Paris, je t’aime! A fun mummy-daughter afternoon in the city of lights

A couple of weeks ago, my 22 months old baby girl and I joined my husband in his business trip to Paris… We used to live there before moving to London, and we know very well the city. But seeing it through a toddler’s eyes is a completely different story! I am lucky enough to have lots of mummy friends in town that gave me some good recommendations on what to do in those few spring days in the city of lights… Let me share with you what we did in one of those lovely Parisian afternoons!

First stop: we went to a FNAC store to look for books in French for my daughter, since that’s the main language spoken at home, and we owned only a couple of children books in French. We found these lovely books, for 10 euros each. The nursery rhymes are interpreted by children voices… My daughter absolutely adores them!

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Second stop: we did some shopping at OWL L’Afrique c’est Chic, a ’boutique’ with beautiful African clothes and complements for adults and children too. The brand has been featured in several French media, such as Elle… Wax prints are trendy right now, but OWL’s designer definitely brings extra chic to it with its French ‘bobo’ style! Take a look at the skirt I bought for my darling!

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Third stop: we gave a colorful stroll around the 18th ‘arrondissement’, close to the cementery of Père Lachaise, and treated ourselves to delicious Italian ice creams at the gelateria Pozetto… My favourite flavour is ‘gianduja’ (chocolate with a taste very similar to Nutella)!

Fourth stop: we could not end the outing without stopping at the Abbesses carousel, which is smaller and less crowded than the one in Montmartre… and is located in a picturesque square, which gives it a special charm!

All in all, a perfect mummy-daughter afternoon in the city of lights!

5 Tips to have the perfect plane ride with your toddler

We, international families, take our kids on relatively long trips since very early ages… The first time I traveled by plane with my daughter she was only three months old. It was a two hours flight from France to Spain and everything went pretty well, since she was breastfed and the minute she’d get uncomfortable, I would breastfeed her. She pretty much slept for most of the trip… And the captain allowed us to take this pic as a souvenir!

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It is relatively easy to travel with such a young child… most of all, if you are breastfeeding. And I learned a trick from a stewardess to soothe babies when the plane is taking off or landing, and the change in the atmospheric pressure can hurt their ears. You can either breastfeed the baby… or, if you bottle feed her/him, then take four plastic goblets, ask the stewardess to give you two hot wet napkins and do the next: place a napkin inside one of the goblets and then introduce a second goblet inside the goblet that contains the napkin. Repeat the operation with the other two goblets and cover each ear of the baby with one pair of goblets, as shown in the picture below… Now, I don’t know why this works, but I can assure you that it does!

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When it comes to toddlers, traveling becomes a different challenge… And you must take into consideration many other factors. These are the most important ones for me:

1. I try as much as possible not to have my daughter’s schedules altered. This means that I don’t take very early or, on the contrary, very late flights… even if they are much cheaper. This pretty much rules out travelling with low cost companies, but that’s fine, mainly because of the next factor.

2. If the flight is long, I always book extra leg space or, if available, I choose a seat with assigned baby bassinet. The thing to know with regards to this last option is that you can place a toddler in a baby bassinet, even if his/her legs are hanging from it… But you might want to bring a soft pillow to put under his/her legs to make him/her more comfortable. Moreover, a bassinet can even serve as entertainment for your toddler, if, as it happens with my daughter, he/she likes to travel inside it!

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3. I buy one or two new books every time I have to take the plane and, if they do not manage to get her attention, or the flight is too long, then I use different apps in my tablet to keep her busy (Cbeebies playtime, Baby coloring, Drawing desk, WhiteBoard)… or, as a last resort, I have some cartoons episodes in my tablet (Peppa Pig is a winner, but my daughter also loves Pocoyo… and the Mother Goose Club).

4. I always cook a pasta dish to take in the plane (I have a wonderful thermos!), but I also pack lots of goodies that my daughter loves… rice cookies, cereal bars, blueberries, etc. I do not necessarily think healthy, when we travel, as much as happy! Because all you want is having your kid happy and relaxed during the flight… So I recommend to let them splurge! But not to turn our backs completely to healthy, always keep him/her well hydrated with water!!!!

5. I let my daughter travel with her favorite teddy bear… and the blanket she uses to sleep at home. It makes her feel at ease… And I also prepare a little backpack that she can carry around as her very own personal luggage. Because she is at that age in which she wants to do all the things mum and dad do… Isn’t it the sweetest?

These are my tips to travel with a toddler by plane… I hope they help! Another posts will follow on traveling by train/car…  In the meantime, do not hesitate to share your tricks with me too!!!!!

Breastfeeding your child beyond borders…

I am not really interested in the debate on breastfeeding vs bottle-feeding. I think each mum must choose the method that best fits her family and life style. In my case, breastfeeding was the choice of preference… And it was not an easy one! I have always enjoyed breastfeeding (leaving the first discomforts besides). I have breastfed my daughter well beyond the 12 months threshold… and yes, this choice has meant not being able to sleep for more than four hours in a row for a really really long time… Needless to say that I have been immerse in a state of deep exhaustion for months, but I do believe it was worthy… and I do not think I need to name in here all the benefits of breastfeeding a child. What I would like to share with you is my experience while breastfeeding my child beyond borders… I have breastfed Chiara in many public places in London, most of the times without using anything to cover my breasts… I do not believe breastfeeding this way implies any kind of indecent exposure and I have never felt any weirdness while doing it, apart from the typical curious looks from people here and there. However, when I traveled to Africa with my husband and my toddler, I was concerned about how my ‘breastfeeding ways’ would be seen… since we were going to the encounter of a very traditional society, most of all with regards to how women should dress, talk or behave in public. Of course, it did not take much time for my daughter to pat my breasts in public (that is the way she would ask to be breastfed). Uncomfortable and unsure of what to do, I tried to ignore it as much as I could… We were, after all, in the company of some elder men. To my surprise, one of those men hurried to tell me that I should feel free to breastfeed my child… I think he saw I was a little hesitant and so he kept going explaining me that in the old days, if a woman would not hurry to breastfed her baby when she was crying, the whole village would come to tell her off and she could even be beaten! It sounds drastic, I know… But what I retained from that episode was that even for some of the most conservative societies on earth breastfeeding is considered as natural as walking, coughing or breathing. So next time you hear about the everlasting debate on if a woman should cover up while breastfeeding her child in public, give this anecdote a little thought…