Baby and Me Travel

The Woods in Maryland in Spring

It's been a long winter for nearly everyone, but when you've got young kids cooped up inside a NYC apartment, this past winter felt especially cruel and suffocating. We were able to escape to our house in Maryland and beat this last round of snow. We live deep in the woods. It's such an inviting and natural environment. The woods in Maryland- I can't get enough!

On this sixty degree, sunny day, we decided to welcome spring with a walk through our favorite woods.

Ohm's turning into quite the miniature naturalist. His acorn, pine cone and stick collection is almost museum worthy- almost...


Model Trains and Botanicals: The Magic of the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show

The holiday season feels so much richer now that I've got kids. Suddenly, I have the opportunity to experience the magic of the season all over again and through their brilliant, excited eyes. Yesterday, I took Ohm and Jai to the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show. It was an outing to remember.

The New York Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show is wondrous!

The Holiday Train Show is a coveted annual event. Elaborate train tracks are constructed out of natural materials and botanicals.

Model trains chug down tracks that loop around New York's iconic landmarks that have been re-created using bark, leaves, flower petals, and sticks. It's an imaginative child's dream. It's a nature lovers dream. Who need leggos when you can build such extraordinary things using items you can forage on a walk through the park?

It was really astonishing to see what the imagination can do.

It was fantastic to see my little guy beam and light from within as he ran through the garden chasing trains and pointing out landmarks.

The New York Botanical Gardens never fail to inspire me. Regardless of the time of year, where else can you go, in New York to completely escape the hustle and bustle? Where else can you go and get lost in layers of green? Where else can you spy vibrant, tropical orchids, track numerous species of moss, and explore desert cacti and the flora of the tropical rain forest while never setting foot outside of the city? It really is an instant vacation.

Visiting the New York Botanical Gardens in the winter feels extra special because beneath the canopy of the greenhouse, the temperature is simply tropical. Dress in layers and be prepared to be comforted by the warmth of other suns.

The Holiday Train Show runs through January 19th. Don't miss it!

















































Christmas in New York City: The Magical Rockefeller Tree

Because when you asked, you said please offering a sticky hug, the grin on your face revealing teeth Because you have the biggest, most impossible to resist midnight eyes, that gleam electric when you’re excited Because you promised to hold my hand and read your book on the train, even though you'd rather run free through the busy streets of Manhattan and dance a jig on the blue seats of the subway Because you get excited when you see the lights along Fulton street, snowflake shaped and golden, making even the dingiest façade from Bed-Stuy to Ft. Greene sparkle and shine Because you remind us there’s magic in the air and wonder all around, no matter how cold or rain dampened the air might be Because, because, because, Yes little one, We shall go see, We shall go see the Rockefeller Tree!









Coming to Terms with Sesame Place



"So, what did you do this summer?"

"Well, I had a baby and a month later, we went on vacation Place."

"Oh..." (insert attempt at a polite smile).

I live in New York, and even though I'm in my thirties, none of my friends have children. In many ways, life has continued as it was before, but there are definitely moments when the two worlds collide.

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d trade in my carefree adventures abroad for weekend trips to kid themed amusement parks. But it has happened.

At least to an extent.

I will always be a globe trotter. I just, trot with a finicky entourage of the three and under demographic whose interests tend to keep my husband and I a little closer to home (for now…).


















At first we did well. When my first son was born, our traveling lifestyle continued un-altered and strong as ever. We got him a passport and jetted off with our easygoing, compliant, sweet boy to Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Jamaica, on and on. Our little nugget has more passport stamps than many adults.

But then he turned two. Suddenly jetting off to Asia or Europe or to the grocery store down the street became a challenge. Then our second son was born, and it was clear we’d have to tweak and re-define the way we travel as a family.

Namely, trips needed to be as kid friendly and sanity preserving as possible.

So when our then two year old, launched an I want to spend my third birthday at Sesame Place campaign, we shrugged our shoulders, scratched our heads, got a little sweaty about the palms and said okay.

A quick two-hour drive from Brooklyn, Sesame Place, in lovely Bucks County, PA, was one of our summer vacation destinations.


Ohm's first roller coaster ride

I’m not a fan of amusement parks, but Sesame Place, I could handle.

Sesame Place it turns out is a fabulous place to turn three.

It was such a relief to be in a place that celebrated children. The rides were toddler friendly, the bathroom was toddler/baby/family friendly, snacks were easy to get, and the atmosphere was overwhelmingly happy and fun.

Then there was the BIG parade!

And it was so much fun! I mean, it was completely campy and corny, but just looking at the sheer excitement on Ohm's face as his favorite neon colored furry friends made their way down the street, made the entire trip worth it. The energy was infectious. Mark and I let ourselves go and cheered and waved with the rest of the under six crowd.

Sometimes, it's just not about you.

Sometimes, you have to accept that life brings changes.

This year, we did Sesame Place and not Rio, but I would have it no other way.

There are Perks to Flying with Kids!

Recently, I had the smoothest, most serene travel experience of my post- 9/11 life. No, I didn't walk, ride my bike or take the train- I flew.

No, I didn't cram all of my belongings into a carry on bag so I wouldn't have to wait on line to check luggage.

No, I didn't leave my laptop or kids at home, so that my hands would be free and I wouldn't have to fumble and bumble at the security checkpoint.

Here's what happened.

After navigating our way out of the JFK long term parking lot (an adventure in an of itself), my husband and I, along with a really large rolling suitcase, three carry on bags, a three year old on the verge of either breaking down or breaking for it (depending on the moment) and a crying infant, strapped in a carrier, stumbled onto the Delta check-in line. Our arrival was neither pretty or graceful, but that is neither here nor there, because we arrived with two golden tickets- our lovely children.

Ohm snags a fun ride to the terminal.

We were all smiles at 6 am!

Immediately, the Delta employees swooped in. Since we didn't have a free hand to actually use the self check-in kiosk designed for convenience, an employee quickly took care of it for us, double checking to make sure or lap child seat was also secure (this can be a pain). My husband was led to an agent, so that our bag could be checked quickly and here are some of the other perks we enjoyed that fateful morning:

  • We were ushered through to the front of the security line. If you're traveling with kids, you get to go through the line designated for the handicapped and people traveling with special needs. It's usually located to the left of the really long and winding regular person's security line. When you've got kids, you're VIP baby!
  • After checking our tickets and passports, the security officer, suggested that we may want to enjoy the specialty checkpoint for TSA prechecked individuals. There should have been a red carpet. That's what it felt like. We didn't have to remove a single item from our carry on bags. No shoes had to come off of our feet. Even the apple juice my little guy was sipping on, that I forgot to throw away, before going through security (because I figured he'd have plenty of time to finish it on that crazy line) went right on through without a pause. The entire security line, plus check-point took maybe five minutes total. We're actually signing up for the TSA precheck service since we tend to fly a lot and not always with the kids.
  • When we arrived at our departure gate (literally fifteen minutes after stepping into the airport), we were informed by the agent that we'd be bumped up from regular Economy to Economy Comfort since you know, we had the kids and all. Suddenly, it didn't matter that the man sitting in front of me decided to recline his seat all the way back as I held my sleeping two month old on my lap. We had plenty of room, and we were among the first people to depart the plane (I hate being stuck in the back while people toggle their luggage out of the overhead bins).
  • Upon departing the plane, since we were one of the first five people to exit, we bumped right into the pilot, who saw our three year old point at the cockpit and he invited us in for a cockpit tour. He got to press buttons and touch levers. The experience was priceless!

Future pilot?

As for the actual flight, after the excitement of the adventure subsided, both little ones passed right out. Not a peep was heard and mommy got to read a novel!


Thanks JFK and Delta for a quick and painless flight.  There are definitely perks to flying with kiddos!








Fun Around and In Brooklyn's Prospect Park Zoo!

