Preparing for Your First Outing with Baby

Dude, Where's My Mom?

It's time to take your little one on a car trip to visit his grandparents, who live a couple of hours away. As soon as you get on the highway, he starts to cry, and you realize that with the rear-facing car seat, you can't even see his poor little face!

I'm lucky -- my youngest daughter is almost always lulled to sleep by the motion of the car. Other babies are not so easily pacified. "The first time I drove alone with my daughter, she was 2 months old and she hated the car seat," says Murillo. "She started screaming, and nothing would soothe her. I must have stopped three times on the 10-mile drive to try to calm her down."

Some moms report that taking a few practice drives around the neighborhood before attempting a longer ride is a good idea; it helps baby adjust to his car seat. A backseat mirror designed so you can see baby's face helps, as does taping a picture of Mom and Dad in baby's view so he won't be lonely. Some soothing music can't hurt either, so always remember to throw a few of baby's favorite CDs or tapes into your diaper bag.

The best story I've heard was about a frustrated mom who stopped at a red light, took off her T-shirt and tucked it into the car seat with the screaming baby. The baby snuggled against the shirt, which had that delicious mommy scent on it, and instantly fell asleep. Great idea -- if you don't mind driving home half-dressed. Instead, when you're packing up all the rest of the stuff in your diaper bag, toss in one of your own unwashed T-shirts, too.

All of this advice may seem like a lot for a new, sleep-deprived mother to absorb. But before you know it, all of these methods will become second nature -- just in time for your baby to think up a whole new bag of tricks to keep you on your toes!

Marisa Cohen, a mother of two, is a writer based in New York City.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2004.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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