Product Review: Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit


Baby Flyer in the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit.  It looks silly but it helped all of us get some much needed sleep!

It seems like an appropriate time to review this product, since our baby finally outgrew even the largest size.  We’re sad about this because we loved this silly, adorable thing.  Like, really loved it.  We loved it as much as we (used to) love sleeping at night.

We should start by saying that when Baby Flyer was a newborn, we were avid swaddlers.  We had several kinds- first the blankets, then the wraps and pods, then the sleep sacks.  In short, Baby Flyer spent her first about six months sleeping like a baby burrito.


A Baby Flyer Burrito

But like all good things, swaddling only is an option for so long.  Baby Flyer never really was a roller so we got a couple extra months of swaddling in, but eventually she was too crafty and could break herself out of even the strongest wraps.

And thus, the ultimate “now what”?  She still needed some containing to get a good night’s sleep, since her grabby little hands would inevitably wake her up if she was left to just sleep in PJs.  Enter the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit.  The Suit is marketed as a “swaddle transition” and it’s a pretty apt description.  While it doesn’t hold baby’s arms down as firmly as a swaddle and allows them to move a bit more, it will dampen their involuntary twitches and movement while they’re sleeping, which helps minimize middle of the night wake ups.

It’s pretty warm too.  Though Baby Flyer wore it in a variety of temperatures and didn’t seem to get sweaty or over heated.  In warm weather she could wear it with just a short sleeve onesie and socks, while in cooler weather we dressed her in her full PJs under it.  We do have central AC and heat at home though, so in general her room is pretty comfortable.  They make both the original and fleece versions, but living in Southern California we only tried the original.

We actually ended up having two of these, one of each size.  The small fit her from about 6-9 months, and the large from 9-12 months.  She pretty well slept in the Suit every night.  We just stopped using the large a few weeks ago, and transitioned her into a wearable blanket.  The transition’s going…okay so far.  We do miss the suit sometimes, even just for how cute our little ‘spacesuit baby’ looked in it.

In short, all babies are different in their preferences for sleeping, but we found the sleep suit to be very worth the price.  It even made it onto our short list of bulky things that still ended up on the ‘to pack’ list.  We’d definitely recommend it to anyone needing a swaddle transition option, or if you’re looking for a unique but very practical baby shower gift.


** Note: This post does include affiliate links.  However, we received no compensation in advance of writing this post, and we have used this product personally and prior to becoming an affiliate.**


“That One Flight”


Happy New Year!  We hope your 2017 is off to a good start.  We’ve been staying local so far, and getting ready for Baby Flyer’s first birthday.  Well, not getting ready so much as preparing ourselves, and marveling at how quickly the year has gone.

After a year of writing about family travel, we’ve had many flights and learned plenty of lessons.  For the most part, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable and rewarding it has been  However, as with anything about being new parents, there’s the exception to the rule.  We knew it had to happen at some point- A flight where Baby Flyer just wasn’t feeling her happy traveler self.

Of course it happened during our last transcontinental flight of 2016, our 26th of the year, when we were on a nonstop flight from Massachusetts to California with a long flight time (just over 6 hours) for that flight path.  Even more telling, before take off we had an additional hour ground delay due to the number of passengers on the plane not aligning with the number the gate agents had.  This made it 7 hours of being in that seat on that plane, but we survived.  Fortunately, I had an extra set of hands with me to help hold, settle, and entertain a fussy Baby Flyer.

We had an early morning flight out of Hartford, CT.  It was cold (0 degrees) and still dark when we drove to the airport.  Our flight was on a Thursday, and earlier that week Baby Flyer had started to get sick.  We took her to the doctor before flying, convinced she had an ear infection, but luckily she didn’t.  It was a virus that was taking its time to run its course.  I’ve been known to be a worrier, so wanted to get the ‘A-OK’ from a doctor before flying.

