Monday, May 12, 2014

Driving with a baby on board

This post is in collaboration with John Hughes


T and I have always been good drivers and we never questioned our driving ability - until we had a baby.
There's something about a tiny little human that makes you re-evaluate the way you do almost everything. Suddenly there's a huge amount of responsibility attached to even the most basic daily tasks. Knowing you're carrying the most precious cargo ever is enough to shake even the safest of drivers.

I remember the drive home from the hospital. How gently we placed her into the car seat afraid we might break her. I sat in the back of the car because I was so nervous. I needed to see her and make sure everything was ok. I've never seen T drive so cautiously. I don't think he even got up to the speed limit the whole way home. He normally gets frustrated by the slow drivers, but here he was the slowest one on the road. Luckily it was late on a Sunday night so we didn't have to deal with other disgruntled drivers.

Despite daddy's careful driving, bub wasn't a fan of the car that night. Each time we stopped she screamed her lungs out. You know when you really want to get somewhere without stopping and you end up having to stop way more than usual, it was one of those  journey's. I swear we got every red light on the way home. Every. single. one.

I ended up not being able to drive for almost nine weeks after her birth because of my emergency c-section and complications with my scar healing. By that stage I had grown extremely anxious about driving with her. I hated the fact that I couldn't see her while driving and I was so worried she'd stop breathing and I wouldn't know. To the point where I considered staying home forever so I didn't have to do it. I figured it would be doable for a while with online shopping and all, but eventually there'd come a time where I'd need to leave the house with her. So, I had to take a leap of faith and just get on with it.

Turns out I took a rather big leap, by joining a mothers group, which forced me to drive to a different place each week. It was the best thing for me to overcome my fear. The first few weeks were a bit scary. One day in particular was rather stressful as she started 'choking' while I was driving. She started coughing while I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, which sent me into a mild panic because I was stuck. I couldn't pull over until the lights changed, but by that time she'd stopped so I assumed everything was fine. About a km down the road she started spluttering again and my heart almost jumped out of my throat. I pulled over straight away fearing the worst given her allergies and tendency to randomly choke. I got to the back of the car expecting to find a very sick child; but there was this happy, smiley baby staring back at me wondering what all the fuss was about. It turns out she wasn't choking, but rather testing out her vocal skills and practising new sounds (and giving mummy a heart attack).

Thankfully that was my only scare while driving. The more I drove with her the easier it got. I quickly learnt if I timed drives around her feeds (as much as possible), it made for a much happier baby and less stressed mummy. We also got her some toys to hang off the car seat and soon car rides turned into playtime and nap time for her. I slowly forgot about not being able to see her and my anxiety soon faded away.



We've just turned bub around to front facing this week, she finally reached the shoulder height at 9 months old. After getting used to not being able to see her, its quite a shock to look in the rear vision mirror and see her face smiling back at me. Or her chomping away on her tigger toy. Or her dummy. Or sucking on her fingers as she stares out the window amazed by her new-found view. She sits there so proud of herself with her legs crossed and all. She thinks shes such a big girl now.

I look forward to car trips instead of avoiding them now. Driving has actually turned into me time. Time when I can have a break and not have to worry about where she is and what she's getting into. Time when I can connect to the outside world. Time when I can listen to music I like, instead of abc songs (although the giggle and hoot theme song has made an appearance once or twice on the odd occasion she's been grumpy). I now make excuses to go out instead of staying home and everyone comments about how social we are. Honestly I'm relishing the fact that I can drive wherever I want now whenever I want and not just to and from work each day. Even better I get to take my little buddy along with me.

We're you ever anxious driving with a baby for the first time? 
Do you have strategies to make car trips less stressful?

Toni xx

*Disclosure - This is a paid post in conjunction with John Hughes
John Hughes has been Western Australia's most trusted car dealer since 1969, with a philosophy that is centred around their valued customers. When it comes to selling cars they pride themselves on their product and professional staff who strive to live up to the Company Philosophy. They specialise in the sale of new and used cars at the Victoria Park and Bentley dealerships, as well as online sales and customer support both locally and nationally.

