For you that participate in social media, let a baby be born and there is no denying it is a big event. Pictures, congratulations and comments fill our computers addressing the wonderment that just happened. Of course there are photos of the proud parents and grandparents and the lovely child. But what about the little one that was just been thrust into a totally different and alien world. After all, this child was quite happy floating around well protected being taken care of without a care in the world. Suddenly this child is squeezed, pulled, yanked, forced to breathe real air and boy is it cold out here.
In 2013 Darcia Narvaez, PhD, wrote a paper called Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Babies and helps to explain what our little one needs when entering his new life.
1. Babies are social mammals that require nearly constant touching and feeling to develop brain functions and relieve stress the baby feels.
2. Babies are born half-baked compared with other mammals. It takes an additional 9 months for brain development and 18 months for bone density to develop. Our little one needs a world of support and development and stimulation after exiting the safety of mom.
3. If a child is mistreated or over stressed during the “baking” period physical and social problems can appear in adulthood. Other countries have recognized this and Spain has a term for adults that have misbehave as “misraised”.
4. Babies thrive on affectionate love. Diaper changes and feeding and partial affection is not enough. A baby requires continual love and not only from mom and dad. There is research that shows that three affectionate care givers is even more affective for development than two. This leads to selecting a very responsible caregiver if the mother enters the work force and certainly requires two parents in the child’s life.
5. The babies right hemisphere of the brain is developing rapidly during the first five years. This development takes place during face-to-face social contact. Sitting in front of a television or ignoring the child is not the way to provide this development.
6. Babies expect skin to skin contact. They expect to be in someone’s arms and skin to skin contact is a calming influence. Companionship is expected and this leads to social development for future years.
7. Babies have a built in warning system. They let you know something is wrong through grimaces, frowns and then crying. Don’t ignore them. Respond to the child’sneeds.
8. Babies lock experiences into procedural memory vaults. They cannot remember the event but the event will affect how the person responds to future situations. Babies can be traumatized from the lack of needs identified above. This can lead to self-centered morality which will eventually undermine the values of our own country and affect the world in general. It is important to provide the love and association identified above.
9. Culture does not erase thousands of years of evolved baby needs. A child understands his needs and these have been built into the psyche of the child. The rationale of inserting culture over biology leads to a lack of optimal child development. Sleeping alone, sleep training, letting a child “cry it out” and baby videos and flash cards are examples of cultural insertions that replace the biological needs.
10. Experiences that are in conflict with evolved tendencies will undermine human tendencies. Today this is apparent with the high rates of depression across the country.
While the researcher identified much of the right things required to have a well developed child there was nothing to explain the excitement displayed by the adults following the birth of a child. This excitement transcends national borders and cultures. There is nothing more precious in life than the look on a mothers face when she holds her child for the first time.
I had heard that being a grandparent was really special. I rebuked at this comment until my granddaughter was born. I quickly understood what had been told to me for years. Last Friday my son handed to me my first grandson and emotions welled up from some primeval point within my own self. While I view myself as one that doesn’t display public emotion, I couldn’t help but wipe a tear from the eye as I welcomed Thomas to the world. I am confident that this child will receive the love and attention that every child deserves


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