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* APRIL 2015


Dyslexia Autism ADHD more


Baby bonding with massage




Your vaccination questions answered

the unspoilt Shoalhaven Medical breakthrough

DIY Gentic testing

Meet the Dutch Duo 1

DRESS LIKE A QUEEN // COCONUT MAD // MUMS IN MOTION | april 2015 * mychild

Baby Carrier One



This product features the characteristic BABYBJĂ–RN parallel line design.

mychild | april 2015

Editor’s column

Mocka Puppets are fun toys that encourage your child’s wild imagination. Bring bedtime stories to life with these assorted puppets. $19.95 from Mocka


Putting this issue together evoked a lot of emotions. I have three girls and like every parent went through the 38 weeks of pregnancy hoping that my precious bundles arrived safe and sound. A good friend and I were pregnant at the same time and our babies were born days apart. Sue’s daughter was born with a life threatening heart defect and had to have major open heart surgery when she was two days old. It was heart wrenching to be so helpless and only stand by her side as her tiny baby went through something most of us can only imagine. Today she is a healthy young girl, there is a lot she cannot do and will never be able to do, but she does not let that hold her back. She has a scar from chest to her naval, a pacemaker and has to have regular surgery to ensure she has a fulfilling life. She is also an adventurous and boisterous little girl. She loves life. Every child is special and is a gift no matter what their disabilities or abilities are, these exceptional children make us look at life differently, make us appreciate the simple things in life. Our cover star was was photographed by his mother and she tells us about the emotions she went through when he was born. To all the children out there who need a bit more help and to their exceptional parents and cares, you are amazing and humble many of us.

Sa m

Cover shot: Happiness is in creativity by Vita Lena april 2015| mychild




106 91


contents COVER STORIES 16 My business Meet Muriel and Karin from Exquira 36 Kids who might need extra help An overview of what can be classed as special needs 58 Your Genes your choice Home genetic testing…would you do it? 66 Healing hands Massage techniques to bond with baby 93 Injection or infection Dr Evely Lewis answers questions on vaccination




Editor’s picks

mychild | april 2015

12 Bits & bobs 14 Best in Websites 16 My business Meet Muriel and Karin from Exquira 22 Profile Connie Pe Benito and her magic scissors

STYLE 81 What we love…4 Mums Rockaroo 100 Cooking Stacey’s Coconut birds nests 102 Dressing the bump Dressing for pregnancy tips 106 Bumpaluscious Flattering autumn collection from Queen Bee 116 Interiors report Under the Hood 122 Bold and beautiful Mockas new Autumn collection


47 12 129

146 130


PREGNANCY & BIRTH 64 Should your mother be at your birth? Doula Kelly Winder has a few pointers 74 News Mums wellbeing 76 News iDummy! 78 Shopping What’s new in store

BABY & TODDLER 82 Sound Asleep Trying to get babies to sleep 86 Separation Anxiety 91 Shopping What’s new in store

PRESCHOOLER & BIG KIDS 130 Shopping What’s new in store 138 Can rebellion be a good thing 142 Family lab Therapists issue sound advice to worried parents

FAMILY 26 True life Jackie Smiths story 30 Picture Perfect Mary Beth tells us about the birth of her Down Sydnrome son

58 Your Genes your choice Home genetic testing…would you do it? 146 A hidden Gem Family Fun in the unspoilt Shoalhaven area HEALTH 93 Injection or infection Dr Evely Lewis answers questions on vaccination 134 Mums in Motion Abdominal separation and how to repair it

SPECIAL NEEDS 36 Kids who might need extra help An overview of what can be classed as special needs 42 Dyslexia is not a disease What is Dyslexia and what can be done to help 46 Autism spectrum disorders Spotting the early signs can make a huge difference 52 Wriggle Worm ADHD and how you can take advantage do many strengths and talents

april 2015| mychild





CONTACT 61 2 9446 1614


My Child magazine and are wholly owned by Little Blue Dog (ABN 611 996 81 521). No other parties or individuals have any financial interest in the company or in My Child or My Child contains general information only and does not purport to be a substitute for health and parenting advice. Readers are advised to seek a doctor for all medical and health matters. The publisher and authors do not accept any liability whatsoever in respect of an action taken by readers in reliance on the recommendations set out in this magazine. Reproduction of any material without written permission by the publisher is strictly forbidden. We cannot accept responsibility for material lost or damaged in the post or for any unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. All reasonable efforts have been made to trace copyright holders.



mychild | april 2015

s m u b g n i sav saving babies


Available at: IGA, SUPA IGA, BIG W & TARGET or buy online at & check out our great promotions! Selected IGA & Super IGA Stores only. Selected range available in Big W. april 2015| mychild




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This beautifully made wall mounted Elephant head is perfect for adding a touch of charm to your walls. $185.00 from Neck candy with Red Bobble fruit loops. $14.95 from Keep your little one’s toes warm and snug with these baby sneakers from Attipas $34.95 A towel for your toddler herd that is downright gorgeous $89.95 from www. Gorgeous rattle in new mermaid design with matching items. From www. Education in the trees with this tree book shelf. $1239 from www.idyllhome. For the little explorer, this childrens caravan bed with canvas roof and opening door. $2556 You can mix and match and re-arrange these rug pieces any way you want to cover any size or shaped area. $99 for a box of 10 from


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mychild | april 2015




Imagine if your head weighed a third of your entire body weight! That’s how it is for newborns. Here is a new generation baby carrier with plenty of options for everyone. The Baby Carrier One can be used right from day one and is anatomically designed to adapt to the changing needs of your growing child, up to three years old! RRP: 229.95 Head to BabyBjorn for store locations

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BEST BOOKS This is Captain Cook Captain James Cook loved to sail. He loved making maps (he was very good at it, too) and he particularly loved shiny buttons. In this charming picture book, little ones can celebrate the life of a great mariner and true adventurer $24.99 Pip and Posy Pip and Posy are best friends and they have fun. Just like any other toddlers, they get cross and sad, so sometimes it takes friendship, sharing and understanding to make things better. This popular and perfect series about the dramas of toddler life is now available as board books. $9.95 Allen and unwin Thunderstorm dancing When a sunny day at the beach turns stormy, a little girl runs for cover. Her daddy and brothers fill the house with stamping and crashing while Granny plays piano to their riotous thunderstorm dancing. Rhythm, rhyme and family mayhem. Perfect for reading aloud. For ages 3—6 .$24..95 Allen and Unwin



mychild | april 2015

loves Love it. This Good Morning Longsleeve T shirt in rainbow colours is part of the Oishi-m Domestic Collection. Small people have disproportionately large heads. All Oishi-M T-shirts are designed with an envelope neck that expands to open wider when putting it on but then has great elastic memory to retract back for a nice neck line. $44.95 from Oishi-M


It is the vibrant colourful sleeve from Cherrubbaby that brings plain glass bottles to life and makes feeding more fun and enjoyable! The silicone sleeve will change from vibrant light pink or dark pink to white when the liquid inside the bottle is 42 degrees or over. From Cherrubbaby



360 Carrier


Take a look at the human body from a different perspective in the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre’s latest exhibition, Humanoid Discovery: wonders of the human body. Through 22 interactive science exhibits, you can experiment and test how different body systems and organs function as they are taken on a journey of the human body. Learning about the human body has never been more fun with Humanoid Discovery presenting an educational message in an interactive and quirky way. More daring visitors can test their nerves on a bed of nails, while those who prefer to stay away from these kind of spine-tingling experiences can test their peripheral vision or measure their heart rate in one of the many interactive displays. This exhibition will get kids thinking about how their muscles work, how fast their heart beats during exercise, and how we process the food we eat. Highlights of Humanoid Discovery include displays demonstrating how long intestines are, how senses work and how muscles interact together, as well as the complex world of the respiratory system. Designed and developed by Scitech, the exhibition has toured nationally and internationally and has been visited by thousands of people who have been enthralled with the complexity of the human body. The Queensland Museum and Sciencentre open daily from 9:30am to 5pm except Good Friday, Anzac Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


Welcome to Ergobaby Gold Class - a revolutionary Four Position Carrier that is Ergobaby’s most flexible solution yet! The Ergobaby Four Position 360 Carrier offers four easily-adjusted, ergonomic positions - so you can nurture them with your loving support and attention. The world awaits ... go far, stay close!

“I am extremely impressed with the ingenious design of the Ergobaby 360 Carrier as it allows for an ergonomic carry for both baby and wearer in all four positions. It keeps parenting fuss-free and fun. ” Dr Amy Giannakis

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Beautiful clothing for your baby for all stages and ages.

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Muriel and Karin at the start of Stokke, filling up their Exquira warehouse


n 1989 Muriel Altink and Karin Rook met while they were both studying Management and Organisation/Business Administration at university in Groningen, which is situated in Holland. After finishing their studies, Karin donned a backpack and travelled around Australia for a year. She fell in love with the country but surprisingly Muriel was the one that decided to immigrate to Australia. In 2000, Muriel and her partner Duncan left the Netherlands and arrived in Sydney. Distance is no barrier for friendship and Karin had a soft spot for Australia, so when Muriel’s first daughter Gaby was born it was the perfect excuse for Karin to come over and visit Muriel, see the new baby and have an extended holiday.



mychild | april 2015

During this visit the idea to start a business together started to develop, keeping the connection between the Netherlands, where Karin was still living, and Australia. And so Exquira was born! In the early stages they started out as a market-research company. Karin and Muriel would advise Dutch companies on the possibilities to enter the Australian market, by doing market research and developing go-tomarket strategies. The companies they worked with were very diverse from IT (software), exhaust systems for motorbikes to tennisscoring systems. “In 2004 we visited Kind & Jugend (one of the world’s biggest Baby & Kids Trade shows) in Cologne, Germany and we were introduced to Bumbo, the South African company that

Gaby and Taylor testing the Bumbo products

makes the award winning Bumbo floor seat. Besides continuing with the market research at that stage we decided to give this product a go and also started up an import and distribution business,” said Muriel. In the meantime Karin’s husband Jeroen wanted a career change and could get his job transferred to Sydney. Even though Karin had hoped and dreamed about the move for many, many years, she was about to have her first baby and packing up a life and immigrating was not something she had planned on doing while pregnant! But plans alter and in no time at all Karin, Jeroen and their three-month-old son Julius were all packed up and they arrived in Sydney in April 2005. With very little time to settle and unpack, Karin arrived just in time for their first Parents Baby and Children’s Expo where they were

exhibiting with the Bumbo product. Teething problems abounded and even though the first container did not make it in time for the show, the stock made it into stores. Exquira had now become a business that would focus on market, sales and distribution to retailers. Like their families, the business was growing and they had to make some changes. Muriel had her second daughter, Taylor and Exquira went from being able to work out of Muriel’s home into an office and warehouse. In the meantime Karin had been on a business trip to Europe and got into contact with Stokke. A Scandinavian company which produces beautiful children’s products, who were looking for a new distributor in Australia. Karin and Muriel were well aware of the popularity of the Tripp Trapp high chair in

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The Exquira Sales team with the Difrax brand many European countries and jumped on this opportunity. They convinced Stokke that their combined skills in sales, marketing, innovation and go-to-market would be the perfect platform to introduce Stokke into Australia. That was 10 years ago. In building the Bumbo and Stokke brands since 2005, Exquira has been growing and Karin and Muriel have been adding a lot of different brands to Exquira’s portfolio. For Karin, real life product testing is still possible. Six years after the birth of her second child, daughter Phileine, a surprise third baby came along. This latest addition, Catelyne, another little gir,l has been using all the Exquira products. She loved drinking out of the beautiful Difrax S-bottles, a leading soother and feeding brand from the Netherlands.

Muriel tells us some of the most challenging aspects of setting up the business? 20


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“We were both starting a new life in Australia and at the same time we had young families. In the beginning of our business we could not afford to pay ourselves a salary. Without having family around to help us, we both believed that our children needed to be in childcare, this enabled us to focus on our business. Besides these challenges, to make Exquira a success the business needed money to invest in stock, which did put a lot of pressure on our families and us. Today, besides compliance and operational excellence, cash flow remains vital as we are still investing.”

What do you enjoy most about the business? “Karin and I are very different people but we complement, motivate and have a lot of respect for each other. We both love to work in our business but also have learnt that we need to work on our business. We decided a couple of years ago to start using a business coach

which we now use on a casual basis. We will organise board weekends away with our husbands and kids and once a year we invite someone that can inspire us or create new light on our business. We also believe in new opportunities that sometimes are not presented as opportunities but as threats to our business but by turning it around and being open-minded it will work out for the best.”

What gives your company the edge? “We would like to be the one that carries and supplies products that are original and have added value for the child and the parent. Like the Tripp Trapp chair, a unique product that was designed over 40 years ago and is still relevant today, an ergonomic high chair that grows with your child (all our kids are still sitting on it!). Our latest edition is the Australian designed Sleep Rumbler. The Sleep Rumbler was designed by two sisters. One of the sisters is a paramedic and while she was off duty she attended an incident in which a mum had fallen asleep at the wheel. The mum had been driving around to try to get her baby to fall asleep. This was the “lightbulb” moment and she knew there had to be a better way! That was the start of the Sleep Rumbler, a must-have and safe solution in infant settling. “We love innovative products & solutions and are not in business to market a copy, another example is the original Milestone Baby Cards to “Remember the things that make you smile”. The Milestones cards are created & produced in the Netherlands and are using

drawings of Australian designer, Beci Orpin. “

Can you tell us about the team? “We have a fantastic team. We started with the two of us and have now a great team of people working in sales, customer service, marketing, warranty, finance, operations and warehousing. We have a good balance of men and woman in our team. We have found that guys can do great customer service, even though we are in baby products and not all our staff have kids themselves. At the start of our business Karin and I were the younger ones but now the team keep us young!”

What are your plans for the future of the business? “In November this year, Exquira will be ten years old and we have reached great expectations. We are now looking forward to further focusing on enabling children to realize their full potential. With functional, stylish, premium solutions which help children to sleep, bond and explore so that they can become independent, healthy and creative beings. Secondly, to support our team in reaching their own goals.”

Is there anything else you’d like My Child readers to know? “All of our brands are represented in store and online by retailers, like David Jones & Baby Bunting nationally and great independent baby stores. We also have a web-shop (www. where we introduce the latest Exquira products, like the Moba, the contemporary moses basket from the UK & other brands.”*

For more information and product details go to The wonderfully contemporary moses basket from Moba april 2015| mychild

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he Children’s Hospital at Westmead has been caring for sick children and their families since 1880. Today, they are an international leader in child and adolescent health, providing specialised care, which is often not available at other hospitals. This is so true in more ways than one! They have a little pocket of office space tucked away underneath the hospital and if this was a fairy tale you would say it is where the magic elves tailor away to make special garments and toys for children in need. You walk down into the belly of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead where you arrive at Connie Pe Benito’s ‘office’, but the large windows allow natural light to flow in, making it a bright place plus Connie’s large welcoming smile makes it cheerful. Now Connie is no elf but she has her sewing machine so highly tuned it seems to magically create incredible pieces of work. Connie has been working at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for 19 years, which is nearly as long as the hospital has been at Westmead! Connie sews a huge wide variety of things, and no task is beyond her capability. Among the things she sews are special garments for the patients. This could be for a child with a plaster cast or a child in a wheelchair, Connie tailors the clothes so that they will fit and are easy to put on. Connie also sews the jackets for the one and only, Bandaged Bear. The Bandaged Bear Appeal raises essential funds to purchase the most advanced medical equipment, fund vital research into the causes and cures for childhood illnesses and to maintain the total healing environment central to the wellbeing of children and families. Connie is one of those lucky people who’s passion is her job. Connie is a natural, she has received no formal training, she grew up on the cutting room floor. Her mother is a dressmaker and she just watched her cut, sew and create. For Connie it was a natural progression and



mychild | april 2015

something she has always been able to do. When she arrived in Australia she started working in an alteration shop in Parramatta and then got the position at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and she is still there. All her energy and passion flows down as you watch Connie lay out the template on the fabric and she manages to expertly cut out the headpieces, you soon realise it is more than experience that shapes her day.

“Connie has been working at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for 19 years nearly as long as the Hospital has been at Westmead” Modern factories and clothing shops have computerised designs and templates but Connie works with her knowledge of what children need to create unique products to help them. One of the children that really sticks in Connie’s mind is Sophie Joy Delezio the schoolgirl who gained media attention when on 15 December 2003 she and Molly Wood, both two years old at the time, were badly injured when they were trapped under a burning car that had crashed through a gate into the Roundhouse Childcare Centre in Fairlight, Sydney. Sophie suffered third-degree burns to 85% of her body and was hospitalised for several weeks where she lost both her legs. Connie has made a lot of the rehabilitation garments for Sophie, and she still makes customised items for Sophie, as she grows and needs new rehabilative products. Connie can see what the children need; she is often called up to the wards or faxed directions and then she will make the splint, beanbag, wheelchair support specific to each child. The splints are made to measure and as Connie says “I make heaps! The hand splint is the hardest thing as it is such a tight fit. They

call me to go up to the ward and I measure the children, they supply the dermaplastic and then I go down and make it up for them, it will take around an hour to put it together. And I take it back up for them to put on,” says Connie. These splints are also the major income earner for the department as many government agencies buy the splints. They are all on order and made to measure. The variety of items that Connie makes is vast, as we thumbed through her album she proudly told us about some of them. It’s the simple things that we don’t realise have to be custom made: the straps that hold on an asthma mask, clothes for the play therapy department. There are some parents with children who are in need of special items or their children are going to be in hospital for a while so and they bring in their own fabric choice, it sometimes matches their rooms and makes it more personal. Quite a few children have to have Intravenous fluid bags and catheter bags and they are conscious of walking around with these bags. Connie makes sling carriers in fun fabrics so that the children can walk around without being conscious of the bags. Most of the fabric in the department is donated. There are a lot of little things that we need for a hospital stay that Connie makes, the foot warmers when you are sitting in bed for a long time and beanbags in all sorts of shapes and sizes. As beanbags are a bit of a messy job to fill Connie has used her initiative and has improvised special beanbag filler, so the little beans don’t fly all over the place. Connie has two adult children and she used to make clothes for them when they were smaller and her youngest wants her to make her wedding dress. When you ask Connie what is the best part of her job she tells us “It makes me so happy to see the children use what I have made for them, just to see the smile on their faces. To

Connie with the Pennywise Penguin which was the winning entry in a compitation conducted by Westren Sydney Area Health Service to promote a linen minimisation program . It is made from kimguard, a blue coloured non-woven polypropoylene wrap used to wrap gowns or surgical instrument that go through a sterilising process. The doll it is for Sydney Children’s Hospital , Occupational Therapy department. The doll is for visual stimulation and parents and child attachment.

see them wear the things I have made and to see them comfortable.” To date Connie has never used a pattern! She just seems to know how to cut the fabric to size. Maybe Connie is a magic elf, what she produces is magical and special, and her scissors just seem to know the right way to go.* april 2015| mychild

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true life

My Story


hile pregnant with me, my mum had Toxaemia – a condition causing severe high blood pressure. As in cases like this, it was necessary for me to be born early via emergency caesarean. The fact that my mum had had a heart attack at 26 years old (just three years before I was born) did not help the situation. A few days after I was born, I had a brain haemorrhage on the right side of my brain. It was touch and go for a while, though with treatment, the clot dissolved. I remained in a humidity crib until I was five weeks old. The first few weeks as parents of a newborn is supposed to be a time of excitement and celebration. My parents’ experience was fraught with anxiety and endless days in a hospital ward. Due to Mum’s heart condition, she was transferred to St George Hospital the morning after I was born. She was unable to see me until six days after I was born. My Dad spent the first few weeks of my life driving back and forth between visiting my mum and I, all whilst trying to hold down a full time job. It was not easy for anyone involved. Mum was released from hospital when I was 10 days old, but it would be two months before they could experience the joy of bringing me home for the first time. It wasn’t long before Mum and Dad became concerned that my development wasn’t up to speed with babies my age. After endless tests and visits to many doctors my parents were delivered another blow, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a condition affecting the relationship between the brain and muscles. Like premature birth, it does not have one known cause, as its severity differs from person to person. Thousands of children are born with Cerebral Palsy every day and one fact remain; there is no cure.



