I thought that after having a baby our travel juices would slow down and we would be spending a lot more time at home. But as we approached our son’s first birthday we realized traveling was part of who we were and are.
In his first year flew from Ohio to California twice, and traveled from Ohio to Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Washington D. C., Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky. Wow, on paper it is even more than I thought. This doesn’t even include our move to California from Ohio since that happened a few weeks after his birthday. So with all this knowledge acquired I had to share some of the tips we have learned for traveling with infants.
My first piece of advice is start small, our first “few road trips” were an hour or less away. We learned a few things, for example, make sure you plan to feed your hungry baby before you start driving again. That was our first “road trip” and we all survived even though it was a bit stressful. The other trips went more smoothly and were also pretty easy because he slept most of the time.
The first longer road trip was to Cedar Point; our son was almost two months old. It is only three hours away from where we were living, but it took us closer to five. We stopped three times and there was a lot of crying in between stops. By the time we got home he had started to make progress, we only stopped twice on the way home and he took a good long nap after the second stop.
When he was almost three months old I met my husband in Nashville for Labor Day weekend. My husband was in Alabama for training. It was six-hour drive and my first true road trip test. My son ended up doing better as the road trip continued and has been a pretty good traveler since.
~Car Travel Tips for Infants~
Take your time, make sure to expect more stops than normal for longer than normal
Expect a little bit of crying, I had to set a rule for a minimum distance of driving before stopping or else I would be stopping every five to twenty minutes for a crying baby. Over time he got better at sleeping or playing in his car seat.
Buy a white noise track; I bought a ten-minute rain noise on repeat for the drive to Nashville. It worked wonders on helping my son get back to sleep, BONUS TIP: make sure you hook up your electronics before you leave, you don’t want to try doing this while driving on the freeway (which may explain why the first hour of the drive was the hardest).
Give yourself and your baby treats along the way. After lunch on the way to Nashville, I sat in a rocking chair at Cracker Barrel and rocked and sang to my son. It was a nice break and I think he enjoyed being in my arms. He seemed to do better as the day went on and when since I was making good time I took another break at a McDonalds in the afternoon for a yummy treat.
Make sure you bring a few toys, but also know plastic bottles and plastic spoons are great entertainment for babies, I bought an activity bar, but my son was too young for it and was not able to grab it or play with it. Even as he got older he never really liked it, but who knows your baby may love it.
If you use cloth diapers, use the cover over a disposable diaper to help avoid blowouts on the car seat.
Have fun! It is a vacation; make sure you make the most of it. It may be a little rough to get there, but once you do it will be worth it.