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The Continuum Concept: Advantages and Disadvantages of Raising Babies

The concept of the continuum is a study that was developed by Jean Liedloff, an anthropologist who studied this concept among South American Indians. The 1970s approach to parenting recommended frequent skin-to-skin contact between parents and their children from birth to 12 months. Parents from various parts of the world have tried this method that promotes ff methods in raising babies:

  • constant physical contact between mother and baby or with another caregiver from birth;
  • co-sleeping in the parents’ bed, with constant physical contact, until the child leaves of his own free will, which normally begins at 2 years of age;
  • breastfeed at the right time: breastfeed the child in response to his needs and body signals;
  • constantly carrying the child in its mother’s arms or in contact with someone (usually the child’s mother), and the child is allowed to observe, sleep or nurse with the person carrying the child while that person goes about their business (usually ends in 6 to 8 months when the baby begins to drag and crawl on his own impulse);
  • having caregivers respond immediately to the child’s needs and cues, such as crying and squirming, without disgust, judgment, or invalidation of the child’s needs, and yet without showing undue concern or making the child the constant center of attention;
  • feel and meet the expectations of the child’s elders that he or she is innately social and cooperative, that the child has a strong instinct for self-preservation, and that the child is welcome and worthy.

Pros and cons

Despite the fact that several parents claim that this method of raising babies has developed and created a strong bond between parents and children, there are still advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed before using this method:

Feed on demand or breastfeed at the right time

Advantages: Constant breastfeeding stimulates milk supply, allowing the mother’s breasts to learn to produce the right amount; the baby can be fed when he is hungry and not dictated by a scheduled feeding; Since babies derive comfort from sucking, this method allows them unrestricted access to their mother’s breast.

Disadvantages: This part of the method is time consuming and not effective for working moms.

Phase in arms or constant load of the child

Advantages: Babies who are constantly held always have their needs met instantly and get enough first-hand information about the world of adults, as they can observe the activities of adults, such as cooking and cleaning, when they are being held.

Disadvantages: In this method, the mother’s sense of privacy or separation from her child is not allowed; Also, babies who are constantly being picked up tend to be clingy, which makes the moment of separation from their mother quite a trial.

Co-sleeping in parents’ bed

Advantages: Breastfeeding at the right time is simplified with this method and there is no longer a need to buy cribs and cots and even set up a nursery; Also, less anxiety is experienced when checking whether or not a baby is still breathing, as you can feel them breathing right next to you.

Disadvantages: This method can be dangerous as there could be two adults in bed with the baby; also the safety guidelines of using thick pillows and heavy duvets for babies will make co-sleeping restrictive; the transfer of the child to his own bed may be prolonged as she gets used to sleeping with her parents.

In short, the methods promoted by the Continuum concept are indeed a great training ground for raising happy children, since their priority is the instant satisfaction of their biological and emotional needs. Children raised using this method will experience first-hand the love, care and support that their parents provide, as proximity makes it possible. But if both parents are working, especially the mother, this may not be a practical method, making constant physical contact an impossible goal to set at times when parents need to be away from home. But when weighing the pros and cons, nothing is more important than giving your children the love and support they need from the time they’re born to the age they can claim their own independence.

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