That’s right, we attempted—and completed—our first family road trip this past weekend. And let me tell you, I learned there is definitely a trick to traveling with a 3-month-old. In the weeks leading up to last weekend I think Husby and I went back and forth at least five or six times on whether or not we would bring Adelyn with us as we traveled the five hours to Minneapolis for a wedding. In the end we both landed on the same reasoning; we would just miss her too much if we left her behind with Grandma and Grandpa.
So on we went. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last three months it’s that I need to ease up on my extreme need to be on a schedule. As long as I make it to work and church with five minutes to spare I consider the week a success. Other activities? I’m learning to take a deep breath if we’re behind.
That’s something no one warned me about: it takes so.much.longer.to get out the door.
Nevertheless, we made it. We left exactly 38 minutes later than I had planned out in my head, but the dog was dropped off at my sister’s and we were on the road to Minneapolis. And our baby was annoyed.
Adelyn is really a perfect little girl, and she hardly ever fusses. Unless, of course, we’re in a vehicle. It’s probably our fault for always making her the center of attention, but being buckled into her car seat facing away from us while we chat away in the front just isn’t her favorite situation even if it’s just for a drive across town. So the first trick I learned? Start in the back seat next to her, let her hold my finger, replace the pacifier every time it falls out and lightly run my thumb over her cheek until those baby blues close.
We made it to our hotel in Minneapolis around 10:15 p.m. because a five-hour drive means at least one feeding session must transpire at some point. Upon our arrival is where we hit our second snag. A sleeping baby during a long drive is definitely a good thing. But it also equates to a very alert baby when you hit your destination. This little June bug was wide-eyed and giggling from 10:30 p.m. until almost 12:30 a.m. Luckily her giggles are the reason for our smiles these days because Husby and I were tired. The other thing? Since she slept during the drive she was well rested so she was still a bundle of wiggles again at 5:40 a.m. Wowza. I forgot what only five hours of sleep felt like.
I’m still not sure what we could have done differently to avoid that scenario other than take vacation time from the office and leave mid-afternoon, but all in all we figured out how to navigate through the Mall of America on five hours of sleep.
The rest of our trip went well, but there were definitely some essentials I’ve learned I don’t plan on leaving home without when we attempt our first trip via plane in less than three weeks for my younger sister’s beach wedding in Florida (eek and yay all at once!).
1. Pacifiers, pacifiers and more pacifiers (I recommend the Avent BPA-Free Freeflow Orthodontic). I’m sure this sounds so incredibly obvious (assuming your little one takes a paci), but I find it’s all too easy to leave home with just the one that’s already in her mouth. Not often do I think about packing more because, well, she only has one mouth, right? But the thing about traveling is that things touch other things. And I just prefer that if the thing that goes in my daughter’s mouth happens to inadvertently touch something filled with filth that I could swap it out with a new one until I can properly sanitize the infected specimen. I recommend the one shown because the nipple shape promotes the natural development of the baby’s teeth and gums, and there’s no “right side up”. Additionally, the plastic curves away from the face and the six holes let the baby’s skin breath. Now that Adelyn is starting to drool so much this is super helpful to avoid that chaffing ring so many babies get.
2. Medela Quick Clean Wipes. For the pumping Mom this is a must-have. There’s really nothing worse than having to pump somewhere with nowhere to clean all the pieces without drawing attention. These hygienic wipes are proven safe and effective for cleaning without soap and water. They’re also formulated to safely remove the most harmful bacteria and germs without leaving a residue or scent. Win-Win.
3. Pacifier Clip. It’s the little things that make life so much easier. I don’t know what my parents did before they existed, but I swear these clips save my sanity. I like the JJ Cole line shown above (they have even cuter styles for boys), because the clip itself is plastic instead of metal.
4. JJ Cole Pacifier Pod. There are so many cute pacifier pods on the market, but this line is my favorite (not just because they look like cute, mini purses). You can’t see it in the picture, but there’s actually a little snap on the strap so you can snap it around a diaper bag, stroller handle, purse, etc. So when you need a replacement pacifier you don’t even have to go digging through the diaper bag to find one!
5. Baby Einstein Radio & Praise Baby Radio. These Pandora stations rock (literally!). They were so nice to have playing for her in the backseat from my phone while we played something else up front, and to play overnight. She’s not used to sharing a room with us anymore so drowning out extra noise was really helpful, and white noise or twinkle, twinkle little star on one of those repetitive sound systems might have driven Husby and me straight to the Looney bin. And surprisingly, there’s some adult music mixed into these stations too!
6. JJ Cole Changing Clutch. So simple. So necessary. I can’t tell you how many times I just want to put Adelyn in our front pack instead of weaving the stroller in and out of places. But if I have her just in the front pack, WHERE do I keep things if she needs to be changed?! Enter, changing clutch. When not in use it folds up into a cute little clutch that’s easy to carry. When it’s unfolded, it’s a nice, durable changing pad that has a place to hold diapers AND wipes. This item is my absolute favorite out of everything listed here. If you haven’t noticed I’m on a bit of a JJ Cole kick right now. The line is just so cute and totally affordable!
If anyone has any items you would recommend for our upcoming 9-day trip to Florida or tips on flying with a baby, please share!
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