Tips and Tricks for Road Trips with Baby
Road trips with young babies and kids can be stressful. Elah has been on quite a few road trips and we also just finished our epic 5 week road 2500 mile road trip around the Balkans.
I’ve complied my tips and tricks for road tripping with a baby because not everyone needs to be crying in the backseat!
Have one person drive and the other person tend to the baby. I have a strict no back seat rule until there are tears (the baby’s - not yours). If you sit in the back seat the entire time, every time then the expectation will be that you’re always in the back- this is a dangerous game to play so chose wisely when you should make your move.
Keep supplies near by- rummaging through the suitcase while you’re on the highway and the baby is screaming or has blown out a diaper is not ideal.
portable changing pad with two or three diapers
A packet of wipes
Small rubbish bag in case a bin is not nearby (doggy bags are great for this)
Pre-portioned bottles of formula or breast milk in a small cooler bag
Two or three small but versatile toys
Infant Tylenol or ibuprofen
Optional breast feeding pillow
Snacks, snacks and more snacks
Sleep when the baby sleeps
This rule also applies when you’re on the road (unless you’re the driver). This way the person who is in charge of baby can be rested and take over when the driver becomes fatigued or can provide endless hours of entertainment when baby becomes bored.
Plan frequent breaks
Plan pit stops for meals or fun sight seeing activities to stretch your legs. Plan to stop every 2-3 hours and try to plan them before and after naps. Remember to replenish your supplies at every stop.
Car sing-alongs are worth their weight in gold for entertaining baby no matter how bad you sound, specifically camp songs. The repetition of camp songs or other simple songs can be more effective than the radio. Lyrics can be easily switched to include baby’s name or other fun new lyrics.
We are very into our tech but when it comes to Elah she has never watched a TV show. However when all else fails she absolutely loves watching videos of herself.
Consider driving at night
A sure fire way to assure a sleeping baby on a long car ride is to drive at night. We have drastically cut down our driving times at night because you can drive for a longer time without stopping.
Go through your whole normal bedtime routine but put the baby down to sleep in the car seat instead of the crib or bassinet. Never leave the baby unattended in the car seat for long periods of time.
Accept the things you cannot change
Roadworks, traffic, illness, blow out diapers, unexpected stops, car troubles, hunger, weather and getting lost. These are all possibilities on a road trip no matter how long or short. Radical acceptance, laughter and realizing each hiccup is a story you may look back and laugh about is the best attitude for any road trip. Anger, annoyance and frustration won’t do anyone any good so leave them at home.