Even after being cleared to fly, her symptoms seemed to be worse the night before out flight.  She was clingy and you could tell she wasn’t feeling well.  I had CET calling the AA Executive Platinum desk (a phone line for high mileage flyers- to learn more about elite benefits you can read our post here) seeing what our options would be if we changed our flights.  There weren’t many, and the options that were available would have been $1,000 to change.  Of course, Baby Flyer would have been worth it, but we decided to see how the night went and decide in the morning.  Fortunately, even though it was a short night, Baby Flyer slept well and woke up much better than she was the night before.

During this flight, the early morning flight worked to our advantage and she was exhausted and slept on me for the first 4.5 hours (including the 1 hour ground delay).  She woke up and cried a couple of times but I was able to quickly nurse or rock her back to sleep.  However, this couldn’t last the full flight at this age, and once she was awake she went through the toys and books I packed pretty quickly.  We moved on to the plastic cups and exploring the seat belt, looking out the window, basically anything we could think of to keep her entertained.  Then we would periodically briefly go back to her toys or books.  She didn’t want to nurse anymore and was happiest when being held while one of us stood in the front of the plane.

Fortunately, we had very friendly flight attendants and a smooth flight, so the seat belt sign was off for most of it.  We would try to sit with Baby Flyer and she made it clear that she wanted to be held standing again.  This behavior is atypical for Baby Flyer but we understood since she wasn’t feeling great.  We were glad when we landed.  But we all survived and a couple of days and another doctor’s visit later, Baby Flyer was feeling better.  We learned she had a common virus and besides Tylenol and comforting her, there was little we could do but wait it out.

Flying’s never easy when your little one isn’t feeling themselves, whether it’s being sick, or just not having the best day.  Feeding often, encouraging naps, standing to rock, or walking down the aisle (as long as you’re not impeding the flight attendants), and trying distraction techniques can all help.  In any case, remember that most flights are (relatively) short, and you’ll get there!  It happens to all of us at one time or another.



Going Elite: Mileage Programs & Family Travel


Baby Flyer ‘inspects’ CET’s AA Executive Platinum Tags.  Bag by Briggs & Riley, Baby Flyer’s outfit by Tea

As I write about at great length, and CAR might say painful detail, in my mileage running blog Cruising Altitude, airlines go out of their way to compete for frequent travelers’ loyalty, sometimes to their passengers’ great benefit.  These frequent travelers attain ‘status’ with their chosen airline(s) depending on how many miles, or flights they fly in a year, and in many cases also based on how much they spend.

Nearly every airline, hotel chain, and car rental agency in the world has a loyalty program of some kind.  They are all free to join, and the benefits range from minimal, to extremely lucrative.

Clearly, this is a large topic that we can’t possibly cover in one post.  However, I wanted to highlight a few ways loyalty programs can benefit the whole family, as well as some tips based on your travel style.


With award programs you can get more (or better) for your money.

Free Travel

This is the most obvious benefit of frequent traveler programs.  If you collect enough miles or points, you can redeem them for free flights, hotel nights, car rentals, etc.  However, for most families, unless you have a high mileage earner in the household, it may be hard to collect enough miles to fly the family for free.  If you’re in this category, there’s a few other options to consider:

-Book with a mix of miles and cash.  If you’re traveling with family, consider booking one or more of the tickets with miles, and the others with cash.  This cuts down on the amount of both miles and cash the trip requires, and you can call the airline after booking to link the itineraries so they show up together in the airline’s system.  Also think about booking the trip as two one way flights, using miles for one direction.  I’ve used this trick many times to redeem miles for the most expensive portion of the trip.

-Use your miles for other freebees.  Many miles and points can be redeemed for things other than tickets, often at amounts much less than an airline ticket would cost.  Check out portals like American Airlines’ Hotel Booking Site, where you can find free hotel nights for as little as 10-12k miles, or even less if you have high status with the airline.  If you have some credit card points stacking up, American Express’s Membership Rewards, or Chase’s Ultimate Rewards.  Credit card points in general are particularly flexible.  I’ve used them in the past for everything from free flights, to Crate & Barrel gift cards.


