How to Help Infants Sleep During a Road Trip
Taking a road trip with an infant can be challenging, since they can be unpredictable in both demeanor and tolerance. Even an easygoing baby may not take well to being in the car for hours, while a fussy baby may be soothed by the motion of the vehicle. With a bit of planning and forethought, you can help your infant snooze as the miles slip by on your trip.
Set up the car the night before you plan to leave. Make sure all bags are packed, and fill the car with gas so you do not have to make an early pit stop.
Install a sunshade on the baby’s window to keep the glare out of her eyes.
Stock several pacifiers in an easily accessible location, if your baby uses one. They are easily lost in the car when a fussy baby throws it during a fit.
Make a CD of soothing music or white noise. Not only can it help lull your baby to sleep, the steady noise of music can mask sudden road noise or conversations from other passengers.
Prepare bottles of formula, breast milk, juice or water, depending on what your child prefers, and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to hit the road. Sucking on a bottle can often put a waking baby right back to sleep.
Plan to get up early to take advantage of hours your baby normally sleeps. Since it will still be dark, your baby should go right back to sleep once settled in his car seat.
Start the car before you move your baby out of her bed into the car. If it is cold outside, let the car warm up, and throw a favorite baby blanket in the dryer for a few minutes. The warm blanket will keep your infant snug on the way to the car, and it can ward off the chill when you tuck your child into the car.
Drive as long as you can in the early morning hours while your infant sleeps. Use bottles, pacifiers and music to soothe him if he stirs.
Take long breaks for meals, allowing your child to run, crawl or walk around to burn off energy, so she can nap when you are back in the car.
Things You Will Need
Songs with a steady, strong rhythm, such as "My Girl," mimic the sound of a heartbeat and can be soothing for some infants.
Pack board books, handheld toys and snacks for times when your baby will not sleep. If you are traveling alone, fill a small box with a variety of toys, place it in the passenger seat, and hand one to your baby anytime she makes a fuss. When you stop for a break or to get gas, pick up all the discarded toys so you can start over.
Formula must be thrown out after sitting at room temperature for 1 hour, while breast milk can be left at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Pack a small cooler to keep your baby's bottle chilled until you need it.