Women experience all kinds of emotions during pregnancy. Most women also assume life will go back to being its routine self once the baby has arrived.
As new parents discover parenthood, they realize having a baby is a life-changing decision. Everything changes once you are a parent, including the way you travel.
Planning their first trip with the baby is a challenging task for new parents. It is natural to feel a variety of emotions, including fear, concern, and excitement. However, life shouldn’t stop, even if you are a first-time mom or dad.
While planning their first trip with the baby, all new parents have an infinite number of questions. The most common query is how early can one travel with baby by car.
In theory, your baby can travel by car the day you take it home. However, you must be extra cautious while planning a trip with your newborn baby. Do your research before making any bookings. Several factors must influence your decision.
Here, we discuss some of the factors you must consider before you travel with baby by car.
Talk to Your Paediatrician
The first thing you must do is make an appointment with your pediatrician and obstetrician. You may think you have it all figured out, but trust me — you don’t.
For instance, did you know most doctors advise new parents against taking their baby to a crowded place? Infants have a weak immune system. Thus, they are susceptible to colds and other infections.
Similarly, a lot of infants experience car sickness on their first road trip. Obstetricians also advise new mothers to drink lots of fluids while traveling. They should also stretch regularly to avoid any vaginal discomfort.
Your obstetrician and pediatrician will tell you things the internet won’t. Talk to them as they will better prepare you for the car journey.
Age Isn’t the Most Relevant Factor
Your baby can travel as soon as it leaves the hospital. However, this does not mean you can set out on a car journey as soon as you reach home.
During the initial few days, babies have a very irregular sleeping and feeding pattern. So, it becomes challenging to travel with baby by car.
Postpone any travel plans until your baby has developed a stable sleeping and feeding pattern. That apart, women who have just delivered can develop blood clots from sitting too long. In this way, new parents should also be extra careful while planning a road trip.
Do Not Take Long Trips with Infants
If your child is only a few weeks old, start with short trips. This way, you will be able to avoid any complications.
Moreover, short trips allow infants to become comfortable with traveling.
Additionally, short trips are an ideal choice for women who have just delivered. New moms run the risk of many complications after delivering a baby.
Sitting for long hours can lead to vaginal discomfort and the development of blood clots. As follows, doing short distances is the ideal way to introduce your baby to the road-tripping world.
Pick a destination that’s just a few hours away from home.
Your Car Will Need Some Work
Before you can take a road trip, prepare your car to welcome the baby. For starters, installing a federally approved car safety seat is a must.
While on the road, you must never carry your child in your lap. Buy a car safety seat and go through the manual carefully before installing it. Hire an expert or technician to do the job if you are unsure.
Never install the car safety seat in the front seat. If your baby is less than two years of age, install the car safety seat in the middle of the back seat. The seat must also face the rear of the car. While riding, fasten the straps tightly.
Make sure someone is holding the baby seat in place.
While buying a car safety seat, you may be tempted to top it with a head support accessory. However, head support accessories hardly serve any purpose. So, just avoid wasting money.
You must also put a sticker or a sign that says you are traveling with a baby.
Keep Temperature Under Control
As previously mentioned, infants have a weak immune system. Thusly, you must maintain a comfortable temperature inside the car.
Similarly, it is crucial to monitor the music you are playing in the car.
Ideally, anything between 72- and 75-degree F is a suitable temperature range for a newborn.
Studies have shown that music affects a child’s development.
Hence, play the kind of music that soothes your baby.
Stay away from any loud or raucous music.
Make sure you have packed everything you will need during the journey. This includes diapers, trash bags for the used diapers, pacifiers, toys for infants, bibs, etc.
You will need food. So, make sure you are carrying the baby formula your baby likes. Do not attempt to change the baby’s diet while traveling.
Similarly, do not use a baby formula your infant hasn’t tried before.
Make sure you are carrying more than just one bottle.
You will also need proper medication. Pack oral rehydration solution and diaper rash ointment. You must also have car motion sickness medication with you.
If you are going to a beach, make sure you have packed a herbal sunscreen.
Also, you must have your pediatrician’s number on the speed dial in case of an emergency.
Take Breaks in Between
While traveling with an infant, it is imperative to stop for breaks. Ideally, you should stop every hour.
When you take a break, remove your child from the car safety seat. Place them on a comfortable blanket so that they can stretch their arms and legs.
You must also regularly change diapers. Wearing a diaper for too long can cause your baby’s skin to develop rashes.
Taking regular breaks also allows the mother to stretch regularly. For new mothers, stretching is important.
Protect your baby from the sun by using a window shade.
Make sure your baby is wearing snug clothes. This will make it easier for you to change their diaper. Feeding mothers should wear comfortable nursing clothes during the journey.
Do not feed your baby while in on the road. Feed them during the breaks.
Choose Child-Friendly Hotels
Make sure the hotel or rental apartment you have chosen to stay at is child-friendly.
If you are staying at a hotel, make sure the room has basic amenities, such as an electric kettle. Ask the hotel if they will be able to provide you with hot water to make baby food.
Also, check if they will be able to accommodate your request to wash bottles and dishes. If you are staying in a rented apartment, make sure the place has a fully-equipped kitchen.
Call the hotel in advance and confirm if there is a 24-hour pharmacy close to the place.
Avoid treehouses and safari lodges when traveling with a newborn.
Do Not Worry
Do not be nervous, even if it’s your first car trip with the baby. However, remember that infants have a way of sensing the mood around them.
It is, thus, a good idea to ward off the nervousness by focusing on happy thoughts. You have taken care of all the necessary things. You are well-prepared for the car journey. Nothing will go wrong.
Play some soulful music that both you and your baby can enjoy. Focus on having good thoughts. Relax and enjoy the car ride. Your first car journey with your child will always be one of your happiest memories.
The Final Word
Some people will have you believe that life stops after you have a baby. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Life becomes a lot more enjoyable after you have a baby. Just because you are parents does not mean life should stop for you.
All you are required to do is be extra cautious and responsible.
Introduce your child to the wonderful world of traveling at an early age. Just remember to talk to your OB and pediatrician before your first car journey with the baby.
Make sure you have packed all the essentials. All safety instructions should be in place. Remember also to choose a destination your child can enjoy as much as you.
Start with short trips. Once your child gets accustomed to short journeys, start planning the longer ones.