Prams should be pushed aside in favour of carrying babies upright to aid quicker development, says a lauded scientist.

Traditional child-rearing techniques dating back to primitive tribes can offer valuable tips for modern parenting, Pulitzer prize-winning professor Jared Diamond said in his new book, The World Until Yesterday.

Quickly comforting a crying baby, letting babies sleep next to their parents, regular physical contact, and carrying them upright facing outwards "may result in a more self-assured child'', the US academic wrote.

"I have worked with traditional New Guinea peoples for 50 years,'' Prof Diamond said in an interview published by British tabloid the Daily Express.


"Many other westerners have worked with other traditional societies, including the pygmies of African rainforests and the Piraha Indians of Brazil. We are struck by how emotionally secure, self confident, curious and autonomous the members of those small-scale societies are, not only as adults but already as children.

"That's surely as a result of how they are raised as children.''

The theory coincides with a rise in popularity of papoose carriers, which commonly see youngsters held on mum or dad's chest, facing forward.

"We moderns can learn from what worked well for such a long time,'' father-of-two Prof Diamond said.

"It is only relatively recently that some of these practices became unfashionable.

"I suggest that it is time to consider some of them seriously again.''