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SUPPORTING PARENTS THROUGH THE EARLY YEARS
JUNE 2016 – JULY 2016
Twice the fun
Parenting twins What they don’t tell you... Doing it alone Support is invaluable Blessed beyond measure
Winter warmers Keep your home cosy Wrap up warm and toasty
a little bit easier Tools to help you conquer fatherhood
Snap happy Take great smartphone photos
Matariki A uniquely Kiwi celebration
The magazine of Parents Centres New Zealand Inc
Parenting tips • Childbirth • Dad's Blog • Breastfeeding • Lifestyle • Family health
always mean good?
Natural health products and therapies continue to rise in popularity and many companies promote their products using terms like “all natural”, preservative free”, “organic” and “chemical free”. However, the exact meaning of these terms is not always clear and the use of these terms on labels is confusing and sometimes misleading. It is important to use a science-based approach to assessing what personal care products will suit you, especially when buying for a young family. Professor Shaun Holt, a doctor, researcher, author, commentator and advisor believes this rise in popularity of “natural products” is partly due to disillusionment with modern medicines and the big drug companies. “Proponents of natural health focus on adverse events,” he says. “However, it is sometimes forgotten that the products that the pharmaceutical industry make are also responsible for improving, lengthening and saving the lives of hundreds of millions of people each year, and I argue that the benefits far exceed the harm.” Professor Holt notes many people also assume that natural health products are safe, but there are number of ways in which they can cause harm, some of which are not immediately obvious. When choosing personal care products, choices should be based on products that are scientifically and clinically proven to be safe, particularly if they are being used as part of a treatment plan. If you are using natural products in this way it is important to talk this through with your healthcare professional as some botanical or herbal extracts can damage sensitive skin.
You and everything else on this planet are made of chemicals and we would quickly die without them. But, while there is no such thing as a toxic chemical, there is definitely such a thing as a toxic dose. Essentially, all chemicals are safe at a low enough dose, and all chemicals are toxic at a high enough dose. You cannot know whether a chemical is dangerous without knowing the dose in the product and the dose at which it becomes toxic. Similarly, “natural” chemicals are not automatically good and “artificial” chemicals are not automatically bad. Nature is full of chemicals that are dangerous such as cyanide and arsenic, so “natural” does not always mean ‘healthy’. Chemical compounds are made by combining different elements and the final product may not behave the same way as its individual parts. For example, sodium is extremely reactive and will explode if it touches water, and chlorine is highly toxic. But, when we combine them we get sodium chloride, which is better known as ordinary table salt. So, if you hear that a skincare product contains a dangerous chemical, make sure that the chemical isn’t bound to something that makes it safe. Any organically sourced natural chemical can be harmless, beneficial… or hazardous.
In reality, it is simply not possible to be “chemical free” – everything is made of chemicals. You consist entirely of chemicals. All food and skincare products – organic, natural and herbal included – are made entirely of chemicals. In fact, you could only survive without chemicals for a minute or two, after that you would suffocate from a lack of oxygen. You are a miraculous biochemical machine and everything you do is driven by chemical reactions inside your body.
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Photo Credit: Jo Frances Photography www.jofrancesphotography.co.nz
Twice the fun – Life with twins......................................... 8–15
Letters to the editor....................................................................4–5
What they don’t tell you about twins Fraser May................................................................................... 8–10
The wisdom of parents..........................................................11
Making life that little bit easier
Doing it alone
Support is invaluable
Cath Short and Claire Light....................................................14–15
Keep warm and toasty this winter.................................16–19 Snap happy: take great photos on your smartphone Tanja Dove......................................................................................26–29
The big picture: feeding multiples Lorraine Taylor................................................................................30–33
Packed with hidden vegetables
Babies don’t bounce ..............................................................36–38
My Food Bag kitchen...................................................................34–35
Warm up for winter ..............................................................48–51
Parents Centre pages.............................................................39–43
Providing protection for mums and newborn babies
Find a centre.....................................................................................44
Responding to change Diane Thornton and Mary Woods............................................56–59
Uniquely kiwi: Te Reo Ma-ori............................................62–63
A remedy for modern times Judy Coldicott..................................................................................60–61
Putting down roots in Aotearoa Kerstin Kramar...............................................................................64–66
Blessed beyond measure Alex Weehuizen............................................................................68–72
Does natural always mean good?............................................ 1
kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Directory pages.........................................................................74–75 Shopping cart.............................................................................76–79 Giveaways...........................................................................................80
SUPPORTING PARENTS THROUGH THE EARLY YEARS
JUNE 2016 – JULY 2016
NEWSFLASH: Parents may not ALWAYS mess up their children – The Huffington Post I wonder how many billions of words of advice have been written for parents over the years?
Twice the fun This issue we look at different families raising twins – contributors share their experiences of raising two beautiful babies at the same time. Twin dad Fraser May reflects on the blur of the first four years (pages 8–10) and solo mum Anna Younger shares some insights after her decision to ‘do it alone’ with her baby girls (pages 12–13). Strong support networks made all the difference to twin mums Cath Short and Claire Light (pages 14–15) and Lorraine Taylor gives helpful information on breastfeeding twins (pages 30–33). Finally, Alex Weehuizen shares the highs and lows of her birth experience after her twins were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (pages 68–72).
Uniquely kiwi – Te Reo Ma-ori During the winter months we celebrate Matariki. Language is such an essential part of who we are as people and as a nation and Te Reo Ma-ori is an integral part of Aotearoa especially for the generations to come. Whaea Erin Robertson shares with us why Te Reo Ma-ori is one treasure that we ought to put into our children’s basket to nurture them as they grow.
Kiwiparent – Since 1954 the magazine of Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Editor
Leigh Bredenkamp Ph (04) 472 1193 Fax (04) 938 6242 Mobile (0274) 572 821 leighb@e–borne.co.nz PO Box 28 115, Kelburn, 6150
Editorial Enquiries Ph (04) 233 2022 or (04) 472 1193 info@e–borne.co.nz
Taslim Parsons Ph (04) 233 2022 x8804 Mobile 021 1860 323 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Viv Gurrey, Chief Executive Officer, Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Ph (04) 233 2022 Opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher. Advertising in this magazine does not imply endorsement by Parents Centres. Generally material in this publication may be reproduced provided it is used for non-commercial purposes and the source is acknowledged. However, written permission must be sought from the editor. Kiwiparent is proud to support the WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981.
ISSN 1173–7638 www.kiwiparent.co.nz
To paraphrase British comedian Jo Brand – the trouble with all the advice you read is that authors can’t help but impose their own personal philosophies and value judgements on what they write. So child rearing advice covers the full continuum from the ultra hippie/ naturalist view which recommends putting the child outside with the rabbit and just see what happens, to the far right/disciplinarian view which advises locking them in a cupboard from the time they learn to speak. While this does somewhat overstate things, it is true that there are thousands of self-proclaimed experts out there ready to dish up advice – and guilt – to unsuspecting parents. Over-hyping parenting issues is perennially popular. In April a Waitemata DHB antenatal class made media headlines when a class attendee complained publicly about the advice she was given. This sparked a debate about consistency and quality of childbirth classes around the country with extra helpings of vitriol and misinformation. It is difficult to find a parenting section on a website that doesn’t feature thunderous headlines about all-out war between breastfeeding and bottlefeeding parents. Does your child have ADHD? Is your little one overweight? Not sleeping through the night? Spending too much time online? Having a tantrum? Well, parents, according to media experts, it is probably all your fault... I think this is incredibly sad. If there is one thing we should have learned, it is that there are many ways to raise a child, and there are many different experts who will offer seemingly contradictory advice to parents desperate to do the best they can for their child. Of course, this does not mean that all advice is bad or unhelpful. I remember devouring books on child-rearing when my children were little. Although I seldom agreed with everything an author wrote, I inevitably found something that I could apply to my situation and gradually I amassed knowledge, which grew over time with the best teacher being on-the-job experience. I believe there is great pool of collective child-rearing wisdom which we can dip into when we feel we need a bit of support and advice. This knowledge bank can be accessed by talking with other parents and caregivers who have gone through similar challenges. Their experiences can be helpful and reassuring. But one thing is certain – there is no single right, or wrong, way to go about the job of parenting. Most of us are just trying to do our best and appreciate a kind word of encouragement far more than criticism or unsolicited advice. Because the reality is you are doing a fantastic job. So stop feeling guilty about the things that others believe you should have done differently and celebrate the awesome job you do! Leigh Bredenkamp
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letters to the editor Top letter
Congratulations to the top letter winner Sarah Pinchin from Wellington who receives a set Lipid oil products valued at $60.
Top letter winner
Lipidol is a new range of everyday oil based skincare developed by Union Swiss, the makers of Bio-Oil. The range consists of 6 products that bring oil into daily skincare, helping the skin to retain its moisture. Available from Farmers stores and selected pharmacies and supermarkets. RRP $9.95.
The key to making informed choices
As first-time parents my husband and I were very keen to learn as much as we could about the upcoming birth of our baby. Parents Centres childbirth education classes came with high praise from friends who had previously attended these and found them really helpful. We found the course to be of great benefit to us.
I am glad that Sarah and her husband found their childbirth education class lived up to their expectations â€“ thanks for taking the time to let us know how beneficial and valuable your Parents Centre classes were.
The sessions were delivered in a clear, open and mindful way. We were encouraged to ask questions which we freely did in our group. I felt that we were presented with balanced information, options and perspectives that were evidence based. This allowed us to make more informed choices around things like our birth plan or how to prepare for the arrival of our new bundle of joy. We feel very lucky to have had the group of parents that we journeyed through the Parents Centre course with and who we still keep in close contact with. We went from Mums with bumps to Mums with bubs, what a joy! I now recommend to other first-time parents that they also attend a similar course because of the great value it was to us.
Sarah Pinchin, Wellington
In April, we were aware of extensive media coverage of an antenatal class run through the Waitemata DHB which sparked considerable debate about the quality and consistency of childbirth education in New Zealand. Parents Centres is the largest supplier of childbirth education classes throughout the country. All our classes are run by fully qualified childbirth educators and we have a nationwide focus on consistency and accessibility. We are totally committed to providing expectant parents with unbiased, evidence based, clear and concise information so that individuals can make their own informed choices in conjunction with their midwife or other Lead Maternity Carer. The purpose of our childbirth classes is not to give answers but to facilitate discussion and stimulate inquiry, thereby opening up avenues for you to question and explore what is best for your family. After all, it is your body, your birth, your baby, and therefore your decision.
Liz Pearce, Childbirth Education Manager, Parents Centres New Zealand Inc
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Traditional tales with a contemporary twist
A brand new children’s mythology series has recently been released by Ma-ori Television. Kete Ko- rero – My Ma-ori Myths – is a web series that combines live action drama with animation to open the world of Ma-ori mythology. Designed for young children and their families, Kete Ko-rero explores the values and lessons contained in some well known Ma-ori stories and makes them relevant to contemporary New Zealand life. Each episode is available in four language combinations with narration and dialogue switching between Ma-ori and English. Kete Ko-rero airs on Ma-ori Television during the Tamariki Zone from 6–7:30pm and all episodes are also available online along with additional content. Join Mana, Pa-nia, Rangi and friends to learn more about everyday lessons told with Ma-ori flair and creativity.
Connect with parents at your stage, discuss with others, find local babysitting and coffee groups! .
a wealth of helpful resources – TIPS, INFO, PRODUCT REVIEWS, CONTACTS, NEWS & more
Interact and ask questions, give answers, share your story or knowledge with forums.
entry to prize draws, free product samples, plus relevant info emails through each stage.
A magical trip down the yellow brick road One of the world’s best-loved stories, The Wizard of Oz, has been lovingly crafted by the Royal New Zealand Ballet into a spell binding two-act spectacle. Artistic Director, Francesco Ventriglia has stayed true to the tale of Dorothy and her friends’ magical journey to the Emerald City. Each character has their own dance vocabulary – classical pointe work, barefooted contemporary ballet, and even ruby slipper tap dancing.
We lost ourselves in the captivating world of Oz; the porcelain world, Munchkins in 1930s style bathing suits, bare-chested flying monkeys, butterfly-gowned good witch, exaggerated bustle and black corset fand golden crown for the amazing wicked witch and of course loads of green sequins, red glitter and gingham. It’s a feast for the eyes! We felt we were with Dorothy on her journey as she learns that quick wits, compassion and courage – and just a touch of magic – are inside us all. The Wizard of Oz is touring New Zealand through May and June. www.rnzb.org.nz
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Taslim Parsons, Wellington
Win 0 $25ro0 c du ts
The stunning sets and costumes bring Dorothy and her friends – and foes – to sparkling life in a way that will enchant audiences of all ages. This is a perfect show to introduce young children to the wonders of ballet, my nine year old was riveted and loved every minute.
Y EA R S
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product information page Sleep and play warm this winter Babu has an incredible range of merino clothing and bedding for you this winter. Our 100% merino wool sleeping bags will keep your wee ones warm and your wallet happy with an RRP of $129.00. Join our mailing list for a further 15% off with our mailing list only discount code. Sized from three months to two years with a threeseason weight, this is a great all round bag and comes with the Babu quality guarantee. www.babu.co.nz
Let the kids ‘go to town’, whatever the weather It’s all part of learning and developing. But now you won’t have to worry about them being wet or cold! Just because your youngest is still at the crawling stage, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to follow their big brother or sister outside to play – but in winter they seem to spend most of the time with soaking wet pants and freezing cold legs due to the damp/wet ground. Sound familiar? LittleDucks toddlerwear can change all of this. By wearing the fully waterproof jackets, overalls or fleece-lined overalls, they can now enjoy winter days at the beach or the park, a morning at Playcentre (they are great for keeping the paint off clothes!) or even just
Staying up and staying on! Proudly made in New Zealand from fine merino wool, Lamington Socks are renowned for staying up and staying on, the perfect substitute for booties and a gorgeous fashion statement for older children. These award winning knee-high socks are a musthave item for every new baby and busy kiwi kid. Available for Mums and Dads too. New to the 2016 Lamington range are the sweetest teeny-tiny prem sizes and merino tights which provide an extra wool layer on those chilly winter days. Head to www.lamington.co.nz and try Lamington for yourself. WARNING, Lamingtons are highly addictive! www.lamington.co.nz
kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
helping Mum wash the car at the weekend. And it keeps Dad happy because he has less washing to do! LittleDucks outdoor toddlerwear is lightweight and fully waterproof. The PU membrane shields the water and other liquids from the clothing layer, and with the polyester interior, it’s an extra layer of warmth for your child. All this, whilst being lightweight and flexible, with a range of vibrant colours, to ensure your child can do what comes naturally – be kids! www.littleducks.co.nz
Shopping with young children just got easier! Buggy Bench easily attaches to any size shopping trolley, instantly creating a second seat. The safety belt keeps your child secure and safely seated inside the trolley, making the shopping trip more enjoyable for everyone.
Nappy Disposal System
Buggy Bench conveniently folds in half for easy storage when not in use and is machine washable. Recommended for ages six months to four years (max weight 18kgs). Available in four great colours. RRP $79. Kiwiparent Reader Offer: Purchase a Buggy Bench for $69 – use code Kiwiparent at checkout. www.twinsandmore.co.nz
Keep children safe, healthy and comfortable …by keeping bedrooms at a constant temperature Is it cold enough to turn on the heater? Will the room still be warm at 2am? Heatermate stops the worry by measuring the actual temperature of the room and controlling the heater to make sure baby is kept just right – not too hot or too cold. A constant temperature will help keep baby sleeping through the night. Bedrooms that are too hot, too cold or subject to frequent temperature changes can affect children’s health. The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ recommends use of a thermostat. Heatermate keeps your bedrooms at the correct constant temperature, reducing triggers for asthma. Get free shipping by using the checkout code kiwiparent16 www.cleverhome.co.nz
Helping skin retain its moisture Lipidol is a new range of everyday oil-based skincare developed by Union Swiss, the makers of Bio-Oil. The range consists of six products that bring oil into daily skincare, helping the skin to retain its moisture. Available at all Farmers stores and selected pharmacies and supermarkets at RRP $9.95 www.lipidol.com
Proven protection from germs & odours ^
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don’t tell you about
In the beginning… You just do what you’ve got to do. I feel like that’s been my mantra over the last four years. My partner Emily and I knew we were going to be parents. We were flatting in Kelburn and having a great time. And then we had the first ultrasound scan. I still remember the broad Yorkshire accent of the sonographer when he said, “Oh yes, there’s one… And there’s t’other.” “What…? You’re joking.” “Oh, no. We don’t joke about twins.” And there they were on the scan, sitting there like they were waiting for the bus. It was really cool. But we left the room grey as ghosts. From there it was a rollercoaster. I still remember our enthusiasm and excitement being met with pitying
looks from several of the twin parents we met before the girls were born. Even though they didn’t say it out loud, their eyes were saying “you don’t know what you’re getting into”. I like knowing what I’m getting into, but the research was scary. Until the advent of ultrasound scanning and more proactive healthcare, mortality rates were high with multiples, and I hadn’t even known that there are three different sorts of twins. Ours were monoamniotic twins – the rare, high-risk kind that share the same amniotic sac, and make up about one per cent of twin births. We were told early on they would have to be born by caesarean at 32 weeks. We knew it was going to be tough, so we moved back in with Emily’s parents. Emily stayed as a hospital inpatient for seven weeks undergoing a vast array of tests and scans, and then we had a month in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after the birth while the girls gained enough strength to be able to survive without life support. One thing I hadn’t realised was that I‘d be able to tell the girls apart from day one. Maddy and Sophia had different personalities from the outset, different mannerisms even before they could open their eyes. I guess I thought a personality was something you developed. As a parent of identical twins, I can tell you this isn’t true. Even identical twins are born different. Incubated life is fragile. Although now it seems like just a passing moment, I still remember the month of handwashing routines, feeding tubes, breathing apparatus, blue light treatments and fussy monitoring machines, the good nurses and the not-so-good ones,
kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Photos: Beth Van Hulst https://elizabethvanhulst.com
the first bath and the kooky quilted blankets made by generous elderly volunteers.
