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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Inflexible Flexibility: What Happens When Dad Gets on the Mommy Track

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is due with our first in about four months, so I though now would be a good time to talk to my employer about taking time off under the Family Leave Act and possibly making some more permanent changes to my schedule so I can be a more hands-on dad. I mentioned this to a friend who used to work with me, and he warned me to be very careful. He said that after he took paternity leave, he was passed over for a promotion and got a smaller bonus. He eventually quit. I find that hard to believe, but he insists it’s true. Are companies really allowed to do that?

A: Theoretically, no. Under the Federal version of Family and Medical Leave Act, your job is protected and your employer isn’t allowed to penalize you in any way. (Some states have their own Family Leave programs and the rules may be different, so I encourage you to look into both very carefully.) Unfortunately, there’s sometimes a big disconnect between what companies are allowed to do what they actually do. And even if the company itself does everything exactly by the book, individuals within the company—meaning your managers and coworkers—can always find a way to skirt the law.
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Recruiting Dads and Kids For a Paid Study at UCSF

Researchers at UC San Francisco are looking for 7-12 year old boys and girls and their fathers to participate in a study of parent and child social interactions.

This study involves: A single 90 minute lab visit that includes several shared interactions between you, your child, and members of our research staff. We are interested in individuals’ physiology during social interactions so we will use skin sensors to measure things like heart rate and blood flow. In addition, a set of questionnaires will be completed, at your convenience, prior to the lab visit.

Benefits of this study: You will receive $80 for completing the study and your child will receive a small thank you gift. Also, you will be contributing to the knowledge of child development while engaging in new experiences with your child!

If you are interested in participating, please email or call:
Sara Waters
650-380-6835
parentstudyUCSF@gmail.com
Emotion, Health, and Psychophysiology Lab
Director: Wendy Berry Mendes, Ph.D
University of California-San Francisco

See the flyer for the UCSF Study here.

Do Fathers Matter?

Paul Raeburn, author of Do Fathers Matter?
Topic:
What science tells us about the parent we’ve overlooked.
Issues: What do fathers do? The father’s important role in child children’s life from conception through the teen years; how being a father (or father-to-be) actually rewires men’s brains; What we need to do to support and encourage fathers.

Lessons Learned from Students + The Science of Fatherhood

Kim Bearden, author of Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me.
Topic:
Advice from a master teacher and educator on what works and what doesn’t in schools.
Issues: Tools master teachers use to connect with students in a way that motivates and inspires them; innovative ways to increase student engagement inside and outside the classroom, promote rigor, and create a climate and culture for optimal learning.

Paul Raeburn, author of Do Fathers Matter?
Topic:
What science tells us about the parent we’ve overlooked.
Issues: What do fathers do? The father’s important role in child children’s life from conception through the teen years; how being a father (or father-to-be) actually rewires men’s brains; What we need to do to support and encourage fathers.

Sorry, Mila, But We Are Pregnant

Dear Mr. Dad: As someone who writes a lot about fatherhood, you probably saw Mila Kunis’ funny public service announcement where she says that a man saying “we are pregnant” is a no-no. As a father-to-be, I enjoyed the sketch, but I think that Mila forgot that men do play a role throughout. My wife and I have been arguing (lightheartedly) about this and I need someone to back me up.

A: Oh, yea, I saw it. And not to worry—I’ve got your back. Mila and her husband Ashton Kutcher (OMG, and I really writing celebrity gossip?) seem like a lovely couple, and I’m sure they both have a good sense of humor. But kidding or not, her comments got a huge amount of coverage around the country (and the world).
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