Monthly Archives: April 2017

How to Find the Most Flattering Swimsuit for Your Body Type

If You’re Big-Chested…
“Finding bathing suits is hard because my top half is much bigger than my bottom,” says Dawn Zimniak, 29, a residential real estate agent. Zimniak relies on mix-and-match separates, strategically placed embellishments, and occasionally even a tailor. “I shop for suits with structure so I can run around and not worry about a wardrobe malfunction,” she says. This patterned minimizer (Miraclesuit, $144) is supportive and slimming; gathered fabric at the waist creates a flattering division between chest and hips.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Swimsuit Selection

DON’T:

  • Don’t wear suits with zippers.
    • Zippers cause scratches to yourself and anyone who comes in contact with you.
    • Although zippers may make it easy to don and doff swimwear, they’re unsuitable for the pool and often cause unwanted wardrobe malfunctions.
  • Don’t wear suits with pockets. Pockets, especially slit pockets that lack closures, tend to billow out and fill with water, causing unwanted drag.
  • Don’t buy or wear over-sized suits.
    • Modesty may cause swimmers to choose loose fitting swimwear. This strategy doesn’t work. Loose suits will only increase in size and trash attempts at modesty.
    • Besides being uncomfortable and unsupportive, ill-sized suits tend to wear out sooner than properly sized apparel.
  • Don’t wear your vacation suit.
    • Exposure to sun, chlorinated pool water, and extreme ranges of athletic motion quickly damage fashion suits that are better suited for pool parties and other more leisurely activities.
    • These expensive fashion suits often features metal clasps, rhinestones, sequins, and other decorative appointments that quickly find their way to the bottom of the pool. Suits of this nature are best left behind and reserved for the beach.
  • Don’t wear triathlon gear to swim practice.
    • Pads in multisport apparel absorb water, causing chafing and unwanted drag in sensitive areas.
    • Even if you don’t mind swimming tri gear, keep in mind that this expensive apparel isn’t designed for extended pool use, and is meant for shorter swims in open water (and frequently worn under a wetsuit). Save tri gear for multisport training.

DO:

  • Do choose swimwear that offers a close, supportive fit that covers your body appropriately.
    • Suits that leaves you overexposed will not be comfortable or practical and often makes fellow swimmers uncomfortable.
    • Suits featuring ornamental holes or accents are undesirable and are a poor option for athletes. Same thing goes for rips & tears – repair or replace!
  • Wear opaque suits that will not become translucent when set.
    • Purchase swimsuits made from darker color swimwear fabric – avoid white and tan colors.
    • Suits with single or double-layer linings provide swimmers with more wear time before a suit becomes unacceptable to wear in public.
    • Can’t bear to part with your see-through suit? Add layers strategically for drag and coverage.

 

How to Fly with Baby

How to Prevent Problems

As our daughter Cleo turns 14 months old, my wife, Sally, and I are proud to report that she says “Mama” and “Dada,” stands up all by herself, and has flown a total of 36 times, including to the Caribbean and Europe. Most of our experience flying with our infant has been positive. On more than one occasion, Cleo has happily let flight attendants stroll up and down the aisle with her and even take her up to visit the first-class area, where we could only guess, from our seats back in coach, how she was getting on.

But flying with a baby can also be an ordeal, especially in the United States, where many airlines these days seem ambivalent about their youngest passengers. It’s increasingly common, for instance, for airlines to deny families with young children the opportunity to board the plane first. Fellow passengers can be even more intolerant of babies: I’ve watched travelers go completely pale when — loaded down with an infant, a cumbersome car seat, and an overstuffed diaper bag from which the melody “Farmer in the Dell” was escaping — I hesitated in front of their seat just long enough to ask Sally if the next row back was ours.

To cope with these and other travails of flying with an infant, we’ve put together a set of strategies we use to ensure that the flight is not only as safe as we can make it for our child but also as pleasant as possible for everyone else on the aircraft.

How to Prevent Problems

Be polite.

If we had a second golden rule, this would be it. Infants can’t apologize for their actions, but you can apologize for them. The biggest complaint about infants on airplanes is not their crying or their delight in hoisting themselves up on the seat in front of them, but the seeming indifference of their parents toward the discomfort any of this may cause other passengers.

If your child is feeling out of sorts and expresses it by ripping the headset off the balding man in the seat in front of her, you have to apologize — and you have to mean it. You may not placate the man, but you are likely to gain a few sympathetic nods. And you may even discover that the man was tired of listening to country classics anyway and would rather play peekaboo with the cute little baby behind him.

Plan your seat ahead of time.

