Birth Dilation via Halloween Pumpkins

Labor dilation demonstrated by carved pumpkins.

One fabulous, fun way to demo dilation ala pumpkins! ๐Ÿงก๐ŸŽƒ

This dilation pumpkin set-up was created by workers at the Royal Oldham Hospital in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, England as part of a pumpkin decorating competition.

We just love it!

Happy Halloween!


Royal Oldham Hospital Midwives


Related Community Groups: 

Birthing (more holistic)

Pregnant Moms Due This Year (more mainstream)

Peaceful Parenting Community

Saving Our Sons Community

Intact: Healthy, Happy, Whole

CoSleeping

Breastfeeding

Dilation stages during labor.

Before your baby arrives, research everything!

An ‘On-Demand’ Life and the Basic Needs of Babies

By Mary Tarsha and Dr. Darcia Narvaez


On-demand services may have spoiled parenting! Yes, by their convenience. For example, we no longer have to plan our schedule around the airing of our favorite program or make efforts to record a particular show. With a few clicks we can escape into streaming thousands of movies (and other forms of entertainment) from our TV, computer, or mobile device. We can use Google to answer a question about almost anything. We can order ahead from a favorite restaurant and our order will be ready when we arrive. An Uber is just around the corner. We don’t have to wait, or slow down our pace. We can stay focused on our own needs and goals. Always thinking ahead.

How does this fast pace focused on getting the next thing done influence our relationships? If we are tilted forward towards checking off the next thing on our list, can we really be in the present moment? Why does it matter? A present-moment focus is linked to happiness (e.g., mindfulness). But it is also required for being a good friend and a good parent.

Being emotionally present is especially important with those who are still learning to be human—babies and young children. They operate at a slower pace and expect caregivers to be with them in the moment (notice how your young child will start to demand attention when you are on the phone—which is probably why we evolved to have a village of caregivers and playmates!)

When we get used to things on demand we start to think that everyone should act accordingly. We lose patience with people who move too slow and or take too long. We can start to think that babies should conform to our preferences on demand too. But they cannot. They follow an inner compass of growth and development. Practically speaking, tending to the needs of babies means meeting their needs in the here and now, not demanding that they conform to adult schedules. Their basic needs are many and include the components of what we call the evolved nest: on-request breastfeeding, extensive affectionate touch, self-directed play and quick responsiveness (see previous post here). When an infant receives care that satiates needs as they arise, with a present-moment focus from the parent or caregiver, the infant develops normally, along a healthy trajectory, into adulthood.

Why does early experience matter so much? Because as the infant’s needs are met, the neuronal architecture of the brain and neurobiological systems are supported as they are developing rapidly, enabling proper functioning. At a very basic level, babies are self-actualizing when their needs are met—they are getting support to follow the inner guidance system that Maslow found so important for self-actualization to occur. Maslow agreed with psychoanalytic theory that the thwarting of the self, of one’s normal path to self-actualization, occurs in early life from the betrayal in relationships. When we don’t provide the evolved nest, it is a betrayal to babies’ soul/spirit/being.

Meeting basic needs in the early years carries long-term benefits that protect the child throughout life, physiologically and psychologically. Adults who received nurturing and responsive care environments in their early years demonstrate greater resilience to stressful situations, better immune functioning, less anxiety and overall, fewer physical health problems (Shonkoff et al., 2012). There is a plethora of research from neuroscience, developmental psychology, molecular biology, chemistry, genomics and sociology validating the importance of early care experiences upon brain development, specifically the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus, critical parts of the brain that control learning, memory, and behavior (Suderman, 2012; Champagne & Meaney, 2007; Gunnar & Quevedo, 2007).

Recognizing the overwhelming, converging evidence from an array of disciplines, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a report in 2012 addressing the importance of early care experience for adult health. The report encourages all pediatricians to be the “front-line guardians of child development” because “many adult diseases should be viewed as developmental disorders that begin early in life” (Shonkoff, 2012, p.2). The AAP is calling for a greater awareness of the importance of early care experiences, proclaiming that many adult diseases begin in early life and more emphasis should be given to providing healthy environments to infants and children.


