Monday, October 25, 2010

Tips for traveling with an infant

Since amazing moms like my friend Sarah and bloggers I read like Baby Making Machine inspired me to take my Dallas trip with Dylan, I wanted to pass along some tips for traveling with a baby that worked for me...

Comfort your baby - Feed him on your flights during takeoff and landing to help his ears adjust to the change in pressure. Consider wearing a wrap to keep him close to you and give you free hands when you need it.

Protect your gear - I bought a stroller bag and big plastic bag to protect my stroller and car seat from rough handling. I also asked to gave my stroller hand-screened when we went through security so I didn't have to maneuver it on the conveyor belt (P.S. Don't dress baby in a hoodie or shoes since both will need to be removed in the security line. Seriously. See here.)

Ask for help when you need it and accept help when it's offered - It would have taken me FOREVER to fold my stroller and put it in the bag if kind strangers hadn't offered to help.

Arrive early to check in at your gate - Befriend the gate agent and flight attendant and ask if there's a row free so you can have some extra room and privacy if you're nursing.

Get over nursing in public - I was DREADING this, but it ended up being fine. No one cares and it's less of a big deal if you remember you need to do what's best for your baby. With that said, I'm a weirdo and am more comfortable nursing in front of strangers v. people I know.

Stay hydrated - this is easy to forget to do when you travel. Remember to take care of yourself despite being extra focused on your kiddo.

Make the baby the focus of your schedule -  Know that he'll need you even more than usual. For that same reason, keep your schedule light on your first day of travel and clear your calendar when you return since he might need to readjust yet again. 

Good luck!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We did it!

We're home! We got back yesterday afternoon. I'm feeling rather accomplished that we successfully navigated our first big travel adventure, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm totally exhausted! In fact, we all snoozed yesterday afternoon in the comfort of our own bed. And, Dylan thankfully slept like a champ overnight.

On Friday, we went to the Dallas World Aquarium, which reminded me of parts of the Cleveland Botanical Garden and our zoo.

The first portion is like a rainforest but with critters like crocs, otters, toucans, flamingos and turtles. The second portion has all kinds of underwater creatures. My favorites were the sharks and sea dragons.

Ella hearts sharks and sported her Halloween costume when we visited. Dylan's eyes were wide during our visit, but he got freaked out by a giant manatee. Guess we won't be getting that kind of pet anytime soon!

We stayed in Friday night since D and I had an early flight (he was an angel again and two kind souls helped us with gate-checking our gear on the jetway). Sarah and I chatted for a while while her parents tended to our babies. I'm sad that I have no idea when we'll see each other next. Maybe we'll head to Wisconsin next summer...

Friday, October 22, 2010

A happier baby, a sculpture garden & shopping

I got my baby back! Today, I focused more on keeping him on his "schedule" and keeping myself hydrated and less stressed. He was a happy kiddo! 

We visited the Nasher Sculpture Center, which displays art indoors and outside on grounds in the heart of downtown Dallas. The outdoor portion of the Nasher is carefully nestled within a grove of lovely trees. You forget you're outside until you peek through the branches and see skyscrapers. Dallas' arts organizations are clustered together, but according to Sarah's mom, there's a shortage of nearby restaurants. I would have liked to have seen the Asian museum across street and Dallas Museum of Art next door, but we had to defer to the babies. :) 

After the Nasher, Sarah and I got dropped off at the mammoth North Park Mall, which is a mecca of designer labels and baby stores. I restrained myself and only bought a present each for Dylan, Phil and me...OK two presents for me, but it is my birthday month.

Sarah, ever my mom role model, suggested I try facing Dylan outward in his wrap since he can hold his head up...he loved it! I kept hearing him coo and Sarah said he was smiling up a storm.

