When I found out I had to take a road trip with my newborn baby, I panicked. What do I pack? How do I care for her throughout the trip? Will she behave? A million questions were running through my mind, and the internet wasn’t giving me the answers I needed. I wound up having to learn from experience, but you do not have to. Keep reading for all the tips and tricks, as well as my tried-and-true newborn baby road trip packing list, to take yourself from anxious to assured.

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Tips for Road Trip With Newborn Baby

  • If possible, leave during your baby’s sleepiest time of day (this might mean leaving at night time)
  • Prepare for the road trip to take longer than it typically would. Plan your itinerary accordingly, and lower your expectations on an arrival time
  • Anticipate needing to stop more often than you typically would if you were not bringing a baby. It is recommended that you stop every 2-3 hours for a diaper change, feeding, and stretch
    • Every time you stop, lay your baby onto something flat, on their side, and/or give them some tummy time. Offer them wiggle time and burp them
    • Try to stimulate your baby as much as possible while stopped so that they will sleep/be content during the drive
  • Turn your baby’s head to their left or right side (alternating) every 30 minutes so they are not in the same position the entire time.
  • If possible, have an adult sit in the back of the car with your baby to monitor them.

Newborn Baby Road Trip Packing List

Clothing Essentials

In terms of clothing, the key is to dress your baby in something comfortable that is easy to get on and off at rest stops. Because we traveled in the winter, we also needed something that would keep my daughter feeling warm and secure; her fleece hooded onesie became our best friend. She wore a long-sleeved plain white onesie underneath it for some extra warmth (and to protect the fleece outer layer from blowouts). 

I recommend bringing a few outfits for your baby, as you never know when they will soil their clothes. The number of outfits you bring depends on the length of your road trip. We brought three outfit changes for our 24-hour road trip, and, while we didn’t wind up needing to use any of them, it is better to be safe than sorry!

Packing summary:

  • Something comfortable that is easy to get on and off with extra layers to keep warm (if applicable) and protect from blowouts 
  • Extra outfits (2-3 recommended)
A fluffy onesie should be added to your newborn baby road trip packing list is you are traveling somewhere cold

Feeding Essentials

Exclusively breastfeeding mommas may skip this section, but for the rest of us, a lot of preparation goes into feeding the baby on the road. This may go without saying, but packing lots of clean, sterilized bottles is essential. To determine how many bottles you’ll need, figure out how many stops you’ll be taking, and pack one bottle per stop (plus a few extras); in general, you should be making a stop to feed your newborn every two to three hours. 

PRO TIP: Bring a bottle brush, mini dish soap, and microwavable sterilizer bag, just in case you run out of sterile bottles. A lot of hotels and gas stations have microwaves. 

It would be a hassle to bring your bottle warmer on the road. My portable bottle warmer was a lifesaver. The boiled water I stored in it stayed hot for the entire duration of my 24-hour trip! If you run out, most gas stations have hot water.  

If you are pumping, I would recommend investing in a wearable breast pump for convenience; my Bellababy pump worked great on the road. You can also use your plug-in breast pump in the car if you have a wall plug adapter

As for storing your pumped breastmilk in the car, you have a few options. You can use a cooler or insulated bag with lots of ice packs for short-term storage. For longer trips, I recommend adding a mini fridge to your newborn baby road trip packing list; our mini fridge conveniently came with a car adapter. None of this would be possible without breastmilk storage bags and a pen/marker, so don’t forget to pack those!

You can also store your prepared formula in a cooler/insulated bag with ice packs or a mini fridge. 

Packing summary:

  • Bottles (one per planned stop, plus a few extras)
  • Burp cloths 
  • Sanitizing supplies
    • Microwavable sterilizer bag 
    • Bottle brush
    • Mini dish soap
  • Portable bottle warmer 
  • Formula (pre-prepared or powder)
  • Wearable breast pump OR plug-in breast pump with wall plug adapter 
  • Cooler/insulated bag with ice packs 
  • Mini fridge with car adapter
  • Breastmilk storage bag 
  • Pen/marker for writing on breastmilk storage bags

Diapering Essentials

You probably already know what you need to change your baby (diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream/powder), but let’s go over the road trip logistics of diaper changes. Most bathrooms in gas stations and rest stops have diaper-changing tables; however, let’s be honest, they’re gross. For this reason, I added a travel diaper changing pad to my newborn baby road trip packing list; the one I purchased conveniently has pockets for diapers and a compartment for wipes. If you’d prefer to use the changing tables in the bathroom, for sanitary purposes, I would bring puppy pads to lay out on them.

As for the contents of your diaper bag, I recommend packing it as you normally would, but bring more of everything. Make sure to bring at least two diapers per planned stop and a few outfit changes (as previously mentioned), and hand sanitizer for when a sink may not be easily accessible. 

PRO TIP: While changing my daughter, rather than throwing her dirty diapers and wipes onto the floor of my car, I quickly dumped them into a dog poop bag. It made both my car and the walk over to the garbage pail a lot less messy. 

Packing summary:

  • Diapers (at least two per planned stop)
  • Wipes (at least two packs)
  • A few outfit changes 
  • Diaper rash cream/powder 
  • Travel diaper changing pad or puppy pads 
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Dog poop bags 
Pack a portable diaper changing pad for sanitary changes on the road

Comfort Essentials

While none of the items I am about to mention are true newborn road trip packing essentials, they may be considered essential for comfort. First, I’d like to recommend adding a portable white noise machine to your newborn baby road trip packing list. This should help your baby rest and relax during a stressful trip; I have one that hooks onto my daughter’s car seat. Sucking on a pacifier may also allow your baby to self-soothe during the trip. 

Next, you may wish to bring a baby blanket. Depending on how cold it is, a blanket over your baby’s legs could help them to have a more cozy and comfortable ride. Just be sure to watch your baby with the blanket to ensure it never covers their nose or mouth!

I also recommend hanging window sunshades in your car. Not only does this help to keep your baby calm (and hopefully asleep), but it also gives you a sense of privacy. I did not use window sunshades during my trip, however, as my car has tinted windows; same outcome, just a bit more pricey!

This last comfort essential is more for the comfort of the driver than the baby: a mirror. Hanging a mirror on the headrest of the seat on which your baby’s car seat is installed will allow you to see your baby during the drive and give you some peace of mind regarding their safety. 

Packing summary:

  • White noise machine 
  • Pacifiers 
  • Baby blanket 
  • Window sunshades 
  • Mirror 

Downloadable Newborn Baby Road Trip Packing List

For your convenience, I put together a downloadable newborn baby road trip packing list summarizing all of the items I mentioned in this post. You can access it by filling out the form below! 

Download the Packing List!

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    What will you put on your baby road trip packing list? If you have been on a road trip with your newborn, is there anything you’d personally recommend bringing? Contact me or let me know in the comments below!

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