Monday, July 14, 2014

10 Tips for Roadtripping with a Little One

  After traveling 19+ hours in a car with a 7 week old baby to Florida and back, I thought I'd share some lessons learned from our road trip. We planned for the worst and hoped for the best and overall I thought we had a pretty successful trip down (the ride back up was a whole different story). So to help those new parents out there who are terrified for your first road trip with baby (like I was), I've compiled a list of survival tips for traveling with a little one. And if you have any other tips, I'd love to hear because we are packing for our next road trip today!
 
Also, a huge thanks to JJ Cole Collections for providing me with some supplies a few weeks ago that I was able to take on the trip with me which definitely helped. All of the reviews and opinions of the items are my own. So here we go...
 
- ONE - Pack Everything in a Large Bag. My Kate Spade diaper bag rocks, but I definitely needed something a bit bigger for a long trip to fit bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, change of clothes, butt cream, thermometer, snot bulb sucky thing, baby Tylenol, gas drops, lovey, toys, etc. Now, I know I probably didn't need all of that but it's better to over pack and be safe than sorry, right? In comes my JJ Cole Collections Tote.
 This roomy tote allows for three carrying options: two tote straps, a removable padded shoulder strap, or stroller attachments for a no-slip grip to your stroller or shopping cart handle. A wipeable changing pad is also included.
 - TWO - Prepare Bottles Beforehand and Store in Cooler. The morning of our trip I prepared my bottles so I wouldn't have to fuss with mixing formula or pouring pumped milk into other containers while on the road. To keep them cool I stored them in my JJ Cole Collections Bottle Cooler which conveniently holds two extra-large wide neck bottles (or 3 regular bottles) at the ideal temperature for hours. It also has an exterior pocket (who doesn't love an extra pocket). This cooler is also going to be perfect for me to bring to the office when I return to work to store my pumped milk!
 The GumDrop Wide Neck Bottles with GentleVent are the prettiest bottles we own for sure. And since we had no way to warm Caroline's bottles as we traveled I decided to use them for the trip. However, the bottoms of these bottles unscrew for easy cleaning which actually happens to be a problem when warming the milk in my bottle steamer. The few times I used these in my steamer the bottom of the bottles trapped the steam which leaked super hot water out as I was feeding Caroline.

- THREE - Prep the Car Seat for Explosions. Before placing the baby in the car seat, lay a burp cloth in the seat first in case there are any poop explosions along the way. It's easier to change out a burp cloth than it is to scrub out the fabric in a car seat (learned from experience). Bring several extra burp cloths too.

- FOUR - Toys, Pacifiers and Books. Speaking of distractions, I packed every color, every size and every brand pacifier we own, a JJ Cole Collections pacifier clip, several books and some small toys for Caroline. Anything that can capture her attention for a few seconds is worth a few less seconds of a screaming melt down, right? Right now her favorite toy is the Purring Percival. She loves to hit it and laugh.

- FIVE - Pumping. If you plan to pump on the road, make sure to bring a car adapter for your pump if it's electric. It's important to purchase the correct voltage designed specifically for your pump so make sure to do your research. Also, bring extra membranes. If one tears or you lose one and don't have any backups, well, you aren't going to be pumping. 

- SIX - Sit in the Back with the Baby. Poor Matt had to chauffeur us to Florida while the three of us (Charlie, Caroline and me) sat in the back. Although it wasn't ideal, I was able to run some quality control with Caroline during her awake hours. It was nice to be able to offer her a pacifier when she was fussy and distract her with books and toys. Once she'd fall asleep I'd crawl into the front seat for a bit. 

