CIO in carseat heartbreak... - Mothering Forums
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Life With a Baby > CIO in carseat heartbreak...
N2theWoods's Avatar N2theWoods 03:15 PM 03-12-2004
I feel so exhausted and horrible today. Yesterday I had to go to a GYN appointment in another town (about an hour in traffic,) I brought my baby & my DH because I can't leave her for 2+ hours or she screams. So, he came with me. Anyway, the drive there and the app't were uneventful. But on the way back there was traffic and she awoke in the carseat and began to cry. I was in the back with her and tried singing, and playing with her favorite toy with her and other distractions. It worked for awhile, but finally it did not and she screamed and sobbed and screamed all the while looking at me with this horrible look of betrayal. She's only 3 months, how CAN she understand that I can't pick her up? We were on the freeway trying desperately to get home, but traffic was crawling. Finally, I started sobbing, too and DH pulled out into a strip mall and I tried to nurse her. But by then I was still crying and she was made even more upset by that, I imagine, and was wailing and wouldn't latch on. So DH took her and calmed her a bit while I calmed myself a bit. We sat in the parking lot for about 1/2 hour and then tried to get home. The instant we put her in the carseat she began to cry again. This time I drove b/c I just couldn't bear seeing her eyes anymore, and she was so exhausted she did finally manage to sleep before we got home. Then we got home and we went to bed together at 5PM and she slept with just waking to nurse and potty until 6 this morning.

I feel so horrible... like how can she trust me again? It's essentially CIO but in the carseat, isn't it? But what other choice is there? I can't take her out of the carseat and we both want to get home? I am praying that she isn't withdrawing from me and am pretty much determined never to travel with her outside of my own town until she's 2. I feel sick.

Just wanted to put that out there -- I'm actually having a hard time connecting with her today. I can't stop feeling like a horrid mama who didn't protect her...

J-Max's Avatar J-Max 03:32 PM 03-12-2004
First off

My little one hates her carseat too. We live over an hour from town, and have to go into town about once a week. My older dd was an awesome traveler and it has never bothered her to be in her carseat all this time. DD#2, however is a different story. She will do okay for a while, but usually spends about half of the ride screaming. My MIL lives in town, so we always stop there first, and I will sometimes leave both girls there while I get groceries or run fast errands, so they don't have to be in and out of the car a million times.

I don't have a solution for you, but just wanted to share that I understand.

Your baby will not hate you! I think talking to them and explaining that they can't get out of their seats helps, even though they don't understand. I feel so awefull when she is screaming and wants out.
Wildcrafter's Avatar Wildcrafter 04:18 PM 03-12-2004
I've nursed my ds while he was in his carseat before. Of course while someone else was driving!! Not comfortable but doable and he would fall asleep. Not sure this would work if car was stuck in traffic.

Also, sometimes while driving I would reach back and put my finger in his mouth to suck on for comfort and this worked sometimes. Again, not comfortable, but saved my sanity a bit.
LDSmomma6's Avatar LDSmomma6 05:19 PM 03-12-2004
I have had friends who have leaned over into the carseat with their boob out, and nurses that way. I will admit, I won't do that, and I have taken the baby out before. We aren't all perfect, so don't judge me on that. Usually, and I will say, about 99.9% of the time, I nurse before I have to go anywhere, and baby can usually last for 2-3 hrs before having to stop. Even if it means sitting in the doctor's office for an hour nursing, I will do it.

Better luck next time. Chances are she won't remember.
MommaCheesehead's Avatar MommaCheesehead 06:52 PM 03-12-2004
I think we have all experienced that. It's a horrible feeling. I know many people who have done the "hover over the carseat to nurse" trick. My breasts are way too small for those acrobatics so I never had the opportunity to try it.
ndmom's Avatar ndmom 07:19 PM 03-12-2004

Just wanted to let you know that you are a terrific mother! Our son did the same thing the first few months and I was terrified to go anywhere in the car. It breaks your heart but I don't think you need to blame yourself or believe that it is going to scar her forever. You did the best you could do at the time and held her as soon as you could. I'm sure the other 23 hours a day you spend with her will make up for that one hour

FYI our son finally snapped out of it at 6 months...poof, just one day no more screaming in the car, just laughs and gurgles.
carrots's Avatar carrots 08:19 PM 03-12-2004
oh it is so darn hard when that happens. when she was an infant dd#1 cried whenever i put her in the carseat so i felt like we couldn't go anywhere. i discovered that if i brought the dog along (who loves car rides anyway) she had something to look at.
you sound like a great mom who is well connected to her precious babe

mariag's Avatar mariag 08:21 PM 03-12-2004
just want to say i agree completely with ndmom....cio is when you are in another room ignoring he cries, not there doing all you can. I too suffered through ds hating the car those first 6 its only that way id he gets tired or hungry, so if we avoid that he is great. I know its hard to remember at the time, but you are keeping baby safe, and they will be are doing your job and taking care when at three months baby can't.

