Category Archives: Essentials

Sling vs stroller at the airport

We decided to get a lightweight travel stroller before our most recent trip to the US. We’ve loved travelling with our everyday ones, but thought a lightweight one would be better with getting in and out of taxis, around towns and all over. One test we had was to see what it was like taking it through security to the gate instead of checking it all the way through, like we’ve done in the past.
I thought I’d summarise it up with a list (albeit short) of pros and cons. It’s a very short list but I think it covers most things.

Pros

  • Save your back by not slinging
    Somewhere to hang/put bags
  • Easy to take straight to gate
  • If you’re travelling alone, seems a lifesaver when you don’t have those extra pair of hands
  • Cons

  • If your baby is sleeping when you go through security, he’s got to come out of the stroller (and risk being woken) so it can be x-rayed
  • You’re typically the last person off the gangway (waiting for them to get the strollers from the hold)
  • One extra thing to have at the plane and deal with when there’s a sleepy/hungry/antsy baby
  • My final verdict – check the stroller in and use a sling. You have two hands with a little one in a sling and won’t be the last person off the plane.

    But that’s just my opinion.
    Do you have any other pros or cons on using a stroller at the airport?

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    One week…

    In one week our little boy is going to be one. He’s grown from a tiny little lump into a big, energetic little toddler. We settled him into nursery this past week as my maternity leave ends soon and I head back to work. I look at the videos we made of him laying on the floor looking at the dolls hanging off his little mat gym and wonder how he could have ever just swatted at them when now, he’s grabbing the bars and pulling the dolls off. Interacting with them instead of just watching them swing.
    Little Man has seen a lot of the world and he’s not finished. If we can keep travelling with him during his childhood I’ll be an excited mama. My parents showed me the world, and as an adult, I kept going and now I’ve seen even more with my husband. And we haven’t stopped exploring. I want to do the same for Little Man. He’s off to see the world and no one’s going to stop him.
    Yesterday, we flew to the US (his fifth transatlantic flight this year!), and are going to Texas and Florida. Texas for my husband’s work, Florida for some well-deserved sun and warmth and sand!
    We’re celebrating Little Man’s first birthday in San Antonio and I’m on a quest to get him a birthday cake. It’s proving extremely hard to find a bakery that makes completely sugar free cakes – no sugar, Splenda, molasses, honey, or agave syrup. Nothing. At home, we can make banana cakes sweetened with super ripe bananas and dates and applesauce, but bakeries just don’t do that sort of thing. I almost packed up all the measurements of the dry ingredients – a Ziplock bag of flour, baking soda and cinnamon – and cake tin and then get the bananas and applesauce, but figured the security wouldn’t appreciate an unmarked bag of white powder. By hook or by crook, though, he’s gonna get his own cake to smash and enjoy and get thoroughly messy for his first birthday.
    This is my last trip as a full time mum before I go back to work and I’m really excited about it. In Houston and San Antonio, it’ll be me and Little Man exploring – this time we’ll head to the zoo and maybe a museum and probably a Gymboree class and then in Florida (we’re still deciding between Miami and the Keys), it will be the three of us exploring and, more importantly, relaxing as much as Little Man will allow.
    I am also looking forward to using Little Man’s shiny, new, bright red lightweight stroller. It’s a Micralite Superlite. This trip, we experimented with taking it straight through to the gate at the airports too (results coming later…). We decided to get him a lightweight, collapsible stroller for the nursery runs when we’re not slinging him and also for travel. I’ve absolutely loved our other two strollers (Bugaboo and Mountain Buggy) this year travelling, but we’re at the stage where I think we needed a lightweight stroller and we’ll have less of a need for his bigger ones. Plus, the compactness and lightness of this new one is amazing (6.5kg/13 lbs). It folds with one hand, has adapters for the Maxi Cosi car seats, it’s got a great mesh seat, has big back wheels (unlike most lightweight umbrella strollers) and just looks cool. Little Man seems to like it too – he can swing his feet until his heart’s content and he sleeps really well in it. Here’s a pic of Little Man enjoying a nap in it on an amazingly sunny and warm day in London last week.

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    Any suggestions of things to do with a one-year-old in Houston, San Antonio or southern Florida?

    What do babies eat when you’re on the go and want to stay clean?

