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AUSTRALIA’S BEST PREGNANCY, BABY & PARENTING MAGAZINE ISSUE 40

* JANUARY 2015

why children

Back to school special

need to fail fertility 10 superfoods

MEET

JOSIE-THE SINGLE MUM SUPPORTER

6

WAYS TO PREVENT PND

REIGNITE

your

SEX LIFE

BREAST IS BEST // BATH TIME FUN // SUMMER FASHION


growing babies organically. Made with love for your baby, the nature baby range always respects the best ethical and environmental practices. With a fresh modern take on all the essentials you will need 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 unique toys to inspire the imagination.

www.naturebaby.com.au

1800 240 358


Editor’s column

J Tick tock…time is something we cannot stop, so why not have a fun and quirky clock in the house from Oliver’s Twisty Tales $89.95. For stockicts email wsales@ rikaro.com.au

SAM REES-JONES

anuary is when many of us are concocting New Year resolutions-promising ourselves we will exercise more, eat better work smarter not harder! I know I have been making these promises for years, I start off with an abundance of enthusiasm but before long they have fallen by the wayside and I go back to my old routines Over the next few months we have a few articles in My Child that will hopefully help us stick to a few of them...at least I hope so! The world we live in is a tough place and every now and then you hear of people who go the extra mile to help those less fortunate than themselves. In 2015 we will be introducing you to some wonderful people out there who unselfishly go above and beyond to help those in need. Enjoy the first issue of 2015. Regards

Sa m

Cover shot Our December cover was photographed by Amanda Gulser of Jelly Baby Photography in Melbourne. Amanda specialises in beautiful creative newborn photography and you can contact her on 0457 009 997 or by emailing amanda@jellybabyphotography.com.au.

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contents COVER STORIES 34 46 86 52 78 62 140

Moving forward Superfoods for fertility Summer fashion Reignite your sex life Bath time fun 6 ways to prevent PND Why children need to fail

IDEAS Editor’s picks Bits & bobs News & reviews My 5 favourites Lilliemore Jakobson from Babybjorn shares her top product picks 22 My business Meet Amanda Gulser from Jelly Baby Photography. 12 14 18

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STYLE 82 86 92 98 102

Behind the label Baobab Fashion Summer fun Interiors my space Victoria’s palace Interiors report Flying High Cooking Lunchbox treats!


THE GO GO BAG 2014 WINNER!! Thank you to everyone who voted. 2014

M E R I N Othe natural K I D Schoice TM

The international award-winning Go Go Bag™ is a 100% natural sleep bag made from pure merino wool inside with the finest 100% certified organic cotton outer. The Go Go Bag™ is available in two sizes: Baby (0-2yrs) and Toddler (2-4yrs). The Go Go Bag™ has many benefits including; • Prevents your baby from waking after wriggling out of their blankets and promotes self-settling. • Merino regulates temperature by removing heat and moisture away from the body and insulating in cooler conditions (between four and six in the morning) • Keeps your baby at a safe and comfortable temperature throughout the night which means you can use merino all year round without the risk of overheating. ENTER THE COUPON CODE ‘MYCHILD’ WHEN PLACING YOUR ORDER ONLINE AND RECEIVE 15% OFF YOUR PURCHASE.

www.merinok ids.com • 1800 643 056 • +64 9 361 6941


86 98 113 116

contents PREGNANCY & BIRTH 46 52 56 58 60

Superfoods for fertility Reignite your sex life after baby Food cravings Probiotics explained How to keep up with kids

BABY & TODDLER 68 Breast is best 74 Mums in motion...exercises to do with baby 118 How to… babyproof your home 120 Meltdown How to handle toddler tantrums 124 How to ...get organised for school

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131 PRESCHOOLER & BIG KIDS 126 132 140

Shopping News What’s new out there for you Why children need to fail

FAMILY 34 134

The shrinking family how to cope with families spread far and wide Family matters Too soon for school?


s m u b g n savi Wipes BUY Red Nose Baby ORE & HELP US SAVE M BABIES’ LIVES

Available at:

or buy online at aussiewipes.com.au & check out our great promotions! Selected IGA & Super IGA Stores only. Selected range available in Big W.

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PUBLISHER & EDITOR SAM REES-JONES ART DIRECTOR & STYLIST MORGAN ZELL ONLINE EDITOR JORDAN VON HAGAN NEWSLETTER EDITOR & WRITER JORDAN VON HAGEN WRITERS & SUB-EDITORS

JESSICA RILEY, GEORGIA WARD

EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES editorial@mychildmagazine.com.au CONTRIBUTING EXPERTS VICTORIA ATKINSON, DR KOA WHITTINGHAM, KYLIE KADDEN, JO HEGERTY, STACEY DEUTSCHER, BECKY DYER, KELLY WINDER, MONIQUE GILL, LARA TROTTER, HELEN CUNNINGHAM, DR CINDY PAN AND CINDY WOODS, KIRSTY NEWBURY, SUSAN CLARKE, JESPER JUUL, MADELINE MITCHELL

STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY iStock ADVERTISING DIRECTOR SAM REES-JONES m 0426 790 398 e sam@mychildmagazine.com.au

CONTACT 61 2 9446 1614 mychildmagazine.com.au

MY CHILD IS PRODUCED & PUBLISHED BY LITTLE BLUE DOG ABN 611 996 81 521

My Child magazine and mychildmagazine.com.au 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 mychildmagazine.com.au. 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.

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Stay close to the heart of your home from any room with a VTech Safe & Sound baby monitor. Refined audio and full-colour video bring you every smile, giggle or sigh, so you can rest assured your little one is sleeping safe and sound. Find out more at auphones.vtech.com

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Join the ‘VTech Baby Monitors Australia’ Facebook community facebook.com/auphones.vtech


MY CHILD PROMOTION

THE BEST IN WEBSIT

SHOPPING ONLINE FOR PREGNANCY, BABY AND KIDS’ GE

JUST FOR MUMS koolamandesigns.com.au babynappybags.com.au newbeginnings.com.au loveloops.com.au metromum.com.au fertilemind.com.au manthaandyou.com.au healthymummy.com.au lassig.com.au thestorknest.com.au

BABY CARE difrax.com.au pigeonbaby.com.au medela.com.au yourcheekymonkey.com.au essentialbabyneeds.com gelpack.com.au bambooty.com.au keepmecosy.com.au peapods.com.au stokke.com

ECO FRIENDLY earlybirds.com.au masterandmiss.com.au ittybittygreenie.com.au moltex.com.au ettitude.com.au babyluvdesigns.com.au naturaltransition.com avidiva.com.au raindropsandlollipops.com.au petitarmoir.com.au

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OUT & ABOUT babybjorn.com.au gear4baby.com.au haggusandstookles.com.au hugglebabycarriers.com.au bumbo.com.au tooshcoosh.com.au fridge-to-go.net.au hugabub.com limetreekids.com.au bambooty.com.au

TOYS/PARTIES/GIFTS babbleonbaby.com.au thebabyshowershop.com.au misskikiofcherryblossomlane.com happylittlehippos.com.au brightstarkids.com.au babyvegas.com.au tinypolkadots.com.au donnerandblitzen.com.au papereskimo.com.au novelgifts.com.au

SWEET DREAMS snugglebum.com.au louandolly.com bambinipronto.com.au sleepywings.com.au babyo.com.au babydonkie.com.au merinokids.com.au marquise.com.au ergopouch.com.au alfredandmaize.com.au


TES

EAR? GIVE THESE GREAT SITES A GO!

BABY FASHION Kidscircle.com.au oishi-m.com plumcollections.com.au puretots.com.au brightbots.com.au maxandtilly.com.au angelfishdragonfly.com.au skiptomylou.com.au gaiaorganiccotton.com.au littlefrenchy.com.au

GIFTS/FUN/LEARNING bellabuttercup.com.au solvejswings.com donnerandblitzen.com.au maxandella.com.au brainychild.com.au thebabyshowershop.com.au uberkate.com.au vtechkids.com.au urbanbaby.com.au moowoo.com.au

NUTRITION/FEEDING qubies.com.au fridge-to-go.net.au wholekids.com.au philips.com.au/avent raffertysgarden.com onlyorganic.com.au waterbuddies.com.au boobiebikkies.com.au cheeki.net.au losebabyweight.com.au

CHILDREN’S FASHION koolamandesigns.com.au platypusaustralia.com nestling.com.au babydonkie.com.au designchild.com.au purely4kids.com.au eternalcreation.com eenimeeni.com tinytribe.com.au naturebaby.com.au

GO NATURAL bambooty.com.au littleinnoscents.com.au motherscorn.com.au mambinoorganics.com.au ittybittygreenie.com.au merinokids.com.au kidsecostyle.com.au littleeconest.com.au naturebaby.com.au aromababy.com.au

SMART INTERIORS leafydreamsnurserydecals. com.au speckledhouse.com.au siroccohome.com.au petit.com.au myfirstroom.com.au thelittlekidzcloset.com.au stuckupkids.com.au danishbydesign.com.au 41orchard.com.au

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IDEAS

EDITOR’S PICKS ALL KINDS OF PRODUCTS CROSS SAM’S DESK EACH DAY. HERE ARE A FEW OF HER FAVOURITES

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Soft and easy for little hands to hold, $24.95. Great for teething too. Head to naturebaby.com. Handcrafted wooden sea plane. £34.95 from lovablyme.co.uk, it will last for years. Cuddle up with a pillow pal, from $19.95 in a vairety of colours, at annabeltrends.com.au. Ernesto is a soft toy made of cotton fabrics, linen and trims $110.00, See sweetcreations.com.au Head to Africa with these wooden savannah anilmals. €26.00 at revdepan. com Create, colour and decorate your own dolls house $19.95, See cheekilittlemonkie.com.au

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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 info@danishbydesign.com.au www.danishbydesign.com.au


IDEAS

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PRODUCT

OF THE MONTH

SNUG AS A BUG

Merino kids award winning babywrap is the only swaddling blanket made from 100% merino wool. The superfine fabric is super soft and allergy free. Merino regulates body temperature so baby won’t overheat or wake up cold, it creates a safe microclimate around your baby’s body all year round. $74.95 each. Available through merino kids.com.au

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IDEAS

BITS&BOBS

BEST BOOKS Minton Goes Minton loves anything that moves - boats, planes, cars, trucks, submarines and hot-air balloons - and he’s always ready for action! His friend Turtle is not so brave, but together they have wild adventures. (Allenandunwin.com $19.99). Anders and the comet Meet Anders, Eden and their new friend, Bernie. It’s the school holidays, and there are comics to be made, games to be played, icecream to be eaten, and rhinos to impress at Wekiwa water park. (Allenandunwin.com $12.99). The internet is like a puddle This book attends to the wonderful aspects of electronic communication as well as gently discusses some of the possible pitfalls of sharing, chatting and using data. The Internet is Like a Puddle describes ways to stay safe and enjoy learning and chatting time on the Internet and to keep life balanced (Five mile press$ 14.95)

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BABYLEGS

These bright multi-colored organic cotton baby socks guarantee your child will stand out in a crowd! BabyLegs sole grippers are an addition that helps to steady those first steps. I wish they did them in adult sizes! Available from Babes in Arms for$12.95

loves The end piece of this lovable slug velcros off which enables all the ‘donuts’ to be removed and added with ease. Priced from $24.95 and available from naturebaby.com


THIS PLACE

ART EXHIBITION 13th January - 22nd February 2015 Town Hall Gallery 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122 This exhibition has been designed to be a participatory experience and mothers have been involved with all aspects of the project from inception. They have given their feedback on what it’s really like to be a mum, the sitters in the portraits have titled their own photograph. The exhibition features a series of 12 staged photographs that narrate anecdotes gathered from other mothers. Each portrait features a mother camouflaged into their environment like a mute being, for example; drowning in washing, being absorbed by cereal, and becoming a food face like you make for your children. These photographic portraits have been converted into line drawings to be coloured in by children attending the exhibition. There are tables and chairs for the kids to sit at and colour in, a giant blackboard on the gallery wall under the photographs for them to draw on and toys dispersed throughout the room. Plus the obligatory basket of washing in the corner, mimicking home life. This is a free event with wheelchair access. Victoria Town Hall Gallery

the only calming device that delivers soothing white noise directly to baby, at the safe 75 decibel level as recommended by The Children Hearing Institute in New York. Another innovative safer sleep product from the makers of the

Ideal for: breastfeeding, parent and child bonding, reducing parental and child anxiety and relaxing baby by mimicking familiar sounds experienced in the womb

scan to find out more www.gro.co.uk

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IDEAS

THIS PAGE: Baby Bouncer $219.99

by babybjorn

My5 favourites LILLEMOR JAKOBSON CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT BABYBJÖRN, A SWEDISH OWNED FAMILY BUSINESS THAT MAKES DAY-TO-DAY LIFE EASIER FOR PARENTS OF SMALL CHILDREN BY DEVELOPING SAFE AND INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY, SHARES SOME OF HER MOST LOVED PRODUCTS.

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Baby Bouncer: This was our first product when we started BabyBjörn. We tried it out on our own children and now the grandchildren are using the latest model. It’s been updated over the years but the basic needs stay the same. www.babybjorn.com.au My closet: Whenever I seek inspiration for something new I start in my own closet. Fashion and design trends are cyclical so there’s always something there. But my husband, Björn. complains that I never throw anything away.

Polarn & Pyret children’s clothes: I shop more for my grandchildren than for myself these days. This Swedish brand makes durable clothes in a simplistic, graphic design – often in unisex. www.polarnopyret.com/

Alain Mikli glasses: I have a bit of a funny head shape and had a hard time finding a pair that fitted. I had to spend a pretty penny for this bold lime-coloured French design, but I’m glad I did. I’ve had them for years and I use them all the time. I hope I’ll never lose them! www.alainmikli.com/ Cashmere from Muji: Stockholm is chilly in December and I want sweaters not to be too thick. I was very happy to find Muji’s wonderful cashmere sweaters when I was in Tokyo, especially since there’s no Muji store in Scandinavia. www.muji.com/

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IDEAS

WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT… ZEE & ME WOODEN LETTERS

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ased in Melbourne and established in 2009, the Zee & Me brand comprises a funky range of applique tees, clothing, jewellery, prints, homewares and accessories for mums, babies and children. The products we love most right now are these gorgeous wooden letters for babies and children. Painted, covered and embellished by hand, the wooden letters are available in three sizes – 75mm tall by 6mm wide for $4.50,

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100mm tall by 6mm wide for $7 and 100mm tall by 18mm wide for $8.50 – and can be hung on your little one’s door, placed on shelving, framed or mounted on canvas. Even better, they are made to order with an ever-growing range of fabrics to select from plus trimmings like buttons, bows and ribbons so you can make them your very own! * Take a look at zeeandme.com.au to discover more about this great brand.


NUK is a registered trademark of MAPA GmbH,Germany | www.nuk.com.au | NUK AUSTRALIA ,PO Box 5199 Chittaway Bay, NSW 2261 | 1800 804 918 | info@nuk.com.au

  It’s reassuring to know I can give you enough.

A simple and relaxed way to plan ahead: the NUK Luna Electric Breast Pump. Breastfeeding is the best start to life. But there are times when breastfeeding just isn’t convenient. In such situations, your child doesn‘t need to go without your precious breast milk: the new NUK Luna Electric Breast Pump, with its 2-phase rhythm, simulates the natural sucking rhythm of your baby and efficiently expresses your milk. At the same time, its soft silicone cushion ensures a gentle massaging action. Included in every pack: one NUK Breast Milk Container, which can be used not only for expressing and freezing the milk, but also for dad or grandma to feed the baby. For more information visit nuk.com.au

NUK. Understanding Life. New to

in February 2015!


IDEAS

Max

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My business AMANDA GULSER PHOTOGRAPHED THE DECEMBER AND JANUARY COVER OF MY CHILD MAGAZINE, SHE IS THE OWNER OF JELLY BABY PHOTOGRAPHY AND SPECIALIZES IN UNIQUE NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY.

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s a busy mum to Aaliyah, Kanye and Zaharra Amanda has developed her passion for photography into creating images that are unique to each family.

Please explain your role in the business. I am the photographer and owner of Jelly Baby Photography, the running of the business is all me. Working with parents and their new baby is very personal and emotional and I like to keep it that way. My typical day starts at 6am when my children wake up, then I do the school and Kinder drop off before heading to off to the studio and getting it ready for my photography session of the day. Once the clients have left I

will spend a couple of hours editing and sorting through the shoot. I try to get some time to eat lunch but this is something that can be forgotten on a busy day! By now it’s normally time for school pick up so I dash out and collect the children, head home and go back to being a domestic goddess for the evening. The evening consists of cooking dinner, homework, bath time, story time and finally bedtime for the kids. Then I will do a bit of necessary tidying up and a bit more editing and computer work. My day normally finishes around midnight when I collapse into bed.

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Luca & Aston

What was the inspiration behind the business?

How long has the business been operating?

My inspiration is Art. I love creating and I love photography. I also wanted to create a way for me to earn a living working around my family as they are very important to me.

I have been working as a photographer for nearly ten years, I started off as Amanda Gulser Photography. As I was self-taught I developed my own style and about four years ago I found that newborn photography is where my passion lay and Jelly Baby Photography was started.

What style do you offer? I specialize in newborn photography and I particularly love newborns outdoors! I also photograph maternity and families.

Can you tell me about the team?

What has been the most challenging aspect of setting up the business?

The team is‌ me myself and I. I am lucky enough to be very busy with work at the moment that I now leave my weekends free for my kids and only work weekdays, and around times that suit my family.

The most challenging aspect in business for me is the tax and accounting side. I still struggle with it. I hate numbers! Oh‌ and the work-life balance.

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What do you enjoy most about the business?

What are your plans for the future of the business?

I really enjoy outdoor newborn sessions the most. There is something so beautiful about a sleeping baby, they are all warm and cosy and just seem so peaceful in a beach or bush setting.

My plans for Jelly Baby Photography is to continue to refine my skills in newborn photography, To continue mentoring new photographers and to hold my own workshops (which I have been promising to do for a while now!)

What are the advantages of working for yourself? I can work around my children’s busy schedules and I set my own times

How is your business different to other similar businesses? There are there are other newborn photographers that do the same sort of thing as I do, but I don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, I have my own unique style. I plan my sessions around the parents and baby so no two shoots are ever the same. My clients call me the baby whisperer and so far every parent has been over the moon when they get to see their images. So I am happy with that!

What gives your product the edge? I really think my newborn and maternity outdoor images are what my clients are mostly attracted to. As the shoot is structured around their personality and my editing style is what gives my final images ‘the edge’.

Why should people come to you? People should come to me because I love what I do, and I luckily I am very good at it! I am a natural with babies and have had many years of photography experience. They are not going to get a run of the mill studio shoot with me.

How do you market the business? At the moment, I am just by word of mouth. I have in the past done SEO campaigns and Face book campaigns, which have been both been very successful.

What do you hope to achieve from the business? I guess like everyone, I would like to be financially secure from my business. I also hope to continue to be creatively challenged from my work.

What advice do you have for other parents wanting to start their own business? My advice to other parents wanting to start their own photography business is to not go in blindly. Photography is not just about pressing a button to take a photo! There are hours and hours of work that goes into just one session. Always value yourself, and don’t work for free.

Is there anything else you’d like My Child readers to know? I would like readers to know just how emotional new mums are when they see the gallery of images of their newborn baby. Yes, newborn photography… any photography really… is an investment, but it really is worth it. Your baby is so small and precious for such a small amount of time. For me to create beautiful artwork of this tiny moment in time for these new mums, is just the best feeling in the world.* Amanda Gulser can be contacted at Jelly Baby Photography or 0457 009 997

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FAMILY MATTERS

The Shrinking Family NOW THAT FAMILIES ARE SO SCATTERED, FRIENDS AND PAID HELP ARE FILLING THE VOID THAT THE EXTENDED FAMILY ONCE PROVIDED, VICTORIA ATKINSON SHARES HER EXPEREINCE.

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hen my son was born, there was no long line of relatives waiting breathlessly outside the delivery suite. When he came home, the three of us looked after each other without any help from grandparents, sisters or cousins, and we liked it that way: with no houseguests to worry about, no unwanted advice and no inconvenient pop-ins. We came to terms with being parents without any input from our own parents, and without the overwhelming whirlpool of family attention that so often surrounds new babies. This also meant, however, that our crash

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course in parenting was harsh and uncushioned by the sage experience of the kin who had gone before. Our experience as new parents was typical of a growing number of couples who now find them-selves, for a variety of reasons, having to raise children without the traditional support of their families. This isolation has encouraged the rise of alternative ways to help parents create a strong and loving environment for their children. Both my husband and I have relatively little immediate or extended family, and much of that family is scattered around the country.


