Friday, November 29, 2013

5 Great Ways For Dads to Spend Time With Kids

1. Go outside: Did you know that pediatricians are being advised to screen children for vitamin D deficiency because so many American children don't get enough vitamin D? The best way for the body to absorb vitamin D is through sunlight. Chances are you and your kids aren't getting enough, especially in the winter time! Going outside is good for you … and fun too.

2. Read books: You can cuddle your newborn on your chest while you read to yourself, read aloud to a toddler from a chunky picture book, and read more sophisticated novels, like My Side of the Mountain, Gregor the Overlander, or The Book of Jhereg, that you'll both enjoy to an older child. Even a child who is a really good reader enjoys being read to so don't stop reading to your son just because he's old enough to read to himself.

3. Wrestling match: It's Dad's job to roughhouse, even if Mom gets nervous. You can wrestle with your baby at any age! We're not sure you should do it quite as vigorously as the dad in this video that went viral last week, but that's up to you and your child to decide!

4. Play sleep: This was a favorite with my dad. Take off your shoes, climb on the bed together. The kids pretend to sleep. You actually do. Note to dads: Newborns love this game, big kids don't.

5. Play cards: A deck of cards is good for teething for small babies, toddlers can play a simplified version of Go Fish, but we say it's never too early to teach the kid how to play poker. And if their math skills aren't up for it, build card houses instead.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dad Puts His Baby in Freezer to Stop the Crying

It's hard to hear a baby cry.

It can be devastating.

If your baby is crying and won't stop, put the baby in a safe place, and take a break.

Call someone for help.


Do some jumping jacks.

Do not go back to the baby until you can handle the crying. Earplugs also help.

A dad in Washington did not do any of these things.

He put his 6-week-old in the freezer and went to sleep.

His 22-year-old partner came home to the trailer to find the baby in the freezer. The dad tried to stop her from calling 911.

He needs mental help.

From the AP story about the incident:

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Bail was set at $1 million Tuesday for a 25-year-old Washington man accused of putting his 6-week-old daughter in a 10-degree freezer for about an hour to stop her crying.
Doctors believe the baby will survive but it's too soon to know potential complications, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.
The child's core temperature fell to 84 degrees in the freezer, prosecutors said. She also had a broken arm and leg and a head injury, medical staff determined.
Tyler James Deutsch pleaded not guilty to charges of child assault, criminal mistreatment and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence. He was represented by a public defender.
According to court papers, Deutsch gave Pierce County sheriff's officers several accounts but finally said he put the child in the freezer Saturday afternoon "because he was tired and she was crying."
Deutsch said he fell asleep, awoke as the baby's 22-year-old mother returned to their trailer in Roy, Wash., and was removing the baby from the freezer as the mother came in, according to the prosecutor's account.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dads Emotional Problems May Harm Their Toddlers' Health

A new scientific study from Norway suggests that dads need to get our mental health in order BEFORE fathering children

