I don’t really recall being worried about the impact a baby would have on one of our passions – traveling. We understood that things would change, the planning and preparation would involve extra steps, the time spent traveling (especially if by car) would increase, we realized that there may additional costs to consider, but we have never thought that Copiloo would stop us from traveling. In fact, this is what I pictured:
Heck, we took him to Hawaii three months before he was born. He loved it; look at him basking in the sun at Mauna Kea.
His first trip after birth took place when he was about three months old. My parents were visiting from the ol’ country, and Hubbyloo had drafted an itinerary to show them around California (north and south) and a bit of Nevada – Vegas, obviously. We all, including Copiloo, had a great time road tripping for more than two weeks. When Copiloo was 6 months old we took him to Mexico, for momy’s 30th. He looooved flying, definitely much more than driving…
Last weekend, Copiloo, a visiting friend and I hopped in the car and drove to San Francisco. Let me narrate the story in the form of bullet-pointed tips:
- Try to leave right before the kid’s first nap; this would give you a couple of hours of quiet, and on a 5+ hr long trip, that counts. Unfortunately, I got lazy the night before and I did not pack the bags until the next morning which meant Copiloo fell asleep and I felt bad waking him up; so we left shortly after he’s woken up.
- Dress them keeping in mind that it will be warm in the car, and even warmer when tightly strapped in a car seat. Also, be aware that it is unsafe to leave a bulky coat on when placing a child in a car seat. A bulky coat while strapped in the car seat can cause the harness to be too loose to be effective. Please read more about it here.
- Plan for a 20-minute stop every couple of hours. This would give the driver the chance to stretch and unwind, but more importantly will allow the infant to rid of some of their energy, drink some water, and eat a snack or breastfeed for a few minutes. You’ll also want to check on that diaper!
- Also, consider the possibility that your little one may have a meltdown; depending on your mood, beliefs, and child-rearing approach, you’ll either keep driving humming alongside his screams (after you’ve ensured they’re safe and not in pain!), or you’ll be forced to pull over to soothe them, further delaying your ETA. We had to stop a couple of times and snuggle for a bit, before getting back on the road. It’s not easy for a bundle of joyous energy to sit still for hours on end, and what’s the big deal with being late? Pull over safely and respond to your crying child whenever possible.
- I am not sure what the literature says, but do not try to feed the little one in the car seat. If you give them a bottle, they may get gassy and gas can be painful at a young age; if you try giving them solids, there’s the risk of chocking. I actually did just this, so I’m talking from experience; he did not choke but he gagged and ended up throwing up all over himself. You do not want to deal with such a mess.
- If possible, try to place a waterproof pad under the child. I usually use these, but I forgot this time. Copiloo slept quite well on our way back, but when we got home I found that he was soaking wet and so was the car seat. He had peed and the diaper leaked.
- Copiloo is fond of white noise; we’ve been using it since he was born, and it works like a charm even when driving. If she gets to the point where he is fussy because he is tired, simply turning the white noise on will calm him down and help him fall asleep. (I purchased this album and have it on all my iDevices.)
- Diaper bag contents: some of the favorite toys, the lovey, water, easy snacks (a brand I like is Little Yums organic wafers), diaper changing items, a change of clothes, bibs, wash cloths for easy cleaning, wet wipes, sun screen (he is a beach baby after all), butt cream.
- Larger items: pack ‘n play – we cosleep, but always place Copiloo in his crib until I go to bed; it is also good to have a safe place for them while you take a shower etc; stroller, baby carrier, blankies, PJs (one per night), clothes. Oh, and more toys.
Enjoy your road trip. Keep calm and drive safely!
P.S. Here’s Copiloo at our favorite spot in San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts: