Traveling Series: Going by Car

What is the first thing you think of about summer?  Traveling for me!  Baby boy is becoming quite the road warrior lately.  We go on many vacations and mini trips during the summer months.  I was tentative at first about doing this (read my things to think about post), but now I say “bring it on!”.  Baby boy always exceeds our expectations on these trips, with of course some pre-planning on mom and dad’s part.  That’s where this blog series comes in handy!  Traveling with your baby: it is possible!

traveling with a baby

Here are the links to the other lovely posts in this series:

  1. Series Index
  2. Traveling by Car
  3. Traveling by Plane
  4. Car Seat VS. Lap on Plane
  5. Staying in a Hotel
  6. Pinterest-ing Busy Games
  7. Peek Into OUR Vacation

Traveling Series #1: Going by Car

What to pack for the car ride

  • A bag of toys: a mix of favorite toys and new ones seems to work well for those long car trips.
toys to take on a car trip

Baby boy's favorite toys

  • Food: I normally make my own homemade baby food, but on vacation it’s easier to just buy the food from the store (especially if it’s a long trip).  Buy lots and pack a good variety.
  • Sippy cup: It’s a good distraction that will buy you maybe 20 minutes.  Check out the cup that I highly recommend.
  • Baby music: If your baby has some favorite music, bring it!  It’s amazing how much more he responds to his music than music on the radio.  A Music Together CD is a staple in the car.
  • Window shades: That sunshine can be pesky and annoying for baby!
  • Blanket: We took breaks and would lay out on the grass in a park or rest area.  Baby boy could get some fresh air and hang out on the blanket.  Win win!

    taking a break from a car trip

    Baby boy getting a break from the car seat

  • Lunch for Mom and Dad: We have found that if we stop the motion of the car to get food when baby boy is asleep…he will wake up. Packing a lunch to eat on the go is a nap saver.

Tips to keep your sanity in the car

We have done some experimenting with traveling in the car and have found for our son it works better to leave when he is rested and full.  A good morning nap and big lunch seems to be the ticket for creating a happy baby in the car seat.  That way he plays for a bit and will start to doze off around nap time (hopefully).  If we put a cranky tired baby in the car seat he has a hard time falling asleep and will soon be hungry.  A nasty combination.

We will often play the switch-a-roo game during the car trip.  The game consists of the passenger climbing from front to back, back to front, and back again.  If baby boy is happy sometimes it’s helpful to have someone near him to constantly feed him toys (we are in the midst of the I-drop-it-you-pick-it-up game).  Once the little guy starts getting tired though and he sees someone next to him, he gets fussy.  It is best to be out of his line of vision at that point.

All schedules and routines go out the window for the most part on vacation, and if you baby is flexible it works out ok.  I found that most days he got an extra nursing (5 for the day) and an extra solid meal (4 for the day).  If it makes him happy so be it!

Our motto for any trip that we take with baby boy, is don’t pull out all the tricks at once.  If he is happy playing without any toy in his car seat, don’t feel like he needs to be stimulated.  If you give him things to occupy him too soon, you will be out of tricks too early.  Save the big ones for later (sippy cup, puffs, music, etc.).  It’s called rationing the distractions.

traveling with a baby

Baby boy's ride of choice on vacation...the stroller

How do you survive those long car trips with a baby?

For more traveling goodness, read about the pros and cons of infant car seats vs. convertible car seats.

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