Meals and snacks for new mamas

There’s a common theme in my life right now: so many of my friends are pregnant or very recently had their babies.

Does it give me baby fever? Yes. I always thought the octomom was insane, but now I kind of understand it.

Does it make me want to cook for them? Yes yes.

I can’t even tell you how amazing the baby meals were when we first had Livi. So many friends (some from the squadron, some not) came by bearing snacks and meals, and it was the only reason we were able to eat real food (instead of only chocolate-covered acai berries) when Liv was an itty bitty newborn. Tom and I still talk about how amazing and helpful it was, and while I always enjoyed making baby meals for our friends, having received them solidifies the fact that they’re purely awesome.

Since I’ll be making some dinners for friends over the new few months, I thought it would be fun to do a link-up of some meals and snack ideas for new mamas.

If you’re pregnant yourself and feeling ambitious, you could also some meals/snacks and freeze to have on-hand when the baby arrives.

Muffins 2


Quinoa trail mix muffins

Red velvet macaroons


Homemade granola bars

Egg muffins

Fruit (bags of clementines, fresh fruit, fruit salad)


Bars (like Pure bars or Barre bars)

Pizza 2



Butternut squash and goat cheese lasagna

Black bean soup


Slow cooker taco meat

Veggie and meat (optional) stew with potatoes and carrots (this lentil sausage one looks awesome, using chicken sausage instead)

Channa masala + rice (if you’re keeping this for yourself, pick up some of the frozen bags of pre-made rice)

Homemade pizza

Burritos (wrap in foil and freeze)

Soup 2


Fellow mamas, what snacks/meals did you especially enjoy after giving birth? I was so excited for smoked salmon and red wine 🙂

Any other awesome snacks/meal recipes ideas that can be made in advance? I’m excited to see your ideas!



This has nothing to do with this post, but I’d also love to hear your experiences about taking a baby (1.5 years) on an international or cruise vacation. My mom offered to watch Liv and I know she’d have a blast with her nanas, like her own little “vacation.” At the same time, I don’t know if I could last a week without her. (That feels like such a long time, and I miss her while I’m at work for an entire day.) I know this would make the traveling process a lot easier, I also feel like since she’s a part of our family, she should also enjoy vacations with us and everything else we do together. I know I’d love having her with us and being able to make more memories as a family of 3.

Of course, we’ll make the best decision for our family, but I always love to hear about your experiences <3



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  1. Sana on January 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    All I can say is that my parents never spent a day away from us because they did not have anyone to watch us. So take advantange of having your parents around! I am sure they would love to make memories with the baby!

  2. Katherine on January 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    We just took our three month old to Germany for Christmas. Most of the time we based out of my parents house but some nights we travelled and were in a hotel. It wasn’t bad. It was different (earlier bedtime, had to plan for crying, etc) but I am so glad we did it.

  3. Kaylasdrawings on January 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks to friends, I have baby fever, too, even though my second is only 8 mos.. No more for me though! I’m with you- I couldn’t leave my kids for a whole week, even though they’d do great with their grandparents. Especially if it were a long ways away. We take vacations that can incorporate something for our young kids- beach locations, theme parks, or camping trips. We we want to go to Ireland but I know I couldnt fully enjoy it if I left my children in America, so in the meantime, we take small vacays and are holding off the bigger trips until our kids are older, more manageable (aka not toddlers) and can enjoy and remember the bigger ones! That’s just us- in my opinion though, I’d totally take an 18 month old on a cruise. Your room is right there for naptime/cranky time and many cruises are very accommodating for young kids 🙂

  4. Anne on January 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you for posting thism it is perfect timing!
    The first of my friends to have a baby is due soon and I just asked her today to let me know what she and her husband would like/not like so I can cook for them!

  5. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries on January 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Definitely pinning this – thanks for the ideas! Our little one is due at the beginning of April, so within the next couple months I am hoping to make and freeze some meals/snacks. These are perfect!

