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Editor’s (first!) Letter Welcome to the first issue of Nurture ~ Natural Parenting Magazine! This issue has been five months in the making. It is quite exciting as I haven’t done anything like this before! As this is the first issue, it may be nice to tell you a little about myself and my introduction to natural parenting and this magazine. My introduction to Natural Parenting I, like most parents, started reading books and magazines during pregnancy. However, most of that mainstream information did not resonate with me. By chance, one day I bought ‘Helping Your Baby to Sleep – Why gentle techniques work best’ by Anni Gethin & Beth Macgregor. It was that book that made me realise that there were more approaches than those most widely advocated, and that I was ‘allowed’ to listen to my instincts. My instincts told me to ditch the pram and the cot! So I’m a breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping and responsive mummy! My history and consequential birth of Nurture Parenting Magazine I completed a law degree

and worked as an employment lawyer for five years before I had my little boy, William. Although I enjoyed being a lawyer, once I held my baby boy for the first time I knew that my legal career had ended. I wanted to stay at home with William to nurture him! Therefore, I had to find something I could do from home. Believe it or not, as soon as I left a psychic (it was the first one I have ever gone to and I did it for a bit of fun!) it dawned on me what my life purpose was! It is to help spread the message of natural parenting. In my view, the most important part of that message is really simple: LISTEN TO AND TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS It may require you to forget everything you have read and everything you have heard. But no one knows your child like you do. So that is how the birth of Nurture Parenting Magazine has come about! Given that message, when reading the articles in this magazine, view them as a useful tool if, and only if, they resonate with you. They are not gospel, the contributors do not know your child. You are the expert when it comes to your child! So please, sit back and enjoy the first edition of Nurture! We have a diverse range of articles, including how the power of touch can assist in gentle discipline, a wonderful article on how to raise resilient children, healthy recipes, tips on growing organic potatoes, and yoga positions that can help ward off winter colds!

Nurture Australia’s

Natural Parenting

Magazine

www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

Editor

Kristy Pillinger

Graphic Design

Karah Edwards & Kellie Forster

Photography

Anne Higgs Photography & Depositphotos

Issue Contributors

Kelly Bartlett, Kristin Beckedahl, Claire Bickle, Prue Blackmore, Kylie De Giorgio, Di Diddle, Sharon Dowley, Claire Eaton, Emily Filmore, Lisa Guy, Dr. Peter Haiman, Maureen Healy, Lisa Kim, Petrea King, Dr. Sarah Lantz, Dr. Deborah MacNamara, Anne McEwan, Melissa Rogers, Dr. Andrew Seaton, Patrice Thomas, Dr. Cassandra Vieten, Arnaum Walkley

Editorial Enquires:

editor@nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

Advertising Enquires:

advertise@nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

Feedback:

feedback@nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

Subscriptions:

subscribe@nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au Printed by Webstar Distributed in Australia by IPS Nurture is published four times a year (March, June, September and December) by Nurture Parenting Magazine Pty Ltd No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written consent of the publisher. All rights reserved. Content within this magazine is information only and not necessarily the views of the editor. It is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider if you are in any doubt regarding any of this information.


Contents

Your Letters Cover photo: Anne Higgs Photography

Physical Development 6 Bushwalk Playgroup By Vicki Kearney

10 Raise em’ Green By Dr. Sarah Lantz

Spiritual Development 71 Nurturing Spirituality By Maureen Healy

Mum and Dad’s Development

31 10 Super Immune Boosting Foods

42 Mindful Mothering

34 Breastfeeding: Position! Position! Position!

52 Blokes at Birth

50 Dealing with Day Sleep Issues

60 A Positive Caesarean Birth

By Lisa Guy

By Sue Cox OAM By Anni Gethin

By Cassandra Vieten By Kristin Beckedahl

By Di Diddle

63 7 Reasons to wear your Baby By Anne McEwan

64 Potty Trainined by Age One! By Dr. Linda Sonna

74 Family Yoga: Immune boosting poses By Kylie DeGiogio

Regular Features 3 Your Letters & Photos 17 Your Story 55 Activity Time

Launching of a natural parenting magazine! I’m so thrilled about the launch of Nurture. We have a beautiful five month old and living in remote NSW can be isolating on the natural parenting front. We get some perplexed looks about baby wearing, not to mention co-sleeping! It will be great to stay informed on natural parenting issues as well as connect with the community and be reminded that there are like minded parents out there. So thank you! Janiece, NSW mum to Frida - 5 mths

Something Great to Read! Thank-you for launching a natural parenting magazine that will have real content in it! I’ve been looking around for a while for more natural parenting information, now I have found it! If

By Emily Filmore

Emotional Development 14 Preventing Sibling Rivalry By Dr Peter Ernest Hiemen

18 Building Resilient Children By Petrea King

26 The Power of Touch ~ How physical affection can assist in discipline By Kelly Bartlett

29 Close in Song

By Tara Hashambhoy

36 Creating Healthy Friendships By Claire Eaton

40 Nurturing Gratitude ~ The Power of a Meaningful Thank-you By Kerry Spina

56 Why Relationships Matter ~ Attachment Parenting in the 21st Century By Dr. Deborah MacNamara

Intellectual Development 24 Children are Little Scientists By Tim Seldin

46 A Truely Nurturing Education Part 1 By Dr Andrew Seaton

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Ask Our Experts 4 Arnaum Walkley 59 Prue Blackmore 23 Beyond Birth

it’s anything like the articles on your website, I know I’m going to enjoy it! Can’t wait to snuggle up on the couch and read the first issue! Julia, (VIC) mum to Jackson - 5 years

Milk Donor information I would be interested in seeing an article on breast milk donation. I have recently become a breast milk donor, however it appears that it is almost a taboo subject. Most breast milk donation is run via an ‘underground’ system. While there are several milk banks, the costs are prohibitive. There are blood banks everywhere, why not milk banks??? Many parents struggle to provide enough milk for their babies, so why not take advantage of the many ‘milky mamas’ out there who would be happy to assist? Naomi, mum to Alexis and Oliver – 10 mths

Write to us

& WIN! Email your letters to

editor@nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

The ‘letter of the quarter’ will win a selection of 100% certified organic baby products (RRP $49.95)

courtesy of:

Your Photos Right: Toby (7 years) finding all his Easter eggs.

By Julia Jones

41 New General Research Results 49 New Brain Research Results 72 Organic Gardening: Winter Potatoes By Claire Bickle

34 What’s Cooking?

Meatballs & Earth biscuits

13 Stone Healing

By Rebecca from All About Amber

78 What’s On

By Melissa Rogers from A Little Bird

54 Dad’s Corner

By John Pillinger

68 Book Reviews

by Sharon Dowley

Above: Laura (2 1/2 years) following in her babywearing mamma’s footsteps! Below: Editor, Kristy, shares her family photos. Below left: My nephew & neice. Below right: My mother at 18 months.

Above right: Lily (21 months) breastfed, cloth nappy, amber wearing independent little girl!

Above: Fraser (3 years) enjoying the great out doors.

Send us your photos

& WIN

Email your photos to

editor@nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

The ‘photo of the quarter’ will win a $60 voucher to spend at

76 Product Reviews 70 Mumprenuer Interview

With Rebecca Vear from Baby Chilli

80 Directory

www.babychilli.com.au www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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The natural organic choice for your baby!

Ask our Experts!

TM

Q

My 4 year old child still has afternoon naps. He is going to start school next year and I don’t know when I should wean him off the afternoon naps?

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A

Arnaum Walkley is a counsellor, parenting coach and accredited NLP Practitioner. Arnaum also provides a supportive and informative service for parents through Parenting Solutions (www.parentingsolutions.com.au)

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www.natureschild.com.au

how he can have some restful ‘down time’. Taking cues from your child will assist the transition, as he will feel acknowledged and empowered that he is part of the plan. Focus on the positives. Naturally as adults we feel that becoming bigger and older is exciting. On the other hand often children are not ready to be a ‘bigger boy or girl’, it is unknown territory and can be quite overwhelming. Moving from Kindy to School may seem like a normal transition for adults but for some children it is like going to a different planet. You may choose to start this process by allowing him to have a sleep every second day. Then shorten his nap time over a week or two. Twenty minutes is usually enough time to rest without going into a deep sleep pattern. Allow him to rest or have a short nap somewhere comfortable that is not a bed, so you are breaking the association of bed and sleep, during the day. Perhaps you can create a new ‘Quiet time’ space together. Bean bags are great for quiet time. Introduce new concepts about how we can rest without sleeping, laying still and reading, or watching a calming DVD, if you feel that is appropriate. He may be grumpy the first few days that you wake him, if he is used to sleeping longer. Sitting with him and having big cuddle, rocking and singing is a lovely way to bring him out of sleep, and help him through this transition ~ it is important to remember that any introduction to change needs to be carried out with empathy and love. As you assist him adjusting his sleep windows, it may be necessary to introduce an earlier bed time. 4 year olds generally need at least 9 ½ - 11 hours sleep a night. If he comes home tired from school he will already be accustom to having ‘quiet time’, which will help everyone at the end of a busy day. Enquire if his school has a ‘quiet time’ for the little ones, in the afternoon so you both know what to expect. To help him maintain his energy levels make sure he is receiving all the nutrients he requires for an active boy. And remember any change takes a while to adjust to, but with love, understanding and guiding boundaries it can happen with ease and joy.

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Although your son still has an afternoon nap, weaning him off them can be done with ease. Changing patterns takes time and it is important to replace an old pattern or behaviour with a new one. As it is mid-year you have plenty of time to make this change. An important consideration is that you as the parent need to be ready to commit to assist him through this change. When a parent has clarity and feels confident in leading their child through change, it will happen with ease. He is looking to you for your leads and reassurance. I suggest that you share with him, why he may not require a day time sleep anymore, and you will be slowly cutting them down. Use simple, specific language. Explain how exciting it may be as you can spend more time together having a quiet time, reading or playing puzzles or just laying in a comfy bean bag for 20 minutes. It may be helpful to him if you chat about other ways to rest and relax, ask him to contribute his ideas of

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Bushwalk Playgroup There is a growing phenomena in Europe of forest kindergartens. It is a refreshing concept of having our children live, laugh and learn in a natural environment. Vicki Kearney provides a wonderful description of her bushwalk playgroup in Samford just outside of Brisbane

Photo: Depositphotos

“Knock,

knock, knock. founder of Whistlebrae Nature revealing the magic that the world has May we come Kindergarten speaks of children being to offer. Often a child will spot a hairy in?” I ask, tapping the old wooden post allowed to have a childhood, not a caterpillar or a stick insect on our path with the knuckles of my hand. And just melted down version of adulthood. The and we love to all stop, get down on below on the same post, in a similar young child’s work is to play. There is no our haunches and have a closer look. manner, are the hands of the little hurry, no preparation for kindergarten Butterflies flutter by regularly and whip children, imitating so beautifully. The or school. At the creek, they are just birds call out. But it’s all part of the walk. fairies always allow us into their garden, ‘allowed to be’. In fact, the more I sit This is not a teaching expedition and the gateway to the creek. We would not in observation, offering few words or therefore I do not impose my questions think to pass without respectfully asking instruction the better! on the children. We, the adults, are there permission to play at their house! It is interesting to observe each child, as silent witnesses to their childhood, And just beyond, lays the creek bed. how she or he meets each experience or gently guiding them along in their Full with water in the summer and dry challenge. Some children go head first innocence. as a bone in the winter, we experience into it, and others require more time, On our walk the child is able to move the seasons of the year wholesomely and showing signs of anxiety. The adults freely, noise levels are lower and silence truthfully. The trees stand tall above, in the group are particularly aware can seemingly be experienced through guarding us from the hot rays of Father and supportive of not only their own the play of light and dark beneath the Sun, our delicate skin protected. In the child’s needs but of all the children. It canopy of the trees. What does this drier months we are able give to the inner nature of to walk up the creek ‘Outdoors in nature, the child can experience the child, this peace bed, lucky to find a “real” stuff, not plastic. They can learn trust and and tranquillity? The puddle in which to experience wonder, revealing the magic that the song of the stream as throw a few rocks or it flows over the bed of world has to offer.’ fish for the green moss in the stagnant stones singing softly and water. is a blessing to have a Dad come along delicately, calls to the imagination of This is the Bushwalk Playgroup, an each week with his little girl and last the child. Children love the creek and initiative I birthed nearly 2 years ago, year we also had a Grandad. Men bring they love to swim and feel the strength after reading about the Forest or Nature the qualities of physical strength and a in the flow of the water tugging at Kindergartens, a common practice of certain toughness. They slip into that their bodies. Sometimes it is fast and childcare in Europe. This mixed age knowing of what little boys like to do they wonder if they can make it to group of children from babies to 5 when outside; they laugh easily, relaxing the other side. With encouragement years allows each and every child the into the play of the child, reminiscent of from the adult and holding onto a firm opportunity to develop at their own their own early years. ‘How wonderful hand their confidence builds with each pace. The older child whose speech is that Dad can take a day off from his accomplishment. less developed, who prefers to walk more work commitments to come out and be The only toys we bring along are the slowly is able to be with the younger with me!’ little wooden boats; otherwise we make child, not having to be measured up Outdoors in nature, the child can use of Mother Nature’s toys. against his peers. experience ‘real’ stuff, not plastic. They The children have their own little Claire Warden from Scotland, can learn trust and experience wonder, backpacks with food and water and

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a change of clothing. My son built a sturdy trolley with a high shaft and big pneumatic tyres which always comes with us. Generally all the gear ends up in here. I carry a towel and blanket and a lightweight tarp in case of rain. We go whatever the weather and to this day have not had a cancellation. As a child, up to the age of seven, I lived with my family on a cattle property near Kilcoy, north-west of Brisbane, before attending the local state school. Most of my waking hours were spent outside and I have many fond memories of going to the creek. I feel comfortable in the natural world and now into my 50’s I am able to walk alongside this new generation, sharing the respect I have for the Earth and its creatures. I believe that the child will only embrace the richness of the environment if the adults who surround him are genuinely and truthfully enjoying the experience. Therefore, I do notice that the adults who come to the group with their children are usually quite at ease with nature. They often go camping or bushwalking as a family or have been raised on a farm and therefore want an experience like this for their child.

I carry a small first aid kit in my own backpack, yet have only had to use some lavender oil for an ant bite. We are very mindful of creatures that like the privacy of their own homes, and therefore do not poke sticks or throw stones their way. As a reminder to us all, each week, last thing before beginning our walk we share this verse by Christina Rossetti:

“Hurt no living thing Ladybird nor butterfly Nor moth with dusty wings Nor cricket chirping cheerily Nor grasshopper so light of leap Nor dancing gnat Nor beetle fat Nor harmless worms that creep” And finally, Claire Warden’s words from a workshop at Customs House in Brisbane 2010 echo back at me.

“We, as the adult must stand our ground, become a bigger voice for the sake of preserving childhood. All of us must remember what it was like in our own childhood to go barefoot through the grass, to investigate puddles and make petal perfume.” And so I have found a way, be it in a small way, to support the healthy growth of these little children. Vicki Kearney lives with her husband and family in Samford, Brisbane. They have four children, two now independent young adults and the other two attending the local Steiner school. Vicki feels it is through her long standing association with this community that she gathered the courage and inspiration to begin such an initiative.

Westgarth Kindergarten, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, offers Australia’s first 4 year old ‘Bush Kinder’ . For more info, contact bushkinder@wgkg.vic.edu.au

Research with early years and primary children and their teachers in Forest Kindergarten/School settings (compared to traditional settings) is beginning to gather evidence of significant benefits, including: 1. Motivation and concentration – more imaginative and independent play, greater ability to focus on a task and concentrate for extended periods of time 2. Language and communication – better listening skills and more sophisticated conversations stimulated by firsthand experience and active play 3. Health and wellbeing, including physical skills - less absences, greater stamina and fine motor skills; improved balance and co-ordination 4. Knowledge and understanding – early understanding, appreciation and respect for their natural surroundings 5. Confidence and self-esteem – from being able to demonstrate independence and achieve manageable tasks; able to overcome concerns about being outdoors in almost all weathers, all year round 6. Social skills – better awareness of self and others, and consequences of actions on others; able to share tools and tasks with others, and take part in co-operative play 7. New perspectives – Teachers/ leaders/ carers gain new insights into innate skills and learning styles of children; children and teachers learn to trust each other more and work within agreed boundaries 8. Ripple effect beyond – Teachers learn and gain new experience and skills informing their classroom practice; enthusiasm of children for the outdoors can lead to changes in behaviour - eg. families go out walking in the bush more This is an edited extract from the “Forest Kindergarten Summary Sheet” by Forest Commission, Scotland, which can be found at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FKreportAppendix. pdf/$FILE/FKreportAppendix.pdf

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Raise Em’ Green Chemicals are everywhere ~ they are in food packaging, skin care, soil and even the air we breath. Dr. Sarah Lantz explains how chemicals have a greater health effect on children than adults, and how we can raise our children in a more ‘green’ way.

Sunday morning industrial chemicals in 1930 to some 400 after, have an open blood-brain barrier at first light, we million tonnes being produced annually that welcomes most chemicals through lift our small sleepy children from their today. This is not to deny the many its membranic structure. warm slumber and make our way to our benefits and immediate conveniences This means that we are currently local organic farmers markets. This early that the global chemical industry has birthing a generation of pre-polluted morning ritual means that we are sure made to our fast-paced, consumer children. Pesticides, brominated flamenot to miss out on the choicest morsels driven lives, but to also recognise that retardants, dioxin, methylmercury, of grass fed organic meat, the tastiest the production of chemicals is moving parabens, triclosan, vinyl, phthalates, fermented kimchi and kombucha, raw, faster than our ability to thoroughly bisphenol A and other synthetic cultured butter and cream from the assess the risks of these chemicals. Over chemicals are regularly detected in the cranky dairy women, eggs with yolks as 80,000 chemicals are now registered blood and tissue of our freshly birthed bright as a sunset, and local fruits and for use in Australia (38,000 industrial babies, young children, and women vegetables snap fresh the previous day. chemicals) and 75% of these have never of reproductive age. These chemicals Supporting organic farmers is the been tested for their toxicity on the come from our everyday personal care main part of our family’s spiritual human body or the environment. products, cosmetics, food and food practice. And I want to tell you why. And one thing is certain – children packaging, on surfaces and in the soil, Our children today live in an suffer a disproportionate share of the water and air, building materials, and environment that is vastly cleaning products. We ‘One thing is certain - children suffer a different from that of a inhale them, we ingest generation ago. They face disproportionate share of the chemical burden’ them, we absorb them hazards that were neither into our bodies. And while known nor imagined a few decades ago. chemical burden. They are particularly the long-term health effects of these Technological advances, new industrial vulnerable due to their lower body toxicants are yet to be fully realized, what processes, changes in food production weight, lower metabolic rates and fewer we do know, is that exposure has been and processing, intensified urbanism, detoxifying enzymes that do not process linked with a range of new childhood climate change, and increased consumer or excrete toxins the way adults’ bodies morbidities including congenital consumption of - media, processed do. They digest more food and water malformations, diabetes, allergenicity, foods and drinks, alcohol, personal and breathe more than adults per kilo generalised immune disorders, obesity, care products and cosmetics - have not of body weight. They have a higher intellectual impairments, autism, only significantly changed the quality of skin surface area to body weight ratio asthma, neurological and behavioral life (and life patterns) for children and than adults, and the skin of children is conditions, and preterm birth. young people compared to previous more permeable resulting in enhanced But I am sure we must have generations, but have also radically absorption of chemicals. Physiologically, regulations that protect our children increased the amount of industrial children also dwell closer to the ground from such wickedness? chemicals that they are also routinely exposing them to residues from gardens, While Australia has taken some exposed to. car exhausts, flooring and carpets and significant steps in relation to The global chemical industry has can experience sustained exposure due environmental health, ratifying a risen 400-fold since 1930, escalating to their restricted mobility. And babies, number of international conventions from around one million tonnes a year of when they are born and for months and agreements pertaining to the rights

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Photo: Depositphotos

Every

of the child and chemical regulations, such that we have some recognised concern for the future, it currently does not convert this concern into a recognisable moral imperative to legislate. There is currently no specific legislation to protect children from environmental hazards. Nor is there any comprehensive national program, policy, agenda or organisation that specifically focuses on children’s environmental health in Australia. This lack of a regulatory framework in Australia means that the domestic routines of family life with young children - whilst often seeming isolated and detached from public life – are inextricably bound to the most urgent public health issues of our times. As a mother I watch how school lunches are linked to global systems of agriculture (predominately industrial agriculture such as feedlots and corn subsidies); most family sunscreens can be linked to some of the most powerful known carcinogens on the planet; the persistent brominated flame-retardants that are woven into the fabric of our children’s pagamas are without proof of safety (and showing up in the blood cord of new born babies); and our Sunday outing to pick local strawberries – fumigated by the vaporous pesticide methyl bromide - can be directly linked to the stability of the stratospheric ozone layer. (The imperative to phase out the use of this fumigant is to hastily replace it with methyl iodide which exhibits a remarkable propensity to target the brain and nervous system, and damage the developing fetus – not much of a choice really). It makes me think about the lack of soul it takes to build such an industry where profit comes before health – in particular our children’s health.

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A salient feature of chemical exposure though, and one that gives me great hope and possibility, is that chemical exposure is largely an act of human activity, and because of this, it is a preventable and modifiable risk factor for most diseases. The decisions we make today - as parents, policy makers, chemists, governments - in relation to the use of chemicals in the environment will directly (and indirectly) affect the heath of our children – both the current generation and future generations. And for us as parents to two small children, toxicity, of any kind, is not a consumer choice. Nor should it be for any parent! This is precisely why we choose to put our money to support an agricultural system that does not rely on toxic chemicals to produce the food we eat, the creams and lotions we put on our bodies, or the cleaning products for our household. We choose to support prevention. And organic farmers do just that. By buying organics I nourish my families body and skin and at the same time work towards the prevention of cancer, birth defects, asthma and behavioral disorders in my local area.

For us, the spiritual practice of organics is ethical, cost-effective (because it is also disease and illness preventative) and connects us to a vibrant, earthy community. It also importantly connects me to the earth. And I don’t know about you, but when I am connected to the rhythms of the earth – the seasonality of local vegetables and fruit, the endless heartbeat of the ocean, the times of bee pollination - I am a much more peaceful parent. Richard Louv coined the ‘naturedeficient disorder’ i.e. the disconnection we have from nature. His goal is to reduce this ‘disorder’. Why? Because it is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depends upon it. Exposure to nature reduces diseases, improves cognitive abilities and resistance to stresses. John Muir’s quote is also apt here: ‘When one tugs at a single thing in nature, (s)he finds it attached to the rest of the world’. Last Sunday morning at the markets, after collecting our fresh bounty for the week, I watched my children (and kids generally) forage in the connecting

children’s garden - dig their hands into fresh compost, pull out worms and weeds, dig holes, plant seeds. I watch them nibble on the rocket flowers, and shamelessly climb the orange laden branches of the mandarin tree to pick the juiciest fruit at the top. And when they come back to me laden with grimy covered clothes, fruit stains on their faces, and dirt under their finger nails, I know I am on track as a parent. And this gives me peace. Raising em’ green is awesome. And it’s a choice! Dr. Sarah Lantz is a Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, mother and author of the bestselling book Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World. For more information on what chemicals are doing to your child and tips on how to raise chemical free kids, visit Dr. Lantz’s blog www.nontoxsoapbox.com or go to www.chemicalfreeparenting.com Until the end of August, receive a free Minessence gift pack worth $30 when you order the book Chemical Free Kids Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World from www.chemicalfree parenting.com.

