Ever wondered how people raise babies in other countries? Or have you just assumed we all do it the same? If you’ve travelled, you’ve probably already realised that certain countries aren’t stroller friendly – and you never see the mums in Africa, on the Discovery Channel, pushing their babies around in a stroller… So how do they do it? And what about these eskimos? How do they keep their babies warm? And how on earth would they breastfeed on the move – certainly not in the open air! 20130811-031651.jpg How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood Having just purchased the Bugaboo Donkey, in eager anticipation of the arrival of our second child (who has now arrived, it’s taken me that long to finish this), the whole – ‘How do people cope without a pram?’ issue definitely intrigued me. Don’t get me wrong – I also swear by my ergo carrier. My daughter lived in the ergo carrier until I was about 3months into the current pregnancy… Then, as much as I love my pram, I bought a sling – because sometimes it’s just easier and I do like the mid-walk cuddles we share. But I have the luxury of these options. So what happens in countries where they don’t? Where prams just aren’t practical? Are there advantages to not using prams? Drs. Urs Hunziker and Ronald Barr, found that newborn babies in Montreal whose mothers were asked to carry their babies at least three hours a day (not just when crying) cried and fussed 51 percent less during the evening hours. Other research has found that mothers who carry babies are more in tune with their needs, produce more milk, are less likely to suffer postnatal depression. Meredith Small, in a chapter on cultural perceptions and responses to crying in her book Our Babies, Ourselves highlighted studies from the 1970s that said the average American baby spent about sixteen hours, or more than two-thirds of his or her day “alone” – out of someone’s arms, in a stroller, crib, or other contraption. She pointed out that Korean babies, in sharp contrast, spent only two hours alone, or 8.3 percent of their day. … The downside, accruing to Small is that American babies cry more. Similar results have also been reflected in many other studies. The idea of carrying your baby on you is in inherit in many cultures, from the Chinese men tai and the Japanese onbuhimo to the Maori wrapping their newborns in a band of lacebark or a cloak. So how did prams come about? Turns out that in the 1730s, the third Duke of Devonshire thought it would be a great idea to have a miniature version of the chariots used those days, created for his children to play with. Resembling something like the pumpkin carriage from Cinderella, it was a huge success and caught on like wildfire. 1848 saw American Charles Burton adding handles so that parents could push it and the pram has continued to evolve. But there are real downsides to prams and, just like food, it seems an ‘everything in moderation approach’ is best. According to Mei-Ling Hopgood’s interview with Jane Clark, head of the University of Maryland’s Department of Kinesiology, people are not just strapping their children in for sleeping, it has become a way of containing your child and keeping them away from danger. But this has had some unexpected consequences – mainly a sharp decrease in the lack of physical exercise! So if this small diversion into pram use & history has sparked your interest, read the book. Each chapter is distinct, which makes for great reading if you’re trying to cram it into your little one’s nap time. If you think you would enjoy reading about parenting from all around the world, you can purchase the book here. (Please note that this is an affiliate link. By purchasing the book from the link provided, you are giving me the opportunity to purchase more books for my own children – which enables me to write more book reviews!)

Written by Nadia

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