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SUPPORTING PARENTS THROUGH THE EARLY YEARS
APRIL 2015 – MAY 2015
cutting through conflicting advice … on infant sleep
small but deadly
Lithium batteries an emerging safety hazard
a fatal lapse of memory Stress can cause us to forget
Over-stimulation is not the answer
a pain in the back National Osteopathy Awareness Week
it’s all in the mind Changing attitudes towards food
The magazine of Parents Centres New Zealand Inc
Parenting tips • Childbirth • Family finances • Breastfeeding • Lifestyle • Family health
My baby skin is ten times more sensitive than yours, mum. So I like the gentleness of JOHNSON’S® baby TOP-TO-TOE® bath. It’s as mild as pure water, and just right for my brand new skin. Relax, mum. You’re using the gentle stuff.
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Mum, my birthday suit is gentle wash only.
bright eyes Research shows that eyes are still developing during the first year of life and require extra special care. While bath time is a moment to be cherished, as baby has fun in the water accidental splashes are sure to follow. A baby’s defensive blink reflexes are still developing during the first 12 months of life and they don’t know to close their eyes in the bath or when an object approaches. Because of this, babies are less likely to be able to protect their eyes from splashes. In addition, for the first six months of life, a baby's tear layer is slightly thicker than an adult’s. This means that irritants cannot be flushed from the eyes as easily. It is important to make sure that the cleansing product you use to bathe your baby offers protection and care for delicate eyes.
At birth are attracted to faces may avoid bright lights by closing eyes eyes may sometimes appear to wander or be turned.
At one month start to fix on parent's face whilst feeding intermittent turn in eyes follow large moving objects for a few seconds and begin to show interest in toys.
At two months more interested in toys and objects follow a person with their eyes recognise parent’s face and can tell it from other faces.
At four months can focus on toys held close to them eyes should be straight and move together in all directions interested in smaller more detailed toys reaches for toys, grasps firmly and regards closely.
At six months become more skilled in using their eyes to locate and reach objects of interest follow objects with head and eyes in all directions visually alert and curious about their surroundings follows an adult’s movement across the room.
At twelve months recognise familiar people from at least six metres away binocular vision (the ability to use the eyes together) established at around nine months. www.kidshealth.org.nz
More than 50 years ago Johnson’s® baby redefined quality and gentleness by introducing the famous No More Tears® formula to its renowned Baby Shampoo making them as gentle to eyes as pure water and, best of all – they’re clinically proven mild. Key to the mild and gentle formula is its unique micelle technology. Micelles are a collection of surfactant (cleansing ingredients) molecules found in products like shampoos and cleansers. Johnson’s® baby cleansers and shampoos incorporate a special blend of surfactant micelles that are larger in size than those found in adult products and do not penetrate the delicate surface of a baby’s eyes.
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Photo Credit: Jo Frances Photography
Madeline Button, 16 weeks
Cutting through conflicting advice on infant sleep
Baby bright eyes..................................................................... 1
Eleanor Cater................................................................................ 8–12
Letters to the Editor............................................................. 4–5
A fatal lapse of memory
Product page............................................................................ 6–7
Leigh Bredenkamp...................................................................... 14–15
An exciting milestone......................................................... 22 Child’s play Keryn O’Neill................................................................................. 26–29
Fit to be a dad Harald Breiding-Buss.................................................................. 34–35
Avoiding injury....................................................................... 36 Listen to the yearnings of your soul.......................... 37 A pain in the back Angela Procter............................................................................. 46–49
Changing your thoughts on food Leanne Cooper............................................................................. 50-53
Flu fighting............................................................................... 54-55
Toilet training.......................................................................... 18 Healthy fast food
My Foodbag kitchen................................................................... 20–21
A first birth – Michelle and Charles........................... 24–25 Baby-led weaning
Lisa Manning................................................................................ 30–31
Leanne Cooper............................................................................. 32
Marvellous mothers............................................................. 38 Parents Centre pages........................................................... 39–45 Four reasons why children are not like pigs
Stephanie Matuku....................................................................... 56–57
Life after birth
Judy Coldicott................................................................................ 58–59
Autumn health check
Karen van Praagh........................................................................ 60–61
Winners from the last two issues................................. 72–73
Chris Ottley................................................................................... 62-65
Find a Centre........................................................................... 74
Birth story: You can do it
Directory page......................................................................... 75
Veerle Van Cooten-de Vries..................................................... 66–69
Shopping cart........................................................................... 76–79
Small but deadly: Lithium batteries........................... 70-71
kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
SUPPORTING PARENTS THROUGH THE EARLY YEARS
APRIL 2015 – MAY 2015
Cutting through the conflicting advice As any parent knows prolific advice abounds; people really like to share their opinions about parenting and often feel very passionately about what they believe to be true. But much of the advice you receive will be conflicting. Never is this more true than on the topic of infant sleep where you will hear this single topic overrepresented in conversation. It can seem that the gold standard of good parenting is that your baby will sleep through the night early on in its life. But is this realistic, and where did it come from?
Child’s play Learning and brain development is not limited to toys and activities specifically created for children, but also by following their interests in participating in the real world. We know that the first few years of life are extremely important for brain development, what may be less clear is how to put this knowledge into practise. Parents wanting to give their child the best start are faced with a huge variety of choice and commercially driven pressure to ensure their child makes the most of every developmental opportunity.
A pain in the back Pregnancy is undoubtedly a unique and powerful experience. Enormous physical, hormonal and emotional changes take place over a relatively short period of time. The body has to adapt to carrying up to 20lb of baby, waters and placenta, which can impose physical strain on all the organs and tissues. You need to take care of yourself so that you are in the best shape possible for the birth and for the rigors of parenting to follow.
Kiwiparent – Since 1954 the magazine of Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Editor
Leigh Bredenkamp Ph (04) 472 1193 Fax (04) 938 6242 Mobile (0274) 572 821 leighb@e–borne.co.nz PO Box 28 115, Kelburn, 6150
Editorial Enquiries Ph (04) 233 2022 or (04) 472 1193 info@e–borne.co.nz
Taslim Parsons Ph (04) 233 2022 x8804 Mo 021 1860 323 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Viv Gurrey, Chief Executive Officer, Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Phone (04) 233 2022 Opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher. Advertising in this magazine does not imply endorsement by Parents Centres. Generally material in this publication may be reproduced provided it is used for non–commercial purposes and the source is acknowledged. However, written permission must be sought from the editor. Kiwiparent is proud to support the WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981.
