Using apple grater to make apple puree in the car
Last week we went with our 7-month-old baby on an international flight. I wasn’t much worried about how she would do on the airplane. As a dietitian, I was more concerned about how to feed our little girl, especially when staying in a hotel room. We planned a ten-day trip and this was our first time away from home too. I heard that your baby will need couple of days to adjust to the new situation and may even have trouble getting to sleep or eat and may cry more. Fortunately, our baby girl fell asleep after nursing and slept all through the 8 hours flight. I realize here how useful breastfeeding is when on the road! So here it goes my top ten tips:
1. Breastfeed whenever possible. Besides all the nutritional and immunological advantages breast milk has, nursing is handy, clean, convenient and free and has wonderful calming effects on your baby! Remember that airlines don’t provide baby food or formula. TSA allows these liquids and gels like substances in logical amount. Click here http://www.tsa.gov/travelers-guide/traveling-formula-breast-milk-and-juice if you want more details. I packed couple of baby food jars only for the waiting time between flight connections (as I planned to prepare homemade foods at the hotel). Make sure that your baby tried it before and didn’t have a bad reaction. But you don’t need to rely on commercial baby jars, you can just pack a banana (or other soft fruit or vegetable) + a fork + a baby bowl with lid (to smash the banana on the lid)
2. Bring your tools. Depending on the texture you are feeding your child, you will need something to make puree. You don’t need fancy gadgets or even a “baby food maker”. I packed the old apple grater and utensils like fork and knife (remember to put these on your checked bags). If you bring a baby food processor or a hand mixer; just make sure that plug and voltage are compatible! A potato masher or a manual food grinder can be helpful, you pick, just don’t bring the whole kitchen draw!
3. Take advantage of fresh convenient foods. Bananas and apples, avocado, yogurt and baby cereal are handy foods that my baby loved and are no-cook and easy to prepare. If you have a kitchenette or at least a microwave you can cook some vegetables like sweet potatoes and pumpkin and even meats. But if you don’t have the time you can buy, for example, canned pumpkin (do NOT buy “pumpkin pie mix” instead).
4. Be safe. Check out the cleanliness of the place where you buy foods. If you are not sure, stick with hard skin fruits and vegetables, baby food jars, baby cereal or other items brought from home. Wash fruits thoroughly before peeling and jars before opening. Remember to keep cold foods cold. If your baby is on formula and you are traveling overseas you may want to pack enough formula for the whole trip plus an extra amount just in case. Even same formula brands can have a different composition in other countries.
5. When possible, pick a hotel with at least in-room fridge. I choose a hotel with refrigerator and microwave in the room to make food prep easier.
6. Be clean, pack the soap or detergent you use at home. Get ready to clean baby bottles and baby dishes with the same products used at home to prevent bacterial growth and any bad reaction. Microwave sterilizer bags are very handy instead of carrying a sterilizer for baby bottles.
7. Avoid new foods. When having a meal in restaurant, don’t temp yourself and give your baby new foods to try. He or she can have an allergic reaction and mess up your trip! Just wait until you get home and always ask your pediatrician about food introduction.
8. Be lean. I didn’t bring a high chair, I fed my baby over a blanket. You can also do it in the stroller. Don’t forget to pack a few disposable bibs or waterproof easy to clean bibs. If you stay in a hotel, you probably have extra towels and tissues to clean up the mess.
9. Never force your baby to eat. She may experience lots of changes (think that babies suffer more jet lag than adults) and may have a decreased appetite or just eating fewer amounts than usual. I regret that I tried to give my baby “one more last spoon” and she vomited in the car seat. I know you may feel frustrated. But, babies are wise and don’t starve themselves! Just make sure that she wet diapers and that poop once a day (or as usual)
10. Relax and laugh! Take pictures and even take notes in a diary so you can tell a fun story with details to your grown up child in the future.
After all, my baby girl did great and we have a fun time. She is a true traveller, she had better behavior than at home!
If you have other tips or a fun story, please share!
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