Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mom's behavior influences dad's involvement with new baby


June 18th, 2008 @ 6:30am

Randall Jeppesen reporting

New research shows mothers play a big role in influencing how much dad takes part in caring for a new baby.

The Ohio State research published in this month's Journal of Family Psychology suggests new dads can easily lose self-confidence in their ability to take care of a child if the mother constantly nags or criticizes how the dad is caring for the child.

"Yes, I think there's something to mothers hoarding the care early on in life that really can send signals to dad that he's either not welcome or not competent to be involved,"

Brigham Young University family life Professor Alan Hawkins says if the father gets frustrated and limits his fathering role, it can frustrate the mother down the road when she wants him more involved.

Hawkins says good communication between couples can help, and if a mom has to have something done a her way, she should try to find dad other ways he can be involved with the child.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ashlee's Dad Selling Baby Pictures While Ashlee Denies Pregnancy

Posted by Brett Singer

Are you SURE you're not pregnany, honey?Joe Simpson, father of Ashlee and Jessica, has often showed himself to be, shall we say, a bit off (that's him in the photo, looking at his daughter). But never let it be said that the man isn't willing to do anything to make a buck.

The latest news is that Joe is trying to sell pictures of Ashlee's baby for (say this in a Dr. Evil voice) One Million Dollars. Apparently Joe would take the pictures himself (which he would get paid extra for) and Ashlee would appear on the cover of whatever glossy is willing to pony up enough cash.

There are three problems here:

One, no one is buying. One editor says that the pics would be worth, "$60,000 maybe." Do you ever wonder where they get these dollar amounts? The anonymously quoted editor went on to call the timing of the proposed sale "suspicious," since Ashlee has a new album out next week (which, sadly, is not called "Acid Reflux"). The editor also said, "Ashlee's lucky she got pregnant, frankly." Nice.

Two, Ashlee hasn't confirmed that she is pregnant, and her fiancé, Pete Wentz, actively denies the rumor, saying, "This is all news to me." Since rock stars aren't necessarily known for their strong connection to reality, it's possible that Ashlee is indeed pregnant and that Wentz doesn't know. But I kinda doubt it.


Joe, here's some free advice: the girls make enough money. You make enough money off of the girls. Don't try to sell photos of your daughter's baby before she officially announces that she's pregnant. Just relax and enjoy life. Oh, and maybe get Ashlee some singing lessons.

Monday, April 21, 2008

popular baby names for 2007

Top 10 baby boy names in the Capital Region for 2007

Based on Times Union birth announcements (not all hospitals are represented)

1. Jacob/Jakob

2. Logan

3. Nicholas/Nicolas/Nikolas

4. Alexander, Michael, Aiden/Ayden (tie)

5. Anthony

6. Christopher

7. Tyler, Ryan (tie)

8. Joseph

9. Joshua

10. Jack

Top 10 Boys' Names nationally for 2007


1. Aiden

2. Ethan

3. Jacob

4. Jayden

5. Caden

6. Noah

7. Jackson

8. Jack

9. Logan

10. Matthew

Top 10 Girls' Names in the Capital Region for 2007

Based on Times Union birth announcements (not all hospitals are represented)

1. Isabella

2. Emma

3. Olivia

4. Abigail/Abagail/other variations

5. Sophia/Sofia

6. Ava

7. Lily/Lilly

8. Emily/Emilie/Emilee

9. Elizabeth/Elisabeth

10. Chloe

Top 10 Girls' Names Nationally for 2007


1. Sophia

2. Isabella

3. Emma

4. Madison

5. Ava

6. Addison

7. Hailey

8. Emily

9. Kaitlyn

10. Olivia

Unique baby names in the Capital Region for 2007

Based on Times Union birth announcements (not all hospitals represented)


Summer Breeze


Mystic Storm








Amerikiss Liberty















Axl Roze

Monday, April 14, 2008

Old views cast shadow on new dad

There’s a good bit of chatter these days about what some are calling “The Coming American Matriarchy.”

National Journal columnist Jonathan Rauch, drawing on census data, suggests that American women will soon outnumber men in top professions and enjoy increased earning power. This is largely because they will have had more years of formal education, a trend already established among Americans in their mid-20s to mid-30s.

This raises the question: Who will take care of their children? Will women continue to run themselves ragged trying to be boss at work, full-time caregiver at home and on call for either obligation day and night? Or will they look to their mates, who, should projections hold, may not be putting in as many hours at work as they?

If the latter, some things are going to have to change, not the least of which are women’s attitudes toward their men as parents. A male friend who has three children put it this way, “Women have a way of making a father feel like the paralegal to her lawyer.”

As much as I hate to admit it, he’s right. Many of us mothers believe that we alone know what’s best for our kids. How could we not? Our babies are, quite literally, flesh of our flesh. They recognize our voice before the voice of any other. We are frequently the first to sense changes in their physiology or their emotions. Doesn’t that mean we always know what’s best for them?

