Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 8: The Drawer


Sometimes, when you are traveling, you just don't have a bed to use. And that is OK, too. When my daughter was three weeks old, we traveled from where she was born to our home, which is 8 hours away. (For that story, look here.) We  decided that since she was so little, we would break the trip up and stayed with my sister, who was roughly half-way. On that trip, we used an empty dresser drawer, padded with a blanket. It worked and that simple solution was the inspiration for what I will share tomorrow.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Day 7: The Peapod

Yesterday we talked about the pack n play. I love mine and currently have it set up in my kid's school room. But I also mentioned that there was another type of travel bed that I have and use. It is the KidCo Peapod. Basically, it is a little tent, complete with a mattress, that you can contain your little one in.
My oldest using this for the very first time - May 2009

It comes in two sizes, regular and plus. And we own them both. The regular one is smaller and is designed for use with children ages 1-3, while the plus one is larger and can be used up until the age of 5. We have older models of them, but I have to say if money wasn't a factor, I would probably upgrade them to the current models. What I love most about these is the size when they are collapsed for travel. The regular one can fit in a carry-on suitcase, while the plus fits in normal luggage. 

I can tell you, these have been everywhere with us. We've flown with them multiple times. We've taken them camping. We've taken them on road trips. We've used them when visiting family. We even used this when we first moved into our current home, when our belongings arrived two weeks after we did! All of my children, aside from my 3 month old, have used these and loved them. They think they are so special to be sleeping in their own little tent! When packing space is at a premium, these are the beds that we travel with. If I'm not worried about packing space and I want a ready made change table (I love my change tables!), then I travel with the pack n play.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day Six: A Bed to Sleep In - The Play Pen

The most common travel baby bed that people think of is a play pen. There are many variations  and companies offering these that you can choose the features that you want and the price point that you want.

July 2013 - my daughter enjoying her naptime in the play pen during our vacation last summer
When I was first in the market for a travel bed, I chose to get a Graco pack n play. The features that I liked about it were the bassinet and the change table attachments. My play pen was used many times over the years on many different trips as well as at home, until last summer when we unpacked it in a hotel room late one night only to find a screw missing from one of the supports underneath. Thankfully, the hotel had play pens and we were able to get one from them.

This fall, as I was decluttering my basement, I decided to take a quick look at my play pen to see if it was fixable. I was pleasantly surprised to find the missing screw in the bottom of the bag and was able to fix it with in a couple of minutes. I am really glad. I do have some other options for baby travel beds, but there are some trips and ages that I really prefer to have the pack n play. I am glad that I'll be able to use it for baby #4.

The thing that I don't really like about my pack n play is its size. It is bulky and thus can be difficult to pack. It also can take a little extra time to set it up or take it down. Tomorrow, I will talk about another option that I also love

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 5: Wraps and Other Carriers

So, this series on travel with babies was interrupted by travel with babies. Sorry for that, I had thought that I'd be able to keep it up, but I soon realized that it wasn't going to happen when I was alone with my four children. Last Sunday, I returned from my dad's place. I had traveled south to help prepare for my baby sister's wedding and to hang out with my other sister and her family for a bit after the festivities were over. There were eight children ages 3 months to 10 years in the house, and even though there were four adults to share the load (my dad, my sister, my brother-in-law, and myself) I still had a lot to deal with. 

Let's continue on with the topic at hand: wraps and carriers. These are the things that allow you to get stuff done or get moving when you need to. I really value the hands-free capabilities of them and use them a lot, both around home and when traveling. 

My first carrier was some type of an Infantino one. I used it a little for my first child, but did not like it very much. I always felt that the baby flopped around too much in it and I was a little scared to use it. The one thing that I did like about it was that it had a fleece cover that fit over it to use as a blanket to protect the baby. I am always trying to rig up something similar. I also had some type of a sling that had been given to me, but I only used it once, because once again, I did not understand how to use it.

Enter baby #2. We moved out of our house just one week after he was born and all our things were put into storage for 1.5 months. For some reason, my husband thought it was a good idea to pack up both of our strollers with everything else, so I was left to figure something else out for our cross-country move. I'd been seeing and hearing great things about Moby wraps. I picked one up and it is still one of my favorite baby purchases. It works so well with newborns. And I have used it well with infants up to 1 year old. I even ended up using it on a trip to SC for a wedding when we forgot our stroller. 

I still wanted another option, however. I asked some ladies at my church to teach me how to carry the baby African style. It is another great way to carry a baby, but I found it very challenging to actually get set up. I guess I was rather uncoordinated.

Our third baby needed to be held a whole lot more than any of the others and I started not enjoying the process of putting the Moby wrap on and getting the baby in. I needed something quick so that I was able to deal with everything else on my plate. I made a sling following this pattern. It revolutionized my life. I was able to tuck it in to anything and take it anywhere with me. I used it to run errands, to put her to sleep at church, to carry her around the house, to care for her at other people's homes, etc. It worked great, as long as she didn't throw a tantrum, go straight and slide right out of it. In fact, at 22 months, I still occasionally will use it when I need to move quickly with her and still have my hands to use. 

I also purchased an Ergo carrier around the same time that I made the other sling. It has been well used, too. It was a life saver during my last pregnancy because my daughter didn't really start walking until two weeks after her brother was born. On our epic vacation this year, I did not travel without the Moby wrap, the sling, and the Ergo. And I used each one of them.
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