Sunday, 23 September 2007

Bringing Up baby

Bringing Up Baby is broadcast on Tuesday 25th September 2007 on Channel 4 at 9.00 pm UK time. I dread viewing it. Not because of The Continuum Theory, or of Dr Spock, but because of Truby King. We were contacted by Silver River (Daisy Goodwin's production company) because they were looking for a supporter of his theories. If you Google Truby King on a UK search, we are top of the list. Not because we approve, but because of an excellent piece (Resilience, by Sebastien Kraemer) that refers to him, and his well-meaning but misguided theories.

Science has for decades refuted most of Truby King's ideas, including strict 4-hour feeding regimes, proving beyond question that his theories are not in the best interest of infants (indeed, some premature babies are reported to have died following these regimes). We now understand that babies are born with emotions and feelings the same as adults, something unknown in Truby King's time. The only problem for a baby is they lack the ability to communicate this in ways adults can easily understand.

This counts for nothing with Daisy Goodwin, or Hamish Mykura at Channel Four who commissioned the programme, who I suspect may themselves be victims of harsh parenting. So what is it with these people? Why is it acceptable to neglect the emotional needs of a newborn baby in the name of entertainment? I have asked and asked for reassurance during the pre-production phase of this programme, but have been ignored, patronised and dismissed by both. Clearly they value the added promotion of controversy above the welfare of infants and their parents.

Is it not time that the media was regulated to protect infants and children from the relentless onslaught of car crash TV? Will Daisy Goodwin, Hamish Mykura and Channel Four be interested in 12 years time to see if these potentially damaged children turn out to be functional or dysfunctional?

I have no point of reference from C4 or Silver River, as they refuse to reply meaningfully or responsibly. In the circumstances I have been remarkably reserved about what I'd like to say, as at time of writing programme has not been aired. I have major concerns.


Emily said...

I have complained to Ofcom about this program. I know hundreds of other people have too. I'd like to see it make a difference, but I doubt it will.

What concerns me is that new or expectant mothers will watch this program, and will think that it is an acceptable way to treat their newborns. I, too, have grave concerns about the immediate health of these babies, never mind the psychological long term effects such methods could have. However, without major legal reform, I don't see how such programs can be prevented from being aired. If they are, where does that leave us as far as freedom of speech goes?

Solveig said...

I too have complained to Ofcom, as well as writing direct to C4 and Silver River, and also contacting the NSPCC to hear their views. I was shocked, saddened and in tears watching this last night.

I would strongly urge as many people as possible to report this show to Ofcom - I firmly believe this should never have been allowed to air.

Clare said...

I find it hard to believe that experienced producers would deliberately promote the appalling Truby King methods and allow a small child to be damaged in this way. They would know perfectly well what they were doing and that an outcry would follow.
I doubt also if many people would be much encouraged to imitate what we saw, particularly when contrasted with the other caring methods, and I think the producers were aware of this.
Is it not likely that, however genuine and sincere Claire Verity may be, the whole Truby King scenario was a piece of theatre, and the baby was only subjected to it for a few minutes? My fervent hope is that it was.
Clare, Devon