I'm not one to put a lot of stock in research or studies, because in my opinion there are truly too many variables to take into account and it's impossible to delineate a pure cause and effect relationship.
However, I do like to use studies as a trigger for personal contemplation and experimentation. Below is some interesting food for thought about forward facing strollers and their potential impact on language development.
Before I share the link and my thoughts on the stroller or sling question, let me preface it by saying I have a very sensitive nervous system. Certain kinds of lights and sounds, crowds, scary movies or stories -- stuff like that bothers me. So when my kids were little, I didn't use strollers. Something just felt weird to me about putting my little baby down at knee level, especially in crowds. Might have been pure projection on my part, since I wouldn't have liked being down there on my own facing the strange world by myself. In any case, it felt right as rain to carry them on my hip in a sling.
As newborns, they would lay down in the sling horizontally. It also felt weird to me to carry my little baby upright or forward facing, like their little heads just bounced around too much, and like they were somehow too exposed and unprotected. With them tucked in the sling, napping and nursing were a piece of cake, and I could get on with my business.
As they grew, they progressed to sitting on my hip. I absolutely loved being able to see what they were looking at, and I was constantly talking to them about all kinds of stuff. I preferred the sling to the backpack, because I liked seeing where their attention was focused, but at times, the backpack just made more sense, so I used that too.
I chalked all this up to just being a strange and quirky and sort of fringe-y type of person. Now there's this study which says that other folks felt the same way, even strongly enough to do some research on it.
I'm not saying strollers are bad! Of course all parents need to find strategies that work for us and our kids. I only share this article to perhaps support those of you who may feel a deep preference to carry your baby, and don't really know or understand why. Perhaps it may help you to clarify and honor your intuition. It may also provide those of you who find strollers to be your best option with some ways to consciously enrich that experience for your child.
Which reminds me ... there was a powerful book that supported and validated my intuition back when I was a new parent, and I still remember it fondly: The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff. Here's the link to her site: http://www.continuum-concept.org/book.html
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