By Parenting Unpacked
As mums we know how hard parenting is. We also know how much conflicting information exists out there in the parenting space. As experts in children's cognitive, social and emotional development we're here to help you unpack the science of parenting and to see the beauty in the grey.
Join us every week as we bring you content from the science of parenting, with a good dose of empathy and common sense.
Parenting UnpackedApr 24, 2023
Why are toddlers a**holes?
This week we tackle your burning questions which include why toddlers are assholes (hint: it’s not just your kid & it’s not your fault).
This is our second last episode for season 2!
To find out what your little one’s temperament is, check out this link:
Our top baby must-have-NOTs
Re-live the trauma of the baby days with Siobhan and Kristyn as they recount just how many baby “must-haves” turned out to be “must-have-NOTs”, from carseats, prams to mamaroos and owlets. Get the full low down as we dive in to all things baby.
In this episode, Siobhan and Kristyn discuss their planning for their respective postpartum periods, the second time around! In particular, Siobhan shares her experience of working with Kathryn Millhouse from @_motherup to prepare a postpartum plan and she shares some of the great ideas and prompts that she's included. This is an episode packed full of practical and flexible ideas for postpartum support.
Siobhan’s Postpartum Planning resources on Canva:
Draft/pared down version of my Postpartum Planning Canvas:
Postpartum Planning Lists (including shopping list/toddler list/jobs for people to do list):
Things I’m doing differently/same:
Talking Toilet Training
Description: In this episode Kristyn and Siobhan talk all things toilet training - pee, poo and potty!
Kristyn also shares about a research project she has going on all about making therapy better for autistic people. Find out more here - https://www151.griffith.edu.au/redcap/surveys/?s=YY8LXD3XT9ATPJCE
Resources discussed in this episode:
The Incredible Poo Party by Zoe Panto: https://www.amazon.com.au/Incredible-Poo-Party-Zoe-Panto/dp/0987644041
Is time out ever ok? With Sarah R. Moore
Maternal Mental Health and Social Media
Kristyn and Siobhan catch up and talk about Social Media, maternal mental health, and influencers - do social media influencers have a responsibility to account for how their content affects their followers' mental wellbeing?
Birth with B
This episode is all about birth, birth trauma and physiological vs natural vs vaginal births. B from @coreandfloorrestore (who has a background in midwifery and personal training) joined us to talk all things birth, pelvic floor health and everything in between.
In the episode Kristyn and Siobhan talk about jumping to the outro - if you want to do this, jump to around 1hr 25 minutes in (it's a long episode!)
Other accounts mentioned:
It's safe sleep week!
In this episode Kristyn and Siobhan chat with Dr Bec Thornton, the National Health Promotion Manager for Red Nose. Red Nose is Australia’s leading authority on safe sleep and Siobhan and Kristyn ask Dr Bec lots of curly questions about the application of safe sleep practices in real life. Red Nose have a great range of resources to support parents available on their website - https://rednose.org.au/section/education
Learning Through Play
In today’s episode, Siobhan has a chat with Tiffany from @simplifyingchildhood. They talk about all things play-based and child-led learning and discuss the problems associated with the current push for formalised education in the early years, including the focus on attainment and success over relationship. They also have an interesting discussion about the place of ‘self-care’ in motherhood. You can find Tiffany at https://simplifyingchildhood.com.au/ or on Instagram at @simplifyingchildhood.
Attachment in our past and our present
In this episode, we talk about Australia's stolen generation and the impact this has had on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' attachment to community and country. The following link is to a testimony from a woman who was stolen - https://www.stolengenerationstestimonies.com/donna-meehan.html
We also discuss Jacinta Ardern's decision to step aside as the New Zealand Prime Minister, daycare drop-off challenges, and being “too proud” (or not) to ask for help (particularly in early parenthood).
An Australian Surrogate Story
In this episode, we chat with two amazing women - Bec and Krista. Krista has a medical condition that means she is unable to fall pregnant, and when she shared this information with her friend Bec, Bec offered to act as her surrogate. As a result, Krista is now mum to a beautiful 8-month-old baby girl! Bec and Krista very generously share with us the highs and lows of their journey and how they navigated both the legal and medical hurdles involved. We are so honoured and grateful that they shared their story with us - and we are so excited to share it with you.
