inspiring modern families
keeping it cosy: INTERIORS SPECIAL
21 achievable ideas for kids’ rooms
MAKING HEALTHY BABIES PLEASE & THANK YOU: Raising grateful kids and tips for sharing
how to win at breastfeeding
MESSAGE TO MY GIRL Jared Noel’s legacy for his daughter A royal welcome: gifts fit for a prince
Beating daycare bugs, naturally
healthy homes, happy families
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Carseat concerns * DRESSED UP TO PARTY * A paleo feast * DIY DRAUGHT STOP
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Once upon a mealtime The new Philips AVENT Toddler Mealtime range makes feeding fun, for you and your little one.
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renew and choose your free gift! We have a Weleda gift set worth $29.80, or a NUK First Choice Mickey Training Cup RRP $22.99 for readers who renew their OHbaby! Magazine subscription. We have 100 of each so be quick - these goodies will go quickly! Weleda Childrenâ€™s Tooth Gel is a natural protection for milk teeth. This golden coloured, delicious tasting toothpaste has instant appeal with
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82 COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Natasha Lesonie
on the cover
fit for royalty dear daughter pre-conception guide please share healthy and thriving kids room to grow
12 26 38 74 78 120
we're on a mission dear daughter attitude of gratitude leaving a legacy
conception + pregnancy
pre-conception guide IVF video diary time between babies treating stretch marks
newborns are marvellous overcoming breastfeeding woes super skin soothers when to call the doctor
toddler + under 5 rear-facing car seats please share healthy and thriving kids allergy awareness
22 26 32 36
38 42 46 52
54 58 64 66
70 74 78 82
90 For mum!
97 110 play time
autumn glories latest toys and books fancy dress party comfort and style kids' fashion
maternity style concealers and cover-ups the beauty of motherhood health and safety at home
sharing a room decorating for the future housework helpers warm and dry homes a handy craft energy-saving tips paleo and delicious recipes
you know you love it
subscription prizes small talk online community reader prize competitions ask our experts lessons from my mother
86 89 90 97
104 108 110 112
116 120 124 128 129 130 132
04 12 20 135 136 138 146
BECAUSE...FASHION Maternity and childrens fashion every issue
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Copyright © 2013 OHbaby! Limited. OHbaby! Magazine is registered with the National Library (ISSN 1178-6515). OHbaby! Magazine and www.ohbaby.co.nz are wholly owned by OHbaby! Limited. No other parties or individuals have any financial interest in the company or in OHbaby! Magazine or ohbaby.co.nz. OHbaby! Magazine contains general information only and does not purport to be a substitute for health and parenting advice. All reasonable care is taken in the preparation of this magazine and its contents but the publisher, editor, and authors cannot be held legally responsible for errors in the content of this magazine or any loss arising from such errors. Readers are advised to seek a doctor or health professional for all medical or health matters. The publisher, editor, and authors do not accept any liability whatsoever in respect of action taken by readers in reliance on the recommendations set out in this magazine. Opinions expressed or information given in this magazine should never replace medical advice. This magazine intends to provide general information on a subject or particular subjects and is not an exhaustive treatment of such subject(s). Accordingly, the information in this magazine is not intended to constitute any legal, consultative, or other professional advice, service, or contract in any way. OHbaby! Magazine is subject to copyright in its entirety. The publisher’s written consent must be obtained before any part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, including photocopiers and information retrieval systems. All rights are reserved in material accepted for publication, unless initially specified otherwise. All letters and other material forwarded to this magazine will be assumed for publication unless clearly labelled “NOT FOR PUBLICATION”. No responsibility is accepted for unsolicited material. All reasonable efforts have been made to trace copyright holders. Published by OHbaby! Limited.
Perhaps I shouldn’t say this out loud, but autumn is my favourite season. I know that may not be a popular sentiment as you can’t have autumn without farewelling the sweet glory of summer, but I love the crispness of cooler, blue-sky days, the crunch of leaves underfoot and the promise of cosiness as the evenings draw in. To everything a season. This expression is commonly used as encouragement to new parents enduring sleepless nights, troublesome teething or habitual tantrums. Yet nothing seems more clichéd than hearing over and over that this too shall pass and before you know it your child will be starting school/high school/leaving home. And then it happens — the season changes. Our middle daughter, the effervescent Lottie Jane, heads off to school this autumn. And I’m sorry to say, the clichés are all true. It was only last month I brought her home from Birthcare. Just last week she learned to walk and only the other day she had us in fits of laughter as she worked out how to talk and what she wanted to say.
Above: Hannah and Jared Noel cherish some precious family time with daughter Elise, page 26
This issue, we’re encouraging you to embrace life’s seasons. To celebrate each day and to cherish those we share it with. It’s our privilege to bring you words of inspiration from families who know loss but who choose love, and deeply understand the significance of a legacy. Read Jared Noel’s story on page 26.
Below: Congratulations to our stunning model Marielle Bell who gave birth to her daughter Frankie just a week after our photo shoot! Go to page 104
These are precious days! Busy, tiring and at times overwhelming days, but precious none-the-less. Jump in autumn leaves with your kids, drop some extra marshmallows in their hot chocolate, and put your feet up at some point to
EDITOR PHOTO: DAVID PRENTICE
enjoy the following pages.
Ellie Gwilliam OHbaby! Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
As cooler weather m eans less time outside, w e’ve turned our attention to interior s this issu e. Starting on page 115, we’ve got loads of id eas for achiev able ways to enhance yo ur home — with personalit y, warmth and practicality .
e m o c l e w l a y o ar
Gifts fit for a prince. . .
moment on the lawn of Auckland’s Government House on April 20, 1983, became iconic when nine-month-old Prince William was photographed playing with the classic Kiwi Buzzy Bee toy under the watchful eyes of his doting parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The photo made front pages around the world, Buzzy Bee sales soared and the scene became embedded in Kiwi history. The 1983 royal tour was Princess Diana’s first visit to New Zealand and also the first time an infant prince had travelled half way around the world with his parents. The family spent 13 days in New Zealand experiencing Kiwi hospitality at its finest, from hongi to haka to a reception at Eden Park with 40,000 children. Prince Charles announced they would leave with a “warm feeling in their hearts”. Thirty one years later, in an uncanny coincidence, Prince William plans to return to New Zealand this April with his wife Kate and their son Prince George, who will also be nine months old. But what gifts to give a young prince? Lion Rock Ventures have owned Buzzy Bee since 2004. Its executive director Wendie Hall said the company would welcome any opportunity to give Prince George a toy. “Those images captured the hearts and pride of all New Zealanders in 1983,” Wendie says. “Its an inter-generational thing, and we would certainly love to think that inter-generational tradition lives on with Buzzy Bee and the Royal Family.” The 2014 royal visit could mean a moment in the spotlight for another NZ company. Our suggestions (right) include a range of Kiwi brands proudly producing quality products and ingenious designs.
Genuine Buzzy Bee pull toy $37.95, buzzybee.co.nz
2013 12 /
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small talk 1
PHOTOGRAPHY: NEW ZEALAND HERALD, (C) JASON BELL / CAMERA PRESS / AUSTRAL
9 1 Cariboo Contemporary Cot $899, cariboonz.co.nz 2 Solvej baby and toddler swing $220, solvejswings.com 3 Wahine Stacking Dolls $49.95, naturebaby.co.nz 4 Mountain Buggy Nano travel stroller RRP$399, mountainbuggy.com 5 Mokopuna Merino Gift Set $49.95, mokopuna.com 6 New winter-weight Go Go Bag, from $209, merinokids.co.nz 7 True Nurturing Mother and Baby Cream $42.90, trueholisticbeauty. com 8 Babu organic cot sheet set $145, babu.co.nz 9 Wishbone bike 3-in-1 $275, wishbonedesign.com 10 Dimples merino George-ous Vest RRP$49.99, dimples.co.nz
small talk drink and be healthy Puria Mother's Nutritional Supplement from Douglas Nutrition is a low-fat dairy shake which contains folic acid, iron, vitamin D and iodine. Suitable for both pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, it is available now in a delicious crème brûlée flavour. A pack of four bottles costs RRP$12.99 from pharmacies. Find out more at www.puria.co.nz.
go on, make a mess! Every mum needs one of these: A large plastic sheet to put under the highchair when baby starts to eat solids. Messy Mats are PVC-coated sheets (measuring 1.1m by 1.2m) that will catch all that food baby “drops” from his seat. Afterwards, you can use it under the kids' paint easel. Price: $29.95 from www.messymats.co.nz.
best foot forward These boots are made for walking! Two Little Feet stocks gorgeous, high-quality leather shoes for babies and children. For these boots, RRP$64.95, visit www.twolittlefeet. co.nz where footwear is designed with comfort, fashion and healthy foot development in mind.
HATS ON FOR HAIR-WASHING
A shampoo shield is the latest invention to get the kids’ hair washed without tantrums and tears. The water-tight visor goes on like a hat and diverts soap away from the face and eyes so your child can avoid tears. It sells for $12.95 from shampooshield.com.au.
iron it out If you’re pregnant it’s almost certain that you’ll be low in iron and in need of a supplement. A study of pregnant women in 2009 found almost all participants had an inadequate iron intake . But the down-side of iron supplements is that they can exacerbate another common pregnancy complaint — constipation. Blackmores has now brought out a low constipation form of iron, RRP$14.95, which is available from pharmacies and supermarkets.
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rain-ready Waterproof, breathable rainwear is the latest product from Mum2Mum, the Waikato creators of the Wonder Bib and Dream Swaddle. The rainwear sets of lightweight jackets and overalls cost $79.95 from mum2mum.com.
The One Plus One, Jojo Moyes, Michael Joseph, RRP$37 Another winner from the author of Me Before You, this is a love story where both parties are on a losing streak. Jess is a single mum who works two jobs but is still falling behind on her rent. Ed Nicholls is one of the rich blokes she works for who barely acknowledges her existence. Ed is also something of a train wreck — he’s just been caught insider trading and is preparing himself for jail time. Yet somehow they end up in Ed’s flash car en route to Scotland with a moody teenager, a 10-year-old maths genius and a very slobbery dog. The road to love refuses to run smooth so it’s a very twisty-turny tale that’s handled expertly by Jojo Moyes.
EDITOR’S PICK Surprised by Motherhood, Lisa-Jo Baker, Tyndale House Publishers, Amazon, RRP US$12.99 One of my favourite bloggers has written a book and I was treated to a sneak preview. A lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights, Lisa-Jo Baker never wanted to be a mum. And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children. Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming a mum, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood. Lisa-Jo’s honesty is inspirational and encouraging, and this is a heartwarming read that will resonate with mums worldwide.
“It’s weird, people think my kids will be in therapy because of their names. Guys, my kids will be in therapy for LOTS of reasons, I’m sure.” Busy Philipps, talking about her children named Birdie and Cricket.
natural baby care Look out for the re-launched Qbaby range of natural remedies for simple baby care. There are products for birth, breastfeeding, baby teething, colic and sleeplessness. Prices range from $35 to $38. Go to qbaby.co.nz or phone 0800 743 2584.
small talk the boohoo box
probiotics to help prevent colic
An Italian study of nearly 600 newborns showed giving them a probiotic supplement nearly halved their crying time. No one is really sure what causes colic but scientists suspect the bacteria in a baby’s gut is involved. A University of Bari study in Italy enlisted 589 infants and gave some of them probiotic drops and some a placebo over three months. Those taking the probiotic cried for an average of 38 minutes a day, as opposed to 71 minutes, averaged by those babies taking a placebo. Those babies taking the supplement, that contained live lactobacillus reuteri, also vomited less often.
This “natural First Aid kit” contains tear-stopping remedies to get your child up and active again. Highlights are the Weleda Hypercal Cream, magical “Monster spray”, the “Ouch Pouch” mini rice pack and, of course, bubbles. Available from boohoobox.co.nz for $95. Also available now is the Boohoo Box: Complete First Aid Kit (RRP$120) and Boohoo Box: Starter First Aid Kit (RRP $49.95).
shades of Chanel The famously grumpy Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld has launched new fragrances for men and women and they’re now at Farmers. Karl Lagerfeld for Women (RRP$136, 85ml) “takes a contemporary approach to traditional perfumes”, boasting citrusy, floral notes with musky, woody base notes. OHbaby! says, "This is a sophisticated, easy-to-wear daytime fragrance."
batteries go green
Feeling guilty about all that acid leachate from the batteries in the kids’ toys? No worries, now you can be green and power a string of electronic gizmos. The world’s first eco-responsible batteries are now available in New Zealand. Eco Alkalines are high-powered, long-life alkaline batteries and certified as carbon neutral, offsetting carbon emissions. Eco Alkalines are made with 80% recyclable materials and are 98% recyclable. Available from Countdown and health food stores, the battery price starts at RRP$4.95. For more info, go to ecoalkalines.co.nz.
why pregnant women need flu shots
If you’re pregnant you’re up to 18 times more likely to be hospitalised with the flu than non-pregnant women. This is because of the changes to the immune system and other factors during pregnancy, says Lesley Dixon, spokesperson for the NZ College of Midwives. Health specialists are recommending all pregnant women get the flu jab but be quick — the flu shot is free if you’re pregnant only until July 31 this year.
syrupy goodness It's hard to find effective cough relief products for children, so check out the Hyland's Baby Cough Syrup that has no parabens, artificial flavours or dyes. Good for children as young as six months, it costs $25.50, from superbabysupermum.co.nz.
IT’S A MASH-UP Mashing the potatoes night after night can be a chore and it’s pretty hard to get it lump-free. Now there’s a plug-in Masha Potato and Vegetable Masher that takes all the hard work out of it. And it’s perfect for creating your own baby food. Price: RRP$69.99 from Mitre-10.
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SWEET RELIEF A gallery owner in Wellington has come up with an arts and crafts idea for kids that works the same way as My Food Bag. But instead of a box of ingredients delivered each week, each month, Ami Brown from Artrium Gallery delivers a box of art supplies to 120 subscribers around New Zealand. For $29 a month, everything you need to make, say, paper flowers or underwater creatures, will be delivered, including paintbrushes and scissors. Ami launched the venture last December. Go to dabbledo.co.nz for more information.
Harnessing the goodwill of bakers New Zealand-wide, Operation Sugar provides free birthday cakes for seriously ill children or children who are often in hospital. Set up in 2012, the non-profit group has 500 professional and amateur bakers and delivered 137 cakes in its first year. If you have a seriously ill child or would like to donate your services, go to operationsugar.org.nz.
This cake was made by Nicola White to celebrate Lucas' first birthday while he was treated for cancer. Great news, Lucas is now in remission.
PHOTOGRAPHY: HEATHER MAC PHOTOGRAPHY.
my art bag
who’s your buddy? Night buddies are soft, plush toys that light up when you squeeze them, making them handy companions for little ones at night. Whether, it’s a dolphin or a set of wheels you’re cuddling, the eyes will light up to quell any fears of the dark. Night Buddy animals are $39.95 and cars and planes, $34.95 from squoodles.co.nz.
regrowth, be gone! Color Wow Root Cover Up is an easy, no-mess way of dealing with that pesky re-growth. Simply brush it over those roots and the regrowth is gone. It even works for blonde hair. Perfect for pregnant women and busy mums, buy it at Farmers for RRP$49.90.
BABY CARRIER new product
The lillebaby 6 in 1 baby carrier is the only carrier you will ever need to buy. Made from soft, durable materials, lilliebaby is designed to grow with your family and is suitable from birth to 3-4yrs (20.4kg)
um! For m
VISIT OUR WEBSITE BELOW FOR MORE INFO AND YOUR NEAREST RETAILER.
“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” Johnny Depp
CREAM DREAM Luscious shades of ecru to soothe the soul and usher tired babies to sleep
Especially since each hat r-old is hand knitted by 70-yea gill. Ailsa Oâ€™Brien in Invercar
1 Dimples Snugglesac RRP$139.99, dimples.co.nz 2 Vintage Cot Blanket $255 and Contemporary Cot Blanket $198, louandolly.co.nz 3 Hotmilk Luminous Bra, $64.90, breastmates.co.nz 4 Baby boots, $45.95, twolittlefeet.co.nz 5 Suprino Bambino cable-knit aviator hat, RRP$55, www.suprinobambino.co.nz 6 Orla Kiely Sculpted Stem Bath Mat $89, allium.co.nz 7 Moses Basket with wool mattress $143, babytrenz.co.nz 8 Buddy New Zealand Hooded Cape, from $99, buddynz.co.nz 9 (from left) Resene Scorpion, Resene Double Pearl Lusta, Resene Soapstone, Resene Thorndon Cream, resene.co.nz 10 Nigella Lawsonâ€™s Piglets (salt & pepper) in stoneware, perchhomewares.co.nz 18 /
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BECAUSE...SHOPPING Tried and tested nursery and baby essentials
click here Come hang out with us online at ohbaby.co.nz and get your OHbaby! fix between issues Baby of the Year! It’s that time of year again. The ever-popular OHbaby! Baby Of The Year competition is currently up and running on our website. We’re searching for two winners — the People’s Choice, as voted by you, and the OHbaby! Cover Star, who will grace the cover of an issue of OHbaby! Magazine! All entrants also go into the draw to win a Panasonic DMC-GM1 camera, worth $1099, and we have another of these cameras to award to the People’s Choice winner. Go to ohbaby. co.nz/ community/ ohbaby!-baby-of-the-year-2014 and upload an image of your precious one. They could soon be following in the footsteps of Elijah and Brooklyn! inspiring modern families
what’s new at ohbaby.co.nz? OHbaby!’s hottest birthday cake bakers We’d love to see your latest birthday cake creations, from lamington trains to the classic Dolly Vardon, or perhaps you’ve cooked up something more original? Upload your photos, recipes and step-by-step instructions and be in to win prizes from Nestlé and Queen. Go to ohbaby.co.nz/parties/ birthdaycakes for more details. Below: We love Sarah Pellett’s world map cake for her geography-mad son’s fifth birthday.
upcycling challenge We’re also looking for upcycling ingenuity — turned your change table into a gardening bench, perhaps? Or some drawers into a play table (as above, in issue 24). Show us what you’ve achieved, with images and step-by-step instructions, and be in to win prizes from Resene. Go to ohbaby.co.nz/lifestyle/interiors/ upcycling for more details.
reasons to love pregnancy
And coming soon, one for the crafty mamas: We’re starting a craft competition where you can post a photo of your latest creation for a chance to win amazing prizes. It will be a great place to find inspiration and check out other people’s projects as well as a chance to show off what you’ve been up to in your spare time (spare time?). We’ll send out more details soon so make sure you are signed up to receive our daily emails.
DIY or buy?
what’s best for your wallet and the world
reasons to immunise
SWEET TREATS just like Gran used to make
create an eco-friendly nursery
(save it for me)
time to ditch the dummy?
greenies farmyard frolics: it’s baa-ty time!
ELIJAH Winner 2012
Expressing at Work
* Cloth Nappy Review * Gold Coast Getaway
BROOKLYN Winner 2013
PLUS, while you’re entering, subscribe to OHbaby! Magazine and receive a FREE personalised copy of our winter issue featuring your baby on the cover!
views of our Facebook posts in one week! We recently went viral, in a good way, and woke up one morning to find that millions of people (over 41 million) had checked out some of our latest Facebook posts. And we’ve gained 45,000 new friends on Facebook since January! Ever so humbly, we like this a lot. Join us, if you haven’t already, to find out what everyone’s talking about!
OHbaby! elsewhere Join in on our daily chitchat via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. We always have a little something to share, be it good advice, gossip or giveaway. facebook.com/ohbabynz l twitter.com/ohbabynz l pinterest.com/ohbabymag
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team talk OHbaby! Editor Ellie Gwilliam looks at how a family mission statement can encourage the team and motivate even the youngest players
have little quote books filled with the wisdom and wit of my three daughters. From the mouths of babes flow revealing insights into what their minds are mulling over. One such entry belongs to my eldest who, one morning at age four, put particular effort into getting dressed and flounced up the stairs in frills, pearls and an array of hair accessories. “You look lovely today!” I commented. “Yes,” was the reply, “I have to look prettier than Lottie (younger sister, then aged two).” Now, I understand the ego-centric world of a preschooler and that her comments weren’t spiteful. But just after I suppressed a giggle, and just before I ran off to record the brutal honesty in her quote book for posterity, I felt an overwhelming motivation to instill in my daughters the truth that sisterhood is a privilege, not a competition. And with all the pressures our three daughters will inevitably face from peers, the media and even themselves, they need support from their rock-solid foundation of family. As a parent, I passionately want my girls to know that sisters are not the opposition — they are on the same team.
the A team Children benefit from experiencing a sense of team within their family long before they can articulate the concept. Counsellor and strengths finder coach Jenny Purkis describes it as a very basic human need. This need includes feeling like we are a valuable part of something bigger than ourselves. “Creating an environment of ‘belonging’ is essential at an early age when the synapses of the brain are making connections even before speech. “These connections can go a long way
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz).
We felt a mission statement would give us direction as a family and help us to be intentional about the things we want to develop in ourselves, both as individuals and as a family.
to making home a ‘safe place where I fit in’,” says Jenny. This emotional resource can be especially empowering to children when the world seems overwhelmingly large and frightening, when your new kindy routine has taken you well out of your comfort zone or when the bigger kids won’t share the swings at the park. You innately know to find refuge at home and receive comfort from being back with your team. Family is the first point of reference for a child building a sense of identity. Within the safety of family, and encouraged by a sense of belonging, a child will learn about where they have come from, and that information can be highly influential over where they are going. Family histories, tales of ancestors, stories of parents’ lives before children all serve to enrich a child’s journey of discovering who they themselves are. Children learn that families are different and can take many forms. A child’s ability to celebrate her own uniqueness is fostered within a family unit where she feels understood, safe and accepted. So, family, quite a big deal then. But our family is not only our team, our family should also be our cheerleaders. Individual successes are shared by the whole team, from promotions at work to a dry nappy at night — a win for one is a win for all. But does it all just come naturally? Not necessarily, if competitive accessorising among preschoolers is anything to go by. What can we as parents do to enhance a sense of team within our families?
your mission, if you choose to accept it A family mission statement is more than just a cute Pinterest-worthy idea, it can
be a powerful tool in shaping a positive family life. Mission statements go beyond a list of prescriptive rules with a “toe the line or else” approach to offer a code of conduct that considers the bigger picture: Who we are and what we’re all about. Within this sort of framework, “house rules” now have a context within which children can begin to understand the consequences of their behaviour. “Companies often use mission statements to direct their decisions and operating procedures, but their utility is even greater for families. After all, instead of manufacturing widgets, you’re moulding children, making memories, and constructing the very best stuff out of which life is made,” writes Brett and Kate McKay in their article “Creating a Positive Family Culture” (artofmanliness.com). While being part of a team that supports one another will give a child security, a mission statement teaches boundaries, mutual respect and honouring of differences — concepts that go a long way to providing children with a solid foundation of what is acceptable and what is not, explains Jenny. Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, puts it this way: “A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.”
of raising a family is an investment of immeasurable value. And it helps to be in agreement with your partner on such matters. We can assume a reasonable level of agreement got you to shared parenting in the first place, but it may be worth taking a moment to discuss the values that matter to each of you so you can present a united front on what you want to pass on to your children. Next, get the kids involved and ask the big questions: Who are we? What do we like to do? What sort of people do we want to be? How do we want visitors to our home to feel? What do we want to do for others? What are our values? This may be harder for young children to articulate, but they will probably already recognise that it is important to say, for example, “sorry” if you hurt
all good in theory But how do we put these ideals into practice? It’s all about getting intentional. Our days can be easily consumed by the necessities of family life without a spare moment for lofty ponderings, but time spent considering the bigger picture
someone, or “thank you” if you are given something, or “Would you like to play with me?” to someone who looks lonely — actions which they will grow to understand represent the core of their family’s values. What do we admire in other people? For young children these examples could even be found in TV or movie characters, children’s entertainment never being short of moral undertones. Perhaps our family is brave like The Incredibles and we’ll always come to each other’s rescue. Or maybe we’re more interested in what’s on the inside rather than outward appearances, like those faithful green romantics Shrek and Fiona. Once you have some keywords and phrases that sum up your shared values,
and perhaps a hope and dream or two, you have the basics of a family mission statement. Don’t be too concerned about the end result, in fact Brett and Kate McKay suggest that the process is even more important than the end result as it encourages discussion on what really matters in life. That said, check out ohbaby.co.nz/ family for ideas on how to display your family mission statement with style so it is not only inspirational, but also looks really pretty.
what are you talking about? I asked Jenny Purkis how parents can help young children understand the values that are important to their family unit. The simple answer is by “walking the
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talk” or living out what we want our kids to duplicate. Leading by example will be far more influential than the “verdict” style of parenting which insists “do as I say; not as I do”. I really ought to keep this in mind next time I start shouting reminders to my kids that we don’t yell in our family, and a flight of stairs is no excuse.
staying in shape Jenny suggests that kids will be more likely to keep the “house rules” if they have contributed to setting them, so involvement in the process of creating a family mission statement is really useful in terms of discipline. Have some statements on hand that help direct your children back to the behaviour guidelines you have together established. Here are some of our favourites: “Let’s look at our family rules and see what we have all agreed on shall we?” you might tell your child. “Can you remember the one that you thought of about sharing with your sister?” is another good option. “Remember, we want to make each other feel loved and special in this family. Do you think that calling your sister a poo bum/slamming the door in her face/saying her drawing was dumb made her feel loved and special? “What could you do to make her feel like she’s a valued part of our family team again?”
on a mission to be the family we want to be The Going family of West Auckland, (pictured: Sienna aged seven, Mum Helena, Dad Gareth, and Summer aged three), generously opened their home and hearts to us, sharing both their mission statement and the motivations behind it. Helena explains that they were encouraged to consider the value of a family mission statement at a parenting course at a local church. “We felt a mission statement would give us direction as a family and help us to be intentional about the things we want to develop in ourselves both as individuals and as a family,” says Helena. Gareth and Helena initially took time as a couple to consider what they valued and wanted to pass on to their children. They then asked their children to come up with a word or phrase that could describe their family. Three-year-old Summer came up with “kind to others”. Going forward, excuse the pun, the family plan to spend time each year evaluating if they are actually putting into practice what they believe to be important. Helena adds that their mission statement has also proved useful when facing big decisions regarding the direction of their lives. And it’s also a platform for dinner or bedtime discussions, encouraging the kids to reflect on what values such as kindness and courage may have looked like over the course of the day. The Going Family Mission Statement: We as a family choose to be: • Grateful • Forgiving • Kind • Compassionate • Brave • Responsible • Healthy • Generous with our time, talents and resources to bless others. • We value truth • We enjoy learning, reading and creating • We have fun • We celebrate, support and show affection to each other • We aim to create an environment of joyfulness, growth, belonging, closeness, refuge and most importantly, love.
