Travel tips for parents-to-be

An infant smiles while being buckled into a car seat by a parent's hands

You can complete your surrogacy journey during a global pandemic and get home safely with your precious cargo and this advice from other parents.

Forward Fertility works with domestic parents-to-be. About half of our clients are from the East or West Coasts and the majority of our carriers live in Wisconsin. In a global pandemic, when flying is perhaps not the safest, once your baby is born (in Wisconsin), how the heck does one get home?

Before COVID, about half of our parents-to-be would fly home and about half would drive. One courageous family even rented an RV!

In the era of COVID, Forward Fertility clients are exclusively driving their new babies home to give them more control over their environment. These parents-to-be gave us some tips – even through their sleep deprivation – on how to handle the long drive with a newborn during a pandemic.

Travel tips for parents-to-be

Before you leave home:

Car rental: If you rent a car, go big! You will have lots of stuff and a big backseat makes changing the diaper back there much easier.

Stuff to bring: a pack-n-play for the hotel, cooler, diaper bag, car seat, your own suitcases, and mountains of formula, diapers, and wipes. Buy a variety of pacifiers. Pack lots of diapers and wipes … and then pack a few more. You will need more than you think. Have the diapers/wipes in an easy-to-access diaper bag in the back seat.

Food and snacks: Pack plenty of food, water, and a cooler for the ride. Include non-perishable foods (peanut butter/jelly, bread/tortillas), snacks (dried fruit popcorn, crackers, mixed nuts), and different types of drinks because ‘water gets old’! The cooler is great for perishables like fruit, yogurt and some Wisconsin cheese curds for the trip home (let’s be real).

Have your fridge and freezer ready: To the degree you can, have things ready at home. A freezer stocked with some easy food to eat will help. Bottles and formula or breast milk at home will ready to use.

Maps app shows route from New Jersey to Madison

A 15-hour trip from the East Coast seems like something you can do in a day, but new parents and a newborn need breaks.

Before you leave the hospital:

Prefilled bottles with nipples: While it’s not very environmentally friendly, an epic road trip home with a newborn is THE time to push the ‘easy’ button. When you check out of the hospital, remind staff that you are taking a long road trip and they can share extra premixed formula, bottles, and nipples. Check with your pediatrician about any formula/breast milk suggestions they have for you. Many Forward Fertility families use breast milk from the carriers who freeze and ship it to them. For a road trip, however, parents have opted to go with formula.

DO NOT DRIVE STRAIGHT THROUGH: It can be tempting when you are worried about COVID risks at a hotel. However, the exhaustion of experiencing your child’s birth on top of the trip you already took to get to the hospital is just too much. One family stayed in Youngstown, OH (shout out to the Doubletree Hilton) in a suite – with a microwave and fridge. Another family East Coast family stayed the night in Clarion, PA. This meant a little longer drive on day one, but a nice, shorter drive on day two.

Day one: If possible, start driving home as early as possible on day one. If you get discharged from the hospital late, consider if it’s is better to start out the next morning. Stopping at a ‘decent’ hour is suggested, to maximize your rest time at the hotel.

Estimated time of arrival home: The trip is going to take longer than you think. Each ‘stop’ takes a minimum of 30 minutes. Parents reported stopping about every two hours – and on some occasions stopped before two hours had passed.  Something you think will take five hours can easily turn into eight. Sounds a lot like parenthood!


One family who was doing a sibling journey with the same carrier had flown home last time, so driving home was different for them this time. If you should have the choice, flying would be their suggestion. We hope we can all be flying safely again soon.

You’ve just completed a surrogacy journey during a global pandemic and are now home safely with your precious cargo. Enjoy, be grateful, and feel free to share any tips you have with Forward Fertility!

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