Kiwiparent Issue #282 - February 2018 - March 2018

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RRP $7.50 (incl GST)


FEBRUARY 2018 – MARCH 2018

Don’t beat around the bush Get out and enjoy nature’s bounty

Tiny tummies

Taking care of children’s digestive health

Play it cool For the first day of school


– the language of love Baby massage for beginners

Dress-up fun Imaginative play is much more than just a game

The magazine of Parents Centre New Zealand Inc


With the right income protection you can all sleep easier.

Your family’s income is one of its most important assets – especially when the family grows. Income Protection insurance gives you and your loved ones a financial safety net if there’s an unexpected impact on your ability to earn. It’s a small monthly cost that can safeguard the lifestyle you’ve worked hard to provide for those most precious to you. To get started, call Terri or Sharon at SHARE on 0800 02 00 55

Protecting the NZ way of life

Top myths

about insurance One of the best things about New Zealand is that it’s a great place to raise kids. We’ve got lots of gorgeous space to play in, a slower pace of life, and healthcare is cheap, if not free. Under these circumstances, it’s easy to get too relaxed. Many Kiwis see insurance as nice to have, but not really necessary. ‘Why waste money on something that ACC probably covers me for?’ we tell ourselves. However, a lot of what we believe might not be the case. Can you guarantee that your family will be taken care of, should anything happen to you? Does the insurance you get with your job cover all potential scenarios? Here are a few of the key myths, with some important points to consider.

I only need it if I’m the income earner Unfortunately, even public healthcare can cost money. If your partner needs time off work to care for you or get you to appointments, or you want to try alternative treatments, modify your house or car to accommodate a disability, or get assistance with childcare, this can all add up. It’s difficult to imagine all the related expenses a serious illness or injury can create, even down to purchasing flat shoes for better balance. Likewise, the effect of an illness or disability, or worse, death, impacts on the whole family. Insurance can’t prevent disaster, but it can protect your family’s lifestyle if either partner is left as the sole carer as well as the income earner.

ACC will cover me New Zealand has one of the most progressive compensation systems in the world, meaning people who suffer an accident will typically receive assistance from the Accident Compensation Corporation. However, many people don’t realise that they’re not covered in

the event of illness. According to the 2017 Wellness in the Workplace study by Business New Zealand, illness was the reason for more than 70% of absence from work. If you have to take a long time off work due to illness, you won’t be covered under ACC. Nor will pre-existing conditions be covered, and it can sometimes be difficult to prove an injury is unrelated to something that happened earlier. What’s more, a sickness benefit is unlikely to meet all your living costs. That’s where insurance can really help.

I don’t want to talk to a salesman Forget the cheesy old stereotype of the ’insurance salesman’. Good financial advisers really do care about getting the best outcomes for their clients, and getting advice no longer requires a visit and a cuppa with your dad’s insurance agent. There’s a range of advisers providing a variety of services tailored to your requirements (usually at no cost to the client), and you can often communicate your needs online, saving you time. To find an independent financial adviser visit or the Institute of Financial Advisers at 

As parents, we know life is precious – too precious to sail through without a lifejacket. To make sure we can always enjoy the great Kiwi lifestyle, we need to take care of the small stuff first. Just a little consideration now can save us big worries in the future – and keep the future bright for our little ones too.

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Photo Credit: Isaac Harrison from Wellington. Stacey Lake Photography

Special Features


Don’t beat around the bush

Letters to the Editor........................................................................ 4

Megan Sommerville....................................................................... 8–10

Pedal power Marilyn Northcotte.......................................................................12–15

Stuttering Janelle Irvine...................................................................................16–19

Dress-up fun

The way we were.............................................................................. 5 Product pages.................................................................................6–7 Creating my well-being Ben Tafau.........................................................................................22–25

Learning while they play.............................................................26–29

Splash class Water safety resources...............................................................30–33

Touch The language of love...................................................................46–49

Burning up – fever ................................................................50–52 Looking after tiny tummies Tanja Gardner.................................................................................54–56

Colic, reflux; we do know the cause Philippa Murphy.............................................................................58–62

Night-time nursing Pinky McKay...................................................................................34–37

SKIP Tips app is here...................................................................38 Parents Centre Pages.............................................................39–43 Find a centre.....................................................................................44 You decide Liz Pearce................................................................................................45

Learning to do hard things Leila Malthus..................................................................................64–67

Great parents grow great kids.................................................63

The first day of school..........................................................68–71 Living the dream Leila Malthus..................................................................................72–73

Partners.........................................................................................76–77 Shopping Cart...........................................................................78–79

What price peace of mind? Sharon Pearce................................................................................74–75


kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years



FEBRUARY 2018 – MARCH 2018


Who do you trust on the www The internet is a virtual treasure trove of information. We are more connected to global knowledge than ever before – what a privilege! The downside of all this information sloshing around is that not all websites are created equal.

Don’t beat around the bush In New Zealand, nature is at our fingertips. Even in city centres, we don’t have to go too far to find a slice of greenery or an expanse of ocean. Yet not all Kiwi families make as much of this as we could. Read about the Kiwi Guardians programme that encourages young people to get out and have adventures in nature so they form meaningful connections and have fun as well.

S s s stuttering Plenty of preschoolers go through a stage when they stutter. It can be distressing for children – and their families – as they struggle to express themselves and be understood. Contrary to popular belief, stuttering is not the result of nervousness or low intelligence, nor is it caused by a traumatic event. But it is something that affects people from all walks of life, and requires individual assessment and treatment.

Looking after tiny tummies Kids’ digestive health is about more than just their digestive systems. Upset tummies, stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhoea can all be signs that it’s time to see a doctor. Even when everything seems fine on the surface, digestive system issues can have far-reaching effects.

Kiwiparent – Since 1954 the magazine of Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Editor

Leigh Bredenkamp Ph (04) 472 1193 Mobile (0274) 572 821 leighb@e– PO Box 28 115, Kelburn, 6150

Editorial Enquiries Ph (04) 233 2022 or (04) 472 1193 info@e–

Advertising Sales

Taslim Parsons Ph (04) 233 2022 x8804 Mobile 021 1860 323


Hannah Faulke,


Megan Kelly



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


Image Centre Group

A few years ago there was an international outcry at the sad fate of the endangered tree octopus of the Pacific (yes really). A webpage was set up devoted to saving them. But it turned out this website has been used to intentionally mislead students as part of a scientific study into online research habits, and it points to a real problem of the digital information age: anyone can put anything on the internet any time – and it is easy to get misled. The internet empowers us to educate ourselves and make more informed choices and decisions, but if we believe everything we find online, we are likely to wind up making some very poor decisions. In this amazing digital age, how do we keep from being misinformed? Using websites is like talking to friends. Some are knowledgeable and can be helpful, others are often wrong but never in doubt. Some friends may tell us things that are a mix of truth and fiction and others will tell us what we want to hear. Most people know to be skeptical of what some of their friends tell them and we should hold websites to the same standards. Commercial websites can’t always be trusted to tell you the truth about issues related to that product. That said, many companies carry great information that doesn't only push product. Websites sponsored by commercial, political, or other entities should be viewed with skepticism. These sites are also "selling" something, perhaps a particular belief rather than a physical product. Always check who sponsors the website you are visiting. You’re more likely to get high-quality information from sites affiliated with universities, government agencies (not politicians), and NGOs devoted to public education. As a journalist I was taught two important things – check the source and follow the money. Who paid for the site and who is writing the content. Then there are news and magazine websites, blogs, and Wikipedia. While these are valuable, many have their own bias and are driven by the desire to attract your attention – hence alarmist headlines and trending articles that push people’s buttons. There is great variability among bloggers. Commonly, no one reviews the material in blogs before posting. Many blogs are great sources of information but others exist purely to present a narrow viewpoint wrapped up as fact. So how do you know if a particular piece of information is valid? Generally, web pages with more citations and links, or from reputable organisations, will provide better information. But it is also good to try spot-checking some of what is written by using Google scholar or a fact-checking website. Don’t be scared of scientific papers – while they may be filled with jargon, anyone can scan them (I usually read the foreword and the recommendations or conclusions to get a sense of what it contains). If you need a hand, ask for help from someone trained in the field of interest. Enjoy the information at your fingertips – it is a fantastic resource. But be skeptical and do your homework as well. Leigh Bredenkamp

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letters to the editor

The winning letter receives the complete Natural Instinct face care range, truly natural skincare products with active anti-ageing plant-based ingredients and 100% free from over 400 potentially harmful ingredients to you and the environment. Available from leading pharmacies. RRP $102.

Top letter

Congratulations to top letter winner Kim Black from Wellington who will win a prize pack from Natural Instinct.

Top letter prize

Pics in the park

Is your medication right for you?

Congratulations to Upper Hutt Parents Centre for the successful photo fundraiser we held in November 2017. Our super talented president Kathryn Wilson, from Kathryn Wilson Photography, donated her time to take beautiful images of our member families at a local park. We called it 'Pics in the Park'.

If you’re pregnant and taking medicines for epilepsy, pain or mood regulation, ACC and the Ministry of Health encourage you to talk to your doctor. Studies show antiepileptic medicine can pose a risk to unborn babies. These risks may include spina bifida, cleft palate, heart defects, low IQ, and learning and behavioural problems. But the risks depend on what medicine you take, how much you take, and any other medication you may be on.

Kathryn thought it would be a good way to raise some extra money for the Centre while getting to meet some of the families in our community. An extra benefit was the opportunity to get to know our members a bit better, and the babies... so cute! It was also great to see so many graduates of our childbirth education classes there and connect with them in a different way. We are very lucky to have Kathryn as our president. She is doing an amazing job ensuring Upper Hutt Parents Centre continues to support parents in the community.

Kimberley Black, Wellington


kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Talk to your doctor, even if you aren’t planning on getting pregnant. Make sure you know the potential risks and plan accordingly. Do not stop or reduce your medicine without speaking to your doctor, even if you think you’re pregnant. This sort of change to your medication can cause serious harm to you and your unborn baby. Find out more at

Dr Peter Robinson, ACC’s Chief Clinical Advisor

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.

s Join u and

Grantly Dick-Read’s method [of natural childbirth] worked well for many… This demonstrated his own firmly held proposition, that much unnecessary pain was due to fear and ignorance of the normal processes of labour and delivery. But the very words “natural childbirth” seemed to set medical hackles rising, so in June 1952 the newborn Natural Childbirth Association decided to change its name to something less provocative. After a good many names had been discarded, Christine Cole suggested “Parents Centre”. Christine remembered: “I suggested ‘centre’ because most of us were, or had been, playcentre mothers and we felt we were on a similar track to the playcentre movement. And the ‘parents’ part was important to me because I’d grown up with the conviction that both parents did the parenting, and I think we all saw that this shouldn’t be just a mothers’ movement. “Parents’ Centre would include fathers too. We certainly didn’t want fathers to feel excluded – and in practical terms that could also make it hard for mothers to spend time in the movement. After all, back in the 1950s not everyone took for granted, as we did, that parenting applied to fathers as well as mothers.” After a lot of hard work a general meeting was called for 25 June 1952 and the name was changed. A draft constitution was presented by solicitor RSC Agar, and approved by 47 members and friends after Marie Bullock had asked that the words “home confinement” be inserted in the aims. The YWCA would provide space and facilities for Mme Taglicht to run a mothers’ class… Sister Nan Clayton had the permission of Plunket’s Dr Deem to lecture the mothers’ classes, providing they were the Plunket Society’s lectures. Dr Sam Rutherford of Hutt Valley was happy to be an advisory member of the parents centre, and also offered practical help. Everything seemed to be falling into place. But it was becoming clear that if mothers’ classes were to meet with the approval of doctors they would have to be supervised by a registered physiotherapist. The point was made plain by Dr Davis, the Health Department’s director of maternal welfare, when Helen Brew, baby in her lap, met him to explain the classes purpose. Helen was also able to meet Miss Beryl Service of the Dunedin School of Physiotherapy and explain the problem. She had been reassured that it would be quite in order to start mothers’ classes without a physiotherapist in the meantime. 

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Access 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.

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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.



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Banz Carewear New name, new tagline – Sensitive Care. Sensible Choice. Baby Banz, the name Kiwi parents have trusted for 12 years for baby and children’s sun and sound protection gear, is now Banz Carewear! New name, but still the same reliable stayput sunglasses, sound-protective earmuffs, wide-brimmed and adjustable reversible sunhats and more! Our new-season’s arrivals include Banz Safe ‘n’ Sound Bluetooth Mini Muffs – your under-two-year-old can listen to music or white-noise direct from your smartphone – keep them happy while travelling this summer! Get 20% off your order! Enter the code kiwisafe at the checkout when placing your order at:


kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

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Don’t beat around the bush

Get out into



kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Kiwis like nature. Some of us like it as a concept, part of our Kiwi identity; some of us like it as a recreational pastime, and for some – it’s in our veins. Throughout these varying degrees of connection, trends emerge. More often than not, tamariki follow in their parents’ footsteps. If family camping trips, hikes, tramping adventures or beach cleanups are a regular occurrence, then kids are more likely to catch the nature bug (figuratively speaking, hopefully) and carry it through to their adulthood.

Rinse and repeat. The benefits of nature have been well researched and documented. Nature education expert, Richard Louv, wrote in his book about Nature-Deficit Disorder, “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health.” Tellingly, the title of this book is ‘Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from NatureDeficit Disorder’ – Richard was not beating around the bush, if you’ll forgive the pun. A number of studies back Richard up, indicating children generally play inside more than they do outside. You can find all that research on the Department of Conservation website, but in a nutshell, there’s lots of international research saying we’re not getting kids outside enough. Last year, shocking stats hit the news about children spending less time outside each day than prison inmates. In New Zealand, nature is at our fingertips. Even in city centres, we don’t have to go too far to find a slice of greenery or an expanse of ocean. It could be a park, reserve, waterfront, beach or some native bush. A whopping 85% of New Zealanders rate conservation as important to them personally, according to the engagement figures from the 2016 Survey of New Zealanders. Yet I don’t think all Kiwi families make as much of this as we could.

There are lots of good reasons for this. Sometimes the barriers are logistical – it can be hard to find a good spot, plan the trip there and get everyone on board; and sometimes it’s financial – fun stuff can be costly. Little costs add up fast. Sometimes, it’s because we’re nervous! The Washington Post published a cool article a while back about how parents can (understandably) be a bit riskaverse, which leads to missed adventures. We really want young people to get out and have adventures in nature so they form meaningful connections with it. The state of our native species is already a bit precarious – we have about 3000 in some trouble, 800 in serious trouble and 50 plus bird species have become extinct since human arrival 750 years ago. If kids don’t care about nature, then our individual conservation efforts will slide back with each generation. This is unacceptable – we need the opposite to happen! It’s crucial our young people connect with nature. To bust down barriers and point families in the right direction, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and our partner Toyota have developed the Kiwi Guardians outdoors programme. This is a self-guided adventureand activity-based programme which rewards children for getting into nature – whether in their backyards, at a reserve or on public conservation land. And it’s little to no cost. The reward? Legit, tangible medals and certificates which are posted out.