  6. Kristen on January 17, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I wouldn’t take Liv on a cruise or international vacay at this young of age.
    That statement makes me sound like such a Debbie Downer. I don’t mean to be but I just wouldn’t want to be on a ship with a toddler for an extended amount of time or an international flight…eek! Both could go really smooth with no probs whatsoever or be a complete nightmare. Then again, you’ll never know if you don’t do it….double edged sword, I guess.
    If I HAD to choose one, I’d pick the cruise because you’re most likely go on a cruise more often, so she’ll get to experience it later. I’d save the international trip (Italy?) for when she’ll remember it because that’s not somewhere you’d probably go on a regular basis and she’ll miss out. She won’t be able to really appreciate the sights and culture (not that she’ll care but you know what I mean). It would be amazing when she’s old enough to really take it in.
    That’s obviously just my opinion. You guys will have a blast no matter what you choose to do. 🙂

    • Jen in MN on January 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      I agree with Kristen (and I hate to be a Debbie Downer as well!).

      I’m of the opinion that it’s definitely going to be less fun, overall, and could become a real hassle or even nightmare of sorts.

      A week away could definitely get long, but I still think the lack of hassling with baby stuff/gear/food/naps etc etc etc would be worth it.

      Family trips are super special, and definitely important – but IMO there’s no reason why parents can’t have their own special just-the-two-of-us trips on occasion, too. (Especially with wonderful, willing grandparents right there to babysit! What a gem!) After all, the mama & daddy’s relationship is the foundation of the entire home/family….it’s a good idea to keep it solid and part of that is time alone/away together.

      JMO, of course! Food for thought (-: I too would save the big international family trips for when kid(s) are older, at least elementary age. No more naps/gear, they have stamina to explore and sightsee, and they actually remember it all!

  7. sarah i. on January 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    i’ve been on a few cruises, and i think the tough part would be when she naps because you would have to be cooped up in the room to keep an eye on her. those rooms are so tiny and stuffy! (unless she’s a good napper-in-public) also, on our trip the bathroom facilities out in public were often tiny and definitely didn’t have changing areas or anything like that. i guess it depends on where you go internationally.
    BUT you could always take your vacation to san diego so i can babysittttt!!! xo

  8. Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady on January 17, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I don’t have children, nor am I preggars but I appreciate the Panera Black bean soup link. Thanks Gina.

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      hope you enjoy 🙂

  9. alysa on January 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    We take our guy everywhere with us. Getting on our last plane we counted and in his 8 months he has been on 15 planes. No idea how many hotels, tents, hikes, fancy restaurants (we’ve gotten some great looks) etc…you get the idea. It is definitely different having him along, but still fun for us. Most of the times things go really smooth….sometimes not so much. Usually when things aren’t going so well it is more because we are worried about what other people think, so we’ve learned to let that go- He is 8 months old, they can just get over it 🙂 But I have a girlfriend who finds traveling with her guy very stressful. Ultimately- do whatever feels right and you’ll have a great time. Sounds like a great dilemma to have: Bring her on a fun trip or leave her with people who love her and will take fabulous care of her!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      good to know!
      totally right- it’s win-win, just a matter of deciding

    • Emily on January 18, 2013 at 5:56 am

      I totally agree. I would just assume people can happily take care of themselves. Little ones are humans too, it wouldn’t make me blink once if one started crying/screaming. It happens, you know? Enjoy whichever option you decide 🙂

  10. Abby on January 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    I think it would be a blast to take Liv on a cruise with you! We are actually considering taking one with our girl who will be 2 this summer. Having yore room always readily available for naps and emergencies (blowouts, meltdowns etc) sounds ideal. Plus you wouldn’t have to lug everything and the kitchen sink with you since most cruise lines are super accommodating. I can’t imagine trying to carry a toddler sized car seat from airport to hotel and around Italy anytime you wanted to go somewhere you weren’t traveling by foot. In fact just packing for an international trip with a toddler and dealing with checking luggage etc sounds daunting. I’m sure once you figured out the logistics however you guys would have a blast no master what!

