A year ago now, I had a friend over for a visit. She brought along her son who was just shy of a year old. I watched him dissect and explore every inch of my home while caressing my growing belly. Although I knew that I would soon be in her shoes running after a toddler who just discovered how to walk, it still seemed so far away for me. To be honest, most of my pregnancy I couldn’t really see past the labour and delivery part. This was perhaps because I had no idea what to expect or perhaps because I was too anxious to think about it. It was probably both. In the midst of our visit she pulled out some snacks for her boy and went on to tell me how much they both loved this specific brand. She knew I would be interested since well, I’m me and I care about quality food choices. My girlfriend raved about Love Child Organics and went on to tell me how many different types of snacks and meals they offer. The ingredients were real, wholesome, and organic. This was the first time I had heard about the company. I honestly didn’t think too much about it since I was personally far from life with a baby on solids but I remember thinking it was an incredible relief that such a quality brand was available on the market.
Fast forward to about a month ago. I had an 8 month old (I refuse to use the weekly sum of her age-it’s a pet peeve of mine as is using months after a child has turned 1 years old). So, Eliana had just turned 8 months old and we had just booked a trip to Mexico. It was the first time I thought about what I was going to do for her solids. Up until this point, I had been making all of her food myself. I prefer to make her food and for several reasons. It is cheaper to buy your own ingredients. Making food from scratch is therapeutic for me and it also encourages creativity when developing recipes or combinations per say. I also believe I am leading by example. I want Eliana to understand and appreciate the importance of preparing our own meals. I want her to enjoy it and I want her well-being to thrive off of the fruits of her labour. However, with a trip to Mexico on the way, I knew I had to explore other options to satisfy her solid eating enjoyment. I immediately remembered that brand that my friend was raving about many months ago.
Ironically enough, the stars aligned for me just in the nick of time and I received an inviting email from Leah, the founder of Love Child Organics. She approached me with the opportunity to create recipes for the LCO website and I eagerly said yes, feeling as if the world was embracing me with chance and change. With getting some background knowledge on the products and the low-down of all the choices, I knew I would be more than ready for our trip with Eliana.
Although Love Child Organics has tons of different options for little’s, I mostly brought along puree packages as that is what I was previously feeding her and I knew they’d be a dream to mix in with the cereals. Besides the fact that their baby food is the best quality on the Canadian market, they really pulled through for us on this trip. Whenever we are eating, Eliana complains in jealousy until she gets something to munch on as well. I wasn’t comfortable feeding her anything but the fruit on our trip to Mexico so she definitely ate up tons of Love Child goodies. I would bring down some of the buckwheat and chia cereal mix in our “to-go” hotel coffee cups where I would then add water and fruit puree while eating breakfast. We just laughed every time as I’m sure it looked as if we were spoon feeding our child coffee (and that’s the last thing my nap protesting kid needs). I will also be 100% honest and admit that I too, indulged in a quality puree package in order to avoid an advanced state of hanger. We had just landed and were waiting for our hotel shuttle to leave and drop us off at our resort. I was raging with hunger and when I’m hungry I’m not the nicest person on the block. So, I figured I’d personally taste test some Love Child Organics. It held me over until we reached our final destination. Baby food saves the day!
Overall, our all-inclusive trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was a dream come true. As most of you know, my husband works out of town and has been on a shift where he is only home every second weekend since Eliana was just weeks old. The vacation was everything we needed and more. We got to spend quality time together as a family. It was the longest stretch of togetherness since her birth. It was a stress-free, appointment-free, commitment-free week of relaxed bliss at the slowest pace. I had a co-parent. I got to sip on pina coladas as my husband walked laps in order to get Eliana to nap. I had a helping hand and another pair of eyes. I had my best friend, my husband, my father’s daughter around and it was time well spent. He is a champion dad and watching him love her makes me fall in love with him all over again.
