Driving with baby

Driving with a baby that hates to drive

As many of my friends can attest, baby girl HATES the car. This is completely due to the fact that she is almost never in it. We have driven a handful of times, on short and long distances, and none have ended well. One day, she cried for 45 minutes on the way home from a gathering; it only took so long to get home because we stopped so many times to try and settle her down. We had decided to leave the  party around bed time, make sure she was fed and comfortable – but she didn’t want anything to do with it.

Because of this problem, we have limited our vacations to being able to take the train. This isn’t a problem since trains are much more comfortable than driving, but it is more expensive. So far we have taken transit to Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Aachen and Koln. We were unable to take the train to Monschau, Wesel and Geilenkirchen, and they prompted us to make a plan on baby girls “car training”.

As we were making plans to visit Liege to see Ice Star Wars, we needed to decide how we were getting there. The trains were only leaving at 6 am but no way of getting there on time. Only other option was to drive; this worked out amazingly so take notes – DRIVE AT NAP TIME. Easier said than done, since it failed before, but we were determined to try again. This time, however, she had a predicable nap schedule.

The kids woke at 630 am, and therefore nap was due around 930/10. We got the car ready and played lots, and 9 am rolled around – baby was getting sleepy. Alright, time to go. Got the kids dressed, snacks packed, bottles/juice cups filled, and nursed. Munchkin was eating a snack, and therefore nice and quiet, classical music was on the radio, the road was nice and quiet, she slept shortly after getting on our way.
Because it was so late when we arrive, noon, we decided to spend the night, look around town and visit Star Wars in the morning. Come Sunday morning, baby girl had a short 30-45 min morning nap before we ran into our friends and their 3 (loud) children. This was a blessing in disguise. After Star Wars, we drove 45 min to a grocery store. She whinned and cried a little, so I sat in the back and fed them both apple sauce; it was near lunch time anyways so I didn’t really blame her. After groceries I nursed and gave a little more solids; it was close to 3 pm by this point. Placed her in the car, gave munchkin a snack to keep him quiet right away and she fell asleep before we even started the car. Both actually fell asleep and the ride was as quiet as ever.

Funny enough, there is a rough spot of highway where our exit merges with another exit and we need to cross a few lanes of traffic quickly – we always mess this up because she is crying and therefore we miss the exit and it takes that much longer to get home – exasperating the situation. This time, we got it right on the first try then wondered why we didn’t recognize this part of the trip. Ok, so it was funny no funny. Either way, we got home, woke the kids up and praised the hell out of both of them for having such a great ride home.

I have used this technique again when visiting a friend, about an hour south of town. Slept the whole time again.
Now that I have the car for a few weeks, I have been taking it to bring munchkin to school. Its so close that I really shouldn’t, but it gives her a chance to get used to the car without hearing her cry for hours. The first week was a little touchy, but this week, total 360. She hasn’t cried at all in the car, in fact, she has played nicely with her toys, laughing, and even “talking” to her brother. This has also translated into better walks in the after noon. Since she no longer naps in the afternoon, walking 1 hour to and from school used to drive her crazy. Lately, she has taken a bottle and remained calm the whole walk. Again, even playing with her toys or talking.

I can’t decide if it had anything to do with me, training or age, but I love it. Hopefully this keeps up and we can expand our day trips/weekend trips. The more trains we take, the less often we can go, after all.

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Christine Leger is the founder of Tapped Out Travellers, a Family Travel Blog About Travel with Kids. We explore travelling on a budget, splurging on bucket-list travel opportunities along the way. Although Canadian, she currently lives in Germany.

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4 Responses

  1. Jen Morrow says:

    I have three nieces and the hardest part was actually getting the car seats in the car! The kids were pretty easy to get in and out, but that car seat is impossible for me.

  2. Seems as though you have stumbled on the answer to the problem you had and for me driving is always better than a train. I love to be able to stop and shoot pictures along the way.

  3. Sheri says:

    I am so lucky my little one loves riding in the car, he always looks out the window and babbles and as soon as we are on the highway he falls asleep.

  4. Liana says:

    I totally get it, it’s so hard to keep them busy and quiet for such a long period of time whilst driving! They can totally ruin the trip but I know that napping isn’t our best chance to keep them quiet haha! x
    http://tomboychronicle.com/

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