In a recent placebo-controlled trials of a Covid vaccine I heard of a report from one of the participants, who was a doctor. He was delighted after receiving his first dose because he got a fever and body aches. He had definitely received the vaccine not the placebo. Generating a fever, by cranking up the brain’s thermostat, is the body's way of supercharging its immune system. The increased body temperature makes the cells that kill germs (neutrophil white cells), or make antibodies (B-cells), work much more efficiently and quickly. In both animal and human studies of infected subjects [...]
if you want your little boys to grow up feeling secure and with good mental health, keep them close and allow them to remain babies for longer. This may be inconvenient and require financial sacrifice but this investment in their lives pays back massive dividends to them as they grow.
A new mum talks about the pressure she gets from family and friends, to persuade her, against powerful personal feelings, to impose rigid routines on her young baby. The answer is simple. Most people don’t discuss their finances or sex life with their relations and friends either. Just don’t tell them.
When the ideas of attachment parenting were being developed in the 1960’s or so, the advice was fairly ‘gender neutral’. Later however data started to accumulate that baby boys’ needs were different from that of girls. Not qualitatively but quantitatively. Male babies on average have greater difficulty self-regulating their emotional state and therefore have a greater reliance on emotional support. They need it both more intensely and for a longer period than girls.1 In essence, mothers need to work harder with their boys than their girls.2 It seems that that boys’ brains develop more slowly3 , and are more vulnerable to negative [...]
Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who works as a pre-school teacher. She asserted that she could tell an ‘attachment parented’ child from across the room. “They are generally so much more calm and empathic! They will tend to go over and comfort a sad child. They think about what others are feeling’. There is a lot of scientific evidence for this accumulated over many years. One of the critical factors of being born human is being born very immature. For good or bad, this gives the parents and carers the opportunity to mould the [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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) [...]
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 [...]