There was a discussion in the library to-day which raised the ideas of what environment is ideal for a newborn baby – from the position in which their spines should ideally be supported, to the amount of time it is advisable to keep them carried, down to the idea of spoiling your new baby and allowing them to become clingy.
There are many wonderful articles available on the subject, many have been shard before but I’d like to link to a few of them here, with their conclusions and abstracts. Click on the links to read these articles in full.
– Strollers, Baby Carriers and Infant Stress by Elizabeth Antunovic (2010)
“Europe seems to host the most pediatricians who recommend that, in order to avoid pressure on their underdeveloped bodies, newborns and infants lay flat on their backs in a stroller and not be carried. Yet, laying a young infant on his back alone in a stroller is actually physically and emotionally stressful and can be developmentally inhibiting. Being carried or worn in an upright position with proper leg support is not only developmentally sound but often preferable to mothers and babies alike. Upright carrying optimizes the physical, emotional and intellectual growth of your baby.”
Laying babies flat on their backs in a stroller is actually not easier on their necks, spines, hips, or their minds. Nature intended for babies to be carried. Upright positioning with proper leg support is the preferable position for your infant and is gentle enough not to physically stress even tiny three pound babies. A mother should trust what her heart tells her heart. By holding baby close to her heart she will not only be choosing the most beneficial and physically supportive method of bringing baby along with her, she will be providing the optimal environment for his psychological and emotional growth as well.”
– The Second Nine Months: Exterogestation and the Need to be Held by Elizabeth Antunovic (2009)
“A joey stays in his pouch until his “exterior gestation” is complete and he is able to move away from his mother on his own. Like a joey, human infants are also born immature. In fact, human infants actually remain helpless longer than infants of any other species and like some marsupials must also go through a distinct period of gestation outside of the womb. Although birth may be seen as a separation of mother and infant, babies need anything but separation. Nature intended that they be held on their mother’s bodies after birth until they complete their gestation out of the womb. This period of exterior gestation needs to be respected not just a sentimental matter but one that has a profound and major impact on an infant’s physical, emotional and psychological development.”
Science is reconfirming what the first mothers who stood upright knew intuitively- that her arms provide the optimal environment, after transition from womb to the world. Nature intended that a mother and her infant expect this unity and for that unity not to end at birth. Not only is a mother’s body is prepared and designed to continue the gestation of her baby after birth but her baby has biologically adapted to expect this for survival. Carrying a baby in arms or in a baby carrier provides this extended nurturing experience. By nurturing baby in a manner that represents the intimacy of pregnancy as closely as possible until this “exterior gestation” is complete the baby has access to all she needs to develop and grow physically, mentally, and emotionally into a secure and joyful individual.”
– Hip Healthy Positions by STEPS Hip health charity (2012)
“During pregnancy a baby spends a long time tucked in the foetal position, in which both hips and knees are bent or flexed. After birth, it takes several months for the joints to stretch out naturally. Babies that have been in the breech (bottom first) position may need even more time to stretch out naturally.
To promote healthy hips, the baby should be positioned so that the legs are able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows for natural and proper development of the hip joints. The unhealthiest position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held with the hips and knees straight and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the foetal position. The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time and could result in hip dysplasia”
– Crying for no Obvious Reason by Prof. Largo (2012)
“When we consider that the human infant has been carried around by its mother throughout the whole of human history, we must seriously ask ourselves, whether many children are able to manage in the first few months of their lives without constant physical contact with their mothers and other familiar adults.
Being left lying for hours as has been the custom with us since the beginning of industrialisation, i.e. for about 150 years, might have created a physiologically unnatural situation for the human infant which finds its expression in non-specific crying. A recent study has shown, that repeated carrying for three hours per day leads to a considerable reduction of crying.”
– Storchenwiege Baby Carrier Research by Dr Kirkilionis
– Babywearing’s Healthy Benefits: Beyond Hands Free
Carrying your baby upright on your chest…
1. Enhances immunological protection
2. Prevents ear infections and eases the symptoms of GERD
3. Regulates body temperature
4. Enhances lactation, the prevalence, and the duration of breast-feeding
5. Enhances growth/weight gain
6. Supports arousal regulation
7. Reduces apnea and uneven breathing patterns
8. Stabilizes heart rate
9. Relieves Stress Reactions
10. Improves neurobehavior
11. Increases oxygenation of the baby’s body.
12. Provides longer periods of restful sleep
13. Mimics the environment of the womb
14. Saves lives
I hope you enjoy reading around the subject!