Container Baby Syndrome: Less is More for Baby

Updated: Jan 7, 2019





Walk into a baby store or the baby section in a big box store and you can easily become overjoyed or overwhelmed by all of the baby products and options. Does your infant need all of these products to thrive or is it the magic of marketing that has convinced you it will help the development of your child.


Ultimately, baby equipment can be extremely helpful to keep your baby safe while you take a shower or do chores but using them for long periods of time can cause unwanted problems for your child.


Container Baby Syndrome (CBS) is a term developed to describe an infant who has delays in motor milestones due to increased time in baby equipment. So, what could an infant with this issue possibly look like? One easy description not interested in reaching or interacting with toys, one who prefers to look at toys instead of playing with them.



Container Baby Syndrome (CBS) can lead to:

  • Delays in attaining the ability to roll, sit, crawl, and walk

  • Delays in visual tracking and depth perception, which can in turn cause challenges with eye-hand coordination

  • Delays with speech and thinking

  • Unwillingness or lack of motivation to move which can lead to abnormal weight gain



CBS can also cause additional problems such as:

  • Flat Head Syndrome (Plagiocephaly) Flattened area on back or side of head

  • Torticollis - Head tilted towards one side (look at pictures taken of infant)

  • Facial asymmetry - Eyes, forehead, cheeks, jaw, and ears may become or appear uneven



So, what is a considered a “container” and is it necessary? Here's a list:

  • Car seat - necessity

  • Stroller - necessity

  • High chair - necessity

  • Bouncy/vibrating chair or rocker - non-necessity but can be helpful for fussy babies

  • Swing - non-necessity but can be helpful for fussy babies

  • Bumbo seat - non-necessity but if using do not place on an elevated surface

  • Johnny Jumpers - non-necessity

  • ExerSausers - non-necessity

  • Walkers – non-necessity

*In a separate blog post, I will discuss this baby equipment and how it actually affects motor development.



So, what are some better options for parents?


How to carry the baby:

  • Horizontally or vertically with baby's back towards your stomach

  • Carry baby horizontally with stomach downward to the floor

  • Use a carrier, sling, wrap

  • If you cradle baby in your arms (which is best for newborns), make sure that you switch sides using your right side at times and left side at other times


Sitting with baby:

  • Place baby on tummy on your legs with an interesting book or toy

  • Parent reclined on back with baby laying on tummy on parent’s chest

*Did you notice that both of these options are really "tummy time" but instead of the floor the time is on the parent



Best equipment options:

  • Play Yard/ Pack n' Play/ Play pen to allow rolling, tummy time, crawling, pulling up to standing, and cruising

  • Floor Play Mat/Activity Gym. If you have a pet or concerned with the baby rolling off the mat, there are ones with soft mini walls



So what is a parent to do?


The answer is “less is more". Containers limit a child's whole body movement (typically the chest, back, stomach, and hips). Give your child the opportunity move and explore their environment safely. Products and equipment don’t make your baby great…parents and their tribe and village do!



If you believe that your infant may have Container Baby Syndrome (CBS), please feel free to contact us for a free screening via Skype or FaceTime to discuss potential options and referrals in your area.



For additional information type the words Container Baby Syndrome in the search box below for the American Physical Therapy Association consumer website Move Forward for the most updated article (revision written by this author).



Professional Disclaimer: The content in this blog should not be used in place of direct medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes.  All activities/exercises and recommendations posted in this blog should be performed with adult supervision, caution, and at your own risk. Alpha Kids Shine LLC is not responsible for any injury while performing any recommendation that has been posted on this blog.  If you have any information or questions on the content of our blog, feel free to contact us at alphakidsshine@gmail.com.

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