I wanted to talk today about containers… I guess I’m calling them containers, but by containers I mean anything that contains an infant; pack and plays, bumbo’s, car seats, rockers, gliders, swings, cribs, etc. Since I’m expecting a little one I’ve been looking at some baby registries and baby must-haves and, to be honest, I’m surprised at how many containers people say are “must-haves!” Of course a lot of these containers were made for some purpose, to help get a child to sleep, a place for them to sleep, a place for them to be safe in moving vehicles, to hold them while you feed them. And a lot of them are really helpful and needed. From experiences with other parents, I have heard how great it is to have somewhere to put their little one when they need to take a shower, get some dishes done, or even take a potty break. But how are we using containers and how do they affect a child’s development?
Containers serve a specific purpose. So determining what will be most useful for you in your day to day can help you decided which ones you will need. The containers you use most often should be functional, and needed for daily activities. A crib to sleep in, a car seat to ride in, a high chair to eat in. Considering which ones are a must have, like the three above, can help you avoid owning bulky containers that aren’t useful.
I’ve mentioned before that I worked in a daycare and I was, for a time, in the infant room. We had kiddo’s in their from six weeks to 11 months. And boy did we love the little rockers. Some of our little ones really wanted to be rocked, but enjoyed being independent. When we sat them in the rocker they were upright enough to see what was going on, but still receiving the soothing effects of the rocker. And I can only imagine how nice this would be when you are dying for some relief from a fussy baby.
I’m sad to admit that far too often we get kiddo’s in our program with delays, and some of them come from being left in a container for too long. Children need the movement and the time to explore. This builds problem solving skills, when they learn how to roll over to reach a favorite toy, or when they learn to pull up to the table to explore a new world. We want these experiences for our little ones and when they are in a container all day it is hard for them to do that.
Since this is a blog, I hope it is alright to share some personal opinion. I far too often see young infants being carried around in their car seats. I’m especially surprised by it when I see that their little one is awake. First off carrying around your baby in that thing is not good for your back, they are just not meant for that and the baby weighs far less without the container. Secondly, let that little one out, let them practice holding their head up, looking around, learning to be social and smile at strangers. Everyone loves when a baby smiles at them. I can understand that some babies need to sleep and if leaving them in their car seat is your saving grace, do it. But if your little one is awake, leave the car seat in the car and carry your little one around. They will feel close to you and excited to see the world around them.
Something that I feel I should be open about also is using containers correctly, make sure that you are following the proper use and procedure for containers. If you ever want to know how I feel about a bumbo I’d be happy to tell you, but I love this article on it here. Some containers are not safe for all children and can cause some serious issues to children’s bodies. Be aware of warnings and use of different containers.
Having a place to put your little one is so convenient and necessary for some activities, and I hope that you can share on here good safe brands that you recommend. But look for ways you can take your little one out of containers and let them explore. Let them play on the floor and explore their own house. They might even get tired and learn to fall asleep on their own without the rocker. Let kiddo’s out of their strollers and play in the grass or sand. Always make sure your little one is safe but let them be children. We live in a time of convenience, but our children enjoy having one on one time with you on the floor. I can’t help but think how a lot of these new containers weren’t around when I was little and I had the best childhood. Let me know what you thought about my post today, do you agree/disagree? What are some good brands of containers you use?