  11. Hayley on January 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I recommend reading LoveTaza’s blog post(s) on traveling with her husband and littles to Italy! I hope it gives a little insight from someone who experienced it (I’m engaged, but a little one won’t be in the picture for a few more years for me 🙂 )

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      i’ve read it twice already haha. i love that little family 🙂 lots of amazing tips in there, too.

  12. Marci on January 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    An international flight sounds like a terrible idea! She seems more mellow than mine, but I think I’d leave mine home. You are probably more mellow too than me. The packing would give me a headache.

  13. jin on January 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I don’t have any babies of my own but a lot of my friends are having kids… i’m sure that they would appreciate it if I cooked for them. I’m a huge fan of the slow cooker taco meat and the black bean soup! Thanks for sharing 😉

    xo, jin

  14. Katheryn on January 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    We’ve travelled to New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, and the Cook Islands with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and now school aged children. All different trips, of course, spread out between 8 years. Hubby and I love to travel and we’ve never lived close to family to leave them with. I’m so glad it worked out this way and we ended up taking them with us on all our adventures. Traveling with children is quite different than without, but like you said, they are part of our family, and we love experiencing different things and having adventures with them. There are definitely things we miss out on. No late night dinners, have to plan and be more organized, stopping often for breaks and naps, etc. But there’s a lot we gained with traveling with our children. Having breaks is good for all – not just the kiddies. When we’ve travelled internationally with our children, locals feel more comfortable approaching us and giving us helpful advise/tips on the best restaurants and experiences in the area.

    • Kate on January 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      loved this!!

  15. Elena on January 17, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    We live 4 hours away from my mom so even though we get to see each other a lot, it is never enough. Since having our 13 month old we’ve gone on two vacations, one a week and one 3 days, and left our lady with her grandma and aunt. Not only does it give us the MUCH needed time to be together and recharge but it gives my family more time to bond with my little one. I never worry because she is getting the best care and tons of love. And though we miss her, it’s a pleasant “oh remember when she does this/says that” kind of feeling which makes us excited to get back to her.

    Vacations without babies are great. Even a few days without early wake ups, finishing a meal sitting down, and no car seats recharge me and give me even more appreciation for my life back home.

    I am a huge family person and getting my daughter to spend as much time with my family is so important that if I could, I’d take more vacations- that’s me, the sacrificer… I know your mom already helps out/sees Liv a ton but I still think the time will be good for them. The prolonged time together will likely deepen their bond and it will be an experience your mom will treasure, especially if you guys will move further away in the coming years.

    • Louise on January 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      I think the last paragraph here is an especially good point. Your mother will love having that time with Liv. Honestly, we traveled from Australia to the UK and back via Abu Dhabi with our 4 month old and it was a breeze, but oh my god – the people with toddlers on the flights miserable! That is not to say it’s not going to be ok for you (i have friends who’ve taken about 10 long haul flights with there 16 month old) but if you have trustworthy, loving babysitters go be a couple for a week and get your cocktail on I say 🙂

  16. JennP on January 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I’m sure any advice I could give about the traveling itself will be covered by others, but if you decide to take her, then don’t forget to plan ahead for the passport! We opted for a passport office where we could make an appointment as opposed to sitting and waiting, but it took 3 weeks to get an appointment and another several weeks after that for it to arrive by mail.

  17. Lauren on January 18, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Is there any way that you could get some other family members to join in on the vacation? We took my son on a big family vacation when he was 10 months old (from the midwest to Calif- so not international, but still a pretty long flight), and it was awesome to have some extra help with him and fun for everyone to have a little guy around.

    1.5 years is an awesome age…no matter what you decide to do, she will have fun and be content. If you decide to take her with you, then just remember to pack a couple of her favorite toys and work around nap times.

  18. Kathryn on January 18, 2013 at 6:37 am

    We have a 1 year old and just went to Mexico for 5 days and left our daughter with my in-laws (first time away for more than 1 night!) We definitely missed her but it was great to have some time alone with my husband and I think really important for our relationship. We picked a resort over a cruise because we wanted easy access to (free) internet so we could do lots of skyping and talking. Definitely made it much easier to be away!!

