a personal PayPal account (for reimbursement)
  5. Have an active Gmail address (to facilitate sharing of the Google doc)

If you are willing to become a member of the review group, request to join the ERS Team Facebook group, and answer the required questions.  When you answer the question about who referred you, use the code R8 which indicates that you came from a reputable source.

How To Get Free Products for Sharing Your Honest Opinion

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Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Bringing Home Your Second Child

Bringing Home Your Second Child

Bringing a new baby into your home is always a big deal and a big adjustment for everybody involved. Whether it is your first baby or your 5th, this tiny little being is wholly dependent on you, so naturally changes do take place.

Bringing Home Your Second Child

Bringing Home Baby Number One

When it comes to baby number one the focus is on mum and dad. As new parents, the prospect of being handed a new little person to care for 24/7 can be quite daunting. You often have very little idea what to expect, or exactly what changes are in store for you and your little family.

Once they arrive, of course everything just falls into place. You slowly find yourself coming out of the newborn fog, with a much clearer handle on this parenting thing, and your life has adjusted to this new little person.

Then you decide it’s time for a sibling.


Second Time Around

Of course, just because you already have one child, doesn’t make baby number 2 any less daunting. You are suddenly going from two on one (mum and dad vs baby) to two on two, and all hands are going to be on deck for this one. You may be a little more aware about what is to come for you, but it is still such a big change for your lives.

But, there is another little person to think about now. Your first child is set to become an older sibling. They are used to having you and your partner all to themselves for their entire lives, and all that is about to change. Depending on the age gap, they may be completely unaware of what any of this means.


Helping Your Child

It’s important to prepare your older child for the arrival of a sibling, even if they do seem too young to comprehend. It is amazing just how much little minds can take in from such a young age.

Here are some great tips for helping ease the transition for your little one before the baby arrives:


Be Open

Talk them through the entire process. While it might not be ideal to bring them along to hospital or obstetrician appointments, make sure you still include your older child in the process. Tell them you are off to see their baby brother or sister, show them ultrasound photos, and pat your belly and explain that’s where the baby is growing.

There’s no need to be technical about the whole experience, but you want to baby to be a regular topic of conversation. Nine months is a long time in a little person’s life, so use it to your advantage. By talking about the baby for nine months, it will be less of shock when they do arrive. Plus, their comprehension will also develop as they get older, so as the months go on they will understand more.

You can develop that bond from the beginning:

  • Ask them to sing a song to the baby
  • Read a book together to the baby
  • See if they would like to pick out some clothes for the baby
  • Get their help setting up the nursery for the baby

Make sure you also talk about their role when the baby arrives:

  • Are you going to help mummy dress the baby?
  • Do you think you will help cuddle the baby?
  • Do you have some favorite books you would like to share with the baby?

Practice Makes Perfect

Boy or girl (no gender stereotypes here!), buy your little one a doll in the lead up to the arrival of their sibling. They will love being able to mimic you once the baby arrives and it’s a great way to teach them how to be gentle and treat the baby before they come.

If you are buying or setting up a new pram for the baby, get your older child involved and ask for their help. You can also get a pram for their doll so they can feel as involved as possible.

Once the baby arrives, there are plenty more things you can do to ensure the transition is as easy as possible:


Help Is Always Needed

Kids just love to help, and let’s face it, with a second baby’s arrival, you could use all the help you can get. The tasks you set for your little one will depend on their age. If they are quite young, keep it simple. Leave the nappies in a place that is easy to reach and ask them to bring you one each nappy change.

You can also get them involved in all the different tasks that come with caring for a newborn, but remember, don’t force it. They may want to join for a few minutes before they get bored and want to run off with their toys, and that’s great! They will feel included and happy to head off on their own. Here are some tasks they might be able to help with:

  • Swaddling baby: let them help wrap the baby with your guidance.
  • Cutting nails: of course, don’t let them attempt this one on their own, but just simply let them watch. Here are some great tips on choosing the safest way to cut your baby’s nails.
  • Bathing baby: Either pop them in the bath together, or if this is too hard, let them come into the bathroom at bath time and help out. Give them a washer and let them help clean their baby brother or sister.

