The Low Down On My Diaper bag

Ahhh yes the Diaper bag… basically my right arm! I remember being pregnant and checking out Pinterest for lists upon lists of what to put in my diaper bag. I realized very quickly that it is a very personal thing… and that you really don’t need to bring EVERYTHING with you… but you can if you want! Did I basically bring the entire nursery when I left the house the first couple times… absolutely! Since then I have learned to tone it down… a bit. I find it very handy to actually have different bags for different activities. I have a backpack for swimming, a bag for yoga and my everyday bag. I find that it just helps make things easy to grab and go!

The first trick is figuring out what kind of bag you actually want. A very generous friend gave me my diaper bag as a baby gift (Very similar one found here). I like it because:

  • It can be used as a backpack if you really have your hands full
  • It is super cute but the fabric is also waterproof so snow, rain… no problem!
  • There is an adjustable large flap so I can make it smaller or bigger
  • There are some nice outside and inside pockets, also a lovely clip inside
  • Has an attached change pad (that can be detached for washing!) with handy pockets for diapers, wipes and hand sanitizer that are exposed when you zip open the change pad!

Gear we actually use (what’s in my everyday diaper bag all the time):

  • A change of clothing for baby H and an extra shirt for me (I cannot tell you how many times I have used these!)
  • A burp cloth (receiving blanket, spit rag… whatever you want to call it)
  • A little worm toy/rattle thingy (sometimes I bring it sometimes I bring more toys, totally depends on what we are up to)
  • An extra soother (pacifier) with pacifier clip
  • Diapers, wipes
  • An extra change pad: My mom made a simple change pad with just some waterproof fabric and flannel… I have found it really helpful having an extra something you can lay down on a change table and will often use this instead of the one of the bag, simply for ease.
  • Plastic bags (I use grocery bags!): For when you have a poop explosion and you need to put the clothing in a bag and also to seal off the nuclear explosion… I mean diaper.
  • Breastfeeding cover which can double as a burp cloth or blanket if things get extra messy! (Mine does have the stiffened neck so you can take a look down and see whats going on… I really liked this!)
  • Hand sanitizer… which I sometimes have wished to bathe myself in (fortunately we have calmed down on the poop explosion side of things)
  • Sometimes I will throw in an extra light blanket… like these muslin blankets (they really are way handier than I ever expected!)
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Missing from photo is my burp cloth (they were all in the wash… it was laundry day), my extra shirt (because I was wearing it!) and a toy… because really you use what works for you. The cat does not go in the bag… although he has tried!

 

Vacation Aftermath

Who doesn’t love a vacation? Who also hates coming home… well add baby H to that list! The rather unfortunate thing with babies is they really are horrible at telling you exactly what is going on… “Ok you’re upset… what do you need? Food? Diaper change? Song? Are you teething? Too hot? Too cold?” I could go on. About halfway through our vacation H’s sleep took on a bit of a change… as in it wasn’t really happening. This continued when we got home… sad face! Here are a couple of things I learned from coming back to reality.

What we learned:

1) Sometimes you just gotta ride it out! In all transparency, baby H was a complete monster when we got back… for about the following 2-3 weeks. At first we though it was jet lag or being over tired. There was a moment when I thought “I am never going anywhere again!” and “Hawaii was the WORST idea ever!” As this sleep strike continued we started to think otherwise. We tried everything that normally would calm her down and put her to sleep but she was having none of it! Finally we realized she MUST be teething… little bit of baby Tylenol and she was ok… eventually.

2) Babies love routine… I am all about getting out and about, on vacation and in my everyday life… but man you gotta respect the power of a good nap! We really tried our best to get baby H back into a routine as much as we could when we got home. Did it take forever… yes! Did I feel like I aged 30 years… yes! Do I think that if we had not gone on vacation things would have been super-fun-sleep time… no actually. I strongly believe that H was going to have a hard time had we come back from Hawaii or stayed home!

3) It’s so nice to come home! Yes I love to travel, but there is something about those first few steps in the door and that first night back in your own bed! I swear even H knew she was home and was happy to be back in her own crib! She slept like a champ that first night home (obviously this did not last). She was especially happy to see her buddy George… our cat.

