Posts Tagged ‘baby wearing’

Comments on Attachment Parenting

I didn’t realize I was an attachment parent until I attended baby wearing class where the instructor handed out flyer about the local “attachment parenting” group. That was the first time I’d ever seen that phrase. I looked at the sheet, read what the group was about and mentally said, “oh that’s me….oh I do that….oh that’s us….ooo I want to do that……….oh, I am an attachment parent, apparently.” I didn’t realize there was a name for it. I was just doing or had plans to do these things instinctively.

After recently watching a news segment that my friend was involved in (inspiring this blogpost, thanks Molly!), I found myself a little confused about the beal deal. Since when did the most natural, instinctual form of parenting get people’s panties in a wad?

I don’t think I do every single “attachment parenting” thing, I don’t keep track…. I do respond to my child when he cries. Crazily enough, EVERY time he cries. Thats “not fair to the mom” the child behaviorist says in the video. Whaaa? How does it become an issue of fairness? A moms “job” is to care for her child. Yes it’s tiring. Yes it’s challenging. Yes it’s worth it. If you’re going to talk about what you do and don’t do as a parent being fair or not then you probably shouldn’t be a parent. I mean really. “Not fair”…are we in grade school or are we parents? We also hear that holding or “wearing” the baby too much, especially in a response to crying, will spoil them. First of all, this logic eludes me to this day. They are helpless BABIES. I should be more concerned about them being spoiled than meeting their needs? Really?? That’s a hell of a first life lesson. Second, its not like we are talking about toys or materialistic things but love, security and trust. Plus I find it ironic that some of the same people that say the baby will be spoiled are the ones spoiling them with materialistic things. Third, this mothers constant holding and wearing LITERALLY saved her child’s life: http://fiercemamas.blogspot.com/2009/10/saving-my-baby.html

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My breastmilk is a designer food made specifically for my child, changing nutrition content as he needs it and strengthening his immune system as he grows. I’m not going to cut him off just because he turns 1 and give him milk from another mammal instead. “Well, little man, Happy Birthday! You are a man now, so here’s some milk from a cow. Nevermind that my milk is still available.” Also, it’s actually common in other countries to nurse into the toddler years, and not only in third world countries (which shouldn’t matter anyway). Not to mention all the agencies that recommend it until two years of age, at least. What IS the big deal? Michael Jordan was breastfed until he was 3. So what! (I think the big deal is that Americans see boobs in bras or swimsuits too much to remember what they are actually made for. So a lot of people freak out about infants on boobs, let alone toddlers. If they weren’t made for nursing they wouldn’t make milk, and if they were only supposed to used for six months, a year, whatever, than they would stop making milk. But they don’t because when to stop is up to the mama and the child and NO ONE else).

I have heard people say that if you let your child sleep in your bed then they will never leave. I don’t know many young adults still sleeping in their parents beds. I’ve also heard something about there being no where for parents to be intimate when bed sharing. Yikes. Some people need to think outside the box….or the bedroom, as it were. Babies aren’t born knowing how to fall asleep or how to stay asleep and just because they reach a certain age doesn’t mean they should sleep alone whether they figured it out by then or not. There is plenty of research supporting this as well. And unless the parents go to bed drunk every night, they are going to be aware of where their child is and wake up when they need to, it’s biological.

The child behaviorist in that segment claims to be concerned about children being raised this way ending up having trouble in life on their own. She should meet my eldest. Confident, independent and out-going (this is an understatement) at two years old. And so empathetic, just as Dr. Sears said in the segment.

This type of parenting will be part of a new show called “Extreme Parenting” I guess. Responding to your child’s needs more than some other people think you should, giving them the best possible nutrition longer than some other people think you should, helping your child to form good sleep habits in a way that some people don’t think you should is extreme? This is what happens when opinionated uninformed people find an audience….bad equation. Given the name of the show, I’m dubious that they will have found typical AP homes and that they will edit the show in a way that doesn’t make us seem crazy.

I want to say just let us parent how we want to parent, why does it have to be some debate? But then maybe some parents are parenting in a way that I don’t think is healthy for the child. Why is this debatable? Because these are children being reared to one day be on their own and out in the world taking over when we get older. I’m personally more interested in adults running this country who didn’t have a less is more childhood. Less actually isn’t more, ever…less is always less.