We know kids like having fun, (which the programme offers them in spades) but we sweetened the deal because we also know they like to be able to touch, hold and see their rewards. Honestly, same. The programme works in two main ways: there’s the Adventure option, where you find and download an adventure map; and an Action option where you complete tasks in your backyard like building a We-ta- motel. This Action option was created because it’s easy (and necessary – life happens) to put stuff off. The Action medals are like nonaggressive calendar reminders that it’s time for some nature. We launch Action medals in conjunction with events like Sea Week, Ma-ori Language Week and Conservation Week. The new Kiwi Guardians medal launched during Conservation Week last year is Toa Tiaki Wai (Water Champion). To earn it, kids need to muck in and clean up a local water source. They also need to approach someone who can explain why the source is significant to them, like a local community figure or group, local iwi or the council. So get out into nature! Go! If you’re looking for someplace easy to start, that could be the Kiwi Guardians programme, but however you want to go about it, getting into nature is good for us and good for our families. When we spend time in nature we feel better, we think better, and I generally think fresh air makes us better-better. Let’s be better-better together. Kia ora.

Megan Sommerville Megan is the National Programme Developer for the Outreach and Education team at the Department of Conservation. She assists, develops and stimulates discussion on outreach and conservation education programmes. Previously she has worked for a number of central government agencies in areas such as diversity, education and youth issues. Continued overleaf... subscribe online at –



Share your snaps on social media using #kiwiguardians or by visiting the Kiwi Guardians Facebook page.

Are you a Curious Camper?

The Kiwi Guardians programme There are lots of ways to get involved with children from preschool age upwards. Kiwi Guardians offers three options: 1. Adventures: go on epic selfguided adventures at local parks or reserves and track down a Guardians Post to locate a secret code word. Each site has its own adventure map to guide your journey, which you can find at 2. Actions: complete tasks in your own backyard, eg: build a We-taMotel or track your cat. 3. Exploring: by taking part in events, like Seaweek or Conservation Week. When children have completed a task, they can visit kiwiguardians. and claim a medal online, which will be posted at no cost. There’s a list of Actions to do and a map of Adventure sites at

There are plenty of ways that preschool children and their parents can get involved. The adventures are great fun – although you may want to pick and choose what parts you do to tailor to the age of your child – and the actions have lots of scope. A great adventure for the summer months is the Kiwi Guardians Curious Camper medal. To earn this medal, kids need to create a map of their campsite, explore their surroundings and see what they can find. Camping is a great way to get outside and into nature. They can camp out in their own backyard on a fine night, or head to the nearest park or reserve. No matter where the location, you’ll be sure to have a great time! Try doing these fun activities: Stargaze under the Milky Way – can you see a shooting star? Can you spot the Southern Cross constellation?

Listen to the dawn chorus – how many different birds can you hear? Discover your camping area. Create a map of your campsite, explore your surroundings and see what you can find. Find where north, south, east and west are (hint, the sun rises from the east and sets in the west). Once you have the directions, place your tent on the map. Add other nearby points of interest to your map: trees, beach, river, road. Did you see any lizards? Spot any crazy rocks shaped like a frog? Why not sit very still for five minutes and try to identify the sounds of nature. Close your eyes and point in the direction the sound comes from, put the sounds that you hear on the map you have drawn: birds insects water moving wind in the trees people walking.

Start a campfire and prepare food and tell stories.

Or you could hide a treasure and see if your friends can find it by using your treasure map.

Watch the sunset or sunrise.

Happy camping! 

10 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

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Pedal power

Exploring the outdoors and cycling are key features of a Kiwi childhood, but with the number of electronic toys now on the market, it can also be something that is seen as too hard for many busy parents. As a passionate cyclist and trainer, I would like to share some tips to make this process as easy and fun as possible.

Cycling can be really fun and a great way for families to get out and about together. And remember: Build bike confidence – the more you ride, the better you are – practice makes perfect. Give positive encouragement throughout the learning process – and stop when it’s time to stop. Try and end on a positive note. Make it fun! I recommend learning to cycle away from streets in netball courts or school playgrounds or other car-free areas. These are great for learning. Many parents make the mistake

12 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Always, ALWAYS wear a helmet when riding. Helmets must be a good fit – this is something your child shouldn’t grow into!

Photos: Used with permission from the NZ Transport Agency

of teaching their children on grass in case they fall, however it’s best to teach them how to ride on a flat, smooth surface first as it’s easier. The children benefit from learning to ride smoothly first, before going over bumps! Here is my simple five step process for learning to ride:

Set up your child’s bike correctly to give them the best possible start Your child should be able to stand over their bike and be clear of the top tube. The bike should not be too

high and they should not have to reach too far in front of them for the handlebars and, more importantly, the brakes. When sat on the saddle, your child should be able to reach the ground with both of their feet flat on the ground.

Getting on and off your bike It’s very important to teach your child the fundamentals of getting on and off their bike safely. I would recommend the following approach: When your child gets on their bike, encourage them to apply the brakes and lean the bike towards them. When getting off the bike, remind them to keep the brakes applied.

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Striding and gliding or scooting along Encourage your child to scoot along on their bike using their feet to push off before teaching them to pedal. This helps them to learn the feeling of balancing on two wheels. The aim is to push themselves off and keep both their feet off the ground for as long as they can. Children who are too big for balance bikes should aim to learn to balance on their normal bikes without training wheels by pushing off with their feet and scooting along.

Starting and stopping Children should be taught to use their brakes properly from the beginning, even if they cannot ride yet. You can practise by having them walk along pushing the bike and using the brakes to stop. Braking is an essential skill, which ultimately will enable them to feel in control when starting out. Note: Balance bikes do not have brakes! Your children should be taught to use both brakes evenly to assist with more control when coming to a stop. Although many children’s bikes will have a front handbrake, it is often very difficult for them to apply the brake as little hands are simply not strong enough. In this case, you can teach children to stop using the back pedal or coaster brakes. The aim is to get them to be able to stop without wobbling too much.

Balance and vision To give your child the best possible start, I recommend balance bikes over training wheels. It’s hard to

14 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

progress to riding until they learn to balance on two wheels. Training wheels shift the weight of the child from side-to-side and so it’s hard for them to learn the ‘balancing instinct’. Once the feeling of balancing is learned it doesn’t go away – it’s an internal mechanism that kicks in, hence the phrase “it’s like riding a bike”. Gaining this feeling early is invaluable, as once they have it, a child will not lose it. Anything that involves balance is helpful. Scooters are good for learning to balance for older children – if they can scooter with both feet on the platform, they can learn to balance on two wheels. Encourage your child to look where they’re going. “Look where you go – go where you look.” Get them to keep their eyes up and look ahead – the eyes control their inner-balance and direction. Looking down can make it harder to balance and get going, as looking down pulls you forward.

Pedalling power Once your child has learned these fundamental skills and gained their balance, it’s time to start learning to pedal. Aim to have one of the pedals in the 2 o’clock position – the pedal-ready position – in line with the downtube on the frame, which will help them get started and gain momentum. You can run alongside them and help support from the front by holding onto the stem to help them keep their balance.

Once they get the hang of it, get them to practise riding along and riding around in areas that are free of obstacles and hazards. You can add in some gentle turns to help with steering the bike where they want it to go.

As a parent, you can ride between them and any obstacle or hazard, to help protect them. This is similar to protective riding on the road.

A great way to teach them to turn is to set up some cones (a friend of mine uses rubber ducks!) two to three metres apart and ride in and out with gentle turns. They’ll soon pick up the techniques for controlling their bike.

Good, closed-toe shoes should be worn so they OUTSTANDING don’t haveCONTRIBUTION to worry about banging their toes.

Use any opportunity to practise stopping using both the brakes.

Some important safety tips Maintain your child’s bicycle regularly – check their brakes, tyres and chain. If you have any doubts, it's best to get their bike serviced by an expert or cycle shop. Alternatively, your region may have a Big Bike Tune Up coming up. Check the dates for your region at the Bike Wise events page. Lead by example. Teach your child the correct road rules, and ride with them if they are under the age of ten.

Safe biking for preschoolers

Helmets are a legal requirement and an essential part of any cyclist's kit – no matter what level.


Longer clothing can help when learning as this will CATEGORY WINNER – Marilynthem Northcotte help protect from bumps and scrapes if they Through her commitment to growing a Marilyn Northcotte’s contribution to cycling takeis legendary a tumble. professional cycle skills training programme, in New Zealand and the range of her influence is widespread.

Marilyn has inspired many thousands of people (over 17,400 in the Wellington region

Marilyn’s dedication to cycling goes back alonewear since 2012) to get on their bikes that and decades, Don’t your clothing is too many initiallylet working with the child be part of that joy. Police during the 1990s and early 2000s on Judges make said “Marilyn has been involved in school-based safe cycling and and loose orprogrammes baggy, sure they have tied up cycling over many years and has directly teacher training. She has coached cycling influenced over 15,000in people through her cycle don’t wrap champions, built the flagship Pedal Ready are shoelaces that tucked so they training programmes. She is recognised as one cycle skills programme for the Wellington of the go-to people around cycling issues in region, and sat on the New Zealand Cycling around pedals and chains.  Wellington and beyond.” Safety expert panel created in response to the 2013 Coronial Inquiry. Adept and influential, Marilyn is equally at home coaching new cycle skills instructors, teaching children, young people and refugee women to ride for the first time. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her talent for inspiring confidence in tentative new cyclists is remarkable.

To find out more, please contact: Marilyn Northcotte

Marilyn Northcotte Marilyn is one of New Zealand’s leading cycle skills trainers and consultants, having worked with kids and adults for more than 20 years to develop their cycle skills. Marilyn runs programmes in schools and is affectionately known as the ‘bike lady’ by many past and present Kiwi kids.


Learn in a safe car-free area, such as netball courts or school playgrounds. When it’s time to have a go on public cycleways/ shared paths, the best idea is for an adult to ride behind them and give instructions and advice as they go.

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S s s stuttering

16 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Plenty of preschoolers go through a stage when they stutter – repeating words, phrases or syllables, stopping them or prolonging them, even staying silent for certain sounds or syllables. It can be distressing for children – and their families – as they struggle to express themselves and be understood. While stuttering affects approximately one percent of the adult population, it impacts about ten times more children. Although many of these children will ‘grow out of’ stuttering, some do not. Stuttering can start very suddenly, usually between the ages of two and four, and often when children start combining words into sentences. Hearing your previously chatty child start to stutter can be a really anxious time for parents but rest assured that it is relatively common. Asking friends or Google can often lead to greater anxiety, as information can be conflicting and broad. The best course of action is to remain calm and seek professional advice and support. The exact cause of stuttering is not yet fully understood, however it most likely results from a problem in the area of the brain involved in producing speech. Stuttering often runs in families but this is not always the case. Contrary to popular belief, stuttering is not the result of nervousness or low intelligence, nor is it caused by a traumatic event. Stuttering is something which affects people from all walks of life, and requires individual assessment and treatment.

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So, what is stuttering? Stuttering is an interruption to the flow of speech that can be present in different ways for different people. Stuttering includes: repetitions of sounds or words, e.g. “w w w what’s that?”, “Can I have this this this this one?” prolongations of sounds, e.g. “sssssstrong” blocking of sounds, i.e. where the sound gets completely stuck, e.g. “I…….I like ice cream”. There can also be visible signs of tension and struggle and accompanying feelings of fear, embarrassment, and anxiety. While younger children are often not aware of or bothered by their stuttering, negative emotions can develop as the child gets older and becomes more concerned about the opinions of others. There is no typical child who stutters – everyone has different experiences and levels of stuttering. Because of this, some children are not at all concerned by their stuttering and continue to participate as they previously did, while for others it can have an effect on their confidence, and therefore their academic and social participation. It is important for parents to understand that what their child needs most is a supportive environment. Stuttering can be stressful for both the child and the parents, however, with the right support and the opportunity to continue expressing themselves,

18 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

the child is likely to continue to thrive as they always have. The Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust (START) is working hard to create a more open-minded and supportive New Zealand that understands what stuttering is and how we can all help.

If your child starts to stutter, START has some tips to help you Let them finish Although your child might be struggling, it’s important to let them finish their words and sentences. This is a really important way of showing your child that it is OK for them to express themselves, no matter what. If they are continuously interrupted by well-meaning people hoping to prevent difficulty speaking, they are going to feel as though what they have to say isn’t important – always let them finish!

Get the right help Seek professional advice as soon as you can. While stuttering is nothing to panic about, it’s always best to speak to the specialists first, before asking friends, family, or Google. Here at START we are just a phone call or email away, and we’re the only organisation in New Zealand that specialises in working with people of all ages who stutter. We’re also a charity, and because of this we work hard to make accessibility easy and affordable.

Nurture and encourage them Remember that your child is still the same person as they were before they started stuttering, and it makes them no less intelligent or confident – as long as you continue to nurture them as you always did. Continue to encourage your child to participate in a range of activities and let them know that their stutter doesn’t need to stop them doing anything they want to do! If it’s not your child but someone else’s who you’ve noticed is stuttering, these recommendations still apply, particularly continuing to allow the child to speak and finish their own sentences, and encouraging them to continue participating. If the child’s parent appears stressed about their child’s stuttering or is seeking help from peers, please remember that talking to a professional is their best option, as this will ensure the best course of action is taken as quickly as possible.

Work together It is important for our community to work together to make all kids feel supported and able to achieve their dreams. Each child has a unique perspective to offer the world, and it’s our job to help them make a positive impact. People who stutter often have deeper experiences than others because of the struggles they may have faced as kids. People like Ed Sheeran and Sam Neill are people who stuttered but have used these experiences to make a big impact with their lives. We have a number of talented kids here in New Zealand too, which is why for International Stuttering Awareness

Day 2017 (22nd October) the team at START compiled a book of art, poetry, and essays from Kiwi kids who stutter, as well as a number of facts, tips, and insights into stuttering. We’ve produced this book with the goal of helping New Zealand become a more open-minded and supportive nation. It’s a fantastic, charming little book featuring some funny, sad, empowering, and challenging pieces from children who stutter, with their own unique perspectives to offer. 

Janelle Irvine Janelle is the manager and one of the speech language therapists for the Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust, a charity, and New Zealand’s only organisation specialising in stutter therapy.