Whining, Why's and What the F*$% is happening with bedtime
We start this year the way we left the last, with chaos! In this episode, we chat about how we celebrated Christmas and the gifts we gave our toddlers (some were immediate winners, others have taken time). We also talk about the whining phase, the onslaught of “why's” from our toddlers, what is happening with daytime naps and what we’re planning to do in 2023 (apart from Siobhan giving birth and Kristyn trying to find another job because hers finishes in January 2024)!
The CHAOS of the festive season has arrived!
They also discuss teaching kids about boundaries around physical affection and how its not obligatory after receiving gifts. Its the last episode of the year and wow, it was long, chaotic and full of so. many. belly laughs. and quite a few swear words (so watch out for those little ears when listening). This is Kristyn, Siobhan and the Parenting Unpacked team signing off for the year, we will see you in the new year, hopefully rested, restored and rejuvenated (but let’s be honest we will probably be exhausted, tired and shattered after two weeks of bringing Christmas joy to our toddlers.)
That one sleep training study everyone is talking about - Journal Club #4
Journal club is back for its final 2022 installment! This week we are talking about a new sleep training study that's been making A LOT of (unfounded) headlines. So, to help you parse fact from fiction, to give you an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of this research AND to help you figure out what the research ACTUALLY says (hint it is definitely not what the media is saying) tune in and listen.
We Love CRABS - with Dr. Jess Stokes Parish
In this episode of parenting unpacked we chat with Dr. Jess Stokes Parish.
Jess is an ICU nurse, researcher, and science communicator. She has created a really useful template called CRABS which helps you interpret the reliability of the information you see on social media.
Also, Siobhan is back and healthy (and hiding in a cupboard in an effort to improve our audio quality)!
Journal Club 3 - Apologising, parenting and kids
Welcome back to journal club! This week we're all about the new article on mothers' tendency to apologize to their children and how it impacts their behavior. Watch along to hear about the findings and what we think! On today's journal club we have Jess Guy @infantsleepscientist, Laura Gainche @scienceforallwomen and Cara Goodwin @parentingtranslator. Check out the full article here: https://tinyurl.com/34jefyuf
Surrogacy in India - With Lopamudra Goswami
Journal Club 2 - Hours in childcare and child aggression
Welcome back to journal club! This week we're talking all about the new article on the effects of long daycare hours on children. Watch along to hear about the findings and what we think!
Find the article here: https://tinyurl.com/h4c4psku
Decoding your baby with Dr. Laura Gainche
In this episode of Parenting Unpacked we talk with baby & toddler holistic sleep coach, and fellow scientist, Dr. Laura Gainche @scienceforallwomen.
We talk about the variation in infant sleep, why wake windows, pitch-black rooms, and white noise might not work for your child, and how tiny changes can have a huge impact.
We also dive into a little bit of the science behind Santa with much more to come in the next (or a future) episode,
And you'll get to hear a little about journal club which is heading to this podcast feed very soon!
As promised in the episode, here is the link to the dinosaur construction toy: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0995KVK9G/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?smid=A1JCZI0SMBWQA5&psc=1 and to the little positive self-talking snowboarder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N38rK8fj58g&ab_channel=BYUUniverse or https://email@example.com/video/7146268559554071854?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&item_id=7146268559554071854&lang=en
Journal Club: Episode 1
Helloooooo parenting unpacked crew! We're dropping something a little bit different into the feed this week, it's called journal club. I know I know, you're probably asking "WTF is journal club!?" Journal club is something we do in universities where we all read the same academic paper and then we meet to talk about it. It gives us a chance to stretch our critical insight muscles, helps the junior academics learn from the senior academics and honestly let's us all learn from each other. Each person in journal club has a different set of knowledge and expertise that they bring to the table and we all get to learn from each other. Usually these meetings happen behind closed doors high up in the ivory tower, but I managed to find myself a wonderful crew of scientists who wanted to tear down the ivory tower with me and bring journal club directly to your ears. So please join us as we walk you through an article, discuss it's findings, it's methodology and statistics, and expand upon it using our own knowledge in the area. I hope it is interesting for those of you who tune in. Please jump onto @drkristynsommer and put your own thoughts or questions on the journal club video there if you have any! We would love love loveeeee to hear from you!!!!
