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Breast-feeding Pays

Posted: Mon, 03/23/2015 - 15:54

It pays to breast-feed – for babies. When they grow up, that steady diet of breast milk may boost their monthly income by up to 39%, according to a new report.

 
Researchers tracked down nearly 3,500 Brazilian adults who were enrolled in a study within days of their birth in 1982. Back in the '80s, interviewers had asked their mothers how long their children were breast-fed and how old they were when they were introduced to other foods.
 
Fast-forward to 2012. Those children are now 30-year-olds with jobs.
 
So the researchers, from the Federal University of Pelotas and the Catholic University of Pelotas, asked them how much income they earned in the previous month. They also administered an intelligence test to see if they could find a link between breast-feeding and adult IQ. (Many studies have found a correlation between breast-feeding and IQ in children.)
 
After adjusting for factors like parental education, family income at birth, genetic ancestry and mothers’ smoking and weight status, the researchers found a basically linear relationship between breast-feeding and monthly income – children who nursed for more than six months went on to earn significantly more than children who didn’t.
 
Compared to those who stopped breast-feeding by the time they were 1  month old, those who nursed for more than a year earned 28% more per month, according to the study. The benefits were even greater for people who had nursed for six months to one year – their monthly incomes were 39% higher than those in the baseline group who breast-fed for less than a month.
 
IQ followed a similar pattern. After adjusting for demographic factors, the researchers calculated that study participants who nursed for six to 12 months had 3.5 more IQ points than those who nursed for less than a month. People who were breastfed for more than a year gained 3.76 IQ points.
 
These higher IQs were the primary mechanism through which breast-feeding seemed to lead to higher incomes, accounting for 72% of the observed effect, the study authors found.
 
Although they didn’t examine the biology of breast-feeding, the researchers noted that unlike infant formula, breast milk contains long-chain saturated fatty acids like DHA, which “are essential for brain development,” they wrote.
 
Previous studies have found that higher IQs lead to bigger paychecks, but this report is the first to show a “direct association” between breast-feeding and income, mediated by IQ, according to the study.
 
“The beneficial effects of breast-feeding on intelligence persist into adulthood,” the researchers concluded.
 
The results were published this week in the journal Lancet Global Health.

Parenting Advice From ‘America’s Worst Mom’

Posted: Thu, 01/22/2015 - 09:32

"World's Worst Mom" on Discovery channel--looks great!

 
By JANE E. BRODY  JANUARY 19, 2015 4:33 PM January 19, 2015 
 
Lenore Skenazy, a New York City mother of two, earned the sobriquet “America’s Worst Mom” after reporting in a newspaper column that she had allowed her younger son, then 9, to ride the subway alone.
 
The damning criticism she endured, including a threat of arrest for child endangerment, intensified her desire to encourage anxious parents to give their children the freedom they need to develop the self-confidence and resilience to cope effectively with life’s many challenges.
 
One result was the publication in 2009 of her book “Free Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts With Worry).” A second result is the Free Range Kids Project and a 13-part series, starting Thursday on Discovery Life Channel, called “World’s Worst Mom.” In it, Ms. Skenazy intervenes to rescue bubble-wrapped kids from their overprotective parents by guiding the children safely through a sequence of once-forbidden activities and showing their anxious parents how well the children perform and how proud they are of what they accomplished.
 
The term “helicopter parents” applies to far more than those who hover relentlessly over their children’s academic and musical development. As depicted in the first episode of the series, it applies to 10-year-old Sam’s very loving mother who wouldn’t let him ride a bike (“she’s afraid I’ll fall and get hurt”), cut up his own meat (“Mom thinks I’ll cut my fingers off”), or play “rough sports” like skating. The plea from a stressed-out, thwarted Sam: “I just want to do things by myself.”
 
In an interview, Ms. Skenazy said, “Having been brainwashed by all the stories we hear, there’s a prevailing fear that any time you’re not directly supervising your child, you’re putting the child in danger.” The widespread publicity now given to crimes has created an exaggerated fear of the dangers children face if left to navigate and play on their own.
 
Yet, according to Peter Gray, a research psychologist at Boston College, “the actual rate of strangers abducting or molesting children is very small. It’s more likely to happen at the hands of a relative or family friend. The statistics show no increase in childhood dangers. If anything, there’s been a decrease.”
 
Experts say there is no more crime against children by strangers today — and probably significantly less — than when I was growing up in the 1940s and ’50s, a time when I walked to school alone and played outdoors with friends unsupervised by adults. “The world is not perfect — it never was — but we used to trust our children in it, and they learned to be resourceful,” Ms. Skenazy said. “The message these anxious parents are giving to their children is ‘I love you, but I don’t believe in you. I don’t believe you’re as competent as I am.’ ”
 
Dr. Gray, author of “Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life,” said in an interview, “If children are not allowed to take routine risks, they’ll be less likely to be able to handle real risks when they do occur.”
 
