To Bumbo or not?

Every few weeks or so, I’ll look through the closet in the nursery and evaluate whether there are any new items ready to come out and spring into action – clothes that he’s possibly grown into, toys that seem like they might be appropriate, etc.

Recently, I realized Corban is almost ready for the Bumbo seat. Yay! I’ve heard such great things about this little contoured foam piece that helps babies as young as three months old to sit up on their own. Since then, I’ve placed him in it a handful of times while reading  him a book or just talking to him on the floor. He still is a bit too unstable for it and isn’t really comfortable in it for more than a minute or so at this point, but I’m terrified of missing the window of opportunity on items like this that he will probably quickly outgrow, so I’ve been trying it once a week or so just to see how it goes.

Then this past weekend, my mom sent me an article from the Chicago Tribune about Bumbo seats. “‘Grave concerns’ about popular Bumbo baby seat.” Uh-oh. I had heard stories about babies who were too old for it flipping out and falling from countertops, and didn’t plan on setting it anywhere but on the floor in front of me, so the article didn’t scare me too much. It did make me think about clearing any potentially dangerous objects from the area so Corban doesn’t fall on top of something, but it was the sidebar story that truly made me concerned (btw, why, Trib online producers, was the sidebar not linked from the main story? (Sorry, you can tell I’m starting to miss work.)).

In that story, a physical therapist basically debunks all the Bumbo’s claims that it aids in physical development.

…the position actually teaches babies incorrect postural alignment, with a rounded back and the head leaning forward, said Mary Weck, clinical coordinator of physical therapy at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

While accidents like falling off countertops are scary, interfering with a child’s physical development when you think you’re actually helping it is even scarier to me.

Now, even after reading the article, I do not believe the occasional use of the Bumbo will significantly hurt anything. But it’s good to be aware of these things and remember that almost everything in life is best in moderation (love, prayer and hugs are the only things that come to mind that aren’t – and the latter is probably debatable). It’s also a good lesson in not believing every product claim on the package.

I still plan on using our bright green Bumbo (how great is the name Bumbo, by the way?) but will definitely be extra-cautious when Corban’s in it, not push him to use it until he’s strong enough for it and continue to do tummy time and help him practice sitting up without the Bumbo’s help. What do you think – to Bumbo or not?

5 thoughts on “To Bumbo or not?

  1. Laura B says:

    We love our Bumbo. We used it somewhat sparingly, too, though. Since we didn’t get the infant car seat that can snap out, and carry along with us, we’d bring it to restaurants with us before Evelyn could sit up in a real high chair, so we could eat together. We also liked it while Tim and I were doing things that we thought she’d be interested in, so she could sit up, and actually see what we were doing. But most of the time, she was on the floor playing, or in our laps, because we liked our baby to be as free, and played with, as possible. We were the parents who put it up on higher surfaces, but only when we were right there with her, so that she could look us in the face, and we could talk to her. I never felt she was in danger when we did that, mostly because if there had ever been any movement, we’d have caught her right away.

    The article by the physical therapist was interesting to read (thanks for posting it!), but, like you said, I don’t think it hurt her when we used it in moderation, and along with tummy time, and holding her on our laps and having her sit up. Her posture looks gorgeous, sitting and standing. We will be using the Bumbo with Baby No. 2, I’m sure, but now I will be careful that we don’t use it as a convenient spot to stick baby while I’m trying to get things done (which I’m sure will be a temptation even greater now that there are two!) 🙂


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