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Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, by Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP, Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

For new parents finding themselves overwhelmed with the reality of caring for a baby in the first eight weeks of its life. The pediatrician moms (authors) allay the feelings of anxiety, guilt, and inadequacy that inevitably plague first-time parents home alone with a newborn, providing authoritative yet compassionate advice for the sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. This is described as solid, practical, balanced guidance that will enable parents to feel confident about their parenting skills. (from the publisher). Topics include: vaccines, child care providers, babies and learning, car seats, safe sleep, cord blood, what to keep in the medicine cabinet, postpartum depression, and organic formulas, the trials of breastfeeding, a discussion of "pee and poop," "Fever: Trial by Fire," "Seeing Yellow: Jaundice".

Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain, by Sue Gerhardt

"Gerhardt's book offers perhaps one of the most concise arguments for why love and affection in early life truly do matter. Written with clear and direct language, this text can serve as a general resource for mental health professionals and parents alike." - Rachel Altamirano, Clinical Social Work Journal

The Happiest Baby on the Block,
by Harvey Karp, MD

  • The Calming Reflex: the automatic reset switch to stop crying of any baby in the first few months of life.

  • The 5 "S's": the simple steps (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking) that trigger the calming reflex. For centuries, parents have tried these methods only to fail because, as with a knee reflex, the calming reflex only works when it is triggered in precisely the right way. Unlike other books that merely list these techniques Dr. Karp teaches parents exactly how to do them, to guide cranky infants to calm and easy babies to serenity in minutes…and help them sleep longer too.

  • The Cuddle Cure: the perfect mix the 5 "S's" that can soothe even the most colicky of infants.
    (from the publisher)

    Raising babies - Image: healingdream /

  • Page updated: November 22, 2015

    Mental Health Infants and Babies:
    ----------------------Love, Positive Parenting and Prevention

    Infants need love, right from the womb. Nursing helps to emotionally bond a baby to her mother and vice-versa. Nursing is a good preventive measure for future potential ADHD. Nursing helps a child feel secure and stable in their present and future life.

    Good Prenatal Care is a Vital Part of Health and Mental Health Prevention
    for Babies

    Prenatal care is also a vital aspect of a mother's responsibility. A healthy and balanced diet, avoidance of drugs and alcohol, regular doctor's visits and a mother's decision not to smoke when pregnant can have a positive affect on a baby's future physical and mental health. Poor prenatal care is associated with a greater risk of ADHD symptoms later in life.

    Babies need love, to be held, gentleness, soft music, no loud noise. Doing without television for babies is the best. Nursing is bonding for baby and mother.
    Nursing your baby is a positive step in parenting and helps bond the baby and mother. For babies under two years of age, the American Pediatrics Association recommends no television.

    Positive Parenting and Discipline

    While children should have firm limits and sometimes need discipline, discipline should never be in anger, and always with love. Children should never be verbally humiliated, abused or struck in anger. This can be akin to child abuse. Discipline can include teaching and explaining matters to a child, it doesn't always mean punishment. The purpose of discipline isn't necessarily to punish but to adjust a child's way to one that is more appropriate. Children need to know the whys of matters, not just the whats.

    For many little girls, one not rough spanking in a lifetime might be all that is ever necessary and for many little girls a stern look is enough to make them cry, whereas a rough a tumble boy might need firmer discipline.

    Parents, then, need to know their individual children and adjust their methods of discipline accordingly.

    Firm Limits for Infants Needed - No Television for Children Under Two

    Children under the age of two should not watch any television, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics Association. It is more than the baby's brain can handle. While there are occasional very gentle programs for children, commercials are usually not, but are designed to capture attention, be memorable and move to action, commercial television as a whole is not a good idea for infants.

    Television after two-years-old should be gentle rather than fast-paced.

    See the American Academy of Pediatrics comments on children, infants and media at:
    American Academy of Pediatrics comments on children, infants and media.

    See also: AAP Org for clinical study concerning television and subsequent attentional problems in children. Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH; Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD; David L. DiGiuseppe, MSc; and Carolyn A. McCarty, PhD

    The Effects of Movies - Violence and Sex - on Infants

    Movies for young children sometimes can contain cartoon or other violence. Cartoon violence is as real as other forms of violence and can affect a child's personality. Never should a preteenager view scenes of graphic violence in movies, nor should a child be exposed to any significant sex on television, movies or otherwise. Some sensitive children can be profoundly affected by average cartoon violence. Using movies as a baby sitter, as a way to keep children quite, is self-defeating, it can be like a drug for kids, it keeps them quiet for the moment, but afterwards the problem comes back in more earnest.

    Find non-passive activities for children to enjoy such as coloring and coloring books and/or inexpensive water color paints.

    Some films for children are intense, and some children's movies have deep messages of a spiritual nature. Certain movies and TV programs such as Sponge Bob, have not only (humorous) cartoon violence, like Bugs Bunny, except on a larger scale, more like a juiced up Roadrunner, but also have sexual innuendo and humorous homosexual references. Children and teens pick up on this and talk about it in school. (One Freshman High School class was quite insistent that Sponge Bob and Patrick were gay, based on their summations of certain programs and the movie. A fifth-grade class had questions about the sexual orientation of the theme characters after the movie).

    While the purpose of this note on Sponge Bob isn't too judge anyone's sexuality, the point is, that for children and young people, it stays on their minds, they think about it, mull it over, digest it and interpret it. Most kids and many young teens aren't ready to handle the sexuality that is introduced to them through TV, cartoons, movies and other sources, and it stays on their minds during the school day, even if they might not have the courage to talk to their parents about it.

    It is better that a child's introduction to sex be in a dignified manner, preferably from the parents, who can gradually talk to them about these things in a way that is accurate and honorable.

    Conclusion on Mental Health Infants and Babies - Related Pages

    Children need a parent's love, time and attention, as well as their approval. This can help a child from any socio-economic background, to feel secure and develop well emotionally, psychologically as well as spiritually. Mental Health Infants and Babies: Prevention, Love and Positive Parenting

    Pages Related to Raising Babies and Infants - Mental Health, Prevention

    Parenting Advice and Tips - 24 Steps in Positive Parenting

    24 Positive Steps for Effective Parenting -Children's Mental Health

    Autism in Children

    Children & Television

    Walt Disney Biography

    Children & Movies

    Supplementary Information on Infants and Television
    ---Clinical Study on Decreased Parent-Child Interactions and Television:

    Objective To test the hypothesis that audible television is associated with decreased parent and child interactions.

    One clinical study was designed to determine the impact of television on infant's language ability. While you might think that watching television would increase a child's ability to understand and speak audible language, the study actually found that for every additional hour that a child was exposed to television, there was a decrease in 770 words (7%) that the child heard from an adult during a recorded session, as well as a reduction in the number and length of sounds and spoken words by the child with the adult.

    It was concluded that television, in most cases, decreases the rate of parent-child interactions and that less television might in fact positively affect the child's language ability.

    Audible Television and Decreased Adult Words, Infant Vocalizations, and Conversational Turns - A Population-Based Study, Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH; Jill Gilkerson, PhD; Jeffrey A. Richards, MA; Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD; Michelle M. Garrison, PhD; Dongxin Xu, PhD; Sharmistha Gray, PhD; Umit Yapanel, PhD. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(6):554-558.