This past weekend we ventured out to Asheville, North Carolina for a wedding and we took along our little girl! When we first found out about the wedding date I was newly pregnant and nervous about traveling so soon with a newborn (especially as a first time mom). However, after about 4 weeks postpartum I realized I would welcome the change of scenery and seeing family, so we decided we would bring her along!
Luckily the wedding was for a cousin of ours, so we would be able to stay with my husband’s family which helped to make me feel a lot more comfortable rather than having to stay in a hotel or something along those lines.
The wedding was also outdoors and on the more casual side, so I felt very comfortable with bringing a newborn…especially because Ava loves being outside and it helps to keep her calm.
We were only gone for 3 days which was honestly the perfect amount of time for a trial run. I would probably feel much more comfortable going away with her for a longer period of time now that we have a long weekend under our belts.
Overall Ava did better than I expected, but I was still a nervous wreck the whole time. I’m super glad we brought the below items because it really helped to make the trip a lot easier and more familiar for her. Please note, obviously diapers, wipes, car seat, stroller and burp cloths are essentials, but also are a given so I did not include them. You can check out my post for Our Most Used Baby Items in the First Four Weeks here for more newborn essentials!
We use this everyday when we take her anywhere in the car seat. We leave it attached to her car seat that way if we are out in public and need a nap time, we simply turn on the machine and it puts her out like a light. During the road trip to NC I turned this on when she started to yawn and get sleepy and I used it at night to replace her Hatch that we have at home.
A padded changing station is a must because those bathroom, fold-down changing tables are super cold and uncomfortable. It was also nice to have this for all diaper changes whether in the car, on the floor or on the bed because Ava is known to have some runny poops, and without this pad there would have been a lot more dirty sheets.
When I was in my second trimester, a patient of mine brought this in for me and said I would 100% need it and it was one of her most used baby items. At the time I did not think much of it, but wow she was so right. We have THREE Pack N Plays, two of which are hand-me-downs. We have a new one at our home that has a diaper changing station and bassinet, a hand-me-down at my mom’s and a hand-me-down at my husband’s parents’ home. It is such a convenient and easy set up for a portable crib that will grow with her as she gets older.
In our nursery we have black-out curtains and they have really helped our little girl sleep through the early morning hours. We knew would need some sort of black-out situation at his parents, so I quickly ordered this guy off of Amazon and have not had any complaints. I have seen a bunch of people on Instagram use those large, black-out Slumber Pods, but 1) I didn’t feel like spending another $150 on baby gear and 2) at first glance they seem rather large and cumbersome. Now, who knows, maybe I will invest in one in the future, but for now, this black-out cover for the Pack N Play did the trick.
This probably could be eliminated from the list as it is not an ABSOLUTE necessity because the Pack N Plays do come with a very thin mattress pad…but that’s just it, it is super thin and you can feel the bars through the pad. Amazon to the rescue again. I purchased this mattress pad that is firm on one side and soft on the other so that it can once again grow with your baby. The firm side is meant to be used from ages 0-6 months. She slept 5-6hr stretches while we were in NC just like she does at home, so either she just sleeps like a rock or the combination of the mattress pad+sound machine+black-out cover did the trick.
Y’all know I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Solly Baby wrap, so of course I brought it with me. I am putting this down as a must for a road trip or wedding or any vacation because it is so much easier to carry around your baby and it protects your little one from people trying to hold her or touch her. At the wedding we went to there were quite a few people who we had never met that came up to us wanting to hold her and getting reaching out to touch her, which made us super uncomfortable. Plus, she naps so well in the wrap and it was easy to fit in a nap in the middle of a wedding.
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This contrast book lives in my diaper bag to make tummy time on the go much easier. I find Ava tolerates tummy time way better if she has something to look at, so we prop the book up for her to look at and flip through the pages any time we are not at home in her play gym.
Not only do I use the Boppy for breastfeeding, but I use it to prop up Ava on her back after a feeding to help with her reflux. She does not like being on her belly on my shoulder after eating because of the pressure on her belly, so the Boppy has been a lifesaver for her reflux. I also use it for tummy time if she is not tolerating being completely flat on her belly.
Here is a link to the cover we use and love from Target!
The car ride there was far more difficult than the car ride back probably just because we knew what to expect on the way back.
The trip to NC is only supposed to be 4.5 hours, but it took us 6 hours on the way there (1 long stop and traffic), and 5.5 hours on the way home (2 stops, no traffic).
I made sure to feed Ava right before we left so that way we did not have to stop for the first 2.5 hours on our way to NC. Right at 2.5 hours she started getting fussy, so we stopped in a Chick Fil-A where I fed her and my husband changed her diaper. We also got food here because nothing tastes better on a road trip than Chick Fil-A.
On the way home I did not do a good job of timing her feed and we ended up having to stop 1 hour into the trip and then again another 2.5 hours later. One stop we made at McDonalds to use the changing table and another we stopped at a gas station and I just changed her in the back seat of my truck.
One piece of advice my friend gave me was to pump in the car and bottle feed to reduce stops, and I completely forgot about this until we were already on the road. I do not have a portable pump (yet), so I would not have been able to use an electric pump, but I could have either prepared bottles ahead of time or use the manual pump the hospital gave me.
Next time we road trip I will definitely bring bottles for feeding.
I also would have invested in some overnight diapers that can hold more liquid to avoid frequent stops. Now, our road trip was not very long, but for those who are planning longer trips, I feel like these overnight diapers would be a game changer!
Overall, it was not a terrible experience and we would definitely go on another road trip with her! Also, MEN RESTROOMS NEED CHANGING TABLES! We need to start a petition. End of story.