I had an inkling Eliana’s naps would be a struggle for the most part as they are at home, too. And even though sometimes the fact that she suffers from a major case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) drives me insane, it was so incredible watching her discover the world. No detail was left unnoticed. She wanted to see every last thing (and feel and taste ha-ha). The smallest things entertained her for hours. I think one of my most favourite moments was when she first touched sand. She would grab a handful, let it fall through her fingers, and start crying. But she would keep doing it. Picking it up, letting it go, and cry. Over and over. We just died wondered why she kept doing it if she didn’t like it. I wish I got that on video. I remained very unplugged on this trip and it left me feeling so incredibly grounded.
Obviously the weather was a dream. Some days were a bit windy but compared to my Canadian weather I left behind, it was pure bliss. I could literally feel the sunshine rejuvenate my soul and create a new and refreshed energy within me. I am 100% happier when the sun is beaming down on me. The ocean was the most therapeutic gift of nature. Although we were advised against swimming in the water due to dangerous current conditions, I could not resist flirting with the waves on the daily. I could have spent every moment of that entire trip sitting right on that shoreline. The pina coladas were a hell of a treat that I definitely took advantage of when Eliana finally decided to surrender herself to sleep-land. Their coffee could use some work but hey, it was hot and available so for that I am thankful. Plus, the coladas made up for it.
The only real struggle during our vacay was that we couldn’t just put Eliana down somewhere to go off and explore her surroundings. She had just mastered the art of crawling right before we took off and considering the resort hotel was nothing but concrete, there was nowhere this girl could be free. I felt bad as she was limited to seeing the world from her stroller, our baby carrier, a high chair, or being held in our arms. The beach was the only real place we could set her down but then she found sand and after she stopped crying over it, she obviously did what every baby would do, which is eat it. She did amazing for a 9 month old who just learned how to be a mobile human and who was restricted in utilizing her new found skills. This brings me to everyone’s question once they learned we went on vacation which is “how did she do on the plane?”
So we were ballsy in the sense that we booked a trip with non-direct flights. Yikes, right? On our way there, we flew from Winnipeg to Calgary where we spent the night. The next morning we flew to Mexico from Calgary. It was kind of good since the flight to Calgary was like a warm-up with half the distance and flight time. She did awesome. She nursed on all four flights during take-offs and landings which was recommended to help prevent ear sensitivities. She only napped a couple of times on each flight and for twenty minutes at a time but it was enough to hold her over without having a fit. The way back was a struggle though, I won’t lie. On the way back, we flew from Mexico to Vancouver where we stayed the night and flew out the following morning again. Thankfully she did not burst out in a craze but I could tell she was so restless from the inconsistent naps, the time-changes, and early flights. To top it off, she was straight up pissed by this point that she couldn’t roam free. This was our reality of traveling with a mobile baby who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about how cool the new “Trolls” movie is. She was squirmy, happy one second and irritated the next. I literally could not wait to get the hell off that plane ha-ha. But we did it and I can say I made it out alive traveling with a 9 month old, high energy, FOMO baby.
Product Recommendations & Travel Tips
Now I write this following section loosely. Those looking for traveling advice, please take this all with a grain of salt because honestly every baby is different and it is so hard to predict everything that every family will need. I am simply sharing from experience what worked for us.
- Love Child Organics baby food. Without it, Eliana would have felt very left out and would probably swear off papaya and banana for the rest of her life.
- An Oversized Sun Hat. If you are lucky, your baby or toddler will cooperate and wear their own hat for sun protection. If you, like us, aren’t so lucky-we found that my trendy sun hat also provided some shade for Eliana’s delicate and fair skin while we played in the water.
- A “Bbluv Anti-UV Sun” Tent. Now this is definitely not a must-have for everyone but it was for us. It was a bit of an investment and we knew that even if it didn’t serve its purpose on our trip, it will this summer. Thankfully, it was a huge help on the vacation. It is so user-friendly as it literally just pops open and it has a convenient carrying bag that makes it easy to bring along anywhere. It was the only place we could put our daughter down for some grounded play-time. It also made it very easy to nurse to her in a UV-free space in the midst of swimming and playing. I know I will use the shit out of this in summer as I plan to be outside with her as much as possible. She will be at the perfect age for the beach, picnics, park dates, and so on. I cannot wait.
