Imagine the situation: you are going to a family gathering and you’re late, but your baby shows hunger cues. Should you stop for a meal? Can you feed baby in car seat? We are here to find out!
I will discuss why stopping for a meal is the only acceptable way of feeding baby in car. Don’t focus on the mess you can make in the car seat and how to clean the baby car seat after. Think about the safety of your baby.
Breastfeeding while driving is also a big no-no, even if you don’t pick the baby up from the car seat.
Let’s discuss why it is better to be late than start feeding baby in car seat!
- Can You Feed a Baby in a Car Seat? Is That Safe?
- Can You Bottle Feed A Baby In A Car Seat?
- Can You Breastfeed A Baby In The Car Seat?
- Can You Feed Solid Food To Baby In Car Seat?
- What Are The Do’s and Don’ts of Feeding Baby in Car Seat?
- What Should You Consider When Feeding Baby in Car?
- How To Burp A Baby In A Car Seat After Feeding?
- Final Thoughts
Can You Feed a Baby in a Car Seat? Is That Safe?
In a moving car bottle feeding in car seat, feeding solids, or breastfeeding an infant isn’t safe. Children under 12 should always ride in a car seat to ensure a safe ride. So, what about feeding in a car seat? Institutions that focus on child’s safety in vehicles don’t mention feeding in a car seat.
Why? Because it isn’t the purpose of the seat. The seat serves for rides and high chairs for feeding. However, if you are on the go, and the baby must eat, you may wonder can I feed baby in car seat?
Only if you stop and park safely, give food to the baby while still in a car seat. Think about it this way – you wouldn’t feed the baby in a moving stroller either!
The direction the seat faces doesn’t affect the safety when the car is parked. But it does affect the mess! Feeding the baby in a rear-facing car seat is messier than in forward facing.
Feeding baby solids in a car seat increases the risk of choking no matter the food you are giving. Chopped fruits are especially dangerous because the baby can move, and fruit can block the airways.
Snacks like popcorn, nuts, and whole grapes are also choking hazards, and you should never give them to a baby in a car seat.
For newborns, motion sickness can increase if you are feeding the baby in the car.
Don’t give a bottle to your baby in an infant car seat in a moving car. In case of abrupt braking or crash, even the smallest one, a baby bottle becomes a cause of injuries. It can act as a projectile.
But, can baby drink bottle in car seat when the car is not moving? You can give a bottle to a baby if you have no other options but to pull over. In that case, prepare a napkin to clean the mess promptly. Dirty car seats can be dangerous, especially if dirt gets into the buckles, and it makes belt fastening difficult.
Also, it is better to use a slow-flow bottle, especially if you have a newborn. It will minimize the discomfort the baby might have in a car seat.
Importantly, ensure the baby is buckled up properly, and never leave your kid unattended while eating in a car seat.
You can give a bottle to the baby in the seat if the car isn’t moving. In that case, don’t prop the bottle, instead, you can hold the bottle or the baby can do it. Never keep the bottle too upright, because it can cause choking, and use slow-flow bottles.
Why would you do that when it is so uncomfortable for both you and the baby? Even if you are ready to ignore the discomfort, resist the urge to breastfeed while the baby is in a car because it is unsafe.
Even if you have your seat belt on and the baby is buckled up, your chest is too close to the baby during breastfeeding in that position. If the car goes over a road bump or the driver has to hit the brake suddenly, you can severely hurt the baby.
Never take the baby out from a car seat in a moving vehicle to breastfeed. That is an enormous risk. You can drop the baby or hit her head against the seat or door knobs.
Even if the baby hates the car seat, it is safer for your baby to cry and fuss until you stop the car safely than to drive outside the car seat.
Therefore, if you breastfeed your baby and you’re traveling, include several breaks for breastfeeding in your trip itinerary.
Here is the thing. You can give the baby solids in the car seat, but when the car isn’t moving.
For example, if you are traveling and the hotel you’re staying in doesn’t offer high chairs on demand, you can take the seat the seat outside the car and use it indoors. That way, your baby will stay in place for meals and won’t try to crawl around! Once you are done with the meal, clean the seat and put it back in the car.