Case in point: His college’s counseling office has seen a doubling in the rate of emergency calls in the last five years, “mainly for problems kids used to solve on their own,” like being called a bad name by a roommate or finding a mouse in the room. “Students are prepared academically, but they’re not prepared to deal with day-to-day life, which comes from a lack of opportunity to deal with ordinary problems,” Dr. Gray said. “Over the past 60 years, there’s been a huge change, well documented by social scientists, in the hours a day children play outdoors — less than half as much as parents did at their children’s ages,” he said.
 
In decades past, children made up their own games and acquired important life skills in the process. “In pickup games,” Dr. Gray said, “children make the rules, negotiate, and figure out what’s fair to keep everyone happy. They develop creativity, empathy and the ability to read the minds of other players, instead of having adults make the rules and solve all the problems.”
 
Dr. Gray links the astronomical rise in childhood depression and anxiety disorders, which are five to eight times more common than they were in the 1950s, to the decline in free play among young children. “Young people today are less likely to have a sense of control over their own lives and more likely to feel they are the victims of circumstances, which is predictive of anxiety and depression,” he said.
 
There are also physical consequences to restricting children’s outdoor play because there are no adults available to supervise it. Children today spend many more hours indoors than in years past, which in part accounts for the rise in childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Many elementary schools have even canceled recess, believing it is time better spent cramming children’s heads with facts and figures.
 
“Childhood should be a time of freedom and play, not building a résumé for college,” Dr. Gray said.
 
As Ms. Skenazy put it, “if parents truly believe children must be supervised every second of the day, then they can’t walk to school, play in the park, or wake up Saturday morning, get on their bikes and go have an adventure.”
 
Some 2,000 families were screened by the Discovery Life Channel to find 13 families crippled by anxiety yet willing to have an intervention. “The parents weren’t easy pushovers,” Ms. Skenazy said. “Some were very unhappy to see me at first. But once pride in what their children achieved replaced their fears, they were ecstatic — relaxed and happy instead of crippled with fear.”
 
Ms. Skenazy spent four days with each family, introducing a different challenge each day. Sam learned to cut cheese and slice a tomato with a sharp knife and then made sandwiches for his parents. He also learned to ride a two-wheeler.
 
“I don’t guarantee I’ll take away all their worry, just give them the confidence to loosen the reins on their kids,” she said. “Kids need roots and wings. Parents give them roots. I give them wings.”
 

 

Halloween for Kids in the '70s vs. Halloween Today

Posted: Tue, 11/04/2014 - 07:03

I know Halloween has come and gone but this is hilarious!

Just a few days ago, my 6-year-old and I were discussing what she wants to be for Halloween. We still like to (mostly) make our costumes instead of buying them. Plus, who can afford them today? I kid you not, I saw a little girl's fairy costume for $89.50 a few days ago. (When is the last time you spent $89.50 on something just for you? Exactly.) So, my daughter wants to be Hello Kitty this year, but not just any Hello Kitty. She wants to be a Hello Bat Kitty -- which totally rocks. (I love this about her.)
 
Anyway, all of this discussion about the upcoming holiday had me thinking about my own 1970s childhood Halloween experience and how different it is for her today.
 
Today's Halloween vs. a 1970s Halloween
 
1. Halloween Costumes.
 
1970s: The night before Halloween, your tired mom takes you into K-mart, where you look through the picked-over plastic masks with matching costumes. You clutch that $5.99 Cinderella or Spiderman mask and matching costume to your chest on the way home as you slide around on the bench seat without a seatbelt in the back of your parents' wood-paneled station wagon, while your mom smokes in the front seat. There were no costumes left in your brother's size, so when your mom gets home, she pulls out an old stained sheet from the musty bottom drawer and cuts two eye holes in it so your brother can go as a ghost. She then puts four frozen salisbury steak TV dinners in the oven (and this time, she remembers to pull back one corner of the aluminum foil on top so the sauce isn't frozen popsicle gravy).
 
Today: Three months before Halloween, your mom starts researching politically correct costumes and narrows it down to three choices. A family meeting is held for everyone to vote on their costumes, in order to allow the children to exercise their decision-making skills. Your mom then spends three days on Pinterest planning the components of the non-genetically-modified corn costume. Afterwards, she spends $279 at the local craft store to purchase non-allergenic material and locally made glue, only exchanging the green material twice to get the exact shade for the corn husk. She has you model the finished product with a series of 17 photos so that she can blog about the steps to making it. Then, she posts it to Pinterest and Instagrams the photos.
 
2. Getting Ready On Halloween Night.
 
1970s: You bust through the door from school and run straight to your costume, pulling it on over your school clothes. You try the mask on, knowing its tiny breathing hole will in no way facilitate oxygen exchange while you run around like a crazy person during trick-or-treating. You lie to your mom and say you can breathe just fine. The mask eyes never fit perfectly, so vision is limited, but you lie and tell your mom you can see, even though she doesn't care by then because she is too engrossed in her "stories" on TV to be worried about something as minor as breathing and seeing at night. You run around in your costume in the yard, getting sweaty, until it's time to go right at the moment it starts getting dark outside.
 
