Sleep, breastfeeding, behaviour and development are among the topics tackled by the parenting experts who have joined us for webchats.
"How mental health difficulties develop is very complex and in most cases not purely down to a biological basis. The environment has a real and powerful influence on mental health." Sally Hodges, January 2011
Sally Hodges is a consultant clinical psychologist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, specialising in children's disabilities. She talked to Mumsnetters about ways to help children with anxiety and how to get the most out of available services.
"I personally think the obsession with SIDS sometimes obscures the important benefits of co-sleeping, like breastfeeding, attachment, and 'normal' neurological development." Helen Ball, June 2010
Sleep expert Dr Helen Ball offered her help and advice in a webchat in the summer of 2010, answering your questions on topics from overcoming co-sleeping difficulties and tackling insomnia to information on SIDS and her views on sleep training.
"If you don't initiate breastfeeding, you don't have much choice about how long you breastfeed for. And do you know why they stop at exactly six months? Because the advertising tells them to. How would the companies make their profits if they did not promote the ridiculous and unnecessary follow-on formulas? Which, of course, indirectly promote all formula feeding, which is why they were invented." Gabrielle Palmer, September 2009
The author of The Politics of Breastfeeding (a book much admired, read and discussed on MN) joined us for a webchatin November 2009. She was a breastfeeding counsellor in the 1970s and helped establish the UK pressure group Baby Milk Action. Gabrielle has written, taught and campaigned on infant feeding issues, particularly the unethical marketing of baby foods. We had a thoroughly satisfying chat about breastfeeding, and Gabrielle gave some impressively detailed answers.
"Some children with motor difficulties sometimes find swimming under the water easier than on top of it - you could try a snorkel and flippers even, as this sometimes makes it easier. A patient teacher is important." Professor Amanda Kirby, November 2008
Professor Amanda Kirby is an expert in child development, with over 25 years' specialist experience under her belt. She's written a number of books, both as a parent and professional, and her team at the Dyscovery Centre Wales has an international reputation for nutritional and behavioural research.
"It is not a good idea to give different meals to a food-fussy child. Remember, toddlers can go through a stage of neophobia (being afraid of new foods) and this can even extend to foods previously loved. Don't show your anxiety to your child." Tanya Byron, September 2007
Tanya is a consultant in child and adolescent mental health (and a mother of two). She is the author of Your Child Your Way, the presenter of The House of Tiny Tearaways and, in 2008, she published a government-commissioned independent review of children and internet safety. She shared her parenting – and style – tips with us in September 2007, and then again in February 2010.
"Tantrums are almost always attention seeking. Ask yourself what the child may gain from throwing the tantrum. Attention is nearly always what they are after. So the way to deal with a tantrum is to ignore it. This sounds very easy on paper but is very difficult in practice..." Professor Christopher Green, November 2008
One of the world's best-known parenting experts, Christopher's classic book Toddler Taming has helped over a million parents around the world to survive their children's toddlerhood with sanity intact. He offered Mumsnetters reassuring advice on everything from early morning waking to biting and (yes) tantrums.
"We know from all the child development literature that children under three need to be with someone who loves them, most of the time. A nanny can be successful, but only if she becomes as loved or more loved than the actual parents." Steve Biddulph, November 2000
Steve Biddulph has written several bestselling parenting books, including The Secret of Happy Children and Raising Boys. He is not in favour of institutional daycare for the under-twos. He lives in Australia, where, in 2000, he was voted Father of the Year for his work encouraging the active role of fathers.
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- Talk: parenting
- Talk: sleep
- Talk: potty training
- Talk: child internet safety
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