In this episode, we're talking with Angela Garbes, the author of Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy.
Tagged With babies
If your baby has a nappy leak in the middle of the night, the traditional options have been to 1) replace the crib sheet with a clean one in the rare case your sleep-deprived brain has remembered to keep a spare, or 2) do laundry and sob. (You can't just drape any old blanket on the bare mattress and say "see ya in the morning" - it could be a choking hazard.)
I loved singing lullabies to my daughter. As a musical theatre geek who suddenly had a captive audience (one that was physically incapable of walking out on me), how could I not? At nap time, bed time, really any time, I'd croon my own renditions of familiar classics. A couple of standouts: "Don't Cry For Me Little Baby" (sung to the tune of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina") and a song I just referred to as "Baby Hypnosis".
In those early days of new parenthood, a trip to the doctor's office for a baby check-up can feel like a grand occasion. Aside from giving you a reason to put on pants and interact with real-life adults, it's an opportunity to finally get some quantifiable data on this tiny being whose existence of eating, sleeping and pooing can seem so erratic. The big test is when the nurse takes your baby's measurements.
It would be terrifying if baby wipes caused food allergies, right? Good thing we have zero evidence of that (phew). A recent study was reported as if this is the answer to why everybody's allergic to peanuts, but guess what? The study didn't prove that. And it didn't involve baby wipes. It didn't even involve (human) babies.
In movies, immediately after a mother gives birth, a nurse places a pristine newborn in her arms. In real life, however, babies usually look more Alien 3 than Huggies ad as they enter the world - their heads are misshapen, their faces resemble grumpy old men, and they're covered in a white film. The traditional protocol has been to get them a sponge bath, stat.
I used to do the ninja escape. Sitting on the glider in my baby's room, I'd nurse her until her eyelids slowly shut, and then I'd carefully, carefully place the time-bomb of a child into her crib and creep out the door. I'd exhale in relief and give my husband a silent high five, holding onto the universal parenting mantra: "Whatever works."
New parents hear the advice often: You need to talk to your baby! A lot! The book SuperBaby proclaims 30,000 words a day is the magic number for optimal language success. One landmark study found that kids who heard 45 million words by age three later scored the highest in reading and maths. There's even a wearable word counter that you can clip onto your infant's onesie and see via an app whether you're meeting your daily word goals. Basically, a verbal Fitbit.
I do not have a baby, but I have a sous vide circulator (the light of my life), and I assume that other people who own sous vide circulators might one day procreate. (Or maybe they already have!) For these offspring-having, sous-vide-savvy home cooks, I have great news: You can use your sous vide setup to warm breast milk and baby formula to the perfect 37C, without fear of overheating it.
The day after I had my second baby, the paediatric resident came around and offered to give him one of his vaccinations. "Will it make him cry?" I asked, and when she said maybe, I told her no way, I would totally fall apart if he cried at that particular moment. She looked at the totally placid baby, and me, sitting calmly in the recliner, shrugged, and told me to get it the following week. I sure we looked fine, but it was tenuous. Freaked-out crying jags were kind of my thing right then.
Newborn babies don't seem too expensive. They're too young to care about overpriced toys and breast milk doesn't cost anything. If you're willing to use washable cloth nappies, you're basically raising it for free.
Except this is obviously bollocks. An Australian mum recently did the maths and worked out that her bub cost approximately $32,360 over one year. Here's where all that money goes.
Most of us know that reading to babies is a very good thing - it's tied to language and cognitive development, helps strengthen the parent-child bond, and gives us a welcome script when we're trying to get in our recommended 30,000 words a day without having to rap the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song yet again. But for optimal benefits, it may not be enough to simply grab any board book or Thai takeaway menu and start rattling off the words. According to a new study, the type of book you read may make a big difference.
There are a lot of numbers you have to keep in mind when you're raising a kid: Their height and weight. How many millilitres of milk they're drinking, at first, and then how many fruits and veggies they're eating, how much outdoor play they're getting, and of course, how many minutes a day they spend glued to a device.
When you're a parent, naptime is the second most-looked-forward-to moment of the day. It's the hour (or two, or three, if you're lucky) that you get to eat lunch, check email, do a chore or two, and maybe even rest yourself. That's what makes the phrase "dropped nap" so horrifying: It means that a day that began at 7 (or 6, or 5, if you're unlucky) now yawns open, like a gaping maw of death, to bedtime. There's no opportunity for respite: Just you and a toddler, covered in homemade slime, squabbling about whether it's Tuesday.
As a parent, you often don't remember how much easier life was pre-kids until you try to do something basic, such as stay in a hotel. Before being with child, you could walk into the room, plop your stuff down, climb into bed, and watch the Reese Witherspoon movie marathon on TV for hours while eating Flaming Hot Cheetos (or, you know, do the things you love). When you have a baby who sleeps on a very particular schedule, under very particular conditions (sunlight is evil!), hotel living can be an ordeal. (Note: If you have a baby who can snooze like a log at a monster truck show and believe it is parents who create delicate infant sleep habits, look, I'm... too tired to fight.)