Help Please!!!! I'm beside myself and don't know how long I can take it (Baby crying in car) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 11-09-2012, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone,

I have an 4 1/2 month old baby boy and just last week he's decided he's going to cry whenever he's in the car. Moving or stopped, it doesn't matter - he keeps crying. But it's not the car seat itself because he's fine once I move him out of the car so nothing is hurting him or causing him discomfort with the car seat (as far as I can tell anyway). I've tried everything - made sure he wasn't hungry, made sure his diaper was dry, gave him familar toys, gave him new toys, took away all toys (I thought maybe over-stimulation?), sang to him, talked to him, put on different kinds of music, sat in the back with him when possible, tried a paci (he wouldn't take it), tried the teething raspberry (that worked one time and he feel asleep but it didn't work the next time I tried it). I am out of ideas. I have to take my older son to preschool which is a half hour drive each way and the crying is really making me crazy. I just don't know how to help him and it causes my heart distress to hear it. He will cry the entire time in the car. Some days he's better and will just make complaining noises for 15 minutes and than all out yell, but usually he just all out yells. Does anyone have any ideas for me or words of wisdom? Is this just a phase? (I don't remember it happeneing with my first son). Help PLEASE!!!! help.gif

 

TIA,

Christine

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#2 of 30 Old 11-09-2012, 07:19 PM
 
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Oh, this is so hard. :-(  My LO also hated the car seat.  She is 11 months now, and still not a big fan.  If someone is back there with her she's ok, but if she's alone in the backseat she hates it.  We usually get about 30 mins out of her before the crying starts now though.  When she was your son's age it was immediate crying.  I feel for you.  Don't really have any suggestions for you - my dd just seemed to get better with age.  I always wondered if a mirror would help, but I never got around to trying it. I hope you find something that helps, or it goes away with time.   
 

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#3 of 30 Old 11-09-2012, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the support! Hopefully, I'll get some good suggestions here. :)

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#4 of 30 Old 11-09-2012, 11:19 PM
 
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That is so hard. Sometimes switching from an infant seat to a convertible helps--perhaps the view is better?


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#5 of 30 Old 11-10-2012, 05:42 AM
 
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I have had two who cried in the car, really badly. My 13 month old we still have to stop occasionally and get her out. She'll cry so bad she can't breathe. It really sucks. I spend most of her first year at home except for school dropoff/pickup(which was also hell if no one was home to keep her) I have my 17 year old drive me around half the time so I can sit with the baby. My other kid outgrew it around a year or so, I'm hoping this one will very soon. I am sick of being trapped at home...I didn't go visit anyone or pretty much do anything for a year unless someone was with me. We tried different seats but that is expensive and we couldn't do more than two.

 

We did find out that playing "Mahna, Mahna" (the muppets version) kept her happy for a looong time (like 15 minutes or so!) I don't know why, and that was the only song. For my older kid who was like this, we had to sing certain songs...The Ants Go Marching, Hush(by Afroman lol), You Are My Sunshine. If we stopped, she'd cry. I don't know if it's motion sickness but it doesn't seem to be. They both just really hate/hated to be stuck somewhere. They didn't like the baby swing, or the exersaucer, or the high chair. Or the bathtub for one of them unless someone was in there with them.

 

I really hate all those helpful people who brag about their babies always sleeping in the car and act totally shocked and dumbfounded that yours don't. I'm so sorry for being a bad mother who taught her baby to scream bloody-murder in the car.


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#6 of 30 Old 11-10-2012, 05:45 AM
 
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A mirror sometimes helps distract her, but sometimes she'd see me in it and start crying.

Really- try to find a song, maybe one you sing her daily, or that she hears alot and seems interested in.

I really wish forward facing was safe bc I have a feeling that would really help but I just can't, even though she is the right age and weight limit for our state law. I'm going to keep her rear-facing until around 3 I guess but gosh she really hates the car and you feel desperate!


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#7 of 30 Old 11-10-2012, 01:21 PM
 
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My DD hated the car from around 2-4 months. I kept Rescue Remedy spray in the car and spritzed it on her ankles before we headed out. And liberal sprays in my mouth while driving to keep me from losing it. When all else fails, turn up the volume on a pop hits station and sing myself to distraction. She is much better now that she can manipulate and mouth toys back there. Hope your LO grows put of it soon!

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#8 of 30 Old 11-10-2012, 01:39 PM
 
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You know, I think this is one of those things you just can't do much about  shrug.gif  Some babies just don't like being in cars. My son screamed like he was dying from the moment he was strapped in until I BF him upon arriving at our destination. He even did it ocassionally as a toddler. My best advice, and I know this is going to be hard to swallow, just let it go. Expect that your baby wil cry. Don't try to make him stop, it's futile. I tried toys, mirrors, pacifiers, changing car seats etc. Eventually I just turned the music up and did my best to be a CIO mom until we got to wherever we were going. He survived and doesn't have any issues with riding in the car now  winky.gif


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#9 of 30 Old 11-10-2012, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is rescue remedy?
 

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#10 of 30 Old 11-11-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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Rescue Remedy is a flower remedy - similar concept as homeopathy ie working on an energetic level - for stress and trauma.

http://bachflower.com/wordpress/?page_id=293

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#11 of 30 Old 11-11-2012, 04:58 PM
 
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My DS hates the car as well, and it is so hard!  I just recently attached a mini sleep sheep to his car seat, and this seems to help soothe him some of the time. I've also heard of mums who have put pictures of themselves on the back of the seat so the baby can see it, and this has worked for them, strange as it sounds! I have also noticed that DS becomes much more agitated in the car when he is overtired; it's as if he can't go to sleep in the car, and becomes very tired and upset when he needs to.  I try to schedule trips in the car around the times when I know he's going to be really tired. 

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#12 of 30 Old 11-18-2012, 11:32 AM
 
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Make a CD with familiar songs that you play while your home. Sing to your baby. Don't let the crying bother you too much.  Stay safe.

 

DD1 was a car crier.  It was awful. She once cried for 3 hours straight w/me sitting in the backseat trying to play with her.  She just did not like cars. At 14 months, we let her watch DVDs in the car and that fixed her.  She watched them from 14 months to about 2, and then we turned it off cold turkey.  At 3.5 she still sometimes cries and screams for us to stop the car.  She also never sat in the high chair for meals.  She would just scream, unbuckle herself, and climb out.

 

I agree that there's not much you can do.

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#13 of 30 Old 11-21-2012, 03:06 PM
 
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Hugs to you mama, I totally empathize! My DD is 61/2 months and she still hates the car, has since she was 2 weeks old. I've only ever driven with dh or me in the back with her bc that can sometimes keep her calm for a few minutes. We've tried everything you've done and more. Honestly, we've decided that it's best for us to not force her to go places. My mom and family don't agree with my decision but in my heart and following my instincts ... since it upsets her so much, I choose to put her needs first and sacrifice for her. My dh does most of the grocery shopping or he holds her during a nap and I go once a week. If she has to go somewhere (only the doctor) then we simply pull over everytime she starts crying, console her, play with her and try again. Yes it takes longer to get places but ee always allot for that so we leave atleast an hour earlier than normal. We never leave her in her carseat crying and I'm disappointed to see some people suggesting CIO on mothering. greensad.gif

definitely another hard aspect is having a lot of people who don't understand, "Really?! That's weird! All babies I've ever known LOVE traveling in the car!" So I'm just here to support you and tell you its not always true. I think and hope that eventually she mnay do better when she can understand what we say and tell her where we're going "want to go to the park?" But in the meantime this is what has worked for us and I hope it may in some way help you.

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#14 of 30 Old 11-21-2012, 06:59 PM
 
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My daughter is almost 7 months old and she also hates the car. I think she started hating the car when she was about 1 month old. Someone always rides in the back with her and that helps a ton. Whenever she has a meltdown we pull over as soon as possible and take her out and calm her. You never really know if something is wrong unless you check and I simply cannot bear to hear her cry so desperately. She has gotten slightly better in the last month or so. Time of day is a big factor in her screaming in the car. We cannot be out anytime after 6 pm or she will have a melt down. She also does not tolerate long rides. I have to confess, the one sure thing that will make her happy is nursing. I can manage to remain in my seatbelt and her safely in her carseat and get my boob in her mouth smile.gif

Maybe if when you get to your destination, you take the baby out and do something fun together it could help.
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#15 of 30 Old 11-21-2012, 09:26 PM
 
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My daughter is three now and has outgrown her hatred for the carseat, but I remember it started when she was only a few days old. She screamed nonstop and it totally frayed my nerves. We tried lots of things but only a few helped. There was one song by Damian Marley that calmed her, but after listening to that a thousand times in a row, we didn't feel much better off smile.gif. After her first couple of months, and me not going anywhere if I could help it, I would sometimes sit in the backseat with her in a woven wrap and me buckled in just to avoid the screaming. At the time, I thought the chances of her doing serious damage from crying so hard for so long was more likely than a car crash- I hope no one will hate on me for admitting to that. We didn't do that often, but what really helped was switching from a bucket infant carrier to a convertible seat. She seemed to like sitting up straight much better- even though she didn't complain about being in the bucket carrier when out of the car. All the crying stopped when she turned forward facing at a year- as soon as it was legal. We figured it was best for all of us despite not being as safe, crash-wise. I also tried breast feeding precariously over her with her in her seat- maybe it would have worked better when she was younger, but as she got older, she just cried more and demanded num nums as soon as we started moving.

Another suggestion I heard from a friend was using white noise. They put the baby monitor receiver in the baby's lap for a staticy kind of white noise, and it really helped them.

I TOTALLY feel for you, and I hope it gets better soon!!
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#16 of 30 Old 11-21-2012, 10:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stacyann21 View Post

You know, I think this is one of those things you just can't do much about  shrug.gif  Some babies just don't like being in cars. My son screamed like he was dying from the moment he was strapped in until I BF him upon arriving at our destination. He even did it ocassionally as a toddler. My best advice, and I know this is going to be hard to swallow, just let it go. Expect that your baby wil cry. Don't try to make him stop, it's futile. I tried toys, mirrors, pacifiers, changing car seats etc. Eventually I just turned the music up and did my best to be a CIO mom until we got to wherever we were going. He survived and doesn't have any issues with riding in the car now  winky.gif

 

This comes close to encouraging CIO--which is conversation that MDC doesn't host.  I'm just going to encourage that the discussion stay within MDC's User Agreement which states:

 

"The Mothering community stands strongly against pro-spanking advocacy, abortion debate, and harsh sleep training, including “crying it out”. Please keep this in mind when you post."

 

This is a really difficult situation and certainly, we do the best we can and sometimes even that leaves our LO's in a state of distress; but it's not MDC's position to encourage someone to completely disregard attempting to console a crying child.


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#17 of 30 Old 11-22-2012, 03:48 AM
 
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My youngest cried in the car all the time when he was a baby. We just didn't take him out in the car, and whenever we really had to, we would do it for ten minutes, not more, and somebody would sit with him. People were very shocked that we would go to such lengths to accommodate him, and we constantly heard "Babies always sleep in the car", "Just let him cry, he will get used to it" etc. We were in Europe in an area with good public transport and walking distances to most things, so we were not so dependent on using the car a lot, and we just chose not to do things that would take a lot of driving.

 

When he got big enough to be turned to face forwards, the problem suddenly disappeared. I think he felt car sick when travelling backwards, and am very glad that we didn't force him. He still doesn't like very long drives (more than a couple of hours) because he is quite sensitive, but we hardly ever need to drive that far. Any drive over an hour we take breaks.

 

Maybe your baby is feeling car sick too? Whatever the reason is, it will most probably get better when he gets older. Good luck! :)

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#18 of 30 Old 11-22-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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Maybe your baby is feeling car sick too? Whatever the reason is, it will most probably get better when he gets older. Good luck! :)

 

thumb.gif

 

Down the road, I would keep this close in mind if your DC keeps up with the crying. My first child hated the car and it turns out that she gets car sick. 

 

So...that gets to what TO DO. You have two children so the advice to just stay home will be a challenge for you. And, you have already chosen a pre-K so pulling your child for a closer school would not be a choice I would make. Can you consider car-pooling? That would give your LO a slight break. 

 

Other ideas for a 4 month old...

 

In a few months you may be able to tweak the nap so that at least one coincides with the ride. You should maybe consider a bucket style seat that you transfer him sleeping into? My car-sick DC could not fall asleep in the car but I could sometimes transfer her sleeping into the car. Worth a try. What else for that age?  What about one of those swaddle blankets with the hole for the carseat buckle? Maybe some sort of light-up musical toy. 

 

When your child is older there are so many more options I can think of if he keeps up with the crying. 

 

I tend to not think CIO is a term all that well applied to the carseat situation but I tend to agree that hardening yourself to your child's cry is not something I would want to do as a mother/parent. That said, I think your stress can also have a huge impact on your child. If you can remain calm, I think it may help. grouphug.gif

 

Here is an old thread that I found interesting: 

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/123582/cio-in-carseat-heartbreak

 

There are a lot of threads on crying in the car (the one above is from 2004). Maybe a search will give a few more pieces of advice. Good luck to you, mama. May this pass quickly. 


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#19 of 30 Old 11-22-2012, 09:37 AM
 
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I also wanted to suggest you consider nursing when you're able to sit in the back. Depending on your body type it can be easier than you think. Of course, with two, you have probably already tired that. orngbiggrin.gif


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#20 of 30 Old 11-23-2012, 06:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

 

This comes close to encouraging CIO--which is conversation that MDC doesn't host.  I'm just going to encourage that the discussion stay within MDC's User Agreement which states:

 

"The Mothering community stands strongly against pro-spanking advocacy, abortion debate, and harsh sleep training, including “crying it out”. Please keep this in mind when you post."

 

This is a really difficult situation and certainly, we do the best we can and sometimes even that leaves our LO's in a state of distress; but it's not MDC's position to encourage someone to completely disregard attempting to console a crying child.

 

I guess I read that comment differently. I don't think its close to encouraging CIO, at all. From the stand point I read it as, I agree. The OP sounds stressed out and helpless because she can not make her son stop crying. I think the advice of letting it go and knowing that you can not control whether or not he will cry is valid.  She clearly has tried everything to stop him or soothe him, it isn't working and it is stressing her out. Sometimes you just have to focus on driving. Taking a stressed out mom with a crying baby and adding the responsibility of driving a car with traffic or high speeds is enough. Some of us can multi-task and sing, hush, soothe, keep our hand in the backseat on baby etc and some of us can't. So accepting that he might cry and as a parent you just have to let him because you are driving and because everything else you have tried hasn't worked, just might be what the OP needs. Not the same as CIO at all, IMO.


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#21 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 05:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hippiemombian View PostSometimes you just have to focus on driving. Taking a stressed out mom with a crying baby and adding the responsibility of driving a car with traffic or high speeds is enough. Some of us can multi-task and sing, hush, soothe, keep our hand in the backseat on baby etc and some of us can't. 

This is important advice. I had a similar thought when it comes to the advice to stop every time a child cries in the car. A stressed out parent pulling over frequently seems like it could be a dangerous situation.  

 

OP, when your have done everything you can think of to limit time in the car while keeping a sense of balance in your family life and you have tried everything you can think of to find ways to sooth your child you are looking at two options: try to remain calm in the hopes that your driving is safer and your calmness rubs off on your children or you can pull over. I think both of these choices are good enough but they are very personal and have to take into account a lot of personal factors. 

 

For me, my child who hated the car would NOT have done better with me pulling over. It would have just postponed the inevitable and would actually have been a fairly cruel thing to do to her. I never did manage to relax when my first child was crying in the car but I wish I had gotten that advice from someone I trusted because I think it would have been better for both of us if we could have managed it. My second child does not get car sick so she just "regular old" hates the car. I do think when all else fails my relaxed state helps her. 

 

OP, how is your pre-school aged child with the baby? Can you move their seats side by side so they can interact? 


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#22 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 06:16 AM
 
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My daughter was the same way.  All the singing, talking, toys, and mirrors in the world did not help.  She just had to out grow it.  If I had tried pulling over every time she cried, we'd still be sitting on the side of the road somewhere.  She just hated the car seat (till I turned her around...two LONG years later, although it did get slightly better when she could sit in a convertible seat). 

 

Sometimes you just have to accept that this is something you can't fix.  The stress of thinking, "If I could just figure it out LIKE A GOOD MOMMY, then baby wouldn't have to suffer," is both wrong and unnecessary.  The baby is not hurt, the baby is not hungry, wet, or soiled.  The baby just hates the car.  You have to be in the car.  What are the options?  Continuing to flay yourself over something you can't fix does not help your baby but it deeply, deeply hurts you.

 

This is a far cry from say, strapping the baby into the carseat and driving around in an attempt to "teach" the baby not to cry in the car.  That is CIO.  Not mentally beating yourself up over something you can't fix is not.  It sucks enough without the guilt.
 

Edited to add:  this is something about which I am DEEPLY touchy.  My daughter cried in the car seat, she cried in my arms, she did not sleep through the night till she was 3.5 and I sat up with her every one of those nights.  I am  NOT a fan of CIO because I believe, most of the time, it's kind of pointless.  It's needles suffering for both parent and child.  But I ALSO deeply believe that just because you can't "solve" your baby, this doesn't mean that you are, by default, letting them CIO.  Sometimes babies just cry and IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  If you are doing everything you can, let the guilt GO.  I spent SOOOO many nights rocking a screaming baby only to have people here (not all, or even most, but a righteous few) tell me that if walking all night, or driving around in the car (ha), or singing while standing on my head would make her stop crying then I should just suck it up and do those things all night, every night, forever or I was essentially practicing CIO and damaging baby who would never learn to trust or form healthy personal relationships - well, the guilt of that can crush you.

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#23 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 06:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NiteNicole View PostBut I ALSO deeply believe that just because you can't "solve" your baby, this doesn't mean that you are, by default, letting them CIO.  

Here is a beautifully written article about the benefit of in-arms crying. It doesn't apply well with making us feel better about the car but I suspect it will go a LONG way in alleviating some of your concerns regarding your baby crying in arms in those early months. luxlove.gif  

 

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/a/crying-for-comfort

 

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There are numerous advantages to allowing your baby to release stress by crying in your arms. First, you will help him heal from trauma, thereby avoiding the possible lifelong impact of prenatal or birth trauma. He will also heal regularly from the minor upsets of everyday life. Releasing pent-up stress from daily overstimulation or frustrations will allow him to have a longer attention span and greater confidence in learning new skills. He will probably also be more relaxed, and less whiny or demanding.

 

 

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Most important, by practicing the crying-in-arms approach you will enhance your emotional connection with your baby. She will learn that you are able to listen and accept her entire range of emotions, and that nothing can damage the loving bond between you. If you continue to be an empathic listener, your child will grow up with a feeling of being loved unconditionally, which will lead to high self-esteem.

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#24 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 06:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

I also wanted to suggest you consider nursing when you're able to sit in the back. Depending on your body type it can be easier than you think. Of course, with two, you have probably already tired that. orngbiggrin.gif

yeahthat.gif  This is THE ONLY thing that helped DS stop screaming/crying in the car - pacifiers would not fly.  Also, I often had to sing to him on top of it - or his Dad would sing to him from the front seat.  He did eventually grow out of it, but I have to say - the other main thing that helped was turning him front-facing.  He is GIANT - his legs were bent up around his ears before he was a year old when rear-facing, and he was well above the weight limit (for a 2 year old), so we switched him.

 

FF may be more risky in your situation - plus, I often breastfed (and still do, when needed) without a seatbelt when he was FF, so that's another risk.  It was one I was willing to take, however. You have to do what works for you!


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#25 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 06:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hippiemombian View Post

 

I guess I read that comment differently. I don't think its close to encouraging CIO, at all. From the stand point I read it as, I agree. The OP sounds stressed out and helpless because she can not make her son stop crying. I think the advice of letting it go and knowing that you can not control whether or not he will cry is valid.  She clearly has tried everything to stop him or soothe him, it isn't working and it is stressing her out. Sometimes you just have to focus on driving. Taking a stressed out mom with a crying baby and adding the responsibility of driving a car with traffic or high speeds is enough. Some of us can multi-task and sing, hush, soothe, keep our hand in the backseat on baby etc and some of us can't. So accepting that he might cry and as a parent you just have to let him because you are driving and because everything else you have tried hasn't worked, just might be what the OP needs. Not the same as CIO at all, IMO.

 

thumb.gif  In spite of my last post (saying how I bent the rules of safety, haha) - I did frequently remind myself of this.  Especially if I had to drive DS alone.  I would limit the distance as much as possible, do everything (bring music, toys, snacks, water, etc.) I reasonably could, and after that - I just had to take deep breaths and focus on keeping us safe (maybe check in for a second at red lights).  Focusing on helping the baby calm down at the expense of focusing on driving is potentially much, much worse for the babe.


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#26 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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I would do what you can and keep trying to find solutions, but don't make yourself feel horrible. It isn't safe to get too upset when you're driving.

I remember for one child, it was hot out and the air conditioning was on all the time, and it occurred to me at some point to put a light blanket over her, and that made a huge difference. At first I thought she'd get too hot, but maybe the AC was bugging her. So if you keep trying different things you might at some point hit something that helps. Playing music on the CD and singing seemed to help some too. Now these weren't perfect solutions. She really just wanted to be held, and I did what I could and sat back with her when I wasn't driving, I didn't drive when I didn't really need to go somewhere, and I kept trying different soft toys for her to hold onto, but that doesn't mean she stopped ever crying in the car. It just means it wasn't constant and it wasn't as bad. Also, I had PPD with my first and I went to a support group and I include that as a place I really had to go. My mental health counts. (She ended up loving the support group - everyone had babies/little kids.)

I wouldn't beat yourself up over it. Do what you can do, only drive with her in the car when you need to, and try singing to her or talking to her so she can hear your voice and knows she isn't home alone. Do your best, and know you've done your best. Have some snuggly re-connection time when you reach your destination. I had PPD with the first so obviously I had a hard time remaining calm and not beating myself up, but that was my goal, and I think that's where you'll be best off. Try to control what you can and create the best environment you can, but OTOH, really try to not blame yourself for things outside of your control.
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#27 of 30 Old 11-26-2012, 07:27 AM
 
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sorry to hear that. it's always tough for me to hear my lo cry and not know how to help :(. The pp's all had good suggestions - i would try a cd of familiar songs, or maybe a doll or blanky that smells like you. other than that, you might just have to wait out this phase. it's tough, but i have found that baby phases tend to change so quickly. hopefully this will pass.

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#28 of 30 Old 11-26-2012, 11:46 PM
 
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We have a infant car seat so I could grab the handle and rock the car seat. That would settle her down. Or let her suck on my pinky when she was really tiny. She finally grew out of it at 7 months and now FALLS ASLEEP! I was shocked! Classical music helps a lot actually. 


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#29 of 30 Old 11-27-2012, 12:23 AM
 
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Oh, I remember this. It is awful. And it is tiresome when everyone around you seems so mystified/filled with judgment. Everybody prefers the carefree mom who makes it look effortless, but oh well. Nuts to them.  I tried not to go anywhere in the car and if we had to, I tried to take surface streets rather than highways to make pulling over easy.  As another poster said, it gets better as they get older. Please - don't take any advice from people who haven't experienced it, or whose memories of it are so old that they've forgotten what it was like.

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#30 of 30 Old 11-27-2012, 04:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kaydove View Post Classical music helps a lot actually. 

I how could I forget! My now 18 month old (who admittedly does not hate the car the way my DC#1 did) falls asleep to NPR. It's hard for her to sleep to music but NPR does the trick...and it allows for a lot of funny jokes about how boring NPR is. orngtongue.gif


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