Best way to do a six hour journey with a three month old?(34 Posts)
Wanting to Travel to Edinburgh for anniversary weekend in January, DS will be 3 months old. By car it will take us 5 hours (if no traffic), by train 4 hours. Is this a really silly idea? First time parents perhaps underestimating the amount of stuff we will need/ how many times we would have to stop if driving
In many ways, very young babies are easier to travel with because you don't have to contend with teething/potty training/weaning/fussy eaters and if you time the journey well they should sleep for most of it. A baby's instinct to sleep is heightened in the car because the noise and motion mimics the conditions in the womb. At three months this will still have a very strong effect.
Try to work with your baby’s routine wherever possible and plan to travel when they’re most likely to be sleeping. This could mean setting off straight after bath time, so that you can cover a fair few miles while they’re snoozing.
Cotton all-in-ones are perfect for a long car journey as they don’t ruffle up and make uncomfy creases or bundle baby up too warm. Remember also when you have the AC blasting out in the front of the car that baby in the back will not be getting quite the same effect.
Avoid the temptation to overspill your packing into the spare back seat. That way, if baby gets really cranky and a stop doesn’t sort it out then someone can at least easily hop into the back at your next stop to give them a change of scene and entertainment. It also doubles up as a nappy changing space!
If baby likes a dummy, keep a whole stock of them with you in the car to post back to him along the journey if they fall on the floor. Alternatively, now would be a good time to invest in a dummy clip to prevent them being throw on the floor – just make sure to get one made from beads or similar.
Slightly ott suggestion, but we have a lie-flat car seat (Jane Matrix) which works well, and I think allows them to stay in longer than normal car seats (so less breaks needed).
Sling and train. It’s a doddle at that age.
Haven’t they changed recommendations to say 30 mins max in car seat??
That would definitely mean I’d go train - where are you staying? Can they provide cot?
Blimey who makes up these car seat rules they are so impractical ! Either option is doable with two adults and a small baby , just go with your personal preference.
Where are you travelling from? Can you fly? Or take a sleeper?
Pack the car. Give the baby a big feed and a nappy change just before you leave. Take a couple of toys that don't go into a hundred pieces and are easy to grab when they've fallen on the floor and you are stretching around.
Keep the music soothing.
Stop after 3 hours for a feed, nappy change and a bit of a stretch. 10 mins will do it.
Then set off again.
Inside the car, you need wipes and a couple of spare nappy sacks. On the back seat you need a changing bag and inside it a couple of drinks, food, bibs and a change of clothes etc. Baby food jars are your friend this time.
Its only complicated the first time...!
For the parents Cupcake. Not for the baby
They only made up the maximum time in a car seat rule because of the mothers who cart their babies around in them, even when not on a car journey. Once in a blue moon is absolutely fine.
I just re-read the OP. Forget the food - all you need is milk.
I've done this exact journey.
My preference is definitely train as if you baby starts crying while strapped into the car seat on the motorway it could be a while before you can stop to comfort your child which can be stressful for all concerned.
DP's preference is car as we do tend to take a lot of stuff!
It's doable either way but a car does mean loads of stops, potentially. We've never done London to Edinburgh in 5 hours with DC in tow.
If you go by train the main issue is what do you do for a car seat at the other end? Where exactly will you be going in Edinburgh over the weekend? If you need to travel by car, is there someone you can borrow a car seat from there? Or is public transport going to be fine?
If you go by train, get a family railcard and book a child ticket for your baby. You don't need a ticket till your child is 5 but family railcards are for DC of all ages, even babies and it's perfectly legit to buy them a ticket.
This will save you a third of both your fares as well as get you an extra seat. Check out deals in advance including first class (sometimes the deals on the first class seats are excellent). We got first class seats for £40 each way London to Edinburgh once.
We did that journey when DD was 4 months old in August. I was dreading it. However, she was fine, slept the whole time.
