Travel Tuesday – Traffic. With a Baby.

With this past weekend being a 3-day weekend, I should have known that I’d be in for it if I went out on the roads. Sometimes though, there’s just no getting around it: you have to get from point A to point B, and you have to drive there. When baby is on board for a road trip though, there’s nothing that can throw a parenting curveball better than traffic.

You think you’ve got everything you need: Plenty of snacks. Plenty of drinks. Plenty of diapers (if your baby is still using them). I used to think pulling over to the side of the road to change a wet diaper during traffic was a pain. But what do you do when your potty-training toddler needs to GO and there’s no exit to be found? You’ve got quite a parenting conundrum on your hands at that point, and luckily, I haven’t had to find out the answer. My brief panic at the mere thought of what to do in that situation, has me coming up with a plan of prevention: make stops often and at regular intervals, even if the need isn’t apparent, so that in case of the unexpected, the dreaded potty situation will be less likely to occur. Fingers crossed that my plan works.

But it’s not just potty issues that can have moms stressing when it comes to unexpected traffic. Traffic can also be a concern for nursing moms. Babies have to be in their car seats, in the back seat when the car is moving. That’s just a fact. So it necessarily follows that the car needs to stop in order for mom to nurse. If your baby is sleeping peacefully for the first part of your trip, and then you get stuck on a highway where there’s no movement whatsoever, your options are pretty limited when baby wakes up hungry. This actually DID happen to me when my little one was 5 months old. I was driving with a friend who was visiting the Bay Area for the first time, and what I thought was going to be a quick, 30 minute drive turned into a 2 and a half hour ordeal. I stressed, and cried along with my little one, trying my hardest to get to an exit as fast as I could (it ended up taking a very LONG 20 minutes). Once we made it to the exit, I found a place to safely pull over, got in the backseat and nursed. (Yet another moment where I was grateful that I packed my nursing cover!)

Of course, with proper planning both of these crises can be averted. Regular potty breaks. Plenty of pumped milk on hand (and a travel bottle warmer for babies who are finicky about milk temperature, like mine was). I wish I could say I’m perpetually well-prepared, but even when I think I’m well-prepared, it always seems like there’s something I forget. As a first-time mom, I really am just learning everything as I go (at least I’m a quick-study). I’m just glad that I have a sense of humor for the times that modern life hands me a teachable moment. I’m sure there will be many more.

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