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!