As Aussies living in the USA, we tend to travel a lot. The USA just has so many awesome places to see. We have a 17 month old who eats what we eat. (Well, actually we eat what he eats to make sure he’s getting all he needs when he’s doing the most growing of his life.) So, traveling really means we’re on the lookout for the very best for him and us at every turn! Here are some tips to make traveling a little bit easier on our body and minds.
Food: digestion under pressure
Air travel and food is really all about digestion under pressure: time deadlines, waiting, and not to mention the changes in pressure at 40,000 feet.
The good news is you’ll be sitting and relaxing on the flight. However, air travel can be pretty hard on your digestion. Enhance your it by including bitter foods like leafy greens and fresh lemon in filtered water. Herbs and spices such as dandelion, peppermint and ginger are also fantastic. These enhance the production of bile, which increases stomach acid allowing you to break down your food more effectively. Then, make sure to avoid inflammatory foods such as wheat, gluten, milk, refined sugar, alcohol and coffee, which can aggravate your digestive system and the healing process. Try Matcha green tea; it’s loaded with antioxidants and kinder to your digestive system than your morning coffee. Be sure to take probiotics and/or eat fermented foods to promote healthy gut bacteria i.e. kefir, kombucha tea, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented vegetables. Avoid processed and eat fresh and natural foods. And not going to bed on a full tummy goes for the plane too: eat light.
If you don’t want to pack your own, there’s always Paleo meal delivery services with healthy pre-made travel friendly options. The AIP menu is probably a great place to select from because with the stresses of traveling mean you’ll be healing in advance. Try Apple Cinnamon Paleo Tarts (remembering you’re missing your veggies but it’s only one meal ok?), 48 Hour Brewed Bone Broth (freeze portions in your baby’s food container), and Plantain Pancakes (with the added benefit of apple cider vinegar for digestion but also doubling as a bread-like food for finger food eating on the plane: just add raw cheese, almond butter, apple slices or all!
Sleep and jet lag (no matter how old you are)
Sleeping is a biggy for everyone. Try and book flights that coordinate with nap and bedtime, which isn’t easy considering lay overs or long haul flights. Onboard, signal nap time with either a bassinet (under 25pd/11kg) which you need to pre organize before the day. Or, bring a king sized pillow to drape over your knees. Saturdays and Tuesday’s seem the best days for travel (you’ll have a better chance of there being extra seats next to you).
It’s tempting to push for the timezone you’re aiming for, but sleepiness is better addressed from where you’re coming from. On arrival try and set the clock for the new times. Get the first sunlight into yours and bub’s eyes and just push naps back to ‘normal’ 15-30 mins a day as you can. You’ll catchup eventually. Hormones and cravings are out of control with a lack of and mixed-up sleep schedule, so snap it back into rhythm as soon as you can to avoid sugar cravings and highs and lows and overstimulation compounding your over tiredness.
Hydration: taking off or landing ears and travel colon is a thing for babies too.
Airport security can be interesting with baby food and breast milk. Hopefully you can read between the lines there that sometimes it’s easy (‘that’s breast milk it’s fine’) and sometimes downright frustrating ‘we’re going to have to test each bottle’!). Freeze your bottles beforehand because then they’re fine to go through security untested! Try and also freeze water with a pinch of sea salt (natural Gatorade for optimal absorption) and grass fed organic bone broth.
The more hydrated your are on board the plane, added pressure and all, the more likely you are to avoid travel colon; babies too.
Aisle walking: movement is key for everyone when flying.
Getting movement on the plane isn’t about your PR or sweat out cardio workout. DVT prevention and exercises that go with it are pretty much in everyone’s back seat pocket. But general movement of your arms over your head, stretching whatever feels tight especially your bent sitting posture like the front of your hips, opening your chest and deep breathing is a must for everyone, even babies. And the best way to achieve that is also a social one when walking up and down the aisle you’ll find: everyone loves a cute (smiling not crying) toddler.
Entertainment: needn’t be the video if you want a napper.
Screen time creates notable changes in brain chemistry – most notably in the release of dopamine and specifically in kids. It’s easy and convenient. And it’s not always a bad thing. No matter how convenient, educational, or mood-enhancing computers and other devices may be, experts agree that although screen time isn’t bad in and of itself, there needs to be a limit. And that limit needs to apply a lot on planes especially if you want them to nap (so you can too!). Setting boundaries will also help parents become a little more creative in the mean time; Ice cubes are particularly enthralling for toddlers as is filling their own water bottles, tray table and window flap opening (though your neighbors might disagree!) and seat pocket reading.
Travelling can be stressful, but easier with a little preparation
Traveling is more than food when considering the whole food baby. It’s digestion under pressure, hydration, sleep and naps scheduled as much as you can, movement and creative approaches to entertainment. You might all enjoy the trip better if you follow some or all of these tips!