Benjamin Spock

American pediatrician and author of Baby and Child Care (1903-1998)

Benjamin McLane Spock (2 May 190315 March 1998) was an American pediatrician and author.

Don't take too seriously all that the neighbors say. Don't be overawed by what the experts say. Don't be afraid to trust your own common sense.

Quotes edit

I really learned it all from mothers.
  • I really learned it all from mothers.
    • Time magazine (8 April 1985)
  • I've come to the realization that a lot of our problems are because of a dearth of spiritual values.
    • Associated Press interview (1992)
  • People have said, "You've turned your back on pediatrics." I said, "No. It took me until I was in my 60s to realize that politics was a part of pediatrics."
    • Associated Press interview (1992)
  • I would say that the surest measure of a man's or a woman's maturity is the harmony, style, joy, and dignity he creates in his marriage, and the pleasure and inspiration he provides for his spouse.
    • Quoted in Older & Wiser Edited by G. B. Dianda and B. J. Hofmayer (1995)

Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care (1945) edit

Quotations from Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care first published in 1945, with many updated editions since.
  • You know more than you think you do.
    • First sentence. This is printed beneath the heading "Trust Yourself" , and thus is often quoted as "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. "
  • Don't take too seriously all that the neighbors say. Don't be overawed by what the experts say. Don't be afraid to trust your own common sense.
  • The more people have studied different methods of bringing up children the more they have come to the conclusion that what good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is usually best after all. All parents do their best job when they have a natural, easy confidence in themselves. Better to make a few mistakes from being natural than to try to do everything letter-perfect out of a feeling of worry.
  • The fact is that child rearing is a long, hard job, the rewards are not always immediately obvious, the work is undervalued, and parents are just as human and almost as vulnerable as their children.
  • There are only two things a child will share willingly—communicable diseases and his mother's age.
  • In automobile terms, the child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.

Seventh edition (1998) edit

Coauthored with Steven J. Parker. New York: Pocket Books, 1998. ISBN 0-671-53763-6
  • I no longer recommend dairy products after the age of two years. … Of course, there was a time when cow's milk was considered very desirable. But research, along with clinical experience, has forced doctors and nutritionists to rethink this recommendation. It is an area where there are still disagreements among scientists, but there are several points that most everyone agrees on. First of all, other calcium sources offer many advantages that dairy products do not have. Most green leafy vegetables and beans have a form of calcium that is absorbed as well as or even a bit better than that in milk. Along with this calcium come vitamins, iron, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Calcium-enriched soy or rice drinks are just as tasty on cereal as cow's milk (once you get used to them), and they are free of animal proteins and cholesterol. These beverages, as well as calcium-enriched orange and other juices, provide as much calcium, ounce per ounce, as cow's milk. Vegetables and legumes can provide a healthy source of calcium, along with many other nutritional advantages.
    • pp. 331-332
  • We used to think of cow's milk as a nearly perfect food. However, over the past several years, researchers have found new information that has caused many of us to change our opinion. This has provoked a lot of understandable controversy, but I have come to believe that cow's milk is not necessary for children. First, it turns out that the fat in cow's milk is not the kind of fat ("essential fatty acids") needed for brain development. Instead, milk fat is too rich in the saturated fats that promote artery blockages. Also, cow's milk can make it harder for a child to stay in iron balance. Milk is extremely low in iron and slows down iron absorption. It can also cause subtle blood loss in the digestive tract that causes the child to lose iron. … Some children have sensitivities to milk proteins, which show up as ear problems, respiratory problems, or skin conditions. Milk also has traces of antibiotics, estrogens, and other things a child does not need. There is, of course, nothing wrong with human breast milk — it is perfect for infants. For older children, there are many good soy and rice milk products and even nondairy "ice creams" that are well worth trying. If you are using cow's milk in your family, I would encourage you to give these alternatives a try.
    • p. 346
  • We used to recommend meat, poultry, and fish for children because they are rich in protein and iron. However, we now know that there are harmful effects of a meaty diet, particularly changes in the arteries and weight problems, and that these changes begin in childhood. When children develop a taste for meats, it is hard to break this habit later on. It turns out that children can get plenty of protein and iron from vegetables, beans, and other plant foods that avoid the fat and cholesterol that are in animal products.
    • pp. 346-347

Decent and Indecent: Our Personal and Political Behavior (1970) edit

Quotations from Decent and Indecent: Our Personal and Political Behavior, New York: McCall Publishing Company, 1970. ISBN 978-0841500013
  • Man can be the most affectionate and altruistic of creatures, yet he's potentially more vicious than any other. He is the only one who can be persuaded to hate millions of his own kind whom he has never seen and to kill as many as he can lay his hands on in the name of his tribe or his God.
    • p. 13
  • This solution has great superficial appeal--all the excitement of secret, forbidden, romantic sexuality without family responsibility and family grubbiness.
    • p. 62
  • Most middle-class whites have no idea what it feels like to be subjected to police who are routinely suspicious, rude, belligerent, and brutal.
    • p. 103
  • As parents and teachers we need to bring up more of our children with generosity of spirit.
    • p. 132

Quotes about Spock edit

  • An entire generation grew up unacquainted with the thwack of paddle against bottom.
    • Jonathan Yardley, in American Heritage (April 1985)
  • Some physicians who have called him excessively permissive just didn't understand and gave his understanding approach to child rearing a negative label. He was blamed for the radical behavior of the youth in the '60s. But that didn't emerge from Spock's teachings. It was far more a reflection of the social and political climate.
    • Dr. Marvin Drellich, professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College

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