Preparing to embark on a holiday road trip with a newborn? While plane rides are definitely my favorite mode of travel, sometimes that’s not always feasible and a road trip is the best option. After three kids, and many trial and error road trips, these are the five tips I’d share with any first-time mom of a newborn.
After recently doing two solo road trips with my newest addition at three weeks and seven weeks old, these are the freshest tips on my mind.
- Pack all the pacifiers. ALL. The. Pacifiers. Get a nice cup full for your passenger seat. When you’re driving, it’s helpful so you don’t have to reach back into the infant seat. It’s stressful when the baby is screaming and you’re feeling around for the exact one little Jack, or little Jill, spit out.
- Plan your stops around the baby. Well, “plan” is a deceptive word. Basically, don’t stop until your baby wakes up. I recently drove a ten-ish hour round trip drive solo with my then three-week-old. When she wasn’t happy, she WAS NOT happy. It made more sense to drive as long as I could while she slept. This way, I could pull over to nurse when she was ready. The last thirty minutes of that trip was chaos, and I had to keep driving through the baby tears (and my tears), but overall, this system worked well.
- Fill the passenger seat with snacks for you. That way, if you’re feeling hungry, and the baby is still sleeping peacefully, you don’t have to wake him or her up for a food stop.
- Bring a baby potty and pull-ups for the other kids. If you have other kids traveling with you, and you’re traveling a fairly long distance, bring the baby potty and embrace the pull-up. This allows you to match your stop schedule to the newborn’s sleep/wake cycle (not the older kids).
- Watch your speed. Because, you know what is awesome about driving three hours solo with three kids…getting pulled over. Best. Day. Ever. —- Okay, maybe that was some failed sarcasm. I was exactly one mile from my house the day after Thanksgiving and got pulled over for allegedly going 40 in a 30. When you are tired, and your kids are tired, the last thing you want is bright flashlights in your face, and the kids’ faces (especially the newborn). Can we talk about those obnoxious red and blue flashing lights too? No fun. The officer came up to my window and my four-year-old shouted: “MOMMY ARE YOU GOING TO JAIL?” (Insert facepalm here). So fun. In my thirty-three years of life, this is only the second time I have ever been pulled over. I get to go to some kind of ticket court on my birthday in two weeks. Yay. So…definitely watch your speed and drive safely.
Must-Haves Items for Holiday Road Trips:
- A baby mirror for that rear-facing infant seat. It’s hard to see over the car seat shade, so I love that I can keep an eye on my baby through the baby mirror.
- A Noggle to get air or heat to your baby. If your vehicle doesn’t have rear heat or rear AC like my mini-van, the Noggle is a super amazing tool to cool off or warm up the baby.
- A calming CD. For my oldest daughter, it was Taylor Swift. Ever since she was a newborn Taylor Swift would put her to sleep. Red and then 1989 basically lived in my car’s CD player.