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My fine motor skills are a little lacking on my left hand side, consistent with brain injuries on the right hand side of the body. Primarily, my lower mobility is affected, causing me to have an awkward gait, and bad balance. Whilst numerous doctors have tried remedies such as hamstring operations, plaster and splints, these procedures have had little to no effect. If anything, it could have made my condition worse.

“My Nan always tells me, ‘there’s no such word as can’t. This was, no doubt, a stressful time for my family and the support of an organisation such as Life’s Little Treasures would have made a world of difference, particularly in those early years. Nevertheless, I consider myself lucky. After all, I could be worse off. Unlike many families, my parents brought me up to be a relatively positive person. My Nan always tells me, ‘there’s no such word as can’t.’ It’s a motto by which I try and live my life. In 2011, I achieved my dream of visiting Paris and the UK. If that’s not proof that disability shouldn’t hold you back, I don’t know what is! My condition does not affect my brain. Overall, I’m just like you. I work part time in an administration position, while pursuing a career in freelance journalism and editing and proofreading. The publishing industry is where I would ultimately love to work and, I’m well on my way there. In the past couple of months, I have been putting together a portfolio and I have

“In 2011, I achieved my dream of visiting Paris and the UK. If that’s not proof that disability shouldn’t hold you back, I don’t know what is.”

interviewed great Australian authors, musicians, and even been to a couple of film events. Nothing can stop me now. I know that 26 years ago, my parents would have loved the support and guidance offered by Life’s Little Treasures. As a participant in Walk for Prems in 2014, I am proud that I was able to contribute to helping new parents as they tackle the challenges ahead. It was through Walk for Prems that I first became aware of Life’s Little Treasures’ invaluable work.

would be nothing without public support. With no government funding, Life’s Little Treasures relies solely on public donations and fund raising. Leigh Harding and his wife Stacey Harding, who gave birth to daughter Milla at 26.5 weeks, are just one example of those who have been helped by Life’s Little Treasures. While at the hospital, Life’s Little Treasures provided the Harding family with information, support and guidance for which they will ever be grateful. They participated in Life’s Little Treasures’ Walk for Prems in another city and, upon “There is no one cause of moving to Brisbane, formed their own event here, and have became ambassadors for the premature birth, which can organisation. make prevention difficult” As one of Life’s Little Treasures’ key fund Lifes Little treasures. raising events, Walk for Prems is held Originally formed in 2005 by a group of concurrently throughout various states, and parents with premature children, Life’s Little continues to grow. Last year, the organisation Treasures’ mission is to improve the lives of raised over $159,000, which will assist in the children who were born prematurely. improvement and expansion of the Since then, the organisation has worked with foundation’s services. over 70 hospitals around Australia, providing Moving from its original location in New families of premature babies with the Farm Park, Walk for Prems 2014 was held in 7th necessary support and encouragement required Brigade Park, Chermside, and turned the park during such a trying time. into a sea of Life’s Little Treasures’ trademark Premature birth is not a disease, though it is orange and white. Supported by local the number one killer of newborns. organisations and businesses, the infectious There is no one cause of premature birth, sound of children’s laughter filled the air as which can make prevention difficult. Over 14.5 they played together before the percent of babies born will be premature, which commencement of the walk. in turn translates to approximately 115 hospital Though many healthy premature babies admissions per day. attended the Brisbane event, Life’s Little In the last decade, Life’s Little Treasures Treasure’s acknowledges that some are not as resources, such as their hospital information fortunate. Minutes before the walk was folder A Guiding Hand for Families in NICU and scheduled to begin, a hush came over the Special Care and iphone apps like NICU Words crowd as those who have lost premature babies have helped many a family get back on their released doves in remembrance of their feet after their baby’s premature birth. children. Support groups and webinars continue to assist families long after they leave the If you would like to find out more about Life’s hospital. Little Treasures, call 1300 697 736 or visit: However, their dedication and hard work

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Th e fi r s t p h oto s of J oh n Davi d 30


mychild | april 2015

Picture Perfect BY MARY BETH TYSON



envisioned a pain free delivery where my husband, Ryan, held my hand and helped me through my painless contractions while my hair (which never looks perfect anyway) flowed smoothly around my face. Hearing the first cry of my perfectly fat 8-pound baby as he was introduced to the world for the first time. Wiping my tears of joy when I saw him for the first time and as they put him in my arms. After our first moment together he would easily nurse and he would spend his first sleep-filled night in our hospital room where we could hear him coo all night. How wrong was I! My contractions started around 6pm and a month too early. Ryan had taken one last fishing trip with a friend and planned on spending the night at his house on an island accessible only by boats. At first I hoped my contractions were really Braxton Hicks but when they started to find consistency I suspected that they were more. My friend who

worked for a mid-wife came over to help me until Ryan could get back home and my mom was called, she then began the two-hour drive from her home. By the time everyone arrived I was knew I was in early labour. We arrived to the hospital around 3am and I was taken into a ward so they could monitor what was going on and see how much I was dilated – I blame my friends for not telling me how much THAT hurts! My dream of a perfect evening was quickly fading as the contractions hit and I was convinced my hips were going to blow off. After monitoring my baby’s heart rate they found that he was under distress and also very small. The concern on the faces of the medical staff around the room was the first real pain I felt in this birthing experience. They told us that they would need to do c-section rather than a natural birth and by 8am I was wheeled into surgery. I was terrified and worried that something was seriously wrong with my baby.

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J us t l i ke every ch ild J D love s to get dir ty and needed tum my tim e. His size and weight scared me to death and I quickly began blaming myself and thinking of the times I had missed a prenatal vitamin or drank a coke rather than water. Then at 8:30am our son, John David (JD) arrived. Even with all of the stress and worry his cry was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. They brought him over for me to see and after a few moments, with very little communication, they whisked him off to the ICU and put us in a separate room where we waited to go see him. I knew then that something was not right. The rest of this story is emotional, it’s also the beginning of what I believe is going to be a beautiful journey through life. I don’t know exactly what to expect but I know it’s our path and I’m eager to see what’s in store.



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When we were wheeled into the ICU to really see, touch and hold our precious John David for the first time, we were met by a Doctor who delivered some news I never expected to hear. He told us that they are very concerned that JD has Down Syndrome and then my mind shut down, I did not hear anything else he said. All I could do is look at my precious little one who I know I loved more than anything in the world. I don’t know if I cried or if I just stared. I also don’t remember being wheeled out of the room. Everything during that time is completely black. Ryan and I spent the rest of the day and night in the small twin hospital bed crying together. It’s not what you expect to hear when you have a baby. I was scared to even go see him in the ICU. I knew very little about Down Syndrome and what I did know I didn’t want to face and more than anything I didn’t

Tim e out on the boat is ex hilarating for everyo n e want my baby to have to face it. I was hit by a million thoughts and emotions all at one time and I was scared to death. Late that night we were allowed to go and see him and hold him. As I held him in my arms I was still scared and heartbroken but he was so perfect to me. He was beautiful and he was my baby. He was the same baby that I had grown to love with each kick. He was the baby I had dreamed about for 8 months and prepared for. He was part Ryan and part me. He was precious. Even though I loved him I fought my thoughts and my fears. In my adult life I’ve struggled with the battle between loving the meek, humble and the broken and celebrated the opposite. I joked with Ryan that for someone who isn’t anything spectacular I appear to have built up quite an ego. Yikes! As Christians we believe Christ came to earth for the “least of these.” He came for those who are not the most beautiful or most athletic. But I celebrated what society

labelled acceptable and turned my back on the others. After one month in the NICU we brought John David home and life seemed to be normal. He was small and he wasn’t very strong but he seemed like a typical baby to me. The idea that my son wouldn’t be an individual was one of the hardest fears I felt. Society has a way of painting a picture that people with Down syndrome are always happy, always sweet. That’s fine if that’s the description of your own child but I wanted so much more for my son than blind sweetness. As all mothers we want a child with compassion but we also want a child with discernment. I realized my heart felt so much pain because I was faced with this picture of a child whose entire life and future had already been set for him. My heart began to heal and the main reason for the healing was that he was John David. He was my baby and he had a bright future ahead of him. When you first hold your newborn

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Hap py Bi r th d a y Joh n Davi d

baby the slate is clean and the future is wide open. But the way our society views babies with Down syndrome it seems that their story has already been written. You can see it in the doctor’s faces when they deliver the news. You can see it in the healthcare providers when they see him. Right now John David is your typical 4.5-year-old boy. He has some differences but he’s more alike than different. He loves to play with trucks, he has a vivid imagination he’s recently really developed, he loves to go on the boat, wrestle with his younger brother and has his favourite movies. He’s demanding and stubborn but also fun and picky. He’s the older of two other brothers. Brennan was born 14 months after him and Benjamin born 2 years after Brennan. They are best buds and it makes me so happy to see their relationship grown and blossom. There are many things that John David struggles with that is very typical to people with Down Syndrome. We are very involved and



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focused on his development by monitoring every symptom and behaviour we see. Not long after he was born I was introduced to a different approach than what I was told in the hospital that was “just go home and love him”. Not that going home and loving him isn’t excellent advice! However, we truly believe that Down syndrome should also be treated like a disease and with nutritional intervention we can help him have an even more successful future. I still struggle. Some days life is pretty normal with my three boys and our wild life. Other days when I see him working so hard I feel a little sadness rise up and I always let myself face it and feel it. Most of the time it’s gone within a few minutes. I don’t think it’s healthy to hold down feelings of pain or discouragement so I talk it out when I feel it. John David isn’t always easy. He’s very stubborn and while he has a great vocabulary he does struggle to effectively express himself. In a busy day with two other younger brothers

Ma r y B eth and h er b o ys

this can make it hard. But we never hold on to his struggles or delays believing they will always be there. We absolutely believe that his future is bright. Our goals for John David are the very same as our goals for our other two sons, we hope they live a life of adventure, a life of love and a

life where they experience their own version of success. But like my husband likes to say “the story hasn’t been written on John David!” And he’s so right! He’s writing it himself!

Mary Beth is a talented wedding photographer who grew up on a small island on the west coast of Florida. The island that her family has called home for generations was a haven for fisherman and artists who loved it for it’s raw and natural beauty. Her love for art and photography began when, at a young age, she was exposed to the work of photographers who felt a calling to capture the culture and lives around them.

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special needs


pecial needs is an umbrella underneath which a staggering array of diagnoses can be wedged. Children with special needs may have mild learning disabilities or profound cognitive impairment; food allergies or terminal illness; developmental delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or serious psychiatric problems. The designation is useful for getting needed services, setting appropriate goals, and gaining understanding for a child and stressed family. “Special needs” are commonly defined by what a child can’t do -- by milestones unmet, foods banned, activities avoided, experiences denied. These can hit families hard, and may make “special needs” seem like a tragic designation. Some parents will always mourn their child’s lost potential, and many conditions become more troubling with time. Other families may find that their child’s challenges make triumphs sweeter, and that weaknesses are often accompanied by amazing strengths.

“Causes of cerebral palsy after birth may be a result of an accident, viral infection, and child abuse.” Cerebral Palsy Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by damage to the brain, usually occurring before, during, or shortly after birth. “Cerebral” refers to the brain and “palsy” to a disorder of movement or posture. It is not progressive. Prenatal causes of cerebral palsy include illness during pregnancy, premature delivery, and lack of oxygen supply to the baby caused by premature separation of the placenta, an awkward birth position, labor that goes on too long or is too abrupt, and interference with the umbilical cord. Other causes may be associated with , RH or A-B-O blood type incompatibility between parents, infection of the mother with viral diseases such as



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German measles in early pregnancy, and microorganisms that attack the newborn’s central nervous system. Causes of cerebral palsy after birth may be a result of an accident, viral infection and child abuse. Depending on which part of the brain is damaged and the degree of involvement of the central nervous system, one or more of the following may occur: tonal problems, involuntary movement, spasms, problems with gait and mobility, seizures, impairment of sight, hearing and/or speech, and mental retardation. Early identification and intervention are vital. About 3,000 babies are born with this disorder each year. There are 3 main types of cerebral palsy: • spastic – stiff and difficult movement • athetoid – involuntary and uncontrolled movement • ataxic – disturbed sense of balance and depth perception

Cognitive Disabilities The term cognitive disabilities encompasses various intellectual or cognitive deficits, including intellectual disability (mental retardation), developmental delay, developmental disability, learning disabilities, and conditions causing cognitive impairment such as acquired brain injuries or neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. The term developmental delay is used to identify children (typically infants, toddlers and preschool age children) with delays in meeting developmental milestones in one or more areas of development. Types of Developmental Delays • Cognitive skills • Communication • Social and emotional skills functioning • Behaviour • Fine and gross motor skills

Deaf/ Hearing Impaired


About 2 – 3 infants out of every 1000 live births will have some degree of hearing loss at birth. Hearing loss can also develop in children who had normal hearing as infants. The loss can occur in one or both ears, and may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Profound hearing loss is what most people call deafness. Sensorineural Hearing Loss Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and there is currently no cure. Hearing aids may help. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. 90 percent of all hearing aid wearers have sensorineural hearing loss. When the problem is in the inner ear, a sensorineural hearing loss occurs. Conductive Hearing Loss Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the ear canal, eardrum or the bones of the middle ear. This results in a reduction of loudness of sound reaching the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss may result from earwax blocking the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear, middle ear infection, obstructions in the ear canal, perforations in the eardrum or disease of any of the three middle ear bones. People with conductive hearing loss may notice their ears seem to be full or plugged.

Epilepsy is a symptom of a neurological disorder which causes a malfunction of the electrical signals that control the brain. It is characterized by seizures. A seizure may last anywhere from few seconds to several minutes. A seizure may appear as a brief stare, an unusual movement of the body, a change of awareness, or a convulsion. The two categories are partial, this is when the seizure activity begins in a particular spot in the brain and generalized,when the seizure activity affects the whole brain with no obvious starting point. A doctor will probably order an EEG (a test where wires are glued to the scalp to record the electricity given off by the brain). Some of the different types are : Partial • Simple Partial, consciousness is not impaired • Complex Partial. consciousness is impaired Generalized • May or may not be convulsive Absence Seizures Simple: Starts suddenly without warning; a glazed look on the face and stares, unaware of what is going on; sometimes there may be eye blinking or head bobbing; lasts just a few seconds and abruptly ends with no confusion, immediately alert; maybe mistaken for daydreaming. Atypical Similar to simple absence but has more pronounced motor involvement; ie- tonic or clonic spells, involuntary behaviors such as in complex partial seizures. Myoclonic Seizures Abrupt jerks of muscle groups; foot may kick, hand may jerk, or entire body may jerk as if being hit with an electric shock, may be thrown to the ground; a series of myoclonic jerks several times a day is termed infantile spasms; very difficult to control

“families may find that their child’s challenges make triumphs sweeter, and that weaknesses are often accompanied by amazing strengths.” Central Hearing Loss Central hearing loss results from damage to the auditory nerve itself, or the brain pathways that lead to the nerve. Central hearing loss is rare in infants and children.

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Atonic Seizures Sudden loss of tone or posture, body goes limp and may fall to the ground. Tonic-Clonic Seizures Most common seizure type in children; tonic phase- loss of consciousness, eyes roll, contracting (stiffening) of all the muscles including the chest making it difficult to breathe, face and lips may to blue, lasts for a few seconds-usually less than 30 sec. followed by clonic phase- rhythmic jerking, fists are clenched, usually lasts for a few seconds, jerking slows and stops, ended by a deep sigh; then enters the post-ictal state for a few minutes: not awake and doesn’t respond, after this, may sleep or be woken up, but may be tired and confused and sore. Tonic Seizures Just the tonic (stiffening) phase of the tonicclonic seizure lasting less than a minute followed by a post-ictal sleep. Clonic Seizures Rare- just the clonic (jerking) phase of the tonic-clonic seizure.

attached to another chromosome. About 4% have Translocation. • Mosaicism is where only some cells have Trisomy 21. About 1% have Mosaicism. Some of the characteristics of Down Syndrome are almond shaped eyes, small ears, small head size, short, broad hands with a single transverse palmar crease. Mental disabilities of varying degrees is also common

Mitochondrial Disorders

Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body except red blood cells. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole systems begin to fail, and the life of the person in whom this is happening is severely compromised. Down Syndrome The disease primarily affects children, but Our bodies are made up of millions of cells. In adult onset is becoming more and more each cell there are 46 chromosomes. The DNA common. Diseases of the mitochondria appear in our chromosomes determines how we to cause the most damage to cells of the brain, develop. Down syndrome is caused when there heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney and the is an extra chromosome. People with Down endocrine and respiratory systems. syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells Depending on which cells are affected, instead of 46. They have an extra chromosome symptoms may include loss of motor control, 21, which is why Down syndrome is also muscle weakness and pain, gastro-intestinal sometimes known as Trisomy 21. disorders and swallowing difficulties, poor There are three major types of Down growth, cardiac disease, liver disease, diabetes, Syndrome. respiratory complications, seizures, visual/ • Trisomy 21 is the presence of extra hearing problems, lactic acidosis, genetic material on the 21st pair of developmental delays and susceptibility to chromosomes resulting from an anomaly infection. in cell division during development of the egg or sperm or during fertilization. About Spina Bifida 95% have Trisomy 21. Spina Bifida is a birth defect called a neural • Translocation is where the extra tube defect (a disorder involving incomplete chromosome 21 broke off and became development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or



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their protective coverings). It is caused by the failure of the fetus’s spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. The spinal opening can be surgically repaired, but the nerve damage is permanent, and may result in varying degrees of paralysis of the lower limbs, learning disabilities, bowel and bladder complications, and hydrocephalus. Spina Bifida is one of the most common birth defects in the United States. The three most common types of Spina Bifida are: • Myelomeningocele- (the most severe form) The spinal canal remains open along several vertebrae in the lower or middle back. Because of this opening, both the membranes and the spinal cord protrude, forming a sac on the baby’s back. In some cases, skin covers the sac. Usually, however, tissues and nerves are exposed, making the baby prone to lifethreatening infections. • Meningocele- The spinal cord and its protective covering protrude from an opening in the spine. The spinal cord develops normally, these membranes can be removed by surgery with little or no damage to nerve pathways. • Occulta- (the mildest form) One or more vertebrae are malformed and covered by a layer of skin. The spinal nerves usually aren’t involved and most children will have no signs or symptoms and experience no neurological problems. An abnormal tuft of hair, a collection of fat, a small dimple or a birthmark on the skin above the spinal defect may be the only visible indication of the condition. In fact, most people who have spina bifida occulta don’t know it, unless the condition is discovered during an X-ray for unrelated reasons. There is no cure for SB because the nerve tissue cannot be replaced or repaired.

