I've now officially been a mom for 7 ½ months and those months sure have been a learning experience. I've found that no matter how prepared I think I am, I am never prepared enough. As my daughter grows older, it seems that the list of items I need to take with me becomes longer. I thought it would be helpful to post a list of items that I've learned to keep in the trunk of my car because you never know what you will need at any given time.
I found that taking our daughter out to eat seemed easiest in those early months when she would sit quietly in her infant seat and fall asleep to the hum and buzz of the restaurant but now that she is older and more active, sitting in the carseat just isn't cutting it so we have started to ask for the highchair for her to sit in since she is curious and likes to be included in what is going on at the table. The first time I requested the seat, it came bearing the gifts of the previous child. It was sticky, gooey, and I'm sure full of germs. I immediately logged on to the computer when I got home determined to buy one of those portable high chairs that clip on to the table when lo and behold I came across this great wooden high chair cover from Fisher Price http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=10&e=product&pid=32176 . It is designed specifically to fit the standard wooden restaurant high chair and even has little loops on the front where you can attach toys. I find it incredibly easy to insert and it is washable as well. I found ours at Babies ‘R Us but saw it on many other websites, including Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, and Amazon. We leave it in our trunk so we have access to it at any time and in light of recent H1N1 outbreaks, I feel better having her protected from what looms in and around the highchair.
I put together a little cargo organizer for the trunk of my car with baby essentials in the event that I forget my diaper bag, run out of supplies, or an unforeseeable event occurs such as breaking down or getting caught in a traffic jam with nowhere to pull off. In that basket, I've put a few diapers, a plastic baggie of wipes, a container of baby oatmeal cereal, a baby spoon, an extra change of clothes, bottle of water, bottle warmer for the car, diaper rash cream, a blanket, some toys and books, extra pacifier, a small container of formula and an extra bottle.
I also keep a Graco Travel Lite Pack N Play in my trunk. It actually takes up very little room since it is much smaller than a regular travel crib and has come in handy several times when we've been somewhere longer than we've expected and we want our daughter to have a comfortable nap. She's getting a little big for it now but we got ours from Burlington Coat Factory for a discounted price because it was a discontinued pattern. http://www.gracobaby.com/Catalog/Pages/productlistingPage.aspx?catid=10:43||1+10434:4294959395||1
Lastly, we always keep our Maclaren Easy Traveller in the trunk and our regular stroller at home http://www.maclarenbaby.com/us/content/view/98/490/lang,en/. This will, of course, only last a few more weeks as our daughter is quickly outgrowing the infant seat; however, in comparison to the other snap and go stroller frames, this one takes up the least amount of space, folds and opens the easiest, and has an extra large basket.
I know what you are probably thinking that you couldn't possibly fit all of that into your trunk on top of what you already are packing for your baby but I have a Toyota Camry and this all fits neatly into my trunk with room to spare. I work full-time in a job that requires me to be on the road traveling from place to place each day. I have a mobile office in my trunk on top of all the extra baby gear so if I can do it, so can you!