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Take the stress out of driving with your newborn

Whether it’s the trip home from the hospital or a quick visit to town, make the first car journey with your baby stress-free with our expert tips

Safety first

One of the most important things when choosing a car seat is to seek advice from a reputable store and ask them to how you how to fit it.

‘Car seats vary with your baby’s weight and age, and there are specific ones for newborn,’ says childcare expert Rachel Waddilove. ‘Before using it, practise fitting it in your car.’

Your baby’s seat should be rear-facing at this age and, by law, in the back seat so it’s not in front of an air bag.

‘Attach a mirror to the back seat facing your baby, so you can see her in your mirror,’ says Rachel.

Pick your timing

If your baby is comfortable, a car journey will be much less stressful for you both. ‘Feed and change her just before you head out,’ says Rachel.

‘This means she’ll probably fall asleep, instead of being restless or crying, which can be very distracting for you.’

Be ready for anything

The more prepared you are, the easier your journey will be, so leave plenty of time for you and your baby to get ready.

Be prepared and pack a few more nappies, bottles and other essentials than you think you need in case you’re out longer than expected or your plans change.

Dress appropriately

Your baby will get hot in the car, so try not to overdress her.

Just dress her in whatever she’d wear indoors

Just put her in whatever she’d wear indoors, maybe a vest, a babygro and perhaps a cardigan when it’s colder – there’s no need for gloves or a hat.

It’s fine to have the heating or air conditioning on as you normally would, too.

Keep it simple

While slightly older babies will enjoy a toy or some music to keep them occupied, your newborn doesn’t need it for the first few months.

‘Chances are she’ll sleep most of the drive anyway, as babies settle easily in a car because of the movement,’ says Rachel.

If she cries...

Just stay focused on driving safely. ‘It’s always hard to hear your baby crying, but it’s probably just because she’s hungry or a little restless in her car seat,’ says Rachel.

‘Don’t panic – find somewhere safe to stop, then do what you need to do to soothe her.’ It’ll be more effective and much safer trying to calm her while you’re on the go.

Take breaks

Too long in a car seat isn’t great for your baby’s back, so make regular stops on a long journey.

‘If you’re traveling far, try and take a break every two hours,’ says Rachel. ‘Use it to feed or change her, and to have a rest.’

Look after yourself

As the one in the driving seat, it’s important for you to be in a good frame of mind, as well as your baby.

Put on your favourite music, keep calm and just concentrate on getting from A to B.

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