  19. Danielle on January 18, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I’m sure you could totally make traveling with Livi work! Since I’m no mom yet I don’t have any tips just yet but I will be hanging onto this post for sometime way in the future 😉

  20. Jessie on January 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

    We took our then 11 month old on an 8 day cruise from NYC to the Puerto Rico/St Thomas/Grand Turk. He was running and climbing then (he started walking at 9 months!). It was great. Everyone on the ship knew us because they love babies. There was plenty that he could eat and lots of activities. We’ll be going on another cruise this June, but he’ll be almost 3 and our daughter will be almost 1!

  21. Kate on January 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I say to go on the trip with your husband and leave Liv at home. Couple time is very important for a healthy marriage and there will be lots of trips in the future where you can take Liv. Leaving your child for a week is hard, but not impossible, especially because you know your mom will be watching her. We went to Italy when my son was a little over a year old and it was GREAT. It created a special time for my mom and my mother-in-law to bond with our son; time they wouldn’t have gotten had they not watched him without us there. I’m looking forward to taking my son on trips with us when he’s a bit older (we do family trips now, but not international) when he can remember them.

  22. Kelly on January 18, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Leave Liv home. It is hard, but both of you need to learn how to handle separation.

  23. Jess on January 18, 2013 at 9:47 am

    We just spent Christmas in Mexico with our then 17 month old. It was great! She loved the beach and the water. We just had to make some adjustments to our schedule. We’d get to the beach early, spend the morning there, eat lunch and then head back to our room for her nap time. While she napped, my husband and I would take turns working out or getting some pool time. After her nap, we’d head to the pool for a little bit before getting cleaned up for dinner. Of course, we were in our room early for bedtime, but it was a really nice, relaxing trip.

    We might be heading to Europe in the Spring and we’ll bring her with us. She’s a great flier and luckily, with overseas trips, they are overnight so she’ll hopefully sleep. We’ll definitely be getting her a seat on those flights though.

  24. Amanda on January 18, 2013 at 10:13 am

    My mom watched our daughter- she was 1.5 then, while we went on a cruise. The only prob was she got sick with a cold during that time and my mom was constantly calling and complaining since my sister aka her “helper” also got sick. Besides that, it was really nice to have some alone time and at this age, while the visual experience of somewhere new is nice, they really like their routines and familiarity..

  25. Sara @ fitcupcaker on January 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I want to try those quinoa trail mix muffins…yum

  26. Emily on January 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Right after I had the Squish, I really appreciated fresh salads with all kinds of veggies. It was so hard making any kind of food, let alone actual healthy stuff that takes time to wash, chop, etc, that I would attack anything green that came near me so I could make sure I was getting enough nutrients for breastfeeding. Fortunately my mom’s eats are super similar to mine, so she made some amazing spreads when she came out to help for the first couple of weeks!

    We’ve brought Squishy with us to a lot of travels, and since he’s a pretty easy-going kid it’s been fun to share experiences with him. The only bummer is having to share a room with him at night in hotels – we just keep waking each other up and no one gets any sleep. It depends on what kind of vacation you want to have. A family vacation where you can share different things with Livi and get some quality family time in, or a “grown-ups” vacation where you can just chill and not have to worry about if she’s putting random things in her mouth or going to fall off the dock.

  27. mary on January 18, 2013 at 11:19 am

    We did Hawaii with a 9-month-old. It was fun. I’d do it again.

    I’ve done a 7-day cruise without my daughter and would not do that again.

    I think on long flights babies mostly just sleep.

    I’d be worried on a cruise with a toddler, just because I’d be on hyper-alert due to the dangers of boats and little ones. ‘Nuff said. I’ve taken 4-5 cruises and can’t say I’ve seen many toddlers, even on a Disney cruise.

    I disagree with parents and children needing to get used to spending time apart (as babies). You work, someday she’ll be in school, you’re not exactly joined at the hip. I’ve read a lot of parenting books but never seen any professional advice to start vacationing childless early or to spend long spans apart. Sounds like the typical advice from all those non-parents who think all us parents are helicopters.

