5 Tips for Traveling With a Newborn

Before Luna’s first flight (our recent trip to Texas) I spent a lot of time planning what to pack for her. Husband and I have learned to be very light packers over our years of traveling. I even wrote a blog about it. We only bring carry-on’s, even if it’s a 3 week trip on the other side of the world. It’s just so easy and fast, but is it possible to keep this up with a baby?

In typical me fashion, I made a list. I wrote down everything I thought baby needed and then tried to narrow that down to things she actually needs. Of course, I still had to make my own list of things to pack for myself. Sadly, I had to narrow down my own list even more than normal in order to fit in baby items.

After all of this planning and list-making Husband and I managed to each pack one carry-on suitcase, a backpack for him, a diaper bag for me, a car seat and that is it! We did not have to check a single thing. I was a little worried we didn’t bring enough, but we were going to my parents house, not a third world country, so we could always run to Target if we needed something.

I chose not to bring our stroller because I thought it would be a pain in the airport and assumed we would have to check it. Turns out you do not have to check it. They will stow it for you as you board the plan. After towing around our chunky baby in a car seat through three airports I was DYING for a stroller, and I have one bicep that is much larger than the other. We also wanted to bring our “tote-a-tot”, but the night before we left we discovered that it doesn’t work for an infant car seat.

photo of someone else's tote-a-tot
photo of someone else’s tote-a-tot

 

Luna had to come out of her car seat to go through security, but that was it. We were very fortunate that none of our flights were full and she could stay in her car seat next to us on all four flights without us having to pay for an extra seat. However, if they had been full we would have held her and the flight crew would have stowed the car seat for us. (BTW the attendants and flight crew on American Airlines were super nice about the baby, but sadly they no longer offer wings for first flights.)

hehe, love this pic of her strapped in her car seat in the airplane seat
hehe, love this pic of her strapped in her car seat in the airplane seat

Also, did you know that you can fly with liquids if they’re for your baby!? I had 2 bottles of breast milk that weren’t even questioned. Any medicine or food for a baby is allowed. You just have to show it to them as you go through security.

We learned a few “do’s and don’t” on this first trip, and I think it’s worth sharing what I learned with you! Here’s my list of Top 5 Tips for Traveling with a Newborn.

  1. Only pack the necessities. I brought:

-one outfit for each day, but they were mostly onesies. If she was older I’d bring less.

-2 blankets. I love the Aden & Anais brand best because they are very lightweight and breathable. I use them for EVERYTHING.

-one new pack of wipes

-diaper rash cream

-diapers for the plane. We were going to order a box of diapers from Amazon and have them sent to my parents ahead of time so we wouldn’t have to pack a week’s worth of diapers, but my Mom ended up picking up a box for us because she is awesome like that.

-a toy

-travel-sized baby bath products

-2 pacifiers

-breast-pump and bottles

-one bottle of breastmilk

-nursing cover (scarf from Marie Nohr!)

-a couple of zip-loc bags for dirty clothes or stinky diapers

-car seat

And here’s what I wish I would have brought:

-my Moby wrap

-a stroller. However, if we end up traveling overseas this year (fingers crossed!) we still won’t bring a stroller. I’m hoping a Moby wrap or Ergo Carrier will suffice.

-one of those little clips that attaches the pacifier to your bag or baby’s clothes. I cannot tell you how many times we lost both pacifiers.

  1. Consider the final destination. If you are traveling to a place with a washer and dryer than you won’t have to worry about having lots of extra outfits or blankets. If you have the address you can ship or order some things from Amazon ahead of time. Amazon is awesome! You can order diapers, wipes, formula, snacks, whatever you need and have it waiting for you when you arrive. Also, we did not have to pack a bed for Luna because my parents have a pack-n-play at their house. However, hotels should all offer pack-n-plays or bassinets as well. Just call ahead of time.
  1. Be prepared for a crying baby on the plane. Luckily, Luna only cried for 2 minutes before take off on one out of 4 flights. It was great. However, those two minute were absolute hell, and I can’t even imagine having a screaming baby the whole flight, but it happens so the best you can do is be ready with a pacifier, a bottle or a boob! Also, do not look at the strangers sitting around you. Their glares will not make you feel any better or help in any way. (Best advice I’ve ever got!)
  1. Don’t sweat it. Spit-up on your clothes? Dirty Diapers in the airport? Missing your ridiculous amount of baby gear? No big deal. Everyone feels gross in an airport already, so a little spit up isn’t going to hurt your ensemble. Just throw a baby blanket over that mess. I actually had a stranger offer to hold Luna after I changed her so I could wash my hands. And, you know, you don’t really need all that baby crap. We survived the week by swinging the baby in our arms, bathing her in the sink or with us and just listening for her cries when she went to bed before us.
  1. Tag team it. Thank God for awesome partners, right? We took turns holding her, calming her, rocking her, changing her and everything but feeding her. Let Daddy keep baby company while you grab some Starbucks. Have him check the flights, carry more bags or pick up a snack while you do the feeding. Whatever works for you, just make sure you do it together. We all love our babies more than anything, but sometimes you need a break…especially if you’ve been up and traveling since 3:45am.

