How to Take Your Baby to Europe

 Taylor and I had the crazy notion to take our 11 month old to Europe, specifically Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. We did it (in the heat wave) and just got back from an 11 day adventure. Was it as exhausting as predicted? Yes. And every minute was worth it.


We have always enjoyed the experience of traveling to new places together, and we were overdue for a trip between my pregnancy and learning how to navigate life as parents. But to go on a romantic getaway, just the two of us?? Nah, we couldn’t fathom being apart from Bennett more than a couple of days! With bringing him along we figured it would get us out of our comfort zone to conquer more trips in the future! And boy did it. We’re already thinking of where to go next.


Typically the Type A planner and to-do list fanatic, I went into the trip with minimal plans, no expectations, and the frank assumption that we will be at a much slower pace with sightseeing and doing things on the fly.  I was able to research some tips online but honestly could not find many helpful hints about bringing a baby. Here are some of my personal recommendations if you want to bring your little one along to become a world traveler!


Lodging: Book Airbnb places with a crib/pack ‘n’ play and a highchair. I was surprised to find so many great options with both of these. Also book places with a washing machine to pack the least amount of outfits and of course a refrigerator for leftovers, foods that baby may typically have, and to keep a teether cold if need be. We did laundry one time at each place we stayed, which saved us a lot of room in the suitcases!


*Pro Tip: Bring a few individual gel detergent pods wrapped in a sealed plastic bag, just in case they leak. I didn’t realize the Airbnbs with washers did not always provide this, and we had to end up purchasing a whole container of detergent we didn’t have room to bring back.


Getting Around: Take advantage of the free checked stroller at the gate but DO buy a cheap stroller bag on Amazon (ours was $12) to limit how much it gets beat up on the plane ride. I would strongly encourage a stroller with big wheels to get you over the cobblestone roads many European cities have. It will be much more comfortable for your little one! Also have a stroller that reclines back (a lot) for napping on the go, and a portable sound machine is a must. This kept Bennett asleep through walking tours, museum visits, and some mom and dad relaxation at a beer garden. A clip on fan for the stroller is a must as well if you plan to go during warm months. Bring extra batteries or be prepared to buy them. To keep Bennett cool we left the fan on most of the day and had to replace our AA batteries twice.


We decided to opt out of bringing a car seat since we planned to use all public transportation. We did bring our wearable Lille carrier for shorter walks but only ended up using it once. Each day we pretty much packed up for the entire day until returning to the apartment after 8pm, so the stroller was necessary.


Diapers/Clothes for Baby: We somehow crammed more than enough diapers and wipes into our suitcases. If we didn’t have room we knew we could buy them anywhere, but wanted to avoid running into that situation. We packed a swimsuit and one swimmer diaper just in case, nighttime diapers, a few outfits, two sets of PJs, one pair of socks if the plane was cool, bandana bibs for messy drool/eating, and one sleep sack.


*Side Note: We wanted to be good tourists and go to the historic thermal baths in Budapest. I read on several websites that kids were not allowed at all in the pools, almost leading me to leave Bennett’s swimsuit at home and pray he naps while we take a dip. Come to find out, we trekked to the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath anyway and they had no problem with him in the outdoor bath. He had a blast in the lazy river current and we all had some R & R on our last day. Don’t believe everything you read online, folks! Except this info I am sharing with you. This is all true.


Flight: Take advantage of the free diaper bag carry on for your little one (in addition to your carry on and personal item). We successfully checked NO bags except the stroller checked at the gate, so we had several big carry on bags.


*Food for Thought: especially if going solo with your little one, think about only taking a big backpack for your personal luggage instead of a rolling suitcase. You will NOT be able to roll luggage while also pushing a stroller!


Pack a few QUIET toys your baby loves and leave the rattles at home to help your fellow passengers out. Pack snacks (see “eating” below), put your baby in a nighttime diaper even if it’s during the day in case he/she zonks out for a while, and bring any medications your baby may need.


Eating: As a Registered Dietitian this was my biggest concern. What can I get through TSA?! Not to mention we’ve had a history of trying to put weight on our borderline preemie boy who has the super metabolism of daddy. Luckily, they allow more than 3 oz of formula/breastmilk, bottled water for formula, baby food/pouches, and other food for your baby.  I watched some videos on the TSA website. They always inspect it, but it’s allowed. I brought as many pouches as we could fit, teething crackers, yogurt and fruit with an ice pack for the plane rides there, and formula. Although I am still nursing as well I left my pump at home (hallelujah) and planned to breastfeed throughout the day as needed.


Definitely bring a small container with a tight fitting lid (see below). I highly suggest packing a daily probiotic with a plastic dropper you can squeeze directly into your baby’s mouth (not a glass dropper you have to mix into bottles or food). Just as adults, your baby’s schedule and eating habits are altered, so their bowels may be off as well. The new foods could cause gas, indigestion, or they may not get as many fluids on vacation as usual. A probiotic is also is an immunity booster for the many germs they could get in transport.


I admit, all day long in the back of my mind (and verbalized to Taylor more than once…or 100 times) I was stressed about Bennett eating and drinking enough. He refused some of his usual bottles and pouches I know he likes at times, and he would gobble up some of our meat and potatoes one day and spit out the same foods the next day. Looking back, I wish I had realized it is natural for his eating habits to be different as ours were in this strange environment and on an unusual timetable. And babies are good at listening to their bodies. He was never hangry or dehydrated or fussy. He was fine.


The important thing is constantly offering snacks and meals and liquids for hydration. The baby can choose what they want and how much. We walked to a market at least once in each city and stocked up on more normal foods Bennett typically eats, which really helped him feel at home. This included things like plain skyr or Greek yogurt, soft fruits, eggs, breads, and oatmeal. Every day we would leave for the day with easy non-perishable foods such as room temperature pouches, bananas, mandarin orange cups, and dry oats in a little tupperware container (and would add hot water at a restaurant). I occasionally would scoop out some yogurt or pack some leftover beans/rice/meat/ vegetables and bring our ice pack along if I thought he would eat it in the next 2-3 hours.


*Pro Tip: I highly suggest asking restaurants if they have high chairs before you choose. A few times we were starving and desperate and we held Bennett while we ate. Let me tell you, when you’ve been walking and moving and hot all day, this is not good for your temper, digestion, or the glass dishes on the table.


To get the wiggles out: we made it a priority to visit a park each day to let Bennett move around and get worn out since he spent so long cooped up in the stroller. Each city had such beautiful, clean parks around almost every corner, and Taylor and I enjoyed relaxing there pretending we were locals. We found every city to be super baby friendly and found little play areas for kids in many museums and cafes too. Brilliant!


All of that being said, if you want to take your baby to Europe, don’t let anxiety hold you back. Just do it. You’ve got at least two people cheering you on!


Written by Caroline Pope, MS, RD, LDN

Co-Owner and Registered Dietitian


5 Reasons Why You Should See a Registered Dietitian Today!


With so much information out there today about nutrition, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know what is best for you. But it doesn’t have to be. If you meet with a registered dietitian, he/she will work with you to develop an individualized and realistic plan to help you reach your health and wellness goals. Then, once the plan is made, the dietitian will help guide and motivate you through the whole process - meal planning, grocery shopping, mindful eating - all to create long lasting behavior change.


Here are five common reasons why you should schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian today!


1. You’re looking for help with managing diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic diseases.


Read More

Supplement Highlight - Creatine


We’re continuing down the ingredient list of pre-workouts and highlighting the ones that are worth taking, bringing us to Creatine. Creatine Monohydrate is the most effective performance enhancing nutritional supplement when it comes to increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training. While there is still some controversy around this supplement, there is no scientific evidence that short- or long-term use of creatine has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals.


Read More

Supplement Highlight - Caffeine

Pre-Workout supplements are incredibly popular and many make claims that only their special blend will increase your strength, allow you to get more reps in before failure, bust through plateaus, and basically become the Incredible Hulk for an hour each day you are in the gym. When it comes to ergogenic or performance enhancing supplements, there are only a handful that can reliably back up the claims they make, and no one company has an exclusive right to these ingredients. The most commonly consumed in a Pre-Workout supplement is caffeine. But do you know what caffeine actually does for you during a workout?