Treatment may include surgery, medication, and physiotherapy. Many children with Spina Bifida will need assistive devices such as braces, crutches, or wheelchairs. Surgery to close the newborn’s spinal opening is generally performed within 24 hours after birth to minimize the risk of infection and to preserve existing function in the spinal cord.

What’s Life Like for a Special Needs child? Life can be extra-challenging for a child with special needs. It might be harder to do normal stuff — like learning to read or, if a person has physical handicaps, just getting around school or the mall. The good news is that parents, doctors, nurses, therapists, teachers, and others can help. The goal is to help kids be as independent as possible. Children with learning problems often have special needs. Children with Down syndrome might go to a regular school and might even be in your class. But they have special needs when it comes to learning, so an aide might come with them to class.

Parents need help as well! Ability Online, is a website that connects kids, teens and youth of all abilities— including their siblings and parents—in a secure, safe online environment. Depending on your age and situation, you are able to access forums and parts of the website that are appropriate to your needs. The forums are monitored for bullying and inappropriate content. Sourced from www., Ability,

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yslexia is a type of specific learning difficulty (SLD) in which the person has difficulties with language and words. The term dyslexia, although still used by some, is generally felt to be too narrow and SLD is often used to describe these learning difficulties. This is because the learning difficulties are usually broader than just reading difficulties; most children with SLD also have difficulty with spelling.

The most common characteristic is that people have difficulty reading and spelling for no apparent reason. The person may be intelligent, able to achieve well in other areas and exposed to the same education as others, but is unable to read at the expected level. Common problem areas include spelling, comprehension, reading and identification of words. Estimates vary, but up to five per cent of the population are thought to have dyslexia.

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dyslexia Despite intensive research, the exact causes remain unknown. While most people affected eventually learn to read, they may have severe spelling problems unless they get support and specialised education. Dyslexia isn’t a symptom of low intelligence. Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison - both highly intelligent and creative people - had dyslexia!

Symptoms of dyslexia in preschoolers • delayed speech • problems with pronunciation • problems with rhyming words and learning rhymes • difficulty with learning shapes, colours and how to write their own name • difficulty with retelling a story in the right order of events.

Some of the symptoms in a primary school age child could include: • problems with reading a single word • regularly confuses certain letters when writing, such as ‘d’ and ‘b’ or ‘m’ and ‘w’ • regularly writes words backwards, such as writing ‘pit’ when the word ‘tip’ was intended • problems with grammar, such as learning prefixes or suffixes • tries to avoid reading aloud in class • doesn’t like reading books • reads below their expected level.

Symptoms of dyslexia in high school children Some of the symptoms in a high school student could include: • poor reading • bad spelling, including different misspellings of the same word in one writing assignment • difficulties with writing summaries • problems with learning a foreign language



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Some of the symptoms in an adult could include: • reading and spelling problems • doesn’t like reading books • avoids tasks that involve writing, or else gets someone else to do the writing for them • better than average memory • often, a greater than average spatial ability - the person may be talented in art, design, mathematics or engineering.

“Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison - both highly intelligent and creative people - had dyslexia.” Phonological coding explained Written words represent spoken words. In order to read and write, a child has to link the sound of a letter with its written symbol. This is known as phonological coding. The ability to grasp the ‘sound structure’ of words in this way is crucial to reading and writing. Learning to read and write is a slow process, because written letters have no direct and obvious correlation with their sounds. For example, you can’t guess how to pronounce the symbol ‘b’ just by looking at it - you have to rely on your memory. It is thought that dyslexia could be a problem with phonological coding. One of the early symptoms may be the child’s inability to learn or understand rhyming words.

Causes of dyslexia The exact causes of dyslexia remain unknown, but theories include: • There may be problems with phonological awareness (distinguishing the meaning of contrasting speech sounds). • A person with poor phonological awareness has trouble with their short-term memory for spoken words, which means they tend

to forget instructions or word lists. • There may be problems with the visual, auditory, linguistic or neurological processes that are involved with recognising the written word. Reading difficulties tend to run in families, which suggests a genetic link.

Diagnosis of dyslexia Dyslexia or SLD can be hard to diagnose unless the problem is severe. Seek professional advice from a specialist educational psychologist if you think you or your child may have dyslexia. The evaluation may include testing a range of factors including: • cognitive (thinking) skills • memory • vocabulary • literacy skills • intellectual ability • information processing • psycholinguistic processing. An evaluation by a speech pathologist may also assist.

Contributing factors for dyslexia It is important to remember that not everyone who has trouble with reading and writing is dyslexic. Similarly, some of the reading and writing difficulties of someone with dyslexia may be caused or worsened by other factors. Some of the contributing factors that are taken into account during the evaluation could include: • Health - for example, the person may have health issues that have interfered with their language development and writing ability, such as deafness or visual problems. • Language - for example, a child from a non-English speaking background usually takes longer to master speech, reading and writing in both languages.

• Education - the person may have missed out on educational opportunities; for example, a chronic illness may have kept them out of school for long periods of time. • Behavioural or developmental disorders for example, the person may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can cause learning problems.

Treatment for dyslexia There is no cure for dyslexia, but the person can benefit from specialised support, which could include: • one-to-one tutoring from a specialist educator • a phonics-based reading program that teaches the link between spoken and written sounds • a multi-sensory approach to learning, which means using as many different senses as possible such as seeing, listening, doing and speaking • arrangements with the child’s school - for example, for them to take oral instead of written tests • learning via audio or video recordings.

Where to get help • • • •

Your doctor Specialist educational psychologist Your child’s school A speech pathologist

Things to remember • Dyslexia is characterised by difficulties with reading for no apparent reason. • One of the early symptoms may be the child’s inability to understand rhyming words. • Dyslexia or SLD can be hard to diagnose unless the problem is severe, so seek professional advice from a specialist educational psychologist.* Sourced from Better

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utism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that there is a wide degree of variation in the way it affects people. Every child on the autism spectrum has unique abilities, symptoms, and challenges. Learning about the different autism spectrum disorders will help you better understand your own child, get a handle on what all the different autism terms mean, and make it easier to communicate with the doctors, teachers, and therapists helping your child.

Understanding autism spectrum disorders Autism is not a single disorder, but a spectrum of closely-related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Every individual on the autism spectrum has problems to some degree with social skills, empathy, communication, and flexible behaviour. But the level of disability and the combination of symptoms varies tremendously from person to person. In fact, two kids with the same

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Autism diagnosis may look very different when it comes to their behaviours and abilities. If you’re a parent dealing with a child on the autism spectrum, you may hear many different terms including high-functioning autism, atypical autism, autism spectrum disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder. These terms can be confusing, not only because there are so many, but because doctors, therapists, and other parents may use them in dissimilar ways. But no matter what doctors, teachers, and other specialists call the autism spectrum disorder, it’s your child’s unique needs that are truly important. No diagnostic label can tell you exactly what problems your child will have. Finding treatment that addresses your child’s needs, rather than focusing on what to call the problem, is the most helpful thing you can do. You don’t need a diagnosis to start getting help for your child’s symptoms.

Types of autism spectrum disorders The autism spectrum disorders belong to an “umbrella” category of five childhood-onset conditions known as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Some autism specialists use the terms pervasive developmental disorder and autism spectrum disorder interchangeably. However, when most people talk about the autism spectrum disorders, they are referring to the three most common PDDs: • Autism • Asperger’s Syndrome • Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) Childhood disintegrative disorder and Rett Syndrome are the other pervasive developmental disorders. Because both are extremely rare genetic diseases, they are usually considered to be separate medical conditions that don’t truly belong on the



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autism spectrum.

Where does your child fall on the autism spectrum? The three autism spectrum disorders share many of the same symptoms, but they differ in their severity and impact. Classic autism, or autistic disorder, is the most severe of the autism spectrum disorders. Milder variants are Asperger’s Syndrome, sometimes called high-functioning autism, and PDD-NOS, or atypical autism. According to the Autism Spectrum Resource Center, only 20% of people on the autism spectrum have classic autism. The overwhelming majority fall somewhere on the milder range of the spectrum. Since the autism spectrum disorders share many similar symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish one from the other, particularly in the early stages. If your child is developmentally delayed or exhibits other autism-like behaviours, you will need to visit a medical professional for a thorough evaluation. Your doctor can help you figure out where, or even if, your child fits on the autistic spectrum.

“no matter what doctors, teachers, and other specialists call the autism spectrum disorder, it’s your child’s unique needs that are truly important Signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders In both children and adults, the signs and symptoms of the autism spectrum disorders include problems with social skills, speech and language, and restricted activities and interests. However, there are enormous differences when it comes to the severity of the

symptoms, their combinations, and the patterns of behaviour. Keep in mind that just because your child has a few autism-like symptoms, it doesn’t mean he or she has an autism spectrum disorder. The autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed based on the presence of multiple symptoms that disrupt your child’s ability to communicate, form relationships, explore, play, and learn.

Social skills Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorders. Symptoms may include: • Unusual or inappropriate body language, gestures, and facial expressions (e.g. avoiding eye contact or using facial expressions that don’t match what he or she is saying). • Lack of interest in other people or in sharing interests or achievements (e.g. showing you a drawing, pointing to a bird). • Unlikely to approach others or to pursue social interaction; comes across as aloof and detached; prefers to be alone. • Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings, reactions, and nonverbal cues. • Resistance to being touched. • Difficulty or failure to make friends with children the same age.

Speech and language Problems with speech and language comprehension are a telltale sign of the autism spectrum disorders. Symptoms may include: • Delay in learning how to speak (after the age of 2) or doesn’t talk at all. • Speaking in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch. • Repeating words or phrases over and over without communicative intent.

Sometimes “autism” really means “autism spectrum disorder” When people use the term autism, it can mean one of two things. They may actually be referring to autistic disorder, or classical autism. But autism is often used in a more general sense to refer to all autism spectrum disorders. So if someone is talking about your child’s autism, don’t assume that he or she is implying that your child has autistic disorder, rather than another autism spectrum disorder. If you’re unsure what is meant, don’t be afraid to ask.

How children with autism spectrum disorders play Children with autism spectrum disorders tend to be less spontaneous than other kids. Unlike a typical curious little kid pointing to things that catch his or her eye, autistic children often appear disinterested or unaware of what’s going on around them. They also show differences in the way they play. They may have trouble with functional play, or using toys that have a basic intended use, such as toy tools or cooking set. They usually don’t “play make-believe,” engage in group games, imitate others, or use their toys in creative ways.

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• Trouble starting a conversation or keeping it going. • Difficulty communicating needs or desires. • Doesn’t understand simple statements or questions. • Taking what is said too literally, missing humour, irony, and sarcasm.

Restricted behaviour and play Children with autism spectrum disorders are often restricted, rigid, and even obsessive in their behaviours, activities, and interests. Symptoms may include: • Repetitive body movements (hand flapping, rocking, spinning); moving constantly. • Obsessive attachment to unusual objects (rubber bands, keys, light switches). • Preoccupation with a specific topic of interest, often involving numbers or symbols (maps, license plates, sports statistics). • A strong need for sameness, order, and routines (e.g. lines up toys, follows a rigid schedule). Gets upset by change in their routine or environment. • Clumsiness, abnormal posture, or odd ways of moving. • Fascinated by spinning objects, moving pieces, or parts of toys (e.g. spinning the wheels on a race car, instead of playing with the whole car).

Getting an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis The road to an autism diagnosis can be difficult and time-consuming. In fact, it is often 2 to 3 years after the first symptoms of autism are recognized before an official diagnosis is made. This is due in large part to concerns about labelling or incorrectly diagnosing the child. However, an autism diagnosis can also be delayed if the doctor doesn’t take a parent’s



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concerns seriously or if the family isn’t referred to health care professionals who specialize in developmental disorders. If you’re worried that your child has autism, it’s important to seek out a medical diagnosis. But don’t wait for that diagnosis to get your child into treatment. Early intervention during the preschool years will improve your child’s chances for overcoming his or her developmental delays. So look into treatment options and try not to worry if you’re still waiting on a definitive diagnosis. Putting a potential label on your kid’s problem is far outweighed by the need to treat the symptoms.

Diagnosing autism spectrum disorders In order to determine whether your child has autism, a related autism spectrum disorder, or another developmental condition, clinicians look carefully at the way your child socializes, communicates, and behaves. Diagnosis is based on the patterns of behaviour that are revealed. If you are concerned that your child has an autism spectrum disorder and developmental screening confirms the risk, ask your family doctor or paediatrician to refer you immediately to an autism specialist or team of specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Since the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder is complicated, it is essential that you meet with experts who have training and experience in this highly specialized area. Diagnosing an autism spectrum disorder is not a brief process. There is no single medical test that can diagnose it definitively; instead, in order to accurately pinpoint your child’s problem, multiple evaluations and tests are necessary.* By Robert and Jeanne Segal from http://www.

UNDERSTANDING KIDS WHO ARE DIFFERENT Kids Who Are Different Here’s to the kids who are different, The kids who don’t always get A’s The kids who have ears twice the size of their peers, And noses that go on for days ... Here’s to the kids who are different, The kids they call crazy or dumb, The kids who don’t fit, with the guts and the grit, Who dance to a different drum ... Here’s to the kids who are different, The kids with the mischievous streak, For when they have grown, as history’s shown, It’s their difference that makes them unique. by Digby Wolfe Once upon a time, parents would shy away from discussing the ‘special’ needs of their children. The word ‘disability’ was almost taboo and would be avoided at all costs. Families would need to manage the ‘special needs’ of their children on their own, without the support of friends, educators and local communities. Opportunities for assistance and education were scarce and parents were reluctant to discuss their child’s needs. Increased awareness and education is beginning to improve our understanding of children with special needs and the lifelong challenges faced by these children and their families. Special needs is a general term that can be

used to describe a range of disabilities, learning disorders, mental or behavioural disorders and physical limitations. These can be profound, severe, moderate or mild. Regardless of the disability, all children need to be recognised, appreciated and understood. All children with a disability have the right to the same educational opportunities as all Australian children. (United Nations Children’s Fund, 2007) In 2009, four million people in Australia were reported as having a disability. Of this, 290 000 (7.2%) were children aged 0­14 (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Awareness and education is crucial in ensuring that these children receive the best opportunities and early intervention strategies available. Children with special needs may require extra time and assistance to complete learning tasks in the classroom. Instructions and other modifications may need to be considered and put into place. “Feeling different, like I don’t fit in…” is the most common challenge for children with special needs and at times, all children. Awareness and acceptance is the key to building confidence in all children, no matter their needs or differences.* Madeline Mitchell, from Hiiq discusses the need for awareness and acceptance around children with ‘special needs’.

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t’s normal for children to occasionally forget their homework, daydream during class, act without thinking, or get fidgety at the dinner table. But inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also signs of attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD), which can affect your child’s ability to learn and get along with others. The first step to addressing the problem is to recognize the signs and symptoms.

What is ADD / ADHD? We all know kids who can’t sit still, who never seem to listen, who don’t follow instructions no matter how clearly you present them, or who blurt out inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. Sometimes these children are labelled as troublemakers, or criticized for being lazy and undisciplined. However, they may have ADD/ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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Special Needs (ADHD) is a disorder that appears in early childhood. You may know it by the name attention deficit disorder, or ADD. ADD/ADHD makes it difficult for people to inhibit their spontaneous responses—responses that can involve everything from movement to speech to attentiveness.

Is it normal kid behaviour or is it ADHD? The signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD typically appear before the age of seven. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between attention deficit disorder and normal “kid behaviour.” If you spot just a few signs, or the symptoms appear only in some situations, it’s probably not ADD/ADHD. On the other hand, if your child shows a number of ADD/ADHD signs and symptoms that are present across all situations—at home, at school, and at play— it’s time to take a closer look. Once you understand the issues your child is struggling with, such as forgetfulness or difficulty paying attention in school, you can work together to find creative solutions and capitalize on strength

“ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or talent. Many children with ADD/ADHD are intellectually or artistically gifted.” The primary characteristics of ADD / ADHD When many people think of attention deficit disorder, they picture an out-of-control kid in constant motion, bouncing off the walls and disrupting everyone around. But this is not the only possible picture. Some children with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive, while others sit quietly—with their attention miles away. Some put too much focus on a task and have



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trouble shifting it to something else. Others are only mildly inattentive, but overly impulsive. The three primary characteristics of ADD/ ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The signs and symptoms a child with attention deficit disorder has depends on which characteristics predominate. Children with ADD/ADHD may be: • Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive. • Hyperactive and impulsive, but able to pay attention. • Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive (the most common form of ADD/ADHD). Children who only have inattentive symptoms of ADD/ADHD are often overlooked, since they’re not disruptive. However, the symptoms of inattention have consequences: getting in hot water with parents and teachers for not following directions; under performing in school; or clashing with other kids over not playing by the rules.

Hyperactivity signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD It isn’t that children with ADD/ADHD can’t pay attention: when they’re doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they’re interested, they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. But when the task is repetitive or boring, they quickly tune out. Staying on track is another common problem. Children with ADD/ADHD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skip necessary steps in procedures. Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children. Kids with ADD/ADHD also have trouble concentrating if there are things going on around them; they usually need a calm, quiet environment in order to stay focused. Symptoms of inattention in children:

• Doesn’t pay attention to details • Makes careless mistakes • Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted • Appears not to listen when spoken to • Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions • Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects • Gets bored with a task before it’s completed • Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items

Impulsivity signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD The most obvious sign of ADD/ADHD is hyperactivity. While many children are naturally quite active, kids with hyperactive symptoms of attention deficit disorder are always moving. They may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next. Even when forced to sit still which can be very difficult for them their foot is tapping, their leg is shaking, or their fingers are drumming.

Symptoms of hyperactivity in children: • Constantly fidgets and squirms • Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected • Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately • Talks excessively • Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing • Is always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor • May have a quick temper or a “short fuse” The impulsivity of children with ADD/ADHD can cause problems with self-control. Because they censor themselves less than other kids do, they’ll interrupt conversations, invade other people’s space, ask irrelevant questions in class, make tactless observations, and ask

Myths about Attention Deficit Disorder Myth 1: All kids with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive. Fact: Some children with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive, but many others with attention problems are not. Children with ADD/ADHD who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated. Myth 2: Kids with ADD/ADHD can never pay attention. Fact: Children with ADD/ADHD are often able to concentrate on activities they enjoy. But no matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive. Myth 3: Kids with ADD/ADHD could behave better if they wanted to. Fact: Children with ADD/ADHD may do their best to be good, but still be unable to sit still, stay quiet, or pay attention. They may appear disobedient, but that doesn’t mean they’re acting out on purpose. Myth 4: Kids will eventually grow out of ADD/ADHD. Fact: ADD/ADHD often continues into adulthood, so don’t wait for your child to outgrow the problem. Treatment can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms. Myth 5: Medication is the best treatment option for ADD/ADHD. Fact: Medication is often prescribed for attention deficit disorder, but it might not be the best option for your child. Effective treatment for ADD/ADHD also includes education, behavior therapy, support at home and school, exercise, and proper nutrition. april 2015| mychild

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overly personal questions. Instructions like “Be patient” and “Just wait a little while” are twice as hard for children with ADD/ADHD to follow as they are for other youngsters. Children with impulsive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD also tend to be moody and to overreact emotionally. As a result, others may start to view the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy.