I was being pulled downwards, sharp branches poked at my hair and face. "Come inside the big-bom mommy." I got down on my knees, trying not to wake my newborn who was strapped to me. "It's a Wigwam, Ohm. This is where the Lenape Indians lived." I was crawling over leaves and sticks. "Come inside the Indian house. I'm going to make some food." The little hand tugged again with full force and I was inside. "Sit mommy, sit!" I did as I was told. Above, an intricate system of reeds and bark came together to form a roof, one that allowed the stream of afternoon sun to penetrate in shimmering brilliance. IMG_0455 As my three year old pretended to cook over an open fire, I settled onto my tree stump bench with my newborn in anticipation of the imaginary meal I was about to partake in. We came to Prospect Park to visit the zoo. What we found was an entire historical experience. It says, Zoo entrance, but when you walk beneath that arch, the first thing you're met with is a model Lenape village. Children (and adults) can play in the model wigwams while learning about New York's original inhabitants. Once you're on your way again, down the path headed towards the zoo, another surprise awaits. The historic Lefferts House, once owned by Continental Army Lieutenant Pieter Lefferts and his family, is now a museum, free to the public and open for exploration.
Built in 1783, the house and farm have been preserved as a museum of family life in the 1800's. On the great lawn, children can wear stilts and play with toys such as wooden hoops that were popular in the 1800s. IMG_0460
IMG_0462Inside, Ohm ran giddily from room to room, touching and experiencing it all (luckily the touching was encouraged by the museum which caters to small children). "Look mommy, I'm eating corn." "Look mommy, I'm playing a game." "Come on, we have to play the piano!"
IMG_0451 An hour later, we emerged from the 1800's. Ohm, yawning, swore he was still ready to explore the zoo. A big fan of tiring him out, onwards we marched, down the path towards the zoo, past the historical carousel, past the ice cream vendors and pretzel vendors and hot dog vendors, onwards and onwards, until we made it to our destination. I had known for a while that there was a Zoo inside Prospect Park (Brooklyn’s Central Park) but I never took the time to stop by for a visit. At the end of the day, every New Yorker knows that the sprawling Bronx Zoo is where all of the animals live. I wasn’t so sure about this Prospect Park Zoo business. But since we don't live in the Bronx, we live in Brooklyn, within walking distance to the park, I figured it was high about time we became acclimated with our own backyard.
The Prospect Park Zoo, is a small zoo, it’s actually just the right size for a toddler. The grounds are beautifully manicured with gardens and sculptures, its compact size is not overwhelming and is quite accessible for little ones. IMG_0481 You will not find lions, tigers and bears at the Prospect Park Zoo. Instead, you’ll find sea lions, red tailed pandas, ground hogs, farm animals, llamas, mongoose, and other small wonders. IMG_0490 IMG_0496

Ohm didn’t seem to mind. His three year old attention span could only handle so much stimulation. After the Lenape wigwam and the Lefferts house and the petting zoo, he was walking on sunshine. He had a great time without the lions, tigers and bears and I was happy I didn't have to drive to the Bronx and fight for parking. I had no idea there was so much to do around and in Brooklyn's Prospect Park Zoo. We'll be back!

Lion Hunt at the Bronx Zoo!

"No. That way!" My two and a half year old, perched in his enormous stroller, finger pointed to the left, went into full mini-dictator mode. "Push mama, push!"

Up a steep hill, panting, six months pregnant, I forged forth. What could I do? We were on a lion hunt at the Bronx Zoo.

In part three of my Bronx exploration, I hopped in my car and headed north, to the largest urban zoo in America.

The Bronx Zoo is massive. It is massive and it is hilly. Map in hand, I wound my way towards the African Mammal exhibit- home of the lions.

For weeks Ohm had been practicing his roar. He was ready to see some lions and I was ready to deliver. We entered through the African Wild Dog section, a blustery fifty degree day, the dogs were not out.



Not to worry I told myself, surely there will be lions. Who has ever heard of a zoo without lions? We took our hunt onwards. Still as statues, the giraffes called out to each other with their bizarre voices- somewhat of a cross between a scream, a moan and a honk.


"Where did the lions go mama?" Despite the great distractions, panic was in the air- I couldn't find the lions. The lion exhibit was empty. Surely they had to be in an indoor exhibit I told myself. If I were a lion, where would I be?

We took our hunt in the direction of the gorilla exhibit. On our way, we saw...

brown bear


Pink Flamingos Bronx Zoo















































After two and a half hours of searching and coming up empty, our lion hunt had come to an end.

I have to admit, it was a bit disappointing. The Bronx Zoo, claims the title of being the largest urban zoo in America and at $25.00 for an adult ticket (3 and under are free), it would have been nice to see some more animals. Most of the exhibits were empty. Wednesdays I am told are free days, I think I will have to resume the lion hunt during the summer on a Wednesday.

In the meantime Ohm is practicing his roar.


The National Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum It was like being in a flashback of my childhood.

My feet clicked across the glossy white floor, bright light streamed in from the window spaces above, and everywhere around me, suspended overhead, bolted to the ground, were massive relics of aviation and space exploration.

I remember being dragged here as a child by my grandfather, a former Tuskegee Airman. He would stand and marvel at the B-52 bombers and telescopes, the space shuttles and astronomy dioramas. Not at all interested in science, airplanes or space exploration, I was always bored and unimpressed.

"Come on grandpa, is it time for ice-cream yet?"...

Flash forward twenty years and I've found myself the proud yet baffled mother of an airplane obsessed two year old. His love of all things aviation certainly didn't come from me or my musician husband, it must be an inherited love from his great-grandfather. My role as a mom is not to question, but to support, so off I found myself, yet once again heading to the National Air and Space Museum. At least I told myself, this time I was the adult, and could control when we would leave and how long we would spend lost in space.

Located on historic Independence Avenue, the National Air and Space Museum boasts the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world.  A part of the Smithsonian museum collections, the museum is FREE! A great perk of many things in the nation's capital.

I found myself drawn towards the exhibits that focused on astronomy. I am thoroughly enchanted by the night sky and would love to learn more.

It was really great to see Ohm's face light up. He thoroughly enjoyed his trip to the Air and Space Museum. Too young to truly understand what was going on around him, we spent a good hour just looking at the airplanes, spacecrafts and exhibits.

There is a children's room which is probably best suited for children 5-10. Ohm did get to sit inside an airplane though, which thrilled him to no end.

I've got to admit, even though I still as an adult don't get particularly excited about science or space exploration, the Air and Space Museum is fascinating.

The National Air and Space Museum

600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20560


The Virtues of a Green Maternity Massage at the Nusta Spa

bamboo reeds "Oh, yes, Mrs. Williams, we've been expecting you. What size are you wearing now?"

The receptionist looked from my face to my stomach with a smile and a wink.

"Errr... I, I'm not sure anymore. Maternity size?"

"No problem Mrs. Williams. Have you been here before?"


"Well, welcome. Jeanine here will show you around."

A woman, dressed in head to toe black, appeared suddenly from behind the counter.

"Follow me Mrs. Williams." She said, her black framed glasses sliding slightly down the bridge of her nose.


I was led through the bright lobby and down a wood paneled lavender scented hallway.

"Here we are." She pushed open a set of large glass doors.

The bright room smelled of eucalyptus. My feet slid across the spotless bamboo floors.

"This will be your locker, behind you you'll find the washroom, and on the other side the showers. Here is your robe and a pair of slippers. Once you've changed you can make a left out the door and take a seat in the treatment waiting area."


Wrapped in a velvety robin's egg blue robe and matching slippers, I made my way down the fragrant hallway towards the waiting room. A babbling fountain echoed in the distance as I settled into the plush sofa with a glass of cucumber water and a handful of trail mix.

No sooner had I started flipping through Organic Spa Magazine than I was called in for my treatment.


This Christmas, Mark surprised me with a maternity massage. Well into my second trimester with our second child, he'd grown weary of my daily, sometimes hourly requests for massages.

My first maternity massage, I wasn't sure what to expect. The massage table was outfitted with an elaborate network of body pillows, that the masseuse had to help me wriggle into so I could lay comfortably on my side.

The massage began, as most do, with a back rub. Instead of laying on my stomach, I was on my side. First my left side was gently attended to and then the right. It was heavenly. Classical music played in the distance. A soothing heat pad covered my feet and lower back.

The legs came next, then the feet, followed by my arms, neck and finally my head. When my hour was up, I felt blissful and new.

Nusta Spa is a green spa. I was able to relax and rest assured that nothing but the cleanest and purest ingredients were being massaged into my skin. In my case, an unscented olive oil blend.

The maternity massage at Nusta Spa was exactly what I needed. Before this little guy makes his grand appearance in June, I will definitely be back.

Wondering how to make your pregnant friends, wives, girlfriends, daughters, or sisters smile? Find a luxurious spa and gift them a maternity massage.

If you're in the D.C. area, Nusta Spa is a great place to start.

Nusta Spa, 1129 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC

Adventuring to the Park with a Toddler


















On Saturdays, when we're in Brooklyn and not on the road, Ohm and I visit Prospect Park.

It is important to me, to expose him to the many green spaces the city has to offer. Spaces that encourage the imagination and develop an appreciation for nature.

When we travel to the park, I leave all toys and distractions at home because I want Ohm to be present in the discovery and wonder of the park's beautiful environment.



















At two, Ohm is a natural explorer. Once safely inside the park, he's out of the stroller leading the way. He is allowed to choose the trails we walk along and the direction that we amble. I stop when he stops and point out interesting observations along the way.

"Wow! That is a very tall tree! I wonder how tall that tree is. You look very small compared to such a large tree."

"Tall tree! Big!" Ohm squeals with delight as he runs to touch the trunk.

"What does the trunk feel like? The bark is so rough. This must be a very sturdy tree."

"Rough." Ohm repeats, while rubbing the trunk of the tree.

We meander some more, make some more observations.



















"Look at the apples. What small apples. I wonder what tree they came from?"

"Where are the flowers? What color are the flower's petals?"

The many joys of drawing shapes in the earth with twigs and bark.



















