Traveling With a Newborn (That Hates the Car Seat)

When Ronan was 6 weeks old we were given the opportunity to move home to be closer to the rest of our family. I was extremely nervous about making the 6 hour trek across the state because my son absolutely HATED the car seat.

Simple 5 minute drives were a nightmare because as soon as he heard his seat click in, he would scream until he turned purple and tears were streaming down his face. This started from the very first trip home from the hospital.

As much as Ronan hated his car seat, he was such a trooper on this final trip. Here are some tips that helped us push through!

↠Make Frequent Stops
This is kind of a given, but Ronan was very predictable with his feeds and wanted to eat almost exactly every 2 hours. I stopped every hour and 50 minutes to make sure I beat his hunger cries.

↠Leave Early
I decided to leave at 4am so he would be sleepy and I could get a good start. I still stopped every hour and 50 minutes but he did sleep the majority of the time for the first 4 hours

↠Get a mirror
I have a mirror that faces Ronan and allows me to see him through my rear view mirror. It helped my anxiety SO much because I could clearly see him and make sure he was okay.

↠Stretch at Every Stop
Every stop I made sure to get Ronan out of his seat and just stretch him out. I would also sit in my passenger seat and lay him flat on my legs so I could massage his back and legs and he could get his gas out.

↠Bring A Cooler
I am a big snacker on road trips and honestly, it was too much work to worry about balancing him and having to go in a gas station or store for snacks during the trip, so I stocked up beforehand! I had cold drinks and it was great for storing Ronan’s breast milk.

↠Pump Along the Way
Breastfeeding moms: for those that aren’t comfortable breastfeeding anywhere, in public, in a bathroom, or exclusively pump, it may sound weird pumping in the car, but it’s great. I bought an adapter for my pump because at the time we were transitioning from supplementing to EBF. I had never breastfed in public before and wasn’t the most comfortable doing it. I know that it’s normal and blah blah blah, but it was a personal comfort thing.

Like I mentioned before, Ronan was NOT a fan of his car seat to begin with. So what happened after 8am when he was wide awake? He mildly fussed between stops. I found that water sounds and whale echoes (yes, the animal sounds) soothed him and grabbed his attention long enough to let me drive a little ways. It wasn’t until hour 8 that he really pitched an absolute fit. We made fairly good timing despite all of the stops and were about 30 minutes from home when he just couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled over to a rest area, said screw my fears and I breastfed him right there. We stretched, we rocked, and back in the seat he went. Within 5 minutes he was screaming again. Nothing soothed him, he refused a paci, so I just pushed the rest of the way home with my hand stretched out backwards holding his hand.

From what I gather, most newborns sleep a ton during the day, so many may not relate to my struggles. To me, it was much harder road tripping with a newborn than it is with my son now that he is almost 5 months old. He can be distracted by toys and books and anything he can put in his mouth whereas a 6 week old just wants mommy and milk.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard making the trip, just me and Ronan. I couldn’t sit in the back and comfort him like I wanted to, but that’s just another perk of being a single parent. We pushed through and it was so worth it to be back home and with our family.


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