Why babyhood rather than childhood?
The case that I want to make is that babyhood is much more important to our lives than many people realise. A lot of the behaviour that worries us in later childhood, such as aggression, hyperactivity, obesity, depression and poor school performance, has already been shaped by children’s experiences in babyhood. For those of you who have not studied the scientific literature, this might seem a bit far-fetched. I was rather amazed at just how significant babyhood is, when I first undertook the research for my book 'Why Love Matters'.
Just to take one recent example, the World Health Organization recently published a report from their Commission on the social determinants of health - which stated that
“Research now shows that many challenges in adult society – mental health problems, obesity/stunting, heart disease, criminality, competence in literacy and numeracy - have their roots in early childhood.” They went on to say that “Economists now assert on the basis of the available evidence that investment in early childhood is the most powerful investment a country can make, with returns over the life course many times the amount of the original investment.”