With our family spread out across the Nation traveling with a baby is something we are getting better at doing. As I am still learning things this list is just a few things I've learned from the few trips we have taken with our little one.
1. Pack those bags that you can stow away the stinky diapers in (trust me this is a good idea).
2. A change of clothes for you and the baby - I learned this one the hard way. On our first road trip with our son and the first diaper changing stop we made, I learned a very valuable lesson. Going into a public bathroom to change your baby’s diaper for the first time was daunting enough. My son decided to make it entertaining as well, peeing all over me and himself. I, fortunately, had an outfit for him but not myself. I figured guess it will dry, then had come to the realization he had soaked the right side of my hair as well. All I could do was laugh and let it dry.
3. Bottles with the formula already measured out – This just makes it easier when you have to make a quick bottle, no worry of a mess putting the scoops of formula into the bottles. If you breastfeed this will not be something you would even need to worry about. However, it is a good idea to have some of that mom juice bottled up and ready to rock and roll.
4. Entertainment – If the road trip is going to be very long you will want to bring something to entertain the baby. If you are bored they are probably bored.
5. Check the Vehicle – no matter the weather you don’t want to break down with a baby in the car. I feel it is always important to look over the car and check all the fluids before travel. This is something my husband always takes care of before we leave and when we are heading back.
6. Knowing where the rest stops are along the way helps - When you travel a certain way many times you learn the baby changing friendly ones and the ones that don't have a changing table. From my experience, big truck stops are almost always super clean and have a great baby changing station.
7. Bring something to change baby on – Changing stations will very rarely have little paper mats to lay baby on. I like to bring something or make an awkward paper towel mat. Nothing like standing at the automatic paper towel dispenser for five minutes to get just enough paper to lay your baby on.
8. Make frequent long stops – We like to make sure to stop every so often to get the baby out and let him stretch. Just like we don’t like being cooped up in a car for too long, I'm sure he doesn’t like being stuck in his car seat for hours on end.
9. Scenic Route Troubles – The scenic route may not be the best with a baby. Finding gas stations with changing stations or bathrooms at all may be far and between.
10. Don’t be afraid to stop – Some trips are harder than others. You may need to make a backup plan for staying at a hotel or motel overnight. The baby may do great or may be fed up with being in the car so it's always good to make a plan for possible places to stop if need be.
11. Make a checklist – If you are like me, even with a checklist I seem to always forget something. Having a checklist will take away the stress of packing for a road trip. It is also helpful when you are packing to head home, so you know you don’t forget anything.
12. Never leave a baby in the car not even for a moment – Sad but people do and it doesn’t take long for something bad to happen.
13. Have a well-stocked diaper bag
14. Make Memories – Something I decided to do for my son is everywhere we go I buy him a postcard. I fill out the date and where we were traveling on the back. When we get home I stick them in a picture book that I have. When he gets older he will be able to see all the places he has been.
These are just a few tips and tricks I've learned so far. I'm sure there are many more things I will learn from our future travels. If you have any road trip tips please feel free to comment them below the Mom Strong Crew appreciates them. Thanks and remember stay Mom Strong.