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    When I’m out for the day and I know I’m going to be feeding Little Man, I look for the “clean” foods. Mind you, a lot of these travel well and live in our nappy bag and I’ll replenish or freshen up as needed.
    Carrots – raw or cooked
    Green beans – steamed
    Broccoli
    (Any kind of steamed green veg, mostly)
    Grapes (juicy, but clear juice if going for green grapes)
    Biscuits
    Plain pasta
    Peas
    Rice (can be mixed with veg)
    Cereal (shredded wheat or puffed rice are current favourites)
    Homemade banana and oatmeal cookies
    Dried fruits – prunes, apricots, raisins
    Sliced chicken or turkey
    Omelet – I take one egg, beat it and put it in a pan with a little oil until cooked through then cool it and slice in strips. Little Man loves this
    Rice cakes
    Pieces of chicken, turkey or salmon without sauce or gravy
    Bread roll (or any kind of toast, baguette, etc)
    Tomatoes (surprisingly, but if they’re deseeded, they don’t leave too much of a mess)
    Freeze dried fruit (strawberries and blueberries are currently a favourite)
    Crèpes or pancakes – pick a country’s version (homemade ones without salt or sugar in them)
    Dried fruits (Little Man’s loving prunes and apricots) – we get the organic ones without potassium sulfate
    Any puréed baby food in one of those brilliant Tetra packs – Ella’s, Plum Organics, Organix, HIPP Organic…I don’t even bother with those screw-on spoons, Little Man sucks straight from the pouch.

    What are your favourite snacks or lunch foods when you’re on the go and you don’t want to leave a mess?

    What to pack…5 weeks old to 6 months…

    I thought I’d start off with a packing list of what to bring. Our first trip we went a bit overboard, but I think most new parents do with their first trip abroad with a little baby.
    We also packed rather hastily as we were on our way to see my grandmother and her health took a turn for the worse so we moved our trip up a few days. Since that first trip where Little Man was just 5 weeks, we have streamlined our packing so we can fit everything into one suitcase and one stroller bag.

    Clothes – Plan for around one and a half the times of days. If you’re going for a week, pack around 10-12 outfits for your little one. We found it very helpful to do a load of wash during the trip so you don’t have to pack as much for you or your little one.
    PJs – I expect Little Man to pee/poo through a couple of them, so one set for every few days
    Socks – as many as you use
    Sleep suit – this is a sleeveless sleeping bag that lots of companies make now. A great alternative to blankets for Little Man at night. We use a great one from Marino Kids that seems to work for all temperatures. Hotels tend to be too cold…
    Jacket/sweater – helpful for chilly nights or air conditioning. We usually bring a jacket and one thick sweater and then a lighter one too
    Toys – we have brought our play mat with us with the little bar and a couple of the dangling toys. Also a handful of other little toys of a variety of shapes, textures and noises you can bring out and switch up every day or so. We have been bringing around five or six little toys and the mat and haven’t gotten bored yet. It helps if some of the toys can double up and dangle on the stroller and car seat
    Diapers (nappies) and other changing needs – plan for at least the first few days. Most countries will have Pampers and Huggies in pharmacies so you can stock up when you’re there. If you don’t want to use Pampers or Huggies, plan for the typical number of nappies you typically use plus a handful for those extra dirty days. We’ve done a combination of both. In Istanbul and Moscow, we brought all we needed for the trip, everywhere else, we bought extras there.
    Books – we bring one or two mettle board books to read and play with
    Stroller – everyone has their own preference. We haven’t gone the route of a lightweight umbrella stroller (yet) and are collapsing our day-to-day one in its travel bag and checking it in. The travel bag is big, but it works for us. We can fit a lot of Little Man’s things in the bag and most major airlines allow a stroller to be checked without counting it towards baggage allowance. We use a carrier (currently Beco Gemini) to get from checking in to the gate and then on the other side through to when we get to the hotel. That allows us with two sets of hands on both ends of flying instead of wrestling with a stroller too. We have been known to open up the stroller once we pick it up and use it as a luggage cart to make things a bit easier too.

    For the plane…
    Dress little one in something warm. Footed PJs, long onesie and socks, track suit, etc.
    Bring a muslin (to cover up baby, yourself, extra hand towel, mop up drips…) and if you like a heavier blanket (receiving blanket weight probably) although the plane blankets work too.
    Two or three toys – these would be a part of the total number of toys you’re bringing on the trip
    Baby wipes – need I explain why?
    U-shaped neck pillow – I’ve used it as an arm rest for feeding and also extra cushioning for Little Man during the flight
    Hat – just in case…
    Feeding – I breastfeed, so I don’t have to worry about any bottles or formulas. Friends who bottle feed have found a few things help.
    Some companies make already sterilised bottles you can bring along to use.
    Some airports allow you to order the ready-made containers of formula and you can pick them up on the other side of security so you don’t have to deal with opening up the containers and drinking them for security
    Use powdered formula so you can then mix up what you need on the other side with bottled water
    Solid food – we haven’t gotten there yet…stay tuned

    We also were given a flight log book for Little Man on our first flight. Some airlines have one to give to young travellers that the captain or first officer then will fill out each flight. You can probably make your own too…but we’ve kept up with Little Man’s one from British Airways and we keep it tucked in his passport so we don’t forget it.