After becoming a mom, taking a road trip with our baby, Griffin, sounded overwhelming to say the least! It was all I could do to keep us afloat at home, how on earth would I survive going somewhere else?!
After a few months, we were desperate to escape the Arizona heat, so we planned a road trip to San Diego. We learned lots of little tips and tricks to make the car ride as easy as possible, so I want to share 7 things that helped us the most! Here’s how to prepare and what to expect for your upcoming adventure.
1) Extend the Driving Time of Your Road Trip
For every 2 hours of driving time, tack on an extra 30 minutes. The more times we stopped, the happier Griffin was! We stopped at rest stops and little towns to walk around and get some fresh air. Plus, Griffin was still nursing so we had to stop to feed him.
If you set realistic expectations about your travel time and leave earlier than expected, you can prepare for a smoother car ride and a happier baby.
2) Leave at Naptime
If you have the option, start your road trip at a time when baby usually falls asleep. It might be easier to start the trip with a nap instead of starting after they wake up. Try to have lots of activity time before leaving so they can be nice and tired for the car ride.
Another option is to start your trip after bedtime! Some parents find it easiest to drive when baby is conked out for the night, especially if your babe isn’t very fond of the car seat. This is best if you have a partner who can switch off driving responsibilities with you.
3) Bring a Few “New” Toys
Nothing better to entertain baby than some toys they’ve never seen before! Toys of different colors and textures will help keep baby entertained for awhile. Griffin loved crinkly books, rattles, and interactive toys.
Babies also love things that aren’t toys, so peruse your home for child-safe things that baby could explore. As Griffin has gotten older, he’s loved our home improvement tools like the stud finder and level. Try getting creative! It’s usually less expensive, anyway!
4) Snacks On Snacks On Snacks
If your baby has started solids, snacks are a lifesaver. We stocked up on Puffs, fruit pouches, pretzels, and other easy finger foods. Not only will they help extend your driving time, but foods are a fun activity! Make sure to bring along a few you know your baby will love in case they decide to be picky that day!
5) Download a Few Movies
Having an iPad for road trips has been a life saver for us. Griffin has always been very active and needed a lot of stimulation, so he gets bored easily in the car. Netflix has a set of movies that you can download to view offline, so we stock up on a few new cartoons for him to watch during the trip.
7) Be Flexible
Last, throw all of your expectations out the window. Baby’s first road trip can be unpredictable, so be prepared to go with the flow! On the way home from San Diego, Griffin had a terrible teething fit with a fever so we had to stop extra times! If you give yourself extra time to travel so baby can get all the love and attention they need, you’ll have a much smoother first road trip.