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Watch out for those baby buckets!

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I just came back from a very eye-opening weekend visit with a friend who has a daughter a bit younger than my 15 mo old. I feel like my friend is pretty AP in that she really tries to respond to her baby's needs and cues, but I was really shocked at how much time her kiddo spends sitting in one kind of baby bucket or another.

Lulu sleeps in a crib, so there's 10 hours with no human contact right from the get go. She gets up and gets put in her playdeebug exersaucer (no human contact) while her mother makes her breakfast. Then she gets transferred to her highchair (a little bit of human contact) and gets fed. For a couple hours, Lulu played on the floor and crawled to her mother when she needed something(limited contact). She also hung in the jolly jumper (no contact) and went back in the playdeebug (no contact) while we had tea, because my friend is terrified she will get burnt by hot tea. Sometimes she goes into the playpen during tea time.

Then it was naptime, and back into the crib she went, with no human contact for another hour. After naptime, it was another round of the playdeebug, highchair routine.

Then we went for a walk, and Lulu sat in her stroller for over an hour. When we came home, she played down on the floor a bit, but was very clingy and wanted to be held (too much time in the baby buckets?). Dinner time was yet another round of the saucer/chair, and then Lulu played with her Daddy for awhile.

During her evening bath, she sat in a plastic ring in the tub with a bit of contact when she was getting scrubbed. And then it was back into the crib for another 10 hours of no human contact.

I don't use a crib, stroller, playdeebug, highchair, jollyjumper, playpen or bathseat, so I can't really relate. But by my estimation, Lulu is easily spending between 16 - 20 hours a day with little or no human contact. That's just so different from my child, who spends 16 - 20 hours a day IN CONTACT with me.

I wouldn't be the slightest bit afraid to talk to my friend about overusing her baby buckets, but I'm not sure if she IS overusing them. Is this normal? Do other people use buckets this much and still have happy, attached babies? Should I just MYOB?
post #2 of 41
IMHO, that is too much time spent in contact with non-human stuff. Of course, babies have individual preferences for the amount of touching they need/desire, but seems like even a less touchy baby would want a bit more nuzzling..?

I use the high chair for when I am cooking and dd wants to be near me ( too dangerous in the sling, as her reach has extended to incredible lengths!); however, I drag the chair with me as I go to different parts of the kitchen, and its easy to read her cues when she's finished with the chair.

don't use the exersaucer much these days, but was helpful previously when I needed to wash the kitchen floor...guess I 'm not washing the floor as much??

dd slept with us for the first 13 months; now she sleeps on "her" mattress in "her" room. she outgrew our king size bed (!); she literally needs an entire bed to herself to helicopter around all night long. dh and I lay down with her until sleep overtakes, then we move next door..

anyway, just how we use/don't use things in our household..
post #3 of 41
It depends on how you define "human contact" Sounds like she is with her mom or dad except for sleep time which is her own time.

So she's in an exersaucer while mom has tea. Is she NEAR mom? Is mom INTERACTING with her? If she is just plopped down and ignored, then yes, it's too much time without contact, but if she is being involved, there's nothing wrong with it.

I stroller my dd alot. She loves it. I stop and show her things, we talk (ok I talk..she babbles)
Just because I am not having her in physical contact with me doesn't me she isn't getting contact time.

I think it's fine to use a bathring. DD uses one and we are with her while she bathes. We talk, sing and play with her.

AP doesn't mean you have to be in physical contact. IMHO, it means you are in EMOTIONAL contact with your child.
post #4 of 41
I agree with Foobar. If the baby seems attached to her mom and happy, then that's all that counts. BUT--

is this enough exploration time for a toddler? If this baby is crawling or about to start walking, she needs more time to be freeeee! wheee! and exploring toddlerville. The visual exploration is good, but she should get more of that floor time you describe. (I hope I'm not being judgemental here, I have never been the parent of a toddler, and I keep finding out how hard things are as I go along!)

I don't know any toddlers who spend that much time protected in "buckets" as you termed them. It sounds like this mom is a little nervous about accidents.

It occurs to me that this might not be typical for your friend, though. She might have put the baby in all those baby-holders to have time with you.
post #5 of 41
O.K. first, don't call them "buckets" because I think your friend would find this term really insulting. If this kid is happy I do think you should not even bring the whole thing up!
post #6 of 41
[mod note: use of the term "baby buckets" has been offensive in past threads, and messages have been sent for edits to this thread. Please stick to the original topic.]
************************************************** *

my 2 cents (I'm passionate about this subject! )

Numerous books have been written documenting the healing effects of touch. I think we as a society tend to overlook physical contact as one of the "necessities" of good health. How often have we heard "if they're dry and fed then they are just crying to be picked up", as if needing to be picked up was a bad thing, or a luxury that needn't be met if there are more pressing chores to be done. But more and more science is showing that physical contact and touch are an integral part of human nature and health.