Find out more If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, or you would like to find out more about what stuttering is or how you can support people who stutter, please head to the START website,

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20 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

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Creating my


22 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Like a never-ending game of Tetris, one of my biggest challenges as a solo parent is keeping on top of my well-being. In a previous article, I wrote about the ‘Five Ways to Well-being’ (Connect, Learn, Take Notice, Give, Keep Active) for single dads and other parents to keep at the top of their game. One of my favourite ways to keep my wellbeing in the positive that incorporates elements of the ‘Five Ways’ is exercising my creative side as much as I can. One of the ways I did this recently is when I made my daughter some “Queen Elsa Ice Armour” for the Wellington Armageddon pop culture event in June 2017, based on Elsa from every parent’s favourite Disney movie, Frozen (which I can fully recite from memory FYI). I’ve made a few costumes for myself over the years for parties and events like the Wellington Sevens, and when my daughter was born she became my costuming focus.

Five Ways to Well-being Connect, Learn, Take Notice Give, Keep Active

I had made a few simple costumes for her in previous years, but this time I decided I wanted to try and make a more elaborate outfit from EVA foam like my friend Sanit (@SpicyThaiDesign on instagram), who makes amazing costumes and also works for Weta Workshop. EVA foam is a soft, durable and flexible foam usually used for flooring or making jandals but also popular in sports equipment, set designs and crafts.

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It helps me connect with my daughter, creating fun memories and new traditions. It gives me an opportunity to learn new skills, and exercise my current ones (especially those I haven’t used in a while, like sewing!). The whole creative process – making something from concept to finished product – increases my confidence and encourages me to keep trying new creative endeavours. It lets me express my ‘geeky’ side – I’m a comic book nerd from way back, so indulging in my youthful passions helps keeps me ‘young at heart’. Gives me a positive outlet for my energies (even though I have bugger-all time!), which can actually inspire me and create more energy when I’m working on something I enjoy. And finally, it gives me an opportunity to role model positive behaviours to my daughter. Things like learning new skills, trying something new and not being afraid of failing (as I do often!), and being able to work through challenges and roadblocks on the way to completing a task/project.

Getting in touch with my creative side Because of all these reasons, I try to find ways to exercise my creative side as much as possible in my daily life, from work, to daddy duties, to my other pursuits like breakdancing and bboying (which I’ve recently taken up again), learning how to cook and bake, and developing my creative writing skills! I asked my daughter what kind of armour she wanted (hoping she’d go for the Moana variant I really wanted to make), but like probably 99% of girls her age, the movie Frozen still holds a special place in her heart and she wanted some Queen Elsa armour. There were a quite a few cosplayers (people who make elaborate costumes and dress as characters from movies, books or video games) who had done their own versions of battle armour for Elsa, so I chose one to use as a basis for a more ‘child-appropriate’ version for my daughter. The costume design and build process was definitely a learning experience for me! I’d never worked with EVA foam or a hot glue gun before, so there was a lot of trial and error, guesstimating, a lot of asking my friend Sanit for advice and borrowing of tools – and quite a few late nights! It was all worth it in the end, as the costume turned out better than I expected, and my daughter was happy with it – which was the most important thing. Indulging my creative side with my daughter has a number of benefits for me:

24 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

So if you want to get in touch with your creative side, there’s a world full of inspiration out there! Perhaps it’s an old hobby like drawing or painting that you want to get back into, or some crafting videos you want to help your kids with, or maybe something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t got around to giving a go yet. There’s tons of information on the internet, and tutorial videos on YouTube, moreso than any time before, so pick something you’d like to try, start small to learn the ropes and build your confidence (or go ‘all in’ if you’re feeling up to the challenge) and get stuck in! And let me know how you go! Pictures of your efforts would be great! 

Ben Tafau Ben is the author of The 1 Player Dad Strategy Guide and He’s a single dad with shared care of an amazing daughter, and writes about his journey playing the parenting game in ‘1 Player Mode’ in Wellington.

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26 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

There is a reason why you'll find a dress-up box in most preschool classrooms. Early Childhood Education teachers know that when children are encouraged to use their imaginations, they are also working other important academic and emotional skills. When your child imagines themselves as a race car driver or pilot, they're actually learning – not to drive of course – but the actions of sitting in a car, buckling a seat belt and putting the key in the ignition, pressing pedals, steering and pulling levers. And chances are, your child isn't silent when they’re playing dress-up. If they are on the moon, looking for aliens with a colander (aka space helmet) on their heads, they have to figure out where to land the rocket and what colour the alien is going to be. Even if your child is quiet while playing, or chattering quietly to themselves, you can be sure that their imagination is going at full tilt. That is because there is a lot going on those little heads. Here are just some of the things that children learn when they dress up.

Physical dexterity Your little one develops physical strength as they connect with their character. Gross motor skills come into play when a child uses large muscles to push a car, cast a line like an angler, run like a rugby player or leap like a ballet dancer. These movements are typically not ones they use in everyday life. Dramatic play also enhances fine motor coordination. Your toddlers and preschoolers use the small muscles of the hands and fingers when they make a cape from a piece of material, dress a doll, or button their jacket. They are learning to engage muscle groups as they reach, grasp, balance and zip.

Social skills Your child learns about themselves and others in socio-dramatic play. They’ll move toward cooperative play as they interact and communicate about what they’re doing. Dress-up play encourages teamwork and an interest in peers. The children learn to negotiate as they take turns, cooperate, agree on topics and play by the rules.

Empathy When your child puts themselves in another person’s shoes, their sensitivity toward that person increases. When your little one dresses like a parent, rocks and cuddles a baby doll, they are learning how a parent nurtures an infant. When a child picks up a hose and “puts out a fire” to save people, they recognise the hard work of community firefighters and begin to understand how they think and feel. If one playmate acts as an upset child who wonders where his mum or dad are, the “adult” comforts

them and tells them not to worry, because they will arrive soon. If the “patient” is afraid of the “doctor”, helping to calm their fears can reduce a child’s own fear of going to the doctor. In these ways they are learning to empathise and put themselves in another’s shoes.

Vocabulary Children expand their vocabulary in dress-up play. Words they might have heard in stories come to life as they use them to enhance and extend their fantastical actions. Eventually, they create their own scenarios rather than using ones they’ve seen on television or read in books. They begin to use these newly discovered words in conversations – sometimes with hilarious results! Kids use specific words to ask and answer questions to fit the roles they’re playing. They also have to listen carefully to their playmates so they can respond and be understood.

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Cognitive skills


The stimulating environment of dress-up play encourages children toward higher levels of thinking. They’ll use their brains but won’t realise just how much they’re learning. “To engage in dramatic play, kids first depend on recalling what they’ve seen. They remember how Mum looks when she washes dishes or sets the table. Then they move toward abstract thinking as they create these situations on their own,” notes Harvardbased psychologist, Mary Mullen.

Who’s going to be the super hero? Who’s going to be rescued? Children learn to make decisions when they engage in dress-up play. They determine the tools a builder needs or the utensils a chef needs. They decide which costumes and props fit each character.

Literacy skills are enhanced as children incorporate colours, numbers, sizes and shapes into their dressup play and make up their own stories about what's happening. They solve problems when they decide such things as how to put together a doctor’s kit.

Role playing, especially when it happens with other children, encourages taking turns, cooperation, and socialisation. Children that allow their imaginations to run wild become great problem-solvers as adults. Why? Because creative thinking grows with use and practice, and while trying to figure out how to rescue dolls from the bad guys doesn't seem like a pressing issue to you, to the superhero child, it's a quandary that has to be figured out immediately.

28 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

They learn to guide one another’s decision-making. They also realise that they have power over choices. Should mum take a briefcase to work or wear a tool belt? Would the hunter carry a spear or a bow and arrow? Don’t have a helmet? No problem, an upside down colander will work just as well. That isn’t a cardboard box, it is a racing car!

Encourage dress-up play First, make sure you have plenty of supplies to fuel small imaginations. Keep everything handy and in one place – have a dress-up basket or suitcase. And then get talking. Ask your child what they want to be when they grow up or what would they would do if they were Maui or Moana. Encourage them to act out, drawing forth details. Most preschoolers don't need much encouragement, their natural creative streaks run true and their imaginations are usually working overtime. While store-bought costumes are often a hit, don't discount the appeal of using items from your own home as dress-up play materials. Mum and dad's outdated (or outgrown) clothes, shoes, and accessories are all great fodder for the imagination. Just about anything works, so check your cupboard or local op shop for:

Towels (to make a cape, be blankets or a magic carpet) Glasses with the lenses removed (big, outrageous frames are popular) Costume jewellery (the more bling the better!) Belts (to hold up tools, swords or trousers) Handbags (to carry all manner of important items) Empty perfume bottles (with imagination can become magic potion holders, miracle medicine bottles or…) Shawls (to drape over divas and add a bit of class to any outfit) Gloves (the longer, the better) Old bags like briefcases and small luggage (to carry all manner of treasures) Aprons (for cooks, bakers, artists and mechanics) Tutus or dance costumes (to give the most uncoordinated toddler the ability to dance) Hats (helmets, beanies, top hats, caps, straw hats, feather headdresses, caps…) The list is never-ending, so update and add items as you like. Gather everything together and keep it in the playroom or your child's room for easy access. The best part about open-ended play is that there is no right or wrong – just good, creative fun. Prepared with the assistance of the Ministry of Education and Early Childhood New Zealand. 

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Make sure Kiwi kids receive core water safety lessons

30 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Brothers Phil and Richard Waggott are passionate about water safety for babies and toddlers, so much so that they have come up with a whole package of water safety materials for parents of little ones. They have five children between them and as working Dads they both love going to the pool in Wellington at the weekend with the kids. On one of their trips to the pool, the idea for SplashSave was born. Phil is a professional water safety expert, having taught swimming for over 17 years as well as training swim instructors across the Wellington region. Richard explains, “As kids, we grew up going to the pool every week with our Dad so I knew I wanted to do the same with mine. Also, with a pro water safety expert in the family, I decided to go to the pool at the same time as Phil so he could show me how to teach my kids.” On one of these trips to the pool Phil and Richard got talking about how much fun it was teaching the kids water safety and that with a few hints and tips how easy it was for any parent to become a swim instructor for their babies and toddlers.

Special offer The SplashSave pack costs $49 however with a Parents Centre membership you can snap it up for only $35 (plus postage)! Simply visit our website and use the code KPNZ to secure your special offer.

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Richard’s career has been in producing learning materials for adults and it suddenly seemed so obvious that if they worked together they could take Phil’s expertise, package it up in a really easy-to-follow way for parents across New Zealand. So, they got to work on creating an easy-tounderstand set of materials that would provide parents with all the information they need to teach their own children water safety.

a staggering 80% of 15-year-olds cannot swim to survive. This becomes really scary when we think about how centred around water the Kiwi culture is.

The practical approach As Phil says, “It became a bit of a journey once we decided to try and produce this for parents. We’d go to the pool and say, wouldn’t it be handy to have some waterproof lesson sheets? So we started drawing them up.” And the SplashSave Parent pack started to take shape as a one-stop shop for parents so they have everything needed to teach water confidence and critical survival skills to a child from their first baby bath all the way through to being safe around rivers, the beach and boats.

The SplashSave pack uses a fun character and heaps of games to teach parents and children all the same skills they would learn at a traditional swim school. “All swim teachers go through the same process when teaching a child the basics of swimming and water safety. Step one is water confidence, then submersion, floating, and finally kicking. Once a child has these basic skills, they are vastly more water safe as they know if they got themselves into a situation in the water all they need to do is not panic, get to the surface, float on their back and kick their way to safety,” says Phil.

They have been blown away by the interest in what they’ve been doing, which is not a surprise with some of the water safety challenges New Zealand is facing. New Zealand is consistently in the top five countries in the world for drowning and it is estimated that

The SplashSave pack has been designed to bust through all the barriers to learning water safety and swimming. Phil has worked with thousands of parents on water safety and has identified the following common barriers.

32 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Swimming and water safety skills amongst Kiwi children have been declining for years, and the closure of school pools and less access for children to gain basic water confidence has resulted in nearly an entire generation missing out and being unsafe around the water.

Confidence One of the biggest concerns new parents have is confidence they are doing the right thing with their child, especially around water. By following the simple system SplashSave provides, you know that you are doing the right thing and can watch your child grow in confidence and develop a love for the water, allowing them to enjoy it for the rest of their life. All the activities in the book can be done in waist-deep water, so even though you may not be confident in the water yourself, you do not have to get out of your depth throughout the whole pack.

Time With the busy lives people lead today, it is hard to juggle the many commitments families have. One of the great things is that you can choose when you want to go to the pool. In traditional swimming lessons you get stuck with a set time each week. By taking the “do-it-yourself” approach, you can decide when is the best time for you, not worry if the kids are unwell and even take the pack with you if you are away for the weekend! Also, spending this kind of time with your child will not only enhance the learning experience your child has, it will also grow the bond between you and your child.

Cost While many swim schools will run their lessons at cost, this still leads to a large expense, with swim schools costing anywhere from $100 – $250 every term of 10 weeks. Generally, babies and toddlers will spend two to three years learning the basics covered in the SplashSave pack. As Richard says, “We are big supporters of swim schools, as the SplashSave mission is to help make sure as many Kiwi kids as possible receive core water safety lessons. What we did realise, though, was that your average household with two children will spend anywhere between $1,600 and $6,000 to get to the level covered in our pack.” The SplashSave pack costs $49, however, with a Kiwiparent membership you can pick it up for only $35. The SplashSave pack includes a 64-page book, waterproof lesson sheets you can take into the pool, and certificates of achievement for your child as they work their way through the different stages and become more water confident. SplashSave and Parents Centre are in partnership and Phil says they knew they wanted to make their course accessible to as many parents as possible. “This is why we are offering the full pack for a big discount to Kiwiparent readers and PCNZ members via the online discount code KPNZ.”

Water Safety NZ says: Keep under-fives within arm’s reach at all times. It only takes sixty seconds and around five centimetres of water for a child to drown.

Safety Tips: Always empty and store paddling pools and water containers after use and ensure you have a safely fenced play area. Identify water hazards in and around your home and ensure your children can’t reach them. If you’re in a group of people, ensure you have an active supervision roster so you know who is watching the children at all times. Make sure older children don’t have to take responsibility for younger children. Teach your children water safety behaviour from as soon as they are old enough to understand, things like: ‘Never go near the water unless you’re with a grown up’.

child’s learning and teach their own child this essential life skill, not only in an effort to reduce the drowning rate but to ensure that all Kiwis can safely enjoy the many beautiful waterways and beaches this country has to offer. 

The brothers have been working closely with Water Safety New Zealand to get the message out there that parents can easily take control of their

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Night time nursing

It’s dark and still. The world is sleeping. At least, the world of people without babies is asleep. Your baby is awake, snuggled at your breast, slurping the good stuff. Mostly, nighttime breastfeeds feel precious and beautiful. You know in your heart that these sweet moonlit cuddles will end soon but there are niggling doubts about nighttime nursing, especially if your baby is a ‘certain age’.

