With the festive season in full swing parents everywhere are prepping to visit family and friends. If you're a parent, you may be excited and nervous about traveling with your baby. Your first long road trip together can be overwhelming, but with preparation, it can be a memorable experience to treasure.
You’re probably thinking, “What baby essentials should I pack?” or “What are the dos and don’ts of traveling with a baby?” Momcozy has got you covered. This blog post offer 11 useful tips to make your first road trip with your baby easier. A list of road trip essentials you may need is included as well.
Tip 1: Buckle Your Baby Up Properly
According to the CDC, the risk of serious injuries and deaths can be reduced by up to 80% if children are properly buckled in the correct car seat or booster seat. Newborns and babies up to 4 years old should be buckled in rear-facing seats. In case of a crash, the seat will absorb most of the impact and support a baby’s head, neck, and spine.
If you get a hand-me-down car seat from your family or friend, remember to check if it is expired or has been recalled before use.
Feeding and Nursing Tips
Tip 2: Don’t Forget Nursing Essentials
Nursing pads, nipple cream, and a nursing pillow (to support the baby and avoid tired arms) are important nursing essentials. They will enhance your comfort during the trip. If you prefer to maintain privacy when breastfeeding in public places, you may want to pack a nursing cover as well.
Tip 3: Carry the Right Feeding Supplies
Remember to wear a comfortable nursing bra for hassle-free breastfeeding! When stocking up on newborn feeding essentials, there are some basic supplies you must have on hand. A wearable breast pump, milk storage bags, a cooler with ice packs (to keep the breast milk safe), a portable bottle warmer, and burp cloths are a few that quickly come to mind.
You may not have time to feed your baby continuously, and being able to pump when you need to is important for milk production and comfort.
Tip 4: Ensure Your Diaper Bag is At Hand
Get a diaper bag with multiple compartments to keep everything organized. Within each of the compartments, organize small items such as cotton bibs, baby wipes, and a pacifier. This way, you won't have to ransack each pocket when you want the baby essentials. You can quickly grab what you need for a diaper change during a stop.
Tip 5: Be Prepared to Change Diapers in the Car
Babies use 5 to 12 diapers a day, so pack at least 30 diapers for your road trip. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Momcozy’s Bouncy Soft Diapers are comfy, free of harmful chemicals, and highly absorbent to keep your baby happy. They are less irritating to a baby's sensitive skin. In addition to wipes and portable changing pads, remember to take one or two extra outfits in case of messy diaper blowouts.
Tip 6: Stick to Their Sleep Schedule Before the Trip
Preparing for a road trip can be hectic. You have to pack snacks, choose outfits, and buy travel essentials for the whole family. One thing you shouldn’t neglect is your baby’s sleep schedule. If your little one is well-rested before the trip, they won’t be cranky. It’s also important for mom and dad to prioritize their own sleep because fatigue can make you more impatient and more likely to make unsafe decisions while driving.
Tip 7: Bring Napping Essentials
You won’t want your baby’s sleep schedule disrupted by the car ride. Therefore it’s necessary to carry napping essentials to create a good sleep environment, such as a sunblock cover, a blanket, a portable sound machine, and more. A high-quality sound machine promotes restful sleep and relaxation for your baby and can help them sleep longer.
Tip 8: Sit in the Backseat and Entertain Your Baby
You are your baby's biggest source of comfort, so sit with them at the back to keep them entertained. Let your copilot take over driving duties for a while and play peek-a-boo, sing, or play games with your baby. This will distract them for a while.
Tip 9: Give Them Toys to Play with
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under two not use digital media at all due to their developing brains. Avoid switching on the tablet and give your little one toys to play with. If they like teddy bears, keep some in front and pass one over every time they drop one on the floor. Also, attach toys to the overhead bar of the car seat to help distract your little one.
General Traveling Tips
Tip 10: Hit the Road When Your Baby Is Asleep
The time you set out on a road trip can make the difference between a nightmare trip and a relatively peaceful one. If your baby typically takes a long nap between 10 am and 1 pm, start your journey at 9.30 am. They won’t be fussy and will fall asleep in the car, and you can cover many miles while they’re sound asleep.
Leaving early usually means avoiding traffic. It’s okay to drive at night if you’re a night owl. But if you’re not, avoid it—even if your baby will sleep the whole way. You’ll be exhausted from not sleeping and still have a baby to deal with the following day.
Tip 11: Time Each Driving Session
Give your baby plenty of breaks during the road trip. Just like adults, babies can get tired sitting in a car for long. Stop every 2-3 hours for 45 minutes to an hour to give your baby a break from the car seat. During this time, feed and change them. Also, be prepared for unplanned stops on the road.
Packing List Recap: Baby Travel Essentials for a Great Road Trip
- Car seat
- Nursing cover(if you'd like one)
- Breast pump
- Milk storage bags
- Coolerwith ice packs (for the breast milk)
- Portable bottle warmer
- Burp cloths
- Diaper bag
- Portable changing pads
- Extra outfits
- Plastic bags
- Sunblock cover
- Portable sound machine
Make Your Baby’s First Road Trip Memorable
Road trips help you create beautiful memories, but there may be rough moments on your first one with baby. Don’t let that dim your adventurous spirit. Plan for the road trip to ensure you have everything you need. You’ll arrive at your destination in high spirits. And don’t forget to put safety first. Your baby’s first road trip might just be the most enjoyable experience you could ever imagine!