That’s it. Our first trip with Luna was smooth-sailing! Hope all future trips go this well!

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Cheers!

Two Months Too Fast

2months

How have two months already flown by? Everyone says how fast time goes by when you have kids and they weren’t kidding. I am shocked at how much changes in such a short amount of time. Luna is smiling, staying awake much more often and changing everyday.

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Seriously, cannot get enough of her smiles.

Everyday I learn a little more about how to be a Mom, but the biggest lesson I’m still learning is to stop googling everything. I have a problem. I have to know when is she supposed to smile? coo? giggle? roll over? make eye contact? notice me? sleep? eat? poop? And when she doesn’t seem to following the time frame mapped out online I get nervous. I have got to stop.

No matter what Luna does, or doesn’t do, I can’t help but love her more every day. She’s just perfect and I can’t wait to see what we both learn this next month.

luna

My Favorite Scarf (Giveaway)

marienohr

In my quest to find cute clothes that are nursing friendly I have gone back to visit my old pal Marie. Remember Marie from a few months back? The adorable maternity poncho? Weeellllll, she is now making even more products! I just had the pleasure of trying one of her infinity nursing scarves. And, let me just say she did not disappoint. That’s why Mommy inventors are best… they know exactly what fellow Mom’s need.

scarf

 

I tried the scarf right away to see how it works with the baby. I’ve found that it’s necessary to try any sort of baby product at home first. Carriers, wraps and nursing covers can all be a little complicated so you want to get the hang of it before you take it out in public and make a fool of yourself. Trust me. I used a mirror to make sure it covered in the right areas and still looked cute, of course.

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Then, I decided to keep the scarf in my diaper bag. I figured it might be nice to have when I’m out and about with Luna and would give me a chance to check out how well it works in real-life situations. Let me just say, THANK GOD for this scarf. I used it to cover-up in restaurants, at grocery stores, at a house party and the park. Prior to the scarf I typically used a swaddling blanket. The scarf not only looks better, but is much easier to keep up and to manipulate.

aztec

 

One of the things I like best about the scarf is that it’s lightweight. The description on Etsy actually size its “heavy weight”, and maybe it is compared to her other scarves, but I think it’s very light and breathable. The biggest complaint I hear about nursing covers is that they are hot for both Mom and baby. This scarf is not.

Cutest little foot ever
Cutest little foot ever

What I really love is that I can take this scarf with me anywhere, and use it as a cover and not feel like I am repeating outfits. It’s just an accessory, so I can wear it as a scarf and use it as a cover, or just use it as a cover. Now, that I’ve kept it in my diaper bag for a few weeks I will never go anywhere without it. It is my new favorite accessory.

outfit

AANNDDDD, I have the best news! Marie Nohr is going to giveaway one of these awesome scarves to one of you! Woo! I’ll make it as easy as possible for you…to enter for a chance to win just follow these steps:

  1. Follow the blog.
  2. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest.
  3. Leave me a comment below and tell me why you want the scarf!

Winner will be randomly selected on Sunday April, 13!

nursing cover

That’s not all, either. Marie is also offering a discount code to all of you. Just use the coupon code: NEWMOMMANURSING for 20% off of her ready to ship items. Thank you SO much Marie Nohr, you are the best! And, good luck to each of you!

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Don’t forget to check out Marie Nohr’s Etsy store and Facebook page!

etsy

Cheers!

