I remember the first time we went on a day trip with our first born. As we were pulling out of the driveway, I had to fight the urge to run back into the safety of our house with the baby. What if she cries? How will I handle it? What if she cries the entire time we’re away? Where will I nurse? And the questions kept reeling through my head.
Keep calm and carry on. Repeat as anxiety creeps back.
After a few successful day trips later and some overnight stays, I realized that “yes, I can do this”. And once I started to relax and enjoy our outings, I realized that my baby girl loved to be out and about and was an easy traveler. “Have baby, will travel” soon became my new motto.
Babies are portable, so yes, you can go out on a day trip with your baby and should! Babies love new environments. It stimulates their brain providing plenty of great learning opportunities. Exposing your baby to other environments sparks their curiosity of the world and helps them learn to adjust to various social settings. It’s also just as important for us parents to get out as well.
Over the years, I’ve found some tried and true methods that have helped us have successful day trips experiences. And, now I’m going to share them with Mommy Connections.
Basically, your key to a successful day trip with your baby is all in the planning and prep – like anything. Sometimes it’s hard to get ahead at any given time when you have a baby, but if you can, it really pays off. Start by checking out the website of your chosen destination and find out all you can: hours of operation, location, drive time, directions, are they stroller accessible, do I need cash? The more you know, the better you can plan and anticipate things you may need to bring.
If I’m planning on being away from home for a day, there are certain key items that I never leave home without. They are:
- plenty of drinks and snacks for baby and me (be sure to bring your baby’s favorites – this is not the time to introduce something new and untested)
- extra change of clothes (at least 2 to 3 sets – you never know when a multiple poopy diaper blow-out will happen)
- extra diapers and wipes than normally needed (wipes are good for diaper changes, snack time clean up and cleaning tables/high chairs)
- small toys, board books, music CDs to entertain baby during those long drives and boring waits
Always Check the Weather Report
I love my Weather Network app – it makes it so easy to quickly check what the weather is going to be like at any point in the day no matter where you’re going. As a result, I’m always checking the weather to know how to dress my kids before leaving the house.
Depending on the season, layering can help keep baby comfortable. During the hot summer months, be wary of overheating concerns and keep your baby cool and in the shade as much as possible. Take plenty of breaks from the heat and breastfeed often and/or bottle feed frequently. Babies can’t tell us when they’re thirsty so watch out for signs of overheating.
Another weather concern is too much sun exposure. Babies under the age of one should not wear sunblock (check with your doctor, some say it’s okay after six months), so make sure to keep them protected and shaded from the sun if you’re planning on being outdoors.
If there’s anything you must know before planning a day trip – it’s my top 10 Make Life Easier for Yourself Tips.
Top 10 Tips to Make Life Easier When Day Tripping With Baby
- Always remember – hungry and tired babies/toddlers are a recipe for tantrums and meltdowns.
- Consider timing drives around nap times.
- Going to the beach? Bring baby powder to help get rid of sand stuck to skin.
- Blankets & towels can do double duty as protection from the sun, or a clean place to lay baby down for a nap or diaper change.
- Bring your baby carrier. Baby wearing could come in handy when baby is fussy, over-stimulated or tired.
- Use a backpack as a diaper change bag – it’s easier on your shoulders and back, plus it keeps your hands and arms free.
- Buy the Mommy Hook – so helpful when you need a spare hand.
- Pack unopened jars/bags of baby food that won’t require to be kept chilled.
- Bring a selection of small toys to entertain baby during long car rides.
- In the summer, use a crib mattress cover to put over the car seat in your vehicle while in the parking lot – helps to keep the buckles and seat from getting too hot from the sun.
I hope these tips will inspire new moms to venture out on a few day trips with baby. Click here for a link to a handy day trip packing list and here for a list of day trip suggestions. Happy day tripping!
Heidi Hartmann is a mom of two children – Elizabeth (3) and Alexander (1). When she’s not chasing after her two little ones she’s a busy mompreneur freelancing as a communications consultant and writing for Fun Ontario. Fun Ontario provides a fun free weekly email newsletter informing readers of day trip ideas and a list of great weekend events happening across Ontario. You can sign up for the free newsletter here at http://www.funontario.com.