Suzetta's Avatar Suzetta 08:40 PM 03-12-2004
YOU ARE NOT BETRAYING YOUR LITTLE ONE!!!!! take her out for just a second, and diaster hits. She will not remember this, but who could forget if she is left crippled, scarred or worse?

In the meantime, I would make it a point to take her out on a regular basis, when you are not on a time schedule or the freeway. As soon as she starts crying , pull over, remove her from the seat, and comfort her, making sure to explain why it is necessary. This is what I did with mine, and now, she mostly just snoozes or plays. In fact, we had to make a 2 hour each way trip, and she slept the FULL TIME both ways. I believe that by setting up a situation where I responded to her cries, I was building up her trust in the fact that she was not being stranded.

You are a wonderful, loving mom...and do not allow this experience to make you feel badly about yourself.

Also...I never did it, but maybe she will be comforted by having a pacifier to use only while in the carseat. I do always give her a small toyto play with, however.

Does she have a favorite lullabye tape? That really helps my little one. But ultimately, I think that she does well because of my repeatedly stopping to comfort her.
steffanie3's Avatar steffanie3 08:54 PM 03-12-2004
I learned how to nurse in the car too. Now that he is bigger it is easier to do. We also have a convertable carseat so I can stay belted and just lean forward, not sure about how I would do it in an infant carrier. I end up nursing almost every outing as a family this way.

We also used DH's finger when he was a newborn. The first finger of his seemed to be a better size than any one I tried.

ccohenou's Avatar ccohenou 10:01 PM 03-12-2004
You are doing great, doing so much to help your babe be comfortable. I think babies are resilient and won't be permanently damaged by some distress, especially when you do all you can to minimize it. As my dh said "into every life a little rain must fall..."
Anyway I know it's impolitic but when he was little little I got my son one single pacifier for carseat use only. It made him more comfortable so I figured my preferences could take a backseat in that area. Now he is a little bigger and spends most of his carseat time cooing and kicking at a toy I have hanging on the backseat. And he has not developed any binky addiction. So it gets better!
MamaAllNatural's Avatar MamaAllNatural 03:35 AM 03-13-2004
MAMA, mine just stopped crying in the carseat a couple of months ago (he's six months old now). I SO understand what you're going through. ALL THREE of my babies screamed bloody murder in the car seat from day 1. It still made me cry with my third baby and I know you feel so horrible and like they're traumatized but you're not alone and your baby knows she can still trust you and depend on you. Especially when you're giving her reassuring words etc. I used to reach back and at least touch them (yes, it was kind of awkward!) but I felt like at least they knew I was really there with them and they weren't alone.

I too learned how to nurse with both baby and I buckled up and myself leaning over the carseat. Of course this doesn't work when you're the driver. Do know the baby will be happier in the car as she gets older.

While they were young and so upset in the car I tried to only make short trips and if the baby was crying for more than five minutes or so, I'd pull over and nurse and then put him back in. (I know, not always possible. It's amazing how tolerant my older two were of it. Very supportive of me helping out their little brother!) Oh yes, I agree with the other mama too to always nurse first so at least you know they're aren't hungry while they're screaming. It's only a little bit of reassurance, but better than nothing.
hunnybumm's Avatar hunnybumm 03:50 PM 03-13-2004
I was going to post this exact same thing but I just haven't had the time. We went on a trip from NC to KS which is about a 20 hour drive. On the trip back (day 2 of being in the car) we were literaly 15 minutes from home after driving for 11 hours when DS decided he was hungry and wanted to eat NOW. I only had 1 oz of expressed BM which DH fed to him, but when that was done he was still hungry and proceeded to scream bloody murder. It was the most horrible 10 minutes of my life. We didn't have any plain water, only Propel, so I couldn't even have DH feed him that (which I NEVER do, but desperate times....).

We live on a military base so as soon as we get past the main gates and into the base housing streets (very strict 20mph speed limit) DH took him out of the car seat and handed him to me. I was crying, it was so hard to see his poor little face. He stopped crying and snuggled up to me, it was so sad.