Dad's Distress May Make for Troubled Toddler

An expectant father's mental health problems may be linked to his child's behavioral and emotional difficulties early in life, researchers found.
A Norwegian cohort found paternal psychological distress was associated with a small but positive risk of a child developing behavioral difficulties, emotional problems, and impaired social functioning, according to Anne Lise Kvalevaag, PhD candidate, of Helse Fonna HF in Haugesund, Norway, and colleagues.
Higher levels of emotional distress in expectant fathers were associated with higher levels of emotional and behavioral problems in children, they wrote online in Pediatrics.
Earlier research has found ties between psychiatric disorders in mothers and "increased risk of socioemotional and behavioral problems in their children," the authors noted.
"The current study demonstrates that there is a consistent positive predictive association between fathers' parental mental health status and their children's socioemotional and behavioral development at 36 months of age," they concluded. "The findings are of importance for clinicians and policymakers in their planning of healthcare in the perinatal period because this represents a significant opportunity for preventive intervention."
The researchers examined associations between paternal mental health and children's socioemotional and behavioral development through a prospective, population-based cohort of 31,663 kids in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.
Fathers' mental health information was acquired through the self-reported Hopkins Symptoms Checklist (SCL-5) at weeks 17 or 18 of gestation. SCL-5 is an indicator of level of global mental distress, mainly symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the cutoff point for SCL-5 is 2.00, they authors explained.
Data on the child's emotional and behavioral development -- as well as the mother's pre- and postnatal mental health -- were taken at 36 months after birth. Maternal mental health was evaluated through the same questionnaire fathers filled out. Child development was evaluated through three parental-response questionnaires on mental health, socioemotional problems, and behavior.
The mean SCL-5 score for the fathers was 1.13. Three percent of the fathers had a score above the cutoff of 2.00.
In a crude analysis with behavioral difficulties as the dependent variable, paternal psychological distress was significantly associated with a child's behavioral (odds ratio 1.28, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.58) and emotional difficulties (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.36 to 2.00) at age 36 months, as well as social functioning (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.62).
This association persisted after adjustment for age, education, marital status, somatic conditions, alcohol and tobacco use, physical activity, and maternal mental health.
When the model was fully adjusted, associations between behavioral difficulties and father's distress lost significance (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.40, P=0.3), though the other associations remained significant.
The authors noted "a number of possible mechanisms could account for this association" including a prenatal genetic effect of paternal psychological distress, negative outcomes of depression on mothers resulting in negative outcomes for the child, and prenatal health predicting postnatal health, which "may account for some of the associations seen."
The authors noted several limitations with their study. The cohort had a 38.5% participation rate, which could have resulted in selection bias. Additionally, survey answers were self-reported and can be affected by rater bias.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Help Your Partner Breastfeed

There are so many reasons to breastfeed. The health benefits to mom and baby are enormous.

But that doesn't mean it's easy.

New dads need to do everything they can to support their partners and encourage breastfeeding.

You can:

1) Bring her water when she's nursing.

2) Make sure there is a bowl of fruit and nuts by her favorite nursing spot and replenish it often.

3) Help her get enough sleep by taking the baby out during the day so she can nap.

4) Encourage her to learn to nurse lying down in bed so night nursing is easier.

5) Do more than your share of the housework so she can enjoy the baby and not stress about dishes. Being relaxed and bonded with a baby helps facilitate successful breastfeeding.

6) Encourage her to breastfeed as long as she and the baby are both happy doing so.

7) Forget about the twins being your favorite horizontal toy. While your partner is nursing she probably won't want you touching them a lot during sex.

Need another reason to breastfeed? A new study shows that formula feeding increases the risk of leukemia.

As reported by Charles Bankhead, a staff writer for MedPage Today, the longer a baby's on formula, the higher the leukemia risk.

According to the MedPage Today article:

"Each additional month of formula feeding was associated with a 16% increase in the relative risk of ALL compared with a control group. Every additional month of delay in the start of solid foods increased the odds by 14%.
"The findings might reflect the recognized association between breastfeeding and development of an infant's immune system, Jeremy Schraw reported at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
"One explanation for this co-risk may be that it's the same effect being picked up twice," Schraw, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement. "Children being given solid foods later may be receiving formula longer."
"ALL is the most common malignancy in children, and several studies have suggested interaction between feeding practices and its development. Some of the evidence suggests interaction among diet, normal immune-system development, and levels of insulin-like growth factor, said Schraw."

Monday, September 3, 2012

If You Improve Your Marriage You'll Have More Sex

When you and your partner are doing better vertically, you'll have more fun horizontally.

That horizontal fun often results in a child, or a second child, or--surprise!--a third.

Wait a second, how did that happen? Was it an accident?

When family and friends ask you and your wife if this next pregnancy was a surprise, even if it was, answer: "Big surprise, I have no idea how it happened. Could you explain it to me?"

