Dr. Ewald Fettweis, Orthopaedist, Aachen
Good Reasons for Carrying Children
from Dr. med Ewald Fettweis in “Deutsche Hebammenzeitschrift”
A press release by the German Green Cross (DGK) on carrying children in baby slings was published recently.
The press release warned against carrying babies in slings because they could suffer from damage to the spinal discs. False statements served the purpose of supporting this statement.
This led to a considerable uncertainty among parents, midwives and some doctors. Following a remark in a derogatory tone on “being tied up”, it was alleged that the idea of baby slings originated in Africa and South America so that the women’s hands were free for them to work. This is simply untrue
On the contrary, wearing babies next to the body is the natural way of caring for infants in the Old and New World, at all levels of civilisation – not only in today’s stone-age cultures, such as the Pygmies, but also in highly developed cultures. It is the “credit” of the western world that children have been banned from their mother’s body, leaving them at the mercy of many a health risk.
Unlike the condition of all other highly developed mammals at birth, such as horses, monkeys and elephants, human newborn babies are completely helpless, a “secondary squab” or a “physiological premature infant”. For this reason, nature requires close physical contact to the mother to promote the baby’s further physical and mental development.
In particular the hip joints of infants are often still immature at the time of their birth and can still be damaged if the environmental conditions demanded by nature are not observed. However, they are ideally formed for being carried in the sling or bag.
In the press release it is also claimed that, due to our footwear and hard asphalt, as opposed to walking barefooted, the child’s spine is jolted at every step, which can cause damage to its spinal discs. For this reason, a well-sprung pram should be used.
Despite shoes and asphalt, however, thanks to the mother’s connected joints and spine, the child is well cushioned – in any case better than in any pram! Carrying a child is recommended for good reasons.
However, it is necessary to know how to carry the baby next to your body correctly.
Taken from the Deutsche Hebammenzeitschrift 12/2005, page 4
(Dr. med Ewald Fettweis, Orthopaedist, Aachen/DHZ 05/11/03)