Well, hello! It has been awhile! To catch y’all up, we made it to Georgia! I found a great part-time OB/GYN position here! I am just enjoying my prolonged maternity leave until my paperwork goes through, and I can start working again.
Call us crazy, but my husband and I decided to drive from Washington state to Georgia… with a TWO MONTH OLD. Afterwards, we both agreed we would never do that again!
However, along the way, we had some fun and learned some lessons. For those of you thinking of taking a road trip with your newborn or infant, do not be afraid! With some preparation, you can do it (and even enjoy parts of it!)
Here are my top ten tips (in no particular order) for planning a road trip with baby:
- Make a list. You seriously have too much on your mind right now to remember to pack everything for you and the baby so make a list! Making a list also helps you visualize and think through the trip to hopefully plan for any surprises.
- Plan for poop explosions. I had read extensively online that there is something about the angle of the car seat and the force of a newborn pooping that always leads to a poop explosion. As a result, I followed the advice of a friend and kept my little one in a swim diaper during the car ride. This prevented us from getting poop all over the car seat several times! I also recommended packing large ziplock bags and spare onesies within easy reach in case baby does need a change of clothes.
- Pack a couple favorite toys. I packed my little man’s favorite book – Look Look! It is a high contrast board book that is perfect for newborns since they have limited vision. Since we had read it together several times before our trip, baby seemed to find comfort in the repetition of this simple book. There were several meltdowns that were cured by just holding this book in front of baby.
- Plan for feedings. There’s lots of advice on the internet on ideas regarding traveling while breastfeeding or formula feeding. Since we were formula feeding, this part was pretty simple for us. We had trained baby to take room temperature bottles from the beginning. So a bottle warmer was not necessary for the trip (although portable ones are available). I packed enough bottles for the day filled with water. I bought a formula dispenser which made mixing the bottles pretty straightforward. I’d wash the bottles in our hotel room every night.
- Not all restrooms are created equal. You would be surprised at how many rest stops do not offer changing tables. I think there were one or two rest stops our ENTIRE trip that had a changing table in the restroom. The rest of the time, I ended up changing baby in the backseat of the car. So be forewarned.
- Find time to enjoy the trip. My hubs and I quickly learned that we were not going to be able to enjoy all of the sights we had originally planned to see. However, we tried to make the most of the trip and see what we would. We stopped at Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho and Mount Rushmore. We usually planned to see attractions in the morning since that’s when everyone was in their best mood.
- Book a hotel with a laundry room available. If you’re a mom, you understand the exponential growth of laundry that occurs once you have a child.
- Don’t pack more than you need. Most hotels have Pack n Plays available for use and are typically free of charge. I was going to bring our portable Pack n Play on the trip but found it to be too bulky. We found that our little guy was able to sleep just fine in his little Snuggle Nest.
- Make the most of time in the hotel room. Since our little man was stuck in his car seat all day, we tried to spend time playing with him on the floor or in tummy time once we were in the hotel room each evening. This gave him the opportunity to stretch out and wiggle around a bit!
- You can’t plan for everything. There are going to be obstacles you didn’t plan for or meltdowns that you can’t resolve quickly. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself that it is okay.