Wear your baby and other advice

While shopping tonight, I shared an aisle with a couple that appeared to be shopping for baby stuff. So, of course, being the sociable person that I am (read: introvert turned extrovert when it comes to talking about things I’m passionate about, like babies, homeschooling, etc.), I struck up a conversation with them. They are expecting their adopted daughter to be born next month and were getting ideas. Needless to say, I did what any experienced mom of four would do…I gave them advice. I’m sure that they have had no shortage of advice, but maybe mine was different than the rest.

My first recommendation was to get a baby sling and wear that baby. The man asked if they should get one like on the shelf nearby and I quickly said no, that they are mass-produced and the manufacturer seems to think that parents have to have all kinds of buckles to carry a baby safely. They also are not the most comfortable and the baby grows out of them too soon. I mentioned briefly a few of the benefits of babywearing such as content babies, babies who sleep through shopping trips, bonding, especially with adopted babies, and social development. I also said that riding in a baby sling was better for baby than hanging around in a bucket-style car seat and that they could save money by skipping the bucket altogether.

Even celebrities wear their babies.

Even celebrities wear their babies.

That turned the conversation to car seats, so I walked them over to that aisle and told them about the highly rated, infant-to-toddler Britax Marathon, which we have. Yes, it costs more, but I think it is worth it since you only buy one seat instead of two or three by the time they are four years old. It claims to hold a child up to 65 lbs, but in reality, by the time your child reaches four, they probably won’t want to sit in the “baby seat” anymore. That is just my opinion, of course.

Levi has the safest place in the van.

Levi has the safest place in the van.

After that, my introverted nature compelled me to apologize for being so forward as to offer advice to strangers, but they were appreciative and said they were tempted to put me to work making their wish list. I smiled politely and waved goodbye because if I hung around, I would probably end up telling them about chlorine-free diapers, making their own organic baby food, soft-soled shoes, co-sleeping, homeschooling….

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What baby needs

Babies have very basic, yet specific needs that are best met by the simplest means.  Unfortunately, today’s society is technologically-driven and fast-moving. Parents are easily caught up in the quest for convenience, the trendiest new baby device, or the hippest parenting advice.

Babies need warm arms to hold them.

Babies need warm arms to hold them.

Your baby needs your warm, comforting touch. He needs to hear your voice to learn language and see your face to learn emotion. She needs for you to respond to her cries and coos to learn trust and how to communicate. He needs you to stay close and pay attention to give him confidence and to keep him safe. Your baby needs you. Not a stimulating mobile to stare up at from a lonely crib. Not a plastic control center with 20 activity stations. Not a bucket seat that takes them from house to car to store and back without ever being unbuckled. Not even a Super Baby Genius video that teaches them Greek.

Quite often, we are the ones attracted to the bright lights, busy colors, and happy music of all the baby contraptions and we think that they will make our baby happier, smarter, safer, sleep better, etc. Or that they will make things easier, more convenient for us. But, truth be told, they probably just make the big companies richer, make our homes seem smaller, and weaken the bond between parent and child. Don’t misunderstand, some of them are useful in moderation, but it’s very easy to let those plastic things get too much quality time with your little one. Nothing can replace you. If you were stranded on a desert island with your baby and there wasn’t a toy in sight, your child wouldn’t miss them because you are his “favorite thing”.