A dumb mom

After having received the “dumbest mom in the whole world” award this morning from my youngest, I got ready for another day at the conference. Joel though it was extremely evil of me to briskly put his Lego heroes away when he was only going to put them all in place on the command ship. He didn’t have time for me telling him he needed to leave for school. I wasn’t especially diplomatic, I have to give him that, and either way, I should have just given him a hug and told him that the heroes needed to hide really quickly because the enemy was just on its way. But I didn’t and the last thing I saw of him before I hurried off to the shower were the tears in his eyes and his tied little fists.

Things like that get to me and I can spend all day wondering why I had to be such a stiff, insensitive, angry mother. Just to strengthen my sense of incapability, I biked off in the complete wrong direction along the Yarra river, only realising I did that when there were no more buildings around. Given that I was headed to the central parts of the city, the lack of skyscrapers should have made me suspicious, but my critical thinking abilities apparently only apply to science. I really am dumb, I guess. And although Melbourne’s bike share system is great, the blue bikes weigh about a ton and only have three gears. So my (de)tour had me arriving all sweaty at my poster session.


Besides being a great city for biking, Melbourne has good reason to call itself a “food capital”. You can get about any food you like in most parts of the city. This, however, is not something I opted for when I went out for sushi at lunch:


Nutrition is indeed something that is well-discussed at the International Congress of Paediatrics. Malnutrition is still one of the major caveats in developing countries, whereas obesity is a major problem in industrialised ones, and both are a problem in countries with recent rapid development. Breast-feeding, especially exclusive breast-feeding is another intensively discussed issue. The WHO recommends exclusive breast-feeding for six months. Although the Nordic countries are very strong on breast-feeding compared to other developed countries, rates of exclusive breast-feeding have declined between four and six months of infant age.

I listened to an expensive, well-conducted study from Iceland using stable isotopes to prove what all midwives already know: healthy women produce enough milk to feed their children well even without complementary feeding up to six months of age. I think the issue is not whether or not breast milk is enough or good for children in developed countries. Our interview study with women born in the 1980’s showed that, although they are very positive to breast feeding, they are concerned with their own freedom (as in not being too tied down) and on sharing responsibility for the infant with their partner (as in HIM instead of HER getting up to feed the infant at night). So they are tolerant for use of formula as a complement to breast-feeding and think that decisions concerning breast-feeding belong to the mother and possibly her partner. In other words, if we want to affect breast-feeding rates we have to understand the way new parents think about these issues. You are welcome to view our poster on this by clicking on ICP Poster Gen Y (you will have to ask your computer to minimise the image) or just admire the photo below – it is the poster on the right:


I can’t be that dumb if I can host two posters at the same time, can I? Not too sure there. I’ll ask Joel tonight. I’m sure he cares all about his mother’s scientific abilities… But he has a beautiful heart and will probably tell me with a serious look on his face that I don’t need to get so angry next time.

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