Travel Food ideas for Babies and Toddlers

Travelling with babies and toddlers is such a joy but also a bit tricky! Several of my travel posts had queries of mom with young babies asking what I used to feed Kenisha during our travels, especially international where food could be different and unique sometimes. Its an unsaid to rule to always be equipped with snacks and water when heading out. It’s a MUST in your diaper bags. Save yourself from tantrums and upset little humans and read on to see how you can enjoy a vacation by being equipped with simple an easy travel friendly food.

Babies up to 1 year old have it the easiest!

If you have a baby under 1 and are breastfeeding, you are going to have the easiest time ever! It is so easy to feed on the go, anywhere and anytime. For formula babies its best is to carry Thermos just like you do when you head out. Ensure you carry enough Formula to last until and beyond the trip. It’s also a good idea to research if this brand or variety is available in the country you are travelling too.

If your baby is eating small meals looks out for ideas from the list below. Oly a few maybe more suitable than the rest

Travel friendly Food for babies 1-3

If you look around there will always be more and enough food options even abroad. Basic healthy food can include but not limited to

  1. Fruits: any country will have enough and more fruit options. If you stay at a hotel your breakfast will always have fresh fruit. Breakfast should be a good time to feed the baby well. Pick an extra banana or orange to carry in your bag. Also carry a small plastic box on which you can carry a tiny portion for next 2-3 hours feed. For babies you can mash these fruits. Its not a bad idea to carry a foldable knife and a small spoon along.
  2. Yogurt and Cheese: Find 24/7 kind of super marts which will have small sized flavoured yogurts and simple drinks. Avoid sugar loaded chips and drinks.
  3. Dry Fruits – This is something we always carry for any travel. A big mix bag for all of us in fact. Nuts help in quick hunger and boost energy levels immediately.
  4. Cereal Packs – I carried small packs of kellogs chocos and similar cereals. I do find them a bit high on sugar but they make for a great snack when you need a good sugar kick. Alternate low sugar – high fiber cereals are a good option
  5. Granola Bars –Its a great idea to actually make and carry a nice big stock of homemade granola bar. As a last resort some store bought ones
  6. Instant Packed foods – while i cannot say if this is super healthy, it sure comes as a life saver in dire situations. We have carried MTR packs for instant upma, poha and few soup packs. This has been a great way to begin lazy days at the room or even outside. All you need a hot water to eat any of these.
  7. Airbnb options – We now look for Airbnb optiosnw hich offer us access to kitchen. This means we can store food in the fridge and have a lot more options during our stay. This indeed has been our best experience so far with a baby and I highly recommend this over hotels!

But the fun part is always to enjoy and explore new foods! Watch out for allergies and stay safe. Since Kenisha was a BLW baby we always allowed her to try out new things. Nonetheless the above it has been of great help!

Did you find his article useful? comment below and let us know your travel food ideas for babies and toddlers 1-3 years old!

How to begin Baby Led Weaning?

Just like a milestone every mom waits for the 6 month mark to begin solid food for babies. Earlier we all followed the traditional weaning methods but slowly with more and more moms being connected, the awareness of Baby Led Weaning has taken over like a wave.

Trying a steamed carrot as we begin BLW

In 2015, December, when I began my journey to follow BLW, I was at my mom’s place and it was a complete alien term to my parents. It took me a lot of explaining that what I was attempting was suitable and child friendly. Since then I have taken it up to share my experience with fellow new moms and help them understand the concept and its benefits.

 

 

 

 

What is Baby Led weaning (or BLW)?

The key difference in Baby Led weaning is to directly offer finger foods and pre loaded spoons, bypassing the mushed up or pureed food. While in traditional feeding we let the child learn to swallow and later learn to chew, here we help the child to first learn to chew and slowly learn to swallow the food. Most importantly its “baby led” implying giving control to the babies on what and how much to eat. (the toughest part for the parents to understand).

Below Kenisha around 9-10 months old enjoying her food explorations

When can I begin Baby Led weaning?

  1. Baby must be at least 6 months old. The main reason being that by this age “most “babies learn to sit unsupported and have lost the tongue thrust reflex. Also they develop grasping and are able to hold on to small objects hence self feeding becomes easier.
  2. Sitting unaided mean
    1. Being able to sit unassisted for few seconds assisted by hands. This is critical as it ensures that the food pipe is not blocked and there are lesser chocking hazards.
    2. You can make them sit in your lap as sitting independently comes pretty later
    3. Baby should be in a upright/straight position. It would be a great idea to buy a booster or a highchair in the long run if possible.
  3. Tongue thrust reflex – Ideally most babies lose baby tongue thrust reflex between four and six months of age. This means, when you place food on your baby’s tongue or lips, the tongue doesn’t come forward to push the food away, so she can take it in more easily. It also implies that your baby is healthy and developing well.
  4. Showing interest in food? Yes, this is a huge sign. Babies will find your plates exciting and often try to reach out. It means they want to explore and a perfect way to introduce solids

Please remember baby must be at least 6 months old.  And there is absolutely no reason to fret in case your baby still doesn’t show the signs of readiness. It’s not necessary that there is a magical change at 6 month mark. We began our journey at 6 months 2 weeks plus. Remember that breast milk/formula milk will be their main source of nutrition until a year and beyond.

