Last weekend I took a trip to Jacksonville with an 18 month old – SOLO!! If you follow me on social media you are probably familiar with the fact that my toddler typically pukes on long car rides. This Jacksonville road trip was a 4.5 hour drive and I decided to drive at night! BEST. DECISION. EVER.
Now I know why people choose to travel via car overnight with kids…because they SLEEP the entire time. Madeline unfortunately was not sound asleep the entire drive, however this was a much better choice than driving during the day with her (she’s a puker remember?). Madeline’s bed time is around 7:30 each night and I left both times at 7pm. She took an hour to fall asleep on the way to Jacksonville and had a meltdown just prior to falling asleep. I don’t know what it was but I sure was messing up her routine lol. She would wake up every hour, trying to stretch and move around…I didn’t make eye contact with her in hopes that she would fall back asleep. Which she did! But man driving with her sure does make me anxious.
Leaving Jacksonville took her about an hour and a half to fall sleep. And again, she woke up every hour and was awake for good when we were 20 mins from our house. I think it would get better if we took more trips but it’s still very stressful for me. All in all, I would do it again but I do think your kiddo (and mine) would fall asleep faster once the sun goes down. The darker it is outside the better! I also had her in her PJs each time and kept the music low in the car. Chatting to my mom and grandma on the way back also kept me sane and helped pass the time! Luckily when we arrived in Jacksonville and back in Pensacola I did not have any trouble putting Madeline to sleep in her pack and play or her crib.
Here is a post I wrote on my Instagram account in regards to traveling solo with a kiddo at the airport:
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about traveling with a baby/toddler – and while I’m not an expert, I sure am seasoned lol.
I flew for the first time with Maddie when she was 5 months old. Then again at 10 and 11 months (all with two stops 😏). When they are little it’s EASIER! Crap am I really saying that? Yes, because they are more likely to sleep for most of the flight. Nursing or a pacifier is recommend at takeoff and landing to pop their ears. I’ve heard it’s also not necessary.
As your baby gets more mobile (crawling & walking), it gets harder to keep them in one spot. Keeping them entertained is key. Snacks and toys…even people sitting around you! I’ll take any entertainment lol. I’ve even let her rip pages from a magazine before (and cleaned up as she ripped). Having their own seat has its own benefits too, if you can swing the money for an extra ticket. Some airlines will require a copy of the birth certificate when you check in so just be prepared. Call before your flight as well to add them as a “lap baby” to your reservation (if you’re going that route). You have until their second birthday to fly them as a lap baby. .
Some snacks I recommend: grapes (cut lengthwise), Kind pressed fruit bars, Rx bars and Pirates Booty Cheddar puffs. Toys I recommend: Box of bandaids (trust me, endless entertainment), something that rattles and a small book. Bring anything that will bring comfort! Lots of moms bring an iPad with downloaded videos (Baby Bum Bum) for entertainment but Maddie has never been interested in watching the iPad. She’s like a squirrel! Bring a pair of clean clothes for you and baby in case of a blowout 💩 (plastic baggy too).
What do I check? I check our luggage and a car seat. Early on it was the infant car seat and now it’s a Toddler car seat (Graco 4Ever). I’ve brought our Nuna stroller before to the gate but a smaller umbrella stroller is much easier! Plus I could care less if it gets tossed around by the airline. Also, a backpack style diaper bag is best! I’ve also used a baby carrier in the past to lug Maddie around (again much easier when they are little). .
What about milk? (Continued in the comments! Ran out of space)hat about milk? I’ve nursed on the plane many times before and it’s a pain. Especially if you’re in the middle seat 🤦🏻♀️😏. Now it’s easy breezy. I brought her milk and water through security with no issues. They did have to test it with some strip but they only hovered it over the liquids. Hope this helps! Feel free to ask more questions. PS – If you’re a military wife and your airport has a USO…use it!! You won’t regret it.
So tell me, have you traveled at night with your child before? How did it go? Have you ever left really early in the morning and did they go back to sleep?