Preparing to go on a road trip can be stressful enough. Add bringing a baby along for the ride, and it’s understandable why most parents can feel overwhelmed, especially if it’s their first time at both having a baby and taking them on a road trip.
It’s a situation that seems fraught with challenges, to be sure–but don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on below for the ultimate guide on how to make your road trip with your baby a memorable and stress-free experience:
Packing Essentials: Think Like a Super Organizer
Packing for a road trip with an infant is a bit like preparing for a space mission – meticulous planning is key! Here are the essentials you'll need:
1. Diapers – Lots of Them
It’s something that all parents can definitely agree on–diapers are a lifeline, on the road or off it. You’ll want to pack enough diapers to last the entire trip, plus some extra, just in case.
Additionally, you’ll also want to bring along all the diaper changing essentials, including baby wipes, diaper rash cream, and a portable changing pad. You can stow all of these in a diaper bag that’s equipped with pockets for easy access.
We recommend one of our very own diaper bags, available in backpack or tote form! Both our Skyline Backpack and Citywalk Tote are roomy, versatile, and stylish options that can hold all of your essentials, as well as everything your baby needs.
2. Baby Gear
Your baby will be spending the majority of their time in their car seat, and it’s important to make sure that it is installed correctly and securely. It's not just a safety requirement; it's the law in many places.
For added comfort and protection, you may want to consider purchasing a car seat canopy here from us at Little Unicorn.
A car seat canopy will help protect your baby from the elements, give them more privacy and reduce exposure to germs. Covering your baby car seat in a car seat canopy also prevents your baby from reaching out of the car seat and grabbing anything that probably should not go in their mouth.
It may also be a good idea to bring along a portable crib or bassinet that you can use at rest stops and accommodations.
3. Clothing and Blankets
Before packing clothes for your baby, it’s always prudent to check what the weather conditions will be on the road and at your destination. And even knowing that, you’ll want to pack versatile options that also consider any changes in the weather. Blankets are also essential to keep your little one cozy during nap times. Our large outdoor blankets are a great choice for bringing on long rides!
4. Feeding Supplies
Moms who breastfeed know that having a comfortable nursing setup is absolutely vital for their well-being, as well as their baby’s. A specialized breastfeeding pillow is a good thing to have handy on the road, as well as a breast pump and a breastfeeding cover or shawl for privacy.
For formula-fed babies, bring pre-measured formula, sterilized bottles, and a bottle warmer, if needed. A portable cooler bag can come in handy to keep baby’s milk as well as your own snacks fresh.
Safety First: Childproofing on the Go
Your baby's safety is paramount, and childproofing your vehicle is a must. Here's how:
1. Install the Car Seat Correctly
As mentioned above, you’ll want to ensure that your baby’s car seat is securely fastened and positioned at the appropriate angle for your baby’s age and weight. You can check your car’s manual for guidance, if necessary.
2. Use Sun Shades
In addition to a Little Unicorn car seat canopy, you can use window shades or sun shades to protect your baby from the sun’s rays. This will keep your baby comfortable while reducing glare.
3. Keep Hazardous Items Out of Reach
Any loose items in the car should be secured, so that they don’t become projectiles should your car come to a sudden stop. It’s also a good idea to keep any objects that could be choking hazards away from your baby’s reach. Clean the area where your baby will be staying thoroughly to make sure that nothing untoward occurs.
Survival Tips for Parents: Staying Sane on the Road
Road trips can inevitably be exhausting, especially with a baby in tow. Here are some tips that can help you stay sane:
1. Share Driving Responsibilities
If possible, take turns with your co-pilot (if you have one) to avoid exhaustion. A well-rested driver is a safer driver.
2. Stay Hydrated and Snack Smart
Pack plenty of water and healthy snacks for yourself. Staying hydrated and well-fed will keep your energy levels up.
3. Embrace the Adventure
Remember that road trips are about the journey, not just the destination. Embrace the unexpected moments and savor the memories you create with your baby.
Embarking on a road trip with your infant as a first-time parent is an adventure worth taking. With careful planning, flexibility, and a few survival tips, you can make it a memorable and enjoyable experience for both you and your little one.