So we have an unexpected road trip that I would -very much- like to do at the end of March. Our daughter will be 4 months almost exactly. It's 8 hours give or take without stopping.
She hates the car right now, and will cry for between 5-20 minutes before conking out and sleeping for the rest of the drive. We're trying different things to help this, but right now, not much seems to make a difference. I was hoping someone being back there would help her not feel alone, but it doesn't change her attitude. The only thing so far was removing the bundle me from her seat (I think not being able to see properly was a problem).
We're planning on taking out her convertible carseat and trying that, as she's currently in a bucket seat. Any other tips? She's exclusively breastfed, and still will be at that point, so obviously we'll have to stop every few hours to nurse and get out of the car. How often should I be concerned about stopping (outside of the obvious, when she's hungry)?
I'm wondering about the wisdom of trying to keep her up a bit the night before, and then leaving early morning, and hoping she'll sleep for most of the drive off and on. She normally sleeps til around 10am right now, and goes down around 1130 or midnight.
Also toying with the idea of borrowing an in car DVD player for that weekend. She is interested in shapes on the tv (specifically... hockey) and just now we're trying her with baby einstein for the first time, and she is enthralled!
Anyways, so give me your tips, tricks, concerns, things I might not have thought about... I'm not so much worried about the weekend once we're there, but very hesitant about the drive there and back.
Doula mama, medic daddy and Tenley Harper born naturally 11/29/11
We drove across the country when DD was that age. We found we could typically get in about 6 hours of driving each day - and it took us the whole day to do it. I think getting up really early and starting your trip during a time when she's usually sleeping sounds like a pretty good idea. The only tip I have is to try to figure out places you can stop where you'll be content to stay for a couple of hours, because if your baby is like mine, she's going to need good long breaks in between sessions in the car, and you don't want to be stuck for two hours somewhere really boring like a gas station parking lot.
When my daughter was that young, it was worth it to us to drive at night and catch up on sleep when we got to our destination. We would do her normal bedtime routine, nurse, then pop her in the car seat in her PJs. We only needed to stop to breastfeed and change diapers every 2 or so hours, then she would go back to sleep. Expect to add a couple hours to your driving time, though. And pull your window shade down, even if it's pitch black outside, since toll plaza and gas station lights can wake them up and make them angry!
When our son was 5 months we did a 10 hour drive...well, it's 10 hrs without a baby, but was 12 hrs on the way and about 11 hrs on the way back. I sat in the back with DS. We left early in the morning (6-7am) and he quickly fell into a 3 hour rhythm. Sleep for about 2-2.5 hours, wake and be content for a while, then get hungry and fuss. The we'd find a good exit, put more gas in the car (so we wouldn't have to stop while he was sleeping), change diaper, nurse, and then back on the road. Draping a blanket over the bucket seat helped keep sun out of his eyes. At times I even held up a large road almanac to block sun coming in from my side of the car. The best advice I read here was to try to only stop when baby is ready to stop (so as not to wake a sleeping baby). Our stops along the way were typically about 30 minutes long.
Teacher until birth of DS (7-27-08)and now DD (10-17-11):, now SAHM, wife to my wonderful hard-working DH.