We have all seen them - cumbersome plastic buckets being lugged around by new parents, containing a well protected newborn. This is the infant car seat a device that doubles as a carrier. A modern day convenience. You can easily transport your baby to and from the car without waking them or having to hold them while trying to manage all the other baby gear you brought with you. They also snap into specially made strollers to provide you with an easy transportation option. Just click and go. Sounds like the best invention ever. Or is it.
Sure I love convenience. It can make life so much easier. But I believe it can also be a crutch sometimes.
Infants usually sleep well in the car - the road noise and motion lulling them to sleep. Then snug in their bucket they continue to snooze. This allows the parents to carry them in and place them on the floor or a chair at a restaurant and have an evening out without having to hold or manage their baby. I even had friends "baby sit" an infant of friends once that arrived asleep in its infant car seat. This baby slept the entire time they were "baby sitting" and so stayed in the car seat that evening. How great to have a device that keeps your baby comfy while you enjoy life.
When Mr. Ramon and I were going through the list of "gear" that is recommended for babies car seats were at the top of the list. The first thing we needed to consider was my car. I drive a Mini Cooper. Super small car. I scoured the Mini Cooper forums looking for the car seat options that worked well in the Mini. There were several great options and even a couple infant car seats that fit in - barely. Most of the infant car seats had to be taken in and out of the car through the rear hatch - super inconvenient. This opened the conversation about starting with a convertible car seat and bypassing the infant car seat completely.
There were some other things to consider when making the decision. One was that we would have to invest in a new car seat when baby out grew her infant seat. This could be somewhere between 6-24 months depending on which brand of seat we chose and her rate of growth. The biggest factor for me when deciding to skip the infant car seat was the carrying around baby in a bucket - not interacting with her - not holding her and letting others hold her.
We were called crazy by a few parents - what? You are going to wake her up every time you take her out of the car. What will you do if she is sleeping? How will you go out to dinner or social gatherings? Even Mr. Ramon asked "What do we do at a restaurant?". I honestly was amazed. I have to look back at my baby days and wonder how my parents managed to have a great social life and take me everywhere they went without this device. Maybe they just held me. Crazy - but that's what arms are for I think. Especially when there is a baby - who doesn't want to hold a baby.
Then I have to believe that being in a car seat in this position for hours at a time cannot be good for an infants body. I know that if I sit in one position for long periods I get uncomfortable. And when it comes to sleeping is this the best position for a baby?
We knew we were going to do a lot of baby wearing when we were out and about. Research has shown how baby wearing is one of the best things you can do for your baby. Benefits of being able to connect at a deeper level with your baby, proper spine and body alignment when worn correctly and a baby that cries and fusses less. These are some fantastic benefits.
The Maxi-Cosi is super safe and really compact for the type of seat it is. It fit great in the Mini Cooper. It fit her from the very beginning at 7.5lbs and will continue to fit her until she is 70lb. The Tiny Fit feature is for babies 4- 22lbs is what makes this carseat have a smaller footprint than most infant seats allowing for the front passenger to have more legroom.
We are now 17 weeks into our new baby life and have managed to make it through with our convertible car seat. We have been out to numerous restaurants, shopping trips and events all without an infant car seat. We have baby carried her when walking around and when sitting have mostly held her in our lap. She has seemed to enjoy being in the action from the beginning - checking out all that these environments have to offer.
Of course eating one handed is a skill to acquire and Mr. Ramon and I have supported each other during meals. We switch off with her sometimes or cut up one another's food. Teamwork for sure.
Friends have loved meeting her and holding her while out as well. If she is tired she can fall asleep in arms or we baby wear her. Usually we try to respect her sleep needs and be home during those times - choosing to go out when it works best for her.
There are times where she falls asleep in her car seat. Of course - the car seems to be her drug. Lulling her into a deep sleep we could only dream of at home. Sometimes we just have to run a few errands and she has to get in and out of her seat. She handles this well most of the time and I like to believe this helps her learn to be adaptable. If she is asleep when we get home I hope Mr. Ramon is around - he is a magician and can move her out of her seat and into the house to continue napping without a fuss on most occasions.
So this is the path we chose for our babe and everyone has the right to choose what works for them. But I also say - do your research. What is best for the child? I would rather be a little inconvenienced if necessary to make the best decision for my child's best development.