Unmet Needs = Toxic Stress

So, what happens when an infant’s needs are not met? The Answer: potential toxic stress is created. Toxic stress and traumatic attachments in early life influence brain development, specifically the right hemisphere, resulting in:


  • An inability to regulate emotional states under stress, including regulating fear-terror states 
  • dysregulation of the “fight or flight” system (part of the Autonomic Nervous System) dysregulated “flight” systems results in PTSD and dysregulated “fight” systems potentially leads to aggression disorders 
  • dysregulation of the vagus nerve which connects with major body systems and governs social capacities (Porges, 2017) 
  • personality disorders in early adulthood (Schore, 2003).


In short, the individual is stunted or thwarted in reaching their full potential. Long-lasting effects include both personality and emotion regulation disorders. Deprivation of basic needs in the early years of life leads to an internal divisiveness; children become divided within themselves and divided against the world (Narvaez, 2016). It pushes the child off the trajectory for self-actualization.

There is evidence that suggests that deprivation of basic needs (neglect or undercare) may be more detrimental than physical abuse. Neglected children demonstrate more severe cognitive and academic deficits, social withdrawal, limited peer interactions and internalizing problems compared to children who were physically abused (Hildyard & Wolfe, 2002).

Meeting Basic Needs Buffers Against Toxic Stress

Supportive and responsive care has a profound role in mitigating the effects of adverse (stressful) experiences (The National Scientific Council of the Developing Child, 2011). A nurturing and responsive environment is a buffer against toxic stress, helping the infant return to baseline (non-stressed condition) and consequently, continue along an adequate developmental trajectory (for species-typical normal development, the full evolved nest would need to be provided). However, if supportive and responsive care is not provided in the midst of stressful events, toxic stress ensues, and severe traumatic attachments can develop.

A Practical Suggestion for Young Child Care

What is one practical way to increase the quality of infants’ early care experiences? Build extra time into the family’s schedule. Create buffers of time around scheduled events in the caregiving routine. For example, if you need to leave the house by a certain time, factor in an extra 15-20 minutes as a buffer. In this way, if the infant or child requests to nurse, needs a diaper change, needs extra play time, or more affectionate touch, these needs can be met in a non-stressed manner. Extra pockets of time allow the caregiver to meet the infant’s needs, safeguarding against an “on-demand” mentality but also, may diminish the caregiver’s stress. A parent or caregiver that is less stressed and anxious is able to be more responsive to the infant’s need, picking up on subtle cues from their baby. Less mental and emotional energy is dedicated to navigating the schedule (trying to get the infant/child out the door on time), freeing the caregiver to be nurturing, warm and responsive in the here and now, safeguarding against an “on-demand” mentality toward infants. Thus, built in buffers of time have the two-fold benefit of ameliorating caregiving stress and facilitating the meeting of the infant’s needs.

Early Investment in Baby has Long-Term Benefits

When infants and children are not treated with warm, responsive care, bad things happen. However, when they are given a healthy start with responsive, stable and nurturing relationships around them, infants flourish into happy and healthy adolescents and adults. Many pitfalls are avoided and the long-lasting consequences of learning disabilities, emotional disorders and physical health conditions are averted. Investing in infants provides a return of better health and happiness!

What if you didn’t meet your child’s needs in the early years? Even if your child is older, you can begin providing responsive and nurturing care now. See this post about promoting thriving in school-aged children. Physical and emotional health is one of the greatest gifts to any child. All is takes is some time, warmth and responsiveness to their needs.



Related Reading

More on what scholars say about early nurturing here.

How raising babies is different from raising children.


Related Reading by Dr. Narvaez at Peaceful Parenting: 

An 'On Demand' Life and the Basic Needs of Babies

Where Are All the Happy Babies?

