What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Here’s a video of a baby playing on the floor:

What’s wrong with the picture? It is only a baby. No mother. No father. No grandma or grandpa or aunt or neighbor or big sister. Babies need adults to thrive and survive. In modern society we often forget about this without even being aware that we’re forgetting. The media is full of photos of babies all alone in the picture. We can buy tons of products that let us try to separate from our babies: swaddling blankets, bouncy seats, swings, bottle propping devices, strollers, and more.  But none of these things work for very long (for most babies) because babies really do want to be close to people — mostly with their mothers.  The British pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicot said

There is no such thing as a baby, there is a baby and someone.

For breastfeeding to succeed, it’s important to remember this. Babies are very competent at feeding in their natural environment — mother’s arms. When mothers keep their babies close they can read their baby’s signals so that breastfeeding happens before baby is upset. Many breastfeeding problems can be avoided just by remembering that babies are born expecting to be with someone — and mostly expecting to be with their mothers.

This video is really cute and I hope you enjoy it. It’s time-lapse photography of a nine-month-old baby playing on the floor. The photographer notes that he edited out the interactions with adults — and that they “do love their son! :)”. I used it to illustrate a point — but of course the father making the video is very aware that his baby is not really alone!

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