ISSN 1173–7638 www.kiwiparent.co.nz
As you know, May is the month we celebrate Mother's Day. In our house there was always breakfast in bed when the children were little – carefully made by little fingers with good intentions but patchy cooking skills. As they grew, so did their ability and cereal with chocolate milk topped with lollies (clearly the biggest treat they could devise) was replaced with much more sophisticated fare. Even though they have grown and left home, we still meet for brunch somewhere, and now we celebrate across the generations with mothers and grandmothers at the table. I love it all! I have been thinking about the origins of Mother's Day (see page 38 of this issue) and rediscovered the writing of feisty feminist Julia Ward Howe. This impressive woman was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist and poet who lived during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Julia married Samuel Howe who was a prominent physician and reformer. They lived and raised their six children in South Boston where she combined her role as wife and mother with a prolific writing career. Her marriage was not easy (I can imagine two strong personalities in one house could have been tricky!) and she became a passionate advocate of women's rights. She is perhaps best known for her powerful piece: The Battle Hymn of the Republic (also known as ‘Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory’) but she also wrote a moving article called ‘The Mother’s Day Proclamation’. She published this piece in 1870 as an appeal for women to unite for peace in the world – it was her personal, pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco Prussian War. She believed that women had a responsibility and an obligation to shape their societies at the political level. Here is an extract:
“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: ‘We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’ “From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says ‘Disarm! Disarm!’ The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. “As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace…” Julia lived to the ripe old age of 91, a matriarch of impressive stature, a mother to more than just her own children. It seems as though not much has changed in the intervening years. We still hear the drum beat of war, and families around the world are ripped apart by unimaginable violence on a daily basis. As we approach Mother’s Day, I remember all the mothers at home and abroad who suffer the loss of their children. While peace may seem to be an unattainable goal, I believe it is still one well worth striving for. Leigh Bredenkamp
letters to the editor Congratulations to the top letter winner Karen Prisco who receives Neutrogena and Aveeno skin care product gift basket from Johnson and Johnson.
Top letter winner This prize pack contains a range of Neutrogena and Aveeno skincare products worth $150.
Breaking the silence
I am 'one in four'. It's a crazy statistic which can be applied to many things. What does it mean to me? It means this: I am one in four who has lost a child through miscarriage, still birth or infant loss I am one in four who has suffered the heartache, pain, despair and tears of losing a baby I am one in four who never got to take their baby home I am one in four who has experienced the isolation and loneliness of a miscarriage I am one in four who misses their baby every single day, forever I am one in four. I am still standing and I am breaking the silence. Pregnancy and infant loss affects so many women but we are led to believe that it's a reasonably uncommon occurrence. When it happens to us we are often unprepared and unaware of the processes that we will go through both medically and emotionally. We are unaware because it is not an experience freely discussed or shared. It's an experience which could have been eased a little if I had known others had shared the same journey, if I'd been aware this could happen to me and had some knowledge of what was likely to happen. Because of this I need to stand up and give my child, my story a voice. I hope to encourage people to speak about baby loss, so we know we are not alone if it happens and to help people understand how to support grieving families regardless of gestational age that a baby is lost. Have you stopped to wonder if I had a boy or a girl? Have you wondered about their name, their birthday, their size, their birth? Chances are you didn't. You probably stopped
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wondering as soon as you saw the word miscarriage. I know, because I've done this. I was responsible for perpetuating the silence. This is why baby loss is so hidden because most people shut it out, they don't ask, they don't want to upset anyone or be upset. But we need to talk about it, we need to educate ourselves and support each other and we, as bereaved parents need our stories heard. What can you do? Say our baby's name, ask about them, listen to our story. We can also help provide better compassionate care by having a cuddle cot in every birthing unit in New Zealand. A Cuddle Cot is a cooling unit which fits inside a moses basket, giving families a little longer with their baby than is currently possible. It is now well recognised spending time with your baby after they have passed, creating memories by taking photos, casts, and hand/footprints is an important part of the healing process. To get a Cuddle Cot into their local birthing units bereaved mums in Rotorua, Dunedin and on the West Coast have started fundraising in memory of their children. I have set up a Givealittle page https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/cuddlecots to help raise $500,000 to purchase a unit for each of the 80 birthing units in the country. I have already donated a Cuddle Cot to Christchurch Women's Hospital and with the help of others aim to get units across all of New Zealand. If every person who has been affected by baby loss donated $1 we would have no trouble reaching our goal. If you know someone who has suffered the loss of a baby at any stage through pregnancy, here is a quote to consider: â€œIf you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might
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make them sad by reminding them that they died – you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and... that is a great gift.” -Elizabeth Edwards I have a daughter, she lived and died in my womb, she was born on the 15 April 2014 her name is Elizabetta and she has inspired me to break the silence.
Karen Prisco, email
Kiwiparent Facebook feedback A recent item in the Dominion Post entitled ‘Picture books hurt reading’ caught our eye. In the article, linguist Pamela Protheroe warned that teaching children to read using traditional picture books could set them up for dyslexia in later life leaving them over-dependent on associating images with words. We asked our Facebook browsers what they thought and here are some of the responses.
fts e n e b of h t l a e rs a w h othe
Lacey: I think it's BS. Kids progress from pictures to novels. It's a strategy early on. I don't remain reading picture books at 28. Like · Reply · Elizabeth: It's about variety of literacy experiences that are meaningful and many types of books for example a child reading a shopping list or listening to stories without any pictures given or puzzles where words are matched to the pictures its about varied and rich experiences to consolidate the words and their meanings. ECE teacher Like · Reply · Rachael: Depends on the pictures ... but no I think teaching kids from a young age to read proper picture books is good and sets up a love for books .. same with how a lot of teachers these days want kids to only learn to read and write On Ipads and not pen and paper ....... thats so wrong bc one day kids are gonna grow up and still need to write on important documents with PEN AND PAPER Like · Reply ·
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Carla: I think there's a place for picture books, but it annoyed me when my son started school that they were teaching him to look at the pictures to figure out the words... I wanted him to learn the words, not become a good guesser! Like · Reply ·
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International Day of the Midwife, May 5
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Celebrate midwives’ contribution to the health, well-being and survival of women and their babies around the world.
