Below I list some of the prejudices that I had to fight against while I was carrying my son Jan:
- Aren't you just bringing up a mother's boy who will be hanging onto your apron strings later on?
- The only people who do that are the alternative types with open sandals and scruffy clothes.
- Will the baby get enough air in the sling?
- Does sling carrying cause damage to the back (both baby and mother)?
- Am I spoiling my child if I carry it too often?
My son certainly has not turned into a "mama's boy" just because I wanted to give him the feeling of being there for him when he needed me in his first months of life. On the contrary, nowadays he is a small, self-confident personality who knows exactly what he wants. Other mothers as well, who have carried several children, have confirmed to me that none of their children have become mama's boys or girls, or nervous, or lacking in self-confidence.
Being alternative, in other words open to new ideas, is nothing negative. Nobody ever got harmed by "listening to your inner voice or your instincts a bit more" now and then. Mothers often go back to work very early after the birth, especially nowadays. The baby sling is a brilliant way of experiencing time with your baby very closely and intensively, while at the same time finding time for your partner and coping with the household.
Yes, if you ensure that your baby's nose is free and that it is able to get enough "fresh" air. Your movements will also cause the air within the sling to circulate and provide replacement of fresh air. It is also important not overdress babies in the cloth, and maybe also under a jacket, because babies suffer more from overheating than freezing.
For more information about the subject, you can also read the "Cologne study" on oxygen assimilation of premature babies in a baby sling - a study made by the University of Cologne. During the study, it was discovered that a newborn baby's oxygen intake is only approximately 1% less in a sling than it is without a sling. This is because a baby in a baby sling is much quieter and can breathe in a more relaxed way.
For almost 10 months, the baby's spinal column is curved in the mothers womb. First it needs to straighten out slowly (between one and two years) to attain the S shape of an adult. This is why the baby's back needs to be slightly rounded inside a taut sling (due to the spread-squat position). This is most certainly better for the baby than a position where the back is lying straight and is "stretched", or even takes up a hollow position due to badly positioned carry belts or aids.
An infant's spinal column goes through the following stages to obtain its S-bend form:
a) The cervical vertebra stretched upwards or outwards as soon as the baby can hold its head upright.
b) The thoracic vertebra stretch when the baby can sit by itself.
c) The lumbar vertebra carry the baby when it begins to pull itself up against objects, or starts to stand and walk.
Cultures which still carry their babies for most of the time suffer considerably less back problems than we do. I carried Jan, our son, after he was 2 weeks old although I myself have a relatively serious curvature of the spine (scoliosis). Since my back and stomach musculature gradually got used to Jan's increasing weight, my carrying duties could be almost compared to back training. During the times in which I carried Jan regularly, I had fewer back problems or pain.
If, however, you have acute back problems such as a slipped disc or similar, you should always consult your orthopaedic specialist or physiotherapist in any case before carrying.
No! You are not spoiling your child, you are just spoiling yourself. You cannot possibly spoil a small child who is only able to get your attention by crying (contact crying) if you carry it. The need for nearness, contact and security is one of our basic requirements and should be quite simply and naturally satisfied.
When our children start to crawl or walk, at the latest, they may not want to be carried in the sling so often. Their natural thirst for movement and discovery becomes stronger, and it is of course much more exciting for them to go off discovering things on their own.