Anyone familiar with NICU's will know about "Kangaroo Kare". It's a program whereby mothers hold their infants skin-against-skin for several hours a day. This has been shown to dramatically speed up healing, recovery, and development in sick and premature babies. The vital signs are regulated by being held: heart rate and variability, blood pressure, respiratory rate; the immune system is boosted, calming neurotransmitters are released from the brain, stress hormone levels fall...all these and more simply by being held. Twins benefit from being placed together in incubators in a similar manner. Not to mention all the physiological consequenes of baby sleeping next to an adult. Can we look at this evidence and still think that holding a baby is a benign act?

When you think about it, babies have evolved to be in constant physical contact for most of their early lives. You can look at any primate mother/infant dyad and see that. For a helpless infant in the wild, being untouched means abandoned and that means certain death. I'm not saying that little Joey is fearing for his life when mama puts him in his exersaucer. I am saying that a lifestyle whereby baby is held minimally is not optimal for his physical and emotional wellbeing. And this opinion is backed up by numerous studies. Go to any babywearing website and you'll find references to this. Babies who are held often are more content, cry less, and are more secure.

In no other culture are babies so routinely out of the arms of caregivers, and even in our culture it is a relatively recent condition (prior to prams, introduced by Queen Victoria, babies were held either by their mothers, siblings, extended family, or a nanny). Certainly we have a different lifestyle now, little help, and not always someone to hold the baby, but I don't think that we can ignore the fact that babies were designed to be held and in close physical contact with other humans for *most* of their day.

I think it's really easy for mothers to get caught up in their very busy lives. With all we have to do, and a baby (or more than one child!) to care for, the time in a day flies by, doesn't it? Do we really stop to ask ourselves "how often was my baby held today?". I've never added it up before and I'm sure that mother isn't aware of how much time her baby actually spends out of arms. I'm not judging anybody and I'm not saying that if you don't hold your baby for "x" hours a day then you're a bad mommy who's damaging their child. I just think that it gives us all something to think about.

stepping off my soapbox now!
post #7 of 41
Um, I'm not sure how I was "off topic." The post was about getting involved with a friend's parenting and should you do it. The fact that the term the poster is using is offensive is very relevant! If you use offensive terminology your friends are not going to listen to anything you have to say!!!!!!!
post #8 of 41
Obviously, human touch is good for all of us. But remember, babywearing is just one of the aspects of AP. It doesn't work out for everyone. I think Foobar's point about INTERACTING with the baby and INVOLVING her is important.

Since you asked if this is normal, here's what we have:

high chair

She sits in the high chair when she eats solids, but she still nurses a lot so gets a lot of contact. Plus, we co-sleep, so there's a lot of touching there.

She sits in the exersaucer when I'm showering, or preparing my or her food.

When I want to get some exercise, we go for a walk, her in the stroller. I found with the sling I couldn't walk as fast, and she got jostled a lot.

She gets a lot of floor time for her exercise, and to encourage crawling. Even if we're not always holding her, she's always with us. And we interact for most of the day. But there are times when she plays on her own.

Just my .02.

Much Love.
post #9 of 41
some babies are happier (believe it or not!) w/less human contact. some babies can be happy in the exersaucer, in the high chair, in a crib, in the jolly jumper, in the stroller and GASP! in the dreaded bucket!

i have a fellow friend/AP mom who has a son who is happier to sleep on his own, often happier in a stroller than a sling and she felt bad b/c he wasn't attached - well, that's his personality. that's a system that works for them, nothing to feel bad about. i agree - interaction is the key.

i would love to co-sleep w/my dd2 as i did and do w/dd1 and dd3. dd2 will not have it. she is HAPPY and MORE COMFORTABLE in her crib for both naps and bedtime - 14 hours w/no human contact in a 24 hour day. this is a seriously attached kid. she is very huggy and cuddly when awake, but just sleeps better on her own.

so all kids are different. if you feel your friend is not INTERACTING w/her child at all and the child seems to be suffering, by all means, bring it up. but if baby is happy in these different devices, please don't judge.
post #10 of 41
Iam going to put my two cents in I dont co sleep or ap But I do cloth diaper and try to save the planet and recycle. Iam very offended by this but I know people have there right to an opinion. but just because I dont ap or cosleep and I do use a walker from time to time and my daughter sleeps in a crib. but it does not mean that I dont love her any less I spend alot of time with both of my girls I tell them I love them 20 times a day. and even though Kimberly is in her walker I talk to her and play with her and when she is on the floor playing Iam too. just because parents dont ap or cosleep does not make them a bad parent. I just thought I would put my two cents in about my parenting choice.

post #11 of 41
I know with my bad back and knees after dd got to a certain size I couldn't carry her anymore all day in the sling. So we did use the swing, excersaucer, and bouncy seat, but she was always near me and I was talking to her all the time. She also coslept with us. I agree that too much time is a bad thing, but when she's ready she'll protest all those contraptions as my dd did, when she learned to crawl and walk and then it will be impossible to contain her.

