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The long car journey.. with a baby!

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It’s sometimes bad enough going down the road with a baby in the car, so how would you fancy a nice long 15 hour drive with one? No? Thought you might say that.

Let me tell you, it’s easier than you think. After recently getting back from the annual skiing holiday, I can honestly say I was relieved that the car journey was over, because I was the one who was most uncomfortable. With a sleepy eyed partner for a passenger, and a sleeping baby in the back, I think I was the only one bothered about getting home quickly; those two couldn’t have been more.. asleep.

Toby suffered a little going up the mountain
Toby suffered a little going up the mountain

We didn’t really have a choice when it came to our choice of travelling. It was either “pay £600+ per person for a 1 hour 10 minute flight” or ”get in the car and drive it” – bloody half term prices.

The best thing you can do is try and stick with your baby’s routine. We left quite late in the afternoon so that we’d only have to stop for one last bottle before “bed time”; that way we hoped he might sleep for the biggest part of the journey, which he did after only waking up a couple of times. Luckily, with only an hour difference in France, it was easy to get him on French time, then back to English time.

Keep a stock of bottles to hand. We prepped all of ours in advance as we normally would and just dispensed the formula into the water as and when he was normally due a feed. Keep a handful of dummies in the front with you. You don’t want to be unplugging your seatbelt for half of the journey to go on a hunt for a dummy in baby Narnia (aka – the carseat). I mean, how many places can one dummy go?

Make sure your baby is comfortable. Don’t smother them with blankets, because your car will get warm quickly. We dressed Toby in a vest and baby grow for the journey, I certainly wouldn’t bother with cute chinos and a top. But if like us, you’re going somewhere cold, make sure you keep a coat (or something equally as warm) unpacked in the car with a hat so, when you eventually get out, they’re not freezing! We also put the wedge back in our car seat so that Toby was in a more horizontal position, rather than being crunched in two, which genuinely helped massively when it was time for sleeping!

Get a rear seat mirror and kill two birds with one stone. Babies are fascinated with faces, and what better way to keep them entertained than looking at their own. Secondly, it offers you the chance to keep an eye on your baby while you’re driving. Just attach it to the headrest in the back where their car seat is and adjust your rear view.

You don’t need to take a million and one toys like other websites say you do. We attached some flexi rings to the car seat, a colourful crinkly book, Sophie the giraffe and his taggy blanket. We did however, pack some other toys for when we were in the apartment for him to play with, as well as his Jumperoo.

You can always take a sledge!
You can always take a sledge!

A change of scenery does wonders for your baby as well as you. A long drive can be boring, and after looking at tarmac for 15 hours, you just need to look at something else. We made a few stops on the way there at some service stations. A stretch of the legs and hot chocolate for you, and a bum change, bottle and stretch for your baby.

I’m pretty sure if we do it again next year, it won’t be so easy with an almost 18 month old!

What are your best tips for a long car journey?

J

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Raising a glass to the other halves

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Not all of our other halves turn out to be the hands on dad we all expect when our little one is here, but the ones who do deserve a huge pat on the back from us mums.

When I was pregnant, there were a few occasions where I felt I was more excited about everything that was going on than my other half was. However, it must be hard to get excited if you can’t feel what the other person is feeling. There were times when I got very cross that he couldn’t feel baby Ring kicking right at the beginning – ”Oh for God’s sake, HOW can you NOT feel THAT?, it was a HUGE kick!”. Naturally, if you’re anything like me, and even more so when you’re pregnant, your mind starts working ten to the dozen, paranoia sets in that you’re the only one that’s bothered and you’re going to be doing it all on your own!

Fast forward to ‘holy shit the baby is actually here’ and daddy really stepped it up. For someone who has had such minimal exposure to babies, he really was a natural. Nappy changes, bath time, getting Toby dressed – he wanted to learn and do it all and I have to say he’s a pro!

I love that my other half wants to be a proactive dad. From taking an interest in what he’s eating to downloading apps to see if he’s reaching his development milestones to playing with him when he gets home. I can’t fault him.

It must be so hard for men, especially since their paternity leave is almost non-existent. It makes me really angry that men don’t get anywhere near the same amount of time as the women (in jump all the women defending their right to be off, as they’re the one who carried their baby, they’re breastfeeding and blah blah blah). Rubbish. Dad’s need just as much time to bond, and not only that, where is your support when you’re signed off from the midwife after 10 days? But that’s not what this post is about.

I just want to raise a huge glass to all the men out there who have to stomach leaving their partners and babies every morning to work a full day, come home and make those couple of hours before bed time count with their kids. We really do love you,

How do your partners make the most of their time with the kids?

J

Foam Bath Support -Review-

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This product is absolute GOLD! Literally, do not waste your money on expensive, faffy baby bath products because this is all you will ever need. Trust me.

One of my good friends got this for me in a hamper at my baby shower and, at first, I was really hesitant to use it. If I’m being honest, it’s mainly because I wasn’t sure how to, and I really didn’t want to take the chance of thinking I knew what to do with it. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous but answers to the questions I had weren’t on any instruction booklet, because it didn’t come with one.

Was it suitable from birth? Was it to use in the “adult” bath, or just as a support in the baby bath? Do I put it in the sink? Was it for me to eat if I had a craving towards the end of my pregnancy? So I Googled it, just to make sure.

Anyway, this has literally been one of the best baby products I could’ve ever thought about getting. It’s practical, easy to use and best of all, cheap! Just pop it in your big bath and fill up with water to a level you’re comfortable with (I usually let the foam sit just under the water. Don’t forget your baby will sink into it slightly, depending on how big they are) and place baby on the foam. This eliminates any chance of what I like to call “baby bath arm” – you know, the awkward attempt at holding your baby while simultaneously trying to wash them or play with them.. yes? That. Your baby can finally be “hands free” and you can wash them and enjoy playing with them. It also gives them a chance to have a good splash once they’re a little bit bigger.

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One thing I will add, and this is just my personal opinion, is that the base is probably better for babies from birth up until about 3 months, rather than the stated 6 months. Our baby tended to lay with his arms up above his head and only splash with his legs. We had been using this for quite a while but didn’t realise our little one felt somewhat restricted by it. However, we had a family weekend break where we hadn’t taken this with us, and he absolutely loved the bath without it. Lots of splashing and wriggling around, so we decided to stop using it. But it’s down to you and your baby.

Even though this foam support is described as having a ”non-slip base”, it’s only true as long as it’s weighed down by your baby. Otherwise, it does tend to float around in the water.

Lastly, once you’re finished with it, remember to wring it out, literally like a big sponge and pop it at the end of the bath to dry.

Please remember that, even though this product offers support for your baby, you should never, not even for a few seconds, leave your baby alone in the bath!

J