I was a big Dove deodorant girl for a large part of my life. It smelled nice and it did a pretty good job. I had heard theories linking the aluminum in deodorant to breast cancer, but it was right up there with Diet Coke and processed foods and all that good stuff that you know isn't exactly good for you but you just put on your blinders and hope for the best. One thing I always hated about it was that it got on my shirts, despite saying it wouldn't.
When I got pregnant, though, I decided to forego the Dove deo and try a more natural kind. I went with the Crystal roll-on, because it seemed to be completely natural - just a bunch of salt minerals in water, it's endorsed by the cancer research centers, it's easy to use and doesn't get on your clothes, and it was cheap (only $3.99 for a bottle). The idea is that the salt creates a barrier on your pit and makes it inhospitable place for the stinky bacteria to grow. It did an amazing job throughout my pregnancy. I never stunk. This stuff was great! But after pushing out baby, my hormones went all whacko and I became a resident of Stink City. I wasn't about to go back to the chemical and aluminum laden deodorant, especially since that goes on so close to the mammaries which are feeding my little one throughout the day and night!
My husband and most Asians I know don't need deo. Apparently Asians have less (some have none!) of the glands that produce the stinky sweat. During this trip home to visit my parents, my mom announced that she and my sister haven't been using any kind of deodorant for quite some time. Whaaaaaaaaaat??? No deodorant?? It is so deeply engrained in my head since puberty that we need this stuff. But, hey, I'm home. If I'm gonna try to go without deo, what better place??
And you know what? Turns out, maybe I don't really need it most of the time!! I haven't used deo for the past week, and I'm finding if I give my pits a good soap and water cleaning every morning there is really no B.O. Yes, you still sweat. But it's the growth of bacteria that stink (well, could be your diet as well, maybe if you're eating tons of meat?), so if you keep it clean there's no need for all the chemicals! By the end of the day, if you get your nose right in there, you can smell a little something brewing, but it's totally not enough to warrant use of deo. Also nothing a quick once over with a wet washcloth (or a swab with the baby wipes if you're out and about) won't fix!
As the summer gets hotter and more humid, I'll really get to test this out big time. And my mommy friends, please tell me if I'm getting offensively stinky!! Yikes! I don't want to be THAT GIRL!!
So, I challenge all of you to try going a day or two without your deodorant. If you're nervous, pick a day that you'll just be around the house. If you find you need more BO suppressant when you're out all day at the beach, or have a heavy workout, by all means - go for the deo! But maybe you'll find you don't actually need it on less active days, or maybe at all!! If you accept my challenge, please let me know your results!! ^_^
This is day 7 of my little one's poop strike and he has FINALLY gone. Somewhat. But not nearly a week's worth of poo. What is going on in that little belly of his? Until he was about 2 months old, he went ALL. THE. TIME! Seriously, pretty much every diaper had some lovely present waiting for me. After about 2 months he started consolidating and by around 3 months he was down to once a day. Since then, he's only had one stint of not going, which only lasted 3 days. Also since then, he's been holding his pee all night, like 12 hours, and he's only pooped in our house. Seriously. And it's not like we're never going out. We go out for several hours almost every day, at different times of day. I don't know if it's coincidence, or if he is subconsciously holding it til we get home. It's weird stuff but of course I'm happy with it not having to deal with a blowout diaper in the middle of story time at the library! Except this not wanting to poo outside our house has become a bit of a problem now that we're down in North Carolina for 10 days.
I was told that exclusively breastfed babies rarely get certifiably constipated because they digest breastmilk so well that there isn't really much left to poo out, and it's normal for them to go up to a week without pooing. But how can a baby who goes every morning all of a sudden not go for a week? My diet hasn't really changed. He hasn't seemed bloated or uncomfortable, but his farts have become TOXIC! Like, gas mask worthy! And coming out machine gun style. You hear it and smell it and are SO sure he's filled his diaper. You open it up and it's clean as a whistle. Dafuq dude??!
