Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Babies Lie Flat


Ever since we took the Bugaboo to Silverwood, I've been thinking about how crazy it is that we hardly ever use it living here! In Zurich, I couldn't have survived a week without it. It was a member of our family! But here months will go by and we won't use it once. In fact, it has been floating about our house, taking up ridiculous amounts of precious space in our living room or kitchen for the past week. It may be time to break it down and take it back to the storage unit. Sniff. Which brings me to the topic of today's post.

In Switzerland, babies lie flat.



In Switzerland, midwives, doctors and old women on the street will all tell you that babies must lie flat. For the first six months, it is crucial! It is good for their backs and spines and it allows their organs to move into their proper places after being all curled up in the womb. In order to make sure your baby is lying flat, every parent has what, to my American eyes, looked like an old-fashioned pram. Except prams aren't something people used to use a long time ago. Most people are still using them in most places today! Just not here in the USA. ;)


Like any nesting and hormonal first-time mother, I researched all of the options and immediately fell in love with the one: The Bugaboo Cameleon. Its clean lines were so attractive. It was a stroller that could safely carry around the baby without looking like utilitarian, cluttered or unrefined. It was also very expensive. But, I made one of those vision boards and put it on there, and then, I kid you not, a mom in my class gave me one! She said she didn't need it anymore and asked if I would like to have it. Um, yes. I had to buy the bassinet attachment, which had gone missing somehow. I also ordered new handlebar covers as the old ones had ripped. And, being a nesting and hormonal first-time mother, I went ahead and got a new fabric set, but otherwise, it was all there!


Coco loved the Bugaboo so much. When we were getting ready to leave the house, I would get her all dressed and ready and then put her in there so I could get ready. She was instantly content and quiet inside. More often than not, she would fall asleep. One night in early winter, when Coco was just a few months old, we walked from our house down to Bellevue and she fell asleep about halfway there. Then we let her sleep while we ordered sausages at Sternen and chatted over beers for an hour. So easy!


Day to day, Coco's back was aligning just as it should, and I was free to do errands and go about my business without interruption while she slept happily or looked around. These days, since Theo was born and we use the car for absolutely everything, my plans are constantly being derailed by his falling asleep. Worst of all, he won't transfer. It's so bad that the other day, I finally just took his entire car seat out of the car (with him sleeping in it!) and hauled it inside and let him nap in it in his bedroom! So not good for his back - even at two years old!


I'm curious if this is something that is encouraged and talked about for babies born in more urban areas in the US. When we took Theo home from the hospital, they wouldn't let us leave until they saw him properly strapped in his car seat! But no one ever said a word about not letting him be in the car seat for extended periods of time. Honestly, I think it's just a given that babies whose lives are car-based will spend extended periods of time in their car seat. With Coco, they discouraged us from having her in the car seat for more than an hour per day or something, which was fine because we didn't even have a car seat until she was three or four months old!

Did your baby lie flat? Does (or did) your doctor ever mention it? What about books - have any expectant mothers come across anything about lying flat?

20 comments:

  1. I'm from the UK and so surprised as you say that prams are not the norm in the US. Here it is standard that babies will be in prams until they are at least 6 months old. My twins were premature so they were in theirs even longer. With regard to car seats I'm pretty sure the advice here is a maximum of 45 mins a day. You will see babies in car seats in supermarkets etc but not where people are taking them out for the day, for example the zoo. I have a bugaboo donkey and love it! For my daughter I had an icandy peach which was great too! Both great pieces of European design and engineering :)

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    1. Yep, pretty crazy, right? I think people would use prams, it's just so impossible with the sheer size of them and assembling and breaking down every time. In the beginning with Theo, our Bugaboo took up the entire boot of the car and added 15 minutes to every trip. Then I gave in and started using the Ergo, or just clipping the Maxi Cosi onto the Bugaboo frame (which is still gigantic on its own!) Sigh. And you're probably right about the 45 minutes. It was VERY LITTLE time, I know that!!

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  2. Both of mine laid flat in the US and CH, but you are right--not many people subscribe to that theory here. Flat as Eli laid in Basel, he still slept very often in the motorized swing for naps because he was a hellion! Ha. So there went all my flat correctness.

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    1. But aren't those swings such lifesavers?! We had one in the laundry room for Coco - battery operated. Ugh! Then, when we bought Theo's it plugged in. Huzzah!!!

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  3. On a side note: my Swiss MIL thought I was INSANE for swaddling as I did & that white noise was a total sham. You really notice those cross cultural quirks once babies enter the scene...

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    1. Yeah, swaddling is so American. I brought the Miracle Blanket to the hospital with Coco and the midwives were like, "Oh, swaddling..." We COULD NOT LIVE without our white noise machines. So not a sham!! ;)

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  4. This! I love our bassinet and now think it's crazy that Americans don't have them. So much comfier for baby! I know a lot of people with lay flat carseats in Germany, have you seen them? A lot of people use the bassinet far beyond 6 months. You're supposed to keep them in it until they sit up on their own (sitting babies up - another huge cultural difference!)

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    1. Lay flat car seat?! I'm going to google that ASAP. I just can't even imagine how that would work and still be safe.... Thanks for letting me know. That's just fascinating!

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  5. We don't have a pram BUT our stroller seats lay almost completely flat and that's how we had our twins until they could support their own heads. We were never given restrictions about time in car seats, and all we were told about was the importance of tummy time! That said, we DID consider getting a twin pram when we were in Denmark, mostly because we think they're cool, but by that point, our two were already 6 months old...still kind of wish we had gotten it, though ;)

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    1. I agree that a twin pram would be a tough one to justify buying for a short term investment. Plus they're so wide, it could make many situations more difficult? The emphasis on tummy time was just as huge in Switzerland. Good point!

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  6. Wait, what?? Another UK based person here, and they check you out of hospital, check the car seat is safely sorted and then scare you with warnings about spine development and time limits and lying flat. We have a BabyJogger Summit and whacked a bassinet on it- never even bothered linking it with the car seat. I'm really surprised that in the US where **from an outside perspective** it seems society is so hyper aware of child safety that lying flat isn't a thing.

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    1. Ooops! I didn't make that clear enough. In the US they check the car seat and send you home. In Switzerland, they warn you about spine developments and time limits and lying flat.

      You're so right about the US being obsessed with safety and ignoring this one! Hahaha! I'd never thought of it that way. ;)

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  7. So I used a baby carrier (manduca) with my first because he would NOT be put in a pram -- cue crying, turned to screaming, turned to vomiting... It was about eight months before he would get in one. Come baby two, I read posts like this about babies loving the bugaboo, got one, and this time it was the same story but TEN months until he would go into it. So the bassinet attachment was never used for more than two minutes, and repeatedly vomited on (okay, so the sheet I put under it was). Sigh. It's amazing how babies can be so different!

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    1. Oh, yes, I had several friends whose babies HATED their prams. Not terribly uncommon. Very hard on mom's back, but hey, at least you didn't have to wait for the low floor tram?! ;) Babies are SO different. Knowing my luck, if we have a third, the baby will hate either the car seat, or the pram depending on where we're living. ;) Theo LOVES his car seat. He is a truly an American born babe. Coco HATED the car seat with a screaming, vomiting passion until she was 2 1/2. Yowza.

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    2. Oh yes, Harvey is a screaming vomiting car-seat baby too! I didn't realise how AWFUL that would be until we had one of those babies too! Stopped just after a year though, thankfully. He still isn't easy in the car (almost 2), but not too bad. This was one area where Ruben was a breeze! So yeah, no car, no pram for almost a year... goes without saying I have a slipped disc and a major shoulder injury!

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  8. Did you post about this before? I think it was on your blog that I first heard about babies lying flat. I felt so bad that I did the typical American thing and attached the car seat to the stroller with my first. (There is even those click connect stroller thingies with the sole purpose of being a car seat stroller base!) With my second, since I didn't want to buy a new stroller, I just avoided putting her in a stroller until she was around 4 months old. Instead I just wore her in a ring sling. I also tried really hard not to prop her up in a seated position until she was closer to 6 months old. Like another reader who commented, I just don't understand why the lying flat thing hasn't caught on here.

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    1. I probably did post about this before. For some reason, I was thinking about it again - I think after a discussion with an expectant mother about car seats or strollers and what to register for. I basically had to tell her I have no idea what an American mom should register for...ha!

      I agree that not propping your baby to sitting is so important. I let both of our kids find their way to sitting on their own. Someone had given us a Bumbo with Coco and I used it a few times and then decided it was creepy and wrong and got rid of it! ;)

      I really do think that lying flat isn't pushed because it would just cause immeasurable stress for parents in the US. Honestly, with the way our cities and lives are set up (around cars) how can people possibly have their babies lie flat? Kind of sad, really.

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    2. I had some temporary mommy guilt surrounding the whole propping baby in a seated position... With my first I did it because I didn't know any different. Then after Montessori training I learned a bit about RIE and vowed to let my 2nd find her own way to sitting. Probably due to not enough floor time (and definitely not enough patience) at around 6 months all the other babies I saw her age were already sitting on their own, so I started propping her up and within a week she was sitting on her own when placed that way. I decided after that that I would not put her in a standing position but let her discover that on her own. Thankfully, I stuck to it even after the doctor frowned at her 9 months well check, "She is not standing yet? Oh, so she is a bit behind in her gross motor skills." blah blah -- I hate when they say crap like that!

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    3. Both of my babies sat up on their own around 9 months (they had tons of free floor time). You could put them into a sitting position earlier for a few seconds but they just chose to flop onto their tummy instead, I think because they could move around that way and sitting was more boring. There is such a huge range of developmentally normal for many of these milestones. We get so caught up on putting babies on a schedule these days. I think the info available on the internet makes it extra easy to doubt what our individual baby is doing compared to the mythical average baby.

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  9. Hi from Germany :). Lying flat is a big thing here as well. We have one of these car seats that you can put in a flat position. It is from a small German manifacturer called CYBEX (Cloud Q plus). They should be available in the US aswell. At least I have seen some Instagram pictures that were clearly shot in NY.

    Cheers, Michaela

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