Hansen and her friend Siearra Rowlan, 23, were napping when flight attendants asked passengers if there was a doctor on the flight, according to The Washington Post.
“Everybody’s kind of turning back to see what’s happening, and then there’s a lot of shuffling between flight attendants,” Rowlan told The Post. “The speaker goes on and off like they’re about to announce something but they don’t. Then there’s a little baby crying.”
The video captures some of that commotion. At first, a crew member can be heard making an announcement that a baby has been born. The passengers then break into a round of applause.
In the next clip, passengers are asked to remain seated while the woman seeks medical assistance. Around three hours later, the woman can be seen making her way off the plane in a wheelchair while the newborn baby sits on her lap.
“After she had gotten out, everyone just kind of got up, got their carry-on, and left,” Hansen told The Post.
Delta confirmed that the baby was born on the six-and-a-half-hour flight on Wednesday. No other information was provided.
The predicted baby boom is looking more like a baby bust.
While many thought a year locked up would lead to some serious babymaking, Brookings Institute economists Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine forecasted the opposite last June: The pandemic would lead to 300,000 to 500,000 fewer births in 2021, they said.
So far, their predictions are on track.
Nine months after the first lockdowns began in the US, the number of births in the country had declined by 7%, according to data provided to CBS News by health departments across more than 24 states. And fertility rates – the number of live births a woman is expected to have over her lifetime – are already lower in the first few months of 2021, said Christine Percheski, associate professor of sociology at Northwestern University.
“We’re going to see many fewer babies in 2021,” she told Insider.
The drop continues a pre-pandemic trend of declining birth rates and fertility rates, as childbearing women, many of whom are millennials, delay having children. Both of these rates decreased by 2% from 2017 to 2018, per the latest CDC data, with the birth rate hitting its lowest in 32 years. As of January 2020, the US fertility rate sat at 1.73 births per mother – a stark contrast from the peak in 1957 at 3.77 births per women.
Demographers have expressed concerns over what this means for the future of America, as the fertility rate is below the replacement rate – producing as many births each year as deaths – of 2.1 births per woman.
The decline in births over time is the result of both economic distress as well as progress for women in the workplace, with potential long-term implications, such as a smaller workforce and higher cost of caring for the aging. It’s too soon to say whether we should be concerned about these economic effects, but it’s already clear the economy is in for a big change based off what happens to the American birthrate.
Catching up to a global shift
American women are having babies later. While US birth rates have declined for nearly all age groups of women under 35, per latest CDC data, they rose for women in their late 30s and early 40s.
But this is actually bringing the US in line with worldwide trends – or helping it catch up, depending on your perspective. High-income countries, and increasingly middle-income ones, have long seen women delaying their first child until later ages compared to American women, Percheski said.
It’s a sign of better access to education and employment opportunities, a rise in individualism and women’s autonomy, better sex education, and a shift from religious-based to more secular values, she said. But on a more individual level, having kids at a later age is also a result of women choosing to stay in school longer, waiting until later to marry, and paying off student debt first.
Recessions typically have the strongest economic influence on birth and fertility rates. “People tend to wait during periods of political and social and rest,” Percheski said.
The Great Recession saw a 9% decline in births, per Brookings, about 400,000 babies fewer than there would have been otherwise. And while the Spanish Flu only resulted in an economic contraction, that public health crisis also led to a drop in births. A pandemic lumps together economic and health turmoil, which Brookings says could result in a greater impact on births.
But whether the current lapse in babymaking will translate to fewer babies overall or just a childbirth postponement, Percheski said. She said she thinks we’ll see a reduction in the number of women having two or three kids, as happened during the financial crisis.
Mauro Guillén, Wharton professor and author of “2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future” told Insider that the decline in births is a “temporary blip,” likely to last one to two years.
“Young couples have said, ‘Give me a rain check, I don’t want the baby now because there’s too much uncertainty,'” he said. “But they will have those babies later. They don’t cancel their plans to have babies for life.”
A ‘demographic time bomb?’
A decline in birth rates has sparked worries that the US may be headed for what’s known as a “demographic time bomb,” in which an aging population isn’t replaced by enough young workers.
This could slow the economy in the long term by creating higher government costs and a smaller workforce, who will have to front the care costs for aging populations. It could also create a shortage of pension and social security-type funds and impact things like school enrollment and college demand.
But Percheski said a decline in births isn’t necessarily bad – it will just require structural adjustments, like creating new public policies that respond to changes in population size.
In some ways, fewer classmates for those born in 2021 could be good, she added.”If there are fewer people competing for jobs when they hit the job market, that’s not bad from their perspective, but it does require us to make adjustments.”