It’s Already Been a Month

1 month

Luna was born on the 29th and since February has no 29th this year, I guess today is the day she turns 1 month. I CANNOT believe it has already been a month! She is already growing so much (her belly is enormous), and I feel like a completely different person. I’ve gone from sick, to more sick, to better, to sick again to half-way healthy. Besides my health going haywire, I am a Mother. Husband is now a Father and the two of us are learning to depend on one another and support each other more than ever… it has been quite a month!

onesie

The craziest part is that it has simultaneously been one of the hardest and one of the greatest months. However, I’m thinking things just get better from here. I fall more in love with this baby every day.

luna

Oh, and BTW, Husband has been out-of-town for a bachelor party all weekend, so come back and visit to hear how my first weekend at home alone with a baby went. Spoiler alert: I scared a neighborhood child, lost Belle and cried a little.

Cheers!

The Road to Recovery

Today I am 20 days postpartum and feeling a hell of a lot better. After the 10 day hospital stay, the dozens of tests, various doctor visits, and literally hundreds of pills I am happy to say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have learned some very valuable life lessons. Living in the hospital and having my blood pressure taken constantly while slowly having the life drained out of me was my definition of torture. It was as if someone force me to live through my worst nightmare. There were moments when I thought I couldn’t take one more second, but now I realize it was just a stepping stone to what life has in store.

This post is kind of serious, so I'll sprinkle some adorable baby photos throughout to lighten the mood!
This post is kind of serious, so I’ll sprinkle some adorable baby photos throughout to lighten the mood!

I am a positive person, (hello! my blog is called “positively panicked”), but anyone who saw me during that hospital stint will tell you I was in a dark place. I know and have studied all the ways to stay positive…I have been to therapists, studied the benefits of positive thinking, meditated, prayed, trained in yoga and read numerous books on not only how to stop a panic attack with positive thinking, but the benefits of it. Yet, at that moment, fear, anxiety and panic took over. No amount of deep breathing, music or change of thought helped.

After Luna’s delivery I quickly went from new-mommy elation to “I’m going to die” in a matter of hours. It didn’t help that some of the nurses were unaware of my high-anxiety and said the exact wrong things to me. One told me that if my guests didn’t leave I’d have seizure. Then,  a doctor told me that if this were 50 years ago I’d be dead, and Husband would be a widower. He then seemed surprised when I my reaction was to cry and curl up in the fetal position. The shocked look on the professionals faces after my blood pressure tests, the dark hospital room and the strict instructions to stay on my side scared me enough to constantly make me imagine Luna’s life without me in it. I’ve never been so scared.

The side effect of the medicines didn’t help. I had hot flashes, the chills, dizziness, weakness, headaches, numbness and more. They had me on 16 blood pressure pills a day, percocet, ambien, celexa and xanax. I was not only an emotional and physical wreck, but was quickly becoming a zombie. Over-medicated, I was unable to function like a new Mom and had no appetite whatsoever. Before leaving the hospital I’d lost all my pregnancy weight plus some. Not exactly how I planned on getting back into my skinny jeans.

Her nursery is still unfinished, but here's a little peak at her crib.
Her nursery is still unfinished, but here’s a little peak at her crib with her in it.

NOW, I realize this all sounds depressing and awful, but I tell you this to explain to you how I clawed my way out of that dark pit. I hope my experience will be able to help anyone feeling sick or depressed. While bed-ridden I was constantly googling my symptoms and searching for someone, anyone who had experienced what I was going through. I was looking for hope, which I found in many places.

The poor staff at my hospital probably dreaded coming in my room. I cried to every single doctor, nurse and tech I saw. One nurse reminded me over and over again to be kind and gentle to myself. She built me up by reminding me that not only did I go through a traumatic labor, but I created a human and am now solely responsible for feeding that human. She told me I was amazing, but I was also sick and not to feel guilty about that. She hit the nail on the head when she compared being internally sick to being externally sick. If my legs were broken I wouldn’t feel bad about having to wear a cast. I wouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to walk, but because I was hurt where no one could see, I felt ashamed. I couldn’t understand why everything had become so difficult, I didn’t want to accept being on so many meds and I needed to get over that kind of thinking.

I received advice from a few blogs, my best friends, Husband, family and even some of my favorite songs, but perhaps the best advice I got was from my Mom. Mom told me to focus on “small victories”. It seems really silly, but around day 7 in the hospital, I gave it a try. I decided to make one small goal for each day and to revel in its completion. First goal, was to take a shower, brush my teeth and change Luna’s diaper myself. Seems a bit ridiculous, but it took every little bit of me to power through the tasks. I did it, I felt successful and I had one small victory to focus on that day.

sleep

Next, I decided to walk down the hallway. I made it halfway before I began losing vision, but I did it. Once we were in our own home, I continued my “small victories” goals. One day my goal was to bathe Luna, next was to blow dry my hair, then do laundry, go to Target and so on… Eventually, these “small victories” felt like big victories. Before I knew it I had a whole list of little accomplishments to focus on and prove to myself that things were improving and I was healing… slowly but surely.

The biggest problem was my medication. The 16 blood pressure pills a day (for real) have taken their toll. They make me so weak and dizzy that often just walking from one room to the next feels like a marathon…and this is coming from the girl who was doing Shaun T’s Asylum at 9 months pregnant! I knew something had to change, and it had to change fast. Thankfully, with the help of my Mom-in-law I was able to get an appointment with Nashville’s only hypertension specialist at Vanderbilt hospital.

Of course, in typical me-fashion, I was anxious, sweating and terrified to meet yet another new doctor where I’d have to explain that I’m anxious and terrified of doctors and hospitals. This doctor didn’t really get “panic attacks”, but the one thing he did get was high blood pressure. It’s his life. After lots of more fun tests he decided that I’m basically healthy and way over-medicated (shocking, I know). My blood pressure was actually very low at this point. NOW, I’m down to 5 pills a day (woohoo!) and will just keep going down from there. This is the biggest victory so far, and I’m only 20 days into this new life.

My little eskimo
My little Eskimo

Through all of this mess, I’ve learned to overcome some big fears. I am forced to slow WAY down and take every day one moment at a time. Every little thing Luna does, Husband does and even each little chore is appreciated. Never again will I take my health for granted. I’ve also gained so much more respect for any sick parents. I can’t imagine how someone with a serious illness and children does it. Mentally, I think I’d lose it, yet I know there are parents out there facing far bigger obstacles than I just faced the first couple of weeks. I don’t know where they find their strength and bravery.

I read a blog recently that spoke about looking at obstacles with excitement. Sure, shitty situations happen to us all, but perhaps every bad day or every closed door is just part of the path to our destiny.  Maybe we are meant to hit 8 closed doors before reaching that opened door. If we look at the obstacles in our life in this light, then they don’t seem quite so bad. The idea that going through this awful labor and delivery experience has just prepared me for something far greater in life makes it bearable. I can see now that every day has gotten better and will continue to improve. And, when I feel normal again I can hopefully use this experience to help someone else.

If anything, I will do my best to teach Luna to be excited about the obstacles in her life and to believe that everything will be okay.

Cheers!

Our Least Glamorous Valentine’s

Okay, if you’ve followed Positively Panicked for a while you surely know that I LOVE ALL holidays. I have head-to-toe outfits (shoes and accessories included) for every holiday, throw parties, make themed food and celebrate to the fullest extent. Valentine’s Day is one my all-time favorites. I just love the expressions of love that go out. Seriously, even the ridiculous amount of corny Facebook posts don’t bother me. It’s nice to see so much love being expressed. Typically, I send cards to all my friends, bake/buy something delicious for work, wear hearts all week and do something extra special for Husband. This year is clearly a lot different.

Husband and mine’s dating anniversary is on February 17th, so we typically celebrate Valentine’s and our anniversary together, making a week/weekend out of it. Our favorite tradition is buying each other funny cards, but we also plan special surprises for each other. Last year, Husband surprised me with a trip to Disneyland California (completing our “visit every Disney park in the world” goal). Another year, I surprised him with a trip to Berlin, Germany. Our very first Valentine/Anniversary, he surprised me with a trip to NYC (my first time to visit NY) and tickets to see Wicked and tour backstage. We have celebrated at Disney World, fancy restaurants, the movies, etc. One year, Husband took me to a little Italian restaurant in the middle of a small town in Nowhere, Tennessee. As we walked in they were actually playing “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…”, the owner waited on us and prepared a special meal and we ate our meal by candle light..it was right out of a movie.

As you can see, we tend to go all out, a little overboard even, when it comes to this holiday. In fact, our very first date (sometime around February 17th) was probably the most romantic of all. We ate together at the Sci-Fi Drive-In Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We talked so long that we closed the restaurant without even realizing we were the last ones there. Then, as we left, a security guard met us at the restaurant door and began following us towards the gates. A little worried, we asked if we were in trouble. He said, “No. You are just the last two people in the park so I have to escort you out.” We had no idea we’d been hanging out for so long. Even now, I’m certain we could close the park just sitting and enjoying each other’s company.