4) Babies are sensitive… In this case I am actually referring to baby H’s poor skin. Coming back to the driest place ever was tough on the munchkin. Her skin dried out so much that we felt absolutely awful! Baby H even had a Dr appointment to try and help her out! We tried a few different creams and finally found one that was absolutely AMAZING! After just one day the change was so dramatic I couldn’t even believe it. It was important that we made sure to bath her only once a week and apply cream as quickly as possible after she was out of the water. We also made sure to apply it every day. Since we have been back for awhile now, we continue to apply lotion everyday: sometimes the good stuff and sometimes whatever she hasn’t kicked off her change table! I am happy to report that her skin is looking MUCH better!

Gear we actually used: (I have leaned how to hyperlink text! I have linked to the items that I use on Amazon if you are interested!)

  1. Weleda White Mallow Baby Cream… seriously this stuff is AMAZING!! I also have the Weleda Diaper rash cream… also amazing!
  2. Baby Tylenol – we were very reluctant to use it, but we could just tell that baby H was so uncomfortable
  3. Exercise ball for bouncing when baby H just couldn’t settle
  4. Sound machine again helped just sooth little baby H
  5. Humidifier to help with dryness
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Yes that photo is our poor cat George… he also had a rough time after vacation… he is out of the cone and is all good now!

 

Hawaii part 2 of 2 (Waikiki)

After chilling out on Oahu’s North Shore, it was a bit of a shock to arrive in Waikiki! We arrived at our hotel, which had a nice-sized room… as always it would have been lovely to have had a suite, but we weren’t there for long. I have heard it said before, and I completely agree, Waikiki is similar to Vegas, but on the beach!

 

A couple quick notes if you are heading to Waikiki:

  • It’s loud… Not necessarily house party loud but as soon as you are off the beach Waikiki is basically tall buildings, sidewalks and road… so there is nowhere for sound to go but bounce up the buildings! I’m not saying it was horrendous, just something to be aware of!
  • It’s super fun to wander through the hotels on the waterfront (the Westin Moana Surfrider… yes please!) but they are like a labyrinth!
  • It’s not cheap… the Canadian dollar was also not doing so hot, but still I have had some darn cheap (and tasty) food in the States, not so much on this trip!
  • We missed a few key tourist spots (Pearl Harbour and a hike up Diamond Head for example). I feel that we could have done them if we had really wanted to, but we were happy to just relax!

 

What we learned:

  • Every restaurant welcomed us and baby H with open arms! However, it was more an issue actually finding one that was open early enough for dinner!
  • Stroller wins every time… it was super crowded on the streets and I’m not going to say that we used the stroller as a crowd control device, but lets just say as soon as people saw the stroller they got out of the way! Haha!
  • Location, location, location. When travelling with a little one you never know when you are going to need to head back to the hotel for a nap (either for yourself or babe) so having a central location makes a difference. We made sure that our hotel was close to the beach so we could get there and back in a snap!

 

Great we brought that we actually used:

  • Pack and Play portable crib, although the hotel offered us a crib, we already had it so it wasn’t a big deal. We also made sure to have our handy noise machine to help drown up the other noise.
  • Tummy time mat for playing in the room
  • Stroller (we brought an umbrella stroller as she could sit in it without her car seat and it was light!) and a muslin blanket (for throwing over her in sun and when napping)
  • Diapers –changing station on couch! We brought a ton of diapers and wipes, but only because we brought the pack and play and had some extra space… if we hadn’t brought them it would have taken us 2 seconds to find some over there!

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Above photo is baby H enjoying the view and waiting for the live music before dinner!

* It should be noted that baby H was 5 months, was just starting to be introduced to solids and just learned to roll over on this trip

Hawaii Part 1 of 2 (the North Shore of Oahu!)

First off can I just say that baby H loves not wearing pants… she is the queen of the pants off party! When I say pants I really mean any clothing. Unfortunately we had been given so many outfits for this trip that she was forced to wear adorable dresses that were changed way more often than necessary. Anyway back to the North Shore. Upon arriving, we grabbed out rental car and headed straight North!

