Babies need touch and closeness to thrive. Listening to moms heart beat nestled in a carrier, sling or wrap provides tremendous comfort. Yet, sometimes moms need a break too, and dad could be at work, grandma lives far away, there is another child in the house…regardless of the reason, there will be a time when parents may really need free hands and will be looking into an alternative to baby wearing.
Now, I love baby wearing It was indispensible for me with all of my children, but I also happily used other gear in order to keep baby close yet safe. There are some parents that strongly oppose strollers, swings and bouncy seats, and the thing is, I don’t think that the gear is necessarily the problem. I think like most things in parenting, it is the way parents choose to use certain methods or gear that could lead to potential problems.
For a baby that spends hours strapped into a stroller, bouncy seat, swing, cries ignored, devoid of touch, comfort, contact, play opportunities, then yes, this gear could be detrimental to the babies’ development. But there are also times when having something like a bouncy seat or stroller can be beneficial.
When my second baby was born, I had two dogs and one happy active toddler in the house, no immediate family members that lived close by and handsome hubby traveled extensively for work. To say I was being divided in every direction would be an understatement. When I showered in the morning, I always set up baby in a bouncy seat right by the shower and my tot with a pile of board books or building blocks nearby. The bouncy seat was just what I needed. My little baby was right where I could see him, if he cried a little bit, I could sing, make eye contact, smile and comfort him but it also meant I could take care of myself in order to better care for everyone else.
Strollers are another one of these baby gear things that gets questioned a lot surrounding attachment parenting. Despite loving baby wearing and using that most often, I have always used strollers, and I think again it becomes a matter of balance. When my first was born, he loved when I used a carrier and would happily fall asleep. Later however, baby wearing was the last way he would fall asleep, it would lull him just enough to be drowsy but he would resist with all his might and become exhausted. I often joked that the milk smell was just too tempting…anyways, a nice stroll in the stroller, some fresh air, listening to me talk or sing and he would calmly and contently fall asleep. Our stroller had the option of baby facing mom and it was simply the best for both of us. We were connected but a little bit of space is just what baby needed.
So should new parents that are looking into connected, attached style parenting shy away from strollers, swings and bouncy seats? I think the key is aiming for balance, and following the babies lead. If a baby is not content to get into a swing or bouncy, not showing a natural curiosity to learn and explore, and is only ever transported from here to there in a stroller and/or generally unhappy when placed in one, then evaluating just how much touch and face time baby is getting as opposed to hanging out in baby gear is probably warranted.
Babies love being connected, baby wearing is a great way to do this, but proving a safe place for baby to play and explore, a safe place for baby to sit and observe, giving baby a new perspective from where to see things seems perfectly alright too. Plus, if the gear is providing helpful ways for a parent to take care of herself so that she can meet the babies needs then by all means they can be really helpful to have.
Do you use any baby gear?
Do you use any baby gear?