How to bring up baby – a no-nonsense guide by the real experts
21:44 GMT, 9 June 2012
Demanding: Professor Robert Winston with his granddaughter Tzofia
A set of parenting DVDs, devised by a Cambridge University child psychologist and a BBC documentary maker, is offering a balanced alternative to self-styled childcare experts.
Research conducted with 500 new parents in the UK revealed that 61 per cent of new fathers and 44 per cent of new mothers were more confident changing a light bulb than a nappy.
And 78 per cent felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available while many hadn’t ever seen anyone feeding a baby.
‘However pragmatic you are, it is very demanding being a new parent,’ says IVF pioneer Professor Robert Winston, who narrates the DVDs. He adds that today’s parents are at a disadvantage as they have no clear guidance.
Historically, we would get advice from our mothers. Even now, 77 per cent of those asked would still turn to their parents for advice, but in modern society we often live far away from them.
The Essential Baby Care Guide was devised by two mothers – Dr Rebecca Chicot who has a PhD in child psychology at Cambridge University, and documentary director Diana Hill. Rather than espousing their own theories, they went directly to medical experts.
The DVDs are set out in practical sections: Feeding; Care and Development; Sleeping, and First Aid and Accident Prevention.
‘Ideally, we’d all go on courses to learn these things,’ says Prof Winston. ‘But no one has the time.’
Rewarding job: Having a child is arguably the most important thing you do in life, says Professor Winston
Many of the parenting books available are, suggests Prof Winston, ‘utter rubbish’. ‘You can’t be judgmental about babies. They are all have different needs. I was left with an enduring hatred of cheese because it was forced down me when I was young,’ he says.
‘Having a child is arguably the most important thing you do in life. Parents get anxious when things aren’t going right and that’s where we are helping out.’
St John Ambulance, the Meningitis Research Foundation and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have given their backing to the DVDs.