Are you looking for tips for a road trip with a newborn baby?
You’re in the right place.
A road trip with your newborn might seem like a daunting task. But do it right, and it can be a rewarding and memorable experience.
Babies can survive (and have a great time) on the road, too, not just at home!
Adjusting your attitude, some handy must-haves, and a few simple tricks will keep you all happy and comfortable on the road.
So, here we have 10 tips for your road trip with a newborn baby.
Guest Post by Tash Peto – Recent mother and frequent road tripper.
10 TIPS FOR A ROAD TRIP WITH A NEWBORN
We traveled around quite a lot just after our little boy was born – he arrived in the middle of football season and so weekends were spent road-tripping to away games to watch my husband play.
At first, we were apprehensive about traveling with this tiny person whom we were still learning to look after! However, we soon got into the swing of it.
Below I’ll share my 10 top tips and tricks for a road trip with a newborn baby, that I learned whilst on the road.
1. ALLOW TIME
This is perhaps the most important tip for a road trip with a newborn.
Give yourself lots of time.
Life with a newborn – as you may be aware if your little one has arrived in the world already – means everything takes that little bit longer.
Whether it’s a hungry tummy or a grumpy morning (and I don’t just mean the baby…) there are lots that can happen to slow down any process.
Imagine… you are about to leave the service station after your pit stop and… there’s a rumble from beneath your baby’s bottom.
Babies always seem to decide it’s time for a poop at simply the most inconvenient times.
Predicting that this could be the case and expecting the unexpected will help as you imagine your day.
Allowing extra time for much-needed breaks along the way (of unpredictable length!) will lead to a more relaxing ride.
The beauty of taking life in ‘the slow lane,’ which invariably happens when you have a baby, is that it forces you to pause frequently and live simply in the moment you are in, rather than the next one.
Take time on your road trip. It will be much less stressful and a lot more fun.
2. YOU ARE THEIR FAVOURITE TOY
Without a doubt toys are helpful, but the thing that makes them happiest of all is you!
When traveling in the car this means it’s important to be as present as possible.
- Sit with your baby.
If there are two of you on your road trip with your newborn, sit next to them in the back. They’ll find it an immense comfort. Remember, the world is still a new place for them, and they can’t yet fathom that you are a separate person from them.
Never underestimate the power of singing to your baby, no matter what you think it sounds like. It is their favorite sound – really!! Sometimes it is the only thing that will calm our little one. AND this works over and above playing him actual music. They love the sound of your voice; it’s soothing to them. We have sometimes ended up singing the most ridiculous songs together to keep our little one happy during car journeys. Songs that include hand actions and sound effects are good, and you can always add them in if they don’t have them already!
- Give Leg Massages.
Babies often crave literal contact too. Our little boy finds it relaxing having his legs and feet massaged.
3. TAKE REGULAR PIT-STOPS
Taking regular breaks during a road trip with a newborn baby is necessary for a couple of reasons.
- It gives baby a change of scene, a chance to feed and have a cuddle.
Hopefully, they may be a little less grumpy for you after a break from the car. Newborns need to feed really frequently, often more frequently than you might like to ordinarily stop. They also have a genuine need for physical contact from you and so will benefit from a chance to get out of the car seat.
- It’s recommended that you take a 15 minute break every 2 hours of a car journey due to concerns over restricted breathing in a car seat.
By this point, your baby will probably already be hungry/in need of changing anyway!
We found we needed to stop every 45 minutes to an hour when our son was at this stage as he was a frequent feeder, but all babies are different.
4. REMEMBER THEIR FAVOURITE THINGS
Having some of the things your baby finds entertaining/comforting with you during your trip will be very helpful.
Perhaps take a range of items so that they have something to watch/chew/hold for instance.
Our son began teething at 8 weeks and from then on seems to want to chew on everything all the time! You may find your little one appreciates having something to chew, whether that be an actual teething toy or something soft like a muslin cloth.
Comforters or muslins for them to hug may be helpful, especially if they smell of you – try sleeping with one under your t-shirt before giving it to them.
Rainmakers are a fun and distracting toy to take.
They make a noise (repetitive, so it may also be good a sending them to sleep!), they are colorful and there’s lots to look at. Toys that make an interesting noise such as those with a bell and books that crackle or have squeaky buttons are a hit with our son.
5. SHIELD THEM FROM THE SUN
Sun blinds that stick to the car windows are really helpful on a road trip with a newborn.
Our little one hates the sun getting in his eyes – it makes him really unhappy!
Sun shining into the car can also cause them to overheat, which with newborns is especially important to avoid. So this is a necessary accessory to your journeying in my opinion!
6. DRESS THEM IN EVERY DAY CLOTHES AND A BLANKET
You never know whether your little one will be too cold or too hot during your trip.
The air conditioning may stop working… the heating may bust. Whatever the circumstance may be, it’s best to be prepared.
Putting them in everyday clothing will allow you to regulate their temperature more effectively on the road.
Make sure they aren’t in anything too padded like a pram suit as the seat belt on the car seat will not be as effective if there were to be a collision. Normal clothes and a blanket in the car to cover your little one if they are chilly is what I advise.
7. TAKE A CAMERA ON YOUR ROAD TRIP WITH A NEWBORN
To capture you and your baby on your trip, of course!
We’d be lost without a camera.
Ensure you capture all those magical moments of hitting the road with your newborn!
This will also serve a dual purpose in entertaining your baby once you have exhausted everything else! They may find it interesting looking at pictures of you or themselves.
8. DON’T FORGET WIPES AND A MUSLIN
Wipes are essential on your trip to clean those spit-ups and sick-ups. There have been occasions where I have really needed a wipe to hand but I’d left them in the trunk… Keep them to hand!
I’d also advise keeping them in the seat or door pocket and bringing something to put the used ones in.
Muslins are also great for everything – cleaning up, an extra blanket, a comforter for the baby, and to drape over my shoulder when I am breastfeeding in public. I found the larger ones, nearing a meter squared, to be the most versatile.
9. PACK A BABY CARRIER AND A BUGGY
A baby carrier is so useful when you get to a service station or when taking a break on your road trip.
We thought it would be easier just to carry the baby, however, this then proves very tricky when you want to pay for something, drink your drink or just do anything!
Keep the carrier handy.
It may come in handy depending on your destination too. We traveled to Lisbon when our son was four months old, and it is a very hilly place, much more suited to the carrier than a buggy. It’s best to have both with you so you have your options open.
10. GET BREAKDOWN COVER
The last thing you want when you are in the middle of nowhere with your very small baby is to try and figure out how you are going to get your car fixed after a breakdown.
That’s why this is an essential tip for anyone taking a road trip with a newborn.
Wherever you are traveling, it’s best to have a breakdown cover policy so that any problem can be sorted swiftly and without too much drama.
Make everything else in life as easy as possible when you have a newborn on your hands!
ROAD TRIP WITH A NEWBORN – FINAL THOUGHTS
No doubt after your first trip in the car you will learn for yourself more specifically what your little one needs, how best to entertain them and how often you may need to stop along the way.
As they get older what they want and need will surely change, and you will try your hardest to keep up!
Which tip was most useful for you?
Or do you have any more tips for taking a road trip with a newborn?
Either way, leave a comment below and let us know!