Having spent nearly 24 hours in the last week with a baby in the car, I now consider myself something of a road trip master.
I don’t often offer motherly advice on this blog since I’m still a newbie and every new mama has their own way of doing things. But, if you’re planning a trip with your little munchkin anytime soon, there are a few tried-and-true, saved-our-sanity tricks that you may want to keep in mind before hitting the road with your little one.
1) If possible, plan your driving time around baby’s naps. A four-hour drive when baby sleeps for two only feels half as long.
2) Don’t leave home without a toy bag. When your little tyke gets fussy, pull out just one toy at a time to entertain him. (Offering only one at a time will keep them interesting longer.)
3) If you’re traveling with a spouse or friend, tag team driving and take turns with baby in the back seat. Sometimes a friendly face is all a baby needs to calm down and cheer up.
4) Bring a mixed CD of your baby’s favorite tunes. A blend of peppy beats and soothing melodies works best so you can choose the ones that fit baby’s mood.
5) If your little one can eat solids, pack jars of baby foods. Or, if you’re like me and only feed your baby fresh foods, bring containers of prepared food or pack fruits and vegetables that you can mash easily. Bananas and avocados are ideal.
6) Never underestimate the effectiveness of sound effects. No matter how grouchy Jacob is, an exaggerated sneezing sound will instantly bring a smile to his face. Monkey noises are another big hit.
7) Don’t forget about your comfort. If you’re still breastfeeding, bring along plenty of water to quench your thirst and a snack to keep up your energy.
8) If your car seat doesn’t have a canopy to shield baby when the sun shines in, purchase roller shades to protect baby’s eyes and keep him cool during naps.
9) Add a car mirror to your road trip packing list. Knowing your little miss or mister is A-okay with a quick glance into your rearview mirror offers priceless peace of mind, especially if driving alone. Just be sure you can have a clear view of baby before setting out.
10) When you start questioning your sanity for bringing baby out on the road, relish the fact that you don’t have to stop for bathroom breaks or come up with a new response to “Are we there yet?” every 10 minutes. Or, better yet, enjoy the fact that for at least the next sixteen years, you’re the one in the driver’s seat.