Symptoms of impulsivity in children: • Acts without thinking • Blurts out answers in class without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question • Can’t wait for his or her turn in line or in games • Says the wrong thing at the wrong time • Often interrupts others • Intrudes on other people’s conversations or games • Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums • Guesses, rather than taking time to solve a problem

Is it really ADD / ADHD? Just because a child has symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity does not mean that he or she has ADD or ADHD. Certain medical conditions, psychological disorders, and stressful life events can cause symptoms that look like ADD / ADHD. Before an accurate diagnosis of ADD / ADHD can be made, it is important that you see a mental health professional to explore and rule out the following possibilities: • Learning disabilities or problems with reading, writing, motor skills, or language. • Major life events or traumatic experiences (e.g. a recent move, death of a loved one, bullying, divorce).



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• Psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. • Behavioural disorders such as conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. • Medical conditions, including thyroid problems, neurological conditions, epilepsy, and sleep disorders. • Positive effects of ADD / ADHD in children • In addition to the challenges, there are also positive traits associated with people who have attention deficit disorder: • Creativity – Children who have ADD/ ADHD can be marvellously creative and imaginative. The child who daydreams and has ten different thoughts at once can become a master problem-solver, a fountain of ideas, or an inventive artist. Children with ADD/ADHD may be easily distracted, but sometimes they notice what others don’t see. • Flexibility – Because children with ADD/ ADHD consider a lot of options at once, they don’t become set on one alternative early on and are more open to different ideas. • Enthusiasm and spontaneity – Children with ADD/ADHD are rarely boring! They’re interested in a lot of different things and have lively personalities. In short, if they’re not exasperating you (and sometimes even when they are), they’re a lot of fun to be with. • Energy and drive – When kids with ADD/ ADHD are motivated, they work or play hard and strive to succeed. It actually may be difficult to distract them from a task that interests them, especially if the activity is interactive or hands-on. Keep in mind, too, that ADD/ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or talent. Many children with ADD/ADHD are intellectually or artistically gifted.*

growing babies organically. Made with love for your baby, the nature baby range always respects the best ethical and environmental practices. Modern essentials for your baby, our range includes 100% certified organic cotton and merino wool baby clothing, sleepwear and bedding. A luxurious botanical skincare range for mothers and babies and toys to inspire the imagination.

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or the first time, Australian couples will be able to buy an at-­home test to check their risk of passing 145 of the most common and severe genetic disorders onto their baby – disorders many may not know they are carrying. Before buying the simple saliva test online, couples are provided with details to ensure it’s a considered purchase. A genetic counsellor, or if preferred, their GP, provides the results to make sure the couple truly understand the information, its implications and can make informed decisions on how best to act on it. The pre-­pregnancy screening test, Tiny Letters, was just one product announced at the launch of Life Letters. The new Australian company aims to set the benchmark for the responsible delivery of genetic testing to everyday Australians by matching increased accessibility with strong health professional support at every step of the way. Life Letters was founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Sam Prince and will be guided by an Advisory Board of preeminent scientists and academics including world authority on ethics Dr Simon Longstaff, Nobel Prize winner Prof. Brian Schmidt and Prof.

David Weisbrot who led the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiries into the protection of genetic information and gene patenting. Dr Prince said this was powerful science that he wanted to make readily available to as many couples planning a family as possible. “Breakthroughs in technology have made it possible to alert parents to the risk of passing a wide range of debilitating diseases on to their baby. The science is robust and the technology has become increasingly affordable, but up until today, it has not been easy for couples to access,” said Dr Prince. “In launching Tiny Letters, we want to empower couples and make it easy for them to take control of their family’s health, while also providing solid health professional support to ensure they truly understand the results of the tests and can make well-­ informed and supported choices. “Australians are ready to embrace genetic medicine. Nine out of ten couples planning to have a baby want to know if they could pass on a genetic disorder, of those 47% per cent say they would consider pre-­contraception genetic testing.

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“We’re in the very early stages of the genetics revolution but there is no doubt genetic testing will be as pivotal to healthcare as the invention of penicillin, vaccination or x-­rays.” Life Letters has partnered with Emory Genetics Laboratory, a world leader in genetics, to deliver the Tiny Letters test -­one of the most comprehensive pre-­pregnancy screening tests available in both the number of diseases checked, as well as how thoroughly the genes are analysed. Cystic fibrosis, Tay-­Sachs, haemophilia B, spinal muscular atrophy, and haemochromatosis are among the 145 conditions for which Tiny Letters tests. “The percentage of people that are carriers will vary by disease and ethnicity. In the case of cystic fibrosis, as many as one in 25 Caucasians are a carrier and in most cases, carriers do not know they could pass on their ‘faulty genes’,” said Life Letters CEO Mr Warren Lee. “As a carrier, there is no impact on your own health and typically no outward symptoms. Unless you know you have a family history, the only way to know you are at risk of passing one of these disorders onto your baby is to have a genetic test. “It’s exactly what happened to me, I’ve just discovered I’m a carrier of cystic fibrosis.” The Tiny Letters results take around four weeks and are delivered by genetic counsellors or GPs before people can access their results online. Advisory Board Member and leading genetics counsellor and educator Assoc. Prof. Kristine Barlow-­Stewart said, “There is a lot of complex information that’s imparted by genetic testing that requires genetic counsellors to explain the information. It’s not like breaking an arm. People need to understand the results not only in relation to their own personal health and choices they can make, but also how it may impact their current and future genetic



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relatives”. “Recognising the importance of genetics education and paying careful attention to privacy and control of the data is as important as the test itself,” said Assoc. Prof Barlow-­ Stewart. Life Letters also announced it will also offer a range of pharmacogenetics tests, Script Letters, which examine how a person’s genes impact the effectiveness of common medications including analgesics, statins, anti-­depressants and anti-­platelet drugs. In some cases these drugs are ineffective for 20 per cent of the population. Advisory Board Member Prof. David Weisbrot said, “We don’t want genetic testing to just be expensive medicine that’s only available for the wealthy, we have a very powerful tradition in Australia of providing comprehensive healthcare to everyone, and using both the public and the private sectors. As part of Life Letters, I’m confident we can work towards making this astonishing and potentially expensive technology accessible to ordinary people in a highly responsible way”. Nobel Prize winning scientist and Advisory Board Member Prof. Brian Schmidt said the potential was astronomical. “Modern science has gone through a series of revolutions. In the 20th century it was the physics revolution with man going to the moon. “Now the genetics revolution is upon us and the ability for us to use this technology to understand and improve our lives is just beginning to be realised. “I think it’s vital this technology is available for everyone to use, including myself,” said Prof. Schmidt. The Life Letters tests are available from the website The price for a Tiny Letters test is $900 an individual and $1,700 a couple and the pharmacogenetics test Script Letters starts from $175.*

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Nicole Proy of Mockingbird Photography


T H IN K ING WOM AN’S website

For Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby

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ike most mums, it’s likely that you’re unsure if your mother should be present at the birth of your baby. You’ve probably come up with some positives of having her there, but you’ve probably come up with some negatives too. Especially when feelings and emotions are involved, it can be a really tough decision. Firstly, it’s important to remember that birth is an intimate, private occasion that you only get one chance at – you can’t go back and do it over again. Who you have at your birth is a decision that is entirely up to you – and you only. Some women cannot imagine going through such a major life event without their mother by their side, whereas other woman can’t think of anything worse than having their mother in the birth room. Some birth professionals point out the huge similarities to making love and birth: the same

hormones come into play (especially oxytocin), the noises are similar, and both events take place in privacy and often darker lighting, which is how birth hormones work best. It’s been said that the two individuals who conceived the baby should be the only ones present when birthing the baby (aside from birth professionals). Sex is an intimate, vulnerable act, as is birth, which is why some women feel strongly about who is observing the act of giving birth. For those who are going to be a single mother, or have a partner who is unable to attend the birth for whatever reason, then your mother may be the person you think of as an alternative birth partner. Whether you decide to include your mother in your birth plan is entirely up to you, but here are some things to consider as you decide whether to add your mother to the guest list:

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What’s The Relationship Like With Your Mother? You probably have a gut instinct about whether you would want your mother present at the birth, and this is likely to be based on your relationship. If you’re a ‘Gilmore Girls’ sort of set up, then you probably can’t wait to hold her hand as you push your way into motherhood. If you have a more complicated relationship, however, she may not be able to support you as you need. You may feel too anxious or self-conscious to have her there, worrying about how the support will all unfold. If there are unresolved issues with your mother, it’s best to give it a miss. As much as you may be tempted to try and heal your relationship by having your mother present at the birth, unfortunately it can backfire. Anxiety and stress during labour can hinder the labour process, which once served our outdoor living ancestors. If they were faced with danger during labour (triggering anxiety or fear), stress hormones could halt the labour hormones so the mother could move to a safe place and have her baby. These days, if you’re in hospital and your labour isn’t progressing to a doctor’s liking, you’ll end up being pressured for intervention to speed things up. An augmentation (same drugs as an induction) increases your chances of needing pain relief, other interventions and even a caesarean section (especially for first time mothers). So while some people may think it’s not a big deal letting anyone into a birthing space who wants to be there… it is.


Can She Provide The Support You Need? Every birthing woman is different, and it can be hard to predict the type of support you will need during labour. The best birth outcomes arise from carers who can provide a trifecta of care – someone who is: • Able to provide continuous care (present



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for the duration of labour) • Is known to the woman • Is experienced in birth A review of doula studies has concluded that a doula’s support is more effective than hospital staff (who have shifts, multiple women to look after and hospital rules to follow) as well as the mothers family and friends. This does not mean that your mother or your friends can’t do a great job of encouraging you and supporting you, but they may not have the skills required to help you achieve the kind of birth you are hoping for. As a general rule, when choosing a nontrained birth support person, you will need someone with a cool head, someone who can help to keep you calm while offering words of encouragement (not sympathy, which can actually make you feel worse and like you definitely need medicated help to get out of the tough spots!). If this sounds like your mother, then she might be the perfect birth partner. Mothers can be very loving and caring, but some mothers can buckle under the emotional strain of seeing their daughters in pain, feeling hopeless and even suggesting she have ‘a bit of pain relief’ to feel better. This may be fine for you, but if you’re hoping to avoid medication at all costs, this can be a big problem.


What Is Her Relationship With Your Partner Like? Some women choose to have both their partner and mother present with them during the birth, which allows each birth partner to take a break every so often, without leaving you unsupported during labour. It also means you’ll have two people who care about you with you in the birth room. It’s important to consider how your mother will work your birth partner. Ideally, you want a team who will work together and be supportive of each other, in order to provide

the best support possible. If there is tension between your mother and partner, and the two don’t get on all that well, this could lead to an awkward atmosphere in the birth room which can stress you out and make you feel like you’re holding it all together – and that’s the last thing you need during childbirth.


Is There Enough Room For Her? If you’re giving birth at home, you’ll be free to decide who will be present at the birth – although you will need to consider how much space you have. In a hospital environment, however, you may find that there are restrictions on how many people you can have with you at the birth. For many hospitals, that limit is set at two, so including your mother would exclude any existing children, your best friend, a doula and photographers. It’s totally up to you who you want at the birth, but you need to consider who won’t be able to attend if your mother is with you.


What Will Your Mother Do? To avoid the room feeling busy, and to stop your partner and mother from tripping over each other as they battle it out for birth partner of the year, it’s a good idea to assign specific roles. You may want your partner to be your main support during the birth, but like the idea of having your mum in the room too. If that’s the case, ask her to sit on the sidelines, and volunteer her services when necessary, but make it clear beforehand that she has more of a spectator role at the birth. Some women assign their mother as the children’s birth support person, meaning she’s responsible for making sure the children and happy, settled and taken out the room for a break if need be.


Be Selfish You have been growing a human for months, and you’re about to give birth to that human all by yourself – yours are the only feelings that matter. Yes, you want your

partner to be happy too, and no, you don’t want to upset your mother. But, you know what, all of that pales into insignificance when you consider the amazingness of what you are about to do. So, ignore what everyone else thinks, and make this decision based entirely on how you feel, and what you think will help you to feel the most relaxed during labour.


If You Can’t Decide This isn’t a decision you need to make on a whim, remember you have nine long months to weigh up your options. If you are still to-ing and fro-ing as the big day approaches, it might be time to cast your mum as the back up plan. Explain that you can’t predict how you’ll feel on the day, so don’t want to invite her along in case you change your mind. Put her on standby, make sure she is contactable and knows how to get to the hospital if the need arises. That way, whether you feel you need her on your first contraction or at the start of the second stage, she can be prepared for the possibility that you might need her. At the end of the day, if you’re unsure, its best to say no.


Find Ways To Keep Her Busy If your mum was hoping to be at the birth, and seems hurt that you have decided she should stay away, give her some jobs to keep her busy. You could have her look after your older children, or prepare the house for when you return. You could even put her in charge of letting friends and family know that the baby has arrived. Or think of a last minute item she simply needs to go and buy, like a changing table or winter coat, for your new baby. This will help her to feel involved, and may resolve any hurt feelings as she realises she is still helping you on this important day. important to allow your child to smell the oils Worwood.* Kelly Winder is a doula (birth attendant), the creator of the BellyBelly pregnancy, birth and baby website, and a mum. Check out for more informative articles.

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hen you consider what a good massage can do for your own mind and body, you can only begin to comprehend what it can do for your little one. Families from all over the world have practised baby massage for thousands of years and our understanding of its benefits continues to grow.

BENEFITS OF BABY MASSAGE According to trained infant massage therapist Catherine Cervasio, baby massage plays a vital role in aiding relaxation and digestion, and promotes bonding between mums and their bubs. Studies have shown that, for infants, massage therapies are a valuable tool in

stimulating the nerves, increasing blood flow, easing congestion, relieving teething pain, boosting the immune system and helping with common ailments such as colic, reflux and constipation. Massage can aid children physiologically and psychologically, too, as well as assisting in the production of endorphins, which can aid in relieving stress symptoms. It has been shown that premature babies who are massaged at least three times a day gain significantly more weight and display better sleeping and feeding patterns than premature infants who are not massaged. In addition, research suggests massage can assist in right− brain communication, which is said to

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“performing massage will promote a bonding experience for you and your baby, helping your baby feel more adjusted and secure, and teach you how to better respond to your child’s body language” improve intelligence. Best of all, performing massage will promote a bonding experience for you and your baby, helping your baby feel more adjusted and secure, and teach you how to better respond to your child’s body language.

WHEN AND WHERE TO MASSAGE A baby is more likely to be receptive when alert, yet quiet; not while they are sleepy or have a full belly. You can choose to sit on the floor while cradling your baby’s head on your feet, or lay your baby on a bed or a blanket. ‘It is best not massage a newborn or young infant in conjunction with bath time as this can be

over-stimulating,’ says Cervasio. ‘If your infant is older than four months and you wish to massage at bath time, it is best to massage after the bath while the skin is still moist and warm to allow the oils to be more efficiently absorbed by the skin.’ You may massage for anywhere between five minutes (for a young baby) and 30 minutes (for an older baby or toddler) and as often as you feel is necessary – daily is ideal.

WHICH OILS ARE BEST? For newborns or very young infants, Cervasio recommends using cold-pressed natural oils that are petroleum free (no mineral oils). Oils such as sweet almond (if there is no family history of nut allergies) or jojoba are ideal, although they offer little nourishment to the skin alone. Pre-blended products (that have no essential oils or added fragrance) containing a mix of cold-pressed and nourishing oils, such as calendula or evening primrose, provide additional benefits, particularly for babies

FIVE STEPS FOR BABY MASSAGE There are a number of key steps involved in baby massage.

essential oils for babies aged four months and up.


Keep one hand on your baby at all times, as this lets them know you are still there. Use your whole palm where possible and massage in gentle, rhythmic and circular motions with long, flowing strokes on their limbs.

Prepare yourself and your space by removing jewellery, tying your hair back, dimming any bright lights and ensuring the room is warm enough so your baby doesn’t lose excessive body heat if undressed.


Hum, sing or speak softly as this will ensure that your baby knows you are there and that the massage is a peaceful and nurturing experience for both of you.


For babies under three months old, choose unscented, organic oil with no added fragrance. You can progress to using pre-blended massage oils with pure, organic 68


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4 5

Avoid massaging your baby’s abdomen immediately following a feed or when baby has the hiccups. Massaging other areas during this time is fine. Always avoid massaging babies who have a fever or a contagious sickness as you may encourage it to spread.

History of Baby Massage

with sensitive skin. These “healing” oils are rich in fatty acids and vitamins and can help to moisture skin while also providing a medium for gentle, fluid movement. Avoid oils such as avocado and olive oils. Although these are natural, the oils’ texture is too thick to be easily absorbed. You can progress to using pre-blended massage oils containing pure, organic, essential oils from around four months of age. However, always aim to avoid stronger aromatherapy oils, even if they are organic, such as peppermint, lemon grass, rosemary and tea−tree, as they are highly likely to irritate young skin.

HOW MUCH PRESSURE SHOULD YOU USE? One way to determine how much pressure to apply when performing baby massage is to close your eyes and press gently on your own skin to a level where you do not feel any discomfort. This will indicate the amount of pressure you should use on your baby. You will find that your baby will respond to the pressure being applied, so it is vital to watch their reactions while they are being massaged.


Catherine Cervasio has a diploma in aromatherapy, is a trained infant massage instructor and mother who writes on natural baby care and wellness. For more information visit

There are historical accounts of massage being used in ancient civilisations as far back as 3,000 years ago. The word ‘massage’ originates from the Arabic word meaning ‘to stroke’. In India for hundreds of years the art of baby massage has been passed down through the generations from mother to daughter. Although it is very difficult to pin point exactly where the practise of baby massage originates from, it is now widely practised around the world, and recognised by many as being just as vital as the milk we feed our babies. Baby massage is not a trendy phase or fad, it is an ancient art and philosophy that connects you deeply to your baby.It provides you with an opportunity to understand your baby’s individual and particular non-verbal language, enabling you to respond with love and respectful listening. When baby massage is practised this ancient art enhances and promotes deep emotional bonds which develop in infancy with parents/carers. This is what lays a lifetime foundation of trust, dependability, faith and love between parent and child. Setting aside some time to incorporate baby massage as part of your baby’s routine will help you build your parent/baby relationship in the early ‘getting to know you’ stage. It’s important to remember that massaging your baby is something that you do with your baby rather than to your baby. Baby massage is a truly wonderful way to make your baby feel safe and secure by showing them that they are loved and cared for. You will discover when it is best for both you and your baby. Research has shown that baby massage can alleviate the effects of post-natal depression and offer a more positive interaction between mother and baby during this difficult period. april 2015| mychild

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ure essential oils, if used correctly, can provide a safe, rapid and effective way of balancing the emotional health of children of all ages, and help your child negotiate their life in a more relaxed, happier way. Every child is unique with their own unique stressors. Essential oils can help support children through stress and transition as well as things such as sleep, anxiety, fears, focus, learning difficulties and strong emotions.