We utilized Nordstrom's women's lounge to feed him before shoe shopping. I measured my feet..still the same size! Dylan passed out again in the magical wrap, so we went to the locally owned Blue Mesa for dinner...he slept like an amgel while I chowed down goat cheese enchiladas. We headed home for a low key night, and I was so relieved he had returned to his usual charming self cuz I wad so frazzled last night.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baby overload at the Arboretum

So, the morning was amazing...a great flight and even a great lunch at Afrah, a mediterranean cafe with yummy eats and hookah pipes. Dylan slept in the magic wrap through lunch and then pretty much didn't sleep again.

We visited the beautiful Dallas Arboretum with our stroller twins but Dylan didn't want to ride in stroller so he mostly stayed in the wrap while I pushed the stroller like a chump. We saw a bazillion brides taking photos on the grounds...Texas is really big on bridal portraits...and a bunch of girls taking pics for their quinceanera. One girl even posed with a matching miniature doll of herself...seriously. 

Dylan was super fussy the rest of today. I hope he gets back on track tonight. It's unnerving to hear your baby cry, particularly when you're not at home and fear you're inconveniencing others. Sarah keeps telling me that I'm more sensitive to it than others, which I'm sure is true, but I hope he feels more comforted tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Whew! An easy flight

I'm so relieved! Dylan was an angel on our flight and everyone from start to finish at both airports was so kind and helpful. From the parking attendant at CLE who let Phil park and walk in with me to security, to the gate agent who moved us to a row with no one else seated in it to the two guys on my flight who helped me prepare and unpack the stroller for gatechecking...awesome karma!

I was a bit intimidated about navigating the airport with all of our gear, but it ended up fine.

On our flight, we chair danced to the new Jimmy Eat World album Phil got me for my birthday. Dylan LOVES Jimmy Eat World. I actually first felt him kick while jammin to Praise Chorus during my D.C. trip in March back when he was Mingus.

Here's hoping for a great return flight too!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dallas reunion

I know this is a terrible shot, but it's one of the last pics I have of Sarah and me before kids four years ago. It's from a bar crawl we did in Hudson, Wis., where Sarah lives. Here's what this picture tells me:

1) I haven't had a drink in a LONG time
2) We're both
3) The last photo album I put together was from 2006 and there's no way in hell I'm going to get everything organized before my maternity leave is up
4) Our Dallas trip is most likely not going to involve a bar crawl with three kiddos in tow

Sarah came to Cleveland with Eliza, her one-year-old, to throw me a baby shower in June (<3). When she was here, she reminded me that you can still do fun stuff with a little one strapped to you. We ate lunch at Anatolia Cafe, browsed local Cleveland goods at Made in the 216 and ate dinner at Luxe. I also drove them on my fave Cleveland street, Cliff Drive, for awesome views of the city, and we walked the paths at Edgewater Park and Lake View Cemetery until my preggo toes tired.

I know we'll have a blast on our Dallas trip, and I'm sure Sarah will inspire me to try to take Dylan places I might otherwise be intimidated to visit. The weather looks great, too, so I'll have a few more days for flip flops... BONUS!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dylan's first road trip

Just got back from a whirlwind trip to Michigan for my cousin's wedding near Detroit. The trip with a newborn was manageable with a few key items: my magical wrap which is 2-0 for putting him to sleep at weddings, the unfortunately named My Brest Friend nursing pillow and D-man's pacifier and clip.

The reception was at Waldenwoods, which is a charming, historic resort/luxe campground. Lots of little cottages and lodges on the ground. The bridal party kept the soirée going post-reception with a bonfire, but we hit the hay instead thanks to D-man's haphazard sleeping the night before. My aunt and uncle hosted a yummy brunch this morning since so many guests were from out-of-state and it was nice to recap the weekend.

We hit major traffic driving home because of the Michigan game and we wished we were driving Phil's car with his OSU tire cover. To add insult to injury, we had our own unfun version of a tailgate in a rest stop parking lot when I had to feed Dylan cuz of a mini hunger meltdown. Such is the life of new parents, I guess.

Dylan was a charmer and handled all of the attention (I lost track of how many people held him) and new surroundings like a champ. Let's hope I have similar luck with our Dallas trip!