Summer travel season is upon us, and I'm going to do for you what I wish someone had done for me: impart all the wisdom I've developed to cut the stress of road tripping with a baby in tow. Trust me; this wisdom didn't come easy.
The first time I ventured out with my baby, I was a wreck. I returned home to inform my husband I was never doing that again. Never. Ever. Ever! Not if you paid me a million dollars.
You can imagine how well that worked out. I'm not yet a millionaire, but we did go out ... a lot. I even figured out how to take the child on road trips farther than the grocery store or the post office without tearing my hair out. Behold:
Pack extra diapers: Now go pack some more. If you think there is such thing as "too many" diapers, you have not yet road tripped with a baby. Just trust me.
Download a bathroom app: There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more stressful than trying to change a diaper in the middle of a filthy truck stop bathroom. Just thinking about the germs crawling around on that floor could take years off your life. But there are a glut of cellphone apps on the market specifically designed with moms in mind: you can get reports on where the clean potties are and what rest stops have family-style bathrooms with nice changing tables.
Pack snacks: If your baby is now on solids, this applies to eats for him, but if you're still breastfeeding, this applies to you too. You definitely don't want to be dehydrating because you didn't bring along some water.
Pre-plan breaks into your trip: It would be nice if a baby slept the entire time you're hurtling down the highway. It might even happen. But if you're on a tight schedule, the inevitable stops you'll have to make for breastfeeding, diaper changing, cranky kid soothing are just going to put you on edge. Pre-planned breaks can be flexible (ooh, baby's asleep, we can keep going!), but they're a real sanity saver.
Bring the portable crib: I know, it's big and bulky. But if you do intend to stay in a hotel overnight, you're going to want somewhere germ-free and familiar for baby to sleep. That way you'll actually get some sleep yourself!
What are your tips for making a road trip with a baby a nice family experience instead of a headache?
Image via Emlyn Stokes/Flickr