Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Detachment Parenting Extravaganza

There is a new product by Graco that really helps you detach from your baby. How wonderful this system is, you won't ever need to have contact with your baby again! It does everything you can do, but it does it better, because it frees you up to do other, important things, like cleaning the house, reading a book, doing your hair or sitting on the couch watching this product soothe your baby.

I've long hated the "baby buckets" that parents seem so bent on using nowadays, and here is a quote from an article about this very thing:

"Carry our babies to the car in a container, out of the car in a container, through the mall in a container, into the restaurant in a container, back to the car in a container, and home to a container, so that objects define our baby's existence more so than our body, is not just a step away from tradition. It is a cataclysmic change far out of step with the rhythmic pas de deux to which our babies' minds and bodies were choreographed... No species in a hundred years or so can turn the time-tested mother-baby relationship on its head without consequences. In the short term, diminished contact makes babies fussier than they need be and mothers more conflicted than they need be."


vbacwarrior said...

I *love* (note sarcasm) that they show the machine rocking the baby, then show the mother rocking the baby. Like they're equating one with the other.

Mary said...

I usually love your site, but I have twins. I would have loved one of these as much as I loved my swing back then. I have an attachment parenting orientation, but I couldn't hold both babies at all times. And you know what? Someone has to clean, cook, do laundry and even catch a shower once in awhile so she doesn't end up a mass of greasy rashes. By the way, those "containers" for the car save lives and allow women to drive without holding one or more babies.

Lowa said...

Wow! What is the point in having children!?!?

Am I the only one that this totally horrifies!?!?!? I want to CRY!


I often wonder when I see people carrying their children around in car seats, etc. Carry them EVERYWHERE! Every time I had a baby, I was SO THRILLED to be able to hold another child constantly and cuddle and love and bond with him/her. I loved having toddlers climbing on me as I carried or nursed a baby and other kids gathered around for a story or also tried to climb on me:) That is the way it is supposed to be.

People would always ask me why I carried my baby with me instead of in a car seat like most others do. I asked them why they carry their's in a car sea!?? They just looked at a loss for words and had no answer. They are only this small for a short time, why not soak up as much contact as possible??

I just don't understand it:(

One Hot Mama said...

Mary said:
"Someone has to clean, cook, do laundry and even shower once in a awhile" and also: "By the way, those "containers" for the car save lives and allow women to drive without holding one or more babies."

I think Mary has missed my point, eh?

No one is condemning the occasional use of something to hold your baby for a few minutes while you shower. However, what's wrong with a sling, wrap, Mei Tai or other soft baby carrier?

I've had a swing before. My babies didn't much care for it, but, there it was. And no one ever said anything negative about a car seat being used IN a moving vehicle, only in the seat being used as a baby bucket to carry the baby every single place that parents go. How often do you really see women carrying or holding their babies nowadays? Their babies are always in strollers or buckets in the shopping cart, the babies are even in buckets in church!

This has all led to flat headed babies who are never held.

I can see where this product might have some limited use, but people will abuse it the same way they abuse the "car" seats that have become full time carriers. Babies will spend the vast majority of their day in these things, listening to the recorded sound of heartbeats instead of their mothers, and smelling mother's scent on and being held by the "swaddling blanket" instead of smelling mom and being held close in a soft baby carrier next to her skin and breasts.

heather said...

Just a suggestion for Mary... It is possible to hold 2 babies and still get things done around the house. It takes some getting used to, but babywearing is essential with twins for the exact reason you said- you can't hold both babies at all times.


Attachment Parenting twins is tough to compare to parenting a singleton. There is definitely more room for "equipment" such as double strollers because of the difficulty of carrying 2 or more babies. But that doesn't mean you can't find other solutions that promote bonding too.

Amie said...

I am all for the baby swing, I definatly have those "need a break moments" but I don't really get why people are so apposed to holding babies either. Ofcourse I would rather they be looking at the "sooth your baby (though artifical means)" website than at the "lay your baby in a crib and ignore them while they cry" websites. Just a thought :)

Lowa said...

AMEN one hot mama!

I didn't get the idea that you were suggesting that no one ever set a baby down for a while so they can get things done. That is not the point at all. It is pretty much impossible to always have a baby connected to you (unless you are pregnant) but to carry them around in things is just...odd. And pointless. Of coures with twins it would be even harder to hold them 24/7, and it changes a lot. There are awesome products out there now to help with parenting. But like One Hot Mama said, people go to the other extreme and seldom hold or interact with their infants.

emjaybee said...

