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Have a baby on the way? Or maybe you just had a baby and are looking to get out on the road? Either way, you’ve probably had plenty of people tell you that traveling with an infant isn’t a good idea.
Some will insist that the baby will need routine you can’t provide on the road. Others are convinced that traveling with a newborn is “pointless” because they won’t remember it. No matter what their reasoning, you could be left feeling doubtful that your plans for RV living with an infant are going to work out well.
We are here to tell you it can be done! Not only that, but traveling with a newborn is incredibly fun and rewarding for all involved (including baby).
That said, there are some things you might want to know before diving in. Below are our top tips for traveling with a baby in your RV.
When Can You Travel with a Newborn?
The first thing you may be wondering is, how soon is too soon? In other words, when can you travel with a newborn?
The answer? Whenever you feel up to it.
That’s right—because RV travel allows for flexibility that plane travel doesn’t, you can hit the road with your little one anytime. However, it is important to realize that you will need to make more frequent stops, making it take a whole lot longer to get from point A to point B.
Obviously, you will need to stop if baby is screaming in the backseat, but even if not, it’s best not to leave your little one in their seat for more than a couple of hours at a time for the first few months. Additionally, someone should sit next to the baby and check on them from time to time to ensure their airways are not blocked.
Best Places to Travel with a Baby
The next step when considering how to travel with baby is deciding where to go.
Generally speaking, the best places to travel with baby will be the more peaceful destinations. The fewer crowds, the better—and things like well-marked walkways and decent bathrooms make things even easier. Some of the less popular national parks are a great example of this, and would be great places to visit in baby’s first months.
Of course, that’s not to say you can’t visit busy locations. In fact, many babies do quite well in bustling environments. If you want to give a big city, a busy museum, or a popular amusement park a try, go in with a well-packed bag and be prepared for anything.
Know your baby and follow their cues. If they seem overwhelmed, remove your family from the situation and seek out something less stimulating to do for a while.
RV Baby Crib and Infant Travel Bed Ideas
Of course, your little bundle of joy is going to need somewhere to sleep in your home-on-wheels. If you won’t be co-sleeping and don’t have a lot of extra space, you might have to get a little bit creative. However, there are plenty of options, and we’re sure you’ll find one to suit your needs.
Here are some of our favorite suggestions:
We’ve seen several new parents make their bedroom closet into a nursery. Usually these closets are just big enough to fit a mini crib, but some even fit a changing table. We love this idea because it gives the baby (and all of their things) a special spot in the tiny home.
RV Baby Crib in Bunk
Another great idea we’ve seen a few different times is the bunk bed crib. By building a gate across a bottom bunk (and ensuring the mattress is wedged in tight), traveling parents can create a safe and cozy place for their little one without very much renovating.
Mini Infant Travel Bed
If you don’t have closets or bunks, you might find yourself pulling out a piece of furniture to make room. In these cases, we highly recommend pulling out the table and replacing it with a mini infant travel bed such as this Pack and Play, which grows with baby.
When it comes time for meals, you can head outside to the picnic table, or use TV trays to eat while sitting on the sofa.
Not ready to make any major changes to create an RV baby crib space? The Moses basket might be a good solution while baby is still tiny. This super portable option should work for a few months while you figure out a more permanent sleeping solution for your new addition.
What to Pack when Traveling with an Infant
Wondering what to pack when traveling with a baby? Well, obviously, you’ll need diapers, wipes, clothes, and blankets, and we’ve already discussed a place to sleep. However, there are a few other things you might want to consider:
- Car seat — You’re going to be spending a lot of time on the road. Make sure you invest in a good seat that’ll hold up well. We really like the Chicco NextFit Zip convertible car seat.
- A place to sit — This could be a swing, a bouncy seat, or any other type of infant seat. More than one is unnecessary, but a single seat can be quite nice to have. This swing is great because it folds up small.
- Carrier — Some sort of carrier—such as a sling or a soft structured carrier—is incredibly nice to have when you need both hands but baby doesn’t want to be put down. We especially love Tula carriers.
- Stroller — Museums, zoos, and amusement parks all call for the use of a stroller. We recommend finding one that is small enough to pack away easily, yet still comfortable to push long distances. This Born Free stroller is a great example.
- Breast pump — If you’ll be breastfeeding and plan to spend any time at all away from your little one, a breast pump is a must-have. An electric pump is best if you plan to pump often, but for those who will only need a bottle once in a while, we recommend this Medela hand pump.
- Bottles and bottle brush — If you plan on bottle feeding, or if you’ll be breastfeeding but leaving baby sometimes, you will need bottles. Be sure to grab a bottle brush as well!
- Toys — While a newborn won’t care too much about toys, an older baby will likely enjoy some teethers and rattles, especially during long road trips.
- Vehicle mirror — Because you’ll be in the vehicle for long periods of time, a vehicle mirror is a great thing to have. A mirror will allow you to see your little one, and some will even help keep baby entertained. This mirror includes music and lights and is a great example of that.
Other Tips for RV Living with an Infant
Now that we’ve covered what to pack when traveling with a newborn, the best places to travel with a baby, and when you can hit the road after baby is born, we’d like to share a few more of our favorite tips for traveling with baby in an RV.
With these tips in mind, you will have a pretty good idea of how to travel with a baby, meaning you can jump into the RV lifestyle as soon as you feel ready.
Baby-Proof RV Door
While your newborn isn’t likely to try to escape out the RV door, he or she will be up and moving around before you know it. For this reason, you will want to get started on a baby-proof RV door project sooner rather than later.
In our opinion, the best way to go about this is to install a baby gate such as this one just inside the door. If it turns out you have an especially sneaky toddler, a lock installed near the top of the door might also be in order.
Not all RVs have a bathtub. If this is the case in your rig, you may be wondering how you’ll bathe your little one. When baby is very small, the kitchen sink might do the trick. However, as the youngest member of your family ages, you might want to consider putting an inflatable kiddie pool or a large plastic container into your shower and filling that with water for bath time.
Using Cloth Diapers
Want to use cloth diapers while traveling? We’ve seen many families do so successfully. Just keep in mind that diapers should never sit dirty or wet for more than a few days, meaning you will either need to head to the laundromat often or invest in a small washer for your RV.
Additionally, we highly recommend skipping the laundromat dryers—which can be super hard on diapers—and hanging things to dry instead. Many people find that flat diapers and covers work best when hanging to dry, and something like this works nicely for hanging the diapers up both inside and outside.
Finally, as baby ages, you may also want to consider a diaper sprayer. Unfortunately, connecting a sprayer to an RV toilet is not very straightforward, and lower RV water pressure means sprayers don’t work too well anyway.
Instead, we recommend investing in an Oxygenics shower head, which will provide excellent pressure. Use this to spray diapers off, either into the toilet directly or into a bucket, which can then be dumped into the toilet.
When it comes to making bottles in the RV, there are a couple of things we’d like to recommend:
- Don’t pump too much at once. An RV freezer cannot hold as much as a household freezer, and adding too many things may result in a freezer that doesn’t freeze effectively.
- When heating a bottle, heat water in a mug using the microwave or kettle and place the bottle or bag of milk into the mug full of warm water. Running hot water from the sink over the bottle will likely result in an empty hot water tank, and bottle warmers are bulky.
Lastly, we all know how thin RV walls are. This can make getting a baby to sleep (and keeping them that way) difficult, especially if you have particularly noisy neighbors. For this reason, we highly recommend a white noise machine or a fan. Keep this in the baby’s sleeping space to block out any outside noise.
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