Almost exactly 4 years ago my mother and I went to Sears and purchased a travel system. For the uninitiated, this is a stroller, infant seat, and car seat base all sold as a package. The infant seat can snap into the base for car trips, and then be transferred easily to a stroller and back again. I know some moms deride the ‘baby bucket’ on the basis that little ones need human contact, and shouldn’t spend all their time buckled into a plastic shell, and I see their point. But all the same I loved my infant seat.
Maybe not so much at first. When Hannah was born 6 weeks early the car seat was an obstacle. Before they would release her from the hospital she had to pass the ‘car seat test’. It involved strapping her into the car seat and monitoring her condition for 45 minutes or more. Really, they just want to be sure your little preemie is strong enough to survive that car ride home. It took days before they would let us do it, and became something of a sticking point for me. Luckily Hannah passed with flying colours.
Eventually we got our baby home, though, and I came to love the ease of the infant seat. When Hannah fell asleep we could take her out of the car without disturbing her. At home, on a walk in the stroller, or and running errands she would blissfully nap. The best naps were always in the car seat. My baby was not the kind of baby who would sleep through being removed from the seat and secured in a sling, no way Jose.
Sadly, Hannah outgrew the infant seat before she was 6 months old. Although it’s rated to 30lbs (which is about what she weighed at 3 years old), for height it was only good until 26 inches. And so her little feet were poking out the end well before I expected them to, and we had to put her in a convertible seat. As expected, she woke up every time we took her out. It became a big challenge to juggle the baby and the diaper bag and get myself ready to go without the infant seat to lay her in. I missed it immediately.
When Jacob was born, I again relished the occasional car seat nap, as he happily slept in the entryway. To give you a sense of perspective the little man spends most of his day being carried or held. He generally naps either on my shoulder, or in the mei tai on my back. It’s only a few times a month that I get an hour or two of sweet bliss as he naps on his own in the car seat. And this time around I knew it would come to an end all too soon, so I took advantage of every chance to enjoy free hands.
Sadly, Jacob’s feet have been poking out the end of his infant seat for a couple of weeks. Finally I could ignore it no longer, and bought two brand spanking new Britax Marathons. They’ve been installed, and the infant seat is packed away, ready to go into storage. And I am back to waking the baby every time we exit the car. To loading him in and out of the car seat with each and every 3-minute stop at a convenience store. I want him to be safe, but I am still disappointed.
Oh infant seat, I will miss you.