Published Nov 1, 2014
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Reviewed by Laura and her pregnant sister, Teresa :-)
When I first met Dr. Paul at the Toronto International Book Fair, and we spoke at length about childcare, I knew I wanted to read his book. Yes, my children are older now, 13 and 11, but I still recall those eventful years of breastfeeding, sleepless nights and childhood illnesses. I read a slew of books at that time and I'm grateful I did.
When I looked and read through Baby Comes Home, I noticed it had the essentials for sleep-deprived parents: it was well-organized with a detailed index for easy referral and it was easy to read. It was reassuring to read too, which is so important in a parental guide, since some of the main feelings of new parents are insecurity and guilt. Am I doing this right? What if I don't do it right? Am I a good parent?
I practiced attachment parenting with my children and Dr. Paul's "science of TLC" truly appealed to me. And if you've been reading my blog, you also know that I love brain wellness, so I thought that Dr. Paul's approach to baby care is not only needed but unique in helping parents understand that we don't need fancy gadgets to raise a healthy child. Don't miss our interview with Dr. Paul below as he explains more on this.
I passed this book on to my sister who was pregnant with her second child and who just delivered last week! These are some of her thoughts on the book. The first thing that caught Teresa's attention about this book is that it covers everything from A to Z that a first-time parent needs to know. She found it very informative, detailed and clear to the point. It was not complicated and she found that Dr. Paul made good use of illustrations or comparisons when explaining certain things. She loved his advice on TLC that any parent in any financial and social situation can easily implement.
She liked that Dr. Paul's advice was preventative, helping parents to understand that setting good habits and childcare dos and don'ts has long-term benefits. She wished she had this book for her first child but is happy to read and use it now, as it is never too late. Her first child is now seven and so some things she says she forgot about newborns and is happy to have this handy book available! When her newborn was regurgitating, she looked it up and found Dr. Paul's advice useful on this topic, as well as that on crying and sleeping patterns.
Dr. Paul's book is about awareness, stressing the importance of a parent's love and attention as the basis to a healthy child, both physically and emotionally. It has practical advice on what to do in various situations that can be distressing for parents, such as when the baby is crying constantly. Both my sister and I found Dr. Paul's book an excellent resource, the go-to book for both new and all parents and grandparents of babies and young children.
Note: This book is rated G for general audience
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LCR: Dr. Paul, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me and my readers. There are many parenting books on the market. What makes yours unique?
DR.PAUL: Most books about newborn babies concentrate on handling and feeding, or are mostly about physically caring for a new baby. Uniquely, I take an additional approach, because we now understand from advances in neurobiology, neurophysiology, and gene studies that what happens early on in life can have consequences many decades down the road. This book, is the first book for parents of newborn babies to incorporate the new science of early child/brain development and the effect of TLC during the first 2 years of life, and to link this period with long term health and psychological consequences and success many decades later. I also focus on a significant threat, which is injury. Sadly, accidental injury is the leading cause of death and hospitalization in children. As most injuries are preventable, I spend a significant amount of time discussing injury prevention both inside the home as well outside.
I place a huge emphasis on ensuring that baby is safe, and grows and develops normally. I describe the ideal conditions for a baby to live and grow in. These include proper nutrition, injury prevention, immunization, and of course, very importantly, the provision of tender loving care. I look at this as a guide to wellness, starting in the first eighteen months and lasting a lifetime! I begin with the newborn baby period from the moment of birth and offer basic baby care and safety information for the first eighteen months and beyond. This includes addressing frequent parental concerns and describing some of the most common illnesses and conditions seen during the first few years of life. Although the title says A Parents’ Guide, this book can be a helpful resource for any child caregiver, be it a grandparent, aunt or uncle, babysitter or daycare teacher. In addition, many of the topics that I cover will apply even beyond the age of eighteen months.
LCR: In a few sentences, can you tell us more about the "Science of TLC"?
DR.PAUL: TLC—tender loving care—is not a new concept; we always suspected it was important, and now we have the science to prove it. Studies on the effect of brain and hormone controls by the lack of bonding, healthy relationships, and nurturing during the first few year of life have shown rather worrisome results. Up until now, it was very clear that lack of bonding and nurturing in babies can result in long-term psychological and mental conditions. It is now apparent that this neglect can exacerbate or even cause chronic physical illness such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome even decades later. In addition, the aspects of a child’s development that are interfered with play a role in a child’s future learning and socializing skills, and ultimately their ability to reach their full potential as adults So, investing in a child’s early support not only assures proper mental, emotional, and psychological development at the time, but indeed is a form of chronic disease prevention.
It does not cost anything to respond to, nurture, caress, and give your baby as much attention as you can. Connecting and interacting with baby and establishing a relationship are easy to do and the pleasure you will get back is priceless. At the same time, baby’s brain is feverishly developing and growing well. Soothing baby when upset is one of the most important things to do. Reading to baby, making eye contact, caressing, playing with baby, and giving baby loving attention are things that are very inexpensive and quite easy to do, virtually anywhere, anytime, and under any circumstances. So remember: infant-parent and infant-caregiver relationships and connections do not cost anything; yet, there is so much return!
DR.PAUL: To learn as much as what to expect as far in advance as possible. The more you know what about what to expect from your new baby, the more comfortable you will be in care of the baby. After all, routines change and many things develop and evolve during the first 18 months life. So in this context, ”knowledge is comfort". I also urge parents to get information from reliable sources.
LCR: What has been the most gratifying experience in your work as a pediatrician?
DR.PAUL: Pediatrics is a unique and fantastic specialty because we are constantly monitoring "patients" that are constantly, growing, changing and developing. So unlike treating adults, we are concerned about, and closely follow, growth and development patterns. Seeing babies flourish is very satisfying, especially when we can help by providing the advice and support to parents to achieve this. Also, babies and young children are quite resilient. When I was working in a pediatric hospital, I remember admitting very sick babies who within a few days recovered and were literally even playing in the hospital ward hallways.
LCR: The saddest experience?
DR.PAUL: Working in a Children's Hospital emergency room, hospital wards and intensive care units, I have been involved in many sad and tragic cases. The hardest thing to do as a pediatrician is to have to tell parents that their child has died, is dying or has a very serious condition or injury. I vividly remember many of these situations, but the ones where the injury or death was preventable, really stick out in my memory. By this, I mean an accidental injury that could have been prevented.
LCR: You are a man of many talents. Tell us more about your love of music. Has this had any affect on the work that you currently do?
DR.PAUL: I supported my university and medical school studies by playing and producing music professionally in both studio and live settings. The experience I gained from the music business has actually directed/steered my career path; Since the mid 1980's my vision has been to mix media communication technology with health content. So I created the "DR.PAUL" concept as a vehicle to disseminate health and wellness information to parents on all media formats.
LCR: What is your vision for our children's future?
DR.PAUL: In general I am optimistic, although I do have some concerns in the face of increasing obesity rates, mental health problems and other modern era issues (cyber bullying) facing our children and youth today. The common threads in all of these are:
-Technological advances that interfere with the human to human/social elements of development and
-The fast paced stressed lifestyle and challenges families (both bi-parental, single-parent and reconstituted) are faced with today. These stresses get in the way of a parent's ability to caress and respond to baby and for families to participate in important "bonding time" activities such as regularly eating dinner together.
I think if we identify and understand the root causes, despite the outside pressures we as parents, can make and take the time to hug our babies, support our growing kids and ensure that they have balance between "screen time" and "in-person, not virtual" human/social contact interactions and activities.
DR. PAUL Roumeliotis is an expert on early child health and wellness and a health communications pioneer. His educational content has reached millions of people online and he is regularly featured on TV and radio. He is an adjunct professor of pediatrics and former director of Multi-Format Health Communications for the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. DR.PAUL also holds a Masters of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health where he is an Associate faculty member.
A health communications pioneer and pediatrician, DR.PAUL Roumeliotis believes that the future of healthcare is in communicating health information in a variety of media formats, thereby making It available to the largest audience possible. It was this vision that inspired him to become a writer/publisher/producer of multi-format health and wellness resources, including becoming the world’s first online pediatrician with a website that has been visited by millions since its launch in 1995.
Beginning as a professional drummer and record producer, DR. PAUL’s journey to his present vision actually preceded his medical career. In 1991, he merged his medical expertise and technical talents into the DR. PAUL Child Health and Wellness Information Project, reflecting his commitment to create practical and trustworthy health information resources in all formats. He has created and produced well over 300 productions (more than 1 million of his videos, cassettes, and DVDs have been distributed across North America).
DR.PAUL has been able to effectively merge his skills in producing information with accuracy, credibility, confidence, and comfort as a common theme. The potential social impact is enormous, as the need for accurate and empathetic health content is huge.
Connect with Dr. Paul: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
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Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher and author for giving me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.