Provides a Gentle Transition
Newborns do not arrive acclimated to the world; they need to adapt to new sights, sounds, and smells. Held close to a parent in a sling or front carrier, a newborn experiences the eye-to-eye contact critical to healthy bonding. He can hear the beating of his mother's heart, feel the warmth of her skin, and breathe in her unique scent. Soothed by constant gentle motion, he also receives a steady stream of sensory stimuli that advances his neurological development.
"Newborns are not designed, physically or mentally, to be on their own. They are neurologically unfinished," says Dr. Meredith Small, PhD, professor of Anthropology at Cornell University and author of Our Babies Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape The Way We Parent. "Anthropologists estimate that human babies are really born three months too early," she says.
While strollers, playpens, and hand-held car seats are safe, they do not provide the close contact of a sling, backpack, or front carrier. Also, strollers place children at knee level, rather than eye level. According to Dr. Small, babies worn on a parent's chest or back interact more with the people around them.