Here in New Zealand, this year marks 25 years of midwifery autonomy, resulting in safe, effective, woman-centred care. As health professionals, midwives are the main maternity providers, working in partnership with women to provide continuity of care through pregnancy, labour and birth and during the early postnatal weeks. May 5 offers women and midwives the opportunity to come together regionally and nationally to celebrate our maternity service and to acknowledge those who have contributed to the provision of an internationally esteemed service. www.nzcom.org.nz
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Not all countries have enough midwives to provide maternity care, so the International Confederation of Midwives has set this year’s theme as Midwives: for a better tomorrow, which focuses on working towards a world where every woman has access to, and can benefit from, a midwife’s care.
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As any parent knows, prolific advice abounds; people really like to share their opinions about parenting and often feel very passionately about what they believe to be true. Whether it’s your GP, Plunketline, your mother-inlaw, your best friend, the ill-informed columnist who writes for the New Zealand Herald, or the extreme politician who still swears by parenting practices which were cutting edge in the 1950s, you will be inundated with advice about parenting. But much of the advice you receive will be conflicting. It will put your head in a spin and will almost certainly lead to feelings of self-doubt and a lack of confidence in your own ability, knowledge and instincts. Never is this more true than on the topic of infant sleep. In playground chats, parental coffee group gettogethers and internet chat rooms you will hear this single topic overrepresented in conversation. It can seem that the gold standard of good parenting is this: your baby will sleep through the night early on in its life. But is this a realistic expectation, and where did it come from?
kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
A trip back in time… In middle of last century Plunket and other agencies around the world, adopted a ‘train them up’ approach to parenting. The number of children born after the Second World War had put an enormous amount of pressure on services designed for childbirth and parenthood and New Zealand Plunket nurses were trained along the lines of a very strict model; babies were to be ‘trained up’ and ‘not spoiled’. Frederic Truby King’s popular book, Feeding and Care of Baby, included a clock face strictly prescribing exact times for food, bathing, sleep and exercise. This clock was in the Plunket book which all mothers were told to live by, setting out the routine of the day. Mothering in those days was all about routines (four-hourly feeding), set sleep times, strict discipline, sleep training and very early toilet training. These beliefs and childcare practices became very entrenched in New Zealand society over the years that followed and, even today, we still have Plunket nurses, doctors and grandparents who will advise new parents to get their babies into a strict routine and leave their babies to ‘cry it out’ and self-settle. Of course these strict routines are set to fail as babies operate according to their own internal biological rhythms and not by any clock!
cutting through the noise … on conflicting infant sleep advice
HOUR CLOCK SHOWING TIMES FOR FOOD, BATH, EXERCISE.
4 5 6
1 12 11
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Fig. 23. Clock Face For Four-hourly Feeding
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11 12 1
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“Attachment is no longer a theory, it has been proven by science. We are a lucky generation in the sense that we have an amazing opportunity to get things right for our children – and we are the first generation to do so with real science to back it up.” Sarah Best, Brainwave Trust Aotearoa.
So last century cry-it-out and other controlled crying methods became popular as a way to make babies sleep for longer periods. But what wasn’t known in those days was that leaving babies to become distressed and cry themselves to sleep* is damaging to their developing brains. It floods their brain with the stress hormone, cortisol, which is particularly damaging to infant brains, busily paving critical brain pathways for life.
*An important clarification!! A grizzle or a complaint is not the same as distressed crying! There is a world of difference between a tired bedtime grizzle or complaint and a planned length of time where parents are choosing to ignore their baby’s cries of distress. You as a parent will know the difference.
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Parents Centre was founded in 1952 upon beliefs of more respectful and responsive parenting and was advocating then for the tide to turn against sleep and baby training.
“What wasn’t known in those days was that leaving babies to become distressed and cry themselves to sleep is damaging to their developing brains.”
This extract is Parents Centre’s magazine The Bulletin (now Kiwiparent), November 1954: Dr. John Bowlby is a world figure in childcare. His research in many countries for the World Health Organisation produced Maternal Care and Mental Health, a book which had worldwide influence and bucked the increasing ‘train them up’ trend prevalent today.
Dr. Bowlby wrote: “Should a baby be left to cry? My answer is emphatically NO, and I have much pleasure in nailing down the old lie that it is good for a baby to be left to cry. How the idea ever arose is a mystery, for one of the strongest instincts of a mother is to comfort her baby’s distress. But if fear that some of my own profession have been guilty of giving mistaken advice that it is good, or at least not bad, for a baby to be left to cry. The human infant is among the most helpless and vulnerable of the young of any species and he goes on being helpless for the longest period of any. If his mother were not at hand to look after him, he would very soon die. So he has been given one valuable instrument by which to make his needs known – his voice – and his crying is always a sign that something is wrong… It is, of course, nonsense to talk of babies “playing you up”. The phrase pre-supposes a deep-laid and purposeful plot, and it happens that babies lack the mental equipment for such behaviour. They certainly do need their mother’s presence and affection, or at least that of someone else whom they know and trust, but since this is a basic need for their healthy emotional development they are quite right to demand it. The more you “give in” to a baby the happier and easier he will be; the more you fight him the more difficult he will become.”
