Parenting books, blogs and experts that say babies shouldn’t be left to cry for more than six minutes are having a laugh aren’t they? If like me you have a baby that hates the car, there will be a lot more than six minutes worth of crying on an average day.
My beautiful nine-week-old baby Leo has had to cry for up to 40 long minutes on car journeys and it is simply awful for both of us. I avoid driving where possible but if I want to see friends, get groceries or attend appointments, there are times when only the car will do.
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Our first-born son Toby, who is now six years old, was exactly the same. A rampant ball of screaming fury each and every time I turned on the car engine.
“But babies love the car,” friends said. “It should send him off to sleep!” Like hell it did.
I began to dread leaving the house. I’m not proud but sometimes I would scream back at him. Sometimes I would turn up the radio and sing over the top of the noise and other times I would weep at his clear distress and my feelings of frustration and overtiredness.
When my husband Jules and I were in the car together the tension was worse as we not only dealt with our own stress, but each other’s. I remember one particularly challenging car trip to Bluey’s Beach in New South Wales. We stopped frequently to feed and calm him but nothing worked. I cried, we fought over silly things, and the idea of going on a road trip ‘holiday’ with a three month old suddenly seemed ridiculous.