Holidays made fun with a BLW baby

Getting started

  1. Read, read and then read some more! – I cannot really emphasize this anymore! It’s good to have found an experienced mom in the neighborhood to help you but I strongly urge you to read several articles on this concept and watch few videos if possible. It’s amazing to see those tiny ones enjoying their first bites.
  2. Bite size food does the trick. Keep a chip as a benchmark so the baby can hold and eat. As he works up you can also reduce the size as the pincher grip picks up.
  3. Soft and easy to eat. I was always confused what should the consistency of the food be like. How soft? Because then it could result being in squashy and the baby may not be able to hold it? So someone once told me “Kaju Katli”(Indian soft sweet) consistency. You can hold it between your thumb and index finger and with some pressure squish it too. That’s what we are looking at.
  4. BLW doesn’t really require special equipments but I personally feel having a high chair or a booster seat is an added advantage. I for one picked a booster seat by chicco as I found it less space consuming and a perfect travel companion when we would eat out at restaurants. It was really a helpful. At 2 we used it directly on the main table, ie minus the tray. And it was put into use until she was almost 3. Total moneys worth!
  5. BLW is about eating together as a family! So baby eats what you eat (minus salt and sugar at least he is an year old ) We always dropped a small portion out and added more spices to our. Say Dal or a veggie.
  6. If you do get a high chair or booster seat don’t consider getting a bowl. Keep the tray clean and just keep 2-3 pieces of food at a time to avoid overwhelming the child.
  7. No putting food in the childs mouth. Let them try and pick up some food and reach to their mouth and learn to push it around before swallowing. In case you wish to use a spoon, just give a pre loaded spoon and resist feeding yourself.
  8. Welcome mess and keep calm. BLW is a messy affair. Get ready to clean up after a every meal. But it will be rewarding in the long term. Just smile when your little one makes an attempt to eat. If you see them playing too much maybe they are not so hungry or ether full. Just get them out. I used to keep Kenisha only in diaper to avoid extra laundry and my 2 dogs were the perfect sweepers after each meal!
  9. Early allergens. If there is a history of allergens you may want to introduce it slowly. For example most people suggest introducing one nut variety a week so you can test for allergy. I did not follow it. But please decide this as a parent
  10. Offer a variety of foods and textures for your little one to explore and enjoy their new freedom to eat solids.

 

Remember each child is different and as a parent you must be prepared for the worst. I have tried to share our experience but I must admit that there were rough days. Also once Kenisha joined School and Day care the family meals did reduce but by now she eats most of her meals herself at school and sometimes asks me to feed her at home. Overall it did save me a lot of sanity as a new mom and I absolutely recommend you to try this out.

Feel free to comment with your Questions below.

How to teach babies to swim – A mom’s experience guide

With the summers on set I have been taking my almost 3 year old daughter to swimming almost everyday and regularly was asked several question on Instagram stories about when I began, how to begin and tips on helping babies to adapt to the love for water.

So before I begin, please note that am not an expert. I am a Mom. I read and I research and then I figure out what works for my baby 🙂 So this blog sums up m teaching experience little K. Please don’t treat this as the bible and am sure you would be clever enough to figure out the zillion data floating on www!

My first experience in the pool with my baby

I took my baby for her first pool experience at 9-10 months age and she took to water like a fish. I personally love to swim but I learned it when I was some 15-16 years old and decided I wanted my child to get comfortable with water early on. Yes, don’t treat this as swimming classes. Till children are 4 its more important to encourage them to love water, learn to close their mouth, breath control and basically kick and paddle through

The When and How to begin with swimming with baby

It can be a nerve wrecking for many parents to take their precious child to a public pool, especially here in India. Before I share about our experience here are few useful tips to decide when and how to take your baby for the first dip

  1. Your child must be at least 12 weeks old or 6kgs plus, whichever comes first. Along with age, take your child’s experience and comfort with water into account before you decide to jump in
  2. Ensure the pool is at least 30 degrees temperature or choose to begin when the pools are naturally warmer.
  3. There should be a gap of 30 minutes post a mild feed or 1 hour post a solid meal.
  4. And of course, get a good swim diaper to hold the explosive poops!
  5. It is not important that you are a swimmer but you need to get into the pool and should be comfortable with the depths. Your child is watching you and needs your support for a new experience.

