Summertime Means Travel Time: 5 Must-Haves for Vacation-Bound Babies

design_3It’s finally summer time. And in our family, that means it’s travel timel! We took our first trip across the country when my son was just six weeks old to see my in-laws. I must have spent hours thinking about what I was going to pack. I was petrified to get on that plane. Of course, he was so little he slept the entire flight. Thinking back to those days, it seemed like it would have been enough to just bring some diapers, wipes, a muslin swaddle blanket, and a nursing cover.

As time has passed, travel has gotten MUCH harder. My son is three now, and since we travel quite a bit for work and family, he’s become a bit of a pro. But I’m definitely still that parent who asks the flight attendant for a third bag of animal crackers to keep him busy just a little bit longer.

As a result of our jetsetting, I’ve also tried out a lot of different baby travel gear. Here are five of my absolute favorites:

6-12 months

41fdyJM+beLRhino Toys Oball Rattle: This simple ball would keep my son entertained for hours on a flight. As soon as your baby learns to grasp, I’d recommend getting one of these.

Booginhead PaciGrip Pacifier Holder: For any baby that takes a pacifier, these are a must-have for a plane or car ride, or you’ll spend half of the time looking for their pacifier and wiping the grime off of it.

 12-24 months

Munchkin Travel Booster Seat: This is the best portable high chair! I alstravel boostero love that it has ample storage underneath for things like bibs, dishes and spoons.

Summer Infant Tiny Diner: When your baby gets to the stage where they love to eat food themselves, but haven’t mastered the art of using a plate at a restaurant, these little mats are amazing. They stick onto the table with suction cups, and catch a lot of the mess before it hits the floor. They have made many a restaurant meal with our baby significantly less stressful!

Fisher-Price Travel Doodler Pro: This is a light and great toy for the plane or car, and always keeps my son’s attention for quite awhile.

And of course, check out my Mamajamas list for a more extensive list of travel “must-haves” as well as “don’t bothers”.

Good luck with your summer travel. And just remember, it may be a bit chaotic, and it may not necessarily feel like a “vacation,” but you’ll get there eventually, and it will most likely be quite an adventure!

The Pacifier Fairy Failed

Back in September, I wrote this breezy post on how easy it was to get rid of our son’s pacifier. I was feeling very smug right about then. 

Let’s recap. Son loves pacifier to sleep. Son gets mouth full of canker sores due to bad virus. Parents use this opportunity to take away his pacifier via the tried and true “Fairy” method. After first few days, son seems to be handling it okay. Son only asks about pacifier once. Parents are quietly struggling with new sleep issues from said  weaning, but figure like most transitions, this too shall pass.

What I didn’t realize then was that though he was okay with the transition mentally, physiologically he had a very tough time falling asleep without his pacifier.  Over the next two months, he would wake up crying at least two times a night. He couldn’t fall back asleep for almost an hour each time. He also started waking up at 5:30-6:00am. Though this left him (and us!) exhausted during the days, sans pacifier he couldn’t figure out how to take his naps anymore–so those left us too. Without his nights and naps he would often cry his way through his daily transitions.

It was incredibly difficult for us to see him struggle like this. After two months of this, we couldn’t take it any longer.

So what did we do?

We reintroduced the pacifier.

At first I felt like a total failure for doing this. In the infinite black hole that is online mom forums, I could find no precedent. Who reintroduces a pacifier to their child at 3 years old? Also, wasn’t I damning him to a life of messed up teeth through this prolonged use?

But you know what? Now I’m so happy we made that decision. The day the pacifier came back, we got our son back. And our good life back. He went from an exhausted mess of a toddler, to the wonderful little man we know and love so much. He’s back to sleeping through the night until at least 7:30-8am. And back to napping almost every day.

And all it took was that darn little piece of rubber. We’ll worry about weaning him from it again in a year when he’s a little more mature and he doesn’t nap anymore.

Why do I share this marvelous failure with you?

Too often, all I read on these types of blogs are the successes. And successes are great.

But in this failure, I learned to do what I think is right for my child. And not get super caught up in following the “right” way to parent. I learned that I don’t have to strictly adhere to any guidelines that tell me when I absolutely need to do things. I learned that development is not a race.  I learned to listen to my instincts and listen to my child.

I also learned that sometimes what feels like a failure initially, can actually be a big victory.

The other day I told my pediatrician a condensed version of this saga and she was great. She said something to the effect of “Don’t worry about it. If your kid couldn’t transition within two weeks that means he obviously wasn’t ready. Try again down the road. And by the way, there is no real evidence anyhow that pacifiers contribute to overbites.”

The Pacifier Fairy

My son got hand, foot and mouth disease last week. It was brutal. He had a fever, rashes all over his little body, and a mouth full of large, painful canker sores, that made eating anything but ice cream or applesauce out of the question for 3 days.

The only silver lining was that he also couldn’t use his pacifier.

He’s turning 3 this month, so we were already gearing up for we figured would be a tough pacifier weaning. I mean, this is a kid that not only needs to suck a pacifier to sleep, but also keeps another one in his hand as a lovey.

So we seized this opportunity to turn this 3 day hiatus into permanent paci cessation. To supplement his inability to suck, I also informed him that as soon as he got better, the Pacifier Fairy would be making a stop at our house to collect all his pacifiers to give to little babies since he was a big boy now. I got this idea from my own parents, who had the Bottle Fairy come to take my bottle (when I was three!) and leave in it’s place a brand new cup.

So last Monday, Dario helped me gather all his pacifiers around the house into a box. We wrote the Pacifier Fairy a note to let her know that we were ready to give them up to babies who need them, and then he set them out for her and went to sleep.

The next morning, he was very excited to discover that in the place of his pacifiers, was this crazy plastic weed wacker toy that he had recently had a melt-down over us not agreeing to buy for him at one of our local toy stores.

It’s been three days since the fairy came and he’s asked for a pacifier exactly once. And when I reminded him that the Pacifier Fairy took them, he was immediately fine.

I’m kind of still in shock it was that easy. I know that for better or worse, the canker sores helped things along, but the fairy and $20 piece of plastic didn’t hurt either.