Linking up with Eva, AliciaKirsty, Kaz and Grace.



42 comments:

  1. That first trip home from the hospital, first time, is such a head trip - I remember thinking everyone else was driving so fast and dangerously (we must have been going 30 or something, so in fact we were the dangerous ones...)

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    1. Yea if I was looking out of the car instead of staring at her I probably would've thought the same thing.

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  2. I used to avoid going out with the twins when they were little. Two lots of car seats and then getting them into the twin pram which you could never get neat the car door...always freaked me out that someone would run off with the pram while I got the other one out. Haha plus I had a four year old too :) Lovely trip down memory lane Toni xx

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    1. I can imagine I would do the same if I had twins! My friend has twins and a three year old and she said she prefers being out than at home, but it seems like a logistical nightmare to me.

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  3. Weird we both blogged car posts today! :D
    I remember that fierce protective fear when driving babies home from hospital. It never leaves you! I have had it with each of the babies too. "D

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  4. I remember being like that with my first born and sitting in the back with him while my husband drove. I didn't have a license when my first two were babies and by the time you have a third you're a bit more relaxed so I didn't have this issue. Now they're (almost) 13, 10 and 5 and whenever we get in the car they start fighting. I wish they were babies again!

    Gorgeous photo btw. x

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    1. I'm glad I only have one at the moment so don't have to deal with the fighting, but I'm sure it'll come in due time.

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  5. I also hopped in the back with Gilbert on that first trip home! I remember being really freaked out about him getting too much sun when he was in the car as a baby - I had to continually check he was covered with a sheet to protect him while ensuring the sheet didn't smother him. Oh, the stress!

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    1. Yes I was like that too Kirsty! She was a winter baby but we used to put a muslin swaddle over the car seat to make sure she didn't have any sun on her. I was paranoid she'd get sunburnt and she used to scream if the sun was in her eyes.

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  6. I had to knowingly smile at the first drive home from the hospital. It seemed we were creeping along lol. I really enjoy going for drives now with the kids. It's a great break away from home :)

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    1. Yes I love getting out of the house too Alicia! She's always better behaved when we're out too. I guess she likes the change of scenery as much as I do.

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  7. Oh how well I remember that first drive home from the hospital - we were so nervous! Hard to believe it was 20 years ago. Nowadays our eldest hardly ever comes in the car with us, because he has his own car. How time flies!

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    1. Oh god I don't even want to think about her driving her own car yet, it better not go by that fast.

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  8. I was so desperate to get home after having each baby I think I was the one urging my partner to drive normally!! My 9 month old still screams 90% of long car trips, luckily we don't go far in the car. Just today he screamed for about 25 minutes of the 30 minute car trip.
    I have no tips, wish I did!!

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    1. Yuk Ann you poor thing. I'm so glad mine got over the screaming in the car phase. She only does it now when shes really overtired.

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  9. Yes that 1st drive home from the hospital is an anxious one with precious cargo on board. Its always so nice though when they do get to sit facing fwd though. Its like a whole new world for the babies and I love it when you catch them and a smile in the rearview. My next dilemma in the car is who is going to get to sit next to the new baby. Who do I trust the most!! 1st world problems.....Oh and the fact we have to yet again purchase new carseats...At least all my kids so far love travelling in th car. its lights out nearly all the time zzzzzzzzz..

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    1. I'm glad theres no-one sitting next to her at the moment to distract/annoy her. Its hard enough getting used to one in the car, I don't want to think about more than one.

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  10. I remember all too well my first drive home with Esther. As soon as she was put in the car and my hubby drove she did this almighty projectile vomit that covered her and her new going home outfit. Thankfully both of my bubs would sleep in the car. It was a peaceful time of day driving in the car!

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    1. Ewww, we've only had a few vomits in the car and none were projectile thankgod.

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  11. I remember freaking out driving home from the hospital with my first born, I sat in back and told the husband off the entire 20 minute drive home!!!!

