5 Tips for Pumping While Traveling

By 9:32 PM , , , , , , ,
I have completed more flights than I can count on two hands (and two feet) in the past two and half months since I returned to work from maternity leave. I am in the air and on the road A LOT and am so blessed that I have not had to give up nursing and breast feeding my baby due to traveling. 

I had so much anxiety returning to work on how I would manage all the logistics of carrying breast milk, pumping in air, transporting milk, keeping milk cold, etc. while on the road every week but am happy to say I think I have it figured out. I did a ton of research and talked to a ton of other moms who are doing it to learn the tips and tricks of the trade & now feel that I owe it to any future Mommas wanting to do the same to share what I have learned. So without further ado here are my tips for flying and traveling as a breast feeding Mommy:

1. Purchase all the chargers. 
Seriously I recommend a battery charger, car charger, and normal outlet charger and always carry back up batteries. Unfortunately often times flights get delayed and it can become impossible to find an outlet. Your best back is to have a car charger and battery charger ready to go as backup. That way you are always prepared. 

2. Use the Magic Words "Medical Device" a lot with TSA.
Ok ladies...here is the thing about TSA...they will either be great and it will be no issue at all or they will be awful and pat you down and run your bag approximately 5 times after searching it in person. I have had both happen often. Here are my TSA tips...use the words "medical device" often, also, don't be afraid to say "breast milk" it's amazing how scary those words can be to some people (men especially) and how questions can stop when you mention those two simple words. If they do search your bag ask them to change gloves before doing so. 

3. Time is your friend.
I recommend arriving approximately 45 minutes earlier to the airport than you would arrive normally. That way if TSA gives you a hard time or you need to pump before departing you have time to do so. Also, don't forget time to get ice once you go through security from a restaurant.

4. Your coolers matter.
Let's talk logistics. For me the easiest thing to do is to check an empty cooler with ice packs (no ice is allowed on flights) on the way there. Once I get to my hotel I ask the hotel to refreeze my ice packs over night. On the way back I check all the milk I have pumped previously in my cooler with ice packs. I use a soft Artic cooler I bought off of Amazon and it works great. I have never had an issues with milk not staying cold when stocked with ice packs and milk. Remember you must have ice packs as the airlines won't allow ice. I also brink a small soft cooler that fits in my pump bag through security (empty) that way I store milk that I pump once I go through security and on longer flights, on the plane, in it during the flight. If you pump on the flight I recommend pumping in the airplane restroom and then asking the flight attendant for a cup of ice. If you pump at the airport you can go to any restaurant and ask for a bag of ice. Bring lots of Ziploc baggies with you and just hand the restaurant a bag and ask them to put some ice in it. I do this all the time and have never had anyone not say "sure," no questions asked.

5. But where do I pump?
Great question. Most airports have these great things called "Mothers Pods." I love them because they are spacious and have outlets. The bad news? Lots of people use these Pods to take naps. If you are one of these people PLEASE STOP. There is no way to reserve these and often times you may not have time to wait if it is not available before your flight leaves. If a Mother's room or pod is not available at your airport my second favorite location to pump is a Family Restroom. Often times they also have outlets although they will not have a seat and you may have to pump standing up over a sink. Lastly my third option is a restroom stall where you will need to use your battery charger. Not ideal but push comes to shove this is what I use as my last option. Also, if you have to pump on the plane it can be done. Take it from someone who had to fly to Seattle and had no other way. 
 
I hope you have found these tips helpful. I praise  you sweet Mama for loving your babies enough to make this sacrifice for them. I commend you and remember this too is only a season. If I can ever answer any questions please don't hesitate to reach out. Happy to pass on anything I have learned. 

Happy travels and happy pumping! 

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Clean Carpets = Happy Momma

By 9:26 PM , , ,
One thing no one warned me about when I became a mom was just how disgusting my carpets would quickly become. Between a 4 year old who decided to stamp up our house (and carpets) with blue ink while I was feeding the baby the other day to a baby who has reflux and often throws up her milk, kids can be worse than dogs on the dirt front. That's why when Sears Services contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out their services I excitedly responded, "YES." 

Sears cleaned my carpets this week and I am so excited about the results. Not only do my carpets look awesome and stain and dirt free (AND ALSO BLUE STAMP FREE YAY) but my experience in working with Sears Carpet and Air Ducts was awesome! Juime was my technician and he went out of his way to make sure I had an awesome experience. From continually asking me if I had any questions to having me 'proof' the rooms to see if I was happy with the results he went above and beyond to make sure my experience was a great one! He even helped me move my couch back on the carpet when he was done cleaning. I had such a great experience with Sears Carpet and with Juime and am excited to showcase my results on my clean carpets below. 






Look at those amazingly clean carpets! Can I just comment on how even areas I didn't realize were dirty now look like brand new carpet. That is pretty nasty if you stop and think about it but makes me thankful that I took the time to work with Sears Carpet to get them cleaned. From now on I am holding tight to my 'no shoes inside in this household' rule. I mean just think about where your shoes go. Gross. 


I highly recommend this company and guarantee you that if you give them a shot you will be happy with the results.  For those in the Atlanta area reach out to get a quote for service by visiting:  www.searsclean.com/atlanta-ga.

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Date Night In

By 1:11 PM , , ,
You all know how much I enjoy our date night in monthly box subscription because I post about it every month or so but let me tell you...the reality of the stage of life we are in as parents of a 4 year old and 4 month old and both of us working jobs outside the home (plus me traveling for a living) makes it nearly impossible to get a date night out these days. We LOVE these boxes because it gives us a guaranteed night a month to connect with each other at home once the kids are in bed. It is an evening we both truly look forward to and it gives us something to do other than watch a movie and always gives us good conversation topics other than our precious children that we typically revert to talking about if left to our own devices. 