 

A couple quick notes if you are heading to the North Shore of Oahu:

  • I loved staying up on the North Shore… far more relaxed than Honolulu and Waikiki
  • Traffic can be busy as there is only one route in many places! People also just randomly pull over onto the side of the road to park and then pull back into traffic, so be aware!
  • Shrimp trucks… do it! Perfectly poaches shrimp in delicious sauces with some rice and salad… yum!
  • Skip Waimea Valley (more details if you keep reading)
  • Hang out on any of the beaches along the Banzai Pipeline and you will see some impressive surfing!
  • Macadamia nut ice cream… enough said! Not 100% what the big deal is with the shaved ice (I am an ice cream girl though!)
  • Dole plantation… I dream of the Dole Whip… yum! We didn’t do the train as they had just harvested and the maze was closed, sad face… but If you want to purchase anything with a pineapple this is the place to do so! It is a totally typical tourist trap… but it is cool to drive up to it and see all the pineapples in the fields!

 

What we learned:

  1. The joys of a rental house: Arriving at our rental house we knew this was going to be good! We had originally thought we might make one of the bathrooms baby H’s room (dark, quiet, her own space), but due to how they were laid out and how massive our room was, having her in the bedroom worked out ok for us! First thing we did was set up a changing station, second thing was to show baby H the ocean! Back home she absolutely hates any wind… in Hawaii she thought it was great! The thing that I will now be considering more closely as she starts to be more mobile is floor cleanliness… strange carpets in tropical locations are not going to work for a crawling, face-planting babe… just something to think about.
  2. When travelling with others we found it essential to have a rental car that was ours… my brother and girlfriend joined us on a couple of adventures to town, to the outlet mall, the beach and on a little hike… but always with the understanding that at any moment we may have to abandon everything and make a break for it! The rental car was one of the few places baby H would actually nap so we got some excellent driving in!
  3. You really can do all sorts of things with a baby if you really want to! Example Waimea Valley… which turned out to be kinda lame. The great thing about Oahu was the warmth! Glorious, glorious warmth. It would spit here and there, but it was so warm you didn’t even worry about it! We decided to head up to the Waimea Valley because apparently there was a lovely hike to a waterfall that was supposed to be very easy (sounded right up our alley!). Upon arriving at the valley it was dripping a bit… no biggie… yah, turned into a lot more than a dripping so we managed to purchase a cheap poncho and N threw it over himself and baby H. We made sure that baby H had her head poking out of the poncho and off we went. Off we went up to completely paved path to the mudfilled watering hole and a waterfall… We did it, but I think that our time would have been better spent doing something else.
  4. Beach with a baby can be fun! We went to a couple beaches, but my favourite would have to be the ones along the Banzai Pipeline. A friend lent us a little baby tent that was great on the beach. I loved it because it was small, protected her from the sun and wind! We never managed to stay super long at the beach but we got there and had a good time while there!
  5. Not all sinks are created equally. We wanted to give baby H at least one bath while away and figured we would just use the kitchen sink… she was still small! Unfortunately this did not work at all… the plug would have poked her little bum! The bathtub didn’t have a plug that worked and all bathroom sinks were teeny tiny… sooo dad hopped in the shower and held onto her very tightly and I gave her a little shampoo and scrub!

 

Gear we brought that we actually used:

  • Baby carrier! On the North Shore sidewalks were not always a given so we never used our stroller! We also had a large muslin blanket that we would throw over her if we were in the sun! Poor baby has Mom’s complexion. We also had a little hat that was probably from the 80s if not older as it was an old-school bonnet style, but she loved it because it covered her ears and still had a nice sun brim on it!
  • Baby tent (pea pod?), not a 100% necessity but it was nice to have for beach time to protect from sun, sand, wind and bugs!
  • 100 outfits, baby sunglasses, baby sandals… ok were any of these things necessary?  … absolutely not as baby H would have loved to just hang out in her diaper…. But I loved and used them all!
  • Pack ‘n Play portable crib for sleeping
  • Noise machine, stuffed bunny and elmo… again bringing things from home that she was used to sleeping with.
  • Tummy time mat and a few toys (we brought many toys… a few would have been adequate). We brought a blanket that is somewhat thicker (so grass couldn’t poke through) and has a bit of water-resistance to it (it’s for tummy time). This was great to lay down as it could be put anywhere and she could play on it in! If she had spit up, the material could just be wiped off!
  • We did not bring a baby monitor but I had my iPhone and iPad which were equipped with iSitter which uses wifi to monitor baby… it worked great!
  • Car seat, car seat cover (again for that sun!) so that when she was sleeping we could cover her up and take her outside (usually to eat tacos or shrimp).

 

*It should be noted that baby H was 5 months, was just starting to be introduced to solids and had just learned to roll over on this trip.

