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Road Trips with a Baby

Road Trips with a Baby

Traveling on a Road Trip with an Infant

New parents: remember when the biggest concern for your road trip was an updated playlist?? Full disclosure: everything in the photo above was packed for our 12-14 pound little human. It's amusing really and not a big deal. What was a big deal was making it through a 5 hour road trip, Lady O’s longest yet, safely and happily on a travel adventure. 

Our strategy went as follows:

 1. Start out sleeping

We timed the departure time around her usual morning map range and got her sleeping in the car seat for a few min in the house.

What we thought would happen:

The baby would sleep for the entire trip and we would arrive quickly, safely and also relaxed - hailed as heros.

What actually happened:

She woke up instantly when placed in the car seat base and was pleasantly playful before passing out and snoozing for her precious-car-sleep-time record 90 minutes.

 2. One person in the back seat.

Gameplan here: someone has eyes on the road and someone has eyes on Lady O.

What we thought would happen:

The backseat companion will be there for entertainment as needed

What actually happened:

This one went according to plan actually muahahahahah.

So if have a co-parent or travel companion, this could work!

3. Stops will include burning off of energy:

“Making good time” is a phrase associated with dads - but to me, good time means more than the duration of the trip, it means a pleasant overall experience for everyone. Aka Lady O gets some rest and more happy than not awake time. It seems like her main objection to car seats is lack of freedom to move around, so this tactic was all about getting some of that time in and energy out. 

What we thought would happen:

At rest stops, we’ll do the standard change and feed and also get some hangout time in to let her burn off some energy.

What actually happened:

The stops were great and taking a little extra time without pressure of an ETA is important, but while kids can run around in open green spaces, babies really can't get that in without a space designed for them.

Next time, bringing a blanket.

Here's what works aka travel tips:

Having made it through the 5 hour trip as a 6.5 hour drive on the way there, and much 'better time' in the way back, having a variety of activities is what really worked. She will nap a lot but when she's awake, the same things that work in a home environment work in the car on a long road trip.

Read her a book.

Play with stuffed animals.

Have a toy with sounds and lights.

Sing her a song and have a chat.

Basically look at everything you pack as little blocks of happy time that add up to a good trip. Also, the trip home was much easier so perhaps remembering that these little humans are just figuring this out themselves too can be useful. 

Happy road tripping season! 

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