New parents have a lot on their plates from the get-go. If you’re a new mom (or any parent for that matter), you sure don’t need us to tell you that. From day one, sleeping through the night seems to happen once in a blue moon, and moments to yourself come few and far between. Of course, you wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world—being a parent is the best thing that’s ever happened to you! But with that said, anything that can make life a little easier goes a long way, and you could probably use all the convenience you’re able to get.
One thing that new parents don’t always consider as the big day draws nearer is travel. When you stop and think about it, you’ll likely be spending a lot of time in the car with your little one before too long—so it makes perfect sense to have your vehicle prepared in the same way that you might prepare a nursery. So check out these tips to make traveling with baby a breeze!
Have the Right Car
This one may seem obvious, but having a vehicle that can handle a family can’t be emphasized enough. You want something that has enough space to store everything you need, but also gets decent mileage and fits your budget. What’s more, getting your baby in and out of the car may not seem like a huge deal at first, but when you’re doing it multiple times a day, you’re definitely going to want a car that sits either high enough off the ground, or offers enough room for your back not to hurt as time goes on. When it comes down to it, a vehicle that makes car-seat travel easy might be one of the most important things to consider as a new parent.
Prepare Your Bag
A well-prepared diaper bag is one of the most important parts of taking your baby virtually anywhere—you’d have a hard time finding a mother who doesn’t agree with that statement. It’s something that you and baby should never leave the house without, and having one prepared to throw in the car at a moment’s notice is probably a good idea.
Some things to consider for your checklist:
- At least 1 or 2 diapers for every hour you’ll be away from home
- Favorite toy
- A blanket
- Disposable wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Change of clothes
- Rash ointment or cream
- Changing pad
One method is to have a rotation of two bags, so you’ll always have one ready to go when you and your little one need to leave the house unexpectedly.
Now this one will vary depending on your baby’s age, but regardless of which snack is appropriate for the time, make sure you have some ready! Sometimes a little snack makes all the difference in the word between a grumpy baby and a happy little camper. When you’re little one first begins to snack on solid foods, it’s also a great opportunity to get them into the habit of eating healthy snacks. Getting started early helps kickstart a healthy lifestyle for years to come!
Some ideas for healthy snacks (be sure to consult with a medical professional about when your baby can start eating different types of foods):
- Small bites of fresh fruit with any skin removed
- Plain (no sugar added) yogurt
- Small bites of steamed vegetables like carrots or green beans
- Small bites of skinned cucumber
- Nut butters
These are just some examples, and there are plenty of great guides out there on healthy snacks. Whatever choice you make, you’ll both be glad you remembered.
Babies get bored too! Don’t forget to include some fun and distracting toys for the ride. There are lots of great toys that will connect to the car seat and will keep that sweet little smile on their face for the whole ride. Another good option is educational soundtracks and songs. There are a lot out there, and it’s a great way to get a jump start on things like the alphabet or counting. (A word from the wise: these educational soundtracks might make you feel like you’re going insane after a while, so be sure to mix it up every now and again for your own sake!
Trash Can for the Car
It may surprise you to know that this is one of the biggest game-changers a new parent could possibly try. It’s such a simple concept, and yet, it makes life way easier. When you’ve got little ones—especially as your family grows—trash in the car seems to have this way of multiplying ridiculously quickly. Anything the imagination could conjure up has a chance of making it way under your seat sooner or later. Whether it’s just a bag hanging somewhere or your vehicle actually has enough space for a small trash can, something within quick reach that you can throw garbage into without a second thought and change out later will make things a whole lot easier.
Being a parent adds an unprecedented amount of love, but also responsibility to your life—so every edge you can get will help. We hope these tips can make your life a little bit easier!
Amanda Stewart is a freelance blogger with a passion for traveling and helping others. When she’s not writing you can catch her hiking and playing with her two dogs.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
Photo attribution: Jim Champion licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).