Letter to the Prime Minister - 19th October 2007
Dear Mr Brown,
I am writing to you, not only as the Prime Minister of Great Britain but also as a father, over a matter that has caused great concern for a huge number of parents and healthcare professionals throughout the nation.
The subject of this matter is the programme Bringing up Baby, aired on Channel 4 between 25th September and 16th October 2007.
There are many issues that caused great concern in this programme but, in my opinion, the most serious concerns were firstly the advice on feeding tiny babies which went to great extremes: from denying the babies food, to force-feeding them in order to establish an overly strict feeding and sleeping routine, the second was the parents being advised to restrict physical affection to just 10 minutes a day.
One of the mentors on the aforementioned television programme advised that a baby, only days old, should be fed strictly 4-hourly. The parents were also advised that if the baby should wake up before the next allotted feed she should be left to cry.
Parents and experts alike have always been divided on how to bring up babies and children. The issue here is not about different parenting methods, but about an outdated and discredited child-rearing method being broadcast on national television.
This programme is just one of a number of recent reality parenting programmes that exploit innocent babies and children.
Letter to the NSPCC - 1st October 2007
Re: Bringing Up Baby
This is the second time this year I have had to write to you regarding the suffering of a tiny baby used to sensationalise child-rearing methods in a television programme. In both Bringing Up Baby and Gina Ford - Who Are You To Tell Us babies were left to cry when it was clear that they were genuinely hungry. In the first programme, Gina Ford - Who Are You To Tell Us, the programme makers did at least make it clear to the viewers that Gina Ford advises that if a tiny baby is crying, the parents should always assume that it is hungry and the baby should be fed.
Dangerous advice on Weaning - 18th October 2007
On the final Bringing up Baby programme the parents of a young baby, less than three months of age, were advised to wean her for no other reason than to get her sleeping for twelve hours. The baby was already sleeping from the 11pm milk feed to 7am the next morning. In order to force the baby to sleep longer, solids were introduced and the 11pm milk feed was dropped. By replacing the milk feed with porridge or rice this very young baby was actually being denied all the essential vitamins and minerals that milk contains, that can not be obtained in baby cereal alone. Since the change in the weaning guidelines I have advised that all babies should be offered a minimum of five to six feeds a day, until weaning is well-established. This means that babies will need a late night feed, or a middle of the night feed until nearer seven months, or even longer. I implore parents not to be tempted to follow this dangerous advice just to gain a few hours extra sleep. Please put your babies' needs first, and do not deny them the essential vitamins and minerals that they can only get from their milk feeds at this very young age.
Bringing up baby - Petition
If you feel as strongly as we do about this programme and the exploitation of babies for the sake of TV ratings, please sign the petition: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/parentingshows/
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