There is so much conflicting advice about when to stop night-time breastfeeds: One book advises, ‘When your baby weighs ten pounds he will no longer need night feeds’ (three of my own babies wouldn’t have had night feeds from birth). Another says, ‘Your baby should sleep 12 hours without a feed at 12 weeks’ (try telling that to a baby who hasn’t read this book!). This advice is fairly extreme, but it’s common to be told by a health professional that your baby doesn’t need night feeds after four to six months. In reality, many babies DO need night feeds up to and beyond six months. From a baby’s perspective, there are a number of reasons for breastfeeding at night – hunger of course is the first reason but night nursing is about so much more than food.

34 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Breastfeeding is about comfort, connection and immunity, as well as food. It is also nutrition for a baby’s brain and this means that as your baby enters new developmental stages, they will most likely go on a feeding binge to fuel their growing brain. When they have been exposed to a bug, they will need to ‘tank up’ on the amazing immune factors in your milk. When they are in pain or uncomfortable, perhaps from something like teething, the relaxing chemicals in breast milk will help soothe your little one. Also, as your baby goes through normal stages of experiencing separation anxiety, they will want to connect to ‘the source’ through the security of your arms and the comfort of breastfeeding. At night-time too, prolactin, the hormone that facilitates breast milk production as well as bonding and attachment, reaches the highest

Your essential breastfeeding companion Breast milk is, without doubt, best for your baby’s start in life.

levels during breastfeeds. This means your baby will probably get the ‘best milk’ at night. Recent research also shows that 80% of our serotonin receptors are in the gut, and night-time breastmilk is rich in tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin. So this magic mummy milk is also helping the development of serotonin receptors and a healthy foundation for future well-being. When we consider hunger as a reason for night-time feeding, we tend to think of small babies with tiny tummies that need frequent refills to get their quota of nutrition. However, older babies can be hungry too. At around five months most babies become very easily distracted from feeds during the day when there is so much to look at in the big exciting world around them. They can get into a ‘reverse cycling’ feeding pattern – taking short feeds during the day and ‘tanking up’ during the night.

Babies who are developing new skills also have powerful innate urges to practice rolling, crawling and pulling themselves up all day long, so their day feeds become short. It’s as though they can’t stop to feed because there is so much ‘work’ to do. Also, think how many calories a mobile baby burns as he does endless ‘push ups’ or hurtles around the floor! These babies will often wake at night to satisfy hunger and to fuel their developing brains. There is no evidence that feeding your baby full of solids will be an answer either because, even if they are eating family foods, milk is still the most important source of nutrition for babies under a year old. Also, if little tummies are stressed by too much food or upset by new foods (constipation is fairly common if solids are pushed too hard), your baby could be even more wakeful and wanting to suck for comfort.

Our range of breast pumps are designed to help you in your breastfeeding journey, making it easier and as comfortable as possible to give your baby all the goodness of your breast milk for longer. When you’re comfortable and relaxed, your milk flows easily. That’s why together with mums and baby feeding experts we have created our most comfortable breast pump yet.

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It’s not just about baby’s needs Besides baby reasons for night feeds, the most important ‘mummy reason’ is maintaining your milk supply. In the early days, your breasts need frequent stimulation to ‘set’ your milk production capacity as your milk supply is influenced by post-birth hormones. Also, in the first three months after birth, there is more breast development happening – you are developing more prolactin receptors, which will encourage your ongoing milk supply. Although most women (those without medical conditions that

may inhibit milk production) make a similar amount of milk, women have different breast milk storage capacities. This simply means that some women will need to feed more frequently than others, rather like pouring fluid into a smaller glass or a larger one. If you have a smaller ‘storage capacity’ you will need to empty your breasts more often so that your body is signalled to make more milk. US Lactation consultant Nancy Morhbacher explains: “A mother with a large storage capacity has the room in her milk-making glands to comfortably store more milk at night before it exerts the amount of internal pressure needed to slow

her milk production. On the other hand, if the baby of the smallcapacity mother sleeps for too long at night, her breasts become so full that her milk production slows.” If you are a mother with a smaller milk storage capacity (this isn’t necessarily related to the size of your breasts) or if you have a medical condition such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Diabetes, Insufficient Glandular Tissue or thyroid conditions that may make your milk supply more fragile, night feeds may need to continue for many months for you to maintain your milk supply and for your baby to thrive.

“Suddenly I am absolutely loving motherhood. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to this magical journey – there are no words to thank you enough.” - Emily

36 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

• Best Selling Baby Care Author • Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) • Certified Baby Massage Instructor • Keynote Speaker



The important thing is not how much milk your baby gets at each feed, but how much baby gets over 24 hours. This means that if you schedule your baby’s feeds and space out feeds during the day, your baby will wake for feeds at night. If you have a smaller milk storage capacity, a vulnerable milk supply, a baby who is distracted or busy during the day, or a baby who has any sort of feeding issue such as low muscle tone or perhaps a tongue tie that affects how effectively he feeds, your baby may take less milk at each feed so they will need more feeds over a day (and night) to get their ‘quota’.

You can try offering more feeds during the day or several feeds closer together before bed to help your little one (and you!) make it longer through the night. Meanwhile, enjoy those sweet snuggles and gather support so you can rest during the day if night feeds are tiring you out. And remember the mummy mantra for when the going gets tough – ‘this too shall pass.’ It will, I promise – your little one may like to snuggle up to a warm breast at night when they're 18, but it won’t be yours! 

Introducing making life simple for mums who express

Pinky McKay An International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and ex-Parents Centre mum, with a busy private practice in Melbourne, Pinky is a best-selling author with four titles published by Penguin Random House. She is a sought-after media commentator as well as a guest and keynote speaker at seminars for health professionals and parents in Australia and internationally. Pinky writes for a number of publications around the world.

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! subscribe online at –



SKIP Tips app

is here

Have you signed up for the SKIP Tips app yet? It's a handy, free parenting guide to the tricky bits of parenting under-fives. It's free to download, and it's designed by parents for parents. Flick through lots of simple, helpful things to try for all the behaviours most parents find stressful – like toileting, tantrums, fighting and more. Available now for Android and iPhone. With SKIP Tips, you can: Look up problems – scroll through common preschooler problems that stress every parent out – things like tantrums, whining, toileting and more. Get simple tips that really work – once you’ve selected your problem, you can flick through lots of simple, age-appropriate tips tested by parents. Tap on each one for more information about how to put it into practice. Each child is different, so, if one tip doesn’t work, try another. Set challenges to keep yourself on track – is there something about your parenting style that you’d like to change? The SKIP seven-day challenge can really

38 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

make a difference. You’ll get daily personalised reminders and encouragement to jeep you on track. Then check in at the end to see what you achieved! SKIP’s approach is based on six things which children need from parents to help them grow into happy, capable adults: Love and warmth Talking and listening Guidance and understanding A structured and secure world Consistency and consequences Limits and boundaries. 

Find out more

In this section Centre of the month award

Parents Centres

Outstanding volunteers Centres making the news

Supporting parents through the early years because great parents grow great children. Parents Centres are renowned for their parent education programmes. What is not always so well-known are the huge range of support networks and advice available to parents.

Spotlight on ‘Tinies to Tots‘ Find a Centre

One of the most important sources of support can be your original antenatal group. These often stay together and form ‘coffee groups’ – better described as ‘counselling groups’ at times! We all go through enormous life adjustments with the birth of our first babies, and the support and advice from other parents can be invaluable. Time and again we hear that these support networks have been a ‘lifesaver’ for many parents at what is a time of huge adjustment and uncertainty. These groups of parents often form firm friendships which can carry on for years – even decades! Strong support networks have helped the go-ahead Centres to make a difference in their own communities – pages 40–42 are full of stories of individuals and Centres who are achieving great things, even more impressive when you consider that most of this work is powered by volunteers. 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.

Go to today to contact your local Centre and to find out more about support and volunteering opportunities offered in your area.

So, to all our volunteers who have been before, who are with us now and will join us in the future, we are genuinely thankful for your input and honoured to work alongside you to help make parenting in New Zealand a little bit sweeter. 

Many of 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. Some go above and beyond that call when they keep serving their Centre long after their children leave the preschool years behind them – like Nicole McNabb from Onewa Parents Centre. Read about her stellar contribution on page 42.

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Congratulations to the Centre of the Month Award winners He aha te mea nui o te ao. He ta-ngata, he ta-ngata, he ta-ngata What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people. (Ma-ori proverb)

October winner Whakata-ne Parents Centre Whakata-ne recently held their annual Parent and Child Expo and this year's was their most successful ever! At the expo they signed up five new members and two have even joined the committee. Being DHB funded for their CBE classes means that they can’t include membership as part of the package, rather they need to market and sell it separately. Because of this, every new member signed up is just that little bit more special and gives the Centre a huge sense of satisfaction. Whakata-ne cleverly offered a free stand to a local photographer, in exchange for her taking professional quality photos of the event. They also received sponsorship from local businesses who paid for the backboards for each of the stands, which reduced the costs and outgoings considerably. The goal of the expo wasn’t simply to fundraise, but to build the profile of Parents Centre in the community. With an extra 100 likes on their Facebook page, they certainly achieved this goal! As part of their DHB contract, Whakata-ne Parents Centre had an audit recently to ensure that they were keeping


within the obligations of the contract. While this can be a daunting process, their processes and documentation were second to none and even impressed the auditor. Needless to say, they passed the audit with flying colours! Fantastic work Whakata-ne Parents Centre! 

kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

A vital part of Onewa Parents Centre Onewa Parents Centre held a movie fundraiser for Bad Moms 2 in November. We had some great support from local businesses with prizes. We sold out the 123-seat theatre and had people asking if there were still tickets available leading up to the day.

Celebrating the volunteers who power Parents Centre

We also took the opportunity to thank Nicole McNabb who is one of those extraordinary people who has been involved in Parents Centre well beyond her kids being little, as they are teenagers now. She's currently doing our antenatal bookings in an off-committee role, was our CBE for years, and prior to that was on committee. She does anything else she can do to support us, with nine of her friends attending this event as well, and finding us a new class leader for our current Monday night CBE class. We are so lucky to have her as a life member and continuing to be part of our centre.

Outstanding volunteers

Raising the profile in Tauranga

Mary O’Keeffe

Tauranga Parents Centre invested in a fantastic new gazebo to promote their centre. They obtained a grant from the Lions Foundation and fundraised for the balance to get this project completed. The tent is 4.5 x 3m big and carries plenty of Parents Centre branding. Centre president, Karen Grindlay says, “We decided to pay a bit more to get an easy to use pop-up gazebo. We are delighted with how gorgeous it looks!”

Mary has been facilitating Parents Centre classes in Wellington for over 10 years. She not only receives consistently high feedback from participants, but puts enthusiasm, dedication and thought into all her classes. She always strives to give her very best, never takes any comments for granted and always critiques any upgrades with professionalism and thoroughnes. CBEs rely on the dedication, commitment and volunteer hours of our Centre committees. A harmonious working relationship between CBE and their Centre is an integral part of Parents Centre’s culture, and this is something Mary has demonstrated time after time, as she continues to support Wellington South Parents Centre through thick and thin. At the National Support Centre as well as current and past Wellington South committee members are ever grateful for the huge contribution she has made.

Colour up for a good cause Do you live in the beautiful South Island or are you heading south for a summer break? Greymouth Parents Centre has combined with Rotary Greymouth and are supporting a really cool event to raise funds for the paediatric unit at our new hospital. During the Coast Colour Rush, participants rush around Omoto racecourse while getting liberally covered with glorious coloured powder. The event is priced well so makes a great excuse for a family weekend away. Come and join us!

We would like to recognise the tremendous added value Mary gives to Parents Centre, her committee and parents in her classes.

Aleisha Jellyman, President, Greymouth Parents Centre Coast Colour Rush 2018 February 24, 1pm – 4pm Omoto Rd, Greymouth 7805

Thanks to the generous folk at BP, we have petrol vouchers for you, Mary.

Tauranga Parents Centre

Nicole McNabb

Greymouth Parents Centre

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- Child and Parent Show Taupo Wow, what an amazing day we had with plenty of families through the door – we went through all of our goody bags! Big thanks to Taupo- District Council for supporting our event and your amazing team at the Great Lake Centre, Taupo- for helping us run a smooth event. Thanks to the businesses who helped out in big and small ways: Ebbett Taupo-, Diono Heli Adventure Flights Taupo- Hobbies, Huggies New Zealand, Countdown Supermarkets, Cheal Consultants Ltd, LJ Hooker, Alina Chourasia, Taupo- Hire and TSC HIRE. Thanks to our awesome stall-holders – there was a huge range of you attending; a great way for our families to find out about what you do. Lastly, thanks to our amazing volunteer committee who were there all day, current and past members cooking sausages, manning the bouncy castle, selling raffle tickets, being brave on the microphone. This was such a great community event.

Taupo- Parents Centre

Rebecca Attenborough, President, Taupo- Parents Centre

They’ve been busy in Nelson! Nelson Parents Centre had lots on at the end of last year. We ran a Christmas kids zone in November at the annual Christmas Market – it was a fabulous day, very hot, but we proved to be a big hit with all the families and were super busy the whole time!

Nelson Parents Centre

Then we took part in the annual Christmas tree festival at the Nelson Christ Cathedral (it’s their yearly fundraiser). It is an amazing space and looked magical when filled with over 30 beautifully decorated trees again. We themed our tree "great parents grow great children" and decorated it with boxes of love and foot and handprints, all lovingly decorated by various children from our events this year and over the last few as well. We also had Kiwiparent on display!

Anastashia Cambridge, Nelson Parents Centre  Taupo- Parents Centre

Taupo- Parents Centre


Nelson Parents Centre

kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Each edition of Kiwiparent will profile one of Parents Centre's renowned parent education programmes.

This month the spotlight is on:

‘Tinies to Tots’ The ‘Tinies to Tots’ programme follows on from ‘Moving and Munching’ and is designed for parents whose little ones are growing out of the baby stage and becoming a toddler (from around 10–18 months). As your baby starts to grow and develop, the type of play and stimulation they need changes. The ‘Tinies to Tots’ programme explores types of play and how they can assist in your baby’s development. Careful consideration is given to age-appropriate toys, games and activities. The programme allows for the sharing of ideas with other parents, which you may find is a supportive way of exploring ideas about interacting with your own children. Also covered are safety aspects in and around the home. To the little one who is beginning to explore the world around them within their home environment, there can be a number of opportunities for them to be faced with hazards – large and small. Identifying hazards, ensuring baby equipment is safe and understanding ways to prevent injuries are other aspects discussed.

to toddlers. The importance of a young child having a balanced diet, the benefits of extending breastfeeding, and learning about allergies and introducing new foods are all part of the discussion. Along with nutritional learning comes caring for new teeth, and sound advice on this. The ‘Tinies to Tots’ programme will introduce you to speakers who are experts in their fields, and who can give you some sound information which will help you make important decisions for your child as they grow from a ‘tiny’ to a ‘tot’. Contact your local Centre through for details for programmes running in your area. 

