Are you a new parent and a travel buff too? Don’t despair; there is hope for you yet! If you’re like my husband and I, you will take up a long drive with your baby as a challenge, and succeed! Here are some things that helped us along the way.
A good car seat, safely secured behind the passenger seat, is an absolute must. Since it is rear-facing for young babies, the hardest thing is keeping them occupied in it. Some folks strap a small mirror on the headrest facing the baby, so he can see the road’s reflection (and you can see his). But I didn’t personally try this.
Keep a cotton sheet to cover the baby when he falls asleep. Pack a couple extra – they come in handy to block harsh sunrays. Just roll down the window pane slightly, stuff one end through it, roll the window back up and you're good to go!'. I found that these work better than the stick-on shades that keep falling off.
Keep toys that make sounds or can be pulled/banged for entertainment. Use ribbons to secure them to the car seat so they aren’t constantly falling off. Better yet, get the string toys that are specially designed to be hung from a car seat/stroller.
Our secret weapon of distraction was baby music. We downloaded some lullaby music that our son loves and whenever he started getting cranky, we put this on, and it bought us a good 15-30 min. And if it was close to naptime, this helped him fall asleep ASAP. Test out different pieces of music at home beforehand to know what works for your baby.
Some things are inevitable with babies – they poop and they get hungry, several times! I would change dirty diapers in the back seat (required some maneuvering) or in the trunk of the car. Carry a large waterproof mat with you to lay the baby on. Also, very important are air-tight bags to store the dirty diapers in, unless you want an especially fragrant journey :-).
I was exclusively breastfeeding my baby for the first six months, so when he got hungry, we would find a place to stop, and I would get in the back seat. Make sure you’re carrying 1-2 cover-ups for this. India affords many undesirable situations (like cops driving up and peeping in your window to find out why you stopped beside the highway). If your baby is on formula or solids – keep a checklist ready so you never leave any essential item behind.
Timing it right
We mastered the art of timing after a few trips. We would feed the baby and change the diaper just before we got out. And we’d time it so that it was naptime pretty much as soon as we were in the car. Babies sleep longer in the rocking motion of the car, so it helped us get through a major part of the journey uneventfully.
Though they seem daunting, road trips with infants are actually quite fun once you get the hang of them. Bon voyage, new parents!
Also read more about: Are you prepared enough for travelling with your baby?, Which Double Stroller will suit your twins better? Tandem or Side - by – Side Strollers?, 6 Must-have baby’s travel gear that could be lifesaving!
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