Planning to hop in the car with your baby for the first time can be a daunting task. What are you going to need in case they spit up all over themselves? All over you? All over a random passerby? Okay, maybe that last one is less likely, but we know you’re thinking about it. We know planning those first few leaves can be stressful, but we think we can help. What if you kept a bag or box in your car permanently so you have everything on hand to make sure all bases are covered? That way, you can think to yourself as you’re covered in that all-too-real spit up mentioned above, “I am so smart, thoughtful, and wise! Look at this genius plan I’ve made! I totally have it together!” Even if it’s only for a minute.
You’ll easily be able to find checklists and notes online for things to pack in the car for your little one, but we think we’ve got the extras covered for mama:
You always hear about bringing the spare outfit for your baby, but where does the former go when you’ve changed them? We recommend packing two or three trash bags just to be on the safe side. Sometimes, there’s a spit up accident. Sometimes it’s a full blowout. Once those clothes are off, you’re going to want a space that’s able to close and roll up until you get home to clean it (or, depending on how bad it is, wave goodbye to it!) There’s also the occasional item that comes along with baby that you might not have a place to put trash in, depending on your travel location. Having a bag ensures you’re being kind to the earth as well as your nose!
We promise you - as your baby turns into a toddler and a toddler into a full-fledged word-for-word repeater (aka a four year old), you’ll have your share of puffs of all shapes, hand-smashed fruit, and kid’s flavored yogurt. We want you to hold off on those and think about you! Breastfeeding moms need to keep snacks nearby, as well as water, to be sure they’re getting enough nutrition and energy to keep their supply up. Protein bars, firm fruits and veggies (think apples or carrots), peanut butter and crackers...the possibilities are endless for foods that keep well for car trips and give you what you need to feel better. Plus, what’s better than a car snack? P.S., if you’re thinking about snacks that need to be cold for a quick trip, pop them into a lunch bag or box with an ice pack instead of bringing a large, bulky cooler.
Yes. We just said it above, but it’s so important that we think it warrants a second mention. Grab a large, refillable water bottle and be sure to have it stocked in the car bag/box at all times. Beyond your own hydration needs, it’s useful to have in general. If you’re on a long car trip, you can smartly time your water intake to go alongside when you’re stopping to breastfeed so you can be sure to have a restroom when you need it. See? Multitasking. You’re awesome!
Speaking of multitasking, our Chic Nursing Shawl has you covered for a wealth of reasons. Keeping one in your car will allow you to keep the sun out of your baby’s eyes if you end up nursing outside on a long car trip, can keep your upper body warm when the AC is blasting but everyone else in the car is complaining that they’re still hot, can cover you up when that spit up fiasco goes down, and can take your long day of travel look from “ehh” to “hey!” in one simple drape. Seriously. It’s a lifesaver.
No, not for while you’re driving! If you’re road-tripping or out on your own with your baby and taking breaks for nursing, it’s easy to grab your phone and browse your favorite listicles like this one for the time you’re feeding. Instead, give your eyes a break and focus in on some printed text. The plus of a magazine is its “flippability:” the fact that you aren’t fully choosing the content and might learn something you wouldn’t have found based on your browser history (and yes, we count learning useless celebrity musings as something new! No judgment!). You can also give your eyes a break as they adjust to the outdoors without staring at the light of a screen before hopping back in the car for the next leg of the trip.
Beyond the safety of having a phone with you and your little one on the road for emergencies, there’s also the other use of that phone - talking on it! Giving a friend or family member a call if you’ve got a setup that works comfortably while you’re breastfeeding is nice. While we always recommend you call someone that can keep you calm and not aggravated during the conversation (you don’t want to mix the pain of a potentially sore nipple with a potentially sore friend!), take the time to speak to someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
Our final recommendation might already be in your diaper bag, but we recommend having a spare pair of hearts in the car for the many reasons your diaper bag pair isn’t useful: possibly accidentally used and wet, or maybe you thought they were there but they weren’t at all! Having a spare pair of Nursing Pads could be the thing that saves you from a leak when you happened to forget that Chic Nursing Shawl. If you can’t bear to leave a pair of the incredibly soft pads in the car, grab a box of our EcoPure® Bamboo Disposable Nursing Pads and keep them in the car. Bonus: they can clean up spills and work as last-minute coasters and napkins in a pinch!
You’ve got this. With our list plus your awesomely packed diaper bag, you’re ready for anything. Plug in that favorite playlist (or better yet - find an old mix CD!), sing that 90’s R&B to your baby as you hit the road, and take comfort knowing you’re ready for just about anything - yes, even that spit up.