Google+ Authentic Parenting: Does Attachment Parenting Mean Shying Away From Strollers, Swings and Bouncy Seats?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Does Attachment Parenting Mean Shying Away From Strollers, Swings and Bouncy Seats?


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?

Peace & Be Well,

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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13 comments:

  1. I used a bouncy the same way, it was our routine so I could get a shower in the morning (with baby #1 and #2). Sometimes you do need another pair of arms to hold baby for certain things - several times when I was visiting my parents (without hubby) and had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night with a tiny it was really tricky to carry and maneuver, and I found myself wishing I'd traveled with that bouncy seat!
    Annie

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    1. the one handed middle of the night bathroom call...totally know what you mean. thank you for sharing!!

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  2. I've used a lot of different baby gear in raising my children. With my first son, I was all prepared to never use a stroller and then he turned out to be a child who would scream and holler the entire time he was in a wrap. He loved his swing and was very content in the stroller. I never worried about how much physical contact he got because he was breastfeeding every 90 minutes and as a new Mom there were many times where I was just too much in awe of him to put him down much through the day so he got carried a lot (just not in a wrap).

    With my daughter, she has been the type of child who hates being put down, sleeps better if worn and who fusses when being put in a stroller or carseat. So, I've worn her a lot since she's been born. The problem now is that she's 18lbs at 5 months so wearing her for any length of time is exhausting on me and I need a new carrier that distributes weight better so I can wear her for longer stretches but don't yet have the cash flow to replace it so she's spending way more time in the stroller. I've also used an infant seat and play gym with her because it gives her a defined space and helps with preventing my toddler from getting too close while playing in the same room as her If I just put her on a blanket he'll try to drive on her with his cars or won't see her and has nearly stepped on her before but with the gym or seat he can see her space and knows he can't play in it. I've also started using an exersaucer now that she's sitting unassisted because it gives her a safe place to be while I cook or clean where she can play and still be able to see/hear me.

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    1. Oh I soo understand needing to keep baby#2 safe from older sibs! We used a playpen and first it seemed like a little jail but all three babies made awesome discoveries while playing in there :)

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  3. We use a variety of baby gear including: 3 different baby carriers, a double stroller, an exersaucer, and a vibrating baby chair (which hasn't been used in a while). We didn't use a swing much but mostly because none of them really liked it. Balance is the key.

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    1. 3 carriers cool! sounds like over here...I just gave away two and kept just the ergo for my tot since she still likes a piggy back ride ;)

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  4. Yep, I used baby gear. I have twins, and I tried to hard to make babywearing work for us when we eventually went out and about. I would wear one baby in the soft structured carrier, hold the other in my left arm, and try to complete all my errands with one hand. The DMV was by far the hardest.

    Eventually I realized that a stroller was the quickest, safest way to get us where we needed to be.

    And I used baby swings when they were fussy and would only sleep for more than 30 minutes while in one.

    I did all this and still attachment-parent my boys. It's like you said... it's all about the balance.

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    1. DMV with babies...ahhh! ;) Sounds like the stroller turned out to be a good choice!!

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  5. I use a pram/stroller just in my village as it is a mile to the shop/post office etc a long way for little legs. Everywhere else I used a wrap or they have walked. I remember well using the bouncy chair to take a shower and it was useful whilst camping to get the cooking done as I found it hard to do this crouching whilst they were in a wrap!

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  6. That sounds like it would be challenging to do with baby in the wrap! The camping part sounds like a lot of fun :)

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  7. Thanks so much for this article! I'm a new mom wanting to do attachment parenting. I was a little upset getting a swing as a present from my in-laws... They claim it was a life saver for them when they had their kids. I have this thought that baby gear like swings, bouncers, etc is against anti-AP, but reading this makes me feel better as it really is how you use these gadgets and reading & understanding your baby... In the end you have to find the right fit and doing what works for both mom & baby.

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  9. Me and my wife spend time with our kid and do such creative activities. We often take our kid to indoor play centre equipment (as he likes it a lot). The combination of physical and creative activity play a vital role in building a child's character, that's what we believe.

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