Someone suggested me taking a stool softener, but I wasn't quite ready to use drugs as a remedy. Instead I ate 6 prunes, after which I wondered if it's just the fiber in prunes which makes you go. If that's the case, I doubt the beneficial effects would be passed on to baby. Hmmph. Someone else suggested using a rectal thermometer to get things going. I remembered the only time he had his temperature taken from the bum was when we went to the ER for his bilirubin testing when he was only 4 days old. Yes, thermometer up the butt worked wonders that time for sure. He exploded all over me and the lady taking his temp! She called it newborn's revenge. Ha! So, my mom dug out her ancient baby book (pic below) and to work she went. Kenzo didn't seem to notice whatsoever, which was a big relief to me, but there was no poo relief from the procedure unfortunately.
This morning I heard him grunting and farting in his crib for a good 10 minutes. To my delight there was a bit of a result in his diaper when I finally pulled myself out of bed. But as I mentioned before, it wasn't nearly a week's worth. I'm hoping now that he's broken the seal it'll come out gradually today. The mother of all blowouts would seriously dampen a girl's day, and you can be sure I will be posting a picture if that is what we get! ^_^
Worried. Anxious. Stressed. Dubious. A thesaurus full of such words is how I felt leading up to my first flight solo with little one in tow. How did it actually go? Smooth. Swimmingly. A-OK!! Phew!
The morning started off rather hellish though. I had 2 Miny Moe orders I had to drop off at the post office. I thought my flight was leaving at 2:30pm and I would have plenty of time in the morning. Then I checked the info... whoops... LANDING at 2:30, departing at 12:15! Taxi scheduled for 10am, post office opens at 9am and is a 30 minute walk from my apartment. OMG. Got back from the P.O. at 9:40 spectacularly sweaty and had to feed the baby... more sweat. Taxi comes, and despite my telling the dispatcher several times that I will have an INFANT who needs a rear-facing car seat for a YOUNG BABY, well, of course there was NO CARSEAT!!! $@#*&@#$ are you $#@^&*#@$ kidding me???!!!! Driver seemed sorry, it obviously wasn't his fault. He asked me what I wanted to do, and well, what could I do?? Out in Bay Ridge you can't exactly just haul a taxi with an infant car seat. So I said, well, f-ing drive carefully man!! And he did. Probably the safest taxi ride of my life!! I wasn't sure of the safest way to hold a baby in a car. Hadn't exactly researched that and probably should. I knew better than to put the seatbelt over both of us, but that's about it. I decided to put the seatbelt on myself and tie him in the carrier to myself over the seatbelt. This way he wouldn't fly about in an accident, though my chin might have cracked into his little head, so I kept my hand up there most of the ride.
Got to the airport, checked in, waked to the security line and OMG it is like 200 people deep. Seriously. No exaggeration. Well, I really really wish I didn't have to pee really really bad. No bathroom to be seen and I just go ahead and get at the back of the line. I am thankful I didn't bring the stroller, this would have been extremely frustrating snaking through the narrow Disneyland-esque lines. Instead I had Kenzo wrapped up snuggly in his Mei Tai carrier, and had his diaper bag hooked on top of our carry-on suitcase. FYI I highly recommend this method as it left me with a free hand (or 2 if we weren't on the move) and I was very mobile and not weighed down with too much crap. A few minutes after waiting in line (I am living in NY but I will never say "waiting ON line" haha) a worker comes and scoops me and Kenzo up, walking past EVERYONE up to the wheelchair entrance and bam, we have cut the line shaving a good hour off of the process! Niiiiiiice. Next came the part I mostly dreaded. I thought I'd have to take Kenzo out of his carrier. Then I wouldn't have enough hands. Yikes. I asked the worker and HOOOORAY baby could stay in the carrier!! On top of that, I didn't have to pour the water out of my water bottle - he said "Well, that's for baby..." haha. Technically, I guess it is. If mama gets dehydrated, baby won't get enough milk. We shot through the metal detector and then I had my hands swabbed for chemicals. Interesting!
