Best for Baby – Stroller or Carrier: Are Baby Strollers Suitable for Newborns?

Baby strollers from The Luxury Strollers appear to be the easy option but common sense suggests baby wearing will benefit child development in many more ways.

The practical benefits of baby strollers are plain to see. Babies sleep in them, are fed in them, they can carry shopping, diapers, the kitchen sink even. But are babies perhaps missing something? For infants under 6 months a baby carrier offers a practical solution to getting about that also benefits a baby’s development and well-being.

The History of the Baby Stroller

The pram was invented in the eighteenth century and made popular during the Victorian age. The British gentry employed nannies to look after their children from birth and the pram became a status symbol of the aspirational. By the 1920’s the pram was in widespread use and in 1965 the first light-weight folding stroller was born.

Today design and technology has brought forward the next generation of super strollers. Parents can choose from a vast range of models and accessories on offer, with the most expensive brands still affording a sense of status similar to owning a Ferrari. There are reversible strollers, car-seats on wheels and pram-combos galore for sleeping babies, but the best designers in the world can not replicate the experience a new born gains from being in arms.

Baby Wearing – A Universal Age-Old Tradition

A baby stroller maybe be de rigueur on sidewalks the world over but they are not much use in the Amazon. Writer Jean Liedloff spent years living with Yequana Indians in Venezuela and observed how much time infants spent in their parents arms. She also noticed that these babies rarely cried, developed motor skills very quickly and made the transition from parents arms to independent movement with remarkable ease.

The Yequana’s crawling babies were not penned in but free to roam. When the babies learned to walk they were not reined as they accompanied their parents in the jungle. Also despite there being considerably more potential hazards and dangers these children were not more prone to mishap.

On the contrary the physical confidence these children developed not only insured their safety in their environment but also gave them a sense of natural well-being, attributes gained by not living in fear that they were going to hurt themselves every five minutes. “Be careful” or “don’t do that” or other anxious exchanges with children were very rare. Jean Liedloff identified the most significant difference between the upbringing of a Yequana child and a child from the developed world as the length of time babies spent in the arms of their parents.

Commonsense Parenting

Jean wrote a book about her experiences with the Yequana in an effort to help parents trust their natural instincts in regard to bringing up their children. She was also concerned about the unwitting damage we maybe doing to our children if they didn’t experience a significant in arms phase and dispels the myth that carrying children will “spoil” them.

Baby wearing is now advocated by many as plain old commonsense. Pushing a screaming infant in a stroller should never be considered normal, small babies need to be carried. They are crying for good reason and parents should respond accordingly. Baby wearing is rewarded by increased well-being for child and parent. Through the close contact of the in arms phase a parent will get to know their child better and become instinctively tuned in to their needs. Furthermore carried babies are more likely to grow into secure confident individuals because cuddles have not been metered during the most formative months of their lives.

Baby Sling, Papoose or Tie Wrap?

There are many different ways of carrying babies so it is a good idea to try before buying and to check parent feedback on specific designs. Small babies want to be snug so many parents use a tie wrap style and then progress to a sling when the child is able to sit on the hip. Although with practice it is possible to carry a newborn in a sling and breast feed at the same time. Parents should also consider how easy the carrier is to remove for sleeping babies. The sling style is ideal for this purpose because it is just one buckle to loosen and slip out of.

The frequency of baby wearing is relative to how easy it becomes. The in arms phase is not for long, at 6-8 months babies learn to sit-up independently and start to crawl. They still need the comfort of being carried but will need far less reassurance as they discover the world than a baby who has missed out on a significant in arms phase. Baby wearing will also increase a parents physical strength and enable them to carry their child when necessary for many years to come.

If this all sounds like back breaking work, try pushing a fully loaded stroller up or down a hill complete with screaming baby. Even the most expensive stroller whilst appearing to be the height of convenience for the modern parent will inevitably become an encumbrance to the newborn.

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