Baby Flyer ‘borrows’ CET’s Bose headphones to check out the in flight entertainment in the bulkhead row (for a few seconds, anyway.)

Upgrades & Better Seats

This is another big perk of having at least one person in your family paying attention to their elite status.  It’s even more important to us now that we have Baby Flyer that we have the most comfortable seats possible.  Most airline programs allow elites to secure upgrades, or upgraded seats in economy, for a companion or other people on the same reservation as well.

With airlines now routinely charging from $20 up to $100 one way per person to pick a comfortable economy seat, elite status that makes these free is a big benefit.  As a family we save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars yearly by not having to pay these fees.

Free Checked Baggage & Shorter Security Lines

Checking baggage was something we almost never did, pre-Baby Flyer.  We were known to take 10 day trips, all packed in a carry-on.  Sadly, with the extra gear and clothes needed to travel as a family, we generally have to check a bag or two.  Thankfully, our family elite status keeps the extra fees away.  Here again, we probably save hundreds a year with this benefit.

Elite status also gives you access to ‘priority’ TSA screening lanes, which can save you time, as well as early boarding.  For more information on TSA issues, see our Resources page.

Other Fringe Benefits

Depending on the airline, there are many other benefits to being an elite member of their loyalty program.  Special phone lines that skip the long wait times, fees waived for phone ticketing, more availability for award tickets, and partnerships with hotel chains, to name a few.

To learn more about particular programs, see the links to some of the major airlines:

American AAdvantage

Delta Medallion

United MileagePlus

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Alaska Mileage Plan


Loyalty programs can be complicated, especially with the many recent changes that the airlines and hotels have put into place.  If you want to know more about how to get the most out of your miles, or just more about the programs, we’d love to help.  Send us a message, or check out Altitude Consulting for more info.


Baby Flyer’s 2016 In Review



The last flight of 2016 has been taken here at Baby Flyer Blog.  All in all, Baby Flyer has flown 25 flights, totaling 34,500 flight miles.  We’ve had so many great trips to visit family, attend events, see some of our favorite places, and also to just enjoy being together.  She’s been a pro flyer overall, even ‘helping’ her Mommy complete American Airlines’ platinum challenge by flying 12,500 miles in just three months, qualifying them for AA’s 50k status level through January 2018.  Our combined family flight miles this year came in at just over 135,000!  (We’ll be posting more on elite status and family flying soon, and you can see CET’s travel photos from the year at Cruising Altitude).


We feel so lucky to be able to travel as a family, and have so many wonderful experiences.  With this in mind, it seems like a good time to look back chronologically on our year of traveling by putting together some of our favorite travel pictures, and a couple from home life as well.


Starting close to home with a walk along the beach- Long Beach, CA


New England in the Spring with a walk on the Robert Frost Trail- Amherst, MA


All smiles in Burlington, VT at her second cousin’s  graduation.


Even more smiles at another cousin’s graduation- Dallas, TX


Sleepy arrivals at LAX after a long day of travel- Los Angeles, CA


Summertime at the Cape- Wellfleet, MA


And more Summer fun back east- Amherst, MA


Afternoon hiking- Whidbey Island, WA


Summer views- Mount Ranier, Seattle, WA


Baby Flyer enjoying our spacious Airbnb in Santa Fe, New Mexico


Cabana baby!! Cabo San Lucas, Mexico


Her first 777 ‘Flagship 1st’ flight to finish the Platinum Challenge- Enroute to Dallas, TX


Getting some altitude- Boulder, CO


Walks in the fall leaves- Amherst, MA


Friends, fun & architecture- Chicago, IL


Brief stop at home for a hike in Griffith Park- Los Angeles, CA


Checking out her first snow- Amherst, MA


Ending the year up North- Whidbey Island, WA

Thanks everyone for reading Baby Flyer Blog this year!  We’re looking forward to posting plenty more family travel resources, reports, and inspiration in 2017.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and adventurous new year!

~CAR, CET, & Baby Flyer