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Beware of portable infant car seats

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  • Beware of portable infant car seats

    Alright, so I've been seeing a lot of mother's with toddlers plus a newborn in a car seat lately. I've been thinking about them a lot so I thought I would share. I have to say, I am disliking portable infant car seats more and more. I know they even have their place in the AP world but I'm not happy with conventional implementation. So my 2 yo son and I are in a nature class. A couple of the mothers have a toddler in the class plus a newborn. In the 2 classes (about 2 hours) I've spent with these ladies I've seen one of them take her baby out from the car seat/stroller combo once to bottle feed him/her and the other one I still haven't seen her touch the baby. In fact, I overheard her tell her toddler as we were walking that the baby was awake and then next thing I knew I saw the baby stroller/carseat pushed to face a nasty corner against the building while she chased her toddler 20 feet away in the playground. I never saw her touch the baby or even talk to it. It really made me sad and it really made me dislike those portable infant car seats. These women have no idea the implications of their actions and are only following the cultural norm. My husband says that all I can do is show the world by example how to parent in a kind way. He's right but I can't help but wish I could do more. I hope by some small amount this little e-mail will make some sort of difference.

    Please touch your babies and show them how to love and be loved.

    Here is an abstract to a interesting study on the benefits of physical contact on the growing infant:

  • #2
    That makes me sad too
    I totally understand the convenience of the infant car seat - to move them asleep in and out of the car, to be able to put them straight into a warm seat instead of out in the cold, to have a nice comfy safe place to put them down when you're out and about, etc. But like so many other baby gear items, they can be relied on TOO much, at the expense of nurturing touch.

    I agree - teach by example!!


    • #3
      Not a new observation, but definitely worth repeating! I see it all the time! My second daughter was 20lbs. at 4 months so we didn't have the "luxury" of carrying her around in her car seat. But even before she grew out of it, we used the sling almost every time!

      It's so sad that they aren't even aware of their lack of nurturing touch!

      Mothering had this great article awhile back:


      • #4
        Leading by example is really the best work we can do.
        ... wondering here if we could also offer to help this Mother?
        Maybe she does not know any other way to parent two small children and feels that is the only way to keep her newborn safe so she can run after her toddler (and still go to activities for her toddler). an AP parents we could so very easily "put a bug in her ear" and offer to help with the toddler and tell her you want to do this so she could take her baby out of the seat
        ....or so very gently say "I have had to struggle with two when mine were that little and I found this sling to be so helpful," or if you only have one child tell her your dear friend swears by the slings with her two and that is how you came to like them for you one.

        Sadly, all our culture/society shows new mothers, are babies in car seats. We have to get out there in masses with our slings and show another option.

        Such is the mission of API
        Use Nurturing Touch

        Oh yes and the article from Mothering "Car seats are for Cars" is very good


        • #5
          iíve had the same thoughts, too, so iím preaching to myself as much as anyone. but i think we need to tread lightly here. we never truly know another prson, their thoughts, their intentions. we have no idea where people are coming from.

          i used the infant carrier w/ds1. he was so intensely high-need, he cried almost nonstop all day. so if we were out-and-about and he wasnít crying and in the carrier, you can bet i left him there, and i was thankful for the break from the screaming.

          w/ds2, i wore him in my sling most of the time, but there were occasions when i did push him around in the carseat b/c after 3 hours of slinging, my back was killing me and i needed the break. now i usually kept him facing me and talked to him and touched him, but one person canít carry a baby 24/7.

          i am sure that in both scenarios, people saw me and assumed i was being neglectful, but they only had a small glimpse into my life.

          who knows what this Motherís life is like. perhaps her ababy keeps her so preoccupied, she feels guilty about neglecting her toddler. and this one thing she does weekly is her toddlerís only chance to get Mommy time. maybe she doesnít get much help from family. maybe her own childhood was neglected.

          i think itís important to look at parenting as generational and evolutionary. we are all growing past our own experiences, all trying to do a little better than our own parents did. sometimes thereís small growth, sometimes huge steps. i myself was so traumatized from my own childhood, i lacked any confidence as a mom. how could i possibly know how to raise a child? but i have been lucky. my children have shown the way. perhaps this Mother is evolving, too.

          the thing is, no matter how someone chooses to parent, itís not for lack of love. no one choooses to bottlefeed or feberize, or punish b/c they donít want to be attached to their children. do i think AP is the best way? absolutely! do i think every child needs it? emphatically YES! but i also believe parenting is a tough journey and we all need every last ounce of support we can get.

          okay, i need a blog....


          • #6
            I my carseat right now!! I threw my back out last weekend and it's been my saving grace.

            Can't wait to get him back in the sling though!!


            • #7
              I'm so glad I was able to start this dialog. Thanks for all the replies and I encourage more.

              I don't mean to attack any one particular person. I was just using this story to demonstrate what I see as a major issue with detachment in our society and how so many things that are made to make our lives "easier" are actually detrimental to the well-being of our children and the average mother has no idea.

              What is even more sad is that there are societies all over the world that aspire to have the affluence we have that has lead us to have more detached children.



              • #8
                Yes I think that is really what we see, a general societal norm, not one individual. From my point of view it is rather that mainstream america assumes manufactured things are superior to anything a mother actually can do. Formula is superior then breast milk, cribs are safer then moms arms, carseat/strollers are safer then slings (out of the car) "what if you trip"-- I have actually heard that from a woman who obviously didn't approve. And further more, those kinds of accepted norms give mothers further insecurity about their mothering skills. Anyway, it is a prevalent sight, and I have been known to tote that thing around also, but I hate it, its heavy and uncomfortable, and not safe for my baby or me (walking around)


                • #9
                  I had posted almost the same thing on another thread.

                  I know it can be annoying when you get all the comments. If there's time, it can be a teaching moment, but just being out there and showing a different way is just as educational!

                  In our society, there are so many people that just don't know there is a different way! That's what happens in a society where we've had so many interventions that parent's instincts are seen as "far out there" or weird (crib vs. co-sleeping, bottle vs. breast, car seat/stroller vs. sling, c-section vs. natural birth). You aren't making an informed decision if you only know mainstream's point of view--but you don't even know what you don't know so you can't ask questions either.

                  I find that I may not have much impact on some first time moms I meet, but when she has her second and is in the phase of growth/questioning--and needs her hand to take care of the other one--having seen me babywear finally starts to click as a valid option when before it may have seemed useless and inconvenient.

                  I do usually agree that my babe is heavy--but at 2yrs. 30 lbs., she'd be impossible to carry nursing/sleeping if it wasn't for the sling. I think mostly people's looks are out of wonderment--not meant to be rude, although there are some that do come across as snide. I always go back to the thought--if they didn't/aren't doing it the same way you are, one of you must be "wrong" so sometimes the comments are coming from their insecurities and have little to do with you!


                  • #10
                    mamajoy, thanks for sharing. That was well said.



                    • #11
                      Everyone here is so passionate about the well fare of the world's children, it is so touching and motivating to me as a Leader.

                      It shows us all that the work of API is still more important than ever and we have many compassionate hearts here putting the energy out to the universe to make a real change for the children.

                      We need one big wave to come through and put our parenting tools up on that crest and have it flood the rest of western society.

                      Start your own API support group


                      • #12
                        I think the best way to teach others is by doing. I do not feel comfortable commenting on others parenting styles, or lack of parenting. But, I have been wearing my daughter in a sling/mei tai since she was born. The looks I get are so complementary, but also like I am the first mama ever to do this, which is odd. But a lot of people have asked me, "Where did you get that cute Baby Bjorn?(I wear her in a mei tai). So, I lead by example.