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Healthy Baby Hip and Muscle Development

While jumparoos, walkers, and exersaucers can come in rather handy at times and baby carriers/wraps are ideal for deepening the parent-infant bond, be cautious of overuse and improper hip placement. It’s highly recommended to only use jumparoos, walkers, exersaucers and the like for 20 TOTAL minutes or less per day. Also when using baby carriers and wraps, as well as car seats, placements of baby’s legs/hips is vital.

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Here’s why (This is taken from a parenting forum where a pediatric physical therapist chimed in to the discussion):

“Saucers, jumpers, walkers, etc. do nothing to enhance development, and can actually delay the achievement of milestones by several weeks. Essentially, to give a quick summary, standing in a saucer is not the same as actively standing while say holding onto a couch. The muscles work in a different pattern that is less desirable. This has been backed up by EMG studies, where they read the electrical output of different muscles and look at the patterns in which they are activated. Babies in saucers tend to be pitched forward onto their toes, which isn’t a normal posture and can theoretically lead to tip toe walking down the road (an abnormal gait pattern). Their abdominal muscles aren’t activeley engaged like they would be while actively standing. Their gluteal (butt) muscles aren’t engaged the same way they would be while standing on their own. This allows them to stand with a sway-backed posture that isn’t particularly healthy.

There have been excellent twin studies showing that even in typically-developing kids, the twin that used a walker walked on average 6 weeks later than the non walker using twin. Most therapists would say this can be applied to saucer use as well. Studies have shown saucers to delay sitting, crawling and walking milestones. Many parents will say their child used a saucer and walked early, but that isn’t really a fair assessment, as their child may have walked even earlier if they *didn’t* use one.

In a typically developing kid, it is less of a concern than a child at risk of delays (preemies, low muscle tone, etc.) However, not all parents know if their child is delayed or at risk of delays either.

The recommendation of most pediatric PTs I’ve known is to limit their use entirely if you can. If you insist on using one, don’t use it for more than 20 mins a day, and be aware of how fast that time adds up (10 mins while you shower, 10 mins during a phone call, 30 mins while you make dinner, 10 mins while you clean up, 5 mins while you go to the bathroom…). It adds up more quickly than people realize. Also if the child shows any signs of fatigue (slouching over, slumping, leaning to one side) they should be removed before 20 mins total, and hopefully beforehand.

I know mamas need to shower and do things around the house…I can sympathize, believe me. Just keep in mind saucers are all marketing, and there is no real benefit to be had from your child using them. The manufacturers make parents feel like they really enhance development, when the opposite is true. The best “tool” for helping a child develop motor skills is floor time…supervised tummy time, just playing on the floor w/ your baby. If you need to contain them for safety, a playpen still allows them to practice their motor skills without getting into trouble if you are in the shower and can’t supervise, for example.”

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute says:

“The most unhealthy position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held in extension with the hips and knees straight and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the fetal position. The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time. Healthy hip positioning avoids positions that may cause or contribute to development of hip dysplasia or dislocation. The healthiest position for the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This position has been called the jockey position, straddle position, frog position, spread-squat position or human position. Free movement of the hips without forcing them together promotes natural hip development.

Some types of baby carriers and other equipment may interfere with healthy hip positioning. Such devices include but are not limited to baby carriers, slings, wraps, pouches, car seats, exercisers, rockers, jumpers, swings, bouncers and walkers, and molded seating items. These devices could inadvertently place hips in an unhealthy position, especially when used for extended periods of time. Any device that restrains a baby’s legs in an unhealthy position should be considered a potential risk for abnormal hip development. It is also important to assess the size of the baby and match the device and carrier to the size of the child so that the hips can be in a healthy position during transport. Parents are advised to research the general safety and risks of any device they wish to use. When in doubt, we recommend involving your primary health-care provider in any further decision-making that may be medically relevant.”

They also share some very helpful graphics, including a common incorrect way to wear baby:

Incorrect

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This is often called the “crotch dangle” and it is not good for baby’s hips as you see here:

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Correct

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Baby is supported all the way to the knee.

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They also show helpful pictures on car seats and ring slings.

Happy safe bouncing, saucering and wearing!