When we first got married there were a lot of people who told us to do all of the traveling we we wanted to do BEFORE having kids. Cause all the good times stop then. Wrong. You can totally still travel with kids, even a newborn! August went on his first trip at 5 weeks old., and he did great! It’s not about avoiding travel all together- it’s about planning for trips with a baby in tow.
Planning Your Travel Times
We always plan out leave time around babies schedule. A lot of people recommend driving straight through the night, but when we do this we spend the first two days of the trip exhausted. You have to find what works for you and your baby. If you can make the long haul though the night, great! If not, that’s okay too!
Personally, I like leaving just after his middle-of-the-night feed. Usually around 3am. We have the car loaded and everyone ready to go; we just feed baby, put him in his seat, and hit the road. The motion of the car keeps him soundly sleeping longer than normal and we can usually get about 3-4 hours of travel time in before he wakes up. At this time the roads are pretty clear so we usually make good time.
When Baby is Awake
Once August wakes up for the day we plan on stopping every two hours. We watch for rest stops, restaurants, and highway attractions for areas to stop, nurse, and change his diaper.
The key to a smooth road trip is being preventative. We try to stop to nurse before he starts fussing about being hungry. If he starts acting squirmy we make a stop and give him a few minutes of play time. Just like us, babies don’t like being cooked up in one position all day. Plan for this and add it into your travel time.
We usually end up taking on an extra 2 hours with all the stops.
Keep them Comfy and Entertained
One of the key things to ensure easy travels is making sure bay is Coffey, don’t dress them too warm and make sure they have airflow. I always dress him in a lighter outfit and then bring him a blanket- I can better regulate his temperature this way.
Make sure you have a toy strapped to his seat, a mirror for him to see himself in (this is also safer for you, because you can see him if he is in distress), some parents offer a dvd or tablet with movies- I don’t offer that to him at this age, but you do you Momma!
I also spend some time sitting in the back with baby. Just like adults, your baby will want to socialize to fend off boredom. Spend sometime talking to and playing with your little one. This is such a great time to get some uninterrupted time with your baby- soak it up.
Don’t Stress About It
Sometimes babies just have bad days. Sometimes August does great on the way to the destination and refuses to sleep and screams on the way home. Don’t stress it. Don’t set such a rigorous schedule that you can’t make unplanned stops. When traveling with a baby or toddler the best thing you can do is be patient and flexible. They can’t yet comprehend the situations and might just be having an off day. It’s okay. Carve out a little time to play, have a picnic (even if it’s a McDonalds picnic.), stop at an attraction, masked a little time to just love on your little. You will get there when you get there.