Why do human mothers spend so much energy manufacturing complex sugars (the third most plentiful ingredient in human milk) that babies can't even digest? Why do these complicated chemicals pass through the stomach and small intestine unharmed? What if a large amount of breast milk isn't food for babies at all? What if it is food for microbes?
In this six part video series, the BBC follows "22 year old Felicia during her pregnancy as she navigates a welfare system which critics claim puts unfair demands on poor and minority women."
Dads Compete to See Who Can Stack More Cheerios On Their Babies (SLSadAndUseless)
For years doctors in the US made little attempt to save the lives of premature babies, but there was one place distressed parents could turn for help - a sideshow on Coney Island. In the 1870s, the French obstetrician Tarnier went to the zoo and noticed an incubator for the raising of chicks. He asked its producer to build one capable of holding premature infants, and by the 1890s incubator exhibitions had spread across Europe and the United States. But the most famous one in America was Dr. Couney's exhibition at Coney Island, which ran from 1903 to 1943.
Some babies are just easier than others. (SL New York Times Well blog)
A new dad's entertaining thoughts on being a parent. "I was congratulating myself today on how I’ve got nappy changing down to a precision art. I’m basically like a Formula One pit crew.. in fact, in many ways, I’m better, because when you’re speed-changing the tyres on Lewis Hamilton’s car he’s probably less likely to piss in your eyes..."
It isn't easy to name a baby these days. This expectant couple followed a simple 64 step plan. Introducing...The Baby Naming Tournament.
"Jane the Virgin is doing some of the most serious, most valuable work I’ve seen in a long time, and that work is rooted in a radically frank depiction of new motherhood." Links may contain spoilers, but also this show is very silly so knowing some things that happen will probably not ruin your enjoyment of the rest of it [more inside]
Animal Planet presents The Cute Channel, with clips from their show Too Cute. Caution: With this much concentrated cuteness, you may be rendered temporarily speechless. [more inside]
An overview of folklore, religion and popular intuition surrounding childbirth, pregnant women, and young infants: abortion by aswang, blood-drinking Lilith, curses from witches, skeletal-faced spirits, and demonic births. content advisory: infant mortality [more inside]
What would your name be if your parents gave you the name that was as popular now as your name was when you were born? Data from the Social Security Name site (2014 data just released).
A baby gorilla who had to be delivered through an emergency cesarean section and had some rocky early days has celebrated her first birthday at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Includes video of gorillas eating yam cake.
A Tour of David Černý's Prague. David Černý is shaping Prague’s personality - one sculpture at a time. (previously)
Shortly after meeting my wife, she introduced me to the nuanced meaning that the Spanish word nervio had acquired in the lexicon of her family. As used in their Chilean home, the word could be defined as a feeling of such intense affection that one trembles or grits his teeth with restraint so as not to harm the object of his affection. I have heard others allude to the sensation in seemingly bizarre phrases such as, "It's so cute [that] I want to squeeze it to death." I often ask people about nervio. For those like me who have experienced it frequently throughout their lives, a complete definition is unnecessary and the word fills a void in their vocabulary. With others, my description is often greeted with bewilderment. Having never felt such a sensation, it is hard for them to imagine.More? Tagalog's gigil, corporal cuddling, and some scientific insights into the "cute aggression" phenomenon
Don’t Even Try to Pick the Perfect Baby Name: "I was left with the same old words I’d had before, the same short list of names worn thin by the lives of other men ... For every boy name there is a man in the world who has ruined it."
"2013. In my Medieval Literature class at the University of Pittsburgh, we’re talking about Margery Kempe, a 14th century English woman who wanted very, very much to be a saint, one of the few roles an ambitious woman of her time could aspire to achieve. She talked a monk into writing down her dictated autobiography, a sort of proto-memoir/self-hagiography that – along with a lengthy explanation of how she convinced God to make her a virgin again after having 14 children – includes visions of interacting with the Christ child. There’s one in which she explains to Mary, the mother of God, how to diaper the baby." [more inside]
FastCo explores the invasive practice of taking someone else's baby's pictures off Instagram and pretending that the baby is yours, or even, you. It's called Fake Adoption or Baby Role-Playing. In response to the FC article, Instagram has declared, "This type of content violates our terms. Once a parent or guardian reports it to us, we work quickly to remove it."
Relax on your pristine white couch and enjoy these realistic depictions of motherhood.
