I received another question from a reader the other day, and I thought I would post my response here in case any other readers are in a similar situation.
Dear Mommy Stop,
My baby is 4 months old and hates his carseat. Every time I put him in it he screams and won't stop until I take him out. I can't bring myself to put him in it on most days and that means I don't leave the house. I'm not sure what to do. Should we get a new car seat? Is it normal for him to be crying this much while in the seat? I've adjusted all of the straps to the correct height, but he still gets upset.
First Time Mom
Dear First Time Mom,
First of all; I've been there. I remember when Mr. L was around this age, I was so worried that our apartment neighbors would think all he did was scream bloody murder because every time we went down the hallway when he was in his carseat that's exactly what he was doing. I also remember The Hubs having a hard time with him crying once we were in the car. He would want to pull over and comfort Mr. L every time he started to flip out. I know there were days (ok, to be honest probably weeks) where we didn't leave the house because I just couldn't handle the crying, but eventually you just have to get over that (sorry to be so blunt, but there's no way to sugar coat it). I think 99.9% of babies hate their car seat...at first. Eventually, like all things (Bathing, eating from a bottle, eating solid food, learning to use the potty) they learn to love it or at the very least, tolerate it.
There are times in Motherhood when you need to remember YOU are the Mother and you can't let your child control every situation. Yes, there are numerous instances where they will control the situation (Namely your schedule) but in situations like this, as long as nothing seems to be medically wrong with your baby and you've done as you said by checking that all of the straps of the car seat are in the correct position, then you're only option is to let your baby cry it out and get used to his car seat.
If it's too tough for you to just let him wail as you drive around, try to think of how you would react if your child was suddenly a 5 year old and had just finished his first day of first grade and he absolutely hated it. The next morning as you try to wake him up for school he throws an absolute tantrum and screams and screams and screams because he doesn't like school and doesn't want to go. What would you do? Let him stay at home because he doesn't like something? No, that's ridiculous. Obviously you would send him to school, work with him to make sure he gets more and more comfortable every day. That's what you need to do here. There are going to be one million situations where your child is uncomfortable doing something you know they should be doing and its your job as their mother to guide them in the direction of doing what is right and what is expected.
Another thing to think about is yourself (Shocking, I know). If you find yourself stuck inside for days or weeks at at time, then something is wrong. You, as a human being, need to get outside. You need human interaction and adult conversation. You need to feel sunshine and breathe fresh air (and I'm guessing you probably need food in your fridge!). So get out of the house with your screaming baby and just keep telling yourself (and him) that everything is going to be alright, that this is for the best and that some day he'll thank you for it. See? You sound more Motherly already!