Get Playing

It may seem impossible in those early days of feeding and settling, but once the newborn fog starts to lift, set aside some time each day to play with your older child. It only has to be 10 minutes. It’s important to remember to get down with them and spend some quality time, so they get their dose of mum and dad too.

Giving them this time also means they will be more willing to play on their own at other times and won’t always be fighting for your attention.


Keep Them Occupied

As you will know, with a new baby, you are going to be confined to the couch a fair bit for feeds, and your older child won’t understand why. Set up a special box of toys just for them and fill it with things they don’t normally play with. Think about including stickers, playdoh, new books, new games and other quiet toys, and get this out each time you feed.

Your child will love the novelty of all these new toys and they won’t feel jealous of the new baby eating up all your time. If they are a bit jealous, get one arm out and cuddle them into you as you feed. It’s important they feel just as loved and cared for, and you will love those snuggles too!

Finally, make sure you take it easy as a family. Take some time for this big adjustment and recognize it is a big change for everyone and you have to do what works for you as a family. Enjoy some special time bonding and you will find yourself settling into this new life as peacefully as possible.

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8 Skin Product Ingredients You Should Avoid When Pregnant

8 Skin Product Ingredients You Should Avoid When Pregnant

Pregnancy can be one of the most amazing (but delicate) experiences women go through in their lifetime. Besides a growing belly, you’re bound to experience plenty of changes in your overall disposition and well being, such as mood swings, cravings, nausea, fatigue, and skin sensitivities. It pays to be extra attentive to what your body is telling you at this time.

Other than congratulatory notes from your friends and family, you’ve also probably been to the doctor a lot lately—emerging with a list of dos and don’ts during your term. Usually, these reminders have a lot to do with your diet and physical activities, but it also heavily involves the products that you’re not allowed to use on the skin.

Some ingredients may cause harm to you or your unborn child when applied, and as an expecting mom, it’s never wrong to be too careful! Expecting moms should take care of their skin, too. It’s time to review all the products you’ve been using and carefully read their ingredients label. Here’s a list of what you should avoid and why.

8 Skin Product Ingredients You Should Avoid When Pregnant

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is not safe whether or not you’re pregnant, but being exposed to it during your term can pose a higher risk. This offending ingredient has been linked to cancer and the development of other respiratory issues.

It’s commonly found in hair-straightening products in the salon, as well as some nail polishes. If you can check the ingredients list of your favorite nail lacquer, make sure it’s marked as 3-free or 5-free—these indicate that there is no formaldehyde present in the product.


Retinol

Retinol is a popular anti-aging skincare ingredient that helps fight acne, minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and stimulate collagen production. It’s also called Retin-A or retinyl palmitate and is naturally derived from vitamin A. While adequate portions of vitamin A can help in embryonic growth, there have been studies that link excessive intake to deformations of a baby’s head, brain, heart, and spinal cord.

Retinol is also an ingredient in anti-acne treatment Accutane, which has been said to cause congenital disabilities. If you’re getting rid of pimples, it’s recommended to switch to skincare products containing glycolic or oleic acid instead. If you want to continue reaping retinol’s anti-aging benefits, wearing all-natural sunscreen is a better alternative.


Oxybenzone and Avobenzone

While on the topic of sunblock, it’s worth noting that many are created with chemicals that aren’t safe for pregnant women. Oxybenzone and avobenzone are commonly present in chemical sun protectants, so make sure to get a natural or organic variant.

These ingredients have been linked to controversial issues such as possible hormone disruptors, a contributor to childhood obesity, ADHD, and defects on a child’s nervous system—not exactly what you want for your baby!


