5 Essential Tips to the First Road Trip with a Newborn

A baby’s first year is filled with milestones. The first smile, word, crawl, walk, tooth, and more are all to be celebrated. At the same time, new parents are also achieving milestones of their own. First full night’s sleep in months, first date night out since baby, and eventually, first road trip. 

When you have a newborn, everyone wants to meet them and coo over their cuteness. If you are separated by distance, this might mean a road trip is in order. The baby won’t remember this, but parents definitely will. If you are nervous about your first road trip with a newborn, here are some essential tips to survival. 

1. Tag Team 

A long drive is tiring, even more so with a baby on board. Switch off between driving and sitting in the back seat with the baby. This can help deal with things as they arise – from feeding to providing quality entertainment. This approach will ultimately help cut down on the number of stops that have to be made and helps share driving responsibilities. 

As always, sleep when the baby sleeps. If this means taking turns napping as the baby naps, do this. It will mean at least one person is refreshed and can switch off when the other is too tired to drive. 

2. Break for Baby 

Some people pride themselves on how long they can drive without needing a break. This isn’t an option with a newborn. You might be able to handle 6 hours at a time in the car, but a baby most likely can’t. Plan to stop around every 1-3 hours in the day and 3-6 hours at night. These breaks will be to change diapers, stretch, and change outfits as needed. 

If it helps, make a rest stop checklist. Run through everything you need to do each break to avoid having to make another break in just a little bit. Restock supplies as needed, and don’t forget about your own needs too! 

3. Stock Up on Supplies 

Packing for a trip with a newborn means you have to be strategic. You don’t want to be digging around a suitcase when the baby is already upset and you are trying to go down the highway. Instead, have your supplies easily accessible and organized. Here are some of the necessary items in your baby car kit: 

  • Wipes 
  • Portable changing pad
  • Diapers 
  • Small and versatile toys 
  • Prepared bottles of formula or breast milk (stored in a cooler bag) 
  • Infant Tylenol
  • Forehead thermometer
  • Extra blanket

Don’t forget supplies for the adults, too. This means car chargers, snacks, small pillows, entertainment, and more. Always have more than enough! Even if not in your immediately accessible bags, you should have more diapers and outfits in the car than you think you’ll need. If you run out of bottles, make sure to have your breast pump or formula ready to go. Pumping in the car isn’t ideal, but if you have the right pump you can still have an effective pumping experience even on the go. 

4. Know Before You Go 

Before you pull out of the driveway, make sure you have everything you need and prepare for a long road ahead. This includes getting the vehicle serviced to make sure you don’t have an unexpected breakdown. A delay not only adds hours to the trip but is even more frustrating with a newborn in tow. 

Also, plan the route ahead of time. You’ll want a route with plenty of gas stations, hotels, and other options. This is essential to avoid being stuck in a poor motel or without gas in unfamiliar territory. Winging it may sound like fun, but your newborn won’t think so.

5. Keep a Positive Mindset 

Road trips can be exhausting, even without a baby on board. Approach the trip with humor and grace and you will do great. One day you can tell the stories of the mishaps and bumbles and laugh. In the moment it might seem frustrating, but you are making your way towards another milestone with your newborn. 

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Comments

  1. Cassie Smith says

    These are great tips!

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