Life at home – the early days After coming home, life very quickly became a sort of blur. We came home from NICU with a three-hourly feeding routine of breastfeeding, expressed milk top-ups and expressing more breast milk to increase supply, all of which took so long that by the time it was finished, it was time to do it all over again. So that meant waking up during the night too. And the three-hourly cycle only worked if the girls were in sync with each other, which was our desperate, ongoing task. After a week and a half, our treasured stash of frozen breast milk from NICU had run out. After three weeks, it was clear Emily would have a nervous breakdown if this routine of waking up to feed every three hours continued, so I handled the 2am feed with a bottle. Emily remembers craving sleep more than anything she’s ever craved in her life – even more than food. I quite enjoyed staying up late night-in, night-out but the mornings were hell. I handled nights, she handled breakfasts and it worked. Everything was time-bound for that first year, full of whiteboards, schedules and routines. But nobody told us about cluster feeding. This is what babies do to increase the supply of breast milk. Basically they act like they’re starving even though they are full.
With two babies it’s very hard on the mum, who feels like she can’t possibly keep up. And when the “breast is best” brigade are battling the grandparents from the formula days who say “they’re hungry, come on, just give them a bottle of formula”, the pressure is intense. Because the twins came home in the middle of winter and we had repeated warnings from the team at the hospital that the immune systems of prem babies aren’t strong, they barely left the house for the first six months. For our first outing as a family, we went down to the local café with the twins in their brand new double buggy, looking so tiny and fragile that heads turned as we entered. As the girls became more aware of their surroundings and stronger they started to smile, laugh and respond, and those moments were like little shimmers of light upon the dark sleepless nights, the crying in stereo for
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I love going out exploring with the girls and showing them new experiences, although I am lucky to be strong enough to pick up two struggling children who want to go in different directions. The girls are nearly four now, and we have our own house thanks to the money we saved living with Em’s parents. Maddy is bigger and stronger but Sophia is very quick-witted. They are firm friends and keep each other company when they’re not squabbling, often alternating this in two minute bursts. They are cheeky, cheerful and so lovely to play with. Although it’s challenging, sometimes the challenging things can be the most fun, and I think we get more out of life by challenging ourselves. Everyone’s got challenges, and if I didn’t have twins maybe I’d be playing too many computer games or spending my time doing something less fulfilling. It’s all a matter of adaptation. As I said, you just do what you’ve got to do – and you might as well enjoy it.
What do people not tell you about having multiples? The physical and logistical challenge. If you pick one up, the other cries for attention. Try changing a nappy one-handed while holding another baby. It’s a tricky skill to master. This challenge starts with dual breastfeeding, and affects everything from leaving the house to toilet training. Think two of everything. Space for two cots, two high chairs, two car seats, etc…
hours on end and the utter confusion as a first time parent to TWO babies. These girls were going to experience everything together. We had a lot of family support, and because we lived with the grandparents at the time we worked as a team. Emily’s mum kept everyone fed by taking charge of meals, Emily’s dad was hands on with the twins including bottle-feeding, doing nappy changes, burping and bathing. I’m not sure what would have happened without support. It’s very important, and has ranged from the Multiple Births Club to Facebook groups to family. And the hospital. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if we lived in a country without public healthcare. And only one thing is certain. For every problem there are a thousand opinions.
What about the good parts? Like those sage twin parents we met early on said, it does get easier.
10 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard “double trouble”, “you’ve got your hands full”, or “Identical twins? Are they a boy and a girl?” It might almost be worth hearing these things… But not quite. There is always another child to watch over. Early walkers are notorious for wanting to run obliviously towards sheer falls or sharp objects. With children who want to go in different directions, this challenge is magnified. They don’t wake each other up when they cry unless it’s something serious. It’s great.
Fraser May Fraser holds a Bachelor of Arts (hons.) in English Literature and Classical Studies. He enjoys outdoor adventure, ultimate frisbee and travelling around New Zealand. He grew up in a used bookstore, and has worked in the public sector, sales, hospitality and freelance journalism. Fraser currently works for Last Word Writing Services, a small communications firm based in the Wellington Botanical Gardens.
The wisdom of parents These tips come from all our contributors who parent multiples.
While you are pregnant Spend time with parents of multiples before you have your babies – they have invaluable info that singleton mums aren’t able to offer. Have your nursery and hospital bag ready to go by 25 weeks. Fill your freezer with meals. Arrange to look around the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) while you are pregnant so you know what to expect if your babies do go there.
Talk to your midwife or LMC about the birth and be sure to share any concerns or anxieties you might have.
The journey to independent drinking
After your babies are born:
Learning to drink independently
It is normal for multiples to share a cot when they are newborn, quite often they will not settle apart. Twins often share moses baskets until they outgrow them.
starts when your baby is ready
You can breastfeed twins, triplets or more! Be sure to drinks lots of water if you are breastfeeding and to have everything to hand if you are tandem feeding; water, telephone, chocolate…
spout which allows more liquid
Always accept offers of help, whether it’s carrying a car seat to the car or the offer of a home-made meal, take it. It’s hard work being a multiple parent so accept any help you can get!
We offer a range of innovative
Contact Multiples NZ – they will provide support and information that will help you prepare for the new arrivals.
Keep calm and carry on – calm mummy = calm babies. Be organised and plan ahead as much as you can.
to move away from a bottle with a teat, towards a cup with a through.
products to help your little one develop towards independent drinking whenever they are ready.
Discover the joys of online shopping. Get out of the house as soon as you can – the longer you leave it the more overwhelming it will become. Visit a Plunket family centre if you have access to one near your home. They are great if you have any feeding, settling, sleeping issues or even if you just feel overwhelmed by it all. Restock your changing bag when you get home, not as you’re about to go out the door. It is really worth joining a local multiples club, making friends with parents of multiples or using a multiples message board. You will find that you will have specific multiple questions, issues and highs that parents of singletons may not understand. Having a good support group is very important. Join multiple birth Facebook sites and post questions you have – the advice you get back is fabulous. Be aware that you will find yourself as a celebrity with multiples and you will get stopped to ask what their names, and weights are and how old they are. You’ll be amazed at the negative comments people come out with. Just smile and know what a double blessing you have.
Enjoy your babies! Being parents to multiples is amazing. In the early days it is hard work but in time it gets easier.
alone I remember sitting on my best friend's bed; 29, and about to go travel the world, I announced “if I’m 40 and haven’t met the man of my dreams then I would have children on my own.” Little did I realise, ten years later I would be doing just that. It was my looming 40th birthday and hearing those words yet again from my doctor – “if you want children you had better hurry up” – that made it clear in my mind that I couldn’t play Russian roulette any longer. So I booked an appointment with Fertility Associates to find out about sperm donation. The process was fairly easy. See out the seven-month waiting list, choose a donor and then turn up at the appropriate time for the treatment – very romantic. And boom! Two months later, after two IUI treatments, the call came four days before Christmas: “Merry Christmas Anna, you’re pregnant!” I still tear up as I’m writing this, the joy I felt, the excitement about finally being a mum. Fast forward eight weeks to my first scan. Sitting with my sister
in the Fertility Associates reception area I pipe up “let’s have a bet as to whether there’s one or two”. We both guessed one… 10 minutes later the two little dark dots were staring back at us from the screen. “Congratulations, you’re having twins!” I was thrilled, although there was a part of me thinking I should be terrified. Single and having twins – am I mad? Everyone was very kindly telling me how hard it would be – the sleepless nights, the hours of crying, how would I cope? I just held on to that great saying; ‘Twins are only given to those who can cope’ and hoped it was true. My pregnancy was a dream. Morning sickness – what’s that? Aches, pains and swelling – minimal. I was constantly reminded though by all the medical teams about how things could go wrong as I was
an ‘older mum’ but I had put the preparation in and so just focused on keeping us all well. I finished working at 29 weeks and pretty much chilled out and finished getting things ready for the great arrival. And on the 16th August at 37.4 weeks my two little treasures Taylor and Amelie were born. I was very lucky to have the support of my lovely sister who was my birthing partner and stayed with me at the hospital for the first couple of nights. She put her life on hold for those first two weeks to focus on me for which I will be forever grateful. The enormity of ‘doing it alone’ hit me in the hospital on about day four. My hormones had kicked in and I was a mess. Not helped by the feeding challenges I was having – it’s meant to occur naturally, right? – I was terrified about going home which I think my obstetrician could see. He was very supportive and waited until he could see I was emotionally ready before allowing me home. So eight days after the birth I carried my new family into the big wide world. There was definitely a sense of achievement in that – a sense of powerful responsibility that really buoyed me up. I had made a decision to have a family on my own and now I had to get on and raise these two little girls. Being on my own I find it useful to be my own cheerleading team sometimes.
12 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
The first couple of months were a blur of feeding, pumping and sleeping. Whoever tells you ‘sleep when babies sleep’ either doesn’t have children or doesn’t eat and has an endless supply of cloth nappies and baby clothes! Sorry, but it just doesn’t happen. Thankfully your body gets you through the tiny amount of sleep that you do exist on. It was taking me two hours to get through the feeding/pumping process as it was important to me to feed them one at a time to get that very special one-on-one bonding time. So as I was feeding every three or so hours there wasn’t a lot of sleep to be had! But you get through it. I just took it a day at a time and above all else, tried to create a calm environment at home. Calm mummy = calm babies. Believe me – it works! I found the Plunket Family Centre at St Lukes a godsend. They not only helped with getting my babies latched properly but the other information you absorb while you’re there is invaluable and I would highly recommend it, even if it's just to catch up on some sleep. They also put me in touch with Parent Aid, a free service to families that need a little extra help. Every week someone visits for a couple of hours and takes care of the vacuuming, helps get the washing up to date and helps out with the babies.
I made use of this service for a couple of months – it was a great help and I really enjoyed the company. There are also great services like Bellyful that again is a free service delivering meals. I didn’t use this service as I made sure I had a freezer full of meals – I would highly recommend you do the same. You just don’t get time to cook – it’s the last thing you’ll feel like doing at 9:30 at night – and it’s so important for your milk supply to eat properly. The thing I have found the most challenging being a single parent family is the isolation. I try to get out at least every other day and have done so since my babies were brand new. Even if it’s just for a walk to remind myself there is a whole world out there. It’s also hard not having someone to share all the little things my two girls get up to each day. I share the big stuff with family and friends of course, but there is so much to get excited about each day. While it certainly wasn’t my plan A to have children on my own, I absolutely wouldn’t change it for the world. I have two beautiful girls who I am proud to say are my responsibility to grow into two beautiful women. Thank god I love a challenge!
Anna Younger Anna lives in Auckland with her beautiful twin daughters. Anna started the company Twins&More when she spotted a gap in the market after her babies were born. www.twinsandmore.co.nz
Support is invaluable I held my breath – after three miscarriages I was anxious to know that this baby was still alive. “Can you see a heartbeat?” I asked the sonographer. She turned to me slowly and said, “Well I can; in fact I can see two heartbeats!” “Two? What, you mean twins?” That was eight years ago when we lived in the UK and was the start of our journey into the wonderful world of multiples. When we were expecting our first child I said I wanted twins. My husband thought I was crazy – my reasoning was it couldn’t possibly be twice as hard as something we’d never done before. But this time round it didn’t even occur to me that we might be expecting twins – our boy/girl twins are fraternal and there’s no history of them in our family as far back as the 18th century! Panic set in. How will we cope? How will our son deal with two new siblings? We’ll need a bigger car, a bigger house, family support, a whole heap more patience… Mixed with the panic was a great deal of fear for my babies – would they both make it? Would either of them make it? Following a medical complication I was induced at just over 36 weeks and both my babies arrived safely into the world. Whilst I was pregnant we moved to a small town where we knew no one, but were closer to my family. I was useless during the move – at 28 weeks I was larger than I was full term with our eldest son. I couldn’t lift anything or reach the bottom of a packing box.
Fraternal twins Fraternal (dichorionic) twins share the same prenatal environment. They each have their own genetic makeup, so they may not be more alike than any other brothers and sisters in the same family. Despite their differences they will share the special bond of being born on the same day and growing up together.
Identical twins Identical (monochorionic), twins occur in 25% of twin pregnancies. Research indicates these twins have a similar genetic makeup resulting in both children looking alike. These twins are the same gender, may have similar fingerprints, ear shapes, eye colour, hair colour and teeth imprints. They often develop at similar rates and experience developmental stages simultaneously. Mirror image identical twins have mirror image
My new midwife put me in touch with a lady who had six-month-old twin girls. She became a life friend and together we set about starting a local multiples club as there wasn’t one in the area. Our numbers varied – some weeks they’d just be three of us and our seven children running round and other weeks they’d be 10 of us and our 23 children! But every week the support that group gave me was invaluable. I still turn to some of those twin mum friends now to seek advice and opinions on twin related issues – such as keeping both children in the same class at school or separating them. Having twins brings with it a whole load of new challenges but one of the big ones is ensuring your children are treated as individuals. I’m not going to pretend life with twins is easy, but it’s incredibly rewarding. My seven-year-olds are now each other’s best friend; they can also be worst enemies – but that never lasts long. The first time they laughed at each other when they were a few months old is a memory that I hope will stay with me forever. I love that they have a crazy vibe going between them that the rest of the family aren’t a part of and I hope that they’ll keep this special bond as they grow. Cath Short, Wellington
features, such as left and right hair crown swirl, left- or righthandedness and similar moles or body marks, but on different sides of the body.
Identical twins and chorionicity Identical twins are categorised by chorionicity – depending on when and how the fertilised egg splits, such as top/bottom or right side/left side. After an egg is fertilised it will develop a yolk sac (for nourishing the forming embryo) and around the same time, the embryo’s placenta and chorionic sac begin to form. Finally, an amniotic sac surrounds the developing baby. There are different types of chorionicity for identical twins.
Diamniotic dichorionic twins If the egg splits before the placenta has formed, within three days of fertilisation, each baby will have their own placenta, chorionic sac and amniotic sac.
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Diamniotic monochorionic twins If the egg splits after the placenta has formed, after the third day following fertilisation, then the babies will share a placenta and chorionic sac, but will have their own amniotic sac. Monochorionic twin pregnancy is more common where assisted reproductive technology has been used.
Monoamniotic monochorionic twins Monoamniotic twins occur when the egg splits after the amniotic sac has begun to form, around nine days after conception. As a result, both babies share an amniotic sac. Many monoamniotic twins lie very close to, or on top of, each other and early ultrasounds cannot tell if they are separate babies. They are higher-risk than other diamniotic twins, but babies do survive.
The only breast pumping system that allows you to double pump with your shirt on and your hands free
Two hands, two babies – we can make this work It all starts with an ultrasound…She’s taking ages…it’s not a baby, it’s a mistake…she’s looking at the screen, it’s taking hours...she’s turning the screen around. ‘Is there a history of twins in your family?’ I cried, John smiled – he is also a twin! We both looked at each other and the massive journey ahead of us began. Hannah and Kate were born at nearly 38 weeks with forceps after a long natural labour, weighing a healthy 6lb 1oz and 5lb 3oz. I figured I had two hands and two babies we could make this work… and we did. Thank goodness. I’m a pragmatist and have a glass half full attitude so I began to routine the girls, feeding both when one woke, making sure bath time and bedtime were always at the same time and the last feed was always in my bedroom with a dimmed light which set the tone for future bedtimes. I have a dog so we got fresh air in the double buggy and we got out every day. In fact we are all still like that today. We are officially rubbish at staying in. Twins keep you busy, but at least every milestone is in parallel. Each stage is amazing and inspiring. I look back at photos and cry that
my eight-year-olds are not babies any more. They quickly became mobile units of mass destruction when they learned to walk, then became toddlers with hilarious vocabularies and profound interest in the world, to preschoolers and wearing school uniform for the first time (oh my goodness they look the same now) learning to read and their class teachers confusing them (we actually had our children in red and navy shoes, at the request of the school.) My confident, individual girls are awesome. I am so proud of them, and a little proud of me that they were both in my tummy at the same time. It is an amazing privilege to be picked to be a twin mum by some genetic or biological occurrence.
We all know the challenges of pumping ﬁrst hand. In fact, Dr Stella Dao was inspired to invent the Freemie System when she went back to work after the birth of her premature twins. As a working physician, Stella discovered that pumping on the job was not easy to do. As she struggled to balance work with breastfeeding, the idea of Freemie was born. An entirely new style of pumping, the Freemie system makes it possible to pump anytime, anywhere and around anyone.
Available now at
www.freemie.co.nz Receive a discount when you enter FREEMIE P16 as a coupon code when you order on the website.
Claire Light, England
of over 1500 families throughout New Zealand. We aim to provide education, support and advocacy to all of these families, by providing Multiples NZ is the national body
guidance and resources to their local
that represents 14 (plus Triplets Plus)
multiple birth clubs.
local Multiple Birth Clubs, consisting
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With winter well and truly here, keeping babies and young children warm and dry at home is a priority. It’s important for your family’s health that your house is well heated during the next few months. Cold and damp homes are linked to poor health, especially for babies and small children, people who are ill, and older people.
Ways to heat your house You only need to heat the room that you are in. Try and keep the temperature between 18 and 21 degrees, especially if you have babies and young children. Dress warmly for bed and make sure your bedroom is heated – it is very important to stay warm during the night.
When you’re choosing the right heating for your home there are several factors you need to consider, including the amount of heating you need, the running costs and the environmental impacts of the different options. It’s important to match the size of your system to the space you want to heat. Ask a local heating supplier for advice about what size heater will suit your needs. Running costs can vary a lot depending on your fuel price and how well you use and maintain your heating appliance. To minimise the environmental impacts of your heater: Choose a heating option that uses renewable energy and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Select the most efficient model for the job. Make sure to use and maintain your heater properly.
