Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Notes on Bringing Up Baby Week 4

Bringing Up Baby Week 4

These are notes from, and my comments about the programme. Whilst I have endeavoured to comment accurately, I cannot say the transcript is 100% accurate in every word, though the essence remains.

10 - 12 weeks

Very few surprises this week from our perspective. Not as overtly offensive as previous weeks, due mainly to the fact Claire Verity wasn't hands on with the babies. However, my worst fears have been confirmed. With an air of triumphalism the commentary repeatedly made reference to babies sleeping through the night at an unnaturally young age, with no reference to any research and reasons behind why this might be. The clear implication is that the routine method is by far the best. A glossy promotion of neglect as a method to produce subdued babies, which is then presented as a the most successful method.

This has been my worst fear, and one that I have presented to Silver River and Channel 4 for many months. Silver River, "I appreciate your concerns but hope that when you see the series, you will be satisfied that your fears were unfounded." Channel 4 "I appreciate your interest in this series and hope that when you have seen it, your fears will be allayed."

Possibly the most outrageous part of this series is that there is no point. The programme, with it's complete lack of any reference to research or understanding simply ends. Just a voice over to confirm it is the end and cue credits. In my view, completely indefensible.

This week is concerned with 'getting your life back'. A social life, a sex life.

10 weeks

Voice Over (VO) Already the routine babies are sleeping 11pm - 7am leaving their parents the most refreshed. But this is not enough for Claire Verity - 7 - 7. She wants to introduce solids.

(Reference to allergy risk, wait til 6 months)

CS (continuum mentor) ...from birth you feed from whenever the baby cues that it needs feeding and for at least the first six month all the baby gets is breast milk and then at about...

CV (incredulous) The first six months?

CS In fact that is what the WHO suggests

CV Well, I don't really care what they say. I've dealt with hundreds of babies and I know at 4 months they need something other than milk.

CS At 4 months?

CV I wean babies at 16 weeks or 16 lbs

CS I totally refute that

DH (Spock mentor) I have to say Claire I think it depends on the baby,

CV But at the end of the day my babies at 12 wks are going 7 -7 are yours?



VO Some people criticise the 50s routine, saying it works for parents but might not work for baby.



This isn't an area of expertise for me, but it was covered in the context of the 3 routines. I did notice during the interviews that babies were not relaxed (lights camera etc). One dad holding his baby, who was fussing and unsettled. When dad looked at his baby, he settled. When eye contact was lost, the baby became unsettled again.


Social Life

Twins parents having a party

VO One of the main reasons the routine method became so popular in the 1950s is that promised couples who couldn't afford nannies precious time to themselves.

Mum: nothing will get them out of their routine. It's just amazing. I just don't know what I would have done without the routine.

CV At the end of the day the routine is all about getting the baby to fit in with your way of life. And if you want to have a party, great have a party. Those babies won't wake up, they'll be fed and put into bed at 7 o clock as normal and you can party all night. So it's all very much about the baby fitting into your way of life. Don't let it stop you having fun.

Best method?

VO 1950s is the passport to serious partying.

Mum: I can't believe that I've got 2 babies upstairs, 30 people inside and I'm enjoying myself it's fantastic, I've got my life back - a different life, but I got my life back.

Continuum mum: I got pregnant for a reason because I wanted to have a child so the last thing I want to do is put it in another room as some sort of punishment for being alive


Moving house

Twins (Truby King)

Mum: They say moving is one of the most stressful things you can do, but I think we may be able pull it off especially as the babies are in a very good routine.

VO (sister) takes them on ahead while parents stay behind to pack.

Mum: It's just important that she keeps them in the routine that we've been working so hard on these last 10 weeks.

VO trouble is, (sister) isn't a big fan of schedules for babies.

Sister: I still don't agree totally with routines but I agree with it because it's working for (mum) and it's important for me to stick to it.

CV If you choose to move home with one baby two babies even three babies, as long as you stick to that routine 100% you will not have a problem. Don't kid yourselves, if you just sidetrack slightly it won't work. 100%, and 100% only.

VO Under the routine its essential that the babies are fed every 4 hours without even a few minutes delay.
But with Leamington Spa a 3 hour drive away SIS needs to get going if she is arrive on time for the next feed.

VO If (sister) was sticking to the routine she would be pulling over now (10.50) and giving them their 11 am feed. But they're asleep and she decides to carry on to her destination.

Sister: We are I would say about 40 minutes away from home... so we're going to be late.

Arrive crying

In house, both twins hysterical

VO Following a routine is all or nothing and breaking it has dire consequences as sis is discovering.
Sister: It's 20 to 12 and they're used to being fed at 11. We'll get back on track at three, yes, I'm sorry.


During the ad break is an NSPCC ad - 'be the click', about ending child abuse. Seemed somewhat incongruous.


The families meet up for the first time.

VO 3 months evidence for and against - which one has come out on top

The 1950s routine families had the toughest time at the beginning. Taking on the harshest method when it came to emotional attachment.

But the first to have babies sleeping through the night was the routine method. (Mum) was able to go back to work. They had a sex life and social lives.

Other mum: So you'd recommend it

Dad: You only have to go through the first 2 months from when the baby's born.


And so the programme ended. No conclusion, other than stating

VO Our experiment is over. We've seen that each method has its pros and cons so it's not possible to pick an outright winner. All our couples are firmly convinced that they chose the best methods. Perhaps in the end all you can do is pick the one that's best suited to you. The one that you think is best for Bringing Up Baby.

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