Tagged With babies

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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New parenthood comes with a certain amount of pain: There's the delivery, of course, and the rather searing experience of learning to breastfeed a newborn. But aside from those delivery-specific pains, the new parent or caregiver might find herself nursing back, shoulder, neck,and wrist pain - all from hauling around the tiny new bundle of joy. But it doesn't have to be this way! To get an idea of how to protect your musculoskeletal system from undue strain, I spoke to Stephanie Leaf, a physical therapist specialising in postpartum issues and the director of New Leaf Physical Therapy, for her best advice on avoiding and treating the pain caused by caring for a newborn.

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Guilt is a crummy emotion, one that most of us try to avoid, either by not doing things we would be ashamed of (stealing lollies, cheating on our spouses) or by rationalising our actions so that guilt can be safely ignored (I needed a treat; my spouse is mean to me). But guilt is actually a useful, necessary feeling that helps us develop into fully formed humans with consciences.

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Caring for an infant comes with a host of physical ailments, from the typical and predictable (fatigue) to the somewhat unexpected (neck, back and wrist pain). It's amazing how a tiny baby can wreak such havoc on a caregiver's musculoskeletal system, and many new parents find themselves gritting their teeth through all kinds of physical distress.

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Video: One thing that shocked me about new parenthood is how much time you spend begging for gas to come out of another human being. Burping was not one of my daughter's strong suits - I'd often spend a half hour in the middle of the night patting her back after a feeding, waiting for that belch of glory that never came. My paediatrician finally told me the sweet, sweet words: "If she doesn't seem uncomfortable, don't worry about it!" And that was that.