What are essential oils? Aromatic oils have been used for thousands of years by human civilizations from ancient Egyptians to the Romans. They consist of volatile liquids that are obtained from plants via methods such as steam distillation or expression (cold pressing). However due to the adulteration of many essential oils it is advisable to ensure that the oils you use are certified pure therapeutic grade, to obtain their safe and effective benefits.

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Why do essential oils affect mood? Essential oils are able to interact and affect the brain via the olfactory bulb (part of the limbic system of the brain). Certain types of aromas from essential oils when inhaled may illicit memory and emotional responses. It is important to allow your child to smell the oils you use before you use them. This allows a child to intuitively pick the essential oil that suites them best.

“the large pore size of the skin on the bottoms of the feet ensures a rapid methods of essential oil absorption” Essential oils for focus and creativity

Essential oils for hyperactivity and sleep Essential oils may also be used to calm a hyperactive child or as a natural relaxant to induce restful sleep. Oils which may be effective include vetiver, cedar wood, chamomile and or lavender . Vetiver, indicated for hyperactivity such as ADHD, should only be used when diluted for children over 6 years of age.

“Diffusers which can be placed in a child’s room can create a fine mist that suspends the oil particles in the air for extended periods of time”

Citrus oils such as lemon, orange, lime and bergamot have the ability to uplift and energise a child’s mood. However if we look at these oils more specifically, lemon is the oil of focus and works with the analytical left side of the brain. The left side of the brain is the side used to think and focus, lemon can then be used for children with learning disorders. On the other hand, the right side of the brain involves creative thinking. Orange oil is the oil of creativity and abundance allowing a child to share and play enjoying the bounties of life. One must realise that citrus oils should not be used on children under 6 years of age and to be used with dilution for children over 6 years. Another factor to bear in mind is that citrus oils can cause photoreactivation, so avoid exposure to sunlight whilst using them .

Application of essential oils

Essential oils for fear and anxiety

Infants and babies up to 12 months • 1-3 drops in 30ml of pure vegetable oil or coconut oil Children 1-4 years • 5-6 drops in 30ml of pure vegetable or coconut oil Children 5-7 years • 5-10 drops in 30ml of pure vegetable or coconut oil

Most children at some stage of their life may experience fear or anxiety. Lavender is often indicated for courage and to calm a child’s insecurities. Lavender also allows a child to express their true thoughts and feelings. Other essential oils which may calm fear and anxiety include cypress and bergamot.



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Topical application Essential oils are small in molecular size and are lipid soluble. This enables them to interact in the body in various ways. Oil constituents may thus penetrate cell membranes getting into the cells within as little as 20 min. They are commonly applied topically to the skin. The feet provide a fun way of applying oils for children. Not only do most children enjoy their feet being massaged, the large pore size of the skin on the bottoms of the feet ensures a rapid methods of essential oil absorption. However one must ensure dilution with pure vegetable oils when used on babies, young children or individuals with sensitive skin.

Dosages for the topical application of essential oils

Children 8-12 years • 5-12 drops in 30ml of pure vegetable or coconut oil

Aromatic application Aromatic application of essential oils may also provide a simple and safe way of using essential oils with children. Aromatic use may include inhalation from a tissue or via the use of a diffuser. Diffusers which can be placed in a child’s room can create a fine mist that suspends the oil particles in the air for extended periods of time allowing the inhalation of oils into the lungs. As an aroma therapist and mother, I feel that when used correctly, essential oils provide us with the ability to balance children’s emotional wellbeing at all ages. Essential oils are gifts from plants and empower parents to help their children lead a happier and healthier lifestyle. Whether you use the

aromatic or topical method for using essential oils, choose whichever your child finds the most fun for them. Make the experience a fun way to bond with your child and watch your precious child flourish.* Dr Tamara Justus, PhD, is a molecular biologist and natural therapist. She specialises in the use of pure essential oils and is the author of “Journey with the Rainbow Dolphins,” a fun-filled adventure that combines natural healing techniques in a kids book. Created for her daughter’s emotional wellbeing, this book is now available to be shared with other children via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Balboa Press online bookstores. References Modern Essentials. A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic use of Essential Oils. (6th edition). (2014) Aroma Tools. Emotional Healing with Essential Oils, manual 1:introduction, second edition. (2012) Daniel Macdonald. Aromatherapy for your child. Essential oil remedies for children of all ages. (2001) Valerie Ann Worwood.

Settling babies everywhere This Australian designed portable mat provides a natural baby settling rhythm. The rhythmic bumping motion, by moving your stroller slowly over the mat, settles baby quickly into a restful state, if not a sleepy one. Sleep Rumbler can be used to: • Comfort your baby into a relaxed state when restless • Assist parents in teaching babies to self-settle • Encourage your baby to sleep for longer periods of time • Offer a non-medicated or complimentary option for settling your baby when ill or teething • Helping to calm babies with colic and/or reflux

“Sleep Rumbler has been a life & sanity saver!” Melissa with 6 month old Alex (reflux) and 3 year old Jack Distributed by Exquira, see

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Become healthy foodie Still feeling the effects of overindulgence and can’t seem to break away from unhealthy eating habits?

FIND YOUR WHY In order to develop a healthy habit in the first place, you have to have a clear reason why. Do you want to change your eating habits to gain more energy, lose weight, clear your skin or detox your digestion? Once you have your why, jot down your reasons, keep them close to the fridge or any other area of temptation and refer back to them when you are felling less than motivated to give your will power a “this is why” boost.

MAKE A PLAN Add a plan for the healthy foods you know you need to eat in order to reach your goals and make a pact with yourself to nourish your body with them. Don’t be too hard on yourself when it comes to planning either; everyone is different and it is ok to build in some rewards for eating a majority healthy diet while you are encouraging your body to develop new habits. Keep it really simple by breaking down your eating plan down into months, weeks, even days and remember to listen to your body and enjoy feeling good about how your new healthy food choices are giving your body more energy and renewed vitality.

that can impact on a person’s metabolism, diet is certainly a big one and although there are a number of foods that can slow your metabolism there’s also plenty that can boost it too. Stock up on foods such as egg whites, chilies, green tea, cayenne pepper and my favourite - coconut oil!

MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES Creating a healthy eating routine is all about making the right choices and feeling good about yourself when you do! Try to rid your pantry of any junk food to ensure you’re not tempted and prepare your weekly meals in advance to save time and keep you on track. Ordering meals when dining out can be a tricky task so always try to eat a healthy snack before heading out to avoid overeating. Drinking plenty of water before and during your meal will also help quench your thirst for soft drinks and alcohol, remember, moderation is key in any healthy eating plan.


Eating healthy isn’t meant to be boring! It’s should be fun and exciting, about creating dishes that are nourishing, delicious and charge your body. Once you start trying new foods, flavours and different cooking methods you’ll be inspired to try more. Developing healthy habits reflects in your actions too. SPEED UP YOUR METABOLISM Why not get a group of friends over and cook a Many people struggle with their metabolism, fabulous feast together? It’s a great way to blaming a slow one for a variety of weight socailise, find even more enjoyment in food AND problems including weight gain and an inability motivate each other to stay on track. to shed extra kilos. While there are many factors By BRYNLEY KING Australia’s Coconut Guru



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STRAWBERRY COCONUT ICE CREAM RAW| VEGAN| PALEO | DAIRY FREE | GLUTEN FREE Serves 4 Ingredients 2 cans of Banaban Organic Coconut Milk, chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes 2 cups of fresh strawberries 1/4 cup of Banaban Coconut Nectar Syrup or coconut sugar Method • Add all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. • Place the mixture into a container and place in the freezer over night so it becomes solid. • Depending on your freezer let sit for 5 minutes thawing before scooping into a bowl and enjoy!

TIP - It is very important to place the cans in the freezer first for 15 minutes so the fat from the coconut milk will be at the top of the can and the milk will be at the bottom. You only need to use the top part of the coconut milk and pour the remaining milk into some ice cube trays and place in the freezer to use in your smoothies so there is no waste. Get creative! The following other ingredients can be used in this recipe to change the flavour! Peach, 2 cups Blueberries, 2 cups Pineapple, 2 cups Mango, 2 cups

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According to old wives’ tales, mums-to-be who have bad morning sickness are more likely to be having a girl. Another tale says that if your left breast is larger than the right, it must be a boy! Cravings come with pregnancy’s territory, but have you heard that a yearning for sweet or citrusy things could mean you’re having a girl? On the flip side, craving salty, sour or protein-rich foods means it could be a boy. Analyse your shape – gaining weight around the hips and thighs suggests it’s a girl, whereas carrying more padding on the front means a boy. Also, if your husband has gained a few extra kilos alongside you, chances are you’re having a girl! We’ve all heard of a pregnancy glow, but when teamed with luscious locks, cold feet and dry hands, it means you may be carrying a boy. Therefore, acne and thin, dry hair suggests a girl. Even how you sleep can say something! According to one tale, north-facing pillows and sleeping on your left side says a boy, but south-facing pillows and sleeping on the right means a girl.



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It seems an anti-blood clotting treatment that has been used for more than 20 years to prevent serious pregnancy complications such as clotting of the placenta, pre-eclampsia, low birth weight babies and recurrent miscarriage is not effective. The results of a 10-year international study involving the University of Adelaide, SA, and published in The Lancet has revealed that the use of expensive low molecular weight heparin offered no real difference in pregnancy outcomes. The study’s co-author Professor Hague says, ‘Given our evidence, we cannot recommend the continued use of this treatment for all pregnant women with a clotting tendency.’


FABFOL contains the essential nutrients of folic acid, iodine, iron and energy boosting B group vitamins to support you and the healthy development of your growing baby. FAB IRON contains ferrous gluconate, a highly absorbable form of iron which is well tolerated and gentle on the stomach minimizing side effects such as constipation and nausea. It is great tasting and easy to absorb – always a plus for children. FABFOL is Kosher and Halal certified and vegetarian friendly. RRP: $24.95


In a breakthrough discovery, researchers at the University of Adelaide have revealed how damage from obesity is passed from a mother to her children, and also how that damage can be reversed. “It’s now well established that obesity in females leads to very serious fertility problems, including the inability to conceive. Obesity can also result in altered growth of babies during pregnancy, and it permanently programs the metabolism of offspring, passing the damage caused by obesity from one generation to the next,” says lead author Associate Professor Rebecca Robker from the Robinson Research Institute. The research team found that obesity leads to a particular stress response that causes damage to the mitochondria, which are critical energyproducing ‘organs’ within living cells. “All of the mitochondria in our bodies come from our mother. If the mother is obese, this produces stresses that lead to reduced transmission of mitochondria to the offspring. We found that the eggs of such mothers lead to heavier-thannormal fetuses with greatly reduced amounts of mitochondrial DNA and other obvious signs of

damage,” she says. Having pinpointed the problem, Associate Professor Robker and her colleagues attempted to stop it from occurring. “Once we had identified the type of stress involved, we used compounds known to alleviate that stress in the cells. In particular, we were interested in compounds that are also being tested in diabetes clinical trials,” Associate Professor Robker says. “These compounds were highly successful in preventing the stress response, thereby stopping the damage from obesity being passed onto the offspring. It restored egg quality, embryo development and mitochondrial DNA to levels equivalent to those of a healthy mother. Effectively, the problem was fully reversed.” Associate Professor Robker says the results of this work point towards a potential future therapy to restore “natural” fertility in obese women, and to prevent multi-generational damage passing onto their children. Women are urged to eat healthy diets to optimise their chances for a healthy conception and to reduce the potential impact on their child’s future health,” she says.* april 2015| mychild

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This organic drink harnesses the power of the beetroot to provide you with endless health benefits in a tasty and convenient form and is available in various sizes and flavours. A daily inorganic nitrate dose can be as effective as medical intervention in reducing blood pressure and the best part is we can get it from beetroot and other leafy green vegetables. For those looking to work dietary nitrate into their daily diets, the trick is not to boil the vegetables – as dietary nitrate is water soluble – but steaming, roasting or drinking in a juice all has a positive effect. $ 3.09 from Chemist Wharehouse

This funky unisex colourful beanbag, from Kidslifestyle, is an adaptable and multifunctional beanbag grows with your child from new born to school age as can take up to approximate 30kg! It has a removable soft velvet cover with a harness, a water proof backing for those little accidents, PLUS second cover without a harness. The bright tangerine is just one of may options to choose from. Only $89.94 head over to



With one hand movement you can twist, trap, then eliminate odours, leaving your other hand free to look after your baby. Patented Hygiene Vent uses natural bicarb soda to neutralise, not just mask, smells. The breakthrough stylish and practical design makes Munchkin the next generation nappy bin for the next generation of mums. $79.99 from CNP Brands

Being pregnant your stomach has to go one one and it is going to stretch, Mater have received incredible feedback from mums on its wonderful Body Balm for pregnancy. This soothing balm, developed by Mater midwives and mums, is specially formulated to promote softness and elasticity and help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. $13.99 from Mater



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BABY NAMES Baby Name Genius is a FREE, fun-to-use unique baby name App that presents a personalized selection of names appropriate to you, taking into account your likes, dislikes, family names, relationships, country, interests, hobbies and more. Plus, as you are asked to like or dislike each name that you see, Baby Name Genius can show you world-wide baby name rankings, voted by the Baby Name Genius community. This free App is from:

GO WILD The Mum Wild Rose pure vegetable soap from Nature Baby is wonderful for beautiful healthy skin. This gentle wild rose soap contains the botanical oils of rose and rosehip to delicately cleanse while nourishing and rejuvenating the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Rose and geranium and will soothe and invigorate the senses and rosehip oil will nourish the skin. $4.99 from



Travelling can be both fun and exciting, but, at the same time, it’s comforting to have a familiar place to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings. The BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light is a safe place for small children to sleep and feel at home. The sides of the travel cot are made from soft and airy mesh fabric. So you need not worry if the baby’s face is close to the sides of the crib. The see-through mesh lets you keep an eye on your baby and allows your baby to look out. RRP $395.99

Ensure bub sleeps safely and peacefully with Ergobaby Swaddler, now available in whimsical elephant print and soft mint green. Designed to support your child in an ergonomic, physicianrecommended “frog leg” position, the swaddle is escapeproof and easy to use. The two-pack is $69 at


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What is lactose? Lactose is the sugar in milk, and makes up around seven percent of breastmilk. It provides about 40 percent of your baby’s energy needs.


What is lactose intolerance? There are two types of lactose intolerance. The primary type happens when babies are born with no lactase enzymes and is an extremely rare genetic condition that requires medical intervention and a specific diet. Secondary lactose intolerance occurs when a child has been sick, such as with gastroenteritis, and their digestive system has been affected. In breastfed babies, a food intolerance or allergy can come from food proteins, such as in cows’ milk, wheat, soy or egg.


Why does it occur? Secondary lactose intolerance occurs when the baby’s body can’t break down the lactose, which is present in most dairy products and breastmilk.


What are the symptoms? The symptoms of lactose intolerance include wind, pain and swelling in the tummy, crankiness and failure to settle, coming on and off the breast at feeding time, failure to gain weight and diarrhoea.


How can I help? Bub may be allergic to food in your diet. Secondary lactose intolerance is temporary, so by taking that food out of the diet, your baby’s gut will have a chance to heal. When it is caused by gastroenteritis, try alternating your breastfeeds with a lactose-free formula, but talk to your GP first.



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iDummy loves iPhone You’re already running late, your baby is all buckled into their car seat and low and behold, you can’t find your car keys. Sounding familiar? Ever have the same scenario happen to your child’s dummies? Blue Maestro have a way to solve that problem. Unveiled last month, the Pacif-I Bluetooth dummy connects your child’s dummy and your iOS or Android smartphone instantly. The dummy uses Bluetooth technology to give you a proximity reading of where the dummy is. The “world’s smartest dummy” can also keep track of your child’s movements and body temperature, raising an alarm on your smartphone is anything is wrong. With a temperature sensor built into the pacifier’s silicon teat, Pacif-i transmits temperature data via Bluetooth Smart The app determines when the temperature is the most accurate and then time-stamps and plots the temperature data in a graph. Via the app, parents can record when medication was administered, set-up alerts/ reminders and share the data with carers and medical professionals. Using a low-energy Bluetooth Smart chip, , Pacif-i has a battery life of more than one year. www.



hy swing when you can rock? Babies like variety of motion and 4moms has now given parents more options, from the natural bouncing and swaying motions of the mamaRoo to the rocking motion of the rockaRoo. The 4moms rockaRoo infant seat flips the traditional swing on its head – literally – with the pivot at the base. It moves like a rocking horse to maximize a baby’s sensation of motion. At 70 percent smaller than a typical swing, it takes up less space in your home so there is a lot less clutter. It features five speeds and you can connect your MP3 Player choosing your own music or play one of the five built-in nature sounds. And you can vary it to each babies preference, a soft gentle rock to get them off to sleep or a bit more bounce to help a colicky baby. With so many settings it will be suitable for most babies preferences. From playtime to downtime, the three reversible toys are easily removable and perfectly sized for little hands. There is no overstimulating of baby! The adjustable seat reclines and makes baby comfortable when they are playing or want to rest and sleep. The rockaRoo has a removable washable cover, AC/DC power adaptor and a three point waist and crotch harness. $339.95 from CNP Brands



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leep deprivation is one of the worst forms of torture! And if you dare complain how exhausted and crappy you are feeling, you are sure to get the same old answer: “you need to do sleep training.” You know in your heart, your baby is going through a rough patch, perhaps he’s getting molars, maybe he has food allergies, he’s in childcare all day and he needs some extra connection with you at night. You don’t want ‘advice’, at least not unhelpful advice that undermines your confidence and makes you feel as though you are depriving your child – for life! But, if you don’t want to leave your baby to cry, you are likely to be told, “you are just postponing the inevitable,” and “you are making a rod for your back.” Or, “you are depriving your baby of an important skill.” And, the ‘kicker,’ “well, you have brought this on yourself.”

Sleep is not a learned skill like riding a bike or playing a piano – it’s a neurological process influenced by many factors, for instance: Hunger – is your baby feeding well during the day or is he distracted? Is he experiencing a growth spurt and corresponding appetite increase? Or, have you been advised to space out feeds? Consider, your baby needs a certain amount of food in a 24 hour period so if you restrict feeds during the day, he will wake more at night to get his ‘quota’. Separation anxiety – consider playing gentle music on a low volume or safely co-sleep; Food allergy or intolerance – do you have a family history of allergies, asthma or excema? See here for information about foods and unsettled babies. Practicing new mobility skills in her sleep – babies process information in their light sleep. While this is an important brain process, it can affect sleep temporarily. The good news is

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baby that when she masters the new skill, your baby will sleep longer again.