We happen upon a clearing. We take a moment to collect sticks and bark. I begin to draw shapes in the earth with the sticks. Ohm follows suit singing his ABC's. I draw each letter and help him trace the shape with his stick. We make it to O before he becomes distracted by a group of children blowing bubbles on the lawn behind us, we join them.

A sea of bubbles!





































The children weave around each other in an attempt to catch a bubble before it disappears. Running in circles after clusters of bubbles that vanish before nearing him, Ohm seems to have developed a strategy. He stands still, watching the bubbles hover above before slowly descending around him. Keying in on one or two bubbles he waits patiently before the satisfying pop. "Boom!" He giggles popping the bubbles. "Boom. Boom!"

A minute later he is off, chasing a golden retriever down a path towards a tunnel. "Dog. Woof woof." He calls. Soon he realizes that once he's in the tunnel, his voice creates an echo. "Hello." He calls standing perfectly still. "Hello!"


A second later, he's off once more.

It's a beautiful thing to tag along with a toddler in the process of discovering the world.

Every city and suburb in almost every country around the world has some sort of open green space. When we're not in Brooklyn, we get to discover new green spaces all over the country and world. It's the perfect free of charge, low maintenance, accoutrement-free toddler friendly activity.

What activities do you engage in when going on an adventure to the park with a tot?












Five Tips for Baby and Toddler Proofing Your Hotel Room

Ohm takes a break to read and play in a hotel provided crib in Osaka, Japan. You finally get the door to your hotel open. You've got a sleeping six month old balanced on your hip, a diaper bag slung across your body and your suitcase sized purse dangles heavily from your arm. Your partner trails behind, pulling your three year old who is dangling over the over sized rolling bag, a carry on bag and a computer bag crossed in either direction across his chest.

Entering the room, your heart flutters with anxiety. Sliding glass doors reveal a balcony with wide bars, a floor lamp rests elegantly  in an open corner, cords stretch here and there, the boxy edges of the end tables, a desk and dressers jut out in reckless points. Your three year old has knocked the garbage can over and is riffling through the drawer with the room service menus. Into the center of the room, they fly. It has begun...

Traveling with children and introducing them to a new space can be nerve wrecking. Suddenly you're at an away game and there's no such thing as home court advantage.

Here are some tips for creating a safe hotel environment for your little one while on vacation:

 1)      Pack your baby proofing essentials! Before you leave the house, pop a handful of plastic electrical outlet plugs (this really only applies if you’ve got a baby or a toddler on the go) into your suitcase. It is amazing what toddlers can find when they set off to explore, don’t let them find the electrical outlet.  Luckily, most hotels usually only have two outlet sources in the main room (one low to the ground and one attached to a desk), I like to slide a dresser or a side stand in front of easy to access outlets. Table bumpers and guards or (if you're creative) bubble wrap and tape can be used to soften sharp edges. Most hotel rooms are not designed for little ones. Low sharp corners are everywhere.

 2)     Call ahead and request a crib or play yard. Most hotels offer play yards and cribs. Even if you co-sleep, or your two year old is sleeping in a bed on their own, a play yard can offer a safe play space for the downtime spent in the hotel room.

 3)     Scan the room for the little hazards and hide them. Most hotel rooms are not designed with little ones in mind. You know your child. Scan the room for annoying little triggers like garbage cans (I don’t know why toddlers love these so much?) Take garbage cans and place them in the bathroom and close the door to avoid a garbage spill every five minutes. Anchor wobbly floor lamps behind desks or chests of drawers to avoid the inevitable crash to the ground.

 4)     Don’t be afraid to re-arrange your hotel room when you travel to accommodate your baby or toddler. You know what is best for your child, re-arrange the room to create space and block hazards. Will your two year old share the bed with you? There’s nothing wrong with sliding the bed up against a wall and out of the center of the room to protect your little guy from a fall in the middle of the night (most beds can be moved). Going for an extended stay? Place items you want your toddler to have access to in a drawer that is low to the ground, put everything else up high, in a closet or closed behind the bathroom door.

 5)     Pack your stroller. You may need it to give your child (depending on their age) a safe time out as you shower, in the event a crib or play yard is not available to you.

I use a small lightweight stroller when I travel. It's easy to fold and carry and can be useful as a safe way to keep Ohm in place for a few minutes if I need to do something.

        At the end of the day, a vacation is meant to be fun and relaxing. When traveling with a baby or a tot, there will most likely be bumps and situations will arise that you can't possibly anticipate. Know this is part of the course and remember that the benefits of family travel far outweigh the stress. Enjoy the adventure of exposing your little one to the world!



