SOME physicians in Japan say there is an increase in the number of babies who neither cry nor smile. Pediatrician Satoshi Yanagisawa calls them silent babies. Why do the babies stop expressing their emotions? Some doctors believe that the condition arises because babies are deprived of parental contact. The condition is called enforced helplessness. One theory suggests that when needs for communication are constantly ignored or misinterpreted, the infants eventually give up trying.
If a baby is not given proper stimulations at the right time, the part of his brain that makes him emphatic may not develop, suggests Dr. Bruce Perry, chief of psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital. In cases of profound emotional neglect, capacity to feel empathy may be irretrievably lost. Dr. Perry believes that in some case substance abuse and adolescent violence can be linked to such early life experiences.
Queensland researchers who studies almost 4000 Brisbane children found that, on the whole, those who were breastfed had higher IQs. Professor Jake Najman of the University of Queensland said: The longer the mother breastfed, the higher the intelligence of the child. It’s not just a small advantage that the breastfed children have; it’s about eight IQ points, which is quite a substantial advantage. It’s the difference between being an average child and being a reasonably bright child. Another possible advantage of breastfeeding is that it may be a factor in reducing by up to 30% a child’s risk of becoming obese. According to lactation consultant Joy Heads, there are very few waste products in breastmilk, which is almost perfectly utilized. You can have a big, chubby breast-fed baby and there is no problem with that at all. But a fat, bottle-fed baby has a higher chance of being obese later in life.