  28. ErikaMC on January 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I was addicted to these PB Chocolate Chip Balls from neverhomemaker after having my son.

    My mom was awesome and made us a lot of great meals like Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, Lasagna, Beef & Dumpling Stew – and they all froze well so it was nice to have them ready and waiting any night we needed.

    • Fitnessista on January 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      i have to try those- they look so good!

  29. Allison W. on January 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I know you’d miss being away from Liv, but think about her. At 18 months old, she won’t remember the trip. You’d also be taking her completely out of her routine, and subjecting her to different time zones. Jetlag isn’t fun for an adult, I can’t imagine trying to catch up on sleep with a toddler in a hotel room.

  30. Emily on January 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    We left our first daughter with her grandparents when she was 18 months while we went to Italy for 16 days…SIXTEEN DAYS! I bawled when we left but we ended up having an amazing time. What it came down to for me was that we were in need of some alone time and I needed to put my marriage first. For me, that meant a new experience away without the baby. Our daughter was (and is) so full of life and fun, but at the same time completely, 100% time consuming. If she is around, the attention is always directed at her, and my husband and I realized that we ended up not giving each other the attention we needed in our marriage. I know some people are better able at balancing everything, and I feel like we are a bit better at it now, but at that point we needed to separate ourselves from her for a bit and focus on each other.

    She loves her grandparents and had a blast, but after 10 days my husband and I were both sad and desperate to get back to her. A week would have been a perfect amount of time away. What enabled us to survive is that we skyped with her using our iphone every day. Every time I started to really miss her we could talk and see her. AWESOME.

    Anyway, I know you figure out what will work best for your family 🙂

  31. Rachel C on January 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I don’t have children; however, I’ve taken 5 cruises and there are always tons of families with small children on the ship. I know that Carnival offers daycare and kids programming, and I think it’s included in the cost of the trip. If we ever have children, I think cruises would be great because we would be able to spend time alone as a couple and enjoy time as a family.

  32. Caroline on January 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    We are English and left our one yr old at home to go to Las Vegas for a week to get married. As much as we loved Vegas it nearly killed both of us leaving our boy at home. The day after we got married, we changed our flights and came home a day earlier than planned. Which cost us a fortune…

    Don’t get me wrong- we had a fab time, but there was always a dull pain there for me, and I was constantly thinking about what he was doing. I would think really carefully about if you’d be up to it- I didn’t leave my baby alone for a minute before we left so I have no idea why I thought I’d be ok for a week!

  33. Jennifer on January 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting (or taking) her with you. 🙂 If the Pilot is cool with it (not that I think he wouldn’t be but you know what I mean – if he’s not wanting it to be alone time just the two of you) then I say pack her up and go. Alone time is important too but you probably wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy yourself without her for the length of an Italy trip – and there’s nothing wrong with that. 🙂 As others have said – she won’t really remember Italy but she WILL always know you took her with you (from the pictures and stories you’ll tell her as she grows up).

  34. mama on January 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    We’ve taken trips with our two little girls who are 4 and 2! Its fun to experience these adventures with them but definitely stressful at times dealing with naps, baby stuff, crying, meltdowns, etc. You can’t leave the room after 8:00pm, not being able to lay by the pool all day, no sleeping in, etc. My one piece of advice is you may not always live close to family who are familiar with Liv, her schedule, have baby gear readily available to use and are able to babysit so you and the pilot can have a vacay just the two of you! You might HAVE to take her on the next one because you don’t have parents close! Just a thought! My hubby and I took our first vacay just the two of us this past fall, leaving our two with their grandparents and MAN OH MAN was it a wonderful experience! We slept in, laid by the pool as often as we wanted, read books, took naps ourselves, went out for late dinners, left the room at 10pm just to go get ice cream 🙂 and just did things that don’t permit with little ones around! We promised ourselves we will set aside time and money to do it more frequently. The girls were in great hands with gparents, as I’m sure Liv will be and it was such a positive experience for our marriage!! Good luck with whatever you choose!!

