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]
"Boxes where parents can leave an unwanted baby, common in medieval Europe, have been making a comeback over the last 10 years. Supporters say a heated box, monitored by nurses, is better for babies than abandonment on the street - but the UN says it violates the rights of the child." [more inside]
Given or Taken – an ABC television documentary by the usually excellent 4 Corners looks at a period in the nation’s history when unwed mothers were forced, coerced or tricked into giving up their babies- often without holding or even seeing their newborn. Writer Kim Berry describes a little of what it was like to be relinquished by her teen mum.
Getting babies to sleep is a topic of great interest to all parents (see previously). One trick that has been shown to work is white noise. Although many opt for a white noise machine, other parents swear by radio static, vacuum cleaners, dryers, or a running faucet. Now, of course, you can send your cutie to slumberland without wasting nearly so much electricity or water, all thanks to youtube. [more inside]
Renaissance Babies in various stages of choking and passing out from noxious fumes: A Study. This is what happens when the Madonna eats way too much turkey, yall. Happy Thanksgiving! (Warning: Tumblr)
A typical full term pregnancy is 40 weeks. Premature babies are those born before 37 weeks. Worldwide, 13 million babies are born premature. In the United States, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely. Prematurity can lead to a host of lifelong cognitive, respiratory, vision, and digestive problems. November 17 is World Prematurity Day, devoted to raising awareness of the problems of as well as prevention of pre-term births. [more inside]
Jeff Atwood, co-founder of StackOverflow/StackExchange (previously) is also fairly well known for blogging about programming and human factors. Today he wrote a post about Parenthood.
Sure a baby has a swimming reflex but that doesn't mean watching them swim isn't absolutely terrifying.
Babies laughing at being sprayed with water | babysitter kitteh | baby loves Bon Jovi| heavy metal lullaby | Oh baby...President Obama. [more inside]
Whole Foods Parking Lot A rap about the extreme challenges people must face every day in their quest for organic kale and biodynamic kombucha. If you don't like rap, don't worry Whole Foods provides opera, hipster marching bands, strange dancing babies and Bollywood. If you just like naturally-grown peaches and quiet while you shop, there is always a freezing flash mob.
Footage of cute laughing babies, slowed down. Hyek hyek hyuh hyuh hyuhhh!! Haw haw haw haw haaaaw.... heh... Ohhhh hah hah hah... whoooh!
One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
Twin baby boys have a conversation. Beside music & how-to videos, politics, and whathaveyou, YouTube is an excellent conduit for cute home movies about baby twins (and triplets). Here’s another interaction between twin siblings, here's some kissing, some dancing, some crying, some more laughing (here’s a clip with triplets). So much more inside – you can search for the rest yourself there
Message With a Bottle is a pretty darned charming tumblr by a stay-at-home dad who writes post-it notes to himself about parenting and fatherhood.
Babylon: Surreal Babies "Babies hatch from eggs, bubble from cauldrons, are fished from rivers, emerge in the cabbage patch, sit atop clouds, and ride in zeppelins. They play instruments, drive automobiles, fly in balloons, harvest the fields; an anarchistic world of baby heaven. The postcards were a source of inspiration to many artists in the 1920s and '30s, in particular to both the Dadaists and the Surrealists. They were collected by Paul Éluard, André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Hannah Höch, Herbert Bayer, and Man Ray. The popular images excited inspiration in these artists because of their boundless inventiveness."
Harvard University’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies, colloquially known as the "Baby Lab" is an important center for research into human development. The various research groups at the Baby Lab cover many different areas; Felix Warneken's lab, for example, studies the development of human cooperation, while Elizabeth Spelke is concerned with determining what knowledge human infants are born with. Researching human development certainly produces fascinating findings, but there are perhaps stronger reasons why the lab might hold interest for a layperson. I'm talking, of course, about adorable videos of human and chimpanzee toddlers which have been produced by its researchers. [more inside]
Invasive amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling (CVS) tests are commonly used to determine the chromosomal, structural and genetic abnormalities in fetuses. But could they eventually become obsolete? A Chinese study has found that a complete copy of the fetal genome exists in the mother's blood, suggesting many prenatal diagnoses could potentially be performed noninvasively. [more inside]
Communist Space Babies. Title says it all, really. The tags were pretty easy too.
"It was like trying to have a relationship with a sea sponge, or a single-cell protozoa. She didn't do anything! Or at least, nothing I could understand." — Phillip Toledan, The Reluctant Father. A photo-essay on the cultural expectations of parenthood.