It’s important to be alert to the dangers from heaters, fireplaces and other sources of winter warmth, especially since you will likely be spending a lot more active time inside. Surprisingly, up to 20% of heating can be lost through draughts, so block up unused chimneys and stop draughts that sneak in around doors and windows. You can make your own draught ‘snakes’ by stuffing rugby socks or pantyhose with old clothes or cushion filling. Open windows and curtains on sunny days, but make sure to close them as soon as the sun goes down to trap heat in your home. Trim back any trees that prevent sun entering your house.
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How you use a room will help decide the type of heater that’s most suitable – for rooms you use regularly it’s well worth investing in fixed heaters, but for rooms you only use occasionally electric heaters may be enough.
Heat pumps These are good because they have low running costs (when you use them properly), produce instant heat and are convenient – you can control the temperature with the thermostat and use the timer. But they must be sized correctly for both space and climate to work well. Some are a lot more efficient than others – look for the Energy Star® rating as a guide and be aware they won’t work during a power cut.
Modern woodburners These have low running costs, especially if you have access to free or cheap firewood, and are good for the environment – they produce very little pollution and use renewable wood energy. Burners are great for
heating large spaces and heating hot water in winter through a wetback system. But firewood must be dry to burn efficiently, so you need to plan ahead and store it under cover, ideally for at least a year. You will need building consent to install one and you may need to get approval from the Ministry for the Environment.
Wood pellet burners Like woodburners, these are a good environmental option – the pellets are made from waste products and burn cleanly, offer heat control and are also good at warming large spaces and heating hot water through a wetback system. But they won’t work if your electricity isn’t working (they use a small amount of electricity) and you will need building consent to install one.
Flued gas (natural or LPG) heaters or fireplaces These are very convenient – you can control the temperature with the thermostat and use the timer. They also heat larger areas for longer periods. But if you don’t already have gas to your property, you will probably have to pay a fixed charge for reticulated gas supply and you must have your gas heater installed by a registered gas fitter.
Electric heaters These heaters are good for heating a small room infrequently and for short periods only – they are also very cheap to buy. But they are more expensive to run than most other heating options. There are many different types of electric heaters (radiant, convection, fan) that deliver heat in various ways. Many have builtin thermostats, but generally they aren’t very accurate.
Central heating Central heating is great at providing heating for your entire house. It is convenient – you can control the temperature with the thermostat and use the timer for operating efficiently. Many are zone-controlled so you can control the temperature in different parts of the home. But it can be expensive to install and can be very expensive to run if your house isn’t well insulated. Be aware that the heat can be supplied by a range of heating systems like gas, wood pellet, or hot water heat pump.
Unflued gas (natural or LPG) This is good to serve as back-up heating during power cuts, if your normal heating relies on electricity to operate. But unflued LPG heaters are the most expensive form of heating and there are significant health risks – it will pollute air with toxic gases and large amounts of water vapour, so you must keep at least one window open when it’s in use and make sure never to use in bedrooms. They can also make your home very damp. Portable LPG heaters pose a fire risk, as anything too close can quickly catch alight.
Heating baby’s room Keep the room ventilated and if you use a heater keep the door open, not tight shut. If your home isn’t centrally heated, an electric heater with a thermostat is best, it helps regulate the temperature and prevent the room becoming too hot. Place the heater away from the bassinet or cot, not close to it. Fan heaters can overheat a room and gas heaters give off fumes and are a fire risk so best avoided. Dress your children in snug-fitting nightwear to avoid them catching fire. Remember, even if the clothing label in the pyjamas says ‘low fire danger’, it doesn’t mean ‘no’ fire danger!
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Insulation Good quality insulation helps keep the heat in during winter and out during summer. This makes your house easier and cheaper to heat properly, and more comfortable and healthy to live in. The priority for insulating your home should be ceiling followed by underfloor and walls.
into dangerous situations. Most young children won’t understand what is dangerous and they will need you to make the area safe. There are some simple things you can do to help keep your child warm and safe at home during the colder months. Burns from heaters and fires are a real danger for babies and young children. A fireguard around your fire or heater is the most effective way to help protect them from potential burns. Also, make sure the guard is attached to the wall so it can’t fall over or be moved. When around heaters, stoves or fireplaces, always remember the ‘heater metre rule’ – that is, keep any materials that can burn, including bedding, curtains, clothes and furniture, at least one metre away. Teach your child to keep a metre from the heater or fireplace, too.
Tips to stop the moisture build-up indoors Try not to dry clothes indoors as this creates moisture in the air, drying outside is free and the sunlight kills bacteria, making your clothes healthier for you and your family. Use a shed or garage if it is raining. To reduce moisture caused by steam, always open a window when you are showering and when you are cooking on the stovetop. Use pot lids to reduce the amount of steam escaping. Keep doors to bedrooms closed at these times as steam can make beds damp. If you use a clothes dryer, make sure your clothes are properly spun first and leave windows open while you are using it – or even better, vent it outside.
Be careful Each year in New Zealand 13,000 children under five are hospitalised because of injuries in the home, and a large proportion are for burns and scalds. The skin of babies and young children burns very easily, and burns and scalds may require treatment for many years and cause permanent scarring. As babies grow, they become interested in touching and exploring anything within their reach. When rolling, crawling, walking and climbing, they can easily get
18 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Get down to your child’s level on the floor and look for areas that may be dangerous, like electric plugs, heaters, etc. Put safety plugs in electric power points, keep multi-plugs out of reach and use safety plugs in each socket. Keep matches, lighters and candles out of reach. Children can often quickly learn how child-resistant lighters work; they are safer but they are certainly not child-proof. If using candles, ensure they are on a wide flat base and placed well away from anything that could catch fire. Check you have working smoke alarms, which should ideally be in every bedroom as well as the lounge and hallway.
Follow these fire-safety tips to help keep you and your family safe and warm Fireplaces and chimneys Clean chimneys and flues before your first fire of the season. Always use a fireguard or spark-guard with open fires. Never throw rubbish into the fireplace – particularly batteries and aerosol cans. Ashes can take up to five days to cool – always empty fireplace or wood burner ashes and ashtrays
into a metal bin and pour water over them before disposal. Before going to sleep make sure your fireplace fire is out.
Electric blankets If your electric blanket or cord is showing any signs of wear, have it checked by a competent service person or have it replaced. Don’t take the risk. Always make sure that your electric blanket is switched off before getting into bed. Never use pins or sharp objects to secure the electric blanket to the bed and never tuck it in under the bed. If the blanket gets dirty, sponge it lightly and allow to dry naturally on a flat surface. Do not dryclean or use a washing machine or spin dryer.
If your child gets burnt, cool the area quickly under cold or cool water for 20 minutes. Wrap the burn or scald loosely in a clean cloth (e.g. a pillow case). Call your doctor for all burns. For severe burns call 111. Remember, different homes will have different dangers. Talk to your Plunket nurse about keeping your child safe and where to buy safety equipment.
Heaters and clothes dryers Remember the heater-metre rule – always keep furniture, curtains, clothes and children at least one metre away from heaters and fireplaces.
Prepared with advice from:
Don’t store objects on top of your heating appliance.
New Zealand Fire Service www.fire.org.nz
Never cover heating appliances. Don’t overload clothes dryers and clean the lint filter after each load cycle.
cleverhome. HeaterMate Plug-in Thermostat
EECA Energywise www.energywise.govt.nz Smarter Homes www.smarterhomes.org.nz
Is it cold enough to turn on the heater? Will the room still be warm at 2am? HeaterMate stops the worry by measuring the actual temperature of the room and controlling the heater to keep baby comfortable, safe and sleeping through the night. Learn more at www.cleverhome.co.nz Get free shipping use the code kiwiparent at checkout.
that little bit easier
To put it in gamer terms… the epic battle that has raged between parent and child is one that has claimed the souls and sanity of countless parents over the millennia. In recent years, technology has aided us in our quest to even out these seemingly insurmountable odds, but our adversary is one that continuously learns to adapt and overcome our futile attempts at resistance. However, some of the more fortunate among us have found a few key items that have helped us tame the savage beasts, and it is here that I pass on the knowledge of the secret relics that helped me in my quest so that you too may stand a fighting chance against these agents of despair… …Ok, so it wasn’t that dramatic (and I’m lucky enough to have a pretty awesome daughter 99% of the time), but there were definitely some vital pieces of equipment that made my job easier, especially when
20 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
parenting in 1 Player Mode. So here are the top five weapons that helped me conquer fatherhood in those first years of the parenting campaign.
Stemming the flow – overnaps/pilchers One of the first lessons of parenthood is that newborn poo can seep through nappies and clothing like hot magma through butter. Surely not, you think.
Look at how tiny they are, there’s no way they could produce enough to seep through those big nappies, right? HAHAHAHA!!! YOU FOOL! Clearly you have never faced the fecal onslaught of a newborn poonami (like a tsunami, but more…let’s say ‘tangible’). I too attempted to futilely prevent the inevitable outfit destruction that comes with a newborn until I happened upon the most useful piece of equipment during those first few months – the overnap. Apparently these things aren’t that well-known, because everyone who I’ve preached the virtues of them to have no idea what I’m talking about. They’re not always so easy to find in baby stores, and are also known as pilchers so they may go by a few different names depending on where you are in the world. For the uninitiated, here’s what they are: an outer shell made of non-permeable material that goes over your baby’s nappy, preventing bodily waste from breaking through to the other side. Prior to using overnaps, nappy changes would also require a full outfit change when the load exceeded the capacity of the nappy (which was more often than not in those initial newborn stages). However, once the overnaps were in play, an important barrier was placed between said overflow and clothing, reducing the likelihood of needing to change my daughter’s entire outfit, reducing washing, saving mess, time and sanity. Yes, you have to wash the overnaps when they become dirty, but better to wash one overnap than a whole outfit. Seriously, for that first few months overnaps were a lifesaver. Buy them. Use them. Send me cash gifts in appreciation.
Recline in peace – lay-z-boy in the baby’s room When my daughter was around one year old, her usual bedtime routine involved a warm drink and falling asleep on me. When I was sure she wouldn’t wake up, I would carefully transfer her into her cot and tiptoe out of the room, praying that her hypersonic ears wouldn’t be alerted to my escape efforts. When I was setting up my own place after entering 1 Player Dad mode, one of the things I did to make putting my daughter down to sleep easier was to put one of the lay-z-boy recliner chairs from my lounge suite (that I got online second-hand for about $200) into her bedroom so I could wait for her to fall asleep in her room before I put her in her cot for the night. Not only did having the recliner chair in the room allow an easy transfer to her cot (rather than feeding her upstairs in the living room, waiting for her to fall asleep then taking her downstairs to her room, increasing the risk of waking her in transit), it also allowed me to kick the footrest up and get some good snuggle time in with my daughter before she fell asleep, which was much-needed after working all day and going straight into 1 Player Dad mode with a little toddler, cooking dinner, playing, and getting ready for bed.
I often fell asleep waiting for her to drift off, and would sometimes wake an hour later with her happily snoozing away in my arms. I eventually learned to harness these naps to help me get through the rest of the evening.
Release the tension – foam rollers One of the unforeseen difficulties of living in a splitlevel apartment with a toddler is that I spent a lot of time carrying my daughter up and down the stairs, which gradually worked my back into a lovely array of knots and painfulness. And of course, when you’re in 1 Player mode you’re not likely to have anyone around to massage those knots out of your back, or have a lot of money to pay a professional to do the job for you. The cheap solution, which I wish I got a lot sooner, was a foam roller. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this piece of equipment, a foam roller is a cylinder of foam (or a plastic cylinder covered in foam/rubber) that you can use to perform self-myofascial release – or, in layman’s terms – give yourself a massage. Often seen at gyms, physiotherapy or being used by yoga practitioners, foam rollers are great for releasing tension, loosening up muscles, and increasing blood circulation. My brother is a personal trainer, and he uses a foam roller as his main method of warming up before a workout session. You can get them at fitness /sports stores, online (much cheaper), or you can even try to make one yourself (Google “how to make a foam roller” – I looked into it myself but couldn’t find any decent PVC piping that would hold my weight). Once I got a foam roller, I was able to attack those aches and pains that were plaguing me on a daily basis, and after regular use I was able to get ‘back’ to my old self. I now use the foam roller at least twice a week as part of my regular gym routine, and my back is in pretty good condition while still carrying around a child who’s growing by the day and isn’t fond of the whole ‘walking under her own power’ thing.
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Cut down on cleaning – plastic floor mat Carpet in a dining room. I mean, really? Sure, for adults that isn’t too much of an issue, but when you’ve got a toddler that’s just asking for trouble. Unfortunately beggars can’t be choosers, and this was a relatively minor point when I found the apartment I eventually ended up renting so I had to find a way around it or I’d be cleaning the carpet after every meal. My first solution, when I just moved in to my apartment as a solo dad, was to feed my daughter in her high chair in the kitchen, where there were tiles that were much easier to clean than carpet. While this worked, I wanted to have my daughter eat at the table with me, so I needed to find another solution that allowed this to happen. Solution two was simply a tarp on the carpet at the end of the table where my daughter’s high chair sat. It was cheap, efficient, and stopped the inevitable spilled food from damaging the carpet underneath, but it wasn’t the most visually appealing solution (a blue tarp that stuck out like a sore thumb at the end of the table). After doing some hunting around various homeware /department stores, I finally came across my final solution, which was a clear plastic tabletop protector which I could purchase by the metre. It was thin, but thick enough not to break under the weight of the table or my daughter’s high chair, and it was clear – so it wasn’t immediately obvious when you walk into the dining area. It’s still sitting under her end of the table today, and has saved me countless headaches from food and drink spillages.
Prevent zombie bedding change syndrome – mattress protector This last item is from the ‘should have got it earlier’ files. My daughter has always had a clear preference for sleeping in my bed rather than her cot, and on the nights when she started out sleeping in her cot, she’d wake up halfway through the night and ask to come into bed with me. When she got older, she would climb out of her cot and come into bed, and even when
I bought her a new bed to replace her cot, she still prefers my bed to hers. As much as I enjoy the cuddles with my daughter when she sleeps in bed with me, her presence introduced a risk that I had not encountered since my own childhood – wetting the bed. I had a mattress protector for her cot, but I didn’t prioritise getting one for my bed. Some nights her nappy just couldn’t take the liquid volume, or the nappy had become misaligned, resulting in a wet mattress and a half-asleep zombie bedding change/mattress cleaning attempt with a happily sleeping/conveniently pretending to sleep child in one arm. The following days were usually a bit ‘zombie mode’ due to interrupted sleep. This happened sporadically, not enough for me to do something about it but enough to be an annoyance and something to be wary of whenever she clambered into bed with me. Only a few months ago did I actually get around to buying a mattress protector for my bed after having the spare funds to do so – and just my luck, the mattress wetting all but stopped. It’s happened once since then, and changing sheets was much easier without having to clean and dry my mattress as well, Looking back on the hassle not having one caused (having to clean the mattress as well as change sheets /bedding) I should have invested in it a lot sooner. Those were the five items that made the biggest impact for me in 1 Player Dad mode, so feel free to harness their power to help you win the battle with your little one(s). What were some of the most useful items for you? Let us know!
Ben Tafau Ben is the author of The 1 Player Dad Strategy Guide and 1PlayerDad.com. He’s a single dad with shared care of an amazing 3-year-old daughter, and writes about his journey playing the parenting game in ‘1 Player Mode’ in Wellington.
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I’m what? Finding out you are pregnant will certainly be a life-altering experience. Here are a few things that will help you out from week one through to week thirteen.
2. First take folate
1. Am I pregnant?
3. The drugs don’t work
If you think there’s a chance you may be, confirm it with a pregnancy test asap. You can buy a home pregnancy test or visit your GP, medical centre or self-employed midwife for a free test.
Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol as they can affect your developing baby, causing miscarriage or abnormalities. Check with your doctor about any prescribed drugs you may be taking.
Take folic acid tablets during early pregnancy and if you can even before you conceive – it cares for your baby’s brain and spinal cord development.
4. Auditioning your LMC (Lead Maternity Carer) Start looking early – this is a special and important relationship during your pregnancy. Your LMC could be a midwife, a GP or specialist obstetrician. Call freephone 0800 MUM 2 BE for LMCs in your area or check out www.findyourmidwife.co.nz
5. The beginning of a beautiful friendship Meet your LMC for the first time once your pregnancy is confirmed. Remember to ask any questions you may have. Your LMC will be asking lots of you – it’s very helpful to remember the date of your last period and take a pen and paper to make some notes!
6. Breast (ouch) tenderness Watch out for breast tenderness, your nipples especially may become super-sensitive – even before your period is missed.
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7. Toilet tripping Feel like you are constantly taking trips to the bathroom? You may have interrupted sleep as a result of night-time visits to the toilet.
8. That sicky feeling Get more rest to help with morning sickness. Eat very small portions every 2 to 3 hours. Try ginger, homeopathic remedies or acupuncture. Remember, it generally gets better after weeks 11 to 15.
9. Let’s talk about sex You may feel changes in your desire for sex or notice differences in the experience itself. Some lucky women enjoy it more, others not as much.
10. ZZZZZZzzzzzz… Rest. Put your feet up. Go to bed early. Listen to your body and relax! Visit The New Zealand Pregnancy Book online at www.nzpregnancybook.co.nz The website includes a searchable preview of the book, fantastic photos and feedback from the NZPB community, links to friends and Facebook and much more!
Childbirth Educators provide information, skills and practical advice for support during pregnancy, during the birth and when baby arrives. There are opportunities to learn practical skills such as dealing with nappies, bedding, bathing and soothing. You might be surprised to find out that your knowledge can help to establish successful breastfeeding for mum!
Get all the information you need for your journey into parenthood
It's also important to know about the roller coaster of postnatal emotions that new mothers may encounter and understanding how babies tick will make those more challenging moments when baby is unsettled so much easier to respond to and soothe. www.parentscentre.org.nz
Join a Parents Centre childbirth education class Our classes provide information and support that mums, dads, partners and support people will need on their parenting journey; it’s not just for mums!
