Response sent to Daily Mail, regarding Desmond Morris, 10 September 2008
I've been asked to respond to your email regarding the comments made by Desmond Morris: "that baby books have recently begun repeating the unnatural dictates from so-called childcare "experts" of the past, who ordered mothers never to hug or kiss their babies and ignore them if they cry". Whilst I feel sympathetic that Desmond Morris is still affected by the harsh treatment he received from his mother nearly eighty years ago, I don't believe that the majority of parents today would advocate this outdated practice. I was as shocked as Desmond Morris by the sensationalist television programme last year that portrayed the methods of the 1920's childcare author Truby King, and expressed my serious concerns in a letter to the NSPCC at the time. However there have been no books advocating a return to such methods published recently in the UK. Also, given the public outcry to the programme, it is clear that there is no demand for this type of book.
What is clear is that, after nearly 30 years of many childcare experts advocating baby-led practices, there is now a demand by many parents for an alternative choice on how to bring up their babies. My series of The Contented Little Baby books, of which three accounted for nearly twenty-five percent of the parenting book market last year, is proof of this. My books, along with those written by other authors who also advocate a routine-based approach to parenting, recognise that the old-fashioned approach to routines of strict four-hourly feeding and leaving the baby alone outside in the pram for hours are not in the baby's best interest and do not work.
I have always respected that there are different approaches to bringing up a baby, and believe that parents should be encouraged to make an informed decision based on truthful facts about the different methods. My belief has always been that the mother's and baby's physical and emotional health are inseparable. I take a holistic approach in the advice that I give, and I know that, even after birth, the mother and baby are so uniquely intertwined, that for their mutual happiness it is essential that both their needs are met.
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