Dads, Pregnancy, Birth & Babies

Dads

Over the years of providing Mummyology's BabyEd classes it never ceases to amaze me how great the dads always are!  Often, they are the forgotten ones throughout this amazing journey yet they play a major role in the process!  

Many women think their partner doesn't have a clue about what's going on or what will happen when the baby arrives, but this doesn't mean they don't want to know.  We need to be supportive and encourage dads to be a part of the adventure!  This is not to say they can understand how a pregnant woman feels or what she's thinking but we must remember the dads are just as important as mum.  

It has been my experience that most dads want to know more and it's the dads who have contacted Mummyology more than the mums!  I often think this is because as women we think we should know what to expect and what we should do when our babies arrive.  We don't like to show what might be perceived as ignorance or weakness.  We don't want to place ourselves in a position of being judged.   Believe me when I say we are not born knowing what to do and sometimes it is a womans greatest strength to admit she might  need some help..  When my own children were born I was extremely lucky to have the most amazing support of my family and husband.  Some days when I couldn't go on and gave up from exhaustion, my husband was there to say it's ok, don't worry, tomorrow is a new day and the best one, I'll take care of the baby or whatever it was I could not manage.  It was ok to admit I needed help.

I always explain to our new mums and dads that during the birth dad is going to be the voice if mum cannot speak up and express her wants or needs.  A dads/husbands role in the last steps to welcoming your new addition is one of the most important. They are the ones who will have your back and make sure you have what you need.

Dads can be the forgotten but, in my own life,  my dad and my husband are our number 1!.  They are the strong ones when we need them and the fun ones when someone wants to play and are definitely the ones who make us laugh!

There are so many changes in our lives when our babies arrive - feelings, emotions, hormones, the relationship you had with your partner BB (before baby!) but the constant you should be able to rely on is the person you began this new journey with, your baby's dad! Allow him the room to grow as a dad and partner in the new family dynamic and explore this whole new world together!  

Happy Father's Day!

 

 

Being Busy

I am not sure about anyone else but I am always so BUSY!  My head is busy even when I am supposed to be sleeping, or not sleeping!!  I read this post the other day and it has really got me to thinking about how to less busy my own life and look at how I refer to the things I have going on. 

Blog post by Scott Dannemiller @ The Accidental Missionary February 25, 2015

Busy Is A Sickness

                       

I’m busy.

I don’t know about you, but anytime I am asked, “How’s it going?” I never just say “fine” anymore. Instead, my stock response is always some degree of frazzled. The scale ranges from “busy”, to “crazy busy” to “nutballs.”

The good news is, my answer is usually met with sympathetic response, which is as reassuring as it is depressing.

“Tell me about it! We are, too!”

“I know! Isn’t it insane!”

“There’s never enough time in the day, is there?”

But something changed about a month ago. I bumped into a friend at the gym. Instead of sympathizing when I said I was “crazy busy,” he simply asked,

“Really? So what do you have going on today?”

I had to stop and think for a moment. No one has ever asked me to “describe my busy.” So I conducted a mental review of our calendar before explaining that I had a worship band rehearsal in the morning, followed by a basketball game for my son, a church commitment for my wife, a birthday party for my daughter, and a date night that evening.

His response?

“Sounds like a full day. Have fun!”

At first, I was a bit resentful. He obviously misunderstood me. I wanted to remind him how horrible all of this was. I wanted to explain how driving from place-to-place in my comfortable SUV was a huge pain in the ass. Not to mention how Gabby and I would have to split up for part of the day. Buying and wrapping the birthday gift? Don’t even get me started! And then only having an hour to get the kids fed and get ready for our semi-fancy date that evening.

Didn’t you hear me? I am busy! Sweet Baby Jesus, have mercy on my soul!

Here’s the thing. I wear busyness like a badge of honor. Only there’s no honor to be had.

Busy is a sickness.

The American Psychological Association has published its Stress In America survey since 2007. They find that the majority of Americans recognize that their stress exceeds levels necessary to maintain good health. The most frequent reason they cite for not addressing the problem?

