Helpful Items for Missionary Moms

One thing that I wish someone would have equipped me with before heading overseas would have been a list of useful items specific to my unique lifestyle. Here is a list of my top favorite items for moms who travel around the world with little ones. Oh, and if you can’t tell, my kids are very young. Sorry that this is not applicable to older kids!

The Phil and Ted’s portable bed: This “Pack n’ Play” like portable bed weighs only 8 pounds and folds up so small that you can fit it into your suitcase! It has saved us a TON on extra baggage costs. Our son actually sleeps in this bed as his normal bed at home. It makes traveling that much easier since it is his actual bed!

Super Baby Food: This book is a HUGE help for knowing what to feed your baby and when. The culture that I live in has very different views on this issue, so it is nice to have a complete manual on the subject. Take it with a grain of salt though. This book is pretty over the top on the idea of organic foods and such, which are not really available to many of us. It also has lots of great recipes for finger foods, kids  foods, and things for the whole family. It has lots of tips for “make it yourself” house-cleaning products and such, and a lot of them use ingredients that are not toxic and easy to find anywhere in the world.

Conair Sound Machine: Our apartment is small and noise travels easily. We have 2 of these sound machines and they work wonders for great naps and easy bedtimes even when we have guests. Also, it is great when we all have to share a room at a conference and for when our conference neighbors are noisy into the wee hours of the night. (Get the $20 version, not the really expensive one.)

The Big Picture Story Bible: We love this children’s Bible that was given to us by some dear friend. It has great theology and beautiful pictures. Our daughter begs us to read it to her every day!

A portable DVD player: Ok, so this isn’t a need, and I am actually quite opposed to kids watching too much TV, but any mom who has traveled internationally has to agree that at some point your toddler watching 17 hours of Elmo is far better than the alternative of tantruming, squirming, seat kicking, crying, sippy cup chucking, etc… that can happen when your 2 year old is sleep deprived beyond belief, hyped up on excitement, and stuck in a 1.5’x 1.5′ square seat for what feels to them like an eternity. Thankfully lots of planes have personal TVs at each seat, but my kids won’t wear the headphones. The DVD player has proved useful in long layovers and other circumstances outside of the airplane. Oh, and get an extra battery.

Amazon Prime: This has been the BEST help to us as far as gift buying for friends and family back “home.” You pay a yearly free and then can ship as many items as you want (2 day shipping) from Amazon.com to anyone you want. We do nearly all of our Christmas and birthday shopping this way since Amazon has so many things other than books. It saves a ton on shipping and saves us from going through cardiac arrest waiting in “line” at the post office. We also order things for ourselves to bring back from furloughs.

Flax seed meal, wheat germ, nutritional yeast…- At least where we live, it is hard to find whole grain items and nutritious snacks for kids. I like to bring  these sorts of things back with me from the States or have visitors bring them, just to add a little bit of a nutritional boost to some of our food. Again, these are obviously not necessary to provide good nutrition to your kids, but they are easy and portable nutritional boosts that give a bit of help as you learn labels and figure out healthy cooking and shopping in a foreign place.

Here are a few other useful items, mostly travel related:

Disposable changing pads (or pre-cut sheets of waxed paper) for airplanes and airports.

Dramamine. Good to have in case you find out that your little one has a tendency to get airsickness and puke their guts out all over their clothes and spare clothes (and your clothes) and arrive naked in an airplane blanket to their final destination.

Suckers. Endless entertainment and free moments of quiet.

-Plastic airplane cups. Forgo the tomato juice for the first round of drinks and order water. Then your child gets a free toy out of the deal. It is amazing how much fun a plastic cup can be to a toddler.

A shoelace and a piece of tag board with holes punched in it. A fun, cheap, light weight and compact weaving activity for toddlers and young kids. Easy to toss in the purse.

A few crayons and a small noteook for coloring, of course.

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3 Responses to “Helpful Items for Missionary Moms”


  1. 1 montyandmarie February 13, 2009 at 5:14 am

    I hope all my comments aren’t becoming annoying, because I’m not an overseas missionary. But, I wanted to comment that the website http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com is also a great resource for homemade babyfood. I have Super Baby Food as well, which is wonderful and agree it’s a must for making babyfood, but I found this site to be a little more up to date as far as ages you can introduce certain foods, etc.

  2. 2 alatvala February 13, 2009 at 7:15 am

    I love your ideas, Kim! You are a mom with lots of wisdom, so I am grateful for your comments! Keep them coming!


  1. 1 International travel with kids « Missionary Moms Trackback on March 15, 2009 at 4:50 am

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