Got to our gate, and wouldn't you know we're delayed. Keeps getting pushed back 15 minutes, 20 minutes, another 10 minutes... By the time we're ready to go it's been delayed a total of 2 hours. But in that time, Kenzo took a beautiful nap on my in his carrier:
So boarding started with the typical "Passengers with small children needing extra time or assistance are welcomed to board first". I had debated whether to board first or last, thinking the less time cooped up in that tiny seat the better. But I went ahead and boarded first. I asked them if I could check my suitcase at the gate but they said we're not full so there is no need. I explained "But, well, I can't get it into the overhead bin" motioning at the baby strapped to my chest. So, I got my own little bell boy to assist me! He rolled the suitcase onto the plane and stowed it away for me - niiiiiiiiiiiice!! I sat down, and the flight attendant came over right away to say hello and explain where the infant life vests are and how to use the emergency oxygen mask on the baby (WHAT?? OMG! NO!!!). The rest of the passengers boarded and pretty soon the flight attendant came back to explain that there are a lot of empty seats and do I want to move somewhere more spacious. Yes please!! I moved back a few rows so that the 10 seats surrounding us were empty. Wow! This is awesome!! No pervy perves to worry about peeking under my nursing cover! Kenzo stayed awake the whole flight. I nursed him while taxiing. He had no issues during the ascent. We played and sang songs (thank god for my 3x a week library babies and books classes - I had quite a repertoire of songs to work with during our 90 minute flight!!). I nursed him again during the descent and he didn't seem to have any pain whatsoever. There was a magnetic changing table in the bathroom, but thankfully we didn't need to use that.
And there we were, safe and sound in Charlotte and picked up by my own mama. One more hitch to work through though... she'd borrowed a car seat from my aunt and it seriously took us 15 minutes to figure out how to tighten the straps! haha!! Despite what you may be thinking, neither of us are not blonde ^_^
That sums up my first solo flight with Kenzo (5 months). In case you have your own trip coming up, be prepared - make sue you know the policies of the airline (ours required no ID for the baby, nor a letter from
daddy saying we weren't abducting the baby - of course both are required for int'l travel), bring enough toys, diapers, food, etc for double your estimated trip time - you never know when delays will happen!! Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, right??
The creative juices are definitely not flowing today... I'm tired. But I can't blame it on baby! I joined Pinterest yesterday and now have that to add to the time sucking abyss that is social media!! Kenzo usually goes to bed around 10pm and wakes up around 6-7am. So, I know if I go to bed by 10pm (11pm at the latest) I'll be good to go. But recently, man, I really get sucked into Twitter and now Pinterest, ughhhhhh have got to get to bed sooner. Unfortunately they really are necessary for building a business. In just 2 months, Miny Moe has gotten over 600 followers on Twitter and almost 300 "likes" on Facebook. Of course that doesn't directly effect how many sales you'll get, but the more your name is out there the better! Natalie, the owner of Baby List, pinned us on Pinterest the other day and it got over 300 hits, and we got four sales that day!! Used the right way, social media can really help a sister out. So, I'm trying! And, I'm tired...