Being too busy.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Dr. Susan Koven practices internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. In a recent Boston Globe column, she writes:

In the past few years, I’ve observed an epidemic of sorts: patient after patient suffering from the same condition. The symptoms of this condition include fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, back pain, and weight gain. There are no blood tests or X-rays diagnostic of this condition, and yet it’s easy to recognize. The condition is excessive busyness.

We’ve heard for years that excessive stress causes health problems. But notice that Dr. Koven didn’t say stress. She said busyness.

And it’s an epidemic.

Dr. Michael Marmot, a British epidemiologist has studied stress and its effects, and found the root causes to be two types of busyness. Though he doesn’t give them official names, he describes the most damaging as busyness without control, which primarily affects the poor. Their economic reality simply does not allow for downtime. They have to work 2-3 jobs to keep the family afloat. When you add kids to the mix, it becomes overwhelming, and the stress results in legitimate health problems.

The second type of busyness also results in health problems, but it is a sickness we bring on ourselves. Like voluntarily licking the door handle of a preschool bathroom or having a sweaty picnic in the Ball Pit at Chuck E. Cheese.

It’s busyness we control.

Self-created stress.

Ever since my conversation a month ago, I realized that my busyness is this second type. Busyness we control. In fact, many times I create rush and worry where none exists. Any typical morning, you can find me riding my kids like a couple of three-dollar mules in a sea of marbles, begging them to move faster.

“If you don’t finish your waffles in the next 90 seconds, we’re gonna’ be late!”

“Do you like being tardy?! ‘Cause that’s what you’ll be if you don’t hurry up and brush your teeth!”

The funny thing is, whether I prod or not, we always seem to get to school at the same time every day. Before the bell. And if we’re late? Nothing bad really happens, but there is still the voice in my head telling me a couple of tardies today is a slippery slope that eventually leads to 5-10 years in Federal Prison.

Ridiculous.

After my conversation with my friend, I began to notice how much of my rushing was an overreaction to my “awfulizing” in my head. Most of the time, I manufacture urgency in hopes that it will create urgency in others. Instead, it only creates anxiety, resentment and spite. Which is absolutely counter-productive. And even in the cases where the urgency is real, it’s often due to a packed schedule I created.

All of this made me wonder:

Why would a grown-ass man, with a brain and two opposable thumbs, decide to voluntarily create stress in his life?

I found the answer, and it’s not pretty.

We are afraid of ourselves.

In America, we are defined by what we do. Our careers. What we produce. It’s the first question asked at parties, and often the first tidbit of information we share with strangers. The implication is that if I am not busy doing something, I am somehow less than. Not worthy. Or at least worth less than those who are producing something.

Now, before you start to think this is just one guy’s opinion, consider a recent study published in the journal Science. In one experiment, participants were left alone in a room for up to fifteen minutes. When asked whether they liked the alone time, over half reported disliking it.

In subsequent studies, participants were given an electric shock, and then asked if they would pay money to avoid being shocked again. Not surprisingly, most said they would trade money to avoid pain. However, when these same people were left alone in a room for fifteen minutes, nearly half chose to self-administer an electric shock rather than sit alone with their thoughts.

You read that right.

Voluntarily.

Shocking.

(Which is so not punny.)

Think about what this means. Just being is so painful that we are willing to hurt ourselves to avoid it.

And this is perhaps the saddest truth of all. I am created in the image and likeness of God, yet somehow that isn’t good enough for me. So I fill my Facebook feed and my calendar with self-important busyness to avoid just being. In the process I not only miss out on the peace and beauty that lies within myself, but I miss seeing that same beauty in others, because my manufactured urgency has covered it up with anxiety and worry.

It’s time I let my busyness rest in peace.

So my prayer today is this. That I stop defining myself by my doing but by my being. That I stop measuring time by the clock on the wall, but by the experiences I share with those around me.   And stop seeing my life as “busy” and instead, see it for what it truly is.

Full.