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Snap happy Take awesome photos with your smartphone
26 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
When people caution: ‘don’t work with children or animals’, I don’t know what they mean, as it’s one of my personal favourites to take these sorts of photos. Yes, of course they pull funny faces, and wow can they run fast! But how much fun is it to play hide-and-seek and get that cheeky grin over the top of the fence? Or to get them to throw a whole bunch of leaves at you, which then cracks THEM up and gives YOU the best smiles ever! As a professional photographer, I know I’ve got the gear to get those shots of the kids in mid-jump over that puddle, and the right lens for that beautiful image of your baby’s gorgeous big eyes. You’ll still need your professional photographer to give you those great shots of ALL of you together, but there are a few little hints I can give you so you can make the most of the shots you take with your smartphone.
First up, find the light.. Seems simple enough, but it makes a big difference. Your little phone camera needs all the light it can get, so try and place your subject facing the light. Just look at their face and get them to turn with you as you walk around them to see when the light is nice and even.
Second, sort out the exposure... Just in case you see a shot you love, but your subject is in the dark and it’s all light and bright behind them, get your phone to help out by automatically adjusting the exposure. On an iPhone, hold your finger on the part of the photo that you want lighter, and your phone will adjust the lighting for you.
Third, don’t rely on the flash and zoom… I recommend you turn off the flash and don’t use the zoom. Unless you’re taking photos at night, your phone’s flash doesn’t usually improve the look of a photo. Generally speaking, it’s better to crop in on your photo after you’ve taken it, rather than zooming in while you’re taking the photo.
Fourth, capture those action moments… Use 'burst mode' on your phone to capture the action shots. This means you keep your finger down on the shutter and your phone will take numerous photos in quick succession. That way, you’ll definitely capture that big splash in the pool or all those leaves being thrown at you.
Continued overleaf... Photos: Tanja at Little Doves Photography
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28 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Fifth, capture the environment… Look at what’s around you and make the most of your surroundings. Use those tree branches that form an arch to ‘frame’ your subject. You don’t always have to have a lot going on in your photos – a very simple, uncluttered background makes your subject stand out that much more. Remember, if you’re going for a portrait shot, make sure you focus on the eyes.
Sixth, make use of amazing apps… There are literally hundreds of different apps available which enable you to enhance your photos. Now this is something you can have lots of fun with, there are so many different apps you can use! Spend a bit of time online to see what is available – the options are unlimited. There are apps to create
borders around your photos, apps to make your pics look like they’re from the 1900s, apps to add sparkles, apps to add text – have a browse and try them out, quite a lot of them are free! Personally, I usually stick to Instagram, as I find it very easy to use. Instagram has some great filters with which you can change the colour, contrast and look of your photo, as does Snapseed, another easy to use app.
Last but not least, make sure you have fun! Play with different angles, photograph from really low down or from straight above, and join in the game, play with your kids and throw in the odd ‘selfie’, or ‘groupie’, as you want to be part of these fun memories that have inspired you to get out your phone and record the moment.
Tanja Dove From a small town in rural Holland, to an equally small town in coastal New Zealand, it’s been an amazing journey for Tanja. She studied photography, then worked to create images for magazines of food, cafés, restaurants, interiors as well as weddings and portraiture. After the birth of her daughter Liana, Tanja was drawn more and more to children’s portraiture, and with the arrival of her boys Loki and then Cam, she fell even more in love with creating beautiful images of kids. www.littledoves.co.nz
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The Big Picture My thoughts on breastfeeding twins I was fairly determined to breastfeed my twins. I had breastfed two singleton daughters and felt I wanted to offer these two the same start. I embarked on a pursuit to gain as much knowledge as I could before they arrived. I read all I could about breastfeeding two and talked to as many people as I could for their hints and tips. I attended a session at a La Leche League conference about expecting multiples which was not only helpful in terms of breastfeeding but also with respect to life with two newborns and two older children. I was able to think about the bigger picture, consider the practicalities of asking for and accepting help, develop strategies for a busy family life, i.e. getting everyone fed and clean and getting out and about, and how to prioritise essential housework and managing the rest. While there are many positive breastfeeding tips, tried and true approaches, there is no one right way. Each of us needs to sift through all the ideas and find what is right for our own situation. I do think though that social support is very important to every mother – but also for a successful breastfeeding environment. I often think about breastfeeding twins in terms of risk analysis. The goal is a happy breastfeeding relationship. What are the challenges to that goal? The best environment for a good start to breastfeeding is a healthy pregnancy, active and intervention-free labour, and hours of skin-to-skin time post-birth for mother and baby. For the mother who is expecting twins, pressure comes on in many of these areas. For many, a multiple pregnancy is deemed high risk, a drug-free labour is less of an option and sometimes babies are born by caesarean and separated at birth. It’s little surprise that, for some, this breastfeeding team has a shaky start. For a mother faced with challenges, I’d suggest seeking information from La Leche League is a great place to start.
Invite friends and family into your life to share the joys and challenges with you. It’s these connections that will help you reach your breastfeeding goals.
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BECAUSE EVERY DROP OF BREAST MILK COUNTS During my reading I was worried to discover that mothers of multiples experience a higher rate of depression. With this in mind, I talked to a good friend of mine, who I trusted not be sensational about it, and invited her to have the courage to tell me if she started to get worried about me. She was a nurse, she knew the signs, she cared about me, I trusted her judgement. Thankfully, beyond the regular stress and crazy days of the first two years, I did not experience clinical depression but I also felt I was prepared to deal with it if I did. Inviting someone into your life to watch out for you can be a positive, sensible and proactive step. I was very fortunate to have two friends who I’d met in the Multiple Birth Club (which I cannot recommend enough) with whom I could have very frank conversations – about life, sex, feeding, sleepless nights, older children and the myriad of life’s challenges. They were the people I could turn to when I’d had a crazy mother moment with the teacher at kindy or stomped over to school to complain about glue sticks (long story…). They were the ones who laughed and cried and knew what I was experiencing. In hindsight, I can see times of low periods but the social support was of utmost importance to me. Breastfeeding itself is a social behaviour, we learn from our mothers and others who breastfeed,
and we as mothers are supported (or not) by our environment and community. There is a wealth of information about breastfeeding one, two or more, and arming yourself with plenty of information will help you achieve your breastfeeding goals. But even more important for surviving and thriving with two new babies is social and practical support. Invite friends and family into your life to share the joys and challenges with you. It’s these connections that will help you reach your breastfeeding goals. Lorraine Taylor, La Leche League Leader, Wellington.
Getting started Nursing early and often is the best way to get a good start breastfeeding. However, if you or your babies have a health problem that necessitates separation, you don’t have to give up the idea of breastfeeding. Pumping your breasts early and often is the best way to get a good start. If you need to pump milk because one or both babies cannot yet feed use a hospital grade electric breast pump (you can rent these) to express milk from both breasts at once. Pump at least eight times in 24 hours – every two to three hours during the day and at least once during the night.
Introducing making life simple for mums who express Our Express and Go range makes everything easier. By using a single pouch to EXPRESS, STORE, WARM and FEED, there’s no need to transfer breastmilk between bottles so you’ll never lose a precious drop!
Milk production is regulated by milk removed during sucking (or pumping) from the breasts. Frequent and thorough milk removal increases milk production. Thatâ€™s why most mothers of twins can produce enough milk for both babies.
Coordinating feedings Once your twins are healthy and home from the hospital, and at least one can be counted on to breastfeed well, most mothers find it easiest to breastfeed both at once, which is called simultaneous feeding. Use pillows you have available or a larger nursing pillow to support the babies so your hands are free to help each one latch on correctly. When both babies breastfeed well, most mothers switch babies from one breast to the other every 24 hours, but alternate babies and breasts at each feed if either baby is not yet able to breastfeed well. Alternate feeding also evens out their particular needs and gives them extra visual exercise. Learn different positions to breastfeed. Learning to feed while lying down may be a little tricky to learn in the first few weeks, but is worth it for the added rest you will get. There are several different ways that you can position the babies in order to feed them at the same time.
One way is to place the babies in front of you with their legs overlapping, making an X across your lap. The other position is to place both babies in the clutch hold. You will need pillows at your side (and maybe one on your lap) and you will place the babies on the pillows with their legs going toward the back of the chair. Remember that if you are placing the babies in front of you, you must try to keep their whole bodies turned toward you, their chests against your chest. Their bodies must not be facing up. This is very important to avoid soreness and also to make sure that the babies are receiving enough milk.
Things you can do to support families with new twins Parents of twins need help to survive the first year. The biggest problems they face are getting enough sleep, keeping up with housework, finding outlets for negative feelings and avoiding isolation. The help and support of relatives and friends will make all the difference. Often people want to help but donâ€™t know what to do â€“ and the wrong kind of help can make things worse. Here are some practical things you might consider if you want to help a family with new twins.
Partners When a baby needs to feed during the night, change baby then bring them to the mother while she is in bed. When the next baby wakes, switch them. Watch the babies while mum takes a break. Listen to the mother if she is scared, tired or overwhelmed and hold if she needs to cry. Tell her you love her. Offer her a back rub or foot massage while she feeds.
Family and friends Bring food when you visit – either meals or snacks that don’t need a lot of preparation.
to provide a useful additional pair of hands.
Happy Baby, Happy Mum.
When you visit help the parents to feel relaxed – don’t expect to be entertained. Concentrate on mothering the mother and help with household chores rather than taking over the babies' care. Don’t undermine the parents’ confidence by asking negative questions such as: “Are you sure your babies are getting enough to eat?”’ or “Why aren’t they sleeping through the night yet?” Don’t disappear after a few weeks – families with twins will need help for at least a year!
Comfort Manual Breast Pump.
More comfort for mums, more milk for baby* Breast milk is vitally important for the healthy development of newborn babies. Our range of breast pumps are
Offer to change babies' nappies. Bring the mother water or fruit juice. Offer to do household tasks – clean up the kitchen, vacuum, tidy up, etc. Offer to do the grocery shopping. Do the laundry – fold and put clothes away.
Remember to tell parents what a good job they are doing – a little bit of encouragement goes a long way.
Prepare and serve meals. Look after babies while mum has a shower, sleeps or goes for a short walk. Offer to accompany the mother when she has to go somewhere
Comfort Electric Breast Pump. Available in single or double.
Prepared with the help of La Leche League www.lalecheleague.org.nz
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, giving Babycity Logo Specifcations - August 2007
them the best start in life. PANTONE 293
More comfort: 82% of 64 UK breastfeeding mothers agreed that this breast pump was more comfortable than their current pump (main market brands). More milk naturally: Independent research has shown that there is a link between stress levels and milk production: see www.philips.com/Avent.
Available at Babycity and other leading retailers. For more information, visit www.philips.co.nz/AVENT or phone toll free 0800 104 401 or join us at www.facebook.com/ Philips.Avent.NewZealand
Distributed in New Zealand by EBOS Group Ltd Ph: 0800 104 401
This is a great vegetarian recipe that the kids will love. Making your own dumplings may sound scary, but these are really quite easy and can be ready in 45 minutes. The tomato sauce is a twist on the traditional version – it’s packed full of hidden vegetables! Make this meal ahead of time to simply reheat on the night for an easy, weeknight meal.
34 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Ricotta cheese dumplings in tomato and vegetable sauce with crispy salad Ready in: 45 min (medium) Prep time: 25 min Cook time: 35 min
Crispy salad 4 pita breads (or use some stale, crusty bread) 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon mayonnaise Juice of 1 lemon ½ iceberg or cos lettuce ¼ cabbage
Ricotta cheese dumplings 350g ricotta cheese ¾ cup fine breadcrumbs ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese 1 egg
Tomato and vegetable sauce 1 brown onion, finely diced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 carrot, peeled and grated 2 tablespoons chopped oregano leaves ½ teaspoon paprika 1 x 700ml jar tomato passata, or 2x 400g cans crushed tomatoes 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce ¼ cup roughly chopped basil leaves 100g baby spinach leaves ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
To serve ¼ cup roughly torn basil leaves
PREHEAT oven to 180°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Grease a medium baking dish (measuring about 20x30cm).
ice pita breads or crusty bread 2–3 cm, toss with D olive oil on prepared tray and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 220°C.
hile bread bakes, prepare dumplings; place all W ricotta cheese dumpling ingredients together in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well until mixture comes together to form a dough ball. Place into fridge to firm up a little while you prepare the sauce.
eat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium pot on H medium heat. Cook onion, garlic and carrot for 4 minutes until soft. Add oregano and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add passata or crushed tomatoes and bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sweet chilli sauce, basil, spinach and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
sing damp hands, roll heaped tablespoons U of mixture into balls. Pour sauce into prepared baking dish, push dumplings into it, spaced evenly in rows; the tops of dumplings will be visible. Sprinkle over parmesan and bake for 15 minutes until cheese has melted and top of dumplings are golden. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
I n a bowl mix mayonnaise and lemon juice until smooth. Thinly slice lettuce and cabbage and add to bowl. Toss together with crispy pitas.
TO SERVE: Divide ricotta cheese dumplings and sauce between plates and serve salad on the side. Garnish with basil leaves.
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Babies don’t bounce! Young children and babies love to explore and climb. It is simply part of their normal learning and development. The problem is, every year around 2,500 Kiwi babies and young children fall and hurt themselves so badly that they’re admitted to hospital. The good news is that many falls can be prevented with just a bit of baby-proofing and awareness that your child will get more adept and adventurous with every day.
The most effective thing you can do to keep little ones safe is provide good supervision. There’s no substitute for ‘being there and being aware’.
Babies up to six months
From six to twelve months
Babies grow and develop so quickly – one day they can’t roll over, the next day they are on their tummies, and then they are rolling all over. The safest place to change your baby’s nappy is on the floor, but if you do put baby on a high surface, such as a bed, changing table or sofa, make sure to keep one hand on them the whole time. Bouncinettes and car seats (when not strapped into the car) should always be placed on the floor – if they are put on tables or benches your baby’s movements can make them fall.
As babies start to crawl and then walk, a new world opens up for them and the opportunities to fall and hurt themselves increase. When using a cot, always make sure that the sides are up. Once baby grows into an active, adventurous toddler and starts trying to climb out of their cot it may be time to move them into a bed! Make sure that toys in the cot can’t be used as steps to help your escape artist climb up and over the side.
When buying child products, make sure they have a standards label or marking.
36 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Always use the safety harness in prams, high chairs and shopping trolleys – little ones can easily tip out if they are not firmly restrained. Baby walkers have been the cause of many injuries and can actually delay a child’s normal development. Babies simply don’t need them. Playing on the floor is much better and a lot safer. Install stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs, as well as on decks and outside steps, making sure that they fit properly and can’t be pushed over. Tight fitting
stair gates will help to prevent nasty falls down stairs and steps. Make sure that any raised decks are also properly fenced with railings that can’t be climbed. Bath time is great fun for most little ones but adults need to stay with small children the whole time they are in a bath. Use non-slip bath mats but avoid bath seats, which can tip over with tragic consequences. Make sure the locking devices on collapsible equipment, such as strollers and high chairs, are securely in place before you put your child in – sometimes these can work loose over time without your realising it.
From one to two years As young children learn to move around and climb, they have a high risk of falling – and don’t they move fast! Make sure balconies have good railings that can’t be climbed over – your local city council will advise you on regulations in your area. Put safety catches on low windows but make sure you can unlatch them in an emergency. Little ones spend a lot of time in their rooms so it is worth checking for hazards. If you have bunks, don’t put a child younger than six years of
age in the top bed and make sure to keep the floor beside the bed clear of hard objects… a good idea to protect parents' bare feet when you tiptoe through for a late night kiss. Bed guards are also a good idea to prevent young children falling out, especially if they are new to a bed. A few pillows on the floor near the bed can also be a good idea. Protect children from falling into fireplaces by installing a fitted guard and don’t be in a hurry to take down the stair gates. Pad the sharp corners of tables and benches to protect
Supervise older children when carrying young babies and children, ensure they can do so safely
While childhood fall related injuries are often viewed as ‘part’ of growing up, some falls can cause serious injury with great social and financial costs to children, their families and the government. In some cases falls are fatal.
WHERE THEY FALL
toddlers if they run into them and do your best to try to keep floors and walkways clear of toys and other trip hazards. Consider moving dangerous items of furniture while your children are learning to walk.
0-4 years Home playgrounds, chairs, slipping, tripping or stumbling on same level ground.
Two to three years Boy, can they move quickly now! And they like to challenge themselves, especially with running and jumping. But, as they still can’t judge depth or distance too well, they can be quite fearless and this can lead to accidents. Encourage your children to do their running outside – inside should be for walking. Keep the floor as clear of loose rugs and toys as you can manage. Close and store ladders away so young mountaineers won’t be tempted to climb them and be aware of other household items (like chairs and low tables) that can be used for climbing. Set rules for safe play and make sure equipment is used properly. Trampolines in particular, although great fun, pose serious risks for young children. Close adult supervision is a must for trampoline use. Encourage children to play away from glass doors and low windows and ensure these are well identified by stickers – a fall through a pane of glass can have serious consequences.
Three to five years Your child will start to become increasingly independent from you and the safety of home. Now is the time to start giving simple messages to your child about what is and isn’t safe. Remind children to walk inside – outside is for running.
School or public playgrounds, slipping, tripping or stumbling on same level ground or surface, scooters and skateboards, or colliding with another person.
5-9 years School or public playgrounds, slipping, tripping or stumbling on same level ground or surface, out of trees.
IN NEW ZEALAND: I FELL
Every day children are hospitalised.
ACC claims costs from child falls
It’s the #1 cause of hospitalisation for unintentional
RISK FACTORS FOR HOSPITALISATIONS: Boys (60%)
2 children die every year.
Urban & deprived areas
amount to $45 million per year on average (Source: ACC)
Playground equipment is the leading cause of fall related hospitalisation (37%).
Except for the ACC claims costs, New Zealand figures are from the Safekids Aotearoa factsheet “Childhood unintentional fall related injuries” March 2012. www.safekids.org.nz/index.php/page/Falls.
