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Hi. I’m Allie O. and I have 7 kiddos. We’ve had a baby in the family for 17 years. If that doesn’t count as street cred for writing an article on Road Tripping with a baby, I don’t know what does! Since none of our babies have ever been fond of bottles, we’ve learned a lot of ways to keep baby happy on car rides between nursing stops. If you’re headed on an adventure, here are 10.5 tips to ROAD TRIP with your baby!
- GAS UP TO FULL whenever you’re already stopped. Even if you still had half a tank. You never want to have to stop when baby is sleeping.
- Pack Puffs if your baby is eating, pack puffs. We snap ours in halves because sometimes little ones have a hard time with the whole ones while leaning back in the carseat and our family’s #1 rule on eating in the car is DON’T CHOKE. So don’t introduce a new food to baby in the car- grab some of these organic puff snacks – Wesley likes all the flavors.
- Audiobooks – The radio’s noise is so up & down. I’ve noticed the constant of a single voice reading seems to keep W asleep longer.
- Get a “toy chain“ – Dude… what is it about being just out of reach that makes a baby want to toss every.single.toy and then start wailing? I now clip one toy on a long enough chain of links for him to play around with and if he can’t reel his toy back in, I can reach back and grab the chain!
- Plot out Chik Fil A’s ahead of time with their Chik Fil A Locator – I prefer to eat at local cafes on road trips but road tripping with a baby is no time to spend an extra 30 minutes driving off route to find the perfect beignet, locally roasted coffee or heritage turkey sandwich. No, desperate times call for desperate measures and if you’re road tripping with a baby, you, my friend, are desperate. Chik Fil A is my pit stop of choice because of the always indoor (except the one in Tifton, GA) and always clean play areas. On a recent trip, we stopped at a Chik Fil A once & a McD’s the other time because all play spaces are created equally, right? WRONG. Chik Fil A is cleaner and they have those handy little wipes to wipe down teeny hands afterwards. And lemonade. And chick fil a sauce. And their staff is always willing to help if you’re traveling with other littles.
- BYO Sibling – Because we are overachievers who really want to keep our baby happy, we have provided him with not one, not two but six siblings to keep him entertained. If one gets tired, no problem! We just swap out another sibling for continuous buddy time. The only rule? No picking his nose. Actually, you may want to make a second rule- no sugar. Wesley’s favorite pastime is eating the whipped cream off his big sister’s frappucino and she fessed up that she also gives him tastes of lollipops and ice cream. No wonder she’s his favorite!
- Drive when baby sleeps – We take this very seriously. We do not stop for pee pee breaks, lunch breaks, coffee breaks or any other breaks (see #1) until baby is awake and has already used up some of his happy play time. Then we look for a Chik Fil A (see #4) which is hopefully located next to a gas station (back to #1 again).
- Baby should dress for comfort, not style – We learned this the hard way. When I went to change our daughter’s diaper a few years ago, her tummy had a red line around it from the waistband of her adorable outfit pressing against her for hours. Now we always put baby in a one piece outfit like this or a dress but no tights! Those are always so tight on round little tummies!
- Extra absorbent diapers – I accidentally bought these Huggies from Costco and quickly became a convert to overnight diapers for road trips. Yeah, they really are more absorbent!! A dry baby is a happy baby so grab a pack for your road tip.
- Socks – I asked my big kids for baby toy ideas and they assured me that W’s favorite game in the car is to pull his socks off over and over and over and over. So if you have a big kid who is willing to put them back on over & over & over & over, this tip is for you!
And, finally, the promised ½ tip: When all else fails, stop at the first available stop and nurse that baby! Snuggle him, kiss her and just chalk up the slower travel time to not letting these days fly by… because they do and before you know it baby will be 16 and you’ll miss those little chubby cheeks you could smooch freely and the baby milk breath instead of adult morning breath. Enjoy these moments with your little… even the crazy ones!