The First Big Flight (Hawaii Here We Come!)

For Christmas my family decided to rent a house in Hawaii, the North Shore of Oahu to be exact. So even before baby H was born (we didn’t even have a name to give the airline when we booked) we decided to go. Were we feeling like this was going to be super fun… to be honest not particularly. I must let it be known that I was that person on the plane that would see a baby, roll my eyes (to myself) and think “I am going to be sitting next to it, and it is going to cry, and I am going to be sooo annoyed”. I apologize to the universe for being such a jerk. Somehow we managed to survive the flights and even the trip itself with a 5 month old!

What we learned:

  1. No matter what, it will end! I decided before we got on the plane that this would be my mantra… because sometimes all you can do it try your very best but baby is still going to cry and people may still be annoyed… but eventually it will end!
  2. Fewer people than you think will actually be bothered by a baby… even a screaming one! On the way there another family was doing to bouncing walk with their little one and mentioned how quiet baby H was being. Apparently their little one was having a heck of a time and was making a huge fuss… we heard nothing! Planes are a lot louder than you think! On the return flight baby H had a tougher time and we were doing the bouncing walk through the plane. While N was changing her a few of the passengers around me mentioned how great she was doing… really?? The important thing is that we were trying was what they said!
  3. There are some serious perks to travel with a baby! As everyone knows travelling at Christmas can be insanely busy… this holiday was no exception. Yes there is the getting-on-the-plane-early perk but there was something I wasn’t quite expecting as well. I remember shuddering as we rounded a corner to security and coming to a complete stop, when usually you would have continued walking for some time! Then magic… the person checking our boarding passes took one look at baby H and simply said “follow me”. We then walked right past everyone; seriously, we were second through the metal detectors. Oh you have fancy first class tickets… ahead of you, oh your plane is about to leave… ahead of you, oh you are flying the plane… ahead of you (ok in a different line, but still). We were right behind another family who had been ushered up front as well. It was like being in a secret club as we gave each other knowing nods… like “oh yah we do this all the time”, “ I could travel alone but having a baby is so much more convenient” ok maybe not so much. I did notice some dirty looks… listen people we have a baby!!
  4. You really don’t need to bring everything in the world on the plane with you… and seriously you don’t need anything to entertain yourself (ipod… haha, magazine… no way, book… oh that’s cute)
  5. Fly business class… or in normal-people everyday-life the bulkhead really is the bees knees… people told me “get the bulkhead… seriously… do it” and I was all “yah yah.” Seriously get the bulkhead! We flew economy plus (free checked bags, extra room, great service) and had the bulkhead going there.. it was great! Two seats and then the aisle we could pop up and down no problems. Heading home we were in the second row and our lovely forward passengers decided to recline their chairs the ENTIRE flight (even when not sitting back… ugh). This really did make getting up and down rather challenging. We made a very conscious choice to also fly direct. Would it have been the end of the world to transfer in Vancouver… no… would it have been a much larger hassle… yes!

Gear we brought that we actually used:

  • We gate-checked the stroller and car seat (super handy to have the stroller right away after de-planing!)
  • We brought a tummy time mat (basically a blanket that has some waterproofness to it so you can wipe up slobber) which she played on before we got on the plane. In the future I think I am going to get a plastic picnic blanket… same basic principal but with her moving around a lot more these days we need something a bit bigger (but still compact).
  • Light change pad for tiny airplane change table, diapers (we basically brought one for every hour, even though we didn’t use nearly that many) and wipes
  • Pillow (great for when they are little and tiny furnaces), baby H enjoyed star fishing on the pillow for a few little naps. I enjoyed the pillow for some extra support! I don’t think I would bring one now that she is a big bigger though.
  • Blanket – particularly for the return flight when the plane felt like an ice box!
  • Tiny stuffed Elmo (Gund) – we brought a TON of toys… why I have no idea as we only used this one! I am sure, now that she is older, toys will be a bigger thing to consider.
  • Extra clothing for her, myself and N. You never know when a poop explosion is going to go down (we avoided one, but you never know!). We made sure baby H was dressed in one of her pj’s as these are the easiest thing to change her in.
  • I wore a muslin receiving blanket as a scarf that I could use as an extra blanket or nursing cover if necessary.
  • I brought some baby Tylenol with me as well… I had used it before (so knew there would be no bad reaction) and took comfort in knowing that if things got REALLY bad… I had medical backup!