Identify any furniture that could be exploration and growth, but simple day children die used for Every climbing and talk with your precautions can help reduce the from fallconsequences related injuries around child about the if they the world risk of a small act of daring having (WHO, UNICEF, World Report on Child Injury Prevention, 2008). consequences. should fall. terrible When outside, make sure to use safety equipment such asPRACTICE pads and SOME GOOD INTERVENTIONS ARE: safety nets for trampolines. Wearing ENGINEERING ENFORCEMENT OF Find RULES out EDUCATION more: helmets and shoes when riding The use of stair gates, sand, Enforcement of playground soft Promote engineering and bikes,wood skateboards and scooters chip or any impact surfacing materials to a safe enforcement interventions, www.safekids.nz absorbing safety surfacing for times depth, regular maintenance of use of safety helmets, should be enforced at all and playgrounds, and installing playground equipment, and and active supervision by will help avoid ain more serious www.acc.co.nz safety to mechanisms enforcement of the helmet rule caregivers. when children ride bikes. injurywindows. if a fall occurs.
Bumps and scrapes are a natural consequence of healthy childhood
38 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Parents Centre Educating and supporting parents through the early years.
In this section Walk the Lakes in Tauranga Stepping up in Taupo International students help out in Dunedin
Those who can, do.
The way we were
A volunteer is someone who is socially conscious. It takes an exceptional person to recognise the benefits that go with giving something of themselves and their time, sharing their skills, without needing payment as a reward.
Spotlight on Baby and You programmes
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Parents Centres around the country. We wouldn’t exist without the extraordinary enthusiasm and energy of so many generous and proactive people nationwide. Volunteering is rewarding, skill building, good for communities and, let’s not forget, it can be great fun! It fosters a strong sense of belonging and community connection.
Find a Centre
To all of our volunteers who have been before, who are with us now and will join us in the future, Parents Centres New Zealand is thankful for your input and honoured to work alongside you for the betterment of parenting in New Zealand. To locate a Centre near you and to find out more about volunteering with Parents Centre visit:
ed eastfe r b , s e www.parentscentre.org.nz/volunteers abi ture b a m e r gr g, p offee n c i d , s e e h irt astf ean b s, bre r stfeed e a a i s e b e r a a b b , It’s heartening to see the wide of benefits births s, c biesnumber ture p a a e u b l m o p e i r e r t r g l tu These include career that volunteering mu fee mabrings. roups, p prethe eforgreturning s, cof tility, e h r f , t f e r f g opportunities, ability to expand a CV o i n n c b i i eedthe paid workforce, friendships, an hs, t ant reastfto n, inf n birt personal and post caesare s, pos b o a h i , e t s s r r s e i a i e b s epr bab cae hs, professional overall birtsatisfaction ultiple atal d ps, growth and, often, lthe m e n u l o , p i r y t t , g er i g l that comes from being able to contribute to other , fath y, mu eedin nferti coffeeparents and their families. s t f , i i e g l , i t i s n g t n i r h r a t d e e f in all fee inf n bir ssion, sleep, infant post e r , , p n s e , o t h ea d i r t following uppo aby w epress pages of Centrespport, natal s le birRead the stories on tthe b d p , i r l s t e l a h h u t who are making naahuge contribution to theirr su fat bir ty, m home rgies, fathe ding, – all powered by volunteers. e l e l , communities e s a f e i t br erg fan sleep, abies, aning p, all on, in June 19-25 is National e b e i e s w g l e s s r n e y i r u Volunteer Week, so if you b t ba dep wean prema pport, enjoying the benefits byvolunteering irths, aof sualready b b , are not , g e r s n e c m i h h t o d t r h e biYour irths, astfee b amgo? local Centre will feeding, e ies, fa – why don’t you have o r g n h b r a e , l e t l bies , a breas welcome caesar , ure ba s t ning you with open arms! re babies, p a a u e m o w e atu multip fee gr baby ups, pr f m , o , o e r s y r c t g h i p t l , i r e s ffe rth fert g, me bi an bi hs, co t in feedin t e s t r r s o i a a p b s e e r , ion ,b ean st ca ths epress babies le bir caesar hs, po d p t i e r l t r i l a , u b t u s t a p n le rou y, m rema multip ding, ffee g ertilit f e , o y e n c t f , i i g l , ies t i s n t n allerg feedi birth infer , infa t , n n n p o a t e a i e s f e s r l o n s s , p pre n, i caesa births tal datewww.kiwiparent.co.nzr – kiwiparent ressio pport, a p u e e , n s l t d subscribe online 39irths, b p r i l o t mul nata supp fathe , , eb y r s t , e i e m g l h i o i t n g t h i a r f le ed l , e s a f infer e i t , g n p r slee alle ing , infa Time and again our volunteers are people who are full-time parents, have paid jobs as well as other commitments yet who still manage to find the time to volunteer for their local Centre. ing,
Pirates and Fairies walk the lakes Tauranga Parents Centre held its fourth annual Walk the Lakes family fundraising walk on a sunny Sunday in March. The annual walk is held at a new and very fast growing subdivision called “The Lakes” in the suburb of Tauriko. When we started our first walk, the subdivision was just getting underway with the walking track still being developed – but now four years on the houses have sprung up everywhere and there are more options for walks to choose from. We receive great sponsorship and support from the developer of the Lakes – Carrus Corporation – and are very appreciative of their support. The organising group consists of two committee members, the local Baby on the Move owner and two PORSE co-ordinators. Planning started about five months out from the event so that we had the council compliance and bookings in place in plenty of time. Following on from previous events we have developed a project plan which details what needs to be done by certain times which really helps with the planning.
40 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
We have timed the walk so that it is in “Walking month” which is an initiative of Sports Bay of Plenty to encourage residents to get out walking. This all helps with our promotion as we are listed as an event in their promotional material. The other major component to the walk is having a fantastic range of prizes to draw and Baby on the Move is a great support with this in allowing us to contact some of their suppliers. This year the main prize was an awesome two-wheel Retro scooter donated by Baby on the Move and Wishbone Design Studio. Around 150 people attended the event this year and we were able to raise around $800. Although the money is great, the main purpose of the event is to raise Tauranga Parents Centre’s profile in the community and to encourage families to get out in the fresh air and spend time together. Next year we plan to continue to grow Walk the Lakes and have even more families attend and enjoy the morning. Karyn Grindlay, President Tauranga Parents Centre
Stepping up in Taupo When Plunket announced they were pulling out of providing car seat services nationally the community in Taupo was left with no provider of such a service. Our committee at Taupo Parents Centre decided that this was a hugely important service for families and that we would step up and fill these big shoes.
It has been an enormous team effort and we are proud of getting it up and running. Leah White, Past President and Marketing, Taupo Parents Centre
After loads of fundraising, and with support from 100% Lake Taupo Charitable Trust and The Double Glazing Company Taupo and with a sizeable donation from Pita Pit we got this service off the ground with a soft opening late December 2015. We are delighted to say that we are now fully operational. We have three trained technicians who provide FREE car seat checks and who help with the installation of any type of seat no matter where it has been purchased. We also have stock for hire from capsules through to boosters for short- and long-term hire.
We love international students! Dunedin Parents Centre would like say a massive THANK YOU to the international students and students from Aquinas College. Twenty students come to the Centre in February to clean the place up for us before we opened again after the summer break. These wonderful young people cleaned all our toys, updated our membership database, made up membership packs, painted fences and even painted our bathroom and outside windows and cleared the weeds away. We love students, this made opening again for playgroups very easy.
During the first term our Tuesday playgroup's theme has been fun in the sun. We’ve had a rock pool to explore in, a ball pit to hide in, slime to gloop between our fingers, bubbles to pop, the car park covered in chalk drawings and our budding wee artists painted a wonderful mural for Children’s Day which is now proudly hung on the fence in the playground. In our Wednesday playgroups we have monthly informative speakers. So far we’ve had a Baby Sleep Consultant and a Breastfeeding Peer Support Person.
Our playgroups are run on: Mondays 10am – 1130am (all ages) Tuesdays 10am – 12pm (all ages) Wednesdays 1pm – 230pm (under ones) Fridays 10am – 12pm (all ages, includes 32mins of music and movement)
If there’s a topic you’d like covered be sure to let us know so we can find a speaker. There’s no need to book into any of our playgroups, just come along – all are welcome. Lynn Redpath, Dunedin Parents Centre
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The way we were An extract from 'The Trouble With Women' The Story of Parents Centre New Zealand By Mary Dobbie Published by Cape Catley Limited. How bad really was it to be a maternity patient in the late 1940s and early 1950?
handle, which she did to a formula as unvarying as that of the maternity home.
The 14 days’ free maternity stay in hospital, introduced by the 1935 Labour Government, had been hard won by a generation of women for whom pregnancy was a recurring condition because contraception was primitive or out of reach. The hospital interlude was for rest and recuperation.
First the home visit when the baby, stripped of its Plunket pattern viyella gown (back buttoned, no ties, no wrist elastic), its soft silk and woollen vest, aertex under-vest and finally its napkin, was measured, weighed and checked over for any defect. The vital statistics were entered in the small baby book that every mother kept on the kitchen shelf next to her Plunket book and Aunt Daisy recipes.
On small farms struggling through the depression’s aftermath, women worked hard and long and often at the expense of their health. Helping in the milking shed meant the saving on wages for a hired man, but the vegetable garden still had to be tended and heavy farm clothing washed without the help of a washing machine. Most country women relied on wood- or coal-burning ranges for all their cooking. Nurses who dealt with tired and often debilitated women saw strict bed rest and removal of the baby to nursery care as necessary measures for the mothers’ recovery. The system continued unchanged in the 1950s. This enforced bed rest was weakening. Rarely were postnatal exercises mentioned, and most maternity hospitals sent their patients home with the well intentioned advice not to overdo things because “You don’t want to lose your milk, do you dear”, a suggestion which merely deepened a mother’s doubts about her milk supply. If a new mother returned home weakened and wobbly of limb, and with little or no knowledge of their baby’s feeding and sleeping patterns, this was not the hospital’s concern. It was for the Plunket nurse to
42 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Subsequent weekly visits charted the baby’s progress, either triumphantly above the black line of the desirable norm (in the centre of the baby book) or – a cause for real anxiety – dropping below it. Too far below resulted in a recipe for a bottle complement written out in the nurse’s neat hand – the Plunket formula of milk, water and Karilac [a formula powder also known as Plunket Emulsion]. After six weeks the home visits ceased and mothers pushed cream cane Plunket prams along to the local Plunket rooms, there to knit, talk and compare weight gains. It was tacitly accepted that everybody else’s baby slept through the night.
Look for a short extract from this iconic book in each issue of Kiwiparent. It details the struggle women and men had to persuade hearts and minds to adopt a less medicalised approach to childbirth and child rearing in the 1950s.
Each edition of Kiwiparent magazine profiles one of Parents Centres' renowned parent education programmes.
This month: Spotlight on
‘Baby and You’ “Early parenthood is a life-changing experience into which we all go unrehearsed.” The ‘Baby and You’ programme follows on from antenatal classes and offers sound tips and strategies as you begin your remarkable journey into parenthood. In your newborn child, you have a very special little individual who will grow and develop with your care and guidance. Contributing to the growth and development of your child can be hugely rewarding. To see your baby smile, play and grow – so helpless and dependent – can be an extraordinary experience. You will have feelings of tenderness, closeness and a sense of awe at the miracles of ‘first milestones’ – smiling, crawling, steps and games. But with a new baby come uncharted waters. Your tiny bundle may rule the entire household through his routines, sleep patterns and behaviours. This can be very challenging. Many parents, particularly new mums, find the information and support in the ‘Baby and You’ programme extremely helpful in managing the challenges, and making the most of the rewards, that a new baby brings into your life. Parents Centre believes strongly in the strength of support networks in getting through – and enjoying! – those early months. Firm friendships are often formed between course participants, through shared experiences and understandings. Discussion topics include issues around post-natal realities, identifying physical, emotional and relationship changes. For example: what are some successful infant feeding practices? How do you handle other people’s often well-meaning advice about feeding? There are often very simple strategies for coping, and discussing
issues as they arise is often the first step to successful feeding. Discovering that other new parents experience similar difficulties or have the same questions can be hugely supportive. Babies grow quickly and they go through a variety of stages. ‘Baby and You’ explores the first three months of your baby’s life and gives practical information about stimulation for babies, age-appropriate toys and the key milestones of your baby’s growth. The programme also recognises the heavy demands babies have on parents’ time and attention. It is common for parents to feel a loss of independence, a huge lack of sleep and worries around employment and financial changes. Included is a section on self-care strategies for parents – it’s a challenging time and let’s not forget to meet the needs of mum – and dad! Baby and You is proudly supported by Johnson & Johnson and Philips Avent.
SUPPORTING HEALTHY BABY DEVELOPMENT
Participating in the ‘Baby and You’ programme will give you the much-needed tools over those first uncertain months to enable you to grow in confidence. Your baby, and you, will benefit enormously.
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Find a Centre near you Parents Centres span the entire country with 48 locations around New Zealand. Contact your local Centre for details of programmes and support available in your area or go to
North Island Auckland Region 1
Bay of Plenty
Bays North Harbour
Auckland Region 2
East Coast North Island
Central Hawke's Bay
Auckland Region 3
East & Bays
Wellington North Wellington South
South Island Northern South Island Nelson Marlborough Greymouth Canterbury Region Ashburton Christchurch Christchurch South Timaru Oamaru Southern Region Alexandra Balclutha Dunedin Gore Invercargill Taieri
44 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Au Pair Link Auckland children, holding their Pa--Harakeke award at Extreme Edge Rock Climbing.
Confronting a major
health challenge Classified as a global epidemic: childhood obesity is a major health challenge for the 21st century. New Zealand is ranked third highest for the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity amongst all OECD nations and rates are increasing. Latest health statistics show that one in every three children (aged 2 to 14 years) is either obese (11%) or overweight (22%). Rates are higher for Ma-ori and Pacific children. Overweight and obese children have a greater risk of developing health issues such as musculoskeletal and orthopaedic problems, as well as early onset of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes continues into adulthood. Reducing childhood obesity is therefore an important health promotion strategy. Healthy lifestyle habits including healthy eating and increased physical activity can lower the risk of children becoming overweight and developing related diseases. There is evidence that the first five years of a child’s development are critical for the formation of healthy habits. New Zealand children under five years spend an average of 21 hours a week in early learning services. Time spent at these services has increased by 53.3% since 2000. Therefore, the early learning setting offers a great
window of opportunity to promote healthy habits to a large number of children and their families/wha-nau. The New Zealand Heart Foundation shares the vision that habits learned in the early years are likely to last a lifetime and understands that the establishment of these healthy habits contribute to children’s current and future well-being. The Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart Award programme (HHA) was designed to provide guidance and structure for early learning services to create an environment that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. The programme aims to support services to make changes in areas including: policy development, healthy eating promotion, professional development and nutrition and physical activity education. Many of the areas covered by the programme are consistent with the recommendations found in the WHO report of "The Commission on ending childhood obesity." The HHA programme content also builds on components of the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Curriculum Te Wha-riki. The HHA programme is available to all New Zealand early learning services. It provides one on one support from the Heart Foundation’s health promotion coordinators, professional development for staff, access to helpful resources and promotion and marketing tools for the services. The programme consists of four strands: Governance and Management; Learning and Teaching; Collaboration; and Professional Development.
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active movement are core to all of our programmes. Au Pair Link is a licensed early childhood education provider. Our ECE programmes all follow the NZ curriculum, Te Wha-riki. In order to qualify for this award we had to provide evidence of how we promote a healthy and active lifestyle through our programmes, resources and policies, these included: Our ‘Kiwi Kai Cookbook’, which forms the basis of our food and nutrition kete (kete = one type of learning resource kit that we provide to educators, tamariki and wha-nau every month) – it is also used to support professional learning workshops for our educators. Adele Orangi (left), Programme Coordinator, Heart Foundation NZ with Morgan Holyoake, Area Education Manager – Auckland, Au Pair Link
There are requirements to complete for a service to be awarded. Early learning services can apply for any of the three award levels: Rito – Bronze; Wha-nau – Silver; and Pa--Harakeke – Gold. Once a service submits an award application, it is reviewed and assessed, if all appropriate criteria are met, the service is awarded the Healthy Heart Award, which is valid for two years. Nationally, 1,154 early learning services are participating in the HHA, of these 497 were awarded (43%). Almost half of these (47%) were Rito Award, a quarter (24%) a Wha-nau Award, and a third (31%) a Pa--Harakeke Award. “The Healthy Heart Award is a great way to help New Zealand’s early learning services create a positive eating and activity environment for their children, wha-nau and staff. Changes that occur at the early learning service are often translated to the home environment. We are incredibly proud that we make a difference to the lives of families through this programme and help them to live healthier lives, free from Heart Disease,” says Ainslie Ballinger, Early Learning Services Programme Advisor
Get involved and have fun Cherilynn Buckingham is the Education Services Manager at Au Pair Link. She writes about the importance of this award to their business. We are delighted that Au Pair Link has been awarded the highest Healthy Heart Award, the flourishing Pa--Harakeke, in all fourteen of our licensed regions across the country. This is the first HHA that has ever been achieved on a national level, for a company in all their regions. Achieving this award recognises that, across the board, we are meeting the needs of our au pairs, wha-nau and tamariki, with consistently high standards across all regions. Au Pair Link is committed to providing information, education and support to our au pairs, wha-nau and tamariki to establish good eating habits from an early age. This award recognises how healthy eating and
46 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
“We are committed to providing information, education and support to our au pairs, wha-nau and tamariki to establish good eating habits from an early age, which is at the core of our programmes. Achieving the Healthy Heart award at a national level, provides us with the recognition that across the board we are meeting the needs of our au pairs, wha-nau and tamariki to a very high level.”
