My sister-in-law Erika and one of my best friends Kitt are having their first babies in a couple of months and I could not be more excited for them both.
As a relatively new parent myself, I have all sorts of advice I’d like to cram down their throats, helpful information I wish somebody would have told me that would have made my own transition into parenthood a bit more seamless. Come to think of it, people did try to give me advice. I just opted not to listen because I naturally assumed someone as wise, well-adjusted and caring as me could neatly sidestep all the annoyances and anxieties that have bedeviled parents since the dawn of time….and I’ve been getting my butt clobbered for such ignorance ever since.
Like I said, I have reams of advice for these two lovely moms-to-bes, but I know they’ll both tune me out once my lips start moving (I think they does this anyway).
In the interest of holding their attention for 30 seconds, I’m limiting the breadth of my vast baby knowledge to the car — things new parents gotta know about traveling with baby in the car.
#1: You’re not crazy — perusing car seat options online REALLY IS as stressful as it seems
Phrases like “front harness adjustment,” “tether straps,” “anti-rebound bars,” and “five-point harnesses” can make any normal parent-to-be wonder why they didn’t just adopt a dog and call it a day. And ratings, reviews and “how to buy a car seat” articles are often contradictory. What if you make a mistake? What if you buy the wrong seat? Do what I did: Tap the most Type-A, conscientious, careful and amazing mom you know (in my case, my mother-in-law) to make the selection for you. Even better if she adds it straight to your baby registry. (Check out top selling Graco SnugRide 35 options here.)
#2: Hire a car seat expert to come over and show you how to install the car seat for the first time
While this may seem anal and a horrendous waste of money, installing a car seat is weirdly intimidating and a reminder you probably should have paid more attention during physics class in high school. Hiring someone to come over and show you how is a great option for those who might otherwise obsess over whether they installed it correctly (did you align the straps correctly after turning the car seat around? Hmm? Did you?). Having a certified car seat technician walk you through the steps will put your mind at ease while driving so can keep listening to your 50 Shades of Grey audiobook. (Not that you’d ever listen to 50 Shades of Grey, Kitt and Erika!)
#3: Always keep tissues, paper towels and a change of baby clothes in the car with you
Because you never know when your bundle of joy will projectile vomit or sneeze silly putty. Nothing is grosser than swabbing up baby puke and snot with your own shirt. (You can always try telling people it’s the latest “glaze” fabric wash.)
#4: Just because baby wails in the car seat doesn’t mean anything is wrong
Babies cry. That’s what they do. Swiveling your head around to console the wee one every time he or she whimpers in the car is not only dangerous but useless. It doesn’t work. It does nothing to allay their “suffering.” Besides, for all we know, they’re not “suffering,” they’re exercising….exercising their lungs and their right to be heard! (Infants don’t have many other options for working out.) You just gotta let them have at it. The best thing a parent can do is retreat to their happy place and tune it out. Ha! Ha! Good luck with that, suckers!
Looking forward to meeting these kids!
Are you baby safety savvy? We’re giving away two Graco SnugRide Click Connect infant car seats! To enter for a chance to win, simply comment on this post with a personal tip on how you keep baby safe in the car.
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