Preparing for a long car ride with your infant? Make it a smooth one with these mom-recommended tips for road tripping with your baby on board.
1. Frequent Stops
Many Circle of Moms members emphasize that frequent pit stops are a key way to keep a baby happy on a road trip. As Catlin E. advises “Make frequent stops, so she can stretch her little legs!" Molly B. also has advice for what to do during these stops: "Make sure to play. Get him laughing and going and tire him out a bit.”
2. Surprise Toys
Another great road trip tip for babies is to reveal a new toy or distraction every hour or two. As Sara L. explains: “We always bring along books and toys in a large bag. I only pull out one or two of those at a time. That way, there's always more surprises to come." Jessica H. agrees: "Go to the dollar store...and buy one toy for each hour you will travel."
3. Sleep Timing
Timing your trip to coincide with your baby's sleep routine is another trick many moms employ for long car rides with babies. Jennifer relays: "We try to drive at night or at least during nap time when we know he will sleep."
Although some Circle of Moms members have had success with night driving, it's worth noting that the strategy isn't fail proof. As Sara B. shared of a 9-hour road trip with her 9-month old: “[We] had the brilliant idea that we should leave at night and drive all night so she would sleep. Yeah, didn't work out. She woke up after about 3 hours and was a tyrant the rest of the way."
4. Portable DVD Player
“Portable DVD players are the BEST INVENTIONS EVER!!!” Carolyn S. raves. She's not alone in her enthusiastic support for bringing a movie player on a family road trip that includes a baby or toddler. Dorothy P. echoes the sentiment: “Portable DVD players are THE BEST for long trips!!"
5. Children’s Music
Songs are another great way to entertain babies in the car. Erin D. says young kids love Raffi and Fred Penner music in the car, and Jennifer S. recommends children's CD's with the "voices of their favorite or most identifiable characters."
6. Car Adapter for Breast Pump
If you're worried about having to stop too frequently for feedings, consider Jennifer K.'s experience on a 5,000 mile road trip with 2.5 month-old twins. In addition to breastfeeding when they stopped for meals, she got a car adapter for her breast pump: "I could pump and feed them from the bottle once a day so we could keep moving. I just smiled and waved at the truckers!”
7. Take Your Time
Lastly, just take it slowly. “I would say just take your time," advises Sara H. "It may take several days to get there but you'll be less stressed if you plan for a few days on the road instead of trying to cram it all in…A happy baby on a long trip is better than a cranky baby on a short trip.”