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    1. I can't really remember whether I told him off or not, but more than likely I did :)

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  12. Yes! I was so nervous and hated not really being able to see E with a quick glance in the rear vision. I remember one time when he choked and I absolutely freaked out, I remember luckily being able to pull over and when I got to him it was fine. I clearly remember our drive home from the hospital too, I was in the back and he didn't flinch the whole time. Luckily car drives haven't been too much of a problem and ever since we took the sun screen thingy off the door, it allowed him to look at the trucks and cars which he loves.

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    1. I'm sure shes going to love it once the sun shade comes off too, so many more things to look at. She loves being able to see the rest of the car now shes front facing.

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  13. I remember being exactly like you when we drove home with our first. I sat in the back and Dave drove ever so slowly :) With our second we had a period where she hated being in the car which made things very difficult. She has settled down now though and drifts off everytime we go on a longish trip.

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    1. Glad shes settled down. One of my friends has a bub that screams the whole time every time. I think I'd have a breakdown or become a hermit.

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  14. I think everybody's trip home from hospital is like that! My littlest is only just getting used to the car at 7 months. Driving while she screams used to be stressful but I kind of tune out now! She's always happy if she has her favourite big brother in the back seat next to her though :) (Nee Say)

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    1. There have been a few tantrums when we've been stuck in traffic due to accidents or road works where I've had to tune out or I'd end up bawling myself. She ends up wearing herself out and falling asleep eventually. One day a 15 minute trip took 2 hrs to get home and she was hungry - that was hell.

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  15. I remember Maya screaming all the way home from the hospital, and on every car trip thereafter until I turned her around. When the gremlins were born, I drove myself home from hospital!

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    1. I hope you were in hospital for a while before you drove home Emma!

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  16. I think I was more worried about walking from the maternity ward down to my parents car than the actual drive. I keep thinking to myself OMG I am going to drop him, or someone is going to bump into me and hurt him. Mr 4 is pretty awesome in the car and generally entertains himself. On long car trips we try and leave at night so that he can sleep for a lot of the way.

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    1. I was so scared carrying her to the car too. I walked sooo slow because I was scared I'd drop her, and I'd had a c-section so it still hurt like hell.

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  17. I remember feeling really anxious about driving with my new baby too. Mother's group was also what got me to overcome the fear. I'm looking forward to bub number two facing us as I hate not being able to see her. We are still many months away from that though.

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    1. I've noticed this last week since turning her forward she's so much quieter in the car because she has so much to look at now. She sleeps a lot less though because shes too interested in whats going on, but that doesn't bother me, as long as shes not throwing a tantrum I'm good. I love being able to turn around and talk to her when we're at a red light. It's funny shes started giggling sometimes when I'm singing to the radio because she can see me doing it now.

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  18. I was a terribly nervous driver when learning, but after a while I gained a confidence that has never left me. Now I love it. That said, driving with my babies when they were super young rates as one of the most stressful things ever ever ever. x

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    1. I was super nervous when I first got my licence too. I think having other people in the car with me made it worse because I felt like I was being judged so I stressed over everything. I grew a lot more confident after I got my licence and I love driving by myself. The responsibility of a baby in the back seat is hugely nerve shattering though! Glad I'm not the only one who was anxious about it.

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  19. Aaahh yes, it's about time we turned our carseat around too for bubby! Thanks for the reminder. It will be nice to be able to look back and see her and her big brother sitting side by side together :)

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  20. for the first few months mine screamed every time we were stopped in the car. traffic lights were such a pain i used to go out of my way to avoid them lol
    Thanks for linking up for Sunday Brunch and have a great week xx

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    1. I'm so glad mine got over the screaming at traffic lights thing after a few weeks.

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  21. My kids hated being rear facing. It turns out they still don't like travelling backwards, just like me... they are now 10 and 12 and my 12 year old is talking about learning to drive in 4 years - an even more terrifying thought than that first drive home (which we had to stop half way home at my parents house for a feed and nappy change!)

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    1. Yea the thought of them learning to drive is definitely more terrifying! I'm glad we're still a long way off that here.

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