Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting ready to go abroad: what we brought for the baby!!!

Ok, so when you are planning a 19 day trip abroad you have a lot of things you need to bring for your baby. I made a list a week or two before the trip and added to it everytime I thought of something new. My goal was to not OVER-pack for the little one, but also not to be unprepared. Now that the trip is over, there are a few things I think we could have done without, and a few things we should have brought. So I am going to pass on my two cents on the matter!

WHAT WE BROUGHT (for Olivia only):
3 pairs of pjs
2 rompers
1 pair of pants, 2 pair of bloomers
4 shirts
1 pair of shoes
bathing suit
diapers (2 jumbo packs)
wipes (a 3-pack from walmart)
a headband or two (even though I figured she wouldn't keep em on)
throw-away bibs
toddler formula ( just enough for the first day or two and the plane ride home)
3 sippy cups
3 spoons
1 small tupperware container
olivia's huge, heavy fleece blanket that she is attached to...
anti-bac wipes that I cut up and put in a ziploc
Maclaren umbrella stroller**
hanging storage thing I made for the stroller**
an ERGO carrier (bought this one wk. before we left!)**
a Phil and Ted's portable crib (bought one wk. before!!!)**
TOYS: new blocks she had never seen** (ones with multiple things to press and move on each side), a container full of random things (balls, blocks, little people), a leaptop computer, lily, STACKING CUPS**,  baby einstein music player.

The stacking cups: a friend suggested these for the plane, and man they were great. they kept olivia entertained forever! I was doubtful, but my friend was right!

Lots of snacks: Okay, we really didn't need to bring QUITE as many as we had, but the same friend had suggested I bring all different types of snacks, new ones that she has never tried. GOOD SUGGESTION. I brought annie's all natural fruit snacks, graham crackers, goldfish, new freeze-dried fruit, granola bars (all natural from costco), fruit loops (I know these are so bad probably, but they were great when we needed her to just make it a little longer), etc. She loved it all, and the fruit snacks were great when she was especially fussy.

The ERGO carrier: OH. MY. GOSH. that thing was awesome. I had a baby bjorn when she was little, but since she was one now, she had far outgrown it. the SAME friend again told me about her Ergo and how much she liked it, so I read a thousand reviews online and decided to use my etsy money to buy one. SO GLAD I DID. oh man. Because of that thing we were able to stay out in Athens all day exploring ruins, in Ephesus exploring ruins, walk all around Venice, Paris, etc etc. She is not the kind of baby who falls asleep easily but that thing was the bomb ( b/c she DID fall asleep in it!). and it has this awesome part that goes over the baby's head when they fall asleep, so that their head doesn't bobble around! And on the plane ride home, when she was fussy but couldn't sleep, I strapped her in that thing, sang to her, and she fell right asleep. And I was hands-free:) It can be used on the back, front, or side. And it goes up to 3 years old! AND it has a hip strap, so your back doesn't hurt the way it does with a bjorn. It rocked.

The Phil and Ted's crib: My husband was second guessing my decision on this one for the first part of the trip, but let me tell you why it rocked. 1. It folds up so small that it only took up half my suit case!!! and it only weighs 7 lbs. 2. It takes 10 min. to set up. 3. Olivia had the consistency of the same bed wherever we went. 3. It was not crusted with another baby's barf (our luggage was lost when we initially landed in Venice, and so we had to use the hotel's portacrib that was crusted with baby barf. DISGUSTING). This was an awesome, last minute purchase I made using my etsy money. I got it from, and because I found a discount code online I got it for about $40 cheaper!!
                                                             the crib is that red thing on the right
New blocks: really this is just "new toys." someone suggested bringing a few things olivia had never seen. My friend had told me to go to the dollar store and get cheap stuff, but ours didn't have anything good. Luckily I had bought these multi-activity blocks for her to use, and she loved them.

Our Maclaren: I am really not trying to plug certain brands, but just in case someone wants to know, these are the brands of things that we brought. I actually got my stroller on sale with a discount code  for a really great price about 6 months ago, and I am so glad I did. I would NEVER have wanted to lug around a huge stroller, even if it meant bigger wheels for the cobble-stone streets. The Maclaren was lightweight and small and easy to run through the airport with (as we almost missed our connection from paris to venice----after our 8 hour flight where olivia decided not to sleep). And when we had to go up and down the millions of stairs in the Paris metro, it was easy to get up and down (though we mostly used the ergo while in paris). And it is so sturdy (unlike most umbrella strollers) that it withstood the crazy cobblestone and 3 weeks of traveling very well.
tying franc's jacket over olivia helped ward of cold and rain when we were in London.
The Thing I sewed for the back of the stroller: I really wish I had a photo of this thing, but it was THE BOMB. I should have made a tutorial for it or something, but I haven't. basically I made something like this, but even better:)

So those were our favorite things that we brought. obviously we are glad we brought the clothes and sippy cups, but those are obvious!

Diaper cream (olivia never gets diaper rashes so I didn't think about it, but she got a really bad one in paris and so we had to buy $12 diaper cream, even though I have like 4 tubes at home). errrr

socks- I figured it was summer and since Olivia never keeps socks on anyway, why bring them? I had shoes.. right?! well I hadn't anticipated that it would be so cold in some of our rooms, or that London would actually be cold sometimes... we ended up buying some in London.

