Since we live in New York City, Georgie isn’t exposed to the daily car trips that most suburban babies are. That said, she is certainly no stranger to the car. Her first car trip was taken at exactly one week old, when we drove down to my parents’ house for a few weeks, and since then we have taken her on about a dozen car trips. Our longest trip was to Vermont which was just under five hours, although most of our trips clock in at around two hours. Here are a few tips we have learned which help Georgie (and us!) enjoy the car as much as possible:
This is true of absolutely anything with a baby: timing is everything. It changes as babies grow, and what works at three months will need to be tweaked again at six months, but for right now, the best time for us to take Georgie on a longer car trip is at around 8am. She’s had a ton of milk and a little breakfast, and since the first nap of the day is the easiest one for babies, she usually falls asleep in the car and sleeps for a good chunk of time. (Georgie prefers sleeping in her crib most, so naps anywhere else – stroller, car etc. – are usually not as long as they would be in her nursery.) It’s trial and error that led us to figuring out what the best time is, and we figured this timing out when we left early from the city to head down the shore for Labor Day weekend (we wanted to beat the traffic) and we did not hear one peep out of Georgie the entire ride. She sucked her fingers and looked out the window for awhile, then fell asleep for about an hour, and when she woke up, she softly chatted with herself and batted at her toys. Major success.
For whatever reason, Georgie absolutely adores raggae music, and more often than not, Bob Marley will do the trick to calm her down and keep her happy. So we make sure Bob is always on hand in the car. The B is for Bob album is especially adorable.
When Georgie was tiny, she would sleep in the car for the entire ride. I remember being so worried about how her first car ride would go, and so relieved when she peacefully snoozed throughout. Once she approached the four month mark, this changed as she became much more alert and her naps consolidated. Then she went through a phase where she was ok on longer car trips, but screamed on shorter ones. That was rough, but like everything with babies, it was just a phase and it passed quickly.
When Georgie went through her ‘I hate the car’ phase, we got this spiral travel acticity toy and it has proved to be a lifesaver ever since. It dangles down and she loves staring at it and chewing on it. We also attach a toy to the side of her carseat, we have this Hello Kitty mirror in front of her, and we always have her mini Sophie on hand in the car as well.
We always put Georgie in an overnight diaper (we use and love Pampers Swaddlers) for car trips. She has never been one to complain when she has a wet or dirty diaper, but I imagine she is much more comfortable with a really absorbent one than her usual Honest diapers (which by the way are fantastic, but not quite as absorbent).
We love our Cybex Aton 2 carseat (thank you, Car Seat Lady!) but my one complaint is that the sun visor is pretty subpar. So, I always have two light blankets on hand in the car. One to drape over the top so it covers Georgie’s eyes a bit, and one to put over her legs and feet so she is extra snuggly.
P.S. This is a helpful post with some tips for older kiddos as well.