Parenting is always an experiment so why not collect the data?
Parenting Science Gang

Newsletter #9 – Talk science and eat cake

GDPR is here!

We have a shiny new privacy policy on the PSG website which contains details on how we use personal data.

PSG on the road


We love how easy it is to join in on Facebook, but sometimes it’s nice to have an excuse to get together, talk science and eat cake. So PSG did exactly that, with Parenting Science Gangstival visiting London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham. Thanks to Katherine MathiesonDr Simon CameronDr Alice JonesAlice SheppardDr Barbora SkarabelaRachel Plachcinski and Prof. Carrie Paechter for coming to talk to us and helping us have a great time. But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what some of our group members said they enjoyed:

  • “A few hours of grown up time to discuss interesting things, while my children were looked after by a lovely nanny next door! And it was great to hear from and fire questions at a pro scientist.”
  • Chatting with like-minded parents over good cake, and making connections.”

Group updates

Dr Simon Cameron and his team are processing the data from our mass milk expressing day at Charing Cross Hospital in February. Members of the UK Breastfeeding and Parenting Support (UKBAPS) PSG and Breastfeeding Older Babies and Beyond (BOBAB) PSG groups will be invited to Imperial College in July to hear all about the results.

Our Science-Aware Natural Parenting (SANP) PSG are awaiting the final analysis of the data from their babywearing experiment. Dr Davide Filingeri and his team at Loughborough University tested 9 mother-baby dyads and have gathered mountains of data about how the temperature of the baby is affected by wearing an extra layer of clothes while being in a sling when their mother is at rest and gently exercising. The initial results have been a bit surprising and so we are looking forward to hearing the whole story. For now, you can read more about the experiment here.

Dumfries and Galloway Bumps Babies & Beyond (DGBBB) PSG continues to investigate flexi-schooling in Scotland. Following their Freedom of Information requests to each Local Authority, they are now distributing questiionnaires to parents of flexi-schooling families and conducting interviews with teachers of flexi-schooling kids. We look forward to hearing the results!

Big Birtha (BB) PSG have discovered that their area of interest is well researched, but that much of that research makes limited impact when it comes to women’s experiences. They are currently deciding whether to investigate water births, breastfeeding or the experiences of labour from the perspective of women with a high BMI.

Breastfeeding and Health Care Experiences (BF HCE) PSG are working on their protocol for their study into what helpful and unhelpful advice breastfeeding mothers receive from healthcare providers.

Mealtime Hostage (MH) PSG are discovering that there is very little research into Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)  and similar conditions. They are becoming used to hearing that there is no research that answers their question! Dr Terry Dovey of Brunel University has been helping the group explore possibilities.

Let Toys Be Toys (LTBT) PSG have chosen to investigate the effect bedtime stories have on children’s gender stereotyping with an intervention-based study. Details of the study will be finalised over the next couple of weeks, and it’s possible the group may need to recruit lots of parents, so watch this space (especially if you have a young child you read stories to!).

Baby Biome Mini-PSG

Last month, over 300 of our members took part in our temporary Baby Biome Facebook group, which we set up in conjunction with Prof. Peter BrocklehurstDr Nigel Field and Rachel Plachcinski. Having completed a pilot study with 3,500 mothers and babies, they’re working on a funding bid for a longitudinal study that plans to follow 40,000 babies from birth to find out about the microbiome and saw collaborating with our PSG parents over three weeks as a perfect opportunity to ensure their study planning is informed by parent voices.

As well as discussions in our baby-biome-dedicated Facebook group, we had three live chats with Peter and Nigel which covered sample collectionthe conditions the study will look into and recruitment.

the gut and the microbiome

Image: National Human Genome Research Institute

Asking the experts

We’ve love quizzing experts and all of our Q&As are available on our website.

BB PSG have enjoyed chatting with Claire Murphy on pregnancy with a high BMI, Dr Ellinor Ollander on support for high BMI pregnancies, Dr Rachel Rowe on where plus-sized mums give birth and Prof.Debra Bick on peri-and post-natal care of women with a high BMI.

LTBT PSG have quizzed Dr Sarah McGeown on how boys and girls read, Graham Andre on gender bias in schools, Dr Lauren Spinner on children’s gender development. Dr Cordelia Fine on sex differences and stereotypes and Dr Sian Jones joined us to help the group narrow down their research question.

MH PSG have picked the brains of Jenny McGlothin on extreme picky eating, Dr Terry Dovey on ARFID and Prof. Jackie Blissett on positive feeding relationships.

We also had something a little different – a Q&A with artist Lisa Creagh on the Art of Motherhood. Her work is informed by similar interests and data to our Breast Feeding and Healthcare Experience group, but she’s working with the experiences of breastfeeding mothers to create art rather than science.

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 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 newsletter@parentingsciencegang.org.uk

 

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