THE MUST-HAVE ITEMS
- iPad + Childproof case
- Nook (x5)
- Pre-measured formula (x2)
- Thermos with Warm water (or water bottle)
- Food: baby food packets are nice. Mine only eats them from a spoon so that makes it a little more challenging.
- Diaper Bag (diapers, wipes, sanitizing wipes, toys…etc.)
- Favorite blanket
The reason why I’m specifically calling out 0-12 Months is that you are either still breastfeeding or are using formula. Either way, it’s a unique challenge, especially if your baby prefers warm bottles. Mine does.
Advice: Try and plan your travel time around a nap, but if you can’t it is not the end of the world. You just might have to entertain a little more if your kiddo is like mine and hates the car seat.
For breastfeeding moms, I have two ideas for you. These ideas are to help keep you on the road to your destination and hopefully cut out any extra stops.
1. Pump in the car and feed it to your baby while the milk is still warm. I have done this. Managing a pump while your spouse drives sucks, it’s overwhelming with all the ‘stuff’ and the stress of not spilling, but it worked for us. Make sure you have enough clean bottles for feeding during your drive. I err on the safe side and never re-use a bottle while traveling. I’m not an expert, I’m sure if you re-use a bottle once it would be fine, but I personally don’t want to take a chance with it.
2. Pump before and warm bottle using water from a thermos (potentially messy and blister-inducing, but it is an option.) I do not recommend any of the car bottle warmers. None of them have good reviews. There is a Tommy tippy thermos type one that I would consider the safest, but again it doesn’t have the best reviews.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND TRYING TO BREASTFEED WHILE THE CAR IS MOVING. It’s not worth the risk, and it is NOT the end of the world if you want to pull over and breastfeed. My husband and I tried to reduce the number of times we stopped because our son HATED his car seat. Seriously, screamed from the moment we put him in the seat until we got to our destination. I think we can count that as a seriously passionate level of hate.
If your little one is onto formula it gets a little easier. The challenge is making sure the water isn’t too warm.
Depending on how many bottles my little one will likely to eat during the drive helps me determine what size thermos to use.
I have a 16 oz from Target and a 32oz from Home Goods. My son takes 6oz bottles so it’s fairly easy to calculate.
(Number of bottles likely to eat) x (oz baby will eat) = total amount of warm water needed.
I also pre-measure out the formula needed for each bottle. I use the medela breast pump bottles to keep the formula in. I know there are tools specifically made for this, but I could never get all the formula out and I almost always ended up making a mess.
There is a good chance that you are going to spill some of the water on yourself when you are pouring it from the thermos into the bottle. I think it goes without saying, but if when the water splashes on you and it burns your skin, then it is too hot for your baby to drink.
So once you’ve successfully got the correct (or very close to the correct) amount of water in the bottle, pour in the formula, screw on the top and give it a good shake. Test the temperature of the formula on your wrist first before you give it to your baby.
IF you want to challenge yourself you can try feeding your little one baby food, I suggest using packets because you can screw the lid back on and your little one could potentially suck right out of the packet. OR in my experience, your little one can grab the pouch and squirt the baby food all over. Yep, it happened. We went back to using a spoon. Squirt some baby food from the pouch to the spoon and then feed it to your baby. A bib would be helpful, but you may not be able to get it on your little one.
Don’t kid yourself, you are the entertainment. We let our son watch movies and play with an iPad during the drive. He’s too little to really play with the iPad so he just smacks the screen and watching his favorite movie Rio.
Here is the ipad case we found most useful for the drive. I really like it because it comes with a way to hanging it from the headrest so my son’s head is not looking down for the 3-hour drive.
Before we bought this case, I made one with a gallon ziplock bag + ducktape + rope. It worked, but tying the rope was a test of patience as you are reaching over a car seat with an impatient infant.
Before your trip, if you will allow your child an iPad or iPod I would suggest loading it up with age-appropriate apps and movies. Unless you are sure that where you are going you will ALWAYS have cell service. For me, that is never a certainty so I play it safe and load that puppy up.
- Rio again
- Seriously Rio
- My son only watches Rio
- Yep Rio
- Rio in my sleep
- Rio all day
- The things we watch repeatedly for our kids
- … save me.
Joking aside some popular kids shows are Paw Patrol, Cars, Frozen, Coco.
If you are not open to letting your child play with modern technology I would suggest brushing up on your nursery rhymes such as…
- The itsy bitsy spider
- Head, shoulders, knees, and toes
- Eeny meany miny mo
For more Nursery Rhymes check out this website: https://allnurseryrhymes.com/
Also some smaller toys for travel.
I’m a “Pack for the apocalypse” mom… so I use a regular backpack and fill that baby till it’s full! That is, it is full of all the travel must-haves that I listed and items that would otherwise be in my purse.
I am writing this while we are making the 3-hour trip home and my son who just turned 10 months old just roared at me. And I was like, … “Excuse me, did you roar at me?” he laughed and gave me a cheesy grin. stinker.