Friday, November 08, 2013

Batch of links for new parents

- Postpartum perks on

- So, the fourth trimester is now over. I’ve moved from taking care of the Little Prince’s basic needs and catching up on social media stuff while he naps to now actually needing to entertain and engage him, while dealing with the first sleep regression (we’ve had two growth spurts already) and marveling at his increased expressiveness. I already miss the newborn snuggliness and wish I had just held him more, back when that actually did the trick to calm him down. (Although to be fair, these days he’s not upset so much as enjoying the sound of his own voice.)

- I’ve never been good at being at the computer while breastfeeding, and I barely managed the iPad, but I do want to share two game apps that I think are great for new moms, as you can play with only one hand and without frying all your brain cells. First, Flow Free (which Dear Sister showed my mother, who showed me). You get a board with pairs of colored dots, and you must connect the dots without crossing lines AND while covering the whole board. There’s a timed option if you want, though that stresses me out, and the free version gives you over 100 boards. Second, Color Zen, in which you solve abstract puzzles of colors and shapes, all with a surprisingly soothing musical background. There is no score-keeping, no penalties, just a very relaxing experience to pass the time. There’s a free version, but I’m considering buying more levels because I enjoy it so much!

- I’m also reading 30-Second Theories, which gives an overview of 50 key scientific theories explained in such a way that the layperson can understand them easily, along with short biographies of important scientists. This collection also includes books about architecture, economy, psychology, politics, astronomy and mathematics. Great to read in snippets and feel like you’re doing something totally intellectual not related to child care at all.

- Poo finger, a treatise on poop and parenting. Honestly, it happens the first week, and from then on it’s no big deal.

- Ten true things about the first year of parenthood, one of the best parenting posts I’ve read, along with this one by Matt Walsh. I also liked this post with a bonus recipe (or really, a recipe post with bonus parenting advice).

- I now respond in an entirely different and visceral way when faced with an unhappy, crying infant or child in public. Never mind that it’s not my child, I just want to hold him and make it better. This is very unfamiliar to me and I’m hopping it’ll mostly go away as the Little Prince gets older, though this seems unlikely because I don’t think it was all hormonal. I did have some major hormone surges, to be sure, but I feel more like myself now, and as far as I know, I’m not suffering from post-partum depression (which is more complex than just feeling sad, I should point out).

- An interesting article about how fatherhood changes the male brain and how a father’s presence influences children. On a related note: 9 tips for new dads.

- Did you know that almost half of babies develop flat spots on their head? We make sure to rotate the Little Prince in his bassinette so that his head isn’t always facing the same way, but I must say I’ve notice that he always turns counterclockwise, regardless of where I am. (Also, remember how I had said that I didn’t want to give my child a name that meant “misshapen head”? I find it particularly ironic that the name of the baby in that flat spot article actually IS the name that means “misshapen head”!)

- Here’s a guide to visiting a new baby. We didn’t have to use it, as our friends and family are from out of town and came for overnight stays rather than short visits, but it rang true.

- The importance of a proper family meal, written by Adam Sachs after the birth of his daughter, makes me long for duck again (it’s not nearly as popular here as in Quebec).

- An interesting idea: how to pick a wine that will age well alongside your child so that you can gift it on his/her 21st birthday (or 18th if you’re in Quebec).

- It turns out that how much you talk to your baby could be the single best predictor of his future success. So while it’s entirely out of character for me to narrate life for someone else, I’m making efforts. And I’m narrating in French, of course; I enjoyed this article about the importance of speaking to your child in your native language, and this Time article about how some elementary schools are teaching in two languages because of the benefits of bilingualism on a child’s brain.

- A new study shows signs of autism as early as one month. There’s also a correlation (not necessarily causation!) between autism and the induction of labor. These findings could give us tools to diagnose and treat autistic children earlier in life.

- A little late with this, but did you know that more babies die on their first day in the US than in 68 other countries? It mostly has to do with lack of prenatal care, so let’s hope this trend changes with the Affordable Care Act – if they can get their act together to sign up the population. Finland figured this out years ago.

- Also, things you don’t need for your baby. I’m so glad we never got a fancy bedding set or a Bumbo seat! I intend to do a follow-up on my baby gear post eventually, though.

- And to end on a high note: 24 kids who are clearly being raised right and 28 of the greatest moments in the history of parenting.


Katie Jejune said...

Even though we're very comfortably past the newborn phase now (yaayyyyy!) and all of its related insanity, I enjoyed reading some of the above links with my 20 whole months of personal hindsight. I found the one about the flat head interesting -- our first pediatrician made a lot of concerned noises about Theo's flat spot and about needing to get one of those very expensive and not-covered-by-insurance head-reshaping helmets, but when we switched to another doctor in the same practice he never said a thing about it. I see a *ton* of babies around here with them, so I wonder. (I always felt miffed that T. developed a bit of a flat spot, since we did all of the stuff you're supposed to to avoid it and he was always in a carrier anyway. Babies: unfair!)

Amélie said...

I'm both surprised and happy to hear that diagnosing a flat spot seems somewhat subjective. That number (46%) looks incredibly high to me. It worried me especially because many parents don't see the flat spot before their pediatrician points it out, so the fact that my son's head looks fine to me doesn't mean that it is (even though, again, we're doing what we can to prevent it).

Katie Jejune said...

I mean, I am obviously not a medical professional, and many of the examples in that article talked about severe cases which undoubtedly require treatment. But yeah, between our two pediatricians, both had very different opinions about whether it was worth worrying about / treating -- so we did all of the behavioral stuff we could to help prevent it. At almost two years, you can still tell where T has a bit of a flat spot if you palpitate his skull, but it's certainly not something that you'd notice if you weren't looking for it. (Especially now that he has hair!)