Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Thank You for Carrying Your Baby, No One Does That Anymore"

Before even becoming pregnant I knew I did not want to have a “car seat baby.”  You know a baby that’s in a car seat for hours and hours and HOURS of their day and that’s NOT including car rides.  I knew in my heart it was bad for babies. I could see nothing positive about it, other than the believed convenience for the parents.  I actually couldn’t see much convenience in lugging that big ole heavy plastic thing with a baby inside when you can take the baby out, hug it against your body and carry or wear them.  So I registered for a car seat that was not removable. I would never be tempted to leave my baby in there while shopping, dining out, or just bring them in the house and sit them in it because they are being quiet. Why not just leave them in it in the living room for a few hours?  NO THANKS! I didn’t need the temptation because I am that vehement about the fact that car seats are for cars! 
I may sound militant ok I probably do!  Don’t we all have at least one topic we are considered militant about be it breastfeeding, circumcision, organic food, or vaccines?  This is my topic of militancy! J  In our society it’s so normal you may have never even considered that babies went from no car seats to residing in them daily for hours and hours in just the past 25-30 years.  I’m 32 and I was never put in a car seat.  They just didn’t exist where I was raised.  My husband’s 32 and he had the kind that stayed in a car.  I think it’s crazy that in such a short period of time the life of babies in America changed dramatically.  I’ve witnessed babies who eat, sleep, watch tv and car ride in them.  With the travel systems you can take your baby right out of the car and pop it right into a stroller no need for any pesky touching.  There seems to be this misguided notion that you would actually be disturbing the baby if it’s quiet in a car seat to remove it.  INSANE!  That’s not disturbing a baby that’s giving the child needed touch and love.  Stimulating a baby’s senses is not disturbing them it should be a natural inclination.  Nothing good has come from it in fact a lot of bad.  Check out this article from Mothering Magazine, Car Seats are for Cars.
I hope for a movement away from the overuse of car seats but I really don’t see it happening.  There is the instinctual, peaceful, crunchy attachment parenting movement but will it ever make a dent in mainstream?  I can only dream!  I was actually thanked once in a grocery store by an older woman for carrying my baby, something that should be commonplace.  She said “Thank you for carrying your baby, no one does that anymore” and it’s true!  Babies are put in a cart while strapped into a car seat.  You see babies at restaurants pushed aside put on the floor strapped into a car seat.  You see people arrive at a family gathering and baby is put aside strapped into a car seat.  You see babies with bottles propped into their mouths while strapped into a car seat!  I can barely stand it! 
It’s just a fact babies need touch, interaction, and eye contact.  Babies need to be involved in the goings on of the family.  They need to be part of dinner.  They need to be part of socializing.  Stimulating a babies mind with how life works and how parents interact is one of the most important parts of a baby’s life.  The biggest LIE is that it’s inconvenient to hold your baby or eat with one hand.  It’s actually a joy!   The moments that are missed while a child is stuck in a car seat are immeasurable!  And you know if you use a car seat responsibly and in moderation you are not who I’m talking about.  I think we all know when it becomes a habit that’s a problem for a baby’s development.
Just think if my baby was on the floor in a car seat beside the table I would not have had the chance to snap these wonderful pictures and have the memories of going out to eat with my infant being fun and sweet!
I urge you, if you’re pregnant and you’ve registered for a removable car seat please please break the pattern and register for the kind that stays in your car.  It you think for a second you could be the type that would come to rely on it as a crutch just say no and it will never get the chance.  I promise you that you will thank me!   For one thing you’ll only need one for your child’s whole baby to toddlerhood creating less waste and saving money!  For a 2nd among many benefits you’re child gets all the connection and stimulation that they are naturally supposed to receive creating bright little lights intrigued by the world around them.   It will be wonderful I guarantee it!
Babies like to sit at the table too! :)  Guest post by the sparkle mama.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What It Means to be Instinctual

What It Means to be Instinctual
An instinct is an urge or idea to do something, and that instinct is a natural part of who you are... not something you have to think about much. Instincts can be inborn, or developed through the way you live. For instance, a man living in the woods might have developed better survival instincts than a tourist if both were attacked in the same woods.

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I don't know how many of you have been watching the Decorah Eagles online.  It is this live streaming video of a male and female bald eagle.  They laid eggs in February and, through the power of the internet, we have been able to watch the eggs hatch and the babies come into this world.  All live.  I was at a get together at the library last week and I was discussing this site with another mother.  She started going on about how she had been so worried about one of the babies last night because "the father" (we assumed it must have been the father since no mother would have acted this was ;-) was letting one of the little ones get close to the edge of the nest and then wasn't letting the baby back underneath to keep warm.  This mother and I joked that, not only do we have our own children to worry about, but now we are worrying about three eagle babies.  Why?  Because it is a mother's instinct.

It is the same thing when you are at the park where there are lots of other kids.  I know I always seem to keep my eyes on my own kids, but I am also watching some of the other little ones.  Just like the other day, I saw a kid, probably 7 or 8 years old hurt himself.  He was trying to act strong, but you could tell he just wanted his mom to be there so he could cry.  I don't know where his parents were.  I was holding my little one and watching for my son and I went over to the boy to find out if he was OK and if he knew where his mom was.  He wouldn't talk to me, which is fine, stranger danger and all, but I wanted to help him.  As a mom, we feel the need to help any child we can.  It is an instinct we can't overcome.

You may be asking, "Why is she writing about this?"  Because, as much as mothering is instinctual, I feel that, as mothers, we sometimes need a little empowering.  I wrote back in March about The Good, The Bad, The Facebook in which I discussed how we can sometimes get sucked into the information on Facebook.  What I want to emphasize here is that we need to follow our instincts. 

Remember in school when you would take a test and teachers always told you to go with your first answer, your instinct, because it was probably right?  I feel the same way about being a mother.  I look back at the decisions I have made with my children and I realize that I have made those decisions based off of instinct.  I didn't research to the end of the internet and back about breastfeeding my children, I just did it.  Why else do I have breasts?  It seemed self explanatory to me.  Did I have some issues?  Yes.  I had a breast reduction 2 years before I had my son which caused my supply to be low.  Since I was working part time and wasn't able to pump enough I did supplement.  Did I feel guilty about it?  A little, but I was doing what was best for my son.  I wanted him to thrive, so if giving him some formula because I couldn't give him enough breast milk was what I had to do, so be it. 

Think back to how you thought you would raise your children before you had kids.  Is how you thought you would raise them different than how you are raising them?  Why?  Are any of the differences due to what instinct told you to do or are the differences due to outside pressure?  Living things have survived as long as they have due to relying on their instinct.  Fight or flight, eat or be eaten, these are the instinctual decisions that have been made through time.  So why is it that we now question ourselves so much?  Information overload is trying to drown out the voice inside us that has lead us to be who we are. My personal belief is that I have no regrets on how I have raised my children as long as I have followed my instincts.  Now, if I based my decisions on just information that I have researched, then I feel I could have some regrets.  Why?  Who is to say that the information I am finding is the best there is?  You could spend hours, days, even weeks searching and searching for the perfect information to guide you in your mothering journey.  But what would happen if you shut off the computer and just thought about what feels right to you?

So, listen to yourself.  Yes, the internet is a wonderful tool that can help us connect to other mothers that parent similar to how we do.  It can also help us figure out if the symptoms our child has are something we should see the doctor about or wait.  Don't rely on it to be the main source of your information.  Follow your instincts.  They have gotten you this far and they won't steer you wrong!

Your mind knows only some things... Your inner voice, your instinct, knows everything... If you listen to what you know instinctively, it will always lead you down the right path....
~Henry Winkler~

Mintee Mama is new to the blogging scene.  She blogs about store deals, crafts, recipes and life in general.  She is also planning to launch an Etsy site this year in order to sell a smorgasbord of items, including cute headbands, jewelry and some mosaic items.  She is the mother of two wonderful children, Wild Man 3 yrs 9 months and Sweet Pea 4 months.  She is a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, green cleaning mom.