In a word, no. A personal example: After my son Jeff was born, I spent early mornings with him before going off to my full-time job at the Post. Husband Carl, who got home several hours before I did, took care of the early-evening duties.

But I took back over as soon as I walked in the house. I bathed Jeff and played with him for before putting him to bed. And then he turned 2, at which point Carl insisted he learn to play by himself at night. “He’s had adults by his side all day,” Carl said. “He’s not too young to start learning what he’s capable of.”

Without his mother, who’d been away for most of the day? Clearly Carl didn’t know the first thing about attachment theory. This dispute flared up regularly for months until I began to observe Jeff learning to entertain himself very well without TV, video games or his mother – a skill that has served him well.

Of course, other things keep today’s fathers away from fathering. Their fathers, thinking it enough to be reliable heads of household and breadwinners, didn’t teach them the same things our mothers taught us about tending to our offspring. As a result, many fathers assume they don’t know diddly squat. (My husband is not one of those men, God bless him.) As men, they don’t like doing something they don’t excel at right away. So do we really need to tell them what temperature to heat the baby food? Would it kill Adam or Annie to eat their Gerber oatmeal cold – as long as they eat it?

None of this is easy. We’re talking about changing habits of thought that go back to the days when women tended children in caves while their mates were out catching game and fighting off intruders.

Now, women are leaving the cave in increasing numbers and some men get nervous thinking women may one day lead the pack. Could it be that as men tiptoe back into the cave, we women worry that they’ll eventually take over?

Such concerns are common, says Paula England, a Stanford University sociologist and co-editor of the book “Unmarried Couples With Children.”

Both women and men feel more comfortable, she says, when a mother assumes a traditional male role than when a father assumes a historically female role. “The men don’t know how to take (child raising) on, and the women don’t trust them to.”

Such tugs of territory cross income and racial lines. The Urban Institute recently brought together university researchers who, under different federal grants, have been following thousands of young children and their mostly low-income, unmarried parents in cities around the country. One might assume the fathers in these families have little to do with their children or have disappeared entirely, but that is not the case, said Ronald Mincy, a professor of social policy at Columbia University and a principal investigator in one of the studies. Even among the dads who live apart from mother and child, half spend some time regularly with their children.

Conflict between the men and their partners keeps many of the dads from staying fully engaged, according to researchers. Is that because they don’t want to have anything to do with their kids? Or are the mothers of their children keeping them away?

Sociologist England says “the answer is usually some messy in-between. The guys all have stories that ‘She won’t let me see them.’ But the women will say there were good reasons beyond child support. ‘I know he’s been involved with drugs,’ they’ll say. ‘Or, he used to say he’d come get our kid and not show up. My son got heartbroken and I don’t want to expose him to that anymore.’ ”

That children do better in and out of school when in regular contact with fathers is well established. What is not as well understood is what that father-child contact should look like. “Our research on child development is entirely too matri-focal,” Mincy said.

Mothers know intuitively why we are important to our kids, and research has expanded what we know. Perhaps if we understood better how valuable fathers are in ways similar to, and different from, our own, we would do more to make parenting a true partnership. It also wouldn’t hurt if both mothers and fathers realized how forgiving kids can be. Kids give parents enormous credit just for trying. Neither sex has to get it perfect.

Even dads who don’t make a lot of money know they are going to have to get in the game more deeply. Many, in fact, look forward to it, according to Alford Young Jr., a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. Young, who supervised a study of such men in Boston and Indianapolis, quoted from two of them at the Urban Institute.

“From what I’ve heard,” said a young man named Darnell, “fathers in the past were pretty much breadwinners and that was just about it. ... The father wasn’t back then ... as emotionally invested in the father-child relationship as they are now. ... It’s definitely going in the ... right direction, you know. Especially with women working more.”

Another subject, Brian, recalled friends coming over one time when his little daughter was living with him. He was braiding her hair.

“They like, ‘What you doing?’

“Ain’t nobody else going to do it. It’s all about being a daddy,” he responded. “I know I ain’t no punk. That’s what daddies do nowadays.”

If we mommies can let them.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Healthy tips can pave the way for those months of pregnancy

By Sally Watts

Women who are thinking about starting a family within the next few months, or even years, can do a lot now to prepare their bodies for pregnancy. Taking some extra steps and precautions beforehand can prevent problems during pregnancy and ensure that mother and baby have the best chance for a happy, healthy nine months.

As with most lifestyle choices today, there is an increasing "greening" trend in pre-pregnancy and prenatal care, so a woman has more choices than ever about how to care for herself during this time in her life.

Following are some general things for women to consider before attempting to conceive. Be sure to check with your personal physician for advice that's tailored to you and your needs.

