8 hour car ride - 4 mnth old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-14-2003, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm heading off on a roughly 8 hour car ride with my mom and ds next week. He's about 4 months old and of course doesn't like car rides for extended periods of time. He's in a convertable seat now, which seems to help, he looks out the window, but I was wondering if there are any tips/tricks/suggestions (besides not going) for making it a bearable if not pleasurable trip.

Not going is not an option. I've already told my mom that we'll need to stop often, but I'm not sure if there's anything else we can do.

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#2 of 6 Old 09-14-2003, 03:07 PM
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My ds really hated the car when he was younger, too - still doesn't like it for long periods. Some thoughts:

Can you leave at night and drive through so that he'll sleep through a lot of the trip?

Do you ride sitting next to him with someone else driving so you can entertain him? Even for short trips I always ride next to him if someone else is driving.

Will he take a bottle, and can you express some milk to feed him with? I found that sometimes all ds wanted was a little nibble and that he would be content having a small snack from the bottle, which was better than having to pull over and make a half-hour stop to breastfeed every hour.

Do you have one of those mirrors for the back seat? I find it useful not only for being able to see ds while I'm driving but also for him being able to see himself and being entertained that way.

Is there any music that he falls asleep to at bedtime that you can take in the car?

And definitely plan to stop often!


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#3 of 6 Old 09-14-2003, 03:12 PM
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When dd was 2 months, we took her on a 6 h drive to the beach. We left very early in the AM (very) and stopped every 2 hours to change and feed her. I also took along a bottle of ebm in case she got hungry/fussy on the highway where we couldn't stop. We didn't use it.

I sat in the back with her and took her pacifier. (She used it for about a month from 2-3 mos.) But I think leaving early is what made it a good trip. She slept nearly the whole way, and only cried for about 2 minutes. And this was at a time when she still HATED the car. So I say, if you can, plan to leave in the middle (or beginning) of baby's long stretch of sleep.
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#4 of 6 Old 09-14-2003, 04:50 PM
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We drove all the way across the country when my dd was 4 months old, and we found that about 6 hours of actual driving time per day was all we could manage (and often it was more like 5 or less). It took us all day to get in those 6 hours, too. We'd start out around the time Lindy was ready for her morning nap, then stop after a couple of hours and let her get out and nurse and play for at least an hour, maybe a couple of hours, then start driving again. In the evening, she tends to get fussy unless she's being held or playing right next to me, and even if she's sleepy she often can't go to sleep easily in her car seat then, so late in the day we'd often try to drive but would have keep stopping when she'd start crying.

We have some relatives that are about an 8 hour drive away, and what I've been thinking we should try is to leave very early in the morning, before Lindy would normally be awake, so we can hopefully get at least a couple of hours in before her day really starts. That way we might be able to manage 8 hours of driving. If your baby can easily fall asleep in the car when it's his normal bedtime, you might also try making the last part of the drive be after he's asleep for the night.

One thing that might make the trip more pleasant for the adults: when you're ready to stop, make sure the first place you stop is somewhere you'll be happy to stay for a while - a nice, shady park or a pleasant sit-down restaurant, say. My dd hates to get back in her car seat again too soon after stopping, so we found it was a big mistake to think we could just make a quick stop at a fast food place or gas station, then head for a park or something afterwards. She'd wake up at the first stop (if she wasn't already awake), and then we'd usually be stuck there for a while since she'd want to nurse and would absolutely not want to get back in her seat any time soon.

Good luck!
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#5 of 6 Old 09-14-2003, 06:19 PM
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When my Jordy was 4 months old we travelled from Chicago to Cleveland a few times. We always left either very early in the morning or travelled at night. I preferred the night driving more, because sometimes she actually slept through the whole trip, because it was her usual night time.
Good luck,
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#6 of 6 Old 09-14-2003, 10:41 PM
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We've taken several trips that were a bit longer than that with our baby, but fortunately, he likes the carseat. The one thing that I've noticed is that many times he actually does better when he's in the backseat by himself. This is entirely dependent on the particular baby, of course, by DS is quite content to play by himself, and he likes to sleep when he's bored (just like his daddy ). When I sit by him, he seems to get frustrated because he doesn't know why I won't hold him. When we go on trips and we don't have so many people that I have to sit in the backseat, I generally only get back there when I can tell that he's going to be particularly cranky or he's going to stay awake for awhile instead of falling asleep.
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