Should couples stop seeing the world the moment they have a child? We all know the answer to that. But how do you continue to go on road-trips the same way you did when it was just the two of you? Normal life is going to be stressful enough, but now you have an infant to take care of. It's not like you can just carry on as normal, you have to be more aware of time, food, temperature and mood you are in. At the same time you don’t want to be the family that looks like they just got out of a walk-through car wash either. You want to make sure you’re not so stressed and physically worn out that you actually enjoy your road-trip. The best-laid plans can awry if you don’t follow the rules of road-tripping with an infant. Whether you’re off for a three-day weekend or going out on the road for a week or more, make sure you do these things.
Driving at dusk
Infants are prone to cry even when everything is okay. They might be itchy, sweating, hot or just plainly not happy with the ambient car noise. So, to make things more comfortable for both the parents and the child, it's best to drive at dusk. During the late afternoon or early evening is the best time to get going. This will mean whenever you set off on a long drive, the time will be between 4pm to 6pm. The main reason being that your infant will be sleeping at this time of the day which makes driving long distances far more relaxing. Not only this but since he or she will be sleeping, you’re not listening to constant crying and screaming.
The other benefits also include the fact that the roads and highways will be far less congested. You can time when people will be getting off work and leave just before or just after the everyday rush hour has faded away. Parents will get a chance to talk to each other and snack while on the road. It's also a great idea to switch drivers so both of you can get a good few hours of sleep in. driving during the evening and arriving at your chosen place to stay in the early morning, allows you to dress more casually.
Don’t sacrifice comfort
First and foremost, you need to bring along a portable cot. Hotels and privately run accommodation establishments are fine for adults but they don’t have much in the way of infant care. Not only that but you don’t really want to put your infant on a bed that isn’t yours for hygiene purposes. To go with the cot, take a Play N Pack Mattress with you since you can easily fold it up and fit it inside any portable cot. The foam mattress remains springy and comfortable no matter what the temperature is and it's lightweight. Dragging it everywhere with you won’t be nearly as difficult as one would expect.
For the parents, you should also take with you blankets and pillows that you find most comfortable. Granted you’re a family that is on a road-trip so you might not have a large budget. You can offset any cheap rooms by taking with you your own bedroom needs such as a duck feather pillow or an Egyptian cotton blanket.
Be prepared for your infant
It's crucial that you wake with you a ‘ready kit’ for your infant. The things that you would normally have with you at home in abundance, need to be mimicked or brought with you. For example, make sure you have a portable changing mat for diapers swaps. Take with you a small bag of diapers and a packet of baby wipes. Make sure that you pack as thermometer to check your infant’s temperature. Be sure to take with you headache medicine that is for infants such as infant ibuprofen. Portable durable baby milk bottles are also a must as you will be feeding your infant while on the road so you should not have glass objects that can break. An extra warm blanket is always there if the temperature drops or if it rains and you need to wrap more layers around your infant.
Take some toys with you as well, preferably those that will not break so easily. In this day and age you don’t really need to pack bedtime books as you should have your smartphone or tablet with you for that.
Get out of each other’s hair
You will need to remind yourself about this when you’re out and about, but stop getting in each other’s hair. If a couple is arguing while on the road by themselves, it's not a great mixture of circumstances. You are both with each other all the time. You have to be, because you’re in the same car traveling to where you need to go. You’re always there when they wake up, you’re always there when you go for dinner and when it's time to sleep. So arguing and bickering is commonplace among couples on road-trips. However when you have an infant to look after you simply cannot do that.
If you raise your voices and shout at each other, the infant will be in distress and start crying loudly. You also might be so taken away with your emotions that you forget to care for your child properly. The best thing you can do is give each other space. Take turns to babysit your infant and take opportunities to be apart from each other. Elect to have dinner separately or enjoy sightseeing apart as well. Every now and then this is something you need to have so you can have a little more ‘me time’.
Families with infants should never become boring and restrict themselves from enjoying life. Road-trips are brilliant for growing families because they’re very cost-effective and you have more control over your brief holiday. Take with you some bare essentials for the infant such as wipes, diapers, a portable cot and a mattress. Take time away from each other as parents and emotionally regroup so you’re not prone to annoy each other.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.