For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ve got three topics for you. First are the obesogens, those endocrine-disrupting chemicals that permeate our environment, our foods, our consumer products, and even our bodies. They sound scary and terrible, but how much should we be worrying about them? Next up is the tot who hates his veggies, as classic a trope as any other. Should we be force feeding these kids broccoli, collard greens, and butternut squash at all costs? Or should we take a more laissez faire approach and let them develop their tastes on their own? Finally, I discuss the importance of proper pregnancy recovery, especially in regards to lifting heavy (and not so heavy but extremely wiggly) things.
Just about every week, I get emails from readers who are trying to get their kids on board with healthier eating. It’s easy enough for us to read about the health benefits of a particular way of life and then enact the changes necessary to attain them, but small kids are ruled by their immediate desires. That’s what makes being a kid so great. Rather than try to stifle that intrinsic part of their being and risk creating the unfortunate abomination known as a tiny, prepubescent, stressed-out adult, what if we could somehow work with their natural proclivities to make healthy food appealing? Wouldn’t that be awesome, effective, and far easier than fighting them?
A recent email from a reader gave me a great idea for making this a reality. She called it “co-feeding” (a la co-sleeping) and described it as getting the kids (and all other family members) involved with the shopping, cooking, and eating process. I thought this was a fantastic idea and figured I’d run with it.
In recent weeks, I’ve covered the reasons why you should carry your babies, and explored both what to do and what not to do when you do so. Both articles stemmed from numerous reader emails I have received asking about ancestral practices regarding baby wearing and carrying, and whether we might be getting it all wrong in this day and age. Now, in this third and final part of this series, I try to help make sense of the dozens of baby carriers on the market.
When it comes to transporting an immobile infant, there are seemingly infinite variations, not all of them equal. Palming the kid’s head like you were Michael Jordan and he were a basketball? Impressive, but not optimal, especially once they get big enough for their feet to drag on the ground and slow you down. Carrying the child by the scruff of her neck? A child shouldn’t have a graspable scruff (are you sure that’s not a dog you’re swaddling?). Tossing the kid to yourself as you run down the street in a continuous game of auto-catch? Fun, but not realistic for every occasion.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll be covering several topics. First, I cover fruit wax, that lovely layer of ultra-thin sheen applied to many fruits and vegetables in the grocery store. Is it harmful or innocuous? Find out below. Next up is one that makes most people extremely squeamish: placentophagy, or the consumption of the placenta by the mother following birth. Does it do anything? Should people do it? What’s the deal with it? Finally, I field a question from a guy who hangs out in a bar for a few hours a week with his friends. All good, right? Unfortunately, this particular bar allows smoking, so he’s wondering whether or not he’s doing any real damage to himself from exposure to second hand smoke.
Last week, I made the case for wearing and carrying your babies, highlighting the considerable evidence of benefit of the practice. Today, I’m going to discuss what to look for when you carry a baby. I’ll also explain what not to do, as well as give a brief rundown of the unresolved topics. Some people might balk at the idea of “learning” how to carry or wear a baby. After all, we’ve been carrying and wearing small, defenseless pudgy humans for millions of years without a blog or a book telling us how to do it. What’s changed to make us suddenly need it?
Not much has changed, actually. Back in the days before widely disseminated, publicly available child-rearing information, we had mothers, aunts, grannies, cousins, plus their male counterparts, to help us out. They’d learned from someone else, they’d done it themselves, and now they were there to show and tell the next batch of parents how to do things. They were the blogs and the books and the experts. It was a culture of baby wearing, too. It permeated the environment. There were no strollers; this is just what was done. You weren’t “expected” to wear your kid. There just wasn’t any other option, and so you knew how to do it.
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