But after 10 hours in the car there was no way I was going to spend 20 minutes changing/ feeding him when we were 10 minutes from home, KWIM? Anyways, all is well now. I also have to admit that I took him out of the car seat to nurse a few times when we were on vacation if I knew we would only be going 40mph or slower on the roads of the very small towns back in KS. It isn't the best idea I know, but there are way worse things that I could have done.

Anyways... sorry so long, but you did the best you could don't beat yourself up.
jeyer's Avatar jeyer 04:12 PM 03-13-2004
I totally agree with the others who said this is not CIO!! Don't beat yourself up! You were there for her, talking to her, touching her, playing with her. Our pediatrician refers to this type of crying as "witnessed tears," and makes a strong distinction between that and crying it out.

Think of it this way... when you have a problem and you're upset, and you talk (maybe cry) to your husband about it, there's a big difference between him listening to you and speaking reassuringly than him walking out of the room and ignoring you. The former is witnessed tears, and it makes us feel better -- even if the person can't immediately solve our problem. The latter is CIO, and it makes us feel awful.

No one can keep their baby from ever crying, but IMO being there for them when they do makes all the difference.

sagira's Avatar sagira 06:29 PM 03-13-2004
Oh wow.. I could have written this post a couple of months ago. My son would nurse every hour or so, so the trek to the big city was no fun. He would cry precisely on the 18-mile stretch between the islands and the mainland where we couldn't pull over!

It was absolute agony.. I was thinking too that I was doing him harm, that I was letting him cry it out..

But what was I to do? I tried everything to nurse him in the carseat, but there was no way.

Now he's six months and he either sleeps in his carseat, listens to music/my singing, or looks out the window. Even if he occasionally cries, he's bigger now so I can actually perform the acrobatics and nurse him from the carseat. I've only had to do it once so far (whew! talk about backpain!) and it's soo much better now.

Good luck! Like other things, this nuisance will pass.
N2theWoods's Avatar N2theWoods 07:33 PM 03-13-2004
Thanks everyone -- am feeling better today. She was full of smiles and coos and happiness so I feel forgiven

I tried nursing in carseat once, but she's so small and it was incredibly awkward. she latched on and then let go and howled -- wouldn't have anything to do with it. Ditto with my pinkie finger. We've tried that from the beginning, but she won't tolerate it. Am very tempted to get a binkie for the car -- perhaps I will. She's finding her thumb more and more and I keep hoping that will serve that need for her. We took her on a very short trip today and she did pretty well.

Thanks for the s and support -- it helps a LOT to know that others have felt this way.
sagira's Avatar sagira 07:57 PM 03-13-2004
Something else that could work when he's really hungry (and someone else is driving) -- a sippy cup with a soft spout containing breast milk.