My sister is coming into town tonight from Montreal for the weekend!!! So today I've been a busy bee. Short of mopping the floors (though I did some spot cleaning of random spit-up stains on our wooden floors), I cleaned up nice and good - dusted, swiffered the floors, cleaned the fridge, reorganized our kitchen cabinets and Kenzo's closet, did laundry - even the sheets and duvet cover!! WHOA!! Hubby is out of town for 2 weeks, and after my sister leaves on Monday, Kenzo and I will fly down to my parents' home in NC. Hubby will return to the apartment several days before us, and so help me god, if this place is a mess when we return.... >_< I'll never forget when we were living together in Japan, the first time I was coming back from a trip home he said that he cleaned up the apartment for me. Wow, I thought, what a catch!! I got to the apartment and it was a TOTAL MESS!!! When he got home from work I was all "WTF is this???" and he was like, "It's clean!!" Turns out we have different definition of clean... his does not include organized and tidied up. Well, it didn't before that incident anyway... we shall find out in a few weeks if he's learned o_o
The first postpartum month was rough. I think I showered about once a week. Why you ask? Exhausted, check. Massive leakage from top and bottom that made being nude a nuisance, check. Did I mention exhausted??? I think I stepped up the showers to twice a week during the 2nd month, and then up to 3 times a week the 3rd month. Then, I met my mommy friends and actually started getting out of the house on a regular basis, which forced me to pull it together... somewhat...
So, here is the "SAHM with a New Baby" Style I've been sporting as of lately:
1) Disproportionally tan hands with the to half of fingers still rather pale and a wedding ring tan line, from strollering around the neighborhood endless hours a week. Why no sunblock? Because little one likes to suck on my hands and fingers, and I don't want him ingesting my sunblock. And not sure how much of those chemicals would end up in my milk. And, I'm a secret sun worshiper - shhhhh don't tell my sister! And as for the nails, forget the manicure. Gotta keep these bad boys trimmed short or else I accidentally scratch the bejeezus out of my poor boy when changing his clothes or diaper. Also, cuticles? What are those? Haven't seen mine in a while!
2) My scent? Not the yummy Ferragamo my hubby bought me a couple of years ago that I STILL haven't finished. Oh no. These days it's Eau du Spit-up, which is an interesting blend of sour spoiled milk with a hint of buttered popcorn (more one or the other depending on how digested the spit-up is, yum!). Also have developed a lovely B.O. since giving birth, gotta love those hormones!! Since finding out I was pregnant I stopped using regular deoderant and have been using this great liquid crystal roll-on for over a year now. While pregnant, it worked awesome, I never stunk!! But since giving birth, omg, yuck. It's getting better, slowly, but now summer is drawing near and I'm afraid. But I refuse to wear regular deo cuz of the chemicals and links to breast cancer, and don't know how well the natural sticks work, and what I love about the crystal deo is no more deo stains on my clothes!! Ugh.
3) My hair also screams new mom. Thinning, receding (Again, thanks hormones! Everyone assures me it's temporary, I can only hope!!), and always in a pony tail because little one loves to grab it and pull. He also loves to grab my jugular, I'm serious, my actual vein. If you don't hear from me for a couple of days, just assume that he's ripped it right on out of my neck and look for my obit in the Sunday paper.
4) Jeans and a t-shirt. I'm so so so bored, but this seems to be the only thing I can wear these days. Because of aforementioned spit-up, I don't dare wear anything delicate that can't be washed and dried regularly. I can't wear any relatively low-cut tops cuz I'm always leaning over to get Kenzo into or out of his stroller, and when carrying him he's pulling my neckline dangerously low. I also can't wear dresses because of breastfeeding. What am I gonna do, hike up the entire dress up above my boobs in the middle of the park? Riiiiiiiight. Speaking of jeans, can I just say that my favorite pair right now are maternity jeans from my sister? hahaha!! Even funnier, I couldn't wear them when I was actually pregnant! They're not the full panel kind, they have a thick elastic that went under the belly and was too tight on me, I was worried about hurting the baby! I've been back in my regular clothes since about 2 months postpartum, but these preggo jeans are just so damn comfortable, with the added benefit of skimming valuable seconds off of you trip to the bathroom cuz there is no button or zipper to mess with! haha!!
5) I love wearing Kenzo in his Mei Tai carrier, but there is one big fat problem. Key word here is FAT: Back Fat, Muffin Top, whatever you want to call it. The ties of the carrier dig right into my fat child bearing hips and it's NOT an attractive look. Yikes.
