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Baby doesn't like the car

(49 Posts)
anniesgottagun Sun 18-Nov-12 22:13:24

DP's brother and SIL have an 11 month old baby, but won't visit family because the baby doesn't like the car. Since the baby was born, they haven't spent a night away from home or, in fact, taken the baby outside of about a 5 minute radius from their house by car (doctor, church, playground, baby group). We asked if they thought she would get used to the car at some point, but they said they thought it would be at least 18 months before they took her anywhere. DP's parents live 2 hours drive away and SIL's mum lives 3 hours away. When the baby was younger, people obviously didn't mind travelling to them. But now the baby is older, it's starting to irritate us and the rest of the family that they refuse to travel. AIBU?

RubyrooUK Mon 19-Nov-12 13:20:59

I agree with Youllscream again.

My DS was the baby who didn't like being passed around. Pretty normal for babies so I'm always amazed when people tell me their babies loved their grandparents/aunt from day one. In my experience, being the relative of a much loved baby is pretty unrewarding for a long time. (Although my DS at 2 years old does adore his grannies in particular, he did act like they were poison until about 6 months ago!)

So I think feeling like your baby is uncomfortable with people they don't know well is not at all odd as another poster said more eloquently.

I do however think that combined with other things (no mobiles on at home, not using wireless or microwaves) they sound like they have more worries than the average couple, so perhaps they are also like this in every aspect.

I guess just keep visiting them and suggesting they visit you...

YoullScreamAboutItOneDay Mon 19-Nov-12 08:44:33

I agree about passing babies round Lancre. I guess my point was kind of the same as yours but from a different angle. I wouldn't call the behaviour the OP has described as 'stranger anxiety' more 'normal behaviour in a baby'. It's the urge to label and pathologize the behaviour which makes me wonder if it is an anxiety thing, when taken along with the other aspects of the parents' behaviour she has described.

Likewise on the car, I totally agree. For example Ruby's situation sounds awful. I agree they may be playing it down form embarassment. But (if it it accurate) the description is that they've only done very short journeys, and haven't considered other transport. Again, that speaks to me of anxiety issues.

Lancrehotpot Mon 19-Nov-12 07:35:16

They do sound a little bit extreme annie and it does read as if something else is going on. However, on the isue of the car, until you've sat through the hell of a long journey with a hysterical baby, you can have no idea how bad it is. It is dangerous for the driver's concentration and not exactly great for the baby. I say this having recently come back from a long trip with my husband and DS who hates being in the car. It was absolute hell; we stopped a dozen times, tried every trick to quieten him- none of it worked. Going by the state my son was in when we arrived home, their LO would not be in the best of visiting moods.
Stranger anxiety is a real issue and if the parents are slightly anxious, they're probably quite tuned in to their baby's signs of distress, which is probably a good thing as long as it's not taken to an extreme. I have posted before about the expectation that babies will be pass-the-parcelled around people they don't know from Adam. Of course the baby will be comfortable with relatives she sees more often; she doesn't know who her relatives are.
Sometimes in the rush to get their cuddle, I think people forget that the baby is a person, with her own feelings, which as she can control pretty much naff all in her life, she deserves to have considered.
For now, I would bite the bullet and keep visiting. Other issues aside, they shouldn't have to put themselves and the baby through what must be a very stressful situation.

BigBirdisSaved Mon 19-Nov-12 06:34:15

I agree Rogers, it makes you want to cry and cry when they scream and sob like that.

rogersmellyonthetelly Mon 19-Nov-12 06:30:42

I had a screamer in the car, nearly drove me insane. Didn't stop me doing most things, but I wouldn't have wanted to do a 2 hour trip with her!

BigBirdisSaved Mon 19-Nov-12 02:36:56

Mine used to throw up all over himself in the car. Turns out he is carsick.

anniesgottagun Sun 18-Nov-12 23:35:26

Yeah I guess perhaps they do have anxiety issues then. I didn't really see it like this before, but now I do. I definitely don't think they see it like this though - they are quite surprised when we even ask about them visiting us.

RubyrooUK Sun 18-Nov-12 23:28:32

Yes, agree with You'llscream - not sure this is really about the car ultimately but more about anxiety.

RubyrooUK Sun 18-Nov-12 23:27:33

I think it is more weird OP that they haven't tried to see you all any other way! I didn't always go into detail about DS in the car as I was so embarrassed as babies are supposed to love the car and fall asleep. I thought no-one would believe me.

But then I didn't stop going to visit people! I just used other transport. It sounds like maybe they have a lot of anxieties anyway so that they do find it hard to leave their own personal space.

YoullScreamAboutItOneDay Sun 18-Nov-12 23:26:29

What you describe sounds like anxiety issues to me. Or at least, hyper vigilence. I suspect that this will not be the last issue you will hear about sad. Makes it tough to enjoy parenting.

anniesgottagun Sun 18-Nov-12 23:21:23

You'llscreamaboutit I don't know of any anxiety issues that they have, but they are very careful parents and people in general. For example, they don't have a microwave in the house as they don't think it cooks the food in a safe way, they don't use wireless internet connection anymore, mobile phones off in the house, etc. They are cautious I would say, and generally don't like to go out of their comfort zone. Perhaps that makes them anxious, I don't know.

anniesgottagun Sun 18-Nov-12 23:19:30

That does sound bad rubyroo. And granted I have never been through it. But they have never described to us what you have described. But I am more inclined to believe that they just gave up the moment they realised she didn't like it. If they had told us that they have tried more things eg. music or whatever, or have described to us what you have, obviously I would think it totally reasonable that they wouldn't want to travel. But all they have told us is "she doesn't like the car".

RubyrooUK Sun 18-Nov-12 23:07:09


My DS hated the car. I don't mean he cried. I mean he screamed till he vomited down himself. Terrible awful high pitched screams. He was so bad that DH and I both cried repeatedly during one four hour car journey to see the in-laws and we were pretty stoic through his suspected meningitis, other hospitalisations etc.

He improved dramatically when he went forward facing and recently when he tried an extended rear facing seat (he is now 2), he went ballistic and when he calmed down, he said he was scared. Before he went forward facing we didn't go on car journeys longer than 15 minutes and he'd scream till vomiting every time, so it wasn't a case that we didn't give it a go. It was unsafe for us to drive as it made us so stressed. Friends and family who saw it were genuinely shocked.

DS has always been a massive pushchair refuser but that is totally different. That is fury and when he is tired and needs a sleep, I can hack the pushchair fury and in he goes.

So YABU unless you have had a child who really hates the car. I make my DS do all kinds of things he doesn't like and has a fit about; his car hatred was on a different scale.

YANBU because we still went to see our families and friends - we just got the train! We have been all over the world with DS (who thankfully is fine in the car now) to see people so it didn't hold us back. It was just annoying.

So no, they're not being unreasonable to stop using the car if they have a nightmare traveller; yes they are being unreasonable not to visit as a result!

YoullScreamAboutItOneDay Sun 18-Nov-12 23:06:51

I suspect there is another issue underlying this.

Do they have general anxiety issues by any chance?

TBH, their daughter sounds rather like mine. They both hated the car until they went forward facing around one-ish (I know, I know, rear facing is safer). We did things like sit in the back. Hold hands from the front seat (my poor shoulder/back), breastfeed (along the M4, with my seatbelt still on. Though I was in the backseat for that one)...

However, they are also saying she has 'stranger anxiety' because she cries when people she doesn't know well pick her up. Both mine have done this too. It's normal. dd1 was particularly well known for a gusty yell when anyone cuddled her up to about 18 months or so. Maybe older. And if you went to a toddler group, you had to sit right by her. If you (shock) walked six feet, she screamed blue murder.

I suppose what I am saying is that nothing you have described so far is outside the realms of pretty blooming common (though I recognise that there are babies who have v v severe car ishoos). But their reaction to it is far from normal.

Signet2012 Sun 18-Nov-12 23:02:37

I gave a ten week old baby. We have to organise ourselves and her so that the moment we click the buckle we are up and out. Ive even had the car started ready before today. Once we are moving - no bother but that moment from the click of the harness to on our way makes my ears bleed.

just reroute to avoid traffic lights, level crossings, ducks on the Road

BarredfromhavingStella Sun 18-Nov-12 23:02:01

Maybe it's a Prius, eugh grin

wentshopping Sun 18-Nov-12 23:01:56

My DD3 hated the car - in fact she hated the carseat and would scream until she threw up when strapped into the carseat before it was even placed in the car. The same with the baby seat in the supermarket trolley, and her pram. I could not face driving anywhere with her because of this, but had to - taking dd2 to nursery, going out to keep sane etc. I became good friends with the Tesco delivery driver smile However, my dd has cerebral palsy and as a newborn had spent a number of weeks in an incubator, intubated etc, which I believe caused her sensitivity to being laid on her back, or forced into a carseat where there would be pressure on her back. She finally tolerated some journeys around 1 yr, but journeys in the dark were impossible for another few YEARS. Maybe your SIL's baby has had a similar trauma, and reacts in this way.
It is impossible to describe how daunting any journey is to someone who has not lived through this - and this was dc3, so I "knew" all the tricks like getting them to sleep in the car, playing music etc. I can remember crying when I got to nursery one day because we forgot dd2's indoor shoes and I would need to drive home, then come back again, doubling the length of the screaming that morning.

anniesgottagun Sun 18-Nov-12 22:57:03

I think they have a Honda Jazz. And a Nissan something (sorry not very good with cars).

lovebunny Sun 18-Nov-12 22:52:43

what's wrong with the car? make or model? there are some very nice mercedes sports cars around at the moment - perhaps there's a way to incorporate a car seat? clearly your family members need to change the car.

perhaps they just don't want to go out?

anniesgottagun Sun 18-Nov-12 22:50:06

I genuinely don't think they do Rudolph. It was a big event when they went to a pond in the summer which is about 15 minutes drive from the house.

BarredfromhavingStella Sun 18-Nov-12 22:49:26

Both mine went through a phase of disliking the car, meh they got over it-they had 2 options.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sun 18-Nov-12 22:47:04

I'm pretty sure they must be going further then 5 mins from their house though even with a screamer. If not, I would wonder if mother has PND or is struggling to manage.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sun 18-Nov-12 22:43:11

You are asking them to sit through 6 or 4 hours of screaming for a quick weekend visit. Is that fair on the baby? No. Is that fair on the parents of the baby? No. Do the relatives care that the baby is is stressed in the car for hours on end? no.

Viviennemary Sun 18-Nov-12 22:42:26

My DD screamed during most car journeys. But we had to visit relatives. DS just fell asleep immediately each time. So never worked out the reasons.

larks35 Sun 18-Nov-12 22:38:54

Well they do sound a bit useless tbh and maybe a bit lazy? I don't drive but when DS was a baby and I was on mat leave, I went and visited my folks lots of times. They live 200 miles away but I found DS loved the train, not the tube so much but hey ho, we survived. He went through a stage of not liking long journeys in my DP's car but as long as I sat next to him and kept him entertained he managed them.

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