44 pounds

44 lbs.

No, that is NOT Alexander’s current weight! Our little guy, like many internationally adopted children, is very small for his age. Although he turns one early next month, his measurements and weight are much more in line with a child less than half his age. Though that caused some initial panic from us, our medical team ensured us that he’ll sprout up and fatten out as soon as we get him home and on a more advanced diet.  Additionally, because of his medical condition, eating is a much more laborious task.

So back to the 44 lbs! As Brian mentioned in a previous post, we attended our first travel meeting this past week. We focused primarily on the itinerary and logistics of our upcoming trip. We were handed a huge suggested packing list with one caveat– for our several week trip, we can each have only 44 lbs of luggage (based on the luggage restrictions for in-China flights). Yes, 44 lbs is a lot of weight, but that has to include a fair amount of baby gear, enough clothing for at least a few days, and several small gifts for ceremonial gift exchanges with various officials.  We also hope to do a fair amount of  shopping during our journey to gather some things from Alexander’s home town and province.

Does anyone have any suggestions for packing light and packing smart for international travel? Especially you parents out there– do you have any creative ideas on essentials to include and what to just leave at home? One thing we’ve definitely decided is to bring a soft baby carrier to help with attachment rather than to haul a stroller.

Ideas please!



5 thoughts on “44 pounds

  1. Hi Kathleen…….(and Brian)

    How exciting!!! Do you have any idea yet when you will leave? My advice would be as far as clothing for yourself….take alot of black,khaki & one other color that will bo
    w/both. Take comfortable shoes….you will do alot of walking. Will you be in Guangzho…..? It is pretty far south…..so the weather even this time of yr is pretty mild….if you will be in Beijing….it can be very very cold there! As far as shopping…..if you go to the “pearl market” most of the vendors there will take US dollars……get small bills……get small bills also if you exchange money,and bargain if you are shopping at one of the pearl market type places,obviously not at a dept store. You can buy whatever you want at the Pearl Market…..not just pearls…..if you are in Guangzho it will be called the Leather Market……
    When you get ready to go out for the day…..take your own toilet paper,yes,toilet paper! the public restrooms will not have any…….and be forewarned…the public restrooms are disgusting………take along some saniwipes or hand sanitizer too,try not to drink alot before you go out for the day….it’s hard tho,cuz you get thirsty,but ,I am telling you the public lavs are gross! If you are in Beijing long enough to shop & you go to the pearl market you will want to eat lunch at what we call the Brown Door restaraunt…….it is on the corner across the street from the big white Pearl Market bldg…….excellent chinese!!! Order your drinks w/no ice,carry your own small botttle of water……if you have to buy bottled water….make sure hte seal has not been broken,dont drink the tap water at your hotel either….oh and the chinese people will sit in public & go elbow deep up their noses,picking! Just another forewarning!!
    I think traveling w/out a stroller for this trip is a good idea……..have fun! Don’t get overwhelmed……can’t wait to meet your little guy!


  2. I’m trying to write this during the elusive naptime, so if it is full of grammatical errors and doesn’t make much sense, I hope you understand.

    First as to alternatives to strollers: there are so many options for babywearing. Personally for me, I like the wrap type carriers for smaller babies. They can be folded up very small when not worn, but sometimes they feel like a commitment (more on that later). I know a lot of women like the woven wraps that babies can sit it, for ease of in and out use. Do you know anyone who uses or is there a store nearby that you can visit to try out different wraps? Anyway, my favorite is called the Sleepywrap; it’s not as widely available as the Moby, but I like it better. It’s more elastic and I tie it tightly and squeeze the baby in. Whatever you go with there are lots of on-line videos showing how to do it. I would practice -ALOT, because if you’re trying to get a baby who is upset into it, you might be like me and tend to panic. I have lots of carriers–I wish you were closer. The Moby or Sleep is tied around you and the baby is then put in. It’s great for using when you plan on wearing the baby for more than ten minutes (i.e. not as great for running into the bank and back out to the car). I know I have had to take it off when I went through the airport security a few years ago. Annoying, but this might have changed. I would say whatever you decided watch the videos about ten times, practice with a doll, then do when the baby is calm and you aren’t rushed. That way you get the hang of it and are comfortable.

    I don’t know what your plan is for diapers, but if you wanted to try cloth, I’ve lot’s of suggestions. However, cloth seems to have a learning curve because not many moms have done it/seen them before so disposable would probably be easier and less bulky for travel. Plus, of course the bonus is that as you use them up you have more room in your luggage–unlike cloth which is the exact opposite. Just don’t tell any of my other cloth diapering moms I’m say this 🙂

    Hmm, that’s all I have for now. I would suggest lots of layering for baby clothes so that you have more options less bulk, but I’m not exactly sure about specifics here. Let me know if there is anything else specific…I’ll be sure to type up another LONG commentary when I think of a few more things.

  3. My sister is the ultimate light packer, she’s a world traveler… so I’ll ask her about her essentials list. She backpacked across southeast Asia with a friend. She loves her backpack and it’s easily carried on the back. Maybe you might think of a backpackers bag for one of your bags, I’m not sure on the weight but they do have the ones that are more lightweight these days I think. (I think Liz will share her international packing list soon!)

    If you want to purchase gifts and bring them home, I know that typically in Asia things are pretty cheap so you could just buy a bag over there probably at the same market you’d be shopping at so I wouldn’t worry about what you’re carrying back. Also I’m wondering if it would be possible to ship items ahead to a hotel you may be staying at if weight is a concern, I realize to there could be an issue with shipping but that’s another thought as well.

  4. Kathleen, do you have the same weight restriction coming home? If not, you could buy some clothing, and other stuff there if it would be of acceptable quality. If that’s the case, you’ll need some advice from folks who’ve been there. Also, is the 44lb limit just for checked luggage? Does the stuff you’ll put in the overhead count as well?

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