Monthly Archives: February 2014

Sleepy holler

Thanks to Carla for passing this on – a spoof on popular sleep training guidelines written from the baby’s point of view, which can be found reproduced in various places on the web such as here. It went viral last year and I’m not sure who the original author is but on behalf of mummies everywhere, thank you!

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“OK, here’s my situation. My Mummy has had me for almost seven months. The first few months were great. I cried, she picked me up and fed me, anytime, day or night. Then something happened. Over the last few weeks, she has been trying to STTN (sleep through the night). At first, I thought it was just a phase, but it is only getting worse. I’ve talked to other babies, and it seems like its pretty common after Mummies have had us for around six months. Here’s the thing: these Mummies don’t really need to sleep. Its just a habit. Many of them have had some 30 years to sleep and they just don’t need it anymore. So I am implementing a plan. I call it the Crybaby Shuffle. It goes like this:

Night 1: Cry every three hours until you get fed. I know, it’s hard. It’s hard to see your Mummy upset over your crying. Just keep reminding yourself, it’s for her own good.
Night 2: Cry every two hours until you get fed.
Night 3: [Cry] every hour. Most Mummies will start to respond more quickly after about three nights.

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Weaning: Quality or Quantity

People have been weaning their babies since time immemorial and yet in the baby world this seems to be one of the topics with the largest degree of misinformation and confusion around it (I still think breastfeeding holds the top spot on topic with the most misinformation).
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I was fully intending to wait to start the weaning journey until Elphie became six months adjusted to her expected due date so that her gut would have developed to the same extent as a full term baby’s would have. But a Health Visitor gave me pause for thought when she said that their guidance is to only wait until six months unadjusted, however premature your baby. This seemed a bit bizarre to me because surely their guts wouldn’t miraculously have become ready for food just because they have been on the outside for longer, so I thought I would do some digging.

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The babysitters club

Elly has already extolled the virtues of taking your baby out in the evening here, and while I can appreciate the benefits of being accompanied by a little wingperson, this isn’t something that Mr Cath and I have really done much with Pip. After the first few months, during which his sleep was all over the place anyway, we introduced earlier bedtimes and have proceeded with baby-free evenings ever since. Although it initially made perfect sense for Pip’s first and longest sleep to correspond with ours, this ultimately wore thin and after discovering why baby monitors exist we haven’t looked back. As for actually venturing out of the house, these exciting occasions have been adults-only.

I suppose we could take him out asleep – in the carseat or buggy or whatever – but why would we do that, when instead we can employ one of the most joy-inducing concepts known to parent: the babysitter!

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Everybody knows new mothers are exhibitionists

This video came to my attention just before a furore broke out in the breastfeeding community about a review on Tripadvisor complaining about a pub whose landlady had objected to a mother breastfeeding in their restaurant area and whose landlord had responded to the complaint by saying:

“The Greyfriar restaurant area was almost empty that day, so there were corner tables available, which afford considerable privacy, away from the bar area. Despite this, this party had chosen to sit at the restaurant table nearest to the bar. Moreover, the lady had also chosen to face the bar customers when feeding her child, rather than feeding with her back to them. To cap it all, the purpose made top which is designed to cover everything was, literally, covering nothing. This is why my wife spoke to the lady – she was displaying her entire breast to everyone in the bar, in circumstances where it was entirely avoidable. We have the full cross-section of people visiting The Greyfriar and I’m afraid many are offended by this type of display.”

It really hits home how bizarre our society is about breasts – whipping them out to feed a baby, not ok; showing them on page 3 of a national newspaper, perfectly fine! Facebook is notorious for banning people who post pictures of themselves breastfeeding as obscene images because you might just see a nipple. And there really people out there who view a picture of a breast with a baby attached as pornographic as Facebook only blocks these photos when someone reports them.

Now I will admit that in the past I might have been a bit surprised if I had seen a woman displaying her full breast while nursing in public and probably would have averted my eyes (product of this culture that I was). Now whenever I see anyone nursing in public with their boob on display, I want to give them a badge in honour of their bravery!

Thank heavens for whatever lobbying group did get the breastfeeding clause into the Equality Act so objections like the one above are clearly against the law. Even with this, we still have a long way to go before our society realises that breasts really aren’t just for titillation

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They grow up so fast

It might be the eating, or the moves towards mobility accorded by a slithering action on her belly, but suddenly Elphie seems almost all grown-up and fast heading towards being a toddler rather than a baby.
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The past seven and a half months have got incredibly quickly and at each stage I have felt behind the curve playing catch-up (don’t even talk to me about babyproofing). Before having a baby, it seemed like people had babies forever, that it took too long for them to learn to walk, to talk, to be an actual person. Now she’s on the precipice of all that, I miss her being tiny and wish I had taken more videos of her just being as it is hard to remember her being so small now she is a mega baby.

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Scent of a baby

A recent Japanese study published in the journal Chemical Senses suggests that the smell of babies provokes a chemical reaction in mothers’ brains, leading to positive feelings and an urge to care for them. In fact, this scent may be one of the factors that helps new mums stay relatively sane: the researchers found that when blindfolded mothers smelled a baby’s clothes, the prefrontal cortex of their brains showed increased activity, thus calming them down. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is control of rational thinking and general serenity – typical mum-like characteristics…

Interestingly, the effect only seems to apply to women who are already mothers:

“When confronted with clothes worn by infants, women with children had an 82 per cent detection rate and underwent significant changes in function… Meanwhile, the others had only 68 per cent success and showed virtually no variation in brain activity.”

As a point of comparison, the women were also given men’s clothes to smell, and the level of brain reaction was almost identical for both mothers and non-mothers.

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I take it none of the clothes had sick on them then!

This research correlates with another recent study carried out by the University of Montreal, which shows that smelling a baby also releases feelgood dopamine; this deepens bonding and can also be related to how some mothers feel like “eating” their babies (me neither).

Thanks to the Daily Mail (who else?) who provided me with the original article!