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Got Milk? International travel with a toddler (III)

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This post is relevant for toddlers who are past the formula/breastfeeding stage.  We traveled internationally with our little one with the confidence (or should I say over-confidence?) that she would adapt to milk differences if needed.  After all, she had tried goats milk with success and we grew up drinking buffaloes milk so why would we anticipate any problems?   Her grandparents even knew where to get cows milk if needed so it should be fine …right? WRONG!

Our hungry little toddler who usually does not fuss about milk (touchwood) took a few sips of the milk offered to her and refused any more.  I put the first cup refusal down to jet lag.

The second cup was no better.  Ok, lets try skimming the entire cream off before pouring her a cup …aah that was better.  At least she drank a few sips.  But now I’m worrying about inadequate caloric intake.

After another day of frustrating attempts, we have now resorted to feeding her yogurt instead of milk.  She seems ok with the home-made yogurt.  Numerous discussions later we realize that one of the main differences in milk that she is used to vs what is available is “Homogenization”.  Milk in the US is usually homogenized whereas milk delivered to households in India is usually not.  What is homogenization you ask? Wikipedia defines homogenization as a process that “breaks the fat into smaller sizes so it no longer separates at any fat specification”.  Uuhhh…the completely skimmed milk should have given me a clue right ?

The good thing is we had a solution.  There were local tetra packs available by the famous Indian Amul brand that had homogenized and pasteurized milk.  The tetra packs were not commonly stocked so we hoarded them like gold.

Amul tetra packs

So after a lot of trial and error we had a solution.  Our little toddler was enjoying milk again.  Whew!

Now your toddler might not have this preference for homogenized milk but in case he/she refuses the milk abroad, you might want to check if non-homogenized milk is the problem.  Hopefully our experience made it easier for someone out there.  Happy travels!

 

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Written by Redpatang

February 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Keeping your toddler healthy -international travel (II)

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If you are like most parents, you probably have some anxiety around the health and welfare of your little one while traveling.  Here are some tips that helped us keep our little one relatively healthy during our recent trip abroad (a special thanks to all our family and friend circle who shared their words of wisdom):

Water sources:  The  most important thing you can do is to ensure a clean source of drinking water.  Tap water should not be blindly trusted and water should be either from a trusted bottled brand or boiled and filtered.  This is especially true in Indian metro cities where the water pipe system is relatively old (and can have bacterial seepage issues).   Of course there are some parents who believe that children should be exposed to all types of germs to build lifelong immunity but I’m guessing if you believe that to an extreme … you aren’t reading this post 🙂

Hot is better:  We made our toddler avoid cold salads, juices and uncooked raw food.  When the weather was especially warm, packaged (and pasteurized) cold juices or home-made cold drinks were selected.

Immunizations:  Talk to your pediatrician before your big trip (ideally 6 months before).  S/he might recommend some additional vaccines in addition to ensuring your child is up to date on all regular vaccines.  Getting your child vaccinated for Hep A (jaundice) is a good idea -this contagious disease can cause some serious havoc.  The CDC recommends a Hep A vaccine for children over a year-see document here

And don’t forget some travel sized hand  sanitizers for use while in transit and away from easily accessible hand washing.

All these tips might help keep your little one safe from serious illness but with airplane travel and changes in climate there is always the potential for a little common cold.  Arm yourself with these awesome moist saline wipes…if your toddler does end up with a cold – these wipes are great for keeping little noses from becoming sore.

Safe travels!

Written by Redpatang

February 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

International travel with a toddler

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We recently got back from a month long (almost) vacation to India with our two year old toddler in tow.  Our travels included the expected – some jet lag, some shopping, good food, a lot of quality time with grandparents and family … generally a good but tiring trip.

I must admit, I was a little nervous before the trip.  My two primary concerns were how our little girl would do on a long journey (and adjustment for time differences) and  how her little body would handle a totally different environment with completely different strains of viruses etc that she was not really exposed to.  So, I’m happy to say that she did really well on both the travel and the health front.

Now, a lot of parents have asked how we did and what lessons and advice we had to share, so I thought this might be a good topic to post.  Lets first start with travel:

1) Stroller stroller -where art thou: If you do not have a direct flight to your destination, find out if your preferred airline is willing to gatecheck your stroller.  This way you will have it at the layover airport and don’t have to carry your toddler across the airport or look for those elusive stroller rentals.  Don’t assume that they always will gatecheck and double check that the stroller is tagged correctly otherwise it will end up going through immigration at your layover airport while you continue on to your final destination!

2) Dim the lights: If you want your toddler to sleep, dim all the lights you can, shut off your personal TV (and theirs of course) and wait for them to nod off.  If you are lucky and your child tends to sleep in a carseat, she/he is most likely to sleep with the motion of the flight as well.  You can switch on your TV or turn on your lights for a book after they are off to dreamland!

3) Its PJ time:  Try to dress your toddler in comfortable PJ style clothing.  The last thing you want is a child who cannot get comfortable in their seat because of their outfit.  We dressed our little one in these super cute jumpers from mylittlepakora – they were really soft and comfy with no obtrusive buttons or clasps…so they kind of felt like PJ’s but looked adorable

Monkey Jumper

Monkey Jumper

4) Carry entertainment:  If your toddler is not asleep, she/he is going to get bored soon.  Carry entertainment that is somewhat travel proof.  Eg. a small portable DVD player, some lightweight story books, a small soft toy for comfort.  We loved these twistable crayons from crayola -they were sturdy and the plastic shell protected them from breaking when dropped!

5) Stock up on milk: This point is for toddlers who have been transitioned to regular milk. The airline will allow you to carry some milk on board of course but you will need to restock it before you get to your final destination.  Flight attendants may not be easily available to get you milk as your child needs…so try to stock up with a small bottle at the layover airport.  They are usually available in the refrigerated section of the convenience stores.  More on milk and travel in the next post

6) Airport lounges: For those of you who have a long layover do some research on paid airport lounges.  They are comfortable, keep you plied with fruit, water and beverages and give your toddler the opportunity to run around in a relaxed setting.

Above all, try to enjoy traveling with your toddler.  Use this time as an opportunity to teach your toddler about the destination, the concept of flying, planes and anything else you can think about.  When we got back, our little girl pointed at a plane in the sky and asked me “Going to India?”…now thats precious!

Written by Redpatang

January 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

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