Three weeks after my daughter Caroline was born we went on a 13-hour road trip. I already know what you are thinking, this girl is nuts! I know, I know, but it was unavoidable. I was a little bit worried about traveling with a newborn and a toddler that we are trying to potty train, while also recovering from major surgery.  But we survived.  Actually, we more than survived, we flourished.  The trip went smoothly and we had a great time with our family.

Here are some of my tips when traveling with small children and babies.

First things first, have a plan.  My husband and I planed out our route and where we wanted to stay the night of our trip down from Indianapolis to Hilton Head.  We figured we wanted to make it to Asheville.  Having a goal in mind kept us on a schedule.  We were able to plan our trip to start when it was our son’s nap time.  That allowed us to get on the road and get situated while he was sleeping.

Next, be sure to pack a bag of essentials for the trip.  Included in my bag were books for my three year old to read, snacks for everyone, the iPad and headphones, some trucks, burp cloths, and extra batteries.  I placed this bag right behind the driver’s seat so I could reach it easily.  I was able to entertain my son during the trip without having to stop and grab things.

Breastfeeding in the car was pretty much out of the question.  We didn’t want to stop a bunch of times so I brought my pump.  Pumping in a car was a new experience for me, but I was able to make it work without too many problems.  First, make sure your pump can run on batteries.  My pump has a battery supply pack option that you can plug into.  Next, have a large swaddle blanket or nursing cover available to cover yourself up.  Those semi-trucks on the road are high off the ground and when you pass them the drivers are able to look down into your car.  If you don’t want to put on a show, cover yourself up!   Lastly, have a separate bag of sterilized bottles and lids to store your milk.  We brought along a small-insulated cooler in which to keep the milk.  (Side note:  be sure you don’t place this cooler down by your feet where the hot air comes through the vents.  It was a particularly cool day when we left and my cooler was not cool when I got to the hotel room.)

Packing for a week long trip with a newborn can be intimidating.  Only pack the basics.  A lot of hotels have cribs that you can borrow while you are staying with them.  We didn’t have to pack a portable crib, which saved us a lot of space in the car.  We also didn’t pack a stroller but instead packed our baby carrier.  It is amazing what you can get by without for a week if you try!

Lastly, remember to enjoy your family.  Some of my fondest memories with my family were times when we took trips together in our car.  My sister and I would play road games, my dad would listen to music that drove my mom crazy, and we would talk about things we wouldn’t have a chance to if we didn’t have a long car ride.  A lot of times the trip was more memorable than the destination.

Kat with A Mom’s Impression recently accepted the 15th spot in the Cision Top 50 Product Review Bloggers List. You can read more about her opinions by visiting her blog.