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Long car journey with 5 month old! Help!!!(22 Posts)
I have a 4 hour journey to take in a couple of weeks, my baby will almost be 5 months by this point and I am really stressing about this journey!!!
He used to absoloutely scream in the car but recently he has been much better, but I think im just worried to have all the screaming again! He's only napped in the car a handful of times and he doesnt nap for long either, only about 30 minutes.
My question is do I try and do the journey at bedtime when he's most sleepy and sleeps longest or just do it in the day with plenty of stops? I do worry if I did it at bedtime and he didn't fall asleep it would be hell.
Please if someone has any tips or advice I would really appreciate it xx
I’d do it during the day with stops. Are you doing it alone?
When mine were your age I would have left at 7pm and driven it all in one go. Failing that I’d do it in 2 x2 hour chunks either side of lunch.
I did similar at around that age. I left at the first morning nap time, she napped and then when she woke up she was ok in her car seat for around 30 more mins. We then stopped for around an hour and 15mins for lunch, and let her sit on our laps / roll around in her bassinet on the pram, and have a nice big feed. Then drove the remaining stretch. It'll be ok OP! Even if you have to stop lots
ith my first, I'd have said just do it and wondered what you were worried about. I doubt those saying just stop regularly and it'll be fine have dc like my first. The distraction and the emotional turmoil of having a baby who screams incessantly in the car has to be experienced to be understood.
My second taught me what it's like to have a baby who screams in the car, all of the time, every single drive.
When we needed to do a 3 hour car journey, DH took the car, the stuff and the toddler and I had a lovely 5 hour train journey with a happy baby sleeping or feeding on my chest or playing on my knee. Would you consider the train?
My mother lives 4 hours away so did a lot of 4
6 hour journeys with my tiny DC from
2 months old to 7 months when I stopped contact.
I know this is against the advice but it worked for us: can you put them in the front with you? Our DC cried a lot in the back, one trip I had to stop 6 times because he really wasn’t happy and I can’t bare hearing him cry. Stopping in dodgey lay-bys and petrol stations just creeped me out. When he was in the front he could see me, I could sing to him, stroke him hand a little bit as he went to sleep (road permitting).
I found that the younger he was the less awake he was and slept the whole way the first time, as he grew older it became more difficult as his awake windows were large in comparison.
I’d definitely do it in the day, they can’t be in the car seat for too long so you’ll need to take them out after 2 hours.
I’d aim for 3 sections of 1hour 20 ish and time it for his normal naps. Maybe see if there’s a nice services on the way that has a lake or something, there’s a few in Gloucester.
We did an overnight drive at that age. (7pm to 2am including the Channel tunnel).
The drawback of overnight I you have to take them out of the car seat every two hours. But the roads are quiet, so it's a clearer run. We were lucky, DD did sleep the whole time (even in the tunnel when we held her rather than in the car seat, and through the breaks we took)
Whatever you decide to do, do make sure you follow the guidance on regular breaks for the baby
My first used to scream until he vomited in the car. I used to time any longer drives around naps/bedtime as then he'd more likely scream himself to sleep before he had the chance to vom! I'd go for bedtime and do it all in one go.
@Fivemoreminutes1 my boyfriend will drive and u going to sit in the back so hopefully can keep baby entertained xxx
@JanuaryEl5ieBill It is the worst isn't it!!! It causes me so much anxiety but my boyfriend just doesn't understand because he's not with with much he's not experienced the full on screaming like i have!
I want to get the train but its so bloody expensive and then with the petrol cost too, but I am still tempted to do it and just go on my own. X
What about an ipad/tablet with some colourful videos on it? Might that help? My little boy was horrendous in the car too, the ipad helped when he was big enough to watch it. (You'll get judged by holier than thou posters but I'd rather have that than 4 hours of constant screaming!)
@linerforlife thank you, that sounds like a good plan! I'll try and leave at similar times and hopefully it works xx
@FTEngineerM luckily my boyfriend is going to drive so i can sit in the back with the baby, but i have put him in the front with me before 😬
That sounds like a good idea to spilt it into 3 parts, I think that will work pretty well. He always startles himself awake in the car so I need need find a way to keep his arms down x
@grumpytoddler1 thats a good idea, he does like cocomelon (I know it's bad i let him watch it) sometimes its the only way i can get dressed in the morning haha. I'll download some more stuff on my phone for the journey. Thank you x
@Hufflepuffsunite oh god its so horrible when they get upset like that and there is nothing you can do! I think I need to practice taking him out at a nap time or something first. He just is a rubbish sleeper in the car x
@Aroundtheworldin80moves yeah that is what puts me off doing the overnight, he gets really upset if he's woken up during the night and I'm worried I won't settle him again afterwards. It's so hard to know what to do 🤦♀️😪 x
2x 2 hour chunks is fine. Try not to stress as they pick up on it
I did a 2500 mile road trip when dd2 was that age!
If you put the baby in the front with you, don’t forget to disable the passenger airbag (and switch it back on when the baby isn’t there). The switch isn’t always very obvious (I think ours is inside the frame of the passenger door).
We had a screamer too
A few things that helped:
- mirror attached to the headrest above the baby’s seat so they can see you at all times
- blackout window shades and white noise so the baby would go to sleep more easily (sometimes we’d raise the handle of the car seat and drape a Muslin over too)
- make sure the car seat is really set up well for the baby. Once we removed the newborn insert she was much more comfortable so play around with the set up
- make sure she isn’t uncomfortable/ gassy etc from being fed just before you set off
- get an iPhone / iPad holder and put baby sensory on during awake times
Lastly, the absolute ultimate is to get the lie flat car seat cos that is just amazing. Do you have one you could borrow from someone?
For a 4-5 month old, you don't need to take them out if the car seat religiously every 2 hours. That advice is for tiny (newborns) who aren't so good at breathing efficiently when sat a car seat that causes them to be a bit squished in the tummy / chest area.
Travel at bedtime and don't wake them if they're sleeping.
@stuckinarutatwork the advice for tiny newborns is 30 minutes..