Nutrition is explored, including learning about ideal foods and the right time to introduce particular foods

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Find a Centre near you Parents Centres span the entire country with 47 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


Hibiscus Coast




Auckland Region 2

New Plymouth

Auckland East



South Taranaki


East Coast North Island


Central Hawke's Bay

Auckland Region 3

Hawke's Bay

West Auckland

Central Districts

Central Auckland

Palmerston North

East & Bays







Lower Hutt




Upper Hutt


Wellington North


Wellington South

South Island Northern South Island Nelson Marlborough Greymouth Canterbury Region Ashburton Christchurch Timaru Oamaru Southern Region Alexandra Balclutha Dunedin Gore Taieri


kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

You decide Informed decision-making is the core of Parents Centre’s DNA. Parents Centre was founded on this concept 65 years ago, when a small but strong group, primarily women, weren’t happy with the maternity system. Back in 1952, women didn’t have choices in her maternity care; birth was seen as something that needed to be controlled, where birthing practices were strict and rigid, and women’s rights to make decisions and choices about her birth were ignored or taken away. This group challenged the strict maternity system, formed the very first Parents Centre, and so began the very first antenatal classes in New Zealand. Slowly but surely choice was returned to women and their partners – a great achievement and something that we’re very proud of at Parents Centre. Informed decision-making isn’t about knowing all the facts; it’s about knowing enough fact to feel empowered, confident and part of the decision-making around her care. Each person will be different as to how many questions, or how much research they need to read to feel satisfied, there’s no right or wrong amount. Birth plans (or birth wish lists as we prefer to refer to them) can sometimes go completely differently on the day and you would be forgiven for thinking that this could be a devastating outcome for the couple. Sometimes of course it is, however, if the parents are fully informed and part of the decision-making then any big deviation from the plan is often more manageable.

Parents Centre’s Mission: ‘Positive birth experiences and informed parenting in a community where parents are supported and highly valued in their role.’

What underpins every topic taught in a Parents Centre programme is informed decision-making and choice – your choice. All information is framed objectively and backed with evidence-based research, enough so that parents can consider more, research more, discuss with their midwife and make a decision that is right for their family. When making a decision, it’s a good idea to use your brain! Well yes, that’s probably obvious, however as an acronym it’s a great way to remember what considerations or questions you might contemplate. Those of you who have been through a Parents Centre antenatal programme may be familiar with it: B Benefits R Risks A Alternatives I Intuition (or sometimes Information) N Nothing – what if we choose not to. Information and answers to questions must be given in a manner that is understandable, there should be no pressure toward one particular choice, and a second opinion is one of your rights. Remember, at the end of the day, every decision is yours, and only yours. Your rights as a health consumer are set out by the Health and Disability Commissioner. They are often referred to as ‘The Code of Rights’ – well worth a read. If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any! Liz Pearce Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parent Education Manager, Parents Centres New Zealand 

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Touch – the language of love Mastering the art of baby massage

Learning how to give a soothing massage can really help you to bond with your baby, and massage also has several other important developmental benefits. Quite simply, it is a lovely way to relax with your baby. They feel loved, and it soothes them. Massage also helps the brain develop through touch, it strengthens muscles and helps baby learn how their body fits together. It is a great way to bring you and your baby closer together.

Experts believe that massage benefits the baby’s heart, breathing, digestion and circulation. It helps prepare their little bodies for physical activity and improves overall mobility. Most importantly, massage also helps babies relax and fall asleep – a plus for tired parents. The act of gentle touching and close physical contact during massage may have benefits for parents and other caregivers, too. The very act of massaging your baby can be soothing and relaxing and help you to tune in to your baby’s own particular way of communicating with you. Scientists are now beginning to understand that in many ways, touch is our first language. Soothing and

46 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

As well as helping you and your baby bond, regular massage can also: soothe baby and reduce crying aid digestion and help relieve gas and constipation help baby sleep more deeply and longer help calm and relax both parent and baby boost parents’ confidence in handling baby. Most babies find a gentle laying-on of hands very relaxing and even therapeutic. That’s because of the five senses, touch is the one that’s most developed at birth, and research suggests that infant massage has benefits for helping babies grow and thrive. Many parents find it is a good idea to make infant massage part of their daily routine. If practical, consider massaging your baby around the same time every day so that they come to expect and enjoy it.

loving contact can help small babies grow stronger and feel less anxiety. Infants who are touched display more eye contact, smiles and vocalise more readily. In many hospitals and birth centres, newborns are placed on the mother’s chest or abdomen to give them as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. The touch between you and your baby brings you emotionally close – a process known as bonding or attachment. Massage is a wonderful way to help strengthen your bond. This is the key to a child’s development, as many researchers and clinicians feel that a positive parental-child bond helps to form the basis for future relationships.

There’s no “best” time, really. In general, you want to find a space in the day when you’re not feeling rushed (so don’t try to squeeze in a session while dinner’s cooking or you’ve got to dash off to fetch a child from preschool). Avoid massage when your baby is hungry (they won’t enjoy belly rubs if their tummy’s empty) or too full (they’ll likely spit up their supper – which will entirely ruin the serene mood).

Of the five senses, touch is the one that’s most developed at birth. Continued overleaf... subscribe online at –



If you’re using massage oil, make sure to use one that is clinically proven to be safe to use on delicate infant skin. You don’t need oil to massage your little one the right way, but it’ll be more pleasant for both of you if your hands glide more easily over your baby’s body. Only use a dab and stay away from nut-based oils in case of allergies. Pick an area that’s comfortable for both of you, and warm so your nearly naked baby doesn’t get chilled. You can massage your little one on your bed (put a towel underneath to avoid oil stains), or on the carpet (use a towel there too). Add some soothing background music or simply use the time to talk and sing to your baby. This is a great time to learn how to follow your baby’s cues. No one likes to be massaged when they’re not in the mood, and that’s true for your baby as well. If they turn away, frown or cry when you start massaging, save the session for later. You don’t have to give a full-body massage every time. If your baby decides they’ve had enough after you’ve rubbed their legs and feet, that’s absolutely fine. Through massage, you can gain increased awareness of how your baby communicates. You’ll learn to read their likes, dislikes, desires and emotions. You’ll learn the best time for cuddling, playing and relaxing. And your relationship will grow as you and your baby will discover what is best for you both. Remember to always be very gentle and don’t apply too much pressure. Stroking away from the heart

48 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

(from shoulder to wrist, for example) is relaxing, and better suited for pre-sleep massages. Stroking toward the heart (from wrist to shoulder) is more stimulating and better suited for when your baby will be awake and active. Don’t massage your baby if they’re sick or have just been immunised – the area of the injection may still be sore.

Top techniques and tips Choose a time when your baby is awake and alert, not too hungry or too full. Ensure the room is warm and lighting not too bright. Have what you need ready: oil, towel, clean nappies and clothes. Wash your hands and remove jewellery. Use a safe and comfortable place to do the massage and position your baby so that they can see your face clearly. Before starting, take time to relax with a few full breaths – this can help your baby relax too. Babies are different, changing all the time. For instance, young babies may feel more secure if most of their clothes are left on and they feel close to their parent’s body. Prepared with the assistance of Infant Massage New Zealand 


it all begins with that

first touch A guide to infant massage

Before beginning, ‘ask permission’ by rubbing a little oil between your hands above your baby, and saying ‘can I give you a massage?’ This may sound a little strange but your child will become familiar with this cue and know that massage is about to start.1

• • • •

Keep it relaxed, when your baby is not hungry or cranky. Set the mood; play gentle music if you wish. The room should be comfortably warm. Your baby needs a soft surface to lie on.



Giggle and Grin Baby’s face may

A clean nappy or soft towel should be nearby. A small amount of a mild baby oil or lotion can be used. Make sure your hands are warm by rubbing them together. Gradually increase the pressure of your touch to avoid tickling.



Valentine With your hands together at

accumulate a great deal of tension through sucking, teething, crying and generally interacting with his world. With your thumbs, make smiles on the upper and lower lips.


• • • •



Milking Encircle your hands one on top of the other around baby’s arm at the shoulder and move toward the wrist as if you were milking. Now move your hands in the opposite direction, from wrist to shoulder.

Water Wheel Using the outside of each

hand, make paddling strokes on baby’s tummy, one hand following the other, as if you were scooping sand toward yourself. This playful stroke is called the Water Wheel. Hold up baby’s legs with your left hand and grasp the ankles. Then repeat the paddling motion, using the right hand only.

Fingertip Tiptoe Using your fingertips, tiptoe across baby’s tummy from your left to right.


Under Arm First lift the arm and stroke the armpit a few times.

the center of the chest, push out to the sides, following baby’s rib cage, as if you were flattening the pages of a book. Without lifting your hands, bring them around in a heartshaped “Valentine” motion.



Milking Encircle your hands one on top of the other around baby’s leg moving from ankle to hip as if your were milking. Then reverse direction using the same stroke from hips to ankle.

Leg Roll Roll baby’s legs from knee to ankle between your hands.



Back Rub Start with your hands together at the top of baby’s back, at right angles to the spine. Move your hands back and forth, in opposite directions, going down the back to the buttocks, then up to the shoulders, and back down once again.

TIP: It’s best not to apply oil or lotion to red or irritated skin. If a rash develops, discontinue use. Always be sure to read the label before using any product. I Love You Stroke You can do a threepart I Love You stroke.. For “I,” make a single downward stroke with your right hand on baby’s left belly (your right). For “Love,” make an upside-down “L” going from your left to right. For “You,” make an upside- down “U” going from your left to right. Reference: 1.

“I” “LOVE” “YOU”



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Burning up Treating childhood fevers

Did you know that fever actually helps your child’s body fight off infection? The normal temperature inside your child’s body usually sits around 37 degrees Celsius, so your child has a mild fever if their temperature is higher than 38 degrees. A high fever usually means that the temperature has soared to more than 39 degrees Celsius. Fever by itself does not tell you whether your child is seriously sick – even an ordinary cold can cause a high fever. If your child is miserable and seems unwell, and feels hot to the touch, you can use a thermometer to take their temperature. Dipal Kanabar, Consultant Paediatrician at Evelina London Children’s Hospital says that temperature readings with any thermometer vary depending where on a child’s body the temperature is taken. Armpit temperature

measurements are reliable and commonly used in hospitals. The number on the thermometer can’t tell you what is causing the fever nor how sick your child actually is, even if the reading is high – you will need to get medical advice if you are concerned about your child’s health. The most common cause of a fever in a child is a viral infection. A bacterial infection is a less common, although more serious, cause. The body’s natural reaction to infection with a virus or bacteria is to raise the temperature inside the body, as this helps to kill off the infection. Having a slight fever doesn’t necessarily mean your child is sick. They might run a temperature if they are wrapped in too many layers of clothing or bedding, or if they have just been immunised – although these usually cause only mild fever.

50 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Fever is a normal way for a child to fight an infection. Being hot may make your child feel unhappy or uncomfortable and can be distressing for the parents to witness, but the high temperature is unlikely to cause any long-term problems. Some children have fits or seizures when they run a high fever – these are known as febrile convulsions. These look very worrying, but even these are unlikely to cause long-term problems. During a febrile convulsion your child becomes unresponsive. They may become stiff or their arms and legs may start to twitch or jerk, their eyes may roll back and sometimes they are floppy. This convulsion, fit or seizure usually lasts only a minute or two (although it feels much longer to frightened parents or caregivers) and stops by itself. After the jerking or stiffness stops, your child will usually sleep

for a while (up to an hour). Some children appear to be very upset, and then become sleepy. Seeing a febrile convulsion can be terrifying, especially if it is the first time you have seen one. The most important thing to do is to keep your child safe while they are having a convulsion. Lie your child down on their side. Do not put anything in their mouth. Do not put your child in the bath or shower to cool them down. Loosen the clothes around their face and neck. Wait a few minutes for the convulsion to stop. Check the time if you can, to see how long the convulsion lasts.

Follow your instincts If you are worried about your child, whether or not there is a fever, you should take them to see a doctor. If your child has already seen a doctor but they are getting worse, you should take them back for another check – remember, you know your own child best. Often fevers can be treated safely at home where your child feels

comfortable and safe. You can look after them at home if they are drinking and feeding well, still interact with you and do not look particularly sick.

How do I treat a fever? Undress your child so that they are just wearing a single layer (for example, a singlet and pants) and make sure the room is not too hot or cold. These are the best and most comfortable ways to bring your child’s temperature down. Putting your child in the bath or shower to cool them is not recommended. Encourage them to drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy small meals. Your child is their own best guide to the level of activity that you allow. They may need extra rest and sleep a lot or they may want to play. If your child is happy even though they have a slight fever, and they are not unwell, you don’t need to

do anything more – you don’t always need to treat a fever with medicine. But if they are miserable because of the fever, you can give paracetamol to make them more comfortable. You must follow the dosage instructions on the bottle because it is dangerous to give more than the recommended dose. If your doctor gives your child ibuprofen, try to only use it if your child has a fever and is miserable. Cold and flu medicines are not recommended for babies and children, and doctors say you should never give your child aspirin as this may increase the risk of Reye syndrome, which is a rare and serious illness that causes swelling of the liver and brain. Also, be aware that paracetamol may reduce the effectiveness of childhood vaccinations to stimulate lasting immunity, so it’s best not to use before or after vaccination. Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you are unsure what you should do.

Babies with a fever who are less than three months old should always be checked by a doctor. Continued overleaf... subscribe online at –



What if my baby is really tiny? If your baby is under three months old, you should err on the side of caution and see a doctor if they have a fever, as tiny babies are particularly vulnerable and need a more cautious approach. Babies get fevers for exactly the same reasons as older children, but they are not as good at fighting off infections. If you are worried about your baby, it is best if they can be checked by a doctor even if they don’t have a fever. Some tiny babies may have an unstable temperature with an infection – they may be colder than normal. In a sick infant this is a worrying sign and is a reason to see a doctor urgently Babies need to be kept warm – but they can get too hot if they are wrapped in too many layers when they are in a warm place. A good guide is to dress your baby in one more layer than you are comfortable wearing in the same environment. Seek medical advice if your baby: looks as though they have a sore throat or joint pains is drinking less than half of their normal breastmilk or other fluid and having fewer than four wet nappies in 24 hours

vomited half or more of their feed for the last three feeds or has frequent and watery poos (diarrhoea) and cries when doing wee

Dial 111 if your child:

seems to be in pain and looks as though they are getting sicker

has severe difficulty breathing

is not improving after two days or has had a fever for more than five days.

