Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You can probably guess I'm keeping a close eye on this Gina Ford/mumsnet malarky! (loving morningpaper's apology)
This publicity is great, I'm hoping it alerts some parents to why some people hate the books she writes so much and go find out for themselves what the possible consequences of the methods advocated in such baby training type books are. It really is quite amazing (well I think so) when you learn just how much is going on in that little body, and how they are treated in these early years is so important.
I don't deny these quick fixes can work but I don't actually want the outcome you get with a trained baby. I want babies whose mind and body does what it naturally is supposed to do. They should wake at night to feed (and when nuzzled up against mum there is little disruption to sleep anyway), it's healthier from a SIDS perspective they are easier to rouse like this (see the work of James McKenna at the Mother-Baby Sleep Lab, link at the side). They should feed very frequently, they have so much growing to do, all those essential fats needed for the brain developing at a fantastic rate and teeny tummys. They should "manipulate" us into getting as many cuddles as possible. Not that the manipulation is done with intent (their little brain isn't developed enough to form that kind of thought anyway) but inate and done for survival. To make sure they thrive and are looked after properly. Trouble is the fashion for a while has been to learn to ignore this.
Babies know they need tonnes of touch and cuddles, this helps create positive healthy pathways between neurons..then we get happy, healthy and confident adults later on. You need foresight in this job, and well it's hardly a chore to snuggle up with a yummy baby.
If you leave them to cry alot and make them wait to be fed it's not helping them fulfill their potential, those synapses formed in this case are going to form a brain that's not as healthy. Hormones released under the stressful situation of being left to cry alone or seperated from parents too often have an undesirable influence too. In fact research shows they can end up with all kinds of problems, depression, learned helplessness, addictions, stress related illnesses and eating disorders. Dehydration is also a known risk when schedule feeding a baby.
I'm sure many parents if they knew would not risk this outcome for the sake of an "easy" baby and an evening to themselves. To be honest to me all this training nonsense looks like hardwork with no benefit anyway.
Now i'm on number 3 I can truly appreciate how much fun it is just to really get to know your baby and just go with the flow.

Do you think now authors can go and censor the net I can go censor books? If I got my hands on that book it would be full of blank pages..and then possibly be the best childcare book ever!

My suggested reading list if you want to know more about all that brain stuff going on (not that I think you need books, just do what feels right. I'm just a curious so and so and love to know how things work) -
The Science of Parenting
Primal Health
Why Love Matters


Kell said...

Well said Tracy!
I have never used a baby manual. I did buy the baby whisperer when I was expecting number 3 and it was interesting but I prefer to wing it.
With my first 2 I just did what came naturally. I could never make a baby wait for food, I get all jittery in the short time it takes to heat a bottle because I hate the idea of Sonny crying with an empty tum. This bottle feeding lark is weird :(

Chris said...

Absolutely agree - while some of my friends love the Gina Ford approach, I'm much happier just taking things as they come with Nathan - he seems to be a happy guy, and that's all that matters. Still, that Mumsnet response has provided us with one of the best pieces of parenting advice ever:  "<...> if you are considering utilising your baby in any sort of warfare or military conflict, please speak to your health visitor first."

lauranen said...

Hi Tracy, wandered here through your Flickr profile. This post sums up so many things I believe in! Things, that my health visitor and other people have advised me against - such as having the in the bed with us and not teaching him off night-time feeds. I haven't been very active in the Internet forums even though I belong to a few, so I was delighted to come acres a like-minded blog.

I'm not originally from the UK and haven't paid much attention to the child experts' advice here (apart from the SIDS raging in the media that's impossible to miss). Just following the other mums from my NCT ante-natal group it seems that many mums trust in books and health visitors, but not in themselves in telling what their baby wants and needs.

Laura xx