Writer’s note: For the past month, I have tried my best to eliminate the word “busy” from my vocabulary. The result? I feel lighter. Now, when people ask how things are going, I just say, “Life is full.” What works for you?

Dads Taking Charge

Dads are now focused on seeking information and education on impending fatherhood.  It has been the dads who have been making the enquiries and bookings for the BabyEd classes in recent months.  Many dads to be have been calling us to book their partner and themselves in for Mummyology's classes.

We love speaking with the dads at Mummyology and finding out their stories,  It is an honour for us to be a part of these new familes journey to familydom! 

There are many dads who have not known where to look for information to educate themselves on their partners pregnancy or what to expect during the birthing process and then the heartstopping first days at home!  Their search has led them to the Mummyology team and we are thrilled we can assist!

Finding Time for Everything!

It has been such a long time since I added to the blog. I sometimes find is so difficult to find time to fit in the smallest things! As mothers we expect to be able to get the job done! Someone said to me the other day "you think you are wonderwoman, sometimes you need to slow down!" My immediate thought was, no I don't, I can do everything!! Ok, so maybe that is not quite true but isn't it better to feel that way than I can't do anything? I work full time with another organisation, as well as Mummyology and we also have a family business, two children, a home and friends and family and lastly a marriage! Sometimes there is just no time to sit and talk to each other. "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" John Lennon. This is so true! we wonder where the weeks, years and months have gone and before we know it we actually have lived life without realising it, perhaps not always as we would have wanted but still, it's life! Our family travels a couple of times a year, whether it is interstate or overseas and I always take time to try and think of what I would like to change in my own life or improve when I return home. As not only mums and dads, we need to take time out individually and know that it is ok to do so. We should not feel guilty that we need some time to ourselves for five minutes, an hour or a day. 5 minutes of peace going to the bathroom is sometimes all we need!!! It is often in the quiet that we find our greatest solutions, ideas and plans.

