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Live webchat with Professor Robert Winston, all about baby and child development, Wednesday 19 December, 1pm

(139 Posts)
AlexMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 18-Dec-12 10:03:20

We're very happy that Professor Robert Winston will be joining us on Wednesday afternoon at 1pm for a live webchat!

Professor Winston is one of the founders of IVF and presenter of a number of BBC documentaries including 'Child of our time', Super Human and the award winning 'Human Body'. Professor Robert Winston will be talking to us about brain development and how you can help your baby in their first few years.

His latest venture is advising and presenting 'The Essential Baby Care Guide'. This set of four DVDs features leading experts research including that from the Royal College of Paediatrics, UNICEF UK, St Johns Ambulance, The National Literacy Trust, the Meningitis Research Foundation and the Child Accident Prevention Trust.

The complete guide costs just £35, whilst individual DVDs are £10 each (inc. P&P) . Mumsnetters are able to get a £10 discount on the Complete Guide by entering the code MUMSNET when purchasing online before 31st December 2012. See:

Join Robert on Wednesday at 1pm or, as always, please post your advanced questions on this thread.

Eatenthebiscuit Tue 18-Dec-12 21:21:53

1) YES PLEASE another series of Child Of Our Time is now overdue..

2) What is your view on the proposed changes to nursery ratios? My children have thrived in nursery settings but I would not like to see the 1:3 ration rise for under twos, do you have any views?

rhetorician Tue 18-Dec-12 21:32:30

Hello Lord Winston: like others, I am a great admirer of your work. I wonder what you think about the impact of so-called 'helicopter' parenting is on children?

hippoherostandinghere Tue 18-Dec-12 21:50:28

I am a huge fan of Lord Winston. I also would love to see an update on child of our time.

My question is do you think a traumatic birth can shape a child's personality? My son was born by forceps traumatically and was quickly taken to neonatal as he wasn't breathing. He has a very reserved personality and has been very self aware from an early age. Could his personally be shaped by his birth?

Shagmundfreud Tue 18-Dec-12 22:03:47

I would like to ask what changes you would like to see in relation to the way maternity care is currently managed to optimise healthy pregnancy and the development of babies while they are still being carried by their mothers. I feel strongly that women need better advice on nutrition and lifestyle in pregnancy but that the current way maternity care is managed denies midwives the time to educate and support women in relation to these issues.

WhispersOfWickedness Tue 18-Dec-12 22:09:07

I have no specific questions (although looking forward to reading the web chat tomorrow evening) but please please please can we have another child of our time series, I love it and would love to know how they are all doing.

diplodocus Tue 18-Dec-12 22:31:17

Can I ask about the long term impact of failure to thrive? My DD had quite marked failure to thrive for about the first 2 months of her life - basically she was just a poor feeder and fell from the 25th centile to below the 4th. This had resolved fully by 3-4 months and she is now very tall and healthy. She does however struggle a bit with certain things at school (nothing major and no diagnosis). Does FTT have longer term effects on brain development, and if so how severe / how can it manifest?
Many thanks.

InMySpareTime Tue 18-Dec-12 23:04:19

My question is:
What are the societal effects of risk-averse parenting, and what effects do you envisage for the generation born to parents who had risk-minimised upbringings?

marshmallowpies Tue 18-Dec-12 23:57:38

Another big fan of Child of our Time here, was very disappointed when the series seemed to stop without warning. Did some of the parents withdraw consent or was it becoming harder to cover so many childrens' lives as they grew older & presumably underwent many more changes? I'd love to know what is happening to some of them!

cafecito Wed 19-Dec-12 04:30:44

ooh exciting!!

ok my relevant question is: if a toddler (eg age 3) has spent a long time away from its parent (more than a year), at what age can bad habits be unlearnt?

but I'd also like to ask..

What do you think of 3 parent IVF?
What do you think should happen to the HFEA?
What do you think of the animal studies in PGD showing ++ neurodegenerative disorders?
and legally do you believe there should be a duty of care to the unborn child after a certain gestation? do you believe parental choice trumps fetal welfare?

sybilfaulty Wed 19-Dec-12 06:38:15

Dear Lord Winston

Thank you for your work and for all that you do in your research. You are an inspiration.

I also remember how talented you were in Jamie's school (sorry, can't remember the programme's name). You managed to find a way to connect with the young people where others did not. Have you any tips for making that connection and making science accessible to reluctant students?

Thanks for coming and have a happy holiday smile

PS I remember a programme where you learned to play the clarinet. Do you still play to relax as I recall you were rather good?

Lollydaydream Wed 19-Dec-12 07:20:41

Do you think parents are supported enough to in turn support their child's development now that Health visitor support seems scarce and early years provision such as Sure Start is reduced. How can we persuade government to take early years support seriously and not just pay lip service to its value.