6) As mentioned above in #1, baby has been gnawing on my hands and arms lately. I'm like a human teether, and I enjoy it! But ashy arms is the price I pay since I don't dare use lotion knowing he'll be lapping it up in no time!
7) I've never had the best posture, but since having a baby I have become the hunchback of Bay Ridge! Hours upon hours of walking around bouncing the baby in those first couple of months did it. And now, hunching over the stroller or the crib or the playpen or the changing table, or sitting on the floor playing with him. I need some sort of back brace to force me to sit and stand up straight.
8) I'll finish up on a positive note. I have finally painted my toe nails!!! I couldn't reach my feet (comfortably) during the last few months of pregnancy, and after popping the baby out it was winter so what was the point. And if I was too tired to shower, how could I possibly paint my toe nails? But now spring is upon us and I finally got around to a self-pedicure. Looking down at my feet they look so alien!! What are these hot pink growths on my feet?? But, it was about time. Now if I could just start pumicing and lotioning them up on a regular basis, they might actually be presentable by mid-summer...
My dream first Mother's Day looks something like this:
I sleep in just an extra hour or so, til 8 or 9am, while hubby watches the baby and feeds him with milk I pumped the night before. When I wake up, he brings me breakfast in bed consisting of homemade waffles, fruit salad, chocolate milk, and flowers of course. When little one goes down for his morning nap, I get an amazing 1-hour massage (from my husband or a professional, I'm not picky!) and am left to catnap a bit til baby wakes up. Rejuvenated, the 3 of us have some family fun time playing together and then take a stroll around the neighborhood on what is no doubt a gorgeous sunny warm day. We grab some bagels and have a relaxing picnic in the park. Next we hit H&M and hubby watches the baby while I get some much needed self-shopping done (ummmm haven't bought any non-pregnancy clothes in over a year). To wrap it all up, baby goes to bed early, we have a delicious dinner, some adult time, and cuddle up to watch my choice of tv/movie before hitting the hay.
This is what my first Mother's Day actually looked like:
Baby woke me up at 7am sharp, as usual, and hubby was already in Manhattan "volunteering" for work at Japan Day at Central Park. After his morning nap, Kenzo and I went for a stroll around the neighborhood and I got a new phone (my Blackberry died the previous day, but HOORAY I was eligible for an upgrade - got myself a new iPhone 4 for $0.99 and $36 upgrade fee - so this actually ended up being a really exciting Mother's Day gift... to myself... hehe). Then went to Century 21 and TJ Maxx to try to find a case for my phone, but Kenzo was getting sleepy and having trouble falling asleep in the stroller, so he cried and we had to leave and head home before I could find anything good. Hubby got home around 2:30pm with baby's breath and 2 carnations (the official Mother's Day flower in Japan, "one from me and one from Kenzo" - to his credit, I would probably have complained about it being a waste of money had he brought home a huge gorgeous bouquet, but still, a girl can dream) and to my shock did not head straight to take a nap - had it not been Mother's Day, I'm sure he would have zonked out for a few hours, as usual. Kenzo then took 1 hour to go down for his afternoon nap, delaying our much needed adult time and bringing some comic relief with some random babbling from the pack 'n play in the family room. Later on, I told hubby "It's Mother's Day, so, I don't have to cook dinner" *wink*, to which he replied "OK, but, when do you ever cook dinner?" HA. HA. And *scene*.
The world's most perfect first Mother's Day it was not. But I can't complain. I am a mother to this amazing adorable little baby, who makes my heart hurt I love him so much! Every time he wakes up, I realize how much I missed him in that brief time and shower him in kisses (oh those cheeks!!!). There is no better sound than his cute little giggles when I tickle his tummy. No one else can fart on my lap and get a smile and a hug for it. Sure, he drools on and bites my fingers, spits up on me throughout the day, loves to pee the second I open up his diaper, and is mr. cranky pants if it's nap time and we're out and about rather than at home in the crib. Motherhood is a tough job, but I wouldn't trade it in for the world!! So who needs "Mother's Day" when I'm loving being a mother every day!?
