Friday, April 11, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom I learned from Jill Stamm Pearl #1

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

A couple of weeks ago, we were thrilled to have Jill Stamm, Ph.D., author of Bright from the Start, as a guest lecturer at The Pump Station & Nurtury™. Dr Stamm's book gives science-based information regarding the developing mind of a baby/child and ways parents and caregivers can nurture this mind to maximize its potential. I sat through 3 of her lectures and learned something profound in each session. I want to share what I learned with every parent I see – it is such important information. After reading my “Pearls” I hope you will be excited to read the book and then share it with everyone you know who is raising kids today.

Science is finally able to put to rest the belief that we can spoil babies and ruin them by picking them up when they cry and by holding them when they need us. The opposite turns out to be the truth. At last, parents can follow their instincts to nurture their babies and know that they are doing the right thing. I'm so happy!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing my “Pearls of Wisdom” with you! Here is the first:

Pearl # 1
Dr. Stamm talked about the Romanian orphanages where children were fed, kept clean and dressed, but were confined to cribs in colorless rooms without toys and without the warm responsiveness of human contact. When some of these children were adopted by American and European families, they were found to have many troubling behaviors. These children’s emotional wounds could actually be seen on brain scans… deprived orphans behaved differently because their brains had been wired abnormally. The neurologists found some astounding differences when they compared the brain scans with those of typically developing children. Nearly all of the adoptees had brains with fewer fibers and weaker connections. The areas in the brain responsible for interpreting emotion showed up on the screen like a “black hole”. For the first time it was possible to see the physical effects of deprivation.

So what does this mean? Dr. Stamm's book states, “we now have clarification about what very young children need most, and when they need it. This new work is confirming age-old wisdom: The very kinds of basic nurturing that most loving parents routinely provide turns out to be most important of all.” Dr. Stamm describes easy ways a parent can help wire a healthy brain but the biggest pearl of all — Just spend time with your baby and talk, talk, talk to your little person.

Read the book — PLEASE! You'll be so glad you did.
Corky Harvey