The great American road trip is something that has been romanticized in countless movies. However, there’s a reason why none of these romanticized accounts include a newborn baby: road tripping with a newborn can be tough. While it can be tough, though, it’s not impossible, so long as you go in with an understanding of what to expect. If you set your expectations correctly, you won’t have them shattered when you’re in the middle of nowhere. For a healthy dose of reality, then, here are four things you need to know about road tripping with a newborn.
Preparation is Essential
One of the most challenging aspects of traveling with a newborn is the unpredictability. You don’t know when your baby is going to be hungry, when they’re going to have a blowout, when they’re going to be upset for no reason, or when their nap is going to end way sooner than it should. To help make the road trip easier, therefore, you must plan for every reasonably possible scenario to ensure you’re prepared. That means plenty of extra diapers and extra changes of clothes, of course, but it also means figuring out ways to do what you normally do in the nursery in the back of a car, instead.
More Room is Key
If this is your first child, you’ll find yourself marveling at how small your newborn is. Applied to road-tripping, this highlights an important characteristic of children: they don’t take up much space, but their “stuff” does. This means that to make a road trip more enjoyable, a larger vehicle is key. Long before you head out on a trip, it’s a good idea to hit up your local used car lot to see the different SUVs and minivans that are available. While it may seem too large at the time, you’ll be thanking yourself as the miles stretch on.
Always Get Gas
There will be occasions when you’re cruising along, making great time, when your newborn has a blowout that can’t be taken care of on the side of the road. This means you’ll have to pull into the nearest gas station to ensure your child receives the attention they need. While you’re stopped, it is key that you fill-up with gas, even if you have only traveled a short distance since your last fill-up. This is because, if your newborn does happen to give you a long stretch with no issues, you want to be sure you won’t have to stop and risk waking them up again.
If you think the last hour before you get home from a road trip is difficult for you, just think how hard it is for your newborn. Even from a very young age, babies seem to have this innate sense of being close to home, which seems to make them fussier and less tolerant of change. Therefore, if you want to keep your sanity during that last hour or so, whatever you do, do not stop.
You may think that stopping will give your child a chance to reset and calm down before you hit the road. That close to home, however, their tiredness will really be kicking in, and you’ll end up listening to a screaming child for what is already the hardest portion of the trip. So, though it may seem harsh, do your best to finish the race strong and don’t stop during that last hour.
The newborn stage slips away faster than you could ever imagine. That’s why it’s so critical that you cherish every moment with your baby throughout the road trip. Though it may be difficult now, throughout your time together, you are creating fond memories that will last a lifetime.