This will probably be funny to look back on in a few years... hopefully by the time I'm really in need of some Mother's Day pampering hubby will have gotten a clue...
When you think All-Inclusive Resort, you probably think romantic honeymoon, boozing it up all day and night, lounging around the pool, trying exciting water sports, and pigging out buffet-style at every meal. That's what I think anyway, and YES PLEASE! I've never done this type of vacation, mainly because it's expensive!! I've always been a budget traveler, I mean, 2 years ago hubby and I did a 1 month long 9-country trip for what most couples would spend on 1 week in Europe! And it kicked A$$!! But, wouldn't it be nice to know exactly what you'll be spending from the get go, and know all the exciting things you can do at no extra charge? I sure think so!
But what about bringing baby along? Sure, we've all seen the Club Med commercials with kids flying on the trapeze and what not, but are these places baby friendly? Did some research, and it seems you can find some pretty decent deals out there, for some gorgeous resorts, with childcare included. Now we're talking! Here are some I found, with my personal ranking (But don't take my word for it! Do your own research!! And if you've been ton one of these or another, please comment below!)
#1 - Holiday Inn Sunspree Montego Bay
This seems to be the winner, money-wise anyway. Children under 12 are free, with free child care from 6 months of age!
Has mini-golf, a casino, 1 big pool and 1 adult-only pool, gym, 5 restaurants, beach and non-motorized water sports. No evening entertainment?
I got a quote of $178 per room per night.
3.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor.
#2 - Franklyn D. Resort, Jamaica
All-inclusive is no joke with this one - even 9am-4pm nanny service is included, with evening service being $4/hour. The nanny can take care of the baby when you want to take advantage of water sports, take a nap, etc. When you want family time, she'll tidy up your suite and stock your fridge! Sweeeeeeet!
Snorkeling, kayaking, tennis, glass bottom boat, biking, beach volleyball, and daily evening entertainment. For an extra fee you can play golf or go on many optional tours to get you exploring Jamaica.
Got a quote for about $240 per room per night.
4.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor (Traveler's Choice 2013 winner).
#3 - Melia Caribe Tropical Resort Punta Cana
This one is in the Dominican Republic and has babysitting for an extra charge, 10 outdoor pools, 8 tennis courts, golf course, a casino, shopping village, movie theater, evening entertainment...
Quoted me $223 per room per night.
4 out of 5 on Tripadvisor.
#4 - Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts
The lower budget off-shoot of the Sandals brand, with rates about 35% lower than their Sandals and Beaches counterparts. One resort in Jamaica and one in Antigua, though these don't seem especially family-oriented. Nothing on the website about babysitting or kids' activities.
I got a quote of about $300 per room per night
#5 - Club Med
Baby Welcome Program provides baby gear and food, and babysitting (4 months and up) for an extra charge. But, this is like the top of the line in resorts and will cost you upwards of $700 per person per night... ugh....
#6 - Beaches Resorts
This is the family-friendly off-shoot of the famous Sandals brand. They seem well loved on the blogosphere, and are a bit more budget friendly than some of their competitors. There are 2 resorts in Jamaica and one in Turks and Caicos. They offer "nannies certified in accordance with an accredited U.S. university"... really? Do they offer a Nanny degree? Or maybe something like early childhood education. Maybe... Anyway, the nursery is yours at no extra charge from 9am-6pm, and nanny services after hours for an additional charge.
I got a quote of about $700 per room per night, including $150 in airfare per person. But still, a bit out of our budget!!
Vacation Kids has info on some more great family-friendly vacation options.