Today: You come home from school and your mom has a tray of organic vegetables fashioned into non-scary Halloween shapes like smiling pumpkins and happy ghosts with a side of homemade hummus. You have dedicated quiet time in your room reading a book or drawing so that you don't get over-stimulated. Your mom double-checks the neighborhood association's newsletter to ensure that she's right about the designated trick-or-treating hours of 6:37 p.m. to 8:01 p.m. One hour before the designated neighborhood time slot, your mom tells you to pee, wash your face and brush your teeth. You open the package of new organic thermal underwear that perfectly matches your costume. Your mom gently helps you into your costume and carefully paints your face with dye-free, organic tint. Your mom takes two selfies of you and her and posts them on Facebook with a countdown clock. She then positions you into 12 different poses in front of the recycled farm background that she made during her lunch hour earlier that day. She posts those pictures to Instagram.
 
3. Halloween Night Trick-or-Treating.
 
1970s: As the streetlights click on, your mom rips two pillowcases off of the pillows and hands one to you and one to your brother to put the candy in. She hands you an old flashlight that weighs about two pounds, but has to shake it first to get it to work. You immediately shove it into the pillowcase as you run down the sidewalk, your mom waving from the front door as smoke from her cigarette encircles her head. You meet up with some friends from the neighborhood and run like maniacs from door to door until your mom yells for you or the scary widow lady tells you it's time to go home. You drag your full pillowcase of candy along the road and into the house. It's 11 p.m. Your mom is asleep on the couch with a cigarette burning in the ashtray.
 
Today: Your mom presents you with an organic tote bag on which she's stenciled your name, the holiday and the year with dye she's made from soaking organic fruits and vegetables. She clips four flashing orange lights shaped like small pumpkins onto your costume and bag. At 6:34 p.m., your mom buckles you into the back of the Range Rover. She drives to the first neighbor's house and waits in front of it until precisely 6:37 p.m., when she gives you permission to unbuckle and go up to the first door. After the first house gives you a sugar-free, organic sucker and a toothbrush, you get back into the Range Rover and your mom drives you next door, where you repeat the process until precisely 8:01 p.m. when your mom drives you home.
 
4. The Candy.
 
1970s: You rush into the house and dump the candy from your pillowcase onto the floor. Your mom immediately takes the apple (because it has razor blades in it) and the Pop Rocks (because they make your stomach explode, especially if you mix them with Coke in your mouth). She hands you one of the homemade popcorn balls from your stash so you can eat it while you sort through your candy. Your mom puts the pillowcases back on your pillows and tells you to check the chocolate for pin holes in case someone injected something into it. You and your brother eat candy to your hearts' content while you watch Halloween. You pass out on the floor in front of the TV with a stomachache, still in your costume, at 1 a.m.
 
Today: Your mom carefully helps you out of your costume. You go upstairs to take a shower while your mom swabs your candy wrappers for signs of drugs, explosives or other illegal substances. She throws away the products that are not organic and separates the candy into chocolate vs. non-chocolate. She unwraps the 17 toothbrushes you received and puts them into the dishwasher to sterilize them. When you come downstairs, clean and in organic pajamas, you are allowed to pick one piece of candy to enjoy before you go to bed. You brush your teeth with one of the sterilized toothbrushes and you are in bed by 9:17 p.m. You got to stay up late for the special occasion and are excited! Your mom searches Pinterest for healthy ways to use leftover Halloween candy and looks for local dentist offices that will trade candy for another toothbrush.
 
5. After Halloween.
 
1970s: You wear that costume every single day until it falls apart. The cracked plastic mask lasts a little longer because your mom keeps replacing that broken rubber string on the back of the mask with a rubber band. Next year, you're bummed because your plastic Cinderella mask is too cracked to wear. Your mom asks you to hold her cigarette while she tries, one last time, to replace the mask string with a rubber band. It doesn't work.
 
Today: After Halloween, your mom carefully rinses your non-GMO corn costume in the organic homemade laundry detergent. She discreetly hangs it to dry in the laundry room so it doesn't waste electricity in the dryer. After, your mom carefully folds it, places it in a recycled bag made of hand-sewn fibers and donates it to the church for next year's costume exchange. She then immediately starts researching handmade Christmas gifts on Pinterest to make for the 42 extended family members who will be at your house for the holidays.
 
Check out more from Jacqueline on PrimeParentsClub.com. You can also follow her on Twitter as @WritRams and @PrimeParentClub. Pick up her humor book 50 Shades of Frayed: What Happens When 'I Do' Becomes 'Not Tonight' on Amazon.

 

Here is a list of foods that make you sleepy--who knew??

Posted: Wed, 10/29/2014 - 12:34
Cherries (cherry juice is great to drink before bed), honey (also good for coughs), white bread (is there anything good about white bread,) turkey (that one I knew--tryptophan), oatmeal (bummer,) red meat (I would forgo altogether,) hummus (lots of tryptophan,) salmon (melatonin,) bananas (also good to eat if you have diarrhea,) lettuce (lactorium--no idea,) walnuts and almonds, crustaceans like shrimp and lobster, and pretzels (lots of glucose--which will apparently lead to being comatose!) 

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