We planned on stopping at Tebay, but she was still asleep so kept going to the next services, I woke her up but there were services every 25-30 miles so could have gone further. I was impressed how easy it was to change her, feed her etc. It’s easy to worry when you don’t know what to expect, but I’d do it sooner if I’d known. The benefit for us to drive was I had all her essentials with us, good luck.
I did London to Aberdeen when DS was 3 months old. Apart from over packing the boot, it was fine. The baby just sleeps. If they wake up and start crying, pull off the motorway, change the nappy and feed them and they go back to sleep again.
Plane is worth considering too as although it doesn't necessarily save time, the fact the journey us broken up makes it a bit easier on all of you. You can take the pushchair and wheel it right up to the plane, they take it off you at the stairs to the plane (or at least they did when I flew with my baby - worth checking!).
The air pressure on take off can make babies cry because of the pressure on their ears apparently - breast or bottle feeding as you are taking off and landing can minimise this. I worried about this before flying with my 5 month old but he was fine.
With flying, your baby in on your lap which is really where they want to be most of the time!
If the OP is just staying in the centre of Edinburgh she won't need a car. IMO being car free would be better because of lack of and expensive parking.
LoniceraJaponica yes exactly.
But if their anniversary thing is somewhere they do need to drive to then they'll need to solve the car seat issue that end.
we did glasgow to the south east a bajillion times when the squiddlies were small. bath, feed, change, car seat, drive overnight. it got harder when they were older as we had to get a bloody in car dvd player as they wouldn't just fall asleep at bedtime if they were in the car.
I did germany to the south east of england once myself with dd1 as a baby. same scenario - bath, feed, car seat. I timed it so I would get to calais when she needed feeding, and i booked the ferry so I would have time to get her out of the car seat, fed and changed (eurotunell too short). we got to mils in time for late breakfast. Driving back was a pita was there was a hug diversion on the autobahn and i ended up taking an extra four hours and driving round bloody corn fields in the middle of nowhere. I ended up having to stop and feed her as putting her in the front passenger seat (reverse facing no air bag lol) and trying to bottle feed her ebm while dealing with a massive stahl was way too stressful.
lost count of the number of overnights we did with babies tbh.
We did London to Glasgow by train whe our boy was 8 weeks old. As long as you have booked seats, I’d recommend this way to travel. He just fed and slept most of the time. It was a nice journey. I would travel that distance in a car. You’ll need to factor in lots of stopping to give a break from the car seat so it could even double the journey time!
Take the car! We went on a trip down south from Edinburgh with 5 month old and 2 year old in the summer and it was fine! First stretch was 5 hrs so we left at 7pm so they’d both sleep all the way and they did.
The car seat rules are for people who just leave their baby in the seat while they shop, walk etc but for the sake of one journey your baby will be fine! Much easier by car especially with all the equipment. We were away for a week visiting people and the car was packed to the rafters. We could never have taken the train.
We've done it by car lots of times. Although train is my personal preference as I said upthread car is DP's. Both are perfectly doable, there's no right way. It comes down to your personal requirements and preferences.
I think it depends on whether you enjoy driving, are OK with having to stop plenty of times to break the journey up and therefore making it into a rather long and arduous experience and if there is parking where you want to stay.
I do a fair amount of driving (and a fair amount of sitting in motorway traffic jams) so my preference would be the train. The family railcard is an excellent idea because it will be much cheaper.
What would you do if you drove and were stuck behind an accident on the M1 and your baby was screaming for a feed/change for example?
Oh hold on I see I've assumed you're travelling from London as the journey times match ours! Apologies if I've got that totally wrong!
I think it depends on your baby. We did a similar journey when dd was 12 weeks. She hated the car seat and screamed everytime we put her back in it. It took 10 hours because of all the stops! and 8 on the way back. It was hell. The train would be better in terms of being able to hold/comfort the baby but possibly not practical if you have to take loads of stuff with you.
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