9 Tips for Taking Your Toddler on a Road Trip

IMG_6569 Traveling with your little one is a wonderful way to introduce them to the world. Road trips are an easy and enjoyable way to expose your munchkin to the many cities, towns and states that comprise the USA and perhaps Canada or Mexico too (how adventurous are you?).

During a road trip, you are the master of your itinerary. You're free to make as many stops and take as many detours as you need. With a little planning, you can transform your car into a comfortable homelike environment where your tot can feel relaxed and safe.

If you're ready to hit the open road with your little one, here are nine tips for taking your toddler on a road trip:


1) Turn your child's backseat area into a comfortable, stimulating, home-like environment. Grab a couple of his/her favorite board books and toys, a favorite blanket or snuggie and place them where they can be easily reached. Provide plenty of opportunities for self-entertainment.

2) Bring along a fun playlist or CD of songs your little one recognizes and adores. There are a lot of opportunities for fun and memory making here. Encourage your tot to have a dance party in his safety seat. You can do the same from the front seat (unless you're the one driving). Have a family sing-along. Whatever you do and however you do it, have fun.

3) Pack your  iPad or Tablet. My husband Mark and I spent a lot of time trying to keep Ohm awake on our last road trip. Kids love to sleep in the car which is lovely for adults but too much sleep can backfire at bedtime thus potentially throwing your entire schedule off. To keep him awake and lively, we played some of his favorite shows (a lot of Backyardigans and Sesame Street). We have an iPad holder that sits on the back of the driver's head rest- it's like gold. The iPod works well at night too if your child gets fussy in the dark. Pssst - the iPad works wonders on husbands as well.

4) Pull over often and let your little one stretch their limbs and run about. We pulled over every 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

5) Pack snacks! You can never have too many. Pack a good variety so your little one will have plenty of healthy options since road travel most often means fast food. Make sure to pack plenty of fluids and place them somewhere easily accessible.

6) Have an extra pair of clothes and several extra diapers and wipes on hand- you just never know. Between food, drink and bathroom accidents, you never know when an extra shirt may come in handy. You're not going to want to dig around in your suitcase. I turned my glove compartment into a mini diaper bag.

7) Dress your little one in soft comfortable clothes and layer. Depending on your trip, you may cross multiple climate zones. You'll want to be ready. Your little ones comfort and contentment is equal to your comfort and contentment.

8) Make your road trip educational and fun. Depending on the age of your child, you can plan to make stops at museums, zoos, national parks, and cultural sites of interest. Pulling over to pick peaches at a farm in Georgia for example is a great way to teach your child about regional fruit and is a wonderful form of exercise after spending hours in the car. If your tot is really small, simply making an educational game out of identifying all of the familiar objects will entertain them. "Look, a tree! T is for tree, t-r-ee. Look, a truck! T is also for truck, vroom vroom - etc."

9) Take time for yourself! Listening to Sesame Street for hours on end, or to your child's favorite Raffi CD on loop can take its toll on your sanity. There is nothing wrong with silent breaks, or listening to your music while your child self-entertains. Encourage independent play! When your little one does fall asleep, and they will thanks to the lull of the car, make sure that you take time for yourself. Engage in an adult conversation, listen to the music you like, if you're in the passenger seat take a nap, it will save your sanity.

Taking a road trip with a toddler is not without its challenges, but it is well worth the effort. With a little planning, a little creativity and a little ingenuity, you can build memories and explore the world together.


Have you traveled with a tot?

Must Have Accessories for Infant Travel


With a little (okay, a lot) of extra planning and creativity, your newborn can be your best traveling companion. The following are some accessories that will make your travel experience with your infant a much more enjoyable and carefree event.

1. Baby Bjorn Carrier

I never leave the house without my Baby Bjorn. This is such a handy and durable carrier, whether you're going to the grocery store or embarking on a five-mile hike. This carrier is sturdy, so you can have your hands free, do something physical and feel confident that your baby is snug and secure. This is a great carrier for the outdoors.

2. Moby Wrap Carrier

I love this carrier as well because it allows for discreet breastfeeding. I use this carrier when I'm doing less physically demanding things, such as eating dinner at a restaurant or going to a museum or shopping. The Moby is cloth and molds your baby to you. My son loves being toted in his Moby, and I love that it allows me to breastfeed in public without having to flash my breasts to the world.

3. J.L. Childress Changing Pad with a built-in baby wipe packet

Public changing tables are a hotbed for germs-yuck. I never lay my little one down without the security of a changing pad. The J.L. Childress changing pad is great because it has a built-in baby wipe packet to store your supplies and can be wiped down and sanitized after touching that dirty changing station. Changing pads are also handy if there are no changing stations in sight, as you can unfold them on the seat of your car or on your lap to create an instant diaper changing surface.

