Baby Science

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There is a wealth of research on child rearing, some of which I’ve read. But my 14-month-old daughter recently pointed out that many of my so-called “evidence-based” views are hopelessly outdated. So I asked her to write a post in which she shares the very latest findings. This is cutting-edge baby science, dear readers. I think you’ll find it illuminating.  

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On sleep:

Some parents have been led to believe (by charlatans) that babies need to be sleep “trained.” I didn’t think you would be duped by these hucksters, mom. But a couple of weeks ago, I saw that you were reading that book by Richard Ferber (aka Lucifer). For those of you not familiar with his methods, I’ll give you the gist. (Warning: what I’m about to describe may be upsetting to some readers.) Sleep training consists of letting a baby cry for a prolonged period of time at night. I know. It’s totally barbaric. But it’s an all-too-common practice.

The theory is that falling asleep is a skill that babies must learn. But psychologists now know that crying is a baby’s way of saying, “Help!” My cry means that something is wrong. Now, maybe it’s a small something. Like, my paci is at the other end of the crib and I can’t find it in the dark. Or the corner of my blanket is making my hair feel creepy. Or I threw Bunny out of the crib and now I regret it. But then again maybe it’s a big something. Look, I could be in danger. No, really! The cat has been giving me the evil eye lately. I think she is hatching a plan to off me. So here’s what should happen: I cry, you come running. Your brain has evolved to respond to my cry. So, you better f&*%$ing respond.

On food:

I know that I seem picky lately. My likes and dislikes change by the minute. Remember that time I used both hands to shovel scrambled eggs into my mouth like a starved hyena? And then the next day I smashed the eggs flat and looked deep into your eyes as I swept the whole pile onto the floor. Well, I’m really conflicted about the research. Some days the headlines say eggs are a super healthy source of protein. But other days, they’re like, “you might as well fill your veins with butter.” I don’t want butter veins. So I abstain. That’s called willpower. But on the other hand, eggs are so damn delicious. Sometimes I can’t help myself. That’s called human nature.

On milk:

When we went to the doctor for my 12-month appointment, Dr. Karen said something that just isn’t right. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about it for weeks, actually. She said that babies don’t need milk after they’re a year old. She said that I can get enough calories and nutrients from solid food. Wrong! This is so factually incorrect, I’m honestly deeply offended. She should have her license revoked. Of COURSE babies need milk. Everyone knows that. The bigger we grow, the more we need. Ideally this milk comes from a human mom (see next section). But if it must come from a cow beast, then it needs to be in a bottle that has the mouthfeel of a boob. And, this is important, the quantity should be unlimited. Only I know when my belly is full and my need for comfort sucking has been satisfied. Study after study shows that milk is good for babies. My references? I don’t need references for something that is common knowledge. Guess what! Even adults can benefit from milk. Haven’t you seen those commercials that feature celebrities sporting milk mustaches? If it’s good enough for Jennifer Aniston . . .

On breastfeeding:

Mammals are called mammals because they have mammary glands. Those mammary glands are how they feed their young. You are a mammal. And I am your young. Your mammary glands are meant to feed me. I cannot control my hunger. So when we’re out in public and I go rooting around in your shirt to find your mammary glands, you need to let me have them. Sure, you could force me to wait until we leave Trader Joe’s. But 100% of scientists agree that withholding milk from an innocent baby—even for five minutes—can cause severe psychological scarring. Each time I am forced to wail in displeasure, 173 of my fledgling neurons spontaneously explode. That’s called apoptosis. I will never get those neurons back, mom. Say goodbye to Harvard.

On weaning:

No. Never. Absolutely not. The literature is unequivocal. No weaning until college.

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