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?” 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, [...]
I was bewildered by all the Internet chatter about the picture of Victoria Beckham kissing her children on the mouth. The horror and the outrage! That same day I was discussing feeding babies spoon foods, and a mother wondered what they did before blenders. Good question, because these two things are connected. Transitional feeding seems to be necessary for humans from around six months of age. It is a time when breastfeeding doesn't yield enough iron or protein to maintain optimal growth in babies. In many animals the mother prepares soft foods by chewing it herself and then transferring [...]
II had an interesting conversation with a friend a few days ago. He sighed “We are having such trouble getting our little girl into childcare – there are so few places available. We are feeling so stressed and guilty that she might not get the early education and sociability that she needs?” Time for a reality check. Humans are amongst the most social species on the planet. We have been honed by countless generations of ancestors who selected themselves to reproduce by their ability to socialise. It doesn’t need to be trained into us. It’s inherent. In our first [...]
When visiting a new mother and baby there should be a rule. A principle that is common knowledge within the community and which no one questions and everyone respects. Don’t ask to hold the baby.
UUp at the crack of dawn to try and get the timing of the baby’s nap to coincide with the plane taking off. But she, like a pet dog, knows there is something big afoot. She would rather walk around than eat breakfast. At Sydney Airport: First send in handsome son-in-law to check-in counter. We get a big smile from airline lady and get assigned seats with lots of extra empty seats around us. Cool! Then when we hit the queue for border control with the little one in the lead, a nice official tickles her chin and hurries [...]
Just lately I’ve had a question from a couple of mothers through email and Facebook asking me what to do as their babies are now 6 months old and they are still exclusively falling asleep at the breast. A paediatrician to one of them told her to stop this, and the other was told that ‘feed, play, sleep’ was some kind of gold standard to work towards as early as possible. It’s perfectly okay for babies to continue falling asleep at the breast if you are both happy with it. There is nothing essential about separate sleeping and nothing [...]
OOh no, Christmas is coming! Too much food and drink, Jingle Bells, presents under the tree. And lots of unsettled, howling babies. Most babies loath Christmas. Too many turkeys (like old dear Uncle Tom), parties, noise and excitement with mother’s attention sadly diverted towards feeding everyone and what to buy Auntie Susan. New babies have emerged from a calm, dark womb where on a particularly interesting day, they will see the umbilical cord floating past. To a foetus that’s a big day! At birth they are suddenly ejected into a busy world of lights, faces, and strange objects; of sounds and [...]
A few useful tips about introducing babies and toddlers to the wonderful world of water play and swimming.
II went through an interesting 2 weeks with Lara recently. Nighttime just wasn’t fun. She would fall asleep, no problem, but then throughout the night she’d be unsettled, feeding almost every hour (sometimes every half hour) and fussing between feeds. She was also waking at around 1am to roll around, play with the blinds, bang her dummy against the wall and generally try and get the party started. It was exhausting. Out of 10, I would rate it about a 1 on the fun scale. It was something of a comfort that at the same time a friend of mine was going through the exact same thing [...]
"II am a breastfeeding, first time mum of a lovely and funny 7 1/2 month old. Cameron is teething like crazy (yet to get any chompers but all the signs are there) and we have been breastfeeding like crazy at night. I'm very interested in what is known about breastmilk as an analgesic but haven't been able to find very much information on it. I was hoping you may be interested in sharing some on your blog some time. Thanks for your science based and heartfelt based approach to baby rearing! We love it!!!" What an interesting question! Particularly [...]
II’ve had a question about the article that appeared in the ‘The Australian’ recently about the ‘build-up of chemicals in breastmilk’. It comes from a report from Grandjean et al in the Environmental Science & Technology Journal on August 20th. See this reference for the press-release. It also contains the reference for the original article. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/…/breastfeeding-may-expose-inf…/ Prof Philippe Grandjean is a world expert on the issue of industrial toxins in our environment. After a lifetime of work in the field in 2013 he published a book on the subject :“Only One Chance, How Environmental Pollution Impairs Brain Development—and [...]