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Is there anything specific to think about when planning a long car journey (12 hours with an overnight stop) with a 2-month old? I guess one of the issues is whether one of the adults stays in the back with the baby, or whether both being up front is ok? We would make sure we stop regularly of course.

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Check out some of the questions tagged "travel" and "car-seat", they might help you, too. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 12 '12 at 12:11
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We have taken several road trips that each were in the range of 700 to 1500 kilometers (per direction). Things that were helpful to us include:

  • Have enough baby necessities on board. Think of diapers, wipes, baby food, and so on. Whatever is age-appropriate, just make absolutely sure you don't run out.
  • Have a high-quality car-seat for the baby. This is the single most important thing for the safety and comfort of your baby.
  • Ensure the long-duration comfort of the parents. They are going to have it the hardest, not the baby. This includes sitting in front if that's the most comfortable (it usually is, in most cars), adjusting the seat properly, having enough food and drink for yourselves, taking a leg-stretching break (run 5 laps around your parked car) at least every 2 hours, and so on.

I would not recommend that one parent sits in the back, unless the baby is very very fussy. For very long drives, it can be assumed that one person cannot drive the whole distance. This means that the other parent must save enough energy to take his or her share of the drive. But if you've spent the whole time until then caring for the baby, then you're as exhausted as the driver. You would then need a stop of several hours.

The safer recommendation is to deliberately put you (and especially the driver) in a position where you can't address every little whim and whine of the baby. If it's worth making a rest stop for, then do that. If it isn't, then carry on -- you've got a long road ahead and you won't get there if you stop every fifteen minutes.

Make sure that the essentials are reasonably within reach from the co-pilot's seat. If you're lucky, the co-pilot can even reach around the back and hand baby the toy that she just threw onto the backseat, out of baby's reach. Make sure the rest of the car is safely packed, of course.

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Point taken about the comfort of the parents (us)! –  tdc Jan 12 '12 at 13:48
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In my experience, the baby (normally) won't require continuous full attention from the parent sitting on the back seat, so (s)he can rest, or even have a short nap every now and then. YMMV. –  Péter Török Jan 12 '12 at 14:14
    
Seems along time ago now, but I can report that the journey was a success! She tended to sleep for two hours at a time, at which point we were quite happy to have a rest stop to feed/change her, and then get back on the road for another 2 hours. There were only a couple of journeys of more than 4 hours which were a bit harder but still ok. The biggest issue was that she would wake every time we went through a Péage (this was France)! We both sat in the front - there was too much luggage in the back. –  tdc Mar 6 '13 at 8:24
    
@tdc: Glad to hear! –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Mar 6 '13 at 10:32
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A 2 month old doesn't have a whole lot of interests yet anyway, so there isn't a whole lot that can be done.

I would suggest several things:

  • do NOT go the Benadryl route until you've exhausted all other options.
  • do NOT be afraid to stop for "a while" . . . I know you don't want to be all month gettin' where you're goin', but if you need to stop for :90 and play at the park, then do it.
  • do NOT be afraid to jack them into a video. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. It will probably do nothing more than be a tranquilizer anyway.
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A 2 month old usually needs constant care and stimuli. Unless you have an angel, who only cries for food and a diaper change, which for a 2 month old is about every hour. In Los Angeles, my place/house to place/house drive is usually 1 hour apart, so my babies had to get used to that very quickly on their own.

That said, have at least one adult in the back seat with the baby to provide stimuli and feeding. Plan out your tools for stimuli: iPad, android, singing, music, story telling, etc. Rotate adults as needed. When you stop you can also change the baby. Bear with the crying. Be mindful of your baby as only you know what is hurting your baby.

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"A 2 month old usually needs constant care and stimuli": That's a somewhat questionable statement and certainly doesn't jive with my personal experience. In fact I would consider it potentially detrimental to provide a 2 month old with constant stimulus. –  Hilmar Dec 26 '13 at 17:36
    
They need more sleep than they do stimulus, but welcome to the community and thanks for your contribution. The idea of making sure there is an adult to keep an eye on the baby and be sure the reason for crying isn't a dirty diaper or hunger is good. –  balanced mama Dec 28 '13 at 17:43
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Put the kid behind the driver. That way, the person riding shotgun can easily reach it, while it is out of reach and out of sight for the driver.

Also be advised that they need to get out of the car as often as you do. If it's not too cold, bring a blanket for your kid to lie / crawl on when you make a stop.

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We did a long car journey (4 days with overnight stops, then 3 days on the way back) with our firstborn when she was 5 months old. One of us sat at the back to entertain her, equipped with the usual army of toys, colourful pictures, baby food etc. etc.

It went fairly well, she had no big problems. Whenever she wanted to move more than it was possible inside her safety seat, or was breastfeeding time, we stopped for a break. (She already started to eat some solid food at that time, but was still being breast fed a couple of times a day.) For a 2 months old, I guess this would cause even less trouble.

One of our friends did a similar journey at that summer, with a somewhat bigger baby. They also shared the back seat with the baby. They travelled mostly during the night, so their baby slept through most of the travel.

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Thanks, reassuring –  tdc Jan 12 '12 at 13:49
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+1 We did a 1400km trip with a 3 month old, and he slept nearly the entire trip except for feedings and diapers, at which time it was a nice time for a rest anyway. Remarkably, when we arrived in the evening, he slept through the night as well! Travel sleep doesn't count as actual sleep, apparently. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 12 '12 at 14:18
    
@Torben Gundtofte-Bruun nope, travel sleep does NOT count as actual sleep! –  monsto Jan 16 '12 at 9:55
    
@monsto: That would be interesting to ask on Skeptics :) –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 16 '12 at 9:57
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