Parenting Science Gang

Newsletter #10 – The results are in for some of our groups!

Breast Milk Experiment – The Results!

You may remember that back in February, over 100 mums went to Charing Cross Hospital to donate milk for a breast milk experiment designed and run by Breastfeeding Older Babies and Beyond (BOBAB) PSG and UK Breastfeeding and Parent Support (UKBAPS) PSG.

breast milk experiment

Well, on 10th July, in the middle of the heatwave, we eschewed our paddling pools and headed to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington to hear the results from Dr Simon Cameron (Imperial College).

And it was AMAZING!

Unfortunately we can’t tell you all of the results here, because Simon and Dr Natalie Shenker (Hearts Milk Bank) are hoping to publish the results in full in the near future.

Simon told us that “Almost single handedly you have opened up a new area of research” and that “I am incredibly passionate (about breastmilk research) now. For me it’s one of the few areas of research that affects everyone everywhere anytime.”

Group updates

In our last newsletter, we reported that our Science-Aware Natural Parenting (SANP) PSG group had completed their experiment. Dr Davide Filingeri (Loughborough) and found that there was an increase in the baby’s skin temperature but a slight reduction in core temperature. That’s all the details we can give here as Davide is preparing the full results for publication – so watch this space! SANP PSG will also be sharing the results at a meeting at the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) in York, at the Midlands Baby Carrying Convention in Coventry and at our very own PSG Final Event (see more on that below!)

Dumfries and Galloway Bumps Babies & Beyond (DGBBB) PSG has been investigating flexi-schooling (part time school, part time home-education) in Scotland. They’ve uncovered some interesting information – read the full update here.

Big Birtha (BB) PSG are working on a study looking at how choice, or lack thereof, affects the experiences of pregnancy and labour for obese mothers. The group are waiting for ethics approval before they conduct email interviews with mothers and analyse the key themes from their responses.

Breastfeeding and Health Care Experiences (BF HCE) PSG are getting ready to submit their proposals to ethics. One part of their study will look at mothers’ experiences of advice and comments on breastfeeding from health care professionals. Working with Gavin Brookes (Lancaster) responses will be analysed using corpus linguistics. Working with Dr Yan-Shing Chang (King’s College London), the other part of their study will see pairs of health care professionals (HCPs) interview each other to find out how personal breastfeeding experience changes HCP’s professional practice and the advice they give to breastfeeding mothers.

Mealtime Hostage (MH) PSG plan to investigate the relationship between anxious tendencies, sensory issues and presentation of feeding disorders, including avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) in partnership with Prof. Jackie Blissett (Aston) and Dr Terry Dovey (Brunel). They have got ethics approval and will be sending questionnaires out to families very soon.

Let Toys Be Toys (LTBT) PSG are working on a study to explore effects of gender stereotypes in books on children. After extensive searching of our kids’ bookshelves, alongside catalogues of book sellers, the group have chosen the books to base the study on and are now focusing on questionnaire design with Dr Lauren Spinner (Kent).

Asking the experts

PSG loves Q&As and we’ve not been slacking off over the summer. Here are a few of the most recent chats:

As always, all our Q&As are available on our website.


PSG Final Event

PSG is a two year project funded by Wellcome. We’re about 18 months in now, so by the end of this year all of our groups will have finished their experiments and we’ll be writing up our findings for Wellcome. With this in mind, we’re planning our Final Event in November. We’ve invited representatives from all 8 of our groups, plus our baby biome “mini PSG” as well as some of the scientists that have been involved, to come to York for a weekend of all things PSG. As ever, with a PSG event, it will be a family friendly affair.

Calling all experts!

Want to get involved?

We’ve got over 2000 parents who are full of questions for experts in all aspects of parenting and childhood. Would you like to get involved?

We are particularly interested to hear from black and ethnic miniority experts as, so far, their voices are under-represented in our expert Q&As.

To tell us what you do and find out more, please contact us at


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