Parabens

Parabens are another popular beauty ingredient commonly found in makeup and hair and body products. This harmful ingredient has been linked to the development of breast cancer, as well as reproductive issues. It’s mainly used as a preserving agent in different products, but the truth is, many other products in the market don’t need parabens to stay fresh. Go for the alternatives instead!


Phthalates

Commonly in tandem with parabens, phthalates are used to stabilize the formulas in everyday beauty and skincare products. However, it’s been in the spotlight for causing liver, kidney, lung, and reproductive issues. If an ingredient ends in -phthalate, avoid this and look for something else, stat! A great place to start looking is at organic, natural, or zero-waste brands.


Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is another popular acne-fighting ingredient. While dermatologists deem it safe for topical use on pregnant women, they do advise against oral medication. There have been reports suggesting that this ingredient can cause intracranial bleeding in the fetus. If you’re too wary about even applying this topically, you may refer to the same alternate ingredients recommended for retinol.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

SLS is commonly found in shampoo products, especially those from highly commercialized brands. There’s a high chance that you might already have a bottle or two containing this ingredient sitting on your bathroom shelves. It’s the chemical component that makes your hair products lather well onto the skin.

However, dermatologists advise against this because the level of concentration can act as an irritant to many. Your body is not capable of breaking down the chemicals, and with prolonged use, you can be susceptible to nervous system disorders, as well as kidney and liver failure.


Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening ingredient used to treat skin discoloration issues such as melasma or chloasma. These usually develop during pregnancy, and you may be thinking of having them removed or treated as soon as they show up.

It may be better to wait until after your baby is born before you push through with the procedure, as studies show that your body can absorb up to 45% of the chemical during topical application. That’s a lot of chemical exposure in the bloodstream that you wouldn’t want for yourself or your baby!


Don’t Forget to Read the Fine Print

With a new baby on the way, moms must think twice about the products they use on their bodies. Something as simple as reading the ingredients list can already help in ensuring that their pregnancy, delivery, and the growth of the child will go as smoothly as possible. You can never be too safe!

With the overwhelming amount of alternatives out there, you might not even feel restricted with the products that you have to avoid.

If you suspect that there are other ingredients you should be wary of, or you have more follow-up questions, the best thing to do is to ask your doctor about this matter. They’ll happily inform you of great products you can use and even notify you of more things or habits you should avoid. Remember: the most important thing you can do for your baby right now is to take care of yourself.

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Road Trips with a Toddler – 9 Lessons from the Front Seat

Road Trips with a Toddler – 9 Lessons from the Front Seat

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Until a few months ago, we lived on the opposite side of the country from family and friends.  This means that for every trip to Grandma’s house, we boarded multiple planes and spent almost an entire day on airplanes and in airports.  Now doing this as often as we did with a newborn and into the early toddler years, we were feeling pretty proud of our ability to smoothly travel with a baby or toddler. 

So, when we moved close enough to family to drive and visit on a regular basis, we were thinking it would be a breeze compared to flying across the country.  Well our first 8-hour road trip to Grandma’s was not quite as easy as we expected.  However, I live by the motto, “you win, or you learn”, and we definitely learned a lot on this trip.  Keep reading to find out what we learned when taking a road trip with a toddler, so that you are prepared to hit the open roads.

Road Trips with a Toddler – 9 Lessons from the Front Seat

Toddlers have a really short attention span

Theoretically, I already knew this.  However, at home or the playground where my toddler can run from one activity to the next, I didn’t fully develop an appreciation for how frequently new activities must be furnished.  Airplanes usually have enough good people watching and looking out the window and new noises to keep a little one pretty occupied.  However, my son thought the constant view of fields did not make for a very interesting trip. 

We had taken a variety of activities, but not nearly enough for the entire 8-hour trip.  In the future, we will take many more activities.


Activities that work for other kids may not work for yours

You can easily find recommendations for travel activities online.  However, each kid is unique and what is magic for others likely won’t work for you.  Use all these ideas, to spark ideas of what you think your child will like.   Ideal activities are interesting, non-toxic if eaten, and low mess.  Once you have some ideas of what might work, do a dry run.  Try them out while you are driving across town or take a mini road trip to a nearby city.  See which activities work well in the car and keep your toddler entertained and which ones aren’t worth the effort.  This will help you narrow down your list of activities to pack.

