GUIDE TO VANCOUVER

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We snuck away for a quick two day, one night adventure to Vancouver. We brought both kids, and it’s never been “just us” before on a family vacation, we’ve always gone to see extended family or friends, so this was a first. It was a lot of chaos and a lot of fun.

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Tacos: La Taqueria. Cheap and great. Happy Hour 3-6pm.

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MeeT in Gastown. Almost everything is vegan/GF.

Nelson the Seagull. Cute coffee shop. We also liked JJ Bean.

One of the best parts of staying downtown: we walked everywhere and didn’t use our car for two days. This city double stroller by Thule saved us. This is the glider board which drives easier than the universal fit ones.

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Our rookiest move was trying to eat in restaurants with small children. It was too much for our kids’ ages. Luckily we had Trey’s tablet with us which saved us multiple times, but we learned next time to just always take everything to go and picnic our way through the day. (Another options is to stay in an AirBnB outside the city so you’d have a kitchen.)

Pool of my dream! Kitsilano Pool. Heated, outdoor, saltwater pool. We spent hours here. Our whole family got in for $6 CAD (under $5 USD!) for the whole day with in/out privileges. Outside the city, so if you’re staying downtown it’s a short drive (or a bike ride).

Umaluma Gelato. Plant based, dairy free, right above the pool.

Our downtown hotel pool view was insane. It really is a gorgeous city nestled right next to water and mountains.

Other noteworthy things:

The exchange rate changes daily, buy when we went the rate was 1 CAD to .76 USD, which means everything is about 30% off if you pay with an American credit card. (Especially fun at the Lululemon flagship where the prices are the same as marked in the US, but you get the discount.)

At this time, babies need only a birth certificate to travel between countries, instead of a passport.

Pack all the snacks you think you’ll need, then double it.

A tablet (or something similar) and kids headphones are a lifesaver.

The drive time from Seattle is only about three hours, which we’ve found is the perfect amount of time for a road trip with kids at this age. Not too long, but far enough that you feel like you’re really out of your daily routine.

Seawall is a fun walk. We put the kids in the stroller, walked along the waterfront, and actually got to have a conversation.

Next time I want to try:

Coffee: Matchstick, Jam Cade, Le Marche St George, Federal Store, Liberty, Dalina

Eats: Nuba Town, Tacofino, Juice Truck, Las Margaritas, 33 Acres, Hey Komoko, Ask for Luigi, Tuc Craft Kitchen

Ice Cream: Rain or Shine, Earnest

To Do: Mt. Pleasant Park, Old Faithful Shop

We’re excited to go back! Traveling with kids takes some strategic planning, but the adventure is worth it. Just go, embrace the chaos, the laundry will still be there when you get back home.

PUMP IT UP

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I spend such a large portion of my day nursing and/or pumping that it’s practically a part-time job. I actually read somewhere recently that the amount of time mothers spend nursing, pumping, and cleaning averages 40 hours a week. (#momsaresuperheros) I’m lucky that my supply is abundant, and I can both nurse and pump effectively. In the early weeks I was producing an enormous amount (pumping multiple times a day for a total of around 30oz in addition to nursing full time). Now that my supply has regulated, I pump just once in the morning, freeze that extra 10oz, then nurse the rest of the day. I have an enormous freezer stash and have tried a variety of pumps. Here is what I’ve found to be helpful:

EQUIPMENT

My number one goal of pumping is to get the most milk in the least amount of time. I do this mostly with the Medela Sonata. It is similar to the Spectra, which is more widely available through insurance, but from my experience, the Sonata is a better pump, meaning I can get 10oz of milk in 4 minutes. Everyone is different! This is just what works (amazingly) well for me. I’m guessing the personal fit flex shields also help with how effective this pump is. It’s a workhorse and I use it daily.

Now. If you work outside the home, or pump multiple times a day and want to still be able to do other things, meet Elvie, a completely wireless, nearly silent, fits-in-your-bra, pump. Brand new and recently available in the US, it’s a game changer. There is only one other brand of pump similar to this, but it requires disposable bags, which are crazy expensive (nearly fifty cents each time you pump). The Elvie comes with reusable bottles, so there’s no further expense after purchase. If you’d like to pump literally anywhere while doing other things, like on a plane, on a hike, in the middle of nowhere, this is your pump! So glad something like this is finally available.

These storage bags are the best because they stand up. (Tip: when freezing, lat flat over a waffle box or other flat surface, to help get the bags into a thin shape to save space when freezing, or use this. I have so much frozen milk this time that we also bought a deep freezer for extra storage.

BRAS

A few things here. Hands free pump bras are an absolute must if you plan to pump frequently and want to be able to use your hands to do other things. Two that you can take on and off: here and here (only for Medela). If you don’t want to change, there are a few makers of hands-free pump bras that you can wear all day, making pumping while at work so much more convenient. The Dairy Fairy makes a whole line, I like the Ayla and the Noa 2.0 styles (pictured). If you’re looking for a sports bra style this is my favorite.

RESOURCES

The website kellymom.com was recommended to me over and over by the lactation consultants I saw with Trey. It has lots of evidence-based resources on all things nursing and I often refer back to it for things like storage guidelines, or other useful information.

Happy nursing/pumping. And remember, fed is best! However you feed your baby is the right way for you. Nursing/pumping doesn’t work for some moms and babies for a variety of reasons and the good news is it’s all ok. (My aunt was raised in the era of “sweetened condensed milk” and is now a nutritionist so I try to remind myself that at least we’re all doing better than that.)

Shared in partnership with a variety of companies listed. All opinions are my own.

DOUBLE STROLLER OPTIONS

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Let’s talk double strollers. There are a million different options, configurations, and price points on the market. If you’re adding a second child to your family and need a stroller for two, here are your options and my favorites in each category:

Single Jogger + Buggy Board

If your older child is around 3yrs and up, a buggy board attachment can allow almost any regular stroller to be used as a double. Our three year old can sit or stand on the back, it’s easily removable, and great for shorter outings like the zoo. (Pictured is this single stroller that I’ve had for three years and is still what I use when I run with just Blaire, along with the buggy board and this car seat adapter.)

Pros: The most cost effective option of them all. East and fast to take on and off.

Cons: You’ll need something more substantial if you’re running with two kids (which I do often).

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Double Jogger

If you’re a runner and you have two young kids, you’ll need some kind of double jogger. This one is my favorite. Since having Trey they updated this one to include a hand brake which is great for the hills in our neighborhood.

Pros: The only way I can run with two kids, it’s easy to navigate, and a workhorse.

Cons: Wide (like it’s not going to fit through a narrow shopping aisle), and may take up too much space in some trunks to be portable. We keep this one at our house since I run directly down our street.

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City Stroller With Add Ons

If you use your stroller more for walking and you don’t plan to run with your kids, you can use a city style stroller. If you’re just starting out with one child, you can buy the single stroller, and then add a sibling seat or glider board later on to accommodate (or even three!) kids. Pictured is this one, just released in black on black.

Pros: The amount of creative configurations with this one is awesome, with forward or rear facing seats, bassinet and/or car seat adapters, a huge under basket, and the glider board to accomondate up to three kids. It also drives like a dream and I find it much easier to steer than the single jogger with a ride on board.

Cons: Good for walking, not running.

Lots of options! If you are active at all with kids or a daily runner like I am, I’d go for a jogging style. Otherwise, a city stroller may work well for you. Just depends on your style and preferences, like most things in motherhood.

Shared in partnership with our favorite, Thule.