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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bucket Babies

Okay, I can't keep quiet any longer. Every time I go to the store, I see all these poor babies stuck in those portable car seats. I call them baby buckets. Their parents lug them in and out of the store, put them in the shopping cart or lock them to the child seat of the shopping cart. How comfortable must it be to be swung back and forth awkwardly as your parent carries you in something like that? They're not ergonomically designed for the parent to carry easily, and they're heavy. The poor baby is swung one way, then the other as the parent struggles to carry it into the store.

These babies inevitably start fussing and then crying at some point in the store. Do the parents ever take them out of the plastic bucket and hold them? No! The babies I see where I shop are pretty much ignored while they're in the baby buckets. If the parent reacts to them at all, it is just to try and shush them, without really looking in their eyes or even patting them on the tummy. My heart just goes out to them... the cries I hear either sound like "feed me" cries or "hold me" cries. What is so wrong with picking your baby up?

Out of all the bucket babies I've seen when I've been shopping the past six months, one dad actually stopped and picked up the baby out of the bucket. Kudos to him! I was so happy to see one parent respond to their baby's needs.

Think about it. Babies are put in car seats. In play pens. In strollers. Products are sold to prop a bottle to feed them. Are these babies ever held? Cuddled? Consoled?

I read parents asking advice online at various parenting sites, asking why their baby won't sleep when they leave him or her to cry it out alone in a room without the comforting feel of a parent's arms about them, or hearing a familiar heartbeat. My heart just breaks. And we wonder why children grow up feeling alienated, alone and like no one cares about them.

The mainstream baby industry is doing families a gross disservice by making ever more products to put baby in that discourages picking them up and holding them.

Babies need to be held... often. Babies need to feel safe and secure. They are too young to rely on themselves for consolation. They're BABIES.

Think back to your early childhood. What do you remember? I remember two memories from my early childhood vividly... one was a birthday cake with a sugar carousel on it, and the other memory is of standing at the screen door looking out and crying because I woke up and was all alone. I felt utterly abandoned and alone. I was very small... maybe two years old, because my sister hadn't been born yet. I remember seeing my mother's black car coming into the driveway. I still have issues about being alone and feeling abandoned. It has been a big issue in several of my own births.

Now back to these baby buckets. How are these babies going to grow up? What issues are they going to have from not being held? How do we teach parents that children are not inconveniences... that they are to be loved and comforted?

Yes, we have a baby bucket car seat. It seems the only kind you can buy for infants these days. But it stays where it belongs... in the car. Babies grow so fast anyway... let me hold my baby for as long as they'll stay willingly in my arms.

2 comments:

KEM said...

Amen. We see our friends once every few months and have NEVER seen their baby out of his car seat or stroller - and he's awake. I confess to lugging the bucket with me into the grocery if baby is sleeping, but I wear the sling just in case he wakes up.

High-Quality Mothering said...

Great post! I hate seeing the child bumping & swinging with head rattling around... can't be good! Also, there is a study released now that says the baby's oxygen level is much lower in that particular position & down on the ground, too!
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/24/car.seat.blood.oxygen/index.html
Just search oxygen levels lower in infant seats... it comes right up!
Love your blog already!
Kelly K, CD
Doula Surround

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