Hands up if your boobs leak when you hear a crying baby? If your mind goes blank? You grit your teeth while trying to talk sweetly, over the loud screams? Your breath quickens, and little creatures feel like they are moving around under your clothes? While you try aimlessly to soothe your child, whose eyes are probably closed anyway. (You can put your hands down now) Now imagine all this is happening in the car, whilst your baby is safety tucked in their car seat.
You would be lying if you said the urge to nurse your crying baby, didn’t pop into your mind fifty gazillion times in the space of the five seconds that he’d been crying. But you know that your baby needs to be in their seat while the car is driving. Right? Or do you? A car seat is the most important purchase you will make for your baby. In South Africa the car passenger deaths are the fourth leading cause of death in children. I’ve heard it before. And there is a part of me that is almost watered down to this danger. I tell myself that “breast is best“, “people don’t know my baby – nothing else will help”. Excuses to make me feel better about what I actually know is endangering my child’s life.
I know, not because I am trying to make you feel guilty, but because I’ve been there. I’ve been the frustrated mother who unbuckles their child with 10kms of my house to nurse because he is screaming and we are around the corner. Scary thing though is that majority of car accidents happen close to home. I’m talking about stats like 52% within 8km of your house, and 77% within 25km. Last year our family was victim to just that, an accident “up the road” from home. It was scary, scary and eye-opening.
As a breastfeeding mom I too have been there (the struggle is real!) so I thought I would share some ways that worked for us to distract your baby while in transit:
- Special car toys – pick out specific toys that live in your car, these could include soft toys that clip onto the car seat.
- Snacks – once your baby is older than 6 months and able to nibble. Use that fact that everything goes into their mouths to your advantage. (for once!)
- Music – find a song that your baby likes, Daniel’s is “Wheels on the bus”, we keep copies of this song everywhere and when he gets a bit iffy on car rides. We whip it out and his attention is immediately diverted.
- Get a safety mirror – this way you and your baby can see one another, and seeing his own reflection helps as a great distraction too.
- Make sure baby is cool – I have found that DJ sweats terribly when in his car seat, this is extremely uncomfortable. So wearing loose fitting cool clothes even on cool days helps to keep baby comfortable. Also it is imperative for your baby to be secured tightly. This means that you should not be able to get more than 2 fingers beneath you harness and you child’s collarbone.
I also sing to my child sometimes more aggressively than sweetly, and he knows how to push my buttons. So there have been times where I have also nursed him while he was in the car seat. Is it comfortable? No. But yes, I have done it.
This post forms part of the #CarseatFullstop campaign of which I have recently proudly become a team member. #CarseatFullstop launched their annual campaign in August 2017. The core message is that every single child in a car needs to be strapped safely into a car seat every single time. No ifs or buts… No excuses. Irrespective. No matter what.
As mom’s our fears for our children range from real fears for the future to completely crazy ones like the fear of a snake biting them outside in the yard. (Shh I know I’m crazy!) Let’s zap some of those fears by educating ourselves and others on car seat safety and acting on it. Being safe. Knowing your children are the safest they could possibly be. Because we know that is all you want for your child!
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