Thursday, November 11, 2010

Infant And Toddler Development Discussions: My favorites:

Week 2: Niche Picking:

I think my major is a perfect example of niche-picking. I am a Psych major going for a certificate in family studies. The diagnoses of depression, bi-polar and addiction in my family are prevalent but the non-diagnosed cases of the fore-mentioned as well as schizophrenia, anxiety (PTSD or post-traumatic-stress-disorder) are in much larger numbers and have been obvious to me since I was very young. It fascinated me enough to inspire an on-going study around my middle & high school years.

I, personally, always had social problems, the older I got, and it took years to realize that it was because my behaviors were not normal. I was afraid of people. I was passive-aggressive. My irritation level rose easily and I would explode on the people I did feel comfortable around. Plus, all of this made me a very bitter and angry person. Sometimes. I was diagnosed with bi-polar when I was pregnant with my daughter, while I was living in my home town around all of the family my mother had moved us away from when I was 8. One day I just started paying attention. I evaluated and discovered the reasons behind my irrational behaviors and used them to keep myself in check. Since then I have never needed medication. When I feel myself slipping out of control, I remind myself that it does not have to be that way. That is what i came from, it is not who I am. If niche-picking is seeking aspects and environments that serve our genetics, then I see this as a perfect example (Berke, 2008). I've kind of developed the frame of mind that, if I am not assisting people in helping their mental issues, then I am probably drowning in my own. Now I am continually working toward that in my BA program. (=

My job is a good example of this as well. My clients are mentally incapacitated and they require reasoning and understanding and my interest in psychology has benefited, in my opinion, every client I have had. I try to reason with their families and the many forms of staff that they come into contact with on their behalf. I used to be afraid of stepping on toes with this, but I tell everyone that life is stressful and when you are comfortable it is easy for things to get over-looked. I offer a perspective. You will get help or you will not. In either case, I can say I have done what I could.

This aside, I have obviously always been a thinker and an analyzer. With my aversion to people my best friends were always books and my own writing and drawing. Those are the most constant of my hobbies and they serve every aspect of my life very well.

Berk, L. (2008). Infants and children prenatal through middle childhood. Pearson Publishing

Week 3: Prenatal Environmental Factors, Publicized:

Maternal/Doctor relationship:

My connection to my midwives during my first pregnancy were a definite comfort. After each appointment they answered any and all questions I had and encouraged me to call for anything I might need. I called them for everything. Any new feeling, discomfort or pain. Any question about my restrictions for safety. I was excited to listen to Taven’s heart beat and have his health and development confirmed. Granted, not all people are lucky to have such a positive experience with their obstetrician (Berk, 2008).

However, for the benefit of producing healthy offspring, maintaining one’s own health and the opportunity to be mentally, emotionally and perhaps even physically prepared for any complications upon birth or in the months and years following, it is important that an expectant mother receive proper medical attention. Screenings for diseases and vaccinations to prevent tuberculosis and rubella are a must due to the possible repercussions. Failure to acquire proper care during pregnancy can result in physical deformities, brain damage and many other birth defects, including fetal and infant death (Berk, 2008). Also, personally, I think that keeping track of the development creates a better bond between mother and child in the long run. An informed mother is a confident mother, as well (Berk, 2008).


Stress is just as capable of causing long term problems in a developing organism as any drug or lack. Anxiety and depression are debilitating mentally and often physically and can be caused by low levels of cortisol, the hormone that allows one to adapt to stress (Berk, 2008). I think everyone should be aware of this. I feel it is our responsibility as a thriving species to assist with those that are struggling, be that mentally and emotionally, fiscally or physically. I believe whole-heartedly in community and family dynamic. Not enough people value the individuals that make up their environment so much as they worry and obsess about what will happen to themselves in our very individualistic society that is the U.S. That being said, I feel it should be common knowledge that someone pregnant needs a substantial support system so that the people in the lives of those expecting are more inclined to step up and assist where needed.


In addition to reducing physical stress by keeping the body limber, exercise ups the levels of serotonin (a hormone proven to make you feel good or happy) that an individual produces on a regular basis (Greenburg & Bruess, 2011). It can be difficult to get motivated to do any kind of exercise when your body is so rapidly expanding from within and your hormones are threatening to run the show, but I think if women knew the full extent of the benefits of exercise that they would make more of an effort. Exercise benefits the fetus as long as it is done in a cautious manner, but the real benefit lies with the mother. Recovery after pregnancy is a hurdle for most. The better shape you keep while pregnant, most times, the easier you bounce back.

Nutrition/Preventative & Malnutrition:

The older the mother is, the daily dosage of certain minerals and vitamins change. Folic acid is integral for keeping brain development healthy in a 40+ expectant mother (Berk, 2008). It is important for one to supplement where there is a lack in the diet, but the best way to take in the components that nurture your body is through what you eat (Greenburg & Bruess, 2011). It is easy to get swept up in cravings and all of the horrendously unhealthy treats that call your name at the supermarket or from fast food windows as you drive by. I think a lot of women figure they are going to gain weight anyway. I agree that those devilishly delightful treats are acceptable once in a while, but it benefits baby and mother to adopt healthier eating habits to prevent a stunt of the organism’s development and to prevent further stress and possible malnutrition of the mother (Berk, 2008).

Effects of chemicals:

Each instance of FASD involves some level of brain injury. These are effects that will complicate the childhood, adolescent and adult lives of the fetus affected (Berk, 2008). Because of the harmful effects any chemical has on the embryonic phase of a developing organism, I believe it should be common knowledge what qualifies and how important it is to use multiple birth control methods if you use drugs or take prescribed medication, and the importance of testing regularly when accidents occur or if you can not afford birth control (Berk, 2008). I will add, in closing, that I believe that birth control should be covered in medical insurance and that health departments that help lower SES families, adolescents and young adults should be better advertised throughout their communities.


Berk, L. (2008). Infants and children prenatal through middle childhood. Pearson Publishing

Greenberg, J.S., Bruess, C.E. & Conklin, S.C., (2011). Exploring the dimensions of human sexuality (4th ed.). Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones And Bartlett Publishers.

Week 4: Kimmel and The Natural Child Project:

According to Dr. Kimmel, by resisting what we were given naturally we are producing “fake” babies. He clearly believes that a mother is to have a natural birth, breast feed and cater to her child’s every whim (Kimmel, n.d). I know people who were raised this way, the ones I know are rather dependent. Once their mother is not the primary care provider, their spouse takes on the role.

Dr. Kimmel paints a cruel picture of modern mothers with their jobs and their lives outside of child rearing. He scorns her for sleeping separately from her baby with no mention of how she might be safeguarding her infant from sudden infant death syndrome with special bedding (Berk, 2008).

He touts at the cesarean section and it’s surgical precision claiming that it lacks emotion and takes away the role of the mother in birth (Kimmel, n.d). What he does not mention is how it can be medically necessary to protect the lives of the mother and the baby in many instances to take the surgical route. For example, if baby is in a breech position and attempting natural birth is dangerous, then a cesarean is the method safest for both (Berk, 2008).

Bottle feeding is also demonized in this reading. Dr. Kimmel mentions that a substitute formula is given so that the mother does not *have* to breast feed. In hospitals and doctors’ offices you will find pamphlets from Similac & Enfamil, which I would suppose are the most popular of baby formulas available (and also the only ones Women Infants and Children will provide), about the importance of breast feeding. It is true. There are many emotional, mental and physical benefits to the natural lactation of a child-bearing woman (Berk, 2008). Though, if mother is on some kind of medication to sustain her own health, it may be best for the baby to have the substitute rather than suffer the possible side effects. As a mother that encountered this, I can tell you it was heart-breaking to realize I had to bottle feed exclusively. Also, I had to fight feelings of inadequacy, but I was infinitely grateful that there was such an efficient substitute.

In the area of allowing a baby to cry it out, I think that there are certain circumstances that must be questioned. You can never be too sure with a new born, even if a diaper was just changed or a feeding was just administered, these things could still be the culprit. In the area of attention, with the amount of care that newborns require, they are getting plenty of attention just being cared for and getting to know their new family. An attentive mother who is not suffering from postpartum depression has tenderness. Mothers with PPD have a certain level of tenderness as well. Doctors and midwives and home nurses will tell an expectant mother how one’s touch helps one’s baby grow.

Kangaroo care or skin-to-skin contact of premature infants is encouraged in hospitals in this day and age (Berk, 2008). Hospitals, today, even allow for mother and baby to share a room (Berk, 2008). I believe that parents are as close to the way they should be today as ever before. Advances in all fields of science that facilitate human development have given the public and the practitioner a better understanding of baby’s needs and adaptability. Psychology, medicine and science support the “fake” mother’s ways of parenting for a reason. It works.

Dr. Kimmel speaks out against child abuse, also. This I agree with. There are ways to discipline that do not involve teaching a child that violence is acceptable when you do not agree with the way someone acts or the things a person does and says.


Berk, L. (2008). Infants and children prenatal through middle childhood. Pearson Publishing

Kimmel J. (n.d.) What happened to mother? The Natural Child Project. Web.

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