10 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
While 'sleep training' does appear to work (in the sense that babies will eventually stop crying and fall asleep) research has proven that the stress hormone remains, they will simply stop crying. Babies quickly become despondent, realising that crying is actually a waste of time and energy and they will stop trying to communicate and eventually fall asleep, with the newly learned understanding that their caregiver is not there for them in times of distress. So, while they may make no further noise and will cease making any further attempt to communicate with you, the stress hormone remains. Babies wake several times through the night, many a time with a real need. It is a biological fact and even a basic knowledge of evolution will point to the fact that these small humans have not evolved to be separate from their parents or caregivers nor were they ever meant to be scheduled into a strict routine set by a clock. Here’s the thing: our expectations of infant sleep are unreasonable and off target, and have been for generations. No wonder we parents find it all so stressful and are so confused! Much of this comes about from societal expectations: “You’ll make a rod for your own back” is an antiquated phrase often directed at the parent who attends to their child’s needs at any time of the night or day. Yes, this includes reassurance and cuddles! And, with prolific advice available at the touch of a button, today we see the conflicting noise getting louder. Advice, ‘sleep consultants’, ‘super nannies’, ‘baby whisperers’ abound on the internet. They are often at odds with each other and have left the parenting world in a spin more than ever before.
Blogs, books and websites from self-professed ‘experts’ are adding to the mix, many advising parents to embark on the ‘punish and control’ means of parenting, ignore their instincts and put their own needs ahead of their children. We are seeing berating and ridiculing of the natural biological nurturing of our babes and promotion of parent-led parenting – train them up to be less of an inconvenience – on a grand scale. Many of these so-called experts have, over decades, made a living by allowing new parents to feel inadequate and prescribing a regimented fix for ‘problems’ caused by babies. They insist that babies should sleep through the night very early, should take prescribed amounts of milk and will not ever learn to be settled unless they are left alone to cry themselves to sleep. It’s a lucrative business; many dollars are changing hands to help parents to navigate a process that has been for centuries instinctive. But are they really ‘problems’ which need to be fixed? The underlying assumptions are that baby’s normal behaviour, their feeding and sleeping patterns, are unacceptable. Aside from the ludicrous assertion that nature is ‘wrong’ these beliefs have the potential to damage the parent–child relationship as well as adversely affect baby brain development. Thankfully we do however see excellent and well researched advice in plentiful supply should parents wish to undertake their own reading on this topic (see the website links at the end of this article). Many experts, across the fields of education, psychology, paediatrics and neuroscience are in agreement here: responsiveness and secure relationships are key to healthy development of our children at all stages of their lives and the best environment in which babies will thrive. Sarah Best, presenter from Brainwave Trust Aotearoa, says, “Attachment is no longer a theory, it has been proven by science. We are a lucky generation in the sense that we have an amazing opportunity to get things right for our children – and we are the first generation to do so with real science to back it up.” So what exactly does responsiveness and attachment really mean? Quite simply it means listening to your baby and responding respectfully. It means understanding that crying is your baby’s way of communicating a need with you and responding to that; reassuring them or picking them up when they cry, cuddling them, feeding them (to sleep if that’s what works), cuddling again for comfort, feeding again, keeping and sleeping close. It means being respectful of them as a person and not treating baby like a problem that needs to be solved. It can simply mean listening to your natural instincts and following what you feel is right. You cannot spoil your baby with too much responsiveness or too much love and, while the days may seem very long, you will look back on these early months and preschool years and realise they are very short.
So let’s cut through the noise! There is another alternative to baby training. It’s instinctive, it’s responsive and it’s been shown to develop independent empathetic children. It’s the way we have been naturally wired and it strengthens the parent–child relationship for a lifetime. With good information parents can be confident they are cutting through the deafening noise which is simply veering them off course, as it did for generations before us. So parents, read up on the topic. If the information in the websites and links following reassure you, go for it! Listen to your baby, keep them close and respond to them when they are trying to communicate with you. Many will continue to scoff, you can choose to ignore them or remind them this isn’t just opinion, it is backed by solid international research! Further it is respectful of your child as a person and it will reap countless benefits in your close relationship in years to come. I'll finish with this powerful quote from L R Knost, author and child development researcher, "New mothers are often told that once they've fed, burped, and changed their baby they should leave their baby alone to self-soothe if they cry because all of their needs have been met. One day I hope all new mothers will smile confidently and say. "I gave birth to a baby, not just a digestive system. My baby has a brain that needs to learn to trust and a heart that needs love. I'll meet all of my baby's needs, mental, emotional and physical, and I'll respond to every cry because crying is communication, not manipulation."
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For more reading on this topic:
An interesting observation …
Check out the excellent articles and research on the Brainwave Trust website www.brainwave.org.nz and go along to one of their seminars if you are lucky to have one running near you.
By Liz Pearce, Parents Centre Childbirth Education Manager
Get informed as to what normal, human infant sleep looks like at www.isisonline.org. uk and www.psychologytoday.com (a particularly excellent series of articles here if you search ‘normal infant sleep’). Be wary of 'Sleep Consultants' offering a quick fix solution to 'sleep problems' – which may simply be normal infant sleep patterns! For more useful links follow us on Facebook ‘Parents Centres New Zealand Inc’ and read up on these excellent websites: www.isisonline.org.uk www.pinkymckay.com www.evolutionaryparenting.com www.circleofsecurity.net www.askdrsears.com
Eleanor Cater Eleanor is Brand Manager at Parents Centres New Zealand, a freelance writer and mother of three. Her children are now teenagers but she looks back on the preschool years with exasperation at all of the conflicting advice she received. She wishes she had been given the confidence back then to parent in her own way and listen to her babies rather than sleep experts prescribing how her babies ‘should’ be sleeping.
A recent holiday in the Pacific Islands brought back memories of my many months back-packing in Africa and India when in my 20's. I didn't have children then to fully appreciate, but it never ceased to amaze me how content, relaxed and peaceful the children were. We always used public transport, so frequently travelled with the locals often on buses overloaded with people, chickens, marketware, etc. Some of the journeys were in excess of 7 hours at a time, and never did you hear the children whinge, run up and down the aisles (not that there was space for that!), nag or even cry. I know I got really restless, but these kids just took it in their stride. I just assumed at the time that it was probably because these children didn't have all the toys and luxuries that western children have – I thought “this is all they know”. Since having children myself and being a Childbirth Educator for the past 15 years I can reflect on this differently. From birth these babies are with their mother, they are well wrapped and carried or strapped to mum, giving them the feeling of security and closeness, shutting out the stresses of the outside world. They don't need to cry to get Mum's attention, because Mum is already there. This follows through with communal sleeping. They are breastfed whenever they want - not when a clock, book or well-meaning relative recommends. All of these things promote what we label today as responsive parenting, leading to secure attachments and contented children. Today there is so much reliance on books, experts and sadly, comparing with friends. This doesn’t mean that parents with today’s busy lifestyles have to remain attached to their babies 24/7! Far from it but I do think that couples need to be given the confidence to go back to basics, to read their baby and rather than thinking about 'what should be happening', considering what is actually going on and appropriately responding to that. �
Parents Centre’s Position Statement on Responsive Parenting 2014: “Parents Centre believes in sensitive, responsive parenting throughout all stages of a child’s life. Children parented in this way form secure attachments and enjoy better mental and physical health. Parents Centre endorses flexible feeding and/ or sleeping routines that are responsive to babies and family’s needs.” Parents Centre agrees that secure attachments, understanding and responsiveness mean the best outcomes for growing great futures for our children.