OodKingWenceslas Wed 19-Dec-12 07:36:17

How much impact do you think stress in pregnancy has? I had a v stressful pregnancy with dd2 -- mainly due to xh-- and I've had a lot of problems with her behaviour and development. There are other factors influencing this as well.

OodKingWenceslas Wed 19-Dec-12 07:38:35

Good question lolly
going back almost 10 years with dd2 we had to request checks for her as I had concerns. I work witha lot of families who wouldn't recognise problems so who would pick them up for early help?

Cuddledup Wed 19-Dec-12 08:01:38

I second the motion calling for another Child of our Time series. It was brilliant and really helped me when I had my DD. I often think of those kids and their parents and wonder where they are now.

PS: Lord W looks like an Old Testament prophet IMO!

OodKingWenceslas Wed 19-Dec-12 08:04:49

It's normally the start of the year isn't it? Dd1 is a few weeks older than those children so it's always been interesting to compare.

litquot Wed 19-Dec-12 08:25:02

Mostly just wanted to say thank you to you and all those who worked in early IVF, without whom I would not have my DD. thanks
She was born 11 weeks early and I am convinced that all the reading, singing but mostly talk, talk, talking to her in the first six months helped her brain development (but of course we'll never know whether she was always going to be a whizz at reading anyway!).
She finds spatial things really hard -puzzles, clothes, cutlery etc and I know this is common in ex-prems, why exactly is this, I think this part of the brain develops late??

QuietNinjaChristmasSpecial Wed 19-Dec-12 09:10:02

I don't have a question but wanted to say hello and mark my place. The child of our time series is fab and I would be interested to see how the children are getting on now.

gazzalw Wed 19-Dec-12 09:21:25

We have always enjoyed "Child of Our Time" as DS is in that cohort too. I imagine it is more difficult to film the children as they get older and become more self-conscious and the programmes will be dealing with all the issues around puberty.

On a different note, I recall that lots of parents talk about their DSs having testosterone surges at the age of about three or four to explain away their boisterous behaviour. Is there robust scientific evidence to support this? Does something similar happen for girls too?

baahhumbug Wed 19-Dec-12 09:28:08

I just wanted to say that I am a big fan and have always loved your programmes, would love to see more Child of Our Time, maybe it would be possible to bring out a DVD box set of the programmes already shown?

Also many thanks for all the work you have done over the years and especially because you handed my daughter Sara her GCSE certificates at Sherburn in Elmet high school about eight years ago, she was delighted to meet you.

VenetiaLanyon Wed 19-Dec-12 09:36:04

Hello Lord Winston,

I would love to ask so many questions of you, but here are just 2: smile

1. Does it tend to follow that talking, reading and writing earlier than your peers is a sign of greater intelligence later in life, or do children just develop at different speeds?

2. To what degree are diet and exercise implicated in neural development, and do vitamin supplements have any role to play?

Thanks very much smile

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 09:54:33


KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Wed 19-Dec-12 10:09:05

My DS has had a long series of imaginary friends - some of his descriptions of these friends are so detailed that it even lead to the embarassing situation where I sent a note to the imaginary parents of his imaginary friends at school inviting them round to play as I thought they were real.

He has ASD and problems distinguising between what is real in his head and what is actual reality. In your experience is this something he will grow out of in time, or can we intervene? He's 6.

PolkadotCircus Wed 19-Dec-12 10:09:21

I have got a few questions now.

Are you going to do another IVF documentary,looking closely at all the techniques new and old?I'd find it fascinating to see how our children came to be up close.Also interested in how those families in the IVF documentary you did years ago are doing.

Also does being part of a twin pregnancy have any impact on brain/child development?

We love Child of Our Time too.

Finally one of my twins wants to be a doctor,any tips on helping him on that road within state education?

greatbigshinybaubles Wed 19-Dec-12 10:41:49

No question from me, just wanted you to know how inspirational you were to me when I was growing up. I decided I wanted to be a doctor after watching you in the IVF documentary so many others have commented on. I am sure my fascination with all things sciency started with you - so thank you, I am now lucky enough to have a career that I love.

(p.s. Polkadot - i think work experience is still a key thing on the application form. I was state educated and had no way of getting direct experience of sitting in with a dr. In my experience this is usually organised by a doctor friend of the family! However, I managed to get work as a GP receptionist during school holidays instead and did some healthcare assistant work which went down well with the interviewers. Good luck!)

Lollydaydream Wed 19-Dec-12 10:45:51

oodking yes I had similar experience with dd1, it took a fair bit of time before I could get help with her speech because HVs didn't listen. Even with dd2 where we left hospital knowing she would have some degree of developmental problems due to a brain injury the HVs were very hands off and I felt didn't know what to do. Fortunately she is not severely affected and more specialist support has been available once she turned 12 - 18 months, I'll never forget the isolation of those first few months; and maybe I could have done more to help her.

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