Nothing can be as daunting to new parents as taking that first long car trip with the new baby. It needn’t be that way, however. These tips are sure to get you started on the right foot (or tire) with that first car ride!
If you’re feeding formula, this one’s pretty easy. Make sure you have a way to warm up the bottles in the car (there are many products on the market for this) and you’re set. Don’t forget to pack enough formula, bottles, and water. If you’re breastfeeding, this one’s even easier, actually! No need to pack anything extra. Plan to make roadside stops when baby gets hungry (these breaks are good for the grownups, too!) Alternatively, try nursing the baby while he or she is still in the car seat. This usually involves some form of dangling, draping, or leaning over the seat, but babies don’t seem to mind. This can also be an excellent comfort if baby gets fussy in the car seat, or can be the thing that helps soothe baby off to sleep.
If you can, start your trip about the time of baby’s longest nap – or even around baby’s bedtime. Many babies find the motion of the car to be soothing, and many babies take longer naps while traveling.
Give Baby a Friend
Consider having one parent sit in the backseat with the baby while the other drives. Many times, babies fuss in the car seat because they’re simply lonely and bored back there. Having someone to look at, play with, and talk to can help turn an unhappy baby into a content one.
It Will Take Longer than it used to
There’s no getting around it – trips with a baby just take longer. You’ll be making more frequent stops and the stop s will probably be longer. Plan for this upfront so you’re not stressed out once you get on the road. Calm parents help make a calm baby.
Don’t plan marathon stretches of driving. Invest in a map that shows where the roadside rest areas are – this information can come in really handy when baby starts crying in earnest and you’re trying to decide whether to pull over or keep going. And again, knowing in advance that you’ll probably be stopping a lot can help reduce your stress level!