As a mother, traveling with a baby is one of the most stressful (normal circumstance) situations to be under. I flew with her at 2 months of age, our first road trip was when she was 5 days old, and we tried to book a cruise with her but we have to wait until she is 12 months. This will be the 3rd time we are relocating since having Olivia, so it's not for fun.
- The first piece of advice I would have to offer is to plan out and map out your trip. Load your trip on to your GPS, figure out if there are safe areas to stop and make sure you plan out the necessary gas stops. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the middle of no where with a baby in the car. Since I've made several of these long road trips on my own with Olivia, choosing safe areas to stop was extremely important.
- Prep food/ snacks- Olivia is formula fed, so I feel like getting her bottles ready with water and pre measuring out the formula is a HUGE help. Dealing with a frustrated crying hungry baby and spilling formula all over the place because you're trying to measure stuff out in the car is a pain in the but. BEEN THERE! Haha! Also, when baby is sleeping... that's when you get your best driving in, so you might not want to stop to grab a bite or a snack during that time. I always pack a bag of snacks for the front seat. Granola bars, trail mix, and water bottles. ALSO, throw in an energy drink just for emergencies! You don't want to get sleepy and depending on the time of day you're driving even the sunshine might make you sleepy.
- Baby mirror- If you don't have one yet, invest in a rear view baby mirror. They're not very pricey and it's great being able to see how your little one's doing. This is the one I have and it's been a life saver. Brica Baby Auto Mirror.
- Prepare to stop every 2 to 3 hours- If you're like me, you can easily make your 7 hour drive without so much as a pee break. However, your baby will get tired and frustrated sitting in that car seat. Stop, change diapers, feed, play a little, and then hit the road again. Sounds like a great plan but be mentally prepared. It might not go as planned and that's okay. On one of my drives I planned a stop 3 hours in. I pulled into a Starbucks, changed her diaper, ordered myself a coffee, and sat down in a big comfy couch to feed baby. Problem was, although she hadn't eaten in 3 hours, she wasn't hungry or just didn't want to eat at at Starbucks. 5 minutes into hitting the road again she began crying at the top of her lungs. We had to wait 20 minutes until the next exit to pull over into a big open semi truck kind of area so that she could eat. Things happen.
- Dress comfortably- You're gonna be sitting for a long LONG time. Put on your yoga pants and tennis shoes and put that baby in PJ's. You'll all be comfy and who cares what people thing cause your baby is in pajamas in the middle of the day. Your baby will be comfy and you'll find it much easier to change that diaper!
- Patience- Babies cry. That's what they do and sometimes you feed, play, diaper, and love them but they're just gonna cry. Be patient, you don't want to be frustrated behind the wheel. If you need a break, pull over. Walk around a store. Maybe grab a hotel room for the night and continue your trip the next morning. I had a 7 hour trip turn into a 10 hour trip because I just needed to take that many breaks. It's okay. Things are different with a baby and that's okay. Just breathe, get that radio going and sing and enjoy the drive.
I have a few days until I hit the road for our 15 hour road trip. If I run into any other helpful tips, I'll definitely update, but if you have any great tips to share please let me know! I'd love to hear from you!