Having a baby doesn’t mean that you need to kiss those long road trips goodbye. You can still hit the freeway with confidence, it just takes a little planning beforehand. Maybe you have a long road trip coming up because you want to visit family, or perhaps you have a wedding to attend or maybe a holiday to go on. Whatever your reasons a road trip is perfectly manageable and not something that we need to avoid. Traveling with a baby needn’t strike fear into us. For one babies are are quite portable when they are small. It’s when they become a toddler that those road trips can become a little more challenging!
Be Prepared For Crying!
Don’t be scared but you need to be prepared for crying. Your baby will cry at some point, all babies do! This does not mean that you should delay that road trip though! You just need to go on this road trip with your eyes wide open and you need to be fully prepared. You know what they say,
“Fail to prepare and prepare to fail”.
Failure is not an option when it comes to a road trip.
Make A List
You do not want to forget anything. You don’t want to be two hours away and suddenly remember that you forgot to pack your baby’s comforter. Make a list of everything that your baby needs every day. Make sure that you also pack plenty of spare baby clothes. You don’t want to underestimate how many times you are going to need to change your baby. Also make sure that you have plenty of diapers too!
When you have your list make sure you tick it off as you go along and pack. This will help keep you organized and will ensure that you miss nothing important off the list.
Pack That Car!
Babies might be small but they require a lot of stuff! That is why we need to make sure that we pack the car in plenty of time. It’s probably best that you pack the car the evening before. As soon as your baby is asleep you can start loading the car up. Depending on the size of your car you might find that packing it requires a certain degree of logical thinking. It can be a bit like a fiendish game trying to make everything fit, think Tetris. Just be methodical in your approach and you will be fine. You will get there in the end and when you have done it once you will find it much easier the second time!
What Should Go In That Trunk!
All of the baby’s bulky bits need to go straight into the trunk. The stroller should be in the trunk and the majority of baby’s clothes and toys etc should go in there too. However, you also need to keep a small bag that comes with you in the car. In here are the items you use day to day with your baby. Think pacifiers, comforters, favorite toy, favorite book, bottles, sippy cups, diapers etc. All of those important things that your baby will likely need. You do not want to be unpacking your truck on the side of the freeway! You also want to make sure that you have an extra change of clothes for the baby. Also, a garbage bag so you can dispose of those dirty diapers, and a roll of paper towels for any accidents.
Just as we want to travel in comfort, we want our baby to travel in comfort too. Therefore, we need to make sure that they have a good baby seat. If you aren’t sure what the best baby seat is for your baby then a website like https://babyseats.reviews/brands/graco will help with that. They have lots of reviews and you can find the best baby seat for your budget. It can be daunting buckling your baby into their baby seat for the first time. There are lots of good articles that can help with this and you can also find some great instructional videos on YouTube. It might seem scary the first time you buckle them in but you will soon get used to it.
Distraction Is Key
If someone is driving then you might want to get in the back with the baby. That way you will be able to give them some face to face contact which they will love! You can also sing to them, play some games with them and generally distract them and keep them happy. Bring their favorite book and read it to them and show them the pictures. You will want to have a good range of toys that you can keep in circulation and make sure that they are within reaching distance. Babies don’t have the greatest attention span so you will probably find that you get a lot of toys and books!
Music is also a great way of distracting baby. If they start getting cranky because they are tired then music can help soothe them. You can find some great albums for babies on Amazon. You might even discover that your baby is partial to a bit of Beethoven.
Depending on the age of your baby you might want to consider some screen time. I know we are told that screen time is terrible but this road trip is about making our lives easier and screen time will help with that. If you have an iPad then don’t be afraid to use it. Just make sure that it is fully loaded and fully charged. You don’t want to find that you have to show the same film again and again, or that the battery runs out after ten minutes! Don’t feel guilty for using the iPad, a little bit of distraction never harmed anybody.
Also, don’t dread keeping baby entertained. Instead look at it as some quality time that you have to bond with your baby.
If your baby is eating solids then you need to make sure that you have a whole array of snacks! Load the cooler up and keep it in the front of the car with you. Those snacks need to be within reaching distance. You want snacks that don’t make a mess. Therefore, you might want to leave the yogurts out of the cooler. They can always have a yogurt when you stop somewhere. Give them rice cakes, fruits, cheerios etc. Anything that is suitable and isn’t going to be a nightmare to clean up.
Plan Your Route
You need to work out how long your road trip is going to take you. You also need to make sure that there are plenty of places to stop on the way. Do you need to consider breaking the road trip into two days? Would this make it less stressful? Use Trip Advisor to research the best family-friendly motels that are on route to your destination. You want a motel that you are looking forward to stopping at as this will make the journey more bearable. Do you want a swimming pool? A good restaurant? Think about what you would like. Make sure you book ahead. You do not want to arrive at that motel and find that it is fully booked and that you have nowhere to stay for the night. You might even want to consider an apartment or house that has a separate bedroom for you and baby. That way you should all get a good night’s sleep and be ready to hit that freeway again!
You might also want to consider night drives. The idea being that your baby will sleep for longer and you can also drive for longer. However, you need to be careful if you decide to drive through the night. You don’t want to find that you are falling asleep behind the wheel. You will need your sleep too!
You are going to want to stretch your legs and the baby is going to need some diaper stops. Plan to stop little and often. You might want to build a brief rest stop in every couple of hours. This means that you can make diaper changes and feed the baby.
If possible you might want to try and time your road trip with when your baby takes their nap. So start driving just before they are due to take their nap and with any luck, they will fall asleep quickly. This will allow you to get a couple of hours of solid driving in first thing!
Check that your car has been serviced. Make sure the battery is topped up, inspect your tires and check your wipers.
Don’t Forget That You Are Important Too
Your baby will probably fall asleep on the road trip at some point. This is when you get to kick back and relax (if you aren’t driving), perhaps you might want to take a nap, watch a film or read a magazine or book. You need to remember to pack bits for you too. Make sure that you also have snacks.
You are now ready for your first road trip with baby! Get packing and hit that road. Enjoy your first road trip with baby.