These toddler travel activities can help you start the brainstorming process of what may work for your kid.


Get a travel tray

There are a variety of travel trays available, and you will definitely want to invest in one.  This is the one that we have and really like. When selecting a travel tray, there are a few things to consider:

  • How it attaches, you will want to make sure it will be easy to put on and take off
  • Avoid cupholders that go below the tray base because these can be uncomfortable
  • Waterproof because you will want to clean the tray frequently
  • Compact
A toddler using a travel tray to hold toys and a drink on a road trip.

Know that the travel tray may not always work

The travel tray was really helpful for meals.  It was great to set my son up with his drink and food in a way that he could eat it without making a big mess.  However, when we wanted to sleep, the tray just annoyed him.  It worked well for us, to be able to remove the tray from the front passenger seat.


Plan for a play stop

No matter how many activities you pack, your little one will need to run around at some point to burn off some excess energy.  I suggest planning a stop midway that will allow a break from the car.  There are a number of rest stops with playgrounds now, and many that have big green picnic areas.  Plan where this stop will be.  By doing your research online ahead of time, you can have a good plan that will save a lot of stress while traveling.

A toddler playing on a playground.

Plan your gas and food stops

Similar to the point above, you will want to have a general idea of where you plan to stop for food, gas and restrooms.  Figure out what you want in your idea stop.  Do you want gas and coffee, or a specific fast food restaurant?  You can research these ahead of time to save stress during the trip. 

I love using the iExit app to figure out where to stop.  You can read more about it and my other must-have travel apps here.

Are you starting to see a theme about planning here?  To maximize your efforts, you can grab my Family Travel Planner here.


Take your motion sickness medication

The person in the front passenger seat will be turning around a lot during the trip.  If there is even the slightest chance you will get car sick, take motion sickness medication to prevent it.  The non-drowsy version of Dramamine which contains meclizine, is my favorite.  I can read, work or turn around and help my toddler without getting nauseous. 


Download some baby tunes

Toddlers love music and there is something about Baby Shark and other toddler songs that appeal to that demographic more than any other type of music.  Before your trip, prepare a playlist or CD of favorite toddler tunes. When your little one starts getting cranky, break out his favorite songs.  These work wonders for pulling my son out of a cranky fit while we are driving.


Consider how sleep will happen

Even if it’s naptime and even if you walked your toddler around the neighborhood before getting in the car, there is no guarantee that sleep will occur.  However, to improve your chances, consider how you can make the backseat darker.  Window shades help to some extent.  Does your little one fall asleep best with a full tummy and a cup of milk?  If so, plan a food stop shortly before you want sleep to occur.  Also make sure you get food, gas, drink, bathrooms or anything else everyone else needs before your toddler falls asleep.  The worst thing is for sleep to finally happen and then someone needs to stop for a bathroom.


There are the 9 lessons I learned on our most recent road trip.  Before your next trip, you will also want to check out these tips for traveling with a baby or toddler.

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Road Trips with a Toddler – 9 Lessons from the Front Seat

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Socks Appeal: How Compression Socks Keep Your Legs and Feet Safer During Pregnancy

Socks Appeal: How Compression Socks Keep Your Legs and Feet Safer During Pregnancy

We all know (or can at least imagine) the toll that being pregnant takes on a woman’s body – you can be affected quite literally from head to toe. This is especially true during the last trimester, when the list of symptoms and issues just keeps on growing.

One particular issue is taking care of your legs and feet, which can have a tendency to swell and cause pain in the last few weeks leading up to the birth. As your baby grows, so your uterus grows with it and starts impeding on your other internal organs. Your pelvis is squashed into an increasingly smaller space and so the veins within it also become compressed, slowing down the blood flow into your legs and feet. At the same time, your body produces up to 50% more blood and bodily fluids during pregnancy to meet the needs of your growing baby and to help lubricate and prepare the pelvic joints for delivery.

