Montessori World

An educational blog for children and adults

Sling babies culture

For many years, anthropologists (I have always wondered what do they really do, until now) have been researching how children, especially babies are raised in different societies. One area of differences is how babies are held, carried and touched. Let’s look at the various notes on the method of carrying babies in different parts of the world.

  •  Babies from the Yequana tribe were carried in slings without being put down for the first 6 months of their life. They snoozed blissfully while the men, women or children carrying them danced, ran, walked, shouted or paddled canoes.
  • Korean infants spend more than 90 percent of their time being held or carried in slings while their carer works.
  • Kung San babies are carried in cloth slings almost continually and are responded to almost immediately and breastfeed briefly on average four times an hour.
  • Mexican mothers wear their babies in a rebozo while carrying out their tasks.
  • The Inuit carry their babies in an enlarged anorak called Amautik. Infants are taken fishing and even in frigid temperatures, they are kept warm, secure and cared for.

 

The above phenomenon of breastfeeding, co-sleeping and baby wearing are also recognised as attachment parenting. What benefits do the anthropologists and psychologists have marked about this kind of parenting?

  • Breastfeeding is easy and the breast accessible to baby, allowing constant, unfettered access, which ensures an adequate supply caused by the increased level of prolactin from wearing the baby in a sling.
  • The baby cries significantly less, as the mother responds quickly to her infant’s subtle signals.
  • The mother who wears a sling is free to attend to her duties with her hands free.
  • Bonding is enhanced and a feeling of security is formed within the child, as he constantly feels mum’s heartbeat, motion and closeness.
  • Slings give dad an excellent opportunity to be included in this bond development too.
  • Parents who carry their baby give them more touch an intimacy, kissing and stroking them at regular intervals.
  • Babies are held up high, where they can see, hear and absorb activities, then simply doze off when sleepy. This has been proven to help them develop intellectually.
  • Trips can be handled easier, no negotiating steps and helps to reduce ‘Pram Jam’.
  • Carrying a baby develop their capacity for trust, intimacy, affection and happiness.

The conflict of traditional vs post-industrial parenting is the outcome of the advancement of science and technology, education and social evolution. Parents are encouraging their children to be independent by isolating them from their company since birth. What parents don’t realize is that children need assurance and security, especially when they are still babies. Physical contact is the utmost important and the foundation of building a healthy emotional and humane relationship. Maybe it’s time parents reevaluate traditional communities’ parenting skills and follow their instincts more.

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January 13, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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