When I found out I was expecting twins, I worried my glam jet-setting days were numbered. Beyonce, Amal Clooney: I'm sure you can relate. (Ahem.)
But when my babes were just months old, I was lucky to stumble through social and professional connections into what was then a brand new club: Fashion Mamas Los Angeles. Far from the typical paranoid, fear-mongering moms' club — oh, so very far — this group assembled professional and, in many cases, high-profile and celebrity moms across creative industries who had no intention of embracing any sort of stay-home-in-sweats mentality. (Nor even a go-to-the-airport-in-sweats mentality.)
Founded by fashion editor Natalie Alcala, Fashion Mamas — for me at least — made parenting feel like a very chic club behind velvet ropes. A place where moms strut their hot, confident selves, with and without their babes, through airports — for work and play — like it's NBD. (Even if, behind the scenes, it is a BD.)
Here's what some of the group's members had to say about how they managed to keep their jet-setting lives alive — and thriving — after baby... or babies.
1. Catt Sadler, E! News Host
“I feel so fortunate that my kids have been able to stamp their passports and travel the globe with me as it’s one of my greatest passions. They’ve seen Paris, London, Florence, Barbados, Mexico, and more. If you can, it's key to start ‘em young! The sooner they get used to jet setting the better. It becomes second nature to them and will certainly serve them as they get older and are eventually traveling alone.
I make sure they’re equipped with plenty to do, which more often than not means using electronics in the form of videos, movies, and ultimately quality headphones. International travel can be especially taxing, so allowing kids to chill out and zone isn’t a bad thing.
I also think it’s smart to urge them to pack themselves. It’s a nice exercise in independence when they have to think about all of the things they’ll need on a trip and what planning has to go into that. It may not be a perfect packing job, but at least it's a solid first pass!”
2. Daisy O'Dell, DJ
“My job as a DJ necessitates that I travel a lot — and I love that! I feel incredibly fortunate to have success in a profession that encompasses my two favorite things: music and travel. I spent a decade on the road DJing and when I became a mom, knew that my jet-set lifestyle would be impacted. I was pleased to discover that the disruption was nominal. Yes, it is more challenging, but, if you leave the house with your kids, you can leave the city with your kids. I love having my babies close so they often go where I go and I feel they benefit tremendously from the experience. One main reason to travel with your kids is the dramatic developmental leaps that happen with each new adventure. I’ve noticed it many times. New experiences instigate massive change.
It is actually fairly easy to fly with a very young baby. They generally sleep a ton and you are pretty much carrying them all the time anyway. They don’t really know what’s happening just that mommy (or daddy or caregiver) is there.
Here are my tips: Bring a wrap or carrier — Solly and Beco are my favorites. You will want to baby-wear through security. TSA Pre-check! If possible, fly with breast milk frozen. Most hotels will provide a fridge upon request. If you are nursing, nurse during takeoff and landing. If not, I hear a pacifier or bottle will also help with ear congestion.
I always bring my Luna travel nursing pillow and a Coveted Things swaddle that doubles as a blanket. Carry on changes of clothing for both yourself and your baby. Cabin pressure can cause major blowouts. It’s happened to us.
Flight attendants can be wonderfully helpful — who doesn’t want to hold a baby! If you feel overwhelmed, reach out. They are there to help. In fact, in my experience, when traveling solo with my kids, most passengers are sympathetic and offer assistance. I’ve been very lucky to never encounter someone blatantly rude.
Relax, drink lots of water, and make sure that you have easily accessible food for you, and tons of snacks for your little traveling companions.”
3. Erin Ziering, Blogger (Wife to Ian Ziering)
“Mia was only eight weeks old when we took our first flight. I remember being terrified of having a baby on a plane — I was always worried she would disrupt someone else's peace. It is so funny to look back on now because a newborn baby is the easiest age to travel with. I would spend my entire flight nursing her. The vibrations from the plane would help her sleep peacefully. As she got older, I would book our travel during her nap times so I knew we would have a great flight. We traveled more, the first year together, to visit [husband] Ian working, than I traveled in my entire life. Just five weeks after her sister was born two years later, I was traveling again, alone to visit Ian on set. Baby Penna stuck to the same routine of nursing but I found a two year old to have new challenges. I created my own travel games for her and packed tons of surprises in a little backpack that she could carry onto the flight. The three of us girls traveled all over the U.S. together to visit Ian. I never traveled with any help. Honestly, I am not sure what they would have done for me on the plane!