- A Baby Medical Kit. I threw together some essentials that I thought might be nice to have on hand just in case. Thankfully, I did not have to use a single thing but it put my mind at ease knowing that I came somewhat prepared. In my kit I included:
-Tylenol Fever and Pain. She was still in a teething phase when we left so I thought it would be nice to have on hand just in case she was really out of her sorts being in a different environment.
-Hydralyte Solution. Hydralyte liquid or powder is a rehydration solution used to replace lost water and electrolytes due to excessive vomiting and diarrhea. I learned of it when Eliana had the stomach flu. A nurse advised to go and get some if Eliana continued her symptoms for several hours which thankfully, she didn’t. It was a short lived virus. However I decided to bring some along the trip just as a precautionary step since babies cannot take anything else to help ease vomiting and/or diarrhea symptoms.
-Hand Sanitizer. I swear I am not one of those overly anal parents terrified of every bacterial cell in the world but some situations can cross the line of unsanitary as hell. I also used it to wipe down and sanitize the cribs provided by the hotels.
-Aloe Vera. We use aloe on any diaper rashes should they come up. I also use it for burns, scrapes and scratches. It was on the list anyway since I knew my forehead and chest would burn no matter how times I re-applied sunscreen. And yes, we brought sun screen for E as well.
- Crib Sheets. Again this is all personal preference. Most hotels will provide a play-pen or a crib for your child. Definitely call ahead to confirm this with your specific hotel. Should you wish to bring your own, that is fine too as you can check a play-pen in place of a car seat or stroller. I was hoping to bring less so we used cribs provided by all of the hotels we stayed in. I brought my own washed sheets and wiped down and sanitized everything. Some say they regret not bringing their own play-pen but I had no issues with what was provided. Bring lots of different sized blankets. They get filthy quick on a vacation and the room temperatures can be unpredictable. I would be lying if I said we didn’t use bath towels as blankets at one point hahaha…..
- Stroller and Baby-carrier. Again, personal preference and Eliana’s age had plenty to play in this part. We knew she would get sick of being in the stroller all day long so we used the carrier as well to give her a break. The stroller was a godsend as it helped us carry all of our luggage and everything we needed when hanging out with an infant all day long. It was also where she had 98% of her naps. She is a heavy, solid little gal so I couldn’t imagine carrying her all day long either. We had a routine where we would use the stroller for the first half of the day and switch to the Baby Trekker after her nap when the sun wasn’t as fierce and the breeze was a bit cooler. And the breeze got pretty cool. I definitely under packed when it came to warmer clothes for her. I only brought a couple pairs of pants and a few cardigans/sweaters and we ended up needing those every day. By the end of the trip the poor girl was wearing banana crusted leggings. In hindsight I would have packed way more warmer options and way less summer outfits. Rookie mistake.
- Selfie Stick. Because without it we wouldn’t have the amazing family pictures by the ocean that I will cherish for all of eternity.
What I could have done without was packing brand new toys that she had never seen. I read this advice on many blogs and it made sense so I thought I would be prepared but it was so not needed. I was more concerned for the plane rides so I kept them a secret until then. She played with them for maybe a few minutes and threw them down carelessly. I should have known that toys are boring and water bottles, coffee cup lids, baby food packaging, and her own socks were much more entertaining.
I think that about sums it all up. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I am definitely open to answering anything at all that I may have missed. All in all, I know that many parents are anxious for their first travel with a new child but take a deep breath. No matter the age, there will most likely be a few hiccups but there will be more highlights. Most children are great at adapting and will be too mesmerized with the newness within their grasp that they won’t mind being out of routine. Also keep in mind that our children can sense our vibes. The more anxious and nervous you come off, the more chances of passing off that hesitance to them. Get excited for your vacation and do what parents do best-ride with the waves and roll with the punches. Have a fabulous holiday.
This post is sponsored by Love Child Organics. I have been compensated both monetarily and with product however all statements and thoughts expressed are my own honest opinions.