“Sleep is not a learned skill like riding a bike or playing a piano – it’s a neurological process influenced by many factors” Possible reasons for baby sleep regressions • Teething – elevate the head of the cot – extra circulation to the head and jaws from lying flat can create pressure); • Need to suck – check your baby’s feeding history with a relevant health professional such as a lactation consultant – babies with tongue tie, for instance, may be more prone to breathing interruptions and may need to suck (breastfeed or dummy) to re-regulate breathing; • Pain - could sore ears or some acid reflux be causing wakefulness (reflux babies usually wake suddenly with a yelp as though being pricked by a pin) • Low iron levels – for toddlers, consider a simple blood test, as insomnia can be a symptom of low iron levels. As your baby grows and matures neurologically through the early milestones, it’s much easier to help him sleep longer, without tears for you or your little one. Meanwhile though, this can be difficult to believe when there is so much noise about what you ‘should’ be doing. So, as some comfort to you, here are some things real life sleep deprived mamas tell us they need to know (and hear) when they are feeling exhausted and questioning themselves – you might want to print this list out and hand it to friends and family so they can support you: • I need to hear that I’m not alone and I’m not doing it all wrong! • “I feel like I’m going certifiably insane. This would all be made easier if I knew I wasn’t alone. I honestly feel as though I have the



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most sleepless toddler in the world right now.” • We need a safe space to lament our fatigue and a kind, reassuring ear without fear of the “Well, you bought it on yourself” and “try this great sleep trainer” comments.“I remember feeling that when my son was waking to feed constantly, that because I wouldn’t sleep train him, it somehow meant I wasn’t permitted to ‘complain’ about my exhaustion.” • Taking care of yourself is key. (I keep forgetting that) “The better my needs are met, the better I can deal with the nights. And, when I’m having an extra hard time dealing with it, often my iron or magnesium levels are low, so that’s something to watch out for.” • Infant sleep changes constantly and there is no magic solution that works every time with every baby. “Teething was often the cause of extra-unsettledness for us. There was a kind of gap of better sleep between second-last and last molars that lulled us into a false sense of security. Sleep was much better after the end of the teeth.” It does get better and the connection you will have with your child is absolutely worth it. They say, the two greatest gifts you can give your child are ‘roots’ and ‘wings’ By showing your child you are there for her day and night, she will develop secure ‘roots.’ As she grows beyond this intense baby stage, she will develop the confidence to ‘fly’, knowing you have her back if she starts to free-fall, whatever stage she is at. You are doing a great job, Mama! Every mother needs to hear this, every single day. Tell a tired mother this today.* An International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Pinky McKay runs a private practice in Melbourne http://www.shopwithpinky. com/sleeping-like-a-baby

Leander remarkabLe furniture “To design quality furniture for children, one has to see the world through their eyes and understand their need for safety and opportunity to develop.� Stig Leander, founder & designer.

Phone: 03 9588 0999

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t’s natural for your young child to feel anxious when you say goodbye. With understanding and these coping strategies, separation anxiety can be relieved—and should fade as your child gets older. However, if anxieties intensify or are persistent enough to get in the way of school or other activities, your child may have separation anxiety disorder. This condition may require professional treatment—but there is also a lot that you as a parent can do to help.

Separation anxiety can begin before a child’s first birthday, and may pop up again or last until a child is four years old, but both the intensity level and timing of separation anxiety vary tremendously from child to child. A little worry over leaving mom or dad is normal, even when your child is older. You can ease your child’s separation anxiety by staying patient and consistent, and by gently but firmly setting limits. Some kids, however, experience separation

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Toddler anxiety that doesn’t go away, even with a parent’s best efforts. These children experience a continuation or reoccurrence of intense separation anxiety during their elementary school years or beyond. If separation anxiety is excessive enough to interfere with normal activities like school and friendships, and lasts for months rather than days, it may be a sign of a larger problem: separation anxiety disorder.

“Sometimes you might need to put your child in this situation a few times until he feels comfortable with it” As children reach preschool and school age, they’re less likely to experience separation anxiety. Of course, there’ll always be times when they only want to be with you. If children in this age group seem particularly and regularly distressed about being separated from their parents, it’s possible they might have separation anxiety disorder. Separation anxiety disorder is defined as occurring when: • anxiety interferes with the child’s life, and subsequently the parent’s life • severity of the anxiety is inappropriate for the child’s developmental level • characteristics of separation anxiety have gone on for at least four weeks. If you’re concerned your child might have separation anxiety disorder, look out for instances when she: • dislikes being separated from you • worries that you or she might get hurt or have an accident • refuses to go to child care, preschool or school • refuses to sleep at other people’s places without you • complains about feeling sick when separated.



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Research tells us that 90% of 10-month-old infants will become upset if a stranger approaches them in an unfamiliar room. Only 50% will become upset if the child is given time (10 minutes) to become familiar with the room. This suggests that in new situations, infants cope better when they come across new things gradually. Helping children with separation anxiety If your child is suffering from separation anxiety, there are lots of things you can do to help him. Start with a situation or thing that causes your child the least anxiety. Sometimes you might need to put your child in this situation a few times until he feels comfortable with it. Move on to another situation that makes him feel a bit more anxious. Again, go through it a few times until he can handle it.

“If he is in a place that is familiar and feels safe he will be a lot happier.” Gradually move through more and more challenging situations. • You can also use rewards as incentives for your child to move forward. Rewards might include an extra book in the evening, more cuddle time with you, or a trip to the park. Make sure the reward matches the degree of difficulty – for example, don’t give a small reward for the most difficult step. • Tell your child when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back. This is a helpful thing to do, even with babies. Some parents feel it will be easier to sneak out when their child is settled, but this can make things worse – your child might feel confused or upset when she realises you’re not around, and might then be more difficult to settle the next time you leave her. • Keep goodbyes brief don’t drag it out. • Make sure your child is doing something

• •

they enjoy before you leave. If it is a new environment – child care centre, preschool, friend’s house, babysitter – take some time and stay with your child before you leave him. If he is in a place that is familiar and feels safe he will be a lot happier. Some children have a security item, a blanket a toy, let them take it with them for a while and you can gradually start to leave it at home Children can feel your emotions so make sure you are happy and cheerful. If you are aware of your child’s anxiety always let the pre-school or day care know in advance, they are used to handling children who are anxious. Do some practise runs, and always praise. Make sure all separations are happy and positive. No matter how frustrated you feel, avoid criticising or being negative about your child’s difficulty with separation. For example, avoid saying things like, ‘He’s such a mummy’s boy’ or ‘Don’t be such a baby’. Books are a wonderful way to reinforce positivity, and to make them realise they are not alone in feeling afraid. Make a conscious effort to foster your child’s self-esteem by complimenting him and giving him lots of positive attention.

Professional help for separation anxiety You know your child best. If you’re worried about her anxiety, consider seeking professional help. Here are some places to start: • your child’s school counsellor • your child’s GP or paediatrician • local children’s health or community health centre* separation-anxiety-in-children.htm

Difrax Soothers

The unique butterfly shaped Difrax Soother is designed to allow free breathing through the nose.

Difrax Soother

Difrax Sterilising Egg

Difrax S-Bottle

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Oricom’s Secure 910 Digital Video Baby Monitor, $329, lets you monitor your baby clearly with a split screen view to different rooms. It can connect up to four cameras, has digital pan-tilt and zoom, parent talk back to comfort your baby, a night light and room temperature display. Head to oricom.

Imagine spaghetti at meal time and no messy clothes! With a bib and smock in one it is possible. The BabyBjorn Eat and Play Smock protects clothes efficiently, covering the child’s front, arms and back. It is easy to clean and the soft material allows the skin to breathe. Suitable for use from eight months. $39.99 from The Baby Village

COTTON LONG SLEEVE BODYSUIT An essential for every layette. The first thing most babies wear is a bodysuit. With and easy snap dome to ensure baby’s tummy and back are covered and make for easy nappy changes. Soft organic cotton offers supreme comfort for your little one. Great for layering! $26.95



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PRECIOUS PINK So cute! These baby shoes are so very soft and comfortable for those delicate little feet, they make a perfect and unique gift. These award-winning Mary-Jane style shoes are the newest and sweetest accessories to add to your baby’s collection. Currenlty available in two sizes 0-6 Months and 6-12 months from Babes in Arms for $19.95



Victoria Sylvester from Little Bairn has created a durable and safe teether for babies’ sore and tender gums. Made with 100% cotton and backed with organic bamboo fleece, the fabric ‘ears’ are incredibly soft and absorbent. The fabric is looped through a maple hardwood ring which has been handrubbed with certified organic beeswax and olive oil. Bunny Ear Teether - Dot Collection RRP: $12.95 From:

Settle your child into a sleepy state with the SleepRumbler. You simply push your baby’s pram back and forth over the rumbler, which works as an aid to teaching babies to self-settle. Available from for $69, in brown, green or red, it’s easy to carry with you when you’re out and about or to use at home while relaxing with a cup of tea!

GUMMY BABY To promote a lifelong commitment to healthy dental habits taking care of baby’s gums and teeth should start as early as possible to promote a lifelong commitment to healthy dental habits. With its compact head and soft bristles specifically designed for young gums and developing teeth, the Dreambaby Toothbrush Set is ideal for every baby. The ergonomic easy grip handle encourages your toddler to learn correct brushing techniques. $ 9.50

BUNNY LOVE Little Bonbon’s reversible, cotton bunny baby blanket, $49.95, is durable and suitable for everyday use. Plus it can be machine washed and tumble dried, so it’s ideal for bassinettes, prams or floor play. See

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hen I gave birth to my children, I didn’t hesitate about vaccinating them. As a doctor, the decision was easy for me; I had been taught throughout my medical training that vaccinating is the right thing to do, and that’s what I did. But I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t vaccinate under the belief that vaccines are either 100 percent safe or 100 percent effective. I do, however, believe in vaccinating. But this article is not about my opinion. In



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fact, opinions are not overly helpful when discussing this sensitive issue because, interesting as they may be, opinions can never replace facts. And that is what we’re really looking for. So let’s start with the first fact: As parents we all have our children’s best interests at heart. The reason you do or don’t vaccinate is governed by your best intentions. However, in the face of so much information (Google the word vaccination and you’ll get

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health over 33,000,000 hits), it can be hard to know what to do even with those great intentions. It’s easy to feel like you can’t win. Both sides have risks after all. But what we really need to know is: what are those risks? Can children get long-term health problems from vaccinations? And are the diseases we’re vaccinating against really such a threat anymore? The vaccine debate has been raging for years and, with so many issues, it’s impossible to cover them all in one article. So I won’t attempt to. Instead, I am taking the concerns you, as readers of My Child magazine, posed and asking them of medically trained professionals who have extensive knowledge in the field of vaccines. The reason for this is simple. The questions you asked mainly relate to the safety and efficacy of vaccines. You posed medical questions; I had them answered from a medical perspective. I don’t assume this will clear up all your concerns. But it will give you access to reliable information provided by top specialists. It’s therefore a great opportunity to learn, which is, if nothing more, a good first step.

“As parents we all have our children’s best interests at heart. The reason you do or don’t vaccinate is governed by your best intentions.”


Why do we need to vaccinate against whooping cough when it’s a treatable disease?

Though doctors can support affected babies in hospital using oxygen, ventilators and the like, there is no medication that can get rid of whooping cough. Using antibiotics reduces the infectivity to other people but Dr Royle says, ‘It doesn’t make you get better yourself.’



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She says Australia is in the middle of a whooping cough epidemic and while it’s not life threatening to adults, it’s incredibly deadly for infants. For effective immunity babies need to have the full three doses – one dose at two, four and six months of age. Dr Royle says the level of protection rises after each dose. She also stresses the importance of following the vaccine schedule timing. She is aware some people think the vaccine is ineffective and addresses this by explaining it isn’t designed to offer lifelong protection. ‘At the moment our difficulty is that we’ve got so much whooping cough around that people are starting to catch it as their immunity is waning. Therefore, they think that the vaccine doesn’t actually work; whereas the vaccine works very well if you’ve recently had a dose,’ she says. Consequently, she advocates adults, especially those in close contact with young babies, have booster vaccines. She is also quick to warn against relying on herd immunity to protect against whooping cough. ‘People think, because other people have had the vaccine I’ll be OK, but that’s not the case at all… whooping cough is in every kinder, every school, everywhere.’


What are the real risks parents should worry about when it comes to immunisations?

‘All immunisations are medication and all medications have side effects,’ says Dr Royle. The most common being local reactions such as swelling, tenderness or redness at the injection site. Less commonly, children can experience fever, irritability and increased crying. A rare but recognised side effect is anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction. However, Dr Royle explains that though anaphylaxis can be serious it is readily treatable. Professor Fitzgerald notes, ‘Rare complications of vaccines do occur but the rate is very low – down to one in hundreds of thousands of

people vaccinated. And I guess the people who are against immunisation would argue that one is too many, but you could argue the opposite side of the coin.’ He says that if people stopped vaccinating, children would get sick with the infections instead and then we would see more absolutely devastating, if not fatal, conditions. ‘It’s all about weighing up the risks and benefits,’ says Dr Royle. ‘Many of these potential side effects are things that can be managed and the difficulty is weighing them up against the diseases, such as whooping cough, which we can’t treat and are actually very common at the moment.’


Does vaccination cause autism?

The experts unanimously agree that vaccination doesn’t cause autism. The origins of this concern date back to a study performed in 1998 by Dr Andrew Wakefield. The study, which only involved 12 participants, originally suggested a possible link between the two. However, it was later found to be fraudulent, was retracted by the journal that published it and Dr Wakefield was de-registered from the medical profession for falsifying data. As Professor Fitzgerald says, ‘There was no science in the study whatsoever.’ ‘There’s been a large number of well conducted studies since the allegation of autism was first raised,’ says Dr Buttery. ‘And since then all of those studies have shown no link between vaccination and autism.’


Does vaccination lead to allergies or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Again the experts agree there is no link between vaccination and allergies or ADHD. When it comes to ADHD, Dr Buttery says, ‘Of the studies done there has been no association between vaccination and ADHD.’ Regarding allergies, he says, ‘When studies look to find

an association between vaccinations and allergy, they have not found a link.’


If vaccination doesn’t lead to illnesses such as autism, ADHD and allergies, why are the levels of these conditions rising? ‘That’s an excellent question,’ says Dr McCoy. ‘The answer is that when it comes to ADHD and autism we don’t know, but we do know that it’s not due to vaccinations. That’s absolutely well documented.’ Doctors don’t know definitively why the levels of these illnesses are rising, however Dr Buttery explains it’s probably due to a range of factors. For autism, ‘The link that has been strongest has been genetic predisposition.’ He says allergies could be rising due to a decrease in recognised protective factors such as having more siblings and exposure to germs. Of ADHD Dr Buttery says, ‘It’s hard for us to know whether ADHD is increasing or whether just the diagnosis of ADHD is increasing.’ This is because ADHD is far better recognised nowadays, so there’s increased diagnosis but perhaps no actual increased incidence.


Are there any studies that show that children who aren’t vaccinated also develop autism? > Or is autism just present in vaccinated children? To answer this, Dr McCoy referred me to a paper published in The New England Journal Of Medicine on November 7 2002, entitled, A Population-based Study Of Measles, Mumps And Rubella (MMR) Vaccination And Autism. While the study was designed to see whether there was a link between MMR and autism (it studied over 500,000 children and showed there wasn’t), it can also be viewed as evidence that unvaccinated children develop autism in similar numbers to vaccinated children. Meaning that autism does not solely occur in vaccinated children.

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Can vaccines cause immune system disorders?

‘There is a rare but well described vaccine effect where platelet levels (a type of blood cell) fall after MMR vaccine,’ says Dr Buttery. He also explains this is only a temporary effect that causes no long-term immune disorders.

“vaccines target two types of bugs: those that always exist in the community, such as meningitis-causing bugs, and rare ones, like those that cause polio.”


We’re immunising against diseases that are almost non-existent so why should we vaccinate our children when they will never get the disease anyway? ‘It’s absolutely true that many of the vaccinepreventable diseases are very rare now and the reason they’re rare is because of the vaccines,’ explains Dr Buttery. He says vaccines target two types of bugs: those that always exist in the community, such as meningitis-causing bugs, and rare ones, like those that cause polio. He says diseases like polio still need to be vaccinated against, even though they rarely exist here. This is because they can be brought into Australia and, if so, are highly infectious and cause devastating disease. For the infections whose causative organisms naturally exist in our community, Dr Buttery says, ‘There is good evidence to show that if you remove the vaccine program the disease would come back pretty quickly.’


Does herd immunity exist?

‘Herd immunity means that the more people who are vaccinated the less the disease is around,’ explains Professor Fitzgerald. In theory, the unvaccinated are thus less



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vulnerable to illness as the “herd” – the vaccinated majority – protects them. For this to work, you need very high immunisation levels. However, Dr Royle points out that for some diseases, such as tetanus, you can’t gain protection from other people regardless of how many are vaccinated. So the only way to be protected against these diseases is by vaccinating each individual.


Can you use a homeopathic vaccine instead?

‘There’s absolutely no role for homeopathic vaccination in terms of preventing disease,’ says Professor Fitzgerald. ‘There’s no proof of any benefit.’


Is it harmful to give children so many vaccines at once? Does it overload the immune system? ‘We have good information to know that even young babies’ immune systems are capable of handling many antigens or multiple exposures at any one time,’ says Dr Buttery. ‘It’s been calculated that babies on average handle about 200,000 foreign antigens at any one time. So the addition of several antigens from vaccination is nothing like what they can handle.’


Why do we give vaccines to such small babies? Shouldn’t we wait until they’re a bit older before we vaccinate? Dr Royle says it’s necessary to vaccinate babies from birth. She explains that babies’ immune systems are so immature they can’t even recognise many deadly bacteria in order to formulate their own immune response. So if they catch these infections they have no chance of being able to fight them and can therefore get very sick and die. Vaccines thus offer their only chance of protection.

For example, in regards to meningitis, babies’ immune systems aren’t developed enough to even recognise the bacteria that causes the illness, which is a large sugar bacteria called a polysaccharide bacteria. The vaccine used for meningitis joins a small piece of this bacteria onto a simple protein, thus allowing the baby’s body to recognise the simpler protein. In doing so, the baby develops an appropriate immune response to the larger bacteria. So if that baby then comes in contact with meningitis he is protected against the disease that could otherwise lead to brain injury and even death. Dr Royle notes, ‘People worry about their baby’s immune system being so vulnerable

“babies’ immune systems are so immature they can’t even recognise many deadly bacteria in order to formulate their own immune response” that they shouldn’t be given vaccines, but our worry is that their immune system is so vulnerable that it can’t respond properly to the diseases, which is why you need the vaccine.’


Why do we immunise newborns against hepatitis B (hep B) when this is an illness that can only be contracted through blood, sex or intravenous drug use? Dr Buttery says in many parts of the world the most common way of catching hep B is actually as a baby, from your mother. He explains, ‘What has been shown very clearly is that the best way to prevent children from catching hep B is giving the first dose of vaccine in the first week of life. And we’ve got good evidence that we can make sure that protection is long lasting by completing the

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vaccine course in early infancy.’ Dr Royle explains the earlier in life the vaccine is given, the higher the chance of it working most effectively. She says it’s a vital vaccine as it protects against liver disease and liver cancer caused by the hep B virus. She also notes that hep B can be caught from many other sources, such as sharing toothbrushes and from needle stick injuries, which can occur, for instance, when children are barefoot at the beach.



‘It’s a fairly rigorous process,’ says Professor Fitzgerald. ‘It goes through animal testing, then through human trials in adults and then usually down to children.’ This is to see that vaccines are both safe and effective. Dr Buttery notes, ‘The entire process of developing a vaccine generally takes between 10 and 15 years.’ He says this involves testing it thousands of times before recommending it for the vaccine schedule.

