In one week, I will be packing up this little girl and we will fly to the other side of the country to visit my Mom for her birthday. Did I mention I was the only adult traveling? 😲 I thought I would start a mini-series on how to travel with baby. This is going to be a three-part series over three weeks.
First, I am going to talk about short trips in the car with a baby, which we do all the time. I don’t mean down the street. I’m thinking trips somewhere around 3 hours or less.
Next week, I will discuss long trips in the car, how to plan for them, and any fun tips or tricks I have learned on our travels.
Finally, in week three, I will tell you all about my flights and lay overs and what I found out works and doesn’t work for a parent who is traveling alone with a baby.
Okay let’s get down to it! As you may know, from my Travel Jar post last week, we love going on little day trips. These are the best way for us to get out and explore because we have 2 dogs, a cat, and a huge fish tank. It can be such a hassle to pack up the dogs for a weekend trip. Especially with a German Shepherd that gets car anxiety and wants to sit in the front seat.
Figuring how to go on our little day trips was, surprisingly, a bit of a challenge when you have to figure in a baby. First, I learned that spontaneity goes out the window. Gone are those days where we would get up at 2 am and drive somewhere to watch the sunrise.
When we decide to go somewhere, on a whim, we have to think about what do we need for Amelia, how do we coordinate feedings, do we have enough diapers for the trip, how long will she be stuck in her car seat, etc. (I could go on for days!)
Here are a couple tips to help you pack up and enjoy your day trips.
- Plan where you are going to stop ahead of time: This is important, especially for a child under 6 months, because you will need to feed, let baby stretch out, and get a fresh diaper. Also, Ever since I was pregnant, I have such a hard time sitting in the car for more than an hour and a half at a time, so it is nice to stretch out.
Now that Amelia is almost 4 months old, she can go about three hours between feedings and four during a long nap, so our goal is to get her changed then fed right before we walk out the door. Bonus points if we leave around the time of her morning nap.
- Bring spare clothes: Babies are known for having blow-outs at the most inconvenient times, so obviously, it is important to have a spare outfit or two on hand. Since we are going into summer, I keep a romper and a sleeper in the car. It is also a good idea to bring an extra t-shirt for Mom and Dad since you can spill food or be spit up on. Finally, bring any clothes to account for the weather where you are traveling. Here in the high desert it can be 60 degrees, but up in the mountains it will be 30!
- Bring a stroller: We have the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 car seat and I love it, but at times it can get a bit heavy carrying it from place to place. We will pull the Click Connect stroller out as soon as we park, without a second thought. If you are doing some “off the beaten path” exploring, I recommend bringing a jogging stroller, but it will take up more room in your trunk which means less room for goodies at the antique stores! As a bonus, my husband absolutely loves pushing our daughter around in the stroller, so I have more freedom to peruse shelves at the little stores 😊.
- Bring Water: Like, a lot! Even though you are going on a short, day trip, you may not realize how much you can dehydrate your body which will leave you feeling drained and ready to go home. Plus, if you are breastfeeding, it is pretty much a necessity!
- Enjoy each other’s company: When we explore nearby attractions, it is often in places that don’t have radio signal. Instead of whipping out our phones to stream music, we will opt to just talk. Even though Adam and I spend a lot of time together, sometimes we are just too busy to sit and have a good ol’ fashioned conversation. We might talk about politics, plans and goals, how crazy some of the people in this little town are, or whatever project we are working on at the time.
I am a firm believer that two people can be near each other, all day every day, and not really know what is going on in the other’s life. Sometimes it’s important to talk about these things. This is obviously much easier if you have a child that will sleep great in the car.
Don’t feel like talking? Karaoke! We always say that someone could plant hidden cameras in our car and it would be a hit comedy television show.