The Dangers of Crying It Out

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Babies

Why Keep Babies Happy? A baby's cry is a late signal of discomfort

5 Things NOT to Do to Babies

12 Ways to Nurture Babies at Conception, Birth, and Beyond

Are you treating your child like a prisoner?

Are you or your child on a touch starvation diet?

Conspiracy Thinking: Understanding Attachment and Its Consequences

Psychology Today: Circumcision Series

Learn More from Narvaez:

The Evolved Nest Institute

Kindred Media

Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture, and Wisdom

๐Ÿ’œ Peaceful Parenting Community

๐Ÿ’™ Peaceful Parenting on Facebook

๐Ÿ’— Peaceful Parenting on Telegram

References

Champagne, F. A., & Meaney, M. J. (2007). Transgenerational effects of social environment on variations in maternal care and behavioral response to novelty. Behavioral neuroscience, 121(6), 1353.

Gunnar, M. R., & Quevedo, K. M. (2007). Early care experiences and HPA axis regulation in children: a mechanism for later trauma vulnerability. Progress in brain research, 167, 137-149.

Hildyard, K. L., & Wolfe, D. A. (2002). Child neglect: developmental issues and outcomes. Child abuse & neglect, 26(6), 679-695.

Narvaez, D. (2016). Embodied morality: Protectionism, engagement and imagination. Springer.

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Brain: Working Paper #3. Available at: https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/wp3/.

Schore, A. N. (2003). Early Relational Trauma, Disorganized Attachment, and the Development of a Predisposition to Violence. Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mind, Body and Brain (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology), 107.

Shonkoff, Jack P., Andrew S. Garner, Benjamin S. Siegel, Mary I. Dobbins, Marian F. Earls, Laura McGuinn, John Pascoe, David L. Wood, Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care. "The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress." Pediatrics 129, no. 1 (2012): e232-e246.

Suderman, M., McGowan, P. O., Sasaki, A., Huang, T. C., Hallett, M. T., Meaney, M. J., ... & Szyf, M. (2012). Conserved epigenetic sensitivity to early life experience in the rat and human hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(Supplement 2), 17266-17272.


About the Authors

Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame and Director of the Collaborative for Ethical Education. Her current research examines the effects of parenting on child and adult outcomes. Narvaez has developed several integrative theories: Adaptive Ethical Expertise, Integrative Ethical Education, Triune Ethics Theory. She spoke at the Whitehouse's conference on Character and Community, and is author/editor of three award winning books: Postconventional Moral Thinking; Moral Development, Self and Identity; and the Handbook of Moral and Character Education. Her text, Human Nature, Early Experience, and the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness was a fantastic addition to a growing body of literature on a healthy, happy, babyhood. Visit Dr. Narvaez' website for additional books, papers, classes, websites and contact information.

Mary Tarsha is a graduate student in Developmental ​Psychology and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace at the University of Notre Dame

How to Care for Your Intact Son



The number one reason for problems of the penis is unnecessary infant circumcision (and the consequences of this surgical removal of the prepuce organ). The second reason for penile problems and complications is well-meaning adults who retract, over-clean, and 'mess with' intact boys' foreskins before they retract naturally and completely on their own. Sometimes this natural, gentle retraction does not occur until the pre-teen years. This is 100% normal. In fact, a recent Dutch study shows that the average age for retraction among boys is 10.6 years of age. Some retract (on their own) before this time, some later.

Among both boys and girls, before natural retraction, the prepuce (foreskin/hood) is tightly adhered to the glans (head) of the penis/clitoris, in the same way your fingernail is tightly adhered to your finger. If you stick things under your fingernail, try to pull it back, or otherwise 'mess' with it, you are bound to not only be in pain, but also fester irritation and/or infection. The same is true with the prepuce organ (the clitoral hood in girls and the foreskin in boys).

In addition, the prepuce serves the function of protection over the glans in much the same way your eye lids protect your eye balls. The temperature, moisture, pH balance, enzyme level, antivirals, and more are all regulated because the glans is meant to be an internal organ - just as our eyeballs are also internal organs. We'd never scrub under our eyelids and not expect some severe and painful (possibly infectious) consequences.

