Tips for Traveling on Road Trips with Babies and Toddlers
Tips for Traveling on Road Trips with Babies and Toddlers
With the holiday season approaching, many of us are planning trips to see family both near and far. Taking a child out of a controlled environment that they are familiar with and thrusting them into a world of unknowns with quite possibly many new experiences can be overwhelming for both the littles and Mom and Dad. With a little preparation ahead of time and discussed expectations, the experience can be a fun and fulfilling one that will leave you eager to plan the next family vacation or outing instead of running to a dark corner to curl up in a fetal position to rock yourself until the anxiety subsides. So, before you grab your suitcases from the closets and start throwing a week worth of clothes in, read on so that you can also pack some sanity along with those clothes. You will be so glad you did!
Drive at Night
Driving at night means your little one will spend more time sleeping and less time awake and hungry, bored or needing a bathroom break or diaper change. You’ll be able to drive for longer stretches without needing breaks.
A great way to maximize drive time is to time your departure so that it coincides with bedtime. Go through your whole routine (bath, pajamas, bedtime song—whatever your nightly ritual entails), but put your littles down to sleep in the car seat instead of the bassinet, crib or bed. Drive as long as you're comfortable or for as long as the littles are sleeping. Just be sure to switch drivers, caffeinate, eat and rest when needed to avoid driving drowsy.
While one person is driving, have another person sit in the back with the little ones. Having that caretaker in the back seat can help address issues as they arise such as curing boredom with toys, reading books, singing songs and playing games. Slaying the hunger with preparing bottles or snacks and wiping and cleaning up all of which can help minimize stops and/or avoid total meltdowns.
There is much to the old saying, "sleep when the baby sleeps". It is solid advice in many circumstances and especially holds true when travelling with little ones. When the little ones are sleeping, the person in the back should try to rest, as well, so they can be refreshed enough to take over driving when the driver gets fatigued.
You might be able to go six hours without using the bathroom or needing to eat, but the little ones likely can't tough it out for that long. Plan for stops every 1 to 3 hours during the day and 3 to 6 hours at night to change diapers, stretch legs, eat and change sweaty or spit-up ridden clothes as needed. Carry a bag just for this purpose so that when you grab it, it will have everything you need and you won’t be left scrambling through luggage searching for items packed elsewhere. Diapers, pull ups, wipes, rash cream, extra sets of clothes and blankets, plastic bags to dispose of smelly diapers or pull ups, lotion, extra pacifiers. If it can be a potential life saver to make your life easier, pack it! You never know when you might need it on an uncharted course of many unknowns.
Skip the Scenic Route
While scenic overlooks and long stretches of open road might seem like the very things that make a road trip worthwhile and noble, they can also make it difficult to find help or reprieve when you need it. Choose a route in advance that has frequent access to food, 24-hour gas stations, restrooms and service areas. Plot out some pit-stops in advance including some potential hotels if you think you might need a real rest. Having access to resources should you decide you need them will prove invaluable upon utilizing them.
Traveling with a Breastfed Baby
Take a small cooler with ice packs to keep your breast milk packets in that you have pumped and froze ahead of time before your trip. Stay as close as possible to your baby’s eating schedule. Bring a thermos full of warm/hot water to fill a cup or container with and pop your milk packet in it for a few minutes to thaw eliminating the need to stop if you don’t need or want to. Just be sure to time thawing packets accordingly. To avoid Mastitis and to keep your milk stash up, while your baby drinks the milk packet, pump with a hand pump or portable pump that has a car power adapter. Be sure to pack your Grey’s Cowbell Lactation Treats to snack on along with plenty of milk bags. Our treats will ensure that your body stays in a continual milk making mode since the rhythm of your day to day routine has been temporarily disrupted. This disruption in routine can impact your milk supply. With a wide variety of individually wrapped cookies and muffins, we make it easy to enjoy our lactation treats while on the go. We even have bottled lactation drinks that can be added to your cooler stash.
Go Prepared for a Vehicle Hiccup
With or without the little ones, standard prep and safety precautions should be a top priority. Make sure a spare tire, car jack and tire iron is ready to go. Pack a can of fix-a-flat, battery charger and/or jumper cables. You never know when you might get caught with a dead cell phone battery or are in an area with no cell phone coverage while traveling and are unable to call for help.
While packing the car, be sure not to obstruct the driver’s view, including in the rearview mirror and side mirrors. Always take steps to pull over to well-lit areas when stopping at night and try your best to get completely off the highway should you break down to avoid being hit by oncoming traffic.
Go Prepared for a Medical Hiccup
Be sure to bring a medical kit that is appropriate for all family members. A digital thermometer, medical spoon, fever or pain reliever, nasal aspirator, nail clippers, Band-Aids, antiseptic wash along with an antibiotic ointment can put you in a good spot when you find yourself with a medical issue.
Good Attitudes: Discussing expectations and possible bumps along the way to your destination ahead of time can set everyone up for a successful road trip.
Being mindful that life is simply not perfect and keeping your attitude to take everything in stride without stressing too much about it will ensure a great time with your family no matter what comes your way. After all, the safety of your family and you just being together is really the most important elements of a road trip.
Grey's Cowbell specialises in lactation cookies, lactation muffins and lactation drinks as well as other products. Our primary focus is to provide a superior product that yields a highly effective result. Our cookies, muffins and bottled drinks help breastfeeding mothers dramatically increase and sustain their breast milk supply.