Updated: Feb 22, 2019
We have now taken a few road trips as a family. Each time we have learned valuable lessons about travelling with a baby.
Our first road trip was just a day trip, but it involved almost 2 hours in the car each way. With a baby who liked to eat every hour and a half, we strategically planned to leave the house as soon as she finished eating and hoped for the best. Fortunately for us, the baby likes to sleep in the car and she ended up sleeping the entire drive. By the time we arrived at our destination she required an immediate outfit change and feeding, but we managed to survive the 2 hour drive without stopping.
Our second road trip wasn’t quite as smooth. We packed up the baby in unpredictable Canadian weather and headed off on what should have been a 4 hour trip to visit friends. Not only did we get caught in a rain storm on our drive there, but we hit a snow storm on the way home, which means our 4 hour trip each way was significantly longer.
On the drive there, we thought we would be “smart” and bring bottles so we didn’t have to pull over and feed the baby. This plan didn’t work too well. We were trying to heat the bottle by cranking the heat in the truck, which she then refused to take, and we ended up pulling off the high way anyways so I could breastfeed. With an additional stop for gas and a diaper change, we were pooped by the time we finally arrived at our friends house.
Despite the snow storm, our drive home went much smoother than the ride there. Instead of trying to pre-pump and wasting more milk (I ended up throwing away most of the milk from our drive there and my heart sank a little), I decided to pump on demand. When the baby got hungry, I sat beside her in the back seat and pumped then passed her the milk. I had 2 bottles in rotation so I could attempt to pump + feed at the same time. This worked out MUCH better! The baby was happy to take the bottle, we weren’t sweating trying to heat the bottle, and we didn’t waste more milk.
Most recently, we have started taking the baby on our boat for the weekend. Our boat is only 26 feet, and the cabin is not very large, so we had to pack strategically when it was just us, throwing a baby into the mix takes more planning. Obviously we are getting a little smarter each time, and as the baby grows it is getting easier to plan what we need. The first night we stayed on the boat was a bit of a circus. The baby was teething, we didn’t have our bedding or anything set up yet, we just wanted to get out on the boat and see how it went. We have now stayed on the boat a few times, and we definitely don’t have it down to a science yet, but we are getting better. The bumbo has been a major life saver on the boat. It acts as a portable high chair, allowing the baby to play with her toys, sitting up so she feels like she's part of the action when we are trying to launch the boat, dock it, or navigate the locks.
For anyone else trying to travel with a baby, here are some of my favourite products that are becoming essential whether we are taking a road trip or going away in the boat.
The Bumbo- like I said above, this has become our portable high chair (I have no idea what we'll do when she gets too big for the bumbo).
The Infantino 4 in 1 baby carrier- this is fantastic when we're at friends houses or stopped somewhere. Especially now that the baby is 5 months and can be forward facing, she loves to hang out in the carrier.
Sophie the Giraffe- I don’t know what it is about the darn giraffe, but we cannot leave home without it. It acts as a teething toy, a soother, and hours of entertainment.
Gloworm- I had a glow worm as a baby, so my mom bought one for my daughter. This has been fantastic when travelling! It acts as a portable night light, and plays soothing music when we’re trying to get the baby to sleep.
Zipadee Zip Sleep Sac- This sleep sac is supposed to work miracles for kids who startle easily, but I am not convinced yet. Regardless of the soothing powers, it is light weight, and keeps the baby’s whole body contained, including the hands, which is super handy when the baby starts teething.
Graco Pack 'n Play- the play pen is going to be essential as the baby gets older. It is a familiar place for her to sleep when we are away from home, and also a contained area where she can play (we can also throw a fitted sheet over the top to act as a sun shade and mosquito netting.
Philips Avent Natural Bottles- I bought these bottles on a recommendation from my sister, and have not been disappointed. We have only had a few instances where the baby refused the bottle, and no nipple confusion.
Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump- when I was looking for a pump, I was looking for the best deal that came with good reviews. I have not been disappointed. My only recommendation would be to buy your bottles and your pump from the same brand if possible. Then you only have one type of bottle floating around, and it is easier to keep a supply in the fridge if needed.
What are some of your favourite tricks for travelling with a baby? Is flying easier or tougher than driving? I'd love to hear how others manage to take road trips or vacations with a baby.