By Stephanie Ondrack
Welcome to the Childbearing Society’s winter newsletter, newborn edition!
Much has been discovered about the youngest members of our species over the past few decades. It may surprise some of you to realize how little we used to know about newborns, to imagine that not so long ago, we believed these small babies were just blank slates—empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge, incapable of experiencing emotions, sensations, suffering, or fulfilment.
Research on newborns, as fascinating and important as it is, is merely beginning to vindicate what parents have always observed, and what we have always known in our hearts. Babies are complex little people, with strong personalities, explicit needs, and a wide range of emotions. Although it is true that they don’t come with a manual, babies are quite good at telling us what they need. In this issue, we take a look at some of the more recent findings about newborns, what they’re all about (Babies Remember, by Bonnie Davies),what they need to thrive (The Pursuit of Proximity by Pat Currie), and how we parents cope with their sudden and overwhelming centrality in our lives (Why Can Motherhood Feel so Hard, by Stephanie Jhala). Our question of the quarter examines the popular question of swaddling for young babies: Yes? No? Sometimes?
We hope you gain some insights from this issue, but we hope you trust your instincts, and turn instead to your own baby for the real low down on his or her needs. A baby may not come with a manual, but they don’t need to. Your baby *is* the manual, full of cues and information. And learning to ‘read’ your baby makes you the most knowledgeable expert in the world.