Road tripping with a newborn went better than expected. Every memorial day we go to the farm (in-laws farm) for a crawfish boil. This year was no different even with a 1 1/2 week old. We knew going into it that it might not be a fun trip. It’s a pretty short one, roughly 4 hours. But we were unsure how the boys would do with the baby’s car seat between them for the first time. Let alone the baby’s reaction to the whole thing.
We left the Thursday before Memorial Day but got delayed because of the baby’s feeding. I’m exclusively breastfeeding and for the time being demand feeding so, I have to be available when she is ready. She decided that she was hungry just as we were loading the car so I put all my stuff down and concentrated on her while the Hubs and Boys finished loading the car. Thankfully feeding doesn’t take too long since her stomach is the size of a walnut. Maybe 10 minutes per breast.
She got her belly full and fell right to sleep. That amazing little girl slept for half the trip and woke up to feed and be changed at the same time that the boys needed to use the restroom. We stopped at a gas station and let everyone do their business. I fed Sis and then we were on our way. Honestly, I was anticipating another 2-3 stops but all the kids did wonderful. They didn’t need to stop again and we made it to the farm in good time. Of course as soon as we got there the baby woke up screaming. So for the rest of the afternoon I was a prisoner to a newborn cluster feeding.
It was a great visit and a great way to take my mind off the fact that I had a baby and all the stress that put on our family. Granny watched the baby so, I could play with and spend some much-needed time with my boys. On the way home we had to stop for about an hour half way through in order to feed and change the baby. In all the baby added about an hour to our 4 hour trip. That is not too bad. The hubs and I are calmer with this baby, we have more patience and understand that babies have their own schedule and newborns can not be made to do what you want. They only think on terms of their needs (eat, sleep, and poop) with a little bit of cuddles mixed in. Below is a list of things we did to best prepare for a road trip with our newborn.
- Make sure the baby is dressed for the trip. The baby should be dressed appropriately for the climate of the car. Baby girl wore a short sleeve onesie and socks with a light blanket over her legs. We didn’t want the air of the car to make her cold but didn’t want her to get hot if we had to take her outside. If it’s winter she would have worn a sleeper and a heavier blanket and we would have brought a jacket for outside the car.
- Feed before you leave. Feed at stops and make sure to change diapers at the time of feeding to save time. As I said before, I feed on demand and because she is so young I have not started to pump yet. But as she gets older I will pump and have bottles ready to save even more time. But as it is, she is a newborn. So I fed her till she pulled away, right before we loaded her into the car. That gave us a good 2 – 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted drive time.
- Plan extra time into your trip. By planning for delays, it will eliminate any added stress or anxiety. With the extra time, you will have a more relaxed trip and feeding will be more productive. This way if the baby ends up sleeping a little longer than expected, you made up some time. Think of a safety blanket.
- Pack an in-car bag just for the baby with extra clothes in case of a blow out. Pack a bottle and formula just in case the decision to not stop is made or if you are formula feeding. I remember doing just that with my boys. I would put off breastfeeding while we were riding so a bottle and formula was the way to go. No shame in that game. Also put in some snacks and water for yourself or the other kids. Of course the bags necessities will change depending on the duration of the trip. Ours was short so the bag was small.
- Have Patience. Try to come to the understanding that it’s a baby and it is going to be at pace the baby is comfortable with. Patience is key. Patience for the trip, for significant others, other kids and for ourselves.
These are things that I often have to remind myself of multiple times before they sink in. They are easier said then done but it is good for mind, body and soul to understand. Being over prepared for a road trip with baby is impossible because you never really know how to prepare for the unknown. But planning is a good start. Hopefully with these tips, an upcoming road trip with baby, will be made easier.
Let me know in the comments below of any tips I may have forgotten or stories of a newborn trip of your own.
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Who is up for a road trip now?