Holiday Travel with Infant

Updated on May 06, 2015
E.K. asks from North Branford, CT
14 answers

I have an infant who has a pretty good schedule (one long nap mid-day). It has been proven in the past if we deviate from this schedule it is usually hard on her. My husband's family is hosting the holiday and the ride is 3 hours. So by the time we make it there we will only be able to stay for 3 hours and then drive back home another 3 hours. That's 6 hours travel for a 3 hour visit. I think it would take a toll on my baby. I told my husband that I thought it was a bad idea to go and that we should make it up to his family at another time (not all of his family lives this far away). Am I being to over-protective? I would love some advice!

Thank you!

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone! You all had some great advice and really put things into perspective. We will be attending. It will be a little difficult but we will be leaving early enough in the afternoon to get home for her dinner and bedtime routine. We would have loved to go the night before but we have another family Easter on Saturday to attend….busy weekend! Plus, the expense would not be good since my husband was laid off. Thank you all again for such wonderful advice!!! Yes, I can be a little overprotective sometimes, aren’t all moms ;-)

P.S.- So we ended up going. The first thing out of my husband's mouth when we got home was..."We shouldn't have gone!" I guess being a little overprotective and sticking with you instincts is a good thing! Everything was so rushed...

Featured Answers



answers from New York on

Anyway of traveling the night before so you are only doing a long ride back home and hopefully the baby would sleep most of the way back.

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answers from New York on

My kids were on schedules and fell apart, too. That is a long drive for anyone to spend only 3 hours there - I would think seriously about not going even without kids. So I think it legitimate to say that it is just not possible this time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

I would never spend that much time in the car for 3hr visit. i wouldn't even do that without any kids. I would at the very least spend the night (their house, hotel).

You won't even get to enjoy it even if your baby does do well. You'll be watching the clock the whole time thinking you need to go and working to not upset the baby's schedule, etc.

I don't think you're being overprotective...I think you're being logical. We have a 4 yr old and never travel over a 4hr round trip for one day. That's just too much.

Tell hubby to spring for a hotel so you can at least enjoy the time you're there with family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am sorry to say but I do think you are being a bit over-protective. I am a mother of four and feel that sometimes you are going to have to go with the flow, even if it means the baby might be cranky for it. I usually find that in these situations it is usually harder on the parents than the baby. Try to feed and change the baby right before you get in the car. You should also dress the baby in a comfortable outfit for the car seat.(You can always change her into something more special when you get to your destination)
If it will make your husband happy, I would make the effort and go.


answers from Milwaukee on

I have done long trips with my daughter since 5 months old... I have done 6 hour trip up to see my grandma, spent the mid afternoon & over night there then left in the morning. We have done long trips (10 plus hours) driving to Nebraska but usually stay at least two days then drive back.

If you truely think your little one will not handle it well then try to stay over night (hotel is easiest for you to escape the family when you want). I would talk about that first instead of saying not spending time with family since it is a holiday. I have found the more I travel with my daughter the more she gets use to it and is not so upset about her schedule being changed, now ever child is different so you as a parent has to make the best judgement you can.

We have family living with in 30 mins of us but just because of that we do not say to the family members that live further away that we are not coming out for the holiday because it is too far to travel and will upset the schedule. It is a holiday, family makes time for family even if it is different then their usually schedule.



answers from Washington DC on

I agree with the PP that 6 hours of travel for a 3 hour visit is too much (not only for the baby, but for you also). Would it be possible to go a day early? Maybe leave at naptime so your little one can nap on the car ride there?

When we travel we always make sure we travel during times our son will be sleeping. It ensures he gets sleep on schedule and it prevents him from getting antsy in the car.



answers from New York on

I have a todder who is just about to turn 3. He still naps once a day, at midday (2-3 hours). Even at this age, I would not travel 6 hours for a 3-hour visit. If the visit could be stretched at all to an overnight, I would consider it, but I wouldn't do all that traveling, personally, just for 3 hours.

Keep in mind that your family may not understand, but you have to do what you think is best for your child and your family. Usually, it's not only the child that suffers, but also the mom, caring for a cranky, overtired kid! So go with your instincts. Eventually, your family will forgive you (if they were that upset in the first place) - or, if they're like my family, someone else will upset them and then the glare will turn away from you. Ha!

Just my two cents. :)



answers from Detroit on

I think you are being over protective but so was my wife. We travel a lot with our kids. We found a product that might help you out. It clips to your car interior light. It lets the kids eat their food in the back with the light on when it is dark outside. This means that you can leave a little later without all the trouble of driving with kids at night. It doesn't distract the driver either. (you can buy it online at Could be the thing that saves the day!!



answers from New York on

Is there any chance that you can stay overnight? I'm sure if his family lives that far away they would love the opportunity to see your baby. Disruptions to a baby's schedule occur all the time for things that are not as important as spending holidays with family, so consider that as well. Good luck and have a wonderful holiday (whatever you do)!



answers from New York on

Can you stay overnight?



answers from Albany on


A schedule is a good thing, and having one is great. However; the schedule should be flexible, and one thing that all infants need to learn is how to sooth themselves when things don't go according to schedule. There will always be things that impact our daily routine (and hers), that is part of life. I agree that the timeline is tough, and may seem out of proportion, but it will not take a permanent toll on your baby. Since I don't know her actual age, I cannot give you my full opinion, but you could feed her before you left, right when you get there, and before you leave again and not impact her food schedule. Ultimately you know what is best for your family and understand your familial dynamic and will make the choice that is best for all of you, but one day off schedule for a special holiday get together might be worth it. I hope you and your family have a lovely holiday - regardless of your travel decision.



answers from New York on

I would definitely go. Why not stay in a hotel overnight. Might make for
a nice weekend.

If you keep your baby on such a rigid schedule, the word flexibility will
go out of your vocabulary. Schedules are good without a doubt. Just
do not let a schedule run your life 24/7. If you want to do something,
do it. Baby will be ok.



answers from Albany on

We drove two hours for an important family party when my dd was only 4 days old! (we didn't let people touch her). I NEVER would have planned to do such a thing but it was very important to everyone in the family and it worked out fine. You can do a lot when you set your mind to it!

I agree that a schedule is important but it needs to be more like an backbone that bends when needed not something rigid. I also agree that it seems silly to do so much driving for such a short visit. Staying overnight will make it easier. We stayed in a hotel overnight for another trip and it was fine. We just told the hotel that we would have an infant and they put us in a room on a floor that was not booked full. People love babies and will go out of their way to be helpful most of the time.



answers from New York on

I wish I knew now what I didn't know when my kids were infants. They are so much easier when they're infants and portable. Can't you bring a pak n play and let the baby sleep there so you can stay longer? Infants are pretty flexible and family is really important - even if it's not your own family (my family is pretty far away). Would you make the trip if it were to see your own mom and dad?

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