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.
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.
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.
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.
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.