12 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Science strongly and continuously backs this up – so parents be wary of ‘baby trainers’ and those advocating strict sleeping and feeding routines, we advise learning to read and respond to your baby!
The product most recommended by doctors for pregnancy stretch marks. Colmar Brunton, 2014
“I got a lot of feedback from mums who used Bio-Oil, so I started using it as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I’d use it in the evening after my shower and then when I woke up I’d put it on again just to be extra sure. I’d put it wherever I thought I would possibly get stretch marks. And I actually got no stretch marks at all. Bio-Oil really did its thing.” Donnaleen with Ami
Bio-Oil® helps reduce the possibility of pregnancy stretch marks forming by increasing the skin’s elasticity. It should be applied twice daily from the start of the second trimester. For comprehensive product information, and details of clinical trials, please visit bio-oil.com. Bio-Oil is available at pharmacies and selected retailers at the recommended selling price of $20.45 (60ml). Individual results will vary.
a fatal of memory
The awful news broke in a piecemeal fashion while most of us were enjoying the warm summer weather in January. There was an emergency in Whanganui Hospital where a child died. Then it emerged that the child died in the car park of the hospital. Then that the child had been left behind in the car. Then that it was the mother who had forgotten the child. Then that the mother was a health professional employed at the hospital. Then… The official term is “Death by hyperthermia”. When it happens to very young children, the facts are often the same: A loving and conscientious parent has a busy and pressured day, or they are distracted, or upset, or confused by a change in the normal daily routine, and simply forgets their child is in the car. It happens exactly that way in the United States up to 25 times a year. As I was writing this article it happened in Australia where a baby boy died after being left in a hot car of a home in Victoria. Paramedics did their best, but it was too late. In the first five weeks of 2015, Australian paramedics were called to 200 similar cases. The phenomenon of normally attentive parents inadvertently leaving their children in cars is known in some parts of the world as Forgotten Baby Syndrome. And so it appears to have been in Whanganui. The mum was a senior member of the medical staff who thought she had dropped her 16-month-old son Mace at daycare. Mace’s father usually dropped him off on a Friday, but was unable to do so this day. So Mace’s mum drove him to the nearby Noah’s Ark Early Learning Centre on the morning of his death and only later discovered she had left him in her car. Media reported that the childcare centre tried to call his mum when Mace didn’t arrive but could not reach her. It was only when she later rang the centre and was told that he had not been dropped off, she realised he was still in her car. I cannot imagine how she would have felt at that moment. What awaited her was the worst thing in the world. A witness who was at the hospital described the distressing scenes as Mace was discovered. "All the doctors came running out. The poor lady, she didn't even make it up the steps. She got carried in soon after her son was taken through the waiting room. She was wheeled through in a wheelchair. It wasn't quiet ... She was clutching her chest and screaming. It's just a scene that I will probably live with forever." Two decades ago, this scenario was relatively rare. But in the early 1990s, car-safety experts found that passenger front airbags could kill children, and recommended that child seats be moved to the back of the car. Then, to further improve safety for the young, that seats should be rear facing. The unintended tragic consequence is that the child is far less visible. Add into the mix the fact that many cars have tinted windows and you have a situation where a child accidentally left in a car can be virtually invisible.
So, what kind of person forgets a baby? Just about anyone it turns out. Statistics from around the world show that it could be the wealthy, the poor, or the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are as likely to forget as fathers. It happens to the absent-minded and to the super organised. In the last 10 years in America, it has happened – among others – to a dentist, a social worker, a police officer, a clergyman, a nurse, a construction worker, a college professor and a pizza chef. It also happened to a paediatrician. While the facts in each case differ a little, there is always the terrible moment when the parent realises what they have done, often as a result of a phone call from a concerned caregiver. This is followed by a frantic dash to the car. Then the awful discovery. Several people have driven from their workplace to the daycare center to pick up the child they’d thought they’d dropped off, never noticing their child was lifeless in the back seat. A businessman in America heard his motion-detector car alarm go off three separate times, but when he looked out, he couldn’t see anyone tampering with the car. So he remotely deactivated the alarm and went calmly back to work, never realising his son was still inside. The temperature inside a car can more than double in just 30 to 45 minutes and quickly become unbearable for a child, the president of the Paediatric Society of New Zealand, David Newman explains. “Most vehicles heat up very rapidly in the sun. Even on a relatively mild day of 21°C, the internal temperature of a vehicle can get to around 49°C in about half to threequarters of an hour.” Cracking the windows down a bit makes no substantial difference and it is much more dangerous for children to be left in a car because they heat up three to five times faster than an adult. We lead busy lives, many of us juggle work and family and there are many days when the pressures seem insurmountable. These are just the times when we are most vulnerable and are most likely to forget – even something as precious as our child. Molecular physiology professor David Diamond told the Washington Post that stress, whether it is sudden or chronic, could weaken the brain’s higher functioning centres and give people a type of tunnel vision where they can forget about their own child. As Dr Newman explains, “human beings make mistakes, they forget things that are not in their usual experience. This happens to good people, welleducated, competent people. This is pure oversight, the brain does what it does, it goes into autopilot.” So how do we guard against this perfect storm of awful coincidences? There are some practical things that you can do to help you to remember when you are pressured. Put a stuffed toy in your child’s car seat – when you pop your child in the car, put the animal in the front seat as a memory aid. Also, put your handbag, briefcase or work ID in the back of the
car so that you will be forced to open the back door when you arrive at your destination. And if you are going to be uncontactable try to make sure there is someone who can take a message and reach you, or that there is another person who can be contacted instead of you. But most of all, if you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for support. No one expects you to be super mum or super dad. I don’t know of any parent who read of the tragic events surrounding Mace’s death who didn’t think “this could have been me”. To Mace’s mum, his family, his caregivers, the staff at the hospital – everyone who was touched by the tragedy, Kia kaha, you have my deepest sympathy, together with parents around the country I will continue to hold you in my thoughts and in my heart. �
Safety tips Never leave children alone in or around cars, not even for a minute. Put something you'll need – a cellphone, handbag, employee ID or briefcase – on the floor in the back to make sure you check there before you leave your car. Always open the back door every time you reach your destination to ensure no child has been left behind. Keep a large stuffed animal in your child's carseat. When your child is in the seat, put the animal in the front seat as a reminder that your youngster is in the back. If you see a child alone in a car, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out quickly, or call 111.
