My two kids are so different in every way. When my oldest was in the car he would fall asleep within minutes, as soon as there was motion he would stop crying, we would often drive the long route to keep him sleeping. We would sit in the car parked outside of the house until he naturally woke not wanting to disturb his slumber.
When my little one was born it all seemed the same for the first few weeks but at 5 weeks the minute he was in the car he would start crying - screaming even at the top of his lungs. The second his tiny body lay in the car seat he would cry. It made even the shortest journeys unbearable. Thank goodness it didn’t bother big brother. But the thought of going in the car would send shivers down the back of my legs. I would rather walk than use the car. Positives are that it saved money, I exercised and the kiddies got fresh air. But when it rained, when we had to go somewhere a bit further, when we went to Devon - there was no convenient alternative to the car and LO would shrill. The easiest option became the dreaded.
Fortunately there are a large number of mums who have lived with this issue and we promise you that they do stop crying and will like travelling in the car soon. After ruling out health issues such as reflux or infections - speak to your midwife or GP.
Here are a few of the things I tried to stop baby crying in the car.
- Make sure your baby isn’t too warm or cold. The car seat is very insulated and the baby can heat up quickly.
- Make sure the sun isn’t in their face. A car sun shade can help shade the sun.
- If he’s big enough and able to support his head - perhaps the head support is restricting his movement.
- Make sure the car seat is comfy enough for your baby. Does he need more cushioning/support. A rolled up muslin placed on the side could make him feel cosier.
- Time car travelling with naps - when baby is tired you might find the movement of the car will lull them into a nap
- Feed baby just before a car journey - a full tummy may calm them and give baby one less reason to cry
- Give baby their favourite comforter - can be in the form of a blanket, dummy or a toy.
- Use a car mirror - such as the Onco baby car mirror - this allows them to see your face and more importantly, you can see your baby.
- Play their favourite music in the car - this may distract them from the car journey
- Try white noise - this can bring on a relaxing atmosphere for them.
- Try new music in the car - this will give you a break too!
- Make a poster to place on the back rest for them to look at. Black and white or primary colours are best for little babies to look at.
- Print a picture of yourself for them to see.
- Place the baby’s car seat in the front passenger seat - make sure you turn the front passenger seat air bag off if you have one. The safest position for your baby is in the back but if this works and causes you less stress then your driving will be safer.
- Ignore the crying - they aren’t in any danger and you will be safer to reach your destination than to fuss or stress over your baby whilst driving.
It could have been a coincidence but one day little one was given a Jellycat toy which we had in the car and as soon I I put the toy in his hands, he stopped crying. He was around 4 months old and I will always remember this day. LO didn’t stop crying altogether but it definitely reduced how much he cried. A couple of weeks later I realised that I no longer had that dread - he didn’t cry the minute I put him in the car seat, he actually started to enjoy the car rides. We both enjoyed travelling in the car!