The Best Baby Gadget in the World. Ever.

I have come to the conclusion that the best gadget in the world, ever, for saving your sanity when you have a baby is this:

baby sleeping in car

Yes, readers, I am talking about the humble motorcar. The magical, sleep-inducing, cry-preventing machine that is, with any luck, sitting right outside of your front door or maybe at the side of the road in a residents’ bay or in a parking space behind your house. If you have a car and a new baby and have not yet tried the alchemy that is “placing a screaming baby in the back and starting the engine” then you must do this right now. See how the screams almost instantly cease. Feel the life pour back into your body, your headache disappear, see your strained relationship with your partner suddenly fix itself as your eyes meet in the rear-view mirror and the car gently follows the curve where the M40 feeds into the M25. (Yes, friends, sometimes you have to travel far, just to keep them sleeping!)

If you do not have a car and ever, ever needed an excuse to find a way of acquiring one, then this is it. If you can’t drive and ever, ever needed the motivation to learn, then – again – this is it. Even if you buy a 1984 Peugeot 405 (fifty quid, Autotrader) with no wheels and stick it on the driveway (Oh Hi, neighbours!) you’ll be winning in the baby-soothing department – though I’m still not sure which part babies love; the vibrations of the engine or the sound of the road beneath the tyres…

ruth crilly the uphill

I always thought that the “driving baby about in the middle of the night” thing was a bit of a cliché, a method of getting babies to sleep used only by those with particularly screechy, angsty babies. But as anyone with a baby that has cried at them full-volume for more than approximately forty-five seconds knows, it only takes a minute of this stressful screaming for your brain to go into full-on can’t-cope meltdown. When a baby is red-faced and shouting at you at midnight and you’re completely knackered, it’s almost impossible to think of things to offer as a comfort or distraction – you’ve fed, changed, burped and cuddled the baby but you just need the crying to stop.

Car.

Brum brum.

You’re welcome.

cybex aton q car seat review

By the way, I use the Cybex Aton Q car seat – it’s bloody brilliant. I think it provides the most “laid-flat” baby position on the market (or something) and so it’s great for when the baby is really small. And it has been designed, also, with premature babies in mind, and the insert kind of cocoons them. You can find the Aton Q at Mothercare here.

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33 Comments

  1. September 13, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    I think I have the only baby in the entire universe who is immune to the hypnotic sleep-inducing qualities of the car. In fact it has completely the opposite effect on her – a moving motor vehicle is literally the only place my exceedingly chilled out and smiley little lady cries. My eldest daughter on the other hand even now, at nearly 3, still struggles to keep awak during even short car journeys.

    • Robyn
      September 14, 2015 / 3:30 am

      My 4 year old had never really slept in the car & on the odd occasion she would fall asleep in the car she would be awake as soon as the car stopped x

      • September 14, 2015 / 3:34 pm

        Glad it’s not just!

    • Aina
      September 14, 2015 / 3:07 pm

      Our son just gets very excited by all the things he can look at when we put him in a car. Sleep? No way! Trees! Lights! Shadows! Signs! Sky! Clouds! Wheeeeeeeee!!!

    • Katy
      September 15, 2015 / 6:35 pm

      Me too!! My 13 week old has hated the car from day one. It makes going anywhere rather stressful and I pretty much refuse to drive her by myself – I need a dedicated baby whisperer/dummy holder-inner in the back with her 🙁 Hope she grows out of it…

  2. Sue
    September 13, 2015 / 9:56 pm

    I’ve been one of those mothers that has gone for a drive at 4 in the morning……..ok calling at the mcd’s 24hrs drive thru cos we where far to tired to even make a brew at that point. It worked like a dream. I used to drive round the both so he’d have a sleep in the afternoon so I could get some housework done. My son has just turned 5 and still sleeps on long journeys

    • Lou B
      September 16, 2015 / 9:49 am

      Ah yes, my little lady is a bit of a sleep dodger in the day, so many afternoons were spent driving around until she’d dropped off.

  3. Jen
    September 14, 2015 / 1:18 am

    So hilarious! and so true! Oh, the things we used to do to calm our first born…! During particularly cranky times, I would lay our son on my husband’s chest, and he would sing the Superman song by Crash Test Dummies, very low and rumbly…worked like a charm! Then there was the vacuum or the hair dryer..usually stopped him from crying as well! crazy. Do what you must, it will pass. Your sweet babe is appropriately named 🙂 x

  4. Emma
    September 14, 2015 / 7:08 am

    haha this made me laugh!! Baby is due in November…we haven’t had a car in over four years but guess what we purchased yesterday…

  5. Cathy
    September 14, 2015 / 7:51 am

    Ah yes , very true. Can I just say, your baby is so like you, especially round the mouth. Mummy’s girl bless her x

  6. Erna
    September 14, 2015 / 8:33 am

    Hahahaha Ruth… what also helped with my son (19 years ago but stil…) was placing him in front of the washing machine… he was very fascinated by it and was calm and relaxed… and so was I… xx

  7. Gem
    September 14, 2015 / 11:56 am

    My daughter is five and still, whenever she gets in a car, instantly falls asleep! Magical (most of the time).

  8. carmen walker
    September 14, 2015 / 3:10 pm

    I have to say Im 30 years old now and i still cant keep my eyes open in a moving vehicle (unless im driving of course!)

