Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another thing to feel guilty about

So I've heard that there's new research out there recommending that babies/toddlers remain in a rear-facing car seat until they're 2 years-old at the very least.

I found this out on Facebook. I saw a few links and conversations about it. Some parents (people I don't know, by the way... this isn't directed at anyone...) proudly boast that their child is still in a rear-facing seat, while those who have babies that have been turned around have a "guilty" tone to their comments.

While I'm not denying WHATSOEVER that it's great that we have so much new information available to us as parents regarding the health and safety of our children... at the same time, my first thought was:

"Oh great. Yet another thing I've done wrong."

We turned Anna's car seat around after she turned a year old. Now I feel guilty because my child is more likely to get seriously injured if we were ever in a car crash (god forbid).

And if I'm being completely honest - this new information will most likely not make me turn the car seat back to rear-facing.

Not because I'm lazy. Not because I don't believe the research. Not because I'm a bad Mom. But mostly because I've heard this all before.

Do you remember the new research suggesting that if you had an away-facing stroller your child wouldn't develop as close of a bond with you because they can't see your face and will feel separated from you?

Or how about all the information that told us that wearing your baby in a sling was THE BEST way to take care of your child when they're little? After all, most cultures around the world had been doing this for ages and ages. Yet - even newer research later suggested that this was actually BAD for babies because it can lead to suffocation and death.

So, there I was... carrying Anna around in a sling, thinking proudly "she's going to be so self-confident and develop into a perfect little human being because I'm showing her how attached I am to her and how much I love her"... only to feel embarrassed and ashamed later on when I realized that I could have suffocated my newborn.

Parents have a million choices to make as their children grow up. And just when you think you've made the right one, new research shows that you are, in fact, wrong.

Is there any right way of doing things?

Again, I think it's extremely important for us to have new research and facts and information that help us grow and progress as a society. I strongly believe this. I'm not saying we shouldn't pay attention to this.

But, at the same time, can there be too much information? Can new research really make me love my child less? Should it make us feel guilty, when we're just trying to do our best?

This post really isn't about the car seat debate.

It's about parents (Mom, mostly...). Sometimes I see this "This is the way to do things, and there's no other way" mentality that just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive. Maybe I'm just tired this morning. Or maybe I'd just like us to support each other.

We all love our kids. We're all doing our best.

Isn't that enough?


  1. YES, it's enough! New research will always come out, and I agree that that's a good thing. But in the end, I think the most important thing is that we love and support our children, teach them right from wrong, teach them how to be compassionate and caring. And if new info comes out, you take it how you want, and do with it what you will.

  2. I agree that too much information can be a bad thing....if you take everything you hear at face value. It is super important that more research is done to continue to improve our knowledge and better products. "Knowledge is power". However, I don't think we should feel guilty that we were doing something the old way, given that we were unaware of "new research" telling us to do it differently. I think it is up the the individual to do a little research of their own when "new research" comes out. Finally, I know you don't want a car seat debate but "less likely to have serious injury" or even death is not the same as "developing less of a bond". I plan to keep my LO rear facing as long as possible. I did my own research on the MTO website and I don't want to risk injury or even death in something as uncontrollable as a serious car accident.

  3. I don't know if this comes from having a second child or what, but I SOOO don't give a flying crap about most of these studies. I stressed out with every little detail with my first one - I didn't breastfeed or wear him around, he was in day care at 10 months etc. etc. I spent endless hours worrying about all the damage I was doing to him and guess what - he turned out completely fine. He's not perfect - nobody's child will be perfect nor will anyone ever be the perfect mom even if they follow all the "rules", but he is a funny, sensitive, bright and loving little boy. And the biggest fear I had with him would be that he wasn't "securely attached" as I did just about the opposite of everything suggested to bond "properly" with him. I don't think that kid could love me anymore than he does now. We have a very special relationship inspite of my decisions earlier on.

    The second time around, I relaxed a LOT and just did things the way that worked for my family and kept me sane. And I have another bright, loving, sensitive (but very different) child. We have a very special bond as well and he constantly amazes me with his little personality.

    There is just way too much information out there. Way too many rule books for parents. Way too much to worry about! While I realize that anything that improves the safety of my children is important, most of these studies don't even phase me anymore. I'm emjoying my kids, they seem to enjoy me, and I'm way happier and more relaxed now that I mentally tell these researchers (and those very judgemental moms) to kiss my bootie.


  4. You can love your kids till the cows come home but protecting your child requires more than love...unless you want to love your child in a little bubble.

  5. I just read the anonymous above my first comment and agree that you certainly shouldn't feel guilty about doing things one way before new info comes out. We can't be experts on everything! Safety is very important so if you read the study and feel that the information is valid and not just another "watch out!" fear-mongering article, then apply it and don't feel guilty about doing it differently beforehand.

    As for the comment above this one - yes, a tad self-evident don't ya think? Not even sure what point you're trying to make with that.


  6. I was one of the ones that posted the link yesterday! (don't hate me, people!) I posted it because I thought...hey, I didn't know this...so maybe other moms don't either. I had read that you should leave your child rear-facing "as long as possible" but didn't know about the new recommendations. K is still rear facing partly because I wanted to do it "as long as possible" and mostly because I was too lazy to turn the seat around! I usually don't care too much about "new research" since every day something comes out that seems to contradict what I have decided to do for my children. However, when it comes to car safety, I thought it was important to make sure other moms are informed so that all your little ones are safe.

    I do agree with you and the other posters regarding not feeling guilty about the way you raise your child. I had to make peace with the "perfection" demon inside me long ago...!

  7. I knew this before mine was one, but I had to turn it forward facing right at 1 year old, because he was a big baby and his weight was at the rear facing limit, so it would have been unsafe for him to remain rear facing as well. You have to read everything/take everything with a grain of salt. Good to be informed, but make decisions based on what's best for you and your family and be confident you are doing the best you can for them.