You see I find it much easier to write posts when I don’t have to!
This article had me pining for life in a commune. Maybe it could work in London in one of those garden squares in Notting Hill, where instead of houses having huge gardens they have small ones and then a large communal garden in the middle. When I was little we used to visit some cousins who lived on one and it was like having a park of your own to play in. Now where did I leave that £4.25 million?
Apologies for the lateness of my post: I promise to get my words of wisdom to you as soon as I can. In the meantime, here is the story of an amazing mother who is an inspiration to us all. Not only breastfeeding her triplets – considered quite challenging enough by many – she also took on a newborn from an entirely different species!
Warning: ensure waterproof mascara is in place before reading.
Our thoughts have turned towards Pip’s christening this summer. Rather than debating the ins and outs of if and when and how and why and where to baptise, I thought I’d investigate another tradition based around a less holy liquid: wetting the baby’s head.
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.
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!
Following on from my post about placentophagy, I recently came across this article courtesy of the Daily Mail app. I read it at night and in the morning thought maybe I’d dreamed it all. But no: apparently the new thing is to make a photo frame out of your placenta “bits” following birth!
After chatting with her midwife housemate at university and realising that many placentas are just chucked out, sustainable design graduate Amanda Cotton has cornered a rather neglected gap in the market by harvesting “the entire placenta to make a frame, first boiling it and then grinding it into small pieces before placing it into a mould with resin.” The idea is that you can then put an image of your little darling – maybe the scan photo – in the frame, and keep it forever and ever.
Thanks to Hester, the font of all interesting baby-related things, for calling our attention to the following video of a baby getting clearly emotional as her mother sings a sad song. I have never seen anything quite like this: a baby weeping almost silently, her little nose getting pink, the expression in her eyes absolutely heartbreaking. Then when the song ends she is all smiles again!
Part of me finds this a bit cruel – I’m not sure I could witness (let alone video) Pip going through this without attempting to comfort him. But then this release of emotion doesn’t necessarily equal sadness; crying can be caused by many other reasons too, including overwhelming happiness. I just didn’t think babies were generally as sophisticated as that with their reactions, although maybe by the time they are ten months old like the baby in the video this is the case.
I wish we could see the mother’s face as perhaps the expression on it is causing her baby to cry, rather than the singing itself.
I first read about the concept of a mummymoon in Gurgle magazine, and immediately liked the idea. I was keen on gathering all my female family and friends together before the birth but was unsure how to go about this without the structure of a baby shower, which didn’t appeal. A mummymoon, the article explained, is like a babymoon but you spend it with your female friends and/or family rather than your partner. The theme can be whatever you want it to be; one suggestion was getting all your female friends over for a manicure. The emphasis is more on the social aspect rather than the gathering of gifts for the baby. I visualised something that was a bit like a combination of the two hen dos I’d had prior to our wedding (a weekend with friends in Brighton and an afternoon tea at Claridge’s with family). I wanted the afternoon tea, but a pot-luck version round my house; I wanted the silly games and gossip, but no alcohol and definitely no strippers!
In the event, my mummymoon was lots of fun – delicious cakes and other afternoon tea delights were plentiful, and people really stepped up on the games front. There was even an actual baby there!