One of the most essential purchases you’ll make for your baby is a car seat. If you spend a lot of time on the road with your little one, you may be wondering if you can feed a baby in a car seat? It’s certainly doable but what do you have to be aware of before feeding your baby in a car seat while on road trips?
Child experts recommend not feeding your baby in a car seat unless it’s stationary and the infant is being supervised during the feed. Bottle-feeding a baby in the car seat is possible but not breastfeeding. Toddlers can be fed solids in car seats as long as they’re not unattended.
- Babies can eat solid food in a car seat as long as they are supervised.
- You can bottle-feed your baby in a car seat but breastfeeding isn’t an option.
- Babies shouldn’t be fed in a moving car as it causes problems such as gas buildup and indigestion.
- Taking regular stops and making pre-made bottles are some of the tips for feeding your baby while on a road trip.
- Alternatives to feeding your baby in a car seat include finding a feeding room at a pit stop.
Can you feed a baby solid food in a car seat?
Feeding your baby solid food in a car seat is possible but only under supervision. Letting your little one snack on biscuits or have her pureed food alone in the back seat while you’re driving is dangerous. Hazards such as gagging or choking can happen in seconds and not only will this distract you while you’re driving but you’ll have to stop suddenly to take care of your child.
Whether your baby is seated in a rear or convertible car seat it’s recommended to only use the seat for driving and not feeding.
Can you feed a baby with a bottle in a car seat?
Bottle-feeding your baby in a car seat is safe as long as your little one isn’t left unsupervised, especially if she isn’t old enough to hold the bottle on her own. The best way to give your baby her bottle while on a road trip is to stop the car and sit with her while she drinks her milk. This allows you to hold the bottle as well if your little one isn’t able to.
Bottle-feeding works especially if your baby likes the bottle more than mom’s breasts. 🙂
Can you breastfeed a baby in a car seat?
Breastfeeding your baby in a car seat isn’t an option! Not only is it uncomfortable for mom and baby, but it’s a choking hazard as the feeding position makes it harder for your baby to handle the flow rate. If you’re on a road trip, use pumped milk in a bottle and park the car before bottle-feeding your baby.
Can you feed a baby in a moving car?
Feeding your baby in a moving car comes with a number of risks and uncomfortable symptoms. A bottle can become a dangerous projectile if you have to suddenly brake or are involved in an accident.
Eating while in a moving car can result in extra gas buildup in your little one’s tum, causing unpleasant pressure and pain in her stomach. Another problem with eating while traveling in a vehicle is indigestion – the motion of the car irritates the digestive juices.
The other disadvantage of feeding your baby in a moving car is that you can’t burp her after a feed. This will result in a fussy baby who becomes restless and starts to cry.
Risks of feeding a baby in a car seat
- Motion sickness: Children from the age of 2 to 12 years old are most susceptible to motion sickness. Feeding your little one while they’re feeling out of sorts in a moving car will result in nausea, vomiting, or an upset tummy.
- Fussing: Babies get fussy when they’re tired, uncomfortable, or want to be close to their mom while traveling in the car. When they’re feeling this way, your baby is less inclined to feed in a car seat.
- Mess: Feeding babies, especially when they’re eating solids, becomes a messy business! It’s not usual for the baby to hit the bottle and to have more spills when feeding from the baby bottle or sippy cup if your baby is restless in the car seat or you’re giving her her feed while the car is moving.
How do you feed a baby on a road trip?
Here are some tips I’ve found useful when traveling with our daughter.
Be sure to make regular stops
Most parents aren’t aware of the 2-hour rule for car seats. What does this mean?
Manufacturers recommend not keeping your little one in a car seat for longer than two hours because of the following hazards:
- Sitting in a semi-upright position for too long can put a strain on your little one’s undeveloped spine.
- Less air flows into your baby’s lungs, especially if they fall asleep in the car seat and their head flops forward.
Making regular stops prevents these risks as well as gives you time to feed your baby while the car is stationary.
Pre-made bottles for bottle-fed babies
Planning ahead for a road trip with a baby is the best way to minimize chaos while you’re traveling! Making pre-made bottles for your bottle-fed baby and keeping them in a cooler box means you have her feed on hand when she’s ready for her next meal.