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Life has taken us all in different directions, stretching our connections to each other into the thin lines of emails and Christmas cards. This is not a new situation and we were aware of the impact this would have on the realities of raising children. This truth formed a large part of our discussions as to how, when and if we should in fact have children. In many cultures, the extended family plays a central part in raising the new generation, and in some countries, this means that a child is largely brought up by a relative.

‘The great myriad of websites with information and, more importantly, with chat forums, provides parents with instantaneous knowledge and access to other parents’ Over the last 50 years, industrialisation and modernisation have seen many Western societies slowly dismantle the traditional nuclear family and its extended support systems. The family of the new millennium is made up of independent and self-aware individuals who pursue their own lives, often with little reference to family togetherness. Travel now features heavily in many careers and life plans and begs the question – has shrinking the globe actually increased the distances that families must bridge in order to stay connected? Children often pursue their own lives and careers, and are so busy they lose touch with parents and siblings. Some families simply grow apart through their different life experiences. The irony appears when these same offspring yearn to create another nuclear family with the birth of their own children. This can result in new parents who feel isolated and overwhelmed, as they feel the reality of being estranged from the traditional family structure.

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The shrinking family is illustrated by the growing number of single parent households. In the June 2012 census, there were 961 thousand one parent families, making up 15% of all families, and 81% of these were single mothers. One of the major reasons for this continues to be the current rate of divorce, with 40 percent of Australian marriages now expected to end in divorce. The breakdown of de facto relationships is harder to ascertain, but many believe it to be even higher than the formal divorce rate. The resultant emergence of single-parent families is the modern family in its most pared-down form. The strain of being the sole caregiver in such households is only amplified when there is also a lack of family support, which can leave these parents feeling truly overwhelmed. One of the effects of this phenomenon is the ever-increasing range of community and support groups, which exist in most areas. These include mothers’ and play groups, Gymbaroo centres and exercise groups, plus council- and government-run services, child nutrition seminars, and even dental education seminars. Add to this scores of volunteer support groups for single parents, grieving parents, parents of children with developmental or physical prob-lems, and many more and one thing is very clear: society is attempting to provide what family is not providing from within. In my case, creating my new family initially meant long days alone with my new baby. I still remember how loud the closing of the front door seemed on that first day of my husband’s return to work. I suddenly felt truly alone and scared of how I would cope once my eight-day-old mystery package awoke. Would I be able to stop him crying? What if he wouldn’t feed? What would happen if I suddenly dropped into a coma from some rare metabolic disorder? No-one would find me


until my husband returned that night. With no-one to call, I did what a growing number of mothers are doing – I jumped online. The great myriad of websites with information and, more importantly, with chat forums, provides parents with instantaneous knowledge and access to other parents. These sites act as a virtual mid-wife, child welfare nurse and mothers’ group, and they provide a path to reassurance for any mother with a computer. For those without online access, there are telephone help lines, books and magazines. All can help ease the burden of expectation that new mothers place on themselves, and can serve to make her feel that she is indeed part of a wider community. As great as the information age is, however, it can’t provide two important things: the reassur-ance and confidence of another person close by; or a break. Nothing prepares you for the fatigue of caring for a new baby, and nothing will ease that tiredness other than rest. Without the free and available childcare provided by grandparents, aunts or cousins, arranging childcare means just one thing – money. Whether it’s hiring a doula to help during delivery and on arriving home, or the scouting of local childcare centres, or even the option of a nanny; it requires organisation, planning and extra expenses. At present in Australia, the childcare industry is struggling to meet the massive demands of the modern family, which often consists of two working parents with minimal practical support from relatives. The stress on childcare centres means many women are placing their unborn baby’s name on waiting lists during pregnancy. Despite these measures, it’s common for there to be no confirmed place available for their child by the time these women are due back at work; such is the plight of the modern mother. Whatever form of childcare couples choose, in the absence of family backup, this plan

must include redundancies to cater for any unexpected happenings, such as illnesses, business trips and late meetings. Childcare centres have strict rules in relation to late pick-up and sick children, and must protect the other children in the centre. This can leave parents with little option than to take time off work when the unforeseen occurs and, consequently, can put them in the middle of a difficult office dynamic. Inevitably this ends up causing tension in a couple’s relationship and can detract from the whole experience of being a parent. Quite frankly, the whole set-up can feel like a house of cards with the slightest breeze causing the whole thing to come tumbling down. While it is important to prepare as much as possible, it’s equally important to realise that no-one can prepare for everything, and sooner or later the unexpected is going to blow the most inventive plan out of the water. This happens to all parents, and despite the fact that it is a little harder to deal with on your own, most manage. Part of the shift in society that has come with less intimate family relationships is the increased importance placed on friends. For many people, friends are the new family and as the saying goes, ‘You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends’. Many people have surrounded them-selves with a close-knit group of trusted friends and have learnt to rely on them far more than any family member. Often these friends are at a similar stage of life, and these shared events can form a strong bond that allows them to help each other through difficulties along the way. Many people are making these modern friendships into tight circles of trust, forming groups that gather to share their joys and sorrows. Together they build up the scaffolding of support previously provided by the extended family. Friends can also provide a form of shared

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baby-sitting whereby one couple will babysit another couple’s child while they enjoy a long overdue night out and then the favour is returned. Many women find these reciprocal babysitters through their mothers’ groups. This can work well for some friends, however for others, the difficulty of asking what amounts to a favour can be a deal-breaker. That innate closeness associated with family relationships takes many years to replicate in friendships and so feeling comfortable enough to ask friends for help is usually not as easy as asking family. In addition, many friends are part of families where both parents are

‘Part of the shift in society that has come with less intimate family relationships is the increased importance placed on friends’ working and so have their own pressures and responsibilities, making the dynamics of asking for help even more complex. Still other friends may not have kids of their own, only increasing the perceived imposition of leaving your children with them. In addition, many parents feel guilty asking for babysitting when they want to see a film or have dinner together rather than to attend a “legitimate” event such as a business function or birthday party. These seemingly “indulgent” outings may not seem worthy of inconveniencing a friend. I grew up without much extended family. My parents were immigrants to Australia and what little family we had was firmly entrenched on the other side of the globe. Prior to the advances of modern communication and travel, my relationship with these family members remained distant. Despite this, I was never aware that anything was missing as I had never known the dynamics of a large family. On the contrary, I grew to love our Christmases and

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birthdays inhabited as they were with invited friends of my parents. This small band of characters changed over the years as our lives evolved, but we were able to choose the cast of our play in a way that large families could not. For instance, if great Aunty Martha gets loud after a few too many sherries most families just have to grin and bear it, and then hide the sherry next Christmas. As I grew older, I pitied many of my friends with their large families as they piled into the car to begin their holiday odysseys to visit relatives in faraway places. Their constant need to fulfil family obligations seemed to me restrictive and exhausting. I have, however, pondered whether my son will suffer by growing up without the input of a large family network and whether his environment will be any less nurturing for it. Will I somehow have to compensate for this gap in his emotional development or will he, like me, never miss what he hasn’t had? It falls to my husband and I to enrich his world in other ways and with other people, and to teach him about love and relationships without the aid of a large, close family. His role models will not come from his grandparents or cousins but from other people within his world. We will show him the unique gifts of each family, no matter its form, and will ensure that he reaches out to people whether they are blood relatives or not. When my husband and I made the decision to have children, we knew we’d be going it alone and I am at peace with the form that our family will take. And yet, I also strive to build a family for my son that will encourage him to remain close to us throughout his life. I want to share in the expansion of our family and to know my grand-children and greatgrandchildren, even perhaps to create from scratch that which I’ve never had; it is a strange and personal paradox. As my journey into motherhood progresses, I


become more aware of the voids in my experience. I sometimes catch myself wistfully looking at a mother, daughter and grandchild shopping or playing together, and I wonder what it must feel like to know that kind of unwavering support. I muse on having the kind of family safety net that is there no matter what, and the feeling of security and peace that it must give, especially to working mothers. I look at the bond of shared experiences that these families can draw upon to support each other and how those experiences will be passed onto the next generation, and just for a

moment I feel a sense of loss and even envy. But then life snaps me back and I am once again grateful for the blessings I do have. It makes me more determined to build a family in which my son will flourish and of which he can be proud. The modern family is made up of individuals all walking their own path. The key lies not in its size, but in what binds them together as a family and in using this bond to bridge the distances and challenges of the modern world. The form may be evolving, but there is little doubt that today’s family can be as powerful and nurturing as that of generations past. *

WAYS TO COPE 1

When discussing the prospect of children, think realistically about the presence or absence of family support. For instance, if you live a long way away from your parents or in-laws and need their support, you may decide to move closer before getting pregnant. Accept what you cannot change, Instead of lamenting what you do not have, nurture and build your own family and remember to be grateful for all that you do have. Educate yourself, society is learning to help its modern families with information and support services. Read, log on to the Internet and tap into the resources available. Plan and prioritise. Everything must be planned. From pregnancy, to childcare, to school sports day, prioritise and then consider the logistics needed to make it happen – especially if both parents are working.

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Know what to do when the . plan falls apart Inevitably plans fail and there are emergencies. Have an idea about how you will manage illness, unexpected travel and other situations that come up. Sometimes it can be as simple as saying ‘my kids are the most important thing’ and dropping everything else. Be creative. When there is no easy choice, try to think outside the square and use options that you may not have considered. Don’t be afraid to think laterally and use a nanny service or call the neighbour at a pinch. Ask for help. Modern mothers feel as though they have to do it all themselves, and sometimes it’s just not possible. Even Superwoman needs help sometimes but it can be the hardest thing in the world to admit. If you are struggling, just take a deep breath and ask for help – most of the time it will be forthcoming.

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FAMILY

Role play WHO WEARS THE PANTS IN YOUR HOUSE – AND DOES IT REALLY MATTER? LIFESTYLE MENTOR STUART DENMAN DELVES INTO THE DYNAMICS OF MODERN PARENTING ROLES 32

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ver the past 50 years roles have changed not only in the parenting space but in the overall masculine and feminine dynamic. With the rise of equality through the 1960s and 1970s to the “metrosexual” male movement of the 1990s and 2000s there are a lot of really confused men out there and, to be fair, a lot of confused women too. When I was growing up, one of the biggest insults you could give a man was to infer his partner “wore the pants” in their relationship. This was challenging his “manhood” and would always get a raucous applause at the pub or BBQ where it was uttered. Growing up as a child of baby boomers, my parenting role models were those on TV shows and the parents of three of my best friends, as mine separated when I was six. Gender or sexist humour was still commonplace and being a man meant parenting little, working long hours and having “alone quiet time”. Yet there was one couple, parents of a twin boy and girl, who I gravitated to as a young adolescent. You see, Doug was a teacher so he worked family friendly hours. He picked the kids up from school, took them to their sporting activities, cooked, cleaned and played, and was present in every way. Joy did all of those things too. She was feminine and motherly yet knew Doug derived so much enjoyment of his “role” in the family that she was empowered to do the things she wanted to as there was a balance in the relationship. Doug still loved a beer, a punt and his sport, and enjoyed being in the company of his mates just like the other male role models I had in my life, he just chose to own his passion and I saw how rounded his kids (my friends) were. As many men do, my later teenage years and my 20s were spent experimenting, partying and generally doing what most young men do. When I met my now wife, I was ready to begin the next phase of my life. I had come out of a relationship where I was the controlling partner with a subservient girlfriend who played the

role of a “good housewife” perfectly while I took everything for granted and became everything I despised in a man. I soon learned that Natasa, my new partner, was the polar opposite. She was opinionated and confident, and I was challenged more than I ever had been. By the time we had our first child, I tried to assume the role that my role model, Doug, had unknowingly imprinted on me. I changed nappies, cleaned up vomit, soothed my son to sleep, cooked and cleaned, all the while working in a new business I had just purchased. I was present, passionate and loved being a dad. One day I turned down a game of golf with my mates because I wanted to give my wife a break from looking after our son. It was then that the words tumbled out: ‘Wow, I can see Natasa wears the pants in your relationship.’ It shouldn’t have mattered. I don’t know why I reacted the way I did yet I got defensive and lashed out: Who was he to judge me? Over the next few years I struggled with other people’s expectations of what a man was meant to be to his children and partner. My wife was driven and got her energy from business and significance, yet I was nurturing, calm and valued quality time and family very highly. We spent some time fighting against it, yet when we finally took ownership of what really inspired each of us it worked well if we reversed the “traditional” roles and just did what we were great at. When we did we become in flow, our relationship, family life and business success reached amazing heights. We were both doing what fulfilled our purpose. Now, two kids later and another on the way, things have adjusted as we have moved along with me taking on more of my own business interests and my wife being able to take a break to welcome our new child into the world. We continue to be in flow with ourselves, our family and our businesses – all because we decided it didn’t matter who wore the pants. * Stuart Denman is a lifestyle mentor. For information visit ultimate48hourauthor.com.au.

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PROFILE

Moving forward SIX MONTHS PREGNANT WITH HER FOURTH CHILD JOSIE WALKED OUT OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP, SHE HAS OVER COME TERMINAL CANCER, AND NOW DEDICATES HER TIME TO HELPING OTHERS IN A SIMILAR SITUATION. JOSIE PARATA IS A LADY ON A MISSION AND NOTHING IS GOING TO GET IN HER WAY. JESSICA RILEY SPEAKS TO JOSIE.

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osie grew up in an abusive family. When the tension ran high in her house her three children were taught at an early age, to head to their rooms. After an argument broke out between the father and her eldest son, Josie went to check on the children and she found her eldest son, who was eight at the time, hanging from the top bunk with a belt around his neck. Fortunately Josie got there in time. As she lifted him up he said to her, ‘Mum, I just want to go back to God’, she knew then it was time to go, she packed up and walked out. This time she was not going back. That was eight years ago.

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Josie and her three children went to the local woman’s refuge and they gave her all the support that they could. It was during this time that Josie began to really realize just how hard it was to begin life as a single mum. “What the refuge did was fantastic in helping us out but there were a lot of things I wish someone had come alongside and helped me with. My head was in ‘crisis mush’ I was on my own and about to have a fourth child, I could not think how to fill out documents or do paper work. I needed someone to point me in the right direction,” said Josie. Josie did not know how the Centrelink, housing and court systems worked. She did


STOCK IMAGE

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not know what was out there for single parents to help them get on their feet. After six weeks in the refuge Josie was moved into a transitional housing program and was there for a year where she did courses to help her handle her situation. Being the determined person she is and acknowledging the help that she got, Josie wanted to pay it forward so she got an Advanced Diploma in Case Management. From there she put her experience and knowledge to use and set out to help other single mums and SMS Lighthouse, Single Mums Support was born.

“Josie did not know how the centrelink, housing and court systems worked. She did not know what was out there for single parents to help them get on their feet.” Josie started off meeting mums in parks and cafes, or even in their own homes as they often needed a place out of public eye. Two years ago Josie heard about a council house that was available and it took a lot of paperwork and applications which resulted in her eventually getting it for three days a week. One of the ladies from Josies’s church paid the first years rent and continues to top up any amounts that are outstanding. Josie currently has 291 women ‘on her books’ who she helps; there are a couple of 18 year olds with two kids, one older mum who has to look after her 26 year old disabled son, and everyone else in between. The older mums pass on their knowledge to the younger mums. The woman’s refuge that helped Josie is a different service to what they were in 2006, because of government funding, they are often bound up in red tape and now their assistance is a lot less than what it used to be. The services that Josie offers these mothers

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Josie and her four children is invaluable, they have an open door policy, their premises are not advertised as many mums are hiding from abusive partners. Many of these mothers who come to Josie are referred to her by Centrelink and other government agencies. A lot of them have no idea how to budget, how to compile a CV and the thought of dressing up to go for an interview is beyond them. “We are a one stop shop for the mums, we are very much about teaching the women to get back up on their feet and we will give them a hand up, not a hand out,” explains Josie. Josie, two other case workers and five support workers, are all volunteers. The house is open three days a week and every Tuesday they have a group meeting called “Moving Forward”, and every fortnight they have a key speaker come in, this year


amongst others, they have had Legal Aid and Centrelink. They also do basic computer lessons and how to cook on a budget, and many other types of courses, all free and hosted by volunteers. They are given lessons on how to upgrade their CV, how to find the most cost effective rent, many have no idea where to go to receive government help or if they are entitled to any and how much. There are lawyers who give up their time to come and talk to the mums and let them know their rights and instruct them how to present themselves in court and to stand up for themselves. “Getting into court is really daunting and we have to show them the game plan, she needs to walk in confidently and emotionally detached, we equip women to get on with it, attitude is everything and we have let the kids see that we are strong and we can do anything. You have to do it for your kids, and be strong as they see how you are,” says Josie. A company called Dress For Success has come aboard to help and when a mum is going for an interview they will help them to make sure they wear the right clothes and if she is successful in getting a job, they will give them work clothes for the first week of work. The safe house gets a weekly food parcel from the local Bakers Delight and pie shop. The day we arrived to chat to Josie, many toys and gifts were donated from Kmart through the Salvation Army. The past eight years have taken their toll on Josie, two years ago she was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal breast cancer. The doctors did what they could, they gave her a Mastectomy and all the chemo they could. She was riddled with cancer, it was in her lungs and lymph nodes,the doctors told her to go home, shut down the service SMS, write her will and spend time with her children. Josie’s faith took over. She lost all her hair but did not lose sight of who she was nor her

passion for helping others. When she went back for her check up in April 2013, the doctors were completely baffled, as she was given the all clear. Josie’s strength comes from her children, her church and the mission she has to help her local community of Single Mums. Without their support and her mission she would not have made it so far. Josie receives no funding at all. From her Centrelink payment as a single mum with young children, she pays the rent for the Lighthouse office, however, now that her youngest is eight she will not be getting it anymore and she is looking at other avenues to keep the service in operation. Josie has just obtained a 2nd job one day a week and with the newstart requirement funding she will be able to pay part of the rent and will try to keeping the open house going. Applying for funding and donations is not easy and it is a learning curve for her as Josie is extremely proud and doesn’t like to ask for handouts but this is not for Josie, it’s for the mothers who need help like she did so long ago. Josie’s ultimate dream is to set up SMS Lighthouse’s, across the country to help women like her who need to get out and start up again. Josie is a Justice of the Peace, was 2012 Warringah Citizen of the Year, a 2014 NSW Women of the Year Finalist and was awarded 2014 Rotary Clubs “Community Service of the Year” * Contact Josie at smslighthouse.org.au If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support, please contact one of the support services below. There are national and state-based agencies that can assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Emergency 000 Lifeline 131 114 Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line 1800 737 732

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PARENTING

Free to be me HERE CLINICAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST DR KOA IRVINE WHITTINGHAM EXPLAINS HOW TO BE THE BEST PARENT FOR YOUR CHILD

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s parents we are often bombarded with judgment, criticism and contradictory advice. At times this may be confusing, while at others it’s infuriating, and it can certainly chip away at our self-esteem. Even well-intended and sensible advice, given with every good intention, may still be forcefully delivered, inappropriate to our circumstances, unsuitable for our children or simply out of date. So how can we learn to swim in the sea of criticism without eroding our self-esteem or damaging our relationships with family and friends? First of all, remember that you are the parent. Other people may have their roles to play in your child’s life, but no matter how they choose to play their roles, you and only you determine the kind of parent that you are. You have every right to be the kind of parent that you want to be without any need to justify yourself. Second, be clear about what kind of parent you want to be. Your parenting values are

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unique to you – what you value may not be the same as what your friends or family value. What matters most to you, as a parent? You can recognise your parenting values because following your own heart often brings a sense of satisfaction, pleasure and joy.

