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Long car journey on your own with a baby

(15 Posts)
RuthAsp11 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:30:53

Hi, I'd like to take my DS (4 months old) to my parents for a week soon, but it is a 200 mile journey and I would be doing it on my own so I am worried about my son being on his own in a rear-facing car seat for such a long journey. I will be travelling at night when he is usually asleep but am worried because I will not be able to see him. Mirrors won't help as it will be dark and I will be on the motorway. Has anyone else driven a long journey on their own with such a young baby?

PhDMumof1 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:34:27

Does he like the car?

My DS has always hated the car ... so all journies have been ear-plugs, music and regular stops to combat the howling. Just hideous.

However, if he will sleep but you are worried about not seeing him because he is dark, factor in a stop every hour or so. Check where the service stations are (marked on the map with an S in a triangle / diamond usually).

OR: get one of your parents to come down and pick you up.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:36:37

It shouldn't be too bad, Ruth. I've done 400 miles on my own - just stopped at more services than I might have done otherwise.

PiccadillyCircus Thu 17-Feb-05 11:37:04

When DS was 10 weeks I travelled about 200 miles with him on my own. I did it during the day time so I would be all right and he was fine. He slept a lot basically. It took us about 4.5 hours but we did stop for about an hour for feeding (both of us) and changing (him only ).

I was worried about it, but it was fine.

I'm doing the same trip on my own next week, but DS is now 15 months. I am worried about it a bit again as I don't think he'll want to sleep as much now. But I might be lucky.

What is your DS generally like in the car?

TracyK Thu 17-Feb-05 11:42:19

We've done a few trips back to scotland (400 miles) we've found the best timings for us are - to get up and leave around 5 am ish - ds will go back to sleep after his milk for a couple of hours and then we stop maybe at 8.30ish for breakfast and a stretch. Stay at service station for about an hour and then head off again. ds usually sleeps again, wakes and we stop again. There before you know it.
I'd advise against driving in the dark on your own. What if he starts howling and you're nowhere near a SS - do you stop in the dark?? What if you get tired?

lapsedrunner Thu 17-Feb-05 13:38:57

I did (and still do) alot of long journeys on my own with ds (plus ususally the dog in tow as well!). Like TracyK I would advise travelling in daylight if at all possible, try to plan your departure just after a feed to coincide with a nap. Accept that the journey will take longer than usual. Even if you don't stop for a feed you might want to get him out of car seat for a kick around on a changing station etc in a Service Area. Long jouneys are never easy, however I find they are never as bad as you expect them to be. Do be prepared for unexpected delays/traffic jams, I'd advise having a bottle of milk to hand just in case. Just try to relax, you'll be fine.

Gobbledigook Thu 17-Feb-05 13:43:10

Yep I've done this and it's generally no problem if your baby usually sleeps in the car. If he wakes up you can stop and console him at services.

At 4 mths I'd say your are OK - it's when they get older that car journeys need military precision planning!!

Gobbledigook Thu 17-Feb-05 13:44:05

Oh, yes, like others, if I was going now, I'd go after the 11am-ish feed as that's when my ds3 sleeps for a good couple of hours.

If you go at night, you might wake him when you arrive and then struggle to get him to sleep again.

Blu Thu 17-Feb-05 16:19:30

I did it a couple of times from when DS was 5 weeks. Always hated it, but it was never as bad as I thought it would be IYSWIM.

I presume he goes in the back seat because there is an air bag? I had DS in his rear facing seat in the front seat next to me. Borrow another car? I always try to travel at maximum sleep time.

Is it possible to go on the train with a rucksac and pushchair?

JanH Thu 17-Feb-05 16:38:57

I did a 240 mile return trip in one day with DS2 when he was 2½ months - but it was daytime, and he was in his rear-facing seat in the front. I seem to remember he was fed just before we set off and was no trouble at all for the 120 mile journey.

Can you disable your airbag? I think it would be far less worrying for you if he was right beside you (but you would have to resist the urge to keep looking at him!) I agree that the whole trip will be much less fraught if you don't do it in the dark.

TracyK Thu 17-Feb-05 16:42:11

also stick to motorways - I remember driving on an A road coming back from Ipswich and ds absolutely screaming for food - it is the worst feeling when you can't stop anywhere - you just get more and more stressed - even though you know they can't be THAT hungry. But I'm surprised I didn't crash the car!

jessicasmummy Thu 17-Feb-05 16:44:10

jess is well travelled now. first drove to my dad's (210 miles) when she was 1 week old and have done on a regular basis since. at about that age, i found leaving at about 4.30am-5am the best, she would usually wake then for a feed anyway so i would feed and put in car and used to sleep the whole way. the roads were quiet too which meant we weren't stuck in traffic. its a nightmare now that jess is nearly 7 months because she just wants to be entertained the whole time. i cant go on long journeys on my own with her now, and if dh couldnt come with me, my dad would come down on the train and travel back with me. hth.

jessicasmummy Thu 17-Feb-05 16:45:06

tracyk - i know the a roads from ipswich very well and know exactly what you mean!!!

RuthAsp11 Fri 18-Feb-05 11:29:30

Thanks very much for all your replies. It's comforting to know that so many of you have travelled on your own too. Also the setting off at about 5am advice is good. As you say I can feed him first, then he should sleep and it will be daylight most of the way so I can at least see him in the back using the mirror I bought. He's fine in the car at the moment so I guess I should take advantage of this before he gets older and travelling is more difficult!! Good luck on all your journeys

jessicasmummy Fri 18-Feb-05 11:47:30

glad we helped - its easy when u get used to it xx

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