Mom Lesson: Summer Roadtrips Strike Panic

Posted by Rachel Engel

Whether you're headed to visit family, touring landmarks, or planning a blow-out vacation at a kid crazy spot, the stressful part  is the trip there. My 9-month-old doesn't realize that she gets to see grandma at the end of this freakishly long car ride. All she knows is that the plastic keys and the dangling mirror don't do it for her anymore, and all she wants is out. And she will scream until  I comply.

Insert nervous breakdown.

As a military spouse and someone who has made probably hundreds of long trips with my baby (thanks to greedy grandparents who complain about not seeing their first grandbaby enough - you'd think they loved her or something!), I've learned some lessons about traveling with a baby. Here are my top 3:

  • Lesson 1: cotton, cotton, cotton. No kiddo (or adult, for that matter) wants to be strapped in a carseat wearing some itchy, polyester mess that holds in the heat and sweat. For our first foray home to family I dressed my daughter in an adorable ensemble with cute button-down shorts and a pink collared shirt. She looked like a baby model, complete with an oversized bow. Unfortunately, when I took her out at a rest stop to change her, her back was drenched, and her poor little waist was covered in lines from sitting in stiff shorts. And we hadn't even been on the road that long yet. My baby roadtrips in her pajamas now.
  • Lesson 2: distractions rule. During my baby's feeding frenzy I was able to calm her down for a good 15 minutes by using my Stretch Armstrong abilities (points for anyone who knows what that is!) to offer up a new toy I had planned on giving as a baby shower present. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Now I always bring 1 or 2 toys my daughter has never seen.
  • Lesson 3: prepare for the apocalypse. True story. On a 4-hour drive home, I packed enough formula and water for two full bottles. Usually I don't even need one - she sleeps most of the way. For some reason my daughter decided that she was postively STARVING. I mean, she was sucking the bottles back like she hadn't eaten in weeks. After the second bottle we only had 45 minutes until we reached my parents driveway, and my little one screamed the entire way. Now I bring the entire formula container and at least enough bottles for one per hour. You never know! Pack the diaper bag like you could be faced with flood, famine and a flat tire - all at the same time. 

Learn from my mistakes and it will make for a much smoother roadtrip this summer - and isn't that what we all want? Smooth sailing! Happy traveling!

What are some of your secrets  for traveling with little ones?



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