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Are babies “stressed” by “cruel” forward-facing baby carriers and prams?

Australian professor gives mums one more thing to worry about with dramatic claims that forward facing babies will need therapy then they’re older

Posted: 23 August 2011
by Kimberley Smith

forward facing baby
Some babies love to see what's going on

So it seems that new mums don’t quite have enough to worry about yet. To add to our concerns, an expert in Australia has announced that by carrying babies facing forward, we might be causing them long-term psychological damage. In fact, according to Professor Catherine Fowler, mums who do are “cruel and selfish”.

She’s opened a can of worms here, though, as other experts have rallied around forward-facing buggies and baby carriers, refuting her claims. Particularly, as Professor Fowler reckons it’s not just newborns that should be kept parent-facing, but all babies up to the age of a year. So while very young babies could potentially be over stimulated, by the time your tot is a few months old, she’ll be dying to see what’s going on around her.

“Imagine if you were strapped to someone’s chest with your legs and arms flailing, heading with no control into a busy shopping centre – it would be terrifying,” Professor Fowler.

But the opposite view is that babies may get bored and lack stimulus if they face their parents at all times.

“Parents have enough to worry about without feeling guilty about which way they push their child in a stroller,” said midwife Robin Barker.

The research Professor Fowler relied upon was a 2008 study by the University of Dundee that found that face-forward buggies could affect child development as babies could find it more difficult to get their parents’ attention.

But as many new buggies now offer the ability to change your buggy from front to rear-facing as you want, the concerns are more likely to worry frazzled parents.

We tend to agree with Robin, if your baby is loved and fed, it doesn’t matter which way she sits in her buggy or carrier. What do you think?

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face-forward, baby carriers, strollers, forward facing, parent facing, which way, professor catherine fowler, stimulus, robin parker

Discuss this story

My baby got bored 'mummy facing' at about ten months and is much happier watching the world forward-facing!
Just another so called 'expert' spouting off& laying on the guilt factor by the sounds of it..

Posted: 24/08/2011 at 12:03

All the babies I know absolutely love to see what's going on around them - at that age they're just curious, not scared. I agree with mummo4, just another theory that doesn't come to much.

Hmm... on the other hand I was found this article that suggests maybe parents and babies communicate better in rear-facing buggies?? http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/talk_to_your_baby/resources/1555_whats_life_in_a_baby_buggy_like still, a bored baby is never a happy baby, and I suspect these people have their own agenda...

Posted: 07/09/2011 at 10:54

Talkback: Are babies “stressed” by “cruel” forward-facing baby carriers and prams?

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