Tag Archives: destination photographer

With my oldest kids being 6 and 8, it had been a while since I had to pack for a baby when traveling. Older children require much less gear, and I pack as light as possible. But with the arrival of the baby in mid November, I dug out all of my baby travel essentials gear again. We flew as a family of five when the baby was just two months, and I’m happy to share my travel packing list. I previously shared some tips for flying with young children. The key for me when traveling with a baby and young children are routines that can be easily adapted.

Here are my travel essentials and some tips. As an added bonus, I’ve dug up some old photos for you to enjoy :)

Baby Carrier
A baby carrier is a must for me. We usually take a stroller, too, but sometimes grabbing your diaper bag and the baby carrier is so much easier. Strollers can be a big hassle in tight locations with endless steps. Or may not make sense if you’re traveling to go skiing. My favorite baby carrier is the Original Ergo carrier. I’ve tried many different carriers and wraps over the course of having 3 babies, and this one works best for me. Considering my Ergo is 8 years old and has been washed countless times, the quality is clearly long lasting. I love the padded shoulder straps and the attached hood, which I use as a sunshade and as a signal that it’s time to nap. Plus, it’s super easy to put on, and my husband can wear it easily, too.

Mom and dad are carrying baby in the original Ergo carrier with photos by DC infant photographer Stefanie Harrington.

Travel Crib
Another essential travel item for babies that has stood the test of time is our BabyBjorn travel crib. Over the past eight years, our travel crib has flown and traveled numerous times without any issues. It’s very light and so easy to set up and pack up. I always use it as the baby’s suitcase by stuffing clothes, a few diapers and other baby items in its bag. One time we tried using a travel tent, but I found it too awkward to use and our baby slept much better in the crib. 

Adorable toddler boy with white blond hair is waking up in his portable crib.

Car Seat
We always bring our infant car seat instead of renting one locally. That way we know that it works for our baby. It also doubles as our stroller, because we bring a stroller base. For our first, we had a slightly different infant car seat and stroller base, that we changed for our third baby.

I like to bring 2-3 lightweight muslin blankets. They can double as a nursing cover, baby blanket, sunshade, burp cloth. We still have our Adan + Anais blankets from my oldest’s newborn days. For winter trips, I make sure that our car seat stroller is warm with the BundleMe.

A collage of photos showing a baby boy smiling and sleeping in his infant car seat.

Sleep Routine
I’m a huge proponent of having a sleep routine. My kids love to sleep a lot, and so do I. To help them feel comfortable and safe in a new environment, I always bring a few MAM pacifiers (they’re the best, hands down), 2 of the same Angel Dear lovey (one for the car/plane, one clean one in the suitcase for when we arrive), and a portable sound machine. I also have a white noise app on my phone and on our iPad for times when the kids napped in different rooms. 

A few more thoughts on traveling with a baby:

  • I pack diapers for the first 2 days and then stock up locally.
  • I only bring a baby monitor if we are staying in a large house. If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to bring some adapters. 
  • Once the baby is eating solid food, I bring a few spoons and some baby food for the first 2 days. Depending on your destination, it’s usually easy to find baby food locally.
  • When flying, I pack medicine supplies like infant tylenol, infant ibuprofen and a thermometer in our carry on bags. 

Happy travels!!

This season of life is a crazy one for us, so I’m behind on blogging! Again. I did manage to sit down with my oldest for our annual birthday interview tradition. It feels even more surreal that he is eight years old this year. Especially when his baby sister looks exactly like him as a baby. It often feels like I traveled back in time when I look at her. 

I love doing these birthday interviews with my kids. It’s funny how not much changes from year to year. My oldest has a very caring and sensitive personality. His answers are always a subtle and nice reminder of his fierce love for his family and friends. He’s kind, loyal and often so innocent it hurts. To say that he is smitten with his sister is the understatement of the year. He is completely crazy in love with her. His relationship with his brother has the same protective streak, but it’s much louder and much more rough and tumble. I love watching them all play together (as much as a baby can play with them). 

