18 Feb 2015
Today’s dads are very hands-on. They share the load, change nappies, pace the boards at 3 a.m. and want to be fully engaged with their newborn. But, when it comes to feeding, this remains firmly the mother’s domain.
Breastfeeding is undoubtedly best for baby and in the UK all new mums are encouraged to give it a go. When mum is breastfeeding, dad will find himself side lined.
Expectant couples typically plan to breastfeed and many want their partners to help out and share the experience. In principle, a mother can express her milk and put it into a bottle. However, this can be problematic. Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding are two very different activities. Many breastfed babies simply refuse to take a bottle. Those that accept a conventional vented bottle, find it so much easier to feed from that they quickly become lazy and reject the breast. This is frustrating for women who have worked so hard to establish breastfeeding in the first place!
Judging by the dialogue between baby Stewie and Brian (the dog) in Family Guy, probably quite a lot. It usually takes us dumb parents at least a year to interpret our baby’s attempts to use our language and we think it is so sweet when those first recognisable words appear.
But perhaps we are underestimating our babies’ ability to communicate and they want to say much more than we can understand? Perhaps they quickly cotton-on to our inadequacies and therefore limit us to simple words, like Dada, Dog and (in the case of our youngest) ‘Bugga’ ? (Yes, we are convinced that was what she said. Clearly she was exasperated by our inability to understand her previous sentence, ‘Would one of you be so kind as to tune into the News Channel, I’m fed up with listening to these inane Teletubbies’.
So much in our adult world depends on successful communication and we are not very good at it. Misunderstandings occur even when we speak face to face. We misread body language, choose the wrong words and don't articulate what we really want to say. Personally, I think mis-communication is made worse through email, twitter and texting. Are we losing the art of proper conversation?
Sometime around the year 1610 tinsel was invented. It was made from tiny threads of real silver. My goodness what a long way we’ve come in the 400 years since the decadence of being able to drape a Chistmas tree in precious metal. Nowadays it seems we can buy enough tinsel from the local pound shop to adorn an entire Lapland forest!
Last week in London, whilst walking down a side street, I was horrified to see the world's press encamped, like a swarm of locusts, on the pavement outside King Edward VII hospital. I took this picture with my iPhone but it doesn't capture the sheer scale of the abomination. Their prey was the newly pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, suffering from a rare and severe form of “morning sickness” called hyperemesis gravidarum. This is a potentially life-threatening condition which can cause women to avoid food and drink in an effort to stop themselves vomiting throughout the day and night. It is a horrid condition. A close friend of mine suffered from it right through all three of her pregnancies.
Being a mother is hard work. Parenting comes as a huge shock to the system and renders you exhausted and emotional. Little wonder then that mums try to streamline the process, availing themselves of handy gadgets to save them time, and organising mundane tasks into slick routines. Brands have long capitalised on this need for efficiency by developing products which promise to transform a new parent’s life. But I saw an invention this week that had me questioning whether companies are behaving ethically in their aims regarding vulnerable new parents.