Remember: INTACT=DON'T RETRACT! ONLY CLEAN WHAT IS SEEN!

One friend, a pediatrician, tells parents, "The ONLY thing you need to care for your intact son's penis is a ruler -- to slap the hand of anyone who attempts to touch his foreskin."

Below are additional resources for parents of intact boys. Know the myths, and be informed enough to protect your son and his genital integrity.

If you're a pro-intact physician, PA or midwife willing to field an occasional question,
write to SavingSons@gmail.com to join the MedPro advisory board. 

RETRACTION

Should My Baby's Foreskin Be Retracted? Dr. Antier Responds
DrMomma.org/2012/08/should-babys-foreskin-be-retracted.html

Hands Off My Foreskin! Dr. Martin Winckler on the Care of Baby Boys
DrMomma.org/2013/02/hands-off-my-foreskin-dr-martin.html

Forced Retraction: Don't Let it Happen to Your Son
DrMomma.org/2010/11/forced-retraction-dont-let-it-happen-to.html

Forced Retraction: Now What?
DrMomma.org/2009/12/forced-retraction-what-now.html

Don't Retract Clinician Pack (for physicians and medical staff; includes links to the AAP, RCH and CPS organization care statements):
SavingSons.org/2015/07/retracting-clinician-information-pack.html

Using a Catheter Without Retraction: My Nurse Did It and So Can Yours!
SavingSons.org/2013/01/using-catheter-without-retraction-my.html

Only Clean What is Seen: Reversing the Epidemic of Forced Retraction:
DrMomma.org/2009/09/only-clean-what-is-seen-reversing.html

Medical Testing: Do Not Retract:
DrMomma.org/2009/09/uti-testing-on-boys-do-not-retract.html

Doctors Opposing Circumcision Statement for Physicians and Nurses on
Forced Retraction:
Doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/info/info-forcedretraction.html

Forced Retraction: Ask the Experts
DrMomma.org/2009/09/ask-experts-forced-foreskin-retraction.html

The Forced Retraction of My Son [One Parent's Story]
DrMomma.org/2011/07/forced-retraction-of-my-son.html

Medical Organization Statements on Intact Care (and Physician 'Do Not Retract' Packs):
SavingSons.org/2015/07/retracting-clinician-information-pack.html

Hospital Intact Care Packs ($3):
https://www.etsy.com/listing/526265909/hospital-stay-packet?ref=shop_home_active_4

Baby Bands (soft and stretchy for the hospital or care providers):
https://www.etsy.com/listing/502616895/do-not-retract-do-not-circumcise-baby?ref=listing-shop-header-3

Intact care stickers and cards available at Etsy.

INTACT CARE

How to Care for Your Intact Son [Homepage]
DrMomma.org/2009/06/how-to-care-for-intact-penis-protect.html

Intact: Healthy, Happy, Whole [Facebook Group]
FB.com/groups/IntactHealthy

Basic Care of the Intact Child:
DrMomma.org/2010/01/basic-care-of-intact-child.html

Protect Your Intact Son: Medical Advice for Parents When Your Doctor Says to Circumcise:
DrMomma.org/2009/08/protect-your-uncircumcised-son-expert.html

The Functions of the Foreskin:
DrMomma.org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html

Natural Foreskin Retraction in Intact Children and Teens
DrMomma.org/2008/04/natural-foreskin-retraction-in-intact.html

Adult Intact Penis Care:
SavingSons.org/2015/09/adult-intact-penis-care.html

Phony Phimosis Diagnosis:
DrMomma.org/2010/01/phony-phimosis-diagnosis.html

Urine Sampling and Catheter Insertion for the Intact Boy
DrMomma.org/2011/12/urine-samples-and-catheter-insertion.html

Using a Catheter without Retraction: My Nurse Did It, Yours Can Too:
SavingSons.org/2013/01/using-catheter-without-retraction-my.html

