Babies do best with Mum?

A study covered on the front page of the Observer yesterday reports that babies do best in developmental terms when they are cared for by stay at home mothers. The sample compared mummy-love with grandparental care, childminding and daycare. The headline? “Official: babies do best with mother“.

Glaring in its omission was any research into the relative merits of care provided by stay-at-home fathers, although the Observer did manage to point out that Penelope Leach, one of the authors of the report, stressed the results may be indicative not of the supremacy of parental (a term The Observer uses interchangably with maternal) care but of the poor resourcing of daycare centres in this country. Ms Leach “insisted that her findings should not be interpreted as a demand that mothers stay at home but […] as a demand for ‘developmentally appropriate, high quality childcare'”. Needless to say these disclaimers only made it onto page 2.