Our interview now has an additional question to include the baby (who got left out of the birthday card that I signed for the family and was pointed out by my 8-year-old #thirdchild): 

  1. Favorite color: Green
  2. Favorite toy: LEGO
  3. Favorite thing about his brother: “He’s the best.”
  4. Favorite thing about his sister: She’s really cute
  5. Favorite TV show or movie: Phineas and Ferb; Wild Kratts
  6. Favorite food: Sushi, pizza
  7. Favorite outfit: Short pants and short-sleeved shirts
  8. Favorite sport: Soccer and baseball
  9. Place he wants to visit for vacation: Germany
  10. Favorite animal: Dog
  11. Favorite song: “I don’t have one.”
  12. Favorite book: Magic Tree House
  13. Best friend: My brother and Aaron
  14. Favorite cereal: Fruit Loops [clearly, a remnant of the no-rules vacation food] 
  15. Favorite drink: Shirley Temple [another vacation reminder, ha!]
  16. Favorite thing to do with friends: Play tag
  17. What his father does at work: “He’s a contractor or something.”
  18. Something he’s really good at: Soccer
  19. Favorite ice cream flavor: A mix
  20. Biggest hero: My family
  21. What he wants to be when he grows up: A worker man [still a construction worker, a trend since age 2, I think]

dc baby birthday photographer

Happy 8th birthday to my big boy! What a caring older brother he is to his brother and sister, and we are so lucky to be his parents.

It has been eerily quiet around here, but when your husband is on crutches and traveling every week while you have 2 kids and an infant at home, you’re just happy to keep everyone clean, dressed and fed. The kids’ Spring Break is finally around the corner, and we are all looking forward to a much needed getaway. If you’re still unsure of what to do, I’ve teamed up with Beltway Bambinos to bring you some ideas! Our city has so much to offer to enjoy time as a family and some of it is free.

Local Attractions

The National Museum of Natural History never gets boring. There is so much to see and to learn! Use the back entrance to avoid some of the crowds to enter the museum! The Butterfly Pavilion is free on Tuesdays so consider this when you plan your week. 

dc documentary photography | spring break adventure ideasdc documentary photography | spring break adventure ideasdc documentary photography | spring break adventure ideas

Stop by the Sculpture Garden. It has a lovely cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, clean bathrooms and filtered water to refill your bottles. After lunch, you can sit by the fountain to enjoy a treat from the many ice cream trucks. 

Let your kids ride the carousel on The National Mall. It’s a quick treat that may become their favorite part of the day.

dc documentary photography | spring break adventure ideas

Pack a picnic and visit Theodore Roosevelt Island to explore the many natural trails and boardwalk. It’s a great spot to take the family dog along. The trails can get muddy after a big storm so keep an eye on the weather forecast to plan your visit.

The National Zoo is also always a favorite with children. Go early in the day to avoid some of the crowds. With any luck, the animals will be really active then. The orangutans may even be climbing on the cables on warm days around 11. 

Head to the Earth Explorers exhibition at National Geographic Museum. You can take a simulated ride on a hot air balloon or go underseas in a submersible! This museum is not a part of the Smithsonian and has an admission cost.

If you want the full tourist experience, board a “hop on, hop off” bus to tour the city. You can go at your own pace, all day long. There are several tour operators. Big Bus Washington DC has more than 40 stops in D.C. Old Town Trolley Tours can be seen all over the city. DC Ducks begins at Union Station and drives by monuments and Smithsonian Museums before transforming into a boat and splashing into the Potomac River. D.C. and surrounding area residents can purchase 1 ticket and get 1 free.

dc documentary photography | spring break adventure ideas

Depending on the age and/or personality of your kids, you may be able to check out some local breweries. Most have board games, snacks and TVs. Depending on their schedules, they may have live music and food trucks. Atlas Brew Works, DC Brau, 3 Stars Brewing Co are just a few of the local options.