BTW my dd got a flat head in back because of too much time in the carseat/carrier. She had reflux and had to remain upright after feedings for 30 mins. and also slept in her carrier at night per ped's (bad) advice. So that's another risk to consider.

post #12 of 41
I'm with Foo and the captain on this one.

It is different from what you do with your child. My concern isn't that the child isn't in mama's arms...it's that she's not exploring and roaming.

Also, I think you can have attached and happy babies who spend time in baby gadgets. Even if they sleep in a crib at night, too. My DD wouldn't sleep with us at all. She rarely slept on DH's chest, either. She wanted her own space. We should have known that from the get-go since she lived in my womb with one leg straight out. (not kidding)

If you're visiting and baby is in the bouncer or whatzit, and she's fussing, ask "Does she like that pretty well? Does she feel confined sitting there?" or something. If baby and mama seem happy, they're doing alright.
post #13 of 41

I agree with many of the previous posters!

I think you can have a VERY attached, ap parented baby and still use the 'equipment' you're referring to! We use a high chair for meals.... personally, I like to have 2 hands to eat my own meals, and we have fun feeding dd in her chair! We co-sleep, so we don't use a crib, but we do have a 'saucer', which DD LOVED for many months. She would spend a up to 15-20 min at a time a couple times/day (while I showered, made dinner, etc). It was FUN for her. Those jumper things are also FUN for babies. Mine loved to bounce up & down in the doorway. She also enjoys the occasional walk in the stroller.

We do have several slings & a baby bjorn & she gets TONS of 'in arms' time..... but I think the original post alluded to one important thing..... babies/toddlers NEED time to be on their own, exploring the world & figuring things out. That may mean some 'alone playing on the floor time', crawling around exploring the house, playing in the saucer, etc. If they spend every second of the day being held or in the sling, when do they have time to figure out how the world works on their own? I'm not saying your friend does or does not use the equipment too much, but I think using it in itself is not bad.

My dd has had floor time since she was a newborn. She loved the gymni-thing, loved looking at the toys. She was mobile at 5.5months, rolling around the house exploring. If I never put her down, when would she have learned how to do this? She's now walking at 10.5 months and is a VERY secure & attached little girl. BUT, she also spends time every day playing by herself. I think this is very important! She knows how to amuse herself, chats away with her toys, etc. I don't think it's my job as a parent to HOLD my dd every moment of every day, rather to be there for her whenever she needs me, but to foster her development in all areas.

Just my 2 (okay, maybe 3) cents
post #14 of 41
If you are saying that Lulu is slightly younger than your 15 month old, she is a toddler. Toddlers often do not want to be held.

My last baby was 100% ap, imo. For the first eight weeks, he did not leave my body contact. In fact, I had a particularly pathetic post when he was about 3 weeks old and I felt overwhelmingly guilty bc I had to put him down on the floor(he had no problem with it at all!)for 5 or 10 minutes to get my older two boys lunch!! But, as he reached 3 and 4 months, he started to really enjoy tummy time. When he got to six months, he liked taking stroller rides. When he was 8 months, he started walking, and believe me, I cold not hold him. It seems from your post, that except during the times when baby would be in danger, the baby always had unrestricted access to her mom. Was she crying when she was in the exercsaucer? if you think that your friend is ap and listens to her baby's cues, why on earth are you second guessing her judgement? Every child is ddifferent, every family dynamic is different, and I think that if the baby is happy, then it is no ones business how it is done.

I also really think that the amount of physical contact a toddler(not all toddlers ) needs is alot less than a little baby.
post #15 of 41
Originally posted by angelwraps
My dd has had floor time since she was a newborn. She loved the gymni-thing, loved looking at the toys. She was mobile at 5.5months, rolling around the house exploring. If I never put her down, when would she have learned how to do this? She's now walking at 10.5 months and is a VERY secure & attached little girl.
Well they do learn if they are in-arms. My youngest was worn almost constantly in the sling (Didymos) for his first 5 months or so, he was really only put down for diaper changes. He was rolling over at two months old, he was sitting independently and crawling at 5 months old, pulling himself up at 6 months old and walking by the end of his ninth month. He never had tummy time, never played under the baby gym. Once he was able to explore on his own, he spent less time in the sling and more time exploring. But always napped in the sling and slept with me. The only time he was not in contact with me was when he chose not to be.

Marcelle Geber's study of 300 Ugandan babies (home birthed) shows the amazing benefits of carrying babies in-arms. The babies had head balance at 48 hours, were crawling and sitting at six to seven weeks.

