Put a Bib on It

Driving cross country with a baby?

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How do you plan for a 2,500 mile cross-country road trip with an infant? Very carefully!We’ve just returned home from a 2,500 mile drive across 9 states with a teething infant, and I think it’s safe to say, we survived. But, not without a few challenges, surprises and lessons learned along the way!

When a baby needs to eat, a baby needs to eat. We learned this one pretty quickly. The first time came about 2:00 in the morning and sounded something like a screech owl coming from the back seat of the minivan. This lead to the first of many middle of the night nursing sessions in a gas station parking lot. Although it was not the most ideal location and occasionally led to a baby experimenting with a car horn, it worked for us and allowed us to get back on the road as quickly as possible! It helped that a few choice locations, like the Houston Zoo, offer private areas for nursing mothers.

A well rested baby leads to a happy family. Sometimes we just had to make the choice that our entertainment would have to be sacrificed because Bryce needed to sleep. One problem we ran into was that a busy day meant a tired baby, and a tired baby meant he needed his bed. We struggled with getting Bryce to fall asleep while out sight-seeing or riding in his stroller, because he loved looking around and taking in the sights as much as mom, dad and older brother! This lead to us leaving the beach, the Naval Air Museum and even a putt-putt golf game before we were really “ready” to leave. This was upsetting for everyone, but when thinking about the alternative, we had to make the best, yet difficult, choice for everyone involved.

Preparing for the trip proved to be invaluable in many situations. Although we chose not to make any hotel reservations or specify what day we would be where, we were prepared for challenges on the road. The most valuable preparations proved to be the “new” toys we brought with us. 4C for Children in the Miami Valley offers a wonderful Lending Library – you can look into borrowing items yourself by contacting us – offering parents and child care providers the opportunity to check out different items, and I was able to choose toys that I felt Bryce would enjoy. We introduced them to him on the trip when he woke and seemed frustrated with being buckled into his seat. We also checked out many new books from our local library that helped him pass the time.

We might be home now, but there are still remnants of our trip all throughout our home, including a pile of laundry almost taller than me, various toys that I have found wedged in van crevices I didn’t know existed and four new teeth that have emerged in my son’s mouth. The best remnant is the smile and renewed sense of family we all seem to have since returning from our surprisingly enjoyable and relaxing vacation across the United States.

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