Next week, we’re packing up the car and heading to Idaho for an extended vacation. Wolf will get to meet his some of his grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and a few cousins all at one time! I can just tell he’s ecstatic.
Traveling to Idaho means that we’ll be driving – usually a 7 and a half hour journey! Normally I wouldn’t think of it as such a big deal. My plan was to feed Wolf right before we head out and hope that he’d sleep for a few hours, pull over to feed him again or change a diaper, then repeat. But as we’ve learned recently, it might not be that simple…
Wolf does NOT like sleeping in his car seat. Whether it be in the car, set gently on the floor next to us or attached onto our stroller, he has not slept in it. To make matters worse, he’s cranky and inconsolable unless he’s sucking on my finger. While normally I wouldn’t mind offering him my finger for comfort, I dread the thought of having to do this for 7 and a half hours straight or longer! From stops for feeding and stops to change his diaper, we can just expect that our trip will be longer than the usual 7 and a half hours. And that is a little less than encouraging! I imagine we’ll be tired and ready to be out of the car by the time we arrive in Idaho.
While I know it won’t be easy, here are 5 tips I’ve found that may make car travel with a baby a little easier:
Let your baby get familiar with the car seat. Once the baby becomes more familiar with the seat, he or she may be happier to sit there in the car. This is something I wish we had more time to do but since we’re leaving on Sunday, we’ll have to think fast.
Make a car mobile. Wolf is just starting to pay attention to things around him. I showed him a mobile today while he was fussing and he immediately stopped and just stared at the mobile! He was content to look at it for as long as I could hold my arm up. I’ll definitely be bringing it in the car with us for a few moments of peace.
Play baby’s favorite music or white noise in the car. We’ve got a particular cd that when my husband puts it on during some of Wolf’s screaming fits, calms him down in a second. Also, some nights when Wolf doesn’t seem to be able to sleep, I play white noise in our bedroom and it works like a dream. We’ve already got that cd on our playlist but I put a few white noise tracks on our list as well to play in the car during our trip.
Place a sunshade in the window. This one seems like a no brainer. Some babies are bothered by the sunshine in their face and a sunshade can help. Wolf sleeps better when the room is dim and he squints when the sun is in his eyes. Previously we’ve put a blanket over his carseat but a shade would be easier!
Give baby a friend. Consider having one parent sit in the backseat with the baby while the other drives. Many times, babies fuss in the car seat because they’re simply lonely and bored back there. Having someone to look at, play with and talk to can help turn an unhappy baby into a content one.
Do you have any other tips for car travel with a baby? I’d love to hear!