The Downside to Hand-Me-Downs

Your sister gave you the stroller and car seat that she used for her last child. He is almost four now and they aren’t having any more children so that works out. Your best friend gave you a crib, too? You are really striking it lucky here. Those are big-ticket items that you don’t have to buy now.

But, wait. Did you check for recalls?

Yes, even that product that was used daily for another child could be recalled for various reasons. And now it is in your home waiting for you to use it on your baby.

Now, this isn’t meant to be fear-mongering. But it is meant to make you take a second look at what you may be given from well-meaning friends and family members. Or, maybe what you bought from the garage sale last weekend. Or, maybe you knew that you were going to have a large family so you saved your baby stuff from your very first child. These are all good intentions, but they can be hazardous. I know that if I saved the items I used for my first-born, I would be using recalled items. Just about every single thing. The crib, the stroller, the car seat, and even some of his toys.

You see, I work in an industry that deals with baby gear and recalls all the time. I get an email once a recall is issued. Some are simple fixes, and are most commonly caused by user error. Take the Bumbo seat for example. If you have one without straps, it is considered recalled. Babies can arch their backs and push themselves out of the seat. If the seat is being used correctly, this isn’t such a problem as the babies only fall a few inches to the ground. However, many people use the seat incorrectly and place it on the table or other elevated surface causing the baby to fall a greater distance and sustain more injury. The fix? Contact the company. They will send you a set of straps for free.

Other recalls can be more serious. Reports of babies and children dying or getting seriously injured. Drop-side cribs are an example of this. If you are using a crib that was manufactured before 2011, I urge you to look at current federal safety standards and make sure that your crib meets the guidelines. Many strollers have been recalled due to entrapment and strangulation and fingertip lacerations/ amputation. No toy or piece of equipment is immune to potentially having a recall. Brand doesn’t matter either. Some of the most popular brands have recalls on multiple items. This is why it is important to stay current with guidelines and safety issues. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a wealth of information and resources regarding recalls and potential fixes.

As parents, our number one priority is the safety of our children. Let’s do our best to keep the gear they use safe. They will figure out plenty of other ways to get hurt, like riding down the stairs in a laundry basket. Hello six stitches in the forehead.

Why All Mothers?

When it came to naming the agency I had a very hard time. I didn’t want something that would give potential clients the image of a hippie insisting their baby must be born in a barn and I didn’t want something on the other end of the spectrum that was impersonal, or that wouldn’t let you know off-hand the types of services I provide. I thought about it, drew up logos with the pick of the week, threw them away when I decided I no longer liked it, and then thought about it some more. This is coming from the lady who called her last child baby for the first three days after birth because she couldn’t settle on a name. After months and months of deliberation on business names and asking opinions and changing my mind a thousand times, I picked one.

With the help of a friend, I was doing a little research on animal behavior, maternal behavior to be specific. The thought was that sometimes inspiration can come in many forms so I would see what I could gain from a little knowledge on the animal kingdom. I found out that a lot of mammals and birds participate in what is called ‘allomothering’. It means that another member of their animal group, other than the mother or father, helps to care for the baby. Sometimes this is so that the mother can go out and look for food, reproduce faster, or because the mother has died and the infant needs care. While the circumstances are different for humans, the same basic functions are applied when aligning the practice with doula care. The animal allomother provides touch, nourishment, and protection, among other things. I thought it was awesome that just as women have been helping other women for centuries, animals have been doing the same.

As I dissected the term ‘allomother’, I realized that it was perfect for the vision I had for the agency. You see, I wasn’t just seeking clients that wanted a natural birth or breastfeeding or cloth diapering. Do I support those things? Absolutely! Am I knowledgable in those things? Absolutely! But that isn’t what is right for everyone.

My vision is that I would provide support for all families in all situations. Whether that was a scheduled cesarean, or if it was two adoptive dads bringing home a newborn. Sure, the name is All Mothers, but I provide astounding amounts of support for dads too! My point is that it doesn’t matter how you plan to have your baby or which parenting style you plan to use. It doesn’t matter if you throw those plans out the window and decide to totally switch it up in the middle of everything.

All Mothers is all-encompassing and proud to offer non-judgemental support to every mother and to every family. I am happy to offer education and options, not opinions.

We are all on this crazy rollercoaster ride called parenting. There is no definitive right or wrong way. I am happy to help you find your way. I want you to be all the mother that you can be and want to be, not what someone else tells you to be.