Hadleigh has been subjected to many road trips in her one year of life. Because of this, I have gathered quite a few road trip tips when traveling with a baby. A lot of what I’ve learned has been through trial and error. LOTS of errors. But hey, you live and learn right?
When we lived in Knoxville, TN we would travel up north to visit family a bunch of times. Traveling with an infant was not always easy, and it still isn’t now that she is a little older.
The crying, whining, stopping to change diapers, having to feed, running out of milk, etc…it can be stressful. But I am here as proof that you WILL survive the trip, even if you lose your mind on the way there!
Hopefully I can provide you with some insight and give you some useful road trip with a baby tips.
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Road trip tips
Make a checklist
So, if you checked out my latest Instagram post, then you’re probably curious about my most ridiculous traveling with a baby story.
We were on our way to the Outer Banks from Knoxville, which was about a 10 hour drive. We decided to leave after Brendan got off of work so that the baby would sleep in the car the entire way. This actually worked out pretty well for us. But, what did not work was not making a checklist before we left!
I realized halfway through the trip I had forgotten my breast pump (GASP!). Seriously the biggest mom fail. So here I am, at 1:00 AM, huddled over my 4 month old baby trying to breastfeed her because we ran out of milk and I didn’t have a pump.
The worst part about this story is it has happened a FEW times… not just once. I now have 3 manual pumps because I can’t seem to remember to bring my electric one when we go on trips, so I buy manuals at the store!
Moral of the story…MAKE A LIST of everything you need to bring and make sure you CHECK OFF that list. Have your husband go over it with you too. Because if you’re anything like me…you will forget something. I’ve provided a general list for you at the end! 😊
Prepare bottles ahead of time
It is super helpful to have bottles already made so you don’t have to do it in the car. With breast milk I would take a couple bags from my freezer stash and put them in an easy accessible cooler. Or I would thaw out the milk overnight and put them in a bottle the next morning, then pop them in the cooler.
With formula I put the powder in the bottle and then add water later when the baby is ready to eat.
As previously stated, it is very important to make sure you have all of your pumping essentials. Or you’ll end up like me, in a precarious situation trying to feed your baby!
Here is a short list of what you’ll need in the car for pumping:
- The pump + pump parts
- Extra batteries or adapter
- Milk storage bags
- Extra bottles for storage
- Cooler for milk
- Hands-free pumping bra
Make sure diaper bag is stocked
Probably a worse scenario than realizing you forgot your pump is forgetting to stock up on diapers. Yikes.
You can check out my previous post for a detailed description of what I carry in my diaper bag.
Pack plenty of snacks + toys
Keeping her occupied on a long drive can be hard if you don’t plan a trip during sleep time. She typically gets tired of a toy after 3 minutes. So my go-to distraction is SNACKS!
I try to go for snacks that aren’t messy and take her a while to munch on. For example, happy tot bars, snap pea crisps or whole grain rice cakes.
A couple good toys for the car ride are the travel activity toy you can attach to the car seat or a textured book she can flip through.
Organize car strategically
Situate things you might need during the trip in such a way that it is easy to get to. I can’t tell you how many times I have risked my life by unbuckling my seat belt so I could grab something buried underneath a bunch of stuff.
I like to keep the food, toys and diaper bag within arms reach of me! It’s a simple task but sometimes you forget to do it.
Make sure baby is comfortable
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand traveling in constricting pants or stiff clothing. I probably would refrain from dressing your baby in denim or something too hot. You can always cover them with a blanket if they get cold!
I like to bring a mini fan to blow onto my baby in case it does happen to get hot. Plus it seems to calm her down if she’s getting fussy.
I would also consider purchasing window shades to prevent the sun from shining directly on your baby’s face. The Delta Children shades are my favorite. They stick right onto your window – no annoying suctions needed.
Travel around baby’s schedule
I find it easier to plan the travel time when baby is going down for the night (or close to it). If leaving at night isn’t suitable for us, I like to leave about an hour after the baby wakes up. She usually goes down for her first nap two hours after waking up, so traveling close to nap time helps make it easier!
Bring music + sound machine
In the midst of a breakdown I find that music is the best distraction. My daughter is obsessed with Word Party, so any music related to that works like a charm.
If she is getting sleepy but having a hard time falling asleep, I play her sound machine or similar sounds on my phone.
Make stops every couple of hours
Babies shouldn’t really be sitting in the same position for a long duration of time. Plus, getting some fresh air and stretching their legs can help minimize tantrums or meltdowns.
We like to stop every 2-3 hours, depending on how long our entire travel time is.
I hope these tips were helpful! What are some of your road trip with a baby tips? Or better yet…tell me a crazy traveling with a baby story! 😊