Survival Guide to Road-tripping with an Infant
How to Successfully Road Trip with an Infant on Board
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A weekend road trip as a new family of 3, that doesn’t seem to complicated. WRONG!
It was only a 4 hour trip, but wow… I had no idea what I was doing! I was so afraid I would forget something we would really need that I pretty much packed everything we owned.
Let me save you the trouble, we barely touched half the items I had in the suitcase.
I was so focused on everything we would need while at our destination that I didn’t put much thought into what we would need in the car.
On a day to day basis I would normally just grab the diaper bag and head out. Herein lies the first problem we had while on our first trip with a newborn.
We’re driving along when something starts to smell… you know the smell… it’s like a mix of rotten eggs and something that just rolled over and died, and then exploded!
I look at my husband who is notorious for farting. It wasn’t him. Then we quickly put 2 and 2 together as we look at one another in bewilderment.
How could such a foul smell come from such a cute baby?
Of course, we are in the middle of nowhere land and there isn’t a gas station for miles. We pull off to the side of the road to inspect the situation, and OH MY we have got quite the situation!
This horrid smell is most definitely coming from this 9 pound baby. I get out the diaper bag and Lord help us! There is only 1 wipe!! Yes, 1 wipe!
How could I have forgot to check the diaper bag for wipes? Even worse how could I forget to pack wipes in the suitcase! That suitcase that is crammed full, barely able to zip, and has no wipes!
Worse yet, this is no normal poopy diaper. This diaper couldn’t even handle the force that rocketed from my little ones booty.
It’s seeping out the sides, it’s all the way up the back and nearly to our baby’s shoulders. It’s soaked through the adorable onesie and even made its way to the carseat.
Now what? Mom mode commence! Grab that water bottle! Grab that stash of napkins from the glove box! Voila! Homemade wipes!
It wasn’t perfect but we got her pretty well cleaned up until we made it into civilization again, where we were able to purchase some wipes.
So moral of the story… don’t spend too much time focusing on what you think you might need and forget about the basics.
I’ve put together a good go to list for future trips. Our trips since that first trip have been much better.
Now there has unfortunately still been plenty of diaper blowouts in and out the carseat, but the suitcase is less full and there aren’t unwanted items going unused.
Go To Checklist for Road Trips
- Wipes – Double check the diaper bag for an ample amount of wipes but also take a new package of wipes with you.
- Diapers – I always throw a box of diapers in the trunk, because that is the easiest for me and I know I won’t run out of an entire box.
- Clothes – 2 sets of clothes per day plus one extra backup for the trip should do it.
- Jammies – 1 set per night plus one extra backup.
- Socks/Shoes – Dependent upon the weather. If it’s hot I wouldn’t even mess with socks and shoes. Maybe take a couple pairs of socks in case you go somewhere with the A/C blasting. If it’s cold definitely take 1 pair of socks per day plus 2 backups, because we all know how easily those tiny socks can disappear. If your baby isn’t walking yet, I wouldn’t worry about packing shoes unless you just want to because they’re so incredibly cute! In which case I’d only take one neutral colored pair that will match all or most the outfits.
- Burp Rags – My newborn spits up A LOT, so I always pack 3 burp rags per day and make sure to have a few in the diaper bag also.
Where Will Your Baby Be Sleeping?
- Do you need a Pack n Play or Bassinet?
- Sheets – If you’re taking the Pack n Play or the Bassinet, make sure you have the proper sheets for it.
Is Your Baby Going to Need a Bath?
- Infant bathtub – Do you need to pack the infant tub for this road trip? Personally, I will just shower with my baby when we take short road trips. If it’s a longer trip I would consider taking the baby tub unless your tight on space.
- Hooded towel
- Wash cloth
- Body/Hair wash – I use the combo on trips. It’s at least one less bottle.
- Toys/Books – When traveling I only pack a few of my daughters very favorite toys that I know will keep her entertained.
- Sunscreen – If you’re going to be out in the sun.
- First Aid and Medications if any – I know most newborns are on vitamin D drops, so don’t forget those!
For Breastfeeding Moms
- Will you be needing to pump? If so, don’t forget:
- Breast pump
- Breast pump accessories
- Battery pack and/or wall charger for breast pump
- Storage bags or containers for breast milk
- Pumping bra (if you use one)
- Insulated cooler with ice packs for transporting milk from place to place.
- Bottle Warmer
- Breast Pads
- Lanolin (if necessary)
- Blanket or Cover up (if you use one)
I find it easiest to forego the breast pump on short trips if I know that my baby will be with me the entire time for nursing sessions.
For the Formula Fed Baby
- Formula – If its a short trip having a formula dispenser will save you some time and space.
- Bottled or distilled water
- Bottle Warmer
For the Car
- Diaper bag
- All your diaper bag essentials
- Window shade (if you don’t already have one) – Having a shade up makes it much easier for your baby to sleep if you’re traveling during the day.
- Car seat cover – This is good to have for extra protection against blocking the sun inside the car and wind when outside the car, but if your baby gets warm easily, I would remove the cover while driving.
- Car seat toy – This will help keep them entertained… hopefully!
Things I Quickly Learned Were Not a Necessity
- Boppy – Who are we kidding? You’ll be holding your baby the entire time or someone else will be.
- Baby Wearing Wrap – Same thing, are you really going to need this?
- Activity Mat – there will be all sorts of new things for baby to look at that will occupy most of their time.
Tips For the Trip
- I know it’s the last thing you want to hear, but take breaks often. If your baby is upset and crying they can get overheated in the car seat very easily. It’s important for them to be able to get out and “stretch their legs” too.
- Every time you stop it’s also a good idea to check their diaper. Maybe you’ll save yourself from having to clean up a blow out… or maybe you won’t.
- If your baby is sleeping, let them sleep.
What have you found to be your road trip must haves?
I hope this checklist will help you when you find yourself packing for that next road trip. If you’re anything like me without this list there is always that one things that gets forgotten.
And if your husband is anything like mine, he will ask every time without fail “What goes in the diaper bag?” Now you can download this checklist to hand to him as well.