A. 7 Ways To Survive Your First Road Trip With A Baby
Traveling with a baby can seem daunting. Many factors play a role between the supplies needed, the baby’s schedule, changing diapers, and of course, crying. But there is also a lot you can do to ease the anxiety that may arise while planning a trip with your baby.
1. Be flexible.
I cannot stress this enough. Before going on a 12 hour trip with our three month old son, my husband and I kept reminding each other that we had options. If we had to stop and stay anywhere, we could. If we had to take a two-hour break, we would. It has been a trip I’ve been on every year all my life, and for the past few years we’ve had traditional stops that we made along the way. We didn’t do any of these. And that’s fine. Don’t plan your stops. You will stop when the baby needs feeding and then you will be given food. You will stop when the baby needs to change and then you will run to the bathroom. When the baby is asleep, you won’t want to stop for lunch, which brings us to our next tip.
2. Pack lots of snacks.
Baby breaks may not coincide with the breaks you want to take during breastfeeding breaks. While the emergency stops in the bathroom are obvious to parents, don’t stop eating when your baby doesn’t need anything. You want to use a sleeping / content baby and drive off. We wrap peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hummus and carrots, nuts, fruit, and some candy to keep us moving. I was back with the baby, the cooler, and the packed lunch, and I gave my husband a snack whenever he wanted.
3. Be careful when driving at night.
It can be tempting to drive through the night, provided the baby is asleep all the time. You imagine while one parent is driving, the other is sleeping, while the baby is sleeping all the time. This is the best scenario. And you may think your baby falls asleep as soon as he’s in his or her car seat and is safely stopped for a long drive. However, that doesn’t mean she will sleep for a long trip. Imagine having to stay up all night driving a car and crying a baby. Also, keep in mind that during the day it is easier to find open spots to stop when an emergency arises. We knew there was 90 miles of road with no rest area, which made our decision easier. We didn’t want to risk anything happening at 3 a.m. on those 90 miles.
4. Be prepared.
Keep the diaper bag well sorted and organized so that diapering is a breeze. Place the changer in a specific place on the car. Make sure your phones are fully charged and that you have a charger in your car so you won’t get stuck anywhere in an emergency. Pack several changes of clothes for parents and baby. The last thing you want is someone sitting in the car with dry spit on. Pack plenty of scarves for these cases. If you’re breastfeeding, wrap the formula or bring some of your frozen broth. The cramped space in the car can be a very difficult environment for your baby to breastfeed and you will need to bottle feed. Bring everything you need to breastfeed and have it with you in the back seat – be it a boppy, brest friend, a specific blanket, bring it with you. Get a toy bag to pick up and entertain the baby.
5. Make the most of your time.
When you stop there is no need for the whole family to go to a gas station / supermarket / restaurant to stop at. Have one parent come in while the other takes the baby for a breath. I nursed my baby in the car while my husband went in and got food, then ran to the bathroom while he was walking the baby and dog.
6. If possible, have an adult sit in the back seat with the baby.
This is more difficult for single parents or parents traveling alone, unless you have someone to accompany you on your trip. But if you can have another adult, teenager, or even bigger child sit in the back and watch the baby, that’s huge. When the baby starts crying, someone will be there to tell you exactly what is going on. He lost a toy, he’s wet, he spat – whatever. Having someone on your back to attend to your baby’s needs will keep you from dragging too much to the curb to see what the problem is.
7. Remember: you will get there when you get there.
When you consider that you will be arriving at your destination by 6pm, don’t forget. If you don’t drive at night, don’t make any stops, and miraculously your baby actually sleeps all the time, the trip will take much longer than your GPS shows. A typical five-minute break is half an hour and 10 minutes after you’ve taken a break. The baby may need to change diapers. Things you don’t plan on are about to come.
It may seem obvious, but you need to remember that your baby’s needs come first. The look you want for the trip may not be the best for your baby. Be flexible, be prepared, breathe and remember – at some point you will achieve your goal.
B. 10 Tips For A Road Trip With A Newborn Baby (Fun And Stress-free)
Traveling with your newborn can seem like a daunting task. But if you get it right, it can be a rewarding and memorable experience. Babies can survive (and have great fun) on the go, not just at home! Adjusting their posture, a few essentials, and a few simple tricks will keep them happy and comfortable on the road. So here are 10 tips for your trip with a newborn.
We traveled a lot soon after our son was born – he arrived in the middle of the football season so we spent the weekends traveling to away games to see my husband play. At first we were afraid to travel with this tiny person that we were still learning to care for! However, we soon got into his rhythm.
1. Allow time
Life with a newborn baby – as you may know it when your child has already been born – makes everything take a little longer. Whether it’s a hungry tummy or a grumpy morning (and by that I don’t just mean the baby …), there are many things that can slow down any process. Babies always seem to decide it’s time to poop only at the worst times. When you predict that it might happen and expect the unexpected, you can envision your day. If you allow extra time for much-needed breaks (of unpredictable length!) Along the way, the trip will be more relaxed. The beauty of taking life the “slow lane” that inevitably happens when you have a baby is that you often take a break and just live in the moment you are, not the next . Take your time for your trip. It gets a lot less stressful and a lot more fun.
2. You are your favorite toy
Never underestimate the power to sing to your baby no matter what it sounds like. It’s her favorite sound – really !! Sometimes it’s the only thing that calms our child down. And that works for him alongside playing real music. They love the sound of your voice; it comforts them. Sometimes we sing the most ridiculous songs together to keep our child happy while driving. Songs with hand gestures and sound effects are good, and you can always add them if you don’t already have them!
3. Make regular pit-stops
Regular breaks when traveling with a newborn are necessary for several reasons. It gives the baby a change of scenery, the opportunity to feed and cuddle. Fortunately, after a break from the car, they can get a little less grumpy for you. Newborns need to feed very often, often more often than you’d normally like to stop. They also have a real need for physical contact with you and therefore benefit from being able to get out of their car seat.
It is recommended that you take a 15-minute break every 2 hours of a car trip as you have concerns about restricted breathing in a car seat. At this point, your baby is likely to be hungry / need to change! We found that we had to stop every 45 minutes to an hour when our child was at this stage because they were feeding frequently, but all babies are different.
4. Remember your favorite things
It will be very helpful to have with you some of the things that your baby can enjoy / comfort while traveling. Perhaps you take a variety of items with you so that they have something to look at / chew / hold for example. Our son started teething when he was 8 weeks old and from then on he seems to want to chew everything all the time! You will find that your child likes to have something to chew on, be it a real chew toy or something soft like a muslin cloth. Duvets or muslins to cuddle up to can come in handy, especially if they smell like you – try to sleep with one under your shirt before you give it to them.
5. Protect you from the sun
Roller sun blinds that attach to car windows are very useful when traveling with a newborn baby. Our son hates it when the sun shines in his eyes – it makes him very unhappy! The sun in the car can also lead to overheating, which must be avoided, especially with newborns. So in my opinion a necessary accessory for your trip!
6. Dress every day with clothes and blanket
You never know if your child will get too cold or too warm while traveling. The air conditioning may stop working … the heater may burn out. Whatever the circumstances, it is best to be prepared. Tucking them into everyday clothes will help you regulate your temperature better on the go. Make sure they’re not too padded like a baby overalls as the car seat’s seat belt won’t be as effective in a collision. Normal clothes and a blanket in the car to cover your child when it’s cold, I recommend.
7. Bring a camera on your road trip with a newborn
To catch you and your baby on the trip, of course! Without a camera we would be lost. Capture all those magical moments when you are out and about with your newborn! This also serves a dual purpose of keeping your baby entertained when everything else is exhausted! You might find it interesting to look at pictures of yourself or yourself.
8. Don’t forget towels and a musline
Wipes are essential on your trip to help get rid of spitting and nausea. There were times when I really needed a handkerchief but I left it in the trunk … keep it handy! I also advise you to keep them on the seat or in your door pocket and bring something to stow away the used ones. Muslins work well with everything too – for tidying up, an extra blanket, a duvet for the baby, and to hang over my shoulder when I’m breastfeeding in public. I found the largest, almost a square meter, the most versatile.
9. Pack a baby carrier and a buggy
A child seat comes in handy when you arrive at a gas station or take a break from your trip. We thought it would be easier to just carry the baby, but this turns out to be very complicated when you want to pay for something, have your drink, or just do anything!
10. Get final coverage
The last thing you want when you are in the middle of nowhere with your little baby is figuring out how to fix your car after a breakdown. So this is a must-have tip for anyone traveling with a newborn. Wherever you are, it’s best to get breakdown insurance so that any issues can be resolved quickly and without too much drama. Make everything else in life as easy as possible for yourself when you have a newborn in your hand!
11. Road trip with a newborn – final thoughts
Without a doubt, after the first trip in the car, you will find out for yourself what your child needs, how you can best entertain them and how often you have to stop on the way. As you get older, your wants and needs are sure to change and you will do your best to keep up!