4. Okkatots Travel Baby Depot Bag

Ingenious I say, this bag is simply  the best! There are so many handy water proof pockets and sections in this bag that comes with a changing pad and dirty laundry pouch. You can pack your babies items for the day as well as your own and set out with just this backpack for a full days worth of fun. Mesh pockets allow for the easy drying and ventilation of pacifiers and there are built-in bottle holders as well.

5. Graco Portable Play Yard

I love this item! The Graco Portable Play Yard is really only handy for travel via car (unless you want to pay extra for your checked baggage) since it folds up to the size of a large stroller. The Play Yard doubles as a play/sleeping station and changing station providing a safe space for baby to snooze and play while at a hotel or relatives house.

6. Little Remedies Baby Travel Kit

Little Remedies is a handy little travel first aid kit to have by your side. Complete with saline spray, gas drops, a nasal aspirator and oral numbing gel, you pretty much are ready for anything with this kit. I like to throw a thermometer, baby Tylenol and nail clippers into the handy zip-up pack as well.

7. One Step Ahead, Tuck Me In Travel Bed

This bed is so great. Super portable, the Tuck Me In Travel Bed is inflatable and comes with little bumpers on the sides to keep baby from rolling out. This is a great alternative to the Graco Portable Play Yard if you are taking a flight and don't have a lot of room to pack extras.

8. California Baby Calming Basics Tote

Your baby has sensitive skin, that hotel toiletry set may work for you, but will most likely irritate your little-one. The California Baby Calming Basics Tote is a great solution. Complete with baby wash, lotion, shampoo, diaper rash cream and calendula cream, the products are scented with yummy lavender to encourage a peaceful rest for infants on the go.

9. Random assortment of plastic bags for storing wet clothes and holding dirty diapers.

Never underestimate the importance of hanging on to your grocery bags!

*All of the above mentioned items can be purchased online on amazon or directly through the manufacturers page. Happy traveling!

Traveling with a Newborn: Ohm's First Trip


I have done nothing in my life as miraculous as giving birth to my son. A month old today, my life with Ohm has been an intense and primal love affair. On his own schedule from day one, Ohm arrived three weeks late, thus disrupting the bonding time my husband and I had planned at home. We literally spent the majority of the month of August indoors staring at each other ( I found a mole on his face I didn't know existed), having cancelled everything in anticipation of our little man. So when my husband, a musician with a touring swing band reluctantly packed up and shipped out for his Japanese tour one week after the birth of our son, I too found myself preparing to travel.

Staying in Brooklyn, where I had no family to assist me for the two weeks that Mark would be away was not an appealing option. My baby was great, but not that great. I'd read stories of stressed out new moms, left alone and I wasn't signing up for that. Aware of my limits, I packed my car, grabbed my alternatively sleepy and cranky newborn and headed upstate to my childhood home in Rochester, New York. Hi dad, I'm baaaaccckkk....

What normally would have been an extremely simple trip became an involved exercise in patience and strategy.

Part 1: The Drive

Getting there was a challenge. Not being able to leave Mr. Cranky Pants alone in the backseat of the car while I drove, I needed help. I called friends and relatives to see who would be available to drive with me from Brooklyn to Rochester. Nobody had an entire day free, but I was able to convince my friend Freddy and my sister N'Djamena to help me in shifts. As I sat in the back seat, keeping the peace like a UN negotiator, Freddy took the wheel and drove Ohm and I from Brooklyn to Albany, where my sister lives. Next shift, we picked up my sister who resumed driving duties, dropped Freddy at the train station and continued upstate. N'Djamena and Freddy's help proved to be life saving. There is nothing worse than driving with a screaming infant in the car, an infant you can't even see since the baby seat has to face the rear window. With mommy in the backseat, I was able to comfort and calm with relative ease. Ohm, did well on the drive and took turns fussing, sleeping and eating, but for the most part, he was a very good little boy.

Part 2: Creating a baby friendly environment

Any new parent will tell you that organization is key. If I was going to survive with my sanity for the next two weeks, I had to set up my baby center immediately and make sure that everything was in place to ensure both of our comfort. Whenever I go to Rochester, I stay in my father's study which comes complete with a twin day-bed and for the purpose of my visit a brand new travel friendly Graco Playyard (I would not have survived without this gift as there was no way for me to pack my crib from Brooklyn).