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saving on kids lives the road The third UN Global Road Safety Week will take place from May 4 - May 10. This year the theme is #SaveKidsLives. The campaign highlights the plight of children on the world’s roads and aims to generate action to better ensure their safety as well as promote the inclusion of safe and sustainable transport throughout the world. The centrepiece of the #SaveKidsLives campaign, is a child declaration, developed with input from children around the world. It invites all road safety policy-makers and advocates to “sign it”, “show it”, and “deliver it” to those in charge of road safety in countries and communities during the Week. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of unintentional death and injury to children in New Zealand. Appallingly, around 16 children die each year in road accidents and on average one child is admitted to Starship Children's Hospital each week as a result of a crash injury. Figures show that preschoolers and tamariki Maori were most frequently killed as passengers.
There is little doubt about the significant contribution that appropriately chosen and correctly installed restraints make to the safety of children on roads. In 2014, the National Child Restraint results reported that 93% of children aged 0-5 years were properly restrained in vehicles. An impressive number, but unfortunately this also means that 7% of children were still unrestrained when travelling in cars. So there is still room for improvement. Plunket National Child Safety Advisor Sue Campbell says car crashes are one of the biggest dangers to New Zealand children: “We have one of the highest child road fatality rates in the OECD. Around five children are killed or injured every week on this country’s roads. The simple truth is that car seats save lives.” Properly installed car seats and booster seats are the best way to prevent injury or death and are vital to your safety and that of your family, whether your trip is short or long. Check that everyone, including yourself, is buckled in before you start the car.
Rear-facing infant restraints Always install a baby’s infant restraint so baby is facing the rear of the car. Rear-facing infant restraints should never be placed in the front seat if there is an active front airbag. Check your child’s restraint fits firmly against the seat and cannot wobble; if it does not fit firmly, seek advice from a registered Child Restraint Technician. Always carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When you put baby in the car seat, if there is a chest clip, make sure it sits at the armpit level. The harness must fit snugly against and go over baby’s shoulders. Babies are better protected travelling in a rear-facing restraint until they are at least two years old.
injured on Why are thousands of children killed and day? the roads around the world every single for all Because not enough is being done. We call where every and here anyw en, vehicles carrying childr d have shoul buses and cars All in the world, to be safe. g puttin or et helm a ing wear seatbelts. We know that is g drivin and ing Drink lives. on a seatbelt can save who care dangerous. Speeding is dangerous. People no one s, thing these do not d about children shoul when time the all safe kept should. We must be www.SaveKidsLives2015.org to play going we’re when ies, we’re out with our famil safety with road expe ct and want we live, we or to school. Wherever lves. ourse and ies famil our s, road safety for our friend always We are only children and our voices aren’t action. If taking by us help to heard. So we need you and will can we now, roads safe you provide us with . come to s ration gene for ple set a good exam . Lives Kids Save act. Please listen and
with road safety
Forward-facing child restraints The back seat is the safest place for child restraints. Check it fits firmly against the seat and cannot wobble. When you put your child in the car seat make sure the harness fits snugly and that the shoulder harness must always go over the shoulders and be moved up as your child grows. If there is a chest clip, make sure it is sitting at the level of your child’s armpits. � The law in New Zealand requires every child under five years of age to be properly restrained in an approved child restraint appropriate for that child when travelling in a car or van. The vehicle safety belt used on its own is not an approved child restraint. Best practice recommends that children stay in a restraint until they are 148cms tall. Visit www.nzta.govt.nz for information and a list of Child Restraint Technicians.
Photo courtesy of NZ Transport Authority
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It's the law that all children under seven must be secured in an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. Children aged seven must be secured
in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle, and if not, in any child restraint or safety belt that is available.
toilet training When they’re getting ready to learn children might: n
Stop playing and make noises or faces
Take themselves away and want to be alone
Start having a time of day when they have a dirty nap
Let you know when they are wet or smelly
Show an interest in your visits to the toilet
Want to copy others using the toilet
Prefer to be clean and dry.
You can encourage them by: n
Teaching them the words your family uses about going to the toilet
Letting them see that you use the toilet and telling them they will be soon too
Getting them a potty so they can practice on and off. They can still have their nappy on when they do this.
Reading picture books about other children learning to use the potty.
Children learn how to use a potty or toilet in their own time. It is a complicated process, so try and be calm and patient and avoid power struggles.
Be prepared: n
Make sure everyone is ready. Summer is a good time to start.
Decide on a routine, for example when they wake up, after breakfast, mid morning, after lunch, mid afternoon, at bath time and before bed.
Praise the success and keep calm when there are accidents – there will be quite a few.
Dress your child in clothes that are easy to take off quickly.
Don’t be surprised if they want to explore other toilets or they become scared and refuse to go anywhere else but home.
