A term I do not love but I will explain what it is and why I don’t love it!
Check out the PedsDocTalk YouTube Video: Pediatrician Mom Talks about Bouncers, Bumbo Seats, Exersaucers, Jumpers, and Walkers. This video will share more information and guidance on specific “baby container” recommendations.
Overall, baby containers are items that “contain” free movement of a baby. Things like carriers, jumpers, sit me up, walkers, exersaucers, bumbo seats, bouncers, swings, etc. Things that we put babies in to “contain” them.
I hate the term “baby containers”, because it can be correlated with a lot of judgement. A baby doesn’t meet certain motor milestones or develops flattening of the back of the head (AKA plagiocephaly) and automatically a parent is shamed for using various baby gear, when in actuality it wasn’t really these things. But also, in general, parent shaming is not fun to see or feel.
So my goal is to explain the limitations to these various items and also explain balancing with other developmental activities or avoiding some of these altogether to save money!
If you think of the basics, floor time is extremely important for babies.
Floor time forces babies to utilize their big and small muscles. By laying toys around in a playpen on a playmat, babies are using their motor and cognitive skills to lift their head, reach for objects nearby, roll, crawl, pull to stand and eventually walk. I think of it in basic terms and from an evolutionary perspective—if you have nothing holding you back, you will learn to move to keep up with your adults aka caregivers.
So from a motor standpoint, floor time is an AMAZING and FREE way to encourage baby development.
Ideally, I want you to encourage floor time as much as possible. Play time on the floor is the most ideal, or you can use a playpen if you are busy in the kitchen but need them in a safe area.
But what about all those items on the market? They say they’re great for baby development – are they?
Let me start with, be wary of marketing!
I want you to be wary when purchasing these items. Many parents feel these items help their babies sit faster and walk faster but it’s actually the contrary. And if you’ve used some of these—please remember it’s okay. It’s all about big picture here and balancing other developmental activities!
Using these items in moderation is fine, but we need to discuss some popular “baby containers”.
The hard reality is—moderation is a loose term. There is no amount of time where it becomes detrimental. But, my philosophy is:
- If you feel they’ve been in these things for too long, you’re probably right.
- AND when you’re playing with your baby, move them out of these and onto the floor.
Balance is possible, but you have to have insight into knowing the balance is important.
Watch this PedsDocTalk YouTube Video for pros, cons, and best practice recommendations by a pediatrician mom for common “baby containers,” including baby bouncers, Bumbo seat, the Upseat, Exersaucers, Jolly Jumpers, and walkers.
My bottom line with “baby containers”
- Encourage floor time
- Save your money on gear
- Beware of marketing and your child’s own development
- Create a balance with floor time and other activities
- Don’t blame yourself for developmental outcomes if you use gear