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Okanagan Wine Tour

After a lovely visit to my hometown, it was time to head back home. While it was nice to visit, there is something about being in your own space with a baby… “Oh you’re crying… Guess what? So am I!” We decided rather than go back the way we came, we would go through the Okanagan and do a little self-directed wine touring! It turned out to be a not totally horrible idea! YAH doing fun things with a baby!

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Gear we brought that we actually used would be the same as “Road Trip to the Homeland” with a major focus on the carrier. I loved using my wrap as it was nice and snuggly for baby H and myself.

 

What we learned:

  1. Some people can be real judgey (Judgee?) pants! It was interesting to see how some people were like “Yah! You go, awesome-super-fun parents, not letting your baby stop you from a good time”, while other just give you the coldest, harshest death glare and you just know they are thinking “a baby… there is alcohol here… they are probably giving their baby bottles full of booze”… seriously? Please keep in mind that baby H was either asleep or silently but happily just looking around!
  2. Again… you will change your baby anywhere. Remember how I mentioned a space in the trunk to change baby… that came in super handy in the fanciest of vineyards that we visited. As I was checking out the wine, with baby H in the wrap and, trying to decide which wine to buy to continuing filling our box, I got a rather unpleasant whiff. As casually as possible I sauntered over to N and said “is it me that smells or something else”… yah it was me. Commence parking lot change!
  3. People really do love babies… at many of the wineries we were greeted with the biggest smiles! Many of the staff shared stories of their own children at the winery, one woman insisted we take a picture of baby H with a bottle of wine that was bigger than her, and at one winery the winemaker’s own new baby was hanging out as well (playdate?).
  4. You would be surprised how fast a box of wine disappears when you have a little one… this needs no explanation.

Road Trip to My Homeland (Kootenay Bound!)

When baby H was 3 months old, we decided that we needed to head to my hometown in BC, a 7 or 8 hour drive away. We were nervous, but knew that we had to get there to show her off to my baba (her great-grandma) in particular!

What we learned:

  1. We quickly realized that we simply had to pace ourselves. Every 3 hours (no matter what) we had to stop, feed, change and walk around with baby H. The one time we tried to push it (“oh she is sleeping, we can go an extra half an hour”)… massive poop explosion followed by crying and two stressed-out parents. We also decided rather than do the trip in one day (as we usually would) to stay a few nights along the way so we were in no rush! Once we got to our destination we stayed for about 5 days.
  1. Hotel rooms/apartments… those Pack and Play portable cribs are great, but you need to make sure you actually have enough space for one in the hotel room! We managed to squeeze one into our room in the first location but it was tight! I personally found it very challenging, sleeping that close to baby H. In a perfect world we would have a suite so that, in addition to some space, you don’t have to go to bed at 6 pm with baby! At our second location we rented an apartment… awesome! We had a bedroom, so with her in there we could actually hang out in the living room (we ended up ordering pizza and N had a few beers while we watched a hockey game!).
  1. Diaper changing space in the car… When packing we didn’t know what to bring so we brought EVERYTHING but we made sure to have a suitcase that we could easily pull out and gave us a nice space we could use as a diaper changing area! We had a box of wipes and diapers ready to go. We tried to change her on the seat… and in a pinch that’s fine, but the incline does add a challenging element!
  1. Once you actually get to where you’re going it was so nice to have a place to set up a changing station that was there for the entire time! Loved this! It was interesting to me that at such a young age she was still so disrupted by a change in her routine. We did our best to calm her down but that first night with Grandparents and Great-Baba were a bit too much for baby H and she had an epic meltdown. We learned very quickly that overstimulation is a real thing!

Gear that we brought that we actually used:

  • Mirror that attaches to the backseat headrest so that the driver can see baby (seriously great, even for those reach-around pacifier-insert moments!)
  • Pack n’ Play: often hotels have cribs, but it was nice to have our own that we knew was clean and safe… and had a higher level for such a tiny baby!
  • Car seat and cover: sometimes it was nice to have the ability to block the sun from her little face.
  • Baby carrier: for when we stretched our legs and hers!
  • Sound machine: we use one in her room and on the road it was one more familiar thing (also helped me out in the tiny hotel room to not hear every possible movement she made!)
  • Adorable outfits to show her off in, diapers, wipes, stroller, and baby shampoo

 

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