Allergies and Feeding

New weaning guidelines in response to increase in child allergies • NATASHA BITA • News Limited Network • December 15, 2012 BABIES would be fed solid foods sooner under new health guidelines to slow an alarming surge in the number of children with life-threatening food allergies. Anxious parents are giving toddlers their first taste of peanuts in hospital carparks and doctors' surgeries, for fear they might suffer an anaphylactic reaction. Demand for diagnosis is so high that children are now having to wait up to two years to be tested for potentially deadly food allergies in a public hospital. The number of prescriptions for adrenaline pens, used to treat anaphylaxis, has quadrupled in a decade. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data reveals that 101,558 subsidised prescriptions were filled last financial year, compared to just 25,294 in 2001/02. Australia's top allergy researchers remain baffled by a 20-year surge in the number of Australian children with food allergies. But many now suspect that delayed weaning, a lack of vitamin D from sunlight and hyper-cleanliness could be to blame, through overstimulating children's allergic reaction to certain foods. The National Health and Medical Research Council will soon release new guidelines for infant feeding, which will relax its current recommendation that babies be exclusively breastfed for six months. The new draft guidelines state that weaning should commence at "around six months of age", giving parents more leeway to introduce solids at four or five months. The NHMRC's existing limit of six months mirrors that of the World Health Organisation, but clashes with advice from Australia's top allergy specialists. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy says parents should start introducing solid foods from the age of four months, in addition to breastmilk. Professor Dianne Campbell, who chairs ASCIA's paediatric committee and heads the paediatric allergy services at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney yesterday said ASCIA had advised the NHMRC to change its guidelines. "Our recommendation was ... introduction of solids/complementary foods from 4-6 months, with no specific avoidance of any foods," she said. "We don't recommend (total) weaning at this time, but for the continuation of breast feeding where possible for at least six months." Canberra specialist Raymond Mullins, who heads ASCIA's anaphylaxis working party, yesterday said 3 per cent of Australian children were allergic to peanuts. "It's now so common it's a public health issue," he said. "Waiting lists in some public hospitals are one or two years to get an appointment to see an allergy specialist." Dr Mullins said the longstanding advice to avoid risky foods like peanut and egg until children are older had not prevented allergies. "People have had egg on their faces by giving advice and later it's been shown not to work," he said. Professor Katie Allen, who leads the study of food allergies for the Murdoch Children's Research Institute at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, said she was aware of parents who had given kids their first taste of peanuts in the hospital carpark. "Parents are so frightened," she said. "I've heard it's quite common to have them sitting in the carpark." An Adelaide mothers' group even hosts "peanut butter parties" to give toddlers their first taste in a park near the Women's and Children's Hospital. Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said doctors were still advising parents to wait six months before introducing any solid foods. "For families we've been saying wait til six months and delay egg," he said yesterday. "Maybe that's not right, but we need hard evidence before we can make that change." Dr Hambleton said some parents wanted to play safe by feeding their child peanuts in a doctor's surgery, if they already had a child with allergies and feared serious side-effects. The NHMRC yesterday refused to give details of its latest guidelines, which are due to be unveiled within weeks. Action and reaction: One mother's story, every family's worry, science's conundrum Amelia after suffering a reaction to eggs. Source: News Limited SALLY Rothberg was just following doctor's orders. The first-time mum breastfed baby Amelia for six months, waiting to wean her. First rice flour, followed by mashed fruit and vegies - and absolutely no eggs for nine months. "Then we fed her scrambled eggs when she was 10 months old and her face puffed up and she started breathing funny," Ms Rothberg recalls. "It was quite dramatic". When the anxious Glen Iris mum tried to make an appointment for an allergy test at a Melbourne public hospital, she was put on a year-long waiting list. Someone cancelled, so she was lucky to have her daughter diagnosed with a peanut allergy in hospital - without having to learn the hard way that her toddler would suffer an attack of life-threatening anaphylaxis. Other parents have made their kids sample nuts in a hospital car park or doctor's surgery, where help is at hand in case of a medical emergency. Amelia is among the three-in-100 young Australian children allergic to peanuts. When the 16-month-old starts daycare next year, she will have to carry an adrenaline auto-injector. More than 100,000 were prescribed in Australia in the past year, four times more than a decade ago. The "allergy generation" is how the medical fraternity describes today's children, banned from taking peanut butter sandwiches or boiled eggs in their lunchbox in case they trigger a classmate's anaphylactic episode. Some childcare centres insist that kids wash their hands before they enter, if they've eaten an "unsafe breakfast" with eggs or nuts. An Adelaide mothers' group even hosts "peanut butter parties" to give toddlers their first taste, in a park near the Women's and Children's Hospital. The number of Australian kids admitted to hospital with severe food allergies tripled in the decade to 2005. In the past 10 years, the number of under-5s allergic to peanuts has risen five-fold. One in every 10 Aussie children is born with an allergy. Boys are more likely to suffer than girls. Why? Allergy experts are pointing the finger at delayed weaning, originally intended to postpone kids' exposure to known allergens, and hence minimise any allergic response. The Murdoch Children's Research Institute is carrying out the world's biggest paediatric study of food allergy, HealthNuts, involving 5300 babies and toddlers. Based on its findings, it is now