Babies Know if You’re Nice!

A recent study by a group of professors at the University of British Columbia into social evolution sheds light on babies’ preference for kindness. They set up a situation where the babies were introduced to puppets that were either kind or unkind. Babies aged 5 months uniformly preferred the puppets who act nicely towards. In itself, that makes sense to us – we know that from birth, babies have a natural tendency to prefer favourable environments and relationships and babies do prefer to be with people who are loving, nurturing and kind. They do not like threatening or unkind behaviour – why would they? (The tendency to prefer safety and avoid danger is true even in the womb; for instance during amniocentesis babies are freqently observed moving away from the needle).

What’s most interesting about this study is the behaviour of the 8 month old babies. They acted positively towards the sociable, kind puppets, and acted negatively towards those who were unkind, or antisocial, actually withholding treats from the unkind puppets.

Babiesknow is based on the belief that babies are aware and sensitive, so we know that babies know! But it’s good to see more studies getting into the public arena, and we found this one while surfing #babies on twitter.

Getting a balance between buying STUFF and staying connected – H – 18 nov 2011 – 13.13 – ITN
Did you know that the average amount couples in the UK spend on baby items by the first birthday is more than £5000?

We know that averages can often be misleading, and there are many people who get by on a lot less than this, but the interesting issue that arises is: just what are the bare minimums?

Our lovely admin queen, Sarah Charlton, brought our attention to a recent article in the Guardian. Check it out here. In it, Rebecca Schiller, who is a doula based in Hackney, talks to a couple who have chosen to minimise the amount of money they have spent as new parents. It was a conscious choice for them, and has had rewards way beyond the financial saving (they spent 85% less, or saved more than £4000 compared with the average): ‘We discovered that the less you buy that’s baby-specific and designed to put them at a distance, the easier it will be to meet their instinctive needs.’

It’s an interesting way to see all the ‘stuff’ that is so heavily marketed – and how much of it does involve putting our babies at a distance. And it’s good to hear a story from very contented parents who say their baby is contented too – not because of what they possess, but because of the closeness they feel to one another. Bring it on!