For the feeding to be safe, the car should not be driving, the baby should hold the head, sit, and buckle properly, and you should never leave the baby unattended in the car seat.
If the car is moving and you are handing out the baby solids, the risk of choking increases tremendously. In addition, using utensils, such as a spoon or fork, is also unsafe. Similar to the bottle, the utensil can act as a projectile. Not the mention that you accidentally hurt the baby when the car hits a bump.
Meal pouches are a good idea if you have to feed the baby in a car seat. Avoid hard food and finely chopped items.
Here is a quick checklist to sum up everything related to feeding the baby in a car seat.
- Stop the car to feed the baby
- Use softer baby food, meal pouches, and sippy caps if the baby is eating/drinking in the car seat
- Keep the car seat clean
- Plan your trip including the stops for baby meals
- Be prepared with napkins and wet wipes to clean the mess
- Wait a while for the baby to burp until you are ready to drive again
- Breastfeed in a car seat
- Give food to babies in car seats when the car is moving
- Serve hard snacks
- Give tiny fruits to the baby in a car seat
- Give a bottle to a baby in a car seat
- Starve the baby when traveling, instead, pull over, starving can affect milk production
- Ignore the risks for you if you unbuckle to feed the baby in a car seat
No matter how much you are a good planner, sometimes bottle feed in car seat or a quick meal cannot be avoided. Therefore, you should do what it takes to ensure maximum safety for the baby.
Can I feed my baby milk in the car seat? Sure, you can, but park somewhere first. For bottle feeding, the only safe way to do it in a car seat, is to hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle.
Ensure the baby’s head is higher than the stomach, and the nipple is filled with milk, and not air. That will prevent excess gassiness in your baby.
Never breastfeed when the baby is in a car seat. Stop and find a better position.
When it comes to solids, avoid food that is choking hazards. Only give food that is hot enough. Again, don’t feed the baby while driving. If you must use a car seat instead of the high chair, keep it clean and protected with plastic wrap and clean the mess immediately.
Burping is an important part of baby feeding to prevent gassiness and pain. But how do you burp the baby when you’re on the road?
Most parents are used to standing and holding the baby upright and patting her back to burp the baby. But in a car, you don’t have space for it. One option is to go outside, if the weather allows it, and do your standard burping routine. But, if you cannot go outside with the baby here is how to burp the baby in a vehicle.
Ensure you are safely parked before you take out the baby from the car seat. Put her in the sitting position on your lap and press the baby’s stomach gently with your palm. Then, hold the chest and baby’s chin while applying pressure to the stomach.
If that doesn’t help the baby burp, lean her forward slightly. Allow enough time for the baby to burp and pat her on the back. It can take a minute, but it will relieve the gas, and help with the motion sickness in the baby.
Further reading: How to Burp the Baby
If you have more questions, I am here for you! Ask me in the comments and I’ll be happy to resolve any issues.
Park safely, and feed the baby as usual. It applies to feeding solids and bottle-feeding.
You don’t, because breastfeeding a baby in a car seat is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
No, the baby should be driving in a car seat so you should always pull over, park, take the baby outside the seat, and then, breastfeed.
Ensure the baby has burped and at least half an hour has passed before putting the baby in a car seat for a drive. It will help digestion, and prevent sickness and reflux in babies.
Feeding a toddler in a car is risky. A toddler should sit at a 90-degree angle to chew and swallow safely. Car seats with reclining backs are, therefore, risky to be used for feeding. Park and then feed the toddler as usual.
Knowing about baby car safety is important from day one after your baby’s birth. Safety starts with choosing the infant car seat, learning how to secure it, and then driving and feeding the baby when you’re on the go.
Never feed the baby in the moving car, because there are so many risks. The road can be bumpy, and the baby’s airways can get blocked because of improper feeding position.
Therefore, always start your ride on time and ensure you have time for several feeding breaks. Feeding the baby in a moving car isn’t worth the risk. You know how people say It is better to be late than sorry!