I have done quite a bit of travelling with Cameron so far, only in the UK as I have no intention or funds to go further afield. When Cameron was 3 months old I took him along to London when I went for the Tinchy Stryder shoot with More Magazine. I went with my friend Abi and took my nan along to help with Cameron whilst we were in the photoshoot. The journey there was fine, but on the way back the driver was so nasty to me about Cameron's car seat that I ended up having a panic attack and the whole journey was ruined for me, making me feel scared to even take him out of his carseat to feed him his bottle. It was an awful experience and has, to be honest, put me off travelling with Cameron on coaches.
I often go on short trips in the car, but this weekend, my mum drove our family to Kent, and then to Essex, and then back to Kent and back to Bournemouth. Cameron was amazingly well behaved on the journey and I am so pleased he likes to travel in the car, as soon we have a huge journey from Bournemouth to the Lake District to go on holiday there! We are hoping Cameron is as well behaved as he has been this weekend, though we think a couple of trips are going to be a definite addition.
I would say these are my top 3 tips for journeys in a car with a baby:
1. Make sure the baby has some toys with them. Cameron has lots of toys and I usually put at least two in his car seat so that he can amuse himself during the journey. When we go on longer journeys I usually provide him with a couple more, and I have found that everyday items such as empty bottles can also provide toys if you have forgotten to bring any. It is also great if you have a passenger who can sit in the back with the baby as this way they can help amuse the baby if the toys lose their novelty. Making faces, singing and general slapstick comedy seem to work, at least for Cameron.
2. Make sure you forward plan and bring enough food and drink for the baby, providing extra in case of emergency. Cameron tends to get thirsty on car journeys so ends up having a bottle of water on the go. When we stop, he has his food. Over the weekend he had a mix of purees and 'normal' food, including a chicken roll, which he loved. I will give him a bottle whilst moving, but we pull over if he is going to have anything more solid, in case he chokes. I find the formula dispensers have been a life saver for dispensing milk whilst travelling as they are pre measured and so easy and fast to use.
3. The most important thing to remember is safety for yourself and the baby. I have not yet travelled alone with Cameron for a long distance at night but this is one area I am going to be extra careful on. I have heard horror stories about people luring women out of the car to rape or kill them. I will not be pulling over for anything, especially not with Cameron in my car. Another area to watch for is the baby's temperature. It is important to keep them from getting too hot or too cold so bring blankets, crack windows (but don't have them wide open, especially on motorways as the wind can take the baby's breath away), and make sure you check on the baby reguarly (especially if is only you two in the car). Finally, speed is a huge issue, though I am sure it doesn't need to be said. I know that I used to put myself at risk everytime I got in my car, going way above the speed limit and often texting, calling or even applying makeup (I mean what on earth?!) whilst driving myself around. That behaviour stopped the moment I found out I was pregnant, and I am so much safer these days. I know it isn't only me that gets behind that wheel, but Cameron as well, and I am taking no chances with him. He means too much to me.
My top tips for travelling on coaches with a baby:
1. Make sure you investigate rules and regulations regarding babies travelling before you book tickets, during booking tickets and when boarding the coach itself. Some may have special rules concerning where you can sit with a car seat (on National Express, I was very rudely informed that I was not allowed to have the car seat in the front seats, despite travelling like this on my first journey). It is also a good idea to double check you do not have to pay for a seat for the baby. I didn't have to, but some coaches may have different policies.
2. As with travelling in a car, make sure you bring along distractions such as toys and food and drink. You often have more freedom in a coach, especially if you would usually be the one driving, to sit with the baby and play with them/feed them etc. I was wary about taking Cameron out of his car seat whilst the coach was moving, but this is sometimes necessary, and can be a much better option than sitting with the baby crying the whole journey. Just make sure that you are not putting the baby or yourself in any undue harm in doing so, avoid walking around with the baby (this is common sense, but thought I would get it out there), and be wary of passing the baby backwards and forwards between yourself and fellow passengers.
3. When travelling anywhere, it is important to consider what you will be doing when you are there, especially whether you will need a pram for the baby. This may require extra assistance from the coach staff, or may require paying extra for the pram to be stored underneath the coach during travel. As before, you should also consider the amount of food, drink, snacks etc will be needed during your time away when packing, and you should also consider the weather. It may be a good idea to bring a blanket onto the coach, even in warm weather, in case the coach has air conditioning because this can make the air too cool for a baby.
I hope these tips have been of some help to any fellow parents out there who maybe are nervous about travelling with your baby, or have just not experienced it yet. I am hoping to have a guest blogger who has travelled on a plane with a baby to write a blog on this, as I have yet to do so and would find it interesting myself and feel others may benefit from it as well. If you yourself would be interested in writing this, or know anyone who it applies to, please get in touch my commenting below, or by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org