10 Tips for Road Trips with Little Ones

I'm taking a break from laundry and unpacking to tell you about our little family vacation! We had a great time relaxing and getting way too sun burnt. I learned a lot about myself and my relationship with Jordan, and we did, in fact, survive the drive with our little one.

I honestly don't know why I listed this as a goal for July, as everything in motherhood is up to God's grace and not our effort. 

We can do all the planning we want, but ultimately prayer is our first, middle, and last stop in preparing for anything with our child. We did pray A LOT and we were really impressed with how sweet natured our girl was throughout the whole trip. Our biggest "complaint" would only be her crying at the start of her naps, which she never does at home. But of course if I was sleeping in a closet with blankets thrown over the closet doors to block out the massive amount of sunlight coming into the room (gorgeous for Jordan and I, not so baby-friendly), I would be a little freaked out too. 

Here are some tips we used to make our 7-hour drive more enjoyable:

1. Bring a bottle of breast milk or formula in case of code-red crying

We actually did need to use this on the way home. I had Jordan stop the car so I could nurse her on the side of the road, but she was wayyyy too distracted for that! So a bottle came in really handy when I knew she was hungry but too distracted to nurse. 

2. Bring a bag full of toys to keep them entertained 

I kept a bag tucked right behind the center console so I could reach it easily. I would periodically rotate toys to keep her entertained and wanted to have enough options in case she just wasn't having it with any of them. I also brought a couple books to read to her before "naps." 

3. Have a back up plan -- download some apps

We were able to keep to our general at-home routine while on the road by scheduling our departures around naps. When she was due for one, I covered her seat with a couple blankets to block out the light and had the Relax M HD app going on the top of her car seat to block out any noise from the road or Jordan and I. I also downloaded the Veggie Tales Video Clips app for videos if nothing else worked.

4. Bring snacks for yourself! 

For a nursing mommy and driving daddy, we were in need of continuous healthy snacks. I packed hard boiled eggs,Against All Grain's trail mix, somepaleo banana muffins and bottled water. 

5. Plan to be flexible

As glad as we were that Reaghan did in fact nap a little in the car, we knew in the back of our minds to be flexible. We had a few stops planned out every 3-4 hours to get out for about an hour to stretch our legs and let Reaghan play a little bit outside of the car seat. 

6. Keep the morning nap if possible 

This suggestion more so applies once you arrive at your destination. We went to the beach both days and she did well overall (with a short crying spell the first day due to over tiredness). I think she did so well because she had her regular nap in the morning and was able to take a little snooze on her nana's shoulder while at the beach on the second day. It's amazing what even a cat nap will do for a child's temperament. 

7. Keep the backseat clear in case you need to hop back there for any reason

I did need to do this during the 45 minutes or so of crying on our way home. I was able to feed her a bottle and I may or may not have done many an interpretive dance to distract her from her sorrows. I also used my Veggie Tales app which brought a smile to her face for about 20 minutes. 

8. Pack a big bag with all their necessities

I packed a change of clothes, a little cardigan, diapers, wipes, burp cloth, nursing cover and a few extra toys. I also had teething remedies, essential oils, hand sanitizing spray and some coconut oil on hand in case of emergency soothing.

9. Remember, you have a baby

At the end of the day it's helped me a lot to just remember that Reaghan is still a baby. I can never predict how she will react to new experiences and some crying or fussing is just what baby's do! 

10. Pray

Like I mentioned in the beginning, we really did pray for her sleep and temperament. I struggled with asking for these things because I wanted the trip to be easy on us versus easy on her. At the end of the day it was for the both of us. It really is good for mommy, daddy, baby AND extended family when our child is well rested and content. Obviously none of us can control this for our children, but we can do the best we can with what we know - and trust God with the rest. Praise Him for giving us a smooth family vacation!

10 Tips for Road Trips with Little Ones is part of a blog relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" Follow along here