Read More

Are Fruits Unhealthy to Eat on a Daily Basis?

With the rise in popularity of low carbohydrate diets and studies showing excessive fructose consumption can have negative effects on the body, many have become confused about whether or not fruit is a healthy choice to consume on a regular basis. So, we’d like to clarify a few things.


Since fruit does contain fructose, some worry that including these foods will lead to fat gain and other health issues. However, a meta-analysis through the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that about 25-40 grams of fructose per day is safe. In order to exceed this amount of fructose through fruit alone, you would have to consume somewhere between 3-5 medium apples, 5-8 cups of blueberries, or 5-8 bananas daily, which should sound like an unreasonable amount of fruit to have in one day. 


Read More

What is Performance Nutrition?

I have something embarrassing to admit. I grew up in the Triangle, an area with a huge population of passionate sports lovers, but I am not into sports myself. I do not have a favorite team or a single piece of fan gear. While I was in college I would constantly be asked, “Oh, so you want to be a sports dietitian? What team do you hope to work for?” And I would begin explaining myself. That was until I began to label my interest as “Performance Nutrition.”


While I no longer get as many questions about which sports team I want to work for, I do find there is still confusion over what services a Registered Dietitian, and more specifically, what a Performance Dietitian has to offer.


First, I want to explain what Performance Nutrition IS NOT:


I can’t tell you how many articles, ads, and emails I run into with titles like, “10 Secret Foods That Will Make You Strong Like a Navy Seal” or “5 Foods That are Destroying Your Gut to Stop Eating Now!” They usually jump right into food choices without any mention of what your caloric intake should be, or what your macronutrient composition should consist of. They just focus on the quality of certain foods when only looking at them in isolation.


 Another misconception is that Performance Nutrition is all about supplements, how to stack them in combination, or what to take when. While I do discuss supplements with clients, I consider them the least important thing in regards to modifying your nutrition for performance. Once everything else is dialed in, then there are a handful of supplements that may provide an additional benefit to help you reach your goals. 

Read More

Keto vs. Carbs

Current evidence suggests that low-carbohydrate/Ketogenic diets do not offer a fat loss advantage over non-Keto diets when caloric and protein intake are matched. As long as you are in a caloric deficit, and consuming adequate amounts of protein to preserve lean body mass, you can lose fat just as effectively on a high-carb diet as you can on a Keto diet.


Individuals who follow a Keto diet tend to consume fewer calories than those on a regular diet. This is likely due to the fact that foods typically consumed on a Keto diet can be quite filling, which makes sense considering fats are the most satiating macronutrient!


It’s important to recognize that carbohydrates are not evil. Carbs are our primary fuel source. They provide energy for muscle function and they are also the main fuel for our brain. 


However, one of the most important factors with any diet strategy is how well YOU can stick to it. So, if a Keto diet sounds appealing to you, it is worth trying!


If you’re curious about the Keto diet, or finding out what diet is best for you and your goals, reach out to our Registered Dietitian Eddie Fitzgerald at for a FREE 30-minute initial consultation.


Read More

The Benefits of Foam Rolling


What is foam rolling?

Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release (SMR), is a self-massage technique that uses your own bodyweight and a simple piece of foam to help release muscle restrictions and improve soft tissue pliability. Foam rollers can be purchased for less than $20 and are an effective way to improve your mobility and fitness performance. 


Read More

Take Control of Stress with NuCalm


Chain Effect is an exclusive provider of the NuCalm experience in the triangle. 

Read More

Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture

A conversation I have at some point with just about every client is: “What is dry needling and how is it different than acupuncture?”

Read More 2 Comments

Getting Your Vitamin D From Food

In our protein packed, low carb crazed society we often neglect the importance of vitamins and minerals to our bodies' crucial systems. In the winter months we can be at risk for lower Vitamin D levels since sunlight helps our skin naturally make it. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin important for our immune system, muscle and nerve function, and more notably, for aiding absorption of calcium and phosphorus to have strong bones and teeth. Peak bone mass is typically reached in women in their early 20s and in men by age 30. To combat the gradual decline of bone density which occurs as we age, a lifestyle rich in calcium and Vitamin D is critical.

Read More 0 Comments