This year, at 11am, Husband was still in bed and I was nursing our baby for hours on end on the couch while watching Disney movies. The house is a mess. The dishwasher just broke again. I am surrounded by pill bottles and there are zero plans for the weekend…no surprise trips, no reservations and I wasn’t even able to shop for a funny card. (We did go to a friend’s house last night… just no romantic plans.) It’s the least glamorous Valentine/Anniversary we have had together, but I have never felt more loved.

During our extra long hospital stay Husband managed to fulfill every single wedding vow, including putting up with my high anxiety and panic attacks. The three of us cuddled in the hospital bed together as we watched movies to keep our minds off of everything else happening. Husband held my hand and told me how strong I was during the moments I felt weakest. When I couldn’t get out of bed, he brought me Luna to feed, then he would change her, swaddle her and love on her before putting her to bed and taking care of me. Now, that we are home and finally able to share some of the load I can enjoy watching Husband become a Father… it’s the best thing ever. I never doubted his ability to be an awesome Dad, but seeing in action is incredible.

And, the best Valentine is of course our perfect little Luna (everybody say “awww”).

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Last night, for the first time since Luna was born, I was able to get ready and feel like a real person before going to our friend’s Valentine party. In fact, we all got dressed up which called for a family picture.

happyvalentine

 

Happy Valentine’s to each of you and Happy 9 years to Husband!

xoxo Cheers!

 

A Lot Can Happen in 2 Weeks

As of yesterday our little Luna is 2 weeks old! Boy has a lot happened in those two weeks.

sleepy

After spending the majority of her life in a dark hospital room, our poor baby is probably confused about where she lives. I was feeling very depressed during that time, but I tried to bring myself out of it by focusing on her. A few of my Facebook friends had babies the same week I had Luna, and they were of course home and happy long before we left the hospital. I felt jealous of all of their happy “welcome home” and “baby’s firsts” photos. Normally, I am a “make the best of any situation” kind of person, but the depression and the TON of medications in my system made me a different person. After a few days I knew I had to fight for my happiness and sanity. I couldn’t do much, but began taking photos of Luna, sharing them with friends and making plans for what we would do once we were back home.

instagram collage

And, once we were home I was looking forward to the littlest things… Luna’s first bath, introducing her to our pets, putting her in her new cute clothes and just doing normal day-to-day things. Even now, I’m still too weak to do much… can’t even wash the dishes. You’d think I’d be grateful, but never in my life have I wanted to just do normal chores and what-not so badly. We did, however, get to give Luna her first bath. It became a whole family affair. Belle is so concerned when Luna cries or whimpers that we had to put her on the cabinet so she could watch and see that Luna was safe.

First bath!
First bath!
Daddy drying her off.
Daddy drying her off.

I’m so relieved that Belle seems to like Luna. Duckie, on the other hand mostly acts like the baby doesn’t exist. She just wants all of the attention for herself.  In the first 30 minutes of getting home I passed out on the bed and was quickly joined…everyone was happy to be back together.

1st home

One good thing about having such a difficult first ten days is that everything else seems easier, funnier even. Spit-up. explosive diapers, all-night feeding sessions and even the poop catastrophe that ended up all over our white comforter are hilarious and even appreciated. It’s real life in our real home. I’m so happy to be able to stand and change her diaper that I can’t even feel frustrated when something like this happens.

Besides “first baths” and “first embarrassing moments”, Luna had a few other “first”. We took her out to a family dinner at a new French restaurant. She’s had her first two newborn doctor appointments (and is already WAY passed her birth weight). We went shopping at Target together (Mommy had to embarrassingly shop in one of those electric wheelchair thingys…it sucks being so weak and dizzy.) Oh, and the photo on the bottom left is when Belle tried to drop her toy donut next to Luna and it ended up looping her arm, so cute!

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Luna has had a lot of visitors too! In the hospital I felt so depressed that I didn’t even want to see people. In fact, I didn’t even want to answer my phone. This is very out of character for me. You know, we always have visitors, so for me to not want to see anyone was a clear sign something was very wrong. I’m so happy to be home now, happier and able to enjoy company. And, I really love showing off Luna…she’s seriously the cutest.

honeyandpawpaw
My sweet mom actually blow-dried my hair for me just so we could all take a photo together.

I’m having to take life slower than ever, but that just means I get to enjoy lots of cuddle and downtime with Luna…and that’s what really matters.

blanket

Cheers!