Tips for Making it Through Car Trips Long and Short this Holiday Season
We'll level with you. Car trips can be tough. Some kids fall asleep and do really well in the car, even for longer chunks of time. But there might still be crying, a blow out or two, and a few pit stops along the way.
We're here to help make these holiday road trips a bit easy so you can not only survive but also enjoy the trip! Whether you're going around the block or across the country there are a few ways that you can prepare for your trip and save time, tears, and trouble along the way.
How to Prepare to Survive a Holiday Road Trip with Your Baby:
Extra Bottles of Milk
When you are driving down a highway, it’s not always convenient to pull over to take the baby out of the car seat or pull out your boob to start breastfeeding. Or you might be trying to keep these pit stops to a minimum. Having s spare bottle within reach can avoid the tears and stretch out the time between stops.
Extra bottles mean that you can also take shifts driving and sitting with your baby. Drive is exhausting, but sitting in the backseat of a car can wear on you in a different way. Trading off on and is great and having a bottle means that your partner can take over for you.
For older babies, having some snacks like puree pouches of food on hand is also ideal. You've got healthy wholesome meals on the go with these babies! Puffs can also be a great activity during pit stops. Just remember, that babies should not have food unattended in the car as they can potentially choke.
Breast Pump & Accessories
It's always good to have your pump, whether you exclusively pump, exclusive breast or chestfeed, or just as backup. Your schedule might get thrown off and having a pump can help you maintain your supply, feed your baby around larger groups of people or people with whom you might not be as comfortable with.
Depending on your family, they’ll want to hold or even feed the baby. Sometimes you can’t help but just let them. After all, it is the holidays and they don’t get to see you and your little one very often. Make sure you have you pump and parts so you can keep to your pumping schedule. You can keep building your supply for backup and emergencies. Here’s a more detailed list on what to include in your breast pump bag:
- Breast pump
- Power cord
- Breast shields
- Breast pump cushions
- Pump bottles
- Storage bags
- Nipple cream/lubricant
Other than sleeping, your baby will need some stimulus to stay entertained. Babies will basically keep themselves entertained playing with anything so be sure to bring some small, portable baby toys. I’d highly suggest ones that don’t play music or light up. Although this may be fun for a few minutes hearing that over and over again for your three hour drive to Grandma’s house may drive your family crazy.
Being in an unfamiliar environment for a baby could cause a bit of anxiety. You can help your baby transition to the new surroundings by bringing something familiar like a favorite toy or blanket to help sooth and comfort your them.
Bed Sheets and Blankets with Familiar Scent
Sometimes babies don’t sleep well in different environments and that means you don’t sleep. You can try to avoid this by bringing sheets and blankets with the familiar scent to help ease and soothe your baby back to sleep.
First Aid Kit
We can't talk about being prepared without talking about having a first aid kit. Having additional supplies for your infant, baby, or toddler should now be a part of your first aid kit. That might mean infant pain relievers, Pedialyte, or other supplies. Hopefully you won’t need to use this but you don’t want to be in a situation where you might need a band aide and not have one. This is something that you could just keep in your car for emergency use.
Plan for Problems
No one wants to think about breaking down or car trouble. But, life happens. Pack a warm blanket or something in case you have to wait in the cold for a bit. A bunting is a great thing to have on hand just in case. But you'll also be prepared for outdoor fun once you get to your destination with items like these.
These days it feels like our phones are glued to our hands. Not only do they keep us connected, but now they're also our maps, hotel reservations, restaurant suggestions, and more. Keeping yours charged is a key way to stay safe, but also stave off the stress on family holiday road trips.
You may need to take a break to stretch your legs. Bring your umbrella stroller so you can easily mobilize and go for a quick stroll.
You never know when there’s going to be an accident or explosion. The worst thing is to be caught without an outfit change or worse, a diaper! Don’t be that parent. Bring a few extra changes of clothing just in case this happens.
Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
If you’re in a rush or time crunch, having some healthy snack options that you packed may be a better choice than the selection they have at the restroom stop or gas station. Save the calories for mama’s cooking and the freshly baked holiday treats! Pack some nutritious easy to transport snacks to make your drive more comfortable.
Lots and lots of coffee. Let's face it. We are all sleep deprived parents. We survive on coffee. Enough said. From one parent to another, these are just some of the tricks I learned after my first few road trips with my baby girl. You may find your child is an angel traveling which is fantastic but it’s always good to be prepared for the unknowns when possible. In the worse case, if you forget anything you can always stop by a Target or Buy Buy Baby along the way to pick up whatever necessary baby equipment you may need.
Finally, a very helpful tip would be to either borrow or order some baby necessities to have delivered to your destination so you don’t have to lug your entire house with you. You can easily amazon extra diapers, wipes, ointments, creams, etc. that you can use and then throw away when there. You may even be able to borrow some baby equipment from other family members too. That is always very convenient.
Either way, it’s just a small speed bump to get through before you get to enjoy the holidays with all your family. When you look back on the memories, you won’t even think about the driving experience but only the wonderful happy times your baby had with extended relatives.
Safe travels and happy holidays!