Tag Archives: infant development

Baby Development and Opinions

7 Oct

I do not know anything more about baby/child development than what I have read in What to Expect – the First Year and the Sear’s Baby Book. My philosophy is that my child will development at the pace primarily determined by genetic make-up and only slightly, if at all, based on our interactions and stimulations. I figure if there is a problem or significant delay my doctor will alert me and we will address any issues at that time. So for the time being, we are trying to just keep our baby calm, (seemingly) happy, and meet all needs on demand.

Sometimes meeting needs entails using a baby carrier, swaddling, a swing, a bouncer,  a play gym, a pacifier, a sound machine, or some combination that involves muscles aches at the end of the day. This must be working for us; we have a thriving child and we are all (relatively) well rested. Our baby enjoys playing with us and appears to be meeting important milestones. Success!

Except, I hear, every so often, criticisms of all of our baby gadgets. For example, wearing babies inhibits motor development and does not allow them to interact and explore the world and swings keep babies laying down, inhibit motor development, and can increase the likelihood of sleep problems. While there are counter arguments to baby wearing and swing use, I think the debate is ultimately pointless.

First, parents and babies need sleep. Most babies do not just fall asleep (and stay asleep), especially in the early months, without assistance. There is only so much parents can do; baby gadgets help babies settle and sleep, allowing parents to get some rest.

Second, babies are most interested in interaction during the quiet alert state, but there are two other alert/awake states: active and crying. That means that your baby can be awake and not interested or able to interact and simply need soothing or a change of scenery (after looking at me all day I think my baby is happy to look at somebody or something else). Baby gadgets help settle babies and calm crying and fussiness.

Third, most parents and caregivers do not just watch the baby. Most of us also clean the house, cook meals, do laundry, talk on the phone, use the computer, or engage in some other task that requires putting the baby down to entertain himself for a few minutes. Without a baby gadget of some sort doing anything else during the day would be virtually impossible.

While there are certainly downsides to using baby gadgets, I don’t think that well-meaning, nurturing parents should be made to feel negligent for using gadgets if they result in improved quality of interaction among parent(s) and baby or even improved quality of life.