As for the Gwilliams, in our family we will remember to use our inside voices when we are inside. We’re going to encourage each other to dream big and cheer each other on. We’re going to love each other no matter what, and love anyone who comes across our path. And we’re not going to worry about who looks prettier. We’re going to tell each other, “You look fabulous today.” We’re going to look for the good in each other and practise our compliments, so when we head out the door we will be looking for the good in other people, as opposed to checking out their hair clips. l For more ideas on ways to foster a sense of team within your family, go to ohbaby.co.nz/family.
words to live by Cancer patient and new dad Jared Noel shares with Ellie Gwilliam the legacy he’s leaving his daughter
n this busy life, time on a friend’s couch simply talking and drinking tea is a rare treat. We watch the clock, squeeze in appointments and run to the call of our electronic reminders. If we do find time to visit, we aim for efficiency, and carefully keep watch so we are not intruding on our host’s schedule. So, in mid-January as I sat on the couch of a couple I had just met, time weighed heavily on my mind. Because time to the Noel family is, by very definition, precious. It makes the concerns the rest of us have about lack of time seem trivial at best. You may recognise Jared and Hannah Noel from the front page of The NZ Herald, or from 20/20, or as the faces of the most successful Givealittle fundraising campaign New Zealand has yet seen. Because Jared Noel has paid a big price for time. But as I sat in their family room, my worries about encroaching were put at ease by two of the most gracious, generous, pragmatic yet still faithful and hopeful people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Both doctors, Jared and Hannah met through their medical studies. They
quickly discovered they shared common dreams and married in 2007. Eleven months later, just after Jared’s fifth-year medical exams and just before the couple’s planned trip to Zambia for Jared’s medical elective, he was admitted to hospital with severe stomach pains. Africa plans were cancelled and Jared received his initial diagnosis — bowel cancer with a chance of surviving the next five years of only 40% with chemotherapy. The news over the next few years didn’t get much better with the cancer spreading and Jared’s life expectancy reducing. Still, Jared and Hannah travelled, Jared completed med school, they cared for the sick in hospitals in New Zealand and abroad, they bought a house and, after a great deal of consideration, decided to pursue an IVF pregnancy. The joy of their pregnancy and anticipation of their daughter’s arrival was marred last September by the devastating news that the cancer was growing aggressively in Jared’s liver and he would be unlikely to see 2014. Their baby girl was due in January, but meeting her was no longer a given for Jared. While not a cure, the unfunded (in Jared’s case) drug Avastin could buy more time, and friends quickly mounted a Givealittle campaign to raise the $60,000 required for Avastin treatment. Within seven hours, friends, family and complete strangers from around the world had met the $60,000 target, but the generosity did not stop there. Donations poured in for the couple who were given more than double the amount needed for the prescribed 10 rounds of Avastin, leaving a surplus to provide financial assistance for the family in future. By Christmas, test results showed that the Avastin treatment was working, with the tumour growth slowing down and the disease appearing stable. On January 17th, Jared and Hannah welcomed their beautiful daughter Elise Alexandra Grace Noel into the world. We asked them to share their story with OHbaby! readers because theirs is a tale of hope, and faith and living beyond ourselves. It’s about frustratingly awful sadness but overwhelming love. And that is why this story must be told. Cancer, nil. Love wins.
“Communicating and teaching your children your family values can be a challenge at the best of times; achieving this when you know it’s unlikely you will survive to your daughter’s first birthday seems next to impossible. “Five years ago, I was diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer, and after surgery and chemotherapy, I relapsed and became terminal. My life trajectory seemed to be mapped out, shorter than anyone would ever hope for or expect. But, for reasons that remain a mystery to both me and the medical profession, I have continued to live, while knowing that at any moment, I am only a heart beat away from finishing my journey in this life. “For my wife Hannah and I, the decision to have a child was complex. It was prompted by the desire to start a family and cautioned by the implications should we be successful. In the end, we knew we would never regret having a child but there was plenty of room for regret had we not even tried. It breaks my heart that, bar the miraculous, I will miss most of my daughter’s childhood. I will not get to see her flourish as a person and I will not be able to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. It is with that breaking heart that I will do my best to leave her a legacy of who I am. I may not be able to leave her with memories, but I can leave her with the values I embrace, so she can appreciate who her father is.”
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PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz).
Jared Noel, in his own words:
It breaks my heart that, bar the miraculous, I will miss most of my daughterâ€™s childhood. I will not get to see her flourish as a person.
Dear Elise, I cannot create a pithy saying or a three-word catch phrase to live by. Life, to me, seems far too complex to be abbreviated to such small word counts. Instead, I want to offer you a sense of identity, a sense of purpose and an understanding of where you came from, so you can then determine where you will go. The world is your oyster, to make of it what you will. My hope is to give you the opportunity to be the best you can be. Having said this, ultimately any principle or ideal must still be communicated in words or they remain in the realm of the ethereal, never having concrete relevance. To that end, here is an attempt to communicate to you what matters to your family — as words to live by, and hopefully words to die by.
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
As a family of faith, this verse expresses what matters most to us. Elise, we want to encourage you to live a life of mercy, justice and compassion. We want you to love others and to learn to put them first, especially those who are less fortunat e than us. This is how you can make your mark on the world, by being part of the bigger picture of humanity, and this is how you can honour your loving God.
read, learn and travel
Read widely and never stop learning. Travel to both the developed and developing worlds. Ask questions, challenge
the status quo and discover that life in middle-class New Zealand is only how the privileged 5% of the world lives. Your mum and I believe that with this privilege comes responsibility; to use our time, wealth and skills to help others. Our world view, narrow or wide, is shaped by our upbringing and education. Reading, learning and travelling will broaden your horizons, develop an understanding of life and grow a respect for people of all faiths and ethnicities.
pause, reflect, breathe
Life will be busy but we should always take time to pause, to reflect and to breathe; to look back on a journey past or ahead to a journey planned; to contemplate the complexities of politics or the simplicity of a plate of food. We hope you will learn to appreciate the small things so you then can appreciate the larger things even more. It’s okay to cry when you are sad, and rejoice when you are happy. Life will always be a contrasting kaleidoscope of experiences and emotions; taking time to drink them in gives perspective, wisdom and an understanding of yourself and your place in this world. Elise, I won’t be around to remind you to say “please”, “thank you” or “sorry”. Instead, I will try to leave a legacy that instills a sense of compassion and respect for others where pleasantries will naturally follow. I won’t always be able to comfort you when you’re sad, or reassure you when your confidence is low, but I hope you know that I will always be there for you, even when I am physically absent. I hope that in knowing who your father was, you will be able to choose who you want to be…
You can follow Jared’s journey at The Boredom Blog: When Chemotherapy gives you too much time on your hands. Go to jarednoel.wordpress.com
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Love, Dad xoxo
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with grateful appreciation Psychologist Dr Melanie Woodfield on how to foster an attitude of gratitude and encourage contentment in our children
ratitude. It’s a concept I was first introduced to as a teenager while watching Oprah. That influential woman suggested we all keep a gratitude journal, noting down three things per day that we’re grateful for. What a good idea, I thought. And went on to do absolutely nothing about it. In recent years, I’ve been reminded of the importance of gratitude as a wave of happiness research hits mainstream psychology. In all seriousness, proper researchers have suggested that gratitude is one of the keys to true happiness. In fact, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures,” as US playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder said. As parents, we can spend hours meditating on the relationships we value, and the things we have which we
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appreciate, such as a warm home or a pantry full of food. I’m being somewhat sarcastic — we often don’t have time to shower, let alone meditate. But we usually have an idea that gratitude is a good thing. It’s something we want to foster in our own lives, and in the way we raise our children. In the quest for gratitude, first up we need to define what we mean. Do we mean saying “please” and “thank you”, or are we referring to an internal sense of appreciation and awareness of how lucky the little darlings are? The two are very different. The first can be taught, and the second develops like a fine wine, as long as you create the kind of environment that fine wines need. First up, take a moment to think about what a grateful child means for you and your family.
manners Manners are a social thing that society has come to expect. They can be taught in the same way as any other socially acceptable behaviour, such as wearing knickers or not picking your nose. Two things are really important here. First, be a good model. Kids tend to do as you do, not as you say. Make a point of using “please” and “thank you” when the kids are around, especially in public, if that’s what you’d like them to do. Also wear knickers and don’t pick your nose, to be on the safe side. Second, shower them with specific praise. If you describe what they’ve done that you liked or appreciated, it’s not only showing them gratitude, it’s making it much more likely that they’ll do it again. It’s a fact: Praising a behaviour makes it more likely it will happen again. “I love how you said thank you, great job!” or: “Because you asked so nicely and said please, I’m going to let you have the lolly.”
the starving children in Africa “Comparison is the thief of joy”: That’s certainly true when it comes to comparing our lot with the lot of the Joneses over the fence. Despite this, we can find ourselves encouraging our kids to compare how fortunate they are with how unfortunate kids in other cultures are — the old “eat your dinner, there are kids in Africa who don’t have any food at all”. For very young children, you’re likely to find you’re wasting your breath, they’re egocentric wee creatures and that’s not an insult — it’s a technical term. Very young children think their reality is shared by everyone. Under about six years of age kids can have a very limited understanding that other people have experiences and perspectives that are different to their own. But, it can be really useful to foster a sense of how privileged we are, and starting with the basics such as what we eat and how we live can be really enlightening for slightly older children. So, if kids are curious, tell them how life is for kids in other parts of the world. A great book to help with this is Where Children Sleep by James Mollison. It is a collection of photos of children’s bedrooms from around the world and the differences are incredible (think American pageant princesses versus homeless Italian gypsy children). Be prepared for kids who feel a sense of guilt that others have so little — perhaps have some practical remedies up your sleeve. You could sell unused toys to raise money to give to a charity, or take some coins from their piggy bank to pop into a collection bucket.
spoiler alert There are almost always people in your child’s life who are spoilers. They love to spoil. And these people are often referred to as Nana or Grandma. It’s not just the older generation though. The Guardian newspaper in the UK recently coined a new term, the PANK, to describe Professional Aunts with No Kids. They’re spoilers too. One of my little men has a most unbecoming habit: Grandma arrives for a visit, and Master Three immediately demands, “What you got for me?” Mortifying. But in his wee world, Grandma arriving has usually been associated with a gift of some kind — lolly, cake or stickers. (On a bad day it’s all three.
Grandma arrives for a visit and Master Three demands, “What you got for me?” Mortifying. But in his wee world, Grandma arriving has usually been associated with a gift. He sees this as a good day). So it’s only reasonable that he wonders aloud about what she’s got for him this time. Many a time I’ve suggested to the grandparents that the kids don’t need another sweet treat. Many a time said grandparents have suggested to me (quite rightly) that they see it as one of their roles to spoil the kids. We parents do the time-out and the toileting, and the grandparents do the cake and cartoons. Still, it’s not okay for kids to demand or expect treats. And grandparents can be supported to only dispense the sweets at a time when kids are sitting nicely or asking politely. Kids can also be taught that the rules are a bit different when they’re with Grandma as it’s a special time.
more and more… and more It’s a fact that advertisers play on our children’s (and our) desire for more, more, more. There’s a reason why they have little pictures on the back of toy packs showing all the other enticing versions available. Kids can very easily get caught up, especially when we’re out and about, in wanting more. And it tends to be that the more they get, the more they want. Recently, one of my wee ones threw a spectacular wobbly in a book store when he wasn’t allowed an umbrella. Yes, an umbrella, in summer, from a bookstore. The umbrella was enticingly placed near the checkout and, for a tired toddler, this was irresistible. The cries of: “But I NEED an umbrella. I WANT IT NOW!” echoed through the shopping mall. Not our most grateful moment. Think of the following interaction (hypothetical, of course): (Child and parents in toy aisle, looking for birthday present for another child). Child: “I want this one.” Parent: “Come on, we’re looking for Jake’s present, not yours.” Child: “But I NEED this one, it will finish off my police station set.” At this point, you’re a bit fed up, in a rush, and needing to get a darned present for darling Jake before school pick-up in 10 minutes. Things could go wrong… very wrong. Keep in mind the very powerful forces of marketing currently working against you. Here are some tried and true tactics to negotiate this minefield: “Wow, it IS cool. Look at that siren!” (Taking child by the hand, grabbing a present for Jake in the other and walking confidently towards the checkout). “I wish we could have all the toys in this shop. Wouldn’t that be amazing? We could build huge shelves and have a toy aisle in our hallway. Think how funny that would be. Great, now we’re all set. Let’s pay for this, and you can choose which song you want in the car, since you’ve been so helpful.” Another one is: “Brilliant. Good thinking. (Pulling out list from
family huge mother-type handbag). Let’s add that to the list for your birthday. I want to write it down so I can make sure I remember how cool it is.” The list thing can be very powerful. Kids can help to add to their wish list throughout the year, and then close to birthdays or Christmas, they can sit down with you and refine it by choosing their top five picks. This can be helpful when out at the shops or when advertisements come on television.
thankful habits How about writing good old-fashioned thank-you cards? Yes, this practice harks back to a time when four year olds couldn’t text, but it encourages slowing down and taking time to consider what they’ve received. It also reminds them who gave them the Spiderman bubble bath at the birthday party when they were showered with presents. This often then becomes a habit — a practical way to express gratitude.
grateful gatherings How about a daily practice of sitting together and talking about something you’re grateful for. As parents, we can model gratitude for the big stuff like being healthy and having family around. Kids can say how grateful they are that their Duplo tower didn’t fall down. If you’re a praying family, prayers can be a great way of showing gratitude for what we have. I hope these suggestions were helpful. I also hope you were suitably grateful to receive them. I’ll look forward to the card(!) l Dr Melanie Woodfield is a clinical psychologist in Auckland, a wife and mum to two young boys. She’s constantly saying “pardon?” and pretending not to hear her children unless they use the magic word.
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leaving a legacy
he clock ticking, the leaves rustling in the wind, the rain pitter-pattering, rain drops forming puddles on the ground. More rain. Endless ripples. Bigger puddles. The simple things I used to love. Since Friday, my skies have been downcast. Grey clouds looming, I stood at the traffic-light junction, watching the array of people passing each other. What are they experiencing? I would never know. I stood still. Watching the signals. Green man blinking — go. Red man — stop. STOP. The rain came... First in droplets falling softly on my eyelids, and then it poured, torrents and torrents of rain. The heavens knew my heart and thoughts, and opened up the dams in a heavy downfall, weeping alongside me as I stood still. The clock stopped ticking and the world stopped, just for a fleeting moment as I stared blankly at the traffic signals. A feeling of utter loss and pain overwhelmed and crippled me. I wept, and my eyes poured rain like that of the skies. I felt lost, for I have lost. A woman who was the head of the household, a wife, mother, grandmother and a greatgrandmother. Of her 92 years, she devoted a good 70 to her family. She was my grandmother. Tears continued to trickle down my cheeks like a running tap. I hold my grandmother very dear to my heart. She was not educated, but had taught herself simple literacy and arithmetic. She encouraged each of us to excel in our own individual ways. Grandma was firm and very strict. Yet, she was compassionate and would explain her actions with pain in her eyes. I am proud to say that all of us — all her children and grandchildren are well-mannered and successful in their own rights. Not a single wayward child. Quite a feat for a woman from an extremely poor background, exposed to the temptations of drugs, alcohol and vices of all sorts. I understood from my father that they had to study by candle light and could eat meat only once a year. I could not fathom living in such poverty or even comprehend the hardship the family had been through. My grandmother taught me love and lived by example. She loved each one of us equally and was very fair and impartial. She was always happy and jovial, welcoming everyone with open arms, a smile and temptations of food. She was kind, generous and charitable, although frugal with herself. My dad told us of an incident when they were young when Grandma packed bags of clothing for victims of a fire who had lost everything, despite being very poor herself then. Grandma taught me manners, discipline, culture, being respectful and tradition. She taught me the ways to be a Teochew lady and taught me to converse fluently in the Teochew language, which is now gradually and sadly being lost through the generations. Grandma also taught me honesty, humility, forgiveness and acceptance as these could counter-act the evils of the world. For my world was a better place because of Grandma. Grandma was a pillar of strength. Through the hardships she had borne in life, she became my strength and support in my growing up years. She knew and understood my tears, gave me comfort and told me to wipe my tears away and pick myself
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up. Again and again. She would tell me to stand up for myself, and not to let anyone bully me. Like a mother hen guarding her young chicks from the predator, she shielded and protected us. Her advice was always pragmatic, despite her being uneducated and from an era of rampant “old wife’s tales”, she was not one to heed them if they did not make sense. Grandma was the peace-maker of the family and Grandma made a point of knowing everything that was happening in the family. Her position as the matriarch was unquestioned. She commanded everyone’s respect. And we all came from near and far, from all over the world; we all returned to pay our final respects. We united as a family again, and we all rose to the occasion. Family in Singapore opened their doors and homes to family returning from overseas. We all stood as one in unity to give her a last hurrah — a final send-off that she well deserved. My selfish instinct was raging and I wished I could have Grandma for just a little longer. I wished I could take Grandma for more breakfast outings, for I know she enjoyed it. Whenever I rang her to tell her I was coming to take her out, she became like a child on Christmas morning, dressing quickly and waiting by the door for me to arrive. If I was late, she would ring me and ask if I was okay, and why there was a delay. She was so eager, as all she wanted was for family to be around her. She would sometimes sit by the door and lament that no one visited her. I would have loved to have taken my grandmother out for one final breakfast. Just one. Please. But in reality, Grandma had been plagued by health issues for years. After suffering two strokes more than two years ago, Grandma had been wheelchair-bound, having to be fed through a tube. I could not take her out for any more breakfasts. Yet Grandma continued to give us beaming smiles when we visited. Being a survivor, she hung on and fought to stay on this earth, just to ensure that all her family was well. Even through to her last breath, she reassured me. I felt her presence at 7.47am New Zealand time (2.47am in Singapore) on Friday morning while driving to work, totally unaware of the situation back home, only to be notified at around 9am of Grandma’s passing. Her devotion to us was unwavering, and it is with regret I say that our devotion was not quite as parallel, as we had let the hustle and bustle of life get the better of our time with her. Grandma understood the demands of our lives and I know that she was very proud of each one of us. That was all she would have wished for — for us to be happy and successful. As a mother now of a beautiful boy, I will endeavour to walk along the path my grandma carved out, and follow her footsteps offering my son unique lessons only borne through the experiences life throws at you. Grandma had lived a long and dignified life. She is in no more pain and in no more suffering. She is in a better place, walking the streets of gold hand in hand with Grandpa again, where only happiness resides. l Right: Janice Zheng with her little boy Matthias.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz).
Our short story finalist, Janice Zheng, pays tribute to a fine woman who lived 92 years and left the world a better place
As a mother now of a beautiful boy, I will endeavour to walk along the path my grandmother carved out.
We’re thrilled to have the NZ Writers’ College supporting our Short Story Competition for another year. Janice is the third of four finalists who will have their stories published in OHbaby!. One of these four will win a place on the college’s online Basics Of Creative Writing Course, worth $695. For a chance to win submit a story of 1000 words to magazine@ ohbaby.co.nz.
conception & pregnancy
making healthy babies Asti Renaut and Natasha Berman offer naturopathic tips for successful conceptions, smooth pregnancies and thriving babies
ant to make a baby? Want to make a healthy baby? Most people who answer “Yes” to the first question will of course answer “Yes” to the second, yet many couples are unaware of the things they could be doing to increase their chances of not only a healthy baby, but an easy conception and a smooth pregnancy. Paying attention to diet, lifestyle, nutrition and general health in the months before conception can have far-reaching beneficial effects. If you are a gardener, you’ll know that healthy soil and a healthy environment make for strong and bountiful plants. If children were plants, you and your partner are not only the “seeds” of your child, but also the environment in which they grow, the soil and the sunlight. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the practice of pre-conception healthcare and showing that when it is applied properly, it can: l Reduce miscarriage rates l Reduce fertlity issues l Improve birth weights and reduce incidence of premature births l Reduce congenital abnormalities and malformations l Improve children’s immunity and reduce allergy l Reduce difficulties with breastfeeding Pre-conception healthcare is about maximising the nutrients and conditions that support fertility and minimising those which do not. There are some great books on this subject and, while there are many more details we could go into, we’ve simplified it into a 10-step programme:
1. it takes two to make a baby At least 50% of fertility issues are men’s issues. We highly recommend any men who want to be dads get a sperm test. Your GP will check sperm count, sperm motility (how well they swim) and morphology (the number that are a bit wonky). If there’s any problem, you can then investigate ways to address it. As a couple, the more you are on the same page and supporting each other, the easier and more rewarding the journey towards baby-making will be.
2. start early It’s never too early to start preparing. The recommended minimum period for pre-conception care is four months.
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That’s four months before you even start to try some actual baby-making. “That’s ages!”, some of you will be thinking. To put it in context, it can take up to 116 days for sperm to form, and 100 days for an ova (egg) to mature. So if you think about the cells in your body that will be the foundation of your baby’s start to life, these are the very cells that we want to be in tip-top condition.
3. start charting Learning about a woman’s menstrual cycle can be aweinspiring. The natural rhythms of a woman’s body and the way her temperature and cervical mucus both change at different times of the month to reflect and encourage fertility are truly amazing. There are many different apps, devices, kits and books you can use for charting ovulation, and we encourage both partners to school up on how to tell when it’s happening. This will not only maximise your chances of conception, but is also useful to help identify hormonal issues that may need addressing.
4. stress less The ways in which stress can mess with fertility are endless. Stress puts our bodies into a state of physiological emergency — not, biologically, the ideal state for making babies! During times of stress the body actually preferentially uses the available building blocks to make stress hormones, depleting the available reserves for making reproductive hormones. Stress can also block the ability of our cells to respond to our reproductive hormones. The actions you take to reduce stress will make the whole process of conception and pregnancy so much easier in the long run. Reducing work hours, starting a yoga class, going for a daily walk, relaxing and laughing more — these are all steps you can take towards a more peaceful and fertile lifestyle. Instead of trying to squeeze himself into your packed, adrenalised schedule, a baby is more likely to come when there is space in your life for him to do so.
5. avoid the obvious Yes, you guessed it — avoid coffee, alcohol, tobacco and any other drugs or stimulants. It is really important for both partners to get on board with this one, not just to support each other, but
If children were plants, you and your partner are not only the “seeds” but also the environment in which they grow, the soil and sunlight.
because these substances affect sperm just as much as they do a woman’s reproductive health. Alcohol can significantly deplete nutrients and help reduce fertility and pregnancy outcomes even when consumed around the time of ovulation or conception. While the effects of alcohol and tobacco are well-known, many people think caffeine is a benign pleasure as it’s so ingrained in our social fabric. But studies have shown that caffeine can reduce male and female fertility by up to 50%. It also reduces absorption of nutrients, which are essential for making babies.
6. good clean food and water Preparing fresh food from scratch is the best way to up the nutritional value of your diet. Minimise sugar and white flour, which actually use up our body’s precious nutrients instead of adding to them. We are a nation increasingly reliant on sugary, high-carb snacks, and steering away from these towards fresh fruit and vegetables and good clean protein will not only boost your vitamins and minerals, but also even out your energy levels and, for some, your mood as well. Hydration is important for many reasons, for example seminal fluid is more than 80% water, so don’t let yourselves get dehydrated guys, we want free flow!
conception & pregnancy Stress puts our bodies into a state of physiological emergency — not, biologically, the ideal state for making babies. 7. nutrition These days, good clean food and water often isn’t enough. While naturopaths have been saying this for long while, GPs are also increasingly becoming aware of the need for extra nutritional support during pre-conception and pregnancy. While in the past only folate was given routinely to women wanting to conceive, today iodine is also a standard prescription, iron will always be tested, and often vitamin D levels too. This is still a short list; abundant research now shows many more supplements have positive influences on fertility for men and women. Some multivitamins fall short of providing enough of the specific vitamins and minerals that are useful for fertility, but some are a really good start. Different people have different requirements depending on their age and health, so it is always best to ask a qualified practitioner to assess you and offer advice. Many people are low in zinc, for example, which is one of the most important fertility minerals for both sexes. For a specific list of the nutrients important for pre-conception care, check out our website, qbaby.co.nz.
8. chemical soup
Minimising exposure to the hundreds and thousands of synthetic chemicals we have in our environment is a first step towards increasing fertility. This means chemicals we are exposed to at work, play and at home. Builders for example may be exposed to significant levels of arsenic through treated timber, painters may be exposed to old lead paints and new solvents and office workers may be exposed to more radiation from computers which, while not chemical in nature, can still have negative effects. Look at ways to minimise exposures and support detoxing. At home, take a close look at cleaning products and cosmetics. Remember that we absorb a lot through our skin, and we are a generation of guinea pigs exposed to a greater number of chemicals than previous generations dreamed of. Many chemicals have the ability to mimic our reproductive hormones in various ways; these are known as “endocrine disruptors”. For obvious reasons we want to avoid these where possible, and one basic way to do this is to avoid eating and drinking out of soft plastics, and never, ever heating
plastics to eat from. We have it within our power to at least minimise our chemical exposures at home and at work, even if we still have to drive in rush-hour fumes!