When should I head for the doctor? You should see a doctor urgently if your child with a fever looks really unwell and you are concerned – remember that you know your child better than anyone else. Get professional help if they: are very pale or feel cold to touch appear floppy, sleepy or drowsy or are becoming less responsive have an unusual high-pitched cry have trouble breathing, have noisy breathing or are breathing fast complain of a stiff neck or light hurting their eyes or have a severe headache refuse to drink – even small sips – and don't wee vomit a lot – and cannot keep sips of replacement drinks down

52 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

has blue lips and tongue

has any episodes of irregular or stopping breathing has a worrying rash especially one that does not go away when you press on it (see a photo of a meningococcal rash) is unconscious or you can’t wake them up properly

vomit green fluid (bile) or blood – this may be red or brown or look like coffee grounds if it is not fresh appear to be in severe pain and aren't interested in their surroundings. Tell your doctor if your child has been overseas in the last few weeks or if they have been around someone who is unwell. Prepared with the assistance of KidsHealth 





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Looking after

tiny tummies

Wellness starts with a nutritious diet – but what happens to the nutrients in food once your child has eaten it? Digestion is the process of breaking down food and releasing all its various nutrients – so if your child’s digestive system is under the weather, they’ll absorb a smaller proportion of whatever nutrients their food originally contained. That means they’ll end up with fewer of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids they need for growth, learning, development and overall health and well-being. And the effects don’t stop there…

What you need to know about your child’s digestive health

Kids’ digestive health is about more than just their digestive systems. As a parent, you know how important it is to keep an eye on your kids’ digestive system health. Upset tummies, stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhoea can all be signs that it’s time to see a doctor. However, even when everything seems fine on the surface, digestive system issues can have far-reaching effects.

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Immune health Traditional healers have known about the link between gut health and overall wellness for millennia. Around 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates – the “Father of Modern Medicine” who gave his name to the Hippocratic Oath – wrote, “All disease begins in the gut.” Today, scientists know that a large proportion (some say up to 80%) of our immune cells are located inside our intestinal tracts. That makes sense, given that many of the bacteria and viruses our immune systems have to fight off enter our bodies through our mouths.

Skin health Another link that’s emerged through research over the past few decades relates to children’s skin health. Digestive system imbalances can show up as skin rashes or eczema – dry, flaky, reddened skin that itches enough to scratch until it bleeds.

While this link may seem strange, it becomes more reasonable if you realise that eczema happens when your child’s immune system goes into overdrive. So dealing with the digestive issues may help to rebalance their immune system.

Mood Have you ever had “a gut feel” about a situation, or experienced “butterflies in your stomach”? If so, you won’t be surprised to learn that there’s actually a physical link between your emotions and moods, and your digestive system. That link comes from the little-known but extensive network of neurons (nerve cells) that line your gut wall. Some scientists call this network “your second brain”. Plus, up to 90% of your body’s serotonin – the brain chemical responsible for mood regulation – is found in your intestinal tract. And while most serotonin is produced in your brain, at least some is created by beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Keeping your child’s digestive system healthy and balanced According to nutrition consultant Louise Goldberg, RD, the formula for building children’s digestive health is simple: fibre, fluid and exercise. If one of those elements is missing, she says, your child will probably experience digestive problems. Here’s why each element is important.

Fibre Fibre helps food to pass through your child’s digestive system more easily. Certain types of fibre also nourish the beneficial bacteria that live in their gut, which in turn supports their digestive health. NZ Ministry of Health guidelines recommend about 14g of fibre daily for children between ages two and three, and 18g daily for children between ages four and eight. Ideally, that fibre should come from wholegrains, legumes (e.g. peas and beans), vegetables and fruit.

Fluid Following the fibre guidelines above without drinking enough water can cause digestive problems. That means staying hydrated is just as important for children as it is for adults. To avoid excess sugar, the NZ Nutrition Foundation recommends getting this fluid predominantly from plain water, with some also coming from milk. The Foundation suggests aiming to ensure children drink around four to six cups of water daily as a general rule.

Exercise Getting active creates a host of health benefits for children. It helps to improve their motor skills, build stronger bones and muscles, and develop their brain function, learning and memory. On top of all that,

it can also support their digestive health. Physical activity helps to stimulate gastrointestinal activity – in other words, moving their bodies helps to “get things moving” in their intestinal tract too.

Probiotics and children’s digestive health While adults can use several herbs – for example, Slippery Elm or Aloe Vera – to improve their digestive health, these herbs aren’t usually recommended for children. One type of natural supplement that’s proving extremely popular amongst complementary medicine practitioners, however, is probiotics. These won’t take the place of fibre, fluid and exercise – but they may provide extra support for your child’s digestive system health.

What are probiotics and what do they do? The word “probiotic” literally means “for life”, and is an umbrella term for all the beneficial bacteria that grow naturally in your digestive system. A healthy adult intestine contains several billions of these bacteria from over 400 species, which contribute to overall health by: Helping to digest food: some species of bacteria help your digestive system to break down food and extract the nutrients from it. Producing essential vitamins: other species actually synthesise critical nutrients such as B-vitamins, which are involved in energy production and immunity. Transforming your intestinal environment: one type of probiotic, Lactobacillus, makes your gut environment more acidic. Harmful bacteria find it harder to reproduce in acidic environments, so they’re less likely to flourish.

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Competing for resources: probiotic bacteria often need the same nutrients and resources as the harmful ones. So if your probiotic levels are good, there are fewer ‘spare resources’ available for the pathogens. There’s also preliminary evidence that probiotics may reduce the risk of eczema breakouts in children who are prone to it, and help with certain types of diarrhoea in children.

And of course, if you have further questions, ask your pharmacist or health store professional for their advice. They’ll be happy to help. 

Tanja Gardner Tanja has been writing professionally about natural health and wellness since 2009, and has been published in several magazines in both New Zealand and Australia.

What to think about if you’re considering probiotics for your child Probiotic bacteria do occur naturally in some foods – for example, certain types of yoghurt, and fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut and kimchi. However, the bacteria in these foods may not survive the trip through the harshly acidic environment of your child’s stomach to get to the ‘site of action’ in their gut. Because of this, many natural health practitioners recommend a probiotic supplement. However, there are several different species of probiotic bacteria, and each can have a different effect in the body. That means you need to ensure that any probiotic your child takes provides an age-appropriate dose and type in an appropriate format. In particular: If you have a toddler, look for something that contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which supports their immune system and helps to reduce their risk of eczema. You’ll probably also want something in a sachet that you can easily mix with their food. If you have a slightly older child, look for a combination of Lactobacillus gasseri and Bifidobacterium strains, which support children’s digestive and immune health. Ideally, find something in a format they enjoy taking – for example, a chewable tablet.

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Learn more about gut health PMC2515351 gut-second-brain digestive-health#1 publications/food-nutrition-guidelines-healthychildren-young-people-background-paperfeb15-v2.pdf www.aboutkidshealth. ca/En/HealthAZ/HealthandWellness/ PhysicalActivitySportsandFitness/Pages/ physical-activity-benefits.aspx

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Colic, reflux Taking a natural approach

‘Help! My baby won’t sleep for longer than 45 minutes during the day, having a good few hours at night, but is then wakeful and squirming the rest of the night. She cries, so often screams actually, like she is in so much pain, and I feel so useless as I don’t seem to be able to soothe her. It’s so awful! She seems to be constantly pedalling her legs, arching backwards, at times she won’t feed well, bopping on and off the breast, and when we feed her bottle top-ups, because

we have been told she is still hungry, she refuses to take it. I think its official term is bottle aversion. Anyway, she has hiccups often, doesn’t like laying down, she often sleeps on us because it’s the only way we can get her to sleep for longer stints. At first the GP thought she had colic, but now they think silent reflux, and want to put her on medication, but I so don’t want to do that. We are all exhausted and I am desperate. Please help us.’

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Sadly, this is an increasing scenario for newborns and their families. If your baby is labelled to have ‘colic’ most parents are given band-aid approaches and told that their baby will grow out of it at around three months, when their digestive system starts to mature. If reflux, or silent reflux, again band-aid approaches are offered, with many parents following the advice of their GP or paediatrician to administer acidinhibiting drugs to help ease their baby's obvious pain. The overall comment made about colic is ‘we don’t know the causes but try x, y and z’. It’s also generally said that ‘it’s due to an immature digestive system’ with the same explanation being given for reflux and silent reflux.

newborns not receiving their natural balance of enzymes tongue or lip tie. Digestive overload behaviour can happen at any time of the day and night, but it is known to be more prominent in the evening because of the daily cycle many parents adopt. When the majority of behaviours listed below happen every day, perhaps twice a day, or every second day, then the newborn is generally exhibiting this form of digestive overload.

Well, now you do not have to wait. After years of clinical research we have discovered the causes, and no baby has to go through these symptoms. Before we chat in-depth about the causes though, let’s define what colic, reflux and silent reflux behaviours are.

Colic – what causes it? Colic is better described as ‘digestive overload’ because this is what causes the condition. It can be mild or extreme, and is brought about by: unbalanced feeding practices retained air (wind)

This may be apparent from day one, but is more often seen when a newborn becomes more aware of themselves at around two to three weeks following the birth. Digestive overload can occur for the first year and sometimes beyond. This depends on how overloaded the digestive system has been earlier in life, and how much overloading and imbalance continues.

Behaviours associated with colic Irritability, grizzling, inconsolable crying, screaming Bloating, cramps, excessive gas Heightened communication around times of bowel motions from excessive wind passing through the intestines Frequent frothy and/or explosive bowel motions, constipation Weight gains that are consistently at the upper regions or beyond recommended levels

(141.74–198.44g per week), or, as colic has been described by Morris Wessel, your baby will ‘look to otherwise be thriving’ Wakefulness from discomfort with episodes of longer periods of sleep, but the latter is often from exhaustion through crying and lack of sleep rather than because the newborn feels comfortable Frequent searching for something to suck (exhibiting the ‘root reflex’) Arching backwards or sideways, writhing, wriggling Pedalling legs Gulping their milk, seeming very hungry while being restless – sometimes refusing to feed, pulling off the nipple or when bottle-fed, having flailing arms, legs and much turning of the head because of digestive discomfort Hiccups – a newborn’s natural reflex for releasing ingested air; the more overloaded they are by wind, the more hiccups they experience Blueness or darkness around the mouth, which will come and go. This can be visible above the top lip, under the bottom lip, or both simultaneously, and can sometimes spread as far as the bridge of the nose between the eyes. This sign of wind is present for all newborns because all experience natural levels of ingested air. It becomes more prominent as wind accumulates to overload levels.

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Reflux and silent reflux – what causes it? Gastro-oesophageal Reflux (GER, GOR or posseting) and silent reflux are also better described as digestive overload, given it is the cause of reflux, which forms from: unbalanced feeding practices retained air (wind) tongue and lip tie. Reflux can happen at any time of the day or night, but is often seen after most feeds. Mass refluxing can happen from day one – brought about by the air a newborn ingests from shock when handled without security or carelessly at birth, lack of winding thereafter, and early feeding beyond a newborn’s digestive capacities and capabilities, which we will talk about soon. The Oxford Dictionary defines reflux as ‘the flowing back of bodily fluid’. This can be experienced as a small amount of milk, or a projectile posset of curdled milk, which is generally of a bigger quantity and delivered with more force. All newborns posset as

a normal process. However, frequent projectile, or large quantities of refluxing after the majority of feeds is not normal. It indicates feeding and winding practices need to be adjusted. Overfeeding and ingested wind is the catalyst for refluxing. When newborns swallow air it sits amongst and under the milk. This air pushes the milk out – with or without the wind that created the posset. The more wind a newborn holds, the more often and projectile is the refluxing. To counteract any possibility of weight loss, or believing bubs must still be hungry from their communication or continual posseting, some parents feed more. But unless the wind is released, the problem persists. Retained wind then continues through the intestine, causing discomfort and distressed communication. Bringing up acid is a byproduct from the overload of ingested air. It can make newborns uncomfortable, as it can adults. However, it is the overabundance of retained wind left to travel through the intestines and the overfeeding

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that causes the majority of distressed communication. When we release more burps and feed to the capacity and capabilities of the newborn, reflux returns to natural levels and the child calms, sleeping and feeding well.

Behaviours associated with reflux The release of small or large amounts of milk – spilling or projectile. Varying textures of milk – clear or cottage cheese. Habitual swallowing of the burp (often called ‘silent reflux’). Some newborns, with excessive posseting and loss of weight, may have a more serious issue called Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD or GERD). This is when baby is born without a sphincter muscle, or a very short one. Newborns who have this condition struggle to put on weight and are continuously mass refluxing after every feed. If your baby does not have diagnosed GORD then the good news is you may help your baby using natural methods.

Unbalanced feeding practices Digestive overload (colic, reflux, silent reflux symptoms, lactose and dairy overload), is created by widely accepted care practices that push a newborn's digestive system beyond its natural healthy function, and when it comes to feeding, there are many factors to consider. However, for the purpose of this article I’d like to shine a spotlight on frequent feeding (often labelled demand feeding or cue feeding) and cluster feeding, which are both widely taught as normal and responsive care practices to parents. Frequent feeding is defined as feeding before three and a half hours (maybe every two to three hours) and cluster feeding is when feeds are very close together (reoccurring every five mins to one hour), largely happening in the evening hours. This automatically has a baby drinking an increased level of foremilk, or lactose (sugar). When this happens the lactase enzyme, which lives in the stomach and helps babies and infants breakdown lactose, can’t keep up. The overabundant lactose is then pushed onward to the duodenum where it ferments and causes gas. This is known as the cycle of ‘lactose overload’. Joy Anderson, Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor, says this about frequent feeding and feeding off both breasts in quick succession. “Gas and fluid build-up cause tummy pain and the baby ‘acts hungry’ (wants to suck, is unsettled, draws up his legs, and screams). Sucking is the best comfort he knows and also helps move the gas along the bowel. This tends to ease the pain temporarily and may result in wind and stool being passed. Since the baby indicates that he wants to suck at the breast, his mother, logically, feeds him again. Sometimes it is the only way to comfort him. Unfortunately another large feed on top of the earlier one hurries the system further and results in more gas and fluid accumulation. The milk seems almost literally to ‘go in one end and out the other’.”

While lengthening the time between feeds can stop lactose overload, feeding from one side in one sitting can also be helpful. Thus baby gets a healthy amount of lactose and fat and, if you feel baby may need more within thirty minutes of starting the feed, place them back on the side you have fed off so they can receive even more of the good fat for weight gain. Overfeeding also creates the behaviours of digestive overload. Now, you may have heard it said that ‘you can’t overfeed a breastfed baby’. Well, quite simply, you can. It’s logical. All humans can overfeed. Especially a baby, because when anything touches the rooting reflex zone around their mouth and cheeks they will look to suck, whether they are hungry or not.

Works even in the toughest cases!

