Baby Containers, Musculoskeletal Development, and Milestone Mastery
I understand that this is a very controversial and heated topic, but it is important that new parents are provided with adequate information to make informed choices when it comes to caring for their child, especially with respect to safe and healthy body development and milestone mastery.
Containers are devices that can limit natural movement patterns, effect developmentally-appropriate postures, place abnormal forces on little bodies, and can delay milestone mastery when a baby is first learning to move. Baby containers can include swings, exersaucers, bumbo seats, car seats, jumperoos/jolly jumpers, walkers, etc.
‘Container Baby Syndrome” refers to a variety of problems that can be caused by excessive time spent in containers, especially if done before developmentally appropriate. This term came to light as SIDS research and awareness grew, sleeping on the back was strongly recommended, and use of containers to keep baby on their back gained popularity.
Although container marketing and promotion state that items are “approved by orthopedic specialists/pediatricians” and “recommended for use at X age”, please remember that these companies are REALLY GOOD at marketing and that it is simply just that, marketing. More often than not, the ‘recommended age’ on the package is developmentally inappropriate and these items should really not be utilized until your child is assuming the position/milestone independently.
Your baby does not need to use containers to develop properly and reach their milestones. All your baby needs is some room on your floor with a few age-appropriate toys. Babies are born with these motor patterns engrained in their brain. They know exactly what to do! Promise.
If you need to use one of the above containers, it is totally ok! Being a parent is incredibly hard! If you need a few minutes of free time to pee, shower, get something done, or simply put your baby down and have them be occupied for a breather, you are human! I see you.
Here are some simple guidelines for container use if that does happen:
- baby is in the container for 10-15 minutes max
- follow container time with free movement floor time/tummy time for at least double the amount of time (20-30
minutes), but more if possible
- check out the "alternatives" in the chart above, and do your best to set your baby up so their body is supported as much as possible
This is simply for your information and to help ensure your baby is provided the opportunity to develop in a healthy, age-appropriate, supported, and safe environment for their body.
Last but not least, you are doing a great job and are the best parent for your baby!