Saturday, January 2, 2010

Front facing carriers - Exploration or overstimulation?

By Dr. Evelin Kirkilionis, behavioural biologist

"I am not very convinced of carrying a baby facing away from the mother's body. This carrying method really loses out on all the anatomical advantages of carrying. The children do not take up the ideal leg position that would prevent a hip dysplasia.

The posture of the torso is not very helpful for a baby as the straps of a soft carrier are running across the baby's shoulders pushing them backwards and forcing the child to keep an unwanted upright posture.  This might cause a hollow back that is untypical for this age. Moreover, the baby will not sit on its nappy-padded bottom, but the weight will be rather distributed onto the cartilage structures of the symphysis, the pelvis. This means that the baby is sitting on the crotch, and boys on their testicles.

Furthermore, the baby will be directly confronted with all the information of the surroundings. Our little ones still have to learn to distinguish between what is important and unimportant, also how to blind out unneeded information. When they are carried facing outwards, they are inundated with a flood of stimuli they cannot escape.

Babies carried in this way are very much stimulated and are particularly awake. They seem to take pleasure in seeing so much. However, the exposure to these stimuli is often not ended at the right time as the babies cannot withdraw from these by themselves. On the one hand, due to this way of carrying, the baby cannot turn away independently, even if it wanted to do so. On the other hand, too much information holds the baby's attention even if it is too much for it. It is possible for babies to turn away from strong stimulations when they get tired, the head sinks to the side, the body tensions lessens. Then the stimulating components are not in the field of vision any more and the fascination with them is interrupted. All this is not possible with the carrying method where the baby faces away from the mother's body. - At some point, the information flood has to be "digested" by the baby, mostly during the late evening hours. This is most often a critical time, anyway, because the transition from the waking state to sleep has to mastered. Not an easy task for a baby."

No comments:

Post a Comment