Stone

Remedies Rebecca from All About Amber answers readers questions and explains the healing properties of semi~precious stones

Q

Active Child with Troubled Sleep

Hi, My daughter can’t sit still. She is so active and has trouble sleeping. She runs everywhere and is always into everything. Her attention is all over the place and I find it hard to get her to focus on anything at one time. She is 6 years old and has trouble in class as well as the teacher often finds her distracting other children. Melissa, Melbourne.

A

Your daughter sounds like my son – he has been like that forever. I find that when he is wearing his necklace made from Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli and Amber that this tends to help him stay focussed more and be able to concentrate. I also think that the immune boost from Turquoise is great for him – being that age they tend to pick up everything from school. I like the combination of these stones they tend to cater for a wide variety of things that a lot more children are being troubled with.

Q

Very Dry and Scaly Skin

Do you have anything that can help with my son as he gets very dry and scaly skin. I think it might be eczema. He also has bad reflux and tends to have a really high acidic level I think. Julie from Central Coast. I think that you would need to look at some Hazelwood and Amber combination – the

A

Hazelwood will help reduce the acidic levels in your sons body and help to create a balance for him. I would suggest a necklace with Amber in it also because of the Succinic levels in Amber working together with Hazelwood should help to relieve the reflux and reduce the dry scaly skin.

Stone of the Quarter LAPIS LAZULI Birthstone – December Zodiac –Taurus and Sagittarius Typical Colours – Deep Blue flecked with gold (pyrite)

Lapis Lazuli is a protective stone when carried with you – It stimulates and quickly releases Stress, Tension and Anxiety. Lapis Lazuli alleviates Pain, especially that of a migraine Headache. It overcomes depression, benefits the respiratory and nervous system. It cleanses organs, benefits the thyroid, overcomes hearing loss, purifies blood and boots the immune system. It alleviates insomnia and vertigo and helps to lower blood pressure. It is known to help with the following things: epilepsy, fainting, pain, panic attacks, back ache, immune system, sleep, insomnia, detoxifying the body, vertigo, depression, anxiety, OCD, self confidence, self esteem, restlessness, autism, nervous system, self-acceptance, MS. It may also aid in ADD/ADHD and mental awareness – as it calms nervousness and fidgety hands.

All of the stones and necklaces in this column are available from www.allaboutamber.com.au

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Preventing Sibling Rivalry Dealing with one child can be hard enough! But when a second child comes along there can be mixed feelings for the older child. More often than not parents are the referees of fighting, which is normally the result of sibling rivalry. Dr. Peter Ernest Haiman explores ways to prevent such rivalry.

Photo: Depositphotos

A

Understanding the cause of sibling plethora of books, articles, relaxed, valued, and secure. videos, and advice about how rivalry is the only way parents can It is very important for parents to to prevent or to handle sibling rivalry is prevent or reduce it. And the child’s realize that if an older child feels his or available for parents with two or more sense of security is the key to this. The her needs will not be met, that child will children. But to what degree is all this cause of sibling rivalry stems from the feel frustrated. This frustration can grow information useful? How valuable is it idea that the young sibling is a threat to quickly into an anger that this child the older child’s secure sense of self. really? then takes out on a younger sibling. Let’s look more closely at what I’m In fact, many experts fail to do what Parents who think 3, 4, or 5 year old is perhaps most important when it comes calling the child’s secure sense of self. siblings already feel completely secure to dealing with sibling rivalry: look at The sense of self—secure or insecure—is greatly misunderstand the normal what is happening through the child’s how the child feels as an individual and developmental needs of preschool-age emotional eyes. And so the parents they as a family member. It is the emotional children. These parents sow the seeds of advise also fall short in this way. Parents picture each child has of himself or sibling rivalry. try hard to be helpful, but they do so herself. A child’s secure sense of self Consider how this happens. A child from the point of view of a caring parent. develops gradually through interactions is 2 or 3 years of age, and onto the scene They don’t always understand what their with the child’s primary caregivers. comes a new baby. The older child still How parents respond to their infant’s children are trying to tell them. has strong needs to feel secure in the For a moment, imagine yourself or young child’s very existence is the parents’ love, still feels vulnerable, still as an infant. Look at and feel things as crucial determinant of that child’s sense is learning to build trust. But the baby they’re experienced through an infant’s of security. is far more dependent and its needs emotional eyes. are stronger. And, in ‘Understanding the cause of sibling rivalry is the the eyes of the older A baby can’t do anything for itself. only way parents can prevent or reduce it. And the child, the baby gets It is completely all the affection and child’s sense of security is the key to this.’ vulnerable. It attention. Mummy is depends on its primary always soothing its cries! Consider two mothers who are on caregiver for its safety and for the Mummy is always holding and rocking the phone when their 18-month-old fulfilment of all its needs. it! The very care-giving behaviours the Starting as infants, children need to daughter begins fussing. Jill’s mother older child still needs within the family learn with whom they can feel safe. They holds her phone with one shoulder as are now being given regularly to the need to learn whom they can trust. They she prepares and hands a bottle to her younger sibling. So the younger child is need to feel fully secure in the love of daughter. Jill sits on the floor and feeds, perceived by the older child as a threat significant others so they are resilient while her mother talks to her friend. On to his or her security. and don’t feel overly vulnerable when the other hand, Jane’s mother promises The older child thinks, “I was another child comes along. Although her friend to phone back later. She takes receiving all that love and attention from research shows that children need this Jane on her lap and smiles at and talks my parent. It made me feel special. I felt kind of responsive and consistent pattern with her while she feeds, and is alert to safe. Now everything’s going to the baby, of love to develop security, these findings any other unmet needs that might cause not me. I feel bad. I’m scared. I’m angry! have been insufficiently emphasized by her daughter’s fussing. It isn’t hard to When the baby gets everything because imagine which child feels more loved, most child development experts. it is more dependent than I am, that www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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the older child’s toy, to stave off World War IV, you can give the older child a hug, look into his eyes, and say, “Your sister has been watching you play! She’s imitating how you do it. You’re a great older brother. Maybe you can play with her and show her what else you know.” Another way to counteract sibling rivalry is for parents to model cooperation. You can show your children how to cooperate and can articulate the value of cooperation. For example, at dinnertime, the mother might cook while the father sets the table. Often this is done silently. An important opportunity for teaching values is missed. Instead, the father can say to the kids, “Look, in this family we’re a team. We believe in working together. I could use your help setting the table. Which colour napkins would you like to put on the table tonight, the pink or the green?” As they grow older, the children can participate in more advanced cooperative tasks and chores, as well as fun activities, either together or with

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Your Story

adult family members. When one child helps a sibling, you can acknowledge that behaviour by saying, “See, cooperation makes it happen. I’m proud of you kids!” Modelling and talking about cooperative behaviour can improve interpersonal relationships within the family. But the single most important thing for parents to understand is that the older child must realise the younger sibling is not a threat. Parents must ensure the older child feels the younger sibling is an asset to the older child’s secure sense of self. This is the basic remedy for sibling rivalry.

Kelly Pillinger tells her heartbreaking journey through sleep training to natural parenting

When it comes to re-telling the story of the most traumatic parenting experience for my son and I, it is one that brings surging emotions to the fore front of my mind in just two little words. Sleep Clinic. During pregnancy, I devoured every written word by Gloria LeMay and Sheila Kitzinger and found whatever I could on natural birth. However, when I thought about parenting, I didn’t read anything because I felt that it would just come naturally, where unlike birth, I wouldn’t need to fight the system. Looking back now I realize how wrong I was. The birth of my son was, and remains, the highlight of my life. Supported by my doula, my journey to motherhood exceeded my expectations. The days and weeks following were blissful where I breastfed him on demand and co-slept. Being a new and young mother at only 19, I was rather unsupported and knew no other parents of my age and consequently, contacted the local community health centre to attend a mothers group. My intentions were to find other new mothers and dote over our babies while enjoying a coffee, but what I received was chastisement by the child health nurses for co-sleeping with my son. The words spoken to me will always incite anger inside of me which were ‘you are an ineffective mother for disabling your sons emotional health’. Sounds like a theory from the 1980’s, but Richard Ferber syndrome was well and truly alive in 2004. Regrettably, but not surprisingly, my confidence was shattered and I felt I needed to follow their advice for the health of my son. I was referred to a week long stay at a sleep clinic when he was 8 months old. Without going into too much depth (because it hurts too much) my son was broken. He trusted me to be there for his every need, and now he was in an unfamiliar place with strangers leaving him to cry. One night it was 3 hours of solid screaming where nurses refused to let me get him. My precious little boy screamed so long because he didn’t give up on me.

Dr. Peter Ernest Haiman has met with parents for over four decades to resolve child and adolescent rearing problems. He has also provided individual psychotherapy to adults and adolescents over the past 25 years. Dr. Haiman also created and directed the privately funded Parent and Child Centre in Cleveland, USA

Photo: Depositphotos

threatens my sense of self.” Of course, the child’s thoughts aren’t so articulate, but this is the gist of his or her feeling. The threat to the older child’s sense of self can be felt especially severely if that child’s powerful early needs for love, attention, recognition, and a trustworthy environment were frustrated and not adequately met. This is the cause of sibling rivalry: the older child perceives the younger sibling’s very existence as a threat to his or her security. If this is the cause of rivalry, then inherent in the cause is its prevention or cure. Sibling rivalry can be prevented if the older child learns to see the presence of the younger child as something that enhances the secure sense of self of the older child. But how, you might ask, can this be done in day-to-day life with children? If you are able to see through the emotional lens of the older child, what to do becomes obvious. Here are some examples. Many children aged 3 to 5 are in day care or preschool and know a teacher. These youngsters see teachers as important and helpful people. They feel proud when a parent likens them to a teacher. This parental expression of love and recognition, therefore, builds the older child’s secure sense of self and reduces or eliminates sibling rivalry. For instance, when your baby begins to crawl, you can approach the older child and say in a pleased manner, “Look, your sister is starting to crawl. Guess who taught her how to crawl? You did! She’s copying you. You’re a good teacher!” The older child is getting love and recognition from you. What is the cause for these good feelings? From child’s point of view, it’s the baby. Why would the older child continue to be contemptuous or feel rivalrous toward a younger sibling when the older child sees the younger sibling as the reason he or she is receiving affection, attention, and recognition from their parents? When the younger child starts to use a fork or cup at the dinner table, you can go to the older sibling and whisper excitedly, “Look, your brother’s holding his cup by himself. Who do you think showed him how to hold a cup? Your brother learned from watching you! He likes you and imitates you. You’re important. I’m proud of you.” When the younger child appropriates

Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck. I was told my son was too attached, too dependent, and that I could take antidepressants to support me as I learnt to parent correctly. I was lost..... and so was my son. When I arrived home, you will be happy to know that after a big heart to heart with my mother, we refused to implement their controlled crying program. The centre rang me about a week later to make sure I was following their schedule and after I told them I wasn’t an abusive parent, they hung up on me. It saddens me deeply that mothers are so unsupported in our community. What saddens me more is that babies and children are less supported and treated like a hindrance to be silenced instead of a joy to be cherished. The greatest lesson I have learnt in my parenting journey has been from my perfect son. He never gave up on me and I never gave up on him. Now he is 8 years old and still sleeps in his mummas bed along with his 6 year old brother and 18 month old sister. Comfort should never be controlled or withheld. We can learn everything we need from our babies if we just take the time to listen to them. I hope my story can provide support to other mothers out there. Trust your instincts, you have everything you need to parent perfectly already within you.

If you would like to share your natural parenting story with other natural parents, simply e-mail it to editor@nurtureparentingmagazine.com au

Each published letter will also receive three books from Pick-a-Woo-Woo Books valued at $44.85.

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Building Resilient Children Resilience

is

a

paramount in building resilience and our social and learning capabilities. Babies and young children are acutely aware of the atmosphere around them and are constantly seeking affirmation of their relationship to the larger world. This of course, begins principally with the parents. In the best of all possible worlds, when a baby is born, it is placed into the arms of a mother who has eagerly awaited her or his arrival along with a doting father ready to support, love and encourage them both. The birth goes smoothly without any unexpected events, the baby feeds normally and the bonding deepens between parents and child.

to the pupil of her eye. When we give attention to something that greatly treasured quality that we can build in interests us, the pupil of the eye dilates. ourselves and in our children. It can be When the baby sees the dilated pupil both learned and taught. In this rapidly of the parent, it excites the brain to evolving world, resilience and the ability produce neurotransmitters which in to adapt to a changing environment turn, literally grow the connections is a skill that allows us to grow in our within her brain. Perhaps you remember capacities and respond to the challenges reading about the Rumanian orphans that are happening all around us. many years ago who were left in their While it is natural for parents to want cribs and were not cuddled or interacted to protect their children from any kind with, and neither their bodies nor brains, of trauma, it is also wise to recognise developed normally. that some of these challenges will come Resilience begins in its very whether we, and they, are prepared rudimentary form through developing for them or not. These could be wide a loving network that begins with the and varied including natural disasters, parents and gradually extends out to social dislocation when friends move a wider circle of people who love her. away, when a loved When she has needs, ‘It is increasingly recognised that the first three they are met. If she family member or pet dies, when years of a child’s life are paramount in building re- is hungry, thirsty, they feel left out, silience and our social and learning capabilities’ hot, cold, tired or We know that when babies are born soiled, she is cared for and her needs are bullied or ‘different’ and, as children grow older, perhaps through rapidly the brain is incredibly ‘plastic’ as she met. This gradually builds a reassurance evolving technology, a changing adapts to the tumult of information in her that even though, up until now climate, challenges within the economic received and is busy building neural she’s relied on ‘womb service’, now that environment, family dislocation or other connections to make sense of her she is on the outside of her mother’s unforeseen events, all of which impact world. Already she has picked up a lot body, everything is alright and that she of information while in utero where she is loved and cared for. significantly upon them. We all yearn to raise resilient has been affected by her mother’s diet In the first few weeks of life a baby children who can deal with whatever and lifestyle choices, routines and her often prefers to be firmly wrapped up challenges they might face in their emotions. These have begun to affect as this mimics her experience in utero, lives. This resilience, the ability to grow the genetic expression within the cells especially towards the end when space through our challenges, consists of of the baby’s body through chemical was at a premium! If you leave her arms certain beliefs, attitudes and behaviours interactions with receptor sites on the and legs to jerk about, she doesn’t yet that we can help instill in our children, surface of the cell membrane. understand what is happening as the We use to believe that babies couldn’t neural networks haven’t yet been laid but firstly we need to understand the see when they were born. Now we know down or strengthened. very beginnings of resilience. It is increasingly recognized that that their eyes are perfectly focused to At about eight weeks of age a baby the first three years of a child’s life are go from the crook of the parent’s arm discovers that she has a body. Often

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Photos: Depositphotos

Every Parent wishes that they could shelter their child from traumatic events. However, this is not always possible or indeed desirable. Petrea King examines the ways in which we can raise our children to ensure that they can deal with whatever life throws at them.

it is the hands that she sees first; these amazing fingers and hands that seem to have some relationship to her. In time, she realizes that she can control their movements. As a baby settles into her body and builds all the connecting pathways that will allow her to move her head, roll over, sit, crawl, stand and walk – in the best of all possible worlds, everybody cheers and claps at each milestone. This encouragement is tremendously important as she is dependent on feedback from the people around her, to build her confidence in continuing to make efforts despite failing over and over again. When she is cheered along and celebrated she feels encouraged and that the people who love her, believe in her capabilities. As she persists in her efforts and accomplishes the various stages of physical maturation, she is drinking in through her eyes, her ears and her tactile senses the feelings of, “I’m gorgeous! I’m lovable! I’m loved! I’m loving! I can take on the world! That’s who I am!” There is a feeling of being invincible that comes from feeling loved and supported by the people who know you best and accept you just the way you are.

These feelings of glee and happiness that our little ones experience are truly a delight to witness. However, an equal bonanza of joy is going on within the child’s body while she is building confidence in her abilities. Next to the brain, the gut secretes the most neurotransmitters – the chemicals and hormones of our emotions. So while she is accomplishing these outer physical feats, the chemical state within her body, is an inner reflection. As the multitude of ‘joy’ neurotransmitters flood out to every cell of her body, they lock onto receptor sites on the surface of the cell membrane, like a key going into a lock. This in turn, provides a profoundly positive message to the interior of the cell virtually telling the cell to optimize its performance. And there is indeed a ‘joy’ neurotransmitter called anandamide which activates the endo-cannibinoid system in the body. Ananda is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘bliss’ and, on the surface membrane of most of the cells in our bodies, is a cannabinoid receptor site – a lock, waiting for the key of anandamide to activate it. When we and our children experience bliss, it is this

hormone anandamide that the body is producing. It is the chemical responsible for the ‘runners high’ when athletes break through the pain barrier and feel a profound sense of exhilaration; we secrete it when we are in ‘flow’ or in a state of complete absorption where time seems to not exist. We also secrete it when we meditate and research has shown that experienced Buddhist monks and Christian nuns all secrete this marvelous little chemical when absorbed in prayer and meditation. Very young children of course, are constantly absorbed in the present moment and this endo-cannibinoid system is an import part of their biological growth. Anandamide provides a profoundly positive message to the cell to increase its good health and functioning. We know that young children laugh far more frequently than adults so therefore are also producing more anandamide than adults. Adults too are often pre-occupied with the past and the future while young children are more absorbed in the present moment. This is an important part of their physical and emotional development and indeed, something we can relearn from our children – the

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Babies and young children are, by and large, open and loving towards everyone regardless of these differentiators. When young children and babies hear parents or others in regular contact with them habitually speaking of individuals or groups with criticism, sarcasm, fear or hatred they ‘feel’ the tone of voice that carries the adult’s judgment. Young children have no idea what it is being discussed but, in time, they put together the recurring name of the person or group and the feeling of judgment that accompanies it and in this way we train them to likewise judge. This builds a sense of separation in the child – an ‘us’ and ‘them’ – where previously, it was natural for them to feel interconnected to everyone. Children’s bodies and brains react to these sounds by activating their fight or flight system and they secrete increased amounts of adrenalin and cortisol. These chemicals also lock onto specific receptor sites on the membrane surface of cells instructing some to speed up so they are ready for activity so that the child can fight or flee the threat and, in

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when they arise and may impede our school upset or when the adults around gradually wanes as a child becomes adaptability, flexibility and durability, them are dealing with relationship caught up with the busy-ness of life and all of which are essential if we are to be breakdown, separation issues, illness, its challenges. Unstructured play time grief or depression. Some people think is tremendously important as is quiet, resilient. The beginnings of resilience have that children are mostly oblivious to day-dreaming time. Often parents want been laid down by the time we are three these peripheral stresses in their lives to bring a child out of solitary reflective time by interacting with them when this years of age in the ways mentioned: but this is a great error in judgment. Science has now proved what may be a very valuable time for a baby’s mastering our physical body; being seduced by the, “I’ll be happy when” intuitively our grandmothers knew: a brain and body to integrate the myriad story; picking up the judgments of those happy stable loving child grows up in a of experiences they are subject to. It is natural for young children to around us and finding our place in the happy stable loving environment. The family dynamics, are all well under way neurochemistry laid down in the first be compassionate and caring. A young by our third birthday. These experiences three years of life has a profound impact child doesn’t require knowledge of haven’t gone in as a conscious awareness upon the child’s growing brain and body. your bank account or your educational history in order for them to but as an unconscious biochemical state bestow upon you their in our body. They have ‘Some people think that children are mostly bountiful love. literally been wired oblivious to these peripheral stresses in their lives As children grow into our cells by the but this is a great error in judgement’ and realise there are things regular secretion of the to be achieved and challenges to be habitual neurotransmitters that we have Young children have a natural overcome, they may lose this capacity secreted in response to our physical, emotional and social environment. Over capacity to be still and enjoy the present to find pleasure in the simple things of the ensuing years, children continue to moment. As babies and very young life. In addition, many children become build or shape these experiences and, as children, we were content with very sensitive to the upsets in their lovedwe become more aware, we each have simple pleasures derived from our ones or the wider world. These are some the potential to change and adapt as we senses. Just taking on all the new sounds, areas I’ll explore in future articles. sensations, smells, sights and tastes was We can build resilience in our learn new ways of responding. Children are often overlooked a full time job! This ability to be happily children by giving them practical skills MB_magad_2105.pdf 22/5/12 6:16:08 PM when there is a world tragedy, family or absorbed in whatever activity is at hand and strategies to utilise whenever

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delights of being fully absorbed in the present moment. On a more subtle level, babies and young children are also marinating in the judgments of those around them and these also have a significant impact on children’s development. While children don’t understand the intellectual underpinnings of many adult conversations, they are acutely aware of the ‘sound’ or tone of the voices around them. There is a tone of voice that conveys judgment; there’s a sound conveyed by resentment, fear or despair and a sound around blame, frustration and anger. Children don’t understand the beliefs that adults may hold, but they can certainly ‘read’ the feeling being expressed and will associate that tone of voice with the subject of the adult’s judgment. In this way children learn to close their hearts and minds to whomever their family sees as ‘the others’ – those that are richer, poorer, better educated, less educated, from a different religion, sexual orientation or cultural background.

other cells, the receptor site suppresses activity of the cell as it is not needed when flight and fight is activated, for example, their immune cells. The secretion of adrenalin and cortisol is necessary at times when we need to run away from a valid fear or to front up and deal with it and these physical activities use up the benefit of these chemicals. However, when a child feels stressed often, these chemicals negatively activate and speed up some processes in the body as well as suppress the capacities of the child’s immune system. There is a third ‘f ’ in the fight, flight system and that is ‘freeze’. Children don’t have the history, experience, understanding or perspective to know how to remove themselves from stressful situations and so they have a tendency to just close down and go into ‘freeze’ instead. This habitual response can often be carried well into adulthood. Another habit young children are picking up is the, “I’ll be happy when…” story. They hear their parents and others constantly saying, “I’ll be happy when we go on holidays,” or “I’ll be happy when I get a pay rise,” or “I’ll be happy when we move to a bigger house, get a better car, finish this project” and so on. Babies are absorbed in the present moment but before long, as they begin to take on and understand language, young children begin the same story with, “I’ll be happy when my birthday comes, when I turn five, when I go to school.” And in time, this develops further into, “I’ll be happy when I leave school, when I get my qualification, find the perfect partner, get married, have children, when they leave, when the divorce comes through!” This pattern of postponing our happiness to a future time when things are different from how they are right now, is very deeply acculturated into all of us. Lastly, babies and young children are finding their way into the family dynamics depending on whether or not they have siblings. We might find that we get positive feedback or attention because we are pretty, smart, responsible, capable, sickly, bright, the black sheep, the unusual one, musical, the peace maker or any number of other possibilities and we begin to practice the strategies and patterns that bring us what we crave – attention and affirmation that we matter. These unconscious patterns dictate the way we deal with challenges

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they feel anxious or upset. We do this best by being a living demonstration to our children because as we all know, children watch what we do rather than follow what we say! When we grow through life’s challenges and disappointments we can share with our children how and why we did so. This is something that needs to be taught to children and is a vital part of them learning to be capable when life’s unexpected disasters or disappointments happen. Spending time with children explaining to them how they can build resilience and reading them stories where children demonstrate these qualities helps children understand how they can embrace their difficulties in life with skill. Over the past twenty seven years I have listened to thousands of stories from adults who were physically, sexually or emotionally abused as children. Paradoxically, many of these people find that once they integrate these past emotional wounds, they find some of the strengths that they developed because of these painful experiences. They may have developed resilience, self-reliance, capabilities and determination. I have also heard many adults say that they had such a happy experience as a child that it never prepared them to deal with difficulties and disappointments when they encountered them! Either way, as parents, we can actively promote and teach resilience skills to our children or grandchildren and equip them as adults to grapple meaningfully and creatively with the challenges they will encounter in both their personal and global lives. The best start to building resilience we can give children is to provide a stable, loving early life that is based on routines and regularities and where children are encouraged to play, daydream and express their creativity. This first article serves to form a basis for future ones that will focus on dealing with nightmares, relationship difficulties, death of a loved one or a pet and many other challenges that children encounter. You’re welcome to write in with your particular areas of interest as well so that we can make these articles as practical and useful for you as possible.

Petrea King is the author of childrens books, including You, Me & the Rainbow, Rainbow Kids and The Rainbow Garden, and five books for adults. Petrea is also the Founder and CEO, Quest for Life Foundation www.questforlife.com.au

Beyond Birth

Tips for Building Resilient Children

with Julia Jones

1. Allow them time to master their own physical body 2. Encourage them to: • play • daydream • express their creativity 3. Allow them time to take pleasure in the simple things. For example, when you are going for a walk, allow your children time to stop and inspect what catches their interest 4. Ensure your child finds their place in the family dynamics 5. Model practical skills for dealing with difficult situations. Children learn by watching 6. If you have recently dealt with a difficult situation, explain to your child how and why you dealt with the particular situation 7. Refrain from: • using the words “I’ll be happy when ...” • being judgmental (which is a good thing to stop anyway!)

This issue, Julia busts 3 parenting myths!

1

Bonding is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment

Attachment theory has been wildly misunderstood by many parents, who are led to believe that bonding is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment immediately after birth. Whilst I work with many mothers who are devastated by early separation from their babies I want to reassure you that babies bond with their mothers and other caregivers over a long period of time, somewhere between six months and two years. One in five mothers will find they don’t ‘love’ their babies immediately and this is not necessarily related any postpartum mood disorder. Your baby is a new human being, and you are taking some time getting to know each other. If you don’t feel you bond with your baby straight away you are not a bad mother and there is nothing wrong with you. Just spend time with your baby, talking, cuddling and playing. Be consistent and responsive and you will fall in love with your baby in good time.

2

Nurture means more than nature

A very common example of this is parents who boast about their baby being a ‘good sleeper’ which is usually attributed to either a strict routine or to attachment parenting. I can’t help thinking that the baby was probably naturally a good sleeper, whatever parenting style they chose, because I know many babies who won’t sleep much no matter what you try. Whilst it is certainly true that parenting goes a long way, it is also true that babies are born with a personality and temperament. A calm mother may be shocked to have a baby with low sleep needs who is easily overwhelmed and overstimulated and seems to cry all the time. She might feel very responsible for her baby’s nature or feel judged by other mothers who attribute their baby’s calm, sleepy, easy going nature to nurture, when in fact nature is exactly what it is. The truth is that nature and nurture are 50/50. If you land that high-needs baby it is not your fault, you are not a bad mum and your baby is not a bad baby.

3

You shouldn’t cry in front of your baby

Swearing, calling names or throwing things might scare the baby, and you never want to unload your baggage on your kids. But crying is a healthy way to deal with life’s ups and downs and does not mean you are weak or depressed. Tears mean you are not a machine, and occasionally you need to release some difficult emotions, sometimes at inconvenient times. Of course crying in front of your baby is different to crying to your baby. Crying in a supportive, loving environment can demonstrate empathy and compassion. Babies do not understand that other people have thoughts, feelings, and perspectives different than their own until around the age of four. Since empathy does not happen overnight, until this time your baby will benefit from your use of words and concepts to explain if, why and when you are upset, so that they can learn that you have different feelings than their own. Julia Jones works with pregnant women and new mums who want to avoid feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. She is an Ayurvedic postnatal doula and founder of Newborn Mothers in Perth, Western Australia

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Children are Little Scientists We have all seen how enlivened children are at what seems to be the simplest of things. Tim Seldin writes about the Montessori view of the development of the child’s curiosity.

Children

have an inbuilt drive for discovery. Encourage your child to observe the world and to feel a sense of wonder for everything in it. Maria Montessori believed that all children behave like “little scientists” in that they are eager to observe and make “what if ” discoveries about their world. Infants and toddlers test the environment to see what happens when, for example, they drop a toy out of their highchair or play with the water in their bath. This drive for discovery continues to develop as they grow and become more adventurous in the things that they try out, from making mud pies in the garden to starting a worm farm in the living room. Children are born with marvelous imaginations and a keen desire to explore the world. Encourage this in your child—help her to discover the beauty and wonder of everything around her.

CHILD’S EYE VIEW

Remember that your child’s world is up close and low to the ground. Seeing life from her point of view can help you to rediscover the sense of wonder of a young child. Keep in mind the slow moving pace of her world. Follow your child’s lead, and be prepared to stop and examine anything that captures her interest—a ladybug or a flower, for example. Don’t get impatient when she dawdles—adjust to her pace. The best way for children to learn is by doing things, not by being told about them. This is especially true when they are young, but it also applies to older children and even adults. When children are young, they are not only learning things, they

are learning how to learn. No book using words and illustrations to describe the world that exists around a small creek or under a rotting log can replace the value of spending time closely studying the real thing. Books and other materials help children to pull these powerful impressions and experiences together in their minds, but the foundation needs to be laid in direct observation and handson experience.

THE OUTDOOR WORLD

Children love to be outdoors, wandering around, climbing trees, picking berries, and collecting pinecones. They enjoy helping to look after the family garden or feeding small animals such as ducks, rabbits, and chickens. They form lifelong memories of days spent hiking with their parents in the bush, playing in a creek, and walking along a beach looking for shells. You will probably begin your child’s life outdoors by taking her out for little excursions in her pram or carrying her on your back. Take time to introduce her to your world. Even very young infants absorb the sights and sounds of the outdoors—clouds passing overhead, the sight and smell of flowers in the garden, the wind rustling the leaves in the trees. All these leave a strong and lasting impression. Whether it is summer, autumn, spring, or winter, every season has its own beauty. Point out small things: a tiny flower poking up through the snow, a beautiful shell, a perfect leaf. As your child gets older, begin to point out familiar things as you walk around. “Look, there’s Grandma’s house! What lovely flowers she has growing outside her door!” or “My goodness, Mary, can

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you see the nest those birds have built in the tree? Some day they will lay eggs, and they will have baby birds up there!” In the winter, when you see animal tracks in the mud, ask, “Who has been walking here?”

STEWARDS OF THE PLANET

Another key Montessori idea is that children are stewards of the Earth and must learn to care for distant places such as rainforests and ice caps as well as pockets of nature within the city or suburbs, and to preserve them for the future. Teach your children a reverence for life. After all, we are all part of the web of life, dependent on the delicate balance within the natural world for our own existence. For example, children often learn to think of the soil as “dirt,” a word that implies something nasty to many people. Teach them to respect good, rich soil and all the life that it supports on our planet. Emphasise the need to treat every living thing with care. Teach your child not to pick leaves and flowers aimlessly then toss them aside, but to gather them only for a good purpose. It is OK occasionally to gather wild flowers, then dry or press them or place them in a vase with water to preserve them for as long as possible, but never over-pick any one plant or flower. Teach your child to walk gently upon the Earth, taking only what she needs. Encourage your child to enjoy the forest and bushland, leaving nothing behind. Teach her never to litter. If you see trash on the ground, pick it up and carry it with you until it can be thrown away. This is especially true of bottles, broken glass, cans, and plastic bags,

which are not only unsightly but also could harm animals. To gather up cans and broken glass safely, you might carry an old canvas shoulder bag. As your child gets older, give her a bag of her own to collect rubbish in, too. Tim Seldin is the President of The Montessori Foundation and the Chair of The International Montessori Council. Tim has also written several Montessori focused books, including How to Raise An Amazing Child; The Montessori Way with Dr. Paul Epstein; Building a World-class Montessori School; Finding the Perfect Match - Recruit and Retain Your Ideal Enrollment; Master Teachers - Model Programs; Starting a New Montessori School, Celebrations of Life, and The World in the Palm of Her Hand.

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The Power of Touch How physical affection helps with discipline Disciplining your child is a minefield if you are practicing natural parenting. Many ‘experts’ have a lot of “don’t dos” but there is not a lot of information that assists in what to do! Kelly Bartlett explains how the power of touch is one way to assist in positive discipline

A

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will instinctively take time to explore the world away from Mum and Dad, and then continually come back to the safety of a parent’s arms to touch base and physically reconnect. It is important to note that older children need this as well—time on their own to play and be independent, then a physical reconnection with Mum or Dad. This helps maintain a secure attachment. It could be sitting close, leaning in the crook of an arm, or laying on a lap. It could mean having her hair stroked, or getting a foot rub or shoulder massage, or just snuggling while reading together.

WHAT ABOUT TICKLING?

Photo: Depositphotos

is to infants, and it has an effect on brain grow and become more independent group of fifteen mums chemistry that is conducive to positive and social, opportunities for cuddling and dads were gathering behavior. As Dr. Nelsen says, “Children naturally diminish, and it becomes for their weekly do better when they feel better.” parenting class, when one mother important for parents to take extra effort shares a moment from the previous to find ways to physically connect with week, “My daughter had a fit the other BE PROACTIVE them. Reading to a child on the couch Parents don’t need to wait for or in bed is a wonderful way to get day when I told her it was time to get in the car.” Every head in the room children to come to them for touches, close, as it invites leaning into, lying on, nods in recognition and understanding. hugs, whole-body-scoops and kisses. snuggling, touching, and arm-wrapping. Another dad commiserates, “My son Being regularly physically affectionate Even watching a TV show or movie once threw Lego at the TV because I said with kids of all ages actually helps together is a great occasion to sit close he couldn’t watch TV!” These types of maintain the emotional connection and connect. exchanges are shared by the most well- they share with their parents. Margot meaning parents; despite even the most Sunderland, author of The Science PHYSICAL PLAY positive parenting efforts, kids get mad! of Parenting, says, “as long as a child As with other types of touching, Their immature brains do not have the wants cuddles, parents should give physical play also releases positivecapability to remain calm while working them.” Parents should find ways to behavior-promoting chemicals, such through challenging feelings. They “flip keep physical affection alive as kids get as opioids and serotonin, in the brain. their lids” easily; the higher When played on a regular ‘Physical affection is as equally important to brain functions basis, person-toof the prefrontal older children as it is to infants, and it has an effect person contact on brain chemistry that is conducive to positive games naturally inhibit cortex, such as behaviour.’ logic and reasoning, are children’s impulsiveness; not fully able to communicate with the kids are able to sit still longer and have emotions felt in the middle brain. Not older. This keeps the chain reaction an increase in focused attention. Games of brain chemicals (opioids, oxytocin, such as horsey rides, piggy back rides, even close. It helps to understand what is going serotonin) active and the parent-child wrestling, tag, or even Red Rover involve on in those young minds and bodies bond strong. When that bond remains person-to-person contact, and they all so that parents can know the best way strong, challenging behavioral situations promote the release of positive brain to diffuse a tough situation. Author decrease and discipline becomes less chemicals and bring families closer of the Positive Discipline series, Dr. intense overall. Some ways of being together in a fun, physical way. Jane Nelsen educates parents on non- physically affectionate with kids on a punitive discipline. She advocates that regular basis include: TOUCHING BASE punishments do not work, and they Parents intuitively touch base with weaken the parent-child connection. CUDDLES their kids verbally; regularly asking In younger children the opportunity them about their day, their friends, and Of the numerous positive discipline tools parents can use as an alternative for parents to get physically close to their interests. They should take time to punishment, many are centreed on children presents itself frequently and to touch base with their kids physically the use of touch. Physical affection is as naturally. Little ones need lots of picking as well. This begins quite naturally equally important to older children as it up, holding and hugging! As children when children are very young; they

Interestingly, tickling is not recommended as an effective means to positive physical play. Tickling, though it may be a customary way for parents to get kids to laugh, can be deceivingly hurtful. Patty Wipfler, parent educator and director of Hand in Hand Parenting, says, “The main thing that makes tickling problematic is that children may not be able to say when they want it to stop.” She explains that laughter is an automatic response to tickling, whether a child likes it or not, and tickling may be

detrimental in the long-run to the child’s acceptance of positive physical affection. Wipfler suggests that parents phase out tickling and transition their play into more tussling-type contact that allows children to be inventive and in charge.

USING TOUCH AS A REACTIVE STRATEGY

As helpful as positive discipline is as a proactive measure, it is quite often needed as a reactive approach to discipline as well. Touching calms and reinforces the emotional bond between parents and children. When children touch a calm parent in a loving way, the chemical balance within their brains begins to be reinstated; their “flipped lids” begin to close again. Human brains are equipped with mirror neurons, which are hard-wired to imitate the emotional state of the environment. It’s why laughter can be contagious, or why people feel sad or cry when they see others crying. Here are a few approaches to discipline that are based on physical affection:

HUGS

Giving a child a hug when they’re

having an all-out screaming fit may not be the first thing that comes to a parent’s mind. Probably, more likely is the temptation to scream right along with them! But a warm, secure hug given during a moment of emotional chaos works miles in the right direction; physical contact from an adult’s mature body helps calm the immature one. Restoring the chemical balance in a child’s brain is the first step towards having a rational conversation or solving any problem together.

CONNECTED CONVERSATIONS

A huge part of positive discipline is about listening for understanding. Effective listening involves showing empathy, validating a child’s feelings, and demonstrating active listening skills. Every day, parents have opportunities to communicate with their children and connect with them with words; to express an understanding of what they’re going through and what they’re feeling. Going one step beyond the verbal connection is adding the element of touch. Parents can make their words even more effective when they simply get down on their child’s level and hold

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hands. Similarly, a gentle hand placed on a child’s shoulder makes spoken words more impactful. It nonverbally tells a child, “I’m here for you,” and brings a subtle addition of physical connection to everyday conversations.

QUIETING THE SENSES

Some children may become overlystimulated by being touched too much or too irritatingly. Carol Stock Kranowitz, author of The Out of Sync Child, describes this “tactile defensiveness” as a trigger for frequent or intense meltdowns. For these children, it helps to have a quiet place to go to play or work without the risk of uninvited touching from overly-physical siblings or exuberant pets. For extra-sensitive children, some time alone does a world of good, until an understanding parent is able to reconnect with them with an appropriate touch or hug.

and helps to relax an overly excited mind. For many people (children as well as adults), a deep tissue massage is pleasant as an ultimate stress reliever. Other, unconventional ways of delivering extra pressure and sensation to soothe children’s frayed nerves may include ball pits, enveloping bean bag chairs, or weighted blankets or vests. Some kids even like to be rolled and unrolled in and out of rugs because of the even pressure that swaddles their bodies. When children receive the sensory input they crave, their minds and bodies are better able to communicate effectively. So if a child hurls Lego at the TV or throws a fit when it’s time to get in the car, it’s nothing personal! It’s all about brain chemistry and emotional connection, and sometimes the very best thing a parent can do is offer a soothing, calming, connecting, touch. Most parents do know that giving kids

Close

physical affection is a great tool on its own for strengthening parent-child emotional bonds. And many parents may be familiar with the philosophy of Positive Discipline; that it is an attachment-friendly way to teach kids responsibility and internal guidance. But what parents may not realize is that when physical affection is combined with positive discipline strategies, parenting takes on a new level of effectiveness. Parents and kids are able to communicate nonverbally as well as verbally, enhancing their interaction and strengthening their relationship through even the toughest of times.

Song

Singing to newborns helps them connect with their carers and learn how to communicate with the world, reports Tara Hashambhoy

Kelly Bartlett is a Certified Positive Discipline Educator, Attachment Parenting Leader, and mother of two. You can find more of her work at www.kellybartlett.net

DEEP PRESSURE

Photos: Depositphotos

Consequently, there are certain types of activities that involve applying a sensation of deep pressure to the body and are very physically stimulating. For some kids, this is a welcome sensation

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in

Music inspires the human spirit: it moves us emotionally and physically, it activates our brain, engages us and connects us to our culture. How infants perceive and respond to music has been the subject of much research in recent years and findings reveal that exposure to music – particularly the singing voice of a carer – has a positive effect on infant wellbeing and development. Musical play is shown to be an instinctual tool used by both infants and parents in the bonding process, and greatly helps infants learn how to communicate. So how do newborns respond to music, and how can we use music to support their growth? The auditory system begins to function before birth, between the 24-30th week of pregnancy. In the womb, a baby can hear (with reasonable clarity) sounds from the outside world. Newborns can remember sounds they have heard in utero and can be soothed by familiar sounds, such as their mother’s heartbeat, voice and music that she listened to during pregnancy. They can even discriminate between music they’ve heard regularly and unknown tunes! Jayne Standley of Florida State University has found that the soothing effect of music enhances the wellbeing of newborns. Her studies show that babies in neonatal intensive care units show improved sucking abilities when they are played lullabies sung by a female vocalist. This results in happier, healthier babies. Music plays a natural role in parent-infant communication. You may not realise it, but even the way we speak to infants is intuitively musical! Infant-Directed Speech (IDS) is a term used to describe that sing-song voice we use when speaking exclusively to small children. You know the voice - highpitched with broad vowel sounds, repetitive phrases and a wide pitch range. Why do we talk this way? IDS is more interesting to a baby than regular speech, and it helps infants to grasp language skills. It highlights phrase shapes, vocal sounds and is highly expressive, allowing infants to perceive the parent’s intent (to soothe, excite etc.) before they can comprehend the actual words being said. While IDS is more interesting than normal speech, a sung voice is even more engaging. It is never too early to start singing to your baby - hearing their parents sing is in fact the best form of musical exposure for infant development and wellbeing. The rhythm, melody and emotion of a singing voice has an amazing ability to soothe, entertain and convey love and affection. When sung to, even tiny babies will try to hold the gaze of the singer

as they are absorbed by the experience. Babies particularly love being cuddled, gently rocked or stroked whilst they are being sung to. Infants will try to respond through eye contact, bodily movements or relaxing when being lulled to sleep. At around 3 months, an infant will coo along to, or in response to your voice. Singing to a baby also improves the wellbeing of the singer! By conveying a certain emotion in your singing, you will likely feel what you intend to project. Alison Street believes that encouraging mothers to sing to their infants will “help foster a sense of wellbeing in both mother and infant, confirming their developing companionship, and help empower mothers in supporting their infants development.”

Tips for Singing 1. Learn lullabies, songs and rhymes. You don’t need many – babies love familiarity and will happily hear the same song again and again! You can also make up tunes. 2. Encourage fathers and other non-maternal carers to sing to develop a close bond with a baby. One way is to ask them to teach you their favourite songs they sung to their children, or remember from their own childhood. 3. Sing, or play music to your baby at regular times during the day – at bath time, bed time, or incorporate songs into a massage routine. 4. Believe it or not, your baby will prefer your voice to any recordings, so forget any anxieties you may have about your singing voice and enjoy the attention of your greatest fan! The more you sing, the better your singing voice will get, and the more comfortable you will feel. It can help to start singing along with a CD to gain confidence.

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Nutrition:

seaweed crackers which are great served with hummus.

YOGHURT Yoghurt is considered a probiotic food as it contains ‘friendly’ bacteria, namely acidophilus and bifidus, that promotes the growth and health of beneficial bacteria in the bowel. Maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bowel bacteria is a highly effective way to build and enhance your child’s immune function as a large percentage of our body’s immune system is found in the digestive tract. Kids love yoghurt served on porridge and breakfast cereals, and in smoothies. Try making healthy ice creams for your kids by mixing fresh berries or other fruits through vanilla yoghurt and pour into icy pole moulds.

10 Super Immune Boosting Foods

GARLIC One of the best ways to strengthen your child’s immune system this winter, to protect them from colds and

flu, is to include garlic in their diet. Garlic is widely known for its immune boosting powers, having antiviral and anti-bacterial activity. Garlic helps fight infections by stimulating immune cells and increasing antibody production. Garlic also possesses sulfur compounds that have potent antioxidant activity. Making garlic a regular addition to your child’s favourite meals like spaghetti and pasta dishes, soups, stir-fries, garlic bread and hummus, you will not only be strengthening their immunity, but also enhancing the flavour of their meal.

TIP: Make sure your kids are getting the most out of their yoghurt; look for the ‘live and active cultures or bacteria’ seal on the yoghurt you buy. Also watch out for yoghurts that contain high levels of added sugars, some contain up to 5 tsp of sugar in a small tub. Too much sugar in the diet will have a suppressive effect on your child’s immune function.

BERRIES

TIP: To get the most out of your garlic serve it raw in dips and dressings, or when you add it to cooking add it in near the end so you don’t destroy too much of its immune enhancing antioxidants.

Bright, beautiful berries are one of your best sources of protective antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients, making them an excellent addition to your child’s diet this winter. The rich red, blue and purple colours of berries indicates the presence of super high levels of anthocyanins, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your kids from illness and disease. Berries are also a brilliant source of vitamin C, to help bolster your child’s immune system and reduce the risk of infections. Add a handful of mixed berries to your child’s porridge or breakfast cereal, mixed through yoghurt or in smoothies, or as a delicious healthy snack on their own.

SEAWEED Seaweed is considered a super immune boosting food and a highly nutritious addition to your kid’s diet. Seaweeds such as nori, kelp/kombu and akrame, contain extraordinary health-promoting compounds that help strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of illness. Seaweed is also a rich source of minerals such as selenium and zinc, which are both important immune protective nutrients and antioxidants. The best way to include seaweed in your child’s diet is by adding small amounts to soups, salads, and stirfries, or make some nori rolls. Kids love helping make nori rolls with their favourite fillings. You can also buy

Photos: Depositphotos

Winter is here and unfortunately so too is the cold and flu season. Many children get stuck in the vicious cycle of recurring respiratory and ear infections around this time. Preschools and schools are favourite places for kids to share germs and viruses, leaving kids with low immunity and greater susceptibility to illness. Frequent use of antibiotics and over-thecounter medications is definitely not the answer as these can suppress your child’s immune system and in-turn make them more vulnerable to infection. The best way to break the sickness cycle and give your child super resistance against infections and other illnesses is to strengthen your child’s immunity with immuneboosting foods. These foods possess unique immune enhancing compounds and immune strengthening nutrients such as vitamin C, A, D, zinc, iron and omega-3 fats. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can weaken your child’s immunity and increase their chances of getting sick this winter.

TIP: Acai berries have 42 times the antioxidant concentration of blueberries. Try adding a tsp of Acai berry powder or puree to your child’s smoothies or fresh juices.

BROCCOLI

Serving your kids broccoli is a fantastic way to improve their health and give them protection against illness. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, which your kids need to give their immune system a boost and to ward off colds and flu. Broccoli also provides your child

with selenium, an important trace mineral that has potent antioxidant and immune boosting powers. Broccoli also contains natural sulfur compounds that help boost your child’s ability to detoxify harmful toxins in the body and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Serve broccoli to your kids in fun and tasty ways such as lightly steamed broccoli florets served with hummus or other healthy dips, broccoli with melted cheese, or blended or finely chopped through pasta sauces and soups, or added to individual veggie frittatasREEN TIP: To get the most health benefits from your broccoli don’t over cook it.

LEAFY VEGETABLES One of the best things you can do for your kid’s health is to have a couple of good servings of green leafy vegetables each day. They are rich in immune boosting nutrients and antioxidants. Many green leafy vegetables, especially spinach and Swiss chard, are good sources of iron. Children need iron to build a healthy immune system and for the production of white blood cells and antibodies. Without sufficient iron, we are more likely to suffer from

frequent colds and infections. Green leafy vegetables are also rich in betacarotene, an antioxidant vitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body, and used to help strengthen immune function and offer protection against illness.

MISO Miso, made from fermented soybean paste, is an easy way to help enhance your child’s immunity during the colder months. Added to your kids’ favourite winter soups, casseroles, mashed potato or stir-fries, miso is highly nutritious and a great way to add flavour to meals. Unpasteurised organic miso contains active lactobacillus, a ‘friendly’ bacteria that helps promote the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the bowel, which plays a major role in your kids immune health and digestion. Miso is also a good source of zinc, needed for strong immune function. TIP: The beneficial bacteria present in unpasteurized miso are killed by prolonged high temperature so add miso just before removing food from the heat.

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SALMON Salmon is one of the best sources of healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids. These beneficial fats are vital for your child’s good health and are needed for a strong functioning immune system. Salmon will also provide your child with plenty of zinc, which is an important mineral for giving their immune system a boost. Oily fish like salmon are good sources of vitamin D, which is another important vitamin for enhancing your child’s immunity. Sunlight is the easiest way to get sufficient vitamin D, however during the winter months is can be difficult to get sufficient vitamin D from sunlight alone, so increasing vitamin D-rich foods like salmon is recommended. Aim to give your kids two to three servings of salmon a week. Try making your kids some mini salmon fish cakes with a dipping sauce or on a healthy burger, or salmon pasta or risotto.

TOMATOES Red tomatoes are known for being the richest source of lycopene around,

which acts as a very powerful antioxidant to protect you from damaging effects of free radicals, and to help to bolster your child’s immunity. Tomatoes contain plenty of vitamin C and beta-carotene to strengthen your child’s immune function to protect them from infections. Tomato based pasta sauces are an ideal way to introduce tomatoes into your child’s diet. TIP: Hold off until your child is around 8 months old before introducing tomatoes as they can cause nappy rash in some babies.

SPIRULINA Spirulina, a type of fresh water algae, is highly nutritious and possesses many outstanding health-promoting properties that can give your children a nutritional edge and protect them from illness. Spirulina will help boost your child’s immune function and improve their ability to fight-off infections. Spirulina will give your kids a good dose of iron, zinc, vitamin A and D, that will strengthen their immune systems.

WHAT’S COOKING?

This super food is also one of the best sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-3 essential fatty acid that is also found abundantly in mother’s milk, which is important for children’s growth and development as well as exhibiting immune boosting properties. Spirulina can help improve your child’s intestinal health, by providing mucopolysaccharides that help support the growth of beneficial intestinal flora, and hence boost their immunity and digestion. Spirulina is easy for kids to take either in tablet or powder form, mixed with some juice or in smoothies. Kids of all ages can be given around 2g of spirulina daily. Try this tasty blend - 1 frozen banana, 1 cup of pineapple juice, 1 cup of orange juice and 1 teaspoon of spirulina (serves two).

Recipes to cook for the kids and with the kids!

Baby-Led Weaning Recipe

5. 6. 7.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Lisa Guy is a homeopath and naturopath who runs ‘Art of Healing’ (www.artofhealing.com.au) and The Happy Baby Clinic and author of “My Goodness: all you need to know about children’s health and nutrition”

Ingredients: Meatballs 500g lean minced beef 1 egg, beaten 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed 1 tsp dried mixed herbs or oregano 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 25-50g breadcrumbs oil for frying (if needed)

Pregnancy and children’s health and nutrition specialist

8.

browned all over, turning if necessary. Lift the meatballs out of the pan and drain oil. Return pan to the heat and add onion. Fry for a few minutes, then add garlic and cook until onion is soft. Sir in the tomato puree, then add the tomatoes, half the basil and black pepper. Return the meatballs to the pan, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through. Serve warm with pasta, rice or couscous with the remaining basil sprinkled on top.

Tip: 1. Adding 1 tbsp of parmesan cheese to the meatball mixture will give extra flavour! 2. Be prepared with a splash mat for the mess! Recipe extracted from ‘The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook’ by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett

Cooking with Kids Recipe

Sauce: 1 medium onion finely chopped 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 tbsp tomato puree 400g tin chopped tomatoes or passata 1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn pinch of freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lisa Guy ND Naturopath & Author lisa@artofhealing.com.au 0414 491 595 www.artofhealing.com.au

h e r b a l

m e d i c i n e

h o m e o p a t h y

n u t r i t i o n

Photos: Depositphotos

Preparation: 1. Put all the meatball ingredients (except oil) into a bowl and combine using your hands. 2. Shape the mixture into balls the size of golf balls. 3. If you have time, place in fridge for one hour. 4. Heat oil in a frying pan, add meatballs and fry gently until they are

are jam-packed with oats, rich in energy giving complex carbohydrates, B vitamins and vitamin E. Ingredients: 1 cup (120 g/41/4 oz) wholemeal flour 2 cups (200 g/7 oz) rolled oats 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup (125 ml/41/2 fl oz) raw organic honey 2 tablespoons tahini 1/2 cup (125 ml/41/2 fl oz) light olive oil 1 ripe banana, diced 1/2 cup (125 ml/41/2 fl oz) low-fat milk 1/2 cup (88 g/3 oz) diced sun-dried apricots 1/4 cup (43 g/11/2 oz) sunflower seeds

Preparation: 1. Preheat oven to 180oC (350oF/ Gas 4). 2. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 3. In a bowl add all dry ingredients and mix until well combined. 4. In another bowl add all liquid ingredients, whisk until well combined. 5. Pour liquid into dry mixture and combine. 6. Gently fold in apricots, banana and sunflower seeds. 7. Use 1 tablespoon of mixture for each cookie and place them on baking tray. Press cookies flat with the back of a fork and pat them around the edges to make perfectly round cookies. 8. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 30 medium sized cookies.

Earth Biscuits These earthy biscuits are an excellent way of increasing your child’s fibre intake. These cookies

Recipe extracted from ‘My Goodness: all you need to know about children’s health and nutrition’ by Lisa Guy, ND

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Breastfeeding: Position! Position! Position! There are many ways to position a baby and all of them are used by mothers for different situations. Lactation consultant, Sue Cox AOM, looks at the many different positioning techniques to help a baby attach easily

Why have we lost the art of breastfeeding?

Holding a baby and having him attach to the breast was instinctive and completely natural until the twentieth century, when mothers and babies were separated in hospital and rules about breastfeeding led to low breastmilk supplies. By the 1960s and 1970s, breastfeeding rates in Australia dropped dramatically. In the early 1970s more than 80% of babies in Australia were bottle fed by 3 months of age. Because of this, the handing down of skills of breastfeeding associated parenting from mothers to daughters was lost. Also because of the lack of breastfeeding during that period, the majority of grandmothers know nothing or only negative things about breastfeeding because they either bottle fed their babies from birth or had breastfeeding problems and so weaned in the early weeks after the baby’s birth.

New ideas

With the return to breastfeeding over the past 30 years, many suggestions have been given to mothers by health professionals and counsellors on how to position and attach their babies at the breast. Many of these suggestions have been used, then debated and some have been discarded. In particular, suggestions under debate include: unwrapping babies so that they could be closer to their mothers; using cushions to have the baby at the right height for the mother to relax; using ointments on the nipples; positioning the baby

with his mouth/chin/nose in front of the nipple; the C hold; the V hold; the special K mouth to name but a few.

Conflicting advice

When midwives attend their breastfeeding related continuing education programs they hear of new ideas and try to implement them to make breastfeeding easier for the mothers they are caring for. However, because of a midwife’s busy workday, it is difficult for them to keep up with the ever changing suggestions, thus resulting in many mothers being confused by the different information provided by each midwife. As a mother, how do you sift through all this information? Simple advice is important for you but explaining why various methods work is even more important.

throat and you will find you can swallow quickly and easily. This is the same for a baby. One of the reasons that many babies find it difficult to breastfeed is because their chin is pointed down into their chest instead of up and away from the breast.

Positioning technique

To make this easy, it is suggested that you hold your baby with his nose level or opposite your nipple. He will then smell your breast and as you hold him close his chin will touch your breast. All of his feeding reflexes and responses will start once his chin touches your breast and he will search, open his mouth wide, bring his tongue forward over his bottom gum and lip and attach.

First feeds

Drinking and swallowing

Let’s start by looking at how we drink. If you have a water bottle or a glass of water you may like to try this exercise. Now, if you take a mouthful of water and put your chin down towards your chest and swallow, it is very difficult. Try it again and you will see that your tongue pushes up against the roof of your mouth behind your top teeth, while your jaw and even your shoulders tighten as you swallow. Now, instead try drinking and swallowing by raising your chin up to drink from your water bottle. As you open your mouth, bring your jaw and tongue forward. This will ‘open’ your

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When your baby is placed between your breasts for skin-to-skin cuddling after the birth, she will naturally have a good position. Her chin and cheeks will touch your breast and she will start to search for your areola and nipple. In this position her jaw and tongue will fall forward and attaching will be easy. As you watch her you will learn her

breastfeeding cues: from lying quietly to moving her head and arms then moving her hand to her mouth, licking and starting to search with a wide open mouth. This is the time to feed, not to change her nappy. If she cries it will take longer for her to attach. This position on your chest can also be gained by reclining as suggested by Suzanne Coulson, founder of Biological Nurturing, who has shown how this self attachment (biological nurturing) works to overcome breastfeeding difficulties at any age.

Cradle position

position him when you are sitting down. Stand up and hold your baby on the arm of the side that he is going to feed from, with your elbow into your side. Have his nose directly opposite your nipple. With your wrist supporting him between his shoulder blades, you can bring his chin towards your breast. As it touches your breast he will start to search, open his mouth wide, bring his tongue forward over his bottom gum and lip and attach to your breast. As you walk around you will feel how comfortable this natural position is for you and how easily baby can attach. When you have easily found your position while standing up, you can sit down holding the baby in the same position with his body draped under your other breast and his feet around your waist. Relax and enjoy the feed!

Cross cradle hold.

Sitting comfortably with baby lying on the arm of the side he is feeding from is our usual picture of breastfeeding. Hold baby comfortably in this position, either wrapped in a light muslin wrap or unwrapped. Have his nose level with your nipple to smell your breast, bring him really close and his chin will then touch your breast. He will then search with his mouth wide open, his tongue forward and attach.

Standing to learn distinctive position

your

own

One hundred years ago, like mothers have in centuries before around the world, Australian mothers did not always have time to sit down to breastfeed. They tied or strapped their babies to their bodies with slings and lengths of material and went about their work. They positioned their baby so that she could easily attach when she woke for a feed. Sometimes the mother shaped her breast between her first and second finger or her thumb and first finger until the baby learned to attach herself. In the twenty first century, standing to get the right positioning still works very well! As every mother’s breasts are different and where her nipples point is different, you really need to learn how to hold your baby for feeds by trying standing up, so that it will be easy to

Lying on your side

In the first weeks at home it is wonderful to lie down for some feeds. To make attaching easy for your baby, you need to have your bottom pushed to the middle or edge of the bed, your shoulder on the outer edge of the pillow and your elbow bent so that your forearm and hand rests at the side of the pillow. This makes a sort of V of your body so that baby can position in close to you. With baby lying on her side with her nose level with your nipple, use your other hand behind her shoulders to bring her to close to you. This will help her chin to touch your breast and her mouth to open wide to search, with her tongue forward as she attaches.

Finding the best position This position can be helpful in the early days after the birth when you will want to sit up to feed and your baby still wants to be in his foetal position with his chin down against his chest. As in all positions we are discussing, the nose needs to be right opposite your nipple and his chin touching your breast. Your hand needs to support his shoulders with his neck between your thumb and first finger so that his head can fall back. Now drape his body down under your opposite breast and around your waist.

Baby under your arm

There are many names for this position including the football hold but let’s explain it better by calling it the underarm or clutch hold. Once again, the nose needs to be directly opposite your nipple with the chin touching your breast. Place your hand behind his shoulders, lie his body around your waist, resting on a small cushion and his feet behind your back. Support his neck between your thumb and first finger so that his head can fall back.

If you have been taught other ways of holding your baby, you may find that if you are having a breastfeeding difficulty and your arms and shoulders are tired from supporting your baby, then standing and walking to find your best position may help your baby teach you her best position for correct attachment. Further, if you have multiples or are tandum feeding you may find that you need to trial many different positions to ensure both you and your babies are comfortable. Nevertheless, finding the best position for your baby when she is tiny really makes breastfeeding easy and enjoyable for both of you. Don’t be surprised if she finds many new positions that she likes as she grows. Sue Cox has been a lactation consultant for 35 years and has received an Order of Australia “For service to community health, particularly as a lactation consultant, educator, and counsellor for the care of breastfeeding mothers and their babies” .

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Creating Healthy Friendships No matter what age you are, friendships are important. However, being a good friend and keeping good friendships is something that children must learn. Claire Eaton explains the mechanics of friendships and how we can help our children develop and keep strong friendships

Photo: Depositphotos

Do

you remember your Children are talking and listening and Friendships can be a safe and stable special childhood platform for children to comfortably are keen to connect with other children friendships? The reveal their personality and to learn the who have similar interest or hobbies. friends who blew out birthday candles, fun and quirky ways of others. Social swam in the backyard pool or shared interaction is essential to the growth PARENT EXPECTATIONS delicious watermelon on a hot summer’s and development of children; as it is It’s so lovely to watch our children day. Over the years our friends have said that a baby is capable of developing enjoy the friendship of others. Our laughed, cried and experienced all the a friendship (aside from parent child hearts melt when our 3 year old loves the highs and lows with us, celebrating our relationship) as soon as he can crawl company of her friends and our 5 year 18th, 21st, 30th, our wedding and of and explore. Research shows that old plays footy with his buddies at the course the birth of our little ones. The babies as young as 12 months can make park; seeing affection between children words of The Beatles, “I get by with a independent choices about who they is precious to watch. little help from my friends” describes want to be near, demonstrating this by As parents, we have an important how special friendships can be. role to play in helping children develop the amount of time that they spend near As adults, we often reflect on our or beside a playmate. They are building friendships and to learn that friendships friendships as we intuitively know friendships! aren’t always smooth and easy. We can their importance and teach our children ‘Friendships can be a safe and stable platform the worth. We most essential for children to comfortably reveal their personality ingredients definitely know that of and to learn the fun and quirky ways of others’ friendships; how to awesome friendships don’t just magically happen! make friends, be a good Solid friendships are like a scone recipe STEPPING INTO FRIENDSHIPS friend, nurture friendships and how to handed down through the generations; enjoy different friendships, but there are Children naturally move through having quality ingredients, reliability defined friendship development stages: no guarantees. and created with lots of love. Children are not born into the Ages 1 – 3 years; when opportunities world with fully developed and wellfor parallel play are paramount and THE IMPORTANCE OF functioning friendship skills; however friendships are determined by physical FRIENDSHIPS they are born with the “brain readiness” appearance and imitation of other It’s true that friends are important children. to learn how. If we want our children in our lives. We trust them, respect to be well equipped in the friendship Around ages 4 – 7 years; children them, share opinions and make grand rely heavily upon their imagination and world, we must teach them to use plans with them. Like any relationship, pretend play, so friendships are linked their learnt resiliency, optimism and we appreciate that good friendships are to taking turns in leadership and being confidence skills and guide them reciprocal, reliable and positive. Most friendly towards each other. Children through developmentally appropriate children want to have friends and those also start to consider the feelings of other stages of social experimentation. children who do are more likely to children and also begin to appreciate be resilient, optimistic and confident. their likes and dislikes. ENCOURAGING POSITIVE However this isn’t the same for all FRIENDSHIP BEHAVIOURS By the age of 7 -10 years; friendships kids; some find building and nurturing are based around trust, confiding in each Sharing, taking turns, asking relationships awkward and challenging. questions, complimenting others, other and developing ‘best’ friendships. www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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talking, saying sorry, playing fairly, being a good loser, being a good winner, encouraging, cooperating, following team rules, welcoming and helping others.

2.

WHEN IS A GOOD TIME TO START?

From the moment our children are born, we know that they are watching and listening to every move we make, long before they can say ‘muma’ or ‘dada’! Between 0-3 years is the ideal time to raise our awareness and intentionally model and talk about friendships. Our children need to see, hear, feel and notice what defines a friend as well as how to be a friend to others. In order to do this, we can gently model these ideas. 1. Empathy, along with give and take, are said to be two of the most important elements of friendships. Demonstrating that we don’t have to be right; it’s a good thing to listen and appreciate the opinion of others, whilst having the ability to share and enjoy giving and taking.

3.

Talk to your child about healthy friendships by discussing what a good friendship feels, looks and sounds like. Children need to be shown how to look for signs which indicate that they are valued and appreciated for who they are. This is paramount, especially when children start to realise the power of group friendships and “in” crowds. They can feel pressured to befriend kids with whom they don’t have a strong and positive connection. Create opportunities for children to build friendships which are interest based. When children have common interests, they feel more connected and have a better understanding of each other.

FRIENDSHIPS CHANGE & GROW

As parents we want our children to enjoy happy friendships which add to their self esteem and confidence; however it is only natural that friendships change and grow and this is

an expected part of social learning and self awareness. Watching our children experience the hardships of friendship can be heartbreaking, however difficult it may be, it is important that we avoid managing our children’s social interaction and choices, rather, we steadily guide and support them.

be feeling lonely and lost and methodically running out of friends to play and connect with. It is possible that he will subconsciously learn to walk away from friendships in the tough times, which could ultimately lead to unresourceful friendship patterns forming throughout life. What are the other options in situations like this?

HEALTHY FRIENDSHIP PATTERNS

When we embrace our role as a parent and teacher, we can gently show our children how to deal with the extensive range of emotions and situations that are present in friendships; hurt, joy, anger, love, loneliness, excitement, sadness and so many more. It is a part of life that friendships experience bumps in the road. It is during these times we can support our children to be proactive in taking care of themselves and their friendships, whilst understanding that relationships are dynamic, changing and full of surprises. That’s what makes friendships so special.

CHILDREN NEED POSITIVE EXAMPLES TO LEARN FRIENDSHIP SKILLS

So how do we handle it when we can see that our little ones are having social troubles, friendships are breaking down or problems are becoming more common? Perhaps in years gone by we heard varying advice; ‘find another friend to play with,’ ‘he’s not worth it anyway,’ ‘ignore him and join another game’ or ‘just forget about it.’ These strategies are more likely to teach our children to avoid dealing with problems, not expressing how they feel or showing less loyalty and forgiveness. If a 3, 5, 7 or 9 year old followed such advice every time a hiccup occurred in a relationship, he is more likely to

haven’t yet created their own repertoire of restorative strategies. Children need to be taught how to build their own selection of strategies. 7. Model and talk with children about working through problems towards a solution. Children need an abundance of opportunities to watch harmonious relationships in action so they can confidently create their own friendships and flourish in the early and later years. Claire Eaton B.A., B.Ed was a teacher for 15 years and then a deputy principal. Claire is now a Mum, wife, parent coach, Keynote Parenting Specialist, and author of e-book programs and audio CD’s. For more information on parenting, visit www. creativeparenting.co

LOOK OUT FOR POOR FRIENDSHIP BEHAVIOURS

Arguing, interrupting, being too rough, breaking trust, bossing, put-downs, whining, blaming others, breaking rules of play, being a sore loser, discouraging, uncooperative, taking others’ stuff and aggression. In addition to our intentional modeling at home, there are a few great ways to help our children handle themselves positively when friendships take a knock: 1. Ask children how they feel about what’s happening. 2. Children who harbour feelings can create a bubble of sadness or anger in themselves. 3. Avoid blaming, as it can make situations more difficult to resolve. Encourage self reflection to establish if a different approach would be better. (E.g. Perhaps I could share when we are playing.) 4. Discuss forgiveness and how it can create a pathway for kindness and long lasting friendships. 5. Avoid taking over and fixing the problem for children as this can lead to them relying on us or others to solve problems on their behalf.

Photo: Depositphotos

6. Make suggestions about the way that they could connect with their friends to resolve problems. Children need our ideas and input, because they

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®

Would you like your kids to have the best start in life? No need for babysitters. Our ‘at home‘ programs are self paced & fully down loadable. Call 0427 100 371 or visit

www.creativeparenting.co

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Nurturing Gratitude

TERRIBLE TWOS: What’s causing them?

Values seem to go a little astray in our society. One question many parents have is ‘how do I teach my child values’? In this article, Kerry Spina explores the value of gratitude

There are opportunities everywhere to explore virtues and inspire values in your home. Gratitude is one of these virtues and it is a virtue that can connect us more deeply to each other. Encouraging your child to say thank you and to feel gratitude is a process. Nurturing gratitude comes with practice, modelling, acknowledging and experiencing. Regardless of whether or not children appear thankful, they can learn to express their gratitude in meaningful ways. So how do we do it? How can we help our child to feel grateful when they are given something, or feel thankful for small everyday happenings – like food and clothing? A simple and effective way to encourage gratitude within your family is with a ‘Meaningful Thank-you’. Giving meaningful thank-yous, brings greater self-awareness and strengthens relationships with others through appreciation, kindness and respect. There are many ways to give a meaningful thank-you, with letters, cards, and a hug, a pat on the back, thumbs up, phone calls and gifts. The most simple and cost effective way is with words by verbally expressing in a meaningful way what you are thankful for.

A meaningful “Thank-you”

Often we hear ourselves say “Thanks a lot”, or “Thanks for that”, or the customary “Say thank-you” to encourage our child to show gratitude, courtesy or respect. While thanking can be a great habit to teach our children, these words can take on a whole new meaning by linking a virtue with the thank-you.

Thanks for what?

Saying thank you is an opportunity to express what we are thankful for. It can be a meaningful way to give purposeful praise to our children and to encourage what we value. It can help introduce many other virtues into your child’s language and world. It grows self-confidence in kids and helps them to understand the cause and effect nature of the choices we make. It helps to give meaningful praise, replacing the ‘good girl’ or ‘well done’ phrases that are more directed at pleasing rather than growing responsibility, values-knowledge or selfawareness.

Examples of meaningful words/phrases/praise • •

Thank you for being so helpful and packing away your toys. Thank you for your big beautiful smiles, they bring so

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Photo: Depositphotos

The Power of a Meaningful Thank~You

University of Alberta researcher Christina Rinald, has claimed that one cause of the ‘terrible twos’ may be parenting style. Rinald’s has stated that parental styles that are either too strict or too lenient are likely to be associated with negative types of behaviour in children, whereas a more even-handed approach is more likely to result in positive conduct. Her advice is to: • Providing structure in a loving, caring, very clear way to your young children • When it comes to being firm ‘do that in a warm and caring way, without necessarily being overly domineering’ • Have reasonable expectations of your child that are age-appropriate. For example, Rinald notes that it might be unfair to expect young children not to be moody when they are hungry or up past their bedtime. The article was published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly

Higher birth risk for IVF babies

• • • • •

much happiness to the world. Thank you for being considerate and sharing with your sister, it was a very kind and fair thing to do. Thank you for being thoughtful and giving me a gift. Thank you for your honesty, I trust you. Thank you for being gentle with my kitten and keeping her safe. Thank you for your patience while I get your dinner ready, you waited so calmly.

Things to be mindful of

1. What are you thankful for? 2. What do you value? 3. Which virtue do you choose to encourage? Kindness, love, respect, patience etc…

Reflective Questions: • • • • • •

How do I show my gratitude? Who could I say thank you to? How do I encourage my child to be grateful? What makes me feel grateful? Who do I know that is full of gratitude? Where are the opportunities to role model gratitude?

Our first opportunity to role model gratitude is to be on the look out to say thank you to your child for their efforts, actions and intentions. Just as we encourage and value the skill of learning to read, count and ride a bike, we can also encourage and value expressing gratitude and developing character. It takes many years, many teachers and experiences to learn to read. It also takes many years, many teachers and experiences to nurture virtues and character strengths within your child. You are your child’s most valuable teacher. Enjoy the journey!

The Nanjing Medical University has just released a study that has concluded that IVF babies are about 1/3 more likely to have a birth defect than babies conceived without help from technology. From 124,000 children born through IVF or using ICSI, the study found that the risk of having a birth defect was 37% higher.

Seasons may be the Reason

The Queen Mary University has recently released a study that has concluded that the season of birth may affect everything from eyesight and eating habits to birth defects and personality later in life. Although more research needs to be completed, it is believed that this may be due to the increase/decrease in vitamin D and other seasonal changes. Their study results were published in PLoS ONE.


Mindful Mothering Pregnancy and becoming a new mother can be quite stressful. However there is a way that you can accept all that comes to you with peace and ease, it’s called Mindful Mothering. Cassandra Vieten explains how, being present, you can better deal with and therefore enjoy your baby

There

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dirt rather than worrying about how it’s going to get cleaned up. It’s spending all morning in bed together, playing peeka-boo, eating, napping, and cuddling. It’s allowing anger to well up as you walk your baby back and forth for the sixth time that night, or allowing yourself the shivery shudder of being sick with the flu and still being the primary source of sustenance for your baby. There’s not much time off from motherhood in the early days, no matter how much support you have.

Body to Body

Photo: Depositphotos

is perhaps no time, pharmaceutical intervention to reduce approaching the good, the bad, and with the possible stress, improve mood, and decrease the the ugly of motherhood to the largest exception of facing death, that greeting effects of stress and distressed mood extent possible, with open eyes and an things as they are is more called for on mother-infant bonding, and based open heart. Whether those experiences than during pregnancy, childbirth, and on our own experiences as parents, my are internal (like thoughts, feelings, early motherhood. Facing the birth of a colleagues and I developed the Mindful or body sensations) or external (like child is a frontier—complete with all the Motherhood program. relationships, workplace situations, or Though small, our pilot study the situations in your environment), excitement, challenge, and adventure that confronting any unknown territory showed that it was possible to learn mindful motherhood is about increasing mindful awareness during pregnancy the capacity to be with whatever is brings. And while motherhood is a source and early motherhood (even with baby happening, no matter what it is, which of great joy for most women, recent in tow!) and that women who engaged in is exactly like mindfulness practice in data suggest that up to 18% of women mindfulness training during pregnancy any other situation. But motherhood are depressed while pregnant, and as had fewer negative emotions and less demands a special kind of practice. many as 19% of first-time mothers anxiety during pregnancy compared For one thing, mindful motherhood experience some form of depression with women who did not participate requires a person to be mindful in in the first three months after relationship with another ‘Mindful motherhood is a way of delivery. Other perinatal being. This most often challenges include approaching the good, the bad, and the ugly of ends up being true of motherhood to the largest extent possible, mood disorders general mindfulness (12%), PTSD (8%), and anxiety with open eyes and an open heart’ practice—it’s no mistake that disorders (7%). A robust scientific in the training. There were also trends loving-kindness practice is the ultimate literature links postpartum depression toward reduced symptoms of depression conclusion of most retreats. But in to impairments in mother-infant and increased positive emotion. this situation, relationality defines the bonding. In addition, a large body of practice. Silence, solitude, retreat, empirical evidence in both animal and The Good, The Bad and refuge—the lone-wolf style of “I’m going human studies indicates that stress and The Ugly to sit here quietly with my mind until I Mindful motherhood, the way we see clearly,” is very rarely an option in mood disturbance experienced during pregnancy increases the risk for preterm teach it, is focused on being present, early motherhood. birth and other pregnancy-related in your body, and connected with your Second, in mindful motherhood one complications, and may adversely affect baby no matter what is happening. It’s can forget the aspects of mindfulness the developing fetus, and the child’s being aware of your experience from that are of the transcendent/ detached/ moment to moment, as it is happening, observing-with-great long-term development. equanimity Despite the potential for far- without pushing it away, trying to make variety. Mindful motherhood is a reaching benefits, relatively little it stay, or judging it as bad or good. It is practice that is living, embodied, research has focused on developing meeting each situation as it is and, over down and dirty, sensual, centreed and interventions to reduce stress and time, more and more often, approaching grounded in this world, in this body, in improve mood for mothers during whatever is happening with curiosity this moment. It’s about being present, the perinatal period. In response to and compassion. in your body, and connected with your Mindful motherhood is a way of baby. It’s playing with your baby in the the need for a brief, low-cost, non

So, mindful motherhood is an embodied practice. In the first year of your child’s life, your body, much more than your mind or your words, is your primary communication tool. You receive almost all the incoming information you need from your baby through your body and its sensations (as opposed to the communication we tend to focus on as adults—the exchange of ideas). And all the outgoing information you deliver to your baby goes through your body as well. You connect with your baby through your facial expressions, your warmth, your touch, your tone of voice, and your tension or relaxation in each moment. Your body

is likely the primary source of nutrition, and even if you are bottle-feeding, your body during feeding times nourishes your baby with important skin-to-skin contact. In fact, everything your baby knows about you and is learning from you during this time of ultimate brain plasticity, when neural pathways are being laid down for life, is happening through the communication between your body and your baby’s body. This communication is for the most part nonconceptual—it’s made up of sensations and emotions rather than ideas. It’s really staggering if you stop to think about it. It’s as though you’ve had to learn sign language rather than verbal language, but the sign language isn’t just with your hands—it’s with your whole body. Because your body is so vital to your communication, paying attention to and centreing your awareness in it becomes extremely important. Which is where mindfulness comes in. Finally, mindful motherhood above all is a practice of being present in the moment. If being nonjudgmental, accepting, curious, and compassionate and observing your experience and letting it be as it is without struggling against it are some of the rooms that make up the www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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house of mindful motherhood, being in the present moment is the foundation of the house.

A Great Time for Mindfulness

radical mindfulness—one that is deeply embodied, and infuses itself throughout your everyday life. The bottom line is to be gentle with yourself. There are limitless opportunities to cultivate mindful motherhood in pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, and in the rest of your life. Much of what I talk about will come to you naturally, and more than anything, most mothers just need a reminder to stay true to what is most real in each moment. Stay true to your centre (your breathing, your body, and your connection to your baby), to that part of you that is awake, aware, and encountering each moment of motherhood for the first time. Rather than being a big project or a strenuous endeavor, mindful motherhood is about giving yourself permission to rest in this moment ... and in this one ... and in this one. Rest into whatever it is that is happening, and explore the adventure of motherhood with open eyes, an open mind, and an open heart.

Dr. Cassandra Vieten is a Psychologist, Director of Research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, scientist at California Pacific Medical Centre Research Institute, and author of Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child’s First Year (2009)

Photo: Depositphotos

The great news for many of us is that being present with our babies can be really easy. Their adorable little selves can be incredibly compelling. You can find yourself just hanging out in the present with the baby and observing everything that is going on with great interest, curiosity and love. In some ways this is the pinnacle of mindfulness, so it gives you the opportunity to experience it naturally without even having to try. When all the hormones line up right and you are hanging out with your baby, this experience often trumps that hypervigilance about everything else. You get ‘mummy brain’, where everything else drops away for a while. These moments when mindfulness comes with ease are real gifts. On the same note, when the baby is crying, it forces you to be present in ways that you may sometimes wish you could avoid but can’t. It’s really hard to ignore or be distracted from your own baby crying. In some ways, these moments are also gifts. They provide a great opportunity to be present in a demanding moment and to begin to learn how to let go into the present moment, to relax into it, to lean into it and walk right through it without all the

extra suffering that comes from resisting it or trying to make it stop. Finally, mindful awareness in pregnancy and early motherhood opens the door to experiences of deep contentment, expansive joy, fierce love, and warm sensuality that can exceed anything you’ve experienced up until then, and when you are really there for them, they hold the potential to be transformative. Being open to this depth of feeling can change your understanding of who you are and what you are capable of. The gist is that pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood are not times to put your mindfulness practice on hold and accept that you just won’t be able to attend to that part of your life as much. Quite the contrary; pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood stimulate mindful awareness. When you lean into it, your mindfulness practice makes you grow as a mum (because essentially, the same ingredients that make up mindful awareness, when applied to your relationship with your baby, add up to being a good mum), and becoming a mum encourages mindfulness in a way that few other life experiences can. Yes, pregnancy and early motherhood can be uniquely disruptive to your usual self-care routines, such as setting aside time for meditation or yoga. But this period of time also provides an opportunity to cultivate a practice of

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A Truly Nurturing Education ~ Part 1

of assessment and grading, the forms of daily experience in schooling inhibit children’s perception, behaviour and ability to attend to internal sensations, emotions, intuitions and personal insights. They disconnect children from objects, the natural world, other people and themselves.

KNOWLEDGE IN CONTEXT

So where does ‘knowledge’ fit, in an education that nurtures the fuller kind of functioning I described above? The knowledge or understanding an individual has of anything, is only one inseparable facet of experience. It cannot be meaningfully separated from the context of experience or from the individual’s aims. In fact, every experience that involves some ‘knowledge’, also involves not only an individual’s aims, but also selective perception, emotion, judgement, action, memory and biochemical processes throughout their body. To grow into an adult such as I have described, a child needs lots of opportunities to engage in self-selected activities in real-world contexts. With lots of such rich and authentic experience, a child is much better prepared to live intimately and dynamically connected with the world.

The Australian education system focuses almost solely on a child’s intellect, but is that all that is important? Over the next four issues, Dr Andrew Seaton looks at what a truely nurturing education looks like and how you can help provide a more nurturing education for your child.

the of

themselves. We can educate them so that they are able to know people, objects and phenomena freshly, not through rigid patterns of memory, labels, definitions, expectations and judgements, but by a delicate yet profound relatedness or identity with them. We can educate them so that people, things and events lose their power to trouble and manipulate them. We can educate our children so that they keep and strengthen their sense of their own ‘beingness’, a sense dependent on their ability to stop thinking. Their uniquely individual expression of talents and abilities can come to reflect a creativity that taps the depths of life. We can educate our children so that their expression arises, not from a conditioned mind, but from their inner core, from a

SCHOOL KNOWLEDGE

Schools operate on the completely inadequate assumption that knowledge education? Well, that depends on who is a copy of reality. The thinking goes you ask. This is the first of a series of something like this. “The public sharing articles for parents and grandparents of concepts about the world makes about the education of children. (With them ‘true’. We should collect all the apologies to teenagers, for simplicity’s most important and ‘true’ conceptual sake I will use the word ‘children’ to knowledge. Teachers can learn it in refer to young people up till adulthood.) specialised subject areas. Then they can However, these articles are not about pass enough of it on to each child so they how every child should be educated. can live a successful life. Children can The ways in which it would make sense learn about the world by hearing about to educate a child are as different as the it from teachers, by reading about it, aims different people might have for and by discussing, thinking and writing education. about it. Knowledge can be made a To begin with, then, I will briefly substitute for reality, a substitute for outline what I have come to understand direct experience in the world and for about what well-functioning human acting on the world.” beings can be like . Some readers will However, knowledge is not really like see this description ‘Encourage your child to reflect on their talents, this at all! Knowledge as a desirable aim for the things they love to do with their talents, and is not a copy of the education of their the ways they can give to the world their energy, reality. It is merely an child. Others may not. abstract interpretation creativity and caring’ I will then go on to discuss in this and of some aspect of the world that is future articles the kinds of activities, deeper aspect of self than their intellect constructed in an individual’s mind. experiences and relationships that are is able to fathom. We can educate them It is undoubtedly helpful at times helpful (and some that are unhelpful) in so that they live and act out of a kind of to label, define, categorise, analyse, nurturing this kind of functioning. This ‘deep intelligence’, a deep sense of self- evaluate and apply logic to elements of is important because, as the saying goes, as-connected-with-all-life, rather than our experience. But we do not know “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree”. out of a sense of self-as-separate. something just because we have named Schooling is not able to nurture this and defined it. WHAT CAN A HUMAN BEING type of functioning. The people running Schools require children to engage BE? schools try, of course, to do a good job day after day, year after year with this We can educate our children in such of educating children. However, schools abstract kind of ‘knowledge’, torn a way that they keep into adulthood operate on quite different assumptions out of context. The dominance of their sense of joy, enthusiasm and about human functioning and, therefore, intellectual and linguistic processes in intense wakefulness. We can educate with quite different aims. In this article, schooling reduces the dynamic aliveness them so that they strengthen their ability let us look at the idea of ‘knowledge’, for of the world to crude abstractions. to research, think, learn and do for example. Combined with the constant pressure

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REAL WORLD PROJECTS

Photo: Depositphotos

What

is aim

You may be sending your child to school, or you may be educating your child at home. Either way, there are many things you can do as a parent to provide a nurturing education for your child. One of those things is to encourage and guide your child in investigating and acting on the world around them. Encourage your child to reflect on their talents, the things they love to do with their talents, and the ways they can give to the world of their energy, creativity and caring. Encourage them to nurture and pursue those talents, interests and inclinations that come with a feeling of peace, rather than of agitation and strong attachment. Support them in choosing, defining and exploring a real world purpose, and in developing, evaluating, explaining, and where possible pursuing, a course of action in relation to that purpose. Before taking up their project each new day, encourage your child to clarify their intentions, consider their likely consequences, and let go of anticipated outcomes. Then

they can go about their activities with full attention and presence. A child may have a deep interest in a particular kind of animal, for example. It might be feasible to allow them to breed, raise and train some of those animals. They might do it on a personal scale, or even on a commercial scale, right through to marketing the animals. In the process, a child will certainly learn a great deal about the many things involved. More importantly, though, they will be able to live out their inner creativity, love and enthusiasm. Real world projects may also be proposed by a parent, who inspires a child to undertake a project. You may nudge, guide and inspire your child to engage in a wide variety of pursuits, over time. These might include projects in ‘our natural world’, ‘our technological world’, ‘our social world’ and ‘our personal world’. Whether they arise spontaneously, or through the inspiration of a parent, it is important that these investigations are not selfindulgent or insipidly politically correct. They must have grit. They must confront realities, and most importantly confront the necessity of obedience to the deepest reality, the deepest promptings within the individual. The child’s involvement must, in the end, be genuinely voluntary. They must have a genuine sense of interest and ownership, and their involvement must not be coerced. Even when inspired by a parent, these projects are undertaken

in such a way as to lend themselves to as much self-management by each child as they are capable of, with parent support, rather than high levels of parent-directedness and control. Some years ago, I read a good summary of a principle of progression that parents can sensitively apply when helping a child to engage with and master any new activity or part of an activity. “I’ll do it, you watch. I’ll do it, you help. You do it, I’ll help. You do it, I’ll watch.” In guiding one or more children in their undertaking of a real world project, it is important that a parent gives careful consideration to the nature, interests, needs and circumstances of the young participants. Consider, according to the nature of the project, the possible need for activities relating to orientation and clarification of the intention, to observation of conditions, to information-gathering, and to examination of beliefs and emotions previously associated with the situation. You might also provide for some analysis, for comparing and contrasting, and for hypothesising and testing causes and effects.

SEEING THINGS WITH FRESH EYES

Also be mindful of assisting your child in putting aside assumptions and viewing the situation, or elements of it, passively and receptively. This allows creative and intuitive processes to come into play that may reveal deeper

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insights and new connections that move the child beyond existing patterns of perception, thought, emotion and action. Activities may then move to the drawing of conclusions in relation to the project’s aims, to identification and location of resources, to application and engagement in the undertaking, and to monitoring, evaluation and reflection. These activities can be drawn upon in a very flexible and dynamic way that is responsive to the unfolding of the project and to the child’s engagement and responses. An important role of the parent is to sensitively support the child in changing and letting go of beliefs, emotions and attitudes that have become habitual. Young people (any people) consider alternatives to a view they hold, only when they are convinced of the inadequacy of their existing view. They only let go of old patterns if (1) they understand why new experiential or logical evidence represents a contradiction of some aspect of their existing viewpoint and behaviours, and (2) it is important to them to resolve the contradiction. Real world projects lend themselves to such liberating changes, because they are generally of enough interest to the child that it will be important to them to let go of inadequate or inconsistent beliefs and behaviours. Parents can help a child, in explicit and implicit ways, to see that they are not a fixed set of beliefs, but can be in charge of their own minds and lives. Show them how they can see, know and respond more freshly and authentically when their habitual ways prove inadequate. There are several explicit ways parents can do this. For example, you can sensitively ask questions to elicit your child’s conceptions and misconceptions. You can encourage your child to elaborate on their misconceptions and delve into the thinking, memories and/or emotions behind them, rather than being pre-occupied, as school teachers typically are, with eliciting from children, or giving them, the ‘right’ answer or method. Show your child how to support or critique their own and others’ points of view on the basis of experiential and/ or logical evidence. Parents can sensitively guide a child to activities, experiments and texts to create conceptual conflict (for example, experiments whose results are likely to differ from the child’s assumptions or predictions). And a parent can suggest that the child stop thinking, and just give sensitive attention to the object, phenomenon, belief or whatever it may be, passively, receptively, non-analytically. The child can try to liberate themselves from what they think they know about it, and open themselves to a feeling of its patterns.

the capabilities of your child, so you can give appropriate guidance and recommendations for suitable activities or more effective performance. And it will often be helpful to a child to give them sensitive but honest feedback regarding the activities and procedures they are engaging with. But the kind of education we are talking about here has no place for grades. It does not involve assessment for labeling or ranking children. Rather, let the feedback you provide for your child be descriptive and constructive. It will also be helpful to your child to encourage them to reflect on the effectiveness of their own activities, expression and creations, when appropriate. What difficulties did they have, if any? How did they overcome them, or attempt to? What new discoveries did they make about how to use various forms of speech or writing, or perform particular tasks? How might they do these things more effectively next time? In what ways have their thoughts and feelings about the matter at hand changed? Many valuable skills can be developed in the context of such real world projects, including literacy and numeracy skills. In the next article, we will consider some of the ways this can be done.

How sports affects the Brain Dartmouth researcher David Bucci, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and his graduate team have just released study results on the effects that exercise has on the brain. Bucci found that “The implication is that exercising during development, as your brain is growing, is changing the brain in concert with normal developmental changes, resulting in your having more permanent wiring of the brain in support of things like learning and memory,” says Bucci. “It seems important to [exercise] early in life.” From his studies, Bucci and his team have revealed important new findings:

Dr. Andrew Seaton has taught in primary and secondary schools in several states and territories. In 2005 Dr. Seaton completed his award-winning Ph.D. thesis titled, ‘Investing in Intelligence: An Inquiry into Educational Paradigm Change’. He has since occupied roles involving advising on shifts in educational theory, policy and practice.

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The effects of exercise are different on memory as well as on the brain, depending on whether the exerciser is an adolescent or an adult.

A gene has been identified which seems to mediate the degree to which exercise has a beneficial effect. This has implications for the potential use of exercise as an intervention for mental illness.

The article was published in the journal Neuroscience

Early signs of Dyslexia Sugar affects ability to learn Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA has just released a paper that has concluded that “Eating a high-fructose [sugar] diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.” It is believed that too much fructose could block insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar for the energy required for processing thoughts and emotions.

THE POINT OF IT ALL ... CONSCIOUS LIVING

The study used high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid six times sweeter than cane sugar, that is commonly added to processed foods, including soft drinks, sauces and baby food. This did not include the natural sugars found in fruit.

Photo: Depositphotos

Encourage your child not to be preoccupied with what they might see as the eventual outcome of a project. Be sensitive in any situations of disappointing or unexpected outcome, and explore the situation with your child non-judgementally. Explore questions about contexts, priorities, budgetary constraints and the different points of view people often have about particular things in life. It would be a great shame if a parent conveyed to their child a sense that any real world project had been a ‘failure’ or a waste of time! Rather, in the context of this nurturing kind of education, a parent would support such activities because it is living, without the primary concern being attachment to a particular outcome. There will be legitimate occasions for appropriate forms of assessment. For example, you may need to know, on occasion,

All is not lost however as the paper also concluded that “adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.” This report was published in the Journal of Physiology

University of Padua has released a study which claims that dyslexia can be diagnosed even before a child can read. It is believed that visual attention deficits, rather than language delays, is a more reliable predictor of dyslexia in pre-readers. The report made a number of other important conclusions, including: •

When children are pre-readers, poor readers will show impaired visual search and spatial cuing. •

When children are pre-readers, approximately 60% of poor readers display a visual-attention deficit. • Preschoolers’ visual attention abilities predict future reading acquisition. For all students, efficient visual-attention is crucial in order to learn to read, independently of phonology. This report was published in the journal Current Biology

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Dealing with Day Sleeps Issues Sleep can be one of the hardest aspects of motherhood. Day sleeps can be either blissful, non-existant or simply just a cat-nap. Anni Gethin, co~author of ‘Helping Your Baby to Sleep – Why gentle techniques work best’, explores the common issues that some mothers face with day sleeps.

possibly more than any other issue, is where responsive parents can feel the brunt of others’ disapproval, and sometimes, say when feeding their 8 month old for the 6th time at night, or when rocking their heavy one year old off to sleep, quietly question their parenting choices, or perhaps even scream ‘why the %$&# are we doing this again?’ The aim of these columns is to go through some of the common sleep issues that parents face, and to show that we can be kind and responsive at sleep time, follow best attachment principles, and all without carrying a burden of guilt and extreme tiredness. This first column is on nap times. In the months ahead we are going to have a look at ‘rocking baby to sleep – when and how to transition’, ‘emotional issues that disturb sleep’, ‘successful family beds’, and the number one sleep problem of the nurturing parent ‘the all night feed baby’. All these discussions are based on the principles of responsive parenting, and, as appropriate, relevant research literature. Also, as good fortune would have it, I recently had my own surprise baby, Juno (surprising in that her brothers are 12, 15 and 20) – so we have a convenient test baby on which to demonstrate some of the principles of sleep parenting.

NAP QUESTIONS

Baby naptime can be pretty hectic. It is excellent advice to ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ but for many parents day

sleeps are also a chance to eat, have a coffee, zip about, pack the dishwasher, or, if you are anything like me, to make calls and send emails without someone grabbing at the phone or making that ‘uh uh uh’ sound that translates to ‘for goodness sake mummy! get off the phone/computer’. So how much should a baby sleep in the day? This question is a common one as babies emerge from the new baby time where they seem to do little else other than sleep. And for some parents, the follow up question is, ‘can I get my baby to nap for longer in the day?’ These are the parents continually frustrated by the dashed expectation of ‘getting something done’ only to have their baby wake up after ten minutes.

How much sleep does my baby need? The first thing to think about when looking at day sleep is your own baby. Forget all proscriptive advice about ‘two naps a day at six months’ or ‘two hours up / two hours down’ (nice idea, the odd baby might do that, but for most of us, purely theoretical). The research literature can’t tell you what your baby needs, but is helpful to reassure parents that there is a very wide range of total hours of sleep and numbers of naps. As an example, test baby Juno (6 months) started off as an incredibly sleepy new baby, and has now developed the following pattern (in that she does something like this most days): • Between 6-30 am to 7-30 am wakes up;

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Between 8 to 8-30 am: short morning nap (15 minutes) • Around 10 am: not so short morning nap (15 mins to 30 mins) • About 1 pm: afternoon big sleep 1 to 2.5 hours or two shorter sleeps • Early evening catnap (not always) • 7 pm Later evening catnap • 8-30 to 9pm Enters night-sleep With Juno, or any other baby, the key to how much sleep they need is to follow their cues. Every new parent knows about ‘tired signs’ and the obvious ones are the eye rubbing, jerky movements and scratchy whingy tired behaviour. Some babies are also very predictable – for example, my oldest son Zac, as a baby would always go to sleep at exactly 11am for exactly 30 minutes. So the simple answer is: if you are putting your baby to sleep when they are tired, and provided the baby wakes up ready to go and not still tired and whingy, they are having enough daytime sleep. Also, to note that the odd baby will actually seem to need no day time sleep. And go all day long. Blessings!

Can I get my baby to nap for longer?

Getting your baby to take longer naps can work. The first thing to remember is that as your baby gets older they need less total sleep in a 24 hour period, but there is natural tendency to nap for longer – for example, with the classic toddler afternoon nap. Aside from the passage of time, there are two things parents can do, a) consolidate shorter naps into a longer

Photo: Pita Norris

Sleep,

nap and b) get a baby who has disrupted napping, and is waking up tired, to nap for longer. Sleep consolidation cannot be hurried, as a baby who skips a needed nap will just be a nightmare or fall asleep in the car or baby sling. However, you can slowly move a sleep back until it merges with a later one. The key is to start settling a little later each sleep time, whilst being responsive if your baby is not managing this transition. If your baby is waking up mid nap and still tired, sometimes you can resettle them with patting or a feed. However, where parents really hit problems is the baby who wakes up minutes (seconds) after they are put down, with parents sometimes deciding that their baby has a sleep problem or ‘does not really sleep in the day’. Almost always, something is waking these babies up. For younger babies, some cannot nap very well away from their parent, and wake up to feel your body and closeness. Digestive disturbances are also terribly common and disruptive in the early months as the gut and digestive system mature. Some parents are very taken with firm swaddling as a way of keeping a baby feel safe and stay asleep.

This is worth trying from new born, although not all, (and none of mine) babies are keen swaddlees. The other answer to this is to hold the baby while they sleep. The expectation that babies can and must sleep away from their parents causes a huge array of sleep problems. Until recently I held Juno for her catnaps, and if she had ‘tummy pains’, for her afternoon nap as well. It can sometimes mean a fair bit of getting up rocking and putting back to sleep. You can however, nap yourself, and even write on the computer and email with a sleeping baby on your tummy. Other nap wake up issues can be obvious like noise, light, irritated tummy, sore ears, too much mummy coffee, reacting to solids, feeling too hot or cold etc. These are usually at fault when a good day time napper goes ‘off ’, and just require a common sense process of elimination (e.g. oh she just started eating broccoli and now wakes up squirming after 5 minutes, let’s try different solids). How you then get a baby who only sleeps in your arms/baby sling to sleep away from you is the subject of the next column. But in the meantime, at least your baby (and hopefully you) will be getting some sleep in the day.

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Blokes at Birth Men can make wonderful birth-partners ~ they just need a little ... guidance. Childbirth educator, birth attendant (doula) and mother of two Kristin Beckedahl provides blokes with five tips.

policies and staff shift changes, can leave many men feeling a little daunted and helpless. Here are some of my top tips for men heading into the birth suite:

in your baby’s birth, as you can support your partner physically and emotionally like no midwife or obstetrician can. Be your partner’s (and your baby’s) advocate in labour by communicating effectively with your caregivers and discussing all the options along the way

baby these days seems to no longer be ‘secret women’s business’. Today, most men are expected to be at the birth of 1. GET INVOLVED their babies. This is a relatively new idea, Start early. Together, attend antenatal as 40 years ago only about 10% of men checkups, research your options of care 2. MIND YOUR TONGUE were actually in the birthing room, and and places of birth, and attend an active Too much talking is very distracting this was seen as quite unusual. These birthing workshop. Work on a birth plan for a woman in labour, and talking days about 95% of men are in the during a contraction is one of the birthing room, by their partner’s side biggest no-no’s there is. As every step of the way, and some a woman moves deeper into blokes are even in the birthing pool Five tips for expectant blokes: her labour, she will need to catching their own babies! In our concentrate very hard through one generation, the expectations each of her contractions and put on the father-to-be have 1. Get Involved hearing unnecessary chatter or changed dramatically. I believe we gibberish around her will not help! owe it to both these lads and their If you choose to open your mouth, partners, to ensure they’re well 2. Mind your Tongue ensure only positive, supportive prepared for the big day. How can and constructive words pass your we really prepare these Dads-to3. Avoid the Interrogatiom lips at the appropriate times. be to have a hands on, active and Remember to keep the chitterpositive role in one of the biggest chatter down with the midwife or days of their lives? 4. Be Present doctor too. Many men report that antenatal classes offered through hospitals, AVOID THE do little to prepare them for their 5. Birth is not a Social Event 3. INTERROGATION role at birth. I have seen this Don’t ask a woman in labour too firsthand as a doula (professional many questions. This can pull her out birth attendant) for couples in the of her primal birthing brain and can birthing room. These poor blokes are together, ask questions, read, watch, disrupt the flow of labour. e.g. ‘Did you seriously overwhelmed; they’re not sure learn from what your partner offers you, call your mother? Where’s the camera? where to stand, or sit, when to speak, share the experience and the decisions Do you want a drink, an epidural, a sick what to say, what they can touch and together. Talk to other Dads about the bag? Do you want me to massage your what’s out of bounds. Sometimes the positives of birth (not just the usual back, call the midwife, get more pillows, behaviour of their partner, along with unhelpful horror stories) and get good get some lip balm? Are you hungry?’ the sights, sounds and smells of labour at fielding judgmental comments from Sit quietly and closely to her, tune in to can catch many men by surprise! All others about your personal preferences her mood, her body and her needs, and this within a hospital setting, with its around birth. Step up and value your role

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you’ll be able to answer these yourself without cross-examining her.

4. BE PRESENT

Photos: Anne Higgs Photography

Having

a

By this, I mean really be there, not just in the room but by providing your full presence and attention to your partner. No phone-calls, texts, Facebook updates, reading books, newspapers, watching TV, or (gasp) checking and replying to emails. You may think she won’t see or notice if you do any of these things, but I can assure you she will sense it and will also never forget it. The world can wait.

5. BIRTH IS NOT A SOCIAL EVENT

Often the very best environment for a woman to labour and birth in is one that is private, dimly lit, quiet and safe. Often she will feel most at ease and uninhibited when the people around

her are those she trusts, and who are patient and respectful. She does not need an audience or a cheer squad! So avoid letting all the family, in-laws and friends know she is in labour - some will invite themselves to the hospital and gather in the waiting room! To avoid any performance anxiety placed on your partner and the well-meaning calls and messages wanting updates, consider keeping the news to yourselves. The first few hours after the baby is born should also be undisturbed and private. Its a time for mother, father and baby to bond, establish breastfeeding, and spend precious time meeting each other. THIS is your family now, protect it. As Lucy Perry, birth attendant and author of Cheers to Childbirth: A Dad’s guide to childbirth support says in her book, “Your involved presence has the potential to enhance the relationship

you have with your partner. You think you love her now? Wait until she delivers your baby. You’ll love her in a whole new way that includes admiration, a new kind of respect and an enormous amount of gratitude for what she has done for you and what she’s been through in the process.” For more invaluable tips on preparing for birth, expectant fathers can attend Beer + Bubs: childbirth education for men at the pub (www.beerandbubs.com.au) These classes are run in all major cities of Australia in their natural habitat: the local pub. The session focuses on the support person’s role and allows men the opportunity to meet other men in the same boat and to ask questions that he might be nervous to ask in front of his partner.

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Dad’s Corner One dad’s adventures of natural parenting with his little buddy, William

One first of Willia m’s smile s to me

our ne of o n o as trips This w camping

My column is about my journey through naturally parenting my son William. Each issue I will tell you a story about my adventures with my little buddy! But before I get into these adventures, I’ll give you a bit of history. I’m a mature age father (by that I mean I’m older – not really ‘mature’!) who is embarking on the journey of natural parenting. I have two adult children who were raised in a more mainstream way (e.g. they slept in cots, were bottle fed and pushed in prams). One of them, my daughter, has 3 children of her own which she is also naturally parenting. I feel fortunate at this point in my life to be able to give our 10 month old son quality time given that I now work part time and get home early most afternoons. The last few months have been a wonderful time in our lives, sharing memories of co-sleeping, babywearing and baby-led weaning. I have found a number of special ways that I bond with my little buddy. The first, which I have done from birth, is play in the bath with him each night. I sing nursery rhymes and play with our toys Martin the Mudcrab, Dora the Dolphin, Thomas the Turtle and Fredo the Frog (I named them myself)! My business colleagues laugh at the thought of me in the bathtub singing and playing with my son – but I wouldn’t have it any other way! The second way that I bond with my little buddy is going for an afternoon bushwalk with him in his baby carrier or sling. The walk is not about distance, it’s about time together! Sometimes we may walk a long distance, but other times only a few hundred meters. That is because I stop whenever I notice William looking at something. To my surprise, he quite often notices something that I would have otherwise not seen. Many people ask how, as a father, I find co-sleeping. Before William was born we had bought a cot and thought that would be where he would sleep. However, things quickly changed once William was born! I would wake up from time to time and William would be in our bed. Then it turned into every night – all night! Although co-sleeping was not something I had considered, now that we do, I have found that it works well for us. I really enjoy the closeness that we all share because of the experience. Even though we do not always get a great night sleep, when William wakes up with a big smile, the inconvenience of a broken night sleep is immediately forgotten. Not that I’ve given you a bit of my background, in the next issue I’ll share with you one of my adventures with William, my little buddy!

Going for a walk on Daydream Island!

All great adventures deserve to be recorded. Children delight in feeling that their adventures are important enough to have you help write them down. My daughter insisted that the three of us each keep our own journal so that we all could participate. This has added to our fun as we each record our own thoughts and then compare them.

3. Next, help your child add pictures, scribbles and/or stickers to the front to make the cover special and personal. 4. Ask your child for help in decorating your own journal. It will make her feel like a contributor to your fun as well as a recipient of your help.

Supplies:

Take the completed journals on adventures, real and imagined. Allow your child the creative freedom to “record” her thoughts in her own way. If she wants to write words, ask if you can help, or allow her to write them in her own secret language. If she wants to draw pictures of the things she has seen, offer as little or as much assistance as she seems to want. My daughter draws “maps” of our adventures in her journal and days later can, by looking at her random lines and circles, tell us which adventure we took on a certain day. This is all about being present in the moment with your child and allowing her to guide her own experience. Your child will notice that in this simple project you have spent time together, you have listened to her needs and wants, and her opinions have counted. Plus, kids feel great to have a finished a project that they can use over and over.

• 8.5x11 coloured construction paper, card stock, or stiff paper • 8.5x11 plain white paper • Stapler (for Mum or Dad to use – please be safe!) • Markers, stickers, crayons, pencils, etc.

Make it:

1. Take 2 pieces of your child’s favourite colour paper and place 10 to 20 pieces of blank white paper between them. Staple three times down the left side to make a booklet. (Repeat for any other child or adult who needs a separate adventure journal.) 2. Help your child write her name on the front with words that convey the importance of the booklet to your child. Example: Sage’s Grand Adventure Journal, started on (insert date)

Photos: Depositphotos

tal e hospi h t g n i Leav illiam with W

Use it:

Store it and carry it:

Store the journal in a safe place when not in use, but allow your child to look at it whenever she wants to review past adventures. It may be that you set aside time once a week or once a month to both go back through the pages of the journal to reminisce on the adventures you have had. Make sure to carry it (and a crayon or marker) with you when you go on adventures outside the home so that the journal becomes a true record of your child’s wonderful journeys. This is an edited extract from Emily Filmore’s book ‘It’s a Beautiful Day for a Walk’ from the With My Child Series. Save 20% off this book if you purchase from www.withmychild.com/nurture

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Why Relationships Matter Attachment Parenting in the 21st Century Most parents would agree that attachment is important. However most cannot fully explain why. Dr. Deborah MacNamara explains why attachment is so important and the purpose it serves in raising children.

Photo: Depositphotos

As

a new parent I thought I just I sometimes see parents roll their eyes and creates a sense of home. I remember needed to love my child enough when you say attachment, as if it were a one Dad asking me why any child would and attachment would take care of itself. fad or new buzzword instead of being at follow and obey their parent; this is just I soon realised it wasn’t this simple. I the heart of our most basic human need. one of the many fruits of attachment. One of the leading neuroscientists in I still remember when I first heard Dr. started wondering how I could cultivate and protect my relationship at every turn this area, Dr. Jaak Panskeep, has called Gordon Neufeld state it wasn’t just from sleep issues to temper tantrums? attachment behaviour the ‘seeking how much we love our children that As I waded through the parenting and instinct’. We seek out people and things mattered but how much they actually professional literature on attachment I we are attached to; in fact, a large part loved us too. Their attachment to us is was dismayed while there was agreement of the brain is geared towards this at the heart of what gives us the power as to its importance, there was a lack of seeking behaviour. Dr. Gordon Neufeld to parent them. It isn’t about being depth in explaining its overall purpose, (Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents their friend and preventing upset, it is how to cultivate it, and how it played a Need to Matter More Than Peers) about leading them and inspiring them, role in the development of a child. It was provides a deeper and more integrated demonstrating we really are their best ironic to me that attachment could be so understanding of attachment in terms bet. While we give birth to our children detached from any roots making sense of human development. We are driven they give birth to the parent inside of us to pursue or preserve relationships with and it is from this place we must lead of it. In the middle of the 20th century whatever we are attached to; we keep them into maturity. John Bowlby coined the term Another way to ‘attachment’ but it understand attachment ‘the purpose of attachment is clear ... it is the is clear as we glue in our human relationships, the chemicals that is that it is like a dance head into the between children bond us to one another, and the space in between next century and adults. If you have that connects and creates a sense of home’ that there is a need to ever danced with someone reflect and deepen our understanding. things close that matter. When thinking there is one thing you quickly discover Advances in neuroscience are helping of the panic created in losing our as you try to move in tandem: someone affirm the physiological and chemical possessions such as keys, mobile phone needs to lead. If there are two leaders underpinnings of attachment, or wallet, we start to get an inkling of and no followers there is misstepping reaffirming what Grandmothers have what human relationships might mean and nothing works. The big issue that always known: children need strong to our children. gets eclipsed in today’s understanding It still begs the question why of attachment is that it is actually connections with adults. While we seem to intuitively understand the importance attachment is so important and what hierarchical in nature. Someone needs to of attachment, the definition varies and purpose it serves in raising children? lead and someone needs to follow and if often focuses exclusively on babies, From the Neufeld paradigm, the purpose we are to grow our children up we need not considering the rest of childhood of attachment is clear: it is what renders to be in the alpha position. Today we are and adolescence; not to mention our children dependent on us and gives seeing a huge increase in the number of adult relationships! Attachment is the us the capacity to care for them. It is the children that are in the alpha position; name given to the science of human glue in our human relationships, the they think it is their job to call the dance relationships and there is a plethora of chemicals that bond us to one another, moves. When this happens, taking care research on this subject. Despite all this, and the space in between that connects of a child becomes incredibly difficult www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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If we are to lead our children into the next century, a deeper understanding of attachment is more important than ever. Never before have we faced so many things that compete or get in the way of our relationship with them, from too much peer interaction to technological devices and screen time, all within a context that doesn’t understand the importance of attachment for children. We need to hang onto our children, be their best bet, and find a way to inspire them to depend on us. When we take charge of their attachment needs they can rest in our care and grow into the people they were meant to become.

Ask our Experts If you have any questions for Prue Blackmore, please send them to

asknurture@nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

Dr. Deborah MacNamara is a counsellor, teacher, writer and community developer. She is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute. Dr. MacNamara is also a parent of two children, with whom she practices attachment parenting. For further information on this topic, please see www.macnamara.ca Facebook: KidsBestBet or www.neufeldinstitute.com

Q

How do I help my four year old navigate the pain of ‘fickle’ relationships at Kindy when his friend tells him, “You are not my best friend anymore”?

Photos: Depositphotos

because they don’t understand why you expect them to follow as if you were in charge? Children with alpha complexes are full of frustration because they can’t meet their own attachment needs, are full of resistance for anyone who tries to direct them, and can be full of anxiety. Alpha children are often bossy and prescriptive with independence masking their desperate need to depend on adults to take care of their attachment needs. You can’t make sense or headway with an alpha child if you don’t understand the purpose of attachment and it’s hierarchical nature. Our children are losing faith in their providers at an alarming rate. Our relationships are being dismantled and upended by separation-based disciplines that use children’s attachments against them, e.g. time-outs or feigning leaving when they don’t heed. Many wellintentioned parenting practices put children in the lead by turning the home into a democracy where everyone gets a vote; in my house that would mean eating lollies for breakfast! Parents aren’t meant to be their child’s friend and many decisions we make may upset them like no lollies for breakfast! Parents need to lead from the alpha position and children need to attach in the dependent position. When it turns upside down, nothing can feel natural or instinctual anymore in parenting; in fact it can often feel like a nightmare. So how can we cultivate strong attachments with our children? Attachment research suggests three things are critical in this respect: the expression of delight, enjoyment and warmth. I still remember how my grandfather’s eyes twinkled when I came to visit. He was the only one who seemed to find the patience and time to play board games with me. He often toured me around his garden revealing its many treasures and put up with many

of my practical jokes. For me it was never about how much money he had, how much quality time he spent with me or the presents he gave me, but how I knew I mattered to him. He told me I was his first grandchild; I was special. There was a sense of delight whenever I visited and a sense of sadness in saying goodbye. It wasn’t what he did but rather how I felt around him. I could rest in his care assured his attention for me would always outweigh my needs. When you have this type of invitation to exist the only thing left to work at is in discovering, playing, and becoming your own person. I grew much in his garden, exploring and creating worlds that could only exist in my imagination. The real gift of attachment is that it provides a child with a sense they can rest in someone’s care. The child can take for granted that someone will be there through the good, the bad, and the ugly. With strong attachments you have second, third and fourth chances to get things right with the sense of invitation unwavering despite infractions.

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Photos: Depositphotos

‘With strong attachments you have second, third and fourth chances to get things right with the sense of invitation unwavering despite infractions’

This is a devastating issue for the child at the time and is one of the first forays into a world where the people they are interacting with do not have the same vested interest in ensuring that their feelings are OK, as occurs within the family. They are entering a world in which they have gone from being the centre of attention to going into a situation where they are small and not so significant. They compensate for this by learning to fit into a group and selecting a primary friend in a bi partisan agreement of commitment: the “besty”. This is a developmental stage where they are working out “Who am I?”. They have the foundation of being part of the family, however they are needing to assert themselves as separate to the family. The greater the family attachment, the better he can learn to trust himself as being separate. This stage is marked by the child measuring themselves against others: how alike they are and how unlike they are. This produces its own anxiety that leads to a kind of possessiveness that this is, “My Dad or Mum” or “My house” or “My friend”. With the new friend of course there are no pre existing bonds so the ‘friend’ is free to care or not care as the case may be. This is how they learn what it is to be a friend and that relationships are a two way process. As you would know, this is fraught for adults but can be devastating for children. It is really important to be emotionally available to the child, to use a form of dialogue or talking that really validates the child’s experience. One way to do this is to mirror back to them their concerns and empathise with the pain. For example, “So you’re telling me that James doesn’t want to be your friend any more and you are feeling really sad about that. That makes a lot of sense to me - I would feel sad if that happened to me.” To be heard is vital – when you are in pain often all you need is a sympathetic ear who just hears you. Children are also very ego centric (this is natural and changes over time and with maturity) and so it is important to impart alternative perspectives. For example, you can explain

that when someone says something hurtful, that it may be because the ‘friend’ may be unhappy, or sad, or angry on the inside and that has nothing to do with your child. Children can grasp this at a pretty early age. And it is very liberating. To give them alternative options on how to react. “I am sad you are feeling like that and I hope it passes soon and I still like you” is very empowering for the child. It is also useful to teach children how to look at and examine their own feelings. For example, discuss your child’s feelings, including where the feeling sits in the body, what colour does that part of the body need to feel better. Then visualise with the child the colour wrapping around the feeling and watching the feeling floating up out of their head like a balloon. It also helps to take some big deep breaths to feel calm. This really works and allows the child to take charge of their own feelings which is a highly functional position to take. It also liberates them from being manipulated. These simple cognitive skills learnt early can set the child on a path of recognizing where they stop and someone else starts, what they are responsible for and what they are not, while learning the complex process of mutual concern and empathy that make for a good future adult in society. And this is a child’s primary requirement – to learn how to be a functioning and authentic adult in the world and it is your job as a parent to help them with this. Prue Blackmore has over 30 years experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, and has specialised in developmental psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, cognitive behavioural therapy, transpersonal counselling, trauma resolution and depth process work

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A Positive Caesarean Birth Most pregnant women envisage their birth as a vaginal birth. For some however, this may leave bitter disappointment if they are required, for medical reasons to undergo a caesarean. Di Diddle explains how women can turn a caesarean into a positive birth experience.

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(Doula). Again, research tells us women feel more supported when they have someone experienced and familiar with them. Furthermore in Australia you can access a midwife for all your pre and postnatal care. This is called ‘shared care’ and provides you with individualised care outside of the hospital system. I now encourage all women planning a hospital birth to access this care and so far I have found them to report overwhelmingly high levels of satisfaction.

BEST INTENDED PLANS

Photo: Depositphotos

woman’s birth experience do that may have a more profound baby was not in any immediate danger can live deep within influence. but they were advised that they needed her and carry powerful to prepare for a caesarean. The parents feelings. During the final stages of INFORMED DECISION wanted to make sure the caesarean was childbirth, strong hormones prime and MAKING absolutely necessary so they asked to see There are occasions where a a more senior Doctor. After this, they prepare us for our role of mothering. If these hormones are disturbed it can caesarean section may be your only sought the opinion of another Doctor. have a profound and lasting impact option (e.g. placenta previa - where They took all the information they had on how a mother feels about a key the placenta sits over the cervix). received from all the medical staff and event in her life. In her book Gentle However sometimes caesareans are spent two hours together making some Birth, Gentle Mothering, Dr. Sarah not performed for true medical need. phone calls to seek further advice and Buckley says, “With a caesarean, there Breech presentation, multiple births, discussing their options. They wanted is an absent or curtailed labour and the big babies, small pelvis’s or a previous to make sure it was definitely the right maternal hormonal peaks of oxytocin, caesar may not be valid reasons for a decision. Of course in the case of endorphins and catecholamines are routine caesarean. These cases need to placental abruption their only option be considered on an individual basis was a caesarean, which they consented absent or reduced.” Women who have had a caesarean to determine the most appropriate to. After the birth they felt they had can experience various degrees of birth choice. Make sure you ask plenty left no stone unturned, and, whilst sadness, disappointment, disappointed that the anger, violation, loss natural birth they ‘Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what of self-esteem, you want. The people caring for you are providing had intended did guilt, depression, not happen, were a service and many of them will appreciate clear and sometimes satisfied that they had guidance from you about your own wishes.’ post-traumatic stress made the right decisions. of questions and seek out a variety of disorder (PTSD). One third of Australian women are professional opinions. This will help you MODEL OF CARE AND SUPPORT giving birth to their babies by caesarean. make an informed decision. Some public hospitals now offer a Where a caesarean is unplanned Caseload Midwifery Program. This is This article addresses what women can do to make the experience of a caesarean (usually called an emergency caesarean where you are cared for by one allocated less like a surgical procedure and more section - whereby the caesarean took Midwife throughout your pregnancy, place after labour had begun) there can during the birth of your baby and in the like a joyous birth. Little things can make a big still be time to talk through all options early postpartum time. This is considered difference. Having music played and so as you have no doubts about why the to be the best model of care for low risk photos taken during the procedure, caesarean is required. women and their babies. Research tells One couple who had attended my us that it provides the greatest level of making sure someone talks through exactly what is happening along the way classes experienced some abnormal satisfaction for the mother even when an and having your partner cut the cord bleeding in early labour. They had an intervention like a caesarean occurs. If are all things that women have done to ultrasound which revealed that some your hospital does not offer this kind of help achieve a more positive experience. of the placenta had separated from the care, I would encourage you to employ But there are other things you can also uterine wall - placenta abrupta. The your own Midwife or Birth Attendant

An Australian government review of maternity services found that: “Control was the primary issue of concern for women... they want to be in control and command of their birthing experiences.” Whilst many Doctors and Midwives are aware of the importance of the mothers experience, many are not. Some of my suggestions take a very assertive woman or partner. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what you want. The people caring for you are providing a service and many of them will appreciate clear guidance from you about your own wishes. Writing a birth plan is a vital step

towards having an influence on your birth experience, no matter what sort of birth you plan or expect to have. A birth plan is best written as key dot points on and A4 page, anything longer is unlikely to be properly read in a busy maternity ward. Make sure you carry a few copies with you and check to see that medical staff have read what you have written before they care for you.

VITAL SKIN TO SKIN

I often hear women say that the hardest thing about their caesarean was not being able to touch or cuddle their baby for sometime after the birth. One mother wrote to me: “I was so distressed that my little baby was out of my sight and I had no idea where he was. It took a long time to accept that I hadn’t seen or touched him for the first three hours after he was born”. Many women want to feel the warm, wet nakedness of their newly born baby. I can’t emphasis enough the importance of skin to skin contact with your baby. Skin to skin promotes bonding and helps babies initiate breast feeding. Research has demonstrated that a baby who has skin to skin contact with their mother immediately after birth are

more likely to maintain and normalise their blood sugar levels, breathing and body temperature. In fact, if the baby is too cold, the mother’s body temperature will increase to warm the baby and decrease if the baby gets too hot. In the case of a caesarean birth, babies are more likely to miss out on skin to skin. To optimise breastfeeding, babies do best to have uninterrupted skin to skin contact for at least the first two hours birth. If your baby is well, there should be no reason why she shouldn’t stay with you. Even though most medical staff know the importance of skin to skin, it is still uncommon practice for babies to have skin to skin contact in the first hour after a caesarean. Placing the baby on the upper part of the mother’s chest, even snuggled into her neck and a warm blanket over the baby is the best way of achieving skin to skin in the operating room. In the recovery room, the baby can be placed skin to skin on the mothers chest. If you have not had the opportunity to have skin to skin with your baby in theatre then the recovery room cuddle becomes even more important. At any point where the mother is unable to have skin to skin

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with the baby then the partner can take over. If you find that you have not managed to achieve skin to skin at all then you can definitely have lots of skin to skin in the post natal ward. Babies are not evolved to be dressed, wrapped and placed in a plastic cot. In fact the first few hours or days this can be detrimental to your babies health. So its best to keep your baby skin to skin and leave any weighing, washing or cuddles with other people for at least the initial two hours

Mother having skin to skin contact in operating theatre after C-Section

POST BIRTH CARE

We all need to be nurtured after we’ve birthed our babies. Many traditional cultures practice some kind of post birth resting time for mother. Other women look after the new mother. I recently worked with an Indian woman who described to me the recovery time after her first baby was born by caesarean section. She was quite affected by the surgery and felt pretty out of it for the first 2 weeks. She describes spending a lot of time sleeping and can’t remember much about her baby. Her mother had come to stay with her and took care of everything. She slept with the baby and when he was hungry she took him to her sleeping daughter and put him to her breast. Not all of us have mothers who could or would do this for us so we need to find other ways to get the rest and support we need. Asking for help can sometimes be the biggest hurdle. A good plan is to make you intentions clear early so that people can be prepared to help you in the way you most need. If you find this hard, try asking indirectly. A list of things to do on the

fridge or a message on social media might say: “The best gift you can give us is your help. Here are some things that would make a big difference for us. Wash our dishes, hang out the washing, take the dog for a walk, go to the shops and get a few things we need, sweep the floor, take the baby for a walk to the park in the sling while I have a nap, or cook us a nutritious meal. Thank-you; every little bit helps.” You will need to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and be well nourished. My experience is that well meaning friends will visit bearing sweet sugary treats. Sugar is low in nutrition and can deplete your immune system and increase your risk of infection. A meal roster is a life saver, even if its just one meal a week for the first six weeks. Many local Australian Breastfeeding Association groups offer meal rosters to their group members. Your partner will also need to arrange for time off work. The longer the better. Two weeks isn’t much, although it can depend on your individual circumstances like how much other support you have of if you have other children to take care of. Remember a caesarean is major abdominal surgery so generally your recovery will take longer than recovery after a vaginal birth.

TALKING IT THROUGH

Counselling should be part of a good recovery plan. We all need to debrief after we’ve given birth, no matter what sort of birth we experienced. Talking about our feelings can really help us process what has happened and integrate those experiences into our lives. Far too often we bury difficult feelings and there is a common perception that we should be happy with what we got and get on with things. Seeking professional counselling may be necessary, but whatever you do make sure you have someone to talk to who will listen and validate your feelings. This is another part of healing and looking after yourself.

FINDING OUT ABOUT YOURSELF

We learn a lot about ourselves and our relationships through our birth experiences. I truly felt that I ‘discovered’ myself after I gave birth to my first child; the doors opened and I found a woman I had not known before. If we are open to

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‘Talking about our feelings can really help us process what has happened and integrate those experiences into our lives’ this it can really help us grow as a human. Lael expresses this very clearly after the caesarean birth of her daughter, “Having 2 vaginal births, facing a c-section with my 3rd baby was incredibly unexpected. I had planned another homebirth and early in labour we transferred to hospital with an undiagnosed breech baby. I was told I needed a c-section, but it was important to me, to see if I could birth this baby vaginally. After a very long labour and trying everything in my power to help this baby come, I realised that for whatever reason, this baby wanted to be born by caesarean. I felt incredibly empowered at making this choice for myself. I learnt a great deal about what makes for a beautiful birth. My sweet baby showed me that it isn’t necessarily about where or how your baby is born, but where you are in the journey. My caesarean birth is the one I am most proud of as it showed me my strength, courage and ability to surrender. It wasn’t the birth I had envisioned for her, but it was the birth we both needed. The growth and awareness I uncovered from this birth, showed me the woman I am.” Di Diddle is a birth attendant (doula) and certified Childbirth Educator. Di provides birth education in Melbourne.

Reasons to Babywear There are so many wonderful reasons to carry your baby in a sling or babycarrier. Anne McEwan examines 7 of those reasons.

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Carriers are great for bonding

Babywearing can help parents bond with their baby. Not just mothers but partners too. When an infant is carried close to your skin on your chest they can hear your heart beat. Their mother’s heartbeat is a very familiar sound to them as they have been listening to it for 9 months whilst in the womb. Being close to your skin and able to see, smell and hear their mother will make the baby feel happy and content. This works two ways and being able to smell, see, feel and hear your baby will increase parental awareness and contentment. If you are breastfeeding and you carry your baby he will be able to smell your milk and having him close by means that you will be able to read his cues and become attuned to his needs. Although emphasis is often placed on the infant bonding with his mother, the great thing about babywearing is that the partner can be as involved as they want to be. It is possible with many different types for two parents of different sizes to share a carrier. Check before you buy though if this is important to you as not all types have this option

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It is easy

It may look complicated but it is not. Carriers come in all shapes and sizes and a wide range of different designs. This versatility in availability means that there will be a carrier out there to suit everyone regardless of body shape or learning ability. Some parents reach for a wrap and can immediately envision where all the material has to go whilst others prefer the simplicity of a full buckle carrier. No matter which one you choose make sure you are confident in how to use it by looking at the instructions, checking out online videos or asking someone who has experience with your chosen type of carrier. Just like the versatility with types of carriers there is an endless combination of patterns and colours to choose from. It is possible to design your own carrier and have one that is everything you have ever dreamed of! Even with wraps, which are not generally available as custom orders, there are countless different designs available. Using a carrier does not have to mean you are relegated to using something that does not represent you or is uncomfortable. And most of all using a carrier does not require a degree in parenting.

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Carriers can be a low budget transport option

If you choose to use a carrier as your main or only way to transport your baby you do not have to invest in an expensive pram or travel system. Even if you buy two basic carriers it generally works out cheaper than buying a pram. Carriers also tend to hold their value well and it is possible to buy one second hand and sell it on again when you are finished using it without too much of a loss.

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Carriers leave your hands free

Most carriers allow you to be hands free. This means that you can do things you could not do when using a pram. Public transport is no longer so daunting and carrying a beach bag and walking onto the beach is so much easier than trying to push a pram through the sand! If you have older children already then using a carrier can be a great way to still spend time with them without having to leave the baby with someone else or leaving the baby on their own. Common sense is important here though: do not do any activities that you would not do if you had your child in your arms. Slings are a carrying aid not a safety seat.

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Carriers can make your baby cry less

Some babies may suffer from colic and spending time upright with the tummy against your chest means that they get a stomach massage and are in an ideal position for reducing the acid flow. Babies who do not have colic but cry a lot can also be calmer when carried in a carrier. It may simply be a wish to be near their mother as they are programmed to be. Humans are mammals designed for carrying their young. Our breastmilk is composed to be available for frequent feeds from a baby who is close to his mother.

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Carriers (slings) are versatile – picnic blankets, swings

Carriers – wraps especially- can be adapted as your children grow. A wrap can be converted into a hammock between two trees, a swing from open stairs or used as a picnic blanket. They make great impromptu high chairs or double as blankets giving comfort when sleeping in an unfamiliar place. Fabric carriers can also be kept for the next generation or turned into mementoes to last a lifetime.

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It is fun!

Above all using a carrier should be fun. You can go more places (for example hiking!) by carrying your child. What better place is there for your child to explore the world than from your point of view? They will be able to see, smell and hear the same things and even more importantly they will be able to share all of that with you. Anne McEwan is a babywearing consultant and educator with over 8 years experience. Anne was a babywearing trainer for Trageschule UK and is currently writing a babywearing safety course for the International Carrying Institute.

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Potty Trained

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by age one!

Omaïki creators Arianne & Anouk had one thing in mind when designing their all-in-one nappy: to make a reusable nappy that would closely resemble a disposable nappy in form and function. We think they’ve achieved it. Practical and easy to use, there’s no folding required - simply wash, line dry and put away. The absorbent inner is made of bamboo and organic cotton and a waterproof exterior means no cover is needed. In a huge range of fabulous colours such as blue lagoon, apple green and magenta, with the distinctive Ö logo on the back, this little nappy certainly has style.

For many parents, potty training can be overwhelming. Everyone has an opinion on when to start and how to do it. What many parents don’t realise is that they can start at any age (including birth) and it does not have to be fraught with battles! Dr. Linda Sonna explains how.

When

g r e a t the American Academy of Pediatrics Parents also avoid a host of common g r a n d - committee charged with writing potty toddler potty training troubles. p a r e n t s training guidelines for the public, the weigh in on the “when to potty train” paid company spokesman’s later-is- TODDLER TROUBLES question, they commonly insist that better sales pitch was formally adopted. By age one, the practice of weeing and back in their day, most children were It acquired the status of professional pooing in nappies is usually entrenched. potty trained by the time they could medical advice. Helping toddlers unlearn old habits and The U.S. public quickly fell into line, master a new set of potty skills is a major walk. Most professional educators and paediatricians insist that seniors’ and other Western countries, including undertaking. As soon as youngsters can memories must be faulty, because Australia, quickly followed suit. The walk, most are too busy toddling about children don’t develop sufficient physical current Australian Youth and Women’s on their newfound legs to tolerate the bladder control, much less the necessary Health Service potty training guidelines regular potty sits they need to learn to social and communication skills, until state that, “Most children are not ready use it. to learn to control their poo and wee age 2, 3 or beyond. When two-year olds try sitting As it turns out, the seniors are right! (bowels and bladder) until they are two naked on a cold seat with a hole in the In the 1920s, child psychologists were years old and some not until they are middle, many react to the new sensation debating the merits of beginning to three.” with great upset. As soon as they can potty train infants at age just say no, some ‘By starting sooner rather than later, parents toddlers refuse to set one versus two months. protect their youngsters from harsh chemicals, aside their toys and After washing eliminate nappy rash, reduce wear and tear on the games to participate machines reduced planet, save thousands of dollars and keep their in all those tiresome nappy laundering babies far cleaner and more comfortable’ chores 1940s, parents mummy-directed potty Nothing could be further from the pushed back the traditional start date practices. Potty training can by a few months. The idea that parents truth! Visit any country where parents readily degenerate into power struggles. couldn’t or shouldn’t start training until still rely on elders’ potty training advice, When offered the traditional bigage 1 ½ came from Pampers’ marketing and you will see the results of their kid pant bribe, many three-year olds department in the 1960s. Pampers is natural, loving, pressure-free, infant- embark upon potty training with great the leading manufacturer of disposable and baby-training methods: Youngsters enthusiasm. But after weeing and proudly toddle to their potties as soon as pooing by reflex for three years, having nappies. In an effort to increase sales of its their little legs develop the strength and to constantly monitor their bowel and new disposable products, Pampers hired coordination to carry them there. bladder is very taxing, and having to Now a small but growing number of go to the potty time each time nature paediatrician T. Berry Brazelton. The airwaves were filled with his repeated Australian parents are using these same calls very bothersome. Many youngsters message that starting later is better methods. By starting sooner rather than decide they prefer nappies. than sooner (and that disposables make later, parents protect their youngsters later so very convenient) in thousands from harsh chemicals, eliminate nappy INFANT TRAINING 101 of daytime T.V. ads. When the self- rash, reduce wear and tear on the planet, (Birth to Sitting) proclaimed Harvard-doctor-turned- save thousands of dollars, and keep their When your infant is weeing or infomercial-star was appointed to babies far cleaner and more comfortable. pooing, make a special sound. “Psssss”

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and “Shshshsh” are popular. Hold your newborn over a little pot and catch the wee and poo if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t. What matters most is that you continue making your special sound whenever your infant is eliminating. In time, your infant will connect your special sound with weeing and pooing. Once that happens, you can cue your infant by holding him over a little pot and making the special sound. Your infant will respond by pushing to try to eliminate. If your timing is right and your infant actually does have waste inside, he will succeed at weeing or pooing into the pot. Respond to each success with lots of coos, cuddles, and kisses. As your infant matures, he will cue you by looking around and gesturing for his little pot when he needs to eliminate, just as he signals for his bottle when he is hungry. The downside of this method is that you must remove the nappy so you can see when your infant is weeing or pooping. Unless you can get a pot under him at the right times, you’ll have to

The Omaiki AIO is popular because of its quick drying time but we love this nappy because its slim design will easily fit under all baby’s clothes.

contend with messes.

BABY TRAINING 101 (Sitting to age 1)

Once your baby is old enough to sit up without help, place her on a little potty when there is a good chance that she might wee or poo into it. Play patty cake, recite nursery rhymes, or otherwise entertain her to ensure that above all else, potty time is fun time. If she happens to wee or poo while sitting on the potty, clap, laugh, or tickle her to signal your delight. After enough happy accidents, she will make the connection between weeing or pooing on the potty and your delighted reaction. Then you can cue her by placing her on the potty, and she will initiate the game by pushing to try to use it. Once she’s reliably pushing to try to use the potty whenever you sit her on it, all you have to do is get her there at the right times, and voila! You have a pottytrained baby! The downside of this method is that in order to increase the odds that your baby will wee or poo while sitting on the

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‘Infants innately signal when they are about to wee or poo, just as they signal when they are hungry’ potty, you need to remove the nappy after she eats or drinks, and watch to see how much time elapses until she wees or poos. When she is nappyless, you may have to contend with some messes.

POTTY TRAINED BY AGE 1!

Potty training infants and babies is decidedly kid-friendly. Because learning takes place unconsciously, little ones need not exert any effort. By learning to read and respond to infant potty signals, parents can eliminate a lot of fussiness. Meanwhile, babies who can’t yet crawl have a lot of time on their hands; potty breaks offer a welcome respite from boredom. You need not embark on a full-blown infant or baby training program for your little one to benefit. By occasionally initiating some potty activities, you can lay a foundation for later training and jump-start your toddler’s potty education. Under the best of circumstances, potty-trained tots continue to need you to help them with clothes and clean up well into the toddler years, may regress during periods of excitement or stress, and have occasional accidents due to judgment errors until age three. However, even if babies only learn to relax while sitting naked on a potty, they will be far ahead of most of their peers. Most professional parenting advice may be spot on. But when it comes to timelines for starting potty training, you would do well to listen to Australia’s great-grandparents. Dr. Sonna is a psychologist, professor, and the author of 12 parenting books, including ‘Early-Start Potty Training.’ and ‘Everything Potty Training Book’. For more information on early start potty training, go to www.DrSonna.org

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Book Reviews

EDITORS PICK The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers

by Sharon Dowley

The Elf That Flew

Author: Lindy Mitchell Illustrator: Karen Gray Pick-a-Woo Woo Publishers $14.95

Greenleaf is an elf with attitude, but in the nicest possible way. Residing high up in a Turpentine Tree in the dense rainforest of Katandra Reserve, he adores frolicking above the forest floor among his majestic tree friends, tending to injured branches and singing enchanting songs in his sweet bird-like voice. Until one day he sees five beautiful fairies fly by, and in his quest to fly like a sprite, his life is turned upside down. Illustrated with whimsical drawings by Karen Gray, Lindy Mitchell’s simple tale is told with flair and she employs clever repetitive elements that will help to engage children while introducing them to the riches of nature. At the same time it imparts the message that there’s nothing to be gained by trying to be someone else, but if you stay true to yourself, then sometimes, magic might just happen. The author lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales, close to the real Katandra Reserve, and has used actual locations signposted along the Toomey Walking Trail within her story. It’s a wonderful incentive to read this with children (ideally 5 to 11 year olds), then get out and experience the bush first hand. Also included are rainforest meditations, a crossword puzzle and tips on how to be a forest friend, so there are plenty of interactive elements. The Elf That Flew is the latest in the Pick-a-Woo Woo series of books that have been enchanting young readers – and educating adults – since 2005. Each book is designed to enlighten and touch the reader and help children connect with mind, body and spirit. This is another fine addition to the collection. It’s A Beautiful Day for Yoga

Writer/Illustrator: Emily A Filmore Beautiful Day Publishing US$17.95 It’s a Beautiful Day for Yoga is a simple rhyming story of a family sharing an enlivening day of yoga together, inside and out of the home. For commitment-stretched, time-poor parents, this is probably as far removed from reality as Harry Potter. Yet casting aside the likely improbability (unfortunately for most of us),

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the point of the story is more a way of encouraging families to spend time together, enjoy small moments, strengthen bonds, and certainly to introduce your child or children to yoga. The story begins and ends with a Namaste, a greeting and blessing, translating generally as “the light within me honours the light within you”. Filmore has an obvious passion for nature and she admits that she loves introducing her own daughter to the beauty and joy in the everyday. The text is supported by a series of soft pastel line drawings, also by the author. It’s A Beautiful Day for Yoga is a book that any little one might enjoy but it’s also well suited to parents with a love of yoga who would like to introduce it to their children in a fun and relaxed way. The book is not meant as a definite how-to guide, but it does include a section devoted to an explanation of yoga poses, written by Filmore’s own yoga instructor, Colleen Valley. It’s A Beautiful Day for Yoga is also the first book in the author’s With My Child series. These are books about connection and engagement. The second story, It’s a Beautiful Day for Walking is available now, with a third, It’s a Beautiful Day for Ballet, currently in development.

for government education as it currently stands; anyone who agrees with the author, at this stage, may be more inclined to independent education options such as Montessori and Steiner. Deep Intelligence is not likely to change the education system single-handedly. What it does do is provide a thorough investigation into the current state of government schooling and reform whilst traversing topics such as human consciousness, conditioning and perception. The book is heavy on information, references and footnotes (some may find it a little esoteric) yet it’s also interesting and thought provoking reading both for teachers and any parent considering the future schooling of their child.

Adult Books

We asked our Facebook community which children’s book was their child’s favourite. The most favourite children’s book was by far The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Deep Intelligence Dr. Andrew Seaton Inspiring Stuff $27.95 The mainstream Australian education system is something akin to the elephant in the room. It’s there, it’s not quite right and it breeds unsettlement and dissatisfaction in many sectors. Yet no-one seems t o have a clear, logical, all-encompassing sense of how it should be working, and reforms regularly fail to result in significant change. Dr. Andrew Seaton is an independent academic and former teacher at primary, secondary and tertiary level. In short, he’s experienced the education system at close quarters, and the result is his first book, Deep Intelligence: Giving Our Young the Education they really Need. The education system, as described by Seaton, revolves around separateness, a desire for control and a restrictive, intellect-only basis of viewing of the world. Seaton asserts that what is really required is a system that encourages children to engage with the world through creativity, intuition and reason and to respond to their own sense of connectedness and their unbounded capacity. It would certainly seem a big ask

Photos: Depositphotos

Children’s Books

Elizabeth Pantley McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2005 $19.95

My 13 month old loves very hungry caterpillar as the bright colours draws his eye to the page, also helps when you have Mr. 4 year old ‘munching’ as the caterpillar eats his days away! (Kristy)

My almost two year old will pick up The Very Hungry Caterpillar at least ten times a day. He sits down on the floor with it, babbles very seriously as he flips the pages & just adores putting his finger in all the holes as he goes along! (Sasch)

Any of the Duck books by Jez Alborough and she loves his HUG book too. And Dear Zoo is another favorite.(Sarah)

The Gruffalo :) and I love reading any of the Hairy Maclary books. (Melissa)

My almost five year old adored Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The text is incredibly rich and provides endless opportunity for extended discussions ‘have you ever seen a cat with a smile?’ (Brianna)

Go to www.facebook.com/NurtureParentingMagazine to read all the bits and pieces!

As mum to a two year old who still stubbornly refuses to sleep through the night, one of the most reassuring elements of Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers is its emphasis on normalcy. Pantley cites early on the statistic that one in three children under the age of five has night-time sleep issues and that many more are prone to putting up a bedtime battle. It’s easy to see why this book, and its predecessor, The No-Cry Sleep Solution (for babies) have sold hundreds of thousands of copies world-wide. In short, sleep issues affect nearly all families at one stage or another. They may be caused by a variety of triggers, or simply as a result of your child not having “learned” how to put themselves back to sleep after normal night-time waking. Interestingly, perhaps alarmingly, the effects may be more widespread than at first considered. The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers covers everything from sleep patterns to snoring, night terrors to nutrition in its quest to help families get a good night’s sleep – regularly. It overlaps with other sleep guide books in some areas (the importance of environment for instance), yet differs significantly in its “no-cry” approach, advocating a variety of techniques other than “control crying” to help your child learn to sleep well. The book is well-researched, practical and appealing in its non-judgemental attitude. Every child is unique and there is no one single sleep solution. However for any parent who has been frustrated by books, online forums, friends or family advising them that a child should be in bed by a particular hour, should be sleeping through by just a few months, or any other variation on “should”, than this book is refreshing, and hopefully worthwhile reading. If you like this book, Elizabeth Pantley has ten other books in the No-Cry Solution series, including The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution, The NoCry Separation Anxiety Solution, The No-Cry Discipline Solution, The No-Cry Potty Training Solution, The No-Cry Nap Solution.

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Mumpreneur Interview

Nurturing Spirituality

~ Successful mums tell of starting and running their own business ~

This issue we spoke to Rebecca Vear, owner of Maureen Healy explores why nurturing spirituality is beneficial and provides three ways you can incorporate it into your parenting

What inspired you to start your work-at-home business?

In 2008 while pregnant with my first born, Alexander, I thought about what I could do to keep myself busy while being a stay at home mum (must have been very naive to think I would have down time!). Being environmentally conscious, I researched cloth nappies but did not find exactly what I wanted. As I enjoyed sewing, I decided that I would try creating modern cloth nappies.

Cultivating in children a sense of spirituality has the power to change everything. They begin to believe that within them is a Power to tap into when they are faced with challenges, and it is connecting to this “Higher Power” that can help them succeed no matter what. Boys and girls that believe in God, Angels or a Spiritual Teacher like His Holiness the Dalai Lama also feel more connected – less alone, and this brings them strength too. Having taught spiritually based children’s programs in the US and Asia, I have seen children pray for their sick pets, perform Reiki (energy healing) on each other and meditate to feel calm. I have also talked with young children about their “imaginary” friends, and how sometimes their dreams foretell things to come. In other words, children are already having spiritual experiences and with some additional guidance, they can begin developing an intelligent belief in themselves and that “something greater” is co-creating with them (Source, Spirit, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, or whatever name works for you).

Did you find it difficult starting out?

How many children do you have at home and what are their ages? I have Alexander who is almost 4 and Isabella who is 2.

How do you juggle family and your business?

at home mums, there are times I don’t feel as though I spend enough time with my family, especially during busy market weeks. Having said that though, I know I am there for them most of the day and we spend time at the park and swimming and doing things that I wouldn’t be able to do had I gone back to work full time, a huge benefit of working at home.

The kids play well together but as soon as I step into the sewing room during the day they want to come and sew with me. This means my sewing comes to a halt! So I generally sew while my youngest has her day sleep and Alexander sits next to me on his ‘needleless’ sewing machine and ‘sews’ or I start after they go to bed at night. My regular sewing hours are from 8pm-2am!

What advice do you have for mums wanting to start their own work-from-home business?

On weeks where I have an upcoming market or a website stocking I work all hours. My husband is a huge help. As he is a tradie, he gets home at 3.30pm each day, takes care of the kids, cooks tea and gets them to bed while I sew up a storm. It can be hard work but every nappy I finish I feel a great sense of achievement as it’s done to the best of my ability! Every new bit of clothing I produce I love and would put it on my kids, that way I know that someone else will love it too!

Ensure you have support to back you up, a great artist always has a person in the background to lift them up and help them achieve their goals (or give the kids a bath!) Be diverse, it’s hard to be interested in one product for months or years on end, create a range of items or use different materials, mix things up to keep you keen.

What are your biggest challenges?

Time is a huge factor and at the moment I struggle between growing the company and having the funds behind me to do so. I would love to grow Baby Chilli further but also don’t want to see them mass produced in China or similar. I always want them to be an Australian made and owned company where I am the one behind the quality of my product. Family pressures will always create a big challenge for work

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“Spiritual practice brings both long-term happiness and more inner strength day by day. “

Be sure it’s a product that you love, you can only spend hours at a sewing machine or advertising a product that you yourself would use. If you choose something out of a need but have no real drive for the product you will lose interest quickly.

Take a holiday or a break now and then. You will start to lose interest in your business and products if you don’t take a break and recharge your batteries. A week or so away from the machine gives me a new excitement, ideas and energy when you start to create again. Be prepared for down time and don’t rely on it for regular income. As much as I would love to say that each week I get a certain number of sales, it doesn’t happen. If you don’t make as many sales one week then strive for more the next. You are the driving force behind your own destiny!

~ Dalai Lama

Photo: Depositphotos

I had lots of support from the mums on a baby forum I was a part of. They gave me ideas and feedback and tested nappies for me. Once the pattern was perfected, orders flowed in through my inclusion on www.ozhandmade.com.au. Being part of a group of other businesses helped promote Baby Chilli. I also posted on nappy forums and review websites and put Baby Chilli in front of as many people as possible.

Instilling spirituality in your children can also be a fun process. You can learn together, develop family practices such as meditation, and have lively discussions about whether Angels exist. For younger children, I like Doreen Virtue’s picture book, Thank You, Angels, to begin the discussion. Older children are all different but with them I seek to leverage media (spiritual documentaries) and give them real-life experiences of their Great Spirit through volunteering, for example. In my recent book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, I share how to nurture a deeper sense of strength, spirituality and real happiness in children. In the last chapter, I also give practical suggestions from scripts to specific prayers to empower your child’s growing sense of spiritual awareness. To get you started today though, try the following three suggestions.

1. Spirituality Everyday

It’s not in the sporadic that children learn how to believe in something greater but in the daily doses of spirituality. Think of it like a giving your child a daily spiritual multivitamin to keep them strong, connected and happier. Some ways to do this are: Bedtime Stories with a Spiritual message, Daily Prayers, Meditation, Mindfulness Walks and Music that reveals to them their Spiritual Power. I am particularly fond of teaching kids how to do breathing exercises to get calm and also feel connected to something greater.

2. Get Inspired

Getting inspired together as a family is a wonderful practice to lift your spirits, and also remind your children that Spirit is in everything and everyone. Perhaps you go kayaking with your children and get to see some amazing wildlife! You can remind your children that Spirit is in every bird, otter, and fish you saw today – and it’s also in you.

3. Be of Service

Children that learn how to give to others are naturally happier too. In Eastern thinking, self-centreedness is the cause of pain while “other-centreedness” is one of the primary causes of happiness. So help your children give to others by donating their old toys, and volunteering or helping someone out directly. Giving to others not only lifts our spirit, but recognises that we are all connected as big human family --- and the more we do for each other, the better life gets for each of us.

Maureen Healy is a spiritual teacher with more than 20 years of experience fostering children’s happiness. Her new book, Growing Happy Kids, is available wherever books are sold. More info: www.growinghappykids.com or @mdheal

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Did y pota ou know t that sam oes ar as ca e botan e in the ic p chill sicums, al family ies a t nd e omatoe ggp lants s, ?

Method 2: Container grown potatoes

~ Winter Potatoes ~ Children having an understanding of how to grow vegetables and plants in general, is a vital life skill. Keeping it all organic just makes good common sense when gardening, especially when you have little gardeners involved. I am a mother of two and just love sharing my knowledge on how to garden with my children and sometimes they even teach me a thing or two. While gardening with children, explaining the origin, botanical attributes and health benefits of each vegetable can add another learning dimension to the world of yours and your children’s edible garden patch. Children are precious little sponges just waiting to learn new interesting facts and skills and you will be amazed at which bits of information children retain and happily re-share at a later date long after the fact.

POTATO FACTS • • • •

Potatoes originally came from South America. The Botanical name is Solanum tuberosum and is part of the Solanaceae family. The part that we eat is called ‘Tubers’, which are actually modified stems. Potatoes are nutritious because their skins are high in Vitamin C and the potato is also full of other important goodies such as, Vit B, foliate, iron, potassium, multiple phytonutrients and are a great source of dietary fibre. Interestingly, all parts of the potato plant are poisonous, including potatoes that have gone green.

RECIPE FOR GROWING ORGANIC POTATOES You will need the following ingredients: 1. Certified organic seed potatoes 2. Compost, soil or potting mix 3. Lucerne/straw mulch 4. Garden space or container 5. Water 6. Seaweed extract Getting started Potatoes can be grown nearly all year round in cooler climates, except when frost is expected but in subtropical and tropical areas late autumn and winter are the best times to get

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your potatoes growing. Potatoes will need to be grown in a sunny location and prefer an acidic free draining soil. This can be achieved by adding homemade compost, peat moss or sulphur powder. When growing in containers, use an acid loving plant mix. Before you start you must make sure your seed potato’s eyes have started to shoot (see picture), this can quite an interesting fact to explain to children. Eyes are not obviously real eyes but new plant shoots protruding from the various growth points (eyes as they’re called) on the potato tuber. Your tubers can be cut into pieces to make best use of the various shooting eyes. Each shoot will become a new plant, which once grown to a certain size will then produce potatoes of its own.

1. Here you will need to choose a reasonable size container as potato plants will grow to around 60100cm high and will need space to spread their roots out and produce potato tubers. 2. Start off by only filling your container of choice by about a third with potting mix. 3. Place your sprouting tubers or pieces about 15cm deep into the potting mix. 4. Water in well with an organic seaweed solution. And repeat applications on a fortnightly basis. 5. As the potato plants grow keep on mounding more potting into the container and up around the potato plant stems. This will encourage more potato tuber development. 6. Keep well watered especially for the first 6-10 weeks.

HARVEST TIME! Potatoes are ready to harvest when the plants have flowered and started to die down, usually around 20 weeks from planting. This is the part children love the most: harvest time. This can be easily done by just upending the pot or going for a good old dig around in the container. Both methods give children the opportunity to be involved in the process at every stage. They will then have weekly tasks of watering, fertilising, mounding and eventually harvesting. Children, I have found, also make wonderful pest and disease control monitors. They observe everything in such detail that

BANDICOOTING!

Can’t wait for harvest time? Children may enjoy fossicking around in the soil underneath the potato plants once they’re quite established to harvest a potato or two early. This is often called ‘bandicooting’ for obvious reasons.

Method 1: Potatoes in the vegetable patch

1. If you have an already existing vegetable garden or are starting out, the best way to prepare your soil for potato production is to incorporate reasonable quantities of organic matter in form of compost or well rotted manure. 2. Place your sprouting tubers or pieces about 15cm deep into the soil. 3. Water in well with an organic seaweed solution. And repeat applications on a fortnightly basis. 4. Mulch your garden thickly with lucerne or straw. You can explain that this is like a protective blanket for soil, helping it to retain moisture, stop weeds and stop the potatoes tubers that are forming being exposed to sunlight. As this is what will turn them green, making them inedible. 5. As your potato plants grow, once again you will need to mound compost and mulch up around the stems to encourage more roots and potato tuber production. 6. Keep well watered especially for the first 6-10 weeks.

solution to controlling this main pest is to allow my daughter to handpick them off and either feed them to chickens or place them in a bucket of water. Most diseases that affect potatoes will be avoided if using certified seed potatoes.

GARDEN SAFETY

any subtle changes are quickly noticed.

PESTS

The 24 spotted ladybeetle can often be mistaken for a goodie when really it’s a bad guy. Most lady beetles are beneficial insects, preying on nasty insects such as aphids and mealy bugs. But the 24 spotted lady beetle will soon make your potato plants foliage look like French lace. My organic

Always remember to: 1. Advise your children about being sun smart in the garden and why. 2. When finishing up your garden tasks, it is important to wash hands thoroughly. Gloves can sometimes be a bit of a hindrance when little hands are involved. 3. If the mixes and mulch being used are a bit dusty, wet them down before use or wear a white particle dust mask.

Handy Hint: When gardening with children, make sure your child has their own size gardening tools, such as watering cans, trowels, hand forks, gloves and so on. It makes it so much easier and fun for little hands to have the right sized equipment to garden with.

Claire Bickle is a qualified Brisbane based horticulturalist, having a Diploma in Horticulture and an Advanced Design Certificate in Permaculture Design

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YOGA for KIDS

Bridge pose:

Boost your immunity with this family yoga practice during the chilly season by Kylie De Giorgio

Come out of the pose on an out-breath, gently rolling the spine back down. This opens the chest and increases circulation in the upper torso.

For many families winter is rife with colds and flus. With all the coughing and sneezing, we often pass various strains of the common cold back and forth all winter long. You can ease the severity of symptoms with this relaxing, healing and bonding yoga practice. Used preventively, this practice strengthens and boosts the immune system, calms the mind, and helps you breathe easier. Your family will feel the benefits when doing this sequence for as little as 10 minutes every day or whenever you can. In yoga we breathe in and out through the nose. If you have a stuffy nose, breathe however is most comfortable, taking things slowly. Remember to drink plenty of water during the day and practice yoga on a relatively empty stomach. Choose a space free of clutter for your mind and body, and keep the phones turned off.

Lying on your back, bend the knees and bring your feet in line with sitting bones. As you breathe in, lift the buttocks off the floor as high as comfortable.

Cross legged twist: Sitting with legs crossed, breathe in and lift the spine.

The yoga sequence:

Breathe out and twist the spine to the right without force. Hold the position and breathe in through the nose. Breathe out and twist from the hips a little further.

Childs pose: Big toes touching, knees spread out to the sides, buttocks on heels, and forehead on the floor. Lift the elbows off the floor and push the floor away with the hands to lengthen the back. With your child in this pose, breathe love into your hands and into your child’s soul as you rub their back with a nurturing touch. Swap positions and let your child nurture you.

Come back to centre, change the cross of your legs and repeat on the other side.

Legs up the Wall: Wonderfully healing on it’s own, this pose opens the chest and pumps fresh oxygenated blood through the heart, refreshing the entire body.

Lions pose (destroyer of disease):

If you feel tingly in the legs or feet it is time to release out of the pose.

Knees together, sit on top of one ankle crossed over the other, fingers spread across the thighs like a lion’s claws.

Playing gentle music can help children relax into this pose. Visualize a healing, blue light inside your throat making it strong and free from winter bugs.

Breathe in. On the out-breath, look up at the eyebrow centre, stick your tongue out as far as you can, and make a loud whispering ”haaa” sound. Repeat twice. Swap the ankle position over and do three times.

To end your practice, sit for a moment in silence with your family to honour the practice of yoga, and give thanks to everyone who practiced with you.

Namaste

Kylie De Giorgio is the director of Simply Kids Yoga and also provides professional, specialised kids yoga teacher training to qualified yoga teachers.

Uttanasana: Standing with feet hip-width apart, bend forward from the hips. With legs straight and backs of the knees soft, gently hold your feet, ankles or opposite elbows. Relax your neck and pretend you are a dinosaur stomping through the land, making a gentle ‘boom, boom, boom’ noise as you walk. For older children they can simply hang in the pose, and gently sway as they soften their body and release tension.

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Product Reviews: Lavender Bubble Bath ~ 500ml by Solution Living $15.00

Solution Living products are not only safe for you and your children but also have a low impact on the environment. Even their packaging is biodegradable! The bubble bath is excellent! By only using the recommended amount (size of a 50 cent piece) our bath was filled with bubbles ~ which every child loves. It has a beautiful fragrance (that is from essential oils) and it is soft on the skin. Best of all is that it does not contain any ingredients like SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) or synthetic fragrances.

Featured Reviews: NAPPIES These Cot Quilts by Summer Child are among the most versatile quilts you will ever find! Further, as the fabric is hand blocked printed in India, each quilt is rather individual. The fill of the quilt is a light cotton, so that they are warm when needed as a blanket for your child, but versatile enough to use as a throw or even a playmat! The best part is that they are machine washable - so they can get a little grubby and it’s easy to clean! The colour range in these quilts is beautiful, all soft colours that will go with almost any colour scheme. Available at www.summerchild.com.au

Cot Quilt

by Summer Child $95.00

Check out www.solutionliving.com.au

Made in Japan, the quality of the Cuseberry leg warmers is second to none. They are made from a blend of cotton, acrylic, polyester and polyurethane. They are well fitting and don’t fall down after a small while (like many others do). The benefit of these leg warmers is that it makes nappy changing easier, protects your child from hard or cold surfaces and makes EC’ing and potty training easier (especially in these colder months!). However, with 250 designs to choose from, most of all, these leg warmers make a great fashion accessory for boys and girls! Shop online at www.babyconnect.com.au

Leg Warmers by Cuseberry $14.95

Rainbow Sound Blocks

Wizard Duo Night Nappy by Mother Ease Package of 3 $130.00

The Mother Ease night time nappy is the most absorbant I have ever used. We kept the nappy on the whole night and it did not leak. The nappy has an outer shell that has a leak-proof binding and a super absorbant night time liner that clips onto the shell. A microfiber layer is also added to ensure the moisture is kept away from the baby. Another great feature is that the outer shell fits other daytime liners, which include a bamboo liner or cotton liner. The outer shells also come in a range of vibrant colours and patterns for the fashion conscious consumer!

The Itty Bitty Bums Invisi-all All In One nappy is exactly that: a one piece nappy! The ease is wonderful! However, there is a pocket at the back if you have a heavy wetter or want to use it at nighttime. The outer layer of this nappy is so soft that makes your hands keep going to your bub’s bottom! This nappy also comes in a huge range of cute designs - most are that cute you will be disappointed to have to put pants on your child! Because of the all-in-one nature of these nappies, they do take longer to dry, however the ease makes up for the longer drying time! Visit www.ittybittybums.com.au

Invisi-all AIO by Itty Bitty Bums $25.00

Available at www.nipnaps.com.au

If your embarking on toilet training, then you should look at the Happy Babes toilet training pants. They are made with a cotton outer and two layers of terry towelling and there is also a layer of breathable waterproof material inside to prevent clothes from getting wet.

One Size Pocket Nappy

These Wonderworld Rainbow Sound Blocks will give your child hours of enjoyment. Each set includes rectangles, cylinders, and squares filled with different beads, that each make their own unique sound when shaken. These sounds, together with the different coloured window will delight you child’s senses. They are made from eco-friendly rubberwood and Wonderworld plants two trees for every tree used in the production of its products. The best part is that they will entertain a baby but equally (if not more so) entertain toddlers.

They are a stretchy design and shaped similar to underwear making them easy for children to pull up and down when using the toilet. Another great feature is that, unlike nappies, the terry towelling inner stays wet so your child can recognise when they have had an accident but without wetting their clothing.

These pocket nappies not only look great but are excellent value. Each pocket nappy comes with a full sized bamboo insert (35cm x 15cm) each with 5 layers for maximum absorption plus a full size microfibre insert. The bamboo insert is highly absorbant and can easily be used for nighttime too. There is a real ease about these nappies, with just having an outer shell and two inserts. The outer pocket is also quick to dry. With lots of snap fastenings, this nappy will fit your baby from birth to potty training. Also, for the fashion conscious, you an buy a matching wet bag($5.00 when bought with a nappy)!

Head to www.playhivetoys.com.au

$19.50

by Wonderworld $59.95

Check out www.littlebotts.com

Toilet training pants by Happy Babes

by eBubs $22.50

Shop online at www.ebubs.com.au


A little bird told me... BRISBANE

SYDNEY

MELBOURNE

Mater Little Miracles Sunday 3rd June A superhero themed day of fun for the whole family that helps to raise money for the Mater Children’s Hospitals. Look out for the special guest appearances from the Scooby Doo gang!

Eco parenting: Growing greener children Saturday 2nd June Helping our children to live with a happy, healthy and rewarding lifestyle.

Safe Sleep Space Through Sleepy Eyes - 17th August Considering infant mental health when settling infants to sleep.

The Brisbane Ekka 9th – 18th August Experience the magic! Join in the fun with: rides, animals, shows, good food and so much more.

The Young Minds Conference 21st – 22nd June Considering key issues in positive education and parenting for young people.

Mathilda’s Market - 29th July A fun market full of beautiful kids products. Woodland Winter Arts Festival 8th – 11th June Jazz, classical music, fireworks and more.

National Events for Kids & Bubs A Little Bird told us about some inspiring days out for parents and some fun days to share with your kids. All around Australia, there’s loads of things happening to keep the little ones entertained.

Brisbane – 22nd-24th June Melbourne – 12th-14th October Perth – 10th-12th August The parenting event of the year; a combination of expert advice and parenting products.

Cancer Council Daffodil Day celebrating 25 years; give

Wednesday 6th June

ADELAIDE

PERTH

South Australian Living Arts Festival, 3rd-26th August Galleries of art inspiriation which will have the whole family talking.

Blues Alive in the Park Festival Sunday 3rd June

Melbourne - 8th-10th August Byron Bay – 11th-13th August Sydney – 14th-16th August

A chilled-out, family friendly music festival festauring some performances by local school children.

An empowering, informative conference which helps parents to make conscious, natural parenting decisions which enable them to brinqg up happy, balanced children within a harmonious family environment.

Art of the Brick: Now until 11th June This is a must-see Lego Master exbhibition. It features an enormous lego display as well as kid’s interactive lego workshops.

DARWIN Darwin Festival 9th – 26th August Have a day out to remember with arts and entertainment fun lined up for the whole family.

HOBART Birth Rights Conference 27th – 28th July This conference aims to empower women interested in a home birth and to help couples to have the natural birth of their dreams.

Friday 24th August hope for a brighter, cancer-free future.

See the Transit of Venus and help your children to develop a love of science during this rare event.

Red Nose Day

World Breastfeeding

Friday 29th June

Week

Red Nose Day “being silly

Week: 1st – 6th August

for a serious cause”.

Understanding the past, planning for the future.

A Little Bird told me we are parents premier place to find what’s on, activities and things to do for kids and bubs. Check our website and join us on Facebook for daily updates and fun ideas for your family. We love happy, healthy and active kids.

www.alittlebird.com.au alittlebird.com.au alittlebirdkids


Directory

MLHSMALLAD.pdf 1 5/21/2012 12:38:32 PM

The ONE STOP Organic Baby Shop! www.natureschild.com.au tel: 1300 555 632

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15%OFF STOREWIDE

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Online advertising options also available. Graphic design service available on request.

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