Our online ‘Resource Portal’ is always available to our educators. It is the home of ideas to support them in areas like active movement, sensory play, food and nutrition. This supports an initiative we have launched called “The Blackboard”, where there is a section called “EAT” that has recipe ideas for wha-nau and further promotes healthy eating. The Blackboard is Au Pair Link’s destination for learning resources, relevant articles, as well as travel tips for au pairs, and giving them a voice. Through online Timelines, wha-nau, educators and tamariki are invited to share ideas and aspirations, further enhancing our collaboration to support wellbeing. Over the last few months, we have worked closely with food guru Wick Nixon to implement the Kitchen Club for Au Pair Link wha-nau. The Club supports educators to increase their skills in the kitchen and to empower busy wha-nau to put healthy meals on the table. We also host weekly playgroups in all of our regions which children and au pairs are encouraged to attend. Parts of these sessions are tailored towards active movement through a programme called GrooveLink - an interactive group session that incorporates music, stories and movement. In these sessions, we explore numeracy, culture, literacy, physical development, social interactions and musical appreciation, encouraging tamariki to get involved and have fun.
TOO PRECIOUS TO LEAVE WITH JUST ANYONE. We’re all about matching experienced au pairs with Kiwi families, providing quality care for our most precious new arrivals. With an average of 1300 hours experience working with children under five, our au pairs help create a safe place where your little one can grow in their first few years. As parents ourselves, we work with your
au pair to ensure baby is giggling, gurgling and growing the way a healthy little person should. If they’re smiling, we’re smiling. Join our family online and you’ll be able to view our candidate profiles, send contact requests and even send a job offer when you’re ready. With Au Pair Link, it’s all taken care of.
Because we’re all about making life easier for new Mums and Dads, we offer 25% off our placement fee to all Parent Centre members. Simply use the promo code PARENTC.
Join our family today at aupairlink.co.nz or call us on 0800 AU PAIR (287 247)
WEE A W AR REE N No oW W N yyo IIN oU UR RA AR R E A E A in ppaartn in rt e rshhip ners ip wwitith h
Warm up for
winter 48 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Photo: Merino Kids
Clothes to take to hospital to help you keep your baby warm after birth: 3 cotton singlets (vests) and 3 wool singlets 3 stretch’n’grows or baby gowns 2 wool cardigans Booties or socks Cotton cuddlies and a cotton or wool blanket A hat and jacket for taking baby home If you have questions about heating, clothing or bedding, ask your LMC, midwife or nurse.
How many layers of clothing should my baby wear? A newborn baby – especially in the winter – needs to wear a cotton and a wool singlet (vest), a gown or stretch’n’grow, booties or socks and a cardigan. When baby is taken out of their bed they need to be wrapped in a cotton or woollen cuddly blanket. As the daytime temperature warms up, take layers of clothing off your baby. Later in the day, as the temperature begins to cool down again, put on extra clothing layers. The amount of clothing baby wears depends on the time of year. Your baby will stay warmer in several lightweight layers of clothing than one or two thick layers. When you venture outdoors you will need to make sure your baby is wearing a hat and jacket over their clothes, and is then wrapped in a blanket.
Toddlers on the go With this age group, it is important that clothes not only keep children warm and cosy but also allow your child to move freely and comfortably so they don’t feel hindered by their clothing. Stick to several light layers which will help to trap in warmth and steer clear of bulky gear, which
will make your toddler overheat and will prevent him from moving around easily. Make sure socks are made from natural fibres so they trap in the heat but also allow the skin to breathe. A wind- and water-resistant outer jacket is a must when you venture outside or – if you are in an area that gets snow – a snow suit. The cuffs should fit snugly around the wrists and ankles to keep the cold and snow out. A huge percentage of body heat is lost through the head, so a warm hat is a vital item in a tot’s winterweather wardrobe. This is especially true if your little one is still working on sprouting a full head of hair.
Taking care of your winter woollies Pure wool clothing should be gently hand-washed in warm water and a wool detergent. Dry the clothing flat and out of the sun (especially hand knitting). This will help the clothing last longer and keep its ability to keep your baby warm. Cotton clothing can be washed in the washing machine. Try to avoid drying clothing in a clothes dryer as it can cause the clothing to shrink and matt. Shrunk and matted clothing is not as good at keeping baby warm and dry.
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Photo: Lamington Photo: Merino Kids
Taking care of your merino 1. Merino naturally repels dirt so garments don’t need washing every day. An airing out between wearing can be enough. 2. Always follow the care instructions on the garment’s label. 3. Merino garments should ideally be hand-washed by turning the garment inside out first, or you can use the wool wash or delicate function on your washing machine. 4. If hand-washing, do not allow the tap water to run directly on the wool, as this can damage the fibres. Fill the sink with warm water then add the garment. 5. Always use a product especially designed for washing wool or a fabric softener. 6. NEVER use bleach or products containing bleach. 7. Avoid using a detergent that contains enzymes. Wool is a protein fibre and protease enzymes may attack the wool fibres and damage the fabric. 8. Do not tumble-dry garments. 9. Do not dry garments in direct sunlight, instead lay them flat to dry in between two towels or place a towel over a heated towel rail and hang the garment over the towel to dry. 10. Merino does not require ironing as creases naturally drop out.
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Providing protection for mothers and newborn babies Antenatal Influenza Vaccination The question of whether or not to have the influenza vaccination while you are pregnant can seem difficult. To make this decision you have to have access to quality information so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for the pregnant woman and her unborn child. Research shows that pregnant women are at risk from complications associated with influenza, including bronchitis that can develop into pneumonia. Pregnancy makes women more vulnerable to developing complications due to changes to lung function, increased cardiac output and oxygen consumption, and changes to the immune response. A pregnant woman is nearly five times more likely to be admitted to hospital with influenza compared to a non-pregnant woman.
While the unborn baby can’t get influenza directly, there can be concerns for the baby if the pregnant mother is unwell. Influenza during pregnancy increases the risks of premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage or stillbirth, and birth defects. Flu is not a cold – it is a serious disease and complications, such as pneumonia, can put people in hospital or even kill. Influenza is an infection of the respiratory tract, which typically results in fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, and muscle and joint pain. Being a common illness with vague symptoms means it is prone to self-diagnosis as well as misdiagnosis, and this can affect the spread of the illness and impact healthcare services. It is difficult to be precise about the prevalence of influenza because not everyone will seek out medical care. And if they do, they may not receive a correct diagnosis.
“Immunisation is still the best form of protection from influenza and the influenza vaccine can be safely given during any stage of pregnancy. There is no increased risk of reactions to the vaccine for pregnant women and you cannot get the flu from the vaccine. Infants of immunised mothers are nearly 50 percent less likely to be admitted to hospital with influenza than those of unimmunised mothers.” Dr Nikki Turner, Clinical Director, Immunisation Advisory Centre.
52 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Influenza is spread through tiny droplets in the air caused by coughing and sneezing or by direct nose or eye contact with the hands of someone who is carrying the virus. Communities where families struggle with limited budgets and overcrowded houses are going to be at much higher risk of contracting infectious diseases such as influenza. To prevent the spread of flu, people are encouraged to be vigilant about hygiene and stay away from those already infected, although this is difficult as patients can be infectious before the onset of symptoms. In New Zealand influenza occurs mainly in the winter months. It has been estimated that in a routine influenza season around one in ten pregnant women are exposed to the virus. While not all pregnant women will be exposed to influenza viruses it is difficult to avoid because it is highly infectious and spreads rapidly. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends influenza vaccination for pregnant women before and during winter months, as it is the most effective strategy for preventing the spread of the illness to pregnant women and also provides some protection to newborn babies. Passive immunity to the fetus can be the only way of offering any immune protection to newborns because the vaccination is not licensed for use in infants less than six months of age in New Zealand. The influenza vaccine will not harm an unborn baby, as it does not cross the placenta into the baby. The vaccine simply stimulates the mother’s immune system to make antibodies that can fight off the virus.
Your baby’s protection starts with you. The National Immunisation Schedule is a series of vaccinations that help protect your family against preventable diseases. During pregnancy, you are eligible for a free whooping cough booster vaccine and inﬂuenza vaccine. These vaccines will help protect you and give your new baby protection, before baby is fully immunised.
Immunising on time gives the best protection. The Immunisation Advisory Centre and Healthline provide evidence-based information about the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule.
Call us on
0800 466 863 or visit
pose a greater threat to them and their baby than immunisation”(NZ Ministry of Health, Maternity 2013). A barrier to vaccination is public concern over safety. Women are typically advised to avoid taking drugs in pregnancy unless needed and are aware that historically some drugs initially thought to be safe in pregnancy have turned out harmful. There is also information from groups that run websites and campaigns against immunisation, stating that vaccines are not necessary, not effective and not safe. The effectiveness of the vaccine can also be questioned. In New Zealand everyone has the right to make informed decisions regarding immunisations. Making informed decisions means being able to find and understand relevant information, being given the opportunity to discuss it, and making the decision that is right for you and your family.
Our health system provides free maternity services to eligible women. Free influenza immunisation is available to eligible groups – including pregnant women – from March to July 31, 2016. Those not eligible for free immunisation may buy vaccination from a doctor, nurse or participating pharmacist. Pregnant women were not always eligible for free influenza vaccination but, following the 2009 pandemic, it was recognised they were an at-risk group. The National Influenza Specialist Group funded by the Ministry of Health (MOH) states that they would like to see an increase in the numbers of pregnant women being vaccinated. Local health departments support having the influenza vaccine and their public information states that the vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy because it is inactivated – meaning it doesn’t contain any live viruses. The MOH information states “the potential complications from catching influenza
54 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Being informed about the benefits and risks of immunisation will mean you fully understand what advantages immunisation provide, as well as understanding the risks associated with any given vaccine or disease. The right to make an informed choice and give your informed consent when using a health service is guaranteed under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer Rights. There are some areas where midwives can give a flu vaccine at the antenatal clinic, while in others you will need an appointment at your GP practice to have vaccination administered by the practice nurse. We continue to learn more about the influenza vaccination from history, from research and from pregnant women. The Ministry of Health to date continues to promote influenza vaccination in pregnancy as a strategy for preventing influenza in pregnant women and providing some protection to their newborn babies.
Keep doing what you love with a
Tula Baby Carrier
Influenza facts Influenza isn’t just a bad cold – it can be serious and can kill. A human sneeze can contain millions of individual influenza viruses. Influenza viruses can remain in the air or on surfaces for some time, so it can be very difficult to avoid. More than 200,000 New Zealanders contract influenza each year. Of these, it’s estimated that approximately 400 people will die either directly or indirectly as a result of influenza. More than a million Kiwis get annual influenza immunisation. Immunisation helps prepare your immune system to fight influenza. Influenza vaccination is moderately effective. It cannot guarantee you will not catch flu but has been shown to significantly reduce disease and time off work. Influenza immunisation is FREE for those most at risk of complications from influenza. You cannot get influenza from the vaccine.
Perfect from birth to 20kg
Front and back carry Helen is a mother of two children, she is a registered
Available in a baby or toddler carrier
nurse and midwife and she set up babywebnz.org
Handmade in the US
as a project while doing a Certificate in Childbirth
Available in a range of gorgeous prints
Education. Helen works as the Antenatal Information Co-ordinator at a base unit hospital.
Available at selected retailers. Distributed by Nestling Group Limited.
We know that many things have changed over the last 30–40 years. Are you still driving the same car you drove 40 years ago? Are you banking in the same way you did then? What about your kitchen? Things still the same there? Why have things changed? Why have you changed? This is one of the biggest challenges Pregnancy Help faces – how to keep the ethos and essence of Pregnancy Help and, at the same time, respond to the changes and challenges posed by the 21st century. Changes in laws and government regulations, like the new Health and Safety in Employment Act, require Pregnancy Help to respond. There are also changes in the funding environment. Baby-boomers are retiring and not giving so much money to charities, young people face the challenges of paying off student loans and saving a deposit for a house. Funders now require more accountability. Changes in demographics mean that concepts of family are changing. Changes in the welfare environment mean that we are faced with resource-based accountability and outcomes (two things our workers have heard a lot about over the last year). And changes in technology affect the way we communicate with our clients and the way we apply for funding. We know that pre-conception to three years old is a critical time for improving child health outcomes, preventing abuse and laying the foundation for a successful transition to adolescence and adulthood. Our work matters!
56 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Pregnancy Help knows that intervening during pregnancy, preparing people for parenting, supporting families who have problems or risk factors, mitigating the effects of child poverty and alleviating stress make a difference in people’s lives. We also know that helping in these early years is cost-effective. We welcome volunteers who want to make a difference. Whether working on the frontline, dealing with clients, washing and sorting clothing, knitting and sewing, attending Branch Executive meetings, co-ordinating volunteers or managing the finances, volunteers can make a difference. Volunteering for Pregnancy Help is still a lot of fun today. Make new friends and help people at the same time. We’ve been doing this for 40 years.
A young woman sits, stunned, staring at the results of the pregnancy test indicator… And Pregnancy Help is there. A tired, stressed woman confesses to her husband who has just lost his job, that she is pregnant with their fifth child. They look at each other. What will we do now? And Pregnancy Help is there. The older couple realises that their drug-addicted daughter cannot cope with the baby she has brought into the world. How will we manage? And Pregnancy Help is there.
The frightened young man is awarded custody of his baby. He is jubilant yet terrified. What do I need? And Pregnancy Help is there. The young immigrant couple is delighted to be having a New Zealand baby but they have no parents or relatives here. How do we prepare for this new arrival in a strange land? And Pregnancy Help is there. The family has already lost a baby unexpectedly. They can’t really afford a bed for this new one. Is it really necessary for the baby to have its own bed? And Pregnancy Help is there. The rented house is cold and damp. How will the young mother keep her baby warm? And Pregnancy Help is there.
I remember… I remember being part of the group setting up Pregnancy Help Canterbury. We had taken on an exciting and challenging venture. We were a doctor, nurses, accountant, lawyer, teachers, office workers, social workers, marriage guidance counsellors and I was a mathematician. Most of us were mothers as well. We grappled with our differing perceptions as we worked towards our common goal: to set up in Christchurch a group that offered support and practical assistance to women who were or had recently been pregnant. We were joining similar groups in other parts of the country to form the national organisation Pregnancy Help Inc.
Life was different in the 1970s.
A midwife realises that the young mother in front of her is 37 weeks and has not managed to prepare anything for her baby. And Pregnancy Help is there.
that the DPB had just come into existence and made it possible for a single mother to bring up her child;
Diane is the mother of three and grandmother of one. She is a retired teacher who believes passionately that it is important to help give families a good start in life. Diane is the National President of Pregnancy Help.
that the role of women was changing so that more women were entering the paid workforce but the childcare was not available to support it;
that giving birth was seen as a medical process with the doctor in charge and the midwife as assistant – there was only one independent midwife doing home births in Christchurch; the judgements often made about single women who had babies or married women who had “too many” babies – these situations were seen by society as shameful;
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But most of all I remember the people, their generosity and their friendship. We took on new roles and worked hard together. There were: volunteers who gave their time, energy and skills to listen on the phone or work in women’s homes looking after children, doing housework or driving people to appointments; tent-like maternity dresses were designed to hide the bump; pricking my fingers with the safety pins used to fasten bulky cloth nappies.
But this was a time of research and learning that would lead to change. I remember… learning about bonding and grieving and their importance in healthy relationships; the meetings, planning and debates that led to the formation of this voluntary organisation – we did this with our toddlers crawling all over us; how we shared our time, energy, skills and commitment as we worked together to bring Pregnancy Help to birth; the fun we had fundraising: sewing nappies in a telethon, icing Mothers Day cakes... and the worrying times when we wondered how we could get enough money to keep going; learning to type on my mother’s old typewriter as I learnt how to be secretary – desktop computers were still a few years away.
58 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
trainers who helped us develop the skills we needed; supervisors who listened to us tell of our successes and our pains – they helped us work out how to give our clients the best help we could; religious Sisters who gave us our first workspace and who came to scrub floors for young mothers; women who trusted us enough to bring us their problems and who taught us the down-to-earth reality of their lives.
Mary Woods In the course of its first twenty-five years I have filled all the roles in Pregnancy Help at a local or national level, except treasurer. The people of Pregnancy Help taught me so much about life, about people, about helping, about volunteering, about taking risks. This equipped me to take on other roles I would never have thought of. Thank you all and thank you for the friends I’ve made over these years.
Pregnancy Help provides practical support and advice to prepare for parenthood. Te tautoko me te tohutohu awhina mo- te ma-tuatanga.
Conscious parenting – want to know more? Check out upcoming programmes at your local Parents Centre: www.parentscentre.org.nz Browse through the resources here: www.skip.org.nz Join ‘Conscious Parenting’ pages and groups on Facebook Research online and read, read, read!
A 21 century remedy... st
Homeopathic remedies can be comprehensive in their range of cure. Nux vomica is just one of these remedies – we call them ‘polcrests’ because they have such an expansive range of action over a huge range of age groups and conditions. This remedy is definitely one you don’t want to be without! Made from the ‘poison nut’, the substance Nux vomica is derived from contains small amounts of strychnine. This certainly doesn’t mean that if you take the remedy you will be poisoned, as the preparation of homeopathic remedies ensures that the original substance is diluted beyond measure, but it does illustrate the fact that the homeopathic remedy, like strychnine, has a marked effect on the central nervous system. This gives us some clues for the uses of Nux vomica.
For babies Straight after birth, a baby may be in need of this remedy. An indication for using Nux vomica might be that the baby is crying, is red in the face and arching his back or has a tight feel to the abdomen. This could be from the strain of the birth itself but more likely
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it will be useful when the mother has needed drugs during late pregnancy and this has had an effect on the central nervous system of the baby. Examples may be antibiotics in late stage pregnancy or birth, epidural, syntocinin for induction or other pain relief during labour. It is certainly a good remedy to think of after a general anaesthetic or if the mother has been using any drugs during the pregnancy. This remedy assists the body to detox from the side effects of these and aids in calming the child. Colic in a young baby can also respond well to Nux vomica. You may find the child pushes up on the legs of the carer, arches the back and cries. The abdominal area will often feel tight with wind. Babies may have an ‘intense’ look about them, even one of irritability as is seen in Nux vomica adults. It can be a useful remedy for babies suffering from inguinal hernia.