I'll post the upcoming journal club paper every week @drkristynsommer and @parentingunpackedpodcast if you'd like to have a go at reading ahead. We're going to try to read only open access papers that you can get outside of institutions but it might not always be possible (because sometimes there's a really important article to read that is paywalled - like next weeks article!)
This week we are reading "Parents’ Use of Social Media as a Health Information Source for Their Children: A Scoping Review" which you can access here: https://tinyurl.com/2s4x9k4b
Joining journal club this week was Emma Shipton (@mama_together_), Jess Guy (@infantsleepscientist), Lisa Dillon (@drlisa.researcher) and Kristyn Sommer (@drkristynsommer).
A quick heads up: you will hear tiny human noises in the background. We are not just scientists and science communicators, but we are also mothers, some of us are still on maternity leave. So if you hear a tiny human in the background, be in awe of the fact that the tiny human's mother was able to focus and translate the science while juggling a tiny human without so much as missing a step (hint: it was Lisa, she's a rockstar!!)
Dr. Lisa on having a second baby after PPD
In this episode, we are joined by Dr Lisa (@drlisa.researcher) to talk about science communication in the parent and child space. We also chat about her own personal journey with having a second baby after postpartum depression and '2 under 2'. Partway through the episode, Kristyn starts to have a panic attack during what seems to be a beautiful and healing conversation for Lisa and Siobhan - illustrating that everyone can perceive and experience something different when hearing someone’s story.
Tune in to find out about Dr. Lisa’s experience and hear how Siobhan, Lisa and Kristyn navigated the 'almost panic attack' and how they shifted perspectives to alleviate the guilt and fear.
Having a second baby after PPD
Trigger warning: we talk about postpartum anxiety and depression, suicidal ideation, and thoughts of harm to self and baby in this episode. If you aren’t ready to hear this one yet, that is okay! If this episode brings up challenging feelings for you please seek out some support - the PANDA helpline (1300 726 306) is one option for support in Australia.
We have exciting news, Siobhan is having a baby!! If you haven't been with us from the start, go back and listen to episode 4 “Siobhan’s story”. It describes the challenges Siobhan faced in early motherhood and gives some context as to why having a second baby was such a huge decision. Kristyn isn’t there yet, so asks Siobhan a billion questions about how she and her partner decided to have another baby and what postpartum plans she has in place to protect her mental and physical health this time around.
Sleep without sleep training with Jess Guy
In this episode of Parenting Unpacked we chat with Jess Guy @infantsleepscientist about, well, infant sleep! We talk with Jess about the differences between sleep trainers and 'not' sleep trainers and the red flags on social media that may help you spot sleep trainers in disguise. In this episode, we also discuss the trouble with not being able to rate businesses on Instagram and how kids learn from technology better the more familiar with it they are.
In other news, we need a nickname for our listeners so please send in your suggestions to @drkristynsommer, @science_minded or @parentingunpackedpodcast!
Where did it all go wrong? The history of raising children.
Welcome back to Parenting Unpacked! In this week's episode, we take a trip back in time. We discuss the historical context behind some of the weird and (not so) wonderful parenting practices still common today. We start by chatting about how parenting changed (in Western culture) during the Industrial Revolution; when we started to lose the 'village' and the community support that went with it.
We go on to talk about the big names in parenting throughout history including Dr. Luther Emmet Holt, Dr. John Watson, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dr. Richard Ferber, and Dr. B.F. Skinner. They all had some pretty interesting contributions to how many people still parent today, listen in to find out more!
Whats the deal with ABA & Autism? With Dr. Jess Paynter
In this episode, we ask Dr. Jess Paynter the hard questions about Autism. Jess is an expert in Autism as both a clinician and a researcher in the area from Griffith University. We discuss with her the prevalence of Autism, parenting children with autism versus neurotypicals, her research around reading and Autism, and touch on the controversy around ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) Therapy. Before we dive into the interview, we also talk about the Autism diagnostic criteria and how Kristyn's symptomology maps onto these. Siobhan shocks Kristyn by sharing that she noticed many of Kristyn's symptoms well before her diagnosis!
Wonder weeks or wonder whack?
Disclaimer: Siobhan's audio cuts in and out a bit for around the 8-minute mark - but what she has to say (if you can make it out!) is so good we've decided to leave it in. But feel free to jump ahead to about 9 minutes if it annoys you!
In today's episode, we're talking sleep and 'regressions'. We discuss the research on infant sleep supports (extinction vs gentle sleep approaches) and how it can be distorted. And on the topic of distorted research, we also talk about the WonderWeeks and 'regressions' - what they are and what the evidence really says about them.
Is it time to ditch time out?
In this episode, we talk about time out and time in - what they are, whether they work, and when they might be useful.
Is there any scientific support for spanking?
Helloooo parenting unpacked crew and welcome back. This week we talk about a bunch of the science behind spanking. Specifically whether there is any scientific support for spanking. To cut to the chase... yes, there is. But it's not that simple. And there is a very big reason why it is now illegal in over 50 countries. Listen along and hear all about the science.
Is science the be all end all in parenting?
Hello and welcome back to parenting unpacked! Today we cover our new research currently in preparation, whether science be all end all of parenting (hint: it’s not) and another round of good old TikTok drama raising some seriously concerning questions about gentle parenting, minor attracted people and the issue of consent. Have a listen, let us know your thoughts by sliding into our DMs but please use sentence case rather than because we’re not about virtual yelling. Thank you in advance!
Is all yelling equally bad?
Welcome back crew! This week we chat about yelling at our kids. Is all yelling equally bad? Is some yelling worse than other yelling. Stay tuned to find out!
Why you should hold your baby as much as you want
Helloooo and welcome back to parenting unpacked. This week we chat all about skin to skin contact, why its the best thing ever to hold your baby and it won't ruin them. We've also got a new segment called recommendations because parents deserve to consume recreational media that has nothing to do with their kids sometimes and that's what we're bringing you.
How to raise gender and body positive kids
Welcome back! We accidentally had easter off because Kristyn got lost to the joy of taking a break and forgot to put an episode up (sorry!) so we're back with a vengeance for a super cool episode (in our opinion). We chat how to raise gender positive kids with a cameo from Molly Speechly, a PhD student at Griffith University currently research the development of gender diverse identity. We also talk about how to raise body positive kids, because honestly, all children need as much positivity as we can give them!
Demystifying Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! This week Siobhan unveiled something truly shocking about Kristyn which isn't actually shocking at all. Siobhan discovered Kristyn has DMER aka Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex and let me tell you, it is a WILD ride to have DMER and be breastfeeding a toddler. I'm still questioning whether it's a good decision (hint: it's not, but making big changes like weaning is hard and I'm just not ready for it yet). So if you've ever felt undeniable rage, a sense of impending doom or another unpleasant emotional response that seems to coincide with breastfeeding or your let down, welcome to the club. I'm so sorry your here, but hopefully this episode will give you words to your experience because as we should all know 20 episodes deep into a parenting podcast, knowing and understanding something is more than half the battle. You got this.
(p.s. yes we know that this episode is a little bit out of sync. We had some little (massive) tech issues but we've got our fingers crossed it doesn't happen again, thanks for hanging in there with us!)
Using reward charts for toilet learning plus separation anxiety disorder
Hey folks, welcome back. This week we chat about the trials and tribulations of reward charts for toilet learning as well as a brief overview of separation anxiety disorder. We had planned to cover typical separation anxiety in more depth in this episode (well, as much as we really plan anything so take that statement with a grain of salt) but technological issues led to the episode we have rather than the one we wanted and if that isn't an exceptional metaphor for adjusting your parenthood expectations I don't know what is. But hey, the audio sounds a little bit better this week and we're uploading it on time (i.e., 6 hours before launch) so I'm calling that a win! (p.s. I know the video is chaos and all out of sync, but only 3% of you watch on YouTube and we can blame Riverside.fm for ALL the issues we've had, video and audio).
