Drool: Travels with baby revisited
I know I have written about traveling with baby before, but have I got a story for you ...
After a weekend solo trip with Droolface to Pennsylvania, I found myself at the end of my so-called mommy rope.
It is impossible to explain to a screaming 6-month-old that mommy can't just stop in the middle of I-76 simply because he is bored.
After pulling over several times to calm him down, and calm myself down, I moved onto how to stop the screaming.
So I checked off all the parenting boxes, including:
• Is he hungry?
• Is he wet?
• Is he hold or cold?
I ended up deciding he was just bored and really didn't want to be in the car seat anymore. But, considering we were still at least an hour from our destination, I explained he would just have to deal as I carried on.
Next time, I will try harder to travel when he is asleep and hope to do better. Staying calm can be really hard as a parent, because all you want to do is calm the baby down and make sure he or she is happy. The other thing people have suggested to me is bringing some ear plugs - great idea!
Since my last column and since I often take the baby with me on various adventures, I have received this question:
How do you go places with your baby if he doesn't sit yet?
My answer: Before Alex was good at sitting, we often kept him in the car seat. At the time, he didn't mind being in the seat as much as he does now. Once they start becoming a bit more independent and moving around, all bets are off, because he doesn't want to be restrained.
We often took Alex on short trips - to restaurants, shopping, sight-seeing - and often kept him in the car seat or in a stroller. He really liked the stroller because he was moving and could see what was going on around him.
One drawback with the stroller, however, is that many restaurants have a no-stroller policy. If that is the case, you are stuck keeping the baby in the car seat. Most car seats fit into an upside-down high chair provided at restaurants.
If the baby is a bit stronger than a newborn - say he is 3-6 months old and can sit up when supported - you may want to invest in an infant seat.
These seats are made of a rubbery plastic material, so they are bendable and soft. They curve around the baby and support him in a sitting up position, without him having to hold himself up.
They can be a bit pricey, especially if you aren't sure your baby will like it. But, trust me, if the baby takes to it, you will be so happy to have it.
We used ours on a recent trip and set the chair on the tabletop with the baby in it. It does say specifically not to do this on the instructions to the chair, but we were both sitting right there to make sure he didn't take a tumble off the table. Do not use the chair on top of a high chair or on any surface that isn't sturdy.
Droolface is a very curious baby, so he loves looking around at everything. It bothers him (i.e. he whines and cries) when he can't see what is going on, so we are constantly moving him around to see everything. The little chair helps with that.
If you don't want to invest in the chair, there are cheaper seats you can find. One I have used is made of cloth. It opens in the center where the baby sits and ties to a chair. The cloth provides some support, but I would not recommend using it for a newborn. The only problem is that the baby is short, so he can't really see over the table.
If anyone out there in the drool kingdom has other recommendations for adventuring with baby, send them my way to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or feel free to post comments.
Tips for keeping calm
Here are some ways to stay calm during stressful times with baby, whether it is during a long or short trip. These tips are from The Bump - Lisa Peri | May 11 , 2009:
• Hire a babysitter, even if for just a few hours a week.
• Keep an extra pair of earplugs in the car when you are stuck and your child is crying. Trust me…you will still be able to hear them but it certainly takes the edge off!
• Make yourself a mellow mix on your iPod to put on when you have reached your limit.
• Make sure your children are occupied.
• Get enough sleep. Make sure you go to bed early and that your children are getting the sleep they need so they will be less irritable.
• Make sure you and your children are eating enough and frequently enough to decrease irritability.
The Bump is also a great site for future mommies and current mommies - www.thebump.com.