Help, Please: Vivian Chiang of Orbit Baby

Chief Correspondent and new mom SuChin Pak finds out how other moms parent

I won’t go into which stroller I bought, but it’s my biggest baby purchase regret. I had never even put a baby in a stroller, much less pondered whether I needed a click-on car seat handle/convertible bassinet. Buying a car, in fact, seemed like child’s play compared to stroller shopping. Now that I’m a year into motherhood, I know what I want (and what I definitely don’t need), which led me to Orbit Baby. Vivian Chiang — mom, globe-trotter, and Orbit’s co-founder and head of marketing — breaks down life on the road and why it’s always a good idea to take Scotch tape. — SuChin Pak


Do you remember when the idea of building a better stroller went from an interesting conversation with your husband to “Let’s do it?
Before Joseph and I had children, we traveled around the world. Family and friends with kids all told us that once we had kids, we could kiss travel goodbye. We decided we could either have kids and stop traveling or have kids and try to keep seeing the world as much as possible.

Starting Orbit Baby together was the perfect way to realize the dream. We had many conversations before taking the plunge; ultimately, it just felt right. By Chloe’s first birthday, we had taken her to Prague, New York, Cologne, and Taipei. At the time, we were developing the line, so we incorporated solutions to our travel frustrations. For example, we knew how difficult it was go to through airport security, so we designed the Orbit infant car seat and stroller to fit through the scanners. As we immersed ourselves in the business, we knew that we had made the right decision.

Do you have rules about not bringing work home?
Absolutely. We don’t talk about work after 6:30 p.m. Before having the rule, we’d find ourselves engrossed in work discussions over dinner. But as our kids got older, we wanted to hear what they had to say about school, friends, ballet, etc., and we started to go around the table and ask everyone to say one thing they were grateful for that day. These precious moments are so much more important than the daily conundrums we’d bring up about work.

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What’s a typical day look like for you?
It goes something like this: Wake up at 5:30; go for a run, swim, or spin class; and get back home at 7 to a waking family. Shower, eat breakfast, get the girls ready and off to school. After dropping them off, go straight to work. I’m usually in meetings, so I eat lunch at my desk if I can. If I do get the chance to go out, it’s nice to catch a bite with my husband. More meetings in the afternoon, then back home to have dinner with the kids. Since I see the kids only two hours a night before they go to bed, sitting down for a meal together is a high priority for me. After the kids go to bed, it’s more emails and work.

When was the last time your experience as a mom helped in the workplace?
Last fall, we launched the Orbit Baby Double Helix stroller for families with multiple children. I was pregnant with my third child at the time, and I came up with an idea of telling the story of our double stroller through the eyes of my oldest daughter. When we have a baby, we tend to think about how our lives will change once the baby arrives, but we don’t think as much about it from the sibling’s viewpoint. I thought it would be refreshing to view a product from the eyes of a child who is welcoming her baby brother. I don’t think I would have come up with the concept if I hadn’t been pregnant with my third.

If you could improve one baby gadget or create a product to fill a void, what would it be?
A good toddler bath solution — one where you don’t have to kneel on the ground when bathing your toddler. My back and knees hurt so much after giving my daughter a bath that I can barely stand up afterward.

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Any advice, tips, or products to help me get over my fear of traveling with my 1-year-old son?
My biggest piece of advice is to relax. Though it’s hard not to feel rushed by those behind you in line, try not to be worried about offending others. If you’re nervous about traveling, then your child will sense it and possibly act up. Other tips:

1. Travel with a backpack and a stroller-docking baby bag. It makes a huge difference if you can keep your hands free as you navigate your stroller through a busy airport. We keep all our baby stuff in the Orbit Cargo Pod, which attaches to the bottom of the stroller, and throw our “grown-up” stuff in the backpack.

2. Purchase bulkhead seats for yourself and your child. It’s safer for your baby and more restful for you to buy a separate seat for your child, and most airlines will discount the ticket. The bulkhead seats give you more space for a car seat, and there are no passengers in front of you to bother. However, if your toddler likes to lie across your lap, keep in mind that the armrests might not fold up.

3. Pack lightly, with travel-safe baby items. We like bottles with plastic BPA-free liners (Playtex Drop-Ins) so we can toss or recycle the liners when we’re done with them. A handful of Ziplocs can also save a lot of hassle, and often the flight attendants won’t take a poopy diaper without a sealed plastic bag.

4. Take activities and snacks. While DVD players and iPads are great, I find that kids do just as well with simple items. I always travel with Scotch tape; it brings endless joy to my toddler and can be used to secure a half-full snack bag. Stickers are great, too. Coloring books are good, but leave the box of crayons or markers: When one drops, the others tend to spill out, too. Instead, I get those pens with ten colors that you can click and release.

5. Check the foldability and dimensions of your stroller and car seat. Airport security can be a huge pain without a stroller and car seat that can fit through the scanners. I love that I can undock my Orbit infant car seat, fold my Orbit stroller with one hand, and put them both sideways on the conveyer belt, all while holding my baby. I like to keep my stroller with me to check at the gate so that my baby (and my arms!) can relax as long as possible.

6. Use a car seat that can dock on and off of a stroller. After strolling to the gate, a convertible seat will allow you to undock the seat from your stroller and board the plane without disturbing your baby.

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The best thing about being a parent is: Hearing my girls giggle.

The worst thing about being a parent is: The lack of sleep.

Don’t forget to: Always say thank you.

Say no to: Bullying.

Say yes to: Kindness.

The thing no one tells you about parenthood: How hard it is when your kids get sick.

The best piece of parenting advice you’ve received: “I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.” — Anna Quindlen

Nursery item: Orbit Baby Bassinet

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Beauty item in your makeup bag: Aveda lipstick in Hot Pepper

On your bedside table: Lean In

Bedtime book for the kids: Knuffle Bunny

Baby carrier: Ergobaby organic carrier in black

Go-to family dinner: Shredded salmon mixed with rice, and furikake (dried seaweed and sesame) on top

Mealtime accessory: Glass of white wine

Photos: Andi Hatch for DailyCandy