When a woman is pregnant, or when a new baby arrives, it can be quite amazing how many people want to be helpful, give tips, give clothes, equipment, toys, advice... This is one of the beautiful and sometimes overwhelming 'community' moments remaining in our society, and the connection with family and other parents can be crucial for many new families. But it is important to not be overwhelmed or pushed into accepting objects, situations or to be pressured into making decisions that we do not feel right about. In our modern society, we have largely lost all instinctive knowledge of mothering and parenting, so informing oneself about choices for pregnancy care, birth, what to surround the baby with, what to do with and how to care for a baby, and finding out about different options is important. But advice and the information available can be very contradictory when it comes to caring for a newborn and raising a child.

In making choices, it can be helpful to look for underlying principles behind what seems right to you, rather than only going on initial sympathy or antipathy for making a decision about something. (For example, see list of basic principles and suggestions in the index to the left.) So inform yourself about different ways to do things and about health questions from people, books, the Internet, but in the end, you must make decisions based on what seems right to you and from your knowledge of your child.

Observe your child, see what she is developing, what he is doing, and that may show you what is really needed. Do not be afraid to ignore well intentioned but unsuitable advice, or to put away or get rid of toys or presents that don't seem appropriate to you.

Also, it's good to be aware of the intentions of the corporate world and of pharmaceutical companies vis-à-vis children: They are interested in their own profit - in the very way they are structured, this is what they have to be interested in. With this in mind, it's very important that we be the judge of what is appropriate for our child or good for them rather than buying into advertising. A product is not necessarily good or appropriate simply because it is a best seller.

Consider the human value of toys, food, equipment and entertainment for your child. What message does the thing give, what consequence does its use have, what good does it do, what harm, what habits does it create, what is the nutritional or educational value, what faculty does it develop and is your child ready for it? Will it overload the senses or will it hinder a baby's free exploratory movement? And for medication, why is a certain medication prescribed; is it really necessary, what are the short-term effects, and what are long-term effects, especially with repeated use, and could the child be treated naturally?

Our children need us to protect them, to make decisions for them. You have the responsibility of your child’s long-term well being, you make the decisions that will have a long-term impact on their entire lives. Inform yourself and trust yourself.



Commercial Free Childhood and

University of Michigan - Television and Children:

The negative effects of media

The centre of attraction by James Hayllar

Käthe Kollwitz, Mother and Children, 1920