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Paediatrician says: “Relax – It’s Good for Your Baby’s Brain”.

thebug 9 November 2010 8

A leading Australian Paediatrician today launched a new radio campaign and a printed resource that encourages parents to worry less about being perfect, but instead to have fun, cuddle their babies, make eye contact, sleep near-by, and even to learn infant massage.

Associate Professor Graham Reynolds, who is the Director of Paediatric Research at the Canberra Hospital and the ANU School of Medicine, and Ambassador of the International Association of Infant Massage Australia (IAIM), said that a more relaxed approach to parenting was not just about feeling good, but important in the mental and physical health of both parents and babies.

“We have launched a new fact sheet called Building the Bonds. It explains to parents how simply relaxing and enjoying our relationships with our babies offers many benefits that last well into adulthood. There is a lot of pressure on families today to use the ‘right’ techniques and we are seeing more and more parents collapsing under the expectations to be ‘perfect’. Many new parents become confused about all the conflicting advice about what to do with their baby. Not only is this stressful for parents and babies, but there is actually no real evidence to support the idea that there is a single, perfect way to raise a baby.” Assoc. Prof. Reynolds said.

The free fact sheet, available from the International Association of Infant Massage, comes on the back of a major landmark study in America that found children who experienced poor psychological health were at least seven times more likely to have economic and relationship problems in adulthood from poor mental health.

“The tricky thing is that all babies are different. Some parents are being scammed into believing that there is a one-size-fits-all solution that will fix things like sleeping, crying or other common challenges of new parenthood. When these things don’t “work”, parents and babies become distressed”.

The solution, according to Assoc. Prof. Reynolds, is instead of arguing about which techniques are “right”, and causing stress for parents and babies, we need to place a great emphasis on supporting a relaxed and responsive relationship between parents and babies.

“Things like nurturing touch, eye contact, and simply cuddling our babies when they are distressed can really help enhance the relationship between parents and babies. Often, when parents are supported to relax and tune in to their babies in this way, and to respond in natural and caring ways, we often see problems with things like sleep resolve themselves. It also lays the foundation for good social, emotional and mental health.”

The free fact sheet can be downloaded from www.iaim.org.au. The radio campaign supporting parents and babies was launched in Canberra thanks to a donation from Radio FM 104.7.


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8 Responses to Paediatrician says: “Relax – It’s Good for Your Baby’s Brain”.
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MWF MWF 5:58 pm 10 Nov 10

astrojax said :

s’what we do, sepi – sheet/doona to under shoulders, bub in gro-bag on top of the between us, rail beside one of us, low alcohol consumption, etc. thanks, we do feel lucky to have this! 😉

🙂

I did the same. SIDS and Kids now recommend no co-sleeping at all. From my poking around their website(s) they don’t even refer to SAFE co-sleeping.

I like what this guy says about it (except for when he advocates buying a certain brand): http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t102200.asp

astrojax astrojax 11:10 am 10 Nov 10

s’what we do, sepi – sheet/doona to under shoulders, bub in gro-bag on top of the between us, rail beside one of us, low alcohol consumption, etc. thanks, we do feel lucky to have this! 😉

sepi sepi 10:10 am 10 Nov 10

Co-sleeping is said to be safe if you don’t have any blankets on the bed higher than about underarm/waist height, no pillows, baby is on one side of the bed (not middle) with a rail but not a wall on the other side of them, or everyone is on a mattress on the floor, neither parent has drunk any alcohol, nor is excessively tired.

Good luck to you if you can maintain those conditions.

Jethro Jethro 9:18 am 10 Nov 10

astrojax said :

i’m confused as to where we are instructed not to co-sleep, mwf, though of course am aware of this decree in various places. twaddle, is what i say! co-sleeping is both lovely to do and is great for infants as it helps ensure they get enough oxygen and don’t fall victim to sids. mainly lovely to do, though (apart from when they wriggle and squirm when you really want sleep!)

In Western societies it is one of the highest risk factors for SIDS. They tend to get smothered in all of our blankets and pillows, etc.

To quote from a report in The Age about a study of SIDS in Britain, “More than half (54 per cent) of the SIDS deaths reviewed were found to involve a parent sleeping with baby.”

Doesn’t sound like twaddle to me…

astrojax astrojax 8:30 am 10 Nov 10

i’m confused as to where we are instructed not to co-sleep, mwf, though of course am aware of this decree in various places. twaddle, is what i say! co-sleeping is both lovely to do and is great for infants as it helps ensure they get enough oxygen and don’t fall victim to sids. mainly lovely to do, though (apart from when they wriggle and squirm when you really want sleep!)

Gerry-Built Gerry-Built 11:22 pm 09 Nov 10

wait… wait…

“a major landmark study in America that found children who experienced poor psychological health were at least seven times more likely to have economic and relationship problems in adulthood from poor mental health.”

…someone really got paid to “discover” that!!!

I reckon you read widely, and building up a collection of ideas that “work for you”. Anything from Supernanny to academic papers… just having enough interest in your kids to care to look what might work is an indication you are already an “above-par” parent…

We kept a notebook of things we’d would definitely do and not do with our kids for several years before we actually had them… the best thing about it was we were discussing our parenting attitudes and approaches beforehand, and reaching a common ground prior to actually having them. Most mainstream parenting magazines and websites have good, well-worn approaches… well, as long as your children don’t have weird names anyhow…

also – if someone suggests something WAAAAAY too left-field, just respond “thanks, I’ll be sure to remember that…” – greatest parenting advice I was EVER given…

MWF MWF 8:07 pm 09 Nov 10

I agree.

However I am laughing about the fact that we are advised NOT to co-sleep with our babies yet the latest is we should co-sleep with our dogs http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/let-sleeping-dogs-lie-in-your-bed/story-e6frf7jo-1225949662077

Hells_Bells74 Hells_Bells74 5:41 pm 09 Nov 10

If it wasn’t for baby massages with almond oil after a nice soak (with a cute lullabies cd playing in a darkish warm room), I would’ve gone clinically insane.

My son and I used to float in a big bath with him at the breast, while I drizzled water over his body lots with the intention of the massage after, but he always fell sound asleep in the bath and stayed that way all night after, so he often missed out as a bub. But made it up later he loved a nice rub before bed as a tot.

Very lovely to be relaxed with your baby and it’s nice to see them putting it out there. Thumbs up.

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