In theory I'm not a big fan of medicine for run-of-the-mill aches and pains. But when you watch my every day behavior, you may not notice. Even though I willingly went through an all natural labor, including eight hours in transition dilated to nine, I HATE pain. I talk a big talk about home remedies when I'm feeling good, but once the pain starts, its a different story. Whatever works to get rid of it, I'm all about. I do avoid antibiotics at all costs, but after a couple days of echinacea, garlic, or other herbal remedies, I yield to my discomfort and take whatever over-the-counter drugs necessary to avoid the effects of my cold, flu, or whatever. Actually, that's part of the reason homebirth was so appealing to me. I didn't have the choice of backing out. At the hospital, I probably would have gotten an epidural pretty fast because my values go out the window when I'm in pain.
So it's no surprise that when my baby boy cries like crazy in the car and I can't fix it, I'm not above turning to drugs. I know it's controversial, but I gave Malachi Benadryl this weekend while we traveled. I didn't do it because he was sick. I did it because he was hysterically crying and needed to go to sleep. My research told me this practice is controversial with a baby so young because the dosage is tricky. Also, most people who are critical of it tend to think that you are doing it because your child is annoying you with their crying and you are tired of hearing it.
I'm sure there are parents out there who use that reasoning, but I didn't. I did it because my poor baby got so upset in the car and I just wanted to help him calm down. It's not good for babies to have high stress levels (one of the reasons that I do not believe in crying it out, but that's another post). He cries when he's tired, and if he is unable to go to sleep, he just cries more intensely until he is truly inconsolable.
We tried everything. The best solution is usually loud parental advisory hip hop that I feel dirty listening to, but even that only works for so long. So after giving him constant attention until he reached his limit of being able to be pacified, we pulled over for a comfort nursing session and gave him the Benadryl. Just a tiny bit, small enough that I even doubted whether it would work for his weight. The result: it didn't work. In fact, if anything, he got more upset. In retrospect, it makes sense that would happen, since he's crying because he's tired. And if he's getting more tired, but still doesn't have what he needs to go to sleep, more crying would be the result.
But its hard to draw a cause and effect between behaviors like that. All I know is that he didn't sleep. He kept crying. The thing that finally calmed him down was when Joshua put his large comforting hand on Malachi's face. Somehow his daddy's touch soothed him and put him to sleep. It was an incredibly sweet image that made my heart swell with love for both of them. It was also an exciting moment, because it was one of the first times that Joshua has been able to soothe him out of such agitation, and I sense that Malachi may be ready for us to try some father comforts instead of always needing mama. Obviously, he is not out of the woods yet as far as newborn behaviors, this scenario being a perfect example.
So, say what you will about it, I gave it to him, and it didn't work. But we have another trip coming up, and I hate to think of him crying through it, off and on. Fortunately, he can be entertained by some things now, like singing and talking, and toys. Without those, we would have really been up a creek. My hope is that even in the next few weeks, his ability to self-soothe will improve and it won't be as much of an issue.
My question is what do you do? How do/did you keep your tiny baby from crying on long trips?