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Gratitude For Grandmas

After chimps or gorillas give birth, those mothers hold their babies closely and possessively for many months. They will not allow others to get too near or to hold their baby, and the mother is the sole carer. During the hunter/gatherer era, the life of homo sapiens was tough and precarious. Without sharing the care of her baby with kinfolk it would have been impossible for a woman to meet the intensive and prolonged needs required on her own. Apparently it takes a total of 13 million calories to grow an adult from babyhood. That’s a lot of gathering to do on your [...]

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

HHumans are omnivores, that is, they can eat many different foods. We need food for our body to maintain and grow our cells. But the cells, especially the ones in the brain, are only interested in glucose. That is the only fuel that creates energy to power the cell. So all foods have to be convertible to glucose, and the body has wonderful ways of doing it. In our cells is an awesome mechanism called the ‘Krebs Cycle’ (Citric Acid Cycle). Plug in any food, carb, fats, or proteins, and it ends up as glucose. This works just fine, even when [...]

My Baby’s Suffering from Wind!

WARNING: This article may annoy you if your baby ‘definitely had bad wind’ and burping him was apparently essential for him/her to settle. If so, you can stop reading here! But I have to follow the science, my experience and insight.   When babies get upset or stressed for whatever reason, they get tense and draw their knees up to their chest; they arch and strain. And push out the bowel gas. “Ohhh!” say his parents “he’s suffering from wind!” It's a good day if I get through to lunchtime and nobody has mentioned ‘wind’. It seems to be [...]

A Brief Word about Centile Charts

II’m sure you’ve seen them in your blue, red or purple book for your babies, the charts for tracking the weight, length and head circumference of your baby. Simply put, if your baby is on the 50th centile for weight this means that 50% of the population is heavier than him or her and 50% lighter. That's 'average'. If he or she is on the 90th centile only 10% of the population is heavier and 90% is lighter, and the same for height and head circumference. Simple. But I keep meeting parents who worry about these charts: I met a [...]

Georgy’s Motherhood Musings [7]: 5 Things I Learned in the First 2 Years.

The first two years of your baby’s life are filled with so many lessons, most of which you can only appreciate or recognise with the gift of hindsight. So, as my daughter approaches her 3rd birthday, and my brand new son enters into his seventh week of life, I thought it would be a good time for me to reflect back on 5 things that I learned in those crazy 2 years. My hope is that it may offer some reassurance to other mothers, and also serve to remind me of a few things as I walk this road for [...]

Skincare and your Baby

Every mother wants her baby to have soft flawless dewy skin. Achieving that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but important for your baby’s health.   The integrity of the skin layer prevents the penetration of allergens (causing allergic (atopic) dermatitis) or harmful bacteria (causing infection). However the surface layer of a baby's skin is 30% thinner than in adults so is more easily penetrated or damaged by substances applied to it. It takes more than a year for the skin to mature. For maintaining integrity skin should have: Slightly acid pH Friendly (commensal) germs Natural Moisturising Factor (mostly fats) [...]

Sleep and the Young Infant

Lately, I understand, there has been a frisson of activity on a parenting page regarding a blog I wrote in 2014. In the blog about preventing sleep problems in six month olds I quoted from my book “Your Cherished Baby’ and suggested: Ideally, he should be put down drowsy but awake. If possible there should be minimal fussing after tucking in. Unless it is your choice and the baby’s habit, once down, avoid rocking, cuddling or patting to sleep. And if it is, you have a choice to gradually (step by step, night by night) wean the baby off such input [...]

Solid Data on Solids (3)

Fully breastfed infants start to need other foods at around six months. By then they have run their stores of iron down and also need to supplement the vitamin D in their diet. Also breastmilk (and formula) is relatively low in protein, which is suitable for babies, but the growing infant now needs more.   Back in the day, the often-recommended first food was baby rice. We now recognise that early taste experiences program our babies’ food preferences for later, so processed refined rice flour, which is a world away from real food, and is now no longer recommended. [...]

Solid Data on Solids (2)

Children Eat What They Enjoy, and Enjoy What They Know....     Humans are omnivores – they’ll eat anything that looks nutritious, and therein lies a problem: they can also poison themselves in many different ways. So evolution came up with a solution. Make the young generally ‘neo-phobic’ (fear of new things’) that is, wary of unfamiliar foods. Another great strategy is to get them to copy their mother and only eat what she eats, as it’s should always be safe. So we copy our Mum. When we’re in the womb we swallow the amniotic fluid and learn the [...]

Sun and Bugs

With the return of the warm weather parents have started asking me what to do about their babies regarding insect repellants and sunscreens.   Mosquitoes and midges agree that babies are delicious and will ignore the adults and exclusively hone in on the youngest human with the softest skin. Babies primarily need to be protected from contact with them by avoiding outside exposure in the evenings and sleeping with insect nets over their cots. The spray-on repellents should not be used at all under 2 months of age and after that, it should not sprayed directly on to the [...]

Do you have a good baby?

“Do you have a good baby?” Says the sweet-faced old lady to you in the shopping centre. Just to be clear, this is code for “Does your baby sleep for long periods of time and not feed too often or at inconvenient times?” How to answer? She means well, so perhaps “Yes, she is. She cries when she is hungry and sleeps when she is tired” is a bit abrupt. Instead how about giving her a short enlightening lecture? Here are the critical points: Babies are just foetuses who are outside the womb. In comparison to other mammal babies, [...]