So can an infant swim?

From what I have researched and seen, yes! I have seen babies as young as 18 months or 2 year doing under water swim on youtube. However, with the limited knowledge and experience I have as a parent who loves to swim, my approach was a bit different. I wanted my kid’s experience with a swimming pool as gentle and joyous! No aggressive, cry-it-out techniques here.

Preparing for a fun swimming experience 6 months to 3 years

  1. Most kids take to the love for water early on and a fun bathing time can enhance this experience. For kids 6 months to 2 years old, help them get comfortable with water being splashed on their face and close eyes as and when. Use verbal triggers to let them know when to expect a splash and get ready. Breath control is one of the key swimming skills that needs to be worked on early on
  2. At this age, you simply want to introduce your child to the water. You can play in the pool with her yourself or join a class that’s about having fun and getting comfortable in the water — not learning to swim. Activities may include showing her how to splash, singing songs while bobbing around, and playing gentle games together.
  3. Ensure you are in the water all the time along with your baby and always supervising and close by. It’s best to be on the deeper side and stand while you can hold them in your arms and support them.
  4. Remember when holding infants in the pool to grip them softly and sink them down so they can feel their buoyancy. Remember your body language will rub off on the child so make sure to relax and communicate positively through verbal and non-verbal interactions.
  5. The horizontal floating hold is one of the most important holds for teaching babies to swim. Not only does it allow for good eye contact and exercise, but importantly it puts baby in a horizontal body position ready for submersion. This horizontal position is significant because when we float baby we want the water to run smoothly and evenly over the baby’s forehead. Many people make the mistake of submerging infants in a vertical position which can easily force water up the nose causing discomfort or distress.
  6. For kids 2 years plus you can begin simple lessons like teaching how to blow bubbles in water and getting their face wet without swallowing water. Never submerge a baby under water. They can swallow huge amounts of the chlorine treated water and you really don’t want that.
  7. For kids 2 plus you can also try fun games that help them to try and kick and try and float in water. Maybe throw a ball and watch them reach for it. Kicking his legs, and float supported on his stomach or back.
  8. Most kids can be taught to control their breadth once they are 2-3 years old. Start with just bobbing in water and letting the water vet the chin and then slowly completely till nose. Always let the child know before you plan to submerge them. Maybe like 1,2,3 under! So they are prepared to take a breadth and then hold. Another important this is to let them learn to jump in water. Initially just with sitting on side and you gently pulling them in. Next let them know if they jump mommy will catch them. Sooner they will be comfortable to hold their breath and jump in
  9. Aim for short but fun timing. Watch out for signs of distress. Keep your swim sessions timed for 10-15 minutes and increase them as per the child’s eagerness. Swim at least 3 times a week to make it efficient. Every day is even better!
  10. Ensure you give loads of praises. Many children won’t instantly feel comfortable in the water and will lack the confidence to continue with future session. Keep their spirits up by constantly praising both during and after the swim class, no matter how small or slow their progress is.

I hope you find it useful and share your comments. If there is anything else you did like to talk about, drop a comment or catch me on Instagram for a daily dose of fun!

Enjoy reading more Parenting Blogs HERE

Fine Motor Skills Tools for Toddlers – A must buy for new moms

Keeping a toddler or a preschooler occupied at home is a herculean task. When I began homeschooling Kenisha at the age of 14 months I realized that apart from the basics DIY at home there were some very good educational puzzles, toys and must have tools that really helped her progress in all areas of life skills , especially fine motor skills.

Suggested Read – MONTESSORI CLASSROOM AT HOME FOR TODDLERS -THE EASY SETUP GUIDE

I often get asked a lot about the materials I get for her, so I decided to compile a list of must have tools to build fine motor skills for toddlers 2-3 years old. You can click on the images to directly buy the product.

GO-SCIENCE Learning Resources Hands Helping Fine Motor Tool Set

On top of my list is this perfect kit! This was bought almost a year ago and was reintroduced to Kenisha several times till she got a hang of it. It has 4 Tools to promote different muscle movements and are a great way to get fingers to work together and improve fine motor skills. Set Includes Gator Grabber Tweezers, Handy Scoopers, Twisty Droppers And Squeezy Tweezers.

 

Multi Functional Wooden Writing Board For Kids 

Writing on vertical surfaces helps to promote gross and fine motor development. This upright position engages the core muscles and also works to help improve dexterity and control. Click here to read the benefits of working on vertical surfaces. This is a double sided easel with a magnetic whiteboard and a chalkboard on either side. Kids will love to stick magnets on this or enjoy coloring and drawing almost like pre writing skills.