    • sue
      September 16, 2015 / 12:03 pm

      My oh is terrible for a sleeping in the car. Drives me mad

  9. anusha
    September 14, 2015 / 5:31 pm

    Haha..i’ve never taken my kids out to stop them from crying..but they do sleep very well during car rides..one is 2& 1/2 month old and the older one is 3yrs old.. 🙂

  10. May
    September 14, 2015 / 9:10 pm

    Ha! So true. Car drives work miracles. I heard some people place their baby in a car seat and set them on top of the dryer for the same effect. Haven’t tried that. But we did buy one of those back seat mirrors that you position so you can see your baby in your rear view mirror and know the exact moment that they knock off to sleep! Sleeping babies are such a beautiful sight.

  11. Helen
    September 15, 2015 / 10:02 am

    So true! The other day I had been to Waitrose (got a free HOT cup of tea – what a treat!) by the time I was parked up outside my house my daughter was asleep. So I sat in the car, drank the hot cup of tea and listened to the rain pattering on the windscreen. BLISS.

    Helen x

  12. Chrissy
    September 15, 2015 / 5:15 pm

    I’m a nanny and the baby HATES the car…as soon as you strap her in, she screams constantly until she is out of the carseat. In general, she’s not a fussy baby and is usually all smiles…until you put her in the car. I’ve often wished when she was littler and fussier that I could put her in the car and drive her around, but it only ever made it worse. Glad your little one enjoys a ride!!

  13. September 15, 2015 / 5:16 pm

    Good choice of seat! Did you go for the Priam pushchair to go with it?

  14. Natasha
    September 15, 2015 / 8:38 pm

    You are so lucky! My first boy was a ‘carsleeper’. My second… not so much. He used to scream every single time i put him in his carseat. I even desperately inspected the seat for sharp objects/itchy or pinchy things. None found. 3 Years on and at last he can bear driving. At this point his issue is with authority.

    I just HAVE to say I follow you (and caroline) and I enjoy your mummy and your model blogs and videos. And your honest and witty (and colourful) writing style.

  15. Kelly B
    September 16, 2015 / 3:45 pm

    My next fave baby gadget once they are a little older….a Jumperoo ☺️ I only wish they did an adult one!

  16. Louise Matlock
    September 17, 2015 / 3:47 am

    Fantastic post that brought back great memories. My baby daughter was finally asleep in the car on the M62 near home in the North West so I carried on driving to Leeds and back! Amazing what a mum will do for a couple of hours of peace.

  17. Claire
    September 17, 2015 / 10:15 am

    Having had two little girls, with only a 13 and a half month gap in between, i experienced huge dilemmas in getting them to sleep at appropriate sleep times. My first born had terrible colic, and also was interollerant to cow’s milk, and was an extremely unsettled baby for many reasons. My second had none of those issues and would sleep well, but i could never find the opportunity during the day to get her into her cot due to my first born needing a sleep too, and she would never, ever sleep in her cot because of how unsettled she constantly was. So, my technique was to pop them both into their car seats, drive around on a regular journey that i knew would suffice in getting them to sleep, and then return home, make myself a cup of tea (or visit my mother-in-law’s house for a cuppa) and then either sit in the car with it, or on the doorstep until they woke up. Insane? Yes, very much so! However, it was a means to an end and something that just had to be done! I am currently 26 weeks pregnant with my third baby (another baby girl), and i hope that i will be able to get this baby into her moses basket and cot during the day? However, if not, i will just drive round the streets of Manchester once again for the purposes of baby sleep and my own sanity! Only came across your blog today, and i have thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Well done!

  18. Barbara
    September 18, 2015 / 4:33 am

    Hi Ruth, you might want to try a hairdryer, has the same effect on my 8 wks old but saves the trouble of leaving the house for a drive in the middle of a night. Baby Sleep app is also excellent for that.
    All the best
    Barbara

  19. Natalie
    September 19, 2015 / 6:32 am

    love this post its brilliant and the car seat looks fab just a quick thing when travelling in the car make sure your handle is in the upright position as this acts as a rebound bar if there was an impact 🙂

  20. sonya
    September 20, 2015 / 11:52 am

    please watch some “babies going through tunnels” videos on youtube. so funny

  21. Gillian
    September 20, 2015 / 5:23 pm

    We used to call it the sleep run!! With baby one and two we would take them out to eat with us or whatever and pack their jammies. Change them before we left and pop them in the car and when we got home we’d lift them out and pop them into bed without a peep!! Of course no 3 had different ideas and would happily fall asleep in the car but as soon as she was lifted out she’d wake, but two out of three ain’t bad right??!!?!

  22. Rebekah
    September 21, 2015 / 10:32 pm

    Second comment in as many minutes- sorry had a few glasses of wine- but twenty six years on, my dad still tells me how he had to drive around town in the middle of the night to get me to sleep!

  23. September 29, 2015 / 10:25 am

    Hello,

    I’m currently 23 weeks and I too thought oh no, the driving around at ridiculous hours can’t possibly be a real thing, reading this has just made me think twice! Think my husband and I may be investing in an entertainment system for us whilst we cruise around!

  24. Rachel
    September 29, 2015 / 10:31 am

    My little one is nearly 3 and I do not have a car. Hubby uses it. I was old fashioned in rocking and singing and music and walks up by the church. Next time round I will have a car….but I do wonder if you can rely on it too much and create a bad pattern jumping in for them to nap!?

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