My girls have traveled enough that they understand what is expected of them when they get on the plane. Now that they are older, they know that air travel is going to be boring. Now I pack up our matching JuJuBe travel backpacks with their Nooks, headphones, Melissa and Doug crafts, some fun games and lots of educational stuff. I just put on my headphones and leave them to each other. They get bored and they get creative. It is fun to watch!"
4. Tammin Sursok, Actress
"It's no surprise that having a little one and traveling is not easy. After I had my daughter I thought my husband and I would continue to see the world’s greatest treasures with our newborn and the experience would be the same. Well, that’s just not true. The scheduling of naps and feedings and changing can definitely alter the experience. That being said, my daughter, who is three years old, has been on 36 flights. We have traveled four times to Australia, three times to Europe, three times to the Caribbean, and all over the United States.
Here's how we do it: Make sure the hotel you are staying at is children friendly. I’m not saying go to an all-inclusive, children’s resort, but there is a big difference between a hotel that will accommodate a child’s food preferences, and a hotel that’s not willing.
Take your parents with you. I feel very blessed that my mom and dad, who live in Australia, are my best friends. We plan trips together so that we can all divide and conquer and spend quality time with my daughter. We’ve never brought a nanny on a trip but I can understand why people do.
Let go of the schedule. If you want to experience the city you’re in, you are going to have to let go of being rigid. So, the baby sleeps while you are checking out the Colosseum in her stroller — who cares. Traipsing back to your hotel in the middle of the day is just something that’s not practical. My daughter has slept through concerts, in cabs, on my husband, walking through Disneyland — just let it be.
Do a little adult, a little kid. Splice up your day in sections. Go to the kid’s science museum and get your child(ren) fully engaged and then give yourself the permission to look at some of the shops for an hour. On vacations, it’s a little bit of give and take."
5. Roxy Manning, Red Carpet Reporter
"Here are my tips: Distractions, distractions, distractions. I never leave home before going on a trip without distractions for Bray while we are in transit. This includes a pre-loaded iPad with her favorite movies, coloring books with crayons, snacks, and toys.
If we are flying, I always have enough bottles of milk to get us through take off, landing, and mid-flight. The sucking action on the bottles helps relieve the pressure on her ears while going up and coming down.
I try to schedule flight times during the day, preferably in the morning after she has gotten a full night’s sleep and she is in a good mood. No red-eyes here when traveling with the little!
A change of clothes in my carry-on for her in case she spills, has an accident, or gets sick. Same goes for mama. Projectile puke travels far! Also, the airlines have been known to lose checked bags, so I always carry her toiletries and necessities in my carry on.
Bring plenty of diapers and wipes. And after TSA handles her bottles, I always wipe them down with cleansing wipes to kill the germs. I also do the same for the seatbelt and arm rests because she is all over the place!
If the three of us are flying together, I bring an extra lightweight blanket to lay across the middle seat, and a traveling pillow in case she wants to nap.
At the hotel, we try to get a suite so we can put her crib in the second room so she won’t be disturbed in the middle of the night, which equals better sleep for all of us!
A lightweight umbrella stroller that folds up easy is essential when traveling because it doesn’t take up a lot of room and is easy to carry.
When she was smaller, I used to travel with my Baby Bjorn all the time because it let me hands be free to carry suitcases and bags.
I bring an all-natural, chemical-free facial mist to spray in flight. My daughter loves it too! I keep all of us hydrated with lots of water during the flights as well."
6. Kathryn Eisman, TV Journalist, Host, Author
"The truth is life does change after you have a child... but why wouldn’t you want it to because it’s a whole new adventure that opens up an entirely new world of fun! I’ve always had a career and I was curious how I would balance motherhood with a demanding job and a fun social life.