“You have every right to be the kind of parent that you want to be without any need to justify yourself” So what do you enjoy as a parent? Pause for a moment, close your eyes if you can and imagine that you are in a special, magical place with your child. You are alone together – there is no one else here to judge you and no pressure to achieve anything in particular. Your child is calm and happy, and somehow you know that in this enchanted place you can do whatever you want as a parent, with the guarantee that no harm will come to your


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parenting child. You are both completely protected, so there is no pressure to get anything right. This is just a unique time for you to enjoy your child. If you could simply enjoy parenting without fear of judgment from others or pressure to do anything right, then what would you do? Why does that matter to you? Why does that bring you joy? Notice what matters most to you and connect to your parenting values. Anchor yourself in these values. They can provide a path through the contradictory and confusing advice. Remember that other people’s values may be different from your own. So, when other people give you advice, ask yourself: Is that consistent with being the parent that I want to be? Remember too to take a flexible and experimental approach to discovering what works with your child. Other people are parenting their own children, not yours! You know your own child best. Unwelcome criticism or advice often doesn’t require any particular response. Much of the time, the person criticising you doesn’t have any control over what you are doing as a parent anyway – their opinion amounts to nothing but words. You may even feel that

“Remember too to take a flexible and experimental approach to discovering what works with your child.” aspects of their behaviour in their own relationship with your child are less than ideal. On the other hand, sometimes it is okay to let other people take a different approach from your own with your child. For example, your child’s grandparents should be the kind of grandparents that your child needs, and should be allowed to act in a manner that is consistent with their own values. If judgments and advice are just words, or if

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it is okay for someone to take their own approach in their relationship with your child, then it is often possible to avoid any further

“Instead of trying to change their mind, focus instead on clearly and respectfully communicating how you think and feel.” debate and simply diffuse the situation instead. One way of doing so is to remind the person criticising you that everyone is different. Show them that you respect their values at the same time as wanting to live your own. For example, you could say, ‘It’s great that that worked so well for you. What we are doing is working well for us. Kids are all so different and it is wonderful when everyone can find what works best for them!’ A dose of humour can be another effective way of diffusing a situation. For example, you can deflect accusations of spoiling quite well by remarking, ‘Oh yes, we are planning on spoiling him!’ If you need your critic to understand your approach, or to respect your wishes, then openly and honestly speak from your own heart. Avoid a debate about what is ‘right’, and instead make a personal request, person to person, for them to respect your values. For example, you might say, ‘I understand that our approach seems strange to you. But we have thought it through and this is what works for our family. It matters to me. It would mean a lot if you could support us in this.’ Try to communicate the principle that you’d like followed while simultaneously giving friends and family as much freedom as possible to discover their own way of following it. For example, if you want your baby to be supported while falling asleep, including when your baby is minded by family members, then clearly communicate this while also giving


them the freedom to experiment with different ways to settle your baby to sleep. Even though you may favour rocking your baby in her rocking chair, your baby’s grandparents may prefer to take her for a walk. Above all, keep communication kind, respectful and assertive. Assertive communication means recognising your needs and feelings and recognising the needs and feelings of your critic as well. Instead of trying to change their mind, focus instead on clearly and respectfully communicating how you think and feel. You can do this by making ‘I’ statements and focussing on factual, not emotive, descriptions. For example, ‘I am feeling uncomfortable about how much junk food Michael is eating lately. I think we should try to cut that down. What do you think?’ is more likely to begin a productive discussion than, ‘You are always giving Michael junk food!’ Remember that

assertive communication also involves listening. Try paraphrasing to ensure that you truly understand where they are coming from. By anchoring our parenting in our own values we can cut through the confusion of contradictory advice and follow our own heart as parents, regardless of what other people say. The judgment and criticism will likely still be there, but, ultimately, we can know that we are being the parent that we want to be. And that’s what truly matters. * Dr Koa Whittingham is a parenting researcher at the University of Queensland, a clinical and developmental psychologist, a mother, and the author of a unique new book for mothers, Becoming Mum: www. becomingmum.com.au She regularly blogs about parenting on her blog Parenting from the Heart: www. koawhittingham.com/blog/

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IN MY VIEW

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Christmas with children MY CHILD COLUMNIST KYLIE KADEN REFLECTS ON CHRISTMAS AND HOW THOSE LASTING MEMORIES ARE MADE

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was feeling rather Grinchy this year. Maybe I’ve grown up, but I was starting to sneer a little at those images the words ‘Christmas With Children’ conjure up. You know, the ones with wholesome looking youngsters with combed hair and striped pyjamas frolicking around a neatly trimmed tree brimming with gifts. When you can only imagine the smell of roast pork crackling, the sound of carols chiming through the laughter. I was beginning to suspect it was all part of an elaborate ploy to recruit non-parents to the fold, entice them with promises of perfect scenes that video cameras were made for. From my experience, once you have kids, Christmas goes a little more like this: feet pounce on your back, you wake, dusty-eyed after staying up half the night wrapping and assembling, sneak a peek at the clock: 4.38. Denial is futile. It’s begun. The day for which you’ve spent hours wrangling kids in crowded stores, pre-baked and juggled family

commitments in aid of, is here. Everything is peachy for a while. There’s smiles, for a while. Spoiled for choice, the kids race from one gift to the next, only pausing to say ‘I’ve already got that’ or ‘where’s the big present’, while you spend half the morning untwisting wire cables from packaged toys (that I’m sure could survive a nuclear holocaust, they’re so well secured). R2D2 is decapitated during a violent ownership battle, the youngest gets a LightSaber in the eye and somewhere around the third battery change of the Loudest-Toy-OnEarth from the childless aunt, you start to think that perfect Christmas With Children moment is happening in another house. I figured Christmas, as with life, is not a Hallmark card. With all that commercial hype, it’s easy to get sucked into the myth that your kid’s eternal happiness depends on whether you chose the right Skylander. The busyness gets to you, and as the to-do list grows, so do

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in my view the expectations. I blame the likes of Nigella Lawson and her custard-smooth voice, making sage gravy look so effortless, and a tablecentrepiece so essential. (Then there’s me, flat out remembering my password for the Woolworths Online website or where I hid what, let alone things like to make cranberry jam from scratch.) There’s also the self-imposed expectations. As a child, Christmas was the best day ever. My parents set a high standard, planting the seed of yearning to give my kids the same. Yet, back then, I was half the height of the tree, seeing the day from an entirely different

“With all that commercial hype, it’s easy to get sucked into the myth that your kid’s eternal happiness depends on whether you chose the right Skylander.” perspective (oblivious to the mountain of wrap, growing pile of dishes and looming credit card bill). It’s never going to feel quite the same, looking down from the top. Nor should it. But alas (in the midst of complaining about someone stealing my car-park that afternoon), I stumbled across a dog-eared Christmasmorning photo of my boys in an old wallet. I grazed my finger over the well-worn picture. As they stood arm-in-arm next to the slightly crooked tree (showing just a corner of a fence, placed to stop our baby trashing it) there was something serene on their faces. A look of pure happiness and excitement, eyes wide with wonder, goofy smiles of delight that I just don’t see on any ordinary Tuesday (even Taco Tuesday, with Jelly for dessert). Their expression showed a belief in magic moments, the knowledge that it’s okay to hope for days like this. And somehow that look made all the mayhem worthwhile. They were fighting like ninjas half an hour

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later, but that moment – it was priceless. That memory, together with the knowledge that many families (in whatever shape theirs comes in) are unable to spend Christmas together, has made me pull my head in. I realise I’ve had each and every Christmas, shared in perfect health, with my entire family, with a roof over my head, in the best country in the world. I have no right to complain. End of ungrateful mope. I think I’ve accepted there will be no combed-haired angelic boys in flannel frolicking around a colour-coordinated tree. There will be no sage gravy or elegant centrepiece, more likely a bottle of $12 champagne and spilt punch. We may not have hand-made ornaments, most of them end up in the sandpit by midDecember anyway. But we do have our own family traditions; chocolate for breakfast and a mango over the sink, Marco Polo in the pool and a water-bomb battle, stolen rocky road and a kip under the table,not to mention the start of ‘ham-fifty-one-ways’. So I’ve come to expect that the kids will fight over toys, and break half of them by the days end. But if I keep things real, I’m confident I just might glimpse the odd twinkle of perfection amidst the crazy; a moment of joy as my youngest stares in wonder at the lights, or the warmth of a lingering goodnight hug from the eldest, despite being too old for Santa. So now I’m just banking on a few flashes of extraordinary. And I bet they’re when I least expect them. And I’ll appreciate every last one. * Kylie Kaden’s novel Losing Kate is available now from Random House (paperback $32.99). Also in e-book and IBooks format. Visit kyliekaden. com.au.


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PREGNANCY

Superfoods for fertility WHETHER YOU’RE TRYING FOR FIRST-TIME MOTHERHOOD OR GOING IN FOR THE NEXT ROUND, ENSURE YOUR BODY IS RIPE FOR CONCEPTION WITH THE HELP OF THESE 10 NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSES. JO HEGERTY REPORTS

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lanning for pregnancy means taking a close look at what you eat – long before you get down to the fun part of actually making a baby. The key to optimising your fertility is having a wellbalanced and varied diet, but there are a few nutrients you need to check up on to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Hormonal balance is essential to conception and certain foods will affect this, as will alcohol, caffeine and toxins. For this reason, you should choose organic produce wherever possible, and eat plenty of fresh, raw vegetables. Your nutritional state at the time of conception has far-reaching effects on both yours and the baby’s health, and can impact on your pregnancy. It can take months to build up suitable levels of zinc, iron and iodine should you be deficient, so you need to start thinking about your diet four or five months before trying for a baby. When it comes to

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fertility, some foods rank higher on the food chain than others. Here are 10 nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins, minerals and good oils to get your body ripe for pregnancy.

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BROCCOLI It’s dark, green and leafy – and a great source of B-vitamin folic acid, which is essential to a healthy pregnancy. This vitamin has been proven to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Broccoli alone won’t provide enough folic acid, so you will need a supplement, (women are advised to take 400mcg of folic acid for at least four months prior to pregnancy), but this, along with spinach, snow peas, beans, kale and zucchini, is full of antioxidants, so eat plenty to fight free radicals while topping up folic acid. ‘Ensure you eat lots of salads with dark, green leaves and fresh, chopped herbs,’ advises


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pregnancy & birth naturo-path and director of Natural Fertility Management, Francesca Naish. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin C, which is needed by the ovaries to mature the egg and ovulate.

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SALMON Abundant in essential fatty acids (EFAs), salmon is a great fish for fertility – provided it comes from a good source. EFAs, also known as omega-3s, are important for all body functions including hormone regulation. Omega-3s are often deficient in women who have had a baby already as the growing foetus depletes a mum’s stores, so if you’re planning on conceiving again, make sure you’re getting enough of these “good” fats. Unlike fish such as tuna, swordfish, perch and flake, salmon does not pose the risk of containing toxic levels of mercury. Jennie Brand-Miller, professor of human nutrition at Sydney University, says you shouldn’t avoid fish as it’s so important to your preconception health and to the baby’s developing brain. She recommends eating salmon twice a week, either canned or fresh. The key is finding quality salmon, adds Naish. ‘Salmon is often farmed, therefore can be high in antibiotics and PCBs (a manufactured chemical known to have adverse effects on foetuses). Find a good fishmonger and form a relationship with them,’ says Naish. ‘Only buy salmon when you know it has been caught in the wild, and if you find a good supply of it one week, buy plenty and freeze it.’

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NATURAL YOGHURT As well as provid-ing gut-friendly bacteria and being a source of protein and calcium, natural yoghurt may have an effect on your fertility – provided it’s full-fat. A recent study of more than 18,000 women in the US found that those who chose full-fat dairy products over the lower-fat counterparts had less chance of anovulatory infertility, where the

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body fails to produce enough eggs. At her clinic, Naish recommends that women planning to conceive switch from cow’s milk to sheep’s or goat’s milk. ‘There are signs that

Your nutritional state at the time of conception has farreaching effects on both yours and the baby’s health, and can impact on your pregnancy cow’s milk is not helpful to fertility, and many people are actually allergic to it,’ she says. Yoghurt, how-ever, does not irritate the gut as much thanks to its live cultures. If you stick to cow’s-milk produce, you should avoid soft cheeses and those stored in water, such as ricotta, as they can harbour listeria, which has been linked to miscarriage.

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OLIVE OIL A fantastic source of monounsaturated fat, olive oil is at its best when it has been cold pressed. Being either overweight or underweight has a clear link to fertility problems and replacing “bad” saturated fats with good oils such as olive, flaxseed and sesame is an important step towards a healthy weight. On the subject of fats, the same US study that showed a link bet-ween full-fat dairy and fertility also confirmed the adverse effects of trans-fats on a woman’s ability to conceive. Researchers found that women with ovulation-related infertility were more likely to eat trans-fats than more fertile women. These fats are hydrogenated liquid oils found in a vari-ety of processed and packaged food.

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KANGAROO Protein is essential to preconception health as it regulates blood sugar levels, and contains amino acids and B vitamins vital to hormonal functions and fertility. Most plant sources such as legumes, nuts and seeds need to be combined to get the full gamut of nutrients, whereas animal


protein is a complete protein. ‘A rule I like to use is the smaller the animal and the fewer feet it has, the better the protein source – that’s why fish is at the top of the list. Kangaroo, although a large animal, has only two feet,’ says Naish. This meat is incredibly lean with around two percent fat, and has a higher protein content than beef and less cholesterol. As it’s not a farmed meat, kangaroo is genuinely “free range” and less susceptible to chemical interference. It is also a good source of iron, containing more than lamb – although beef is the iron powerhouse. Before conceiving, you need to get your iron levels up as their status at the time of conception affects the development of the baby, the preg-nancy and breastfeeding. It can take months to build up your iron levels, so start early. Iron is also known to be important for healthy ovulation. You’ll need iron during your pregnancy as well, and research has shown that once pregnant it is very difficult to increase your iron levels.

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AVOCADOES A superfood for any stage of life, avocadoes are a rich source of vitamin E, which is an essential nutrient for fertility. This powerful antioxidant supports healthy circulation to the reproductive system, and helps to regulate ovulation and cervical mucous production. Anti-oxidants are great defenders against free radicals, which have been implicated in the occurrence of preeclampsia. Avocadoes are also full of the mono-unsaturated “good” fats and are a great substitute for spreads and butter. They also contain folate, iron and beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A.

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PUMPKIN SEEDS Full of omega-3 and -6 essential fats, pumpkin seeds are helpful to hormone balance, brain function and skin health. They also contain some of the B >

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vitamins and good amounts of vitamin K, necessary for bone health and blood clotting. Best of all, they are a fantastic source of zinc, which plays a crucial role in both men’s and women’s fertility. This key nutrient also assists in healthy sperm and egg development. It’s essential to have sufficient levels of zinc at conception as it plays a role in normal cell division at the embryonic stage, but most people are deficient. Naish says it is ‘incredibly difficult’ to obtain enough zinc from food and advises sup-plementation along with eating zinc-rich foods such as almonds, rye, peas and oats. Always have your levels checked before taking supplements as zinc can be toxic in high doses.

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SEAWEED Sea vegetables and seaweed are a source of iodine, one of the most common deficiencies in Australia. Iodine is needed by the body to make the thyroid hormone that helps to regulate our metabolism, and having a healthy endocrine system is more conducive to concep-tion. An iodine deficiency can increase the risk of infertility and miscarriage, and affect the dev-elopment of the foetal brain, so it is important to reach optimal levels before conception – this can take up to five months. If you take pre-conception supplements, make sure they contain iodine. Only ever use iodised salt, but use it sparingly. ‘Salt strips the body of minerals, so keep it to a minimum,’ says Naish. ‘Seaweed is a good source of iodine, but make sure it is organic, or try kelp supplements.’

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PASTA Professor Brand-Miller recommends this staple as an easy source of energy. ‘When it comes to carbohydrates, it’s the quality that counts,’ she says. Pasta has that golden colour as it is halfway between white flour and wholegrain, and should be eaten with vegetable-based sauces rather than creamy versions. Brown pasta is

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great, but if you don’t like it, you won’t eat it.’ Good quality carbs are essential to fertility, as they maintain steady blood sugar levels and con-tain B and E vitamins essential for cell growth. Basmati is a good slow-releasing, low-GI rice, and have coarse oats (not the fast-cooking kind) for breakfast. Wholegrain breads are good sources of folate, while Burgen makes great low-GI breads.

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GARLIC This wonderful root contains an abundance of fertility-boosting nutri-ents. It is a good source of the mineral selenium, an antioxidant that supports normal conception. Selenium is thought to protect the embryo from damage, preventing chromosome breakages that could play a role in early miscarriage. Garlic is also a source of vitamin B6. * PRECONCEPTION SUPPLEMENTS • Blackmores The Conceive Well Gold formula claims to supply all nutrients needed in preparation for conception including 500mcg of folic acid, 250mcg of iodine and 500mg omega-3s. A 56-tablet box is $39.95. Available from pharmacies. For more information, visit blackmores.com.au. • Cenovis Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Formula contains 17 key vitamins, minerals and nutrients including tuna oil to provide the benefits of omega-3. Two capsules a day are recommended, and a 60-capsule box costs $14.95. Each capsule contains 225mcg of folic acid, 75mcg iodine and 500mg fish oil. Available from supermarkets, visit cenovis.com.au for information. • Elevit The recommended dose is one tablet per day and a 100-tablet box costs $22.45. Only available from pharmacies. For stockists and information visit elevit.com.au. • Floradix Top up your iron levels with this Herbal Iron Extract, $29.95/250ml, from pharmacies and Coles.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY Nicole Proy of Mockingbird Photography

The

T H IN K ING WOM AN’S website

For Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby

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BIRTH

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Reignite Your Sex Life After Baby GULP! YOUR DOCTOR HAS GIVEN YOU THE “ALL CLEAR” TO RESUME SEXUAL ACTIVITY AFTER BIRTHING YOUR BABY. NOW YOU JUST NEED THE LIBIDO, ENERGY, AND A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP TO GO WITH IT AND MAYBE SEX WILL SOUND REMOTELY INTERESTING AGAIN.   

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o alleviate some worries you may have about sex after pregnancy, here are some no-pressure, back-to-sex tips for mums who have given birth. And remember, regardless of what your doctor says, when getting back to sex, the most important timeline to follow is your own.   DON’T TAKE LOW LIBIDO PERSONALLY. If you are worried about lack of sexual desire since you had your baby, don’t take it personally. Most new moms deal with low

libido after pregnancy. Your infant’s needs make being a new mom one of the most intense stages of a woman’s life. Time and patience will get you through the challenges of early parenthood -including intimacy challenges.   PRACTICE SENSUAL TOUCH. Just because you got medical clearance to resume intercourse, doesn’t mean you have jump right to it. Sensual touch alone and with your partner feels good, eases fears, reduces

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birth pain, and provides a gentle re-acquaintance with sex. Tell your partner what types of sexual intimacy you are, and are not, ready for. Remind your partner that soft and gentle is the way to go with a new mom.   EXHAUSTION TAKES A TOLL. I can tell you to nap when the baby naps, but you know that already. But when you are dealing with chronic exhaustion, as most new moms are, your libido is the first thing to go. See your libido-lag for what it is, a natural byproduct of exhaustion and the extreme need your precious baby has for you. Rest when you can, and be patient with your expectations for yourself.  

Just remember, sexual pleasure is for women of every shape and size, so don’t discriminate against your body. Don’t think you have to lose your baby weight before you can enjoy sex again.

