Friday, December 20, 2013

Traveling by Car with a Baby

Shirt, Leggings, Sweatshirt, Hair Ties, Gray Slippers, PJ's, Baby Boots

Christmas is next week!!! I don't know about you, but I'm not ready. Before cozying up with family, I still need to purchase a few more gifts, wrap presents, and bake Christmas cookies. And some years include a drive to Ohio to be with my family. Since we've already taken a few road trips with Monica, including going to her first wedding, I thought I would share a few tips for those taking their first long drive with a baby.

Allow extra time to make extra stops
Traffic and wintery weather already contribute to longer than usual travel times. Add a baby to the mix and drive times can increase by a few hours. You never know when an atomic diaper will strike, how long naps will be, or if someone will want to eat again. In conjunction with the inevitable diaper changes, we've learned to make time for extra "wiggle" stops. Babies are just like adults in that they want to stretch out and move around after being seated in the car for a while.

Have one person sit in the backseat
One of us I have been sitting in the backseat with Monica almost exclusively since bringing her home from the hospital. 95% of the time, she's a chill baby and fine sitting by herself. But that 5% when she is fussy can be excruciating. To help prevent and combat the fussies, we bring an assortment of toys, books, and a pacifier. Some of the toys are her favorites and others are new things she hasn't played with yet. 

Though sometimes you just have to stop the car. While driving home from a recent trip to St. Louis, Monica took a 1.5 hour nap, which is pretty amazing for her. Not so amazing was when she woke up hangry and wailing. I was driving and we were stuck in traffic on the highway. John was sitting with her in the backseat, trying to soothe and distract her until we could exit the highway. Her bottles were in a cooler and the milk was way too cold to drink. Needless to say, we had to pull over to the side of the road where I could nurse Monica back to happy.

Carry a well stocked diaper bag
In addition to the usual suspects, it's helpful to have extra extra diapers, wipes, diaper cream, outfits, swaddle blankets, and trash bags in your diaper bag. This includes extra outfits for mom and dad because super spit up and explosive diapers seem to happen on the go. And since rest stop bathrooms can be questionable, be sure to bring a travel-friendly changing pad.

Pump on the go
While Monica tends to prefer her milk straight from the source, sometimes it's easier for us to give her a bottle on the road, especially when she gets hungry in between rest stops. Plus, I still feel a little self-conscious about nursing in public. Enter the manual pump or electric pump with a battery pack or car lighter adapter. Then I use the pump and accessory wipes for quick clean up. Freshly pumped milk will then keep about 5 hours at room temperature or 24 hours in an insulated cooler with ice packs.

Try not to pack the kitchen sink
This one is easier said than done, but babies really only need clothes, diapers, and food. If you forget something critical, you can probably buy it on the road or at your destination.

Any other tips you want to share for traveling with a baby?

see more cozy inspiration at {long distance loving}

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