Meal pouches for babies eating solids
Meal pouches for babies eating solids are a wonderful solution for travelers. It saves you from packing bulky food containers in limited storage space while on the road. Meal pouches let your baby suck her food while on the go – but remember to only give it to her when the car is parked. A quick tip! Silicone meal pouches are softer and gentler for teething babies.
Lunch boxes filled with healthy snacks for toddlers
Preparing lunch boxes filled with healthy snacks for your toddler ahead of time ensures your hungry baby is well-fed while traveling on the road. But, avoid the following if you want to prevent choking hazards:
- Whole cherry tomatoes
- Whole grapes
- Peanuts or any other kind of nuts
Again, it’s best to supervise your toddler while they enjoy their healthy lunch box in the car seat.
Guide on how to properly feed your baby in a car seat
Using a car seat safely requires following the manufacturer’s recommendations particularly when picking one for your baby’s age, weight, and height. Most car seat safety regulations include that they shouldn’t be used for sleeping or feeding the baby outside of the vehicle. But, what about those long road trips while you’re traveling?
Use the following guide to properly feed your baby in a car seat while on the road.
- Prepare bottles and lunch boxes: Making pre-made bottles and lunch boxes the day before a road trip ensures your baby or toddler gets her meals while you’re traveling. It prevents the stress of trying to make a bottle in restrooms or while you’re on the side of the road! If you’re breastfeeding your baby, pump milk the day before and store it in bottles for feeding while traveling.
- Have the right accessories: One challenge bottle-feeding parents have while traveling is how to warm baby bottles while on the road. Keeping a flask of hot water in the car is one solution. Having the right accessories makes bottle feeding so much easier when taking road trips.
- Plan to stop every couple of hours: Remember the 2-hour rule and plan to stop regularly to give you and your infant a break from a moving car. You can use this break to feed your baby in the car seat.
- Stop at a safe location: Before hitting the road, plan your pit stops and make sure they’re in safe locations.
- Always supervise your baby: Supervision is vital when feeding your baby to minimize risks such as choking. Sitting next to your baby while they feed in the car seat gives you peace of mind that your little one is safe at mealtimes.
- Avoid feeding while the car is in motion: Eating in a moving vehicle isn’t healthy or safe for both adults and babies. Always make sure the car is stationary when feeding your little one in their car seat.
- Be prepared for the mess: Keeping baby wipes and a damp cloth in the diaper bag becomes handy if your baby spills her milk or drops snacks onto the car seat. Remember to pack your infant’s burp cloth, bib and a change of clothes in case of accidents while feeding in the car seat.
Car seat safety is your number one priority and this includes feeding your baby while on the road. The best option is to stop the car in a secure spot before giving your baby her bottle or snacks. Supervision is essential as is giving your little one regular breaks from her car seat.
If you want to breastfeed your baby, you may do so, but make sure you do that when you stopped with your car. I generally don’t recommend that (as you might want to start the habit of trying that even in a moving car), but in case you really need to do that, here’s a great explanation video I found for a rear-facing car seat.
Alternatives to feeding a baby in a car seat
If your baby is below six to eight months old, you can take her out of her car seat and hold her while bottle or breastfeeding. You can sit either on the car’s rear or front passenger seat while feeding your little one.
- Stopping at a safe pit stop along the highway and finding a baby feeding room. This takes planning ahead of time and identifying places that are secure and offer these facilities.
- Planning your route beforehand helps you to find quick access to restaurants where you can take a break and feed your toddler using a portable hook-on highchair. These places often have restrooms and baby-feeding rooms too for breastfed or bottle-fed babies.
- Traveling at nighttime when your baby or toddler doesn’t need as many feeds saves you the hassles of feeding them in their car seat. Timing their evening feeds with the 2-hour rule will ensure your little one doesn’t miss out on a nighttime meal.
Taking road trips with your baby takes planning and preparation, especially if you need to feed them en route. While you can feed them in the car seat it’s imperative to not leave them unattended and to feed them during stops. The car should be stationary to avoid choking, gas buildup, vomiting, or spit-ups.
Avoid bottles leaking to keep the mess at bay and protect your little one’s car seat from spills and smelly odors! As a father who enjoys traveling with his family, having the right feeding equipment and being organized makes mealtimes with our daughter easier while on the road.
And what about the time when you’re at home and you want to feed your baby sitting in a bouncer? That’s a topic I covered in another article.