Review of Dr. Paul Roumeliotis's new book "Baby Comes Home"

A long and enduring healthy life starts by fostering the best possible beginning. This is the major theme in Dr. Paul Roumeliotis’s new book “Baby Comes Home: A Parent’s Guide to a Health and Well First 18 Months. Dr. Paul as he is referred to, is a pediatrician and an expert on child health and wellness. His educational content has reached millions of people online and he is regularly featured on TV and radio. He is the Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and an adjunct professor of paediatrics and former director of Multi-Format Health Communications for the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University.

This book is filled with substantial advice for new parents in easy to read chapters such as Keeping Baby Safe, Handling and Caring for Baby, Getting Used to Baby’s Routines, Nutrition, Growth and Development, Immunization, Common Baby and Childcare Issues and Common Illness and Conditions During the First Eighteen Months. But the book is not only important for new parents, it is also helpful for the public health epidemiologists, public health professionals and program designers as it illustrate what needs to be done in order to achieve a better outcome for the individual as well as for the community-at-large. 

The book addresses the latest scientific explanations on how experience in those early years of an individual’s life can have lifelong consequences. Dr. Paul starts out describing the vital changes that occur in a baby’s brain during the first 18 months. He then travels through the new science of neurobiology, neurophysiology and chemistry and describes how epigenetics, explain, influence and alter the human’s DNA which impact a person’s long term health and exposure to various chronic diseases. 

This is not only about use of medication under e.g. pregnancy. We saw what severe implications drugs can have, when mothers used thalidomide in the 1960s which resulted in babies born with missing limbs as the medication “silenced” the DNA. But the negative effects are also coming from environmental factors such as abuse, neglect, poverty, lack of bonding and more, which “epigenetically” silence the DNA and impact the long-term health of the affected babies.  One effective way to mitigate the long term trajectory is to use, what Dr. Paul calls the “Science of LTC” Tender, Love, and Care and he points out how active use of this “free habit/routine” can positively shape a baby’s brain.

“The first 18 months of a baby’s life are crucial for brain development. There are indeed, ideal conditions which will help a baby thrive and grow optimally. “My book examines how to positively shape their experiences by helping parents create a tender, loving, and caring environment. Unless this is done, there can be long term negative consequences for that child,” says Dr. Paul.