For children Children who would benefit from this remedy are usually independent and seek results in whatever they do – they are focused and impatient to see things happen! It’s best not to keep a Nux vomica child waiting too long as when they want something, they want it now! Usually independent and self-focused, they do not suffer from lack of self esteem and make good
team leaders as they seek to win. They can be a bit hard on their ‘slower’ team members though, as their impatience often gets the better of them. They have a strong sense of justice especially when it comes to competition in schoolwork, sports or personal endeavours. Their excessive control often means they tend towards constipation or digestive problems; colic is another example. They also tend to react badly to conventional medicine due to their oversensitivity – at least a dose of Nux vomica will settle them on all levels! Getting to sleep can also be a problem for the child as they find it hard to switch their mind off from the worries of the world and relax. It can take some training with gentle music and visualisation to get a Nux vomica child into a good sleep pattern.
For adults If you need someone on your team who is quick and efficient, gets the job done faster than anyone else and manages a myriad of tasks at once, you had better pick a Nux vomica type. Intense in personality, they don’t suffer fools gladly and are usually a driving force in whatever project or task is being undertaken. Like the Nux vomica children, they are competitive in their field of work or sport and will go to the greatest extent to put their all into anything they undertake. Don’t keep them waiting – they are irritable and straightforward but you will also become a victim of their wrath if they are not treated the way they would treat others. Ambitious and driven, work is a major focus and they will spend long hours making sure they get ahead and reach a level of perfection others might not aspire to. In order to keep up the pace needed to exist like this, Nux vomica types resort to stimulants of all types to keep themselves awake and on task – they do not rest until a job is complete and they are satisfied with the standard attained. Second best is not good enough for them and deadlines are their focus. Once complete and in order to relax, Nux vomica people will indulge in a few drinks and good food. It takes them a while to wind down so it can be a long day for them until they retreat to rest. Then, the nervous system is on high alert from overwork, over-stimulation and the heavy load of food and drink to digest.
They are tired, but often cannot relax to sleep until 3am so lie awake. This pattern leads them to feel exhausted on waking for work in the morning, which results in reaching for either analgesics (for head or stomach aches) or coffee to wake them up. A resultant heavy load on the liver, heartburn, cramps, vomiting and difficult defecation or a distended belly leaves them feeling irritable and reaching for more medication! If only they knew about Nux vomica! This overtaxed state increases their irritability and makes them difficult to work with. Low reserves mean they are snappy, oversensitive to light, noise and the comments of others. They can also be temperature sensitive, tending to be chilly when feeling under the weather. Their general oversensitivity also makes them prone to allergies and sensitive to chemicals and strong odours such as perfumes or car fumes, as well as the electromagnetic influences that may be part of their daily work. When not in balance they can suffer chronic fatigue, back problems, a range of stomach and digestive disorders as well as influenzas and asthma. Worst of all, they are prone to burnout if their workaholic nature gets the best of them. It is likely that this picture reminds you of several people you know. Nux vomica in many ways covers the daily craziness and resultant ailments a lot of us suffer from, living in the chaos of our modern world, and can be considered a remedy of our times.
Judy Coldicott RC Hom Judy practices as both a homeopath and reflexologist from Pleasant Point in South Island’s rural heartland. She is a senior staff member for the College of Natural Health and Homeopathy, primarily involved in curriculum matters and student support. Judy’s passion is to make homeopathy user-friendly and accessible to the general public and she loves to inspire people of all ages to feel confident in its use.
Photo credit: ©"pbkwee" www.flickr.com
kiwi Te Reo Maori Ko to-ku reo to-ku ohooho, to-ku mapihi maurea, to-ku whakakai ma-rihi. My language is my precious gift, my object of affection, and my prized ornament. Ma-ori Whakatauki/Proverb
Tranditionally Matariki symbolises new beginnings just like the birth of a baby. So it may be quite timely then to reflect on what sort of New Zealander will this little pepe be in the future? What treasures will we put in their little basket to nurture them on the way? Language is such an essential part of who we are as people and as a nation, and Te Reo Ma-ori is such an integral part of Aotearoa especially for the generations to come. We asked Whaea Erin Robertson from Te Puna Reo o Nga- Ka-kano in Wellington to share with us why Te Reo Ma-ori is one of those treasures that we ought to put into our children’s baskets to nurture them as they grow up.
Why is Te Reo Ma-ori important for all children in Aotearoa? Like all languages, Te Reo Ma-ori is so much more than just speaking another set of words – it is about who we are and our tikanga, that is how we do things.
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Te Reo Ma-ori and its culture are unique to Aotearoa. When tamaiti know what makes them unique and special, they will grow up with a secure identity that is marked by high self-esteem and pride. Language is part of children learning from those around them and with it comes learning about how we relate to each other and the world around us, our culture and our history. Our tamaiti learning Te Reo Ma-ori – and us with them – means we are supporting them to tap into their potential of becoming biculturally and bilingually competent. Our children grow up at a time when these competencies are expected of them, especially as they forge their own successful careers. Our tamaiti are our treasures who are also the ones who will decide whether our nation’s treasures will be safeguarded for the generations to come – this includes Aotearoa’s unique Te Reo Ma-ori. And after all, so many of us wish that our children grew up bilingually. Te Reo Ma-ori is right at our doorstop to help us achieve this.
Speaking Te Reo Ma-ori, what will be the benefits for our children in the short-term and in the long run? Learning more than one Reo has significant benefits for our children’s overall development including their verbal, cognitive, problem-solving and interpersonal abilities. People who are bilingual are known to be more appreciative of other people's points of view and looking at a situation from different perspectives comes naturally for them – that means they tend to be more creative and better communicators. When tamariki are immersed in English and Te Reo Ma-ori simultaneously, they do not realise they are learning two different languages; from their point of view it is just having different words for the same thing and they use the one that best suits the situation. Once they have learnt two languages, they will have built the neuronal pathways for language structure and they will learn additional languages more easily later on. Knowing Te Reo Ma-ori will also mean knowing a different world view which will enrich our children in many ways. And for those wha-nau thinking about the economic advantages of speaking another language, people who speak Te Reo Ma-ori or who have some level of knowledge of the Reo have clear advantages in the workforce across many sectors in Aotearoa. Te Reo Ma-ori opens many doors to many unique opportunities.
When should our children start - ori and learning Te Reo Ma how do they best learn this? From the moment you are pregnant is not too early! It is never too early and never too late but we also know that “the earlier the better”. What your pepe hears in the womb will become their natural comfort language. So whatever Reo you use and you immerse yourself in is what your baby will recognise as familiar
and natural when they are born. You don’t have to wait to become fluent or even to be able to string two or three words together. Use whatever Te Reo Ma-ori you have or that you can access – listen to music, the TV, the radio or try a karakia/prayer, and greet others with kia ora instead of hello – that is a really good start. If you want your tamaiti to learn Te Reo Ma-ori, it is a great opportunity for you and your wider family to learn too. From there seek out as many resources as you have available (for example, internet, library) and getting together with others in the community who are similarly minded can be really stimulating and set you up for supported life-long learning.
How can we support our children to learn Te Reo Ma-ori outside the home? The more your tamaiti is immersed in a Reo the more comfortable and fluent they will become and the more benefits they will reap from being bilingually and biculturally competent. Once you are thinking about your tamaiti being cared for in a setting other than your home, it’s good to look into childcare options that will facilitate their use of Te Reo Ma-ori. There are a range of options available to parents these days ranging from low immersion English-medium early childhood education services to high immersion early childhood education services such as Te Puna Reo or Kohanga Reo
Useful words and phrases for using with under twos About 5–10 would be good that are relevant to using lots in everyday life; (eg, greetings, gentle hands, washing hands, time for a sleep/food/drink/nappy change, sit down/stand up).
centres. It is really important for you as parents to think about what level of Reo you want your tamaiti to be immersed in. However, it is equally important that you find the centre that best fits your tamaiti’s and wha-nau’s needs and that you feel comfortable with. So talk to others who are similarly minded to find out more, explore what is available around you, then go and have a look to get a feel for it, and ask questions. After all, it is about the place and the people who will look after your most precious treasure that you entrust in their care.
When our little daughter Anna was born in 2012, her birth marked many milestones for our family. She was our second child by more than 10 years and we noticed very quickly there were many “firsts” again as we had forgotten so much in 10 years. However, one of the most memorable milestones was that she was ahead of us in a very unique way. Not only was she the first person in our family who was born outside Europe but she was also the only one in our family to automatically hold double citizenship by birth. Once she touched down on this planet we really felt she put down some roots for all of us, those who had gone before her and those who were still to come. When it came to citizenship we followed her lead in her first year of life; we are a family, after all, and should all have the same national responsibilities and privileges. So we followed this little Kiwi on paper and also in our hearts.
Putting down roots in
Another milestone was when the question came up about the right daycare. We were clear that first of all we wanted a safe place where she was loved by caring and knowledgeable people. And we wanted those people to appreciate her cultural heritage – she is quarter Ukranian, quarter German and half Transylvanian. We also wanted them to be knowledgeable about her growing up trilingually and believe that this would enhance and not hinder her development. So we had a look around centres near where we live until we found the one – Te Puna Reo o Nga- Ka-kano in Wellington. We thought this was the place and these were the people we wanted to care for our daughter.
Another language… hmm, why not? And we had always loved the way we had been welcomed into any Kaupapa Ma-ori setting since we very first arrived in Aotearoa. When people heard us speak to Anna in Transylvanian or German, we would often hear the comment, “Oh she is so lucky; I wish my child could learn another language and culture from when they are a baby!” So when we talked to people about our preferred choice of daycare, their responses took us by some surprise. They reactions mainly fell within two categories: (1) <<SILENCE>> and confused or surprised looks followed by “Really?”; and (2) “Why do you want to do that … you are not AT ALL Ma-ori?”. We found out that reaction number one appeared to be about a preconceived assumption that our child may receive a lower quality education in a kohanga reo type setting and that Te Reo Ma-ori may not be that beneficial to her as a non-Ma-ori child; what would she do with it?
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The second reaction was around us possibly feeling strange – or being made to feel strange – as Pa-keha in such a Ma-ori setting. Interesting to us was that parents who really wanted their children to grow up bilingually and culturally enriched, had not spent any thought about a full emersion Kaupapa Ma-ori setting – even though this was geographically as close and as affordable as other settings. Yet they would have considered a bilingual option if it was French, Spanish or Chinese. We knew from research that, regardless which language and culture you chose, if you take the opportunity to immerse your child in another language from a very early age, they will have tremendous benefits whether it is immersion in Ma-ori or German. Of course we had some questions too. Would the staff accept us and her as we really do not have any Ma-ori blood connections, would Anna cope with adding a fourth language into the mix, and would we be able to support her learning in a Kaupapa Ma-ori service with the level of Te Reo Ma-ori and Tikanga that we had gathered over the years? Most of all would we be the only non-Ma-ori wha-nau and would that feel strange? We had an amazing response to our request to enrol Anna. We were assured that she would be accepted if there was a space on the days we needed her to be cared for, and that our knowledge of Te Reo and Tikanga Ma-ori was appreciated at the level it was while we were encouraged to keep on learning with Anna which in turn would support her learning. We learned that we would not be the only parents who did not have a Ma-ori whakapapa and that was totally fine.
The benefit of bilingual staff On visiting Te Puna Reo and settling Anna as a sixmonth-old pepe, we felt she was spoken and sung to and played with like any other tamaiti in their care, in both Te Reo Ma-ori and English. We never felt that staff differentiated. As she grew up speaking, however, we saw the real benefit of having bilingual staff. They were very much in tune with how Anna was communicating her needs and, on top of that, they had a gentle and non-demanding way of teaching her Te Reo Ma-ori as another alternative to express herself on those days she was in their whare and with her Te Puna Reo wha-nau. Very soon, she came home singing her waiata, saying karakia, and following Ma-ori Tikanga around table manners, looking after her tinana, and caring for her family and friends. As she brought this Tikanga home, she taught us big people many things. We learnt new words and even more waiata as she loves singing. We heard all about the matua and whaea at Te Puna and noticed how respectfully she spoke about those who looked after her. Through parent information evenings and wha-nau hui (and yes, food was always part of these) we learnt about the quality education she was provided with by highly qualified staff, not only by their degrees but also by their own heritage that they shared with the tamariki on a daily basis. There was a big emphasis on healthy eating, sustainable living, and on appreciating different world views when it comes to understanding the world around us – science and mythology go hand in hand as equal partners.
Hapaitia te ara tika pumau ai te rangatiratanga mo nga uri whakatipu. Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations. Illustration: Ma-ori Television
In addition though, Te Puna had a real wha-nau feel, which was so important to us without any extended family in New Zealand. We also learned to celebrate a different calendar guided by nature and the stars and took part in a sleepover with other Te Puna wha-nau for Matariki each year.
Tamaiti leading the way Nearly three years on, Anna is a bright and bubbly tamaiti who is in an education setting where she is loved and appreciated for her uniqueness while she is being immersed in an education which is what we believe New Zealand is about. For our family, she has led the way in teaching us that unique part about Aotearoa that we would not otherwise have had access to and to learn about in everyday life – we will always be grateful to her for that. We believe she does not only receive high quality education that prepares her for school on her fifth birthday but it gives her a rich understanding of the world and people around her in this country. As a bonus, the research tells us she will have a more resilient brain, enhanced problem-solving, critical and creative thinking ability and that she will be more empathic and have better social skills for it and even be a favoured applicant in a job interview in the long run which will result in better career opportunities and higher wages. Oh well, why not take those things as an additional bonus? “Ahakoa he kakano iti, he tino taonga – A small seed, yet indeed a great treasure.”
Kerstin Kramar PGDipClinPsych, NZCCP
Photo: Anna Kramer at Te Puna Reo o Nga- Ka-kano
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Kerstin is a clinical psychologist. She lives in Wellington with her husband and three children aged one, three and thirteen who she adores. They get her thinking about babies and teen parenting at the end of every day. She has worked as a psychologist with kids, teenagers, and families; special interest: general parenting, moral/empathy development of children/teens in foster care, attachment, parenting and autism.
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I was excited when the nurse said that we would be able to hold our boys. It had been a long five day wait. Suddenly I became apprehensive. They seemed so fragile and small and I kept thinking “what if something happens while I am holding them?” Something did happen, once the apprehension faded away it finally hit me as I held 1500grams of pure fighter that we had defied all odds and I was a mum of twins.
Blessed beyond measure
My pregnancy was not what I expected. I had always imagined I would have a beautiful textbook pregnancy where we would watch my belly grow and marvel in how enormous I would become, I would have a natural birth without any interventions and I would take my healthy baby home soon after birth. However, this type of pregnancy was not meant to be part of my story. It had never ever occurred to me that I might be pregnant with twins when I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive at three weeks. I just went on with my day as usual after I told my husband we were pregnant. We didn’t get excited initially as I lost my first pregnancy at 10 weeks so we decided to wait till 12 weeks before we celebrated. We went for a dating scan when I was eight weeks to make sure this pregnancy was ticking along nicely. “We always have to look for more than just one baby when we do these dating scans,” explained the sonographer. “So there is Baby A and there is Baby B, both with strong healthy heartbeats.” My husband Lloyd and I were shocked to say the least. We were happy but very surprised. I was carrying two little humans! I couldn’t quite believe it. I had had a very easy pregnancy so far and often I forgot I was even pregnant. We found out that our twins were Monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) at our 12 week scan. I did a lot of research and I discovered that MCDA twins are classed as high-
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risk as the two babies share one placenta. Because of this, we were to be monitored very closely with fortnightly scans from 16 weeks. About week 13 I started to feel terrible. My body was sore all the time and I was slower than normal. Small physical tasks exhausted me and my tummy was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t sleep well and I felt very bloated like my tummy was going to explode. I just thought that these were typical twin pregnancy symptoms. But they weren’t. When our first routine scan occurred at 16 weeks, I was excited to find out the babies' gender. I had felt from very early on I was having boys. But I also felt something was wrong. It was confirmed I was expecting boys – and something was seriously wrong. As soon as the scan started it was evident that there was a discrepancy of fluid levels around each baby. Baby B had no fluid in his amniotic sac and his bladder was not visible. Baby A had far too much fluid and his heart and major organs were working far too hard. After watching for a few minutes on the screen I asked the sonographer “I have TTTS don’t I?” She wouldn’t answer me but wouldn’t let us leave the hospital. I was then sent to see an obstetrician who confirmed we had stage 2 Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). The words we heard next broke my heart. “Their condition is dire – it’s unlikely they will survive.” Approximately 20% of all identical twin pregnancies will develop TTTS to some degree. TTTS is a disease of the placenta. Blood passes unevenly from one twin to the other through
"I just thought that these were typical twin pregnancy symptoms. But they weren’t."
the connecting blood vessels they share within the placenta. One baby, the recipient twin, gets too much blood and may die from heart failure. The other twin, the donor twin or stuck twin, does not get enough blood and may die from severe anaemia. TTTS can progress very quickly and left untreated, mortality rates near 100%.
I felt broken and helpless Suddenly the excitement I had felt about my pregnancy disappeared. Fear and trepidation set in. All I could think was why me? Why had my womb, the place where my babies should be safest, why had it become such a dangerous place that could kill my babies? I felt broken and helpless. To top it off, two days after I was diagnosed with TTTS, I was also diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP).
ICP is a rare liver condition which is thought to be hormone induced. Normally ICP doesn’t make an appearance until after 32 weeks so the doctors were very concerned that I was diagnosed at 16 weeks. I was sent to the Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit (MFM) so they could get a better look at what was going on. At this appointment only six days after my initial TTTS diagnosis, I had progressed to Stage 3 TTTS and the advice from the MFM was that I needed fetal surgery within 48 hours otherwise it was unlikely my boys would survive. They contacted Auckland Hospital but the surgeon there was out of the country at a conference. So we were told that we would have to fly to Brisbane the next day. Once we got to Brisbane I started to relax. Mater Hospital was amazing. They knew that we would be super stressed and made us feel more relaxed as they were so calm. They said that they deal with TTTS frequently. It was just a regular occurrence for them – which made us feel comfortable with the fact that they were very experienced. The first night the nurses gave me some sleeping pills to have a ‘decent’ sleep but I was just so stressed they didn’t really help. The following day we met the specialists and our options for treatment were explained. We had three options. Do nothing and hope for the best; do an amnio-reduction where they drain the extra fluid from Baby A who had too much fluid as a stop gap measure to gain some extra time before the boys would have to be delivered; or our third option was Fetal Laser Ablation.