When you make reservations, let the agent know that you’re traveling with an infant who will have a child safety restraint, as there are restrictions about where it may be placed. (Normally, the seat goes by the window so it doesn’t block another passenger’s access.) Try to get as far forward as possible, because the back of the plane is noisier, vibrates more, and is less convenient for deplaning than the front.

If your child is particularly active, a bulkhead row eliminates the possibility that her Mr. Worm toy will land in the glass of anybody sitting in front of you. But we don’t like bulkhead rows, because you can’t have most of your carry-ons near you during takeoff and landing, when you tend to need them most. We don’t like the bassinets that bolt to the bulkheads, either, because they’re so flimsy that you’ll worry constantly about sudden turbulence.

Handle baggage better.

You become most aware of how much baggage a traveling infant requires when you arrive at the airport and unload everything on the curb. If you’re lucky, a check-in or a skycap will be right there. As much as you may have disdained these in your pre-baby days, be grateful for them now and tip accordingly ($1 per bag is standard). If neither is available, then your stroller becomes invaluable. Throughout your trip, you’ll use it only occasionally for an infant and more often as a private baggage cart. Every airline we’ve flown will let you check it at the gate. Get a tag for it from the gate staff, and drop it off just before you step through the door of the plane, where it will be returned to you at your destination, hopefully in time for you to make your next connection.

Watch your baby’s back.

Because families with small children are often not allowed to preboard, infants are now in the thick of the boarding fray — and more at risk for the injuries associated with it. There’s the danger that somebody will drop a carry-on on them while trying to move it into or out of an overhead bin or smack them with a wayward bag when boarding or getting off the plane.

One way to minimize the risk is to have one adult board as early as possible, carrying the safety seat and anything that will allow you to stake a claim for the bin directly over your seat. Then, after everyone else has boarded, the other adult and the infant can make a late entrance. This also minimizes the time that your baby has to be aboard.

Pack extra supplies.

One of our most unpleasant experiences traveling with Cleo was on a flight from New York to Seattle that was supposed to last five hours but ended up taking two days. We sat on the runway at LaGuardia for three hours before taking off, made an unscheduled stop in Nashville because we were low on fuel, and spent an unplanned night in Dallas, where the airline refused to release our bags. At midnight, we had to hire a taxi to help us scour convenience stores for baby food and supplies. Needless to say, we now carry a two-days’ supply of everything.

Protect her ears.

During descent and takeoff, we usually keep Cleo sucking on something to relieve ear pressure — a bottle, a pacifier, or her favorite: the plastic seat-back safety card. We give her decongestants only if she’s had a cold. So far, her ears have bothered her only once, when we made a quick descent for our unscheduled landing in Nashville. And even then, she complained less than many adults on that flight.

Diaper with care.

People seem so put off by seeing a diaper being changed that we change Cleo’s in the cabin only if we are sitting three across in an aisle-window row and no one we might offend can see us. On short flights, if she isn’t uncomfortable, we wait until we get into the terminal; on longer flights, we try to get in and out of the lavatories as fast as we can. I find that a particular challenge, because although Cleo has been reluctant to accept the fold-down plastic shelf in the lavatory as a changing table, she has discovered that if she clings tightly enough to my neck, it functions quite nicely as an infant trampoline.

3 Steps to Better Travel

Buy a ticket for your baby, and bring a safety seat.

For us, this is the golden rule of traveling with an infant. It’s tempting to save money by holding your baby on your lap or gambling that there will be an empty seat in which to put a child safety restraint (normally, a car seat with a tag attached that says it has been approved for aircraft), because a child under 2 years of age often flies for free. But we think buying the extra seat is well worth it these days, when many flights are full. (We have often been challenged by flight attendants who wanted to know whether Cleo had her own ticket before letting us take her car seat aboard.) And evidence suggests that “lap children” are among those most likely to suffer injury or death in the event of an accident or severe turbulence. You should keep your child strapped in on takeoff and landing and as much as possible during the flight.

Know how to install the safety seat properly, and don’t let anyone try to tell you differently.

On an early flight with Cleo, we had a confrontation with a flight attendant who told us we would have to face the car seat forward, because it took up less room that way, even though the FAA recommends that car seats be less than 16 inches wide and face the rear for children less than 20 pounds, which Cleo was at the time. We refused to comply and later, after we complained to the airline, received a written apology — but no explanation why a flight attendant would not know something as basic as the FAA recommendations regarding child safety.

Look for child-friendly airlines and airports.

You can have a good experience, or a bad one, on any airline. Mostly, it depends on how stressed the ground and cabin crew are. (This is a reason to fly off-peak.) In general, though, we’ve found that the same few airlines that have good reputations overall tend to be the most child-friendly. They are mostly international, especially Asian, although Swissair and Virgin Atlantic are among the European carriers that rate high.

