As you have found yourself here on our blog about road tripping with a baby, clearly you are interested in travelling and exploring with your little one. You are on the right step to making loads of amazing memories with your bundle of joy. We are not here to tell you that every part of your road trip will be sunshine and rainbows; when it comes to babies, everything is a learning curve and with these curves often come tears (sometimes not just from the baby!) However, we do have some great tips for from our experience road tripping New Zealand with Oliver when he was 3 months old!
Prep the car
To start any great road trip, you’ll need to prep the car! The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will feel which in turn will make everyone’s trip happier. I never used to be a planner until I had Oliver, and now I plan and prep everything like my life depends on it. It’s important to make sure that the car is safe and ready for a road trip. Check tyre pressure and that the spare is in good working order, make sure your oil is full and that the petrol tank is topped up. The last thing anyone wants is to break down, especially with a baby!
Fit the car seat
However probably the most vital thing is fitting the car seat. If you’re anything like me, then you will check and check 100 times to make sure you have done it correctly… must be a mum thing! If you’re using a different car to usual it may use a different system to anchor the seat down. In older cars, you will have to clip a strap onto a fixed anchor point behind the seat. Newer cars however usually have the ISOFIX attachment system. On either side of each seat in the gap between the seat and the backrest portion should be a small metal hook. Connect the ISOFIX from each side of the car seat to the respective connectors on the seat.
Keep the essentials close
We have been on a few road trips with Oliver, and the most helpful thing I have found is always having a ‘baby essentials bag’ within arms reach! This bag should include small toys, rusk sticks, diapers, wipes, spare clothes, blankets, etc. Anything that helps the baby feel more comfortable or helps baby sleep – as they do loads of sleeping in the car. We also feel we should mention that you should have a shade cloth on your little one’s window. Children are much more susceptible to the sun and reducing glare and heat from the sun really made a difference in Oliver’s comfort and quality of sleep.
First Aid Kit
Its also a must to pack a first aid kit along with any medication your baby will need. In this kit, make sure you don’t forget to take some infant paracetamol. There is nothing worse than being stuck for hours on the open road with no shops in sight and a screaming pained baby in the back. Make sure your first aid kit has essentials like nappy rash cream, thermometer, band-aids and anything you usually need.
If you baby is anything like ours is, he or she will need entertainment! We love to sing to Oliver, read books and on longer road trips we both take turns sitting in the back hanging with him. When you have sung the same songs for hours on end and you actually want to sit together and enjoy each other’s company, we suggest you bring a bag of toys. Try and refrain from handing all the toys over at once. We found that by only giving Oliver one toy at a time, when he got bored, we would still have a few different toys that were new and exciting for him.
Plan breaks between
Overall, the best advice we can offer on road tripping with a baby would be to plan out stops based on your feeding schedule. We found this worked well for us and Oliver, on our first ever road trip Oliver was only 9 weeks old – so still very little! Being a breastfed baby, he needed to feed every 2-3 hours. Making stops that often worked well as you don’t want to be stuck in the car forever and ever. In addition to the feed, we would give him some tummy time to get some movement in his muscles. We found it handy to bring a soft foldable mat for Oliver to enjoy some tummy time wherever we ended up stopping.
Seriously, road-tripping with a baby was a lot easier than I had built up in my head. Especially with the younger ones as they really do sleep A LOT! Hopefully these tips will help you in your future road trips with your very own bundle of joy!