Archives for posts with tag: dads

Before I go out and celebrate St Patrick’s Day with the kids I just wanted to mention a few things that have been on my mind.

Firstly, an amazing event we attended a few weeks ago was Babytalk – a parent and baby type show. However, that description isn’t fair, as this was more than a show, it was an experience. They catered for everything. I went for a few hours and stayed for the weekend! There was a dining section with natural light, looking out onto a pond and manicured lawns, a kiddies play area, face painting, a reading corner and every hour there was an activity to inform or entertain the attendees. Grandparents and kids were free, so plenty of the maturer child-carer was visible on the day, while the younger parent strolled around the stalls. This must have been a bonus for stall holders. So I’d definitely recommend it, and their logo and branding design are very eye catching.

While there I came across a new app for expectant dads by IQ Content. Very simple design and simple to navigate through the material. It’s for a general international audience so there aren’t any local details. However, in terms of getting to read something about pregnancy and birth, while fiddling with your smartphone means that you are making an effort. DaddyO will definitely inform you and prepare you for the role of parenthood. Once the baby arrives, you will need more than an smartphone app!

That brings me onto a great piece I read on the new Parent.ie website by stay at home dad, Tom Evans. He captures the emotions of the roller coaster ride of parenting, and it’s good to hear it from a dad’s perspective. It’s a short enough piece for you to read quickly enough to be informed if you’re on the road to being a parent, and if you’ve already arrived here, well then you will empathise with the words. Read the article here.

And lastly, it’s one of my favourite times of the year – Offset! It’s an annual design conference in Dublin – 3 days of back to back international design talk. It reminds me of how much creativity is out there and how much I want to be a part of it. So, in less than a week I will be a non-practicing parent of sorts. After dealing with, and participating in, two weeks (or more) of non stop illnesses in this family household I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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Image from mi9.com

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I’m a big supporter of breastfeeding, I understand the benefits it can bring to children and subsequently to the child’s parents. We have been lucky enough to provide this choice to our children. It’s not always an easy option but with support and determination parents can keep breastfeeding their children for many years.

Some of the main breastfeeding support services in Ireland are Le Leche League and Cuidiú – both of whom we have used. My wife was obviously the main participant in their services and she gained friendships as much as advice during her initiation into motherhood. She was so impressed by what they offered she has trained to be a qualified breastfeeding counsellor with the Cuidiú organisation.

As a breastfeeding dad my role is mainly to support my wife’s role in being the feeder of our children. That usually involves taking the slack in household duties and parenting, and also tagging along to various breastfeeding events so that my wife can listen to the various speakers and network with the other attendees. It can seem that dads are only the support parent of the household, but nevertheless an important role in the early years.

Next month, La Leche League is holding its annual conference in Ireland and the keynote speaker is Dr Jack Newman, a well known breastfeeding advocate and author. It’s great to see that a man can be included in the role of breastfeeding advisors. It’s not the first time the keynote is a man, I previously attended a conference where David Coleman was the keynote speaker. So, thankfully sexism or gender discrimination isn’t alive in the ranks of La Leche League.

However, something that sours my opinion of this organisation is their attitude to working mothers. The service is available to all mothers who need breastfeeding support. The problem arises when the ‘working’ mother wants to return the favour, and train up to be a support counsellor to other breastfeeding mothers. My wife, who works part-time, made an application to train with La Leche League but received a ‘dissuading’ letter which focused on her role as a mother who is working rather than a dedicated breastfeeder who wants to support other women. This reaction was very judgemental and hurt my wife. Thankfully Cuidiú had no such issue and welcomed the passion my wife has on the subject. I would assume that a working mother would be beneficial to Le Leche League as it provides the empathy and understanding a working mother might need during her work / life balance struggles.

The reason I wanted to write this today is that I find it slightly irritating that La Leche League have no problem asking a man who works for a living to speak about breastfeeding – to offer advice and support to mothers at their national conference. This contradicts their actions to not allow working women to do the same for the League. If training breastfeeding support advisors is only available to women who are full time stay-at-home-mothers, then it creates a diluted structure within the organisation, as mothers who want to return to work or mothers that cannot afford to stay at home cannot get involved. Why is a working mother not admired and accepted within La Leche League? Maybe there is an element of sexism after all!?

Anyway, that’s my soapbox moment, and obviously I hope it’s a policy the League will review. No matter what happens, remember that the support is there from Cuidiú and La Leche League for anyone who wants to breastfeed their children; and the conference is a great social event whereby you can gain support over the few days and in the months and years following afterwards.

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