The mode of delivery has a big impact on an infant’s microbiota, the bacteria that live in the gut.
The particular makeup of a newborn’s gut microbes is important as it has been shown to affect their risk of developing certain diseases later in childhood and adulthood.
Breastfeeding is a cultural taboo in the UK, and the prevalence of bottles in children's books doesn't help.
Current high rates of childhood obesity are the product of a perfect early-life storm.
Childhood obesity is increasing and is most common for children living in disadvantage. But it's preventable if we begin from the start of life.
There’s lots of advice on what mums can and can’t eat during pregnancy, but what about during breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding mothers often receive a variety of well-intentioned advice about what and what not to eat during this period. But what does the science say?
Modern women are expected to juggle work, homelife and motherhood, mostly by themselves.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
The pressure on new mums can be overwhelming, but culturally they are expected to go it alone.
It’s not all sunshine and roses for some mums.
Negative breastfeeding experiences can make special drives to encourage it all too painful for some.
South Africa, despite its bold commitments to improve breastfeeding, does not have national data to monitor breastfeeding rates to ensure that its policies are being effective.
Breastfeeding norms vary around the world.
Is there anything wrong with breastfeeding children up to five or six?
Midwives commonly supervise feeds and interject when women do something “wrong”.
The most common complaint is conflicting advice, as well as staff who are "bossy, judgemental and inaccessible" and who undermine women's confidence.
A detail from Stanisław Wyspiański’s “Macierzynstwo” (1905).
What are we really talking about when we criticize women who breastfeed in public?
Modern debates around breastfeeding would be eerily familiar to someone from the 18th or 19th century.
The Fashionable Mamma, James Gillroy, 1796. The British Museum.
Regular controversies over breastfeeding might seem like a quirk of contemporary life. But 18th and 19th century clothing reveal that women have been handling the issue of visibility and practicality for centuries.
What are the hormones that cause cravings during pregnancy?
Multiple hormones produced by the mother, placenta and the foetus drive and coordinate the amazing biological changes and development of the baby that occur with conception, foetal growth and birth.
I don’t want to change public attitudes. I just want to feed my baby.
Breastfeeding rates in the UK are among the lowest in the world. What can we do to improve them? Stop shaming women, might be a good start.
Employers should provide an enabling environment at work for women to continue breastfeeding their infants.
Only 28% of working women across the globe are fully protected by maternity laws that provide for time off work with full pay.
It’s unclear just how many infants are undergoing these procedures.
Breastfed infants diagnosed with "tongue tie" are being unnecessarily treated with deep laser or scissors cuts under both their tongue and upper lip in the first weeks and months of life.
If health professionals’ interpretations of a baby’s behaviours are negative, a woman may question whether breastfeeding is meeting her baby’s needs.
Women who are not enjoying breastfeeding, or think their baby is not enjoying breastfeeding, are more likely to wean early.
There might still be more art than science in raising healthy children, but science can be useful.
Here are five scientific studies from the last 12 months with simple tips for raising healthy children.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of infections in early life.
A Harvard University researcher last week suggested western women stop breastfeeding after a couple of months to reduce the risk of passing potentially harmful toxins on to infants via breast milk.
Exclusive breastfeeding until children are six months old is recommended by the World Health Organisation for optimal growth of infants.
In 12 years Kenya has managed to dramatically improve its exclusive breastfeeding rates from 13% to 61%. The success has not come without challenges, and some persist.
Most of the developed world provides longer paid parental leave than Australia.
New and expectant parents are among the biggest losers in this year's budget. From July 2016 primary carers will lose access to government paid parental leave if their workplace also provides leave.