About Traveling With Baby

After completing a vacation to the Outer Banks with Jacob last week, I decided that road tripping with a baby is easy. It only takes 29 simple steps.

And we're off!
After you've decided on your destination and either made your reservations or coordinated where you're staying with friends or family, it's time to prepare for your first road trip with baby!

1. First, pack baby's clothes, obviously. Think one or two onesies per day, just in case you need to make some changes. You never know when you're going to have a diaper blowout or wardrobe malfunction. Don't forget things like pajamas, socks, and coats or sunglasses and hats, depending on where you're headed.

2. Then pack a whole bunch of extra clothes. Because you just never know. I packed a pair of brand new 6 month footie pajamas for our 3 month old son only to find out on vacation that they were too short. 

3. Diapers. Take however many diapers you think you'll need, and then take extra.
Or you'll end up running out and looking for your brand/size in an unfamiliar store. Don't forget wipes, creams, lotions, etc

4. Same thing with formula. Figure out how much you'll need to last you for the whole trip so you don't have to go looking for it.

5. Don't forget bottles, bottle parts and nipples, a bottle warmer if you use one, bibs and burp cloths, and any gas drops or gripe water you might need. And then stuff to clean those bottles with. Brush? Dishwasher basket? Sterilizer or sterilizing steam bags?

6. You should also probably take baby medicine... Just in case. Tylenol, saline drops, teething tablets. Oh, and then things like those Boogie Wipes that you bought but haven't actually opened yet? Pacifier wipes? You haven't used any of this crap yet, but you're going on a big trip and you want to be prepared, so take it all. 

7. Your kid's gonna need a bath at some point, so don't forget their bath stuff. Soap or shampoo. Tub thermometer. Baby washcloths? Their towels. It sounds crazy but you might want to consider taking baby's bath tub or bath chair, too, in case you end up staying in a place that only has a massive jacuzzi tub for two that is impossible to reach into to bathe baby. If that happens, the easiest way to give baby his bath is by getting in the tub with him, and I don't know about you but I'm not a fan of rapidly cooling 97.3 degree bath water.

8. Depending on where your kid is sleeping, you'll probably need crib sheets and stuff. Maybe even mattress pads. And if your kid is a crazy roller (like mine is) you might want some kind of bumper (we use a rolled up blanket under the sheet to stop him from rolling onto his belly since he's not a fan.) 

9. Or maybe your kid will sleep on their pack and play, which means you have to figure out how to fit the pack and play in the car. You already have a whole lot of baby stuff... Plus the stroller... And now the pack and play.

10. Oh, stuff to play with. You can't forget toys. Pacifiers and teethers and stuff. 

11. Now that you think you have everything, and you see what a massive amount of stuff it all adds up to, PULL IT ALL BACK OUT and try to figure out what you can leave at home...

12. Then add whatever things you forgot.

13. And pack for yourself. But make that bag small because by now, you're running out of room in the car.

14. Consider buying a rooftop car carrier for extra stuff. Amazon can get one to your door in a day or two.

15. Map out your route. Plan in advance for rush hour, holiday traffic, bottle breaks and diaper changes, and fuel and bathroom stops for you.

16. When it's time to leave, don't forget to have diapers and formula ready for the trip. Make sure you have snacks and drinks for yourself!

17. Head out! Hope the baby sleeps part of the way to your destination.

18. High-five your partner. Five minutes on the highway and your baby has fallen asleep.

19. Enjoy a couple hours of satellite radio and adult conversation.

20. Repeatedly crane your neck trying to peer at (still!) sleeping baby in rear-facing car seat.

21. Marvel at what a long nap the baby is taking. Wonder how far you can make it before baby wakes up and needs a bottle and diaper change.

22. Finally give in. You have to stop because you need gas and/or coffee and/or you need to pee. Feel guilty for waking up sleeping baby.

23. Check baby's diaper. Totally dry. Baby falls back to sleep. Sweet! On the road again! 

24. Five minutes later: previously sleeping baby is now suddenly wide awake, hungry, wet, and pissed off. Pull into random, middle of nowhere strip mall to do diaper change and feed baby.

Back seat bottle and burping!
25. You've finally arrived at your destination. You're frazzled, the baby hasn't settled down yet, and you now have a car full of crap to unload. 

26. Unpack and realize that you've inevitably forgotten something. Tear apart the multiple bags of baby stuff looking for whatever it is, cursing yourself for not remembering to pack it.

27. Admit defeat, load baby back into car, and head to the nearest store to begrudgingly pick up whatever item(s) you need, knowing that you already have one (or more) at home, but you really need one for this trip.

28. When your trip is over, you will have to repeat most of these steps to return home. Good luck getting everything to fit back into your bags and suitcases. Oh, and have fun trying to pack the car the way you had it set up when you departed. 

29. Think really, really, really hard about planning your next road trip with baby. Consider inviting family to your house for the holidays so you don't have to do the traveling.

We made it!

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