Is it better to build up natural immunity? Proponents for this believe it’s better to allow children to build up their own immunity through exposure to infections, not by vaccinating. Dr Buttery says, ‘The problem is that while natural infection can give you good protection it also makes you sick.’ Conversely, vaccines offer protection, minus the risk of illness. He explains, ‘Vaccines are designed to copy the natural protection but not produce the same disease. However, for many vaccines you still get the advantage of natural immunity.’ This is because every time you encounter the infection your body recognises it and fights, giving a boost to your protection, without risk of disease.

ANALYSING THE EVIDENCE If you are concerned about vaccines, naturally you will want to gather more information. But as you do, ask yourself: can you trust what you’re reading? After all, anyone can say anything, and it can be hard to sort fact from fiction. The first thing you should note is who has written what you’re reading. What is the author’s background and qualifications? Next, look at the evidence used to support the claims. You may come across evidence referred to as a “case study”. This means that in a particular case certain events occurred.



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Wouldn’t it be better to ingest vaccines rather than inject them?

‘There’s no denying the way they’re administered can be distressing,’ says Dr McCoy. He agrees it would be far more pleasant to make vaccines orally ingested, but says they don’t work that way.


How many trials are done on vaccines before we give them to our children?


How can we trust studies if they’re funded by pharmaceutical companies that have a financial interest in selling vaccines? ‘That’s a very valid question,’ says Professor This doesn’t necessarily mean that each event is a result of the preceding event, nor does it prove cause and effect. “Anecdotal evidence” is when an anecdote is used to “prove” something can happen. There are many other factors involved in identifying whether a study has been conducted in a fair manner leading to significant findings. This includes the number of participants involved, how the study was conducted and whether the results were conclusive. If you’re ever unsure about evidence used to support a claim refer to a reputable source to check the conclusions.

Fitzgerald. ‘The studies actually get scrutinised by independent companies. For example in the US it’s the Food And Drug Administration and in Australia it’s the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and they provide rigorous oversight. There’s also various immunisation taskforces and they provide professional arms’ length overview of the trials that are undertaken. So there’s good regulatory review of the trials.’


I’m still not sure…

If you’re not sure about vaccinating, the best thing you can do is seek further information. Dr Buttery says there are parent information sheets available at all vaccine appointments and parents should discuss their concerns. Dr Royle agrees, ‘If people are finding the decision to immunise difficult they really

should be encouraged to have a proper consultation about it because it’s not something they can quickly resolve.’ She recommends seeing a health care professional, and suggests your first port of call be either your maternal health nurse or GP. * Comments from the following experts. Dr Jim Buttery, infectious diseases paediatrician at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and head of the Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Vaccination In The Community (SAEFVIC). Dr Ronald McCoy, spokesperson for The Royal Australian College Of General Practitioners (RACGP). Professor Dominic Fitzgerald, paediatrician at The Children’s Hospital At Westmead in Sydney. Dr Jenny Royle, paediatrician with the Immunisation Service at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.

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PREP TIME 5 minutes minutes SERVES 9


INGREDIENTS 1 cup desiccated coconut 1 cup shredded coconut 4 large egg whites 4 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste 125g bag mini chocolate eggs

These quick to make macaroons are free of refined sugar, gluten and dairy. Instead, they're packed with the immune-boosting and easily-digestible powerhouses, coconut and maple syrup.

METHOD • Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Cover and place in fridge for ½ an hour to set. • Preheat oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place a heaped dessert spoon of macaroon mixture on the tray. Using your hands, mould it to form a nest shape, being sure to create a well in the middle. Repeat process until all nests are formed. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. • Allow bird's nests to cool on the tray before adding the mini eggs to serve.

TO SERVE Enjoy as is. STORAGE Fridge for 5 days & Freezer for 1 month ALLERGIES These quick to make macaroons are free of refined sugar, gluten and dairy free

Stace loves to create healthy recipes the whole family can enjoy together. She is an accredited health and wellness coach with years of experience in the kitchen developing recipes for both personal and corporate clients. Jump over to to view her long list of healthy recipes and to download her free e-book, 10 in 10 Breakfasts, or visit her on Facebook at facebook. com/ahealthymumpage or Instagram at a_healthy_mum.

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hese days you can wave goodbye to feeling less than glamorous in traditional maternity clothing, and say hello to feeling like a confident and – dare we say it? – sexy mum-to-be. The world of maternity fashion is changing rapidly and this has been fuelled largely by mums who have experienced their own frustrations in trying to dress well while pregnant. These mums have gone on to create clothing lines, retail shops, and other products and services designed to help other women look and feel fantastic throughout pregnancy and beyond. It is only recently that there has been a great deal in the way of quality and fashionable brands available in Australia, and while there’s plenty of advice available on how to purchase the best bra, belly belt or pram, there’s not much information on fashionable maternity wear. No-one is telling expectant mothers how to translate the latest fashion trends into the world of maternity dressing. How do you piece it all together into a great look? How can you take an outfit from day into night? Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean

you need to channel a “sack-dress” as your fashion mantra. In the same way that dressing well makes us feel confident and stylish in our day-to-day lives, the same should apply to expectant mothers. There are an increasing number of gorgeous maternity collections that don’t look like traditional and boring maternity wear.

TAKE YOUR TIME Recognise that your body shape will change over the next nine months – and by multiple sizes – so don’t buy everything the minute you find out you’re having a baby. Purchase a few staples and then wait for your shape to evolve, and add more accordingly. Or better yet, seek out quality clothing in natural fabrics that can evolve and mould to your changing shape and last you right through pregnancy.

PICK ACTUAL MATERNITY WEAR Invest in maternity wear that’s designed with the pregnant body in mind. Many women com-monly buy only standard items, just a few sizes bigger than their normal size, and think that “will do”. Often the result can be

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pregnancy ill-fitting clothing that’s uncomfortable to wear. Non-maternity pieces can work, but these need to be carefully selected to ensure that they can accommodate your expanding chest and belly. Online retailers offer a range of maternity and non-maternity gear, all of which has been chosen specifically to suit a pregnant body. The added bonus of this is being able to then wear your clothing post-maternity, stretching your fashion dollar.

INVEST IN QUALITY The thought of it being “just nine months” means we often sacrifice quality and style for a few extra pennies in the wallet – which will inevitably be spent on the latest shade of Ralph Lauren paint for the nursery or to pay off the Bugaboo debt. There is value in buying quality clothing. It can take some time to get back in shape and you may need to call on your maternity wardrobe again for baby number two, or three or four, so buy pieces that will really last. And while we know you won’t believe this when you’re in the middle of labour, after baby number one, chances are you will want baby number two!

TRY OUTFITS ON Don’t fall into the trap of not trying items on. It’s amazing how much better things look on you than limply lying on a hanger that clearly doesn’t have the ample bosom you currently have to carry the outfit. But if you’re flat out and just don’t have time to try things on, the best solution is to try online retailers. Pictures are taken of the clothes on pregnant models or mannequins so you will have a great idea of how they will look on your body. Plus they’re delivered straight to your door and great sizing information is supplied at the click of a finger.



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BUY A GOOD BRA While on the topic of bosoms, invest in three very good bras – two in nude and at least one in black at a minimum. This is especially applicable for those of you who have had a really big increase in size. Your breasts need to be firmly supported – especially if you want a flattering silhouette. As the foundation to every outfit, bras should fit well and also provide advantages for nursing requirements.

LAYER, LAYER, LAYER To regulate the body’s temperature, especially during winter, layering will help keep you warm, or cool, as you require. The trick to layering is to start with a simple, well-fitting base layer. A comfortable, long tank top over maternity leggings is a good start. From there you can throw on a short-sleeve top and then a long-sleeve cardigan. Finish with a scarf. Look out for brands that use natural fibres in their clothing so each piece will breathe and thereby help regulate your body temperature.

MIX & MATCH Another trick to help make layering and creating a mix and match wardrobe easier is to look for most of your “base layer” maternity wear – items such as leggings and pants, tank and plain, long-sleeve tops – in neutral colours such as browns, creams, blacks, beiges, whites, greys and charcoal. This doesn’t mean your outfit has to be dreary. You can punch up your look by selecting two to three of your favourite “accent” colours and using these in key statement pieces or accessories, such as jackets, a gorgeous knit, scarf, shoes or bangles. Because most of your maternity wardrobe will mix and match as it will be in neutral colours, you then only need to worry about the one or two statement pieces and accessories that you need to consider wearing.

DON’T FORGET THE ACCESSORIES Ensure you “finish” the look with suitable accessories, and the same rule applies here. Accessories complete an outfit, and while this may not be the belt you might have used to cinch in your little waist or the now impractical stilettos, you should try not to forget accessories entirely. Necklaces will draw attention to your ample bosom – and why not enjoy them while you have them? Bangles (stack on a few) are always a fun way to express your individual taste, and a long scarf will help cover a little rounded belly especially in those initial, awkward “is she or isn’t she pregnant” days.

HOP ONLINE Want something different? Online retailers often have access to more top-online local, hard-to-find and international brands that create beautiful pieces of clothing and will set you apart from what’s available in the chain


stores. Many also have very good return and exchange policies in place, so that you can feel confident in your purchases.

MAKE YOUR OWN “LIFESTYLE PIE” A useful tool for all women, whether pregnant or not. Draw a circle and create a pie chart of your “life”. Think about your lifestyle and how much time you spend at work, doing household chores, going out to more formal dinners and events, at the gym, and at casual social events like the movies and lunches, and map this out. This will help to guide your purchases and what proportion of your clothing should be maternity wear for work, social events or the gym, and so on. If you spend 40 percent of your time at work, then you know you shouldn’t be making 70 percent of your purchases corporate maternity wear. *






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Queen Bee is Australia’s leading pregnancy and motherhood online style boutique. Boasting over 60 local and international labels in their Sydney warehouse, they stock a beautiful range of designer maternity clothes for all occasions, from swimwear, maternity jeans to formal wear and everything in between. Queen Bee is the go to destination where you can buy everything you need to see you through pregnancy and beyond. Discover how they can transform your wardrobe with their beautiful maternity clothes as you embark on your journey to motherhood in style. PHONE 1300 773 449 INTERNATIONAL 61 2 9986 1868


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ennifer Furnell is an interior designer who specialises in the fun world of creating children’s rooms. With a career history of both graphic and interior design and then she found her true passion for children’s interiors before starting Bright Kids Interiors.

Jen, tells us about her work and how she creates unique rooms.

paths of social media such as Instagram and Etsy have really opened up the floodgates to connect with artists mums and creative people that you might never know. I also love writing about my DIY creations and passing on any hot tips and trends through blogging, connecting with all the mums out there from all around the world brings such satisfaction. I’m also learning from them - so it’s a really special community to be a part of.”

“I love to work closely with my little superstar clients to create bespoke rooms that cater to each of their unique characters. As well as listening intently to mum and dads’ suggestions and creating rooms that will be both practical and cozy. “I’m openly obsessed with hunting down new exciting decor pieces for children’s rooms; it’s amazing how much choice there is now compared to a few years ago. There are some seriously creative people out there that are producing such beautiful works. It’s a great industry to be a part of and I’m finding the

“I recently got to do a complete makeover to an awesome little 2.5-year-old boy’s room that was very special. James is infatuated with transport and animals (surprise!) and mum and dad wanted a whole new look for the room, as they had just moved in to a beautiful new house. They wanted a bright yet tranquil oasis for James to read and relax in. Getting to design a room from scratch with no existing pieces is quite rare but so brilliant; so of course I always jump at the chance to work with wallpaper in a kid’s room! If my client is

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open and able to having wallpaper, there’s nothing better! James has a large room and we chose a gorgeous print of soft blue with a landscape of

“There are some seriously creative people out there that are producing such beautiful work” REMOVABLE MOTIFS ARE A FUN WAY TO DRESS THE WALLS


rolling hills and animals dotted through it. The wallpaper is the main focal point in the room and set the whole tone for all other items, you can stare at it forever! I choose to use modern fresh bed linen from Sack Me that really pops against the detailed wallpaper. Being able to display treasured tokens, favourite toys and memorabilia is so special especially in a child’s room. We always love putting up shelving, whether it be the popular shadow boxes that are getting so much love or the more traditional shelving, it’s usually a no brainer and will add that element of whimsy and uniqueness to a space. Miniature yellow and rainbow coloured hot air balloons were selected to add an extra dimension to the space and some fun of course- they also managed to fit in with the theme of his love of transport, so we hung them in his reading corner. The rainbow colours reflect all around the room in the rug, pillowcase and felt garland. I love the bookshelf as it doubles as a display shelf and generous storage nook, you can also flip over the front panel & use out as a chalkboard; so cool! I always try to include a clock if possible as they’re such a subtle way of teaching an important skill- this one was selected as it’s so easy to read and unisex which is handy! The huge storage bag amazed mum, managing to fit all of the softies in to one spot! “ TELL US ABOUT JAMES’S REACTION “The reaction of James when he entered his



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party brand new room is why I do what I do, his little face lit up as he explored all the new bits and bobs in his room. He ran straight to the wall with the car decals on it and started laughing and saying broom broom! He looked amazed at the floating hot air balloons not sure what he thought they were, so I am glad we hung them up high enough so he couldn’t pull them! Then he promptly plonked down on his new Lah De Dah beanbag and started reading a book…Job well done! Phew!”*

Source list: Jennifer Furnell: http://www. bed : kids-bedroom/kids-beds/junior-options-bedframewith-trundle.html wallpaper: collections/majvillan-childrens-wallpaper-collection/ products/majvillan-kids-wallpaper-heaven-sea-inbetween Bed Linen: pasta-amore-reversible-quilt-cover/ Car Wall decals: shop/fabric-wall-stickers/start-your-engines.html Art: cockatoo Table and chair Beanbag: penguin-bean-bag Rug: Storage Bag: name=storage&page=3 Lamp: lighting/table-lights/23373549/tre-table-lampyellow/ Bookshelf: Clock:


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SELF PUBLISH Did you know you can create your own books with your own photographs ! These make invaluable presents for every one in your family. Imagine it, create it and share it. Beautiful personalised books at affordable prices. Specials on now at au

NO MORE MESS These wonderful Frixion pens are fully erasable! Rub out any mistakes with the eraser on the end and it will disappear. So many wonderful colours to choose from. Priced from $2.99 and available from major stationery suppliers.

JUST RIGHT Toosh Coosh Kids’ Support Seat is more than a booster; it gives just the right amount of height and comfort for children 3 years +, so everyone can enjoy family meal times. The ergonomic design improves seated posture Safe and secure so no need for straps. It comes with a cute carry bag provided you can pop it it into the car and never have to worry about low chairs again. Special offers available online!



Let your child have fun driving and steering this Dump Truck by Moover Toys, $139.95, while developing their motor skills. Made with rubber tyres and from veneer plywood, it is available in natural with red or red with yellow. The truck comes flat packed and requires no tools to assemble it. Order at

Let your little one feed themselves with the Difrax toddler and baby bowl, $12.95. It’s designed with a raised edge for easy scooping. Combine it with the Difrax toddler and baby cutlery set, $8.95, Head to kidslifestyle.



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Retailing from $25, this mermaid name canvas by Pink Coyote is the creation of Sydney-based artist Maryanne Deans Kolek. Pieces can be personalised with a name, quote or poem in the style that your little one loves. Find out more at au.

An original work by artist and film animator Adam Murphy, the Burton the Brave Flying Print is $39.95 from Welly’s Wonders. Check out the other eight designs at wellyswonders.

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Urban bike by Mocka

PURCHASE OR PERISH: BALANCE BIKES What greater rite of passage is there than a child’s first bike? Time was when this meant a cumbersome frame with a set of rickety training wheels. Fast forward to the new millennium and there are a dazzling array of lightweight toddler bikes with steering bars, adjustable seats and even sunshades. So what is this new craze sweeping the nation, claiming they can be the bike before the bike? WHAT THEY ARE: Balance bikes are lightweight pedal-less bikes that allow young children to scoot their feet along the ground to gather speed and then raise their feet to coast. HOW THEY WORK: The theory is that balance, coordination and steering are all mastered before adding the complex mechanics of pedalling. FEATURES: Balance bikes are made from either wood or lightweight aluminium and are incredibly easy to handle. Many balance bikes also have



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restricted steering to stop the bike jack-knifing at speed. Most are fitted with pneumatic or solid rubber wheels, however some cheaper models have solid plastic wheels, which can slip or wobble on uneven surfaces and so should be avoided. CONCERNS: One potential issue with balance bikes is the absence of brakes on many models, with children expected to drag their feet for stopping, even at speed. Further, the Australian standard requires that children’s bikes have at least two braking systems, one of which must be a back-pedal brake (where brakes are activated when you pedal backwards). Due to increasing popularity, the market is being flooded with cheap imports, but with no requirement for formal safety testing, look for sturdy construction and adequate safety features. In general you will get what you pay for.

READING ALOUD really MATTERS When was the last time you and your child read a bedtime story together? Scholastic have just released their latest findings that conclude that reading aloud to children has a large impact on their reading and English ability during their schooling years. The biannual survey studied children’s attitude and behaviour towards reading. 2,558 parents and children were involved in the survey. More than half of 0-5 year olds were read aloud to at least 5 times a week. 34% of kids aged 6-8 and then 17% of kids aged 9-11. Results determined that it was important that parents read aloud to children in the first five years to prosper vocabulary and imagination. It’s easy to get your child to love to read from an early age, lead by example early on, introduce reading and books to your children and work it into their bedtime routine. Try to read aloud even when your child can read independently, it can be a shared bond between you and your child when you read a good book together.

LOOK AFTER THEIR EYES Short-sightedness in children is on the rise in Australia, owing to a lack of sunlight We’re known as “bronzed Aussies”, however children these days are spending more time indoors than ever before. A ophthalmology conference revealed that more Australian kids are developing myopia (short sightedness) from a lack of outdoor activity. In fact, a University of Sydney, NSW, study discovered a 20 percent increase in the rate of myopia in a study group of children across a 10-year period. The study showed that a lack of exposure to the high light intensity of the outdoors can actually affect refractive development in children’s eyes. David Mackey from the Lions Eye Institute in Western Australia recommends abiding by the Cancer Council’s advice to wear protective clothing, hat and sunglasses when outside, but still remain aware of the benefits for children to spend some time in the sun. For more information on the research, visit lei.

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ecky Dyer from Body Beyond Birth has got the perfect physio recipe to treat abdominal separation. She’ll give you the tools to get those abs strengthened safely and help them spring back into shape post after giving birth. Let’s get started!

do this.) • No heaving yourself out of bed ala sit-up style. • No activities that make that doming pointy look with your abs. Yes it’s a nifty trick but not so good for your abs!


Avoiding the above activities is actually half the battle of preventing an abdominal separation during and after pregnancy. You also need to strengthen the deeper core abdominal muscles. The core actually works to close potential separations by drawing the more superficial muscles together, love that!

• Avoid the No No’s • Do these Core Abdominal Exercises

ABDOMINAL NO NO’S • No sit-ups (Eeek! Just think of your abs opening like elevator doors when you

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DO I HAVE A SEPARATION? First let’s check to see if you’ve got an abdominal separation. Lie down on your back with knees bent. Find the spot midline on your tummy approximately 3 fingers up from your navel. Hold 2-3 fingers vertically pressing into that spot. NOW curl your head and shoulders off the floor like doing a sit-up. Measure the width of the trough or furrow you feel with those fingers. It can be 0 cm or it can be up to an 8cm/finger separation. This is your starting point and you should recheck this weekly.

