Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Road Trip with a Baby

Hi again! 2 posts in 2 days, I *know*. But this one's shorter.

I wouldn't normally advertise that we're going out of town, but I need some advice. (And burglars beware: someone will be at our house taking care of our animals, so don't even think about busting in.) This Sunday we will leave to go to VA on a trip for Clark's work, and then the following Friday leave from there for a visit in MD for the weekend. On Sunday the 3rd, we'll drive straight back from MD to SC. On previous trips sans baby, home to VA was about a 7-8 hour trip, VA to MD was 4-5 hours, and MD to SC was about 9 hours, all including stops for gas and food.

We are not going to take any bottles on this week long trip. While Lily Mae has had about a dozen of them in her life, I really don't like giving them to her when I have a perfectly good supply on hand. Or on... well, nevermind. The only times she's gotten them is when I was involved in something that couldn't be stopped to satisfy her hunger, such as band practice or small group. On these road trips, though, we're really not in any rush, so there's no reason we can't make stops to feed her. She eats every 3 hours during the day and it takes about an hour from start to finish including a diaper change. I anticipate that the legs of the journey should increase to SC/VA - 9 hours, VA/MD - 6 hours, MD/SC - 12 hours.

So here are some questions I have for those of you with experience. Obviously there is no choice but to leave Lily Mae in her car seat while we're moving. But she's only three months old! She already gets fussy when she's bored, and that seems like such a long time for her to just be sitting there staring at the back of the backseat. She does sleep well in the car, but if she sleeps the whole day on the road then she'll be a total mess at night. I suspect that if that's the case, she'll get back to a normal schedule just when it's time to make the next leg of the trip, thus creating over a week of chaos for her.

How do I make such a long journey with a baby without totally screwing her up? I really need some good advice. I'm so very nervous about this trip. The weekend before last we went to visit Clark's parents who live just on the western side of the state only three hours away. I fed her before we left and should have stopped on the way to feed her again but she was just sleeping so peacefully. So we didn't stop. By the time we got there she was way over-hungry, didn't eat well, didn't sleep well, and didn't recover from it the entire time. It was a disaster for my baby (and for me by association). I'm trying to avoid that happening again, but since this trip is going to be almost three times as long my fears are running rampant. Please give me some advice on how to make this road trip the best it can be! Comment away!


Kelly said...

First - breathe! That's good. Now relax. :) At least a bit. When the girls were little I remember two trips we took very vividly. One to Helen, Ga, and another to Alabama. (Oh and one we took when they were older to MD and that was a mess.)

Anywho, some advise feed her when you stop so you can combine all stops at one time. Maybe you can purchase some hanging car toys so you won't worry about her getting too bored, but I promise she won't. You could also take some part of the trip and ride in the seat next to her, read book aloud and play with her while in the car seat.
Is there any way you can start the trip in the evening. The one time we did that it was wonderful. The baby slept most of the way, and we only had to stop and get gas, restroom and let baby feed like twice which was awesome. Not to mention less people on the road at night. I think that was our best trip ever.
Hope this helps, some. :)

Rita said...

We road tripped with ivalee from 6 weeks to around 11 or 12 weeks almost constantly. That doesn't make me a pro at it, but I definitely have some observations.

1) It was easier when she was awake to have someone sitting in the back with her. Take a book or two and a toy or two - whatever she's into and the trip will go faster and with less tears if she sees you and doesn't get upset or confused about where she is.

2) I don't know if the rest they get in the car is not as restful as it would be if they were home or what, but Iva almost always kept her regular sleep schedule after a roadtrip where she slept the whole time. On the way home from VA once, she slept from VA Beach to Summerville and then took a nap during nursery at church and still slept her regular schedule that night. I just kept feeding her at her normal feeding times during the drive.

3) It may not be the popular answer, but I nursed in the moving car on roadtrips. Still do. Not while driving of course. :)

Above all, just follow your instincts and be especially flexible and mentally prepared for whatever.

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

Road trips are.daunting, to be sure. Add kids to the mix and things get crazy.

When lexi was abput 8 months, we drove to Nashville, a 12 hour drive. But we left a bit beforr her bedtime. played, hung out, and stopped to roll.through her routine, (jammies, book, song, nursing), and she zonked shortly after and slept quite well. Shaun and I enjoyed a little us time to chat and traded napping and driving for the rest.

If you can't.do that, consider trying to nurse her while she's in her seat if you want to push it a bit. And sitting back there.to play with her will help het stay awake a bit.

Make sure whatever diaper she's in is comfortable around the middle while she's sitting and a wick away fiber instead of cotton since shell be sitting right on it without movibg much.

And remember to relax!! And maybe drive a bit to get a.baby duty break if you feel stressed.

Christy said...

I don't have experience yet, but my suggestions would be to drive at night if you can, or make sure she is totally awake and playing with her on your stops, or Sawyer likes to look at the car seat mirror we have, or you could sit in the backseat to interact with her, that's all I got.

Andrea said...

We've done several long car rides with Jolie and it can work and be just fine - I promise! :) My advice:

1. Add 2 hours to the time it will take to get there for stops. Since we did this before we left, we just expected that it would take us longer.

2. Does she have a routine? We did a long drive when Jolie was on a 3 hour routine and stopped every 3 hours to nurse (in the car) and walk around for 45 minutes. Usually, we chose a Target or somewhere we could change her diaper, too. That way she got a little awake time and then it was back in the car for her regular nap times.

3. Our big trip last month included lots of driving and Jolie was on a 4 hour routine. We planned on stopping every 4 hours so I could nurse somewhere. Drew tried to find places that we could get out, like parks or stores or restaurants before hand. I brought a blanket to sit on, the Boppy and the diaper bag (and my nursing cover, of course) and we didn't have to bottle feed the ENTIRE TRIP. We just stopped and I'd find a sweet little spot to nurse and we'd change her diaper, play for a little while and walk around. Then, it was back in her car seat for the normal time she would be napping (she takes 3 naps a day).

Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I thought! Since the weather is nice, I nursed outside a lot. We took a lot of pictures of my nursing spots :) It was actually nice to get out and take a break.

Try to stick to the routine and plan your long driving stretches around her normal nap times. It works, I promise! :)