That has worked with us when nothing else did.
sntm's Avatar sntm 07:34 PM 03-14-2004
Oh, I know what you are feeling! Just Friday, I made a 2 hour trip with DS alone to meet up with some mom friends. He did great on the ride up, just napped and then sang to me, but was so tired and cranky on the way back. I stopped 4 times to get him out for a minute and play with him and nurse him, but as soon as I would strap him in again, he would start crying. I felt awful! He's fine now (hopefully all the AP helped him to recognize that as a rarity) but I won't take another trip along with him for a while. I talked to him the whole way, telling him how much I loved him and I wish I could take him out and when it was safe, reaching back to let him hold my finger.
havilah's Avatar havilah 01:31 AM 03-16-2004
That's so hard! I just wanted to reiterate that it does get better... soon. My ds is 5 months now and it is already much better (not perfect, but much improved). I think they get much more distractable as they get older and more interested in toys. The carseat nursing gets easier, too, if you want to go that route : We were nursing with every ride for a while, but now we only need to do it every now and then.
jgale's Avatar jgale 12:04 PM 03-16-2004
We chatted about this at a mom's group that I go to the other day: about 5 out of the 7 moms there admitted to taking their babies out of the carseat to nurse while still on the road. And these are some thoughtful, intelligent, loving mothers. It is absolutely horribly to hear your baby cry and not be able to help. While staying in your town until she is 2 might be alittle excessive, I don't think it is unreasonable to limit long car rides as much as possible--for your own well being as much as hers!
AllyRae's Avatar AllyRae 12:50 PM 03-16-2004
My three month old screams in the car every time now... He's ok if I'm back there, but if I'm driving him alone, he's crying. It broke my heart yesterday to go back after getting to the post office (only 5 minutes from my house) and seeing tears puddled on his cheeks and his face puffy. I've now decided that I'd rather stay home and not go anywhere than to see my precious angel cry like that.... I hope it's just a phase...for both of our kids...
Wildcrafter's Avatar Wildcrafter 06:54 PM 03-16-2004
I'm sure there are lots of mama's who have taken the babe out to nurse in times of distress - but I would hate to see anyone post about doing it personally on any public boards where they might risk legal action.
daria's Avatar daria 07:17 PM 03-16-2004
My son used to hate the carseat but he often found a pacifier very soothing. It's worth a try. He didn't like the first one I offered (a rubber one) but he likes the silicone Avent brand.
Peony's Avatar Peony 11:11 PM 03-16-2004
I know how you feel, I've been there myself.. My dd is 14 months and still hates her carseat. We live 30 minutes from town so I only go out once a week, and only with dh, dd has to have me back there. Keep trying on the bfing in the carseat, I never could do it either, and then one day I did it! What a livesaver, it helps calm her down some. Good luck
damongeau's Avatar damongeau 11:23 PM 03-16-2004
Just wanted to pipe up and say I have been there too and doesnt it just SUCK?! I do, however, think that it is (on the whole) more tramatic on us than on the wee ones...and there really isnt a good answer when you are stuck in the car!
zenasia's Avatar zenasia 04:59 PM 03-18-2004
What does CIO mean?
daria's Avatar daria 05:14 PM 03-18-2004
CIO = Cry it Out, which is a practice some so-called parenting experts recommend where the parent leaves a crying baby alone at bedtime or naptime so that the baby will "learn" to go to sleep on her own. The term gets used a lot tho to refer to anytime a parent leaves a baby crying and doesn't respond (like in the swing or wherever).

A lot of folks on this board (including me) feel that refusing to respond to a baby's cries is emotionally damaging and wrong. The dilemma comes up when the baby is crying in a situation where you can not respond very well, such as while driving the car and the baby is rear-facing in the backseat.
zenasia's Avatar zenasia 05:21 PM 03-18-2004
Thanks Daria,

I can't stand to hear my dd cry. CIO only happens in the car. She hates her carseat too. I've been using a binky but most of the time she wants the boob. It's so hard to bf my dd in the carseat. The things we do for our babies.
Carolinamidwife's Avatar Carolinamidwife 08:46 PM 03-18-2004
Carseat screamer here too. It breaks my heart and makes required driving so so tense. I really can only let her cry for about 3 minutes before I can't take it anymore and I pull over. Sometimes I have to stop 2-3 times on a 20 minute drive. Once I tried to tough it out when we were only about 10 minutes from home and when I finally got her out of her seat her face was tear streamed and so sad I cried and promised I would try to nevet do that again.

I can't wait til this phase passes.
LizD's Avatar LizD 09:27 PM 03-18-2004
Fortunately this only happened a few times with my daughter, who's now ten, and on a few occasions when I wasn't driving I nursed her. It felt very odd (and I have barely any breast so it was awkward for sure) and didn't really work anyway. If what they really want is to be out of the car that's what they want. I would never take my child out of a safety seat while driving for any reason, but of course I understand sometimes you just can't bear the crying. I think as someone said, though, it's *you* that can't bear the crying. Your wee one will not be damaged or traumatized in the least and I think you shouldn't worry about it except as it effects your sanity and ability to drive safely. I know people whose kids screamed for hours in the car as babies and they just dealt with it, and those kids are just fine, well-adjusted as anyone now, though at the time I thought they were crazy to torment themselves and their kids like that.

It's not at all the same as deliberately using a CIO method of parenting. You'll find what works to soothe your kid in the car and it will be ok, or your baby will outgrow it soon, especially if you live in the suburbs and have to drive frequently. Just as it's ok to let your baby cry another minute or two while you use the toilet, so that you're comfortable when you nurse her, sometimes it is best for the baby to cry until you can safely remove her from the carseat. If you talk to your baby in the car and otherwise let her know you're there, she is still aware of a loving presence and knows she is cared for.

This is not at all meant as a judgement, but please, please do not take your baby out of the carseat while the car is being driven. You will *not* be able to hold onto your baby if you are struck with force. That's physics, and you can end up hurting the baby and others more than if you were all buckled in properly. I know more than one person whose babies died while being nursed in the backseat of the car. The risk is simply too great.

I am pregnant again so will be dealing with this very same thing in a few months, so you have all my compassion and wishes it passes soon!
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