advising parents to "introduce a wide range of foods early on". "Do not avoid foods with the hope of preventing an allergy," it says. "Let babies get down and dirty... (introducing) children to a range of `good bugs' could help to protect children against food allergies." And finally, "get some sunshine in your life to optimise your child's exposure to sunlight and increase Vitamin D". Huh? Aren't we supposed to protect babies from germs and sunlight, and then delay and carefully stage the introduction of solid foods? All that modern-day medical advice is now being reassessed, as experts grapple to understand the alarming surge in the number of children with life-threatening allergies. "Everything is turned on its head," admits Professor Katie Allen, who leads the HealthNuts study based at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. "We say that avoidance of egg is unnecessary as there is no evidence it protects you from developing allergies. Introduce egg at five or six months. "Those who eat cooked egg at four to six months are five times less likely to get an egg allergy than those who wait until after the age of 12 months." Like many of her colleagues, Professor Allen now suspects that delayed weaning, a lack of vitamin D from sunlight and hyper-hygiene could be triggering an extreme allergic response to certain foods. "Get a pet," is her advice to families hoping to minimise the chance of developing severe allergies. "Don't worry too much about letting kids run around in the mud. We used to be more exposed to microbes, when there were less antibiotics in the food and the water supply was dirtier. We used to get parasites more often." Even the slip-slop-slap routine drummed into parents and then into schoolkids to shield them from skin cancer is being challenged. "The further you live from the equator, the more likely you are to have food allergies," Professor Allen says. "We think it could be because children aren't getting enough Vitamin D in sunlight." Mums are no longer being advised to avoid peanuts, prawns or strawberries, all high-risk food allergens, during pregnancy or breastfeeding. And the HealthNuts study has also ruled out hypoallergenic baby formula as reducing the risk of allergy. But a separate Murdoch Children's Research Institute study of 700 infants this year discovered that those with an eczema gene had a higher risk of food allergies. In the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology this year, British doctor Gideon Lack from St Thomas' Hospital in London linked "prolonged breast-feeding" with an increased risk of asthma and eczema. He noted that food allergies were highest in the "non-Hispanic white population". An allergy to bird's nest soup was common in Singapore, he noted, royal jelly allergy was common in Hong Kong, and mustard seed allergy in France. Jewish children living in the UK were 10 times more likely to be allergic to peanuts than those in Israel. Danish researchers discovered that the children of mothers who ate lots of peanuts during pregnancy were less likely to have asthma at the age of 18 months, according to a study published in the same journal by paediatric specialist Scott Sicherer from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. They did not investigate the impact on food allergies. Professor Allen notes that south-east Asian immigrants are developing food allergies after moving to Melbourne - suggesting that it is indeed an "affluent western" disease. Unsurprisingly, many parents may find all the conflicting advice a tad confusing. The trend towards delayed weaning began in 1974 when a group of British paediatric experts, concerned by a rise in celiac disease, recommended breast milk-only until four months of age. Then American health officials told parents to delay nuts and fish until children turned three, and eggs until the age of two. In Australia, parents today are confronted with nine sets of guidelines for weaning, all giving slightly different advice. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy advises parents to start introducing solid foods from the age of four months, in addition to breast milk. But the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends that children be exclusively breastfed until six months of age. The agency is about to relax its guidelines, to commence weaning at "around six months of age", giving parents more leeway to introduce solids earlier. Professor Allen can understand why parents might be bewildered. "Parents are confused and get a bit annoyed because we all seem to change our minds," she says. "Every other country has two guidelines - one for the general population and one for high-risk groups - but we have a state-based health system and nobody seems to be able to agree. I ask, can we at least agree, because it does drive concern and anxiety (to have conflicting advice)." Canberra allergy specialist Raymond Mullins, who heads the anaphylaxis working party for the clinicians' group ACSIA, says the longstanding advice to avoid risky foods like peanut and egg until children are older has failed to prevent allergies. "People have had egg on their faces by giving advice and later it's been shown not to work," he says. "There is some evidence that delaying the introduction of egg by waiting until a child is 12 months old could be bad for them." So what is driving the allergy epidemic? "I don't think anybody knows, to be honest," Dr Mullins admits. "Is it food additives and preservatives? There isn't really good evidence. Is it pesticides? We just don't know. It took a long time before the relationship between tobacco intake and lung disease was established, and it took years to link the sleeping positions of babies to SIDS. I'd be optimistic we might have an answer in five years." Dr Mullins notes that children from bigger families are less likely to have allergies, cementing the theory that a bit of dirt doesn't hurt. He advises mothers to "breastfeed as long as possible", while simultaneously introducing solids at four to six months. "Introduce new food in the morning on a Monday to Friday during business hours, not over a long weekend or during a long drive," he suggests - just in case they need medical assistance. But family doctors are still advising parents to wait six months before introducing any solid foods, and to delay the introduction of egg. "Maybe that's not right, but we need hard evidence before we can make that change," says Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton. "Parents are entitled to feel a bit confused."