THESE EXERCISES WILL TAKE LESS THAN 10 MINUTES TO DO CORE AB EXERCISE Get onto your hands and knees hands beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips. Without changing your spinal position just let your belly sag. Inhale and then on the exhale turn on your pelvic floor muscles like you don’t want to wee and GENTLY draw your navel toward your spine. Hold those muscles on while you keep breathing, no breath holding or grunting! Hold x 10 seconds x 10 reps

QUADRUPED PLANK Same set-up on hands and knees. Maintain that neutral spine while keeping the core on, lift your knees slightly off the floor and hold x 30 seconds. Keep breathing and work up to 60 seconds. Hold 30-60 seconds x 2 reps



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PUSH-UPS WITH CORE ON Start on hands and knees keeping abs drawn in toward your spine. Maintaining a long spine (don’t pike that butt!) bend your elbows and inhale as you bring chest toward the floor. Exhale and return to start. 10 reps x 2 sets

SQUATS WITH CORE ON Start in standing and activate those deep abdominals. Keep a neutral spinal position with deep abs on then lift your arms to initiate squat. Keep knees behind your toes and weight on your heels, exhale as you squat. Your goal is to get thighs parallel with the floor. Inhale as you stand and return to start. 10 reps x 2 sets

Body Beyond Birth is an online postnatal exercise and nutrition program created by physiotherapist Becky Dyer and pilates instructor Jackie Steele. Visit

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s parents we often make the mistake of confusing our teenager’s nonconformity or unusual behaviours as rebellious. Expressions of identity such as weird haircuts, strange clothing and body piercing are typical of adolescence. Albeit daunting for parents, these actions are usually quite harmless. Rebellion, is simply behaviour that deliberately opposes the ruling norms or powers that be. Many experts distinguish between healthy and unhealthy rebellion. Before labelling your child’s behaviour, it is useful to determine

whether what you are interpreting as adolescent rebellion is actually quite innocuous or is in any way destructive. Strange as it seems this behaviour may contribute positively to your child’s personal development. Rebellion is one of the ways in which teens proclaim to their parents “I am not you” or broadcast to the world “I am different.” The quintessential feature of adolescence is the establishing of a strong personal identity. It is a period of time when a young person moves away from his parents and edges in closer to his peer group.

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Big kids Although the teen may think he is cool and part of a counterculture, it is often nothing more than another form of conforming, but he feels independent. Rebellion typically begins at the outset of adolescence, and when it does many parents think this opposition is primarily against them. They are usually mistaken. Rebellion is not against them; it is only acted out against them. The individuating and establishing of a separate identity is a necessary and healthy part of development into adulthood. These teenagers often go overboard in their need to show just how different their ideas or opinions are from their parents or society in general. Many experts term this “Healthy Rebellion”. This newly proclaimed identity is simply conforming to a teen subculture rather than the defiance of adults and authority. The need for independence, a separate identity and testing authority are not only parts of growing up but linked to developmental changes in the brain that will eventually help them become analytical adults. Many of these behavioural changes are linked to significant reorganisation and rewiring of the brain structures. The good news is that with loving insightful parenting, most teens move through this rebellious phase into responsible self assured adults. When a teen ‘rebels’ in a single area but is generally responsible in other areas of life, there is usually very little to worry about explains Foster Cline author of “Parenting with Love and Logic.” Take for example a family who places enormous emphasis on the appreciation, love and learning of music. The children play piano, violin and other instruments and the study of music is central in their education. The mother is a lecturer in classical music and dad plays in an orchestra. Much to his parents dismay, teenage son declares that he no longer wants to play his instruments or study music and is no interested in any of it



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anymore. He states that he needs a break and wants to pursue other interests. He is a decent well mannered youngster who continues to perform well in all aspects of his life, but is single -minded about this issue. This raises potential for a huge family conflict and is easy to label as rebellion. It is also possible to move through this with relative ease.

“Rebellion typically begins at the outset of adolescence, and when it does many parents think this opposition is primarily against them.” Allowing some space for him to express his views and the choice to pull out of some of the predetermined family choices, enables teenage son to feel validated. More often than not, as an emerging adult or in later years he will return to the family’s interests and values. Regardless of whether the issue at hand is religion, personal choices, or academic pursuits in most families, it becomes labelled as rebellion and creates significant conflict. When parents remain fixed and inflexible and outraged with his choice,there is often an unnecessary spiralling out of control into discord, disharmony and unpleasantness. Unhealthy or serious rebellion on the other hand usually involves associated rage, bitterness destructive behaviour and significant contempt and disdain for authority figures. It can cause them to engage in selfdefeating and self-destructive behaviour refusing to go to school, damaging property or even physically hurting themselves. It can cause them to experiment with high-risk excitement - accepting dares that as a children they would have refused Unfortunately, some kids go as far as blatantly flouting rules or breaking the law, often with tragic results. So adolescent rebellion is not simply a matter of parental

aggravation; it is also a matter of concern and needs to be taken seriously. However, not all teenagers go through a rebellious phase. Adolescents who have been given choices and a fair amount of personal control and the room to express themselves, are far less likely to rebel. The data shows that children from both extremes of parenting: the over involved or smothering hovering helicopter parent as well as the hyperdisciplinarian sergeant major or tiger parent will most likely manifest with some form rebellion. But there are no rules and the perfect mix of raging hormones and massive brain expansion can trigger a rebellious phase in any teenager. Many parents today lack the confidence in their ability and influence. Although we all have different parenting styles, all parents agree on the need to maintain a strong value system. I am personally far more rigorous when it comes to values and principles (social responsibility, compassion and decent manners for example) and far less rigorous about rules governing conduct. Too many rules tend to create a punitive environment in which to raise a teenager and sets up an environment so conducive to rebellion. With firm guidance and good role modelling, most teenagers will develop an internal locus of control and a strong sense of morality. However even with the best parenting, you may encounter defiant adolescents who push the boundary time and again. Now more than ever we can reclaim our influence and give our teens tremendous strength. Providing our children with guidance and social and moral skills allows them to adapt to the myriad challenges confronting them.* Dr Linda Friedland is a medical doctor, mother of five and the author of the new book, Raising Competent Teenagers (Rockpool Publishing $27.99), now available at good book stores and online at www.rockpoolpublishing.

What to do • Practice loving and consistent discipline from an early stage. • Attempt to understand the reason for the rebellion. • In the midst of a rebellion, keep focused on the direct issue. • If it is simply harmless rebellion, let it go or if you feel strongly simply express your view. • In the case of more serious destructive rebelliousness, try to avoid confrontation at all costs. Direct confrontation never works with teenagers. On the contrary, it makes them more rebellious and more willing to push their parents’ limits. • Avoid lecturing. If you lecture, they feel accused and defensive and fight back. • When communicating, begin by ‘editing out’ a vast amount of what you feel. • Try to keep the indignation and outrage out of the discussion. The emotion incites their anger and you want them to have some clarity to see what they did was wrong. • Do not bring up every misdeameanour of the past. It has no value and is destructive. • Acknowledge your child’s responses and when they are reasonable recognize this. • Remember this is not about who is right and who is wrong or who wins or loses. This is to direct and guide your child or shift to a new behaviour. • With serious destructive rebellion consider seeking professional help in the form of a chat with your family doctor or a counsellor to guide the family through this difficult stage.

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Odd one out M.


atrick is the middle child and often feels left out by the others. He hardly ever takes initiative and does not stand up for himself. Sometimes he does some very odd things so people think he is strange.

THE COACHING SESSION: Jesper: Welcome! What is on your mind? Anna: Well... It is about my son. He gives up very easily and often seems quite sad. I spend a lot of time with our three children on my own, which requires that they are able to handle many things themselves. I feel Pat ends up getting squeezed between the others. My husband and I also find it difficult because he is so different compared

to those two and the other children we know. Jesper: When did you first notice that he was different? Anna: He was three and quite small when he started at child care. It soon became more and more noticeable. At times he was left alone simply because he hadn’t noticed that the others had gone. He would often rather give up in advance. At soccer he doesn’t really want to play but prefers to be silly and muck up so he doesn’t fail. Jesper: I honestly think you are misinterpreting the situation. I don’t believe that this actually occurs inside his mind. I believe that he thinks: “If I have to play soccer, then I better take part. Being silly is at least something.”

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in my view Anna: Right... Is that because he is not able to play? Jesper: I am not sure about that. But I do know that there are plenty of children who simply aren’t interested in sport. Nothing wrong with that. Anna: We would really like to work out how to connect with him without getting angry with him. We often end up telling him off because we don’t feel he listens to what we say. Jesper: If I were to say something right now, based on what I know, I would say: “STOP!” Just let him be - leave him alone! He will start, but only when you stop... stop comparing him to other every other child! Anne: He is just so different to other children and we can’t help compare. Jesper: Sure, but it is not possible for Patrick to change for the better until you accept him the way he is. It does sound like it is difficult for you to really find out who he is because he is very cautious and perhaps a bit vague. If Patrick doesn’t have much self-awareness and has low selfesteem then he will find it hard to open up. It might be tempting for him to hide inside a box. You could say to Patrick: “It was wonderful we tried out soccer. Now we know that this isn’t something for you.” Imagine if every time you arrived home your husband would ask if there was something wrong with you and then turn the smallest issues into the biggest problems. This kind of treatment would turn you into an insecure person and you would eventually start questioning who you are. For Patrick this is more difficult still. He hasn’t yet had a chance to find out who he is. I think you should throw a party for Patrick. One of you will give a speech and say: “Dear Patrick, we have been very busy trying to change you. But in our attempt to do so we forgot to find out who you really are. From now on we will try to do things differently.”



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He needs to mark this occasion. The day when he was invited out of his box. If you were to continue what you are doing he will crawl further and further into the back corner of that box and eventually become depressed. As a general rule, he has to find his own way. From now on, try to relate to Patrick as a completely new child who has just come to your family and who will live with you for the next 15+ years. Try to work out who he is.

“neither child nor adult, is able to change their behaviour without first being acknowledged and accepted as they are When something goes wrong you could ask him: “What is it you don’t like?” and “What do you like?” People who live in a box need to be invited out. Patrick doesn’t need to hear that it is strange living in a box. You can also just ask him: “How long do you think it will take before you are ready. We know that you do need some time. Just so we don’t get too worried we would like to know how long it will take?” But please don’t demand an answer. He will not be ready one minute before he is ready. THE RESULT: Anna: I was highly impressed with the directness and the way it forced me to look at things differently. When Jesper said we ought to leave Patrick alone it suddenly hit me: “What are we doing to this poor child?” We thought that there was something wrong with him. I am much more at peace since I have acknowledged that it is okay to be a bit different. My husband and I agreed that we had to foster a new atmosphere at home and stop expecting Patrick to be the way we wanted him to be. We have already noticed a distinct difference.

He has become a happier boy. I actually feel quite guilty knowing how little it took. He stands much taller and has become better at beating the daily challenges. He has grown - as has his self-esteem.


One of the most important vitamins a child needs is the “see-vitamin”. Our ability and willingness to “see” children as they are instead of focusing on their ability to adjust and fit in with the systems and the world around them. When children are exposed to WHEN A CHILD WITHDRAWS: ambitious and focused upbringing things will A withdrawal might be caused by a number inevitably go wrong. of different things. However, it is mostly Try to pull at the grass in an effort to make related to the feeling of not being okay the way it grow faster. Every child knows that the they are. It is often closely linked to low selfopposite will happen when they are being worth. pulled. The roots become weak and they Accept your child exactly the way he or she slowly lose their ability to absorb nutrition is. Do not make any judgements - neither from their surroundings. The impatient critical nor praising. gardener can purchase ready made turf neatly Compare your child with the one of your delivered in rolls. As parents and educators we dreams and expectations - then let the are better off showing patience and letting our child you have become part of your family. children set the pace.* Nobody, neither child nor adult, is able to The FamilyLab book Raising Competent Children change their behaviour without first being (Rockpool Publishing, $24.99) is available in most acknowledged and accepted as they are. bookstores and baby shops. To read 10 pages for free visit



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If you feel uncomfortable with the traditional authoritarian parenting style then Raising Competent Children is a “must-have”. It is full of inspiration on how to raise competent children and how to develop relationships based on equal dignity, integrity and authenticity, and how to support your children developing self-responsibility – both personal and social. Raising Competent Children is easy to read and draws on examples from everyday life. The author, Jesper Juul, is the founder of FamilyLab and a renowned authority on the family. He has written a number of best-sellers and must-have books.

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“Jesper Juul is one of the twelve leading enlighteners, thinkers and visionaries.” Die ZEIT Germany’s largest weekly newspaper

Visit “familylab anz” on facebook and try before you buy. Read 10 pages and receive free postage. Use the secure cart on Facebook. FamilyLab ANZ PO Box 354 Summer Hill NSW 2130 02 9799 2424

A new way of de veloping relationships wi th children

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Loo k i n g ou t for d olp h i n s


couple of hours south of Sydney is the wonderful unspoilt Shoalhaven area, this spot is idyllic and we discovered that we would need more than a weekend to explore every aspect of it! We headed down from Sydney on a Friday afternoon and had a weekend packed with adventure planned. Our cabin was booked at the Culburra Beach Holiday Park, we were on a short trip so for this excursion it was a self contained cabin. The camp grounds were filled with an assortment of tents, caravans, pop-tops and camper trailers…and lots of extremely large boats for the enthusiastic fishermen. There is so much to do at Culburra Beach Holiday Park, with the jumping pillow, putt putt, a pool and the wonderful beach that is a few meters away. It was hard to actually leave the park. But we had lots to do! It was an early Saturday morning wake up as we headed off to do some dolphin watching. Not before a stop off at the quaint Seasalt cafe for a delicious egg and bacon roll, and with full bellies we headed off. We arrived at Husskison, or Husky as it’s known and with heightened excitement we climbed onto the boat and headed out to sea. Captain Brendan and Captain Sue, control the Ventura for Jervis Bay Wild, these two will keep you entertained as you head out and they



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are extremely informative about the bay. As they are out all the time their eagle eyes spot the dorsal fin of a dolphin long before anyone else. There is something magical watching these beautiful sea mammals riding alongside the bow of the boat, dashing in and out of the wake and turning to look up at us humans staring down at them. It seemed as if they are actually smiling back at us, daring us to join them in the cool water. Jervis Bay Wild have an amazing activity called Boom Netting, we were brave enough to try it and what an experience it is. You climb down into the net behind the boat and the boat channels water through the underside and you can literally feel what the dolphins feel as they swim alongside the boat. It was a wonderful morning out on the water in the warm autumn sun. Definitely a return visit needed in whale season! Husky, is a buzz with boats and people, there are plenty of places to sit outside and have a peaceful lunch. It seemed appropriate to have fish and chips for lunch after a morning on the boat. It’s always good to take a step out of your comfort zone, we had heard about Timbertops horse-riding so we took a drive down from Husky and arrived at the farm. Two family members are complete novice riders and they

felt extremely comfortable on the ride. The horses are gentle and it doesn’t matter if you are an experienced or complete novice as Gloria caters for everyone and every age. Timbertops makes it an exciting place to host a little ones birthday party and give children an experience they will not forget.

It seemed appropriate to have fish and chips for lunch after a morning on the boat. Back at the holiday park the atmosphere resounds like a giant back yard, as children leave their gadgets uncharged, pickup their scooters and bicycles and make the most of the balmy evenings. The bitumen is their chalkboard as they draw and play their hopscotch games. As the sun slowly sets, the sound of their laughter drifts across the park. After the busy day, a walk along the beach watching the full moon rise over the horizon is an extremely relaxing way to wind down. Before long everyone tumbles their exhausted bodies into bed and within minutes the cabin echoed with the slow rumbles of sleep. The following day we headed over to Shoalhaven Zoo and this is an exciting place for a day out but it is also cheap enough to just stop in for a couple of hours. Children will not be disappointed with this private well kept zoo. You can pick up a baby rabbit, tickle a tortoise and watch the entertaining croc show. The park is situated in North Nowra on 16 acres of natural bush land. On the outskirts of the Zoo is Trees Adventure. This is a physical challenge for everyone over the age of 4. The courses are all different; they range in difficulty and height. We got there a bit early which turned out to be a good thing as the instructors spend about half an hour going through the course and showing you how to handle the clips. You are extremely safe as you swing along you always have one of your clips attached to the main

Boom netting is great fun for a l l

The dophins are so m a jes t i c i n th e wa ter

Cuddl e a baby rabbit at th e zo o !

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Sm150 il es mychild a l l a| april round at th e Tre e s ad venture 2015


PLAN YOUR FAMILY HOLIDAY wires. The crew checks the whole course every morning. Once we had all mastered the instruction course, we split up and the more adventurous ones did the difficult higher courses and the rest of us did the lower courses. It doesn’t matter which one you do, as you will all get an exhilarating thrill as you zip along the flying fox, gingerly balance across wobbly poles and test your self every step of the way. Speaking to Neil the manager, he told us how many children with special needs come into his or her own on these courses, they are challenging themselves and they have to do it on their own. It was a wonderful way to spend the morning. We all did things we never thought we could and it was amazing how the younger ones were the most adventurous! By now it was time to head back up to the big smoke, but not without stopping for lunch in Berry. Berry is as sweet as its name, the village is a hive of activity, you can spend hours here just wondering into every little shop. But you cannot go past Berry without a couple of stops, one being the Donut van, note of warning, this van is so popular there is always a wait, sometimes of up to half an hour! The other must do stop is the Treat Factory, here you can see how chocolates are made and stock up on all sorts of goodies. If you are in the area over the school holidays they have chocolate making classes, where you learn about chocolate and make some delicious chocolate treats to bring home. We did not have time to do all we wanted to do; this area is brimming with activities for all levels of activity and all ages. You cannot go to Shoalhaven and have nothing to do. We will be heading back down again as soon as possible and this time with more time on our hands so that we can take time to do the simple things like build sand castles on the beautiful Hyams Beach and will have to so some whale watching*

Shoalhaven Zoo

The largest zoo in the NSW South Coast! With over 100 species of native and exotic mammals, birds and reptiles along with some spectacular live animal shows, the kids will be entertained for hours on end. www.

Dolphin & Whale Cruises Witness these majestic creatures up close The kids love it and it’s a perfect way to see the sights that Jervis Bay has to offer.

Horse Riding The best way to see Unspoilt Shoalhaven’s stunning scenery

Trees Adventure Australia’s premier experience Channel your inner Tarzan at Trees Adventure in Nowra.

Make A Splash! Learn to surf, water-ski, stand-up paddle board, kayak, wake-board and even ride fast inflatables in stunning locations.

The Treat Factory Indulge in Berry good treats! The Treat Factory is an essential stop for families visiting the Shoalhaven.

Culburra beach Situated on Culburra Beach, this park is great for families and fishers alike and offers great recreational facilities for kids of all ages. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO april 2015| mychild

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Every child is a different kind of flower and all together they make this world a beautiful garden.

A life without love is like a year without summer. - Swedish Proverb april 2015| mychild

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My Child Magazine April 2015 Issue  

At My Child Magazine, we pride ourselves on providing a Free Parenting Lifestyle publication to help you on your parenting journey! It's use...

My Child Magazine April 2015 Issue  

At My Child Magazine, we pride ourselves on providing a Free Parenting Lifestyle publication to help you on your parenting journey! It's use...