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#1 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see a ton of references to people who are breastfeeding a child in a car seat while the vehicle is in motion. I find myself trying to figure out what it is that makes people think this is safe.

We make sure not to move our children to less restrictive seats until we are certain they are able to 'sit well' but many parents make contortionists of themselves to be able to quiet a fussy baby while the vehicle is rolling along. it seems completely in contrast to what should be done to keep everyone as safe as possible. If woman has slid her torso over to nurse the baby- her shoulder belt is not in an appropriate position to ensure her safety, and she is now 150 lbs of mass moving at 75 mph straight into the 15 lb infant she is attempting to pacify. It seems incredibly dangerous and unnecessary to me.

Am I missing something here in terms of how/why this is perceived as 'safe'?
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#2 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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I don't think people generally perceive this is safe but the fact is, in bumper to bumper traffic with no place to pull over and no end in sight, sometimes we do what we have to do.
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#3 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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I dunno about in motion but I have suggested to other posters to leave the baby in the carseat to comfort nurse when you are traveling. Many times on road trips we've pulled over and done without the hellish process of baby in and out of carseat by my leaning over.

I wouldn't suggest other people do it while driving, but I have with my toddler. My personal thought process was that I'm still in my seatbelt and only my breast and shoulder were in front of the baby. I don't think it's "safe" but within my personal limits of risk taking. Maybe that's something I should reevaluate.
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#4 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that where I live colors my thinking about this. There is never bumper to bumper traffic- but it's all high speed highway to get anywhere- the risk of an animal jumping out, or someone going off the road is more significant than a multi-vehicle crash. So to me it just seems scary.

Also, couldn't the 'you do what you have to do' argument be used for turning kids early and taking them out of their seats to sit on laps as well?

I'm not making a judgment as obviously we all have our own levels of comfort, I'm just trying to figure out why this is something so many people are comfortable with as it is one of those concepts that really scare me. I would love to see some research. I wonder how other parents find that 'line' of what is and isn't an acceptable risk.
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#5 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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I've done it. I don't perceive it as safe. However, I do think its safer than sitting in the emergency lane on the side of the road nursing with your flashers on. I think its safer than having my husband feel like he's about to have a panic attack while hes driving because the baby wont quit screaming and theres no where to pull over. It sucks, but sometimes you have to get somewhere, and you cant keep stopping every 20 minutes to nurse.

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#6 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 09:33 PM
 
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I've done it, but I don't consider it safe. I consider a last resort. I've done it maybe a half dozen times (my DD is 2 and was a serious carseat screamer). Usually when pulling over to to nurse was not a possibility (traffic, road conditions, weather) and we still had a long way to go, and I couldn't settle her using other means. Now I only do it on airplanes, which is far less of a safety concern, IMO, and doesn't come with the option to pull over.

Sometimes it's just a risk I'm willing to take.

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#7 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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.........I live in Mexico and there are NO child seat belt laws here....having said that. I know the safety issues with having children out of the car seat...however.....I have ..pulled a Brittany Spears and nursed at the same time!
Just had to add my personal opinion...do what YOU have to do as a family. I dont see it as a debate at all. We ALL do what we have to, to make it all work. Doesnt make me right and you wrong...nor does it make you right and me wrong.

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#8 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by confustication View Post
I think that where I live colors my thinking about this. There is never bumper to bumper traffic- but it's all high speed highway to get anywhere- the risk of an animal jumping out, or someone going off the road is more significant than a multi-vehicle crash. So to me it just seems scary.

Also, couldn't the 'you do what you have to do' argument be used for turning kids early and taking them out of their seats to sit on laps as well?

I'm not making a judgment as obviously we all have our own levels of comfort, I'm just trying to figure out why this is something so many people are comfortable with as it is one of those concepts that really scare me. I would love to see some research. I wonder how other parents find that 'line' of what is and isn't an acceptable risk.
I have done it when I judged the risk to be minimal and the need to be great due to bumper to bumper traffic or no traffic at all but a long car ride with a driver who would not pull over. My dd was also a carseat screamer and didn't stop screaming on car rides until she was able to face forward and eat in the car. It was an awful time, going on a trip was horrible and stopping the car to nurse then put her back in did no good. There were times when I would do anything to stop the crying because what I was worried about was that and my sanity not the minimal risk that I was putting myself in.

