I see baby announcements left and right on social media. Then moms always seek out advice on the latest and greatest or what items are must-haves. For me, while I’m not currently pregnant, I love reminiscing on the last two and a half years of Madison’s life. We have been travelers from day one. Before I made any purchases, I always did my mental checklist on how well it would travel or make travel easier on me. How would it transport on a plane? How will it pack it when I am gone for a month but will be staying in multiple locations?
These very questions are why I have compiled my list of must haves for moms. Six years of NFL life translates to frequent travel. Since almost three of those years have been with a child, I feel like I have some pretty solid insight.
Airline Travel & Babywearing
Let me just get this rolling by saying that I am a huge advocate of babywearing. Yes, every time I say that I still get a quick flash of Wolfpack Alan.
While I was pregnant, before my belly was ginormous, I would take my dog tucker and practice tying up the wraps. My ten pound Yorkie, Tucker, was the perfect size for a stand-in baby. I might add that he loved it!
Solly Baby Wrap
Back to babywearing. I cannot tell you how many times I have purchased the Solly Baby Wrap for my mom-to-be friends, or suggested it on a social media post. The fabric is so soft and breathable. I was in the summer Florida humidity and it was fantastic. Madison never got overheated. The length of that wrap is perfect. The patterns, prints and colors are super cute and there are multiple ways you can wrap based on size and preference. Elle Rowley, creator of Solly Wrap, has excellent wrap instruction videos on YouTube as well.
Things I loved most about the wrap: It packed up into a small square. Packability was an A+. The wrap was small enough to even toss into the diaper if needed.
Whenever I flew with Madison, which was often, I was never a fan of a stroller.
During flights, 90% of the time I was alone, so I needed to get through the airport, departure to arrival, with ease. If you plan to travel with a stroller, check it when you walk into the airport and pick it up at baggage claim. Strollers and car seats are free when flying with the majority of airlines. However, I have encountered smaller airlines that require you to pay, but I don’t plan to ever use those airlines again.
I personally never liked taking a stroller to the gate. Toting it through the security checkpoint with a baby in arms, no thank you. You have to remove everything and fold the stroller, then lay it up on the belt to go through x-ray and try to reload it using one free arm. If you are lucky enough to get to travel with a companion, then it may not be so difficult.
With my Solly Wrap, Madison stayed in her wrap. I never had to move her, wake her up or take her out. Once we got on the plane, Madison was “infant in arms.” Of all the times I flew and carried her in the Solly Wrap, I never had to take the wrap off and was never asked to take her out. However, while wearing the Ergo 360, I was told that I had to remove her from the Ergo. Quite honestly, it makes zero sense to me. If you do actually know why, then please fill me in.
All in all, Sollywrap is packable, lightweight, simple to wear and a breeze for flying.
Next up, but still in babywearing, is the Ergo 360. This is considered a soft structured carrier. I loved this carrier for longer periods of time that I would be walking, standing or wearing her. Think ballparks, football games, long days in the city, trips to Disney Parks, amusement parks, or hikes. This carrier provides a little more support for mom and has options for multiple ways to carry. There is front facing mom, front facing out, side carry and back. I loved the back carry when Madison got a little bigger. The back carry was the way I got most things accomplished through the day. Ergo 360 is a breeze to put on and so comfortable.
DockATot is a pretty new discovery for me. It’s a product I am so excited to try if my IVF goes well and I get pregnant. They come in two different sizes. At the time Madison was born, I wasn’t aware of this option, so I hope to have the chance to try this out in the future. Several friends have raved about this product, so it will go on my personal must have list.
I searched high and low for the perfect portable crib, or place for Madison to sleep. She only recently grew out of her travel crib, so I would say, in two and a half years, it has certainly served its purpose. This gem is the Guava Family Bassinet and Lotus Travel Crib. This product spurred from a last minute flight to Miami. The Lotus Travel Crib has an optional attachment for a bassinet that can be removed when your infant outgrows it. We primarily used the Lotus Crib.
When it comes to packability, this travel crib gets an A. The crib will pack into a backpack that fits into an overhead compartment and qualify as carry-on. When we were in hotels, I would lay a Grand Trunk Parasheet blanket down first, then lower the lotus crib zipper panel. It served as a place she could crawl around and explore without being directly on the hotel floor.
The Lotus Crib is actually a little larger than a traditional pack and play. It lays directly on the ground with a small pad so there isn’t a weight limit. They also have a sun cover that was an awesome accessory. It helped tremendously during naptime or bedtime when the room wasn’t dark.
Grand Trunk Parasheet is my next must have if you are a mom on the go or frequent traveler. My Parasheet has been on airport floors, hotels, parks, and beaches across the US. It packs up super light, washes easy and doubles as a pretty epic beach blanket. Stuck in an airport and baby wants down to crawl around? Easy, parasheet. Beach trip? Park picnic? Parasheet.
Breast Pump = Splurge
All I have to say is this is the one department you should have full rights to splurge on. However, before making the big purchase check with your insurance. Sometimes insurance will cover the cost of a breast pump or even offer an incentive!
I was lucky and my insurance covered the Medela double pump. Amazing. Twice as much milk in half the time. Since insurance covered that pump, I did get the Swing™ Breast Pump by Medela for travel purposes. Battery operated and fits in your hand. Do the girls a solid and invest in a durable, high powered double pump. Fist bump me later.
Everyone will obviously tell you that you need lots of receiving blankets, but be specific on your registry. My favorite multi-use blanket was by aden + anais. Look no further, they have everything from burp cloths to bibs to body suits and the ever popular, silky soft swaddles. Sometimes, you can even catch deals at Nordstrom rack. Keep your eyes peeled.
My must have list could go on and on, but for the matters of travel and efficiency, I think these guys take the cake. I might work on a separate everyday list that would start with Starbucks gift cards, a sleep mask and nipple shield, but sure these items would be included in it as well.
As for mommas that travel or are constantly on the go, check out the Solly Wrap, Ergo 360, Guava Family Lotus Crib and, for co-sleepers, the DockATot.
Good Luck and congratulations to the parents-to-be!
Note: This post is in no way sponsored. I purchased all mentioned products. These are just some great options that made mom life a little simpler.