Here at Talking About Men’s Health, we often discuss men’s organs, conditions, and bodily functions. But because men are so fascinated by women’s bodies, we thought it would be fun to explore the latest discoveries in female anatomy. Jean-Denis Rouillon, a researcher and sports science expert at France’s University of Besançon, must have one of [...]
Topic: How the way we feed babies has come to define motherhood–and why it shouldn’t.
Issues: Breastfeeding rates are steadily rising in the US, but by three months after the birth, 64% of women are either supplementing with formula or have ceased to breastfeed completely; giving support and guidance for parents who feed their babies formula.
Topic: Raising an organic baby.
Issues: What to avoid during pregnancy and beyond; finding and using products that are not toxic to mom and/or baby, including foods, pesticides, cleaning products, toys, nail polish, and even hair dryers.
Topic: The kid-tested solution for stress-free mealtimes.
Issues: The difference between normal, pick, and problem eaters; How to help your child enjoy new and nutritious foods—no matter how picky an eater he is; preventing food aversions before they develop; what parents can do at home to deal with eating, and what they’ll need professional help with.
The phrase “breast cancer” can be plenty scary–to the person who receives the diagnosis as well as to the family. But thanks to incredibly awareness campaigns and advances in medical technology, quite often, breast cancer is treatable. In this guest post, Jamie Pratt, sheds some much needed light on this disease.
For many of us, hearing the words breast cancer conjures up a dismal picture. Any form of cancer is a frightening thought, and breast cancer affects not only the stricken individual, but loved ones as well. Breast cancer awareness is designed to educate everyone, just as this unforgiving disease touches all walks of life. This awareness may be in the form of promotional items, educational websites and pamphlets, or simply word of mouth. Having access to the necessary tools, such as forums or cancer risk assessments, can make a difference. Annual mammograms, primarily for women past the age of 45, is essential in helping to detect breast cancer early on.
I used to be the center of my wife’s universe. We had a great relationship, we did things as a couple, and we communicated all the time. Now that we’ve had a baby, I’m jealous of all the time mom and baby spend together and I feel left out. Not only am I jealous as a husband, but I’m also jealous as a father. Is this normal and how can I overcome my feelings?
First of all, it’s completely normal to be jealous of your wife’s relationship with your new baby–especially if she’s breastfeeding. But who’s really making you jealous? Your wife because of her close relationship with the baby and all that extra time they spend with each other? Or is it really the baby for coming between you and your wife, for taking up more than his "fair share" of her attention, and for having full access to her breasts when they may be too tender for you to touch? Probably both.
A study just published in the Journal of Human Lactation found that women who took certain antidepressants during pregnancy were significantly less likely to breastfeed their babies compared to women who didn’t. One might reasonably ask why I’m reading Journal of Human Lactation at all. Simple answer: It’s a magazine about breasts. Do I really need any other excuse? Sadly, unlike Playboy–another magazine about breasts that people also read for the articles–this one has no pictures. Or cartoons, for that matter.
The drugs in question are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs, which include Prozac, Zoloft, and many others. And the researchers found that women who took SSRIs at any point during the pregnancy were 60 percent less likely to begin breastfeeding than those who didn’t take any at all.
“While the benefits of breastfeeding an infant are very clear, this study suggests that women who are taking antidepressants in pregnancy are not engaging in this behavior as often as we would like to see,” said Christina Chambers PhD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego and co-author of the study. “Whether this is due to the mother’s fear of harming her baby by breastfeeding while taking the medication, or due to the mother’s depression itself is unclear.”
Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is in the Army and just deployed overseas, where she’ll be for a year. Our daughter is 11 and I’m worried that she’ll start her cycle while my wife is away. I don’t know what to tell her about her body. What do I do?
A: As the father of three daughters, I know exactly what you’re going through. The whole female puberty thing makes a lot of guys squeamish. But the good news is that it’s really not that difficult—especially since your daughter most likely won’t include you on her top ten list of people to get advice on puberty from anyway.
So your first assignment is to find an adult woman to run point. This could be a relative, friend, or even one of the female spouses whose husband is deployed with your wife’s unit. Whoever she is, she’ll be able to walk your daughter through the basics and give you a list of supplies you’ll want to have on hand.
But this doesn’t mean you can back away completely. As odd as it sounds, you actually have a very important role to play here (more on that below). That’s why you should learn as much as you can about girls’ puberty, just in case things don’t go exactly according to plan (and when was the last time they did?) Here’s a quick overview:
The process begins somewhere between ages 8 and 14. Your daughter will start to develop breasts, she’ll start growing hair on her genitals and under her arms, her skin may start breaking out, and eventually she’ll start menstruating. The whole thing usually takes from 18 months to as long as 7 or 8 years to complete. If your daughter seems to be starting at the very early end of the age range or hasn’t started by the end of the range, have a talk with her pediatrician.
Your daughter may feel fat, embarrassed, and uncomfortable in her new body. She may be constantly comparing her rate of development to that of her girlfriends and, if she’s started early, she may have to deal with some increased attention from boys—attention she may not be psychologically ready for.
Here’s where you come in. A lot of dads aren’t sure how to behave around their pubescent daughters and opt to back away physically—as if they’re worried about doing something inappropriate. Don’t do that. Your daughter needs to know that what she’s going through is normal and that you, the most important male in her life, love her whether he body is changing or not. If you push her away (literally or figuratively), no matter how good your intentions, she’s going to feel rejected. It’s also important that you keep talking to her—not about puberty, just about what’s going on in her life. Tell her you love her. A lot. And spend plenty of dad-daughter time together. Not taking an interest in this way is—in her mind—another sign of rejection.
Daughters who have close relationships with their fathers do better in school, are more likely to go to college, are less likely to get pregnant or use drugs, and have better mental health (less depression and anxiety and better self-esteem). In addition, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that girls whose dads are actively involved in caregiving start puberty later than girls who have more distant—or non-existent—relationships. One of their theories is that pheromones from biologically related males suppress puberty, while those from unrelated males might accelerate it.