Saturday, September 16, 2006

Life in a Gilded Fish Bowl

The newborn Japanese prince, Hisahito, and his mother returned home yesterday, to much media attention. He is the son of the Crown Prince's younger brother, and as such stands third in line for the throne. He is reportedly breastfeeding well.

One of the articles in the Daily Yomiuri says that the current Crown Prince's family has a full-time staff of fifty-one people, including four doctors, so there is a doctor on site full time. The younger prince's family has a staff of "only" nine, not including a doctor. With the arrival of the young prince, I wouldn't be surprised if that quietly changed.

Speaking of breastfeeding, in the U.S. healthy babies are usually sent home about 48 hours after birth. In Japan, it's closer to a week. My personal opinion is that the former is too short and the latter too long. Our second daughter developed jaundice, probably partly because she wasn't feeding well, and wound up back in the hospital for a couple of days. More direct monitoring in a hospital environment, and more help with the breastfeeding, might have averted that or lessened its severity. My opinion is that mother and baby should be monitored full time until her breast milk comes in and the baby is feeding properly, before they are allowed to go home. Most of the time, this will be about three days.

Anyway, congrats again to the royal family.

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