After SweetPea was born when we were getting ready to leave the birthing center I strapped her into her car seat for the first time; She didn’t much seem to care and she slept the entire 2 hour drive home despite me poking her every 3minutes to make sure she was still breathing.
It went on like this for the first few months. Every time I put her in her car seat she would instantly fall asleep and not wake up until we reached out destination it was lovely.
But then one day on the way home she didn’t fall asleep instead she cried the whole way, and then it happened again, and again until I began to dread taking her anywhere that involved a lengthy car trip.
My first solution was to start leaving the house right around when she’d take her first nap of the day. I’d fill her full of breast milk, strap her into her car seat and hope that the 2 miles of bumpy dirt road would lull her to sleep; this worked almost every time, but once we made it into town and she woke up the rest of the stops were agony and the ride home was filled with the sound of sad screaming baby.
Last week my Hubby and I took SweetPea to visit his parents who live 3 hours from our home. I knew I could count on SweetPea to sleep for the first hour of the drive so I set up a playdate with a friend who lived in the first town we pass through, after crawling around on the floor and having lots of fun we headed out for the next leg of our journey and she was so exhausted she fell asleep almost immediately, and continued to sleep until we were about a half hour from our final destination. Now normally what I would do in this case is stop for a minute, check her diaper, fill her tummy and put her back in her car seat. Sometimes this works, but most of the time she starts getting upset before I even have her buckled in.
But this time when we pulled over we were at a beautiful beach park and I decided to try something new. We got out of the car and watched seagulls and waves crash for a while before changing her diaper and having a snack. When I put her back in her seat she was happy and made it the rest of the way with only a few unhappy outbursts.
Prior to SweetPea’s birth we would always drive from point A to point B only stopping when absolutely necessary, and always trying to make the best time possible, but with a 7 month old baby getting bored and restless in the backseat we very quickly learned that this was no longer possible.
So we went to the beach everyday of our trip, and didn’t stop there. Since finding out how helpful it is to stop and wear SweetPea out before continuing on our car journeys we’ve seen so much more cool stuff than we every had before. We saw Lions, Tigers and other wild cats at Great Cats World Park, we road in a gondola through the redwood trees at the Trees of Mystery, and we even stopped at a Medieval Festival on our way home the other day when previously we would have just passed it by, and thanks to our new found need to spend time out of the car we got to watch men in full armor jousting on horseback. As sight we would have other wised passed by.
Thank you for reading.