Driving a long distance with 3 month old? — The Bump
Babies: 3 - 6 Months

Driving a long distance with 3 month old?

I am actually still pregnant but planning on taking an 18 hour drive up to see my husbands grandparents in December when she is 3 months old. Would this be totally ridiculous to even try? His grandparents want to see our baby very badly as this is their first great grandchild. His grandpa's health is starting to decline so he wants to go as soon as possible and said he would regret it for the rest of his life if either one of them did not get to see her before they pass away. I told him I would not go unless she was at least 3 months and he agreed to that schedule. But now I am having doubts. Do you think this would be a manageable thing to do? We are going to be first time parents so I have no clue what to expect!
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Re: Driving a long distance with 3 month old?

  • I just drove 2 1/2 hours with my 12 week old and by the end he was screaming his head off because he was sick of the car seat.

    If this is a must do trip I would plan very frequent breaks (hopefully around a feeding time) and try to leave at night when he is most likely going to sleep, that way you can cut out a chunk of the driving with him "hopefully" out for the night.  

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  • I would/could NEVER drive that long with my DS. He barely lasts 30mins before screaming his head off! You should wait as see how your LO is in the car first. Some kids sleep the whole time and love it, some kids (like my dS) absolutely hate the car! 
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  • We just did a normally seven hour drive last weekend.  It turned into a 9.5 hour drive, with the feedings and such.  He slept in between each stretch, so when we got to our destination he was not tired at all, even though we were exhausted.  He had a meltdown 2.5 hours away from home on the way back, which sucked.  Also, he used to never care about being in his seat, and ever since we got back he starts crying when we put him in it.  If you can swing a flight, I would highly recommend it.  We both decided we will not do that drive again.  It's just too hard.
  • Is flying an option?  18 hours is a looong time.  And remember that it'll end up being much longer because you'll have to stop with LO to change diapers, eat, wiggle, etc.  We've done a couple of 8 hour trips with LO recently and they ended up being more like 9 or 10 hours when it was all said and done and she was a little grumpy the next day.  And she was definitely ready to be out of the car by the time we got to our destination.  On the other hand, we flew out to see family (would have been a 30 hour drive) and she did excellent on the plane and wasn't grumpy at all.  It might be something to consider!
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  • We've done 2 - 4 hour drives at least once a month ever since LO was born and haven't really had an issue.  Lots of sleep and well rested to see grandma and grandpa.  She was also going through a growth spurt at the time and only wanted to sleep for a couple of days.
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  • kel716kel716 member

    We drove 11 hours to the beach when DD was 2.5 mos old.  We did split the drive into 2 parts- 4.5 hrs and 6.5 hrs.  We also have DS to contend with...

    Lengthy drives are doable, but you have to be realistic.  You have to realize that you'll have to stop ever 2-3 hours for feedings.  Your LO may not like the carseat.  You won't know that until s/he arrives.  It's probably easier to drive that kind of distance now rather than in a few years, but it's still probably more like a 20+ hr drive, if not 24 hours. 

    If it were me though, for an 18 hr drive, I'd fly... put your baby on your lap and go. 

  • Hm. It's not impossible, per se.... but it does depend a lot on your baby. And 18 hours is a long time for even the best baby. 

    Some LOs do great in their car seats, sleeping really well in there and everything. Others (my DD) scream bloody murder in the car seats right from day one, and can't be consoled until they're taken out again.

    The good news is that at 3 months babies are at the developmental stage where they are learning to self soothe, so even if your LO hates their car seat, they should be getting better by that point.  

    At 3 months we went on a 4 hour drive with DD and it went reasonably well. Just don't imagine that you'll be driving for 18 hours straight and anything even close to that... you'll have to stop really regularly (depending on your LO's nap lengths, maybe every 2-4 hours?) for diaper changes and a break for your baby because they'll be getting pretty exhausted of being stuck in that seat.

    Whether you breast feed or bottle feed, eating in the car is totally doable, and I'd really recommend it. It really calms them down if they're upset. We EBF, and I just lean in to let DD nurse and it works really well.... it's also the only way I can get her to sleep in her car seat. Bottle feeding is even easier, I imagine.

    Bring lots of distracting toys, a mirror, and anything else that your LO loves (which you don't know about yet, but you will soon - yay!)

    Are you driving alone or with someone??? If you're alone.... I really wouldn't even try it, honestly. I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic. If you'll be with someone, and therefore able to sit in the back with your LO and provide food, comfort, games, etc..... it probably possible. But I give yourself quite a few days to make the trip and not count on getting a whole lot of driving in per day.

    Or your baby with be amazing and sleep for hours on end and it'll be no issue.....................................

    Ooo! Idea! By then you're LO will probably be sleeping longer stretches at night, with a bedtime of about 6:30-7:30 pm. Sooo, you could do a lot of your driving at night when your LO will be sleeping for hours instead of minutes.... I like that idea! I must remember it!

    Good luck :) Hope it works out for you... and best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy! CONGRATS!!  


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  • WELL I THOUGHT OF A GOOD IDEA IF YOUR LO ENDS UP BEING LIKE MINE!!!!!

