Getting Out of Arizona: A Baby, A Plane and A Road Trip

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I just got back from my first big trip back East with Reagan.  She’s now 10.5 months old and I had no idea what to expect.  In fact, once I got to Nashville (which is a 3 hour flight), I began to think that I was insane for even considering making a road trip to Fayetteville, NC (for a wedding) from my mom’s home in Chattanooga (a 9 hour drive).   We managed by making plenty of stops along the way to meet up with family and friends and that made all the difference.

So, here are some tips on taking a road trip with baby.  (Keeping in mind that children vary in deminor and activity needs.)

1.  Don’t expect child to sleep in the car.  At first, I thought that we’d bank on Reagan sleeping for long stretches of time while on the road.  It was perfect, we’d drive during nap time.  This didn’t happen as often as I would have liked.  After talking with my step-brother, he mentioned that his daughters (2.5 and 4) were also unreliable road-sleepers. 

We made up for this little “problem” by stopping at a rest stop, letting her play, crawl and eat.  We also broke up the trip into two days of four hours of driving.  This made for more time for stopping and smelling the mountain air.  She did sleep for about two 45 minute stretches each day.  (Not nearly enough sleep.)

2. Give yourself more time than you think.  There is nothing that I enjoy less than being rushed.  I hate how I act toward others (snippy) when I’m trying to get somewhere quickly or do something under the gun.  I know that I don’t do well in those situations.  I am much more pleasant to get along with and I enjoy the process much more when I have more than enough time to get where I’m going (and even have time to get lost along the way.)  This trip was great for “taking our time.”  I was able to enjoy the drive, pull off and stop at points of interest and get to our destination without feeling overwhelmed.

3.  Enlist an Army.  Traveling is hard work.  I can’t count how many times my mom filled up water, changed a diaper, fed Reagan or otherwise helped make life easier.  It. Was. Awesome.  If you are able to have an extra set of helping hands along, you won’t be sorry (as long as those hands truly are “helping”).

4. Use public facilities.  It surprised me that I actually used the “Family Restroom” in the airport.  Also, I want to thank whoever put a baby changing station in public bathrooms.  Thank you.  You are my hero.

 5.  Read the labels.  I chose to buy some baby food jars on the road instead of making a supply that may or may not last the entire five days we were gone.  I was astonished at how much sugar is added to so many baby foods.  I had the most difficult time finding whole milk yogurt without any sugar added.  (I ended up buying cottage cheese instead.)  And I had to read and read and read the labels of the baby food jars to find ones where the ingredients were “Peas, Water” or “Sweet Potatoes, Water”.  It was a challenge.

All in all, it was a great trip!  I’m glad we went and I’m glad to be home. 

P.S. Oh, and I couldn’t have made it through the plane ride without baby wearing:

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