The worst parenting debates of all time
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! This week we tackle the worst parenting debates of all time, sensationalised by none other than social media (cue massive eye roll). We set the record straight with no small amount of sass and a decent amount of swearing, so little ears should be warned. Have you heard any of these awful myths touted as facts designed to make other parents feel inferior?
How does religion affect child development?
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! This week we're talking about a topic that is a little bit different. We're talking about religion, child development and parenting. We'll bring some research in, talk about different religions, how religion emerges in geographically isolated places and why it is pervasive across many generations. This is a topic that we talk about from a unbiased perspective. If there's something in this episode that you don't agree with or that doesn't mesh with your own religious beliefs, that is okay. Everyone all around the world have different beliefs and experiences of the world. We'd love to hear your experiences growing up and parenting under your religious beliefs, so please slide in to our DMs on instagram!
Are you nervous about your nervous system?
Welcome back folks! Today's episode hits on something a little bit different than our usual parenting content, but between Siobhan and Kristyn, their propensity towards anxiety and their psych degrees, chatting all about the nervous and how to hack it seems right on brand. Yes, our audio quality is trash right now. Promise we are working on it. We're still learning the ropes and we want to keep showing up for you, despite the chaos that is learning to podcast. New mics are on the way. Thanks for hanging in there with us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest a topic you want to know more about or a guest you want us to interview! Stay sane!
How to move houses with your toddler
Welcome back to parenting unpacked. This week we cover everything around moving houses with small children including the science behind it. You know who we are. Everything we do has usually got us doing a quick google scholar search or trying to figure out the theoretical underpinnings or certain approaches over others. Yes, thinking this hard about life simple decisions is exhausting, but that's why we're here, exhausted, so that you don't have to be. Enjoy and see you next week!
Bedsharing, breastfeeding & babyled weaning
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! This week we do Kristyn's favourite thing which is talk about contentious topics with no filter while marvelling at Siobhan's well balanced and level headed answers. Kristyn's... not so much, but she's learning so we'll take it. We hit all those chaotic, guilt inducing, social media viral, judgemental parent topics that you've probably always been curious about the science behind. I hope you enjoy and feel a little less guilty, a little more confident in your parenting decisions and get a giggle somewhere along the way. Catch you in the next one!
Should parenting be paywalled?
Well, as per usual, Kristyn speaks before she thinks through things too thoroughly (to be fair... I get excited about things I'm passionate about and don't always evaluate every single implication of such things). Recently Kristyn made all her content free and kept banging on about how she doesn't believe parenting should be paywalled, completely ignoring the fact that her co-host, Siobhan Kennedy-Costantini, charges for her evidence based parenting resources. Tune in to listen to the awkward (yet, honestly not at all awkward) conversation Kristyn and Siobhan dive into as they talk about how they navigate different pay structures in the parent education space, how on earth they ended up in the social media space despite spending the majority of their careers in academia and more. We hope you love this episode and the chattier style we're moved into lately. Catch you next Tuesday for your next listen!
How to master the daycare drop off
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! Today's episode is a little bit of a hot mess because we were just enjoying catching up and let our conversation take us wherever it wanted. It took us to chatting all about daycare drops and how our littles went from crying at every drop to not giving a f*#$ about even saying goodbye, which is a beautiful bittersweet thing. This is a quick episode today, so I hope you enjoy the lighter content!
We're bringing playtime back
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! This week we're talking about the different schemas of play. The content was a little dry so we spiced it up with some accidental TikTok drama which had interesting ramifications for Kristyn and her content creation (but at the same time not really).
Siobhan is currently doing a series on schemas of play over on instagram so jump over there to check it out. ALSO Siobhan has a fact pack on Play (as well as Breastfeeding and Starting Solids) which is chock full of evidence based information to help you make informed parenting choices and she has given podcast listeners a massive 50% discount. So run, don't walk, to scienceminded.org and use discount code PARENTINGUNPACKED
This podcast is also sponsored by Page & Pine, a family owned Aussie business that brings you wooden toys and personalised decor. Use code PARENTINGUNPACKED for 20% the entire store now!
Is cocomelon cocaine?
