Surviving A Road Trip With An Infant
We love traveling & going on adventures! So when we became a family of 3, I was hopeful that we would still go places, but I was nervous it wouldn't be as often and it wouldn't be nearly as easy. Last month we took our first family road trip, with our 6 month old baby! I was so nervous that it was going to be completely miserable and that he would cry the entire time. Luckily, he did really good and we only had a few fussy moments. I definitely went overboard on packing and preparing, but it worked out really well in the end. We were traveling from Phoenix-northern California to visit family. You can see photos from our trip here. We figured the drive would take about 11-12 hours allowing time to stop. The morning we were leaving Carter woke up at 4am to eat so we decided to just load up the car and leave then. After he had eaten, I was packing up all of our morning items and this was the look he was giving me. He didn't seem very excited to be getting in the car and starting our adventure so early.
Tip #1 (and probably the most important) : plan out your stops in advance!!
I looked at our route and planned out stopping points every 3 hours, because I knew that at the 3 hour mark, he would probably be getting tired and hungry. I also didn't want to just stop at random creepy rest stops or gas stations. I wanted to know where we would be hanging out for a little while. Our first stop was the flying J/wendys at the border of Arizona-California, and Carter was a bit more lively at 7am then he was at 4am.
P.S. my husband is cute.
Tip #2: At every stop, take the baby out, change his/her diaper, and feed.
We tried to spend at least 20 minutes at each stop. We would take Carter out of his seat and just let him sit next to us or stand on our lap. We didn't want him out of the car, but still in his car seat. Our first stop was the flying J, the second was Costco (because who can pass up their awesome prices for lunch & gas!), and the third was another gas station-subway combo. We also hit all the same stops on the way home also!
Carter did really good on our trip & it definitely helped to have the following items in his bag:
-Toys (we had a few hanging from his car seat, and his infantino monkey that you can find here. He LOVES this monkey)
- Mirror to keep an eye on baby
-bottle, formula, water bottles (we actually went through starbucks next to the costco to get some hot water for a bottle & we were able to get two 6oz bottles out of the tall cup of hot water)
-3 changes of clothes (We actually never had to change him *yay!* but, if he would have had any leaking at all, these would have come in handy)
-2 pacifiers (we lost 1 on the drive home)
-plastic bag (for soiled clothes, or if you have to pull over in the middle of nowhere to do a quick diaper change)
Don't worry if you get into the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden you realize your baby decided to destroy his diaper. We had this happen on the way home, just pull over, put your hazards on, and change him/her real quick. This is when the plastic bag comes in handy, otherwise we would have been riding an hour and a half to the next stop in a smelly car. Road Trips with an infant aren't nearly as scary as flying with one because you can take your time and stop if your baby is getting restless. If you are worried about flying with your baby, read all about our tips and tricks here. Hopefully it eases your mind, that isn't as bad as it seems either.
Just leave a little early, take your time, and stop when you are all getting tired. Road trips are such a fun time and can be a great bonding experience, especially as the kids get older, so enjoy every mile!