Editor's Blog

Routines – parents want them and they are so important

Any birth and parent educator will frequently have facilitated discussions about ‘getting babies and small children into a routine’. Parents-to-be and new parents are anxious about this because they see a routine as a means of regaining some control over their own lives and ensuring that the new baby doesn’t deprive them of all the ‘me-time’ and ‘our-time’ that they need in order to be mentally healthy. And this is, of course, entirely legitimate. Mothers and fathers who are enjoying their lives as well as their parenting make far better parents which, in turn, means that their offspring enjoy greater well-being. There’s also another reason for parents’ instinctive focus on developing routines. They’re manifesting an evolutionary adaptive response to keeping their children (and themselves) safe and healthy. When group of humans meet together at regular, pre-determined intervals to talk, eat or sleep together, the group can check on its members. Are they all present? Is everyone well? Does anyone have concerns which should be shared because they might affect the safety of the whole group? Are group members aware of the needs of others in the group?

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Buddying or prescriptions?

It’s hard to know whether the statement last week from NICE that all new mothers should receive a ‘comprehensive mental health assessment’ during their routine six-week postnatal appointment is cause for celebration or despair.

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