I normally don’t let my baby cry. I detest the practice of crying-it-out. I think it’s cruel, both to the baby and to the mother. I believe that babies cry for a reason, and that reason is usually because they need to eat, they just got poked at the doctor’s office, or they’re separated from their mothers. And I also believe that crying is often a last resort for many babies, although certainly some babies cry more easily than others, but that they do a lot of other communicating through nonverbal language and non-crying vocalizations.
But I’ve had two car rides recently where my baby was crying during part of the drive, sweating and red-faced and breathless and hoarse, sobbing to let me out of his car seat. Why, oh why, Mom can’t I sit with you on your lap, rather than in the backseat? I’d drive to the nearest place to pull over and safely check on him, and he didn’t want to nurse. He just wanted to be with Mommy. The problem is, I only have a car and the law mandates that all children – I have three under six – must be in the backseat. So, it’s not just a matter of trading seats and sitting in the back with the baby to give him reassurance.
Some rides are smoother. He may be tired and sleep, or content to play with his sisters, who sit on either side of the car seat. But some rides, often those in the evening, close to the hours when he lays down for the night and wants to snuggle into my elbow, are harder.
So, I stop the car and get him out of the car seat and put him in my lap and snuggle and cuddle and sing and talk to him for a while, until he seems calm and happy and then back into the car seat he goes and we’re going down the road, hoping to get home before he decides he needs a bit more Mommy time. Of course, all this attention from Mommy gets the girls wanting Mommy time, too. But they’re old enough that they can wait the half hour or hour to get home to be lavished upon.
Certainly, if we had a bigger vehicle, my lonely baby might not create the travel issues that we have. But we don’t. Starting and stopping all the way home from a trip into town to get groceries or to go visit Grandma takes extra time, and can be a headache truly, but it’s just one of those parenting challenges we have to learn to deal with. Not all parenting challenges can, or should, be eliminated. Some just have to be dealt with in the best possible way we can come up with.