  35. Heather on January 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    The husband and I love to travel and plan to take our little one everywhere we go, if possible. We want to expose our kids to lots of cultures and geographies. Having said that, I know you have no idea where you’ll be in the future being a military family…so maybe this is the time to cash in on that babysitting offer given that you might not get it again in the future?! (I say this because we live no where near family and don’t have that option). Alone time would be great too!

  36. Jenn on January 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    We took our baby (who is 1 week older then Liv) to Italy and on a Mediterranean cruise when she was 9 months old. We were scared to death about it, but couldn’t pass up the free trip from the in-laws. She did amazing. While it definitely took a lot more to plan and it wasn’t exactly a relaxing vacation, it was totally worth it. It bugs me when people ask why we would take her, she won’t remember it. Although the destination was amazing, spending two full weeks without the stress of work, etc. with her was the most amazing part. My husband travels ALOT for work (I’m sure it’s nothing like your husband being deployed, but he’s gone about every other week) and he got to experience a lot of firsts with Sierra that he wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. His parents came with us and they also got a lot of bonding time that they hadn’t had before. The cruise was pretty amazing. I would recommend making sure there are flexible dining options…We realized the first night that the fancy dinners, while nice, were not the place for a little one. The cruise line also had a ton of programs for older kids 2+, but there was also a baby pool she can play in, a baby room (padded and filled with toys that they rotated and cleaned daily) and a couple baby classes (like gymboree style). Excursions would have been hard, but luckily my MIL stayed with the baby while we explored (some of the destinations were just way to hot and rustic for baby).

  37. Sheena on January 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I think if you do an international trip, you would get more out of it if it was just the two of you. Also if you are going through the effort and expense of going overseas and plan to bring Liv, I think you should wait until she is a bit older so that she can fully take it and enjoy it and also remember it.

    I haven’t traveled with a baby (as I don’t have one yet!) but I think a cruise would be a lovely family vacation. Cruises offer lots of activities that you can enjoy together as a family but there is the possibility for you to leave Liv with the onboard child care services (which are included in the cost of the cruise) so that you and the Pilot can have your couple time too. It’s so fun to get dressed up for the dinners and evening entertainment, but at the same time you can enjoy yourselves knowing that Liv is with you and having a good time too. The childcare staff is great (with thorough background checks) and there will be lots of other kids for Liv to play with. Even though she is little, she will make friends in the play group. If you plan to stay out late drinking and dancing, most cruises offer a nanny to stay with the baby in the room for a very reasonable price.

    A cruise would also give you much more flexibility than would be possible in a traditional land trip. For starters, pretty much everything is pre-paid so you don’t have to stress about that. You basically do things on your own time, so you don’t feel like you are racing against a clock. You eat when you want, swim when you want, sunbathe and swim when you want, etc. If Liv gets cranky, NBD, you put her down for a little nap while you and the Pilot relax on your stateroom’s balcony. 🙂

    I love cruises and have a lot of experience with leisure travel, so if you ever need advice, I can shoot ya an email sometime. I know it would be nice to have a trip with the two of you, but I also think it would be awesome to have a trip with you as a couple with baby Liv to remember forever. Even if Liv doesn’t remember it, you parents will. And of course you will have lots of photos to show her when she is older. Good luck. 🙂

  38. Caroline on January 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    This awesome blogger, Naomi Davis, did an AMAZING and comprehensive post about traveling abroad with littles. Check it out 🙂

    • Caroline on January 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      whoops, just saw that you’ve already read this!

  39. Kate on January 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I say definitely bring her. I don’t suggest going on a cruise though. All I hear about them is that you just eat the whole time

    • Fitnessista on January 18, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      hahah i can totally see that happening.

      • Sheena on January 19, 2013 at 1:21 am

        Yes, this is true. But then you work it off by dancing away into the night! Cruise ship clubs are hilarious (in a 2001 kinda way) but totally fun. 🙂

    • mary on January 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      There are more active options on them lately- rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, mini golf courses, flow riders, gyms, water slides, zip lines, etc., but still they can be a pig-fest if you want. I walk a LOT on cruises. The ships are big and the walking track is usually a nice way to kill some time and take in some salt air and people watching.