Though some women love to have sex when their pregnant, others can't stand the sight of you and think your breath smells like rotten meat. Either way, having (more) children creates stress on your relationship, which makes it harder to find time to be intimate.

That guy from work who told you it was a piece of cake to have kids? Break his knuckles next time you see him.

In the meantime, there's a good book to read about improving your marriage, two copies of which are being given away by co-author of the Baby Bonding Book for Dads, Jennifer Margulis.

MARRIAGE RULES: A MANUAL FOR THE MARRIED AND THE COUPLED UP by psychologist Harriet Lerner who, we can only hope, has a good marriage and gets lots of action.

Leave a comment on Jennifer's blog by September 7th to throw your hat in the ring to win a free copy.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dads to Blame for Hereditary Problems

Excerpts from an article of interest about a study from researchers in Iceland linking the father's age to genetic disorders in his offspring:

"Kids' Mutation Rate Tracks with Father's Age," By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today Published: August 22, 2012 Reviewed by Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston

 In a large-scale genetic study, every 1-year increase in the father's age at conception of a child added two new single nucleotide polymorphisms, according to Kari Stefansson, MD, PhD, of deCODE Genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland, and colleagues.

 In contrast, the mother's age was not significantly associated with an increased number of such genetic variants, Stefansson and colleagues reported in the Aug. 23 issue of Nature.

"A father's age at the time a child is conceived explains nearly all of the population diversity in new hereditary mutations found in the offspring," Stefansson said in a statement. "Conventional wisdom has been to blame developmental disorders of children on the age of mothers," he said, but "it is the age of fathers that appears to be the real culprit."

The likelihood of new mutations in sperm is higher than in eggs, because sperm are continually produced, so there is more opportunity for genetic errors to creep in.

 One implication of the findings is that demographic changes that lead to men fathering children at an older age "can have a considerable impact on the rate of certain diseases linked to new mutation," Stefansson said.

The paternal effect on mutation rate has been demonstrated before, commented Alexey Kondrashov, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. But the Icelandic study yields "the most precise and definite" estimates so far, he wrote in an accompanying article.

One implication of the finding, he argued, is that the rise of such syndromes as autism spectrum disorder might be partly explained by a relative lack of evolutionary selection pressure on humans, combined with the paternal effect.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the European Community. Stefansson is CEO of deCODE Genetics, and most authors are employees of the company.

Story at a glance: A mother-father-offspring study from Iceland found that de novo mutations in the offspring correlated with older age for the father.

Two extra single nucleotide polymorphisms occurred per year for every year of age older the father was at conception.

It's the father's age – not the mother's – that increases the risk of new hereditary mutations in children, researchers reported.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Moms Multitask More Than Dads, But They Don't Like It

A study in the American Sociological Review found that working moms multitask more than dads, and that all that doing-five-things-at-the-same-time is stressing them out.

Here's the abstract:

"This study suggests that multitasking constitutes an important source of gender inequality, which can help explain previous findings that mothers feel more burdened and stressed than do fathers even when they have relatively similar workloads. Using data from the 500 Family Study, including surveys and the Experience Sampling Method, the study examines activities parents simultaneously engage in and how they feel when multitasking. We find that mothers spend 10 more hours a week multitasking compared to fathers and that these additional hours are mainly related to time spent on housework and childcare. For mothers, multitasking activities at home and in public are associated with an increase in negative emotions, stress, psychological distress, and work-family conflict. By contrast, fathers’ multitasking at home involves less housework and childcare and is not a negative experience. We also find several similarities by gender. Mothers’ and fathers’ multitasking in the company of a spouse or children are positive experiences, whereas multitasking at work, although associated with an increased sense of productivity, is perceived as a negative experience."

You can read the entire study, "Revisiting the Gender Gap in Time-Use Patterns: Multitasking and Well-Being among Mothers and Fathers in Dual-Earner Families" here.