A new mum talks about the pressure she gets from family and friends, to persuade her, against powerful personal feelings, to impose rigid routines on her young baby. The answer is simple. Most people don’t discuss their finances or sex life with their relations and friends either. Just don’t tell them.
When the ideas of attachment parenting were being developed in the 1960’s or so, the advice was fairly ‘gender neutral’.
Later however data started to accumulate that baby boys’ needs were different from that of girls. Not qualitatively but quantitatively. Male babies on average have greater difficulty self-regulating their emotional state and therefore have a greater reliance on emotional support. They need it both more intensely and for a longer period than girls.1
In essence, mothers need to work harder with their boys than their girls.2
It seems that that boys’ brains develop more slowly3 , and are more vulnerable to negative outside influences, […]
Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who works as a pre-school teacher. She asserted that she could tell an ‘attachment parented’ child from across the room.
“They are generally so much more calm and empathic! They will tend to go over and comfort a sad child. They think about what others are feeling’.
There is a lot of scientific evidence for this accumulated over many years.
One of the critical factors of being born human is being born very immature. For good or bad, this gives the parents and carers the opportunity to mould the baby’s brain as it […]
After chimps or gorillas give birth, those mothers hold their babies closely and possessively for many months. They will not allow others to get too near or to hold their baby, and the mother is the sole carer.
During the hunter/gatherer era, the life of homo sapiens was tough and precarious. Without sharing the care of her baby with kinfolk it would have been impossible for a woman to meet the intensive and prolonged needs required on her own. Apparently it takes a total of 13 million calories to grow an adult from babyhood. That’s a lot of gathering to do on your […]
II’m sure you’ve seen them in your blue, red or purple book for your babies, the charts for tracking the weight, length and head circumference of your baby.
Simply put, if your baby is on the 50th centile for weight this means that 50% of the population is heavier than him or her and 50% lighter. That’s ‘average’. If he or she is on the 90th centile only 10% of the population is heavier and 90% is lighter, and the same for height and head circumference.
Simple. But I keep meeting parents who worry about these charts:
- I met a baby recently […]
Every mother wants her baby to have soft flawless dewy skin. Achieving that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but important for your baby’s health.
The integrity of the skin layer prevents the penetration of allergens (causing allergic (atopic) dermatitis) or harmful bacteria (causing infection). However the surface layer of a baby’s skin is 30% thinner than in adults so is more easily penetrated or damaged by substances applied to it. It takes more than a year for the skin to mature.
For maintaining integrity skin should have:
- Slightly acid pH
- Friendly (commensal) germs
- Natural Moisturising […]
With the return of the warm weather parents have started asking me what to do about their babies regarding insect repellants and sunscreens.
Mosquitoes and midges agree that babies are delicious and will ignore the adults and exclusively hone in on the youngest human with the softest skin. Babies primarily need to be protected from contact with them by avoiding outside exposure in the evenings and sleeping with insect nets over their cots.
The spray-on repellents should not be used at all under 2 months of age and after that, it should not sprayed directly on to the baby’s skin. Use […]
“Do you have a good baby?” Says the sweet-faced old lady to you in the shopping centre.
Just to be clear, this is code for “Does your baby sleep for long periods of time and not feed too often or at inconvenient times?”
How to answer? She means well, so perhaps “Yes, she is. She cries when she is hungry and sleeps when she is tired” is a bit abrupt.
Instead how about giving her a short enlightening lecture?
Here are the critical points:
- Babies are just foetuses who are outside the womb. In comparison to other mammal babies, they are remarkably immature. Hence […]
I was bewildered by all the Internet chatter about the picture of Victoria Beckham kissing her children on the mouth. The horror and the outrage!
That same day I was discussing feeding babies spoon foods, and a mother wondered what they did before blenders. Good question, because these two things are connected.
Transitional feeding seems to be necessary for humans from around six months of age. It is a time when breastfeeding doesn’t yield enough iron or protein to maintain optimal growth in babies.
In many animals the mother prepares soft foods by chewing it herself and then transferring it into the […]
II had an interesting conversation with a friend a few days ago.
He sighed “We are having such trouble getting our little girl into childcare – there are so few places available. We are feeling so stressed and guilty that she might not get the early education and sociability that she needs?”
Time for a reality check.
- Humans are amongst the most social species on the planet. We have been honed by countless generations of ancestors who selected themselves to reproduce by their ability to socialise. It doesn’t need to be trained into us. It’s inherent.
- In our first couple of […]