Tips on Driving with a Newborn Baby
Tips on Driving with a Newborn Baby: By Muddle Through Mama
I am the proud mummy to Little J, a big bouncing 7 month old baby boy. Little J was born in March 2014 by Caesarian, so for the first six weeks following his birth, I was pretty much out of action. To be honest, I felt ready to get out and about, get the vacuum cleaner out, and drive my car at about four weeks post partum, but I was quite surprised to discover that the six week rule also applied to my car insurance – and driving before that would invalidate it.
When I finally got back behind the wheel after the six weeks was up, my confidence was at rock bottom. Not driving for such a long time, coupled with being so tired I could barely stand up or keep my eyes open – and having responsibility for a teeny newborn – was quite overwhelming. I really took it easy at first; no loud music, stuck to roads and short journeys I knew, took it very slowly speed-wise – and gradually, very gradually, my confidence crept back.
I’m back in business now and driving with Little J isn’t scary anymore. But I’d still be super nervous about driving somewhere I’d never been before. He’s recently grown out of his maxi cosi cabriofix car seat (and hurrah for that as my arm almost dropped off if I had to carry him to and from the car!) so the latest challenge has been which second-stage car seat to buy. I’ve settled for the Joie Stages, which was middle-of-the-road price wise, but has an option to rear-face until four years old (!) and will last him until he’s seven. I’ll probably be brave and let him forward-face when he’s one ish, but to me, even though he weighs 22llbs and can sit, crawl and stand, he’s still only a bab really :) Saying that, I do know mums who have forward-faced from nine months-ish, and their babies are much much happier when travelling than staring at the back of a car seat – so each to their own.
Very occasionally, I’ll drive out on my own to the supermarket if daddy has J – and I actually turn into a teenager when I’m in my car alone. I stick some cheesy tunes on mega loud, get the windows down and even (shhh!) push that 30 speed limit! Check me out, innit!
If I had to offer any tips about driving with a bab, I’d say:
1. If you do have a section, or even stitches after birth, take it very easy and check your insurance documents with regards to driving post-partum. Remember that a section is major abdominal surgery and there are lots of layers to knit back together – so put your feet up and don’t be in a rush to get back behind the wheel.
2. If, like me, you were a tad under confident and driving with a teeny bab was slightly scary, again, take it easy and don’t be hard on yourself. Have a few solo drives first, even if it’s just round the block a few times, to build up your confidence again. And on days you’re REALLY tired, just get the bus ;)
3. When choosing a car seat, go with whatever makes you happiest – and don’t listen to other opinions or even worry too much about the cost. If you’d only be happy with a pricy one, get it – your peace of mind is more important. Most of them are tested to the same standards though, so do a bit of research and read some parent reviews before making your mind up. Or try a few out at Mothercare or Halfords and don’t rush your decision.
4. Look out for bargains car-seat wise though. If a trusted friend is selling one on Facebook or eBay, check it out – many car seats have been bought as spares for grandma’s car and barely used. So look out for bargains (just make sure they haven’t been in any accidents and were purchased recently).
5. Friends with older children swear by audio story books and nursery rhymes to while away longer journeys. Might drive you mad but better than bored kiddies. Although my dad always reminds me that, on a family holiday to Cornwall (Cornwall. From North Derbyshire. So about an eight-hour journey), I asked “are we nearly there yet?” when we got to the end of our road.
Thanks to Evie for this guest post on driving with a newborn baby! Evie is an English mother of one who lives in the Peak District with her husband and son. She writes parenting blog, Muddle Through Mama, about how she’s muddling her way along the weird and wonderful journey they call motherhood. Check it out now!
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