Tips for road trip with baby?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Tips for road trip with baby?
Tue, 04-20-2010 - 11:11am

I think I mentioned in the moms thread that DH and I are planning to visit my dad in Canada next month. The other night we did a spreadsheet, driving vs. flying, and it is much cheaper for us to drive, even though it is a minimum 13 hour drive. We have done the drive before but now that we have a baby, I'm expecting it will take us longer. We will be staying in a hotel and bringing our PNP.

Any tips on how to make the ride smoother?

We've thought about driving mostly at night in hopes that Selin would sleep a good chunk of the ride, esp. given her issues with the car seat, which are getting better actually.

Any items that are a must have for the trip? I'm planning on bringing the usual - clothes, diapers, wipes.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Tue, 04-20-2010 - 12:09pm

I've done a bunch of car trips with Eloise and Desmond, we've driven to Disney twice (16ish hours), and Atlanta (11ish hours) once plus some shorter length trips that were still 6 hours plus.

Have more diapers then you think you'll need readily available. We always end up needing more diapers then normal on road trips for some reason and half the time I haven't left enough easily accessible.

If baby is a good car rider then a 15 minute stop every 2 to 3 hours tends to work well, with a slightly longer stop as the second stop. I really suggest stopping after 6 to 7 hours, even if it seems like baby can go further. The second day is worse if you don't stop after 7 hours or so, at least for us. With 7 hours in the car and stopping every 2 1/2 hours, so twoish breaks, first one for 15 to 30 minutes to stretch, feed baby etc. Second one slightly longer, possibly for food. The drive doesn't seem to bad.

Do not stop if baby is asleep. Always drive when baby is sleeping, anytime we've stopped when either one of ours is asleep on a long car ride they then wake up a few minutes later and need a break. We try to never ever ever stop if they are sleeping unless we really can't avoid it.

Make sure you have an extra outfit or two for baby easily available as well as at least a clean shirt for you. Diaper blow outs and major messes tend to happen more often when you are on long trips and you aren't prepared.

I'd make a cd that has songs that baby likes, and that you don't mind either. Our kids listen to our music so I just make cds of artists of mine and DH's that they like. Eloise loves Celtic Women for instance, if we put the cd on in the car it helps calm her down if she is upset.

You don't really need to worry about snacks for baby since Selin is so young, but bring a couple of snacks for you, high protein things like nuts work well. Just in case you get stuck in traffic etc, and need something to eat. I know nursing tends to make me more hungry and if I don't have something available after our stops, then I normally end up needing to stop again for something small to help.

Most of all be flexable. If Selin can't handle more then 90 minutes without a break, then take a break every 90 minutes. If she can deal with sitting in the car for more then 7 hours and it doesn't affect the second day then drive as far as you can the first day.

We actually prefer driving during the day to the night, but since Desmond and even Eloise fall asleep after about an hour/90 minutes in the car, we normally end up with fairly late nights when we get to the hotel because they have slept at least half of the drive.


Thank you for the sig Mary

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Tue, 04-20-2010 - 3:00pm

I've done 20+ hour road trips when my kids were around 6 weeks before.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2004
Tue, 04-20-2010 - 8:27pm

We did what is a 17 hour trip normally with Simon when he was roughly 9 weeks old to go see my family in Kansas. Simon enjoys his car seat and going so that made it a ton easier. I'm sorry Selin isn't as excited about the whole car seat thing.

We left around noon and had plans to stop at DH's parents which is roughly 5-6 hours from here for dinner. We stopped and got Simon out and about to let him play and what not in hopes that he would get tired out. We left there around 8:30 with him in his Pj's and did his normal night time routine other then placing him in his car seat and back in the truck. We did make some scheduled stops as to when we would stop and feed him. If you have ever traveled across Wyoming there isn't much and it can be 2+ hours between decent places to stop. So while we normally wouldn't wake him up to feed him we did so that night so we didn't get in the middle of nowhere and him want fed. We also tried to schedule things to stop and feed him and to also feed us. This helped make less stops though the stops sometimes were a lil longer trying to get everyone fed.

We did drive through the night and straight through. DH and I took turns attempting to sleep on the road. We did stop once early in the morning and took a couple



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-23-2005
Wed, 04-21-2010 - 11:13am

Okay, you've gotten some great advice thusfar, we've traveled with our LO when he was fairly young, but they were shorter trips 5-6 hours. He's 2 now and we've driven 12-14 hours last month.

I am assuming you are still BF'ing? So let's talk about pumping. Does your pump have a cigarette lighter adapter? It may be easier to bottle feed in the car if you don't want to stop and then pump in the car (I just put a blanket/nursing cover over and pumped. I had DH drive in the right most lane to have as much privacy as possible.

Bring a cooler with tons of ice or cooler packs. We also invested in one of those electric coolers that we could plug into the cigarette lighter/charger when I wasn't pumping to keep my milk cold. (By the time LO was 6 weeks, I had an extra 200 oz in my stash, so depending on where your production is, and whether you only BF and no bottles, maybe this isn't needed)

-consider not "dressing" her, just a onsie, but no full on outfits so she will be more comfortable for the ride
-Sunshade for rear window
-New toys
-If you don't have a large vehicle, consider renting one (maybe a mini-van, or suv) to give yourselves more space inside the vehicle if possible?

HTH! Safe Travels!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2007
Wed, 04-21-2010 - 12:02pm

Hey there,

I've seen you post here a couple times but I didn't notice you ever post an intro. If you are a WTT Grad, introduce yourself so we know who you are! And if you aren't, well, introduce yourself anyway, LOL!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Sat, 04-24-2010 - 4:14pm

Thanks so much ladies! All GREAT advice!! We're not leaving for another