In times when you can see what is going on and there is almost no chance of getting in a wreck I don't see a problem with comforting a baby by being a contortionist nurser. I don't see it as the same as taking kids out of seatbelts or turning them too early. It is something adults do when they feel that it is what they need to do and they judge the situation and find it safe enough. I haven't seen research on this, but I also haven't heard of car crashes because of this either so it isn't really something that worries me. I typically follow my instincts and make judgment calls based on my comfort level and what I know about a specific area or scenario to decide what I feel is acceptable and what isn't.
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#9 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 10:30 PM
 
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I have to say, I had a screamer who did not travel well and a husband who couldn't handle the crying, and never once did it dawn on me to do such a thing. We just mentally doubled the time it took to get anywhere, stopped as needed, and traveled as little as possible. Sure it was hard, but it's all over now.

I do think there is a clear right and wrong here. BF + driving=no,no,no. If a car seat toy that hangs several inches above a child's face is considered a hazard in a crash, then my upper body would surely be a hazard as well. Also, a wreck is ALWAYS possible, so not sure how anyone is able to predict a drunk driver isn't coming around the corner.
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#10 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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I have to say, I had a screamer who did not travel well and a husband who couldn't handle the crying, and never once did it dawn on me to do such a thing. We just mentally doubled the time it took to get anywhere, stopped as needed, and traveled as little as possible. Sure it was hard, but it's all over now.

I do think there is a clear right and wrong here. BF + driving=no,no,no. If a car seat toy that hangs several inches above a child's face is considered a hazard in a crash, then my upper body would surely be a hazard as well. Also, a wreck is ALWAYS possible, so not sure how anyone is able to predict a drunk driver isn't coming around the corner.
See, doubling the time would have been fine, but with my DD it would have been more like never getting anywhere at all. If I nursed her out of the seat, she would start sobbing the second I put her back in, no matter if we stopped for 5mins or an hour. Nursing didn't help at all unless it was in the seat with the car moving. Also, in some circumstances, you really can't pull over safely (highway with 30 miles to the next exit - the emergency lane/curb is NOT a safe place to be) and in some conditions (stopped traffic) you can't pull over and in others (low visibility snowstorm at night) it is not safe to do so.

There are a lot of circumstances where "just pull over to nurse and plan extra time" just doesn't work.

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#11 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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I've done it. I don't perceive it as safe. However, I do think its safer than sitting in the emergency lane on the side of the road nursing with your flashers on. I think its safer than having my husband feel like he's about to have a panic attack while hes driving because the baby wont quit screaming and theres no where to pull over. It sucks, but sometimes you have to get somewhere, and you cant keep stopping every 20 minutes to nurse.
This. 100%.

We tried the "pull over in the first place" and ended up in a really scary area. I only nursed a few mins (long enough to calm him down) and then we were off again...and he started screaming. So, it did no good.

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#12 of 61 Old 08-01-2010, 11:34 PM
 
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I must admit every time I've read it I cringe - it's just not safe imo.

We lived in Costa Rica for the first 6 months of ds' life where you get nowhere fast & there is rarely a safe place to pull over immediately. Yes, we had some ROUGH times in the car waiting until we got to a safe place we could pull over & then sit & nurse. It was no fun for any of us but a bad injury in a car accident would have been worse.

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#13 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I live almost an hour from the nearest 'town', so car travel is a must. In that distance, there's only one exit- and for a number of reasons, it's not really a 'good' stopping spot. Also, we have extremes of 110º and -40º so stopping in general sometimes isn't the best course of action. My kids learn early to take a bottle or a pacifier if they need to suck and the car is moving- but I recognize that not all families are comfortable with that.

Once they are a little older, the car is the one place where I am very clear about overall safety and well being vs. instantly meeting their wants and needs. I feel like the 'best' thing is for us to get home or into town asap, and once we are there we can nurse/babywear/reassure. While we are driving I will sing and talk, but that's about it. It also helps to have an adult sit in the back or my oldest who is always happy to make faces and chatter to her siblings.

We don't do a whole lot of long treks until the kids are bigger, but when we do, we plan to stop along the way a lot- and preplan the stops so we know where we are going will be safe. However, this does not always lead to tear free travel, and I'm ok with that- provided the kids don't feel abandoned- so we talk and we sing. For our kids, that is usually enough, and when it isn;'t bottles and pacifiers are available.

I realize that this could be a touchy issue either way, and I really don't want to stir up hostility, but it does intrigue me especially as I see it suggested SO often.
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#14 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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I nurse in the car and I really don't feel it is that dangerous *for me*. I am still buckled in and all I literally do is lean forward and flop my breast over the side of the seat for DD to nurse. I have very large floppy breasts and this is one instance where they come in handy, literally only my breast is over DD's seat. If I'm not nursing her I'm leaned a bit over entertaining her anyways usually with my arm across her seat and my head leaned over so she can see me. More of my body is over her seat in this instance then when I am nursing her.
Letting her scream bloody murder when there is another driver is just not an option for us. It is extremely distracting to try and drive while she is screaming, especially in stop and go, low speed city traffic. And super especially with a 4 yo also peppering you with questions/singing/whining because the baby is crying.

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#15 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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I think it depends a lot on the car, the seat, and the woman nursing. For some of us, you just sort of lean over and support your breast, with baby in the middle seat and mommy by the window, and the problem is solved. But for others, more circus acts might be required. While this isn't ideal, I do feel that it isn't super dangerous as in a crash my body will be thrown around to the extent of the seatbelt anyway, so the fact that I was leaning forward shouldn't really change the safety factor all that much.

My preference is to pump and put it in a bottle, but we all do what we have to.

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#16 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 01:34 AM
 
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I did when I was 19 yo with my first lo and we were on our way home from a out of state trip and my mom wouldn't pull over. I didn't even know or think at the time of how unsafe it was. That said I have only done it that once. If I was in bumper to bumper stopped traffic with a screaming baby I would do it though. I would rather that than take the baby all the way out of the carseat in the stopped traffic. Seems like the lesser of 2 evils to me.

I don't think most of the people who are doing it realize how dangerous it is.

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#17 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 02:15 AM
 
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It's not a safe option. That's all I'm saying.
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#18 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 03:05 AM
 
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For all of those who think it's okay to do in bumper to bumper traffic, take a look at this and this.

That is what happened to my husband's car in heavy Chicago bumper-to-bumper Edens Expressway traffic.

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#19 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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I'm in the "unsafe" crowd on this too. In an impact, your breast and upper body are going to be violently thrown against your baby. I would imagine you would crush their jaw, or worse.

That being said, when there is no where to stop I can see why people would choose too. Being small chested myself, there is no way I could nurse my kids in their seats anyways!

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#20 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 03:40 AM
 
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Being small chested myself, there is no way I could nurse my kids in their seats anyways!
Lol, thats me. I once attempted when parked (DH had run into the store to get something and I was trying to buy time by not taking her out of the seat) and failed miserably

If I had those breasts that you see in National Geographic, and could just sling one over the side of the car seat, then maybe. But these A cups sure ain't cuttin' it.

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#21 of 61 Old 08-02-2010, 10:22 AM
 
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If I had those breasts that you see in National Geographic, and could just sling one over the side of the car seat, then maybe. But these A cups sure ain't cuttin' it.
Yeah, I have those, and if DS had been able to nurse (he had trouble for other reasons), it would have been easy to nurse him in the car seat without moving my upper body over him at all. I might have had to lean directly forward but not to the side or anything.
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#22 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 03:31 AM
 
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I've done it, and I'll keep doing it if I have to. If my first daughter was in her seat she screamed. I nursed her EVERY time we were in the car, and I didn't drive because I couldn't handle the screaming while driving. I am large breasted and I'd rather have my floppy soft breast in her face then a hard plastic bottle if anything happened. My second daughter refuses a bottle or pacifier of any sort so that's just not an option sometimes.

What would you do if your child screamed like they were in pain every time you put them in the car seat, refused to take an artificial nipple of any sort, and were in weather or distances where walking/biking/bussing were not an option? What would you do in that circumstance for TWO YEARS?

If I nurse her in her seat we MAY be in an accident where there MAY be injuries. If I don't nurse her in her seat she WILL experience the trauma of being left to scream EVERY SINGLE TIME.

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#23 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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Dr. Sears actually RECOMMENDS it in his baby book.