Hmm. I am big into attachment parenting, but this comes off judgemental to me. First of all my son was 10 lbs, a c/section. I could not easily rock him myself in my arms, or use a sling properly--by the time I healed he was even bigger, and quite frankly, the buckets were a lifesaver, along with the baby bouncer. He also *hated* cosleeping--but then, as I thought about it, I'm not much of a cuddly sleeper either and never have been. That's just his personality. He thrived in a crib, close to our bed. I feel no guilt about that.

We kiss, hug, and cuddle our son all day long, as much as he'll let us, and always have. But I think the whole "you should always carry your baby" thing just does not take into account the temperaments of babies and parents as well as the physical realities of women who aren't bodybuilders, esp. those of us who birth big babies. And Heather, unless you've personally done the twins in slings thing, or even if you have--I mean, if I were mary, that would really peeve me. Twin moms need all the help they can get, fer cryin out loud.

AtYourCervix said...

I loved my sling/wrap that I made for my youngest child. I wore her as much as I could!! And she loved it too. She was very content when I was holding her up against me in her sling/wrap. When she started to become more alert and curious about the world around her, I tried a swing - but she still liked being up against me better. I wish I could go back in time and spend even MORE time holding her so close to me - now that she's 4 years old, she is run-run-run all over the place.

Sigh....I miss those baby days.

Emily said...

I can relate to the part from the quote about it making mothers feel conflicted. I'm glad this time around (baby #3) I'm able to do more things w/o analyzing everything and trying to fit into someone's mold. You get so many messages and are either supposed to fit in one camp or another. Trying to just do what works for you and filtering out the rest of the world is really really hard. Almost impossible when you have your first baby. And I see this contraption as maybe having it's place in some people's homes for the periods of time that some parents may need a break or some help. But I also see it as a HUGE waste of money b/c it's not a guarantee your kid will even tolerate the thing. You'll have it sitting in your living room for 6-8 months taking up tons of space, hardly getting used, just like many of us and the big swings.

CNH said...

This is a very interesting post and even more interesting comments section because I am expecting twins. And my first thought when clicking on the link was "hey, I wonder if that could help in those early days!" LOL! But then I don't think anyone here is being judgmental of me or anyone else who sometimes needs to set their baby down. This product wasn't made for, and isn't being marketed to, mothers of multiples.

Really, when I think about it, I wish I had had this for my last baby. Dinner routine for Izzy, who hated the sling until I could figure out which kind and which hold she would tolerate, was:

Rock and nurse baby to sleep

Gently set her in bouncer

Run around like mad person getting dinner dished up and fed to 4, 3, and 1 year olds

Pick up screaming baby who woke 5 minutes before you got it all done

Rock back to sleep

Gently set her in bouncer

Bolt own food and drink down

Pick up screaming baby

Rock and shush back to sleep

Gently set in bouncer, pray that she'll stay asleep for more than 10 minutes

Rush around getting plates scraped and rinsed and ready for DH to put in dishwasher when he comes home from 12 hour day

Pick up screaming baby and plant self on couch.

This went on for 3 months until I could get her settled in a sling on my back ANYTIME I HAD TO SET HER DOWN! She's still this way at 13 months old. I shudder internally to think of it times two.

So Mary, no judgment here. But you do see so many people, perfectly capable of holding and loving on their infants, carrying them in some sort of plastic contraption 24/7. I think there is plenty of room for stuff like this depending on need and circumstance. If you have AP in your heart, you won't overuse it.

Hey Heather, was I just meant to run into you all over the Net again all of the sudden??!?!? I bookmarked your blog. :D

Jill said...

While I don't doubt for a second that many mothers just "need a break" for a minute or two to avoid going totally crazy or to deal with other household issues, I don't think that's what most people who plunk down the dough for one of these glorified swings are going to use it for. :( Call me pessimistic, but the name itself, in my eyes, even promotes detachment: "Look, now you can finally have some 'sweet peace' by getting that annoying baby out of your arms!" (Okay, I know the makers probably meant 'sweet peace' for the baby, but you can take it in another direction too.)

Personally, I feel bad for mothers who never feel that irresistable strong maternal instinct. When my son was born, I didn't WANT to put him down! I WANTED to hold him and carry him 24/7! I didn't HAVE to, because thankfully, he was an easygoing baby, but I just felt so wrong when he wasn't in my arms. Even now as a preschooler I just adore snuggling him and holding him in my lap and kissing him until he squirms away. I can't get enough of him! I can't imagine leaving my baby in a swing or bucket all day long. It wouldn't feel right.

Tiffany said...

I deal with many different types of families as a doula and childbirth educator...and what I have seen is that the majority of moms do not use these soothing items for a small "break"...they use them almost 24/7. They do not hold, cuddle, etc their babies most of the time and then use the swing, bouncer, "bucket" as a way to get a few things done or something....they rarely hold their baby. They feel the need to let something else sooth the baby.
I was really kind of shocked when I went to register for my own baby (#5)...it had been over 4 years since my last baby and I could not believe all of the detachment items on the market. A monitor that is a TV screen?????? A bear that has "moms heartbeat" in it??? A sound/light/viabrating "thing" to hook to the crib....that turns on with a remote?????????????? This is insane. Heck, soon a mom will not EVER have to hold her own baby!!!! A "soother" will drop from the ceiling (by remote control...controlled by mom, downstairs) and feed the baby, rock the baby and imitate moms voice to sing to the baby.

I understand needing some time to get things done/cook/clean up/take care of other kids/have a moment to yourself. I have 5 kids. However, isn't it also a moms "job" to hold her baby, rock her baby, sooth her baby, sing to her baby, bond with her baby?

It makes me sad. These moms are missing out....and once they realize it then it will be to late...their babies will be to old. Take it from a mom who detached from baby #1 because of a little book called Babywise....and realized it to late.....but has made up for it with babies 2-5 :) I never put them down!

Jawndoejah said...

One comment though about the buckets...as a mom who has fallen carrying her child and dropped her on the pavement, I do use a carrier going into buildings from the van. Usually, my little one is asleep and I don't want to wake her but take her out of the carrier as soon as she is awake. With snow on the ground and five other children, I feel safer with her in the carrier to go into buildings. I do hold her nearly all day by choice, and when I'm not holding her my other children enjoy holding her. Someone did comment the other day at church that she needed to get out of the carrier, and I had just set it down with her in it with the intention of taking her right out of it. I did share my fear about falling and know that in the carrier it might be a better fall. The fall I had on pavement was in the summer, and I tripped on steps going down in an apartment complex. I dropped the baby when I hit the ground, my arms were around her though (bent squarely at the elbows) and they kept me from squishing her with my body. At least with a carrier, she wouldn't have hit her head on the hard cement at the bottom. She did have a big goose egg and was quite fine, but it scared me to death.

heather said...

emjaybee, Mary, and others:

I wasn't being sarcastic with my comment. Just trying to point out that it IS possible to wear 2 babies and still have hands free. Yes, those pictures I linked to are of me and my twins. When they were born I had a 1-yo and 3-yo as well and no family anywhere nearby. Being able to wear both babies saved me a lot of stress, especially in those early weeks. Some babies just don't want to be put down and some just don't want to be in a swing or other contraption.

Agatha said...

Bloody hell.

Amanda said...

I do find your post and some comments a tad on the judgmental side. I love my ring sling- it's awesome, and is perfect in certain situations. I also see no reason to wake a sleeping baby, so I often use the infant seat in stores. As a matter of fact- my girlie fell asleep in the car, and she's still in her seat. When she wakes, I will change her, breastfeed her, and lay down with her cuddled between my husband and myself. When I go shopping, I can't control 2 or 3 other children and hold my infant and 2 year old. Different situations call for different solutions. Assuming how a parent holds/treats/interacts/bonds with their child based on how they carry them or feed them is exactly what feeds the "mommy wars." Several of my children loved the swing, others hated it. Does it make me a bad mother that I let my boys enjoy time in the swing? No, I don't think so. Our oldest had a very high sensory threshold, and needed almost constant movement. The swing fulfilled that need in a way that I couldn't. Neither does it make me a bad mother that I use strollers, and "gasp" fed our firstborn formula. My personal opinion is that it makes me a good mother for recognizing that each child was different with different needs, and meeting those needs in the best way possible. I do believe that's what being a mother is all about.

Leslie said...

I kinda agree that a lot of the comments, as well as the post itself, are a little judgmental.

I think it's great that some of you want to hold your babies 24/7. But not all parents feel that way, and not all parents believe that's what's best for children.

I don't think I'd personally go so far as to purchase this product, but I definitely plan on using a swing, etc., to make sure I can take a few minutes to shower, exercise and make dinner.