14 Jan Baby’s First Road Trip: What to Pack
Experiencing first-time events with your baby can be a thrilling experience. There’s nothing quite like showing your little bundle of joy just how much there is to the world and sharing the excitement they feel at it. On the other hand, they can also be rather fretful too, as a lot of new experiences also need a lot of prep work for them. Your baby’s first road trip is no exception, and many parents may consider this to be among the most worrisome things to go through with their child.
After all, there will come a time where you have to bring your child with you on long-distance drives. Your parents may want to see their new grandchild, for example, and they live a few hours away and cannot drive themselves. You may want to take a vacation with the baby. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure you’re prepared for road trips with an infant.
In the general excitement that precedes a road trip, it can be easy to let things get away from you and to adopt a very go-with-the-flow attitude towards your road trip plans. This is especially true if you’re an experienced traveler yourself and have already gotten used to long periods in the car. However, your child is probably not used to having to be constrained in such a small space for long periods of time in the same way that you are, and won’t necessarily understand why they can’t move about and play as they do at home.
This can result in a lot of frustration on your baby’s part, and trust us when we say that they’ll let you know about it. They are not subtle beings.
As such your child’s first road trip will require a lot of planning on your part, and you’ll need to ask various questions about your child and the trip in order to anticipate the sorts of problems you may encounter while on the road. In general, it’s just a matter of remembering what it felt for you as a young child being stuck in the backseat of a car for most of the afternoon (or even most of the day), and thinking of ways you can avoid that. Useful questions to ask yourself, include:
- How can I keep my child comfortable while sitting for long amounts of time?
- How can I keep them entertained if they’re bored without distracting the driver?
- How likely is it that they’ll need to eat or drink something on the way?
- How often will they need their diaper changed? How often will they need to stop for fresh air and some space?
- Is the car safe for my child to travel in (70% of child car seats are not correctly fitted)?
- How can I make the trip as a whole more bearable for them?
These sorts of questions are very important in prepping your journey in such a way that baby doesn’t start to get upset by the rigors of the journey.
Fortune favors the prepared, and while you cannot prepare for every problem that might happen on a road trip, you can certainly make sure you’re ready for the most likely. For this reason, you’ll probably want to have at least the following with you on the average several-hour road trip.
- A fully stocked diaper bag, with clean, cute customized clothes, such as the ones that can be purchased from Lil threadz, diapers, and changing supplies.
- Enough food and drink to see your baby through the journey. Always pack an extra bottle and a pot of baby food more than you may need, just in case.
- A cooler to keep them all in.
- A comfortable baby seat with an extra pillow or head support.
- Your baby’s favorite blanket.
- Plenty of toys, music, and books to keep the baby entertained during the journey.
- A baby carrier or buggy for stops along the road.
- A window shade to keep the sun out of the baby’s eyes.
- Any necessary medication.
- Extra cash in case you need to buy something you’ve forgotten or unexpectedly ran out of.
These items should get you through the majority of road trips with minimal fuss on the baby’s part. Adjust the amount of food and toys you bring with you depending on how long or short the overall journey will take. An hour’s journey will require a lot less than six hours’. Always make sure that these items are in easy reach as well – you should never have to rummage around in the trunk for clean diapers or a baby’s bottle.
Other Tips and Tricks
One way to make the journey less bothersome for your baby is to time the trip so that it coincides with your child’s usual nap or sleeping times. If you can get your baby to sleep through most of the journey, then it will require a lot less on your part, and they’re less likely to get bored or irritated.
If possible, always have an adult next to the baby during the road trip to keep an eye on them and to pass them the things they want or need. If that isn’t possible, then make sure the things they’re most likely to want are in easy reach, and you make regular stops for more essential needs, like feeding or changing.
Make sure the area in which the baby is seated is brightly colored and engaging to look at. Stick up pictures of toys and cartoon characters on the back of the seat they’ll be facing, or consider buying a special activity center for the baby that attaches to it.
If traveling overnight and your child is scared of the dark, back a battery-powered torch or nightlight.