With the holidays fast approaching, you probably have tonnes of plans to meet up with friends and family over the festive season. Packing for a long drive with a newborn can be a handful. That's why we have come up with our nifty guide to how to plan a road trip with a newborn. So fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride!
1) The essentials: Like with all long drives, make sure you and your car are full equipped with the usual:
a) Check the tires for excessive wear or damage and ensure they are sufficiently inflated.
b) Check the oil levels in the car.
c) make sure the windscreen wiper fluid is sufficient and test the wipers to check they are working fine.
d) Check the brake, power steering fluids and engine coolant transmission fluids to be sure they are full. Remember to check fluids when the engine is cold. You should also look under the car for any leakage.
e) Check all your lights are working fine (ask someone to stand outside the car to tell you whether they are working or not).
f) Check the air circulation system is working to moderate the temperature inside the car and for use to defog the car windows.
g) Check your mirrors.
h) Check your spare tire (if you have one).
i) Always carry your car insurance / breakdown cover details on you in case you have a breakdown.
j) Check you have enough petrol.
k) Pack plenty of water and some snacks.
l) Pack Money / cards.
m) Always carry a first aid kit.
n) Don't forget your phone charging cable!
o) If using a GPS make sure it is charged up and you have reviewed the route before heading out. Check the route ahead of time in case of any potential road works or route diversions on the way. Ensure you have the charging cables if required.
p) Pack the pushchair and rain cover if you decide to take one.
2) Your Baby Bag: see our blog Baby's Day Out for your comprehensive list on what you need for the baby on a day out. If you are travelling for a few days, ensure you pack more of the essentials (baby clothing, nappies etc).
3) Load up the car the night before: this takes out the stress on the morning of the big day.
4) Check the car seat: always check the car seat has been fitted correctly. Check out the Babycentre.com guide to checking your car seat in fitted properly by clicking here.
Picture credit: https://thecarseatlady.wordpress.com/tipsheets/preemies-small-newborns/
5) Planning is everything: especially with a newborn. Time their feeding times and sleeping times (and anticipate their changing times) with your drive times. If you find it easier, leave for your drive straight after eating, then the next break can be when the next feed is due. If your little one sleeps better in the car, depart at their nap time and let them catch some winks while you cover some ground. Plan a routine that works for you and your tot.
6) Stick to baby's schedule as much as possible: The idea of this is to "trick" your baby (not as harsh as it sounds!) into thinking nothing has changed on route to your destination. For example, if you are planning on departing when its time to sleep, play out the EXACT ritual you would do at home. Play that specific lullaby, dress them in their comfy cloths, hand them their favourite soft toy and hopefully they will head to the land of nod.
7) Take breaks: It is in the Highway Code that you must stop and take a break every two hours for at least 15 minutes. As mentioned above, try to time these breaks with the baby's schedule.
If you can, plan ahead where you will be stopping to take a break. Whether it's a place to grab some lunch or a tourist attraction on the way, it's always good to have at least an idea of the route ahead and where you can use the appropriate facilities.
If you are able to (and if the weather permits), find a nice place where you can stretch your legs and take baby on a stroll to get some fresh air. This may also help baby sleep better in the stroll or when you head back to the car.
8) Food: If you are nursing, try to take breaks where you can comfortably nurse the baby without any discomfort (the car can be a bit tight and uncomfortable). If you have expressed milk or your baby is on formula:
a) Expressed milk: you can keep the expressed milk in a cool container for up to 24 hours. To warm the milk up warm it in a bowl of warm water.
b) Formula: Pack containers of premeasured baby formula and separate thermos of warm water. When baby is ready to be fed, simply add the warm water to the premeasured baby formula container, shake, and transpose to a baby bottle. You can also buy ready-to-drink baby formula if you prefer.
9) Activities: If your little one is not sleeping, try sitting at the back with them and play with them. You could use finger puppets or read them a story or play along with their own soft toys and activity mats.
10) Keep the essentials with you: and all the other bulky items in the boot of the car. Keep all essentials (for yourself as well as the baby) within arms reach - just in case!
Now you are all set for your first road trip with the little one! How did you find this advice? Do you have an ideas you would like to share? Don't be a stranger! Leave your comments below, we'd love to hear them :-)