HELP FOR SLUGGISH HORMONES. The hormones estrogen and progesterone fluctuate in a woman’s body after childbirth as they return to a post-pregnancy state. Some of the not-so-great side effects can include vaginal dryness and lowered libido. Your hormone levels will even out, usually after a few months, although this can take longer for breastfeeding moms. To combat vaginal dryness, find a great brand of lubrication you love and use it generously during sex. One thing to remember: never use oil-based lubrication with latex condoms, since oil deteriorates latex and puts you at increased risk for pregnancy.   REWIRE YOUR BRAIN FOR PLEASURE. For a new mom, getting your head around the thought of sex as a pleasurable possibility is

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often half the battle.Ask for time for yourself. Put someone else on baby duty while you take a bath, relax, have a glass of wine, and read a romance novel or erotic book. Or catch up on your favorite, steamy television series. Whatever puts you in the mood, do it to remind your mommy-brain of sensual pleasures.   DON’T FORGET YOUR KEGELS. Sex coach and author Dr. Patti Britton suggests doing sixty pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) a day for noticeable positive sexual improvements after three weeks. For moms who have just given birth, Kegels are key. They increase urinary control, vaginal lubrication, and enhance pleasure during sex. To find your pelvic floor muscles, stop urine flow while urinating. You have located your Kegels. Now, with an empty bladder (Kegel exercises while urinating actually weaken the pelvic floor), squeeze and repeat. Do twenty Kegels each time you brush your teeth or comb your hair, and your pelvic floor will thank you.   ENJOY YOUR NEW VOLUPTUOUSNESS. Welcome to the new curvier you. Did you know, you can still enjoy sex even with a muffin top, love-handles, cellulite or jiggly bits? In fact, most women have one or more of these. You may be feeling uncomfortable about the changes pregnancy has brought to your mommy body. Just remember, sexual pleasure is for women of every shape and size, so don’t discriminate against your body. Don’t think you have to lose your baby weight before you can enjoy sex again.    SEIZE THE MOMENT! Try sexual intimacy during different times of the day when your energy levels are higher. Put your weekends to good use and take advantage of being home together during the


day. Use your baby’s nap-time to sneak in couple-time. Remember, intimacy doesn’t have to mean sexual intercourse, or even time in your bedroom. Hidden, heated embraces anywhere in the house can amp up the fun.   PRACTICE HONEST SEXUAL COMMUNICATION. Be honest with yourself and your partner about how you feel sexually. Janice, a mom of two suggests new moms listen carefully to their bodies and honor when they feel ready for intimacy. “If you feel pressured into having sex before you feel ready, it will lead to feeling resentful and that’s not good for any relationship.” Explain why you don’t feel ready for sex or why you need a different approach to intimacy. Your partner is less likely to feel rejected if you share your feelings honestly. Practicing strong sexual communication is a long-term skill that benefits every relationship.

  HONOR YOUR PRIMARY RELATIONSHIP, WITH YOURSELF. The most important sex advice for any new mom is: don’t get so caught up in caring for your baby that you forget to honor how you feel emotionally, physically, as a woman, and as a partner. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to have sex as a new mom, there is only your own way. And really, that’s what motherhood is all about, doing the best we can with what we have. So have at it! Sarah J Swofford, MPH is a sex educator for parents, mom of two, and the author of the book, From Ouch! To Ahhh...The New Mom’s Guide To Sex After Baby.  

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NEWS

PREGNANCY&BIRTH

Green IS THE NEW BLACK MIDNIGHT SNACKS

Pregnant women will tell you they experience almost irrepressible cravings for certain foods – salty, sweet, spicy or fatty foods. Some think it’s the body signaling what the growing baby needs. More likely, they’re due to hormones playing havoc (again!) with your senses of smell and taste – and your dietary habits. Cravings are normal while you’re pregnant. As long as you maintain a varied and balanced diet and your weight remains normal, you can indulge occasionally in the foods you crave. By increasing your interest in certain foods, cravings can help you meet those additional energy needs while you are pregnant, it’s just when you go overboard and indulge too much that problems may arise.

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We are all trying to consume as many fruits and vegetables as we can for a well-balanced diet, but sometimes we need a bit of help. Blackmores is stepping up its formulations to meet the wants and needs of new-age consumers. Based on an increasing trend from busy customers to consume vitamins and minerals in the most natural state possible, Blackmores has packed 17 organic super foods into Vitality Super Greens and provides a delicious daily boost of super greens, super fruits and quinoa. Enriched with zinc, vitamin C and fibre, Vitality Super Greens helps support vitality, immune system function, digestive cleansing and antioxidant activity. Most importantly the blend is organic. nongenetically modified and suitable for vegetarians. The perfect nutritional addition to a favourite juice or smoothie, Blackmores Vitality Super Greens comes in the form of a fine green powder and two teaspoons per day are added to 250ml of liquid. www.blackmores.com.au


Q&A

PPL WHERE DO you stand! The proposed changes to the Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme can mean big changes for you and your family. Among many other important decisions that you will make while raising a child, returning to work and childcare usually pretty high on the list. There is increased concern around the fact that the proposed changes in this scheme will see less qualified staff and relaxed ratios in childcare centres across the country, simply to save money. The Parenthood.org.au are gathering viewpoints from thousands of Australian’s across the country via their online survey. Overwhelmingly, parents have made it very clear that they will not compromise the quality of childcare for the sake of money. Jump online and have your say, it takes just two minutes to share your opinion on what matters most to you in balancing work and raising children Head over to http://www.theparenthood.org.au/ campaign/ppl-survey/ for more information.

What is the vitamin K injection for and is it really necessary for babies? Vitamin K is actually a group of compounds. The most important of these compounds appears to be vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is obtained from leafy greens and some other vegetables. Vitamin K2 is a group of compounds largely obtained from meats, cheeses, and eggs, and synthesized by bacteria Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood to clot and it is essential to prevent serious bleeding during the first 12 weeks of life. Babies do not get enough vitamin K naturally from their mothers during pregnancy or while they are being breastfed. A vitamin K injection given to babies at birth will help to prevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding, which can cause bleeding to the brain, and may also result in brain damage or even death in the first 12 weeks of life. It is strongly recommended by The Australian Government and the National Health and the Medical Research Council that all babies be given vitamin K. Majorie Watharow is a 45 year veteran midwife at Sydney’s Norwest Private Hospital.

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news | pregnancy & birth

PROBIOTICS – WHAT ARE THEY? Probiotics are ‘friendly bacteria’ or ‘good bacteria’ added to food which when taken in adequate amounts can provide certain benefits such as aiding in digestion and supporting the immune system. Probiotics work by supporting our immune system – our natural defence system. One of the many ways the immune system works is by maintaining a defence barrier. The first and most important barrier is the skin. However, another important barrier is the digestive tract, where up to 80% of the body’s immune cells are found. The digestive tract is the home of our delicately balanced community of different kinds of bacteria. Consuming probiotics regularly is one way to help ensure we have good levels of friendly bacteria in our digestive tract. Our digestive tract has hundreds of different types of bacteria present with the most common

being lactobacillus and bifidus. In fact, among the first bacterial groups to enter our digestive tract as a baby is bifidus, which is received through breastmilk, making breastmilk an ideal source of friendly bacteria for your baby. While probiotics “confer a health benefit”, not all probiotics give the same health benefit. Therefore it is important to choose a well studied probiotic. Consult your health professional for advice on choosing the right probiotic. Probiotics are found in some foods or in a tablet form. For adults, our most common dietary source is in yoghurt and fermented dairy drinks. While yoghurt is also a source of good bacteria for children, there are now a number of different food products available for infants and toddlers that contain friendly bacteria, such as Bifidus BL, in some infant cereals and toddler milk drinks.

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MIND THE BUMP

Just launched, and a world-first, Mind the Bump is a free Mindfulness Meditation App designed not only for new and expectant mothers, but new fathers and partners too. At least one in seven women will experience postnatal depression and up to one in 10 will experience it during pregnancy. Anxiety conditions are thought to be at least as common as depression during this time. Mind the Bump has been designed by mental health professionals and is based on extensive research showing the benefits of ‘mindfulness’, which is the process of not worrying about the past or future and instead paying attention to the present moment with purpose and without judgement. The meditations, some of which are voiced by Carrie Bickmore, run for between three and 10 minutes each. The program is for mothers, fathers, single parents and same sex couples. It can also be used by health professionals working with new and expecting parents. www.mindthebump.org.au

NATURAL birth

Hypnobirthing is the natural approach to childbirth andcombines ancient wisdom with modern theory Hypnobirthing Australia classes prepare you with the knowledge, confidence and tools you need to birth calmly. With the help of hypnotherapy, the birth of your baby can be a more calm and relaxed experience; one where you are in the drivers seat, rather than feeling like a passenger.To find out more go to www. hypnoptherapy.com.au

Eco friebdly NAPPY BAG

Check out Re-Run, a line of stroller bags made from recycled plastic water bottles -- about eight per bag. The bag’s got a sleek, simple design and all the accessories you’d expect: tons of pockets, a wipes case, a changing pad, and a stroller attachment. The Re-Run bag is interesting because it was created with the earth in mind. www.fleurville.com.

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news

KEEP UP WITH THE KIDS Have you ever sat back and wished you still had the same energy levels as your child who seems to have endless stamina from early morning to late at night? Stephen Eddey, Principal of Health Schools Australia QLD, gives the insider secrets to maximising energy naturally. Energy in our body is produced by an endogenous antioxidant known as Coenzyme Q10, which is found in the cells of our body. As we age and face the stresses and strains of everyday life brought on by stress and toxicity, our body’s natural levels of Coenzyme Q10 deplete leaving us feeling tired, lacking in energy and accelerating the ageing process. Your lack of energy may well be due to the depletion of Ubiquinol, which is the reduced and active form of CoQ10, a strong antioxidant which helps soak up oxidative stress and free radicals. It

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helps your body’s cells convert energy and is found to be concentrated in the heart, liver, muscles and kidneys.

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT UBIQUINOL

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ANTIOXIDANT POWER Ubiquinol is considered to be one of the strongest antioxidants that provide an active defence against oxidation and free radical damage to cells. Oxidation and free radical damage that occur from symptoms related to stress and ageing may be minimised with the intake of Ubiquinol to support cardiovascular and overall immune health, supporting optimal health.


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ENERGY PLUS Ubiquinol is an important component of energy production for cells of your body. Because of its important role in supporting cellular energy, it is concentrated in organs that require the most energy such as the heart, liver, muscles and kidneys.

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UBIQUINOL FOR HEALTHY AGEING The concentration of Ubiquinol in the body decreases year by year, indicating that it has a close relationship with ageing. Older individuals may have decreased Ubiquinol levels, as well as impaired ability to efficiently convert CoQ10 to the active form, Ubiquinol. It has been well documented that Ubiquinol has a role in helping to minimise oxidative stress and free radical damage that occurs from natural metabolism in the body which increases with age, even in healthy individuals.

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HEART HEALTH Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a common health problem facing Australians , therefore it is important to understand appropriate measures for helping to minimise risk of this disease. Healthy diet and lifestyle, including stress reduction, are key components to supporting overall heart health. In addition, Ubiquinol has been shown to help support heart health.

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STRESS & UBIQUINOL Stress has the potential to pose a number of health problems for many people. Taking wellbalanced nutrients that support anti-oxidation in the body may enhance tolerance to stressrelated symptoms and overall wellbeing and balance. Stephen Eddey is a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath. For more information visit www.kanekaqh.info/

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BABY TIPS

6 ways to prevent PND ONE IN SEVEN NEW MOTHERS EXPERIENCE POSTNATAL DEPRESSION AFTER GIVING BIRTH. LUCKILY, AS KELLY WINDER EXPLAINS, THERE IS PLENTY WE CAN DO TO PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING

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e’ve all heard about post-natal depression (PND) and many of us have thought, “Ah, but it won’t happen to me, I’m so happy, I’m having a baby!” When pregnant, you tend to focus on growing your baby and the impending birth rather than the post-natal period. But it is really important to think about what you can do and who you can draw upon to support you after you’ve had your beautiful baby. Here are some ways you can help prevent PND from occurring.

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Stay connected to your partner The relationship a woman has with her partner is crucial. In fact, a large study in Scandinavia identified that the single biggest factor in antenatal anxiety is a woman’s relationship with her partner – and there is a

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big link between mood disorders antenatally and postnatally. Elly Taylor, relationship counsellor and author of Becoming Us says: “It is important to realise that parents go into parenthood emotionally bonded to their partner. This bond gives us a sense of security, comfort and helps us to build our confidence. After the baby comes along, there is so much time, energy and focus going into meeting the baby’s needs and bonding with them, some couples can, without even realising it, become disconnected. Your relationship is so very important. Nurture it, work at it, trust it, and if you need help, find the right person to help you to make sense of your usually temporary relationship hurdles. What we fear may be permanent (especially when hormonal and pregnant!) is


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baby tips usually only temporary, just like everything in life. Hang in there and get help – and make connection a priority in both of your lives.”

“It is important to realise that parents go into parenthood emotionally bonded to their partner”

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Have realistic expectations Taylor says that her biggest tip for avoiding PND would be to set yourself realistic expectations. “Seek out information so you have realistic expectations of birth and early parenting. Expectations of these things are often unrealistic, and the higher they are the further there is to come down afterwards.” Unrealistic expectations – especially when we’re living in an era where women are out working in busy jobs involving deadlines, schedules and timeframes – as well as there being a plethora of baby sleep experts out there, telling us that you can get your baby to feed and sleep on (unrealistic) schedules can set new mothers up for failure… and postnatal depression. Its important that you expect your baby to feed, need and want you a good deal of the time in the early days. Your baby will make a huge adjustment between two different worlds from one he’s always known – a warm, dark, cosy, squishy home where he didn’t ever feel hunger, thirst, cold, the pressure of passing a poo or wind – all of these things are very strange for him. It’s different and uncomfortable to feel hungry. It’s different to see light, feel breeze across their face. This period has been named “the fourth trimester”,

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and for a very good reason. You need to be able to ease your baby into his new world, knowing that it will get easier with time. Baby wearing is a great way to help transition a newborn as he’s close to you, warm and in a nice tight place. Your newborn will most likely want to feed frequently to get the milk supply established as per his own needs so if your baby wants to feed every 1.5-2 hours, accept that this is normal (unless he is not putting on weight and has a lack of wet nappies). Lastly, give yourself permission to stay in your pyjamas all day, create a nest for you and your baby and enjoy lots of cuddles, feeding and quiet time. Keep visitors to a minimum so you don’t feel the pressure to be looking your best or to have your house at its best.

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Get plenty of sleep Not having enough sleep is enough to make anyone grumpy or snappy on a normal day – but night after night after the exhausting process of giving birth, it can really start to eat away at you and make you feel depressed. Sleep debt can be a real problem for new mothers and studies have shown that sleep deprivation - especially in the early days - can be a big indicator for PND. Make sure your iron levels are adequate (ask your GP for a blood test) as giving birth can knock that around a bit. Nap during the day and get to bed early at night. If you like, your partner can look after the baby on weekends for a little bit, so you can take a daytime nap between feeds. Another good option is to enlist a post-natal doula, family or friends to come and look after the baby so you can nap – or co-sleep with your baby, being mindful of safety guidelines, of course.

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Get some (light) exercise It is well documented that exercise helps reduce anxiety and depression. Aim for a


leisurely stroll with your baby for 30 minutes per day – and if that’s too difficult then it’s okay to start small. A walk around the block is a great way to start, then build up from there. When you’re depressed you tend to feel tired and drained, some people find it hard to even get off the couch. But a regular walk can be a great help for your mind as well as your body. Exercise releases feel-good hormones (endorphins) into your system, helps you sleep better at night, strengthens your immune system and gives you more energy. In turn, it helps your body get back into shape after the birth, increasing your self-esteem. Another huge bonus is that exercising outdoors will give you vitamin D from sunshine, which is very beneficial for your immune system and mood.

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Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet It’s a simple fact: what we put into our bodies affects how we feel emotionally and physically. Try to eat and drink well, to help supply your body with the best nutrition possible. As a new mother, it can be hard to find the time to prepare a decent meal sometimes, so try to freeze nutritious, healthy meals ahead of time – or better still – have family and friends on a meal-making roster to help you out. Avoid processed foods, white flours (bread, biscuits and cake), alcohol, caffeine and sugar – all will rob you of health and energy. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated – particularly if you are breastfeeding. Get plenty of omega-3 either through a good-quality supplement or from natural sources such as tuna, salmon, chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts. Clinical trials have shown the benefits of tryptophan (which manufactures the feelgood hormone, serotonin) in preventing and aiding depression. It’s found in many proteinrich foods, which are very important for a breastfeeding mother. It is found in fish, chicken and beef, nuts, eggs, bananas, brown

rice, peas, pumpkin and spinach. The B-group vitamins are also important in the production of serotonin. You can find these in foods such as nuts, seeds, leafy greens, eggs, chicken and red meat.

“As a new mother, it can be hard to find the time to prepare a decent meal sometimes, so try to freeze nutritious, healthy meals ahead of time”

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Understand self-esteem “Before a baby comes along, a mother’s self-esteem is usually based on her work, her friends, her interests and her partner,” Taylor says. “After the baby, life changes considerably, and her main source of selfesteem as a new mother will be her partner. If she and her partner are becoming disconnected, conflict and distance creeps into a relationship and her partner is less likely to be in a position to give her positive messages which contribute to her new-mother selfesteem – and this sense of emotional isolation from a partner can contribute to PND.” So what can you do to help self-esteem issues? Taylor suggests debriefing with your partner regularly to help stay connected, and to be aware that for a new mum and new dad, self-esteem is a fragile thing, so commit to being supportive of each other’s early parenting efforts. If you find things are getting difficult, seek help from a relationship counsellor or NLP therapist. You can also support your mind and body with Chinese medicine, osteopathy and chiropractic care, which can affect your mood if you’re out of alignment. * Kelly Winder is a doula (birth attendant), the creator of the BellyBelly pregnancy, birth and baby website, and a mum. Check out bellybelly.com.au for more informative articles.

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SHOPPING

PREGANCY&BIRTH LISTEN UP! Keep your little one safe with the VTech BM2000 Safe & Sound Audio Baby Monitor, $69, which features DECT technology for good connection and clear sound without interference. The unit includes five lullabies with a five-level volume setting, a nightlight and a temperature sensor. The parental unit runs on rechargeable batteries lasting for up to 14 hours’ monitoring and an LCD for room temperature monitoring. Head to vtech. com/au/tel for more details.

SILKY SOFT

BUB BOLSTER Support yourself with the Bellybean Maternity Pillow, $89, made from organic cotton. Bellybean have changed their covers to reduce chemical dying and processing. Available in the colours dusky pink, green tea, natural and latte, go to bellybean.com.au.

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Babies love the silky soft texture and moms love the versatility of these extra large bamboo muslin wraps, they can be used for swaddling or as a blanket, a nursing cover, a portable crib sheet, a change mat, a stroller cover and so much more. They are all prewashed and get softer with each use. $17.99 from Lulujo.com


BREAST IS BEST Breastfeeding can be a challenge and something you want to get right as it is the best start for baby and you. Medela have put together this wonderful starter kit that will help you get started and it consistes of: 1 x Calma Solitaire Feeding device, 5 x Pump & Save breastmilk bags, 2 x 150ml bottles, 12x disposable nursing pads, 1 x Purelan Lanolin Cream 7g, 1 x Quick clean microwave bag Available from Medela Breastfeeding for $49.00RRP.

NO MORE TRAPPED FINGERS Without the need for fiddly latches, the Aspiring Cot is easier to use and noticeably more solid and sturdy than cots with drop-sides, it is stronger and safer and with two mattress height settings you can lower the base height once your baby learns to sit up. The European inspired Mocka Aspiring Cot, made from New Zealand Pine (with MDF base) ticks every box for parents seeking quality nursery furniture that is practical and contemporary. The Aspiring cot is $179.95, from Mocka.com.au

CHECK THE TEMP The vibrant colourful sleeve brings this normal, plain glass bottle to life and makes feeding more fun and enjoyable! The silicone sleeve will change from vibrant yellow or orange to white when the liquid inside the bottle is 42 degrees or over, 42 degrees is the highest tempreature for baby milk and other liquids. This wonderful sleeve makes sure that babies drink is just right and no more testing on your wrist. $11.95 from Cherub Baby

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BABY

Breast is best KNOWLEDGE IS THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL BREASTFEEDING. FROM AIR TRAVEL TO IMPLANTS AND ILLNESS, MONIQUE GILL ANSWERS 10 QUERIES AND CONCERNS FROM MY CHILD READERS, AND THE ANSWERS TO THEIR DILEMMAS

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I HAVE HAD BREAST IMPLANTS – WILL I BE ABLE TO BREASTFEED MY BABY? While many new mothers go on to breastfeed after breast augmentation surgery, success will depend largely on the surgical technique used and on whether or not any milk ducts and/or major nerves were damaged. Generally, implants inserted under the fold of the breast, through the armpits or transumbilically (through the belly button) are less likely to impede breast-feeding your baby than when the incision is made around the areola. Before your baby arrives, get all the facts about your procedure from your surgeon and learn as much as you can about the breastfeeding basics, including proper positioning and latch-on. You may suffer more from engorgement when your milk comes in because the implants might impede milk flow. ‘Feeding your baby frequently, on demand, from birth will help to improve the flow and alleviate

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much of the discomfort,’ says Clare DiGirolamo, lactation consultant at The Mater Hospital, Sydney. ‘It is also important to ensure your baby is sucking well, to drain the breasts.’ If discomfort persists, DiGirolamo suggests applying a cold compress, like an ice pack, to the breasts for 10 minutes after each feed. If you experience any other difficulties, ask for help from a lactation consultant. Breast implants contain silicone or saline and neither substance has been shown to be harmful to breastfed babies, however talk to your doctor if you are concerned.

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WILL MY LARGE BREASTS MAKE BREASTFEEDING DIFFICULT? Not necessarily. The size of your breasts isn’t related to their milk-making capacity or your ability to breastfeed. Positioning and attachment are the keys to successful breastfeeding for every woman, regardless of breast size. Experiment with different feeding positions to find the one that works best for


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baby you and your baby. ‘Usually, the football (underarm) hold works well for mothers who have larger breasts,’ says DiGirolamo. ‘These mums manage better with their baby cupped under the breast – it allows them to support the breasts and to see better.’ Most pump manufacturers now make different sized suction cups, so if you are planning to pump your breast milk, choose softer cups in a larger size for a better and more comfortable fit. If you have very large nipples, you may have to express by hand instead. Lastly, it is always best to wear a well-fitting maternity bra that can support your heavier breasts – getting professionally fitted is the best way to go.

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IS IT OK TO BREASTFEED MY BABY WHEN I’M SICK? Most illnesses are not dangerous to your breastfed baby. ‘In fact,’ says DiGirolamo, ‘breast milk antibodies will help to protect the baby against illness, so it is important for the mother to try to continue breastfeeding in these circumstances.’ Generally, most medications are safe to take while breastfeeding. While any medication will enter your breast milk, most do so in such low concentrations that there is little effect on the baby. ‘But to be safe, if you are prescribed any medication, advise your GP that you are breast-feeding,’ she explains. ‘Before using any over-the-counter remedies, check with your pharmacist or the drug information service in your state.’ If an illness necessitates a brief interruption in nursing, you can pump and discard the milk until you’re able to breastfeed again. By continuing to pump you’ll maintain your milk production.

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I LIKE TO KEEP FIT. WILL EXERCISE IMPACT ON MY BREASTFEEDING?

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There has been no evidence that shows regular, moderate exercise is anything but beneficial for nursing mothers. Apart from the obvious physical benefits, it will give you more energy, helping you to juggle the demands of motherhood. Recent studies have shown that moderate exercise does not affect milk supply. What is important to remember is that breast feeding can take a month to six weeks to establish. ‘If you start by doing too much too soon, you can drop your milk supply,’ says lactation

“If an illness necessitates a brief interruption in nursing, you can pump and discard the milk until you’re able to breastfeed again” consultant and personal trainer Monica Rich. ‘Start exercising no sooner than six to eight weeks after delivery (or 12 weeks after a Caesarean), and after consultation with your doctor.’ Rich also advises breastfeeding mums to exercise three to four times a week at a moderate intensity. ‘That means you should be able to carry out a comfortable conversation during training – you shouldn’t exercise to exhaustion,’ she explains. A good initial program would include aerobic activity (such as taking your baby for a brisk walk in a pram), pelvic floor exercises and upper-body strength training. ‘A mother can be holding her baby at least 12 times a day, so it’s important to strengthen the upper body,’ says Rich. ‘Neck, back and shoulder sensitivity is common with breast-feeding, so it is important to add stretching and strengthening exercises for these regions.’ Wear a quality, supportive bra, but avoid tight clothes that flatten your breasts. Feeding your baby just before exercise is a good idea as your breasts won’t feel so heavy. And wash afterwards – some babies don’t like


Maxi-mum benefits for you and your baby Swing maxi & Calma

The new double electric breastpump Swing maxi offers proven advantages: gain more milk with a higher energy content in less time. Benefit from precious time to care, relax and enjoy the most peaceful moments with your lovely baby. www.swing-maxi.com

Range now available at selected Target stores.

Visit www.medela.com.au or scan the code for more information. Join our facebook community www.facebook.com/medela.au january 2015 |mychild

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the taste of perspiration! To firm up your flabby bits and lose the extra weight that you gained during pregnancy takes time and patience. ‘The recommended maximum weight loss is 1kg per month for the first six months,’ says Rich. ‘If your priority is to breastfeed your baby, you shouldn’t aim to lose too much weight too soon.’

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CAN I CONSUME ALCOHOL WHILE BREASTFEEDING? Any alcohol in the bloodstream will be passed into your breast milk. While drinking alcohol in moderation (one or two standard drinks, only occasionally) is not likely to harm a healthy baby, be aware that even at low levels it may cause irritability, poor feeding and sleep disturbance in some infants. Exposure can be minimised by feeding your baby just before having a drink and, by the time the next feed comes around, your body will have had the chance to clear the alcohol. ‘If you’re going out, plan ahead and express enough milk for one or two feeds,’ advises DiGirolamo. It is believed that regular drinking significantly suppresses milk production. Two hormones govern breastfeeding – prolactin, which stimulates the milk-producing glands in the breast, and the other, called oxytocin, which causes letdown (ejection of the milk). ‘Alcohol reduces oxytocin,’ says DiGirolamo. ‘If you breastfeed within the hour after having a drink, the milk will take longer to let down. As your baby won’t be able to empty the breast as effectively, the quantity of the milk could ultimately be reduced.’

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I DECIDED NOT TO BREASTFEED THEN CHANGED MY MIND. CAN I RE-ESTABLISH LACTATION? Yes, you can, although it will be easier if you start again within the first six weeks of your baby’s birth. ‘There is a fair bit of work involved,’ says DiGirolamo, ‘and your baby

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may be reluctant to come back to the breast after having learned to suck on a bottle.’ Start by reoffering the breast to your baby regularly, six to eight times a day, or more. You may need to wake your baby at night if she sleeps for long periods. Express milk by hand or with a pump to give your breasts extra stimulation and to help increase your supply. Also, cut out any other source of baby sucking, such as dummies. Above all, try to remain positive and relaxed. ‘After a week to 10 days your milk supply should be increasing,’ says DiGirolamo. ‘If there’s still no big change, see your doctor – there is medication available to help reestablish breast milk. Then follow up with your lactation consultant.’

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ARE MAMMOGRAMS SAFE WHILE BREASTFEEDING? Yes – mammogram x-rays do not affect breast milk and will not harm your baby. Although, because of milk production, there is more dense tissue present in the lactating breast than in the non-lactating one, making it harder to read the results. It is therefore important to tell the radiologist that you are breastfeeding, and if you’ve had one before, to take along your previous results for comparison. You may need a breast ultrasound, as they are more accurate in looking at changes in breasts with dense tissue. If possible, take your baby along and breastfeed just before your mammogram to help reduce the amount of milk in your breasts. You can safely resume feeding immediately afterwards.

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DOES DIABETES HAVE AN AFFECT ON BREASTFEEDING? In addition to causing let-down, the hormone oxytocin also lowers your blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels, and simultaneously increases insulin and blood


baby glucose levels. Therefore, if you take insulin, you may need to check your blood glucose levels more often and adjust your doses once you start breastfeeding. You will need to discuss this with your diabetes educator or doctor. Just as physical activity can lower your blood glucose levels, breastfeeding can have the same effect. Test your levels before and after feeds to monitor changes; you might need to snack just prior to or during breastfeeding. Irregular timing of meals due to your baby’s feeding routine may put you at an increased risk of hypoglycaemia. Eat regular meals containing carbohydrates and have fast-acting carbohydrate snacks on hand.

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IS IT SAFE TO TAKE THE PILL? Taking the combined oral contraceptive pill is not recommended as it may actually inhibit milk production. However, the mini pill (progestogen-only) is safe to use while you are breastfeeding. It is generally considered to be 96 to 99 percent effective, with women over 40 and those who are breastfeeding experiencing the lowest rates of pregnancy. The mini pill can be started from four to six weeks after childbirth.

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ARE THERE ANY TIPS FOR AIR TRAVEL WHILE FEEDING? If you are travelling overseas, visit your doctor before you go to discuss any vaccinations. As infants are particularly susceptible to ear pain triggered by changes in cabin pressure, plan to breastfeed during take-off and landing to help relieve this discomfort. It is best to feed your baby on demand aduring travel time to provide familiar comfort, keep them settled and keep them well hydrated, suggests DiGirolamo. As for mothers, your milk supply may temporarily decrease during the flight due to dehydration, so drink plenty of fluids and avoid caffeinated drinks. *

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WELLBEING

Mums in motion WE ALL KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND TIME TO EXERCISE WHEN YOU’VE HAD A BABY! BUT INSTEAD OF MAKING YOUR BABY AN EXCUSE NOT TO EXERCISE WHY NOT MAKE IT THE REASON YOU DO EXERCISE? Here is how to make it happen, health expert and physio-therapist Becky Dyer and supermum Jackie Steele have developed a postnatal exercise and nutrition program, that helps women take care of themselves and nurtures them back into shape after having a baby So grab that baby and get moving with these five quickie exercises that are Pilates-based. These will take less than 10 minutes a day and they hit all of the juiciest spots - abs, butt, legs and arms.

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SQUATS WITH CORE ON Muscles targeted: Your legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves), glutes (butt), abdominals, your back (as your muscles help stabilise you) and your arms if you are lifting your bub. Start in standing holding baby and draw up your pelvic floor and gently draw in the navel to your spine. Keep a neutral spinal position. Keep knees behind your toes and weight on your heels, exhale as you perform a squat. Your goal is to get thighs parallel with the floor. Inhale as you stand and return to start. 10 reps x 2 sets

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MINI LUNGES Muscles targeted: Your legs (mainly quadriceps and hamstrings), glutes (butt), abdominals for stability Start holding your baby, turn your pelvic floor and abs on. Take a small lunge step forward as you exhale. Front knee stays behind toes. Return to start with inhale, repeat other side. 10 reps each leg x 2 sets

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BABY PRESS WITH CORE ON Muscles targeted: Your primary muscle of your chest (pectoralis major), shoulders, arms, abdominals.

A|Start on your back with knees bent holding your baby at chest height. Turn on your pelvic floor and draw in navel toward your spine.

B|Keep your shoulders open and drawn down and back while you exhale to bench press your baby. Inhale to return to start. 10 reps x 2 sets

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BRIDGING WITH BABY Muscles targeted: Your glutes (butt), hamstrings, abdominals. A|Lie on the floor with your knees bent, baby site across your pelvis. Engage your pelvic floor muscles - hold in as if you don’t want to pee! GENTLY draw your navel toward your spine.

B|Inhale to prepare then on the exhale lift your hips and hold x 3 secs.

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OPPOSITE ARM LEG REACH Muscles targeted; Your glutes (butt), back, hips, shoulders, abdominals. Start on hands and knees Knees beneath hips, hands beneath shoulders Spine is in neutral position Pelvic floor and abs are engaged Lift and reach Left arm and Right leg Trunk and pelvis are still, spine does not change position! Return to start and swap arm/leg. 10 reps each side

Body Beyond Birth is an online postnatal exercise and nutrition program created by Becky Dyer and Jackie Steele. Visit bodybeyondbirth.com.

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SHOPPING

BABY&TODDLER WRITE IT DOWN How many times do your children say something funny, and you think: “I should write that down”? This box contains 100 unique, illustrated cards for recording all the quirky, unexpected things your kids say and do every day. Each card can be dated and kept in the box or a scrapbook. . You’ll be enjoying the memories for years to come. Find out more from Exquira. com

CARRIED AWAY

JOIN THE CLUB Imagine how wonderful it would be to receive a box of beautiful baby clothing on your doorstep every month! Babble on Baby can do just that for you. Each piece of clothing is personally selected, based on your preference, but what you are getting is still a surprise. With Babble on Baby you will always have something that fits baby and they cater for little one up to three years old. POA

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Ergobaby’s new Ventus Carrier, $209, is ideal for babywearing in summer. Featuring a moisture-wicking 3D-mesh panel for breathability, it is durable yet lightweight and breathable, and can hold up to 20kg. Go to ergobaby.com. au.


FRESH ‘ N FRUITY Made with real Paw Paw and all-natural plant-based ingredients, Nature’s Care Paw Paw Baby Shampoo and Body Wash is 100 per cent soap free and pH balanced so it cleans baby’s delicate skin without over-drying. It has a fresh, fruity aroma that makes bath-time fun. Free from nasty chemicals, it is the perfect all-in-one shampoo and body wash to keep your baby or toddler clean from head to toe, the hany pump means you only have to use one hand. Available from Woolworths for $8.99.

MY SPACE Play Space is the perfect addition to your home. Waterproof, lined and with a soft cushioned surface it is ideal for tummy-time, nappy-off time and when your baby is learning to sit and roll. The convenient size means you can take your Play Space with you to the beach or park. $99.00 from Bellabuttercup.com..au

SUNSAFE Babies should be sheltered from the sun as much as possible. However when this isn’t possible or for people with sensitive skin, WOTNOT sunscreen is the best option. WOTNOT sunscreen is perfect for baby’s sensitive skin! It is free from chemical UV absorbers and artificial fragrances and preservatives, so it is safe for the whole family. This sunscreen not only protects your skin, but also nourishes it, a must for everyday sun protection. It’s available from most pharmacies, organic and health food stores for $29.95

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shopping | baby & toddler

SWEET VANILLA

CARRY IT ALL

These reusable food pouches are a great way to save money and be eco-friendly, just fill them up, pop them in the fridge and when you are ready to go out take it with you. The screw cap means there is no spillage and they just fold up when you are finished. A pack of four is $16.00 from Sweet vanilla.com.au

This comfortable backpack with its padded back and shoulder straps is big enough for a lunchbox and all the essential bits and pieces that cannot be left behind, the drink holder on the side is perfect for keeping the drink bottle close on those hot summer days. Available $29.95 from Haggusand Stookles.

NO MORE MESS This toddler training cup is the ideal first step in learning to drink from a cup, it encourages a proper drinking position and technique because the head stays upright instead of tilting back, making swallowing easier and less spillage! It is suitable for toddlers from 12 months and upwards. And comes in three colours, blue, pink and orange. $7.95 from Exquira

BEST DRESSED Bambella Designs is the home of gorgeous, practical pram liners handmade with love to suit the unique personality of your little one! They source the best in bright and beautiful designer fabrics to create unique accessories for life with a new baby. The perfect fit for prams that have a 5 point safety harness*. Hourglass in shape, it moulds to fit your pram keeping bub comfy and offering length to keep your pram clean. Priced from $59.99 www.Bambelladesigns.com.au

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made in the uk

Chewable Comforting Stimulating Attached Washable

Cuddle and chew I’m attached to you

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P HA

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FASHION

MINI MAX DRESS $44.95 (SIZES 2-10) 100% GOTS CERTIFIED ORGANIC COTTON KNIT

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Behind the label MEET BELINDA BLOOMAN, THE WOMAN BEHIND BAOBAB, A FUNKY “EVERYDAY WEAR” ORGANIC COTTON LABEL FOR BABIES, TODDLERS AND KIDS AGED UP TO 10.

I

n addition to bringing up her 12-year-old daughter, Anya, Belinda is pretty much runs her business as a “one-man band”, saying she looks at it as a creative director role that encompasses designing, overseeing production, liaising with agents and customers, doing all of the PR and managing the website. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH YOUR LABEL? I know it’s an old cliche but I couldn’t find lovely, soft, organic clothes that were both simple and stylish for my little girl, so I set about to make them myself. This was eight years ago when there was a lot less choice. TELL US ABOUT THE TEAM The core Baobab team is just myself but I have a few wonderful people who help me out. There’s Anthony in the warehouse, who is responsible for sending out all our orders, and he’s a gem. We have an illustrator who draws our styles each season and an incredible print designer who designs all our yardage prints.

There’s Ruby, our production manager in India, who is fierce and fabulous and who I get to hang out with every time I go over to check the production and sampling. There’s Camille, our photographer, who has been creating beautiful images for us for many years. There’s Jo who helps with admin and there’s the staff at our incredible factory in India who are such great people, and who are an integral part of our journey building the Baobab label, and getting the quality better and better each season. WHAT HAS BEEN MOST CHALLENGING FOR YOU? Everything has been challenging. I find time a huge issue (I juggle working as a photographer’s agent as well) and cash flow can be difficult. Quality issues have plagued me in the past as it’s always been my first priority for the label so it can be very disheartening. Fortunately, I am much happier with where we are today regarding all levels of production and quality.

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fashion | behind the label

YELLOW PORCHE TEE $39.95 (SIZES 2-6) 100% GOTS CERTIFIED ORGANIC COTTON KNIT COTTON KNIT AND UNISEX CHAMBRAY FISHERMANS PANT $39.95 (SIZES 2-6) 100% COTTON 84

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IS THERE ANY ADVICE YOU WISH YOU’D BEEN GIVEN? I would have loved to have been told all the things it took me years to find out for myself, in particular advice regarding manufacturing and logistics. There is a lot of trial and error involved in running your own business and it would have been nice to have had a shortcut. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THE BUSINESS? The creative side of running it – but I also really enjoy the business side of managing a label and the “human relationships” one makes. I love the collaborative process of brand creation – whether it’s standing in a printing factory in India watching a bunch of people working on my designs – knowing too that we contribute to their livelihoods. I love working on the photo shoots with our photographer, stylist and hair and makeup artist to create beautiful imagery. And I love liaising with our retailers who sell the product and often provide invaluable feedback. Without a doubt the overall reward is seeing lots of lovely, little people wearing my designs… that’s a great feeling and through Instagram we get to see kids all over the world wearing our label. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF? No-one to tell you what you can or cannot do. HOW IS YOUR LABEL DIFFERENT? There are some wonderful labels out there now and I love the idea of Baobab being mixed and matched with some of the other Australian and International labels. Our label is very modern and stylish and there is quite a contemporary design focus. We try to create a balance between clothing that is comfy and fun for the kids to wear while fitting in with an adult aesthetic as well.

Parents tend to like our clothing for their kids – not only because of the way they look but because all our garments are machine washable and tend to last. Other points of difference are our signature printed fabrics, which are designed for us by another one of our collaborators, Sarah Perry, who is very talented and with whom we have a wonderful symbiosis. We also use GOTScertified organic yarn for our knits. And, finally, we try to give exceptional customer service. WHY SHOULD PEOPLE SHOP WITH YOU? People should shop with us because we make beautiful, practical and original clothing, and because it feels good to support small business. HOW DO YOU MARKET THE LABEL? Through word of mouth, good customer service, social media and a select group of respected magazines and blogs. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? We have recently secured an agent for LA and we are looking to secure agents in NYC, London and other capital cities. We see Baobab as being a global brand and we’d like to see our garments on kids all over the world. YOUR ADVICE FOR OTHERS WANTING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS? Think hard before you take the plunge. It’s a lot of hard work and it takes years to see any financial reward. You also need to have a strong point of difference from other labels and you really need to secure good production and sort out your supply chain. It’s a momentous undertaking – and not for the faint-hearted. * Visit baobab.com.au and instagram.com/baobab_ clothing.

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FASHION

PRETTY IN PINK COOL PASTEL SHADES ARE JUST RIGHT FOR SUMMERTIME FUN

VOILE SLEEVE TOP $39.95 & FRILL SHORTS $69.95 both by Eenimeeniminimoh

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1| YOU TEE $34.95

2| DUNGAREE DRESS $35.20

3| UNICORN TEE $34.95

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5| CHARLIE CRUISE CANVAS $29.99

6| TAHLIA SHORT $4D.95

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7| SPOTTY SKORT $74.95

8| MARLI SHORTS $44.95

9| MONET TIE DRESS $49.00

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4| HEARTS DRESS $37.95 by Alex and Ant cupcakes and cola.com.au

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FASHION

SURFS UP! IT’S TIME TO HEAD OUT AND ENJOY THE SUNSHINE

SHORE THING BOARD SHORTS BY PIGTALES AND PIRATES $34.96 88

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2| RED STAR FEDORA $29.95

3| HERRINGBONE $39.95

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4| BOARDIES $39.95

5| PENQUIN $39.99

6| VINTAGE WASH $59.95

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7| BOARDIE $59.95

8| BEACH SANDLES $74.95

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1| PAINT SPLASH $32.95 by minihaha Callmecutie.com.au

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FASHION

SHE WEARS: DAHLIA PURPLE STARS RASH TOP SHORT $ 37.95 DAHLIA PURPLE STARS BRIEFS $21.95 HE WEARS: SEA BREEZE BOARDSHORTS $45.95 SEA BREEZE SURF DOG RASH TOP LONG SLEEVE $ 42.95 90

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TIME FOR A SWIM 1

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4| UNTAMED $15.95

5| FLORAL FIZZ $64.95

6| BOTANICALS $23.95

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INTERIORS MY SPACE

Victoria’s palace INTERIORS DESIGNER BELINDA NIHILL FROM NEST DESIGN STUDIO DESIGNED VICTORIA’S NURSERY IN A TIMELESS STYLE

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interiors | my space

• every room I create is individually designed around the family and their lifestyle.

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W

ith 15 years of interior design experience behind her, Nest Design Studio owner Belinda Nihill specialises in designing nurseries and bedrooms that are both functional and good looking. And no wonder – she has three young ones of her own!

HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT SELECTING THE COLOUR SCHEME?

WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION? 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE?

My clients sent me through some really lovely images of a desert bar from a party that they had been to and the colour scheme and ideas came from there!

When I’m designing for clients, I ask lots of questions to get a good gauge on what they like, what they don’t like, their family’s hobbies and so on. From there I start gathering

My clients had some initial ideas of what they wanted the room to include and I gave them a few options for wallpaper to start with. From there, I added in touches of gold as well as mint throughout the room.

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ideas and products that will fit their brief and then narrow it down and create a design board for them. Each design is totally individual and prepared just for their little one. Once my client receives their design it provides them with the opportunity to create the room as their budget allows.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ELEMENTS? The wallpaper is the feature of the room. It creates a beautiful and striking element within the room.

DO YOU HAVE A DESIGN MANTRA?  I like to design spaces for my clients that are able to grow with their little ones. I use items that are simple, classic and sophisticated but with fun touches.

WHAT’S NEXT? I’ve just had our third baby, so I’m focused now on having some design downtime and concentrating on my family.* Visit nestdesignstudio.com.au to find out more about Belinda.

Hand-illustrated furniture for your child. Designs inspired by you to create magical spaces for your child!

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INTERIORS REPORT

Hi flyer TURN YOUR SONS ROOM INTO AVIATOR HEAVEN WITH MODERN AND VINTAGE PLANES

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FLYING QUILT COVER SET FROM $89.95 by whimsy

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interiors | report

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GET THE LOOK

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BI-PLANE SHELF $89.99 by WrightBros sportys.com

READY FOR ACTION POSTER $83.90 by Zazzle Zazzle.com.au

VINTAGE AIRPLANE AND GLOBE MOBILE $88.20 by World Globes 1Worldglobes.com ROUND POUFF $163.00 by Zazzle Zazzle.com.au

AIRPLANE CLOCK $65.00 by Tailwinds tailwinds.com

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AVIATION CUSHION $53.00 by Zazzle Zazzle.com.au

BRIGHT IDEAS TABLE LAMP $37.90 by Freedom. freedom.com.au

SPITFIRES WALLPAPER .POA by Just kids wallpaper

AVIATION CUSHION $53.00 by Zazzle Zazzle.com.au

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AVIATOR LANDRY HAMPER $39.99 by wayfair wayfair.com.au

SIDE TABLE $37.90 by interior classics.com.au

MASON BED $1099 by incyinteriors.com.

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COOKING

Lunchbox treats ALL TOO OFTEN, STORE-BOUGHT BLISS BALLS OR APRICOT BITES ARE FULL OF PRESERVATIVES AND REFINED SUGAR. NOT MY HEALTHY VERSION HOWEVER. THEY’RE QUICK TO MAKE AND STORE GREAT IN THE FRIDGE OR FREEZER.

Apricot lunch box balls SERVES 15 | PREP 5 MINS | COOK 2 MINS

INGREDIENTS 1 cup (15 large) sulphur-free dried apricots ¾ cup oats ¼ cup shredded or desiccated coconut, plus extra for rolling 1 tbsp coconut oil METHOD • Step 1 Soak the apricots in hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Drain excess water and then combine with all other ingredients in a food processor.

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Pulse until the mixture comes together. This will take a few minutes. • Step 2 Sprinkle a little extra coconut on a plate. With wet hands, shape the apricot mixture into small balls and then roll in the coconut. • Step 3 Pop them in the fridge for ½ an hour to firm up but if you can’t wait (like me) then enjoy. They store great in an airtight container in the fridge for three weeks or in the freezer for a few months.


NUTRITIONAL TIP

I really recommend you source sulphur-free dried fruit, especially apricots. In ingredient lists, the sulphur preservative will be listed as E220 or 220. Sulphur-free apricots won’t be the typical bright orange you’re used to they’ll be dark brown in colour and also a lot firmer. Why? The sulphur changes their natural colouring. In terms of your health, avoid sulphur whenever you can - its use has been linked to asthma, irritability, mood swings and many behavioural problems.

Stacey is a mum of two who is dedicated to developing and sharing healthy and easy-to-make recipes that the whole family can enjoy. She is currently studying to be a health coach with a major emphasis on nutrition for mothers and children. To find out more go to ahealthymum.com, email stace@ahealthymum.com or head to facebook.com/ahealthymumpage.

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COOKING

Avocado Baked Eggs & Tomato Chutney INGREDIENTS 2 ripe avocadoes 4 free range eggs 4 roma tomatoes, quartered 1-2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs Pinch salt & pepper Olive oil 6 rashers shortcut bacon, diced

Hank started making marmalade in 1993 and he has been making it the old fashioned way, using the slow cooked mething. Soon Hank was experimenteing with chutnesy and jams and he was flat out! Then he needed a bigger kitchen. 20 years later Hanks jams and chutneys are still made in the same way and in demand. Head over to Hanks Food to find out where to get his awesome jams. http://www.hanksfood. com/the-hanks-story

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METHOD • Preheat an oven to 180°C (fan forced). Line a medium baking tray with baking paper. • Cut avocadoes in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the seed and scoop out a few tablespoons of the flesh from each half to make room for the egg. • Place the avocado halves onto the baking tray and gently position so that they won’t move around too much once the egg has been placed in. Some pieces of scrunched up alfoil may help to stabilize them. • Crack one egg at a time and separate the yolk from the white. Place the yolk into the center of the avocado. Gently spoon the egg white back over the yolk until it fills the hole in the avocado. You may not use all of the egg white. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

• Scatter the tomato quarters next to the avocado halves and drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sprinkle a little of the Italian herbs over the top of each tomato. • Place the tray into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the whites of the egg are no longer opaque. • Meanwhile place the bacon into a small pan and fry until crispy. Cover with alfoil to keep warm. • To serve, arrange the baked avocado onto a plate along with some of the roasted tomatoes. Add some of the crispy bacon on top, finish with a dollop of Hank’s Tomato Chutney and a sprig of basil. Place the toasted Turkish fingers onto the plate. Serve immediately.

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PARTY

Under the seaa ZAC LOVES SWIMMING SO HIS MUM DEBBIE DECIDED THE AQUARIUM WAS THE PERFECT PLACE TO HOST HIS PARTY

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party

“Zac was amazed! He loved the party and especially loved his dessert table!�

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ac enjoys swimming and skating and we wanted to have his sixth party at the Melbourne Aquarium and I thought the theme ‘under the sea’ would be very appropriate! It was a summer party so we used bright and exciting colours.

HOW DID YOU BEGIN THE PLANNING PROCESS? I started planning at least six months before the party. After I had booked The Melbourne Aquarium I started to think of a theme that would suit the venue. Once I chose the theme “Under the Sea’ I started to look around the Internet for ideas. I also booked in my Event Stylist, Belinda from Styled By Belle to help with the dessert table and décor. Belinda was

fantastic and sent me lots of ideas and then I choose the different elements on the table. The colour scheme was inspired by the tropical fish and corals. We thought tropical colours would look effective and be fun and bright for the kids. Once we had the colour theme organized and everything was decided I pretty much left it all up to Belinda to work her magic!

WHAT WAS YOUR BUDGET? My budget was around $1,500. We had 15 children and with accomanying parents there were about 30 people.

TELL US ABOUT THE KEY ELEMENTS The main focus would have to be the location

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party

“The colour scheme was inspired by the tropical fish and corals.�

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and the styling. I wanted to create an underworld wonderland for the kids. The cake as the highlight and we then just worked around that. Belinda styled the table, we have used her twice before. Every time she styles a party, there is that ‘wow’ factor that makes everyone happy and very excited. Her attention to detail is fantastic.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE? Have fun organizing your kids parties! Once you have a theme the rest just follows through. Also – get a good party stylist! They take the stress out of worrying on the day and leaves you time to actually enjoy the special day with your kids.

SO WHAT’S NEXT? After every party I have for my sons, I say never again! However, my youngest son is 2 in August so I guess I’ll have to start planning soon!

FINALLY, A DIFFERENT WAY OF PARENTING!

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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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pe No.1 , ov er best 50 0,0 selle 00 r cop ie

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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 www.familylab.com.au info@familylab.com.au PO Box 354 Summer Hill NSW 2130 02 9799 2424

A new way of de veloping relationships wi th children

J ESPER JUU L

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BABY

The happy sleeper HERE PSYCHOTHERAPISTS, JULIE WRIGHT AND HEATHER TURGEON, EXPLAIN WHY BABIES ARE NATRUALLY WIRED TO SLEEP AND HOW TO GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP.

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our baby already knows how to sleep! You’ve been breaking a sweat rocking your baby into a deep slumber, waking up every 2 hours to feed throughout the night, or wringing your hands in frustration with a wide-eyed, nap-resistant toddler. But it’s true. Sleep is a basic action that babies are naturally born to do. Their bodies crave healthy sleep, and their brains are wired for it. By 5 or 6 months of age, almost all babies are capable of sleeping well without much assistance from mom or dad.

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So why do so many families struggle at night? The answer is that most parents do what works today, they don’t notice when it’s no longer needed tomorrow, and then keep pushing even harder when it’s become a hindrance the day after that. They work overtime with all kinds of fanfare and tricks to put their babies to bed. We’ve heard it all: parents feeding, rocking, and bouncing on a yoga ball for 45 minutes every night, lying down with kids, re-tucking, and refilling water glasses endlessly—one couple


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baby even told us they found themselves putting on a full music show with guitars, singing, and lights every night before bedtime. Over time, parents’ “helping ways” overshadow their baby’s natural sleep abilities. Children get confused as to whether they or their parents are doing the soothing, and parents aren’t sure when and how much to back off so their little ones can take over the job. If you’re consistent in how you apply the methods, your baby or child’s sleep will improve dramatically within one to two weeks. Good sleep is in their genes. Kids don’t need to be trained to sleep; they’re built to sleep. Think about it: sleep is like other areas of development, and you

“If you’re consistent in how you apply the methods, your baby or child’s sleep will improve dramatically within one to two weeks.” know how quickly your baby learns. Within a year, a baby can sit, pull to stand, and maybe take her first steps. She understands language and soon she’ll speak in sentences. Almost overnight, she’s a master in all realms. So why should sleep be any different? Children take off in their motor, social, cognitive, and language skills, while sleep skills stall and even decline as the months go on. It’s a common course for little kids—they show robust, thriving development in all other domains but actually regress in their ability to sleep. In the early months, this happens when a soothing technique like nursing or rocking to sleep works and becomes your go-to habit (and we don’t blame you!). The problem is that while newborns often need these soothing devices, they outgrow this need

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quickly as their natural selfsoothing abilities grow—sometimes within a matter of days or weeks. With toddlers and kids, the same idea applies. We know that they can sleep, but milestones and life transitions (learning to climb out of the crib, starting preschool, or having nightmares) rock the boat just enough to warrant a new trick (like lying down with them until they doze off) that kids quickly become reliant on. As parents get stuck in a habit of soothing their little one to sleep, it masks the child’s natural abilities and makes it look as if she can’t sleep on her own. Imagine if your child was capable of walking, but you still carried her everywhere instead of letting her practice this new skill! This overhelping is the crux of family sleep problems. Eventually parents become exasperated, while baby’s sleep potential has actually been stifled. Over and over in our parenting groups, we’ve seen moms and dads work diligently to be responsive and nurturing around sleep, only to become frustrated, exhausted, and confused as their baby’s sleep gets worse instead of better. These parents feel stuck, and many reach the end of their rope and turn to a harsh, shut-the-door-and-don’t-go-in approach. We know that sleep is a natural, hardwired function that shouldn’t be so difficult. As clinicians who follow science and new thinking on child development, we realized why sleep was stumping so many families— it’s the same overhelping or “helicopter parenting” dilemma that parents find themselves in elsewhere. Logic tells us (and research confirms) that overhelping doesn’t work: when we do things for our babies and kids that they are capable of doing for them- selves, it keeps them from developing to their potential (in this case, their sleep potential). The problem is that, as parents, we don’t know how to stop


overhelping, while still being warm and supportive to our kids. The topic of baby sleep needs a fresh perspective. It’s been bogged down in oldschool notions like “training” and misunderstandings of basic concepts like attachment. We don’t want anyone suffering sleep deprivation unnecessarily, nor do we ever want a baby to feel alone or fearful.

“parents get stuck in a habit of soothing their little one to sleep, it masks the child’s natural abilities and makes it look as if she can’t sleep on her own” Happily, neither of these ever needs to happen. Our methods are based on two logical, research-based ideas. One: babies and little

kids need warmth, sensitivity, and a sense that the world is a safe place. Two: they thrive best (and sleep best) when they have structure, routine, and clear expectations. Sleep affects virtually every part of your child’s life. Well-rested babies and kids are emotionally balanced, flexible, and creative; they’re healthier; they think clearly and retain information better. When your child sleeps well, she (and you) feel the ripples of this everywhere. It’s amazing to see how good sleep transforms a family. The Happy Sleeper is the guide to helping parents to get a good nights sleep. It will give you a clear, easy-to-follow system for transferring the role of independent sleep to your baby or child, as Julie Wright and Heather Turgeon have done for thousands of families in their practice. www.the happysleeper.com

Feeling sleep deprived? This book will help you, and your baby, get a good night’s sleep.

Seriously good books. scribepublications.com.au january 2015 | mychild

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ECO CHAT

Eco-Weaning MY CHILD COLUMNIST AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER LAURA TROTTA TELL US ABOUT HER DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO WEANING THE ECO-FRIENDLY WAY

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ou only need to venture down the baby aisle in your local supermarket to see the huge variety of first foods on offer. From rice cereal to rusks, purees and casseroles, it’s easy to see how the member of the family with the smallest belly can quickly become the most expensive to feed. Sadly, the youngest member of the family can also generate the most meal-time waste; since these small portions are all encased in small wraps and containers. Introducing your baby to solids is by no doubt one of the most exciting steps in early parenting. Particularly if bub has been exclusively breastfed, it will be the first time that someone other than you will feed your baby. And just like everyone has an opinion on breastfeeding, you may soon realise that everyone also has an opinion on introducing solids.

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From what age to start, to what foods to feed first and in what magic order, this milestone has been responsible for many a heated mum’s group discussion. Like most mums, I too looked forward to having our son join us at the dinner table. I’d invested in a respected baby cookbook, purchased some organic rice cereal and patiently counted down the days until he reached the magical six months of age; the recommended age to start solids at the time. I’d read about baby-led weaning and was genuinely interested in trying it out, but caved under the influence of strong-minded and well-meaning family members, and instead took the traditional puree path. My eldest son’s first mouthful of solids was of organic rice cereal blended with breast milk. Within a few weeks I’d fed him homemade purees of most vegetables and fruits and was whipping up delicious organic


casseroles. I’d puree, freeze in small portions, defrost, heat and feed. He was my first born and I had time to be his personal chef and sit there and spoon feed him.He wasn’t fussy, had no intolerances or allergies and devoured most foods with gusto. At 10 months of age, I introduced fingers foods such as meatballs and by 12 months of age, he was easily eating family foods. All in all, it all seemed to go by very smoothly; he was a textbook weaning success. Enter baby no.2. My gorgeous, unsettled, wakeful and determined second son. By the time he reached six months of age I was severely sleep-deprived, exhausted and close to breaking point. The thought of pureeing foods and leisurely spoon feeding them to him, like I did my first son, was as enticing as having another baby. I’d studied baby-led weaning in great detail and was convinced it was the right choice for him and our family. And it was. Baby-led weaning is simply the act of baby feeding themselves solid food from the start, rather than being spoon-fed by someone else. They generally sit with the rest of the family at mealtimes and are given food in pieces the size and shape they can easily handle, rather than as purees or mashed foods. I’d simply cook family meals and he would help himself to something from my plate. His first solid foods included watermelon and steamed carrot sticks. Over the following weeks and months I provided an assortment of healthy family foods like steamed vegetables, savoury pikelets, rissoles and fruit on his tray and he would work his way through them during our meal time. Even on the days he was on a slightly different schedule it was easy. I’d simply have him eating his dinner from his highchair at the kitchen bench next to me while I was putting the finishing touches to the family meal. This process involved no extra work, was

easy and time efficient. It also added minimal extra cost to our grocery bill as he ate the same food as the rest of the family. This differed dramatically to my friends who were spending a small fortune on commercial baby food. Baby-Led Weaning also generated no rubbish. Our bins contained no baby food jars, packets, boxes or squeeze tubes. Of course there was some leftover food, and much of it on the floor, but our chickens happily accepted these leftovers and returned the favour by keeping our family in eggs. One of the upsides of baby-led weaning is the growth in confidence and fine-motor skills. This results from the simple act of baby feeding themselves. Babies learn to roll, crawl, walk and talk when they’re ready so it only goes to say that babies who learn to eat solids when they are ready are naturally more confident and happy. There were no food battles or tantrums in our household when we practised baby-led weaning, just one happy baby feeding himself. In both cases of weaning, both of my sons were confident in trying different foods and by 12 months of age were eating family meals. Should we ever have a third baby I will opt again for baby-led weaning, on the simple reasoning of time, ease, environmental and social benefits. Weaning is about so much more than starting solids. It’s about welcoming baby to join the family at the kitchen table and enjoying the social and cultural aspects of sharing in one of life’s simple pleasures, food. Whether you choose to spoon feed your baby or try baby-led weaning, your baby’s health, our environment and your family’s budget will all benefit if you select wholefoods rather than packaged commercial baby foodss * Laura Trotta is an environmental engineer, a mum and the founder of Sustainababy. She is passionate about guiding parents to lead a sustainable lifestyle. Visit sustainababy.com.au.

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TODDLER TIPS

HOW TO… BABY PROOF YOUR HOME HELEN CUNNINGHAM HAS SOME TIPS TO HELP KEEP EVERYONE SAFE WHEN BABY IS ON THE MOVE.

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uddenly your little one is mobile and there are lots of little things you did not think about until the last minute. Baby proofing is essential and being one step ahead of your baby can be even more crucial.

BABY GATES The time to get baby gates is before your baby starts crawling, because you never know exactly when it’s going to happen, and the first thing little mobile humans do is go exactly where they are most likely to hurt themselves,

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like down the stairs head first! They are also very useful in keeping pets out of babies room when needed.

OUTLETS You wouldn’t think anyone would really stick anything in an electrical socket. But then again, your baby is a clever little monkey, isn’t she? It’s a little hole and she has little fingers! You can get socket protecters to make sure that no-one gets a shock.


TABLE CORNERS When you initially shopped for your coffee table or the breakfast bar in your kitchen, you probably sat down on a sofa or stool to ensure the height was just right. You weren’t thinking that some day a tiny human would be eye or forehead level with the sharpest parts of these surfaces. Make or buy a foam cushions for the corners of these tables.

BATHROOM SINKS AND CLEANING SUPPLIES There’s not much that’s interesting in the supply closet or under the bathroom sink to us adults. But these bright bottles are very attractive to little ones. Be sure to secure cabinets containing chemicals or closets that hold things like detergent and other containers with poisonous materials.

BOLTED TO WALLS But don’t underestimate the strength of a toddler. TV’s are fun to look, at they talk back so a babies natural curiosity is to touch. Make sure bookcases are anchored to the wall and TV’s are in a secure position where they cannot be pulled or pushed over.

TOXIC PLANTS Keep this list of toxic houseplants handy the next time you pop into the nursery to pick out some greenery for your living room. Keep in mind, however, that plants not on this list that contain berries, stems or leaves can also be dangerous in the mouths and get stuck in the throats of small children. • Philodendron • Pothos • Arrowhead Plant • Calla, Easter, Rubrum, Tiger, Day, Peace and Asian Lilies • Dieffenbachia • Oleander • Caladium

• Mother-in-Law’s Tongue • Ivy

TOILET LOCK You think to yourself, “Who would possibly want to do anything other than sit on a toilet?” And then your little one starts crawling and you realize, “That’s who.” Never forget that children can drown in just an inch or two of water, always keep the toilet door closed.

OVEN LOCK Ovens are warm and smell delicious, you are opening it and closing it, babies learn by copying. No Hansel and Gretel here, please. Put a lock on it.

LATCH GARBAGE CAN TOPS To a tiny tot, it’s a bin full of treasures. Either move yours into a locking cabinet or stick a latch on it can to ensure no one is fishing out garbage.

DOOR STOPS AND HOLDERS You’d be surprised how quickly small fingers can get snapped in a doorway or between the hinge of the door and the wall. Pinch protectors and top door locks are just a few inexpensive ways to protect little fingers .

PET FOOD AND WATER Keep pet food out of reach of kids, or feed them in another room entirely, one that your little one cannot get to it. It’s too tempting for little ones to play with it when your pets are using it.

CUT THE CORDS When it comes to any kind of window blinds or shutters, use the plastic wand-like mechanism instead of the hanging string, to avoid potential strangulation. Be mindful of any low-hanging cords as well, such as the ones for computers and baby monitors.* janaury 2015 | mychild

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TODDLER

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Minor meltdown IS YOUR CHILD HIGHLY REACTIVE OR DO THEY HAVE TROUBLE WITH SELF-REGULATION? DR CINDY PAN AND VANESSA WOODS SHOW YOU WHY DISCIPLINE ISN’T A CASE OF ONE SIZE FITS ALL

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ot all two-year-old behaviour is terrible – some is terrific – but it can be an age that brings with it disruptive behaviour, including those raging temper tantrums. While this peak of pique in early “toddlerdom” usually settles down during the preschool years and –thankfully – dissipates almost completely by the time kids start school, there are parents for whom the “terrible twos” are succeeded by the “thrashing threes”, the “formidable fours”, the “fearsome fives” and the “sixes that totally suck”… all the way to the “torturous teens” and beyond. So what factors govern which path your child will follow? And what role do parents play? How early can risk factors for chronic disruptive behaviour problems be identified and, most importantly, is it possible to prevent disruptive kids from turning into antisocial adolescents and adults? One of the factors that can lead to disruptive behaviour continuing beyond “toddlerdom” and the preschool years is temperament. Temperament includes how an individual reacts to their environment (reactivity) as well as their ability to regulate these reactions

(regulation). The good news (or bad, depending on what your toddler is like) is that a child’s emotional and physical reactivity during a meltdown is, by and large, considered a fairly stable and enduring aspect of their temperament. Normally as kids grow up they learn how to regulate their emotions and behaviour in a variety of contexts, leading eventually to positive social skills and less disruptive behaviour. Kids who are prone to frustration and have limited regulatory skills, however, may well develop negative social behaviour and lower social competence, with a greater likelihood of being defiant, aggressive, noncompliant, antisocial and having poor impulse control. But it’s not all predetermined. Another factor affecting kids’ levels of frustration, emotional regulation and socially appropriate behaviour is how their mother responds, behaves and interacts with them. Kids learn to manage their own distress and behaviour through the complex social interactions they have with their primary caregiver. Controlling, harsh or rejecting behaviour from parents is associated

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with aggression, noncompliance and a whole range of other behavioural problems in their kids. Indeed, hostile or intrusive mums may worsen their kids’ frustrations and poor regulatory skills, resulting in even more severe disruptive behaviour. But does that mean a high level of parental control is always a bad thing? One study followed kids from age two to five, looking at their levels of disruptive behaviour in relation to such potential contributing factors as how they reacted to frustration, their ability to regulate emotions and how much maternal control was exerted. Results showed that kids with high levels of disruptive behaviour, reaching seriously problematic levels at age five, were most likely to have a combination of high reactivity and high maternal control or low self-regulation and low maternal control. That is, while parents being very controlling may cause disruptive behaviour to escalate in highly reactive kids, less regulated kids may well need the additional structure and direction from their

parents to curtail disruptive behaviour. It seems one size does not fit all. Sensitive parenting means tailoring your response to the individual child, observing their reactions and adjusting your subsequent responses accordingly. If your child is quick to get worked up and become emotionally distressed by frustration, then controlling behaviour may increase their frustration and make their behaviour worse. On the other hand, if your child has difficulty settling down and regulating those excited or tumultuous emotions, providing some structure and direction may help them decrease their bad behaviour. Of course, if disruptive behaviour continues to escalate despite your best efforts, it may be worthwhile seeking professional advice, just to make sure that what you’re currently doing is not in fact making things worse, and to find out if there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. * This is an edited extract from Headstarts by Dr Cindy Pan and Vanessa Woods

TODDLER TIPS TO KEEP YOU SANE They don’t call it the “terrible twos” for nothing. At the same time that toddlers start to develop a will of their own, you have to start imposing your will on them. As frustrating as it is to have your judgment questioned by a two-year-old, try not to resort to a snappy, ‘Because I said so.’ While it seems perfectly obvious to you that lying face down and screaming at the top of your lungs is an unacceptable way to ask for a chocolate bar, it may not be that obvious to your child. Fighting may not be much fun at the time, but you can turn it into an important learning tool. As a parent, your emotions and your reaction to your child’s emotions shape the development of the child’s emotional understanding. The way you explain yourself

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when you do something, like take away a sharp object, will help them understand your perspective and the issues raised in the conflict. This, in turn, will shape the way they deal with conflict in other situations, and increase their ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. For instance, ‘I’m worried about you with that knife, darling – I need to take it away because I would be so upset if you hurt yourself,’ is better than, ‘Give me that knife, you stupid child, before I stab you with it myself!’ Try to explain yourself calmly. Justify your actions, and tell them how you are feeling and why. Though they may not like the outcome, at least they know you have their best interests at heart.


TODDLER TIPS

HOW TO… MAKE BATH TIME FUN KIRSTY NEWBURY AND SUSAN CLARKE OFFER THEIR IDEAS FOR KEEPING YOUR LITTLIES BUSY IN THE BATH Bath time can be challenging, especially when your creative juices are running low. Here are some great ideas to keep them flowing: Place plastic sieves, funnels, bowls and jugs in the bath for your child to practise their pouring skills. Talk with them about how the water moves. To add a mathematical twist, use words like “full”, “empty”, “more” and “less”. Count out how long it takes for the water to run out of the containers. Add some bubbles! Children love to catch, squash and pop bubbles while in the bath. Give them their own bubble blower and get those muscles for speech developing through blowing. A great fine/gross motor extension is to add an ice-cream container to the bath and give your child a plastic whisk or spatula to make more bubbles.

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Make plastic boats by using paddle-pop sticks, water bottles and margarine or yoghurt containers and race them in the tub! Create a water shaker using an empty water bottle, small plastic animals or toys and some glitter. Fill the bottle with the water, glitter and toys, and secure the lid. Give to your little one for some musical bath-time fun. Encourage your child to practise washing themselves. Discuss their body parts to help give them a sense of self. Body awareness is a great thing for kids to learn as it assists them in all areas of their day. Talk about their feet, toes, legs, hands, fingers, face, tummy, back and bottom to help them identify each part. This is a great way to lead into your child getting themselves dressed. * Visit ourlittletreasure.com.au for more great ideas.

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TIPS

HOW TO… GET ORGANISED FOR SCHOOL IF YOUR CHILD IS STARTING SCHOOL FOR THE FIRST TIME OR RETURNING TO SCHOOL, THERE ARE ONLY ADVANTAGES TO STARTING THE YEAR IN A CALM AND ORGANISED WAY. SHANA DANON FROM ORGANISED CLUTTER GIVES US SOME TIPS.

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eing organised will help you to feel more in control and less stressed, which can greatly help during this important milestone. It can be an emotional time for adults and/or children. Having a routine in place will help the family get used to the new roster. Your child models your behaviour, so if you are setting a good example, there is every chance your child will follow. Here are some strategies and tips to get you on your way!

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IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING Take the opportunity to tick things off your list early in the holiday break. Purchase uniforms, school shoes, hats, bags, lunch boxes and drink bottles as early as you can. Do a stock-take of what uniforms need to be replaced, mended or donated, and keep the list handy on your phone. If your child is a beginner, they will be excited to wear their uniform in the holidays and will already be comfortable with it once school starts.


In the closing weeks of holidays there is ALWAYS a half-day queue when buying school shoes - not an experience you would electively choose! Childrens’ feet are supposed to grow faster in summer than winter, so keep that in mind (four weeks ahead should be fine). Organised Clutter Tip: Consider purchasing school-shoes on Christmas Eve afternoon or another quiet time. Last year my boys and I were the only ones in the shop and we were out in 20 minutes!

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STICKY BUSINESS If covering a huge pile of books with contact is your worst nightmare, don’t despair! There are now companies that sell clear book covers in standard sizes. You just slip your child’s exercise book into it. (To the genius that designed those – bless you. Farewell to wrestling with an octopus! )

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LABEL IT, LABEL IT, LABEL IT! If it’s not tied down, put a label on it! This may sound like a Beyoncé song, - however, you need name labels for every personal item, and class labels for books. Black permanent markers are an economic, fast way to label, however there are many options for all tastes, from the fabric iron-on labels, to the online companies who print personalsed labels for clothes, shoes etc. School items are expensive to replace, labelled items return home much more quickly. Organised Clutter Tip: Have a stack of envelopes & lunch paper bags ready with your child and teacher’s name pre-written. If you can, print a page of labels and save the template. You will be prepared for anything! This is a massive timesaver on a busy morning. Peel and stick, you’re done!

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EVERYTHING IN IT’S PLACE Talk to your child about what they will need to start their school day, where those items will be, and where the items will go once

they come home from school. Encourage them to pack their school bag, and to unpack it afterwards. Habits take time to form, and repeating the routine will set them. Homes for shoes, school hats, library books and homework are essential. Storing items near where they will be used is helpful.

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INVOLVE YOUR CHILD There are many things you can do with your child to make the going-to-school experience organised, but fun. Your child will enjoy the responsibility of helping make decisions, and time spent with you. Make or print a school roster together in your child’s favourite theme, let them pick their own lunch-box and drink bottle, time them to see how quickly they can put things away and see if they can beat their record next time. Reward charts are great motivators to keep the momentum going.

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WHAT’S ON THE MENU? Your child will be famished after a big day at school. Prep your fruit and vegies on the weekend so that you can quickly organise afternoon tea. Packing lunch-boxes every day sounds straight forward, but can be challenging to keep things interesting. Chat to other parents and swap ideas for healthy snacks.

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DON’T PLAN TOO MUCH! The beginning of the year will be busy with meeting the teacher, new friends, new timetables, and new rules. Allow yourself and your child to get used to this before adding more layers. Each hobby / sport comes with its own set of items to label and organise, and deadlines of start and finish times. Pace yourself! P.S - Don’t forget to pack tissues on their first day…just in case you need them.* Shana Danon from Organised Clutter.com.au

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PRESCHOOL

Pre School Prep AFTER MONTHS OF ANGUISHING DEBATES TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PRESCHOOL, NOW IT’S TIME TO PREPARE THE WHOLE FAMILY FOR THAT FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! JESSICA RILEY HAS A FEW TIPS TO HELP MAKE IT EASIER.

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eading off to school is a big step and not just for Little Angel, as a parent you have to let go, and no matter how smart and grown up they look with their new backpack on, knowing that topsy-turvy emotions are only natural when change is in the air can help both of you adjust so can some smart preschool preparations

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START CHANGING SLEEP PATTERNS Mornings are not always the easiest for most of us. If Little Angel is used to waking up at 8.30 am and school is going to start at 9 am it will be a complete shock to the whole household to wake Little Angel up at 8 am on their first day! Gradually change bedtime and wake up time by about ten minutes each day till you reach


the wake up time that will work for the whole house, make sure you build in enough time for getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, and morning cuddles, this will make it a less stressed start for everyone. DROP SOME HINTS. Talk about preschool, bring it into every day conversation. When you are in the car sing some of the songs that they will be singing at school. Talk about meeting new friends and try going to new parks to play, so newness is not too scary. Let Little Angel know what will be similar to home routine, like having a snack and what will be different. If any friends go to the same preschool arrange play dates so that there is a familiar face there for them to see when they arrive. Or try and make contact with new classmates earlier, the teacher should be able to put you in touch with their parents before the first day of preschool. This will get Little Angel used to sharing toys, taking turns, and playing cooperatively in groups. Make it sound fun, but don’t talk it up so much that you make Little Angel suspicious and just as important don’t mention any idea of being scared or nervous. READ ALL ABOUT IT. Reading about preschool is one of the best ways to prepare for the big transition ahead. Head over to the library and find some books that show a realistic view of preschool life. PRACTICE THROUGH PLAY. Role-play can really help reduce the fear factor of any new experience. Play “school” with stuffed animals. Play circle games; let Little Angel use the backpack for a trip to visit friends and practice packing up the backpack. If Little Angel is going to be at Preschool all day, use the lunch

box at home, so that he knows it is his. Invite family around and have a show-and-tell session at home so it is not too daunting the first time at preschool. MAKE IT REAL Drive or walk by the preschool and show Little Angel where he will be going so there are no extra surprises on that first day of preschool. Check with the preschool and see if you can do a walk around and even have ago on the playground a few weeks before D-Day. D-DAY Make sure you know the policies and routine for the preschool and know their settling in routine. What ever you do don’t over stay your welcome, it makes it hard for Little Angel and just as hard for you! Allow plenty of time, the chances are Little Angel won’t be prepared for you to just drop and go on the first day, so be prepared to hang around until everyone is settled. And as much as you have prepared yourself and Little Angel, you will be anxious and emotional, remember children pick up on your feelings so try to stay calm and cheery, otherwise it is going to be very hard. Tell him you’ll be back after lunch/drink and biscuit time/story time, don’t lie and say you are just going to the car to pick something up and not come back. If your child cries and won’t let you leave, ask the educators for advice, they deal with this all the time and they know how to handle the situation. In most cases they’ll ask you to stay for a while with your child in the early days. When you’ve said your goodbyes, try not to worry. If there is a problem, they will call you, but in most cases your child will be enjoying their exciting new experience and you will hear all about it when you pick up your exhausted Little Angel in the afternoon. And this is now the start of your school years!* January 2015 | mychild

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NEWS

BABY&TODDLER

SO simple

The Babycook Pro steam cooks, blends and reheats 4.7 cups of food, all-in-one, in 15 minutes or less. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. Its so simple you can do it all one-handed operation Buy from giggle. $150 - $200 www.giggle.com.au

Recycle CLOTHES

What do you do when your little one is growing faster than the weeds? Buying new clothes all the time is a far too expensive Kidscircle.com.au is the only website in Australia where a growing community of mums and dads exchange good quality second hand clothes for babies and kids sizes 0000-5. With kidscircle.com.au parents save time and money by being able to offer and select a variety of quality second-hand clothing for babies and children for a fraction of the cost and within a safe community.

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Tinder for mums! What do you do when you relocate and need to find playgroups? You go online! Playdate Australia is a multi-platform application and website which is connecting mothers in neighbourhoods’ across Australia. It was launched iin August 2014 with the goal of allowing mothers to have fun meeting new people, while helping their children to make new friends. The application received a staggering 1000 members on the day it launched and now four months down the track the app and website boast over 10,000 members. Playdate is 100% free to join, simply by creating an account or logging in with Facebook. Easily enough you create a profile, then search other mothers who have joined based on a number of criteria; including location, lifestyle, gender of children and many more. The app then allows you to then private message other mothers, create playdates and join mother groups to share questions and advice. Head over here and join up www.playdate. com.au


ergobaby ergobaby

TM

Q&A Why are some toddlers more prone to middle ear infections ? It is not understood why some toddlers are more prone to ear infections. We do know that some babies under two years of age do not recognise serious, aggressive pathogens or organisms that have a particular coating on them that makes it difficult for the baby’s immune system to identify and therefore attack. These are called opsonising antibodies. The immune system tends to mature by the age of two. The other factor is that until the age of two the baby’s mid face is quite underdeveloped. After the age of two, it starts to increase in size and this causes a more vertical drainage of the eustacean tube. This tube drains the middle ear to the back of the throat. Babies under two, however, are often lying down. Because of this the eustacean tube tends to directly communicate with the back of the throat and germs are able to swim up from the back of the throat into the middle ear region and cause infection. If a baby has more than three middle ear infections in a one-year period then see your GP or a paediatric ear, nose and throat doctor. Children tend to grow out of middle ear infections by three to four years of age. Dr Peter Campbell is a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Hospital for Women

NEW

3D-Mesh Ventus

Go Far, Stay Close... and COOL! Inspired by the Latin word for wind, this carrier features a 3D-mesh panel and moisture-wicking mesh lining for ultimate ventilation and breathability so both baby and parent stay cooler. Durable, lightweight and super cool – it’s the perfect companion for any adventure.

“The Ergobaby Carrier offers optimal support for the wearer and optimal spinal and hip positioning for a newborn (using the newborn insert). Babywearing encourages parents to enjoy an active lifestyle and reduces a baby’s time in prams and car seats. Ergobaby is a great start for new life!” Dr Jacey Pryjma - Well Kids Chiropractor - drjacey.com.au

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news | baby & toddler

FOCUS ON: HYDRATION Warm summer weather means it’s far easier for babies to become dehydrated. Breastfed babies (under 6 months old) may need more frequent feeds in hot weather- so if you’re breastfeeding remember you’ll need to drink plenty of fluids to keep up! If your baby is formula-fed, they may need to be offered small amounts of extra cooled boiled water in a bottle in-between feeds. Once baby is around 6 months old you can offer cooled boiled water regularly throughout the day in a sippy cup or a bottle. Even if your little one doesn’t seem interested in drinking much, at least you know you’ve given them plenty of opportunities to keep well hydrated in the hotter weather. Older babies may even be happy to drink cooler water which has been stored in the fridge!

Another way to check baby is having enough fluid is counting nappies - at least six wet nappies over the day is a good sign. Here are some signs of dehydration to watch out for: • Sleepiness • Irritability • Thirst • Less elasticity in the skin • Eyes and fontanel (or soft spot on head) appear sunken • Decrease or absence of tears • Dry mouth • Decrease number of wet nappies However, if you are concerned your baby is unwell or may be dehydrated seek advice from your baby’s health professional.

Did you know… A baby is only capable of their first non-gassy smile at one month old. 130

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SIT WITH EASE PROTECTED ON A HYGIENIC BARRIER • RECYCLED PAPER • BIODEGRADABLE AT WOOlWORTHS & INDEPENDENT SuPERmARkETS, TOIlET PAPER AISlE

www.bluelinehygienics.com

An organic range of health and beauty products that won’t cost the earth or your health. Spend $150 or more on your initial Contact Lindsay on order to get 20% off this and all future orders. 0434 644 353 www.naturalbeauty.miessence.com

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SHOPPING

PRESCHOOLER&BIG

ON THE GO

COOLTOUCH

Keep food warm or cold with a Skip Hop Zoo pal Insulated Food Jar! This colourful stainless steel container keeps kid-sized portions warm or cold. Store the spork, or most utensils, in the handy built-in holder so your little on is ready for meals on-the-go. $19.95 from Haggusand Stookles

This range of mugs from Thermos all have vacuum insulation technology for maximum temperature retention, keeping things cold for up to 12 hours. The sippy cup is ergonomic with removable handles and a soft spout making nice and gentle on little gums. $29.96 fom Toys R Us

HAPPY TUMMY

SO VERSATILE These wonderful Turkish towels are made of 100% cotton and because they are fast drying and highly absorbent and take less space in your bag, they are ideal for every beach trip. The cotton weave is so practical for the beach as they dont collect all the sand, like conventional terry towels. They are stylish, practical & multi-functional. Ideal as beach towels, bath towels, picnic blankets, wraps and much more – $199.99 from Lulujo.com.au

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Many children battle to swallow pills and vitamins. Luckily, BioCeuticals UltraBiotic Factors for Juniors comes in a natural fruit flavoured chewable tablet that is naturally sweetened to make the process an easier one! The ingredients may also provide symptomatic relief from eczema/atopic dermatitis and may reduce the number of days missed from school/daycare due to the common cold. Containing no nasty additives or artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners, this supplement is also dairy free, and there is no need to store in the fridge! For more information head over to www.bioceuticals. com.au


KIDS NATURAL HEALING

BAGS OF BEANS

This Arnica Gel is perfect if you are looking for a simple treatment for kids. Now that summer is here and lot more time is spent outdoors, it is a natural remedy to help ease those bumps, bruises, sprains and muscle soreness. Along with icing, and pain relief, natural remedies have been used in homeopathic medicines for centuries. $16.96 from brauer

Snuggle into these bright and colourful beanbags they are a great addition to any playroom. They are 100% cotton and the covers are machine washable so nice and easy to keep clean. Cocoon Couture offers a delightful range of boutique beanbag covers that will match any interior space, and still be sturdy enough for everyday use. $85.00 from Cocoon Couture

ALL GROWN UP

ROCK-A-LONG

Long summer evenings, friends and a bicycle is the best way to spend summer. These vintage style bikes available for boys and girls will make any child feel like they are all grownup. All the bikes have matching chain guards and mudguards to add to the retro charm and keep little fingers and toes safe. Each 16” bikes also come fitted with training wheels so kids can stay on course while learning to ride. Available from Reid bikes for $249.99

Mocka’s Larry the Lamb is a fun way to add a splash of colour and entertainment to your child’s nursery or bedroom. Larry the Lamb is a fun contemporary redesign of the traditional style rocking horse. With the soft toggle fabric covering, Larry the Lamb is a great toy that can help to build your child’s developmental skills including balance, coordination and imagination, and soft enough to cuddle. With three bold colours to choose from Mocka’s Larry the Lamb will have your child wanting to rock all day long.Available from Mocka for $69.95

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NEWS

PRESCHOOLER&BIG MEGA bug…

UNLEASH YOUNG minds

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GOOD food!

Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts brand are working with Nutrition Australia with the goal of providing nutritious, delicious and fun meals that will make travelling far more accessible and appealing to Australian families. Main meals will be comprised of a nutritious balance of meat, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Most importantly, InterContinental Hotels are determined that their menu full of colours, flavours and textures to ensure that children have a fun time and enjoy eating their healthy meals. www.hgplc.com

Compiled and written by Georgia Ward

MWorld is an interactive world of learning like no other. Statistics show that Australia has had a declining standard of reading literacy (according to the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Monash University has just launched the MWorld App, which is the world’s first university-produced educational App for children. Aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds, MWorld divides the amazing world we live in into ten broad categories: animals, art and music, space, the modern world, early civilisations, and so on. There are 50 ‘titles’ in the first release, five in each category. Already, at least 15 schools across Australia will incorporate the university’s first education App into their school curriculum in 2015. The goal of MWorld is to help drive improvements in learning and literacy for 1 million Australian children and 500 million children worldwide over the next decade. For more information visit discovermworld.com and register for MWorld to be one of the first to receive a copy.

Get up close and personal with a giant animatronic 8-metre Praying Mantis and a 4-metre butterfly From the 3rd -26th January 2015. Hunter Valley Gardens (NSW) will become home to Australia’s largest animatronics bug display. The Mega Bugs Exhibition is open seven days a week with adult tickets are only $25.00, with children under 3 free. Day and night passes are available. Simply call 02 4998 4000 or visit www. hvg.com.au to find out more.


KIDS REPLACE S H O T: USED TOO R E C E N T LY

KIDS GO Coco nutty

“It’s a proven fact that when children start their day with a good breakfast they are able to learn and play much better.” says muesli creator, Flip Shelton. Hand mixed in small batches, with not a machine in sight, and made from smooth Australian oats plus Aussie currants and sultanas, zingy cranberries, sweet apple and a sprinkling of shredded coconut, the delicious new blend from Flip Shelton’s natural muesli range is sure to be a winner with both big and little taste buds! Kids will love this muesli which contains 35% fruit and no nuts. And, just quietly…hidden in the bejewelled bowls of brekkie are the following hidden benefits: • Low GI. • Wheat and Bran free. • Complex carbohydrates which give kids energy to burn all morning at school. • High in iron, potassium and zinc. • A natural fruity taste and coconutty texture no (big or little) kid can resist! Order online www.flipmuesli.com.au

STEPPING OUT in style

Bowman Events created a runway show which allowed children involved to step out of their comfort zone whilst still being confident in their own skin. The twist of the show is about letting the kids express themselves through movement to popular songs with choreographed moves and letting each individual express their own moves. Rachel’s main goal behind starting the company was to encourage and promote children to always be confident and accepting of themselves and others. This idea creates a child’s individual awareness where they learn to develop their self-confidence, become socially active and make new friends. A number of local fashion designers have come on board to support the company and the kids whilst having the opportunity to showcase their clothing lines to a varied audience. Six Bowman Events kids were selected to be involved in a fun photo-shoot at Maroubra Beach. This was a fun collaboration where they looked super cute in amazing Little Edge Apparel! www. bowmaneventsco.com for more info

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FAMILY MATTERS

When is it too soon for school? JESPER JUUL, AUTHOR OF “RAISING COMPETENT CHILDREN” AND HEAD OF FAMILYLAB INTERNATIONAL COUNSELS SAMANTHA ABOUT HER FIVE YEAR OLD SON. SHE WANTS TO FIND OUT IF IT WAS ALRIGHT FOR JIMMY TO START SCHOOL AT FIVE.

J

immy started school when he was five. His parents, his child carers and other people thought he was ready. But after just a few weeks at school Jimmy became grumpy and angry. Some of the other children started teasing him. Then he did not want to go to school at all. Now Samantha is really worried that sending him at the age of five was the wrong decision and she is desperate for some advice - should she let him stay or take him out and let him wait another year?

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THE COACHING SESSION Jesper: Welcome! What is on your mind? Samantha: When Jimmy was still at childcare we weren’t sure if he was ready for school. We spoke with his carers about it. They acknowledged that he was smaller and perhaps a bit more immature than his peers. After lengthy discussions we did send him to school when he was five. Jesper: In which ways is he immature? Samantha: He snaps really quickly. When


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family matters things don’t go his way he freaks out and starts crying straight away. Some of the other children tease him but his teacher wants to keep him at school and she says we should wait and see how he goes. I am worried that things might get worse. He could get left behind and not be able to catch up again. Jimmy and his best friend, Andy went to childcare together and they started school together. Andy is doing really well and I am worried Jimmy will feel like a failure because his is not doing so well. Jesper: We are only talking about his social interactions and the way he handles certain conflicts, right? You are not worried about him in other ways, such as his reading and writing? Samantha: No! This is all about his social skills. Academically, he is completely focussed on math at the moment. At school and at after-school-care he hasn’t been able to meet any friends yet. There is no one he likes to play with. I am worried about that because one aspect of school is his academic learning and another aspect is his social network and interactions with friends. It seems like he tries to be the class clown. He tries to interact with the others by being silly - and getting into trouble. If they are playing and things don’t go his way he freaks out, he will cry or become very silly. He might also try to change the rules of the game they play. Jesper: Is it really serious when he “freaks out”? Samantha: Yes it is! He screams and cries so he can hardly breathe. Jesper: Most children at his age have a very strong sense of self. Their self-awareness is well developed and they know what they are like. So it is curious why he continues to be silly and childish. However, there is no doubt that if he is going to cope at school, then he has to stop being silly. He needs to mature and you need to help him! It is all about his self-awareness. If he is aware

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that he gets grumpy when things don’t go his way he will be able to control himself. In that case things are going to be fine. But if he isn’t aware that he is doing it, then he runs the risk of getting into serious trouble from his teachers - and the teasing by other students might increase. It really doesn’t take much. A teacher might say something, maybe ironically or jokingly:

“Most children at his age have a very strong sense of self. Their self-awareness is well developed and they know what they are like. So it is curious why he continues to be silly and childish” “You are not a baby any longer!” The other children will pick up on this, copy it and tease him. Does he behave in a similar manner in other places? Samantha: Exactly the same! Jesper: The fact that he does what he does is not unusual, really. I know people who are 40 years old and do the same! The action in itself is not that important. What matters is whether or not he is aware of the fact that he does it and whether or not he is aware of the consequences. Ask Jimmy if he knows that he sometimes freaks out and runs the risk of getting into trouble and being teased because of that. Simply to check if he is aware of it. If he is not, then it is going to be challenging. He risks ending up at the bottom of the pecking order. What you would like to know is if you should leave him at school or take him out and let him start again next year. May I suggest this: he goes to school with his best friend, Andy, and so far that friendship has survived. Talk to both of them - if Andy’s parents don’t mind. They have been close for years and it would be a shame if his best


friend feels he needs to let their friendship go. Does Andy come across as a bit more mature? Samantha: He certainly does. Jesper: Andy could become the one who says: “Jimmy, remember to take it easy!” Then Jimmy will slowly - or most likely very quickly - start adjusting his behaviour. The rest depends on how you work with his teacher. I suggest you talk to her and say: “I know, Jimmy can be difficult to deal with because he reacts in a childish and silly manner when he gets frustrated. We are working with that at home. There is absolutely no reason for you to participate in his dramas. You can continue your teaching and he will come back to you after a little while. It is important though, that he doesn’t run the risk of being teased by the others because of his silliness.” You will give the teacher an open invitation which makes not only Jimmy’s life easier but hers as well. If you said to her: “My son needs extra care...” she would probably not listen to you.

THE RESULT: Samantha: I spoke with Jimmy about the fact that he gets angry, irritated and frustrated. He hadn’t actually thought about it. I asked if he understood that other children might react to it. He hadn’t thought about that either. Then I asked if he had made an effort to control his reactions and tried not to freak out. He said he had tried that ones but he couldn’t control himself. Finally, I asked if he would like to be able to control it. He said that he would really like to be able to do that. The other day, his dad took him to school but they forgot his school bag. I then had to drop it off. When I was about to leave the school he got all teary and wanted to come with me. I asked if he remembered what we had spoken about. He did and he managed to keep his cool. He returned to the classroom and had a really good day.

It was such a wonderful feeling to be able to talk to Jimmy about his situation. He desperately wants to do things differently and not be the class clown. He just needs time to learn things step by step but I am actually amazed how quickly it goes - I guess he is taking big steps. He is improving and now he wants to stay at school.

SUPPORT YOUR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT:

1

Most children around five or six years of age develop the ability to reflect on their actions as well as the consequences of their actions. It is only possible to get an insight into your child’s life if your interest is honest and the conversations are genuine. They must not feel under pressure and you must not have a hidden agenda. Children (and adults) are able to alter their behaviour when they realise the consequences of their actions. But everyone has to work this out by themselves and on their own. It is no use blaming others by saying: “Why haven’t you worked it out yet. When you do that then this... will happen...” Be curious and give your child time and space to sense how he/she feels. Be prepared and open to get answers other than those you prefer. In other words; accept the answers they give.

2 3 4 5

Text by Jesper Juul and Hayes Van Der Meer. Names have been changed. Jesper Juul’s book Raising Competent Children (Rockpool Publishing, $24.99) can be purchased from familylab.com. au. You are also welcome to email info@familylab.com.au for a special offer.

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BIG KIDS

Back to School MADELINE MITCHELL FROM HI IQ HAS SOME SIMPLE POINTERS TO HELP PREPARE YOUR CHILD IN RETURNING TO SCHOOL WITH A HEAD START!

R

eturning to school can be a challenging task for both children and parents. January is hot. Holidays are fresh. The excitement of Christmas still lingers in the air. Routines are out the window and there is a foreboding realisation that the chaos of packing lunches, organising school bags and books, homework and deadlines and other joys of returning to school are all just around the corner.

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CHILDREN ARE LIKE SPONGES. They will pick up on any negative connotations about returning to school, either from their parents, siblings or friends. Make sure you reinforce how exciting this year is going to be and refer to a couple of examples that you know are unique for this year. As a parent you need to be positive and excited about the year ahead.


CHILDREN THRIVE ON RESPONSIBILITY AND A SENSE OF MATURITY. Give your child a suitable job or task that they can manage around the house in January. Reinforce the significance of this job using phrases like ‘Now you are in Year Two, I think you are grown up enough to... help me make some cupcakes, take the dog for a short walk by yourself, choose a new novel from the bookstore etc’. Make sure it is a fun task and something that interests them. Start to build their excitement about being in a new year level and the significance of their educational development. ROUTINES As hard as it is to maintain routines in the holidays, it is import to start returning to normality a week or so before beginning school. Start with simple household routines like bedtimes, eating times (adjust according to the school bell times), the types of foods you child eats and at what time of the day (treats should be saved for after school hours), get your child ready in the morning at the usual time for your family, focus on breakfast, getting dressed. GET THE BRAINS TICKING After over five weeks off school all children will experience difficulty getting their thoughts focused back into learning. Children will need time to remember how to complete specific mathematics and literacy based tasks. Some children will even forget simple skills they learnt from the year before. This is normal behaviour for primary school children, however, the faster your child can begin cognitively processing learnt material, the better. Think of creative ways that you can begin to engage your child in educational activities during January. Reading is essential. Let your child pick the book, read to your child if you can or get them to read to themselves for at least 10 minutes a day

Keep a holiday journal so that they are writing everyday Encourage them to write and illustrate their own book, or use an iPad to take pictures and make an ebook. There are plenty of appropriate literacy and numeracy based apps out there, so they learnwhile having fun. Conduct a science experiment or cook something simple and write about it. Older children can plan an outing and implement it using a budget and timetable. They can investigate entry costs, transport costs, opening and closing times, other expenses and information. Make a pamphlet or poster advertising a local attraction Get creative! Follow instructions to build something out of Lego, Play-Doh, beaded necklaces, sock puppets GET YOUR CHILD INVOLVED Take them shopping to choose their new lunch box, stationery, books and contact. Set up a quiet space without distractions where they can complete their homework when school resumes. Make them aware of where this space is and what it means to be working here Set attainable goals and expectations for the year ahead. Discuss suitable rewards for completing homework on time, “after homework is completed you can have time on the iPad’ Remember that children will reflect your own beliefs and thought patterns about returning to school. Be positive and excited about the possibilities of the new year ahead and manage challenges as they arise, don’t preempt them. * Madeline Mitchell is a Early Learning Specialist at Hi iQ Tutoring and Education www.hiiq.com.au

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BIG KIDS

Why children need to fail IF A PARENT CONSTANTLY ACTS AS A BUFFER BETWEEN THEIR CHILD AND FEELINGS OF SADNESS, HURT, FRUSTRATION AND DISAPPOINTMENT, HOW WILL THEY LEARN TO COPE AND BE RESILIENT AS THEY GROW UP?

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re you overprotecting your child? No parent wants to see their child feeling sad, hurt or disappointed but are we doing the right thing if we try to completely take those experiences away from our children? In an effort to protect their kids, many parents have gone out of their way to ensure that their children don’t experience these “bad” feelings. They tell their child their drawings are always beautiful and praise them for every little thing they do right. They allow them to win every game they play together. They do most of their children’s projects for them at school so that they can get a good grade. Parents are not the only ones trying to avoid their children experiencing rejection and disappointment. Preschools often have rules that birthday party invitations may only be

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given at school if the entire class is asked. And coaches distribute a trophy to every player so that no child feels like a “loser”. But is failure really the worst thing that can happen to a child? Most mums and dads are frightened by their new level of responsibility and the intensity of the love they feel when they become parents. These feelings can, at times, be so intense that, in an effort to do everything the “safest” and most “ideal” way, they interfere with a parent’s logical thinking about what is best for their child. There is an increased tendency for parents to rescue their children from life’s inevitable adversity, from their child failing, having negative feelings, facing an insurmountable challenge or experiencing the consequences of their bad choices. Are children really better off not experiencing these?


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big kids Or are they better off being allowed to face difficult challenges, to learn from their mistakes and to feel frustration, disappointment and sadness; feelings they will inevitably have to face later in life? No matter how much we try to protect our children, there will come a time when they will have to deal with these difficult feelings. Aren’t we then better off preparing them? If we are constantly rescuing our kids, will they one day be able to rescue themselves? Of course, it’s important to protect our children from danger, abuse and other seriously unpleasant experiences that may occur in childhood, but in an effort to do this, parents can sometimes overprotect their children so much that it hurts them more than it helps them. Some parents try to be in complete control of what happens to their children. They shield them by not allowing them to play independently in the park, telling their child not to attempt to go down the big slippery dip

A child playing on his own and trying new equipment in the park learns to feel confident about himself and his abilities, for the first time if they are unsure, rather than encouraging their child to have confidence in their abilities. Other parents worry about the content of what their kids are watching on TV. They allow only educational DVDs that encourage good values, creative thinking or intellectual development. Some parents don’t allow their children to eat anything unhealthy, ever – no McDonald’s, no chocolate, no lollies – for as long as they can possibly do so. And some parents watch their child’s every move from fear that if they leave their children out of their sight for only a second, they will get seriously hurt or disappear forever. Children, however, learn many positive

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lessons from less-than-optimal experiences. A child playing on his own and trying new equipment in the park learns to feel confident about himself and his abilities, and is more likely to be comfortable about trying new experiences for the first time, both now and later in life. On the other hand, a child who is watched hyper-vigilantly comes to sense his parents’ fear and lose confidence in his ability to try new things and protect himself. Children who are not exposed to childhood’s real-life experiences risk growing up without the ability to evaluate what’s better or worse for them. Allowing children to eat unhealthily sometimes, while teaching them about healthy versus unhealthy foods, gives them a positive lesson in good eating. Besides, children who are shielded from all junk food are far more likely to go in for the kill and eat those foods in large amounts later when their parents are no longer able to control what they eat. Some parents project their own insecurities onto their children, going to all measures to ensure that their children don’t have the same negative experiences that they did when they were children. The thought of their children experiencing a similar event brings back all of the memories of insecurity and anxiety from many years ago and affects their clarity of thinking. A parent who found it most hurtful not to be invited to a friend’s party years ago may go crazy when they see their own child facing the same experience. The problem with this is that the child may see the situation as a minor irritation rather than the anxiety provoking incidence that it was for the parent. And by expressing these negative feelings in themselves, parents run the risk of creating unnecessary anxiety in their child. It can be sad for a child to be excluded from playing with a group of kids but it can be far worse an experience if this child


knows that their mum’s school years were negatively marked by ongoing problems of exclusion from social groups. Is a child better off thinking that everyone likes them a lot and they are good at everything or that no-one can please everyone and that they, as everyone, have their weaknesses too? I agree that nurturing a child’s self-esteem is most important to their developing

If a parent constantly acts as a buffer between their child and adversity, how will they learn to cope and be resilient? emotional and psychological health. To have a high self-esteem, children need to feel unconditionally accepted and loved for who they are. They do not need to feel they have never done wrong, been incompetent or got lost. A child gains self-esteem and feels a strong sense of accomplishment when they are faced with a difficult goal and they reach it on their own. They also gain self-esteem from learning to deal with mistakes. Parents can rest assured that defeat and feelings of frustration, hurt or anxiety, in reasonable amounts, are not detrimental to a child’s self-esteem or their emotional health. There is a lot that parents can do to allow their children these experiences while ensuring that they continue to view the world and themselves in a positive light. Parents can model learning from failure by, when they fail, acknowledging their failure in front of their children, and speaking about learning from the experience and about how they can do better next time. Parents can make sure to praise their children as well as point out their failures. And parents need not overdo praising their child. Doing so teaches children to seek the approval of others rather

than internalising a feeling of competency. A parent whose child asks, ‘Do you like my painting?’ can respond: ‘What do you think of it?’ When a child does poorly at a task but showed good effort, parents can be honest and say their child didn’t do so well while at the same time acknowledging the effort they put into the task or how well they did last time. Yes, it’s a parent’s job to show their child love and to protect their safety. It is, however, not a parent’s job to protect their children so much that they fail to experience and learn to deal with inevitable feelings of disappointment, frustration, sadness and fear. Children need to learn important life lessons when they are young so that they can take these into their adult years when they will face far bigger challenges. Allowing kids to experience life as real, disappointing and hurtful, as it may be, teaches children the exact lesson that they need to learn: that life isn’t perfect and we all go through some difficult times that we have to learn to cope with. If a parent constantly acts as a buffer between their child and adversity, how will they learn to cope and be resilient? Children who only experience success fail to develop the ability to face a challenging task, to delay gratification, to tolerate frustration, and to see their weaknesses and failures. Teaching children these important life lessons early is a gift that parents can give rather than a punishment that parents should avoid. A child who is allowed these experiences is much more likely to feel good about themselves, and to become confident and resilient. The irony is that there is much success to be learned from experiencing failure. The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap by Alvin Rosenfeld and Nicole Wise available from hyperparenting.com

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It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings. Ann Landers

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My Child Magazine January Issue