March 1, 2009 – NY Times – One Ride Forward, Two Steps Back
The first line of this Op-Ed piece in the New York Times says it all:
ARE forward-facing strollers having a negative effect on babies’ language development?
Your baby’s first three years is a time of great neurological growth and the brain grows faster in those short three years than during any other time. And guess who is baby’s best teacher in those years? You!
But you don’t have to do anything special or be anyone superhuman. Babies learn by watching. And as studies in Great Britain have found, babies who are pushed in forward-facing strollers have less chance to interact with their parents. These interactions are critical!
When your baby (or child) is facing you, there is naturally more of an inclination to converse. It’s not very often you see two people looking at one another and not talking. And lets face it, we’re drawn to look at babies! They’re so cute and hard to keep our eyes off of!
Read the article because it raises some good questions, but lets push a little farther here.
There’s certainly nothing intrinsically wrong with stroller use. Even this article is not dissing the stroller, just calling into question the way we use the stroller. But, being that we’re Sprout Soup and happen to be proud of the fact that we have the largest selection of baby carriers in Central Ohio, we think ditching the stroller, leaving the carseat carrier in the car and saving your arms with a baby carrier is the way to go.
Aside from the benefits of bringing the baby closer to you, right where conversing is easy, a baby carrier adds one benefit to the toward-facing stroller. It brings baby up to adult level, letting her see what you see, experience life right along side you.
While lying in a stroller looking up at a doting and talkative mom might be great for language development, the rest of baby’s view is pretty boring. Ceiling tiles, rafters, overhead lights. But a baby in a carrier sees what you see. Think about it.