Leaving babies and toddlers in nursery could do untold damage to the development of their brains and their future health, leading psychologist Aric Sigman has claimed.
In an article for The Biologist, Dr Sigman suggests that the stress levels experienced by babies being cared for by strangers could cause a strain on their hearts long term. He cites studies which have found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol - which can be linked to lower resistance to infection and long term risk of heart disease - in children who are put in day-care.
Whilst the increase is only noted until the age of three, the doc claims it should still be of concern as the brain develops so rapidly during these years - and we should, apparently, be worrying about that more than women's rights...
Dr Sigman writes: 'The effects of day care on the child continues to be discussed through the prism of adult sexual politics and women's rights. This has been a significant impediment, involving a serious conflict of interest: Women's rights and self-fulfillment are not the same issue as a child's well-being and may often compete for precedence.'
But Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at Oxford University, told the Daily Mail: 'There is broad consensus that day-care influences cortisol levels in the short term, but there is no evidence that this has long-term detrimental consequences.'
Dr Stuart Derbyshire, a University of Birmingham psychologist, added that children in day-care may have higher levels of cortisol not because they are stressed, but because they run around more.
Hmmm. Just ANOTHER pointless report to make us feel bad, or do you think we should be paying heed?
Does your baby go to nursery or did you choose alternative childcare, such as a childminder?