- SEVEN - Soothing Music. We tried our best to keep Caroline on her nap and feeding schedule. During her designated nap times we played soothing lullabies which seemed to help keep her asleep for most of her naps.
- EIGHT - Wear baby during rest stops. I love baby-wearing and JJ Cole Collections Agility Stretch Infant Carrier is definitely my favorite wrap these days. Not only can you wear baby forward or backwards, the wrap slips on like a t-shirt!!! It is so much easier to throw on and position Caroline than my K'Tan wrap.
- NINE - Changing Diapers. Since I am terrified of gas station bathroom changing tables, I changed all of Caroline's diapers in the car when we'd stop for gas.This wouldn't have been nearly as successful without my JJ Cole Collections Changing Clutch. This is by far my favorite item for travel. The slim clutch unfolds into a large padded wipeable changing area and also includes a pocket to hold a wipes case and multiple diapers.
- TEN - Grace and Patience. I definitely said a few prayers along the way, especially while we were stuck in traffic for hours on the drive back home. 

I'm obviously not a traveling expert so tell me what other tips you mama's have! I'm sure it's a learning experience with each trip!
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32 comments:

  1. Oh, great list!! I'm due with my first in 2 weeks so I'll definitely 'pin' this list for later :)

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  2. It looks like you handled your first trip like a pro!! I'm in the middle of writing out an epic post about travelling with babies, but we've never done much car travel, so I hope you don't mind me linking to this post for advice for car trips??!! xx

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  3. Many of these sound familiar, as we road tripped 7 hours to Myrtle Beach with Lawter a few weeks ago when she was 7/8 weeks old! I too have avoided public changing tables like the plague and make great use of the diaper bag changing pad! We didn't premix bottles though, as I didn't want to worry about formula temp. Travel formula dispenser made bottle making on the go super easy! Also, something we found really helpful was that at bottle time, I'd get in the backseat with her to give her the bottle, then let my husband (who was driving) know when she was just about finished so that he could be finding a rest area/gas station. That way, once done feeding, she could be taken out of car seat for a burp, diaper change and a stretch/some snuggles while we gassed up the car or took turns visiting the rest room. It helped keep things moving swiftly, while keeping baby as comfy as possible!

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  4. Love all these items on the list but especially the burp cloth in the carseat because you can almost guarantee that on a long car trip an explosion is going to happen!!! Glad ya'll had a great trip!

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  5. Great tips! It's so overwhelming traveling with an infant. If say it gets easier somewhere around 1.5 yr mark. You know, when you can throw food at them and new toys from the dollar spot to save everyone's sanity.

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  6. nice! i love those bags, the print is so cute. xo jillian - cornflake dreams 

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  7. Great list! Now that Paisley is two, traveling is a bit easier but I remember when she was that age; I felt like I needed to pack our entire house for a trip!

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  8. Sofia's first road trip was when she was one and we traveled to Arizona for our family reunion. I wish I would have saw this post then so I could use the burp cloth on her car seat. She was terribly carsick in the beginning of the road trip there.

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  9. Great tips - super organised mama. You make it look easy - and now for your next trip.. x

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  10. Preparing the car seat - such a genius idea. Thinking back there have been a few times I should have done that!

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  11. We are going to be road tripping right after our baby is born in September so I will definitely be holding onto this list. I am so nervous!!

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  12. I love this list. We have taken a few road trips with Blaire and I have learned from each one. I just wish I was as coordinated as you are with your baby gear!

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  13. these are great tips! We just made a 24 hour plus trip with a 6 month old and whoo boy I thought that was a trial, I could not imagine doing it with a 7 week old. Little miss was only so entertained and both my husband and I sat up front for navigation purposes.

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  14. Where are Caroline's elephant and bird swaddle blankets from?

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  15. Great tips! We drove to Florida when our youngest was 3 weeks old and we had a blow out for the record books! A burp cloth is such a brilliant idea.

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  16. we have a 15 hour drive from DC to Iowa next month....should be interesting, as Amelia will be six months!

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  17. I have just started following your blog and Caroline is the cutest! These are great tips! Love the JJ Cole bag too!

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  18. I love that they have a changing clutch! This sounds like my kind of brand. I will have to keep this in mind when we have little ones.

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