Dr. Craig Koniver, owner of Primary Plus Family Medicine and founder of The Center for Organic Medicine in Charleston, says one of the issues he sees most with women of childbearing age is that they do not consume enough healthy fat.

"Fat has gotten a bad rap by the media, but healthy fats are extremely important to moms-to-be, nursing moms and everyone else, for that matter," says Koniver, who, as a father as well as a physician, takes a special interest in pre-pregnancy and prenatal wellness.

Healthy omega-3 fats can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon or sardines. (Koniver recommends the Web site to determine which types of fish are safest to eat.) Omega-3 fats also are present in foods that contain flax. Koniver says that it's easier to keep up with omega-3 intake if women supplement their pre-pregnancy and pregnancy diets with fish oil and/or flaxseed oil. Koniver recommends even higher doses of omega-3 fats than are generally prescribed to help cancel out the effects of other fats in the diet.

Koniver also says it's critical that pre-pregnant women take a balanced multivitamin that contains folic acid, as well as other healthy minerals. Folic acid is vital to fetal development and guards against several congenital malformations. He also suggests selenium, a trace mineral crucial for proper immune system and thyroid function.

It is important for women considering pregnancy, and even all women of childbearing age, to take a prenatal multivitamin daily, Koniver says. "It is nearly impossible for anyone to eat such a well-rounded diet every single day to capture the necessary vitamins and minerals that are needed for proper biochemical functioning."

Koniver also recommends women consume as many organic fruits and vegetables as possible. Avoiding pesticides and fungicides will help maintain the delicate hormone balance during pregnancy, he says.

Another nutritional key before attempting to get pregnant is good hydration, which keeps all body systems running smoothly. During pregnancy, a woman's total blood volume increases by 20 percent or more, and hydration is critical in maintaining health. By getting used to drinking a lot of water now, women can continue the habit after conception. According to the March of Dimes, lack of proper hydration can trigger preterm contractions.
The March of Dimes also suggests women cut back on caffeine before they become pregnant, as caffeine has been linked to miscarriage in studies. Again, it's better to get the habits in place before the pregnancy begins so they're easier to follow once you conceive.

A good exercise regimen should be established before getting pregnant, which would make it easier and more natural to continue during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine, and again after becoming pregnant.

It's important for women to feel strong and fit beforehand so they can handle the physical challenges of pregnancy and manage labor effectively. Koniver says he doesn't have any specific exercise recommendations or requirements for pre-pregnant and pregnant women, except that they choose an exercise regimen they truly enjoy so it will be easier to stick with it.
Exercise also can help control weight if needed. Ideally, pre-pregnant women should be within their healthy weight range. If that's not realistic, losing even 5 percent to 10 percent of total body weight can be beneficial.

Risks associated with pregnancy in obese women include pre-term labor, pre-eclampsia (elevated blood pressure during pregnancy), diabetes and gestational diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes is more prevalent among women who are overweight, and there also is a link between gestational diabetes and increased likelihood or developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.

Women who are overweight should speak with their doctor about realistic ways to get their weight under control and minimize risks before attempting to conceive.

What about medications? What's OK to take during pregnancy? Women should work closely with their doctor and other medical caregivers to evaluate carefully all their medications to determine which ones are safe during pregnancy.

Ideally, the pre-pregnant body should be as "pristine" as possible in terms of medications and nutritional intake. However, some medications might be necessary for the mother's health.
Heidi Murkoff, author of "What to Expect When You're Expecting," says making the determination about medications and pregnancy is not always clear-cut, as in the case with antidepressant drugs. Women who are taking antidepressants should sit down with their doctor and have a frank discussion about their medications, including specific risks and mental history. For some women, going off antidepressants before becoming pregnant can pose an even greater risk of harm to themselves or to their baby if the depression worsens or turns into postpartum depression after delivery.
Checkups and care

Before planning a baby, women should schedule a thorough checkup with their primary care physician and/or OB/GYN. Doctors can make recommendations based on medical history, age, weight and other relevant factors.

Many women don't know that a thorough dental cleaning and checkup are in order before trying to conceive. Aleka Thorvalson, a Charleston nutritional consultant, says oral health has a direct effect on body health. There is a strong scientific study link between even minor gum disease and the risk of pre-term labor. Additionally, Thorvalson says, X-rays should be avoided during pregnancy, so it's best to get to the dentist before attempting to conceive.

Women can also consider massage and relaxation treatments before pregnancy. Paige Bickar, a licensed massage therapist who offers fertility massage and pregnancy massage, helps women get ready for pregnancy with reflexology, acupressure and cranial sacral techniques. She says the field is fairly new, but is evolving quickly as an alternative to fertility clinics that sometimes rely heavily on hormone intake.

Pregnancy massage is available at several Lowcountry day spas.
Sally Watts is a Charleston freelance writer. E-mail her at