Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thoughts for Thursday: Traveling by Car With a Baby

When we were going to my parents' house for the weekend before Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas, I was truly at a loss for how to travel on a four-hour car trip with Walker. Yes, we have traveled with him before, but shorter distances. And the last time we had gone down there, it was Easter {sad, I know}, and he was nearly three months old and was still nursing. So this was a completely different trip entirely. The last time, we were weighted down with a pump {and all of those 5,001 accessories} and I practically packed his entire nursery for the trip. 

I scoured Pinterest for any tips, and all I found were 99% "flying with baby" posts and 1% "doing a 20,000-hour car trip with kids" posts. Clearly we were doing neither. So, I just kind of winged it and thought I'd share our experiences with you. Note that these are what worked best for our family. :)

Tip 1: Write everything down that you'll need for the baby. 
Packing for us? That's easy. I used to think I took a lot until I started packing for Walker! 

The best thing I did was write down everything I would need for him, and then check it off when it was packed. My list was in no order because I just left the spiral notebook out on the kitchen counter and wrote something down when I thought of it. I also kept a running to-do list on this same page to make sure I didn't forget to do any last-minute items, such as leaving food out for our crazy cat. 

Tip 2: Pack bottles in wine bottle bags! 
You'll look like the life of the party rolling up with your wine bags! Ha! But seriously, this was so helpful to me. Goodness knows I have enough of these bags stored away in my pantry from Kroger, so I put them to good use. 

Note I didn't pre-make the bottles; just stored the clean, empty ones in these going down and coming back. 

Tip 3: Leave around their schedule.
Walker has been on BabyWise since about two months old, so we know when he is tired, when he will eat, etc. For us, it was easier to feed him breakfast at home, get ready, feed him his morning snack and then hit the road. That way, he was napping for two hours into our drive. 

Tip 4: Pack a food bag. 
For the day-of, I packed an insulated lunch bag full of snacks and lunch for Walker. Since we left after his breakfast and morning snack, I just had to pack his lunch, bottle and afternoon snack. 

Since he loves his bottle warmed, I packed his formula into this amazing device; an empty bottle; and a thermos full of warm water. {Before I left, I measured 6 oz. of water into a Pyrex measuring cup, microwaved it for 1 minute, and poured it into an insulated thermos. It was still hot four hours later when Walker was ready for lunch!} 

I also try to take snacks/lunch that doesn't need to be kept warm or cool. However, we do have a Koolatron cooler for the car that heats and cools as needed, so that is very helpful if I need to take yogurt or something else that should be kept warm. 

On this note, I pack a bag of sandwiches, chips, cookies and bottled water for us so we don't have to spend money on food. If there's one thing I hate, it's food bags at my feet {along with my purse, the diaper bag and my camera} while we're traveling. I much prefer one grocery sack with about four Ziploc bags in it to stinky fast food. Plus, it saves money, too! 

Tip 5: Make sure to have entertainment items for baby.
Walker is like his mama and gets bored quite easily. Ha! When packing for him, I make sure to take my {charged} iPad that has educational games on it. He isn't too into this, but it does keep him entertained for about 10 minutes. Personally, we love Fisher Price's iPad apps {especially the animal sounds, shapes and letters apps.} I take some of his cars, extra pacifiers and this little maraca that my grandparents brought back from Mexico. And, if everything fails, I get in the backseat with him and we play peek-a-boo or sing songs. Whatever works, right?! 

Tip 6: Carve out bathroom/diaper change/nursing time.
Four hours in a car is a long time for anyone, so carve out some time to go to the restroom, eat lunch, get gas if needed {we always fill up before we leave home}, or even nurse. When I was still breastfeeding, we stopped at a gas station parking lot {Buc-ee's, the best!} so I could feed Walker while Brandon went to the restroom, topped us off with gas, we changed Walker, I went to the restroom, etc. 

Now that Walker is mobile, it's nice to just stop and let him stretch his legs while we take turns using the restroom. 

Tip 7: Have patience.
Unless your baby is a complete angel baby, they will cry or fuss a bit. I mean, wouldn't you, too, being in a car for four hours? So just take it all in stride and know that crying will happen. Don't be afraid to crawl in the back with them, if needed, and don't be afraid to let them fuss for a bit, either. We would find that Walker would fuss for about five minutes and then either busy himself with something or close his eyes and take a cat nap. 

I hope these tips help you the next time you're taking a road trip with your baby or toddler. Good luck! 

Linking up with Annie and Natalie


1 comment

  1. Great tips girl!! I will definitely be referencing these when the time comes! And I still need to read the babywise book!


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