Aha! I bet the title of this blog got you goin’ huh? Babies in the trunk of the car?!? Has Jill totally lost her mind? NO. And maybe. (Respectively.)
Travel season is here folks. Recently my little family of four (how did that happen again?) took a road trip up to Central California to visit my side of the family. We take this 3-hour drive pretty often, so I’ve got this travel-in-a-car-with-a-toddler-AND-a-baby thing down. Most of the time I go by myself (because my husband’s got a crazy schedule of helping babies), but this time my husband came with us. And boy… was he impressed with my methods. (Ok, he didn’t say so outright, but I could just tell how thoroughly in awe he was by the look in his eyes — you know, how all of us wives can just tell when our husbands show a shred of “Ah, that’s why I married her” admiration. — By now, you’re realizing what a wild imagination I really have.)
So even though my husband didn’t comment or show any signs of realizing how brilliant I actually am, I must say I was pretty impressed with what I’ve discovered through taking frequent car trips with my girls. (Hey, if us moms can’t pat ourselves on the back for our small day-to-day victories, then who will? Pat-pat. Now you try.)
Here are 3 of my personally-practical tips for road-tripping with a toddler and an infant:
FEED THAT BABY JUST BEFORE GETTING IN THE CAR NO MATTER WHAT: I’ve always been a big proponent of keeping my babies on a scheduled pattern (eat, play, sleep, etc), but travel days are not the time to enforce schedules. Even if I feed the baby an hour before we’re supposed to leave, I give that little one a ‘top-off’ of a few more ounces just before getting in the car. I find it keeps her satisfied so that she’s happy for the first part of the trip and then falls asleep (most of the time, for the rest of the trip). You can get back on your regular feeding schedule on a non-travel day. Done.
DON’T GIVE UP THE TOYS ALL AT ONCE: Packing toys in the car for a toddler is a no-brainer. I usually go for the portable laptops that bark like dogs and things that go beep and ding-ding-ding and toss in our Na-Na and Hop-Hop for good measure. But I wait to give them (one by one) until the toddler actually has an actual crying meltdown while I’m driving on the freeway. Don’t give ’em unless you absolutely need them and you’ll be surprised how far those toys can go. Done.
USE YOUR TRUNK: Ah yes, the tip you’ve been waiting for. When loading your car, set up a portion of your trunk dedicated to baby/toddler so that you can throw them back there if they act up. I’M KIDDING. Seriously, set up a changing station and/or snack/feeding station so you know EXACTLY where things are should you need them fast at any moment. For instance, the recent trip I mentioned above was to attend my niece’s Christening. Meaning, all four of us had to be dressed, fed, pretty and in-the-car by 8:30am so that we could depart our home in Southern California and arrive at the church in Central California ready and fabulous by noon. With our changing station set up in the back of our SUV, we were organized. I knew there’d be no time to look for bathrooms and sift through bags. Upon immediate arrival (after 3 hours of driving), two diapers were swiftly and comfortably changed and one baby girl drank her lunch under a posh shaded canopy under the lifted trunk of our car during the 20-minute window we had before the ceremony started. Done.
The trunk of my car has become my most trusted accomplice for road trips (besides my husband, of course).
WHAT ROAD TRIP TIPS HAVE YOU TESTED TO BE TRIED-AND-TRUE?