Best gifts for my new born little niece and the parents-to-be

My sister-in-law was about to deliver her first baby and the first girl child in our family. Given my son is now 4.5 years old, I was scratching my head to figure out the best gift I could give the to-be-parents.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law love to travel. We have a hard time tracking them down on any major weekend or seasonal breaks. I was sure that even after having their first child, travel is going to be a huge part of their life. I started looking for gifts that would assist them in this endeavor. I picked Baby Bjorn products:

Baby Carrier Miracle

    Baby Bjorn Carrier

    BabySitter Balance

Baby Bjorn Bouncer

I was hoping that I picked the right products. I am very happy to report that our healthy one month old niece is enjoying being snug in the carrier. She loves being carried around in the carrier in the house. I am sure she will love traveling in it as well. She is equally loving being bounced in the bouncer and looks very comfortable in it.

Traveling with a toddler – so much easier than before

Enjoy your vacationIn the past 5 months, we have been to India, Mexico and Miami. It has felt much easier traveling with my son after he turned 2.5 years vs. before. Of course it has helped that we started traveling with him when he was an infant and he is now used to the drill. So now that he is 3 years old, these are some of the things that make my trips successful:

  1. Vacation for 4-5 days at least – don’t cut it short
  2. This one still applies – take direct flights, avoid layovers if you can
  3. Rent with Hertz. They have always provided a clean car seat and is always installed when I pick up the car. I still confirm twice to make sure everything will be in order
  4. Read the hotel reviews. Spending on your hotel room is of great value now than before. Hotels with a kids club are of great value. Just make sure you have read all the reviews on the kids club. I have always called ahead of time to talk to the director of the kids club to get a feel for the club, it’s services and if it is appropriate for my child given his age and interests
  5. If not getting two separate rooms – request hotel to provide a spare bed. Take your own sheets if you child has sensitive skin. Take a small pillow or lovee that your child uses every night to fall asleep
  6. Pack as many clothes for the little one, keep your own bags light. Pack his/her favorite small toys and 3 most favorite all time reads. Paperbacks are great to travel with
  7. If traveling international, take a few snacks you are sure your child will eat e.g.: take his/her favorite peanut butter as you will always find bread, take Mac n Cheese – its easy to cook. Take and Toss is still my favorite. I have atleast carried straws and traveling spoon & fork set
  8. Take basic medicine, thermometer and weather-appropriate toiletries (lotions, sprays etc.)
  9. Research restaurants in and around your hotel. It’s great to have a few options on hand. Quickly research nearby grocery stores, pharmacy, mall etc.
  10. Always keep sanitizing wipes handy – use them on the plane, rental car, in your room just to keep it safe. Sanitize in route always

So there are a few things to think about, keep your child entertained and manage his/her usual schedule. But overall everyone should take a break and enjoy. Vacations are a great way for the whole family to connect – so put away the blackberries, the iPhones and get to know each other. Let your child break some rules, don’t forget he/she is on vacation too.

Mistakes to avoid on on-flight journeys – Part I

Many kids travel product companies like Ben-Bat are pitching fancy back-packs, comfy headrests, bulky travel potty options, etc. These products are great if you are taking a road trip but a night mare if you are taking a flight. On my long flight journey to India in December of 2010 (Devam was 1 and a half yrs old), I took with me a car seat, my backpack (in place of a diaper-bag) and very unwillingly – Devam’s toy backpack. The GoGo Kids Travel mate was a savior as it converted my car seat into a stroller and my back-pack was essential as it held my travel documents, Devam’s diapers, wipes, emergency medicines, a change of clothes for him and for me. What made it all very difficult was Devam’s toy back-pack. It added no value to the trip and it was one more thing for me to carry, remember and store. A quick advice my friends, these products may look great, but if the parent is going to ultimately manage them, it is not a good idea for on-flight entertainment. The solution is to carry one or two small toys, 2 small books and your IPad in your diaper bag or backpack.