We survived our first road trip with the little one. I call that a parenting a triumph and milestone for my husband and I. Now let me be real with you and say that there were definitely a few times when I was on the verge of ripping my hair out. Here are a few things that worked for us and kept all my hair firmly attached (messy but attached).
Let the Baby Sleep and Drive
I tried to time the day with my daughter to where she would be ready for a nap when we were loading up and heading out. Our plan was to drive until she woke up and pray that we made it to our destination without a meltdown. This seemed to work great for us on the way there and she woke up just before we arrived. For the way home she wasn’t as ready for a nap and we paid the consequences. Picture a full blown “I hate my car seat” meltdown with an hour left to drive. Lesson learned: leave later with a tired baby.
Bring a Partner
Having two of us meant that one could drive and one could (attempt to) soothe baby, feed the baby or just offer moral support for the relentless screaming. Not having to face a very unhappy baby alone was seriously a lifesaver.
Have a Bottle Ready
We bottle feed our daughter (see my post on why here) and so we had a bottle made and easy to access in the car. On the way to our destination she woke up just before arriving and was hungry. We saved ourselves from an impending explosion of pissed off baby by having a bottle ready to feed her in the car. Boom happy baby, happy mommy and daddy.
Put Their Favorite Toy in Their Car Seat
My daughter has this little giraffe rattle-like toy that she finds super interesting, plus she loves putting it in her mouth (win-win for a 6 month old). This was just another meltdown prevention tactic that worked for short spurts of time. Anytime with no screaming in a moving vehicle is good.
Let Them Nap
We arrived to our destination past her bedtime plus she had been sleeping the way down so she was up late that night! Of course my daughter doesn’t know what sleeping in is so she was up at 5:30 am like usual. Now normally she takes two naps per day, morning and afternoon. The day after we arrived, however, I threw her nap schedule out the window. Instead I simply took cues from her and put her down to nap when she was tired. This provided with my happy little baby when she was awake, which was perfect because she met lots of family that day.
Overall our first mini road trip with our 5 and a half month old went pretty well. We learned plenty for the next one though.
What are some of your road trip tips?