Road trips are normally pretty exciting but when traveling with a newborn in the car, they can feel more nerve-wracking than anything. Fear not, new parents - taking a road trip will certainly be different from this point on but is not impossible. It takes a little more planning and a bit of strategic thinking to make a road trip run smoothly but it's doable, especially if you have the right tips.
Knowing when to account for stops, how long to stay in the car, and having a few tricks up one's sleeve as a new parent can only help.
The Best Thing To Do Is Also The Simplest
Just like with anything else, babies need to get used to being in the car before they're comfortable settling in for long car rides. Unlike toddlers and young children, you can't provide a baby with a selection of coloring books and a seat-back DVD player and expect them to enjoy the ride. However, you can make it more comfortable for them by creating a repeated experience that they can start to enjoy. Some babies love being in the car and, for the most part, the constant motion is soothing. For others, it might take some time to get there; therefore, taking short, maybe 15-20 minutes rides with them periodically leading up to a longer road trip will help acclimate them to being in the car and their car seat.
Fussy Baby? Consider Changing The Timing Of A Road Trip
No one will know their baby's sleep schedule better than a parent. This information is ten times more valuable when used to plan a road trip - because you can simply plan it around naptime and bedtime. If it means getting up at 4 AM to hit the road by 5 AM - which is when baby usually falls back asleep - then this might yield a couple of hours of fuss-less driving time. If your baby is usually asleep by 8 PM, then maybe it's worth it to get a few hours of driving time out of the way before heading out the following morning.
More Tips to Consider
- Sometimes, having a familar face or even just a hand to hold can do wonders to soothe a crying baby in the car.
- Avoiding traffic or construction zones will keep the car in constant motion which is less likely to disturb baby.
How Do You Get A Baby To Sleep In The Car?
Another thing that might prove challening is how to slowly coax your baby into falling asleep in the car during a time they'd normally be sleeping at home. There are a few ways to do this and some of the methods are tried and true, and seemingly as old as time. Others are more modern, but it can't hurt to try everything!
Tips For Fussy Babies
- Use audiobooks. Audio book subscriptions such as Audible feature children's books that can be easily cycled through during car rides. Turn the volume down low and allow the words of a familiar bedtime story to fill the car.
- Soothing music. A lot of times, music that's soothing to the ear such as jazz or even the more modern LoFi can distract and calm babies down.
- Increase the temperature slightly. Running the heat in the car on low, especially though the floor heaters, can slowly raise the temperature and make things warm and cozy. To a baby, there's really nothing better than this.
Things To Do Prior To A Road Trip
Taking a road trip as a new parent is all about making your life easier while also ensuring that your baby is comfortable and happy. The best way to achieve this is by making sure that everything during the road trip is in order, including the overnight stays and any potential food stops. When planning the trip, be sure to book hotels or rentals in advance and reach out with any concerns - such as whether or not they have baby or family-friendly amenities.
An Airbnb might look incredibly luxe but when you get there, you might find out there there's no bathtub to bathe your baby, only a shower. Or, there may have been a highchair pictured in the rental photos, but no highchair on scene when you arrive. It's best to take care of these things prior to booking to ensure there's no stress later on.
As far as food, be sure to pack plenty of snacks if your child is eating real foods, and don't forget to pack snacks for yourself, as well!