With formula feeding, many of the amounts given are above what a newborn or infant can take at some ages. For example, many state 250ml at six months of age when this is the size of an adult’s stomach. A one-year-old's stomach can hold 150ml at once. Newborns and infants do not have a stomach that stretches like an adult's, so if they are fed too much, it only has two ways to go – hence reflux. Also, up until a certain age, babies don’t have the capability to know when they are full, and even then that feeling of fullness is delayed. Zane Andrews, an associate professor of physiology and a neuroscientist at Monash University who studies how food (and lack of food) affects the brain states: “Generally there is a delay – a disconnect between when you put food in (and your brain goes ‘this is nice’) to when it gets to your gut (and your gut goes ‘hang on, brain, you better slow that down, mate’). There is a 20-minute window, generally speaking, where you’re not getting some of those feedback signals.” In other words, it takes 20 minutes before baby’s brain tells them they are full. Frequent feeding, or cluster feeding, completely overrides this natural mechanism.

TAPS: PP1133, IBABY LTD, Lower Hutt

What basic biology says For newborns aged one to three months it has been reported to take, on average, eight-and-a-half hours for milk to travel from the mouth through the digestive tract and on to a bowel motion. On average it can take four to five hours for milk to move from the stomach in a healthy manner, meaning with all

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the nutrients broken down appropriately – not that you would leave your baby without a feed for five hours in the first three to four months of life. So these biological facts alone tell us that the belief that you have to feed a baby often, because they have small stomachs, isn’t actually based on biology. According to research “stomach emptying and transit times are naturally delayed for neonates” and “initial digestion within the stomach is especially important for milk fat because milk fat droplets are not a good substance for pancreatic lipase, consequently high fat concentration in gastric contents delays gastric emptying”. Then add the research that “milk feeds override the intrinsic, fasting, motor activity of the colon, and induce regular defecation at a frequency determined directly by the volume of the products of digestion that reach the rectum” and you have a factual, biological picture growing that frequent feeding and cluster feeding actually place a lot of strain on the digestive system, causing the symptoms of digestive overload. A simpler explanation of this is, when we frequently feed, or cluster feed, we automatically push the food that is already in the stomach onward to the duodenum and onto the large bowel before the stomach enzymes and acid have processed the milk fully. This places other organs under unnecessary pressure as they struggle with unnatural processes, for example, fat globules moving through the intestines from not allowing the natural delay mechanism time to work. When this is done on a continual basis throughout the day, along with baby not burping enough for their age, and possible tongue and/or lip tie, the baby finally reaches late afternoon to evening feeling highly uncomfortable and looking to suck for comfort, not for food.

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Five or ten minutes of crying in the early months is normal. Crying continuously for half an hour or longer, while exhibiting obvious pain, pedalling legs, arching backwards and looking to suck a lot is not normal. But thankfully, it can be healed by providing care that nurtures the child taking into account their digestive biology. This kind of care is called bio-logical care (life-logical care). Bio-logical care is not only logical, responsive, respectful and intimate, it supports healthy digestive function for newborns and infants, as well as healthy breastfeeding and bottle feeding outcomes. It also supports parenting confidence and attachment because parents learn how to knowingly respond to their baby’s full array of cues in each moment with the solid, but simple, knowledge of their digestive biology aiding their decisions. It stands to reason then that bio-logical care also supports social, emotional and cognitive development at a time of baby’s exquisite, exponential growth. 

Philippa Murphy Philippa is an author, speaker, mother and one of New Zealand’s leading postnatal educators at her worldwide postnatal practice, BabyCues – Nurture with Nature. Offering groundbreaking solutions for the prevention and remedy of digestive overload for newborns and infants, Philippa is also the founder of the non-profit organisation, The Pudding Club – Crafting Postnatal Care in the Antenatal Stages.

Great parents

grow great kids

Arm yourself with knowledge as you grow as a parent alongside your child, by taking part in one of the Parents Centre programmes that run nationwide. Having a new baby is a time of significant change – your brain is working overtime with questions and your body is going through amazing changes. It's quite a journey. Parents Centre has been supporting parents for 65 years. Become a member of Parents Centre and we can support you too! You’ll get access to quality pregnancy, childbirth and parent education that will help you gain invaluable knowledge on your pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting journey. It’s a great way to meet other new parents that are on the same journey as you. They often become lifelong friends. You get support through coffee groups that meet on a regular basis, and ongoing education programmes to help you navigate the stages of pregnancy and parenthood. With 47 Centres nationwide, we provide many opportunities for social engagement for both parents and children. Many of our Centres offer playgroups and music classes, and these are a great way to learn with your children while you get to socialise with other parents at the same time.

You also gain skills and experience that will be a real asset when you decide to rejoin the workforce. We look forward to having you join our Parents Centre family and supporting you on your parenting journey! Early Pregnancy – a special programme tailored for your 12th to 24th week of pregnancy. Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parent Education (Antenatal) – essential information to prepare you for childbirth and early parenting. Baby and You – practical and sensible tips and advice for enjoying and making the most of those first months with your newborn. Parenting with Purpose – consciously focusing on how you want to parent and how your child ticks. Return to Work – advice for preparing and returning to the paid workforce. Magic Moments – strategies for positive communication and discipline with your child. Moving and Munching – exploring baby's first foods and developmental stages.

As a Parents Centre member you will receive loads of free giveaways and samples, as well as special discount shopping days, and discounted products and services exclusive to Parents Centre members. Who doesn’t love freebies and discounts!

Music and Movement – stimulating music activities for your baby and toddler.

Many of our members gain so much from being a Parents Centre member that they want to ‘give back’ and become volunteers for their local Centre, ensuring that new parents can continue to benefit from the skills, knowledge, friendships and support they’ve received. 

Tinies to Tots – positively encouraging your emerging adventurous toddler.

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Learning to do

hard things

In May 2013 a very dear friend of ours died. She had been sick for a while. I often think back to those times, to how naive I was. The pain that her death brought was severe. We lost a true friend, a genuinely caring woman who adored her beautiful family and brought a tremendous amount of joy to a lot of people. Not only that, but her death brought questioning, confusion and, for me, it was the start of a very painful season.

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In December 2013 I collapsed at work with a strange sensation through my stomach region. My vision was blurred and I started to get surges of pain. My husband raced me to the hospital. I had been on the depo injection when we first got married (one of the stupidest and most naive decisions I have made) as my body reacted negatively to the pill. We had been trying for a baby for a year at that stage and my blood test results came back with an HCG level of over 1000. I’ll never forget the doctor looking at me and saying, “I’m sorry to tell you this in these circumstances, but you are pregnant.” I can remember the joy hit me and left all at once. I was sent for precautionary surgery

three days later where they detected an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy developing in the fallopian tube instead of the womb) and I was bleeding internally. They removed my left fallopian tube and – as it was ectopic – the pregnancy was not viable.

house and cry in her lap as I had done before. My family lived in another part of the country and although they were available every step of the way, I denied their visiting as I was unaware of how it had affected me at that stage.

It felt weird to say that I had lost a baby. Yes, I was pregnant, but the pregnancy didn’t have a chance to blossom into much more than a mass and although I was five weeks pregnant the autopsy came back with no trace of a baby having been there. It was surreal. After a week off, I was back at work.

We waited the allocated few months before trying again and, as ectopic pregnancies can reoccur, we knew that when we got pregnant I would have to be monitored closely until the heartbeat could be detected at six weeks.

I don’t really remember the grieving process. I remember wishing my friend was still there so I could go to her

We found out we were pregnant almost immediately – I didn’t want to get my hopes up so we kept it cool for the first four weeks until we saw that gorgeous little speck on the screen. Our baby had made it safely to

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the womb! I thoroughly enjoyed the next eight weeks, getting ideas for a nursery, chatting to mum every second I could, gearing up to become a mum myself! My midwife offered me the Down's Syndrome scan at 12 weeks. I asked her what the point was and she basically said that it allowed parents to decided whether or not to keep their baby if they had Down's or another related syndrome. The thought of aborting a child appalled me. I said a very stern no and left it at that. A week later I requested a 12-week scan just to have a look-see (I’m not the most patient woman!) which my midwife was not fussed about, but eventually gave in to my nagging.

Avigail – our beautiful daughter There she was, our beautiful daughter, Avigail, the father’s joy. I think I spent more time looking at my husband than at Avigail to be honest. His face was glowing, he kept saying. “Wow...Woah...Ahhh” I was so overjoyed at his response. “What a darling man,” I thought to myself. The scan lasted about 20 minutes, 20 minutes of utter bliss, before the nurse leant over, pushing aside my husband, and quietly whispered in my ear, “I’m so sorry, but there is something seriously wrong with your baby.” I said “Excuse me?!” and she whispered it again, to which I began to get angry. “That is my husband, this is our child, please speak up so that he can hear you.” That was the first time of many that my darling husband, an obviously excited father, would be left out of or ignored during conversations over the next eight weeks. Avigail had 9mm of translucency fluid around her neck, indicating a possible chromosomal defect. As the weeks went on, more tests were done and from the scans and blood tests the doctors concluded that Avigail had a 1 in 5 chance of Down's Syndrome. I did not realise until then that children born with Down's not only have issues with mental retardation but also can be born with heart and lung issues – the scans were indicating that Avigail had both.

An amniocentesis was advised (a rather large needle sent through the mother's stomach into the placenta to gather chromosomal information) but as the risk of miscarriage was there, I declined. We got some special scans that day, her cute little legs were so wonderfully formed. Once the scans were over, the doctor sat us both down in a private room and gave us our ‘options’. She advised abortion multiple times during that conversation. Eventually, when I felt as though the doctor was trying to back me into a corner (my husband being unable to make the decision legally as he is not the mother), I told her “We would not consider an abortion“. I was learning a lot here. My baby could be born incredibly sick, or not even be born at all. Regardless, things were going to be hard. Healing was possible, but I did not feel deep in my heart that that was the case here. Women, I believe discernment is a gift we should be using a lot more readily than we do. Then came August 2014, when Avigail’s heartbeat could no longer be heard. Two weeks earlier I had screamed out, “Honey, I think the baby is dead, I just know it!” before my husband cradled me to sleep. I was forced to knowingly carry my dead baby around until I was put into labour a week later. Although it was a dreadful time, I wouldn’t take it back if I could. It taught me a lot about what drives me and why I make the decisions I do. I wouldn’t take any of it back.

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If you know a person well enough, you should know their love languages. My husband hilariously claims that I possess all of them, but the main one for me is gifts. We had friends who understood this and they showered us in gifts, flowers and cards with caring words. It meant the world to us. If you don’t know what to say, please don’t try and conjure something up. Depending on the person (once again, if you know them well enough), cry with them, laugh with them, listen to them, offer a prayer of comfort. If you don’t know them well enough but want to help, ask a friend that is close enough to know and help that way. People welling up in tears when they saw us was such a comfort. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to give space or go visit friends who mourn, the best thing to do is ask first. Depending on personality, either one could be a preference, don’t be afraid, just ask. The thought in itself can bring great comfort.

Take note of what your heart is saying I would like to encourage you with some of the things I have learnt. When someone dies, love the family, rid yourself of judgement and cradle people. The most healing moment for me was when my dear friends who knew grief well, cradled me in their arms and we howled for a good 45 minutes after church one day. Everyone else had left and we just sobbed together. There was no need for words, no insecurity, just grief in its purist form. It was so necessary. Take note of what your heart is saying, that deep-down conviction – it exists for a reason, to ready your heart for things, whether it be victory or grief. Surround yourself with people who not only have a heart for you, but are on the same page as you. Really important. In the end I learnt that, and I ended up surrounding myself with people who knew grief because they were the most sensitive people in regards to my situation.

It turned out that Avigail did not have Down's Syndrome, she had Turner’s Syndrome, a missing X chromosome. We know why she died because we got a postmortem done and I had an amniocentesis done before I went into labour. It helped to know, and it helped to know that we had contributed to research as the autopsy came back with a whopping four pages of detail from her tiny 40 grams worth of body. She was loved while we had her, her father’s Joy, Avigail Rose Malthus. I'll leave you with a quote from a beautiful friend of mine: "Perhaps hard things aren’t for nothing. Perhaps they’re all supposed to be the making of us. The things we will look back on and see that they didn’t actually break us but wove us all back together. Perhaps we will see that the divine was working even through the awful. And there were glimmers of growth even in the dirt. Perhaps we are living in the days where we are learning to do hard things, because one day (or right now), there is someone else who needs to know it can be done." 

Leila Malthus Leila is a stay-at-home mum and wife who recently welcomed a second baby to their family. She lives north of Wellington with her husband and two sons.

Be kind to yourself. Please. Have grace and patience for people, they may say the wrong thing. People get awkward around death and that’s okay. It’s okay to ask why, just be prepared to not get an answer, you don’t need to know why to get peace. For those of you surrounding people grieving, here’s a few tips:

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Play it


For the first day of school

68 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

At this time of year many families are seeing their little ones off on their first step onto the education ladder. Make no mistake, the transition to school is massive, so it is best to be as prepared as possible. Parents all approach this differently and there is no right or wrong way to get ready for, and then face, the big day. We all have different personalities and family dynamics so react differently to change. Your child will pick up their cues from you – if they see you are nervous or tearful this will leave them feeling anxious. So try to keep it calm if you can, both in the build up and on the big day itself. Talk positively about school and get your child to chat about their hopes and anxieties. Kiwi kids can start school any time between the ages of five and six, but all children must be enrolled by their sixth birthday. Most schools in New Zealand encourage you to visit with your child before they turn five, and this is a great way to get them used to their new school. Contact the school office to arrange your visits. Make sure that your child gets to meet the principal as well as the new entrant teacher, and get used to

where their classroom is and where they will leave their bag. Also show your child how to find important things like the toilets and the drinking fountain. If you can, have a play at the school over the weekend to familiarise your child with the layout of the school grounds. Talk to the teacher about your little one as it will help them to support your child if they know about them. Tell them things like whether your child has special health needs, what they enjoy doing and anything that may worry them. Make a special trip out of going to get school supplies and a bag. If your chosen school has a uniform, that will be a special trip to get your child fitted out properly – most children love dressing in their new uniform! So when the first day finally arrives, what can you do?

Just keep to your usual routines Have what you normally have for breakfast and talk about school but include other topics as well. Allow plenty of time to get to school so you can avoid any stress and arrive before the bell.

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Let them be the guide

Be there for them after school

If they stick close to you, then stay nearby, but if they run off in search of friends or to try out the swings then step back and let them go for it.

If you work full time, see if you can adjust your hours for that first week so you can pick up your child. If you can’t make it, ask your partner or someone else close to your family. Starting after-school care and school all in the same week can be quite a lot for a child to take on board.

Don’t prolong goodbyes Even if you feel like clinging on for dear life, try to keep it to a quick hug and a cheery, “See you after school, have a great day.” Don’t be surprised if you are an emotional wreck on the first day as this is a big step. Treat yourself to something that makes you happy – you have done wonderfully well to get your child to this big milestone! Children too will respond differently to the transition from preschool to school, depending on their disposition or personality. Some take to school in a flash while others take a bit longer to settle in. If you are concerned, chat to the teacher about it because the first experiences at school shape a child’s attitude to learning far beyond their first day. If they are excited to come to school and confident in their own abilities from the start, this flows on in the years ahead.

