Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Does Your Baby Need a Shrink?

Now there’s an off-the-wall headline! Babies seeing shrinks? Surely not.

Turns out there’s a booming business in mental health for babies. Ten major universities across the country offer programs for babies and their parents.

By the time I’d finished reading the article, I got it.

Yes, it’s a good idea for some babies. Given all the research about the impact of pre-natal trauma—even what Mom says to her unborn child—babies can in fact come into this world with “issues.”

Bottom line, negative experiences alter a baby’s brain chemistry.

Mom and Dad fought a lot during Mom’s pregnancy. Mom’s ambivalent about having this baby. Dad is stressed out, overworked, and overwhelmed. Mom didn’t bond with her parents when she was an infant.

All of these contribute to a baby’s lack of well being. And that extends to difficult times during the first three months and beyond.

Once the pattern is set in the baby’s brain, it stays there and can wreck havoc unless there’s some kind of intervention. Depression, anxiety, learning disorders, anorexia—all can be see in babies and certainly can show up later.

So which babies should see shrinks?

Adopted babies, babies whose Moms had difficult pregnancies and deliveries and they’re still recovering, babies of Moms and Dads (and Grandparents) who worry about every little thing.

Newborns not interested in sights, sounds, and touch. Older babies who aren’t connecting emotionally to those who love them. 1-2 year olds who aren’t interested in pretend play and have limited emotional range.

These babies and their parents will benefit from early-childhood family-based therapy.

You can read more about it at

Brain Gym can also be used effectively with babies and toddlers. Check out “Brain Gym Basics” at (Parents, this is for you too.)

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