The Quality Daycare Chimera

by Steven E. Rhoads

The Canadian federal government’s proposal to create a national child
care program, presumably favouring formal institutional child care, means that
Canadians must understand the impact of such care on children. Only then will
they be in a position to make an informed decision about the efficacy of such a proposal.

Any attempt to understand the effect of day care on children should begin with
an understanding of how biology binds women to their offspring. In both
males and females, oxytocin promotes bonding and a calm, relaxed emotional
state. Women have more neural receptors for oxytocin than men do, and their
oxytocin increases during pregnancy and again during nursing.

Sarah Hrdy, an evolutionary anthropologist and the author of the landmark
book,Mother Nature, says, What makes a mother maternal is
that she is (invariably) at the scene, hormonally primed, sensitive to
infant signals, and related to the baby. These factors lower her
threshold for giving of herself to satisfy the infant’s needs. Once her
milk comes in, the mothers’ urge to nurture grows stronger still.
(Hrdy, 1999, p. 500)...

© 2004 Steven E. Rhoads
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