After my recent research on phthalates and phosphates and all that good stuff, I've decided to give it a go with green cleaning. Due to its acidity, vinegar kills most mold, bacteria, and germs (scientific studies show it does a great job, however not quite as good as the commercial cleaners). So, armed with a gallon of distilled white vinegar and a spray bottle, here is a simple list of recipes and cleaning tips for the budget & eco minded housewife in us all (go here for a much longer list):
Disinfect & Remove Mold, Grime, etc: Spray with or wipe with a cloth soaked in undiluted white vinegar, then wipe clean with water-dampened cloth. I think the vinegar kills something like 98% of germs, whereas commercial cleaners are about 99.9%? So, I plan to use the good old clorex wipes to clean up after preparing raw chicken or if it's flue season
Clean the Microwave: Mix half a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it til boiling. Apparently it will loosen caked in messes and deodorize it. Wipe clean.
Clean the Fridge: half water half white distilled vinegar
Clean Grout: spray with undiluted white vinegar, let sit, then scrub with toothbrush
Clean Floors: 3 drops dish washing liquid, 1/3 part white vinegar, 1/3 part alcohol, and 1/3 part water. WARNING: do not use white vinegar on marble!
Disinfect Baby Toys: add white vinegar to soapy water and wash, or wipe down with undiluted white vinegar and wipe clean with damp cloth (if it's something they'll be teething on, you'd be sure to wash off the vinegar well, or else little one might be quite offended by the taste).
Clean Produce: use 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water. For smooth produce (ex. apples) spray with the solution and wash clean. For un-smooth produce (ex. lettuce or broccoli), let it soak in a bowl of the solution for at least 2 minutes, then wash clean. You should clean produce even if you won't be eating the rind (ex. melon), since cutting it would introduce any bacteria from the rind into the part you'll eat. *TIP* Soaking produce for 5 minutes in a half vinegar half water solution will help remove the wax and underlying pesticides.
Do NOT use vinegar in you dish washer or washing machine, as it eats away at your rubber hoses and seals.
After picking up the vinegar from my super market and the spray bottle from the dollar shop, I came home and got to work! Soaked some brussel sprouts, strawberries, and nectarines in the 1-to-3 part solution. *WARNING* If you have any cuts on your hands, it will BURN! Yowza!!
I love traveling. Love it love it love it!! I've been to over 25 countries. I've traveled by plane, train, chunnel, cruise, ferry, car, camper, you name it! Now that baby's here, things might have become a wee bit more difficult, but by hell or high water the traveling WILL continue!
Since baby's arrival on 4.5 months ago, we've only traveled once, but that was to my hometown in North Carolina. I don't count travel if it's to visit your hometown. With that in mind, our last trip then would be to Montreal 9 months ago. However, that was to visit my sister's family, so that only half counts. Let's get to the point... I'm overdue for an exciting trip!!
Given a daddy with a super super busy schedule, a baby who requires special sleeping arrangements and considerations, and a budget for our newly single income family, what's a girl to do?? Research!! On the plus side, with me not working for "the man", we only have to coordinate with my hubby's schedule, so should be easier to get an off-peak deal somewhere, right?
My first thought was to go on a cruise. I've only done that once, when I was 13. My husband's never done one and I think it'd be lots of fun, and pretty much the easiest vacation (other than an all-inclusive-resort, which will most likely be volume 2 of this travel bug series!!). So, here's what I've found about taking a cruise with baby in tow.
Cruise Critic lists the best cruises for tots as being: Carnival, Cunard, Disney, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. I've got them listed with details below, in order with baby-friendliest on top. <Disclaimer - some info might be incorrect or out of date, please check with the individual cruise line about their kiddy policies before booking>.
Disney Cruise Line:
Babysitting: $6/hour in an awesome nursery with drop-off service (you can also stay and play with your kids). But space is competitive - you can book up to 10 hours online before setting sail, and additional hours later. No in-room service.
