By Suzanne Broughton
The Orange County Register
Babies are tough. Babies have a wicked sense of humor. Babies can spend the first year of their life licking dirt, spending time unsupervised, and cuddling with cows and still enter into the toddler stage healthy and happy.
These are all things a new mom can learn from watching the brilliant 2010 documentary "Babies."
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Whenever I meet a young woman who is pregnant or has a baby that is her first child, I urge her to rent "Babies." It follows the first year of life of four babies living in Africa, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco. It's not only the dramatic differences in the way the babies are being raised that makes this four-year-old movie fascinating ¬ the African baby has his hair cut with a machete, the Mongolian baby is taken home from the hospital on the back of a motorcycle – it is also the underlying truth that babies are babies, no matter where they hang their ... well, I would say diaper, but only two of the four babies in the movie ever wear one.
I suspect I look at young moms much like my mom looked at me and my girlfriends as we voraciously read baby books, dedicated hours to baby proofing our houses and insisted no one come within a mile of our babies if they have a cold, had a cold or watched a TV commercial about cold medicine (not really on the last one, but pretty darn close).
I recall my mom's advice to me on pacifiers. After reading a few books that warned parents on the impending disaster that would happen if you let your child become dependent on a "binkie," I told my mom I wasn't going to give my newborn daughter one. After the first night at home with my baby my mom came over for the day. Seeing we were both exhausted from a sleepless night she stood in the hallway, baby in her arms holding a pacifier in the quiet, sleeping baby's mouth. "You'll thank me for this someday," she said with a smile.
"Thank you, mom!"
When the movie "Babies" first premiered, the French filmmakers - director Thomas Balmes and producer Alain Chabat - said in an interview that they found during the making of their movie that as long as there is love given to the babies, they were happy and healthy. That is the valuable lesson in this movie.
I believe that so many times new moms get so preoccupied with every little detail of their little one's life that they can stress themselves out way beyond what is necessary. So, I tell them, put down the Purell, go watch this movie and then spend some time just cuddling your bundle of joy. Really, they are going to be fine.
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