    My LO STTN AMAZINGLY no joke, he's slept almost 11 hours one night (that was the longest time so far), but he usually sleeps 7-8 hours a night. You could do the drive while he's sleeping? But then of course you would be very tired the next day :/

    If it were me, I'd start the drive a few hours before LO goes to sleep (which is usually around 11 or midnight so I'd start driving around 7). But then you'd STILL have 9 hours to drive after that, so I would stop in a hotel. 

    18 hours is only 6 hours short of a full day and that's a long time for ANYONE to be in the car, especially a 3 month old. I'd be able to do it, but it would be a one-time thing for sure! P.S. my LO is 3 1/2 months old (:

    HOPE THIS HELPS! 

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  • We had a wedding when my dd was 4 weeks- we drove from Atlanta Ga to Miami Fl.  I suggest you go earlier than 3mths if possible.  A 4 week old sleeps majority of the time and a 12 week is awake more.  If you are worried about germs, etc our doctor did not have an issue b/c we were basically going from our house to my hubby's parents house.  I have to say it all worked out well and she did not get sick. 

    We went back to Miami over 4th of July (she was over 3mths) and flew.  The plane ride worked out well.  I will never drive agian.

     Good Luck!!

    Michelle
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  • You will be fine! People drive with babies ALL THE TIME! I took DS to meet his GP 15 hour drive one way. The way up he slept most the time, the way back he was grumpy and cried. The way back we just stopped more so i could nurse. I have another 12 hour drive coming up to visit family and ds will be 5months. I plan on driving early in the AM so it will still be sleep time for him and will bring bottles (and my pump) so he can eat on the go.

    I am sure a lot of books, IPAD time and playing will be involved in this trip.

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  • PP's have suggested driving at night when your LO is most likely going to be sleeping his/her longest stretch. this is exactly what i would do & what we have done when we have taken trips. we took DD when she was 2 months on a 12 hour trip. We left a little bit before her normal bedtime (maybe an hour earlier), but before we left, we gave her a bath & did her whole bedtime routine. of course, instead of putting her in her crib, we put her in the car seat and hit the road. we did not hear a peep out of her the ENTIRE drive! we made it there at about 6:30 a.m., which is about the time our DD was waking at this point and it worked out really well. we didn't lose any time on the way there having to stop to feed her, change her or play with her. This worked out wonderfully, although my husband and i were very tired.

    On the way back, we chose to leave when my DD woke for her middle of the night feeding. So, she woke up around 3 am, and we fed her, packed up the rest of our stuff, and were on the road by 4. Cars generally lull babies to sleep anyway, and this seemed to help our DD sleep longer. She slept til about 8 or 9 am before we had to stop and feed her. We played a little bit and then were back in the car. Honestly, she slept great even on the way home. We stopped a little more often and i would sit in the back while she was awake and play with her. I would say with the drive home, we tacked on extra 2 hours with the stops we had to make. not too bad, it is doable!

    good luck!

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  • We haven't driven for that long yet but we have taken two trips about 5 hours long each. It wasn't an issue at all. We left right after Connor had a bottle and he passed out within 20 mins. We stopped every 2 hours or so so that Connor could get out of the car seat, eat, and have a diaper change. He was amazing. Pretty much slept the entire time we were driving.


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  • A LOT will depend on your child, and you won't have any idea whether he/she can handle it until after the birth and closer to the trip.

    When DS was a few weeks old, we decided to take a trip to see DH's older sister when DS was three months old. She lives nine hours away. To put it bluntly, it was a nightmare. DS HATES the car. He screamed - not cried, but screamed like he was being tortured - for much of the trip. Both on the way there and on the way back we had to stop in a hotel because DS absolutely could not handle being in the car for more than four hours. It was a disaster. We tried everything - toys, a mirror, music, one of us sitting in the backseat, etc - but nothing made him happy. When we initially planned the trip, we had no idea how much he would hate the car. We had planned on another trip at five months but we had to cancel it because the first one was so awful.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, I'm just saying that realistically it's hard to say until you've started to get to know your baby. A lot of moms I know said that their babies would always sleep for a long time in the car, so I kind of assumed it would be the same for mine. Unfortunately, it's definitely not!

    Is flying an option? Personally, I'd MUCH rather fly with my son than drive. The trip would be much shorter, and you could hold your baby to comfort him/her rather than just having to see/hear them cry in the car seat. 

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  • We just recently moved from SC to MN and had to make that loooong 23 hour drive. We did break it up into 3 days but honestly I think we could have made it in 2. The baby (3months old) was a champ she did so well, any time we stopped we changed, fed and walked around with her. I sat in the back with her, I had a bottle warmer we got from kmart that was a life saver. She slept most of the way and when she was awake she was either playing with the toys on her carseat or eating. We traveled with a 3 month old and a 3yr old lab and they did better then all the adults! lol Best of luck to you, babies are great troopers just keep your plans open ended in the case that you need to stop. :-)
  • You couldn't pay me enough to drive that far with my baby. And she's a good sleeper!

    Last month we opted to fly instead of make a 12 hour drive with her. Flying was so easy!

    If you can't swing flying, I'd wait until you know your baby until you commit to a trip.  

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  • My LO hates his car seat so we just drove 6 hrs to my aunts at night after he went to sleep. It worked so well that we are driving back next week at night also. We had hoped to visit DH's aunt 11 hrs away but won't even chance it with LO hating to ride. 
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