To test the hypothesis that a characteristic infant-care pattern existed during most of human history, contemporary hunter-gatherers in a representative sample of world cultures were examined. Numerically coded measures of infant care revealed a uniform pattern. Mothers are the principal caregivers, providing extensive body contact day and night and prolonged breast-feeding. When not carried, the baby of hunter-gatherers has complete freedom of movement. Care is consistently affectionate, with immediate nurturant response to crying. Nonetheless, in most groups, children achieve early independence and by 2 to 4 years spend more than half the time away from the mother. In the United States this pattern of carrying that endured for one to three million years has been replaced by one resembling nesting or caching. Infants spend little time in body contact with caregivers and their movements are restricted by playpens, high chairs, or cribs. Of the minority who are breast-fed, half are weaned within a few weeks. Separate sleeping arrangements and delayed response to crying are regularly recommended. These remarkable transformations may profoundly alter infant development and maternal involvement.
M.D.Betsy. Lozoff and M.D.Gary. Brittenham
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to chuck the buggy in the bin or go live with an Amazonian tribe to be a good mother! However, studies like this might help us understand our babies a little better. Babies don’t know they’ve been born into the 21st Century. Just like their prehistoric ancestors, they are born to expect close body contact with their mother or significant other most of the day and night. And then, when they can crawl and walk, they expect to get out and about and explore their environments.
Small human people expect to breastfeed frequently. Carrying species have relatively low fat content in their milk unlike, for example, rabbits who need to hide their babies away in burrows and leave them for hours at a time.
Mother rabbits have between 10 and 18% fat content in their milk so that their babies are full for longer and grow quickly.
Whereas human mothers’ milk contains 3-5% fat. [The composition of human milk. Jenness R]
So, your baby expects to be carried, cuddled and fed frequently. Your job is to decide how much compromise on this you want to negotiate as you go along, if any. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that giving a baby what he expects will spoil him.