America can also change now to avoid having to do it later, such as making childcare more affordable. “Raising children is one of the great joys of life, but it’s also one of the great burdens,” economist Tyler Cowen said in a recent panel with the American Enterprise Institute. “If we don’t have innovations to make raising children either easier or more fun or less costly, we’re in big trouble.”
But if the pandemic-fueled birth decline just results in women bearing children at a later age rather than having fewer kids or none at all, per Brookings, the fertility rate may be underestimated. It could even result in a delayed baby boom.
Guillen said he thinks we’ll see a higher number of births in 2022 and 2023, which could make preschools fuller. He said he’s more concerned with the mortality rate than the birth rate, but in any case the full effects of the birth decline won’t truly be seen until 20 to 30 years later.
“Generally, it would be better to have a smoother evolution of pace, but recessions always have their effect,” he said.
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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
KiwiCo subscription boxes contain fun and educational activities designed by child development experts.
I tested the Panda Crate for babies and toddlers, but KiwiCo offers subscriptions for kids of all ages.
My toddler didn’t just engage with these toys – she wanted to go back to play with them again and again.
Depending on your subscription, prices range from $20 to $30 per crate.
I often feel overwhelmed by making sure I’m teaching my daughter everything she needs to know and appropriately stimulating her to help her development. She doesn’t go to daycare and she’s not old enough for preschool, so it all falls on me.
According to the US Department of Education, up until age 5, it’s important to talk, read, and sing with your child every day. The American Academy of Pediatrics also advocates for regular play to support the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and so parents can fully engage with their children.
This is where play subscription boxes like Lovevery and KiwiCo come in handy. KiwiCo sent me its Panda Crate subscription box for babies and toddlers (ages newborn to 24 months) to try out with my daughter, so we could see for ourselves.
What is the KiwiCo Panda Crate?
KiwiCo offers different versions of the Panda Crate for five age bands: 0 to 2 months, 3 to 6 months, 7 to 12 months, 13 to 18 months, and 19 to 24 months. Each box has fun educational activities designed specifically for a child’s age.
The boxes are created by experts, including former educators and child development professionals, and tested by kids. This certainly makes my life easier, knowing I can spend less time researching which activities are appropriate for my daughter and more time playing with her.
The crates deliver activities in your child’s zone of proximal development, according to KiwiCo. This is a fancy way of saying the activities provide a little bit of a challenge so your child learns – but not so much of a challenge that they give up. It’s the sweet spot of learning, and as a former teacher, I’ve seen how students flourish in this zone.
What KiwiCo is like to use
The box definitely hit the sweet spot for my daughter. She is currently 18 months old, and her “Solve With Me” box came with four different activities, all designed to help her learn shapes: a peg puzzle, lacing beads, squishy shapes, and beanbag shapes. It also came with the book “Poppy’s Shape Search.”
My daughter immediately started exploring the activities, attempting to stack shapes onto the correct peg and playing with the large plush shapes that can be used for multiple games and activities.
My daughter rotates through the activities pretty evenly but seems to gravitate toward the lacing beads. Many other lacing toys are too difficult for her, but these beads are designed to perfectly hit that zone of proximal development and allow her to have success. For that reason, the lacing beads are my favorite activity in the box, too.
She also enjoys playing with the three large squishy shapes. The magazine in the crate provided a song to sing about the shapes, and she often holds them and dances while we sing the song.
What makes KiwiCo stand out
My favorite thing about the Panda Crate is that it comes with activity cards that explain how to play with each of the toys. The box also comes with a an issue of “Wonder Magazine” and “Beyond the Crate” cards that offer many additional ways to play with your child and support their development.
When my brain is fried from sleepless nights or I’m just not feeling creative, these ideas are a lifesaver. After my daughter was done exploring the box on her own, I used the ideas to encourage her to learn more.
Open-ended toys like the ones in the Panda Crate help extend play and ensure that kids won’t just engage with toys once and then toss them aside, never to be played with again. My daughter and I continually come back to her box to learn and play more.
Because it’s a subscription-based service, you can save money by purchasing a longer subscription. Depending on your subscription, box prices range from $15.50 to $39.90 each. For an extra $9.95, you can also upgrade your box to include a book like the one I received in my box.
The bottom line
Babies and toddlers don’t need a lot of stuff, and you don’t have to spend a fortune on toys to make them happy. Play with them, read to them, sing to them, and talk to them, and you’re setting them up for success.
Sometimes, though, we all need a little help when it comes to planning and setting up activities that will enrich our kids while they have fun. If you’re like me and you want some structured ideas for play and to encourage proper development, the KiwiCo Panda Crate makes it easy. It will give you the confidence and peace of mind that you’re continually providing educational activities for your child at each stage of their development.