(Marcell, Geber - "The Psycho-Motor Development of African Children in the First Year and the Influence of Maternal Behavior." Journal of Social Psychology, no. 47 (1958): 185-95)

Babies are hardwired to be carried IMO.

post #16 of 41
ITA with Piglet (you always have such wonderful things to say about this subject! )

what i think of when i come to my conclusions about 'baby gagets' as someone called them- or when i hear anyone say some babies "like their space" or even enjoy sleeping in their cribs- is that it is simply not evolutionarily logical that anything of that sort is true. imagine a baby not wanting to be held in any society but this recent modern one!! that baby, if truly 'not wanting to be held', or liking to sleep isolated and alone, would surely die- that is, if the mother did not have her insincts, which tell her to keep the babe close and safe.

mother nature would not benefit by crafting human babies who desired to be isolated, just as is is implausible that babies cannot be born without hospital care, or that any large # of mothers cannot breastfeed. i believe in the perfection of nature's design.

of course, we live in a world that requires more of us than what we are designed to do as mothers- we're expected to raise children in homes filled with truly dangerous (to babes) situations like the oven and electricity, without a group of other mothers and grandmothers around us.

the really amazing thing is that babies and mothers are able to adapt to the adverse conditions we are given.

what shocks me about the excessive use of infant carriers (they are actually mentioned in some baby books as 'must-haves') is that they offer absolutely no mechanical advantage!! those things make is so difficult to carry a babe around in them! i see mothers carting these things around and i want to approach them and give them the sling off my back... please, take this- its so much easier! i guess the real 'ease' of those seats is that you can go from car to stroller to house, even let the baby sleep in them, why- you could go all day without touching your child, if you have one of those 'super absorbant' diapers!

... i don't have any judgements for anyone. i feel sorry for mothers who really don't realise how easy it is to parent if you follow your insincts. you have to dig, sometimes, to get at them. but once you get them flowing and start listening, its amazing how well suited we are to our roles.

post #17 of 41
I stand by what I wrote above, but wanted to clarify one thing. For some reason (possibly the fact that I read the OP while minding the lovebird didn't bite DD, that the cat didn't try to eat the lovebird, and that DD didn't yank the cat's tail, lol!)...I thought we were talking about a younger child. Now that I get we are talking about a toddler, I share the comments of others who noted that toddlers love to explore and love floor time.

I might have even spared y'all my speech, but now you're stuck with it! :LOL

<----- this is SO me (and DD is already a chatty one, too!)
post #18 of 41
I'm new here, so please don't laugh. When I read the title of this thread I thought it was about actual buckets. It took a few sentences to realize that's not what you meant.

I can't comment on whether the friend was overusing any of these things because I wasn't there, but since you were only there for the weekend, could she possibly have been using them more because she had company? It was just a thought.
post #19 of 41

I think you bring up some good points in your "speech" (lol) but I think with older children, they may want to explore more (and this is where I do feel bad for LuLu... I know Goo would be off and running if she can)

I think everyone needs both, space and closeness. Quite often, Goo will push away from me when she wants to be "alone". I'll be near her, but she doesn't want to be held. Other times, she'll come and snuggle with me.
We all need both.
post #20 of 41
Originally posted by tabitha
when i hear anyone say some babies "like their space" or even enjoy sleeping in their cribs- is that it is simply not evolutionarily logical that anything of that sort is true. imagine a baby not wanting to be held in any society but this recent modern one!! that baby, if truly 'not wanting to be held', or liking to sleep isolated and alone, would surely die- that is, if the mother did not have her insincts, which tell her to keep the babe close and safe.

mother nature would not benefit by crafting human babies who desired to be isolated

... i don't have any judgements for anyone. i feel sorry for mothers who really don't realise how easy it is to parent if you follow your insincts. you have to dig, sometimes, to get at them. but once you get them flowing and start listening, its amazing how well suited we are to our roles.

My daughter wasn't a cuddly baby. She's five now and she is a hugger/smoocher/lovey dovey girl. But as a baby, she really DID want to sleep by herself. She would NOT sleep on my husband and believe me, he tried and tried and was sad that she was happier checking things out or snoozing on her own.

Don't feel sorry for me for following my instincts to put her down if that's what she wanted. She got her touchy time from nursing and that was enough for her.

I don't want any other mamas to doubt themselves about this. If your baby is happy and healthy and you are, too, it's WORKING for you. There is no reason to read this thread and think, "Did I do something wrong to my baby if my baby doesn't want to be held constantly?" If they weren't meant to eventually move about on their own in their own space, they wouldn't come OUT.

And a toddler certainly doesn't need the in-arms time that a smaller baby does. At slightly younger than 15 months, that child should be exploring...and perhaps the devices that contain her are restricting that...but I don't think taking those things out of the equation means she'd require more in-arms time.
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