Unsuspecting families put babies to the test
‘‘ THE biggest mistake parents can make is to allow a baby to dictate to them. A baby should fit into your way of life, not you into its.’’
So says Claire Verity with the sort of self-assured smugness that can only belong to a person who has never had children. ‘‘ I can’t understand why anybody wants to cuddle a baby or pick a baby up,’’ she continues, straight-faced. ‘‘ A baby doesn’t want to be touched all the time. All they want is to be left alone to grow.’’
It may come as a surprise — nay, shock — that ice-hearted Verity is an infant-training expert whom families pay £ 1000 ($ 2200) a day to get their babies to behave, well, less like babies. Her line of expertise is a 1950s routine-based child-rearing method that dictates newborns be fed fourhourly, should sleep through the night from birth, must not be held or cuddled, let alone breastfed, and should be left outdoors, completely on their own, for four hours a day to benefit from ‘‘ fresh air’’.
It may sound like child abuse, but Verity insists the routine forces babies to fit better into the lifestyle of their parents, which, she believes, is the aim.
Verity is one of three experts whose techniques are trialled by a series of unsuspecting families in this interesting British series that sets out to discover which method of raising baby is best. Cruella De Vil, as Verity is known in Britain, is pitted against a couple of airy-fairy types, one of whom follows the 1960s-style Dr Spock method of ‘‘ anything goes’’ parenting — which allows for plenty of baby cuddling, but also cocktails for the parent if necessary
Emotional rush: — and a hippie who teaches mothers to emulate the lifestyle of Amazonian tribeswomen, who carry their babies in slings, sleep with them, breastfeed continually and raise ‘‘ pure, emotionally balanced children’’.
The families involved, including one particularly unfortunate couple with twins, have cameras on them 24 hours a day as they adhere strictly to the various techniques. We’re told that after three months a result will emerge about which works best.
Tonight’s episode is an introductory affair in which we meet the couples, the experts and the babies.
trials parenting techniques Much of the curiosity of viewing this episode comes from the sheer horror of observing Verity in action as she blithely pushes newborns out into the bracing English air for their outdoor sessions and physically prevents their mothers from cuddling them. Plus there are several unintentionally hilarious moments as the parents experience the emotional rush of child-raising.
New parents will no doubt find this show utterly gripping; everybody else will merely watch it with a sense of relief that they are not new parents.
Bringing Up Baby