Five simple tips for raising healthy children based on scientific studies

There are countless parenting questions that science can’t answer: “Is it gross to eat food my child spat out?”, “Why do my kids hate wearing pants?” and, of course, “When they grow up, will my kids remember how much I loved them, or just that I made them wear pants?”.

Fortunately, there are some important parenting issues science can address. Here are five simple tips for raising healthy children, based on scientific studies:

1. Dads can – and should – help with breastfeeding

How many people does it take to breastfeed a baby? An Australian study found the answer is closer to three people (mum, baby and partner) than the traditional two of mother and baby. The chance of a baby being breastfed for six months was significantly lower if mum’s partner preferred bottle-feeding, or even if her partner felt neutral about breastfeeding.

Not every mum can or wants to breastfeed exclusively for six months. For those who do, however, it would be great if more partners (I’m looking at you, dads) stepped up and helped. Among other things, fathers can offer rest, food, water and encouragement.

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Telling your partner she’s doing a great job, organising dinner and taking the opportunity for precious dad-and-baby time so mum can grab a bit of sleep are all important. Being an engaged dad doesn’t always go smoothly (in my personal experience), but it’s great fun.