9. get help if you need it There are many health conditions that can have detrimental effects, not just on fertility but on your baby’s health. A short list might include obesity, hormonal imbalances, allergies, auto-immune conditions, genitourinary infections and thyroid imbalances. There are many wonderful practitioners who can support you, and if you would like help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Working to sort out your health concerns now will not only make conception easier, and your baby healthier, it will also make you stronger and build a good foundation to meet the challenges of parenting.
10. have lots of good sex! Sex really is the best and easiest way to make babies. Even if you’re not able to make babies in this way, sex is still important for you. For women, think of the uterus as a muscle (which it is); the more you work it out, the healthier it gets. The timing of sex for conception is based on ovulation (see step three), but even before you’re ready to start trying for a baby, get in lots of practice. Research shows that regular sex has positive influences on regulating a woman’s cycle and increasing fertlity. To sum up, every thing you do now has the potential to affect your future child for their whole life. Giving up a daily coffee or two, not having a beer with the boys after work — these are short-term sacrifices for your child’s lifetime of potential. If it all feels like far too much change just take it slowly and remember that every little step you take is better than taking no steps. Like many things in life, we can’t completely control our fertility. It is a bit like love — it happens when it happens, a precious thing that blooms. What we can do is learn about fertility, understand it, encourage it and nurture it. Do everything we can and then surrender to what is ultimately still a bit of a beautiful mystery. l Asti Renaut and Natasha Berman are naturopaths at Quintessence. For references and recommended reading, get in touch at www.qbaby.co.nz.
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holding hands on the road to parenthood Nicole Orange of Feilding needed all her determination and courage to become a mum and it’s a journey she shared with parents across the globe
nvitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a procedure a growing number of Kiwi couples are familiar with. It’s an uncertain, potentially heart-breaking process that requires huge financial sacrifice with no certainty of success at the end of it. In New Zealand the most recent figures for IVF rates from the Ministry of Health show 1592 women received publicly funded IVF treatment in the 2011-2012 year. This represents a slow but steady rise since the 2008-2009 year when 1433 women had treatment. These figures don’t include privately funded IVF. Such a journey is usually shared with only close friends and family as inevitably it’s like riding an emotional roller-coaster, with pain and discomfort from the procedure thrown in. But if you’re Nicole Orange from Feilding, you’re happy to give the whole world a bird’s eye view of what IVF is like, even if it means accidentally showing your knickers as you jab yourself with an Ovidrel injection. (That’s the injection you use to trigger your eggs to mature and ovulate before egg-collection day.) And around the world people have taken to watching Nicole’s journey to the tune of 3200 YouTube followers. Twenty-six-year-old Nicole is a “vlogger”. She regularly posts video blogs at www.youtube.com/user/lilolme2005. Her followers are based mainly in the US, Australia and Britain — she’s even made firm friends with a couple of them. But the truth is, it’s a rough ride trying to get pregnant via IVF and Nicole doesn’t shy away from letting the pain show through. Nicole began video-blogging her journey as a way of explaining to her family and friends what IVF was all about. “I thought, if I showed people on video what really takes place, it might help.” Some videos are shot at the IVF clinic (by her husband Martin) with close-ups of the ultrasound screen. Nicole married her high school sweetheart, Martin, at 19, back in April 2008. A simple story, that is until they had trouble getting pregnant. Usually, Clomid (clomiphene) works for women like Nicole with polycystic ovaries by stimulating ovulation. But Nicole took it seven times to no avail. “That was my lowest point,” she says now of that time back in 2009. “By the seventh time I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a big
I’ve cried, I’ve been disappointed, I’ve found strength I never knew I had. We have lost and loved but infertility has brought us you. Our daughter, our princess, we can’t wait to meet you. Welcome to our family.
deal — there must be something really wrong with me!” The next option was Puregon, a synthetic form of the hormone FSH which helps develop follicles that contain eggs. Again, no luck. So in October 2010 Nicole started her first round of IVF. Nicole’s story is certainly no textbook case for IVF. She developed severe OHSS (Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) which put her in hospital for a few days. This condition usually affects around 20% of women undergoing IVF, but only about 2% must be hospitalised because of it. “Looking back now I feel so sorry for myself as I was then. There are so many letdowns with them trying to get the right dose of drug for me… I’m not a very good candidate for IVF,” she laughs. But good news came in November 2010 when her first embryo transfer led to a successful pregnancy and the birth in August 2011 of her son Roman.
baby number two Undeterred by past fertility problems, the couple ploughed on towards baby number two when Roman was nearly one year
family miscarriage. I felt defeated, like the world was coming to an end.” And, of course, the financial cost was also considerable. It cost around $10,000 to go through the IVF procedure and of that, the couple received only $6000 back after it was cancelled. But finally, the couple’s fortunes changed. After a successful round of IVF last August, they are expecting a baby in early June.
old. But their high hopes for a baby after a frozen egg transfer (using a second egg from the earlier IVF egg collection) in March were dashed six weeks later when they lost “Pancake” as a result of a miscarriage. And if that wasn’t bad enough, in June their next IVF cycle was cancelled because Nicole’s oestrogen levels became dangerously high. Following another scan and round of blood tests, Nicole received a call from the clinic. “She said, ‘I’m really sorry.’ As soon as she said that I knew it was over,” Nicole tells her followers in her June 5 posting. “I didn’t cry and I didn’t say anything. It was just a really disappointing day. “Emotionally, I felt that this was worse than when I had the
It hasn’t been easy raising $10,000 for each round of IVF. Martin, a tutor in agricultural studies, has gone milking in the weekends and Nicole does wedding videography as a sideline job. But then strangers can be surprisingly generous. One of her followers on YouTube — from Qatar — anonymously gave $1500. A Facebook fundraiser brought in another $2000. But, of course, the cost emotionally is equally as high and the stress involved puts many relationships under pressure. However, Nicole and Martin found their difficulties drew them together, rather than forcing them apart. “We knew after a few failed attempts it was going to be hard. “I would be bawling my eyes out and he wouldn’t be saying anything. For me it was about realising that he was going to be doing it differently. And that helped me a lot because he was staying strong,” says Nicole. And now she advises other mums enduring fertility issues to understand what’s going on with their partners. l At the time of interview with OHbaby! Nicole had just found out she was having a girl. Watch her gender reveal video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=duPZs4Qq4Uk4Uk
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conception & pregnancy
mind the gap We could all learn from women of the Kalahari Desert who space their babies four years apart for good reason, writes Sarah Tennant
here are a million reasons to have your babies close together. Some women don’t find a suitable partner until 40, meaning children have to be close if they’re going to be plural. Some parents want to replicate the cameraderie they enjoyed with close-in-age siblings growing up. Women in fastmoving careers may want to take as short a chunk of time away from the workforce as possible. Some parents, fonder of older children than babies, grit their teeth and churn out three babies in quick succession, consolidating the sleepless nights and nappies into five intense but mercifully blurry years. And of course, plenty of close spacings are unintentional. Life, as Ian Malcolm put it in Jurassic Park, finds a way. Either way, relatively close spacings are the norm in New Zealand. Among my circle of friends, the gap between my own children — number two born when number one was three years and three months old — is large enough to draw comment. Several acquaintances had babies when I did, with one more in the middle! Two in nappies, double strollers and cars wide enough to fit three car seats in the back are standard features of Kiwi parenting. But there’s a case to be made for a more leisurely approach to baby-having. I don’t mean a psychological case because for every close-in-age pair of siblings who fight tooth and nail, there’s another pair who are inseparable friends. No, I mean a medical case. Simply put, a woman’s body is not designed to have children too often. That may seem a strange statement — before birth control, didn’t women have a baby every year? Isn’t child spacing the “unnatural” option? Actually, no. The fabled Victorian matron who gave birth to 11 children in as many years before dying (much to her relief) in child birth with the 12th, was a cultural oddity. Her remarkable fertility was achieved by farming out her babies to wet nurses. A non-breastfeeding mother’s fertility can return as early as six weeks postpartum. But when women breastfeed ecologically (that is, the “natural” way, without pacifiers or bottles), fertility does not return until an average of 14 months after child birth. Even assuming a very prompt conception, that spaces babies at just under two years apart. But many cultures around the world have considerably larger gaps than that. The Kanuri people of Nigeria aim for a gap of two to three years between children. Back-to-back pregnancies, called komkomi, are considered shameful. The !Kung women of the Kalahari Desert space their babies four years apart: a near necessity in a hunter-gatherer society where mothers carry their babies all day while foraging. In Papua New
Guinea, traditional mothers abstain from sex while lactating. Due to the practice of extended nursing, this tends to space births out by four to five years. The reasons for the spacing policies vary, but a common theme is health: the belief is that if the mother gives birth again too soon, she will become sickly and the baby will die. The concern may also be that the older child, weaned too early, will become sick or die. Sadly, this is often true. As traditional child-spacing practices such as postpartum abstinence, polygamy, ecological breastfeeding and infanticide disappear in tribal cultures, women are having pregnancies much closer together, with high rates of infant mortality. As governments and aid workers rush to stem the tide with Western birth control, they proclaim the slogan “Three to five saves lives”, that is, babies should be spaced between three and five years apart. It’s tempting to dismiss such caution as only appropriate for malnourished women in developing countries and certainly birth spacing is particularly important in that circumstance. But even well-fed women in the western world can benefit from a break between pregnancies.
first world problem Studies have shown that very young mothers — girls who give birth within two years of their first period — are at an increased risk of pre-term birth, low birth-weight babies and babies born small for their gestational age (SGA). The problem is nutrition. The growth spurts and tissue development of puberty use up a lot of a teenager’s nutrient reserves and sometimes there just isn’t enough left to spare for the baby. For the same reason, babies in multiple pregnancies tend to be smaller and at greater risk of growth retardation and pre-term birth. Women with back-to-back pregnancies are in a similar position. Without adequate time to restore the nutrients given to baby number one, baby number two gets the short of end of the stick. Medical literature speaks of “inter-pregnancy intervals” (IPI), the time between the birth of one child and the conception (not birth) of the next. Studies have shown that regardless of age or socio-economic status, even well-nourished first world mothers are at a greater risk of pre-term birth, low birth weight and SGA babies with an IPI of less than 18 months. The risks are highest for IPIs of less than six months.
what’s missing? In developed countries, it’s rare for foetuses to be deprived of macro-nutrients — that is, fat, protein and carbohydrates. Our caloric intake is generally high enough to avoid this problem.
conception & pregnancy
If the mother is depleted of DHA and does not take supplements, the baby will calmly take the excess... from her brain. “Mommy brain” indeed.
Micro-nutrients are a different story. In particular, nutrients such as iron and folate tend to become severely depleted during pregnancy and the body takes a long time after birth to rebuild its stores, especially when breastfeeding. We all know the importance of taking folic acid supplements to prevent neural tube defects and, indeed, babies conceived after short IPIs have a slightly higher risk of these defects. Low folate is also implicated in growth-restricted babies and now it appears folate may play a crucial role in brain development. One study on schizophrenia concluded, “Risk of schizophrenia was increased by approximately 150% in those born following a pregnancy interval of six months or less... These findings support the hypothesis that folate (or other micro-nutrient) deficiency during foetal development may be an important risk factor for schizophrenia.” Another study of Californian siblings found that second children conceived within a year of their older siblings were more likely to be diagnosed with autism. In fact, a slight increase was observed up to a 36-month IPI. Researchers speculated that a folate or iron deficiency might be the culprit. Lending support to this hypothesis, a study in Norway found that women who were taking prenatal folic acid supplements were less likely to have autistic children.
looking after number one It is clear, then, that the comforting adage “Babies take what they need” is not entirely true: deficiencies can occur. Nevertheless, babies have no compunctions about stealing nutrients, even if their mother is in the middle of using them. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is in great demand during pregnancy. Large quantities are needed to develop the baby’s brain and eyes. If the mother is depleted of DHA and does not take supplements, the baby will calmly take the excess... from her brain. “Mommy brain” indeed. What’s more, studies on pregnant rats indicate that not all parts of the brain are mined equally. Specifically,
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conception & pregnancy
again also lowers the risks for placenta accreta (where the placenta implants into the scar tissue of the incision), placenta previa (where it implants low down in the uterus, blocking the cervix), and placental abruption (where the placenta tears away from the uterine wall).
how late is too late?
Without adequate time to restore the nutrients given to baby number one, baby number two gets the short end of the stick. the dopamine receptors (areas which process feelings of trust and pleasure) are depleted. The research isn’t conclusive, but if the same holds true for humans it would explain why short IPIs are a risk factor for postnatal depression. And closely spaced pregnancies have other effects on the mother. A report on one study read: “Women who had less than an 18-month gap between children had a death rate after the age of 50 that was 20% higher than those with a larger sibling age gap. They were also more likely to suffer long-term illnesses such as diabetes and arthritis later in life.” Interestingly, the same study showed fathers also suffered higher mortality rates due to closely spaced children, though not to the same degree as mothers. Having another baby too soon after a Caesarean section is also risky. When you think of the tremendous constricting, squeezing and expanding a uterus does during labour, it makes sense to let any large incisions in it heal thoroughly before putting it through its paces again! Women with IPIs of less than six months are at an elevated risk of uterine rupture during labour and more likely to require blood transfusions. Waiting to conceive 50 /
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Given the clear benefits of rebuilding nutritional stores, you’d think the longer you had to rebuild them, the better. Strangely enough, that doesn’t seem to be the case. For many outcomes, including low birth weight, prematurity and small babies, the risks climb up again after a 59-month (five-year) IPI, reaching statistical significance after 69 months. Additionally, an IPI of more than five years increases the mother’s risk of pre-eclampsia and of an abnormal or difficult labour. This is a puzzler. It’s tempting to attribute the risks to increased maternal age, which we know is a risk factor for all sorts of conditions; but studies have controlled for that variable and found the principle still held. One theory is that such a long IPI often indicates an “oops” pregnancy — a mother who thought she was done with child birth, and consequently wasn’t worrying about taking folic acid or eating a baby-friendly diet. It’s possible, but no one knows for sure. The magic spacing, then, from a purely biological point of view, appears to be somewhere between three and five years (between births, not conceptions, although medical opinions differ on the exact cut-off.) An added benefit of this spacing is allowing the older child his full WHO-recommended two years of breastfeeding, without the diminished milk supply many women experience when pregnant.
well, great, we’re doomed If at this point you’re guiltily apologising to your foetus for the substandard life to which you’ve inevitably doomed her in your haste to stop the “When’s he getting a sister?” questions... don’t. She’ll be fine. You chose that spacing for a good reason, didn’t you? (Or if you didn’t choose it, well, blame the baby. If you show up uninvited, you get what you’re given — a lesson she may as well learn now rather than later.) Do recognise, though, that your body is going above and beyond the call of duty, and deserves all the help and nourishment it can get! Supplements of folic acid, fish oil (for omega-3), iodine and zinc rarely go amiss, and a decent prenatal vitamin isn’t a bad idea either. And if you feel inclined to eat like a horse, “I’m replenishing my nutrient stores!” is as good an excuse as any. But don’t get a side-by-side double stroller. They are a pain. l Sarah Tennant has two children, spaced 39 months apart for angsty psychological reasons. She highly recommends this gap for sanity’s sake. Sometimes she even has time to get stuff done!
Go to ohbaby.co.nz/pregnancy for a full list of references.
stretch mark treatments Love them or hate them, stretch marks are another sign of “earning your stripes” as a mum
tretch marks are one of the side effects of pregnancy that many women dread but those silvery lines across your tummy are really just another badge of honour in becoming a mum — you should be proud! Caused by changes in the elastic supportive tissue that lies just beneath the skin, at least half of all pregnant women will get stretch marks and many estimates put the likelihood at 80-90%. But there are things to try to avoid them. If your mother got stretch marks you’re
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more likely to get them and some studies have shown that younger mothers (particularly teenage mums) are more likely as well. Above are our favourite belly oils and creams that many mums swear by. There’s no hard evidence that they prevent stretch marks but anything that moisturises the skin and increases its elasticity and suppleness is a step in the right direction. Also, moisturisers help prevent the itchy skin that’s common in pregnancy so be sure to slather it on liberally.
74% of you got stretch marks
during pregnancy Source: ohbaby.co.nz poll
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The product most recommended by doctors for pregnancy stretch marks. Colmar Brunton, 2012
“I must admit, I really loved being pregnant. Stretch marks were a big worry though – my bust got huge! I put on 18 kgs and it was all in the one area over my bust and stomach. I was worried because when I was 15 I got little stripes so I thought well I am prone to stretch marks, and I didn’t want them – I mean no one does! That’s why I lathered myself in Bio-Oil and it really worked – I didn’t get any stretch marks! I’ve also seen a difference in my existing ones even though they’re 15 years old!” Dionne with Georgia
Bio-Oil® helps reduce the possibility of pregnancy stretch marks forming by increasing the skin’s elasticity. It should be applied twice daily from the start of the second trimester. For comprehensive product information, and details of clinical trials, please visit bio-oil.com. Bio-Oil is available at pharmacies and selected retailers at the recommended selling price of $20.45 (60ml). Individual results will vary.
the wonder of tiny wonders Funny-looking and socially inept or multi-skilled masterminds ahead of their time? Sarah Tennant puts forward a case for the marvellous newborn
PHOTOGRAPHY: CASSIDY BROOKE (www.cassidybrooke.com www.facebook.com/cassidybrookephotography).
n ugly baby is a very nasty object — and the prettiest is frightful when undressed. Until about four months; in short as long as they have their big body and little limbs and that terrible frog-like action.” Thus quoth that famously un-maternal mother of nine, Queen Victoria. And she’s not alone in her detestation of brand-new babies. People who have been exposed only to the clean, plump, lily-white babies on Huggies packets frequently balk at the sight of the vernixy, bloody, squashy-faced purplish creatures newborns are. Back in the day, nurses made sure the unsightly object was washed and camouflaged with ruffles before anyone got to see it. Now that we have Facebook and research on the benefits of vernix, people get to see the real thing — and they’re not impressed. The hideousness of newborns is comedy fodder, greeted with horror by single relatives and disdain by posters on child-free message boards (“cats are SO much cuter!”). Even when they’re clean and cute, newborns get a bad rap. The late-pregnancy “sleep while you can!” comments imply neonates do nothing but scream, which is hardly fair — many newborns are as sleepy and low-maintenance as they’re going to get for the next few years. And new babies are persistently described as boring. They sleep all the time... they don’t talk... they just lie there. One friend of mine, an otherwise doting aunt, never bothers to visit her nieces until they’re several months old, “when they can interact”! As it happens, I love newborns. I love the way they cling onto the breast like little forest creatures, looking up with vaguely resentful expressions in their dark eyes. I love the way they’re compact enough to lie lengthwise on your lap, legs furled up, while you fold them into tidy burritos. I love the way their expressions rapidly change from Grandpa to koala to spacealien to drunkard, all within 10 seconds of sleep. In short, newborns are awesome. Plus, for creatures who absently poke their own fingers into their eyeballs, they have some surprising skills.
acrobatics At birth, babies have been squished upside-down into uncomfortably tight wombs for several weeks. Then they undergo hours of crushing and pummelling, culminating in a corkscrew-turn head-first descent so tight it squeezes fluid from their lungs. After a sudden, disorienting lesson in Breathing 101, they’re ready for a nap... or, on second thoughts, a bit of a crawl and some push-ups. Yep. Newborns crawl. Specifically, the breast-crawl; a phenomenon first noted in 1987, but it can be replicated for any mother patient enough to wait. In a typical breast-crawl, the baby is placed tummy-to-tummy on the mother’s skin immediately after birth. For a while nothing happens. Then the baby’s stepping reflex kicks in, helping propel the baby forward. Slowly, through a combination of “steps” and push-ups, the newborn army-crawls across her mother’s tummy
towards the breasts. Her blurry vision detects the contrast of nipple against skin; her olfactory sense picks up the pheremonelike smell secreted by the areolae. Painstakingly, she lurches herself at the nipple — often missing or overshooting the mark, as my daughter repeatedly did until I felt sorry for her and helped out — until she successfully latches on for her first feed. The concept of a crawling newborn is so bizarre that one would be forgiven for having another baby just to witness it. If you’re slightly less committed to science, search for “breastcrawl” on YouTube. It’s worth it. Newborns can also swim... sort of. The dive or bradycardic reflex means that a submerged baby will hold her breath and open her eyes. (She’ll also do this if you blow in her face.) The swimming or amphibian reflex means she will kick her arms and legs. I hasten to add, this is a “she might be okay for four seconds if she falls in the pond” trick, not a “throw the baby in the pool and see what happens” trick. Still, it’s impressive.
linguistics So much for brawn; newborns also have brains. Specifically, they’re great at language. The advantage newborns have here is months of practice. In the womb, babies hear a fair bit of speech, albeit distorted by the layers of fat and muscle. Lower pitches are easier to hear in utero than higher ones so vowels, pitched lower than consonants, are what babies mostly hear. The documentary, Life in the Womb, calls it, “The melody of speech without the percussion of consonants” — fluid, rhythmic and musical. By birth, newborns are attuned enough to the rhythms of their native tongue that they can distinguish between their mother’s language and a foreign language. What’s more, they imitate it. A study of French and German newborns (conducted by Kathleen Wermke, 2009) found that the babies’ cries had different inflections. French babies raised their pitch at the end of each “sentence”, while the German babies cried with a falling inflection. These patterns are consistent with French and German manners of speech. Amazingly, they can also distinguish between real language and fake “language analogues” — nonsense words — and prefer the former. Of course, “real language” doesn’t preclude baby talk. While it sounds silly to use, baby talk (or “infantdirected speech”) is practised in nearly all cultures and involves exaggerated emotions, emphasised cadence and slower, higher-pitched speech. It’s brilliant training for learning to decipher language, and babies seem to realise it’s better than
Painstakingly, she lurches herself at the nipple, often over-shooting the mark, as my daughter repeatedly did until I felt sorry for her and helped her out. ohbaby.co.nz
Stretchmark SOS. Perfected by Nature.
listening to a rapid-paced monotone. A European study of 14 newborns (led by István Winkler in 2009) demonstrated that babies even have a sense of rhythm. The researchers played the newborns drum music which established a rhythmic beat and then occasionally messed it up by, say, missing a down beat. Electrodes measuring the babies’ brain activity indicated they noticed when a beat was missing. A small thing perhaps, but chimps and bonobos can’t do it. Beat induction, as it’s called, is uniquely human. It’s theorised that babies might learn about rhythm from their mothers’ heart beat, and predicting beats is a valuable skill for learning language.
they can smile There’s a tremendous amount of debate on this one. The traditional wisdom is that before four to six weeks, any smile a baby gives is due to wind. This is, for the record, a load of wind. The more up-to-date explanation is that neonatal smiles are reflexive, meaningless facial movements. Researchers point out that newborns mostly “smile” during sleep, not while interacting with caregivers. But an Italian study of 40 newborns (conducted at the University of Rome in 2011) takes issue with this claim. The babies were organised into four groups receiving different levels of “tactile communication”, read snuggles. The babies who got the most cuddles produced more smiles both when awake and asleep. Researchers also noticed a difference in the quality of the smiles when awake, suggesting that, “For newborns the smiling behavior during interactive waking could have a social meaning, as it does for two month olds.”
social skills Newborns aren’t famous for their social acuity. They leak too much. But all things considered, they’re quite socially aware. For instance, babies prefer to look at people who maintain eye contact, rather than those with shifty eyes. Presumably, they sense that a person who won’t look you in the face is up to no good (and/or is uncomfortable around babies and wants to give them back.) Newborns also prefer to look at happy expressions. Babies also expect interaction. In the well-known Still Face test, a caregiver begins by interacting normally with the baby — smiles, wide eyes, googoo noises — and then abruptly adopts a blank, neutral, Keanu Reeves expression. Invariably the baby gets upset. Despite having pretty terrible vision, newborns learn to recognise their mother’s
face within a few hours of birth, and would rather look at a picture of her than of a stranger. One study showed that babies could even remember the faces of people they’d met only once, providing those people maintained eye contact and interacted with them. Interestingly, babies also demonstrate a preference for pictures of attractive people. Having had limited exposure to Maybelline and “Who Wore It Best?” in the womb, it’s hard to blame this on The Man. Instead, scientists guess it’s because babies are born expecting faces to look a certain way. Attractive people, in general, look more “average” than average; that is, they look symmetrical and regular-featured. No huge noses, no under-sized chins, no missing teeth. The idea is that babies respond to attractive people because they match the baby’s mental template of how a face should look (as opposed to “I guess that’s kind of a person, but is it supposed to have ears like that?”). I’m not sure I buy that explanation, but I did put on make-up before going to see my newborn niece for the first time. (For the record, she still cried at me.) If this makes newborns seem a tad shallow, fear not. They also have empathy. Studies have shown newborns react with distress to the sound of other newborns crying, as opposed to their own recorded cries (which they recognise) or the cries of older babies. In fact, this empathic reaction even occurs while newborns sleep. I say again: Newborns are awesome. And if you don’t think so, keep it to yourself — at least around the newborns. We haven’t yet discovered the true extent of their powers. l Sarah Tennant lives on an apple orchard outside Hamilton with her two children, Rowan, five, and Miles, one. Rowan failed the breast-crawl and Miles was a frankly unfortunate-looking newborn, but their mum loves them anyway.