The Squirrel in our Window. A website documenting a squirrel lady raising her squirrel babies. BONUS FEATURE: BRITISH MAN IS FRIENDS WITH A SQUIRREL
(pdf) Chris Gottlieb writes in the "Baltimore Law Review" about judging parents. The article discusses instances of racism and classicism in the family court systems. An adaptation of the "Baltimore Review" article appears in the New York Times. [more inside]
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard introduced the Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) for the 21st Century Act on July 21st. This legislation proposed by Congresswoman Roybal-Allard of California is aimed at improving maternal and infant outcomes in the US. [more inside]
Couples from Western countries, such as Australia, the US, and the UK are turning to surrogates in India to carry their babies. [more inside]
Jonathan's Cochlear Implant Activation. An 8-month-old deaf baby has his cochlear implant turned on and hears sound for the first time (SLYT). [Via]
"A growing body of evidence suggests that humans have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life... Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone... [But] the sense of right and wrong that [babies] naturally possess diverges in important ways from what we adults would want it to be."
The "Still Face" Paradigm (YT video) designed by Dr. Edward Tronick of Harvard and Childrens Hospital’s Child Development Unit, is an experiment which shows us how a 1-year old child will react to a suddenly unresponsive parent. It allows us to understand how a caregiver's interactions and emotional state can influence many aspects of an infant's social and emotional development. [more inside]
Does getting lucky at the prom equate to more Winter Babies? What does that mean economically?
My Baby Is Like a Narcotic. Reflections on the "opium den" of new parenthood by New York University professor, author and journalist Katie Roiphe.
About three months after her son's birth, Ms. Roscoe asked to see a psychiatrist. She was given a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, or P.T.S.D. — a mental illness more often associated with surviving war, car accidents and assaults, but now being recognized in parents of premature infants in prolonged intensive care. (nyt)
Let's Panic About Babies! "Fortunately for everyone in the whole wide world, Alice Bradley and Eden M. Kennedy have created the only website that accurately explains the journey from morning sickness to third-degree tears to keeping that baby alive for a year–or more! LET’S PANIC ABOUT BABIES will serve as a salve to the mystery and degradation of this most female of challenges. Its authors may not have 'science' on their side, but what they do have is far more valuable: a heady mélange of female intuition, sentence-forming know-how, and the achingly vivid memories of their own gestational journeys and unending motherhoods. So join Alice and Eden as they tell you exactly what to think and feel and do on every one of your 2,681 days* of pregnancy. They know everything! * 'Science' would tell you that human gestation is actually, on average, 266 days. This is one of many ways in which science is terribly wrong." [more inside]
Thinking about becoming a parent? You might find the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's list of recalled items fun! It looks like there's just under a zillion things out there that might harm your new tot. And that doesn't include ... y'know ... toys.
Seeing race: the Other-Race Effect. Why do so many people think people of other races look alike? Babies as young as three months old "tend to recognize faces from their own race better than those from other races," but "babies raised with frequent exposure to people of other races don’t develop this early bias." The Other-Race Effect, aka the Cross-Race Effect, "carries practical implications for cases of mistaken eyewitness identification." A follow-up study with Chinese babies confirmed the effect, and notes that it can change: "Korean adults who were adopted by French families during their childhood (aged 3–9 years) demonstrated the same discrimination deficit for Korean faces shown by the native French population." Yes, you have to be carefully taught.
What leads cultural tastes and practices to be abandoned? (.pdf) A new PNAS paper by marketing professor Jonah Berger and organizational psychologist Gael Le Mens argues that the faster a trend rises, the faster it's likely to fall, at least as regards longitudinal data of first names given to American children. (Via the Baby Names Blog.) Berger has written before on the drive to non-conform; a 2007 joint paper with Emily Pronin and Sarah Molouki (.pdf) shows that "people see others as more conforming than themselves.... placing more weight on introspective evidence of conformity (relative to behavioral evidence) when judging their own susceptibility to social influence as opposed to someone else's."
It is apparent to me that Faith does have a brain, despite what the doctors have said. Even though it is generally believed that anencephalic babies are blind, deaf, and cannot feel touch or think... I don't believe that. Not at all. So little is known about the human brain and the only one who really knows what's going on is God. I truly believe that Faith can think and can feel my touch and hear my voice. I can't prove it but I feel like I just know. [images may be disturbing]
Kinda sutra - a charmingly animated short in which people talk about childhood misconceptions about sex and childbirth. More on childhood sex misconceptions from Dan Savage 1, 2, 3. (pretty tame clip, but possibly NSFW) [more inside]
Hanna Rosin has written a piece for the Atlantic claiming that the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. This is pretty controversial following "decades of indoctrination delivered with evangelical fervor," causing American women "to take it as an article of faith that if they don’t breast-feed their children, they'll grow up to be underachievers plagued with health problems and lacking a bond with their mother". [more inside]
"I don't think it's our job to tell them how many babies they're allowed to have." The woman who recently gave birth to octuplets already has six children. Multiple births increased 29% from 1995 to 2005. Why? What are the risks of multiple births? Despite the risks, some people WANT a multiple birth. If you are pregnant with more than one child, how should you prepare? How do you care for all those kids? What if you decide you don't want to have them all? A personal story of selective reduction. A personal story of having triplets.