An umbrella- duh. you are going to London. But we actually ended up needing one in Paris too. It only rained for about 5 hours of our entire trip (2 hours in Paris, 3 hours in London), but we had to buy an over-priced crappy umbrella from the Musee D'Orsay museum shop because of it. (Of course the rain stopped as soon as we left.)

so many darn toys. seriously. the girl loved the stacking cups and the blocks, but we probably didn't need to bring anything else. she was more interested in all the crap around our hotel room than the toys we brought her. And they took up so much room in our luggage. Franc would have been happy to get rid of most of it after lugging it up and down so many stairs. Poor guy, that luggage was HHHHEEEAVY.
 see??!! she found so many fun things to play with around the hotel room! I simultaneously freaked out and laughed so hard when I saw her cleaning the toilet with the toilet brush in our hotel in paris.

so much food. we really could have left 3/4 of it at home. We bought her lots of new treats while we were abroad, so all we should have brought was enough for a couple days. that's it.

Wow. now you must be thinking that is a lot for just one tiny little person, but let me tell you, some things you bring can really make your experience much more enjoyable. And we had the time of our lives, so if we had to spend a few extra bucks to make that happen, then so be it!


Claire Kiefer said...

Oh my goodness gracious, she is SO CUTE! I love her dark hair and eyes. And that serious little face!

Dana said...

what a great post!! i love your pictures and that one of you and olivia in the ergo is way cute! i have been thinking of getting an ergo for our little one and this post just confirms that it's the perfect one to get! if we ever travel with our little one..i'll refer to this post.:)

Ashley Terry said...

I feel like this post was written just for me! Not that we are planning a trip or anything, but there are so many things we are trying to decide on while we are registering, and this post was full of info and answers to questions I have been having! I think you just saved my sanity Katie :)


Jill said...

Awesome post. I think lots of parents have these same thoughts even just traveling across country here or long rides in the car. It's always nice to know what works, and I've learned with the toys too..charlie will play with the ice in a cup or a napkin, so packing playdoh and whatever else I thought would be fun was a nightmare. I'm so glad your trip went well because traveling with a toddler is NOT easy.

dannii said...

oh my goodness. thanks a gillion katie! i too have been contemplating an ergo just a couple days ago as g-bear is getting a little heavy and big for his bjorn (which i love still). basically, strollers are not so much an option here with the stairs, metro, and "sidewalks." anyway, this is super helpful for me right now. and someone gave us stacking cups from IKEA and i am discovering that they are the geratest things EVER. we've got more travelling around here to do so thanks a ton again. oh, and since you have all the stuff, you should use it by coming here for a visit.

Meredith said...

I totally agree with you about the Ergo! That thing saved us in France. I absolutely LOVE it and use it almost every day around the house too! I also bought the Phil & Teds Traveller crib/cot thing for our trip, and unfortunately was sorely disappointed! I thought it was overpriced (even with the discount) and not well made at all (I don't even "know" how to sew and I can sew straighter seams than were on this thing). I even sewed a sheet to fit it before we left on the trip, since there aren't any made for it (and since strangely enough that inflatable mattress thing is supposed slip in that pocket at the bottom--do they expect you to put your child's face right on the nylon material? I thought that was weird.). I returned it as soon as we got home! If I ever buy another one, I will go with the Baby Bjorn one. It isn't as lightweight, but I've seen it in person several times and I think it is better made and there is no set up at all! I am writing a post just like this for my blog too. Thanks for all the tips :)

blueeyedfreckle said...

MER! I am sorry your crib was dissapointing! I really loved that thing. I actually bought the bjorn one before the phil and ted's and promptly returned it once I saw how huge it was. It IS great that it is so easy to put up, but it cannot be carried on board the plane (I called with the dimensions and asked), and it would cost to have it as an extra piece of luggage. Those are the reasons that I returned it. If you never plan on flying with it, then I think it is great, because yes it is a little better made and it is easier to install, but after putting up and taking down the phil and ted's I am a super pro. And ours seemed to be sewn fine! I have heard some people don't like it though. too bad!

blueeyedfreckle said...

oh and I sewed a sheet for ours but forgot it, so then I just wrapped a sheet from the hotel around it instead ( a full size one)

Mel said...

I am so so impressed that you guys pulled off a trip overseas! That plane ride would've been a bit intimidating for me at 1 year. (We just pulled off a 3-week road trip, though, and now I feel a little more confident about our travelin' skillz.)

Ergo, ergo, ergo. They are the best, aren't they?? My friend still carries around her 32+ lb. 2 year old in it when he just won't sit still in a stroller. I have the UppaBaby version of that better-than-an-umbrella-stroller (it reclines for comfy sleeping, right?) which is all we've ever had for as far as strollers go.

Oh, and I recently discovered Cascadian Farms Fruitful O's as an organic alternative to fruit loops when your kid just needs something yuuuuummmmy to keep them happy. I cut them half and half with Publix Brand Organic Cheerios -- a really easy way to supplement with calcium if she's not nursing as much and doesn't love milk. (Um, yeah, Calina's almost 18 months and still nurses 3-4 times a day... Still going strong! LOL!) Also, you're about at the point where these things will really start to come in handy, if you don't already have them or something like 'em.

So happy for you & your gorgeous almost-toddler. They do grow up fast, don't they?

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

I'm bookmarking this for future reference! And you'll be sharing more photos and stories form your trip, I hoep!