Isn’t the summer over already? Maybe, but we’re holding on as long as possible! 😉 Seriously though, there are several products that aided us in our summer journey. I think we totalled ten flights between four different countries and, alhamdulillah (praise be to God!), Lil’ Z was healthy without a single mosquito bite! We weren’t just concerned about malaria risks but we wanted her to be able to enjoy the presence of of her extended family members without discomfort or irritation. When I was a baby, I was mosquito bait in Jamaica. My family still recounts how bad they felt for me and helpless I was! We didn’t want the same for our little girl, so here are a few products that we’d recommend to other travelers to keep their babies bonny on the road.
Mosquito Net Tent
From a holistic perspective, adequate rest is important for a robust immune system. Do you want to spend your already short vacation nights swatting at mosquitoes as they buzz by or wake up with itchy welts? I think not! A mosquito net tent keeps most any critter, flying or otherwise, away from disturbing your sleep. The advantage of a tent versus the hanging net is that if you’re unsure of your accomodations, you may not have a place to hang your tent. The net tent collapses easily and can be set up in a few minutes. The instructions are a bit lacking but if you’re accustomed to setting up camping tents, you should be more than fine. Knowing that Lil’ Z was safe from insect invasion gave us peace of mind.
Herbal Bug Repellant
When you’re out and about, a good DEET-free herbal repellant that works is a great companion. Herbal Armor is “proven effective” for the first 2-4 hours. I’m not thrilled by the fact that it contains soybean oil, but you have to pick your battles, eh? There were other herbal repellants that I read reviews for and most people commented that other brands weren’t effective or only effective when applied to every square inch of exposed skin every 45 minutes. What?!? No time for that, sorry. Herbal Armor was also safe for use on babies six months and older, so that worked perfectly for our little sunshine. We bought the combined sunscreen and repellant which gave us one product to put on her exposed skin while we were out. Yes, it smells “herby” and “hippy” but it works and we loved it!
Olive Leaf Extract
I was advised to use Olive Leaf Extract as an anti-malarial by a dear friend who found it effective for her family while living in Sudan. I had taken anti-malarial drugs back in 2001, during a college trip to Guatemala, and I remember being weary about its unpleasant side effects. We were more than enthusiastic to try something out that was effective and safer to use. We took doses of this extract daily and more frequently when we thought we were getting sick. Because we bought the alcohol-free version, the vegetable glycerine gives it a hint of sweetness, which helps the slightly bitter herb go down a little smoother.
Travel Bath Tub
This item was a gift from my Mom and it was such a great Raggamuslim fit! For as much as we move around and try to conserve water, having a little travel tub for Lil’ Z was right on time! We were all fascinated by the design and it really is not too bulky. I think it would also make an excellent travel tub for infants too because of it’s inflatable cushioning.
Travel Potty Seat
We mentioned our EC (elimination communication) ambitions in a previous post and have had some moderate success with Lil’ Z using a potty. I made an early attempt when she was about two weeks by holding over the potty while nursing. That’s the one time I could count on her going but it was really uncomfortable for us both, so we decided to abandon that project until she could sit up on her own. So, at about four and a half months, we started putting her on the potty first thing upon waking in the morning. We later progressed to after every nap, and that has been our program up until now. At first, she would sit there, folding her legs (finding the whole experience quite novel, I’m sure!), and we would guess if she went or not. As of late, “Little Miss Thang” reaches over and climbs off the potty when she’s done or doesn’t want to go at all and she has started fussing when she needs to use the potty in between naps. It sounds crazy but it’s actually quite cool and stress-free. One of our objectives from the beginning was to make the whole experience very “low stakes”. Whether she goes or not, we give her the same “Masha’Allah. Good job, big girl!” response in a low-key tone, mindful of overpraising her. We’re just glad she has patience with the whole experience and is getting the hang of it in her own way. We’re certainly not hanging up the cloth diapers any time soon, but we’re doing a little less laundry around here, which is always a plus! 😉
Okay, so that’s the background on why we got the potty seat. She was making good progress with pottying after her naps and we wanted to keep that rhythm going. There are other more compact potty seats that one could use, that fold or are flat, but they seemed to rigid for her young, little bum. So, we opted for comfort over convenience on that one.
All in all, these few summer essentials equipped us to deal with some of the challenges of the season. We were able to focus on enjoying our time with our families and globetrotting rather than worry about the discomfort of our little star-trekker.