As parents, we have all experienced it. That feeling of nervousness and anxiety that hits us when we plan our first road trip with a baby.
It should be an exciting time, especially considering you are going away for the first time as a family. But of course, you want everything to go smoothly. Which is when the doubts inevitably start to creep in.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to ensure your first road trip with a baby goes smoothly.
So, to help you prepare for your journey, please check out these awesome tips below!
Road Trip With Baby Tips
Be realistic in your planning
The first thing to realise is that travelling with a baby is not like the old days when you could just jump in the car with your partner and drive on a whim.
To ensure your road trip goes smoothly, travelling with a baby takes thorough and realistic planning. So, it is well worth taking the time to understand the journey ahead.
If you are heading from, say London to Padstow or Durham, then five hours is a long time to be in the car with a baby. You might have been able to do it in one stretch back in the day, but those days are long gone now you have bub in tow!
Depending on how old your child is, you might need to factor in two, maybe even three stops for feeds, as well as a couple of nappy changes.
It is also a good idea to give the baby a break from sitting in the car seat. As well as opportunities for crawl/tummy time, and of course some mummy and/or daddy cuddles too!
Prior to leaving, try to identify at least a couple of service stations, or other rest stops that you could visit for breaks when mapping out your journey.
Remember, it is always better to be proactive, than reactive, when it comes to travelling with a baby. This pre-planning could save you a lot of the stress that comes from trying to find somewhere to stop, whilst on the motorway when your baby is crying.
Coincide your departure time with sleep time
If it is feasible, it is well worth timing the departure of your journey to be just before bubs has their morning or afternoon nap – especially if your baby is good at sleeping in the car.
Before you go make sure they are well fed and have a fresh nappy on, as this will hopefully see them fall asleep in no time.
Should your baby not be the best of car sleepers, try to leave first thing in the morning after they wake up. This way they will be contented and well-rested, and you will have all day ahead of you to get to your destination.
It is a very good idea to pack your car the night before you leave, or at least an hour before you intend to set off.
You should also pack strategically, putting as many of the things you won’t need for the drive, like your overnight luggage and a pram, in the boot of the car.
It is also worth packing a separate baby bag with clothes, nappies, creams, etc, that you can easily access from the front or backseat of the car whenever you need it – especially when you get to a place with a baby changing facility.
In addition, be sure to have a food bag specifically for your baby if they are on solids, at the backseat of the car, as well as any toys they might want to play with during the journey.
It is also worth having a shade screen up on the window nearest to them, to avoid the sun shining directly in their face whilst driving.
Recreate your child’s sleeping environment
Any parent that has gone on a road trip with a baby will tell you that the more it can sleep during the journey the better for you all.
It is a very good idea to recreate the sleeping environment they have at home but bringing along their favourite blanket, teddy or pacifier.
Also, stick on a CD of calming baby music, or better still put headphones on them (if they will wear them!) so you can listen to your own music too.
In this respect, window shades are also a good way to darken the space your baby is in, which should help to induce a nap.
Keep your baby entertained
You can’t expect the baby to just stare serenely out of the window for five hours, so it is important to keep them entertained when they are awake.
They will undoubtedly want to play during the journey, so be sure to bring a wide range of toys for them.
A clever thing to do is to bring some of their favourite toys, as well as some new ones, which you can give to them if they start to get bored.
New toys often hold the baby’s attention for a bit longer, so this ‘surprise’ is something they should enjoy.
Five hours is also a long time for the baby to be in the back seat in a car seat on their own. So, if are travelling with another adult driver, it is also a good idea to sit in the backseat with them for a little bit of the journey at least.
This way you can read them a story, hold their hand, sing them a song or generally keep them company.
You could even hold an iPad for them whilst they watch The Wiggles or any other of their favourite shows.
So, there you have it! Our five great tips to make your first road trip with a baby go smoothly.
Travelling with a baby is not something you should be afraid of. After all, they aren’t old enough to ask, ‘are we there yet?’ every five minutes! But if you take these five tips on board, you should enjoy a more stress-free family journey.
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