70 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Both parents get involved Where possible, encourage both parents and any other caregivers or family members to visit the classroom for drop off or pick up in these first few weeks, so your child sees the whole family is interested and involved.

Keep those first few weeks quiet Your child will probably be super tired after school even if they have been used to a full day at daycare. It will be much more comforting for your child to come home to a healthy snack and time to play than rushing off to swimming or the supermarket.

Help your child get ready to learn Children may find it easier to participate in the class if they: can sit on a chair at a table for a short time to complete an activity are comfortable being away from you know how to take turns and wait for things know the names of colours Know the letters of the alphabet know the numbers 1 to 9 can hold a pencil correctly and use scissors can write their name are able to hold a picture book and turn the pages carefully.

Homework Try to do homework before dinner, as your child’s concentration levels will make it difficult to do homework as the evening progresses, and make sure you give them specific praise. The more you encourage them, the more they will be motivated to learn.

Keep calm If your child comes home with a negative story about school, be calm. Empathise and acknowledge their feelings and then ask them for their ideas on what to do about it. You might be surprised with what good ideas they can come up with when encouraged. Ask your child if they can think of one thing they did enjoy that day and talk about that.

Communication is key Keep their teacher informed early on with any concerns as well as successes at home, as a strong two-way relationship between home and school is best for your child. You are able to find out from your teacher if things aren’t going as well as hoped and if you let them know what’s going on in your child’s life, they will be able to meet their needs.

Be part of your child’s school community Make sure someone is there to support your child at important events like sports days or assembly – parents, grandparents, special friends or extended family. This will show your child that you are interested and also gives you an insight to their life at school. Help them make new friends by arranging for play dates to build on blossoming friendships. But most of all, you know your child best, so listen to them and follow your instincts as you see them into this important phase of their lives. You guided them through the first five years just as you will through their future education journey. And they are lucky to have you! Prepared with the help of the Ministry of Education. 

Find out more primary-school/your-child-at-school/ enrolling-and-starting-your-child-at-school

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Living the


Make your rental house a home

We, like many families in New Zealand, are renters. We have found renting to be a great opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t in a home in New Zealand and it has also been a time of ‘design meets rental restrictions meets budget’ exploration.

72 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Towards the end of 2017 we moved into a new rental and, with baby number two due to arrive less than a month after we moved in, I took the opportunity to update our master bedroom on a budget. Here are some of the things that I had to think about and consider as I redesigned our special space.

What do I already have? Look at what you already have and particularly what you have that you absolutely love. I have an antique set of drawers that are in a gorgeous warm wood and my baby’s cane bassinet that was gifted to me. I love both pieces so based the design around them. Like many of you, I have a collection of three white waffle duvet cover sets which I have loved in the past, but have nearly moved on from. After eyeing up some gorgeous stonewashed linen I thought “Why don’t I try and dye one of my waffle duvets myself, especially since they aren’t that precious to me anymore. If it works, woohoo! If it doesn’t, I will get a new duvet.”

One $10 packet of velvet black dye later and my old, sad waffle duvet has a new lease of life! Because the dye is blue-based, I used more water than instructed so that I would have a stonewashed faded blue tone rather than black. (If you want the exact color on the pack then follow the package instructions carefully.) I already had a yucca plant (I move my plants around the house when I feel like a change is needed in different rooms) which was enough green to break up the brown and blue tones. I also already had my tables and lamps from Kmart.

Experiment with textures So with wood, cane, stonewashed waffle bedding, a small amount of plant life, cast iron-look side tables and whitewashed wood lamps, I was almost there. The main thing that the room lacked was something reflective to pull everything together and bounce light from the window around. I found gorgeous IKEA mirrors on Trade Me (I love Trade Me for online bargain hunting) which also worked as a wall feature to replace the concept of a headboard, as my husband is not a headboard fan. The mirrors come with a removable adhesive tape. When renting, always test adhesives first in case you have to remedy an expensive mistake!

Final touches The last thing added to finish the room were great faux leather cushions ($8 a pop), grey sheets ($22), pillow cases ($4 x 4) and curtains ($49.98). Curtains are a great item to change in a rental (do check with your landlord first though) to make the space your own. Just make sure you wait for a sale! If you keep to a neutral colour without patterns, but with a lovely texture, then you can easily reuse the curtains in your next place.

Budget breakdown The plan was to keep within the budget of a week's shopping, which for us is around $150.00 NZD, and I spent $163.98. The wall mirror feature was $60, which I was happy to pay after a failed hunt for the right mirror and as IKEA can be hard to find in New Zealand. Don’t be restricted by renting and please, don’t feel downcast because you don't own your house. Your home is still one that you can enjoy, one that your children can remember positively and where they feel like it is a home regardless of the fact that you don’t actually own it. So go, enjoy the rental journey and make your rental your home. 

Leila Malthus Leila Malthus is a wife and Mum of two who works part time in Interior Design Consultation and CG Lighting and Texture on film and television. You can follow Leila on instagram @leilamalthuscreative and at mummamalthusonabudget.

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What price

peace of mind?

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74 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

I read an article recently that said children don’t earn an income, need to worry about paying a mortgage, nor do they have dependents – so why do we need to insure our child? It outlined how many of the insurance companies in New Zealand provide children’s cover to help the parent who do have all these risks, and ensure they are able to replace part (or all) of their income for a period of time if they needed to take time off work to look after their sick child. It got me thinking about how many of us take the time to find out if this is something that we need for our family or not – maybe this is something we need to add to our New Year’s resolution list. Often as new parents, we don't think about the financial implications of having a child – especially if it pertains to medical bills. The truth is that in the first months of your baby’s life, he or she will be seeing the doctor to monitor growth and to make sure that they are healthy. If your newborn gets sick during the first few months of their life, you will be in the doctor’s office even more, even though most medical bills are covered in New Zealand. You may already have medical insurance, or trauma insurance, but don’t just assume that because you are being covered by an insurance policy that it automatically extends to your child when he or she arrives. This is when you need to have a chat with your adviser. Make sure you understand what you are covered for, does your baby have any ‘free’ cover under your policy or do you need to add them onto it. Some insurance companies do have an automatic inclusion of children’s cover whereby you do not need to advise the provider that you have a newborn baby – not even their date of birth or their name! However, other companies require you to disclose this information. All insurance companies have different clauses and obligations. Do you know what yours are?

You ask the questions What about medical cover? Are you aware that there is a medical insurance provider in New Zealand that offers free medical cover for babies to the age of six months old? And this news gets better – it’s free! And what’s even more amazing is that the parent – you – do not need to be a life insured on that cover in order for your baby to have it.

Photo: Chris Searle was delighted to present Ulisha Rule with the Baby on the Move prize on behalf of SHARE. Ulisha has four children with number five on the way. This fantastic prize couldn’t have come at a better time for this family as they have a few big ticket items –thespecially a new car seat – to get before the Ulishanew has 4baby kids and a 5 on the way, thislike couldn’t have at a better time for her and her arrives. Ulisha would to pass oncome her appreciation partner they haveinvolved, a few big ticket itemsthe especially seaton to get toas everyone especially team aatcar Baby thebefore Move,No. 5 arrives. Parents Centre and SHARE. Ulisha wanted to pass on her appreciation to all involved.

So let me ask you, wouldn’t this little bit of extra security, which is available to you, be of value to your family? The hardest thing to get our heads around is that it ‘might’ happen to ME. I often reflect that this is the only time when I am prepared to pay for something that I hope the deductions – whether they cover myself, my partner, my children or grandchildren – is going into that proverbial bottomless pit. But this ‘pit’ becomes of immense value when the unforeseen happens and we need some financial assistance. This is where your adviser steps up and provides the expert advice, insight and guidance, getting a lump sum of money (or regular payments if you have protected your income) paid out to you when you need it most. 

Sharon Pearce Sharon lives in Martinborough together with her fiancé and her fur-babies. She has been working in the financial advice industry since 2004 and is an adviser with SHARE. As with all SHARE advisers, Sharon works closely with each client to ensure the advice provided is tailored to what is important and specific to that individual’s or family’s needs.

Here to help you protect what matters most – your family. SHARE’s specialist advisers are experts at finding the right insurance solution that fits within your budget. That’s why Parents Centre chose SHARE to look after you and your family!

TALK TO US TODAY 0800 02 00 55

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partners Announcing a new partnership Announcing a new partnership is always really exciting. So much work goes into developing the partnership, ensuring that both organisations are aligned philosophically and that we can add genuine value to each other’s organisation. Partnerships enable us to financially support our programmes and Centres as well as give our members additional benefits that will help them in their parenting journey.

go the extra mile in ensuring that we can generate a huge amount of value for our Centres and Kiwi families. I’m thrilled to announce the new partnership with Reckitt Benckiser. We will launch with a great deal on Nurofen for Children Feversmart (check out the product page), and have plans to work on a number of initiatives that will deliver education to our families and discounts on a number of products.

All our partners gain valuable access to a highly targeted group of consumers that enable them to promote, develop and refine the products and services that are valuable to families and new parents. Our membership enjoys superb value and member benefits as a result. I’m proud to work with companies that really

Taslim Parsons Business Development and Social Enterprise Manager, Parents Centres New Zealand

A friendly message from RB RB (Reckitt Benckiser Group) are excited to form a new partnership with Parents Centre New Zealand to help guide parents through one of the most important journeys of their life. We understand that a child’s illness can be a very stressful and emotional time for parents, which is why we are passionate in supporting Parents Centre to provide tools and advice to Kiwi parents to relieve some of this stress. RB is dedicated to creating happier homes and healthier families, a vision that is supported through this exciting new partnership. Leo Rempe Brand Marketing, Nurofen for Children


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 parents 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

76 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

supporting Kiwi parents

Life Pharmacy & Unichem Every day Life and Unichem pharmacists provide their communities with friendly professional health care and advice. With over 300 pharmacies throughout NZ, there's one of us in your community.

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 across New Zealand. This means our customers benefit from a personal, safe and reliable service throughout New Zealand.

Beef + Lamb Beef + Lamb New Zealand is responsible for the promotion of beef and lamb in New Zealand. The organisation is voluntarily funded by Kiwi farmers, retailers and processors, and focuses on promoting the nutritional aspects of lean red meat, including the importance of iron during pregnancy and for infants and young children. For healthy recipe ideas using lean beef and lamb, visit:

Fidelity Life From humble beginnings, Fidelity Life has become the country’s largest locally owned and operated life insurance company. We believe good insurance cover gives you peace of mind that you, your family, your people and your business can be looked after financially if things go wrong.

SHARE SHARE is New Zealand's leading network of experienced financial advisers, providing specialist insurance, investment, KiwiSaver and mortgage advice to all New Zealanders. SHARE has advisers around the country. For more information please call: 0800 02 00 55 or email

0800 222 966 /

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.

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 023 456

Phone: 0800 222 966

The Sleep Store Since 2006 The Sleep Store has been helping babies sleep with FREE expert sleep advice and a huge range of hand-picked baby, toddler and preschooler essentials. All with excellent customer service and prompt nationwide delivery. Recently voted the best online baby store. For details on the exclusive Parents Centre offers visit: content/parentscentre

SplashSave All the tools you need to teach young ones how to remain confident, comfortable and calm around water. Pack is aimed at children from birth to six years and costs a fraction of formal swim lessons.

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Let your ideas loose all over your walls 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.

0800 RESENE (737 363)

2 compact baby food freezing trays with lids. 1.2L capacity for maximum storage

NZ’s finest range of carriers

Conscious parenting – want to know more? Check out upcoming programmes at your local Parents Centre: Browse through the resources here: Join ‘Conscious Parenting’ pages and groups on Facebook Research online and read, read, read!

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win great giveaways

Enter online at and follow the instructions. Entries must be received by 5pm March 9, 2018. Winners will be published in issue 283.

Two Bunch O Balloon packs from Zuru to be won

Win a Beco Gemini Cool Mesh baby carrier from the Sleep Store

Prize pack, valued at $94.96, each including:

Unlike any other active carrier on the market, Beco Cool brings you a performance fabric that draws away moisture and keeps you dry. Beco Gemini Cool helps to regulate body temperature so your baby stays cooler in the heat, and offers SPF 50 UVA/UVB protection to defend against the sun. Perfect for the beach, too! The wonderful Beco Gemini can be used from newborn, without the need for a bulky infant insert, up to 15kg.

3 bunch pack (100 balloons) RRP $12.99 Splat Bat and Balloons RRP $24.99 Dual Ambush Pumper Gun and Balloons, RRP $24.99 Launcher value pack (2 launchers, 140 balloons, 2 Balloon Bags), RRP$29.99

Five pairs of stay-put sunglasses to be won from Banz Carewear Trusted by Kiwi parents for 12 years to protect their little ones’ sight with stay-put sunglasses and their hearing with sound-protective earmuffs, Banz Carewear has five pairs of Adventure Banz stay-put sunglasses, worth $36 each, to give away to Kiwiparent readers! These sunglasses, in sizes to fit under two years and two to five years, stay put – thanks to a soft, adjustable-for-growth neoprene headband – the wraparound design is recommended by eye experts, the lenses block 100% of UV rays and they meet international standards for sunglasses. Pick your colour – Pink, Blue or Aqua – and the size that suits.

Win a toddler safety fun stool from Arc Baby valued at $229 Arc NZ Baby developed the Arc Assistant – toddler safety-fun stool with a clear vision: Makes adults' lives in their homes easier Increases enjoyment and interaction with toddlers Is environmentally conscious and supports New Zealand by manufacturing locally Tested to sections of Cot and Toy standards.

Win 1 of 10 bottles of Magnesium+ Gentle Magnesium is an essential mineral that is needed by every cell to function correctly as it is involved in hundreds of biological processes. Magnesium+ Gentle comes in an easy-to-swallow vege capsules to allow for divided dosing throughout the day if preferred. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Taken as directed, Magnesium+ Gentle may help relax tense or tight muscles, support bone and heart health and assist with mental relaxation especially during times of stress. Be in the draw to win a bottle of Magnesium+ Gentle 60s RRP $22.90

80 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Keep your kids safe When was the last time you checked your child’s car seat? Does it move if you try to move it with your hand? If so, imagine what the force of an impact would do to that movement. It’s your responsibility to make sure your child is appropriately restrained and secure.

HANDY CHECKLIST 3Child under 7 years old? The law says all children must be secured in an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. 3Child under 148cm tall? Best practice recommends they stay in a child restraint or booster seat until 148cm tall.

3Child restraint installed securely? Try to move it with your hand – if it moves then it’s not installed correctly. 3Had your child restraint checked? Make the time to have it checked by a registered child restraint technician before you head away over summer.

3Rear facing? It’s much safer to keep your child rear facing until they’re at least 2 years old. It’s tempting to forward face them for road trips but distance and speed are often greater on these trips, and rear facing is safest.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit You can also find a list of registered child restraint technicians in your area here.

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