After handing Ohm over to bond with his grandpa, I dashed upstairs to put form and structure to our world for the next two weeks. I needed a changing station, a bathing station, a place to lay his clothes out, a laundry station, a bottle station and a place to put his bouncer. Traveling with a baby, means traveling with things, lots and lots of things. I got over myself very quickly and was resigned to wear the same three outfits as to not take up too much space.

You spend weeks (possibly months) planning your baby's room and setting your house up for your new arrival. Setting up a new space is no easy feat. Without my familiar nooks and furniture, I was forced to hijack bookcases, end-table tops, and any available space that I could find. The lamp table became the bottle station, the windowsill became the storage portion of my changing station, the surface of a bookcase was resurrected as a place to store and organize baby clothes. Within 45 minutes, I was in action.

Part 3: Your newborn and contact with people

Babies do not receive their immunizations until their second month of life. This means, that for the first two months of their lives as a parent you are bound to be a nervous, neurotic mess. So fragile and vulnerable to disease and colds, it's tempting to become a hermit until this time passes, but providing your child is healthy and your pediatrician gives the okay, it is fine to venture about in controlled environments (absolutely no crowds!).

Going out and about with your baby is all about common sense. Dress your newborn in layers (even in the summer), it is amazing how many temperatures you go through from outside, to the car, to inside an air-conditioned store or restaurant. Babies lose heat quickly as their circulatory system is immature (cover hands, feet and head regions). My Baby Bjorn carrier is a life saver. Not only is Ohm snuggled next to me, listening to my heartbeat, and benefiting from my body heat, but my hands are free, I am able to function and move and eat and enjoy my environment without worrying about supporting his head and rocking and bouncing and all of the fun details and restrictions associated with holding an infant. When heading into a somewhat crowded area (there are never truly crowds in Rochester), I covered Ohm in the Baby Bjorn with a receiving blanket (once a woman mistook my baby bjorn and blanket situation for a heart monitor machine, she pulled me aside and told me to be strong, to hang in there, that she would be praying for me- I had to break the news to her softly, that I was carrying my newborn, not a heart monitor). Whatever you do, don't let strangers touch your baby (they will try) and make sure that your visiting friends and relatives wash their hands before touching and holding your baby. The last thing you need is a sick infant.

Part 4: Locate a pediatrician who accepts your insurance ahead of time

To be safe, I wrote down the names and addresses of three pediatricians in the area, just in case. And it's a good thing.

During   bath time one morning, I noticed what looked like bruising at the base of my son's spine. I took note, told myself not to panic, handled him very gently and checked back the next day. The bruising was still there. I then, looked up bruising in newborns on the internet and was presented with horror stories about leukemia and blood diseases. I called the doctor, scheduled an appointment and was informed that my son had developed his birthmark. I was so relieved and felt completely foolish, but was glad that I had the option of going to a doctor. While there, she even gave him a full physical and took the time to answer questions. The piece of mind was priceless.

Part 5: Pack extra clothes in that diaper bag

While out in public one afternoon, Ohm became hungry. I covered my chest with an extra receiving blanket and proceeded to nurse. Everything was going well until I burped him and after emitting an enormous belch, he proceeded to spit up. Not only did he spit up about a half cup of milk, he spit up blood, right down the front of his baby blue jumper. My panic turned to horror. I wiped at his mouth with the receiving blanket looking for the source of the blood, everything seemed fine. He didn't appear to be in any pain or to have any cuts. I wiped his bloodstained clothes as dry as I could and tried to understand what had occurred. It wasn't until I looked down at my chest did I realize the problem. I was the bleeder. Nursing in the early days/weeks, is no fun. My nipples were dry, they were cracked and sure enough, my nipple had a deep bleeding crack. I was bleeding through my bra and shirt. The scene looked gruesome and I was completely embarrassed. Luckily, nobody seemed to notice. We removed ourselves as quietly as possible from public view, went home and changed. Note to self, pack an extra outfit for baby and have an extra bra and t-shirt in stock for mommy, just in case...

Overall, our Rochester adventure was a success. Before I knew it, Mark, back from Japan, had joined us for our final days upstate. Our two weeks in Rochester flew by. I was fortunate that Rochester is such a baby and child friendly city. People appreciate babies. Unlike in certain restaurants in Manhattan, where you are scowled at the moment your baby coos, people greeted Ohm with smiles, even when he was having a meltdown. We thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air break and the comfort of family and friends.

Most people do not travel with a one week-old, however, sometimes you have no choice. Know that it can be done, and it can be fun as long as you have a little help from family and friends and as long as you are prepared for the unexpected.