How to hold a Breastfeeding baby for caregivers and spouses

Holding a breastfeeding infant can be a challenge for anyone other than the breastfeeding mom. We want to hold babies close to our bodies partially because instinct tells us this is right, and also because of typical media images.  Baby books, TV shows and movies all show us the two typical ways to hold babies.  One hold makes baby happy (cradle hold) and one sad (out, away from body.) The latter hold is always performed by the unknowing, un-maternal/paternal adult holding a baby straight out, arms fully extended away from their body, and the baby hovering in the air hysterical.

But, what if a less dramatic version of the out-and-away hold is actually better, less upsetting and confusing for the baby?

The reason the cradle, hug-baby-in, hold doesn’t always work for breastfeeding infants is simply because they associate that hold, the closeness of it with breastfeeding. So, instead of the baby becoming calm, she may instead begin to root images-1(beginning signs she wants to eat) and unless you’re also giving bottles you can’t soothe her in the way she wants.  Instead a modified football hold might be best. [Elbow at your side, baby laying longways on your arm, and arm extended out.]

images

 

Signs baby is rooting and therefore likely to become upset with the non-breastfeeding adult:

-Trying to lick or suck on your arm, chest, neck…anywhere.

-Burrowing into your chest, arm.

-Baby rubs hand on your chest/breast.

-Crying when diaper is dry, and has recently slept.

Sometimes infants are perfectly content in the cradle position, but usually only for a limited time. I try to hold b.f. infants in the modified football hold, very high up on my shoulder, and on my legs, while sitting.

Next time you have a fussy infant, and you see any of the rooting signs try changing your hold, so that the baby is away from your chest. If the baby has recently eaten, you’ll find she will likely immidiately be calmed once away from your chest.

Link

NYT Parental Involvement

NYT Parental Involvement

“We believe that parents are critical for how well children perform in school, just not in the conventional ways that our society has been promoting. The essential ingredient is for parents to communicate the value of schooling, a message that parents should be sending early in their children’s lives and that needs to be reinforced over time. But this message does not need to be communicated through conventional behavior, like attending PTA meetings or checking in with teachers.

 

…Conventional wisdom holds that since there is no harm in having an involved parent, why shouldn’t we suggest as many ways as possible for parents to participate in school? This conventional wisdom is flawed. Schools should move away from giving the blanket message to parents that they need to be more involved and begin to focus instead on helping parents find specific, creative ways to communicate the value of schooling, tailored to a child’s age.”

 

Reading this article, by Keith Robinson and Angel L. Harris, I strongly agreed with what their research, and motivation for their research found, and, yet something feels weird about saying “STOP being involved!!” Why? Because there are so many parents who really aren’t there. There are parents from different all socioeconomic backgrounds who don’t take the time from their lives to see what’s up with their kids.  So this article, that I agree very strongly with, also feels slightly dangerous for the parents who will simply skim through and feel justified that they are doing the right thing by stepping away, because when it comes to the President’s initiative for programs like “Race to the Top” what I think he, and other programs like it are trying to do is simply point out that parents involvement does matter. They are trying to reach out to a group with generations of subpar, or just simply lacking of any parental role-models, and say “you actually do have an effect on your child’s future.”

 

So, for the parents who are already doing things like attending every PTA meeting, or doing their child’s homework for them, or simply sitting idly by while they do homework, you can stop, not just for them but for you.   But for the wider range of parents who aren’t talking, and who never sit by their kids, being encouraged to do a little of that isn’t a bad thing. The “overachieving” parents should take a tip from the underachievers, and vice versa.

Link

Talking About Race: SLATE

Talking about Race: SLATE

Here is a pretty good, short essay about why white parents should talk about race with their kids, by Melinda Wenner Moyer.

So if children as young as 3 develop racial prejudices when left to their own (cognitively biased) devices, it may help for parents to intervene and, you know, actually talk to their kids about race. “Don’t you want to be the one to suggest to them—early on, before they do form those preconceptions—something positive [about other races] rather than let them pick up something negative?” asks Kristina Olson, a University of Washington psychologist who studies social cognitive development and racial bias. “White parents seem very, very resistant to talking about race—even really liberal ones—and they have this attitude of ‘I wouldn’t want to talk about it because it would make it real to my kids.’ But inevitably, it’s their kids that show these really strong race biases.” In fact, Olson says, when parents don’t talk about race, kids may infer from this silence that race is especially important, yet highly taboo—basically, the last thing you want them to think.