Friday, May 16, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom I learned from Jill Stamm - Pearl #3

by Corky Harvey MS, RN, IBCLC, Co-Founder of The Pump Station

This is the last installment of 3 Pearls I learned from Jill Stamm, author of Bright from the Start.
I had never really thought too much about this next Pearl, but after hearing Dr. Stamm discuss it, it was an “Aha” moment for me. Car seats are HUGELY important for keeping a baby safe in the car, but maybe not so great for other times. Because they are so convenient and multi-purpose, many babies are spending LOTS of time in the Travel system. Here’s the problem. If a baby is deep within a car seat while awake, he/she can’t see out. They can’t see the dog that is barking and make the connection. They can’t follow mom’s eye gaze to see who she is waving at. Researchers are learning that a child’s ability to follow eye gaze and orient to sounds is important for the effective wiring of the attention system and the systems involved in social interaction. An example Jill Stamm gives: When a baby hears a doorbell, turns her head instinctively to follow the sound, but can’t see anything, she may signal distress about this frustrating lack of connection by fussing. But after this disconnect occurs over and over and over, she’s less likely to keep trying to turn her head to follow along with the situation around her. She tunes out.

Dr Stamm suggests limiting the time in the seat to car time only. If the baby is asleep when you arrive at your destination, of course let them continue to sleep in their seat. But, when the baby is awake, pop them on your hip, in a sling, a chest carrier or a back carrier so they can see what is going on. At home when you need to put a baby down, Jill suggests placing them in bouncy seats, or swings whose sides don’t restrict the range of vision. By the way, babies are less likely to develop “flat head syndrome” if they are up in your arms or in a carrier rather than lying on their backs in their car seats.

Hey People—You will learn so much from this wonderful book. You and your child will reap huge rewards.


Anonymous said...

I bought this book when my baby was a very young infant. I have followed the advice (along with a couple of other baby brain books) and my baby is now 12 months old. I really love it! I am disappointed however, that Dr. Stamm does not talk about the brain benefits of breastfeeding. It seems as though she doesn't want to "offend" anyone but it is a well known fact that breastfed babies have a higher IQ then formula fed babies. I think it is important to get that point across to inquiring minds.