Deep, dark, red, purple or blue: the normal glans in the intact child:
DrMomma.org/2014/12/deep-dark-red-purple-or-blue-normal.html

UTI (Urinary Tract Infections) Resource Page: SavingSons.org/2014/11/uti-resource-page.html

Yeast, Rash and Redness: Breastmilk Spurs Yeast Overgrowth, Neosporin Alters Microflora; What to Do Instead:
DrMomma.org/2014/04/yeast-rash-and-redness-breastmilk-spurs.html

Swimming, Suits and Mesh: Cut the Lining of Your Child's Suit to Decrease Irritation Potential: DrMomma.org/2014/06/swimming-suits-mesh-cut-lining-of-your.html

Intact Care (and No Retraction) Agreement (Parents to Clinicians): DrMomma.org/2014/10/intact-care-and-no-retraction-agreement.html

Raising Intact Sons:
DrMomma.org/2009/11/raising-intact-sons.html

Foreskin: It's Not 'Icky':
DrMomma.org/2010/12/foreskin-its-not-icky.html

How the Foreskin Protects Against UTI:
DrMomma.org/2009/12/how-foreskin-protects-against-uti.html

Painful Urination During Prepuce Separation
DrMomma.org/2010/01/painful-urination-during-prepuce.html

Ballooning in the Intact Child:

Questions Regarding Normal Separation of the Prepuce:
DrMomma.org/2010/01/common-questions-regarding-normal.html

Hypospadias: Surgery and Circumcision:
DrMomma.org/2010/04/hypospadias-surgery-and-circumcision.html

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers - care of the intact penis:
http://www.nocirc.org/publish/4pam.pdf

Penile Hygiene for Intact Males (Circumcision Information Resource Pages):
http://www.cirp.org/library/hygiene/

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Care of the Intact Child
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/bathing-skin-care/pages/Care-for-an-Uncircumcised-Penis.aspx

Medical Organization Statements on Intact Care (and Physician Packs):
SavingSons.org/2015/07/retracting-clinician-information-pack.html

Hospital Intact Care Packs ($3):
https://www.etsy.com/listing/526265909/hospital-stay-packet?ref=shop_home_active_4

Baby Bands (soft and stretchy for the hospital or care providers):
https://www.etsy.com/listing/502616895/do-not-retract-do-not-circumcise-baby?ref=listing-shop-header-3

Expecting a Boy? Stickers and Postcards to share at Etsy.

CIRCUMCISION CARE

Cloth Diapering Your Baby After Circumcision: DrMomma.org/2016/04/cloth-diapering-your-baby-after.html

Circumcision Care (National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers): http://www.nocirc.org/publish/pamphlet5.html

Note regarding the recommendation of 6 months jelly for post-circumcision care:

In summary, this RCT demonstrated that an easy, safe, cheap, widely available intervention (petroleum jelly) reduces some of early and late complications of circumcision. It is prudent to apply the petroleum jelly on glans and meatal area of circumcised boys after each diaper change for 6 months post-circumcision.

Bazmamoun, H., Ghorbanpour, M., and Mousavi-Bahar, S. H. (2008). Lubrication of circumcision site for prevention of meatal stenosis in children younger than 2 years old. Urology journal, 5(4), 233-236.

Full Text: http://urologyjournal.org/index.php/uj/article/viewFile/30/29

Similar articles:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3830142/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9539919

Intact Info Cards in English or Spanish available at Etsy.



Bands available at Etsy


Foreskin Facts





Stickers arrive with baby bands or hospital packs.

Diaper Rash or Red Foreskin Care
The perfect bath for healing and soothing

Hospital packs come with a variety of intact care materials, as well as a pediatric organization statement on care sheet to share with your doctor.