What do vintage ads for Beech-Nut, Q-Tips, and Eskimo Pie have in common with some of the earliest depictions of multiethnic babies in children's books? They were all the work of pioneering illustrator Gyo Fujikawa. [more inside]
Evidence Based Birth is a blog with articles by Rebecca Dekker, a PhD nurse and faculty member at the University of Kentucky, summarizing the best medical evidence for childbirth practices. To start, check out the table summarizing the state of US maternity care to see the differences between current standard childbirth practices and evidence based care. The topics page lists the currently available articles. [more inside]
"Postpartum depression isn’t always postpartum. It isn’t even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought." ‘Thinking of Ways to Harm Her’ and "After Baby, an Unraveling". [more inside]
Why your friends with children no longer socialise and other horrifying new parent facts Christine Skoutelas explains the myriad reasons why parents with young children don't seem to want to socialise (TLDR: They are permanently exhausted). [more inside]
Cute things are made for squeezing. Scientists study why we want to squeeze, squish, pinch, and eat cute things. "Volunteers were given bubble wrap and told they could pop as much of it as they wanted. When faced with a slideshow of cute animals, people popped 120 bubbles, whereas people watching the funny and neutral slideshows popped 80 and 100 bubbles respectively."
You named me... WHAT? Nine baby-naming rules.
A researcher at the University of Lincoln tests whether cats form secure attachments in the same way human babies or dogs do. [SLYT] [more inside]
UPDATE: The headline, subhead, and lead to this story are not meant be taken seriously. Together they are, in the parlance of journalism, "the thing that gets people to read the article." The Christian Science Monitor website published a brief article summarizing a study that examined the effects of newborn baby smell on women's brains. Its lead sentence: "If you're like most normal people, you've briefly considered eating a baby or two." Via Romenesko
"Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine." [more inside]
UBC psych prof Dr. J. Kiley Hamlin: "Across two experiments with combined samples of more than 200 infant participants, we found that 9- and 14-month-old infants prefer individuals who treat similar others well and treat dissimilar others poorly." Popularization at The Atlantic. Full paper (Psychological Science, paywall). Researcher profile.
" Initially it was thought to be something to house firewood, though it didn’t seem capable of holding much, and the slat that sits perpendicular to the box on the inside wall made little sense. It took observers a while to realize that this contraption was a device for holding children—a “baby tender.”" (via)
A mixture of data and cultural tradition support the notion of putting babies outside to nap, even in winter. There is some evidence that babies who nap outside sleep longer and get sick less.
BBC/NRI reports that women in China are being labeled "sheng nu" or "leftover women" after the age of 27. Beyond the traditional family pressure to get married, the Chinese government is applying pressure on single women to get married, fearful that a growing population of single men could cause civil unrest. [more inside]
'News of impending fatherhood affects men in different ways. Some guys pump their fists. Others light cigars. A few flee. When 33-year-old Colin Furze learned that his girlfriend was pregnant, he channeled his paternal excitement into building the world’s fastest baby stroller.' The twin-exhaust, 10-horsepower, gasoline-fueled pram has four gears. And cupholders. And it can accelerate to 50mph in less than 30 seconds. [more inside]
Photographer Patrice Laroche has created an image series that answers, once and for all, how to make a baby. [sfw]
Can you make it through this post without squealing? Plus hedgehog bath time! & other moments of squee, within [more inside]
Iron Baby and Dragon Baby, the inevitable prequels for two movie franchises, from Patrick Boivin, creator of AT-AT Day Afternoon (previously).
Since mid-2011, a substantial rise in pertussis [Whooping Cough] cases has been reported in the state of Washington. In response to this increase, the Washington State Secretary of Health declared a pertussis epidemic on April 3, 2012. By June 16, the reported number of cases in Washington in 2012 had reached 2,520 (37.5 cases per 100,000 residents), a 1,300% increase compared with the same period in 2011 and the highest number of cases reported in any year since 1942 [Make sure you don't miss Figure 1]. Commentators are already drawing corellations with the fact that Washington State leads the nation in vaccine non-compliance, Washington State's recent cutbacks in public health funding, and increases in the number of uninsured (PDF). [more inside]
Oh now, this really is ridiculously cute. slyt
Science is Rewriting the Rules of Reproduction Aarathi Prasad's new book investigates taking sex out of the reproduction equation. [more inside]
Tired of looking at your friends' baby pictures on Facebook?
1. INSTALL unbaby.me
2. BROWSE Refresh Facebook. Any baby pics will now be cats.
3. REJOICE Now you don't have to look at all your friends' annoying kids.[more inside]
How Babies Are Made SLYT
During his tenure as Mayor of New York City, "public health autocrat" Michael Bloomberg has attempted to regulate trans fats, smoking and sugar-filled sodas. Now, he has a fresh target: moms who don't breastfeed. Beginning September 3, NYC hospitals participating in a new, voluntary program: Latch-On NYC (press release / posters / FAQ -pdf-), will make formula less accessible, to encourage moms of newborns to breastfeed instead of using formula. [more inside]