Tip One: The day before we did our best to keep baby girl awake as much as possible. We wore her out, which meant that the following day- the day of driving- she was exhausted. She literally slept almost the entire trip.
Tip Two: Buy a car seat liner. They are basically just a waterproof liner that you buckle in to the carseat. That way if your little one has a blow out you can just pull it out and bag it, as opposed to trying to take apart and clean your carseat on the side of the road. Luckily we didn’t need one. However, one of my good friends swears by them! You can find cute ones on etsy.
Tip Three: Have multiple hanging carseat toys that you can switch out when he/she gets bored. This was a huge help!
Tip Four: Install a rear car seat mirror. I know we installed one when we first put our car seat in, but if you haven’t – get one!! It definitely helped when she would give a fuss. We could see if she actually needed attention or not.
Tip Five: Anytime you stop- for gas, food, etc pull the baby out and walk around with him/her so he/she can get a break from the seat. This significantly raised her happiness levels.
Tip Six: Decide ahead of time how you want to feed. On the way out I did exclusive breastfeeding. Anytime she was hungry we just pulled over at a rest stop (once under a bridge) and I would feed her while Michael walked and stretched. However, on the way home I would only do that every other time. The rest of the time I would pump while we were driving and then sit in the back and bottle feed her to save time. (It really did save a lot of time). The only hard thing is you can’t pull them out to burp them. Luckily that didn’t seem to effect Nolie, but if your baby is a gulper and needs to be burped that may not be a good option.
Tip Seven: Realize that you may not always have a clean bathroom with a changing station. When packing your car evaluate where you could change diapers and keep a space clear.
Tip Eight: Put an oversized and waterproof bib over their seatbelt and around their neck. On our first leg out we had a projectile vomit experience. Luckily she was wearing such a huge bib that there was no issue.
Tip Nine: Have a good playlist ready. This was important to us because music totally calms Nolie down. However, we didn’t have any music ready. So when we hit Kansas and our iCloud couldn’t download music and the radio was static we were reduced to one Kings of Leon CD. I didn’t mind, but Michael was not the happiest.
Tip Ten: Accept that the baby may cry. However, if he/she is fed, changed, and at a good temperature… you may have to let them just cry it out. Emotionally prepare yourself! We lucked out and had such minimum crying that I can hardly believe it. The only real break down was when we were coming back from Utah to Colorado and we took a scenic route – I forgot how high elevation wise it got and soon Nolie was crying real tears. I know my ears were hurting, so I can only assume hers were too.