For discussions with fellow parents raising intact sons, you are welcome to join any or all of these groups: 

The INTACT Network: Facebook.com/groups/TINFamily

Saving Our Sons: Facebook.com/groups/SavingOurSons
Peaceful Parenting: Facebook.com/groups/ExplorePeacefulParenting
It's A Boy! Facebook.com/groups/OhJoyItsABoy


What if your son is retracting his own foreskin? Boys will tug and play - and it's okay! The foreskin will begin its natural separation process during this early exploration time for most boys. This is normal. Make hand washing fun! If irritation occurs, apply Calmoseptine to the outside of the penis to soothe. No retraction, unless by a boy himself. Further information also at: IntactHealth.orgSavingSons.org
Intact men in America have historically been cared for improperly. It is not the fact that they have foreskin that is sending them into urology offices. It is the fact that their foreskin had been torn away from the glans as infants, causing scar tissue that led to an injury, preventing the foreskin from functioning normally. As long as we are not damaging babies by retracting and tearing the foreskin, this will not be an issue. -Jennifer D'Jamoos, CCCE, Founder, IntactNetwork.orgMedical Professionals for Genital Autonomy


.

Making More Milk: Breastfeeding, Supply and the Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation

By Danelle Day, PhD © 2013


A common concern among new nursing mothers is milk supply. And while it is the case that very rarely does a mother carry a baby to term without also producing the milk this baby needs to thrive post-birth, the worry, "Am I making enough for my baby...?" is ubiquitous.

To maintain a full supply of human milk (and not much is needed in the early weeks or months of babyhood) a mother must drain her breasts often to create a demand. As simple and non-complex as it sounds, that is the very basic, fundamental rule of milk production: increased demand = increased supply.

This basic component of milk production in mammals is termed the Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation (FIL). In Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician: Using the Evidence, Marsha Walker explains, "FIL is an active whey protein that inhibits milk secretion as alveoli become distended and milk is not removed. Its concentration increases with longer periods of milk accumulation, down regulating milk production in a chemical feedback loop."

Unfortunately, when we decrease the demand from the body for milk production by supplementing or putting baby on a time clock (not as much milk is needed to feed baby when s/he is being filled with something else, or when longer intervals pass between feeds) then supply follows the drop in demand and decreases as well. A supplementing mom, or a mother who has been told she should only feed her baby every x number of hours, quickly finds that her milk supply dwindles, and she becomes frustrated and/or sad that breastfeeding "just isn't working out" for her and her baby.

Because of the FIL principle, when products are marketed specifically to mothers who are already breastfeeding their babies, or those who plan to nurse and wish to succeed in doing so, it is an irresponsible and hurtful move to push such items on women already concerned about their babies' wellbeing and their milk supply. Instead, we would empower the next generation of nursing (and pumping) moms, and see more happy, healthy, well-fed babies by understanding and appreciating the FIL process, and encouraging mothers to always listen to their little ones and feed on cue. And in cases where we wish to increase or build milk supply, we must make moves to nurse (and/or pump with a hospital grade pump) completely to empty, at frequent intervals.

When women elect to birth and breastfeed their babies, the female body is a powerfully wonderful, working organism - one which overcomes all kinds of roadblocks along the way. Yet we must provide our bodies with the feedback they need to fulfill what they were designed to do; and in the case of breastfeeding and milk supply, it is all about demand.


Reference:

1) Walker M: Influence of the maternal anatomy and physiology on lactation. In Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician: Using the Evidence. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2006:51-82.


Related Reading:

Breastfeeding Made Simple (book)

The Baby Bond (book with excellent research on breastfeeding, among other topics)

Your Baby's Signs of Hunger (article)

Lactation Cookies: Increasing Milk Supply (article)

Nursing Mother, Working Mother (book)

Balancing Breastfeeding (article)

Making More Milk (book)

The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts are Bad for Business (book)

Formula For Disaster (film)

Using Formula Like 'Similac for Supplementation' Decreases Milk Supply (article)

Breastfeeding Advocacy and Formula Feeding Guilt (article)

Helpful Breastfeeding Books

Breastfeeding Resource Page


12 Ways to Nurture Babies at Conception, Birth, and Beyond

By Dr. Darcia Narvaez

We foster human potential and optimal relationships from the beginning of life.

Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology (PPN)*


Understanding our earliest relationship experiences from the baby’s point of view and how these experiences set in motion life patterns have been the intense study of the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology (PPN) for over 40 years. The PPN field uses the baby’s point of view to focus on our earliest human experiences from preconception through baby’s first postnatal year, and its role in creating children who thrive and become resilient, loving adults.

Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology incorporates research and clinical experience from leading-edge fields such as epigenetics, biodynamic embryology, infant mental health, attachment, early trauma, developmental neurosciences, consciousness studies and other new sciences.

The Origins of PPN 12 Guiding Principles

In 1999, Marti Glenn and Wendy Anne McCarty co-created the first graduate-level PPN degree programs and opened the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute.  Leading-edge prenatal and perinatal psychology-oriented therapists collaborated in an academic community grant project (funded by the Bower Foundation) to create a set of principles that arose from decades of PPN findings and clinical experience. 

The 12 principles are offered as a beacon to help guide parenting practice, professional practice, theory and research. They support human potential and optimal relationships from the beginning of life, laying the foundation for a new movement in welcoming and caring for our babies. All of us have a part to play.

The 12 PPN Guiding Principles:

1. The Primary Period

The primary period for human development occurs from preconception through the first year of postnatal life. This is the time in which vital foundations are established at every level of being: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and relational.

2. Forming the Core Blueprint

Experiences during this primary period form the blueprint of our core perceptions, belief structures, and ways of being in the world with others and ourselves. These foundational elements are implicit, observable in newborns, and initiate life-long ways of being. These core implicit patterns profoundly shape our being in life-enhancing or life-diminishing directions.

3. Continuum of Development

Human development is continuous from prenatal to postnatal life.  Postnatal patterns build upon earlier prenatal and birth experiences.

Optimal foundations for growth and resiliency, including brain development, emotional intelligence, and self-regulation are predicated upon optimal conditions during the pre-conception period, pregnancy, birth and the first year of life.

Optimal foundations of secure attachment and healthy relationships are predicated upon optimal relationships during the pre-conception period, during pregnancy, the birth experience and the first year of life.

4. Capacities and Capabilities

Human beings are conscious, sentient, aware, and possess a sense of Self even during this very early primary period.

We seek ever-increasing states of wholeness and growth through the expression of human life. This innate drive guides and infuses our human development.

From the beginning of life, babies perceive, communicate, and learn, in ways that include an integration of mind-to-mind, energetic, and physical-sensorial capacities and ways of being.

5. Relationship

Human development occurs within a relationship from the beginning. Human connections and the surrounding environment profoundly influence the quality and structure of every aspect of the baby’s development.

From the beginning of life, the baby experiences and internalizes what the mother experiences and feels. A father’s and/or partner’s relationship with a mother and baby are integral to optimizing primary foundations for a baby.

All relationships and encounters with a mother, baby, and father during this primary period affect the quality of life and the baby’s foundation. Supportive, loving, and healthy relationships are integral to optimizing primary foundations for a baby.

6. Innate Needs

The innate need for security, belonging, love and nurturing, feeling wanted, feeling valued, and being seen as the Self we are is present from the beginning of life. Meeting these needs and providing the right environment supports optimal development.

7. Communication

Babies are continually communicating and seeking connection. Relating and responding to a baby in ways that honor their multifaceted capacities for communication supports optimal development and wholeness.

8. Mother-Baby Interconnectedness

Respecting and optimizing the bond between a mother and baby and the mother-baby interconnectedness during pregnancy, birth, and infancy is of highest priority.

9. Bonding

Birth and bonding is a critical developmental process for the mother, baby, and father that form core patterns with life-long implications.

The best baby and mother outcomes occur when a mother feels empowered and supported and the natural process of birth is allowed to unfold with minimal intervention and no interruption in mother-baby connection and physical contact. If any separation of a baby from the mother occurs, continuity of the father’s contact and connection with the baby should be supported.