  40. Sara Lake on January 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Took Miss J overseas at 1.5years (24 hour flight too). Advice? Take a nanny, if you can. Take a stroller with big, chunky wheels (that can handle bumpy paths) and a good shade in case it’s super hot.

    If you will be in busy, crowded cities, get her used to toddler reins, or get a toddler alarm (beeps loudly if she gets more than 2m from you).

    Otherwise, just relax and have fun! Of course, take her!

  41. Megan on January 18, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    This is just my opinion obviously, but I’ve always thought, why not do smaller day trips with Liv and do a larger vacation for you and your husband. That way, you enjoy all that good family time with your daughter and get to experience new things, see HER experience new things, see her eyes light up at new colours, people, animals, etc. (I’m thinking stuff like the zoo, maybe a big new-to-her park, indoor playground, etc etc) but don’t have to spend allll that money and re-arrange an entire vacation around naps, food, safety, luggage, flights, etc.

    I say spend the money (and time off) on a trip for just you and Tom to enjoy each other’s company, be fully present for one another, RE-CHARGE (will be soooo helpful and make a reunion with Liv all the sweeter!) and also not have to sacrifice the FUN! As others have said, of course it would be fun to do it all together, but since you’ll approximately 20 years to do that, why not take advantage of the babysitting and get away together.

    A suggestion that I haven’t seen yet is to take a shorter cruise – say, 4-5 days? Then you get all that vacation time but hopefully wouldn’t have to be quiiiite so worried/anxious about leaving her. I totally agree with the take her when she can truly enjoy the magnitude of an international trip/cruise. Of course she would enjoy it, but more than a day trip you could do (cheaply) around home? Probably not. They’re easy to please at this age, right? 🙂

  42. Gina on January 18, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    We have a two year old and we have taken her with us on vacations and we have left her with a nanny. By far the best choice for us is to bring either my mom or our nanny on vacation with us. This way, my husband and I can do more active adventurous things during the day, go out at night, etc. and still spend time with our daughter. When we left our daughter at home, I missed her too much to enjoy myself and when we just brought her without additional help, I felt that she did not enjoy herself and would rather have been at home. Having help on vacation is wonderful because she can keep her schedule and still participate in fun activities with us.

  43. Lesley on January 18, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    We traveled to Italy on our honeymoon for a week (and also have a 1.5 year old now). I don’t think we would have been able to do as much as we did in Italy if we had our daughter at that point. We went to the popular cities- Florence and Venice- to see the major sights like museums, churches etc. during a down time for tourists and both cities were still crowded, had lines to wait in, etc. We also walked a ton and I can’t picture my girl being content to be pushed around in a stroller or carried that much since she can walk and likes to explore.
    Right now we are trying to focus on family friendly vacations where there are plenty of activities geared toward children- we just took her to Winter Park, CO and stayed at a family lodge. She got to experience her first sleigh ride with horses, first snow shoe hike, and first time sledding. I guess it comes down to want you want to experience on your vacation along with what you think your daughter would enjoy.

  44. Morgan on January 19, 2013 at 12:30 am

    I definitely have some insight to offer on traveling with a toddler :). We took a cruise to Alaska with our daughter back in August (she was 11 months old at the time) and had an amazing vacation. We traveled on the Norwegian Pearl and the ship was super family friendly. They had a wonderful play area for toddlers where she took part in organic painting classes and played with other little ones from around the globe. It was nice also to have our room right there for when she needed a nap. She did well in most of the restaurants (although we did have one minor meltdown) and the staff absolutely adored her! We took some awesome shore excursions and made a million wonderful memories. I know people always say they won’t remember a thing at that young age…but the photos will be so fun to look back at and remember what a wonderful experience we had. We just got back a week ago from a trip to Japan to visit family. We took my daughter (now 16 months) and I will say it was a bit exhausting. She did well on the 10 hr plane ride, although she didn’t sleep much which meant we were busy entertaining her the entire time. Traveling in Tokyo with a young one was a bit difficult as well as many of the train stations were not stroller friendly and there was so much walking and activity involved. The jet lag coming back from Japan was also a problem and we are just now starting to get her back on her normal schedule. Although it was a fun trip and we are so glad she was able to visit family she hadn’t met before, my husband and I have decided we definitely won’t be doing anymore international trips as a family until she gets a little older. We plan to keep the vacations a little more local and low-key. Sorry this is so long…but I hope you find this helpful in making your vacation decision. 🙂