Staying dry at night takes longer than during the day Don’t feel pressured by other people's comments. Your child will be dry when they are ready. Getting cross will make your child tense and stressed – and they won’t be able to do anything. Keep them relaxed by staying calm yourself. � www.skip.org.nz
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18 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
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healthy fast food
We’ve had it drilled into us that takeaways and fast food aren’t healthy choices, but let’s face it – everyone loves a good burger and chips every once in a while. The common burger that’s full of grease and salt, with no vegetables is not a good choice. However a home-made burger with grilled lean mince or chicken and vegetables, and some home-baked fries is a great way of keeping the family happy by getting their fast food fix. Here’s some ideas and ways to make healthier burgers.
Mix grated vegetables such as carrot, courgette and beetroot into your mince patties. No one will notice (not even the fussy child!) Have naked burgers. Adults may want a less heavy/carby version – instead of a bread bun, serve your burgers naked with just the meat patty/chicken steak, salad and sauce. Or you can wrap it up in cos lettuce leaves (like a wrap), or serve slices of grilled eggplant or large Portobello mushrooms as the ‘outside’ of the burger to replace the bread.
Make and bake your own chips – use a floury potato such as agria for best results. Leave the skin on (don’t bother peeling), cut into 1cm-thick chips and toss with olive oil and salt in an oven tray. Bake for 25–35 minutes at 200°C until golden. You don’t just have to serve potato chips either – don’t forget about kumara, parsnip and carrots! Or do a medley of vegetable chips – colourful and yummy! - My Food Bag test kitchen
Chipotle chicken burgers with avocado and salad SALAD
1 iceberg lettuce
450g chicken breast
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled
2 tablespoons flour
1 avocado 2 spring onions (optional) 1 mango, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon paprika spice 1 tablespoon oil (e.g. canola, soy or grapeseed)
TO SERVE 6 burger buns ¼ cup chipotle mayonnaise
METHOD PREHEAT oven to 150°C.
3 4 5
Roughly chop lettuce; finely slice cucumber; thickly slice avocado; finely slice spring onion (if using). Place onto plates in the middle of the table. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and cut into thin steaks. To do this cut the fillet off each breast, then place your hand flat on top of the breast and slice through the middle horizontally, to make 2 thin steaks. Season with salt and pepper.
Place flour and paprika spice onto a dinner plate and mix together. Coat each piece of chicken in flour and spices, shaking off excess.
Slice buns horizontally through the middle, place onto an oven tray to warm through in oven for 5 minutes.
Heat oil in a large fry-pan on medium to high heat. Add chicken and fry for 2–3 minutes each side, or until browned and cooked through.
TO SERVE, cut larger chicken fillets in half. Put a warm bun on to each plate and top with a piece of chicken, let everyone help themselves to salad ingredients and top with a little chipotle mayonnaise.
Starting on solid foods
Let your baby guide you
For everything you need to know about when and how to start your baby on solid foods, there is an independent, unbiased website that contains advice, ideas and tips: www.infantfeeding.nz
Did you know that babies are born with a natural ability of knowing how much food they need to eat? When starting your baby on solid foods, look for these signs that show your baby is full and had enough to eat:
This website has information to help you know if your baby is ready to try solid foods, and recommended best foods to start with and how to prepare them. You will also find tips on making this special time easier and lots of recipe ideas for the next steps. All this information is free and is provided by the Health Promotion Agency, a government agency that helps inspire all New Zealanders to lead healthier lives.
Knowing when your baby is ready Here are the signs that your baby is ready to start solid foods – look for these signs when your baby is around six months old: holding their head up and sit with less help showing an interest in food reaching for food that other family members are eating making chewing movements with their mouth opening their mouth when food touches their lip or gets near their mouth keeping food in their mouth and swallowing it. Remember that for the first year, breast milk (or infant formula) is the most important food for your baby. At about six months of age, your baby needs more nutrients so this is a good time to start trying solid foods.
22 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
baby turns their head away from the food refusing food by pushing it or your hand away closing their mouth or spitting out food. Letting babies decide when they are full helps them to be a healthy weight when they grow up to become adults. Let your baby guide you because babies are very good at knowing when they have had enough to eat. Some babies will eat more than others – every baby is different.
It’s easy to make baby food at home You don’t need fancy equipment to make baby food – a fork or masher will do. It is important that the food is soft and smooth so it’s easy for your baby to swallow. So be sure to cook food until it is soft, then mash with a fork or potato masher. Add some liquid (breast milk or infant formula) to make a puree. You can use a blender if you have one, or simply use a wooden spoon to push the soft food through a sieve to make a puree. Your home-made baby food can be put into ice cube trays and frozen. For recipes and more ideas, go to www.infantfeeding.nz www.infantfeeding.nz for everything you need to know about feeding your baby solid foods �
D N U O R A T A S H T N O E M B X L I L I S UR BABY W YO R O F Y D A E R S D O O F D I L SO d recipes
ideas an free tips,
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T S R I F E S V D I FORO ACT FO and R U O E Y HAV Y B A B N U F
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a first birth
Michelle and Charles’s story
rate with each contraction then recovering, the trace showing all the dips as the paper spilled on to the floor. I was still having contractions and listening to the heartbeat, watching the dips on the print out that was growing ever longer. I was still only 6cm after one or two hours. I lost track of time and my main reaction was relief when the obstetrician recommended a Caesarean section as it meant an end to the beeps, my fears for the baby, and the contractions.