The baby responds and thrives best when the relationship with the mother is undisturbed, when the baby is communicated with directly, and when the process of birth supports the baby’s ability to orient and integrate the series of events.

10. Resolving and Healing

Resolving and healing past and current conflicts, stress, and issues that affect the quality of life for all family members is of highest priority. Doing so before pregnancy is best. When needed, for optimal outcomes, therapeutic support for the mother, baby, and father provided as early as possible during this vital primary period is recommended.

11. Underlying Patterns

When unresolved issues remain or less than optimal conditions and experiences occur during conception, pregnancy, birth and the first postnatal year, life-diminishing patterns often underlay [subsequent] health issues, stress behaviors, difficulty in self-regulation, attachment, learning, and other disorders over the life-span.

12.  Professional Support

These early diminishing patterns embed below the level of the conscious mind in the implicit memory system, subconscious, and somatic patterns. Professionals trained in primary psychology (prenatal and perinatal psychology) can identify these patterns and support babies, children, parents, and adults to heal and shift these primary patterns to more life-enhancing ones at any age. When parents resolve and heal their own unresolved issues from their child’s pregnancy and birth, their children benefit at any age.

The Association of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) endorses the 12 Guiding Principles.

REFERENCES

This article comprises excerpts from the official 12 Guiding Principle brochure and position paper co-written by the authors:

McCarty, W.A., Glenn, M., et al. (2008, 2016, 2017). Nurturing Human Potential and Optimizing Relationships from the Beginning of Life: 12 Guiding Principles. [Brochure]. Natural Family Living–Right from the Start: Santa Barbara, CA.

McCarty, W. A. and Glenn, M. (2008). Investing in human potential from the beginning of life: Keystone to maximizing human capital (pp. 12-14). (White paper available at www.wondrousbeginnings.com)

For bibliography, please see:

https://birthpsychology.com/content/birth-psychology-bibliography-classics

https://birthpsychology.com/content/birth-psychology-bibliography-2000-2015

For more information and to obtain the position paper and official 12GP-PPN brochures: see hereBrochures are currently available in English, Spanish, Italian and German and can be shared freely. For other uses of the 12 Guiding Principles content, please contact Dr. McCarty.

*Primary Authors:

Wendy Anne McCarty, PhD, RN, HNB-BC, DCEP, was the Founding Chair and Core Faculty, Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Program at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute and author of Welcoming Consciousness: Supporting Babies Wholeness from the Beginning of Life–An Integrated Model of Early Development. She currently is a global consultant/educator for professionals and families to optimize human potential from the beginning of life and repair of earliest life experiences at any age.  See: www.12guidingprinciples-ppn.com and www.wondrousbeginnings.com

Marti Glenn, PhD is the Clinical Director of Ryzio Institute, offering professional trainings and intensive retreats to help adults heal adverse childhood experiences and trauma. A pioneering psychotherapist and educator, she was the Founding President of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, known for its graduate degrees in prenatal and perinatal psychology, somatic psychology and clinical psychology. In her clinical work and trainings, She is an international speaker and trainer, emphasizing the integration of the latest research in behavioral epigenetics, PolyvagalTheory and affective neuroscience with attachment, early development, and trauma.

Both authors are recipients of the APPPAH Thomas Verny Award for excellence in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health.

Related Reading

More on what scholars say about early nurturing here.

How raising babies is different from raising children.


Related Reading by Dr. Narvaez at Peaceful Parenting: 

An 'On Demand' Life and the Basic Needs of Babies

Where Are All the Happy Babies?

The Dangers of Crying It Out

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Babies

Why Keep Babies Happy? A baby's cry is a late signal of discomfort

5 Things NOT to Do to Babies

12 Ways to Nurture Babies at Conception, Birth, and Beyond

Are you treating your child like a prisoner?

Are you or your child on a touch starvation diet?

Conspiracy Thinking: Understanding Attachment and Its Consequences

Psychology Today: Circumcision Series

Learn More from Narvaez:

The Evolved Nest Institute

Kindred Media

Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture, and Wisdom

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