Fathers are parents too

August 5, 2013

All the media releases and interviews on the possible contamination of infant formula I’ve seen or heard have talked about mothers’ concerns.

What about the fathers?

One of the advantages of bottle feeding rather than breast feeding is that fathers can have a more hands-on role in parenting.

Even if they weren’t buying formula and/or feeding their children every good father would be just as concerned as the mothers over the health of their babies.

There would be an uproar if media releases assumed all politicians, professionals or other occupations were men.

It is just as wrong to ignore them and make the assumption that they don’t now have a place in what were traditionally women’s roles.

Family matters don’t matter to women only.

Fathers are parents too.


Can you still be a good mother if you don’t like children?

July 17, 2009

That was the headline of a story I cut from a now defunct (I think) British magazine, Options, years ago.

It looked at the stages children go through and the relevant skills they required from mothers. (This was more than 25 years ago, and didn’t mention fathers).

Each stage was different, required different skills and the writer said most mothers coped better with some stages than others.

The mother who is bored rigid by the first few weeks/months when babies don’t do a lot might enjoy the next stage. Others who love that first, totally dependent stage might not be so enamoured by the doing lots and making mess stage which comes later.

The story concluded by saying that no-one gets it right, nor enjoys it, all the time. There are some days when you really don’t like your children, or at least what they’re doing/saying but as long as you still love them you, and they, will generally get through the tough times.

I was reminded of this when I read Do I look like this is the best job ever? by Eleanor Black at Pundit.

It’s easy once your child is an adult to forget quite how challenging those sleep-deprived days when you were on call for 24 hours a day could be.

When the baby whose early arrival cut short my employment on a radio station was 18 months old I went back to work to relieve my successor for a couple of weeks. A friend who saw me thought I was pregnant becuase I looked so serene.

I was as it happened, but that wasn’t the cause of my serenity. It was just the enjoyment and ease of being back at a job I loved, where I was never required to do more than two or three things at once and wasn’t threatened with constant interuptions from a little someone who needed me RIGHT NOW.


Summer recipe #9

December 28, 2008

 

Mother’s Delight

Take one mother and place gently in hammock in sheltered spot.

Baste with sun screen.

Add several books and a selection of magazines.

Mix cool drinks and pour in at regular intervals to prevent dehydration.

Leave in peace until completely mellow.

NB – Mixture tends to curdle if shaken or stirred before properly rested.


Mothering not always natural

June 30, 2008

Deborah Coddington  is right to be concerned about the lack of care new mothers and their babies are getting from our health system.

Current policy concerning mothers and babies is to get them out of the hospital as soon as possible, regardless of how they are coping.

I blame the feminists who, in declaring quite rightly most deliveries are straightforward and mothers are not ill, went overboard in their quest for minimising hospital care (especially if male obstetricians or general practitioners were in charge of the birth) and made mothers feel pressured to get off the delivery trolley, pick up their blinking newborns and sail home pretending they could cope.

When our children were born 23, 21 and 19 years ago it was usual for women to have 5 days in hospital following a normal delivery and up to 10 days after a caesarean.

Now Ministry of Health policy stipulates that the Lead Maternity Carer will determine when mother and baby are clinically ready to be discharged; and that this is usually within 48 hours of the birth at least a day before breast milk comes in.

  

The Ministry’s list of reasons for delaying discharge includes feeding problems, so in theory mothers and their babies are able to stay until breast feeding is properly established. But this isn’t what happens in practice: women are often discharged within hours of birth and some maternity centres even offer incentives such as free napkins to encourage early discharge.

 

 Some women are happy to get home as soon as possible after delivery and of course should be free to do so; others may be unable, or choose not to breast feed. But many wish to feed their babies themselves and some of these need the immediate assistance which is available 24 hours a day in maternity centres to do so.

 

Without that help there is an increased risk babies will fail to thrive and mothers will develop mastitis or opt for bottle feeding in desperation.

 

I haven’t found any research into the link between feeding problems and our appalling record for violence; but an unhappy baby and the unexpected expense of formula will put strain on a family.

 

A birth blip has put pressure on maternity services and even without that it isn’t sensible to tie up tertiary and secondary hospital beds with well women. It may be better to establish mother care units but however it is done we need facilities that ensure 24-hour, on the spot assistance and advice is available from lactation specialists until breast feeding is established.


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