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! We're tackling a topic that is the source of infinite mum guilt, screen time. We're talking all things cocomelon and whether it's addictive, what harm befalls your child by letting them watch TV and whether children can actually learn anything from what they watch.
We hope you enjoy this weeks episode!
After school restraint collapse
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! This week we're celebrating the start of the Australian school year by covering a topic many parents are faced with: after school restraint collapse. We cover what after school restraint collapse is, what causes it, how to navigate it in the moment, how to reduce the frequency of it and how to connect with your children through it all. This episode is for parents of every child from toddlerhood to the teenage years.
How to create a secure attachment
Welcome back to parenting unpacked! This week we're digging into one of the fundamental theories around raising children. Attachment! Attachment theory, attachment parenting, circle of security, secure attachment, insecure attachment. We hit that many buzz words in this episodes because this is one of our longest episodes to date and we still didn't cover everything we could have. Listen in as we talk about what the leading scientific thought is on attachment theory and how to help foster a secure attachment with your child. And while you're at it, I hope it takes a load of your shoulders and assures you that you are already doing all the things you need to do to create a secure attachment. You've got a lucky kid so be kind and compassionate to yourself and that will permeate the attachment relationship with your child.
For more information on attachment, head to our favourite source for all things attachment: Circle of security
Adverse childhood events with Candace St John
Welcome back to Parenting Unpacked! This week we interviewed Candace St John. Candace St. John is a mom of one and a public health practitioner who studies the effects of equity, social determinants of health, & adverse childhood experiences and trauma on lifetime health. Upon having a baby in June 2020, she was taken aback by the unsubstantiated evidence behind most mainstream parenting ideals. She took to social media to bust myths & support parents to make the best informed choices for their children to thrive. Candace strives to weave in her public health expertise for advocacy and educational purposes, and is excited to work 1:1 with families.
We talked with Candace about the role of public health in parenting, the lack of evidence based information prolific in the health care sector as well as normative parenting resources. We also talked through biologically normal infant sleep, bedsharing and ACEs (adverse childhood events).
Links to things we discussed this episode:
Are tantrums panic attacks?
This week's episode is designed to help you breathe easier and know that you are an exceptional parent despite the little things that go wrong and the big things that overwhelm you. This week we touch on the idea of the good enough parent and how this permeates everyone's lives (yes, even the insta-perfect mums).
We also tackle tantrums for the very first (but not last!) time and we talk about how tantrums appear very similar to a panic attack and give you some useful insights into how your child might be feeling in the midst of a tantrum. We also give you some tips and tricks for how to reduce the frequency and severity of those tantrums by using some child mindfulness strategies and co-regulation techniques.
For Kristyn's video about the dysregulation rainbow, find it here
For Siobhan's post on "the good enough parent", find it here
For Siobhan's post on time as panic attacks, find it here
Recovering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
Welcome back to another episode of parenting unpacked where Dr. Siobhan Kennedy-Costantini and Dr. Kristyn Sommer (PhDs in child development) chat all things parenthood and child development. This weeks episode follows episode 3 and 4 which touched on both Kristyn and Siobhan's Postnatal Anxiety and Depression journeys and ties up the 3 episode series with information on how we recovered, and not only survived the postpartum period, but thrived past it!
If you are looking for resources on postnatal depression and anxiety and getting better visit https://www.panda.org.au
This is our last episode for 2021. Happy Holidays and we look forward to seeing you on the 4th of January 2022 as we bring you our next episode of Parenting Unpacked!
What it felt like to live through Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: Siobhan's Story
Welcome back to parenting unpacked. This week's episode comes with a trigger warning. Siobhan goes in depth into her experience with perinatal anxiety and depression during the first year of her son's life. Siobhan details her experience having a baby with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) whom struggled considerably with sleep for the first 10 months of his life. Siobhan touches on some very challenging but important topics such as intrusive thoughts and suicial ideation. This episode has a lot of hard moments, but also a shining light at the end of the tunnel, which is the promise and proof of not only surviving perinatal anxiety and depression, but thriving in the year following a serious nervous breakdown.
Please join us next week as we delve into how we recovered and where we are now!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this episode, please visit the following resources for support and further information: