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.


  1. And this is why The Sparkle Mama is one of my favorite Mommy bloggers. I'm so glad I finally got an Ergo, because there was a month or so long period where my son wasn't fitting properly in my moby or my ring sling and now I carry him everywhere. I don't even want to put him in his stroller. Or his car seat. When we left the grocery store today I was bummed out I had to take him "off" and strap him into his seat.

    This was very well written and I hope it changes peoples minds on how they interact with their babies

  2. I totally agree, thanks for this! My son is almost 10 months old and quite heavy for me but I still carry him in his Ergo most of the time we go shopping. You should see the looks I get though, like I am insane. People look at me like I have the scarlet letter on my chest for carrying my baby, I don't get it.

  3. Oh god I could've written that although you did a much better job than I could've ever done. Bravo!

    I feel EXACTLY the same. Our daughter is being carried so much (great work out for your arms btw :D) and it always breaks my heart seeing the car seat babes.

    I know a lot of people will just say: the baby might have just been asleep! or The baby might have just been in there for a minute, you shouldn't judge! Well, all I can say is..the chances are that the baby has been in it for a longer time. And 2 mins? Is that really already too much? We've been known to carry her whilst being shopping for hours.

    Anyway...I'm ranting now. :p Thank you for this great article. :D


  4. Oh and just btw... all the other topics are also a 'militant' topic for me. ;)


  5. awesome post!!! my mother cannot believe all the people lugging their babies in and out of the doctor's offices still in their car seats... and even if they are asleep, yeah i get it, but when they wake up, take them out for pete's sake!!

  6. Totally agree! Having a winter baby this time around was tough because I did use my car seat a lot more (tried to keep the warm air under a blanket to prevent frostbite). Now that it's nicer weather I can often just grab my little man, pop him in the sling, and get my groceries. I will, however, leave him in the seat if he's sleeping. Though I use my sling as a blanket so when he wakes up I can pop him in!

    I believe so strongly in carrying your baby that I started sewing ring slings!

  7. You should see the looks we get when we go out to eat and we're asked if we would like a high chair. Um, no thanks! "But what will you do with the baby?" Um, hold her?? Maybe? That just makes sense to us! Beautiful post!

  8. Amen!

    My little one was in the car seat when she was in the car, but otherwise she was being carried, or having tummy time, or strapped to me or my wife.

  9. Hey, I actually used the car seat as much as I possibly could with my daughter, but I totally agree. I would start off in the car seat and see what I could get done (shopping, eating as a restaurant, etc.) and then pick her up when she made the pick-me-up noises. So, all in all, she never spent much time in her car seat. Unfortunately, I had not discovered baby-wearing. I was an attachment parent in training. ;) With my second child, I'm definitely going to baby-wear! I wish more people would, darn it, so everyone would see it and then maybe more people would DO IT!

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