The combination of squeezed organs, restricted veins and increased bodily fluids can all lead to a condition known as oedema, or swelling in the hands, face, legs, ankles and feet. While oedema is a normal pregnancy symptom, it should still be monitored carefully as it can cause pain and discomfort and become dangerous if left untreated. External factors, such as warmer temperatures, having to stand a lot while pregnant, too much physical exertion and a high level of caffeine intake can exacerbate the problem.

Socks Appeal: How Compression Socks Keep Your Legs and Feet Safer During Pregnancy

Swollen legs? Act now!

Symptoms of an oedema include heavy or tired legs and feet, swollen legs or ankles and the appearance of dark veins in your legs. Smaller, thinner veins are known as thread veins, while deeper ones are called varicose veins. These latter veins must be treated right away, as they can lead on to more serious, life-threatening conditions, such as DVT (deep vein thrombosis). If you are concerned about your legs, ankles or feet during pregnancy consult your doctor or midwife straight away. Equally, if you see or feel a sudden swelling in your face or hands you must seek urgent medical attention, as this can be a sign of something serious like preeclampsia.

In the meantime, try to remain active without tiring yourself out. When you feel tired, uncomfortable, or simply in need of a rest, sit or lie down with your ankles elevated so that they are higher than your bump. Try to remain in this position for at least 20 minutes to help your legs recover and to encourage any excess fluid to drain away and ease the pressure from your lower half. You may also be able to reduce the swelling a little by eating a banana (for the potassium) and avoiding caffeine. Stop wearing high heels and avoid clothes that are tight around your wrists or ankles. A cold compress will also offer relief from discomfort caused by swelling.


Sock it to ‘em

A major way to ease leg pain and reduce swelling, or even prevent it from occurring in the first place, is to invest in a pair (or several) or maternity compression socks or tights. These are tight-fitting, sturdy hosiery that fit closely around your legs and feet to promote healthy circulation of the blood and ward off thread or varicose veins. They work by squeezing the leg tissues and the walls of your veins to help the blood flow back to your heart. They counteract any weaknesses in the lower legs that could lead to blood pooling. Additionally, they can improve the flow of the lymph fluid in your legs to help reduce swelling in the tissue.

Compression tights designed for pregnancy also tends to have built in support for your stomach, bump and lower back and are well-proven to soothe aches and pains and to reduce swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. They come in a variety of sizes –use a tape measure to measure the circumference of your legs at various places, such as your ankle, calf and thigh in order to find the closest fit.


Get the compression look

Compression tights and socks also come in a variety of colors and styles to suit your look; gone are the days of unsightly, white hospital versions being your only option. If you are concerned about skin infections or other medical conditions that could be adversely affected by wearing compression hosiery, seek expert medical advice before starting to use them.

Try to keep your compression socks or tights on all day, taking them off to go to bed. You may like to get two or three pairs so that you always have a clean pair available when others are in the wash. It can be easier to put them back on in the morning before you get out of bed to reduce the risk of swelling taking place before you have a chance to get dressed.

Make sure there are no folds or wrinkles in them that could dig into your leg and exert excess pressure on the skin. Do this by smoothing your compression tights or socks down with the palms of your hands to check that they are sitting correctly. They come in different levels of compression, from light to very strong, and it’s best to start with a lighter version first to make sure that you feel comfortable wearing them.


Post pregnancy

Another advantage to compression socks and tights is that they can also be used during long-haul flights and travel when your legs are also at an increased risk of DVT from sitting still for hours in a confined space. Always follow your doctor or midwife’s advice when it comes to flying and travelling during pregnancy. Don’t forget that you can always keep your compression socks or tights for use during long flights after the baby has been born, or simply for wearing at home if you feel weary or uncomfortable, or if you find yourself standing for long periods at a time when you are back at work.


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