-- Carmichael (1954)
What makes you think that the brain starts recording memories at birth or before?"
The question was posed after the blogger posted comments by a neonatal doctor on his blog who blasted my post/statements about babies being aware and conscious and that no matter what happens in birth the caregiver can treat the baby with respect and regard -- because the baby remembers the experience of labor and birth.
.. isn't this common sense? I think what Diane was trying to get at is absolutely correct. Babies don't have "memories" per se, but clearly EXPERIENCES do impact the developing infant. For example, one of the strongest needs of infants is physical bonding. A baby doesn't remember being cuddled by his mother, but clearly that bonding matters in his development. Babies will actually die from lack of physical connection. What makes you think that experiences DON'T have an effect as early as birth? At what age do experiences start to matter for an infant?
Good question. When DOES the human experience start to matter -- pun intended!? When IS IT that a woman should BEGIN to act as if her behavior -- good, bad, or indifferent -- impacts her baby? When does the love, the joy, the nurturing, the conscientious diet, and elimination of stress and toxins matter? What about the science that shows us that the baby in the womb is learning language and taste, shows emotions, and responds to the mother and other outside stimulus? Based on "defensive" caregivers denial should a mother no longer hug her pregnant belly and talk to her unborn baby? Why bother if the baby doesn't RECEIVE it and KNOW it?
Lord o' mercy and Oh, Mama -- the science is pretty clear -- even if those you'd expect to know and behave accordingly don't know it or believe it --- the human being from conception forward is EXPERIENCING, INTERACTING, RESPONDING, and LEARNING. Psst.. it's about cells!
The discussion on the OB's blog occurred in support of her neonatal buddy who took a spin on the tired old media driven spin-machine, using the media slander of Scientology's "Silent Birth" to debunk me and his own colleagues with pictures and narrative about Tom Cruise. Yaaaawn. You forgot to mention Brittney. The docs got so ruffled by the possibility of babies REMEMBERING the treatment by doctors and nurses during birth that they immediately jumped where docs always do -- blame and litigation avoidance (and turf and income protection). And, if you and I believe the scientists they lump into the tired PSEUDO SCIENCE defense, damn it, isn't the worst thing that would happen is the OB's, neonatalogists, nurse, and pediatricians will have to learn and change, too. And, we'll all treat pregnant women, birthing women and babies, and newborns in a more respectful, loving way?
As a physician and writer in this area, I am also excited by the new neuroscience that confirms all that What Babies Want teaches: the existence of preverbal (implicit) memory; the importance of pleasure for optimal brain development; and the negative impact of stress and stress hormones on brain cell growth. We can now say, scientifically, that the happiness that we put into our babies will nurture a healthy brain life-long.
--Sarah Buckley, MD
Your obstetrician, nurse, neonatalogist, and pediatrician mostly will not tell you about how amazing your gestating, laboring, birthing, and connecting baby is -- and many will even deny the science that is showing us that it is imperative that we treat babies differently. Very differently than they are treated in the medical machine. YOU will have to be the one to expect and ask them to treat your baby with respect and awareness.
Read for yourself below about the scientific communities who are studying the prenatal environment as the foundation for health and wellness. You are smart enough and you are a logical, thinking, feeling, and compassionate person who can put one (prenatal brain research) and one (infant brain research) together to make TWO (labor and birth brain matters too). You don't have a couple of hundred thousand or more reasons to deny it. You know that our baby's brains are also working during labor and birth, so that we know babies are affected for life by their birthing experience.
Prenatal/Fetal Programming (Learning, Imprinting)
Peter Nathanielzs, MD (OB), PhD (vet)
Ten Principles of Fetal Programming
From Life in the Womb: The Origin of Health and Disease by Nathanielsz
1.) During development, there are critical periods of vulnerability to "suboptimal" conditions. Vulnerable periods occur at different times for different tissues. Cells dividing rapidly are at greatest risk.
2.) Programming has permanent effects that alter responses in later life and can modify susceptibility to disease.
3.) Fetal development is activity dependent. Normal development is dependent on continuing normal activity. Each phase of development provides required conditions to subsequent development.
4.) Programming involves structural changes to important organs.
5.) The placenta plays a key role in programming.
6.) The developing baby will attempt to compensate for deficiencies in the womb. But that compensation carries a price in later life.
7.) Attempts made after birth to reverse the consequences of programming might have their own unwanted consequences.
8.) Fetal cellular mechanisms often differ from adult processes.
9.) The effects of programming might pass across generations by mechanisms that do not involve changes in the genes.
10.) Programming often has different effects in males and females.
Nathanielsz' work lays out the foundations of fetal programming -- the process by which the prental enviornment interacts with genetic and other factors to produce an individual human constitution. This is parallel to the cellular biology work of Bruce Lipton whose work supports the changing paradigm of the Newtonian science upon which medicine is built. We are not pre-destined and pre-determined merely by our DNA. From before the union of our sperm and our egg we are cellularly INTERACTING with the world. Forever more.
Why do seemingly very intelligent doctors and nurses, for example a neonatalogist from www.talesfromthe womb.blogspot.bom, deny the obvious -- the human being's brain does not shut off during labor and birth so that they can do whatever they want without consequence. And, really ... a blogger with that title who doesn't believe in infant memory (LEARNING!) when clearly, for decades we've known that prenates and newborns learn? It's downright scary what some will call psuedo science just to keep from learning themselves.
Peter Hepper, PhD, Fetal Memories Researcher, Belfast, has been studying the embryonic study of fetal psychology for over two decades. If you google his name you'll find many scientific articles. Ultrasound technology has allowed significant advancements in observing fetal behavior.
Published in 2005 -- http://www.bps.org.uk/publications/thepsychologist/search-the-psychologist-online.cfm?fuseaction=inc_getFile&ID=906&Publication_ID=1
Perinatal Olfactory Learning in the Domestic Dog
Janet DiPietro, PhD, John Hopkins, Obstetrics Department
Research and Professional Experience
As a developmental psychologist, my research centers on methods of assessment of risk in infants and young children and their efficacy as predictors of outcome. Specifically, my interest lies in the underlying physiological basis for individual differences in cognition, socioemotional behavior, and temperament. I have explored these relations in early infancy and in the neonatal period, in samples of full-term and preterm infants. My current research program, which has been ongoing for the last 15 years, extends this interest to the human fetus. I have developed computerized assessment methods of measuring fetal neurobehavioral functioning in order to investigate the ontogeny of development with the ultimate goal of predicting clinical and developmental outcome from the fetal period. Within this context, I am further exploring the role of maternal factors, including poverty and psychologic stress, in mediating fetal development. Application of principles of developmental psychology and psychophysiology to the antenatal period represents a new frontier that manifests unlimited potential for uncovering new knowledge about the origins of human behavior and development.
From Kids Health.org -- about as mainstream as you can get.
During this time, you will see your baby's personality emerge. In the first month or two of life, the baby depends on you to initiate any interaction. But by the end of the third month you will find your baby engaging you with his or her expressions, vocalizations, and gestures. Your infant's eyesight will be improving, and your child is better able to distinguish between different sights and sounds. Your baby will be carefully watching your facial expressions and listening to your voice, responding to you with coos and gurgles, and around 2 months, respond to your smile with a smile. Between 3 and 4 months, most infants can squeal with delight and laugh out loud.
Research shows that a baby’s brain is designed to be extremely receptive to experience. With each experience, babies gain a broader understanding of their world. They use the same parts of their brains as adults do, though their brains are less mature. By one year of age, so much development has already occurred that a baby’s brain will more closely resemble an adult brain than the brain of a newborn.
University of Missouri
Infant Cognition Lab
The Infant Institute
Center for Infant Studies
University of Wisconsin
Infant Learning Laboratory
Northwestern University, Chicago
Early Learning Laboratory
University of Maryland
Maryland Infant Studies Laboratory
New York University
Infant Cognition Center
University of Texas -Dallas
Babies learn rapidly about the sights and sounds of their environment, and how to affect the people and objects that make up their worlds. Consider the following accomplishments in the infant's life:
- Within just 2 days after birth infants recognize their mother's voice, and prefer it over other voices. **
- Three-month-olds can detect primary colors, and prefer red and yellow over blue and green.
- Seven-month-olds can match an angry or happy face to a voice expressing the same emotion.
- Nine-month-olds can watch simple actions and remember and imitate them one week later.
** Ninety-nine of the babies in these research projects were born in hospitals with up to 80% or more born under the influence of drugs while their mother's were supine closing in her pelvis up to 30%, making birth much more traumatic. Research has not been conducted to determine infant or human potential on non-drugged, non-traumatized humans -- in infant memory, or any field. Once one has witnessed the uninterupted, stress-free, intervention-free, and drug-free birth and has personally seen that these baby's respond to their mother's voice within minutes, one can not help but explore the wonder of the prenate, laboring and birthing baby, and newborn as fully sentient.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
The Infant Institute -- www.infantinstitute.com/
Early Learning Laboratory
Infant Mental Health
Infant mental health may be defined as the state of emotional and social competence in young children who are developing appropriately within the interrelated contexts of biology, relationships and culture.
--Zeanah, Charles in Zero to Three, August/September, 2001
The Infant-Parent Institute, Champaign, IL, Michael Trout, Director. -- http://www.infant-parent.com/
Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health - www.ilaimh.org/
Austrailan Association for Infant Mental Health - www.aaimhi.org/
Michigan Association of Infant Mental Health - www.mi-aimh.msu.edu/intro/index.html
Just google to find your state.
CURE AUTISM NOW - This study examines the motor and cognitive development of young infants to better understand the early signs of autism and other developmental disorders. Investigators at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Child Development Lab will observe infants between 3 and 7 months of age who could be in one of these 3 groups: http://www.cureautismnow.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=bhLOK2PILuF&b=1288037&ct=2757403
So, read for yourself and join me at looking at posts like at http://www.talesfromthewomb.blogspot.com/, April 22, 2007, Debunking the Pseudo Science of Infant Memory. You might want to consider becoming a very wise consumer in the obstetric medical field. They say induction, epidural with fentanyl and narcotics is safe for the baby and they say cutting through a woman's abodominal wall to pull her baby out is safe for her and doesn't harm the baby. You decide if it's scientific and logical that the science that tells amazing, indepth info about the learning environment of the womb and the first days and weeks of infant life doesn't also tell us that babies feel, respond to, learn from -- and, therefore, remember, unconciously -- what they experience in their labor and birth.