In the United States, the most child-friendly airlines are often the small upstarts that are trying to win customers by the novel but effective strategy of being nice. The best example we’ve found is JetBlue, a no-frills carrier that flies primarily between New York’s JFK and cities in Florida and on the West Coast.

Many airports provide some sort of play facilities for young children. A handful do it exceptionally well: Philadelphia International Airport’s Please Touch Museum, San Jose International Airport’s make-believe control tower, and Boston’s Logan Airport’s child-oriented facilities and programs are three we like. We’ve found, though, that just about any airport can be made child-friendly if you find an empty gate near a bathroom with changing facilities and let your child crawl around — all the while telling yourself that a few germs are a good thing.

Traveling with a newborn

You’ll probably want to stick pretty close to home for the first few months after your baby’s born. Between feedings and diaper changes, a new baby requires almost nonstop attention, and the risk of a newborn catching something while traveling is too great. Besides, you’ll probably be exhausted.

But infants aren’t as fragile as parents sometimes fear. And by age 3 months or so, babies are pretty good candidates for travel, as long as the trip is low-key.

Your baby’s less likely to view travel as a disruption now than later on. He also can’t run around yet and get into trouble. So enjoy this time because once he starts scampering about, travel becomes a far greater challenge. Here are some travel tips to get you started:

 

Health and safety

  • Assemble a first-aid kit with the supplies you might need to deal with minor medical problems while on the road with your baby. Don’t forget prescription medications, even if your baby only needs them on occasion. (It’s always when you leave the asthma medicine at home that your child has an asthma attack at Grandma’s.)
  • Fill out an emergency sheet with your child’s health information or save it on your phone. Include the contact names and numbers of healthcare providers and a list of any allergies your child has or medications he takes. That way, everything is in one place if you need it.
  • Bring a hat to shade your baby from the sun in warm weather or keep him warm in cool weather.
  • Sunscreen is a must if you’ll be spending time outdoors – no matter what season. Use one with both UVA and UVB protection that’s at least SPF 15. (Sunscreen with SPF 30 is even better, especially for babies who have fair skin.) If your baby is younger than 6 months, apply small amounts of sunscreen to his face and the backs of his hands. On older babies, you can use it more liberally wherever skin is exposed. If you’re using an aerosol sunscreen, be sure not to spray it near your baby’s face. Spray some on your own hands first, then gently rub it on.
  • In the car, your baby should always ride in the back seat, in a rear-facing car seat – never in a front seat with (or without) a passenger air bag. If your car’s equipped with top and bottom anchors for your child’s safety seat, the middle of the car’s back seat is the safest place to install it.
  • Before you leave on your trip, make sure the car seat is properly installed and the car seat’s belts are correctly threaded. Adjust the harness so it fits your baby snugly and securely.
  • Get removable shade screens for the car’s side windows – available at baby supply and discount stores – to shield your baby’s eyes from the sun and keep him from getting too hot. Peel-and-stick shades are more secure, and therefore safer, than those that attach with suction cups.
  • Bring a car seat when you take public transit (like a bus, train, or taxi) to keep your baby as safe as possible. The car seat will provide some protection even when there’s no way to secure it in place.
  • If you’ve purchased an airplane seat for your baby, bring an FAA-approved car seat for your child. This is the safest way for babies to fly. If you didn’t buy a ticket for your baby, you might get lucky and be able to use the car seat if there are empty seats on board. (For more about flying with a young child, see our list of questions to ask your airline ahead of time.)
  • If your baby’s ears seem to hurt from air pressure changes during takeoff and landing, encourage him to breastfeed or suck on a bottle, pacifier, or sippy cup. If your baby’s strapped into a car seat, give him something to suck on while in his seat rather than take him out to breastfeed him. It’s safest for both of you to be securely buckled in.
  • Keep in mind that not all babies experience ear pain, so use your judgment. If your baby’s sleeping soundly, leave him be and he might get through the takeoff or landing without any trouble. He’ll wake up from the discomfort if he’s bothered.
  • If you’re crossing time zones and are worried about upsetting your baby’s schedule, take steps to fight jet lag. Try shifting your baby’s sleep schedule over a few days leading up to your departure and exposing him to sunlight once you reach your destination. You may also want to keep the same schedule in the new time zone if that works best for you.
  • Whatever you choose to do, plan it out ahead of time and try not to overschedule the first few days of your trip – you can’t predict how disrupted your baby’s rhythms might be. If you’re traveling by plane for the first time with your baby, it’s a good idea to check out the travel tips from the Transportation Security Administration.