Have Baby Will Travel
Who’s ready to take a road trip this summer? Raise your hand!
Very likely most of you are already old pros at this. You know what to pack, you know how to take stops, and you know the optimal times to travel and which roads to take to avoid unnecessary delays. You can probably do this in your sleep! … or at least after a couple cups of black coffee.
Now, who’s ready to take a road trip this summer with a baby?
Not too many I’d imagine.
It probably seems like once you have a baby of your own, your traveling days are over, right? No, not necessarily. Slightly limited, maybe, but not over.
Sure, you may have to re-learn a few things, pack a little (ha ha) extra, work around your baby’s schedule, but the consensus among traveling parents is that it can be done, and quite successfully as well. St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” When is it too early to read the open book of our beautiful country? Really, that’s entirely up to you and how much you’re willing to adjust.
Pediatric nurse Kittie Frantz once said, “Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience. You are raising a human being.” Like it or not, you’re going to have to work around his (or her!) time table. Our mantra as new parents is “sleep when baby sleeps”, and when baby gets old enough to travel with you, learn how to drive when baby sleeps as well. This will help you cover more ground without too much interruption. Plus, the droning, monotonous motion of the bumping car will likely keep baby asleep.
…just be sure it doesn’t put you to sleep, too. Probably should’ve made that three cups of coffee, instead!
When baby DOES wake up, though don’t panic. Babies aren’t as fragile as you might think they are, but they DO need schedules and regularity. Be prepared to lose a bit of daylight because of frequent stops. Babies aren’t meant to be cooped up in a car seat for too long (which can also cause long-term spinal injuries), and need to stretch just like we do, maybe more so. Most seasoned travelers may grumble at the loss of time, but with some careful time management and route planning, the delays are minimal and very worthwhile.
Also, pack plenty of snacks and make sure they’re within plain, easy reach. It’s not a matter of if, but when you’ll need them, and quickly. And unless you want to spend the weekend vacuuming your upholstery, don’t pack anything that’s potentially messy.
But what if planning around your baby’s bedtime backfires and you end up with a fussy baby and exhausted parents?
Babies require stimulation, different kinds of stimulation, and lots of it: something that long, monotonous car trips just aren’t made for. Be prepared to bring a collection of favorite and new toys, and rotate them during each stop. Bring a full playlist of baby’s favorite music, even if it’s not your favorite. It’s worth it for a calm and peaceful trip. This is also a good time to stop frequently and see the new and different sights. If baby has an older sibling, put him to work on entertainment duty! Not only will this keep baby stimulated and calm, but will hopefully curb the long bouts of “are we there yet?” and “I’m bored!”
In the long run, the important things are planning your route and stops around baby (and not the other way around) and keeping calm. After all, babies can pick up on their parents’ anxieties, so calm and happy parents make for calm and happy babies. And of course, calm and happy babies make for calm and happy road trips.
Just keep all this in mind, and you’ll have a safe and happy vacation with your family and new little one in tow.
First Baldwin Insurance