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#24 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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My DD has always hated the carseat. She's 22 months and RF. When she was tiny, I would ride in the back with her and let her suck on my pinky finger, because she never took a pacifier. Now I sing NONSTOP, it seems like, when we're in the car. She makes requests and I sing whatever song she wants. If we're on a longer trip and my DH is driving, I'll sit in the back with her and read books to her.
I never nursed her while she was in her seat and the car was in motion- it's dangerous! Say whatever you want about calculated risks, to me the risk of leaning my body over my child in a moving car is the same as taking my child out of the carseat in a moving car- neither is an option. I think it's important to find other ways of comforting your child besides nursing, for this very reason.
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#25 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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I did it one time when my son was a baby and rear-facing. Not only was it incredibly uncomfortable and impossible to get a good latch, but it even felt incredibly unsafe! I was holding my breath praying we would not get in an accident the entire three minutes I did it.
I had a frequent nurser but he mostly slept in the car.
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#26 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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Sure it's not safe, but a distracted driver isn't safe either. Talking on a cell phone while driving is about the same risk as driving drunk, so why is driving with your loved one screaming in the backseat when there is a workable solution not a concern? Of course it's better to find a different way to calm the child, but pulling over, binkies, bottles and toys don't work for all kids . Sure, breastfeeding while driving increases the risk to the child if you get in an accident, but it can reduce driver distraction, making the likelihood of an accident less, which is good for the baby, the mother, the driver, and everybody else on the road.
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#27 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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Count me among the car-seat nursers. I've also go "National Geographic" boobs (Although I prefer the term "go-go-gadget boobies") and the ONLY thing over my baby when we do it is my boob. I don't do it while i'm driving of course, but if DP is driving and she's losing it, I'm not going to let her suffer when I've got what she wants right in my bra. That's just mean. I'm able to leave my seatbelt on and in the right position - honestly, I'm less safe when I'm leaning forward digging in my purse for my cell phone or a tissue.

The only time we've had a problem is when DP drove over a cattle guard while I was nursing and DD about bit my nipple off.

The risk of an accident because DP is distracted by her screaming is much greater, IMO.

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#28 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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Sure it's not safe, but a distracted driver isn't safe either. Talking on a cell phone while driving is about the same risk as driving drunk, so why is driving with your loved one screaming in the backseat when there is a workable solution not a concern? Of course it's better to find a different way to calm the child, but pulling over, binkies, bottles and toys don't work for all kids . Sure, breastfeeding while driving increases the risk to the child if you get in an accident, but it can reduce driver distraction, making the likelihood of an accident less, which is good for the baby, the mother, the driver, and everybody else on the road.
Exactly. There's a reason that when a new driver gets their license they aren't allowed to drive with friends...even talking to passengers is a distraction. I've noticed that DH's driving gets a little more erratic and rushed when DS really gets going. My DS would never take a pacifier (we waited too long to introduce it or whatever), I didn't have the supply to pump enough to do bottles for trips, and in Texas there are a lot of long stretches of road with nowhere to pull over safely. I'd rather take the risk with myself and lean over to nurse (still belted around the waist...better than nothing, right?) than have DH pull over on a busy highway and risk some idiot hitting the stopped car.

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#29 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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I've done it, mostly on the highway for long drives. We did pull over to stop when we could, but sometimes he'd want to nurse right away after we had stopped.

When DS was RF, I usually had to lean forward a bit to get there, but I kept the shoulder belt on. Count me in the "National Geographic" size too. I've always made a point to keep most of me on the non-baby side of the carseat, but I must admit that sometimes my right arm has been on the seat stabilizing us.

I've even managed a little bit when DS was FF and I was beside him.

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#30 of 61 Old 08-03-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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Yeouch about the nipple story. I have to admit The World According to Garp came to mind when this topic first came up. I do live in a carcentric city, my daughter did scream the entire time she was in the car, it really does suck. I hope no one feels like I'm judging them when I said it never crossed my mind to nurse in the car. I'm sure many are judging me for letting her cry until we could safely stop. Most of my earlier post was directed at the breastfeeding the baby in the lap while driving story which admittedly is not the real topic of the thread.

I certainly do things that involve risk after determining the benefits are worth it. I just try not to mess around with physics 'cause that meanie gives no quarter .
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