Mungyo Finger Paint – Set Of 6 Colors

This set was gifted to us and am glad to have it! This is a  non toxin, smooth to touch and yes washable paint! Perfect for tiny babies for their first master piece. Its very smooth and has bright brilliant colours. We love to use this for all our finger paintings and great way to enjoy fine motor skills as well!

Fisher Price Doodle Pro Slim

This was one of the best investments we made! Highly recommend this for scribblers. Touch-wood our walls and furniture survived. This is a great tool to encourage pre writing skills as it has a pen stylus plus few shapes to encourage creativity. Give a kid the doodle pro and let their imagination run wild. I have to say I and Kenisha’s dad enjoy it more than her sometimes!

Magic Sand Activity Play set with Inflatable Sandbox & Molds

I believe in messy play,but its not always possible to find clean sand pits or even just sand pits in the neighborhood. I truly recommend this kit with sand, some molds and definitely inflatable sandbox to keep it clean, well almost! It looks like wet sand yet is completely dry, leave it out for hours, days, weeks it will never change consistency! It only sticks to itself meaning that there is no stickiness, no sand grains in everything, and its EASY to clean up! fine tuning their fine motor development, as Kinetic Sand is a hands-on material it encourages children to squeeze, squish, smash, cut, poke, pinch, roll, and flatten it. They can also scoop it up with utensils and build castles, and mold shapes and so much more!

Did you find this list helpful? Please do share a comment and let me know

Homeschooling is easy and alot of fun. Do read my blog on how HOMESCHOOLING HELPS TO MAKE TRANSITION TO PRESCHOOL EASY

 

Joining back work post-baby?

It’s been a while I have been meaning to pen down my thoughts on this topic. Now 2 months into the new job I think I know what this really feels like – joining back work post-baby!

When is the best time to get back to work?

I wish there was one right answer to this. I am pretty old school and even before I got married I was quite darn sure that the first 2 years of my baby’s upbringing I will not miss a moment even if that would mean taking a break from work. Luckily when I had Kenisha, I was running my own venture and being my own boss meant to manage work and baby at home easily. Nonetheless, many women do get back to work post maternity leave. I think each to their own and each mom has her own reasons to do what she does. However, if you have the lucky opportunity to spend the first 2 years with your child please do cling to it. I promise these would be most memorable – to watch each little milestone!

How do I handle this new change?

So many moms on Instagram asked me how on earth I took this difficult call to get back to a professional career? Will I be able to handle this new change?

Simply put, I planned it all much before in time. If you are anything like me and know for sure that one day you wish to get back to your career after a break or even start again, plan ahead. Think about the possibilities of how you and your baby can cope up with this new change. Do you have support at home, will having a full time Nanny help or would you meed a aycare support.

Planning ahead to keep it sane.

Please do not take up my timeliness as a benchmark as each child is unique and therefore no matter how much you plan there are often chances it may all fail in the end. Like all moms say, never give up and keep trying.

I decided in Nov 2016 to close down my venture by March 2017. Once this was done I took next few months to settle down with this new change and kept myself busy with my blogging and Insta life. At the same time, I decided to look for Montessori schools as Kenisha was going to turn 2 in June 2018. I was plain lucky to fall in love with the first school we visited. One criterion to pick this school was that it had a Daycare as well.

Kenisha settled pretty soon with a 3 hours school routine. This was my first step to plan and apply for jobs and start looking out. In 2 months I also decided to get her used to a daycare facility within the school. The school was open to my idea of sending her to Daycare for only half the month which meant 2-3 days a week at max. This was the phase when I saw her settling at Daycare and the feedbacks were very encouraging. In the meanwhile, I continued to give interviews and explore opportunities.

Finally, in December, I decided to try a full month daycare routine. This was our big test. Will Kenisha stay back for the day while Mumma is at work? Will all my hard work and planning pay? Plus I was almost closing on some opportunities and I really needed this confirmation so badly!

Bang on! My baby did well! She loves her school and her daycare. Mumma got a job just before New years and 2018 began on a wonderful note!

Nothing is as tough as it appears

So I took up a part-time job against a very high paying full-time job because 1. I have zero support apart from a daycare and 2. I also have 2 dogs that need me home early in the evening. I may not be making big bucks but I am content. I am lucky to have found a job that I enjoy and allows me to work as per my time criteria. It does look daunting to think about stepping out after such a long hiatus but its all worth it.

So go ahead Mumma, you can do it too! Wish you luck

If you are Mom who just got back to her career I did love to hear your views as well!