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During a Fetal Laser Ablation, a laser and a camera would be inserted into my womb and then the uneven blood vessels that were causing the issues would be cauterised. The specialist strongly recommended that we have this surgery for the best possible outcome. However, there were serious risks. We were told we had only 50% chance of both boys surviving the surgery and that I might go into labour directly after surgery. We were also told that the surgery would mean I would most likely have my babies extremely early.
"The day of the surgery was very emotional for me. Hormones and anxiousness were not a good mix!"
The surgery on average adds an extra 10 weeks to the pregnancy, so as I would be 17 weeks at the time of surgery, we were told we would be lucky to get to 27 weeks. But we knew if we wanted to save our boys from TTTS, surgery was our only option. So we signed some forms and prepared for the operation. I have never been more
frightened in my life. I loved my boys so much and the thought of losing them was more than my heart could take.
When I saw two heartbeats I sobbed
The day of the surgery was very emotional for me. Hormones and anxiety were not a good mix! After a few delays I was finally collected for my surgery at 7pm. I was upset that my husband wasn’t able to be in the operating room with me, and saying goodbye to him was very difficult as since being diagnosed he had been with me 24/7. My nerves were overwhelming and I sobbed uncontrollably from the moment I said goodbye to him in my room to the moment I entered the operating room.
I was kept in recovery for about an hour while a midwife sat with me with her hands on my tummy and made sure I wasn’t contracting. Once I was back in my room I was checked regularly to ensure I wasn’t going in to labour. The 24 hours after surgery were the most dangerous. I knew if I could make it past this time there was a chance for a positive outcome. 24 hours after the surgery I had an ultrasound to see if my boys had survived the surgery and if any improvements had been made. When they showed me the two beating hearts, I sobbed. I was so relieved that they had made it through.
I was in awe when I entered the operating room. It was like a spaceship. There were computers, screens, massive silver lights and about 12 people all dressed in matching scrubs. Everyone was so nice and relaxed so I gradually became more comfortable about what was happening. I lay down on the table and was hooked up to machines, IV lines were inserted and I was told what was going to happen. They started sedation and I felt so relaxed. I could hear everything that was happening and being said. I could feel (without pain) when they inserted the tube with the camera and laser and I could hear when they lasered the blood vessels that needed to go. At the end of the operation they drained over a litre of amniotic fluid. After about an hour and a half the operation was finished.
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It was noted in this scan that the membrane that once separated my boys had very large holes as a result of the surgery. This needed to be watched, but overall my boys’ fluids had started to improve which was the most important thing. After over a week in Brisbane we had a final scan to see if they could send us back home to Wellington. At this scan both my boys looked fabulous and we got the all clear to fly home. Being back at home was great but it was also very isolating. I was on modified bed rest which meant I was not meant to do anything to exert myself and to limit any kind of stress. I spent most of my time lying on the couch watching Netflix and trying not to think about my boys. If I did venture out I couldn’t last longer than an hour before I became exhausted and
overwhelmed. I lived day by day. Each day my pregnancy progressed was a small victory. Every two weeks we would go to hospital to visit our specialist team and see how our boys were progressing. Every two weeks I would get extremely nervous about what the team might tell us. We never knew what was going on inside me and we knew anything could happen. Much of my pregnancy I tried to relax but I often felt extremely anxious and I tried to hide this from my husband. If I didn’t feel my boys moving much I would get very fearful. I needed to get to at least 24 weeks. At 24 weeks, doctors would deem my boys viable. Each day was progress and I was so happy when I got to 24 weeks.
Panic at 25 weeks I was very excited about my baby shower which was going to be held on a Sunday when I would be 25 weeks and six days pregnant. At 10:45am I decided to get up and have a shower, and when I did this a felt a gush of water go down my legs. My heart started to race as I was so panicked! I was not ready for my boys to come this early! When we got to hospital I knew I was in the right place but I was worried. The midwives started to monitor me and then all of a sudden I started to feel very strange and my heart started to become very erratic. My heart was racing then it suddenly dropped and I blacked out. When I came to, the room was full of people hooking me up to heart monitors, stabbing lines into my arms, taking blood samples, giving me oxygen and telling me to breathe. My heart rate continued to be erratic for the remainder of my pregnancy and was closely monitored for Tachycardia of Pregnancy. After a week my MFM team wasn’t exactly sure why I was leaking but thankfully my waters hadn’t broken and after over a week in hospital, I was allowed home. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I noticed more leaking and it was confirmed at 28 weeks and three days that my waters had officially
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broken. I was pumped with steroids, antibiotics and fluids. There was no way I would be going home this time. Being on hospital bed rest was a lonely time. I was always on guard, just waiting.
Ready to meet my babies I think my boys knew that their mum had had enough of all this pregnancy drama and started making their way out. At 30 weeks I started bleeding very heavily and was rushed down to delivery where I stayed for two days on constant monitoring. These two days in the delivery suite were exhausting and as I wasn’t able to sleep I felt like a zombie. I didn’t even realise I was in labour as I didn’t notice any contractions and they weren’t showing up on the monitor. When the midwife discovered I was having contractions she quickly got the doctor. I was two centimetres dilated so it was finally announced: “Alex you are having these babies tonight!” I was so happy, this pregnancy had exhausted me and I was ready to meet my babies.
"We are among the lucky few that made it through TTTS with two survivors, we have been truly blessed." I was prepped for an emergency caesarean and we were warned not to expect to hear our boys cry when they were delivered because they were 10 weeks premature and so their lungs might not be as developed as they needed to be. After they were delivered, they both screamed and cried immediately. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. I cried and cried with absolute joy. The doctor kept saying, “Alex, they are perfect, they are so, so perfect, Alex”! Our Baby A, Max was 3lb 8oz and our Baby B, Elliot, was 3lb 6oz born at 30 weeks three
days. 13 weeks after fetal surgery my boys made it safely out of my womb. We were ecstatic. It became apparent that Max had Amniotic Banding Syndrome around his right arm. The doctors believed that if he had stayed inside me for a few more days, they would have had to amputate his right arm. This banding ws caused by the laser surgery. It had perforated the membrane that had once separated my boys and the membrane had become loose and wrapped around Max's hand. In the future he may need surgery to correct it aesthetically but he has full function of his hand so we feel unbelievably blessed. It was a difficult 8.5 weeks in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NCIU) with our boys, but I tried to be as positive as possible. We knew that if my boys survived my womb and made it to NICU it was a massive achievement. I believe that as we always knew that our boys would be preemies, dealing with the actuality of NICU was easier for us. Of course it wasn’t always easy to see our boys connected to various machines, or to see them go through invasive procedures and deal with the constant noise of all the beeping machines, but we knew it was the best place for our boys and, most importantly, my boys were still proving to us that they were little fighters.
Learning a whole new language NICU is a draining place and nothing can quite prepare you for it. You learn a whole new language. Longlines, desats, apnea, bilirubin, Cpap all just become words you use multiple times a day. NICU was
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a calm place but the angst of parents wanting their babies was always evident. It was very strange not to have my boys with me 24/7 and to have to organise time to be allowed to hold them. I didn’t feel like a ‘real’ mother. I had no control over the care of my boys. It wasn’t until day five that we were allowed to hold our boys and we were both scared. I would often sit in NICU and marvel at how my two wee boys could have endured so much before they had even entered this world. While my boys were in the NICU I made it a priority spending time on me. I spent time pampering myself (in between expressing and visits to NICU) and I caught up with friends. It was so exciting to get some normalcy back since I was cooped up most of my pregnancy and felt isolated. I really believe this helped me to feel ready and refreshed for my boys’ homecoming. Bringing my two healthy boys home was a dream come true. I cried tears of joy. I can’t even describe the joy I felt. Every so often I look back on our journey – I cry tears of sadness for all the heartache that we went through and I cry tears of relief as we survived TTTS. We are the lucky few that made it through TTTS with two survivors, we are truly fortunate. As I sit here watching my boys who are toddlers now, I feel incredibly blessed and privileged to be a twin mummy. I didn’t get the pregnancy that I expected, however I have two healthy boys and that is what I focus on. We beat TTTS and we know that we are blessed beyond measure. Alex Weehuizen, Wellington
Congratulations to the lucky winners From issue 271
Bright Starts 2-in-1 Baby Bases
Freemie Freedom Deluxe Set
Sarah McGovern Rotorua
Josie Timmins, Porirua
Sarah Truman Invercargill Lorraine Spiller Porirua Melissa Rathgen Oamaru Simon Watt Auckland
Philips Avent Combined Blender and Steamer
Lamington Newborn Starter packs
Matt Brett Wellington
Hannah McCardle, Tawa Danielle Smith, Rosedale Rebecca Jellyman, Te Puke Rachel Stevens, Wakefield
Palmers Gift Voucher Jac Cho Wellington
Mealtime Prize Pack from Porse
Bond Gift Set from Tiny Turtles
Gurdeep Madan Auckland
Aneesa Dent, Auckland Kate Harriott, Christchurch
Lisa McCoubrey Christchurch
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partners Thinking strategically As a not for profit organisation, strategic partnerships and alliances are essential to enable us to fund the work we do as well as provide resources and benefits to our Centres and, most importantly, our membership. When entering partnerships we ensure there is a philosophical alignment between our organisation and the company – we look at the benefit to ALL centres in the form of products, resources, education and fundraising opportunities.
We continue to refine and collaborate on aspects of partnerships such as roadshows and ongoing education for our members and committees. I’m very proud to work with such great partners as Huggies Nappies, they really do go the extra mile in ensuring that we can give our Centres and members a range of information and products.
We seek to develop partnerships with credible organisations in order to continue to attract members, deliver our services and be commercially viable.
Business Development and Social Enterprise Manager Parents Centres New Zealand
A word from Huggies Huggies Nappies is proud of our 17 year partnership with Parents Centres. We believe in supporting mum and dad by providing the best change-time solutions to keep little ones' skin as healthy as possible. It makes logical sense for us to support an organisation like Parents Centre as their goal is to arm parents with the best and most up-to-date advice. This is especially so when they are just starting out through their childbirth education classes. And who better to help mums and dads but other mums and dads who have just been through it all. Jason Biggs, Kimberley Clark
SUPPORTING HEALTHY BABY DEVELOPMENT
Johnson & Johnson For over 100 years, JOHNSON'S® baby has been dedicated to designing gentle and mild products, especially for baby. We continuously apply our knowledge and research to create innovative products with safety at their core. That's why mums and healthcare professionals around the world have trusted JOHNSON'S® baby to nurture the little ones in their care.
Philips Avent Choosing Philips AVENT means you have the assurance of superior quality products, designed with you and baby’s needs in mind. Interchangeable design features mean products can be adapted to meet baby’s developing needs. Phone: 0800 104 401 www.philips.co.nz/AVENT
74 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Huggies online pregnancy and parenting The HUGGIES® website is about pregnancy and parenting. Check out features such as special offers, info on sleeping and settling plus hundreds of recipes and kids activity ideas! And it’s all free to HUGGIES® Baby Club members. Phone: 0800 733 703 www.huggies.co.nz
supporting Kiwi parents
Au Pair Link New Zealand Since 2006 we've been flying loving au pairs from all corners of the globe to join busy Kiwi host families, providing quality in-home care and education for their little ones. Today we have hundreds of families enrolled in early learning programmes and staff in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Taranaki, Christchurch and Otago. This means our customers benefit from a personal, safe and reliable service throughout New Zealand. www.aupairlink.co.nz
Baby On The Move Specialists in quality, affordable baby products that you can hire or purchase new. Our qualified team can help you select the correct restraint. Plus if you hire or buy from us we will install your car seat for FREE! Stores nationwide. Phone: 0800 222 966 www.babyonthemove.co.nz
PORSE Our babies are born with the need to connect. PORSE in-home educators, nannies and au pairs provide a calm and stable home environment to nurture close connected relationships, setting the foundation for lifelong learning. Phone: 0800 023 456 www.porse.co.nz
Kai Carrier Reusable food pouches that can be filled with homemade food so you know exactly what you and your children are eating whilst minimising the mess. They allow you to make nutritious food free of additives, preservatives and excess sugar and serve it in a convenient way, anywhere, anytime. www.kaicarrier.co.nz
My Food Bag Every week Nadia and her team of test chefs dream up exciting and nutritious dinner recipes just for you. We like to keep things simple, so every week (or fortnight) we deliver the ingredients and recipes right to your door. You just open your food bag and discover what tasty meals you get to cook and enjoy. Simple. Healthy. Delicious. www.myfoodbag.co.nz
Bio-Oil® specialist skincare This specialist skincare product helps improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. It contains PurCellin Oil™, and is it highly effective for other skin concerns, including aging skin and dehydrated skin. Phone: 0800 804 711 www.bio-oil.com
College of Natural Health and Homeopathy We are the leading provider of Homeopathic education, attending and distance, in Australasia. We provide: • A friendly, supportive, integrated learning environment • Flexible learning options (attending or distance) • Highly qualified, professional & experienced tutors • Government approved access to student loans & allowances Our commitment: to providing the highest standard of training in homeopathy.
Mumma Bubba Jewellery A safe alternative to costume jewellery providing relief to tender gums, these products provide an innovative solution , to teething Accessorytroubles with a range Fashion essity!seasonal, fashionable of colourful, ec N y b Ba accessories which young babies and their Mums love.
Hotmilk Lingerie Designed by women, for women, Hotmilk has revolutionised the nursing lingerie market with its provocative and fashion forward styling. Embraced by all from Hollywood celebrities to the girl next door, Hotmilk lingerie is exquisitely styled and technologically advanced.
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76 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
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Express the best.inddall 1 over your walls 4/03/16 Let your ideas loose with Resene Write-on Wall Paint.
78 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Simply apply over your existing light coloured wall paint. Then once dry and cured you can use whiteboard markers to write all over the wall without damaging the surface. And when it’s time to delete an idea just grab a soft cloth or whiteboard eraser, rub out the marker and start again. With Resene Write-on Wall Paint there’s no limit to your ideas.
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uSleep Pillow To support side sleeping in pregnancy and feeding of infants
Designed by a Midwife and Childbirth Educator
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win great giveaways
Enter online at kiwiparent.co.nz and follow the instructions. Entries must be received by 5pm July 1, 2016. Winners will be published in issue 273.
4 Full Lipid oil sets to be won
Win a new outfit from Breastmates
Lipidol is a new range of everyday oil-based skincare developed by Union Swiss, the makers of Bio-Oil. The range consists of six products that bring oil into daily skincare, helping the skin to retain its moisture. Available at all Farmers stores and selected pharmacies and supermarkets. Each set is valued at $60.
We love the new winter range of maternity wear from Breastmates – flattering designs, vibrant colours, warm fabrics, and affordable prices. Breastmates owner Franny McInnes designed these styles herself after seeing that customers wanted maternity clothes that could be worn for longer than just nine months, so all styles have secret breastfeeding access and flattering drape for post-baby tummies.
Your prize includes a Glimmer Sweater and Besties Maternity Jeans. RRP $165 www.breastmates.co.nz
2 Honeywaps prize packs to be won Honeywraps are handmade here in New Zealand by three mums who were looking for an alternative to plastic for school lunches. Made with gorgeous organic cotton and a beeswax blend; this perfect mix makes the cloth tacky so it can be shaped over food and dishes. Honeywrap keeps your food fresh whilst making your lunch, dinner party or picnic food look amazing! Best of all, they reduce waste so are good for the planet! Be in the draw to win one of two prizes valued at $80 each. The prize includes a five pack, extra large wrap, wildflower seeds and five-pack gift card set. gift fair ad honeywrap1.pdf 1 28/01/2016 3:07:44 PM
2 Buggy Benches to be won from Twins and More Buggy Benches easily attach to any size shopping trolley, instantly creating a second seat. The safety belt keeps your child secure and safely seated inside the trolley, making the shopping trip more enjoyable for everyone. The Buggy Bench conveniently folds in half for easy storage when not in use and is machine washable. Recommended for ages six months to four years (max weight 18kgs). Available in four great colours. RRP $79
Win a Breast pump prize pack from Philips Avent
Win one of 2 Snugpod zip up swaddles from Snugbags
We have a Philips Avent Comfort Single Electric Breast Pump, 10 pack Milk Storage Cups and Microwave Steriliser prize pack for one lucky reader to win.
Swaddle your baby the easy way with our new Snugpod. Simply zip your little one into the Snugpod for an easy and comfortable swaddle. Simple, easy and the perfect swaddle every time! Ideal for newborns, the Snugpod creates a cosy womb-like feeling and helps prevent the startle reflex. Mimicking the womb, baby can move her arms and legs around as she is used to – promoting healthy hip development. New Zealand made from super-soft merino/cotton blend available in 5 gorgeous colours. RRP $69 each.
Philips Avent Comfort Breast pumps allow you to sit in a natural relaxed position when expressing, while the soft massage cushion with its unique soft petals gently compresses the breast to stimulate milk flow. The milk storage cups and microwave steriliser provide the perfect companions for expressing, storing and feeding your baby breastmilk. RRP over $400! www.avent.co.nz
80 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
The product most recommended by doctors for pregnancy stretch marks. Colmar Brunton, 2014
“When you fall pregnant it’s like there are a million products to choose from but you trust other mothers. When they say this or that product is the best, you try it. That’s how I discovered Bio-Oil. I used it everywhere and I didn’t get any stretch marks. I sent five bottles to my friend when she was pregnant and she was still asking me to send some more. All my friends are addicts now.” Jessica with Lili
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.
Kiwiparent Issue #272 - June 2016 - July 2016