There is a longstanding bias against babies in medical care. First, it’s only recently that medicine has come to the conclusion that babies can feel pain, though there are still practitioners who act as if they don’t (e.g., conducting infant circumcisions without painkillers). Second, the field seems imbued with behaviorism, which considers humans to be like machines whose gears need to be engineered into place, For example, with a car, you poke and prod to make sure fluids are in good stead. In the same machine-oriented fashion, you prick the baby’s heel at birth and use other painful procedures that could wait or be done more gently. (Medical staff have hardened their hearts against feeling empathy for a crying baby which I think can encourage the same hardening of heart in parents who witness the indifference to their baby’s screams.)
These intrusive practices reflect deep misunderstandings of humans and human development. Humans are dynamic systems who are highly influenced by how they are treated, especially in early life. So if you torture a baby (make them scream), you are leaving a mark in the dynamic system that can change the trajectory of the system. Early trauma takes the baby along a suboptimal pathway to stress response and self-protectionism.
If you want optimal development, you provide nurturing, affectionate, calming experiences in early life—especially in the first 18 months postnatally, the time point when humans should really be born in comparison to other animals.
The behavioristic and mechanistic attitudes that pervade attitudes towards babies align well with a detached scientism, the belief that only an experiment (ideally, double-blinded randomized controlled trials) can give us any reliable knowledge. Of course this is a ridiculous position since humans have been living successfully for millions of years without that kind of experimentation. But of course, most of human knowledge is empirical (comes from experience), sometimes through trial and error over generations.
However, some human knowledge is inherited through evolution. Evolution has done the experimenting—keeping the types of characteristics that led to greater adaptation in generations past. The Evolved Developmental Niche for young children, provided during 99% of human genus history, is the result of evolution’s experimentation: soothing perinatal experience, breastfeeding, extensive positive touch, responsiveness to keep baby calm, play, multiple adult caregivers, positive support. For example, breastmilk is 80% alive and comprised of thousands of ingredients that foster thriving in babies and young children. Designed to co-construct the immune system, breast milk provides all the immunoglobulins that the immune system needs until it is fully developed at age 5 or 6 (yes, and some traditional societies breastfeed that long). Designed to co-construct brain function, breast milk provides precursors for neurotransmitters (tryptophan for serotonin). We don’t need to do experiments to show that breastmilk is superior to infant formula (which has a few dozen nonhuman ingredients in wrong proportions).
But if you believe in scientism– that only science experiments gets us good information– then you probably think you need an experiment to know for sure whether breast milk is superior to formula. ….
How do such idiots make it through medical school? Or is idiocy a prerequisite for getting a medical degree? Clearly whatever psychological screening medical schools do is insufficient to keep toxic people away from babies.