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Thread: Long Car Trip - Pumping Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    67

    Question Long Car Trip - Pumping Questions

    Hi,

    In June, DH, DD and I will be making a long car trip...from MD to TX to FL to MD.

    Even going to the food store DD is terrible about car rides. She almost always just screams her head off, even with me sitting beside her and a mirror that plays music and lights up - nothing seems to calm her. DH has been making comments about how she will behave and how we will handle it during the long car rides in June if she screams her head off now until she has tears just streaming down her cheeks.

    Since I have tried everything I can think of and cannot hold her or BF her while the car is moving, I was going to try to see if I can pump milk and get her to take it from the bottle. I hate to do it, but feel like, when it comes to car rides, I feel like I have no choice.

    So, my questions about pumping:

    How long is fresh milk (not refridgerated) good? (since we will be in a car, no fridge...best I could try to do is an iced cooler)

    DD is 6 weeks, 1 day. When I should I try to introduce the bottle to her? I've had enough trouble with latch issues (sometimes no matter how many times I try to relatch her she winds up at a wierd angle or something - when I pull out my nipple is flat and the tip is white)- I really don't need nipple confusion.

    I don't want to bottle feed her any more than I have to, but obviously can't not give her a bottle until she is 4 months and then expect her to just adore it in the car - how often should I give her the bottle to make sure she will take both?

    Do babies have problems taking both or once both bottle and breast are established are they good at both?

    Sorry for so many questions. This is our first. I absolutely refuse to do formula, but I just can't take the constant screaming in the car...20 minutes is one thing (as miserable as it is), but 3 20 hour car rides is not doable. Thanks for all your help.

    Katherine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: Long Car Trip - Pumping Questions

    First of all, take heart -- a lot will change between 6 weeks and four months. You don't have to nail down every aspect of the solution to this problem right now. By the age of four months, she will be more "interactive," interested in baby toys and mobiles and such. And her nervous system will be more mature than it is now, so she may well be able to handle riding in the car more happily. Don't despair!

    I think the idea to pump and give EBM for some of her feedings while making the long drive is a good one. I did this when we made several 8-hour or longer drives when my son was 6-10 months old. Fresh EBM stays good at room temperature for several hours, and quite a bit longer if chilled, so you'll be fine using your pumped milk on the day that you pump it. Do take the time to nurse her when you make stops -- she will need the cuddling and skin-to-skin contact, and it will also help keep your supply up (baby is more efficient than pump).

    If you are still having latch issues now, I wouldn't introduce any artificial nipples yet -- as you note, the last thing you need right now is nipple confusion. You can wait until a couple weeks before your drive, and if she refuses bottles, you can try the sippy cups with flexible spouts or any number of other methods for getting some milk into her.

    As a last resort, it is also possible to nurse a baby while she is strapped into a rear-facing carseat. You sit next to her seat, wearing your own seatbelt, and lean over her until breast reaches mouth. IIRC, I had to get up on my knees to be at the right height.

    It's very important that you recognize that this method of nursing carries risks: carseats are designed to carry only the weight of the baby, not the upper body of an adult, and in a collision, the carseat would not withstand the impact of your body along with hers. It's also terribly uncomfortable for mom -- hard on the back. So you need to understand the risks and weigh them against the benefits. I used this technique very sparingly, and never for a full feeding, just when I sensed that a few minutes at the breast would send DS off to sleep -- and I also warned my husband (who was driving) what we were doing and waited until any hazardous road/traffic conditions were behind us.

    My last piece of advice is not so much about breastfeeding but just about traveling with a baby: don't try to drive straight through for 20 hours. Even a baby who does well in the carseat isn't going to tolerate that, and if you try it you and your partner will lose your minds. Plan for more frequent and longer rest stops, and budget for a hotel room every 8 to 10 hours. The first time I tried to make what should have been an 8-hour drive with my new baby, it took 13 hours -- and baby and I were both shredded by the time we finally got there.

    With these considerations in mind, it might also be worth pricing out flights or trains to see if driving is still going to be the best option.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: Long Car Trip - Pumping Questions

    I think your best option is really to simply stop the car every hour or two and nurse. I do a lot of driving with my babies and children and we typically stop every hour or every 100 miles, give or take a few. It breaks the trip up nicely, gives us all a break and let's us look forward to something along the way. We don't stop for long -- 15 or 20 minutes usually. I like my babies to get out of their carseats for a bit too -- as an adult I can move around in my seat when I get uncomfortable but they really can't. I can only imagine how sore their little bodies might get if I made them stay strapped in their carseat for more than about 2 hours.

    I've nursed the way Rebecca described and it worked in a pinch for me but man was it ever uncomfortable, LOL.

    Good luck & travel safely! And whatever you do, do not stop the car when the baby is sleeping -- just drive!! LOL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Long Car Trip - Pumping Questions

    I guess you are right that I have time before I have to panic about it. Hopefully in the next month or two things will improve.

    I realize this is offtopic, but any suggestions for dealing with the car trips from hell now?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,198

    Default Re: Long Car Trip - Pumping Questions

    As somewhat bizarre as this may sound...first thing I would try to do is stop thinking of it as the trip from hell! There really is something to the notion of self-fullfilling-prophesy and even young babies can pick up on and respond in-kind to their mom's/dad's level of stress. The more at peace (however you can get there, whether it's through planning or preparing or praying!!) you are with the adventure, the more relaxed your little one will be. Another idea...maybe start now with playing some soothing music at naptime or some other quiet time and have that in the car as well; baby will learn to associate that music with happy/calm/peace and 'things are ok'.
    Just a thought........ wishing you lots of luck.........
    jsmom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Long Car Trip - Pumping Questions

    It will get easier! My DD (5 mos) screamed every time I lowered her into her car seat for the first 2 mos of her life-it was horrible and so tense for me and my 3 yo DD. We finally learned a trick that worked for her, the carseat had to be moving and she was fine. So, I leave her strapped into her bouncy seat while I get shoes on, load the car, make sure the dogs are in/back door locked, turn off lights & TV, etc. Then I send DD 3yo to the front door, strap the baby in and off we go. I put her in the car, strap 3 yo in as quick as possible and off we go. Hopefully she'll fall asleep before we get to a red light! By now she's perfectly fine and completely happy in the car-she also is very easily entertained by big sis. Good luck and I'm sure you'll find something that works for your child.

    Beth

    p.s. I agree that music helps-I always play something with a good beat that's soothing to ME-like Bon Jovi. Seems to work with the kids, too.

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