Wednesday, 21 December 2011

THE ERA OF iPARENTING - New mums turn to the internet for parenting advice

As I just told you in this blogpost here, I've joined the team of Cow & Gate Mumtors and will be regaling you with tales of the trials, tribulations and of course joys of being a parent to a "little one-der" toddler (which I've been doing for years on this blog anyway !). I thought the research below was very interesting because it totally applies to me ! When I need advice, I always turn to internet first, partly because I want the most up-to-date guidelines - even from my experiences as a first time mum with Sophie ten years ago and with Pierre two years ago, many things - some of them of the utmost importance - had changed, for example, the recommended sleeping position for Sophie was on her side and for Pierre on his back. My mother-in-law was adamant that the recommended position was on their fronts, to avoid swallowing sick or regurgitated milk and, while I'm sure she's quite right that this is indeed what she was advised as a new mum, times have changed and so have the guidelines. The other factor is the 24/7 availability. When Vicky our dog started having puppies at 3am and one seemed to get stuck, a quick google search told me what to do, without waking anybody up at such unsociable hours ! What about you ? Are you an iParent too ?!

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THE ERA OF iPARENTING
New mums turn to the internet for parenting advice

New mums are more likely to log on than go to their own mums for parenting advice, according to a new report released today.




A resounding eight in 10 mums (80%) turn to Google, parenting forums or Facebook before asking their own mums for advice (44%), according to the research commissioned by Growingupmilkinfo.com, a new website for parents providing information about toddler growth and development.



Psychologist Doctor Richard Woolfson comments: “The internet continues to be a growing influence with popular forums likes Mumsnet and Netmums being a key advice resource for new mums, whilst a third of mums (33%) head to Google for parenting advice. This is good because it means parents have immediate access to valuable advice, exactly when they need it.


“Unfortunately, that also means the traditional source of parenting support – from grandma and grandpa – is less popular. This is partly due to the younger generations moving further away from where they grew up so parents and grandparents are less likely to live around the corner than they used to.”

The Online Generation


Mothers over the age of 35 were most likely (71%) to rely on the internet for support and advice. However, the social network savvy under 25s were the biggest Facebook users for parenting queries (15% versus 9% national average).


Dr Woolfson continues: “Thirty years ago your family probably would have lived in the next street but now they might live on the other side of the country or even the other side of the world. Yet I still tell new parents to ask granny and grandpa for their advice. You don't have to take it but there's no harm in listening.”

Our Regional Differences

· Southampton mums are the most reliant on friends and family for advice with three in four (75%) relying on their expertise, compared to less than half in Newcastle (44%)


· Welsh mums are the least dependent on forums, with less than a third (29% versus 38% national average) relying on this source, compared to almost half (47%) the mums in Plymouth


· Mums in the capital are twice as likely to tap video sharing site YouTube for tips and advice (10% versus 5% national average) while the opposite could be said of mums in the Scottish capital with one in five Edinburgh mums going it alone, asking advice from no one


· Facebook is heavily used by mums in Brighton with more than a fifth (21%) seeking advice from Facebook friends, higher than any other city in the UK



Nutritionist Amanda Ursell comments: “With nearly eight out of 10 parents unaware that toddlers have different nutritional needs to adults, it is clear more needs to be done to help parents understand what nutrition they need to fuel their toddlers’ amazing growth and development. The toddler years are often overlooked but, thanks to the internet, a greater level of information is more widely available from a variety of sources including other mums, a wider network of friends, experts, brands, Governments and researchers.”


‘New’ Wives Tales

But new mums shouldn’t be too hasty to dismiss the wise adages of past generations, as experts confirm some of the ‘old wives’ tales’ are grounded in real facts. Nutritionist Amanda Ursell explains the truth behind some popular old sayings:

· An apple a day keeps the doctor away. According to Amanda Ursell, “apples are great because they give us both soluble and insoluble fibre, as well as some vitamin C and a host of super nutrients. Obviously though, toddlers need to get a balanced diet that combines all major food groups. Between the ages of one to three, toddlers undergo an extraordinary period of growth and development and their nutrition needs are at least double an adult’s, relative to their size.”


· Grow big and strong, like Popeye, by eating your spinach. “Spinach is a rich source of iron but it also includes a substance which makes it hard for the body to absorb this essential nutrient. Toddlers need a lot of iron – four times the amount of an adult for their size – but this can be from a range of sources. Good sources of iron include red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs and hummus. One easy way to give toddlers some of the key nutrients they need is to use fortified foods and drinks, such as Growing Up Milk.”



· Carrots help you see in the dark. “This was really a piece of World War II propaganda and it isn’t actually true but it’s certainly true that carrots can be part of a healthy balanced diet. They provide one of your 5-a-day and are a good source of beta-carotene, which is converted in your body to vitamin A – an essential vitamin.”


· Take cod liver oil for your joints. “Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin D, which is needed for the growth and development of bones. However, it isn’t recommended for children these days. Other sources of vitamin D that children can eat include fortified foods like breakfast cereals or Growing Up Milk, as well as foods like egg yolks or oily fish.”


Growing Up Milk is made from cows' milk enriched with key nutrients that toddlers need like vitamins A, C and D, iron and calcium. Giving your Little One-der two 150ml beakers of Growing Up Milk each day is an easy way to help provide them with the extra nutrients they need, as part of a healthy balanced diet.

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