Day Trips

Baltimore is the perfect destination for a day trip or even an overnight trip. It’s a really fun city to explore with many family friendly activities. Consider the Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium, Medieval Times and Port Discovery Children’s Museum.

Book a room at the Gaylord National or MGM or just spend a day at National Harbor. There’s a lot to do here! Ride the Capital Wheel or the carousel and enjoy the views of D.C. For a full day, dine at the Gaylord National, take a shot at gambling at MGM and shop at the Tanger Outlet stores. You can end with a trip on a water taxi!

NASA/Goddard Visitor Center is only 30 minutes from Washington, D.C. You can explore the universe, learn about climate change, climb inside a Gemini capsule model or participate in one of the monthly model rocket launches. It’s free to visit! (closed on Mondays)


Luray Caverns are hugely popular caverns and just 80 miles from D.C. Guided tours lead visitors through cathedral-sized rooms with towering stone formations and other wonders. There is also a Garden Maze. The line into the Caverns can try the patience of little ones so consider this when planning your visit. On April 22 and 23, you can enjoy a history packed Civil War weekend nearby. Book a local hotel with an indoor pool and order a pizza or room service for a fun overnight.

dc documentary photography | spring break adventure ideas

Depending on the age(s) of your kids, an overnight at The Greenbrier or The Homestead may be more appropriate. You could also check out Kingsmill Resort or Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Va. They cater to your little ones with daily activities and fun in the water. There’s even a spa!

Know of some unusual local adventures? Share them in the comments below! For more ideas, check out Beltway Bambinos. You’ll find idea for indoor activities if there’s bad weather, local performances and even drop-in camps if you need a child-free morning. 

I am so excited to share with you the winners of the 2016 photo of the year winners! The level of participation from everyone blows me away every year. Thank you, thank you to ALL of my families!! I am so lucky to be a maternity, birth and baby photographer, because it allows me to work with the most adorable tiny humans :) One of the best parts is watching my newborns grow. 

The contest grows year after year, and I love seeing the results from the online polls and Instagram (@stefanieharrington). Seriously, you all have an incredibly huge network of friends and family. They definitely deserve a round of applause. At last, here are the winners in no particular order:

dc maternity baby photographer | 2016 photo winnersdc maternity baby photographer | 2016 photo winners

WINNERS. Please get in touch with me for more details and to schedule your documentary session. Documentary sessions capture authentic moments that are unique to each family. I look forward to telling your family’s story this summer! Some of my favorites are the ones that are told right in your home or a place that has meaning for you.

Finally, a very special “Thank You” also goes to my guest judges. I appreciate your time and professional opinion for the professional photographers’ choice!

Can’t wait to see the entries for next year’s contest. This year is already flying by!

The results of the voting never fail to blow me away! It is a tight race for the top spots in the Photo of the Year contest every time, and 2016 was no exception. As always, these top spots know how to work their networks, because their friends and family helped get them here. 

In no particular order, the 6 images with the top votes from the first round are below. I always think that I’ll pick spot 5 and 6, but I always choose the ones with the most votes. After all, those networks worked hard to make it happen for these families. 

maternity newborn photographer dc | finalists 2016

View the images larger HERE

The final round of voting will determine the Photos of the Year 2016:

  • Winner of the popular vote from the round 2 online poll
  • Winner chosen by a panel of professional photographers

In addition, votes on Instagram (@stefanieharrington) will count! I will post all images over the next couple of days with the “likes” counting toward the poll results. In order for votes to count, voters must follow @stefanieharrington and like the individual contest photo(s) posted under this account.

The online voting ends Sunday, March 5. The winners will be announced here on the blog next week. Finally, remember, you can vote for more than 1 photo, but you can only vote once. 

As always, this contest is entirely because of all of the amazing families and their support. A huge Thank You to the Stefanie Harrington families. I’m so so grateful to all of you!