Life with a newborn is anything but simple. Besides constantly adapting to your baby's needs, learning new ways to make them comfortable, and more or less planning your entire life around them, you have to figure out how to leave the house without losing your mind. If a road trip with your little bundle is on the horizon, adding a few hacks for traveling with a newborn on a long car ride to your arsenal will only make the trip smoother for you both.
It may take a few trips to really get the hang of it, because road trips with kids of any age is no piece of cake. But if you're prepared ahead of time, it will at least save you from the preventable disasters like not being able to find the pacifier or having nowhere to pull over to feed your baby. If your baby doesn't mind being in the car seat, your road trip will likely be smooth and simple. But if they're one of the many babies who don't like the separation, you'll need to be prepared (and patient) as possible for the trip. It might take a stop or two more than you'd planned, but road trips with babies definitely aren't out of the question. Especially if you implement a few of the following tips.
1. Map Out Your Feeding Stops Ahead of Time
Since you know how often your baby eats, plan to stop right around the time when they'll be getting hungry. If you can, pick out "feeding destinations" ahead of time. Places like coffee shops, diners, or even well-lit parking lots for nursing in your car are preferable to stopping at sketchy rest-areas.
2. Don't Put The Car Seat Directly Behind Yours
If you're road tripping alone, this point doesn't really make a difference. But if you have someone to drive with you, try to set the car seat up to that you can easily reach around to help your baby. If they're directly behind you, it's very difficult to reach them without getting out of your seat.
3. Pump A Few Bottles
Breastfeeding on the go can be tricky, but if your baby will take a bottle, have a few pumped ahead of time and ready to go. You can bring along a cooler for your breast milk like the Medela cooler and bottle set ($18), and let the bottles warm to room temperature before giving them to your baby.
4. Bring A Few Brand New Toys
Granted, newborns can't really enjoy the distraction of toys, but if your baby is a few months old they'll love looking at the colors, listening to noises and feeling new toys during the trip.
5. Bring A Battery Operated Night Light For Searching For Lost Pacifiers And Toys
If you'll be driving in the dark, chances are you'll loose something and not be able to see it. Bringing a battery operated flashlight or nightlight will give you something to search with without waking your baby.
6. Keep Essentials Within Arm's Reach
When you're packing your car, think ahead of the things you know you'll need for sure. Don't pack your essentials in the trunk with your clothes, but put them in a special bag in the front of the car with you.
7. Patience Is Your Best Friend
Car rides with babies are unpredictable. Your child may love being in the car one minute and hate it the next. Know that you'll probably have to stop more than you planned, but you'll get to your destination eventually.