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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.

aufaniae Wed 19-Dec-12 10:48:35

I really enjoyed Child of our Time, and particularly remember the episode on gender.

I wonder if you've noticed while doing your Christmas shopping, how the marketing of toys these days is becoming ever more gendered?

Many shops selling toys (e.g. Boots, M&S) now market all their science toys as boys' toys for example. It's also pretty common to find all construction toys in "boys" and "girls" shelves full of domestic play and beauty toys, and all the arts & crafts.

I wondered what your view on this is?

If children are denied toys which marketing people deem as for the "wrong sex", do you think this could affect their development?

If so, do you think this has wider implications for our society?

r3dsquirrel Wed 19-Dec-12 10:52:16

What is your view on 'sleep training', specifically controlled crying?

RailRoaded Wed 19-Dec-12 11:09:47

Really love your programmes and their sensible approach to raising children.

I have two questions please.

When a baby is very hard to care for: cries constantly, poor sleeping, tricky feeding and needs constant carrying and soothing the parents almost inevitably end up tired and sometimes depressed. I've read plenty of articles in the media about how babies with depressed mothers can go on to have development problems but I wonder if in some cases it was the baby's developmental issues and high needs that can cause the PND in the first place?

What is your view on the success of Applied Behaviour Analysis as a method for teaching children with ASD and learning disabilities? It is accepted in the US but is still very niche and rarely funded in the UK

WomanlyWoman Wed 19-Dec-12 11:39:58

Similar to Aufaniae's question, Do you think children are naturally drawn to play with particular types of toy or do you think they will play with anything they are given? What do you think of the 'research' that claims toy prefences may be innate?

Vickyogle Wed 19-Dec-12 11:46:21

Hi I also would like to know your thoughts on sleep training and controlled crying. Also what is your opinion on cosleeping in particular bed sharing. Thank you.

milkyjo Wed 19-Dec-12 11:52:17

Hello Prof. Winston!
Does watching TV for an hour a day have a negative effect on a child's brain development? If a young child never watched TV would they be more advanced than one who watched TV a little bit each day or one who watched TV constantly? Do you think 'educational' programmes make a difference with regards to how much TV a child watches?

TwelveLeggedWalk Wed 19-Dec-12 11:54:32

SO many amazing questions here, really hope you get a chance to answer BoffinMum's and some of the premmie mums here.

My question is what is the best way to handle the stage when they are crossing over between 'needs' and 'wants'? i.e. most of us accept that if a young baby cries they have needs that must be responded to, and that is important to their emotional development. And most of us accept that if you constantly give in to an older toddler or small child, that will be detrimental to their social development. But what of the middle stage, particularly a baby who tantrums early?

My DS began toddler-style tantrums (head banging, arms and legs flailing) from around 8 months. He is now 11 months (13 corrected) and really quite hard to handle (he's also a twin, so 1-1 time is limited)! I can't reason with him, I can't bribe him, I don't know how much he really understands about consequences, but I equally am aware that it's easy to fall into 'spoiling' habits by giving in each time he refuses food/fights nappy changes/getting dressed etc. Interested to hear your thoughts!

halfthesize Wed 19-Dec-12 12:28:09

Hi Professor Winston,

I was wondering what your views were on a toddler(age3) who from birth has had issues with
1: sleep(did not sleep through till 18 months and still up at least once a week)
2: eating (will not eat anything hot or veg or meat) He is a healthy weight but I am worried it will affect his development.
3: he finds pronouncing his 's' and 'f' a problem.

Love Chlid of our timegrin hoping for another series.

LineRunner Wed 19-Dec-12 12:35:05

Do you have any strong views on 'Attachment Disorder'? It still seems a popular theory with many social workers. Just wondering.


Hi Professor Winston,

I've been a fan of your work for some time and I'm so happy that you'll be doing a webchat.

My question is: What do you think parents can do to ensure raising well-rounded children? If you could give any examples to use in everyday life, I would be very grateful.

Thanks and Merry Christmas grin

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 19-Dec-12 12:54:37

Great to see so many questions in. Professor Winston is preparing to join us (sadly not from MNHQ) and will start answering your questions shortly and get through as many as possible within the next hour.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 12:57:41

Watch this space! RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 12:58:40

Both are important. Parenting is extremely important in academic achievement. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 12:59:27

Talk to them! Show them new things. LISTEN to their responses.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:00:08


My son was born by ventouse delivery. He has special needs. Do you think the ventouse delivery could have caused this? Is there much evidence with regard to sn and ventouse...........??

Hi Lottie. The 2 things are almost certainly unrelated. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:01:19


Is there any correlation between being born prematurely and having less intelligence/slower brain development. I don't mean in relation to having special needs but just in general.

What are the best kind of activities you can do with a young child to help stimulate them mentally and why are these so benefical?

Thanks so much smile

There is no correlation between prem births and lower intelligence. RW

lagoonhaze Wed 19-Dec-12 13:01:30

Watching with interest.

Would like views on how to help children who have been smacked/experience violence in the pass regain trust.

MikeOxardInTheSnow Wed 19-Dec-12 13:02:31

How exciting! Not a question, but I just wanted to say I love all your programs, please make lots more! You are a total legend! :D

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:02:31


Parents (me included) worry so much about developmental milestones. Particularly the first year or two (I've seen posts with mums almost weeping in despair because their baby isn't smiling at 6 weeks). And particularly with the biggies: walking and talking.

How helpful really are milestones to parents? How much variation is there around the mean? Outside of children with real physical/cognitive problems, how important or useful is intervention when a child appears 'delayed'?

Dear LeBFG. Milestones are a rather crude way of measuring development since there is massive variation. RW

zzzzz Wed 19-Dec-12 13:08:31

Is sn (particularly ASD/neurological difference) related in anyway other than parental age to frozen embryo transfer?
Or multiple births?

ChristmasKnackers Wed 19-Dec-12 13:09:01

Is there any correlation in babies 'personalities' when young and how they act when adults. A very basic example would be a smiley baby - smiley adult.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:11:44

thank you very much for your comments - so lovely to hear from you. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:14:05


Your Such an intelligent and inspiring person! i enjoy all the programmes and books you have made. I came to a lecture by you 8 years ago or so in Cardiff.

Question: Do you think learning a second language from a young age is beneficial and aids them in their longer term development? I'm thinking of sending my son to a welsh speaking school.

Also, do you think learning a musical instrument from a young age, helps them develop further in the long term?

Both learning languages and learning musical instruments are very beneficial in all sorts of ways. I would encourage children - if they show an interst - to do both. But sometimes thesethings can't be forced. RW

missbrightside Wed 19-Dec-12 13:15:45

Dear Professor Winston

I appreciate that everyone's medical circumstances are so very different but - if you could give just one tip to women going through IVF to increase their chances of success - what would it be ?

Kind Regards - and thanks for all your pioneering work.

mummyloveslucy Wed 19-Dec-12 13:15:47

Hello, I have a question that no Dr has been able to answer as yet. We would like to have IVF and in order to do this, I'd need to become an egg donor to help with the cost. We already have a 7 year old daughter with severe learning difficulties. There is no other diognosis other than this. Would I be able to donate my eggs, if I had all the nessessary screening? My husbands 5 year old nephiew is showing some of the same traits as my daughter, so it's likely to be on my husbands side anyway, but how can we find out?
If you could answer this question, I'd be very greatful. I've been a fan of yours for many years! smile

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