The boxes are always fun and have fun activities worked into the theme. This month's box theme was "Adventure Together." For this date we got to look up constellations, play "Speed" the card game, light some candles, and dream about our future adventures together. As always the date didn't disappoint. We had a blast. 



If you have not yet given these boxes a try I highly recommend them. If tired parents like ourselves can dedicate an hour or two a month to bettering our marriage and spending time just having fun together and enjoying being with each other I am certain you can too. I promise you it will be a good investment. 

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5 Ways to Enjoy a Beach Trip with an Infant

By 1:17 PM , , , , , , ,
We got back last week from a family vacation trip to the beach for the first time as a family of four. We had a great time, ate lots of yummy food, saw some incredible sea life, and did it all with a 3 (almost 4) year old and a 9 week old that turned 10 weeks while we were at the beach. So what are the tips and tricks to having a good time with an infant at the beach? 



1. Seek out shade! 
Shade becomes your best friend. I mean the sun is totally overrated anyway right? I highly recommend purchasing a good, easy to break down baby tent (some snap right up but then are almost impossible to break down) and invest in a good large umbrella or tent as well. We bought our tent from Sam's club and it is a large 10x10 tent that allows for lots of shade and also have an infant tent we used the entire week - I would link to it but it was from Target and they no longer sell our model. Highly encourage you to read reviews especially when it comes to break downs before purchasing your infant tent. Our infant tent is pictured below with our little girl enjoying "laying out." 



2. Bring lots of long sleeve, light-weight infant PJs
The cute infant bathing suits you purchased while you were pregnant...while adorable they are pretty much only good for pictures at this young of an age, still worth bringing for that quick photo like the one I snapped below. I quickly found that putting my baby in light weight PJs was much more practical for walks on the beach and time spent in the sun as it protected her precious skin from the sunlight (you can't apply sunscreen until 6 months of age). Add a good sunhat and your baby is protected from the sun's harmful rays. Also, bring short sleeve little outfits that if your baby gets hot during mid day you can change the baby into while under the shade. 



3. Bring a baby carrier that your baby enjoys riding in for walks on the beach
My baby loved being able to look out and watch the waves and boats in the ocean and when she wasn't looking around would sleep in the carrier while we went on walks on the beach. 



4. Visit the beach before it gets too hot or after the hottest part of summer has past
April, early to mid May, September and even October are awesome times to visit the beach - it's not as crowded and not as blood coiling hot. However, if you must visit during the hottest summer months try to venture out to the beach early in the morning (you'll be up anyway) or later in the evenings and avoid the peak sun times. 

 5. Bring a plastic baby bath
You can fill the baby bath with a little water and your baby can use that to play in under the shade and cool down. Always remember to never leave a baby alone in the water at any time. As your baby gets older and becomes a toddler we always bring a plastic pool to fill with water and allow our older son to play in. He loves it. 

BONUS: Try to come without an expectations
Some babies like the beach more than others - my son we took at 6 weeks old and he hated it. It was the middle of July, blazing hot, and he couldn't stand being hot and sandy all the time. While our daughter at 10 weeks loved the beach the first week of May. I think the time of year made a big difference and also the fact she was a month older but at the end of the day I think the biggest difference was my expectation of our trip. The first time I had all these visions of my baby in cute swimsuits on the beach with wonderful dinners late into the night at fun restaurants. This time I had not one but two children and literally came with no expectations other than we were there to have fun together for a week as a family. We woke up without a plan everyday (super hard for me who is a super planner) and we developed our plan as the day went on and we could see how our kids were doing. We did have a ton of fun and even got to go to dinner every night and have some delicious meals but where we ate and what time revolved around how the kids were doing that day. 


All in all we had a wonderful beach trip with the kiddos and hope these tricks help you have a great trip if you are taking an infant as well! 



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Our Date Night-In

By 12:14 PM , , , ,

With an 8 week old that suffers from reflux and colic every night and a 3 year old it has become almost impossible to get a date night out with my man. That is why we SO look forward to our monthly date night-in box. With this box we can put our 3 year old to bed, baby in her swing (the only way this reflux baby is happy lately), and spend a little time together just having fun and focusing on us without putting any thought into it what to do. The box comes with everything you need and lists everything to do so pretty much no prior effort is required...perfect for exhausted parents like ourselves! Also, we love that it gives us something to talk about other than spit up, dirty diapers, and milk since that seems to be the majority of our conversation with a newborn lately. 

You guys this month's date night-in box was my favorite yet! It was a "blind date" and consisted of games to play while blind folded, cotton candy, face masks, and a fun game in which you answered questions about each other while blind folded. We haven't laughed so hard together in a long time. It was SO much fun. 

Here are some photos from our date night. 


Seriously we died laughing in this activity in which one partner used duct tape to create an obstacle course and then guided their blind folded partner through the course using just words. Josh actually took a video of me completing the course he created but we are laughing so hard you can't understand us so I decided not to post. 


This was a game in which you had to draw your dream day at the beach while blind folded. You did it several different ways (guided by the box). I think I did pretty good (see my drawing below) clearly it is us and our kids, a beach umbrella, waves, and a sunny day. ;) 


Date night-in also always posts a full menu for your date including drink recipes, appetizer recipes, main course, and dessert. While we didn't get to make the menu this time around I look forward to making it one night soon as it looks absolutely delicious. 

We are already looking forward to our next date night-in box. I highly encourage you to click on the photo below and sign up to get your date box. No investment you make in your marriage is to costly. I can't wait to see what you think of your date and see your photos! 



See prior date night in on this link. 

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