Bumping Into Breastfeeding

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is breastfeeding our new baby and when I look at them, they’re so connected and I feel completely useless. I try to do other stuff like baths and diaper changing, but feeding seems so much more important. One of my projects was to set up the nursery. I got the crib and changing table all set up and my wife told me we needed crib bumpers so the baby wouldn’t bang her head on the slats of the crib. A friend told me that crib bumpers are a bad idea. So I’ve got two questions: What can I do to feel less useless when my wife is breastfeeding? And should I get bumpers for the baby’s crib?

A: Let’s start with the second one. For readers who don’t already know, crib bumpers are soft pads that run along the inside of the crib and are designed to do exactly what your wife says: keep the baby from running into the slats or bars and getting hurt. Bumpers sound like a great idea, and millions of people—including me—have used them for decades. But new research shows that bumpers could actually be more dangerous than the injuries they’re trying to protect against.
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Breastfeeding: Is There Ever Too Much of a Good Thing?

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife continues to breastfeed our two-year-old daughter even though she’s old enough to eat “real” food. I don’t have a problem with this, but some of our friends and even some coworkers are shocked that she’s still breastfeding. Is there a specific age at which you should stop breastfeeding? Are we committing some sort of social faux pas by trying to do right by our daughter?

A: Oh, boy, are you going to cause a firestorm. Deciding whether to breastfeed a baby and for how long, is something only the parents can decide. But, as you’ve noticed, a lot of people have strong opinions on the topic and they’re not afraid to share them—whether you want to hear them or not.

Let’s start with some background. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, barring any medical problem, babies get nothing but breast milk for the first six months. Then it’s “as long as mutually desired by the mother and child.” Many pediatricians suggest that starting at six months, parents should gradually introduce appropriate food and simultaneously decrease breastfeeding. At the end of a year, most babies will be weaned. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a child nurse for longer than that—as long as you understand that the kind of nutrition if provides is mostly emotional.
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Yet Another Reason Breastfeeding is Best

breastfeeding is best

Most of us know that breastfeeding has all sorts of great health benefits for kids, including better immune system function, fewer allergies, and lowered risk of obesity, tooth decay, pneumonia, and ear infections. New research from Tel Aviv University has added one more benefit: protection against ADHD in the teen years.
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Formula Feeding Your Baby without Fear

[amazon asin=B009S7O084&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 1: Suzanne Barston, author of Bottled Up.

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.

Breastfeeding Isn’t for Everyone + Avoiding Toxins in Pregnancy + Stress-Free Mealtimes

[amazon asin=B009S7O084&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 1: Suzanne Barston, author of Bottled Up.

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.


[amazon asin=B001O2NEE2&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 2: Lynda Fassa, author of Green Babies, Sage Moms .

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.


[amazon asin=1600940161&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 3: Cheryl Fraker, author of Food Chaining.

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.

A healthier, longer life: maybe the best argument for sending the kids to college

There’s been a lot written about how people with college degrees outearn those with only a high-school diploma, and how high-school grads outearn those who didn’t finish school. But did you know that educated Americans are less likely to be obese and suffer from chronic illnesses than those who have less education? The evidence is pretty darn compelling–compelling enough to get me to stop complaining quite so much about how much my kids’ college tuition is.

The study, produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed the role that socioeconomic status plays in our health. Here are a few fascinating highlights:

  • In 2006, the average 25-year-old man without a high school diploma had a life expectancy 9.3 years less than men with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Women without a high school diploma had a life expectancy 8.6 years less than those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher.