Car journeys can be tense affairs at the best of times. But if you’re preparing for a long journey with a baby in the car, it can be a real challenge. Below you will find some great hints and tips to help you to prepare for a road trip with little ones.
If you have a very young baby, then you have to plan your journey carefully; for the first few months of a baby’s life, milk is the only thing on the menu! For some parents this will mean a complicated routine of sterilising bottles and making formula.
- Breastfeeding is often the easiest method for feeding on the move, because you don’t have to spend time sterilising bottles. However, it is essential to get the driver to pull over when you want to breastfeed, because it is illegal and dangerous to take a baby out of their seat while the car is in motion.
- Expressing breast milk is another option and, as long as your baby is comfortable with a bottle, this should work well. Government advice states that breast milk can be stored safely for 6-8 hours at room temperature, and for 24 hours in an insulated cooler bag.
- Pre-mixed formula can be bought in cartons, or you can make up bottles yourself in advance. Bottles of formula are perfect for extended trips in the car and can normally be stored at room temperature, which makes life a lot easier.
Once your child starts to eat solid foods, your needs on a journey will change. Most very young children like to eat little and often, which can mean an awful lot of stops during a journey.
It might be tempting for parents to pass little snacks into the back of the car when a baby or toddler is hungry, but this is not recommended because of the danger of choking – so always make sure your baby is supervised when eating. Since it’s important for you to be on hand to help little ones eat, try to schedule in stops every hour or two.
On a car journey, puréed fruit is a great idea if you have a cool bag with you. Smooth yogurts are quick and simple and a banana, either whole or mashed, is usually well received.
Toddlers might prefer something a bit more substantial, and finger foods fall nicely into this category. Things like sliced apple and pear, oatcakes, breadsticks and rice cakes are perfect.
Make sure you are prepared for the road
While it is important to think about your young ones when you are on a road trip, don’t lose sight of your own needs. Make sure your car is ready for a long journey by checking that you have adequate car insurance cover and roadside assistance.
Jeremy Chapman is a regular contributor to the Sainsbury’s Money Matters Blog and loves writing about life on the road. In his spare time he loves to discover new places by car and by foot.