Crib: Cribs, Graco Pack 'n Plays and Diaper Genies are free
Kiddy Rentals & Buys: limited number of strollers, bottle warmers and bottle sterilizers for rent; pre-order baby supplies online and have them waiting in your room for you (you can also find diapers, formula, etc in the gift shops)
Pools: There is a water-splash area for kids in swim diapers. Other pools, even kiddy pools, are only for potty-trained kids.
Other info: Most staterooms have bathtubs;
Babysitting: $6/hour (no in-room service, though)
Kiddy Rentals & Buys: Stroller $25/week or $6/day, and bouncy chairs; diapers & wipes sold in shops; bring baby food - none sold or mashed for you
Pools: must be potty trained
Other info: Designated family play times for children under 2
Royal Caribbean Cruises:
Babysitting: in-room service for $10/hour (minimum age of 1 year), also have nursery service for $8/hour
Crib: free pack 'n play, and high chair on request
Kiddy Rentals & Buys: no strollers for rent; can pre-order supplies, but none are availabe in shops
Pools: must be potty trained for pools, but some boats have splash zones for the little ones
Other info: 45-min parent & baby playgroups led by counselors
Cunard Cruise Line:
Babysitting: only for children 1 year and up
Crib: free play-pen like crib
Kiddy Rentals & Buys: no diapers, wipes, or baby food in shops; Kings Court restaurant will mash baby food for you
Pools: some boats have special kiddy pools
Other info: Queen Mary 2 has largest at-sea library, with a well stocked children's section
Norwegian Cruise Line:
Babysitting: 3-12 years old only
Crib: available on some ships, but only fit in some rooms
Kiddy Rentals & Buys: no strollers for rent; baby wipes & diapers available in shops
Pools: must be potty-trained
Other info: have Under 2 Zoo, where parents can play with kids
1) Babies do not cruise free. There is usually a discounted rate for 3rd, 4th, etc passengers, but there don't seem to be free tickets for the kiddies... big bummer!!
2) Sorry, you won't be able to swim with your baby in the cruise pools, by federal law apparently. There's always the ocean... but that's a bit scary...
3) You won't be able to cruise with a baby under 12 weeks, and for most liners 6 months, and some destinations 12 months!
4) Disney seems to be the baby-frinedly winner, hands down.
Better to wait til your little one is old enough to enjoy the free kiddy programs and pools (i.e. 3 years old).
For more information on flying with baby, check out my blog post here.
Kenzo spends a lot of time chilling and hanging with his toys on the play mat. A few weeks ago, he started rolling from his back to tummy. But he would get stuck on his tummy, which he hates, and call out to me to flip him. Which I would. And then he'd flip back to his tummy again, cry, and I'd flip him back again. Repeat. MANY times a day... But last night, as I was sitting on the sofa doing my thing on the internets, I saw him in one fluid movement go from back to tummy and kept on going to his back - WOW! Impressive! Except this amazing sideways 360 degree roll landed him completely off the nice and padded play mat and his head thumped right on the hard wood floor. $H!T Thankfully he was just fine, didn't even cry. What a tough guy I have!!
This morning I was on a mission to make a safe place for him to play and hang out now that he's rolling and will be sitting soon enough. I got out the Chicco Pack 'N Play from my sister and assembled it. Surprisingly it was pretty easy despite not having a manual. I didn't bother assembling bassinet or changing table, since he's surpassed that weight limit by now! But I couldn't figure out how the overhead dangly toys thing worked, maybe it's meant to fasten into the bassinet. And also, there is some random bar right in the middle of the pack 'n play which would hurt if he layed on it. So, I decided to put his play mat (and a towel for more cushioning) INSIDE the pack 'n play. Totally ignoring the warnings about not putting anything in there except the official pack n' play mattress because of risk of suffocation, but he can lift his head an won't be sleeping in there, and I won't leave him unattended.
Another lucky point is that it's JUST narrow enough to fit through our door frames, so I can bring him into the kitchen while I'm cooking or during dinner!
Play Mat, meet Pack 'N Play ^_^
Behold my creation:
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)