Babywearing facing the world: if you know it, avoid it!
Selling slings and baby carriers by spreading the art of babywearing is a real pleasure for us, but selling while maintaining one's ethical principles is sometimes very difficult . Every day we receive this type of request: "But can it be carried facing the street?", "With this pouch, can I put my baby facing the world?". We must necessarily explain all the reasons why facing the street or facing the world is not recommended. Needless to say, if you look around a bit, this position is super popular and marketed by the biggest brands. Let's see together why it is and why it shouldn't be!
The theory of visual culture
Why is it only facing the street in the West and in no other culture? Carrying facing the world is objectively uncomfortable and non-physiological, therefore also not very functional, both for the wearer and for the wearer. So why do we practice it? One theory is that in a culture where the communication of the skin is lacking, we find in the foreground a type of visual communication, which develops through the observation of the other to understand the nuances of moods, to perceive the information that derives from it and to enter into a relationship with it. From this point of view, a parent thinks that his child too has the innate need to explore with his eyes, to be a participant and protagonist in the activities of the surrounding environment. Another theory sees Western culture as tending towards the search for an early independence and autonomy perfectly represented by a child who turns his back on those who "support" him in favor of exploring the world.
The “M” position
The perfect seat is the one that allows the child to maintain the his physiological “M” position, i.e. sitting comfortably with the knees higher than the bottom of the bottom, as a “little frog” and with the hips well apart as if to continue what was the favorite position in the uterus. This position represents a factor of prevention for hip dysplasia . The baby carriers that allow you to carry it facing the world usually have a very narrow seat that leaves the legs dangling. This position is neither physiological nor comfortable. In addition, the narrow panel puts particular pressure on the genital area by transferring all the weight! Better to sit in a hammock or hang by a harness? Today some baby carrier manufacturers have made a very commercial choice while accepting the notion that the "M" position is the most physiological: they have created supports that allow the child to face the world even with his legs apart. It could be considered a step forward if it weren't for the fact that the facing the world position is extremely uncomfortable for a thousand other reasons and the companies themselves advise against it for more than 10 consecutive minutes!
Newborns are born with a natural kyphosis of the back. What does it mean? That their back doesn't have the classic "S" shape that we adults have, but has a "C" shape that will grow into an "s" during the first year of life when they start to stand upright and walk. In the facing world position, the legs of the patient are hanging and do not maintain the physiological "M" position. This forces the back to arch losing its "C" assuming a non-physiological posture.
The head and neck
In the forward facing position the head and neck are not adequately supported. This will force the wearer to force the position when he could comfortably rest it on the wearer's chest.
The reflection of the brought
The child facing the world cannot hold on, he cannot find the stability that every carried mammal innately seeks, the child will look for a handhold and will not be able to find postural stability. Whoever wears it, on the other hand, will have the weight of the child's limbs towards the outside of the dyad and its center of gravity will be moved forward, creating tensions in the lumbar area which serve to cope with an excessive load. A newborn heart to heart or on the back will be adequately collected and "smeared" on a large surface of the wearer, maintaining the center.
A child growing up in our culture is constantly bombarded with various stimuli of a visual or auditory nature! In the first few months there is a risk that he may be overstimulated. When this happens the newborn usually shelters in the mother's or the carrier's chest, blocking the stimuli outside and relaxes or falls asleep. It goes without saying that in the facing world position this is not possible. The child could suffer this overstimulation without the possibility of filtering and "hiding" in mum or dad's chest and falling asleep for example.
Communication in the dyad
In the position facing the street, the mother lacks an immediate response to her child's needs. Some time ago I saw a mother carrying the little one of a few months facing the world. It was a beautiful spring day and the sky was clear with a beautiful sun beating down. The mother was wearing sunglasses but she didn't realize how much that sun bothered her little boy's eyes, because objectively she didn't see his face!
The newborn has an innate need to have on a sensory level a constant tactile response, as it had in the uterus. There are studies proving that the tactile response is extremely important for forming new synapses in the brain. Arms, legs and body gathered in a stimulating massage is what we can observe in a child brought towards the wearer. In the street-facing position all this is missing.
Infants' backs contain more fat than their bellies. The world facing position does not facilitate thermoregulation through the wearer because it is applied to areas that are already more isolated. Human beings are not meant to be taken down the road!
And hold facing the world then?
This is very different! While in a pouch or in a sling the position is kept stable for tens of minutes if not hours, in the arm the position is mobile and is changed and adjusted very often, based on the feedback from both the than whoever is held in his arms.
What can you do if you want to see the world?
First of all let's try to really understand what our baby is telling us: is he really so eager to discover the world at two months when he can barely see half a meter away? What does the baby do? Is he pressing and trying to move? It may happen that the newborn presses to accommodate the seat. If the baby shows clear signs of no longer wanting to face the mother, various strategies can be adopted depending on the age and available support, such as for example making a less containing binding with the rigid band, switching from the elastic band to the rigid one, pass the child on the side with the rigid band or the ring sling or pass the child on the back with the rigid band, the mei tai or the fanny pack.
Babywearing School consultant
I hope my article was helpful to you. You can find a general description of the characteristics of an ergonomic baby carrier here. If you have any questions, doubts or would like to offer feedback, if you want advice on which purchase might be the most suitable for you, you can write to us below or view the supports we sell!
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