A few tips: If it’s suitable, I take my daughter with me! One of the interesting aspects of being a television reporter in the realm of entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle is that you’re invited to so many wonderful events and if I think she’ll enjoy it, I bring her with me.
Another secret is to surround yourself with other fun, fab moms so you can still do all the things you love, but you have someone else in the exact same boat.
[Go places] that are just as enjoyable for the parents as for the kids. A few of my faves [in L.A.] are Soho House — during the weekday, I might work on my writing my new book there, or scripting my latest TV show, then come Sunday they have this killer buffet brunch that you and your little one will salivate over. I’m also obsessed with Au Fudge, which was co-created by a childhood friend [Jessica Alba] and has combined a very chic restaurant with a kids' play area. My daughter loves the pink velvet banquettes as much as I do, the food is all organic, and after you’ve finished [they can] head into the playroom while you chat with your husband. It’s about a civilized as it gets with kids, without missing out on all the messy fun."
7. Haley Barnes, Blogger and Fashion Publicist
"My husband and I love to travel, so it is important for us to maintain the lifestyle that we had before kids. Having kids doesn’t hold us back and stop us from traveling, it just gave us a new reason to travel — to expose them to the beautiful world we live in! I love seeing the world through a child’s eyes. Our son, Rome, is almost 2 years old, has a passport, and has been on 22 flights. Our newborn is only seven weeks old and hasn’t flown yet, but we have three trips planned (so far) this year to Chicago, New York, and Cabo.
We try to have the mindset that it will be a fun adventure, and we are usually right! Our children have the same 24 hours in a day to exist at home as they do in Greece or New York. So why not fly somewhere new with them? Our kids don’t care where they are — as long as they feel loved, they are happy! I think of it as we have the opportunity to make memories all over the world with them.
We decided to take advantage of our toddler's last free flight [kids under two aren't required to have their own seats] with a trip to Mykonos, Greece. Rome was 18 months old and I was almost seven months pregnant. So far, we haven’t purchased his own seat for him, so we always arrive early and go to the counter with my son — the hubby stays back — to ask the flight attendants if there are any extra seats for the child. I think they feel sorry for a pregnant woman with a toddler and out of pity, they usually give us an extra seat.
The top things that have helped us were: tons of snacks, the iPad, showing videos on my phone, and describing everything we do out loud. For example, 'Wow! We are getting on an airplane and flying to Greece. Are you so excited!?' My theory is that it expands his vocabulary and helps him vocalize what is happening so he doesn’t throw a tantrum out of confusion.
Breastfeeding was very helpful for the flights too. I would wear my black Bébé au Lait nursing cover and I would feed him at takeoff for his ears. It would instantly put him to sleep and he would stay asleep most of the flight with the cover blacking out the lights. I plan on doing the same for my newborn’s first flight coming up this May.
My must-haves for traveling include: snacks, a light umbrella stroller, Ergo Baby Carrier, spray hand sanitizer, baby wipes, extra diapers, extra set of clothes, new toys they haven’t seen before, coloring and activity books, iPad with toddler headphones and I download Blippi beforehand... and a positive and laid-back attitude!
8. Natalie Alcala, Fashion Editor and Fashion Mamas Founder
Website: Fashion Mamas
"Believe it or not, I didn't take my first flight until I was 20 years old — seriously! (I had a lot of anxiety when I was younger and my fear of flying only intensified it.) But after I crossed that hurdle, I truly fell in love with flying and was able to travel all around the world, thanks to my career as a fashion editor. I'd love for my son to share the same passion for travel that I have, so we try to travel with him as often as we can. We started slow by taking long road trips at first (from Palm Springs to Vegas to Arizona — then we started flying with him after he turned one. We always get there a little early so he can watch the airplanes taxiing on the runway. He's in awe of the process.
Whether your little ones come along with you or not, traveling sets an amazing, empowering example for your kids. If they see that mommy is slaying her job and knows her way around the world, they'll be inspired to exude the same confidence."
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