  45. Sheena on January 19, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Maybe you and the Pilot can do a mini weekend vacay to Vegas or somewhere close to test things out? For peace of mind so that you know Liv will be comfortable staying away from you with her grandma and that you will be comfortable staying away from her.

  46. Julia on January 19, 2013 at 5:21 am

    hi gina,
    i live in germany and my husband and i love travelling so much. we have a 3-year-old daughter. we started travelling with her when she was six months old. on our first trip we went to italy, which is only an hour and a half by plane from where we live. that was the trial and it went great. two months later we continued our international travels like we did before we had sophia. we went to california (which is a twelve hour flight for us) and spent three weeks in the us travelling around by car. since then we take two to three international vacations a year and it is awesome with our little girl. she loves getting on the plane and having fun with us. these trips are the best times for our family. i will never forget all those fun times. we went all over the us, including hawaii and alaska. for our next vacation we are planning to visit australia and even a cruise is in the near future.
    so all i can say from my experience is that sophia loves to travel and we never had any problems with her. yes, it takes a lot of planning and A LOT of luggage (we always take our own carseat with us), but it is so worth it!


  47. Herbivore Triathlete on January 19, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Personally, I would take your daughter with you on vacation. My oldest is 13 years old and the longest I’ve been away from her was 5 days (our honeymoon). The younger two I’ve never been away from longer than a weekend. We always take all 3 kids with us on vacation, they’ve been traveling since they were newborns. I will never regret having them with us, lots of special and fun memories. Plus, I think kids should learn to travel at a young age and experience many different places and people.

    If you want some time for just you and the Pilot, go away for a weekend or something short in my opinion. Besides, Liv will only be this little once, enjoy it while it lasts. They grow up WAY too quick.

  48. Rebe on January 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t have kids yet but growing up my parents did both. We had great family vacations going to Disney, Mexico, Australia, the Michigan lakeshore, New England area, Arizona/California etc. But my parents also had great vacations without us. When we were younger our grandparents babysat us and as we got older it was our so super cool older cousins. We would talk on the phone every day but man was it fun to get to do things we wouldn’t normally get to do on any given day! My parents would leave money for activities / food (along with paying for the actual childcare) so when they were gone those were the times we got to see lots of movies, go to the arcade etc. which turned into our own mini-vacation! My own opinion though, is the younger she is the more I would consider it being just the two of you. All of our big, expensive “see the world” trips were when my siblings and I were all old enough to remember and appreciate it.

  49. Gina on January 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    WHen our daughter was 1.5 we took a mexican cruise and we wanted to get off at each port to catch a flight home to her. She was staying with her grandma too, but it was so hard for all of us to be away from eachother. When we got home she wouldn’t go near my mother in law for a month without screaming. Take her with you! You will have more fun and less heart ache!

  50. becky on January 21, 2013 at 1:24 am

    We have taken.our little guy everywhere but just took our first cruise alone. He stayed with grandma. It was SO hard to be without him but was SO nice to reconnect with the hubs. And yes we were looking at every baby, I wanted to ask to hold some but my husband held me back. As much as I love travelling with the baby, it was a nice break! What if you just do a 3 or 4 day cruise out of LA without her? A week was long because we dropped him off the night before so we could leave early for LA, then picked him up the next day because we got back late, so a week cruise was 9 days away from baby. Either way, it will be fun, there is just a difference between adult fun and family fun!

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