Lisa Salmon looks at the weird, wonderful and sometimes weary world of parenting.

News for parents :: When babies move on to solids, most parents are hungry for information about what their child can eat.

A poll by the School Food Trust found that 50% of parents look for information when they are weaning their baby.

Yet the parental quest for nutritional knowledge dries up as children get older, and just 11% of parents with primary-school age children seek out feeding information.

However, 94% of parents agree that the right school-food choice has an impact on their child's development.

To help them, the School Food Trust has created The Little Book Of Goodness to provide advice, make school-food choices simple and re-engage parents with their child's dietary needs.

The Little Book Of Goodness is being distributed to more than 17,000 primary schools across England for parents of reception-year children. Parents can request a booklet by contacting their school, or visit to download a copy.

:: Children still have a better chance of becoming a top scientist or scholar if they are privately educated, a study has found.

Four in 10 of the UK's leading scientists and scholars went to private school, even though the independent sector educates just 7% of children, according to research by the Sutton Trust.

The educational charity analysed the school and university backgrounds of more than 1,700 of the 2,200 Fellows of the Royal Society and the British Academy.

The findings show that of the 1,341 with known UK school backgrounds, 42% - or 557 people - went to fee-paying schools.

Some 58% were educated in the state sector, including 43% who went to selective grammar schools.

The study found that younger Fellows (those born between 1950-59 compared to those born between 1920-29) were slightly less likely to have been educated privately.

:: Jamie and Jools Oliver and their brood have been named the family to which most parents of young children aspire, ahead of the Obamas and Beckhams.

A third of those who took part in the survey for broadcaster Nick Jr said they wanted to be more like the Channel 4 chef and his model wife.

A total of 11% said they wanted their family to be more like Barack Obama's, while 8% plumped for a family situation like that of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

:: Traditional children's nursery rhymes could be heading for extinction, experts have warned.

Rhymes passed down from parent to child for generations are being shunned for more fashionable modern alternatives, they said.

A survey by the charity Booktrust revealed that such traditional tools are seen as too old-fashioned by modern parents - meaning old favourites including Hey Diddle Diddle and Mary Mary Quite Contrary could be forgotten.

Only 36% of the parents surveyed regularly read nursery rhymes with their children, while almost a quarter admitted to having never sung a nursery rhyme with their child.

And more than 20% of young parents claimed not to use them because they were not educational.

But experts said use of the rhymes could play a vital role in children's language development, and help to form a loving bond between parent and child.

Booktrust ( will distribute one million books of the nation's top-eight rhymes in celebration of Bookstart, to help today's parents rediscover their love for them.

Thousands of families from across the UK will be invited to take part in a range of activities to highlight the fun of book-sharing. These will include Bookstart Rhymetimes, which enable the whole family to share and enjoy rhymes with children, appearances from the Bookstart Bear and song and story-telling sessions.

Ask the expert

Q: "I'm pregnant and very nervous about the birth, and I'm thinking about hiring a doula. How would a doula help, how much would it cost, and where do I get one from?"

A: Keely Paice, a birth doula who supports new and expectant parents in the workplace through the Babyplanners company, says: "A doula provides continuous and consistent support for new or expectant parents.

"From the moment you decide to work with a doula who you feel is right for you - and there is a doula for every woman - she is there for you, and only you. 'You' means you as the woman who is pregnant or a new mum, and your partner and family and friends.

"Doulas have no agenda and no bias beyond their over-riding belief in the normal physiological process of childbirth and everyone's innate ability to parent children.

"Doulas endeavour to enable mums-to-be to have the most positive experience possible, whatever fate throws at them throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth and the post-natal period.

"Doulas can help mums-to-be by working through their emotional issues and assisting them in navigating the medical system.

"A doula meets you as often as is necessary, so that you form a partnership that enables you to work together during labour and after your baby is born. The hope is that this partnership will empower you and support you throughout this momentous time.

"A doula who supports you during pregnancy and birth and the immediate post-natal period will cost between £150 and £1,000, and post-natal doulas charge upwards of £10/hour.

"There is a Find A Doula service on"

Website of the week: The Grief Encounter Project is a bereavement charity set up to help bereaved children and their families. Its website features zones for kids, teens and adults, and includes blogs from bereaved children, a memory board and many other ways to remember lost loved ones. There are also interactive games and ways to get support following a death - be it a parent, grandparent or even a pet.

Three ways to... relax when you've got a new baby 1. Meet other new parents through local support groups - take your baby for a coffee with them and discuss your experiences.

2. Make an effort to maintain your interests, such as the gym, by getting your partner or family members to look after baby while you go out.

3. Get your baby to fit into your routine too - if you fancy a walk when they're due for a nap, put them in a sling or the buggy and take them with you.

Reader tip :: When your child asks for help with homework, give guidance but not answers. If they don't work it out for themselves, they will never learn.