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keep calm and latch on Breastfeeding is completely natural but it’s not without its challenges. Lactation consultant Maggie Morgan offers her advice on common problems
reastfeeding comes naturally.” “It will make your toes curl when you start breastfeeding.” “I hope your milk comes in quickly.” There are often many confusing statements around establishing breastfeeding and everyone has an opinion. In my many years of practising as a midwife, Plunket nurse and lactation consultant I have seen a range of feeding experiences — from the mums who just pop their baby on the breast without any trouble at all to the mothers who struggle with a whole raft of problems. I’ve seen mothers who will battle through these issues and successfully breastfeed and those who give up at the first hurdle. Yes, breastfeeding is a natural human function but, as I tell new parents, breastfeeding is also a learned skill for both mother and baby and takes practice — rather like learning a dance with a partner. This may take time and focus which is why it is
essential women receive the support and help they need while establishing feeding and practising their dance. Babies are programmed to find the breast following birth and, provided both mother and baby are alert, common practice is to place baby on mother’s tummy directly after birth allowing immediate skin-to-skin contact. After about half an hour, baby will often start to move towards the breast instinctively and show searching movements in an attempt to latch on. Usually a midwife will assist the mother to latch the baby for her first feeds. Building on natural instincts, the latching process will imprint on baby’s brain and she will gradually learn what to do for subsequent feeds. Mothers may need help and advice on how to hold and position their babies, as this is pivotal for successful breastfeeding. The New Zealand Ministry of Health DVD Breastfeeding Naturally, is a great resource, as are lactation workshops and antenatal groups.
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baby Even with all the best intentions, preparation and advice, sometimes there are still hurdles to overcome in the early days of breastfeeding. common problems
Even with all the best intentions, preparation and advice, sometimes there are still hurdles to overcome in the early days of breastfeeding.
— that is not drying them out too much. If there is broken skin, impregnated gauzetype products from your pharmacy may help. Check with your health professional if your nipples are not healing.
flat or inverted nipples
During pregnancy, some women may be concerned that their nipples are flat, too large, too small or even inverted. If you are worried, ask your midwife to check your nipples, which will hopefully provide reassurance. Often, inverted nipples can be drawn out and once baby has established breastfeeding, the nipple shape shouldn’t affect the latch. Inverted nipples may be a little more tender initially, but will become used to baby feeding. Silicone nipple shields may provide help with latching provided the milk supply has been established. It is important that the midwife helps assess whether shields will be useful or not. There are some commercial devices that may help draw out the nipples antenatally, but again, discuss these with your midwife.
Often women will be told, “You wait until the third day and your breasts will become like rocks, hard and painful.” Luckily, these days with breastfeeding on demand encouraged, engorgement is not often seen. Where it does occur, the mum will notice full, painful, swollen breasts and baby may be unable to latch due to the areola and nipple being engorged and flattened. Women, understandably, feel miserable and frustrated and need assistance to help relieve the engorgement. Most swelling usually resolves on its own with a baby latching well and draining the breast. However, if the breasts remain hard and swollen then a procedure called reverse pressure softening may help relieve the swelling. A midwife will show mothers how to do this by first hand-expressing some milk before feeding and then in some cases, by applying gentle, firm pressure on the areola around the nipple to help shift the swelling or oedema back towards the chest. Many women, our mothers’ generation especially, swear by placing cold cabbage leaves in your bra.
sore nipples Many years ago, recommendations to “toughen up the nipples” included rubbing them with a brush, applying wheatgerm oil and even exposing nipples to the sun. Such preparations have thankfully gone out of fashion and we now understand that the key factor to combat pain is ensuring baby is correctly latched onto the nipple and areola. In the first few days this area may be a bit tender, rather like going barefoot after a winter in shoes, but gradually the discomfort should ease. Some women find it hurts initially when their baby latches, but once baby is on the breast correctly and feeding, the discomfort eases. If it continues to hurt, then it is important to get the midwife to check the latch. It may require the baby to be taken off the breast and re-latched until a comfortable latch is achieved. The Breastfeeding Naturally DVD, provided by the MOH or through your midwife, offers good diagrams, visuals and advice to help achieve a good latch. YouTube also has good clips on positioning and attachment. If the nipple is damaged, the current recommendation is moist wound healing
blocked ducts Blocked ducts can cause pain, redness and hard lumps over an area of the breast. Basically there is milk in the glands that hasn’t emptied due to a blockage or lack of drainage. This is not necessarily mastitis but unless the pressure is relieved, blocked ducts can lead to mastitis. To help relieve blocked ducts, feeding the baby on the breast with the blocked duct is one of the simplest measures. While feeding, gently apply pressure over the blocked duct and, provided the baby is feeding well, you should feel the pressure relieving. If it doesn’t soften, applying a warm cloth and then gently massaging the area may help. Occasionally there may be a blockage on the nipple itself and you will see a small white spot on the end of the nipple. Gentle pressure behind the nipple may
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BECAUSE...‘ME-TIME’ Taking time to do what makes you happy is good for you and the family
Happy baby, happy mum
The Philips AVENT range of breast pumps and breast care accessories are designed to help you in your breastfeeding journey, making it easier and as comfortable as possible to give your baby all the goodness of your breast milk.
Breast Care Accessories A range of accessories designed to help ensure breastfeeding is an enjoyable experience. From keeping you dry and comfortable with the breast pad range through to a solution for inverted nipples. The unique Night Disposable Breast Pads are more absorbent to get you through the night. The 2-in1 Thermopads can be used to stimulate or soothe. The Breast Shells offer protection for sore or cracked nipples and they can be used to collect leaking breast milk. See our website to find out more about our other breast care accessories.
help remove this and so drain that duct. As a preventative measure, ensure there is no pressure on the breast from clothing or hands when breastfeeding. Sometimes, the slightest of pressure can block a duct.
it is important to treat both mother and baby so each doesn’t re-infect the other. Antifungal drops for the baby and a topical treatment for the nipples are usually recommended.
Mastitis does not often occur in the first week or two of breastfeeding but may develop if there are unrelieved blocked ducts. The symptoms are similar to blocked ducts, but very quickly a woman will feel unwell with flu-like symptoms — shivering, a high temperature and red, painful areas on the breast. Mastitis usually only occurs in one breast and in one lobe of the breast. It can be inflammatory or infectious and, depending on the type, you may require antibiotics from your GP. It is important to get on to the symptoms quickly by massaging the breast, feeding the baby on the affected side and trying to relieve the pressure. Paracetamol, which is safe to take while breastfeeding, may help relieve the pain and reduce fever. If symptoms persist, seek help from a health professional and ask if anti-inflammatory medication may be suitable for you. It is vital to keep feeding the baby on the affected side, but if you are unable to put the baby to the breast, express to prevent milk stasis (milk staying within the breast tissue). The taste of the milk does not appear to bother the baby.
Raynaud’s syndrome is a condition that affects the circulation of blood in extremities such as fingers and toes, but it can also affect nipples (also referred to as nipple vasospasm). The nipple can look white due to the constriction of blood vessels, which causes sharp, burning pain while feeding. It is not a common complaint and can be misdiagnosed, but the pain caused by the condition can be unbearable and extremely off-putting for women trying to breastfeed. Cold temperatures make Raynaud’s worse so keeping the nipples warm is the first strategy. Warm compresses or wool breast pads may help. Breastmates.co.nz sell Raynaud’s Breastwarmers, specifically designed and made by a mum who suffered Raynaud’s herself. If symptoms are not resolving, check with your health professional about medication.
low milk supply One of the most common reasons women give up breastfeeding is the perception that they don’t have enough milk. The baby may be feeding very frequently and never seems satisfied. Cluster feeding in the first few weeks is very normal and often occurs in the evening. Not all babies feed three-to-four-hourly! Providing your baby is putting on weight, having plenty of wet and dirty nappies and sleeps well between feeds, then your supply should be enough for your baby. True low milk supply is rare but if you have concerns, check with your health professional.
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Occasionally, a woman might develop thrush on the nipples. The common symptoms are red, shiny, itchy nipples which can be painful both during breastfeeding and afterwards. Occasionally, if a mother has nipple thrush, the baby may have oral thrush so it is important to check both you and your baby. Again, your health professional can give you advice on treatment, as
get help when you need it In my experience, many first-time mothers experience some of the above problems when establishing breastfeeding. I often tell mothers that it can take up to 12 weeks for breastfeeding to settle down and become easier. If you are experiencing problems, get help early. Under the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in New Zealand, all maternity facilities are required to provide you with information about breastfeeding support in your community. Your midwife is there to help guide you through the early days of breastfeeding. If you need extra support, check out breastfeeding clinics, La Leche League, lactation consultants, breastfeeding advocates or any other breastfeeding support services in your area. There are also some fantastic websites on breastfeeding including the NZ Ministry of Health website: www.health. govt.nz/our-work/life-stages/breastfeeding. Once you are over these early hurdles, breastfeeding can become a very pleasurable, rewarding and easy way of feeding and bonding with your baby. l Maggie Morgan, RN, RM, MA, IBCLC, Plunket Certificate. Postgraduate Certificate in Maternal and Child Health (Australia). Currently working as a lactation consultant and clinical nurse educator in the Neonatal Unit in Wellington.
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a soothing touch Nappy rash for baby and tender nipples for Mum can be the uncomfortable realities of early motherhood. We’ve selected a range of hardworking products that multi-task to soothe all manner of sore skin complaints. Stock up on these pots of gold for healing and relief
especially for sore nipples Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter $49.95, from tummymummynz.co.nz Avado Organic Nipple Care Balm $12.99, from avadoorganics.com Medela PureLan 100 RRP$20.99, selected baby stores and pharmacies
working double-time Suvana Paw Paw and Honey Balm $11.95, from naturebaby.co.nz, soothes sore bottoms and chafed nipples.
especially for baby’s bottom Kiwi Herb Baby Balm $17.90, from kiwiherb.co.nz Bepanthen Antiseptic Cream RRP$9.99 from supermarkets and pharmacies Made4Baby Botty Barrier Crème $15.95, from made4baby.co.nz Curash Anti-Rash Baby Powder RRP$6.99, from supermarkets and pharmacies Sudocream Nappy Rash Cream RRP$10.99, from supermarkets and pharmacies
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in case of emergency... We asked Sean and Imogen Thompson, medical professionals and parents of two children under five, what to look for when kids get sick and when you need to call for help
aving an unwell child can be a frightening experience and our initial response as parents may start at denial and then spread to outright panic! So, what should you worry about, what should you do, and who should you call? The first thing is that mums and dads know when something is not right and a medical professional will place much importance on what you feel is not normal for your child. If you are worried, get your child looked at. It can be that simple. In New Zealand we are fortunate to have a variety of options to help our children when they are unwell, and most of those options are still free. GP visits and
when you need to dial 111 Let’s start with clearly life-threatening emergencies, the ABCs. For these you should call 111 and ask for an ambulance without delay: ABC is an emergency of the air ways, breathing or circulation. Air way: Choking is when the breathing tube (trachea) gets blocked. It’s clearly an emergency if there is no oxygen flowing into your baby or child. Breathing: Difficulty breathing, fast breathing, grunty breathing, wheezy breathing, breathing with the whole body, head bobbing when breathing, turning blue or stopping breathing, drowning or near drowning — all are potential emergencies and you need to seek help fast. Circulation: This is about blood supply and one of the easiest ways to see if your child has poor blood supply for
after-hours clinics are free for undersixes and New Zealand citizens can get free treatment at hospital emergency departments. St John Ambulance charges a fee for call-outs (up to $70 depending on where you live) but if you live in the Greater Wellington region including the Wairarapa, the Wellington Free Ambulance provides a free emergency ambulance service. Most parents are also familiar with Healthline (0800 611 116) which is staffed by experienced nurses and fully funded by the Ministry of Health. You can call Healthline if your child has any illness, injury or symptoms of sickness. Call Plunketline (0800 933 922) if
you have questions about your child’s crying, sleeping, growth, development, behaviour, immunisation, breastfeeding, nutrition, oral health or safety. Plunketline will refer you on for further help if your concern falls outside of their scope. Call-takers in ambulance communication centres, Healthline and Plunketline all use state-of-the-art computer programmes to ensure that the most accurate information is taken from the caller and the safest information and assistance is given. Healthline and Plunketline will both also redirect your call to ambulance services if it is clear your child needs urgent help.
any reason is to look at his skin. Has it gone white? Is it blue or mottled in colour? Is your child blue around the lips? Bleeding: Is he bleeding so badly that you cannot stop it with direct pressure on the wound? As well as these, there are a variety of other emergencies that would warrant a call to 111: l Poisoning (if your child is unconscious or if it’s advised by Healthline or the New Zealand Poisons Centre 0800 POISON [0800 764 766]. l If your child is floppy or limp. l If there’s green vomit (bile) or blood in the vomit. l If it’s a severe allergic reaction (swelling or rash, especially if there’s difficulty breathing). l If it’s a seizure, fit or convulsion of all or part of the body. l If there’s excessive drooling and your child has difficulty swallowing.
In the case of a head or neck injury. Burns: If the burn is larger than the size of your child’s hand or if it’s so severe your child has difficulty breathing, or if it affects hands, feet, head, genitals or joints or if you can’t control the pain. l Broken bones: If you can’t control the pain or if the bone is sticking out of the skin. l Unrelenting pain of any sort. l Falls that cause loss of consciousness, vomiting, tingling or numbness, or if you suspect an internal injury or injury to the head, neck or spine. l Hypothermia (when the core body temperature is reduced). l Electric shock. l Meningitis: Your child may be floppy, lethargic and unusually grizzly, have a high temperature, vomit, difficult to wake up, have a headache, seizure or have a red blotchy rash. l l
baby when to call Healthline or your GP The following situations may not be absolute emergencies but you should still get medical help from either Healthline (0800 611 116) or your GP: l Fever: This is when the body’s core temperature is raised, usually due to fighting an infection. At home, temperatures can be measured from the mouth (orally), armpit (axillary) or outer ear (tympanic). Digital thermometers work well for the oral and axillary locations while electronic probes work well for the ears. Make sure you follow the manufacturers’ instructions, whichever type you chose. There are many ways to define a fever, depending on the age of the child and how the temperature is measured. One good definition for fever is an oral temperature of over 37.5°C. This in itself needn’t be cause for concern though, unless the child is very young or seems sick (pale, lethargic, weak). At our place, we often refer to the old medical saying: “Treat the patient, not the number”. So, instead of worrying about a certain level of temperature from a kid who seems playful and otherwise fine, we always consider other aspects of how our child seems. We recommend asking these questions: l Is your child drowsy, hard to wake or irritable? l Does his skin show signs of being blue, pale or mottled (poor circulation, see above)? l Does he have a rash that won’t go away when you press the skin? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, the fever is likely to be an emergency. Otherwise it is probably okay to see the doctor or talk to Healthline routinely. Fevers in children under three months old should always be assessed urgently by a medical professional. When caring for your child with fever at home, make him
comfortable, dress him with light clothing, give him frequent sips of clear fluids and apply cool flannels to the head. Give paracetamol syrup (Pamol) if he is uncomfortable or in pain but never for more than 48 hours without a doctor’s assessment. l Bad cough: Don’t ignore persistent coughing that lasts for weeks or if it is associated with wheezing or phlegm. Coughs are usually harmless and very common symptoms in children — many are simple viral conditions — but if in doubt check it out. l Pain: For example, sometimes children can report pain in their joints such as sore knees or hips and this should be investigated — it’s not necessarily “growing pains”. l An unusual cry for more than one hour. l Unusual sleepiness or difficult waking up. l Not eating or drinking normally. l Six to eight hours without a wet nappy (if not toilet-trained). l Vomiting for more than six hours. l Vomiting and diarrhoea at the same time. l Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes) l Broken bones even with manageable levels of pain. If your child’s condition is getting worse, call 111. It’s okay to make the call! Ask for an ambulance. The paramedics will not necessarily take your child to hospital but they will assess your child and recommend the best treatment. If unsure, call Healthline. The 111 and Healthline call-takers are experts at talking you through what you need to do, for example, if your child isn’t breathing properly. If CPR (chest compressions for a heart that is not beating properly) is needed, they will coach you through it over the phone. Listen to your intuition. If something isn’t right, you will know. If you are in any doubt, call for help. l
Sean Thompson (BHSc Paramedic, BApplSc, PGCert Adv Para Prac) is an intensive care paramedic with Wellington Free Ambulance. He is also a clinical lecturer on the Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) degree programme at Whitireia Polytechnic in Porirua. Imogen (BHB MBChB MPH) is a medical doctor with experience in clinical and academic settings. She is specialising in public health medicine. Imogen and Sean are the very proud parents of three-year-old Leo and eight-month-old Phoebe.
Fig. 1: Cutimus feveris
Fig. 2: Mummimus stressimax
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looking back Turning your child’s car seat around to face forward can be a celebrated milestone. But are we turning too soon? Catherine Tafto advocates extended rear-facing
ar seats are the bane of many a mother’s existence — they can be expensive, unwieldy, take up lots of room, are complicated to install and don’t even get me started on the difficulty of installing three in the back! But no one would challenge their value — they save lives on a regular basis. My children are the most precious things in the world to me and keeping them safe is the most important part of being a parent. I started my mothering journey in Norway so there are some things I do a little differently to my New Zealand friends, putting children to sleep in a stroller parked outside for one. Pop a baby monitor in there and cover with a mosquito net to keep the cats and foxes out and you’re good to go — only to minus 10°C of course. And the number of times people have put their head in my car and said, “Is he still rear-facing?” is more than I can count. But keeping my boys rear-facing for longer than the recommended age is something I have found to be part of a movement — Extended Rear Facing (ERF). When we moved to New Zealand the recommendation was to keep children rear-facing until they outgrew the capsule (usually 9kg) or aged 12 months. From what I’ve seen most mothers turn their children around as soon as possible.
safety-conscious Scandinavians In Norway children have to be rear-facing to 15 months but it is recommended until four years old. A quick survey of my friends
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there showed that most have kept their children rear-facing until three years with no problems. The only one to turn as soon as possible was a Swedish friend, Monica. Monica drives a lot and her daughter Thea-Sophie suffers from severe motion sickness. “I think you are also allowed to use your head and when she is sick and crying I am not a safe driver,” she said. In Sweden, the country most often lauded up by ERF advocates, the recommendation is also four years and this is largely accepted and followed by the parenting population. My Swedish friend Sandra said, “In general, I must say that people find the car seats big, it takes up most of the car! But what to do? If the child is safe then the Swede will go with it.” After searching my friends-with-children list I found just one Kiwi mum who practises ERF. Adele and her husband Brent live in Taupo and their son Ryan is nearly three, big for his age, and still rear-facing. Adele said it was a conscious safety decision to keep him rear-facing, a decision they made after educating themselves on car seat safety.
why go backwards? So what are the benefits of ERF and why is New Zealand slow to cotton on? It comes down to basic physics and those cute toobig-for-their-bodies heads that children have. A young child’s head is up to a quarter of his body mass. By travelling rear-facing the head is protected within the seat, and less strain is placed on the head and neck. When an accident happens, the child’s
A young child’s head is up to a quarter of his body mass. By travelling rear-facing the head is protected within the seat and less strain is placed on the head and neck.
body moves into the back of the seat and their head, neck and spine are supported. The statistic I have come across most often is that in an accident, a rear-facing child under the age of four is five times safer. And they use horrible terms such as “internal decapitation” which is a really hard thing to forget.
firmly facing forwards Adele agrees that in New Zealand three main objections are fuelling resistance to ERF: Boredom, discomfort and cost. The polite version is, “Isn’t he bored/uncomfortable?” And the less polite is: “That just seems cruel!” Neither of my children has expressed boredom or discomfort at being rear-facing and Lukas, a child who is very quick to speak his mind and very forceful about it, has been a great test subject. Three things we have done seem to have helped. Having a mirror in front of them so they can see me and, more importantly, themselves — they never seem to get bored with that. It also means I can glance at them if I am worried at all about crying or silence and decide if I need to pull over. Secondly, with number two child, once number one was turned forward-facing it was much easier for them to look at each other and interact. And lastly, because they didn’t know any better, they were unaware they were supposed to be bored and uncomfortable so they weren’t. The discomfort issue seems to be a concern about children
needing to bend their legs as they grow. I find they watch television and listen to stories with their legs bent so I’m not worried. I am also lucky enough to have children who don’t suffer motion sickness. Adele found the same with Ryan. “He doesn’t get bored, his legs aren’t squashed and he doesn’t get car sick. I think the only compromise we make is tolerating his questions about why we’re stopping at each and every intersection, because he can’t see the traffic like we can.” I reassured her that my forward-facing five year old still does that and he can see the traffic. The next objection is an interesting one: Broken legs. “But in an accident won’t their legs get broken?” You know what? They might. Especially in a rear impact accident. However, rear impact is less common than front impact in accidents, and broken legs are an awful lot easier to fix than broken necks. So, personally, I am willing to take that risk. The last objection is the cost of an extended rear-facing car seat and fitting one into your car. You can afford only what you can afford and New Zealand does not provide the glorious parental leave packages of Scandinavia which can make a big difference when you go from two-income-two-people to oneincome-three-people. Buying a new car to fit in an extended rear-facing seat is not an option for most. My rear-facing car seat was expensive, but
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“In general, I must say that people find the car seats big, it takes up most of the car! But what to do? If the child is safe then the Swede will go with it.
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I am planning to use it for three children, so each gets a good chunk of rear-facing time before he moves out for little brother.
rear-facing car seat options in New Zealand New Zealanders’ attitudes and perceptions about car seat safety are changing. In 2011 Plunket began recommending rear-facing until 24 months and car seat installers and retailers are becoming more educated about the benefits of ERF. New Zealand-based car seat manufacturer Phil & Teds has recognised this change and has begun to cater for the demand by increasing the maximum weight limit for rear-facing seats from 11kg five years ago to 13kg now. One of the best places to look for car seats for extended rearfacing is Baby On The Move. They have several options to cater for rear-facing children up to a weight of 25kg. Fena Bavastro of Baby On The Move recommends the Kidzofix seat and the new Britax Multi-Tech II. The Radian RXT, suitable for children weighing up to 20kg, or the Evenflo Symphony 65 for children up to 18kg are also good options, she says. Parenting is complex and we all do our best to make the right decisions for our family, within our budgets and with the information we have at the time. Ideas evolve and it can be good to examine unchallenged assumptions within our own culture and perhaps find something somewhere else that suits our family better. I feel lucky that I have had the opportunity to learn in two different countries and cultures and to take from each what best suits my family. l
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Catherine Tafto lives out in the New Zealand countryside with her Norwegian husband and two boys, which means they regularly spend over an hour at a time in the car.
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learning to share child education expert Miriam McCaleb on how to encourage sharing and turn-taking in your children
icture this: it’s Saturday afternoon and a couple of families have got together to enjoy some leisure time. Snacks have been provided, drinks poured. Children are exploring a toy box and adults are beginning to chat. The idyllic scene is short-lived, however. Within minutes, both families’ two year olds want the same toy and are in conflict. Just as that is resolved, the older kids start bickering about who will get the last piece of cake. Ah yes, screams and grizzles — the sound of a blissful family life! So are these children behaving horrifically or is this an entirely normal scene? Chances are it’s the latter. Sharing is not something we are born knowing how to do. Humans are social animals yet our children need us to teach them about living in the social world. Sharing is a vital life skill and without it our children would struggle to make friends or work (play) collaboratively. So what can we do to help children navigate this social world? What can we teach our kids about negotiation? Let’s, ahem, share some ideas about sharing. We know that very young children learn best by observing us. From the day our babies are born, they are watching and absorbing lessons about everything — how to treat others, how to behave. For infants and toddlers, this process we call socialisation is much less about direct instruction — “Do this!” “Do that!” is ineffective in the very young. Instead, they learn by watching and listening. With this in mind, it can be helpful to think hard about our own attitude to sharing. The give-and-take of conversation is an excellent place to start. We take turns to talk, we share the
air. I was reminded about this by one of my favourite baby colleagues, Sandy Cassells. She is an ex-university lecturer working in family and parent support. A mother of four and now a grandmother, Sandy has been paying attention to children for decades. She reminded me that adults teach young children about turn-taking every time we talk. There are lessons bestowed by how well (or not) we obey the rules of give and take in conversation. “This includes very young babies,” says Sandy. “Tiny infants just a few weeks old will want to join in the conversation with coos and vocalisations. Are adults leaving them room to do so?” Are we good turn-takers? How do we model the negotiation of resources? I had to cringe when I thought hard about this. Just recently, I argued with my husband in a most petty way, in front of my kids. About what? About whose car would be parked under cover. For goodness sake, I tell myself now, set a better example. So what? We have two vehicles, one carport. They are both “our” cars, it is “our” carport. When I married that guy we both vowed, “All that I have I share with you.” Nothing about this interaction should involve grasping or competition. Instead, knowing our kids were watching, I could have embraced an opportunity to model gracious turn-taking. I wish I’d said: “Sure, babe. I parked under there all week. Your turn!” Seriously! Talk about a first-world problem. Poor little me. I might have to walk through the air from my heated car to my heated house, oh boo hoo. Reframing that whole incident reminded
me that it’s a blessed coincidence to have been born at a time when the combustion engine allows us to drive, and in a place where we can work and prosper in a peaceful environment. We have two comfy, reliable cars and a cosy home. Why am I teaching my kids to squabble with someone I love dearly for resources of which there are plenty? Teaching generosity and gratitude can involve overt action, like correcting yourself after the type of ungracious behaviour I displayed over the carport. Mummies can be silly too, you know. Also, you might try subtle tweaks, such as dishing dinner at the table instead of making plates in the kitchen. This provides opportunities to talk about “sharing this dish of lasagne”. As well as modelling the language of sharing and gratitude, this exercise should create positive associations around the act of sharing. (Food! Family! Delicious!) Sandy Cassells also sees this as a place to model negotiation: “Who’s going to get that last roast potato? How will you work that out? After all, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Can we all practise being okay with that?”
the difference between sharing and turn-taking I know, this may seem like just semantics, but if we’re unclear about our expectations then how can our children comply with our wishes? Basically, if you can cut it in half, it’s sharing. If we need to go one at a time, it’s turn-taking. So, you can share a pie but not a purse. A box of felt pens can be shared, but with an individual pen you gotta take turns. I was a kindergarten teacher and
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would observe children struggling to negotiate who’d get the last police hat in the dress-ups. Often a well-meaning adult would instruct: “Share!” But how? It’s impossible. Much more helpful would be to prompt taking turns, which gives a tangible place to begin negotiations.
lots of praise We can point out when others are sharing, for example, with characters in books or kids at the park. (“Doesn’t it look as if they’re having fun taking turns with that ball?”) Similarly, praise your child for attempts to share, even as beginners. A child as young as 18 months can be celebrated: “I love how you let Molly have a turn with the balloon! And then it was your turn again. It looked like such fun!”
the egocentric toddler In developmental terms, toddlers are described as egocentric. As parents of toddlers will recognise, this means that they genuinely believe themselves to be at the centre of the universe. If you were the very axis of the solar system, why would you share? Nobody else or their needs even matter! This theory fits with what Sue Gerhardt, author of the excellent book Why Love Matters, writes regarding the development of the orbitofrontal cortex — the brain’s home of empathy. It would seem we are not concerned with, and barely aware of, others’ needs until late toddlerhood (about age three). Let this developmental reality modify any hope that toddler play dates will flow smoothly. This also further explains the difference in the way that toddlers play (parallel play, which is playing alongside a peer, often kind of ignoring them) compared with the play of three or four year olds, which is all about socialising and collaborating.
So how can we help them learn about sharing? • Play exaggerated turn-taking games with toddlers. Try simple tea parties (“Some for you, some for me, some for teddy!”) or explicitly describe what’s happening as you play together, such as, “Now it’s my turn to drive the train around the track, then it’ll be your turn. That was my turn, now it’s your go! Choo choo!” • Also, think of toddler’s play resources in terms of collections of things. If your toddler is no longer putting everything
in his mouth a box of plastic milk bottle lids is an awesome toy, as is a bucket of shells or a purse full of small wooden blocks. These collections speak to the way that toddlers like to play (they love toting wee bags around and popping their collections in and out of things). Collections also make negotiations much easier than competing for, say, one big truck or a single desired baby doll. • Look for turn-taking games and songs. My 16 month old loves nothing more than a wee song that goes: “Daddy’s got the hat. Now whaddya think of that? Daddy’s got the hat! He takes it off and gives it to Joseph! Whaddya think of that? Now Joseph’s got the hat”... Any time, any place!
brain change Things start to click and change for three year olds. There seems to be a brain change explaining their readiness for social connectedness and peer relationships. It also makes sense of the way that their play needs to shift. They seem ready to engage with others in a new way. Children of this age have a beginning awareness of how others feel and how their own behaviour might affect other people. This can be useful when discussing sharing, whether in life, in books or on TV. (“Oh, I wonder how that would feel, if you didn’t get to share the birthday cake?”) Prepare for play dates with reminders
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like, “When Tawhiri comes this afternoon, we could make some playdough for you to share with him. Or you might take turns with the diggers in the sand pit?” I think it’s entirely appropriate for part of the play date prep to include putting away a couple of special toys that your child mightn’t be ready to share. We do this ourselves. You might say to your girlfriend: “Sure you can borrow something to wear to your work do!”, even as you think, “Anything you like, just not that sparkly vintage number or my new suede boots.” Same goes for kids. They get to save a little something just for them. It’s important to acknowledge that it’s hard to wait your turn. It is not a symptom of deviance or cause for major concern if your child doesn’t enjoy waiting while someone else has a turn. Who really does enjoy waiting? Queue at the post office, anyone? Here’s another hint from Sandy. When she’s supporting her toddler grandson in waiting for his turn, she’ll just say aloud, “Waiting, waiting, waiting...” Try it. You might just be surprised how effective this is for pulling you both into the present moment. I’d like to share one more idea to support this skill. Dr Shari Barkin is an academic paediatrician at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. Her research has included work in family violence prevention and she had encouraging results when she provided families with an egg timer. As well as being useful for “family time-outs” and “intentional media use” (knowing when to turn the telly off) an egg timer is a useful way to monitor turn-taking and to keep things completely fair. “Three minutes each. I’ll set the timer.” It works. Small children often wear their hearts on their sleeves. They may protest with aplomb about perceived injustices when it comes to sharing. But be honest: do you always want to share that chocolate bar or would you cheerfully demolish it all by yourself? Ask yourself (okay, myself...) would you secretly rather have the under-cover carpark every single time? It’s not always easy to share, but it is worth learning how to do it.• Miriam McCaleb is a former university lecturer who relishes her new life of motherhood and writing. You can read more of her wisdom at babygeek.co.nz.
get well soon naturally
Kids spread germs before you can even say â€œbless youâ€?, resulting in sickness on repeat and bugs that take out the whole family, not to mention your childcare centre. Naturopaths Asti Renaut and Natasha Berman from Quintessence offer prevention and treatment advice for common ailments
toddler under 5 the basics of wellness
he foundations of good immunity are similar to the basic necessities for general wellbeing: Good nutrition, happiness (or freedom from too much stress), enough sleep and a healthy environment that’s warm, dry and safe. An easy way to improve children’s immunity with diet is to focus on foods that are nutrient-dense. Simply put, more fruit and vegetables, especially dark coloured and bright coloured foods (blueberries, seaweeds, leafy dark greens, pumpkin, parsley) and more protein (eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, meat, fish). Less “empty” sugary foods or foods made from refined flours, such as biscuits, crackers and pasta.
Hearing your small child with a hacking cough can be heart-breaking! These are our tried and true treatments to reduce coughing, heal lung tissue, calm the spasm and reduce the mucus: l Chest-rubs are a timehonoured treatment for children. Many wonderful natural chest-rubs are available or make your own using a very weak dilution of the essential oils eucalyptus, manuka or peppermint in a base of olive oil, sweet almond oil or coconut oil. l Herbal teas really work wonders for coughs and colds. These can be sweetened with a good anti-bacterial manuka honey. Herbs such as thyme, mullein and hyssop can be given, as can liquorice. l Herbal syrups offer wonderful support for coughs. Marshmallow has been shown to be as helpful at reducing the spasm of a cough as codeine (but is much safer and more appropriate!). Thyme, hyssop, elecampane, white horehound and mullein are also useful for coughs.
The other fundamental thing for good immunity is our digestive tract: A healthy immune system starts with a healthy gut. Research shows that giving preschoolers at daycare a probiotic supplement significantly reduced the incidence of all kinds of infection (respiratory, gastric etc) and fewer days off due to illness. As we all know, prevention is better than cure. If your child seems more prone to infection than most, he might need extra immune support, especially in winter. One of us had a mother who sent all her children to school with a clove of raw garlic strung around their necks! While it did seem to work quite well prevention needn’t be quite so socially awkward or smelly!
Scientific research confirms that the colostrum in breast milk is effective against some of the bugs that cause conjunctivitis, hence the popular advice to squirt breast milk in your baby’s eyes! Conjunctivitis is really common in small children — about one in eight kids get it — and the distinctive symptom is an eye full of gunk with the lids stuck together. The eye may also be red and inflamed-looking, but is not always painful. Children usually feel quite well other than this, although it can develop on the back of a cold or other infection. It can be caused by bacteria or viruses, and is differentiated from allergic conjunctivitis because this is more commonly itchy and has a more watery discharge. Conjunctivitis is infectious so hand-washing is key to reducing spread. Supporting your child’s immune system internally is important but the most crucial treatment is a topical solution to help deal with infection and speed up healing. We use herbal tinctures or infusions of plants such as golden seal, manuka, calendula and eyebright. These herbs have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and also help to tone, soothe and heal the membranes. These must be made up into a sterile solution to be used as an eyewash or eye lotion. Colloidal silver applied topically can also be useful. If symptoms get worse or there’s a lack of improvement, always see your GP.
As we all know, prevention is better than cure and if your child seems more prone to infection than most, it may be that he needs some extra immune support, especially through the vulnerable months.
Gastroenteritis, an infection of the gut, is commonly referred to as a “tummy bug” and can also be called “stomach flu”. The bug in question is usually viral (eg, rotovirus, norovirus) but can be bacterial (eg, campylobacter) or parasitic (eg, giardia). The symptoms are commonly painful cramping and griping of the stomach, loss of appetite, diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting. There may also occasionally be fever and chills. The culprit is usually contaminated food or water, or utensils shared with someone who is infected. Children are especially vulnerable to tummy bugs. Gastroenteritis is highly infectious and basic hygiene measures such as scrupulous hand-washing is of utmost importance. Diarrhoea that lasts more than a week is potentially dangerous, especially for a small toddler, and the most important thing here is the replacement of fluids and electrolytes. In a baby under six months old any diarrhoea should be checked by a doctor. If nappies are not getting wet as often as usual it is important to seek help as little ones can get dehydrated really fast. When in doubt always call Healthline (0800 611 116) for advice or see your GP. Naturopathically, we find that specific strains of probiotics can help reduce the duration of symptoms, flushing the bug out of the gut faster. We also recommend specific herbal teas that reduce stomach cramping and help move the wind and gas through while also calming your patient down. Given frequently, chamomile and kawakawa are two excellent herbal choices. Koromiko, used herbally or homeopathically, is excellent for reducing diarrhoea and also has anti-microbial properties. Coconut water is a good electrolyte replacement option. In the recovery phase, probiotics and slippery elm powder are used to get the gut back into good shape.
allergies and intolerances
One common problem we see in our clinics every day is children with undiagnosed food intolerances that are undermining their immunity. Parents of children who get recurrent illnesses, frequent infections and chronic catarrh often find that no matter how good their diet, and how many supplements they give, their children never really get well until they eliminate the foods that are causing the chaos in the first place. While conventional allergy testing with skin pricks or blood samples will pick up true allergies, sensitivities and intolerances (more insidious but less obvious), will be missed. We strongly recommend Allergenics testing, a process best done with a naturopath, to identify trigger foods.
The most common worm affecting humans in New Zealand is pinworm, sometimes referred to as threadworm. Pinworm is transmitted only from person to person, contrary to the popular myth that we get it from animals. Worms are very common in children. One report suggested every child will get infected at least once before reaching high school. Sometimes children have no symptoms but the most common symptom by far is an itchy bottom. The anus and peri-anal area gets itchy from the worms themselves that live in the bowel and come to the surface at night to lay eggs. Other symptoms are restless sleep, loss of appetite and occasionally teeth-grinding or tummy discomfort. Kids transfer eggs easily from scratching Recognising red flags their bottoms and getting eggs under their fingernails. Good hand-washing is or danger signs and key, as is washing bedding and clothing. seeking medical care is Worms can be treated very effectively with specific herbal preparations that include our job as parents, and wormwood, black walnut and tannin-rich this comes as much from herbs. Pharmaceutical tablets are also well reading up and talking tolerated and easy to take. We always recommend treating everyone in the family, to professionals as it and following up treatment with a course of does from knowing our probiotics and slippery elm to help heal the gut and replenish good gut bacteria. children well.
Even reading about nits will probably make your scalp tingle but unfortunately head lice are more than just the power of suggestion and are a very real problem for children, as most will get them at least once. Nits are the eggs laid by the lice and the itchiness is caused not by the critters crawling around but by a reaction to their secretions. There are many natural oils and shampoos that are extremely effective when combined with a diligent combing regime and a sharp eye! Once the infestation has set in, be sure to check all members of the family daily, and remember that the most common areas are behind the ears, in the fringe and at the nape of the neck. We cannot emphasise enough how important thorough daily nit-combing is once you know you have nits around. This is more easily done with hair laden with conditioner. Alternatively, essential oils such as rosemary, tea tree, neem, manuka or lemon can be diluted in a base oil (olive oil, sweet almond oil or similar) and left on the hair overnight, then combed and rinsed out in the morning. Once the nits and lice are eradicated, adding drops of some of these essential oils to shampoo and conditioner
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toddler under 5 chicken pox
Chicken pox is very contagious and shows the all-too-common cold up with a low-grade fever for two to There is a myriad of effective home three days, accompanying lethargy and treatments you can administer to sometimes a headache or loss of appetite. help a cold, and it pays to keep kids Alongside these more generalised away from daycare for as long as symptoms is the distinctive pox — the rash possible while the cold persists as that becomes little red spots and then they are contagious for as long as vesicles or blisters that eventually go crusty. they have symptoms. As anyone who has had chicken pox will As naturopaths, we know herbal know, these are insanely itchy! remedies can be very effective in The infection usually lasts about three treating a cold — speeding recovery weeks and a child is potentially infectious and reducing symptoms. Getting for about five days before the spots good-quality herbs and giving the appear and until all the blisters have correct dose is of utmost importance, scabbed up. Because of this you usually so always get good advice before won’t know your child has been in contact buying. Herbs that directly support with another child who is contagious immunity include pelargonium, until he has already been exposed. The echinacea and andrographis. infection usually shows itself 10 to 21 days Our favourite ways to clear after exposure. If your child starts getting a runny nose and ease breathing are: l Inhalations using fresh herbs spotty, call anyone who may have been in contact with him in the preceding days (thyme or rosemary) or essential oils and keep your child home until all the (eucalyptus, manuka, peppermint) blisters are scabbed over. Each spot takes in a bowl of hot water. Your child sits about three days to do this. over this with a towel over his head. l Vaporiser or oil burner or essential You can choose to immunise your children against chicken pox, though it oils in a bowl of warm water in the is not yet on the vaccination schedule. room. Also, the same oils applied to Chicken pox is normally very mild, selfa hanky and left by a pillow at night. limiting and runs its course without any l Herbal formulas or teas containing serious consequence (save for perhaps herbs such as ribwort, elderflower a wee pock mark somewhere on the or peppermint. body). When things do get serious, this is usually due to a secondary infection or inflammatory response. If your child seems especially sick, has a prolonged high fever or severe vomiting, see a doctor. Also see a doctor if any spots appear to be infected. The most important ways to help your child are to support the fever and to reduce the itch (scratching leads to scarring and also opens up the wounds to possible infection). Supporting the fever includes using herbal teas which encourage sweating, such as yarrow, elderflower, lime flowers, peppermint, ginger and chamomile. These support the immune system while also calming your patient so he feels less scratchy. The best way to reduce the itch in our experience is to put your child in a bath and use a decent handful of fine rolled oats tied up in a tea towel as a body wash. The oats make a lovely soothing milk which reduces and calms the itch considerably. Baking soda baths can also be very effective. Calamine lotion will reduce inflammation and speed healing, as will chamomile or calendula ointment, chickweed or liquorice creams, lavender oil, hypercal lotion (a mixture of hypericum and calendula) or hypericum oil. Rhubarb root used topically has also been shown to work against the virus. It’s a good idea to support not just the patient but also the rest of the family’s immune systems when one of you has chicken pox. Vitamin A has specific anti-viral properties and is found naturally in cod liver oil. This is one of our favourite immune support supplements for the winter months as it also contains vitamin D. A good-quality echinacea that makes your tongue tingle is also an excellent ally for our immune systems. Hypericum (St John’s Wort) has specific action against enveloped virus, of which the chicken pox virus is one.
While prevention is always desirable, the reality is that kids do get sick and, as parents, we are their first and most important healthcare providers. Recognising red flags or danger signs and seeking medical care is our job as parents, and this comes as much from reading up and talking to professionals as it does from knowing our children well. But understanding how effective home remedies and herbal support can be is good for everyone, garlic or no garlic! The real beauty of naturopathic medicine is that it works with the human body, improving immunity and building robust healthy children. l
proceed with caution latest research on dealing with food allergies may surprise you
f it seems as if there are more children with food allergies around these days, you are right. Both allergies in general, and food allergies in particular, are on the rise worldwide. Food allergies affect up to 10% of children, compared with just 5% of the population as a whole, according to Allergy NZ. And there are eight prime suspects when it comes to foods that cause allergies. Although around 160 foods have been reported as causing food allergies eight of these are responsible for 90% of all allergic reactions to food. They are: dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish and wheat. And egg and dairy are the most common triggers in infants. So why are allergies on the increase? No one really knows but theories abound. Expert advice on how to deal with allergies in children — or prevent them occurring — has changed radically even in the past five or six years. And it could well change again with the release of new studies into how to manage allergies. A few years ago, parents who had allergies themselves were advised to delay introducing certain foods to their own children. For example, if a mother had an allergy to wheat, she was advised to avoid giving her child wheat until the child was at least a year old. But this has since been turned on its head. There’s no evidence to show that delaying foods makes any difference at all, says allergy advisor Penny Jorgensen for Allergy NZ (allergy.org.nz). In fact, there are signs that delaying the introduction of certain foods can increase the likelihood of an allergy arising, she says. So, if you’re pregnant don’t change your diet, is the current advice. But there are two other important recommendations for adults and children: l Avoid cigarette smoke — it’s a known pollutant that can lead to allergies. l Breastfeed your baby until at least six months as a preventative measure.
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The other thing to remember, says Penny, is that if you have an allergy to, say, seafood, there’s a greater chance that your child will also suffer an allergy — but not necessarily to the same thing. It may show up as a milk or egg allergy. So it’s the tendency to be allergic that’s passed down from parents, rather than specific allergies, she says. When solid research finally emerged in 2011 that 10% of one year olds suffered food allergies, even the researchers in Melbourne conducting the study were surprised at how many. It looked at 3000 infants around the age of 12 months and found, using skin prick tests, 10% were proven to have an allergy. This was a significant increase on the suspected rates but as yet no one has been able to figure out why allergy rates are on the rise. “The thinking is that there are a lot of other factors at play here and there would appear to be something around the environment during pregnancy that might have an impact. Studies show babies and children growing up on farms, or whose mothers were pregnant when living on a farm, are much less likely to develop allergies, Penny says.
what is an allergy? An allergy is anything that provokes a reaction from your immune system. Essentially, when you come into contact with something the body doesn’t like it mounts a reaction that leads to an explosion of chemicals including histamines. And this response will occur regardless of the amount of allergen you come into contact with — it could be caused by just a trace of the allergen. This is one of the main differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance. A food intolerance is the result of your digestive system having trouble coping with a certain food. So you might be able to cope with a small amount of that food but if you had it for several days in a row you might start to show symptoms. There’s now research under way (the
EAT study in the UK) to look at whether introducing allergenic foods when babies are four to six months old can prevent allergies developing. Results are expected to be published some time this year. So the Ministry of Health advice for mothers could again be revised. Nutritionist Leanne Cooper from Cadence Health answers some of the common questions from mums and dads about food allergies:
What do I do if I think my child is reacting to a food? The best thing to do is visit your GP, nutritionist or dietitian to confirm your suspicion. Then, if needed, your doctor will refer you both for testing. Diagnosing a food allergy will generally involve a thorough case history (family history, life history, diet and so on), physical examination and in many cases diagnostic testing as well dietary-trialling. Most specialists will ensure you go home with a bundle of recipes, fact sheets, helpful hints and lists of books, supportive groups and websites. Be careful with the advice of wellmeaning friends and family or even professionals who don’t specialise in child health. Never be tempted to amend a child’s diet without professional advice as restricting a child’s diet can have serious health implications for fastgrowing bodies.
what sort of reactions can my child experience? If you have ever wondered why your local GP seems perplexed by a reaction your little one has had, you will see why. Take a look at the symptoms for intolerance and compare them to allergy; they can be very difficult to tell apart without proper testing.
symptoms of food intolerance Jittery behaviour, shaking, sweaty skin l Heart flutters or palpitations, rapid breathing l Tummy upsets, diarrhoea l Burning or itchy feeling on the skin l Headache l Breathing difficulties l Allergy-like reactions l
symptoms of food allergy Difficulty with breathing such as wheezing and asthma l Diarrhoea, tummy upsets and cramps l Sudden swelling, itching and burning in the body part that came in contact with the food l Runny nose and hayfever l Skin rash (eg, eczema) l Hives (urticaria — small red itchy lumps on the skin) l Nausea and possibly vomiting l
what can I give a child who has a milk protein allergy Cows’ milk protein allergy is an immune response by the body to the protein in the milk (also in goats’ milk) whereas a dairy intolerance is a reaction to the sugar in milk (lactose). Parents and carers of children on dairy-free diets will need to be extra vigilant and replace dairy products with other foods. They also need to look out for hidden sources of milk such as in deli meats, products with casein (a milk protein) such as in some brands of canned tuna, and pre-prepared foods, for example some chefs may use butter in food preparation
Studies show that babies and children growing up on farms, or whose mothers were pregnant when living on a farm, are much less likely to develop allergies.
toddler under 5
What can I use instead of dairy to ensure my child gets enough calcium? A brief list of calcium-containing foods includes tempeh, dried pineapple, calcium-fortified drinks such as soy, rice, almond etc (don’t offer as drinks until your baby is at least 12 months; rather, use with foods such as cereal), ground sunflower seeds (check for any allergy), dried apricots, miso, canned fish with bones (mashed up), oatmeal, kidney beans, broccoli. What about baking? Luckily there are options: you can swap milk for the same of water or pure fruit juice such as grape or berry or a mix of the two.
lactose intolerance Remember, now we are talking about an intolerance not an allergy. Depending on the severity of the intolerance, many people can eat some dairy. Yoghurt is naturally low in lactose as the bacteria partially digests the milk sugar. Some cheeses (chedder, cottage) are also low in lactose which is one reason why cheese can be introduced to baby’s diet before regular milk. Many children from three years on are able to consume small amounts of foods they have reacted to as infants. Again, seek professional advice about introducing reactive foods.
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Around 2% of Kiwi children have a positive peanut allergy test (about three quarters of them will show a reaction after eating peanuts). Peanuts are actually legumes. A small percentage of people with peanut allergy react to other legumes, such as peas, beans and lentils, but most will cope with legumes without problems. More commonly, people with peanut allergy react to tree nuts such as cashews, almonds, Brazils, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and pistachios. In most cases, reactions to peanuts are relatively mild — for example, hives, tummy upsets, nausea and sometimes vomiting. However, as we all know now, reactions can be severe, leading to difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, and, if untreated, death.
The following is a list of foods that should be avoided or foods with risky ingredients: l Peanuts, ground nuts, beer nuts, monkey nuts. l Peanut oil — cold-pressed, expressed, or expelled (note: Arachis oil is peanut oil). Highly refined peanut oil is unlikely to cause a reaction in those with a peanut allergy. l All peanut products. l Crushed/ground peanuts in sauces or coatings on food (cakes, buns, ice-cream), satay sauce, peanut sauce. About 80% of children under five with a peanut allergy will continue to experience symptoms into later childhood. Those with severe reactions are the ones who are less likely to overcome it. A lucky 20% will grow out of their allergy.
gluten intolerance Occasionally, a child may have an intolerance to the gluten in wheat (which irritates the intestinal walls and can lead to tummy upsets, cramps, diarrhoea, reduced nutrient absorption or anaemia). Sometimes coeliac disease is daignosed via a blood test. But don’t be tempted to place your child on a gluten-free diet if you haven’t had confirmation of a problem with gluten as it can lead to nutrient deficiencies. A gluten-free diet means avoiding grains and foods containing wheat, oats, rye, barley and triticale. Obviously, bread, breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies and pasta are out, as are foods that are less obvious such as those that contain stabilisers and thickeners. So, as you can see, wheat represents a large food group making a gluten-free diet a tricky balancing act. But don’t despair. Improved labelling laws and increased gluten-free options make things easier. Meat, produce, legumes and dairy are fine. Gluten-free grains and products, such as those made from rice, corn (maize), potato, tapioca (also known as arrowroot), buckwheat, millet, sago, soy, quinoa, amaranth and lupin are all acceptable. And this provides a wide range of flours, breads and baking products. For more info go to: Allergy.org.nz www.cadencehealth.com.au
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- Develop their self-confidence - Create a â€˜thirstâ€™ for inquiry and knowledge - Acquire a clear sense of identity - Empower them to be expressive communicators - Foster a strong sense of empathy for others
Autumn is a n e h w g n i r p s second r e w o l f a s i every leaf us Albert Cam
h these ideas it w n o s a e s e Embrace th weather and r le o o c e t a r that celeb urs changing colo
toddler under 5
Pumpkin pie-scented playdough
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz).
you will need: 1 cup plain flour ½ cup salt 1 Tbs cream of tartar ½ tsp nutmeg ½ tsp all spice 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ginger uring A few drops of orange food colo yellow (or a few drops each of red and ) uring food colo 1 Tbs oil 1 cup boiling water
method: ther in Mix all the dry ingredients toge l. bow a large . Add the oil and food colouring r and mix wate ng boili the in r pou Carefully with a metal spoon. cool Knead on a floured surface until enough for little hands to join in.
Collect a bunch of leaves for each child and set off on a nature trail to find the trees that match each leaf.
Find a big pile of autumn leaves and add children. Grab your camera or your phone and capture the joy of the season as they play. Returning to the same area every year to photograph your kids doing the same sort of thing would make a sweet record of the passage of time.
Mark the change of season with a family shopping trip for shiny new gumboots. If it’s a rainy day, even better! Take them outside and christen them as soon as possible with a frenzy of Peppa Pig-style puddle-jumping.
Hot chocolate on the run Family walks on a crisp autumn day are a sensory delight. Enhance this experience with a thermos of hot chocolate and a pocketful of marshmallows. You’ll be creating an outing that the children will remember for years to come.
leaf artworks Such beauty at our feet! Collect autumn leaves and create beautiful art. You could make a colourful leaf rainbow or a wreath. Use a cardboard ring as backing on which to glue multi-hued leaves.
BECAUSE...ADVICE Learn tips and tricks from our experts and other mums to conquer picky eaters ohbaby.co.nz/baby/feeding
small treats New books and toys for the youngest members of the family Play-Doh Diggin’ Rigs Boomer the Fire Truck This friendly fire truck pal comes with the tools you need to make Play-Doh bricks, pretend fires and “water” for your own fire-fighting scenes. Suitable for children aged three and up, RRP$29.99
Pom and Pim, Lena Olof Landstrom, Gecko Press, RRP$19.99 The ups and downs of life for a little boy and his cuddly toy are played out beautifully here in a good luck/bad luck sequence. Pom rushes outside but trips over. Bad luck. But then he finds money! Good luck! A very simple story to which toddlers can easily relate.
Trade Aid jute lamb This adorable lamb is made from natural jute twine by rural women artisans in Bangladesh. For children aged three and up, it’s $7.99 from Trade Aid (tradeaid.org.nz).
My Two Blankets, Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood, Little Hare, RRP$26.99 Cartwheel, an immigrant girl in a foreign country, feels lost and alone so she buries herself in her “old blanket” of words and sounds from her home. It takes another little girl in a park to draw her out and help her weave a new “blanket” from the new country so she no longer feels lost. A lovely story for older preschoolers that’s full of beautiful words and imagery.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ALANNA DENNIS.
Lilli-Pilli’s Sister, Anna Branford, Walker Books, RRP$27.99 Featuring charming illustrations from Linda Catchlove, this is a story for big sisters everywhere. With a sibling about to be born Lilli-Pilli must swoop away on her fairy wings to collect soft feathers for the crib. But will the baby be a boy or girl? Lilli-Pilli has a feeling in her bones… For ages four and up.
Peppa Pig Weebles Push-Along Wobbily Car This wonderful toy includes an exclusive Peppa Pig Weeble who wibbles and wobbles but won’t fall down! Suitable for children aged 18 months and up, price: RRP$39.99.
LEGO Duplo Toddler Build and Boat Fun Suitable for children aged 18 months to three years, this Duplo starter set features bright, colourful pieces that are perfect for little hands, and the boat really floats! PRICE: RRP$29.99.
Laika, the Astronaut, Owen Davey Allen & Unwin, RRP$24.99 Based on the true story of the dog that orbited the Earth on Sputnik 2 in 1957, this wonderfully illustrated hardback is a rather poignant tale. Laika was a stray dog on the streets of Moscow who got picked up for a special project — being blasted into space. The story contains all the exciting elements of space travel that will fascinate any budding astronaut. l
Ladder shelf, $99.95 from mocka.co.nz
Putting on the Ritz High heels, handbags and over-sized suits are de rigeur at this delightful celebration of dressing up
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PHOTOGRAPHY AND STYLING: NADINE CANESTRI (nadinecanestriphotography.com).
set the scene The allure of fashion and fancy is timeless. When photographer Nadine Canestri set out to do something special for her daughter Atlanta’s fourth birthday she settled on a theme based around the popular pastime of dressing up. After months of collecting and with impeccable attention to detail, Nadine put together a party that captured charm, flamboyance and whimsy all at once. Pink and teal tied together the colour scheme. Vintage finds became decorative props and giant pom poms and birdcages added the final whimsical touch. The overall look was enchanting and inviting — a dressing table laden with hats and jewellery and a rustic-looking clothes rack weighed down with fabulous garments awaiting a whole bunch of excited children.
fun and games This party is all about the clothes and putting together outfits which will keep guests occupied for quite a while. Wonderfully, this means there is less need for loads of activities. Make sure you have enough of everything, including shoes and accessories, to control negotiations over who gets what. Stage a fashion parade once guests have worked out their outfits and conduct a photo shoot to capture the look. You
could even print images ready to be taken home as a sweet souvenir for the guests. After the fashion parade, Atlanta and her friends burned off leftover energy with a handbag-shaped piñata.
food and drink The impressive menu was all home-made by Nadine and her mum. Custard and jelly were served in old baby food jars, their rims dipped in egg white and then jelly crystals to give them a pretty edge. Ham and cheese sandwiches were served in the shape of shoes and handbags. The vanilla cupcakes all boasted dress-up cupcake toppers, crafted by Nadine. She used tiny party dresses and miniature suits cut out of card and then decorated with fabric and ribbon. Oreo cake pops were also served, alongside iced shortbread on sticks shaped in the trademark handbags, dresses and shoes. Then there was the popcorn (tossed in sugar syrup and a touch of food colouring to make it pink), chips, jars of lollies, giant lollipops, macaroons and candy floss rolled into balls. The centre piece — the ruffle doll cake — was made using the Vanilla Rainbow Cake recipe from the Bluebells Cakery cook book. One of Atlanta’s dolls stole the show, elegantly posing in the middle of the birthday cake.
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Nadine used simple brown paper bags for party favours but added some glamour by attaching a doily to each one with little wooden pegs (the doilies and pegs were sourced from Typo). Before they headed home, guests were invited to fill their own little lolly bags — a thrilling treat for the kids and quite handy as a way of reducing the temptation of leftovers! Dress-up party favour bags could also include costume jewellery, nail polish, stick-on moustaches, bow ties and fancy dress stickers, all readily available from your local $2 shop.
Keep an eye on TradeMe for furniture and accessories that you can upcycle and put to good use as party props — many pieces will remain useful year after year. Nadine’s best advice is: “Start collecting for this party quite a few months in advance! Atlanta and I had a great time browsing second-hand shops on Saturday mornings, having craft afternoons making the cupcake toppers and dressing the drink bottles and baking all the food together with my mum. The whole party planning process was an exciting experience for Atlanta and a great way for her and I to spend some quality time together.”
This need not be an expensive party to put together. Most of the items used were either second-hand or from discount shops.
Spending $1.50 on 18 old kindy chairs, which Nadine spray-painted white and will use for years to come. l
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Fabric for the table cloths, runners, also the extra decorative ribbon and fabric were found at Geoff’s Emporium in Auckland. Nadine used the family’s own camp tables while the chairs were from TradeMe. l Pom poms: The Factory Shop in Onehunga. l Bird cages: Kmart. l G lass bottles and straws: Pop Roc Parties (poprocparties.co.nz) and party plates: Pixie Party Supplies (pixiepartysupplies.co.nz). l Feather bowers, lace gloves, fascinators and bow ties: Look Sharp in Onehunga. l Dressing table: An old cabinet Nadine rescued and painted teal. l Clothes racks and hat boxes were found on TradeMe. l C lothing was mostly sourced from op shops around Auckland or Atlanta's existing party dress collection. l Shoes, hats, jewellery and bags were also from op shops. l
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BECAUSE...BABY NAMES We have 40,000 for you to choose from ohbaby.co.nz/baby names
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz) STYLING: ANGELA PEDERSEN
This page: Jolie wears Little and Vintage lace dress $35, for sales go to Little and Vintage on Facebook.com, Pumpkin Patch white flower clip, (two-pack) $9.99, pumpkinpatch.co.nz Also pictured: Buddy NZ Aircell Blanket $199, buddynz.co.nz Hanging Pod Chair, price on request from Maytime Marketing, www.maytime.co.nz
comfort and style Old-fashioned lace and snuggly knits make a perfect combination heading into winter ohbaby.co.nz
This page: Louie wears Kid Nature Hand-knit Merino Beanie in grey/navy $34.95, naturebaby.co.nz, Minti Marle Diamond Skull Tee $49.99, kidrepublic.co.nz and Pumpkin Patch jeans $42.99, pumpkinpatch.co.nz Opposite page: Left: Carter wears Creative Aertz Skinny Cable Slouch Beanie in charcoal, $25 from creativeaertz.co.nz, Stag Head Hoodie in grey marle $95, www.suprinobambino.co.nz, Kid Nature Hoodie in grey marle sweatshirt knit $59.95, naturebaby.co.nz, Dot 2 Tot Slim Leg Jeans $26.99, babycity.co.nz, Pumpkin Patch Denim Velcro Sneakers $36.99, pumpkinpatch.co.nz Top right: Chloe wears Pumpkin Patch English Rose Top $39.99, pumpkinpatch. co.nz and Kid Nature Frances Skirt $54.95, naturebaby.co.nz Bottom right: Jolie wears Eeni Meeni Miini Moh Peplum Jacket in grey marle AU$139.95 and Heart Dress in steel, AU$89.95, both from eenimeeni.com, Velvet Bow Ballerina shoes $29.99, pumpkinpatch.co.nz
This page: Jolie wears Brother + Sister Merino Long-sleeved Tee $39, brotherandsister.co.nz, Eeni Meeni Miini Moh Sweater Cape in charcoal marle AU$79.95 and â€œskeggings (skirt/leggings) AU$49.95, both from eenimeeni.com, Emu Wallaby Hi boots $119.95, www.emuaustralia.com Opposite page: Above: Carter wears Darcy LS Shirt in deep steel blue $29.95 and Tyler Puffer Vest in indian ink $44.95, both from Cotton On Kids and Forest Boysâ€™ cord jeans in camel $54.95, naturebaby.co.nz Below: Mason wears Suprino Bambino Cable Aviator Hat $55 and Oakley the Owl Print Top in toitoi $65, both from www.suprinobambino.co.nz and Nature Baby Merino Drawstring Pants in oatmeal $49.95, naturebaby.co.nz Right: Chloe wears Pumpkin Patch Princess Crochet Beanie $19.99 and Pointille Cardigan $29.99, both from pumpkinpatch.co.nz, Little and Vintage bow-tie shoes $40, for sales go to
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fashion Mason wears Brother + Sister Merino Tee $39, brotherandsister.co.nz, Dot 2 Tot Denim Bow Dress $22.99, Babycity, Nature Baby grey cotton leggings $29.95, Nature Baby lambskin bootees in cinnamon $44.95, both from naturebaby.co.nz
Oliver wears Creative Aertz Classic Beanie $20, creativeaertz. co.nz, Pumpkin Patch Army Green Shirt $36.99, Army Green Jacket $52.99, Grey Denim Pants $42.99, all from pumpkinpatch.co.nz
Chloe wears Brother + Sister Riding Cape in sky blue grey $84, brotherandsister.co.nz above: Carter wears Eeni Meeni Miini Moh Beanie-Tab in charcoal marle AU$39.95 and Scarf-Collar in grey marle stripe AU$39.95, both from eenimeeni. com, Brother + Sister Merino Tee in grey marle stripe $39, brotherandsister.co.nz
SPECIAL DELIVERY Receive week by week development updates for your newborn ohbaby.co.nz/newbornweekbyweek
to the manor born Stylish classics that take you from country casual to high society with a baby on board
This page: Marielle wears Creative Aertz Basket Weave Slouch Beanie $30, creativeaertz. co.nz, Nourish Maternity Nursing Top $64.90, breastmates.co.nz, Esprit Light Stonewash Skinny Jeans AU$121.95, queenbee. com.au, Storksak Jamie Nappy Bag $359, bellybeyond.co.nz and shoes, modelâ€™s own
Top left: Ripe Maternity Striped Nursing Tube Dress AU$94.95, ripematernity.com, Zane Shoes $239, zierashoes.co.nz Bottom left: Max Denim Jacket $119, maxshop.com, Side Tie Maxi Dress AU$99.95, ripematernity.com, Babymel Amanda Quilted Black Nappy Bag $179, bellybeyond.co.nz Below: Ripe Gala Splice Top AU$74.95 and Peggy Stretch Denim Jeans AU$109.95, both from ripematernity.com, Waikato Boots $275, zierashoes. co.nz and Il Tutto Nico Gun Metal Baby Bag AU$599, iltutto.com
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Left: La Dolce Dress $149.90, eggmaternity.com and Waikato Boots $275, zierashoes.co.nz. Above: Ripe Sapporo Long Knit Cardie AU$84.95 and Ulitmate Express Tank AU$64.95, both from ripematernity.com, Bootleg Jeans $159.90, eggmaternity.com and Waikato Boots $275, zierashoes.co.nz Right: Victoria Relaxed Zip Thru Jacket $89.99, jeanswest.co.nz, Bambino Milkbar Top $119.90, eggmaternity.com, Esprit Dark Wash Denim Skinny Jeans AU$121.95, queenbee.com.au, Santiago Boots $375, zierashoes. co.nz, Storksak Sofia Leather-Taupe Bag $499, bellybeyond.co.nz, Scarf, stylistâ€™s own.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz).
going under cover The OHbaby! team takes top-selling concealers for a test run and gets specialist advice on what to use and how to apply
regnancy and early motherhood can give rise to all manner of spots, pigmentation problems, uneven skin tone and, of course, dark circles and other tell-tale signs of sleepless nights. But there’s an art to concealing blemishes and one we can all master with the right tools. The first rule of thumb is in the application. Rather than smearing the concealer over a spot or under the eye, dab the concealer on with your finger tip and maybe use a sponge or a brush to blend. If the area is a bit dry, moisturise first and always put on the concealer before you apply foundation. For minor blemishes and issues, a fleshtoned concealer will do the job nicely. To add staying power dust your face with powder as a finishing touch. We asked Elizabeth Arden National Make-up Specialist, Lidean Erasmus for her top tips on hiding blemishes. She says: “Consumers, and even some industry professionals, have been led to believe that simply using a lighter shade of concealer will eliminate the appearance of discolorations. Sadly, this doesn’t always work and you could end up with a very thick layer of concealer while still seeing the discoloration. “What to do? You can simply use a twostage approach by using both a concealer and a colour neutraliser/corrector.”
colour-correcting concealers Colour-correcting make-up has been around for decades and it’s based on the
colour wheel. Essentially, you choose the opposite colour of the blemish to hide it. l For red spots neutralise with green tones l Dark, under-eye circles, use yellow, orange or peach tones l For pink or reddish skin, use yellow Smashbox and Maybelline both do a good range of colour-correcting concealers while Clinique has Redness Solutions for rosy patches. When applying, definitely keep in mind “less is more” to avoid circus clown make-up. Apply a very small amount at first and gradually build up — it will take lots of practice to get it right. When finished, brush foundation or a netural concealer over the area and then apply the rest of your make-up.
under-eye circles Lidean Erasmus says, “Sometimes a concealer just isn’t enough and, when applied, can make the under-eye area look grey and ashy. Depending on the colouring of the under-eye area that causes the shadow, both a concealer and a colour neutraliser [orange or peach] will work well here.”
brown spots or dark patches “Sometimes you can make these areas look even more prominent by trying to cover them up with the wrong products or textures,” says Lidean. “Peach/orange and pink are great to use as skin or make-up colour neutralisers to eliminate and fade away shadows and dark spots.”
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puffy eyes “Puffy eyes can occur for many different reasons and can prove really difficult to hide,” says Lidean. “The puffy under-eye area will look substantially worse if you apply a matte texture or a powdery texture over the top. I find reflective and radiant textures of concealer and/or foundation work best to minimise puffy eyes.” She recommends Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Brightening Eye Gel to “enliven tired-looking eyes, reduce the look of puffiness and target dark circles”.
spots and red patches Spots and redness, can be difficult to cover with foundation alone, says Lidean Erasmus. “It is best to use a skin or make-up product that contains a green pigment as a colour neutraliser as green will eliminate and camouflage the redness. Apply this first on the areas needed and then follow with your foundation.” Yellow tones can also work well on red skin. OHbaby! Editor Ellie Gwilliam tried Clinique’s Redness Solutions (RRP$43) which worked wonders for her red patches. She found it did basically the same job as a concealer, but “with a lighter consistency so you didn’t feel you had to cake it on to get good coverage”.
Which concealers work best? OHbaby! staff tried out a handful of the best — some high-end, others more walletfriendly — and here are the results:
1 Guerlain Precious Light Illuminator, RRP$94 Ruth says, “The Guerlain concealer has a brush that magically fills with concealer when you twist the end. Aside from the nifty application though, there are probably cheaper products out there which are just as good.” 2 Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm Concealer, RRP$55 Hayley says, “The thick, creamy consistency provides fantastic coverage for blemishes and dark circles. It blends in easily providing a lovely finish on my skin.” 3 La Prairie Light Fantastic Cellular Concealing-Brightening Eye Treatment, RRP$118 Ellie says, “It has a hefty price tag but it does feel like a more luxurious product. My eyes did look brighter and the application brush works well.”
4 Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener, RRP$55 Renata says, “This product is nice and light on your skin and is great for a day look. However, I wouldn’t recommend this product for a more dressed-up look because it doesn’t hide all the imperfections as a concealer would.
5 Nude by Nature Liquid Mineral Concealer, RRP$24.95 Shannon says, “This concealer felt fabulous to apply. I liked the coverage on some small blemishes and it wasn’t too heavy and ‘cakey’.”
6 Clinique Even Better Concealer, RRP$43: Ruth says, “This is easy to use and conceals well. Just make sure you moisturise first because it can make any wrinkles around your eyes look more prominent.”
Naturally breathable • Chlorine and fragrance free • Natural and renewable material • GM free corn based film
7 Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Maximum Coverage Concealer, RRP$53 Shannon says: “This concealer was lovely to apply, very smooth and had very even coverage. A really nice base under my foundation, that wasn’t too heavy on my eyes.”
8 ArtDeco Anti-aging Concealer with Lifting Effect, RRP$34 Angela says, This product was everything I’d ever want in a concealer — it covered up my under-eye dark circles and lasted all day!
No parabens • Totally chlorine free Available at selected New World stores and online at www.naturegroup.co.nz
an ode to m y
postpartum body Blogger and first-time mum Nâ€™tima Preusser celebrates the beautiful marks of motherhood
efore I became pregnant, someone told me, “Don’t have a baby, babies ruin your body.”
It has been over a year since Anabel began her life. This time last year she was a microscopic speck inside of me and we were announcing our pregnancy. Between then and now, I have gained and lost 50 pounds (22.7kg). Four months after her birth my body still carries proof of her existence. I have dark pools under my eyes. A valley where my belly button once was. Hips with a new amplitude that my teenage self wouldn’t recognise. I have lines mapped across the mountains of stretched skin left over on my mid-section. Lightning bolts on my sides proving I once was too small to contain all of the love that filled me. Lines indicating that my daughter once lived inside of me. Do you realise the significance in that? Every limb, finger, toe... her heart, even, developed near to the very place my own heart beats inside of my chest. Those mountains of skin are all I have left to prove that we were once one and not two. How can I be ashamed of that? I have so much to say about seeing my grandfather’s eyes embedded into the sockets and under the brows and lashes of her father’s. I see the 17-year-old boy I fell in love with and my grandpa as a child all at once every time she looks up at me. She even wears my ears and my chin — the two very things I cursed having the most growing up. Not much makes me feel more beautiful than seeing tiny renditions of those same features on Anabel, and realising just how special they are.
My body grew that. Not everybody has that privilege. Sure, my belly is a bit softer nowadays, but the way it moves when I jump up and down sends my girl into fits of giggles. And yeah, my hips are hardly as narrow as they used to be, but they sure know the perfect figure-eight motion to sway her to sleep. My 21-year-old hair is even beginning to grey, but not much soothes her more than my hair between her little fingers. I am not something flawless in the eyes of society, or even close to what I once was physically, but my perfect girl sees me for who I am.
To her, I hang the moon. She knows my heart — she knew it long before we met. And she loves me for it. I cannot tell you how much worth and validation I feel because of that truth. My body is only a vessel for my spirit. An incredible vessel. It is strong, well, abled and undefeated. My body is full of life. My body is powerful. My body made me a mother. If anything, I was ruined by the world before I knew her, and she made me whole again.
N’tima Preusser is a 21-year-old military wife and new mother with a university degree in culinary artistry. N’tima lives in Tokyo with her husband, Steven, and their daughter Anabel. She has been blogging since 2009 over at weseekjoy.blogspot.co.nz.
positively uplifting Caring for children can hurt. OHbaby! expert and physiotherapist Renée Vincent explains why motherhood should meet occupational health and safety standards
any mothers weather the discomforts that accompany pregnancy only to find that the physical demands of caring for their baby leave them facing a new set of aches and pains. It is tempting to ignore these. Many mums assume they are related to hormonal changes and recovering from pregnancy, and hope that the discomfort will go with time. The reality is that caring for young children is heavy manual work. While bodily changes related to pregnancy make new mums more vulnerable, it is the ergonomically challenging nature of childcare that explains why mothers face many of these physical problems. Mothers, and fathers too for that matter, spend their days lifting children in and out of cots, car seats, strollers, baths and highchairs, on and off change tables and up and down from the floor. They spend long periods of time carrying their children, holding them to breastfeed, bent over helping them play or walk, and down on the floor with them. Not to mention all the time spent doing all the domestic tasks that go along with caring for children.
safety in the workplace The nature of the work that mums do makes mothering a high risk job when it comes to occupational health and safety. Today occupational health and safety is such a priority that in every field of paid work there are regulations and guidelines to protect workers from unnecessary injury or pain. Mothers as unpaid workers are disadvantaged. Despite the fact that they are performing arguably the most important job in the world, until recently there has been no research into the ergonomics of the activities they perform. That leaves mothers doing their best to prevent injury by applying their common sense or what they have learnt about lifting from other jobs. To address this lack of knowledge
I undertook a research study in which I observed mothers doing 87 childcare activities that involved lifting. I analysed these activities using a workplace ergonomic risk scale to determine the level of risk involved in each activity. The results of my study affirmed the hard work mothers do and the problems they face physically. Most mums had experienced low back pain (64%). Neck and upper back pain was also common (44%). But many also reported pain in other areas such sciatica, shoulder tendinopathy, knee pain, wrist tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and hip tendinopathy.
childcare tasks causing injury So what were the high risk areas associated with childcare and what can mothers do to reduce the risk of injury? An important difference between the lifting that mothers do and industrial lifting is the fact that mothers are lifting their child — a living load that they care deeply about. This has a big influence on how they lift and the risk involved. Children are a high-risk load due to the way we need to angle our wrists to pick them up and the fact that their weight is unevenly distributed between their head and limbs. Children move (often suddenly and unpredictably) and we are emotionally connected to them. There wouldn’t be one mother out there who hadn’t contorted her body to carefully lift her precious child out of an awkward situation, even when the child was kicking, screaming and crawling in the opposite direction. Then there is the nature of the childcare tasks themselves. These tasks nearly always involve mothers reaching out with the arms while bending forward (presenting a moderate to high risk in 83% of tasks in the study). They often involve lifting the child a long way vertically or lifting above shoulder height or below mid-thigh (rated moderate to high risk in
89% of tasks in the study). Other important risks are related to twisting while lifting (73% of tasks) and lifting while kneeling or sitting. To add to all this, the environments in which mothers are lifting are not ideal. Mothers often lift in awkward spaces, on wet or cluttered surfaces, and in and out of awkward equipment such as highchairs. There are also risks associated with the vulnerabilities of the mother herself. The main issue for mums is that they must lift no matter what, even if their lifting capacity is hindered by illnesses, being pregnant, having had a difficult pregnancy or birth, medical conditions or past injuries. Mothers can’t take days off very easily.
be your own OSH inspector Helping mothers prevent pain and injury in the face of all the risks is more complicated than simply advising: “Bend your knees when you lift.” Although this advice is important, in my practice I encourage mothers to be their own health and safety officers and look at the bigger picture. This often means taking time to assess and modify the way they lift at home. I also encourage mothers to practise good lifting in easy situations so they are better prepared to lift well when difficulties arise.
fit for motherhood It is also important to address any factors that might be making you more
Children are a high-risk load due to the way we need to angle our wrists to pick them up and the fact that their weight is unevenly distributed between their head and limbs. ohbaby.co.nz
There wouldn’t be one mum out there who hadn’t contorted her body to lift her precious child out of an awkward situation, even when the child was kicking and screaming. vulnerable. A good physiotherapy programme to address any issues developed in pregnancy (such as altered posture or weak abdominals) and to strengthen the upper and lower body before the baby becomes heavier, could help prevent bigger problems. A gentle postnatal yoga or Pilates class could also help improve strength and posture. Are you getting enough support for times when you are more vulnerable to injury, when you are stressed or sick or pregnant? It is good to get as much practical support as possible but mothers often feel shy asking. It certainly is not a sign of weakness to need a break from lifting your child! In fact, it is a necessity so learn to say yes to offers of help.
how to reduce the strain Finally, it is important to think about how you interact with your child and how that influences the physical strain. Work out how you can maximise the nurturing and physical contact while minimising the strain. It might mean trying to get your child to co-operate so you avoid lifting. Use prompts such as, “One, two, three and up to Mum” and reduce prolonged periods of holding and carrying by planning activities around your child’s behaviour. Refuse to lift when it is dangerous, such as when your child is agitated, hitting or kicking. Encourage independence with some activities as early as possible and avoid multi-tasking. This might mean sitting down for a cuddle, rather than carrying a clingy child. The take-home message for mothers is to make sure that when it comes to lifting they try to put themselves first equal with their child. Whatever you are doing to care for your child, in the long term it will be equally important to care for your own body, so take a minute to reduce the strain as much as you can. l OHbaby! fitness expert Renée Vincent is a physiotherapist at Total Mums in Auckland and mother of a two year old.
Renée’s top tips for good lifting l Bring your baby as close to you as possible before lifting so you avoid lifting with your arms outstretched. Set yourself up before you lift so that you can step around or twist as little as possible. l To pick up a child from the floor, bend your knees and hips and stick your bottom out, squat down, tighten your stomach muscles and lift with your legs. Try to position your hands under the child’s arms, or cradle them in such a way that you don’t have to cock your wrists back or twist them as you lift. When you are kneeling or sitting your strength is really reduced so try not to lift in these positions as a general rule. l Consider environmental issues. Is the layout of the baby’s room or other “work” spaces helpful for good lifting? Or are there things you could change to reduce the strain on your body? Make sure you have good access to change tables, cots and highchairs. l Make careful use of the equipment you have — always put the side of the cot down when getting baby in and out and remove the tray before putting the child in the highchair. Adjust the stroller handle to the correct height. Buy equipment you will find easy to use. l Bring yourself in as close as you can to the equipment before lowering baby in — this is especially important when putting baby into a rear-facing car seat. Always make the lift as easy as possible. If you’re carrying your baby in a capsule, try to use two hands and hold it in close in front of your body. If you notice that a particular activity always feels difficult, brainstorm ways with your partner to make it easier on your body.
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create a head board Add the finishing touch to your child ’s bedroom with this simple head board designed to complement any colour scheme
his project works for a bed base that already has screws and holes for attaching a head board.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE. STYLING: ANGELA PEDERSEN. ALL ADDITIONAL PROPS: STYLIST’S OWN.
you will need: Six lengths of pine about 18mm thick by 115mm wide, cut to the width of your bed. Two lengths of pine roughly 18mm thick by 65mm wide, cut to one metre long. 12 self-taping 30mm screws Sandpaper Paintbrush Electric drill Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss enamel paint in your choice of colours. We used Resene Sea Fog and Resene Coastal Blue.
method 1 Measure the width of the bed adding 20mm for each side. Our bed required 1100mm-long planks to lie horizontally. We had these pre-cut at the local hardware store, as well as the two narrower lengths of pine to run vertically behind the headboard as pillars, each one cut to one metre in length. 2 Sand your planks first to remove any sharp edges. 3 Paint your six horizontal planks in Resene Sea Fog on both sides. 4 Next, paint three of your planks in your alternative colour choice — we used Resene Coastal Blue. Once dry apply another coat of colour. Paint another coat or two of Resene Sea
Fog on your remaining three planks. 5 As an optional extra, once your final coat is dry, sand the planks lightly to give a distressed-look finish. 6 Carefully measure the length between the two existing holes on the bed base that will secure the head board. This is a very important measurement and will also be the distance between the two vertical pillars that will run down the back of the head board, securing all the planks together and then securing the head board to the base. We’ll call this the pillar spacing measurement. 7 Mark the centre point on each of the six horizontal planks. Next halve the pillar spacing measurement and mark that point on either side of the centre mark, measuring from the centre mark. It’s important that this mark sits in the middle of the supporting vertical pillars when you attach them, as the holes connecting the base to the board need to be in the centre of the pillars for strength. 8 To ensure accuracy, measure the width of the pillars and mark on the horizontal planks where the pillars’ edges should align. 9 Line up the six horizontal planks so they are ready to be attached to the supporting pillars. Place the supporting pillars on top of the planks in the clearly marked positions. Using a cordless drill, screw the pillars to each plank with self-taping screws, so that all
the planks are secured to both pillars. 10 Place the head board against the bed so you can mark on the pillars where you want it attached. Mark where the bed base holes are so you know where to drill. For accuracy, measure the gap between the holes in your bed base, ensuring you are measuring from the centre of the holes so you achieve correct alignment. 11 For the final step, it’s a good idea to check the width of the screws that go into the bed base and use a drill piece slightly larger to ensure the screws fit. Then simply attach the head board to the bed base. l
Resene Coastal Blue
Resene Sea Fog
Visit your local Resene ColorShop, ph: 0800 RESENE (737 363) or go to: www.resene.co.nz
room for two top tips for practical and stylish shared kidsâ€™ rooms
1. Choose furniture that works double time: The book shelf cubbies (far left) double as a place to sit, Hip Hop Cube $99, Target Furniture. Meanwhile, we used spice racks from Ikea to create bedhead shelves, perfect for knick-knacks.
2. Invest in pieces that will grow with your kids: The Helmer drawers (above) from Ikea ($219, myflatpack.co.nz) are actually sold as office furniture, but while your kids are small they provide the perfect storage hideaway for precious collections. Also, pictured: Mini Tree $19.95 from Mocka, clock $34, Allium Interiors.
3. Name it: Give your child a sense of ownership over her space by featuring her name within the dĂŠcor. Spell it out with letters mounted on the wall, stamp her name onto something or paint part of the wall with blackboard paint and write your child a love note.
4. Upcycle: The foam squab on top of the cubbies is actually a no-longer-required porta-cot mattress, folded in half and tucked inside a custom-made cover.
5. Barbies don’t mind living in a bucket: Simple storage vessels, such as buckets, crates and baskets, look great while also helping children to learn the helpful rule of interior-decorating — a place for everything and everything in its place.
6. Personalise your child’s space with her own artwork and photos: Photos pegged on a ribbon add interest and personality and can be easily updated. Or get a favourite photo printed on a large canvas. Displaying your children’s artwork is a sweet way of encouraging their creativity. Use your child’s art as an inspiration point for colour schemes. Or rotate pieces more often with an easily update-able display option. Try pegging to ribbon or string, mounting clip boards on the wall to hold the latest masterpieces, or pick up a vintage wooden frame from an op shop, paint it to match your colour scheme, mount it on the wall and display paintings or drawings within the frame.
7. Recycle: In this disposable age it is nice to provide our children with traditional toys and furniture. TradeMe is a treasure trove of pre-loved things. The dolls’ highchair and cot are from TradeMe while our charming wooden rocking horse was rescued from a roadside inorganic collection! The Patersonrose rug is from Allium Interiors.
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8. In the zone: Create different zones in the room to encourage play and relaxation. A lamp next to the bookshelf immediately suggests a reading nook, while a soft rug on the floor beckons kids to sit and play a while.
9. Personal space: If you have two children sharing one room, think about ways to define separate spaces for each child. It may be some bunting hung between the beds, or furniture used as room dividers. This room does not allow many options for bed configuration, but the little shelves above the beds mark each space as independent and provide a place to keep the most valuable treasures close at hand.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz).
10. Kidsâ€™ rooms are allowed to be colourful: Another approach is painting a paler colour on the walls as a simple backdrop, then letting your furnishings do the talking. Add a pop of contrasting colour that complements somewhere else to tie the elements of the room together. The little shelves were painted to complement the duvet covers. (Walls painted in Resene Princess, from Resene KidzColour range, shelves painted in Resene Hippie Blue).
’ kids rooms designed to last Eco-lover Holly Jean Brooker explains where to invest the cash when decorating your ’ child s room, For the sake of their health and that of the environment
ver the summer we enjoyed endless hours outdoors with family and friends, enjoying some gloriously warm weather. But all good things come to an end and, with the cooler months fast approaching, it’s wise to think about getting your interior spaces ready for a bit more foot traffic. When it comes to your children’s bedrooms, a little bit of forethought can help make sure those rooms are safe and sustainable, as well as exciting enough to entice your littlies in — extra helpful when the weather outside is frightful! Going green can be both fun and challenging when renovating a kid’s room, but it is well worth the effort for the sake of your children’s health, and that of the planet. It’s pretty simple stuff really. Think about avoiding VOCs and other harmful chemicals found in paint, look for ethically made and sourced products, and choose good-quality, sustainable items that will last. Starting out can be the tricky part, but if you can decide on a theme for the room, it will help give some direction. Choosing one to three colours to work with your theme can help keep things in sync, but it doesn’t have to be rigid. You can choose different shades of the same colour, and bring in different patterns to mix it up. Stripes, spots, stars and shapes in a similar palette always go together well. If you find yourself lacking in the inspiration department check out Pinterest for übercool styling ideas to suit your theme.
slip, slop, slap it on To update a drab-looking kid’s room there is nothing easier than applying a fresh coat of paint. But if you have an older home, hold up the truck! Get your walls and window sills tested for lead before launching into a full-blown The Block-style renovation. Simply take some paint samples/flakes into your local Resene for testing and advice. We recently found out our home has lead paint throughout, causing a mild panic attack on my behalf, but it’s not as disastrous as it could be if you identify it early and talk to professionals about dealing with it correctly. Environmental Choice-approved waterborne paints are the ideal option, with their low odours and reduced levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and toxic substances emitted through production, application and service life of the paint. Choose a colour to complement your theme — it’s up to you whether it’s a neutral grey or white, a subtle soft pastel or a striking contrast colour. Wallpaper can add a fun element but it requires a larger investment when opting for environmentally friendly options. The Inside (inside.co.nz) supply beautiful paper sourced from sustainable forests and they stock fun prints and colours for kids.
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down at ground level New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world and up to 80% of asthma is linked to allergies. Most commonly, the prevalence of dust and dust mites exacerbates this condition, not to mention triggering rhinitis and eczema. Carpet is the ideal hangout for these guys so to keep your floor dust-free simply get rid of that carpet! A solid, non-skid floor (think sustainable timber) is the ideal solution as it is easy to see dust build-up and quick to clean. A stylish wool rug will soften a wooden floor and add a little extra warmth to a child’s room. But if you simply cannot resist that cushioned feeling underfoot it’s not all bad news for carpet, especially if you go for wool. Wool is an inhospitable environment for dust mites as it contains low levels of permethrin, a naturally occurring substance that actually repels small insects. Wool is such an amazing complex natural product that modern science is unable to replicate it, and studies have shown that it has low flammability and actually removes toxins and contaminates from the air, potentially improving the health of your home by purifying the air for up to 30 years. It will hold dust, of course, so make sure to vacuum at least once a week!
Designers Guild Around the World Rug, 100% hand-tuffed wool, $785 from Allium Interiors, alliuminteriors.co.nz.
Magnetic Woodlands wallpaper, just like Hilary Swank has in her nursery! This pricey but stunning paper comes with magnetic characters and is made from sustainable forest paper. Price: $750 a roll from theinside.co.nz.
home time fabulous range AA fabulous range of childrens of childrens products products sleep easy Mattress manufacturing generally involves a ridiculous combination of chemical and synthetic products, such as flammable polyurethane foam doused with flameresistant chemicals! Second-hand mattresses contain the same chemicals, plus bodily residue from previous owners. It’s disgusting to think about lying on any of this so let’s move on. Your child will (ideally) spend a fair chunk of time in snoreville, so a healthy bed is pretty important. Nature Baby is a good port of call for well-designed cots, hammocks and toddler beds. With a super cool range of options (my favourite is the Kalon Caravan Cot and Conversion Kit) produced sustainably and free from toxic paints and glues, you can invest in style knowing you are buying a bed that is 100% safe for your littlies. Look for mattresses made responsibly using natural fibres such as organic
cotton, natural foam, latex or naturally flame-resistant wool, and always use a wool mattress protector. Buying New Zealand-made items keeps production local and gives extra peace of mind. The same goes for your bedding. Although cotton sounds as if it’s a safe option, as a crop it is prone to disease and pests requiring high levels of pesticides during production. In fact, cotton is one of the crops most heavily laden with poisons. Add to this the chemicals and VOCs accumulated from bleaching and dying, and top it off with fire retardants (such as formaldehyde) and the chemicals applied to prevent stains, wrinkles and keep the cotton soft, and you have a pretty grim situation. Organic cotton, merino wool and bamboo are all great options for ensuring your angel is sleeping peacefully through the night.
Clockwise from left: In Nature organic natural latex single mattress, from $875 from innature.co.nz. Ludo flat sheet, handprinted with non-toxic vegetable dye, $130 from cushandnooks.co.nz, Kalon Caravan Conversion Kit, $695 from naturebaby.co.nz. Organic Cotton Jersey duvet cover, $149.95 from naturebaby.co.nz.
Freedelivery delivery NZ NZwide wide on Free on all allproducts! products! Email email@example.com Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 0508 0508 4 4 MOCKA/0508 MOCKA/0508 466 Phone 466252 252
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Let your kids loose with Resene
reduce, reuse, recycle Once the décor is sorted, a couple of key pieces of furniture will finish off your kid’s nursery and amp up the wow factor. Sourcing sustainable bedroom furniture doesn’t need to involve buying brand new, in fact it is better for the environment to reuse and revive old or antique furniture. It could be as easy as applying a fresh lick of paint to transform a book shelf or adding a fun set of handles to older drawers. If you are buying new, good-quality timber furniture will last a lifetime so invest in New Zealand-made pieces with a classic look to last throughout your child’s life. I still have a set of timber drawers that my parents bought me when I was 10! Twenty-plus years later they are my son’s drawers. Now that is good value for money!
New Zealand-made Meluka Chesty Boy drawers, $1235 from Allium Interiors.
the finishing touches
Above: OllyBolly blanket butterfly bunting made from 100% up-cycled New Zealand woollen blankets, $25 (for two metres) from felt.co.nz/shop/ollybolly.
Kids love play time, and it is a key component to healthy development, so why not make their bedroom fun? A blackboard wall is cheap and super easy to do, giving your budding artist the thumbs up to drawing on the wall! There are a range of environmentally friendly toys, one of my hot favourites is the Plan Toys kitchen unit. Teepees add an element of adventure to a nursery, offering countless opportunities for creative play. They are easy to fold up and put away, or take outside in warm weather. My mother recently made an amazing teepee for my son’s second birthday. But if making one is too challenging, you can buy a good-quality cotton/polyester teepee from Mocka. Bunting continues to be “on trend” in kid-land, and can be hand-made using leftover fabric pieces, old duvets, pillow cases, even tablecloths or paper depending on your room style. There are plenty of ways to revamp a kid’s room sustainably, so do your research and enjoy the process! l
Includes favourite child friendly colours, metallics and effects finishes from soft neutrals perfect for a newborn to bright reds and yellows for the toddlers and beyond. Available exclusively from Resene ColorShops and Resellers or order your copy free from the Resene website.
Expand your children’s playing area onto your walls with Resene Magnetic Magic.
Left: Holiday wallpaper in pink, $90 per roll from theinside.co.nz. Below: Resene blackboard paint, $37 (500ml) from resene.co.nz, Teepee cushions, $39.95 each from mocka.co.nz
Transform walls into blackboards with Resene Blackboard Paint, fun for kids of all ages. Holly Jean Brooker is a freelance writer, eco-lover and “urban hippy” living in Auckland with her husband and their young son. She is also the owner of The Media Project and even grows her own vegetables!
For more info, check out: environmentalchoice.org.nz resene.com/comn/envissue/parents.htm asthmafoundation.org.nz
0800 RESENE (737 363) www.resene.co.nz
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s recently as our mother’s generation, people got excited over swapping their wringer washing machine for an automatic one, revelled in the wonder of their new microwave and celebrated the acquisition of a tumble dryer. Nowadays we are spoilt for choice when it comes to appliances, especially the smaller ones. Seemingly limitless innovations continually provide products promising to “make life easier”. But is it really as simple as plug in and go? Are all these products designed to help around the house actually worth the cupboard space they now occupy? The OHbaby! team gets honest about those little helpers…
Karcher window cleaner Cleaning windows is possibly the most avoided job on the domestic front. It takes ages, it requires elbow grease and, even after all that effort, you can still end up with streaks and smears. Say hello to the Karcher window cleaner! It’s a squeegee with motorised suction power — a bit like a dustbuster. And no, this is not an ad. OHbaby! Editor Ellie Gwilliam coveted her friend’s Karcher window cleaner before buying her own and life was never the same — clean windows in mere minutes! It works well on removing condensation from windows on winter mornings and it cleans other hard surfaces too, such as showers and mirrors. It’s quite fun and the kids like to use it too. We’re sold. OHbaby! “usefulness” rating:
steam mops Deputy Editor Ruth Brown is the only one of us to have invested in a steam mop and she reports the following: The steam-cleaning mop is touted as a “green” option because it uses just the power of steam and no “nasty” chemicals. It does work well on hard floors and leaves the floors smelling clean and fragrant. The down sides are: It’s slightly fiddly to use. You have to fill with pre-boiled water and plug it in. Then wait for it to heat up. Also, the electric cable does get in the way a bit and you have to stop and re-connect if you’re changing rooms. Also, despite claims it “freshens” carpets, there seemed to be no real improvement in the carpets after “steam cleaning”. Worth the money? Not really, but it does the job and it’s nice to have sweet-smelling floors. OHbaby! “usefulness” rating:
breadmakers Nothing beats the smell of home-made bread. But unless you have hours to spare for kneading and rising, an electric breadmaker is perhaps the most convenient way to bring home the bakery. However, they are on the bulky side so we wonder if they are worth the bench space they require. Short answer: That depends. If you are in a routine of having all the required ingredients on hand and making a loaf every day, then yes. You can set it to bake overnight which means fresh bread each morning. Plus you know exactly what has gone into each loaf. But many a Kiwi kitchen cupboard hides a neglected and “nearly new” breadmaker. If you aren’t going to use it regularly then we suspect you might be better off spending your “optional extra appliance” money elsewhere. With cheaper brands of bread being readily available, and after factoring in the cost of ingredients and electricity, a breadmaker may not necessarily save you money either, but it will provide a nicer sandwich or piece of toast. And then there’s that wonderful smell... OHbaby! “usefulness” rating:
stick blenders The unsung hero of a young family’s kitchen, the stick blender can’t be praised highly enough. It really comes into its own when you’re starting a baby on solids — a stick blender can turn steamed fruit and vegies into purées within seconds. But wait, there’s more! Turn frozen fruit into delicious sorbets, whizz your winter soups, mash your potatoes (you may need a special attachment for this one), you can even whip cream (word of advice: over-do it and you’ve made your own butter). Plus stick blenders are easy to clean and don’t take up much room in your kitchen. A universal thumbs up! OHbaby! “usefulness” rating:
dust busters Hand-held vacuum cleaners, or dust busters, are all good in theory, but we have found they tend to lack the suction power necessary to make them really useful. So what should be a quick whip-round to rid the couch of cat hair or spilt glitter before the in-laws arrive is actually an exercise in frustration. It would have been quicker to haul out the vacuum cleaner. On the other hand, a dust buster is handy for cleaning the car and great for encouraging children to help out with housework. But make sure you invest wisely — a cheaper model will probably have minimal suction power and a shorter battery life so is best avoided. OHbaby! “usefulness” rating:
rice cookers Cooking rice can be deceptively tricky and many a pot has been burned by a distracted multi-tasking parent trying to cook dinner. Step in the electric rice cooker. Great for preparing meals in advance of the witching hour, with the added benefit of keeping the rice warm if meals are eaten in two shifts. But they are not foolproof apparently. One of our sales team admits to experiencing problems with both a lack of water and an excess of water, so don’t mess with the suggested ratio and you should be okay. OHbaby! “usefulness” rating:
leaf blowers We used to get by quite well with a broom, but nowadays the whine of a hundred motorised leaf blowers echoes around our suburbs on an otherwise peaceful Saturday morning. So do they pull their weight? The upside is they are fast and the results are instant and satisfying. The downside, they cost a lot more than a broom and, while sweeping gives you a workout, using a leaf blower potentially just annoys your neighbours. Also, they are noisy. But if you live under lots of leaf-dropping trees and your neighbours have their own leaf blower, you might as well join the chorus. OHbaby! “usefulness” rating:
pod system coffee machines We have a DeLonghi Nespresso machine in our office, but only one of us has forked out to have their own personal espresso machine at home. The verdict? Expensive but worth it. It will perk you up when daily café visits are no longer an option. OHbaby! “usefulness” rating: •For more detailed reviews and comparisons of these appliances, we recommend the Consumer website, consumer.org.nz.
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Hand-held vacuum cleaners are all good in theory, but we have found they tend to lack the suction power necessary to make them really useful. So what should be a quick whiparound before the in-laws arrive is actually an exercise in frustration.
Which steam mop? Which stick blender? Which breadmaker?
Get what’s right first time. visit consumer.org.nz/ohbaby
TRY JUST $10 FOR 3 MONTH S
As parents we all want to do whatâ€™s right for our children. From surrounding them with the best things to keeping them safe, there are a multitude of choices to be made - and not enough hours in the day to make them. Consumer provides a wealth of information and support for new families. Weâ€™re well researched and always there to provide answers on products, services and everyday issues affecting young families. A pretty good friend to have in your corner as you and your family begin a life together. Try Consumer at consumer.org.nz/ohbaby and avoid tears before bedtime.
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getting cosy TEn ways to warm up your home, from cheap and cheerful to better call your bank manager 1. Stop heat disappearing under your doors with a home-made draught stop, made out of fabric remnants and filled with rice. Cost: Approximately $25, or less if you recycle fabric, see opposite page for instructions.
is through the ceiling of your home so, depending on the available roof space, ceiling insulation is usually the cheapest and easiest way to insulate and will make the biggest difference to your heating bill.
2. Install extraction fans in the kitchen and bathroom to remove moisture from these two main sources. Fans and installation should cost you only a few hundred dollars. Cheaper still, open the windows first thing in the morning to circulate the air, bringing in fresher, drier air from outside.
6. Under-floor insulation: Another 10% of your home’s heat can be lost through the floor, so under-floor insulation is another logical step. Again, it is relatively cheap and easy to install, and will reduce moisture and dampness in your home.
3. Invest in heavier curtains and ensure you always close the curtains throughout the house before the sun sets to trap the day’s warmth inside. 4. Put rugs down on wooden floors or tiles, or lay carpet in bedrooms and living areas for a cosier environment. 5. Ceiling insulation: Up to 35% of heat loss
7. Install a heat pump: This is regarded as the most energy efficient form of electric heating for your home. Panasonic has a range of heat pumps available, starting at under $2000, including installation. 8. Install vented gas central heating. 9. Retro-fit double glazing on existing windows, or install new double-glazed windows if your budget allows.
The value of warm and dry houses is so significant that funding and grants are available to help New Zealanders insulate and warm up their homes. Check out energywise.govt.nz or smartenergysolutions.co.nz for more details on available funding, the latest insulation products and surveys to learn just how warm and healthy your home currently is.
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The World Health Organisation recommends homes have a minimum internal temperature of 18°C. Below 16°C there is an increased risk of respiratory disease so keeping your home warm will help keep you healthy. Source: asthmafoundation.org.nz 10. If your home was built before 1978, when some thermal insulation became a requirement in new homes, you may not have any insulation at all. It could be time to call a builder, rip out the existing plasterboard on walls and ceilings, insulate with the latest insulation materials, then re-line ceilings and walls. It will be messy and expensive, but well worth it. Costs start at $5000 per room.
DIY draught stop Got a breezy gap ’ underneath the door? Here s a crafty solution that ’ couldn t be simpler
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz).
you will need: l About half a metre of thick, strong fabric (needs to be at least a metre wide) l About 5kg rice l Scissors l Cotton l Sewing machine l Measuring tape
1. Measure your doorway. 2. Cut your fabric to size — the width of your doorway plus 5cm for seam allowance for the length and about 35cm wide. 3. Fold your fabric right sides together longways and sew, closing off one end and sewing down the full length of the fabric, leaving one end open. Sew again for extra reinforcement. 4. Turn right-side out. Reinforce the end with two rows of topstitching. This will then match the finish on the other end. 5. Fill with rice. 6. Fold in the edge of the open end and stitch closed with two rows of topstitching. l
family friendly energy-saving tips Raising a family takes a lot of energy. Here are some tips for saving money on your power bill while still keeping everyone warm, dry and well-fed cooking
around the house
A young family is likely to use a lot of electricity in the kitchen, and ovens are the biggest consumers. A typical electric oven draws about 2000 watts, compared with 700 watts for a microwave and 230 watts for a slow cooker. In other words, it costs roughly 50 cents per hour to run your oven (more for larger ovens), 18 cents per hour for your microwave and only five cents per hour for your slow cooker. That pre-cooked rotisserie chicken at the supermarket now seems like an even better idea for dinner! Tips for saving energy while cooking: • Go all 1950s and have a baking day. Or simply try to bake more than one thing when you have the oven on. For example, if you’re cooking a lasagne for dinner, make biscuits that can be baked once the lasagne comes out. You can freeze the surplus. • Use the fan-bake setting on your oven as this disperses the heat more efficiently, demanding less power from the oven. • Cook double the quantity in your slow cooker or in your oven and freeze a meal for another night. • Instead of filling the kettle to capacity every time, boil only the water you need.
• Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-saving bulbs • Teach the children to turn the lights off when they leave a room — when they can reach them of course! • Turn off appliances such as televisions and DVD players at the wall instead of leaving them on standby. This will save a small amount — perhaps $10-20 over a year. A more considerable saving can be gained from turning off your computer. • Heat the main family living area first and shut off any rooms you are not using. • Make sure the kids are wearing enough clothing. Layer up with merino and warm socks and slippers. Teach kids to dress to the conditions, rather than merely cranking up the heating system so they can wear T-shirts all year round. • Don’t dry clothing on indoor racks in unventilated areas. You will use up any energy you have saved to then get the moisture out of your home. • Invest in a heat pump, they are widely considered the most efficient way to heat your home. Running a typical 6kW heat pump with a four-star energy rating for six hours a day costs less than $11 per week (energywise.govt.nz).
The winter months can mean more washing for young families but alas fewer sunshine hours for getting it all dry! We asked the experts at Panasonic for the low-down on clothes dryers: Is it better to run the dryer only when full? This depends on the dryer. If it does not have a sensor then the clothes are dried using a timer function, which is very inefficient. Most dryers these days, however, have sensors that detect moisture levels and adjust the drying time accordingly. Panasonic’s NH-P70 heat pump dryer, for example, has intelligent twin sensors to continually monitor the dryness of the clothes. Ultimately, the more you put into a dryer the longer it will take, but the more efficient the machine the less it will cost in power consumption. Three main dryer types are available: Vented (tumble-dryer), condenser and heat pump. What is the difference? Vented and condenser dryers work by heating air with an element and then blowing this through the drum, which is inefficient due to the heat source. Heat pump dryers work by using the heat pump’s heat exchange — first heating the air, then blowing it through the drum, and finally passing the hot moist air back through the heat exchange where it is cooled and the moisture is removed before it is heated again to repeat the cycle in a continuous loop. So in dollars and cents, a vented 7kg tumble dryer (with a two-star energy rating) will cost you about $1.57 per load. A 7kg condenser dryer (also with a twostar energy rating) will cost you slightly less at $1.55 per load and a heat pump dryer, such as the Panasonic NH-P70G2WAU, with a six-star energy rating, will cost only 69 cents per load.
hot water Water heating is one of the biggest demands on energy in a typical New Zealand home. Installing a gas hot water system or even a solar water heater will save you money in the long run, but if neither of these are options, try these ways to save: • Ease your shower flow by replacing your shower head for one with a more efficient flow rate. • Take showers instead of baths and bathe babies in smaller baths — the Tummy Tub, for example, is excellent as it uses hardly any water and the water stays warmer for longer in the smaller area. • Wash laundry in cold water. • Rinse dishes in cold water in the sink (with the plug in) instead of rinsing them under running hot water.
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A healthy home with Panasonic Econavi technology ’ Panasonic s intelligent Econavi technology uses sensors to learn and predict your behaviour Panasonic Econavi washing machines l Sensors detect the laundry load to automatically reduce wash time and the amount of water used. l Less water used means lower power consumption and shorter wash times. l 4.5 star water rating and 4.5 star energy rating. l Inverter technology is key to performance. The inverter automatically changes the motor’s rotation and output based on sensors inside the washing machine to achieve perfectly clean clothes. l HydroActive+ uses 5 multi-directional showers to direct water to where it is needed most, helping achieve efficient washing in less time.
Panasonic Econavi Dryer l Inverter technology allows the dryer to adjust the drying temperature, protecting garments from damage. l Heat Pump technology is beneficial as it generates more heat and uses less energy, so as a result is more efficient and more environmentally friendly than conventional dryers. l Ability to choose from a variety of customized care programmes for a range of drying temperatures suitable for all clothing types, including wool, silk, nylon, lingerie and sportswear, without having to worry about damage or shrinkage. l 6 Star Energy efficiency – saving money and helping the environment.
Purchase any Panasonic washing machine or dryer between the 1st April and 30th June and receive a bonus Sheridan towel set worth $165. T&C’s apply. Go to panasonic.co.nz/promotions to redeem.
healthy never tasted so good! Wheat-free, low-dairy paleo food that's simply delicious Moroccan Lamb Skewers with Quinoa salad Moroccan Lamb Skewers 8 x 25cm branches of rosemary 600g lamb mince 1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped 1 Tbs ground cumin, toasted 1 tsp ground fennel seeds, toasted 2 tsp sea salt 1 egg, beaten Avocado oil, to drizzle Lemon wedges and small coriander sprigs to serve Quinoa Salad 1 cup quinoa 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander 2 Tbs chopped mint 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted Juice and grated zest of one lemon Start by putting the quinoa salad together. First cook the quinoa by bringing one and a half cups of salted water to the boil then adding the quinoa. Bring back to the boil, then immediately reduce to the lowest heat possible and simmer very gently, with the lid on, for 15 minutes. Don't stir it, touch it or remove it. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside with the lid still on, for about five minutes.
Then mix through the coriander, mint and pine nuts. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with the zest. Then set the quinoa aside. Now get on to your skewers. Preheat a barbecue grill or chargrill pan to a medium heat, then get your rosemary skewers ready by removing the leaves. Leave about 5cm with the leaves still on at one end. Combine the lamb mince, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, cumin, fennel and salt together in a bowl. Mix the ingredients well with your hands, then add the egg and mix again to combine all ingredients. Divide the meat mixture into eight equal amounts, then roll each of them into a ball. Place each ball on the end of a skewer, then slowly with your hands work the meat down the skewer to spread it evenly, to a length of about 10cm. Put the skewers in the fridge for 10 minutes to set firm, then, when they're ready, drizzle each chilled skewer with a little bit of avocado oil. Distribute the oil by hand along the meat. Place the skewers on the barbecue grill and cook them at a medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. You want the outside to be golden brown with a little crust, while the inside is just cooked and moist. Serve with quinoa salad, lemon wedges and a few small coriander sprigs.
or lá lÀ banana bread 2 cups almond meal 3 eggs 2 Tbs nut butter (we like peanut) 2 Tbs coconut oil, and a little bit extra to grease the pan 2 very ripe bananas, mushed up 1 Tbs chia seeds 1/2 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and crushed 1 tsp ground cinnamon Coconut yoghurt or butter, to serve Start by preheating the oven to 180°C, then grease a 10cm x 20cm loaf tin with coconut oil and line with baking paper.
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In a bowl, combine the almond meal, eggs, nut butter and coconut oil. Mix well into a nice batter. Now add the banana, chia seeds, shredded coconut, walnuts and cinnamon and combine well. Pour the mixture into the tin and use a knife or spatula to level the surface. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the loaf is golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the tin — that's if you can resist eating it — before turning it out. Serve with some coconut yoghurt or butter.
coconut and lime tartletS Coconut Crust 1 and 1/2 cups shredded coconut 1/4 cup flax meal 8 pitted dates 1 Tbs coconut oil, melted 1 tsp vanilla extract Pinch of sea salt Coconut Lime Filling 1 cup fresh, young coconut flesh (about two coconuts) 1 small avocado 1/3 cup lime juice 100ml coconut nectar or maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract finely grated zest of 2 limes Pinch of sea salt 2 Tbs coconut oil, melted 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, crushed, to serve Start by greasing four 10cm round tartlet tins with removable bases. To make the coconut crust, put all the ingredients in a food processor and combine until the mixture is moist and sticky.
Now divide the mixture between the tartlet tins, pressing down to make a firm base and side, then pop them in the fridge to chill. To make the filling, put all the ingredients except the macadamia nuts in a food processor and combine until smooth. Spoon the filling into the tartlet crusts then use a knife or spatula to smooth the top. Put the tartlets in the freezer for two to four hours, or until completely frozen. (You can chill them overnight if you want to.) Once the filling is frozen solid, remove the tartlets from the tins. Let them thaw for 20 minutes before serving. While the tartlets are thawing, line an oven tray with baking paper and top with the crushed macadamias. Pop them in the oven at 180Â°C for eight to 12 minutes or until toasted and browned. Sprinkle the tarts with the macadamias, then serve.
Bacon and zucchini muffins Coconut oil to grease pan 40g unsalted macadamia nuts 3 large eggs 1/2 cup avocado oil 3/4 cup butter milk 1 cup quinoa flour 1 cup amaranth flour 1/2 tsp bicarb soda 1 tsp baking powder Pinch of sea salt 3 small zucchini, grated Ground black pepper 100g just-cooked bacon, cut into small pieces
Extract reproduced from Clean Living Cookbook by Scott Gooding and Luke Hines (Hachette, RRP$39.99) with the permission of Hachette New Zealand. Available where all good books are sold.
Start by preheating the oven to 200oC, then prepare a 12-hole muffin tray with coconut oil or some paper liners so the batter doesn't stick. Place 30g of the macadamia nuts on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Reserve the rest. Put the tray in the oven and toast the macadamias, keeping an eye on them so they don't burn. Once they are cool enough, crush them up into smaller chunky pieces. While the nuts are baking,
whisk the eggs in a bowl and add the avocado oil and butter milk then set the mixture aside. In another bowl combine the quinoa and amaranth flours, the bicarb soda, baking powder and sea salt. Once the dry ingredients are combined add in the wet ingredients, along with the zucchini, the crushed, toasted macadamias, a little pepper and 75g of the bacon. Reserve the rest of the bacon to sprinkle on top. Mix very gently with a fork until just combined â€” the mixture should still look lumpy. (if you over-mix it, the muffins will be too dense.) Divide the mixture among the 12 muffin holes and top with the reserved bacon and reserved finely chopped macadamias. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. You will know they are ready when you can pierce them with a skewer and it comes out clean. Let them cool and devour at your will.
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Hi there, I’m Sam...
a mother of two, and a child and family lifestyle photographer. My passion is to capture your children as they are — their innocent, cheeky moments and your sweet family in a natural, fun, honest way. I aim to give families special images of themselves — photos that you can look at and say...
“That’s us! That’s the way she crinkles up her nose, and the way he smiles at me” — all those natural, beautiful moments, caught on camera. What’s important to me are the personal touches and location that are unique to you. So your home is the backdrop, or maybe it’s the woods or fence, whatever floats your boat and speaks to you as a family. I guarantee your pictures won’t look identical to any other family shoot I do. I watch for the moments between the moments. I love to tell stories. Let me tell yours. I invite you to see my work by visiting me at
My other passion is teaching and for the fourth year now I have been hosting Love and Soul Photography Workshops for mums. These are held in Australia and New Zealand and aim to teach mums how to use those fancy cameras to get the best shots of your precious little ones. For more information on the workshops visit:
w w w . s a m m o t h e r s o l e . c o . n z
WIN a Panasonic heat pump dryer worth $3300! With Panasonic’s unique Inverter and Heat Pump technology the new NH-P70 delivers a unique combination of: • Variable drying temperatures, thanks to Inverter technology to dry everything from delicates to woollens. • Whisper-quiet operation so noise won’t disrupt the household. • Six-star energy rating for energy efficiency and no nasty surprises on your power bill. • Large door for easy unloading, especially for large items such as blankets.
For more information on the Panasonic NH-P70 please visit panasonic.co.nz/HeatPumpDryer
how to enter the draw
Go online to ohbaby.co.nz and click on “competitions” to find the entry form (one entry only per household) or send your name, address, daytime phone number and email address on the back of an envelope to: OHbaby! Panasonic Reader Prize, PO Box 800-81, Green Bay, Waitakere 0643 before 5pm Sunday, 8 June 2014. To enter just answer this simple question: What is the name of Panasonic new heat pump dryer? terms and conditions: You may enter only once. There is one Panasonic heat pump dryer to be won. Prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and may not be exchanged for cash. The winner will be notified by phone or email by 30 June 2014. Entrants will be advised of who has won the prize by way of a one-time email. Employees of OHbaby! Limited, Panasonic and their immediate families and agencies are not eligible to enter.
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exclusive prizes for readers of OHbaby! Magazine Avent Breastcare Pack
All women are different and everyone experiences breastfeeding in a different way. From Thermopads to soothe tender breasts to our unique Disposable Night Breast Pads, Philips AVENT offers a range of breastcare accessories to support you. We have five Philips AVENT packs to give away worth $112.95 each, containing: •Philips AVENT 2-in-1 Thermopads •Philips AVENT Breast Shells •Philips AVENT Washable Breast Pads (six-pack) •Philips AVENT Disposable Breast Pads — Day (60-pack) •Philips AVENT Disposable Breast Pads — Night (30-pack)
Designed for families with two to three younger children, the Family Food Bag will delight your taste buds as well as those of your little ones. You’ll get delicious, nutritious recipes and ingredients delivered to your door for five dinners. Your kids will love dinner time! We’ve got four weeks' worth of My Food Bag to give to three lucky families, each prize worth $636!
Playgro for babies
Suitable from birth, this Playgro Gym is designed to encourage baby's play time and tummy time. It includes detachable toys and arms plus mat features that assist baby with learning to reach, touch and feel. We have five Playgro Gyms to give away, each worth $110.
The new Mountain Buggy nano plus capsule Buddy Newborn Essentials
Buddy New Zealand specialises in 100% merino garments. Naturally soft and breathable, the Luxury Heirloom Collection features exquisite capes, blankets and hand-knitted newborn essentials. View the full collection at www.buddynz.co.nz. We have two Newborn Essentials prize packs from Buddy New Zealand to give away. Each pack contains a hooded cape, matinée jacket, beanie and bootees, and is worth $250.
Win the new Mountain Buggy Nano AND the Protect car seat capsule. We’ve got one of Mountain Buggy’s award-winning Nano travel strollers, worth $399, to give away, plus one of their Protect car seat capsules, worth $249, allowing you to use the Nano as a complete travel system.
HOW DO I ENTER THE PRIZE DRAW? All our competitions are available to enter at our website, ohbaby.co.nz/competitions. Simply answer the Giveaway Question on each entry, pop in your details and you’re in the draw to win. If you’d prefer, you can post us your entry (including the answer to the Giveaway Question), by writing your name, address, phone number and email address on the back of an envelope and sending it to: OHbaby! Magazine Competitions, PO Box 800-81, Green Bay, Auckland, 0643. terms and conditions Entries must include the answer to the Giveaway Question you find at ohbaby.co.nz/competitions. Only one entry per household per competition. Competitions close 15/06/2014 and will be drawn on 23/06/2014. Prizes will be dispatched by 22/07/2014. Prizes are not transferrable, not redeemable for cash and no exchanges will be made. Prizes will be sent to a New Zealand address only. Employees of OHbaby! Ltd and their immediate families are not eligible to enter the draw. The judges’ decision is final.
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ask our experts Do you have a question about pregnancy or parenting? The OHbaby! team of experts is on hand to help toddler waking in the night
My almost three year old is still waking several times in the night. We have a good bedtime routine and he goes to sleep really easily in his own bed with music playing in an almost dark room and with a cuddly. He sleeps very deeply for the first few hours and then starts waking from 11pm onwards – up to four times a night. He always wants a drink of water, I resettle him and mostly within five or 10 minutes I can be back in bed, but the repeat waking is leaving us both very tired and grumpy. He was a good sleeper as a newborn, then starting solids was terrible – the doctor thought he had silent reflux, then food intolerances. He has had a few intervals of days and weeks where he has slept through but mostly he has always woken through the night. We have tried so many things so would appreciate any advice that you could give. OHbaby! sleep expert Dorothy Waide replies: It is difficult when you have a toddler waking at night and often it is hard to know where to start. I’d like you to consider the following points to see if they might help: •It is important to look at his daytime routine. Three year olds are very busy and don’t really need a nap, however in my experience sometimes they need a power nap so it should be short and sweet – anywhere from five to 15 minutes is normally long enough. •You mention he has a good bedtime routine but I do wonder whether his bedtime is too late for him. I would suggest having him in bed by 6.45pm and see if this makes a difference.
•As to the music at night-time, I would suggest stopping it for 10 days to see if this helps. Instead of having music playing you could record a song or story in your own voice and then teach him how to play it during the night if he wants the comfort of your voice. •With regard to his diet, you mention in further correspondence that he eats lots of fresh fruit. A toddler needs only two servings of fruit a day. Some foods can contribute to night-waking and one of the more common ones is hard cheese. If you feel that his night-waking may be the result of certain foods, keep a food diary and watch over a period of time to see whether any foods highlight this.
Some foods can contribute to night-waking and one of the more common ones is hard cheese. •If he likes to drink water through the night put a sippy cup of water next to his bed and explain that as he is a big boy he can help himself during the night. When he calls out to you, try to stand at the bedroom door and talk to him in a calm voice. He will, over time, understand that you are not coming into the room, but you are there for him. If this is too big a step then start by going into his room and, over time, taking a step back so eventually you are at the door. •Although you have tried the reward chart, I suggest you give it another go. Perhaps you could tell your toddler that the "Sleep Fairy" will leave a reward for him in the morning if he has not called out to you overnight. Bear in mind that any reward must be significant enough to outweigh his desire to see you during the night and he will receive it only if he doesn’t call out to you at all. It takes a minimum of three weeks to change a toddler's circadian sleep cycle with 100% consistency so I always advise parents that it will take around six weeks. It also takes a minimum of 10 days to see a dim light at the end of the tunnel – if you're not seeing any signs of improvement after 10 days then whatever you are doing needs to be tweaked. The first three to four days are always the hardest so all of these points are important to remember while encouraging your toddler to resettle during the night.
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ask our experts Do you have a question about pregnancy or parenting? The OHbaby! team of experts is on hand to help getting over a rough start
I really need some advice on getting my five-month-old son into his cot. He had a rough start with a lip and tongue tie which severely interfered with his feeding — it was treated when he was three weeks old. He also has severe reflux that is finally under control using medication, however, initially he would only sleep upright, so on me. I know he now feels more comfortable like that. He initially wouldn't sleep during the day at all — it took until he was five weeks old for that to happen. He is a very stubborn little boy who likes being involved in everything. OHbaby! Sleep Expert Dorothy Waide replies: Looking over your routine and taking into account the age and weight of your son, I think he is probably ready for solids. However, before doing this I would recommend that we try to sort out his sleeping and feeding issues before embarking on the solids front. Bear in mind that babies' tummies empty relatively quickly and, going by the extra information you provided, I do wonder whether you are trying to settle your little man on a nearly empty tummy. Here is a suggested routine for him, along with settling and resettling notes: At five months, I would be looking at having an awake time of two and three quarter hours and by the time he is six months, ideally his awake time will be three hours with two naps of a minimum one and a half hours. 7am: Wakes 7.10am: Feeds 9.30am: Top-up. This will not cause a feed/sleep association as long as you feed, put him into his sleeping bag and then into the cot.
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9.45am: Nap of a minimum of one and a half hours. Resettle him if he wakes before this. 11.25am: Feed 1.45pm: Top-up, same as above 2pm: Nap, same as above 3.40pm: Feed Evening routine: bath, feed 6.15pm: Bed for the night To teach him to self-settle and resettle in his cot, I would suggest for 10 days either doing the settling and resettling in your arms, without walking, rocking or swaying. Then after 10 days start to do it in the cot. If you decide to do it in your arms then once he is in his sleeping bag put him in the cot and start from there. I would then suggest that the morning nap could be a moving one and the afternoon one in his cot. Until you stop doing a movement that cannot be done in the cot it will be difficult to transfer or start him to settle in the cot. For more info, refer to OHbaby! Magazine issue 24 for my settling techniques.
my baby wakes too early
My baby boy is 11 months old and previously would sleep until 6.30-7am. But suddenly in the past week or two he’s started waking up at 5.30am or earlier and won’t go back to sleep. What do you think has changed and what can I do about it? There are various reasons why he may have started waking so let's look at some of them. Before changing anything my question is, do you think he is getting enough sleep and/or is he tired and grumpy in the latter part of the day? When toddlers are going to bed overtired, it can contribute to night-waking. To avoid this I would suggest changing his routine slightly by giving him his morning tea (milk bottle) at 9.30–9.45am and having his first nap around 9.45-10am, lunch at midday and going down for his nap around 1-1.30pm. Ideally, his awake time before his nap will be about three hours. Sometimes moving the evening routine by 15 to 30 minutes either side of the current time can encourage children to sleep longer in the mornings. I would suggest bringing bed time back by 15 minutes so he goes to bed at 6.45pm and see if that helps. When he goes down for his naps and for bed at night are you helping him to fall asleep or is he self-settling? If you are helping him to do this, then you would need to look at encouraging him to self-settle. When toddlers have help to settle or have someone in the room until they go to sleep, this can cause them to night-wake especially in the early hours as they are looking for Mum. Sometimes by putting toys in his cot (these need to be soft and non-hazardous) he may learn to play with them and might doze off to sleep.
Each standard tests to a different set of minimum requirements, but some seats significantly exceed the minimum requirements and provide better protection for your child .
The other question would be: Is he cutting his teeth or is he ready for a big developmental step? Both of these can contribute to either night-waking or early morning-waking. In my experience, it's good to ensure there is no sun sneaking in behind the curtains or through the cracks at the side of the windows, using good black-out blinds (preferably with a cassette system with side glides). Conduct a simple experiment to see if this is the issue by blacking out your windows with black rubbish bags for a few days. You will quickly reach a conclusion as to whether it's an issue. As you can see there is no easy answer to the early morning wake-ups as there are so many reasons for why he may be doing it. However, as it is a new development, in my experience he will revert back to sleeping in longer in the mornings.
pregnancy and PCOS
I have PCOS and I’m 26, hoping to have a baby in the next few years. What are the chances of me conceiving naturally? Will I need to take drugs to get pregnant or is my only option to have IVF? Also, I’ve read on the internet about avoiding wheat and dairy. Should I be changing my diet if I want to get pregnant? OHbaby! Fertility Expert Dr Richard Fisher replies: Most women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) whose cycles are not too irregular will conceive by themselves in time. If ovulation is intermittent and menstrual cycles are significantly abnormal certainly the use of ovulation stimulation drugs such as Clomiphene will enhance the chance of conception. What your underlying chance is month-by-month will depend on whether you ovulate and that is not information you have given me. IVF can be a solution for any fertility problem but it is certainly not the first step for most people with PCOS. It would seem sensible to discuss with a fertility specialist what things you could do to enhance your chances of conceiving. There is no evidence that any particular diet will make a significant difference to your chance of conception (excluding, of course, the extremes). A good place to look for help is in Alice Gormack’s nutrition advice part of our website at fertilityassociates.co.nz.
so many car seats, how do I choose?
There are so many car seat options out there on the market at present and all vary greatly in price. There are ones that are European imports available for less than $90 but are these any less safe than the $300-plus options available from baby stores? Also, is it safe for the seats not to have a tether strap? OHbaby! Consumer Expert Belinda Castles replies: Child car seats sold in New Zealand must be certified to one of three approved standards. This should mean that the design and construction of the child restraint is laboratory-tested under crash conditions. Each standard tests to a different set of minimum requirements, but some seats significantly exceed the minimum requirements and provide better protection for your child. You can see the results from two international testing programmes (in Australia and Europe) at www.consumer.org.nz as well as information about the safety standards and Consumer’s buying checklist. A tether strap (which stops the restraint tipping forward in a crash) doesn't necessarily make a seat safer than a seat designed without a tether. But if the seat has one it must be used — the safety standard on the car seat includes the use of the tether strap and not using it will compromise the safety of the seat. Most child restraints used in New Zealand have upper tether straps but if your seat
experts meets the European standard it may not have one. Any child car restraint must be installed correctly at all times so always follow the manufacturer’s specifications. Make sure the seat is suitable for the age, weight, height and physique of your child.
My parents gave me a buggy with an attachable bassinet. We used the bassinet for more than six months before putting the seat and hood on the buggy. However, the hood does not fit (it's askew to the buggy), meaning we cannot do it up at the back to stop wind or sun getting in. We have sent emails to the company but they say we would have noticed this when first using it so it's our problem not theirs. I emailed them when we first used it (back in mid-to-late November) however they still deny it's a fault with their product. Even the shop my parents got it from says it should be replaced but that it has to be done through the company, not them. What can I do about this? I cannot in good faith on-sell it as I know it is faulty and not due to us (we kept it in its box all that time so it couldn't be damaged). Belinda replies: Consumer recommends you go back to the retailer and get them to sort out the problem under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). Under the CGA goods must be of an acceptable quality and be fit for purpose. A hood that does not fit the buggy properly isn’t fit for purpose and the retailer has already acknowledged that there is a problem. The retailer can choose whether to replace, refund or repair the hood but as the seller of the product they are responsible for meeting the guarantees of the act. Any supplier agreement the store has with the manufacturer is not your problem. If they still insist you deal directly with the manufacturer they will be breaching the Fair Trading Act for misleading you about your consumer rights. You may then have to take up the matter with the Disputes Tribunal. You can find out more about your consumer rights and the Disputes Tribunal at www.consumer.org.nz.
fitting three kids in the back
I have three beautiful little people and I need to fit them into the back seat of my
Ask The Experts is the place for all your questions on pregnancy, birth and parenting. Send us a question by going to ohbaby.co.nz/community/ ohbaby!-experts.
car. I have a very tall three month old, a nearly-three year old and a nearly-four year old. At the moment Isaac is in his capsule, Zoe is in a SKEP convertible car seat and James in an Evenflo Symphony. Isaac will very soon be too tall for the capsule and I figure I'm probably going to have to buy three new seats. I have no idea which car seats to look into. Can you suggest which seats would be suitable? I also want to be able to keep Isaac rear-facing for as long as possible and, unfortunately, upgrading to a people mover is just not financially possible. Belinda replies: I can sympathise. It’s somewhere between very tricky and impossible fitting three car seats into the back seat of many cars. The most suitable child restraints will vary depending on your child’s size and your vehicle size. Our advice is to take your car and children to a shop that sells a wide selection of child restraints. This way, you can try a range of seats to see which ones are compatible with the fittings in your car and will fit comfortably. Another option if you don’t want to buy new seats is to visit your local Plunket rental service (again with your car and kids) and find out what seats are available to rent. You can find your nearest service at www.plunket.org.nz. If you want to do some research on different car restraints check out the results from two international testing programmes (in Australia and Europe) at www.consumer.org.nz as well as information about safety standards and Consumer’s buying checklist.
My eight-week-old baby gets hay fever. She sneezes a lot and gets congested but my main concern is her eyes. They are very watery and she gets a large buildup of sleep at night. We have tried breast milk and drops but nothing works. In fact, the breast milk made it worse. OHbaby! Expert and Naturopath Natasha Berman-Carter replies: It does sound as if your baby is suffering from seasonal allergy. If this condition has been going on for a while there may also be a low-grade infection, together with the underlying allergic reaction. I would recommend using Weleda Gencydo Eyedrops and Quintessence Allergy Drops as a natural antihistamine effect. l
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lessons from my mother “A friend recently said Mum and I are more like sisters than mother and daughter,” Alana Houghton says of her mum Lynnette. “Its true, being like sisters, Mum and I are great friends and I hope that one day my daughter and I will have the same great relationship.” Alana and her siblings grew up in a very “down to earth” way: “My parents found out my brother had a dairy intolerance when he was a toddler. You couldn’t buy rice milk at the supermarket, so they went out and
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bought a goat. Mum would milk the goat twice a day.” Lynnette’s wisdom resonates with Alana daily. “Mum told me, ‘When you have a baby in your arms you just need to use your intuition to connect with her. Only take advice from people who have themselves succeeded in what you’re trying to do or learn.’ “I try to parent gently, patiently and intuitively and I’m so thankful my mother helped empower me to do that.” From left: Alana Houghton, Lucca Houghton (two) and Lynnette Lord.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz)
Alana Houghton looks up to her down-to-earth mum
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