Traveling With Your Baby
Prepping for Your Trip
If you are like me and have family that lives out of state, then you probably hear "You can come visit us whenever!" or "When are you going to come visit us?" all the time. While this might sound easy to others, you know that it takes more than just throwing a few bags in the car and heading out. In this article, I'm going to share what I've learned to do to make traveling with my little guy easy.
Know the Area You're Visiting
This part can be very easy for me or very difficult. For one, when I visit my parents I know the town to a T because I used to live there. But on the other hand, there isn't very much to do there either. Knowing your area ahead of time can really benefit you. You can map out what stores are near you ahead of time in case you need to pick up formula or diapers. You can also look up local parks or activities so you have back up plans to keep your kids occupied in case weather is not permitting.
Plan Your Route
Understand that you will most likely need to stop to feed/change your baby depending on how far you are traveling. You can make this easier by looking up the rest stops along the way. Or maybe even a town you want to stop at along the way, if you feel like really breaking up your trip with a little tourist fun. One of the biggest inconveniences I had when traveling is not knowing where the rest stops were along my drive. I figured out after the first trip that planning ahead can save me a lot of crying and a big headache. I also was able to look up which rest stops had drive-thrus so I didn't have to get us all out of the car.
Right Before You Leave
I usually try to pack the night before and get my bag and my baby's main bag in the car. This way I'll only have to pack the supplies that I'll need for when I stop. Try to avoid having your baby nap before he or she gets in the car. This way (hopefully) they'll fall asleep and you'll be able to get a good couple hours in before you need to stop. Make sure to fill your baby up with a bottle or rice cereal before you go. The fuller the baby, the longer the sleep!
The Car Ride
Set Yourself Up
Pack some essentials in your car so that you are ready to stop during your trip. I always keep the traveling changing pad tucked in the back of my seat so that I can change my baby right in the back of my car (I also have an SUV, so that gives me a little more wiggle room). If you know you'll have to stop to feed your baby along the way, heat up some water and place it in the bottle. This way, by the time you stop, the water should still be warm and you'll be able to mix in the formula easily. I made a list of just what I pack in my car to make my trip easy and quick when I stop.
- Bottle of Water
- Baby Bottle Filled With Hot Water
- Formula (In a dispenser)
- Extra Pacifiers
- Small Diaper Bag (Diapers, Wipes, Rash Cream, Rag, and Extra Onesie)
Set Your Baby Up
As much as you want to set yourself up, you'll want to set your baby up! This way they will have a few things within arms reach to grab and help occupy them during their ride when they wake up. I have this great little hanging mobile that has a mirror, rattle, and a couple other bright colored toys my little guy can look at/grab once he wakes up. I also have a mirror facing my baby strapped to the seat at all times so he can see himself, and so I can see him through my rearview mirror. I'm sure to attach a pacifier to him after I buckle him in to go and put a light blanket on him for the car ride (I don't ever want him to get too hot, and those car seats can get warm after being sat in for a while).
Once You Arrive
Once you arrive at your destination, unpack and get yourself situated. Hopefully, wherever you are staying has a pack-and-play or crib so you don't have to haul yours with you. If you're going to be visiting a family member's house frequently, you can always consider buying a cheap, used crib to keep there to avoid having to keep bringing yours back and forth. Or if you are staying at a hotel, check to see if they have cribs available—most do! You might want to invest in a traveling tub if your baby is too little sit up on their own in a bathtub. They have some pretty cheap ones you can find online to make giving your baby a bath super easy.
Try to Stick to Your Routine
Once you've unpacked and gotten yourself situated where you will be staying, try to get back onto your routine with your baby. This can be difficult especially after a long car ride where they have slept longer than they usually do. Let the people you are visiting know how important it is to be on schedule with your baby. After all, you are visiting them and are changing a lot of your routine to go there. I find myself having to remind the ones around us that I need to stick to a schedule in order for things to be easier on me and my baby. Sometimes people can think they are helping but really they are just throwing you completely off. Let them know what you need and if you need help so that everyone has an enjoyable time.