When my first son was born, we realized fairly quickly that our newborn hates his car seat. It was a horrible ride home from the hospital with my husband driving and freaking out that he was going to die. I sat in the back seat trying my best to console him but to no avail. Are you in the same boat as we were? Try these tips on things you can do if your newborn hate their car seat!
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Does Your Newborn Hate Their Car Seat Too?
First Things First Safety
Make sure your baby’s car seat is installed properly and make sure your car seat is on the correct recline level. The car seat being loose in your car will experience a lot of movement while you drive that you may not be aware of. This can cause abrupt movements that your baby may not find comforting. Also check that your infant car seat is probably latched into the base.
Check if something is bothering your baby. Maybe your baby cries because the sun gets in their face. If that’s the case, invest in car sun shades. My husband carried his golf clubs in our car at all times and sometimes the sun would reflect off of the golf clubs and shine a bright light in our son’s face.
Timing is important! Timing your errands around your baby’s schedule can help a lot. After a week, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how often your baby feeds and sleeps. We found that the best time to do anything that involved our son being in a car seat is right after a feeding. I would change his diaper and he usually falls right to sleep and makes less of a fuss in his car seat. For future appointments or other events, you can plan ahead and begin to prepare your baby for that trip by scheduling them around his feeding and nap schedule.
Take a breath, your baby is probably fine. Even when we put him to sleep in his infant car seat and left for our destination, my son was a poor sleeper as an infant. He would wake up, realize he was in his car seat, and then start screaming his head off. My husband would sometimes pull over just to check if he was in danger of anything like a blanket preventing him to breathe. What really freaked us out was when he would stop crying because we were certain he was dead. That was never the case for us fortunately.
It can be really hard on parents to listen to their baby just scream and cry. Your baby can’t tell you what they want or need and all we want to do is help them. Rest assured, your baby is probably fine. They may be upset, but they are probably not in danger. Try to mentally prepare yourself because it’s also your responsibility to get to your destination safely.
Play your baby your favorite music (or theirs)!
If you find yourself in this situation and your heart is racing and have no idea what to do, I found it helpful to try singing to your baby (even if you can’t even hear yourself sing because you’re being drowned out by your baby screaming). You can also try playing your favorite music if your child doesn’t already have a preference. A few of my friends have found some music that their baby really enjoys and it seems to calm them! That wasn’t the case for us but one of my best friend’s son loves the sound of Selena’s music and calms him right down! I have found my kids seem to like Justin Timberlake songs but that was much later in life.
Get a rear seat mirror. These are genius and surprisingly my husband and I never used one for our kids. It probably would’ve helped in those many situations that my husband felt the need to pull over and check on our child’s well being. With these mirrors, we could’ve done that without feeling the need to pull over. The rear seat mirror serves two purposes; to reassure anxious parents that their child is in fact alive and well and second, a means for your child to be able to see you. Seeing you might comfort them.
Have someone sit with your child as you drive. It helps to have another person sit next to your baby in the back seat to help keep your baby distracted until you get to your destination. Whenever my husband and I were together, I would sit in the back with my son. This helped a lot since he could see me and I keep play with him while we traveled. Sometimes this won’t be an option when you’re alone but I know it was much easier for my son when I sat with him.
Feed your child during the trip. My son was exclusively breastfed and he wouldn’t take a bottle so this option wasn’t an option for us. However, if your child does take a bottle, you could wait until feedings to feed your child while in the car. I still recommend being present in the back seat since your baby could spit up. Our son also didn’t take a pacifier, but I do have friends that swear by it when they put their baby in a car seat. They told me it soothes them to sleep, making for a peaceful trip anywhere. Lucky for them because both my kids refuse pacifiers or teethers.
Buy infant car seat toys. We had this awesome infant car seat toy that attaches to the infant seat handle via velcro. My son was totally entertained by this thing because he could just reach it so to hit it and watch it spin. It played a little melody with some lights that wasn’t overly annoying or loud. There are several you could find, some don’t require batteries. Try a few and see how it goes!
I hope in telling you how we handled our situation has helped you. I admit sometimes these worked, sometimes we had to try a few of these, but I can assure you; although your child may seem really upset, they are probably not in any danger. Breathe. Hang in there!
Does your newborn hate their car seat too?
What tips do you have for others in your position? I’d love to hear from you!
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