Michelle My labour started a week early with a show, then gradually increasing contractions over the next day – just as my husband rushed around getting the last signatures to finally submit his thesis. Contractions became more regular as I helped him print out the final copy, and became painful walking back from dropping the thesis off to the photocopier’s late at night. Back at home, I was convinced things were happening rapidly as the contractions seemed strong and frequent. But when my midwife came to our home, I found I was only about 1.5cm dilated. This was a crashing disappointment and I remember thinking I couldn’t do this for much longer. But time did pass and I lost track of the outside world. I tried baths, different positions and going for a walk (surreal on a dark autumnal night, with frequent stops for contractions). Charles was fantastic, although he wanted to do more: for those hours it seemed like just the two of us in our own world. A few hours later I passed a bloody show: suddenly with a jolt I remembered there was a baby involved, and that bleeding might threaten the baby. My fantastic midwife came back and listened to the baby and thought the bleeding was within normal. Her presence helped ground me and everything felt better. I was about 3cm by this stage. As it got light we headed for the hospital. I had one of the coveted natural birth rooms – welcoming and practical. I was about 6cm dilated then. Soon after arrival they monitored the baby. It was a routine shortterm CTG. Suddenly my midwife told me to turn to my left side: I said I would after the contraction and she said firmly no, now. Again I was jolted back out of my pain and remembered with cold fear the baby. His heartbeat had dropped. They called the obstetrician in; he was matter of fact, and moved me downstairs to ‘High Risk’. The CTG with my baby’s heart rate kept beeping out, slowing to almost half the normal
24 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
I was whisked into theatre. Forms were flicked before me, full of figures and complications – nerve damage, bleeding… And I signed, just wanting to get on with the Caesarean. The spinal was fantastic. Suddenly the pain of the contractions went and I could really focus on the baby’s imminent arrival: thank goodness, I could be awake. Very soon, the obstetrician announced we had a son. I remember it took me a few moments in my exhausted state to work out that meant a boy. Just after, there was the magical sound of a baby’s cry and I think everyone relaxed – I certainly did. My husband went to see the baby and soon arrived back with a bundle: small, wrinkled, wrapped, but utterly beautiful. I don’t remember the rest of the operation; suddenly, it was back to just us again but now there were three. They said later the cord had been looped tightly around his neck, and this was why his heart rate had been dipping. He was a lovely baby: calm and alert and a natural breastfeeder, and I had a very smooth recovery. My husband had finished his thesis and, despite the Caesarean, I had a strong feeling of completion and starting anew as I moved on from the birth to those magical exhausting days of early parenthood.
Charles I found being a companion on the journey of pregnancy humbling. It challenged my far too ingrained (male?) sense of trying to control a situation and provide the answers. There is so much you won’t predict about the birth experience. But that (usually) one marvellous day is an experience that all carers are unlikely to forget. What I feared most about the pregnancy process was the labour and the pain my partner would go through. Being focused on the growing baby, and talking a lot about things as they were and might be, helped me get that in perspective. It also helped to have a birth plan and to read about birth (and ohh, that birth video), but I still remember the nerves when labour began.
Then it was real. The contractions. The pain. The blood. Good grief, that birthing video was right! This is when you know you need to have read a book like this one, and to have made a birth plan. As labour progressed, we had a professional midwife at home to tell me it was normal. Before then it was scary, just my wife and I, living away from my family. It was good to have built up a rapport with the midwife and to know something about the stages of labour. I rubbed Michelle’s back, helped her change positions, held her, got ice cubes, mixed energy drinks, applied cool flannels and remained on my toes.
him to the arms of the beloved and lay him there for the first of many times. Throughout your gestation, birth and growth, I am still learning, slowly, that both letting go and really being present are such important parts of birth and of parenting. �
All of us tired, we left for the hospital. We were renting and did not feel attached to our home or sure of a home birth. We had the nice new hospital birth room with a spa bath nearby, plenty of space and even windows: cool! But it soon became clear the baby was in distress. My sense of stability wavered: so many monitoring machines, extra medics arriving, alarming changes in the baby’s heart rate. We held each other’s hands. Michelle was shifted to the High Risk Unit, four floors below in a small basement operating theatre, and prepped for a Caesarean with me alongside. Then a nurse said, ‘You’re going to be a dad soon, have you got your camera?’! I zoomed back upstairs and grabbed it from our bag, running back through unfamiliar hospital corridors shouting ‘where’s High Risk, where’s High Risk?’ The team was great. The anaesthetist provided a (rather detailed!) commentary on Michelle’s Caesarean procedure; I was glad the wee screen was up. But I was lucky – I got to cut the umbilical cord.
Michelle and Charles with their growing family’
Michelle and Charles’s story is an extract from The New Zealand Pregnancy Book by Sue Pullon & Cheryl Benn, 2008, Bridget Williams Books. $54.99. A great source of information, covering every kind of topic for pregnant women, along with personal stories just like Michelle and Charles's. Visit The New Zealand Pregnancy Book online at www.nzpregnancybook.co.nz The website includes a searchable preview of the book, fantastic photos and feedback from the NZPB community, links to friends and Facebook and much more!
Suddenly a person had arrived in the world, his imagined face here, right here, his breath coming in wails, his whole system shifting from living immersed in oceanic liquor to lung-inflating air, his cries carrying across the room and his eyes screwed shut at those too-bright lights. What a privilege to be passed this being, this person, and to move
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26 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Learning and brain development is not limited to toys and activities specifically created for children, but also by following their interests in participating in the real world. The message that the first few years of life are extremely important for brain development is becoming more widely known. What may be less clear is how to put this knowledge into practise. Parents wanting to give their child the best start are faced with a huge variety of choice and much commercially driven pressure to ensure that their child makes the most of this developmental opportunity. The bewildering number of toys and activities currently available for our babies and young children is enough to send parents’ cortisol levels into orbit. And that’s before the credit card bill arrives. Children need stimulation, but as with many things, moderation is key. More is not necessarily better. Many children today are at risk of being over-stimulated or over-scheduled and this can actually impede rather than encourage their optimal brain development. During the first years of a child’s life it is play, not scheduled instruction that contributes the most to brain development (Frost, 1998). We don’t need to formally “teach” our young children in order for them to learn. Children have their own interests and by being supported to follow these they are likely to be getting the stimulation that they need. Play provides a wonderful opportunity for parent and child to have fun together, deepening their relationship. Children also need opportunities for some play on their own, this provides many opportunities to develop their imagination, problemsolve and develop other skills that are less likely to develop in adult-directed play. At times, boredom may provide the impetus for the child to make their own discoveries and create their own fun, fantastic life skills and great stimulation for a growing brain. Simple toys that allow children to use their imagination and creativity have many benefits over the endless plastic creations currently available (Ginsburg, 2007). Blocks, play dough, a sandpit, versatile dress-ups (as opposed to Disney inspired ones), crayons and paper provide endless options. Household objects such as boxes, blankets, pots and pans can also provide many hours of fun and learning. The toys and activities that offer the most stimulation for a growing brain often don’t have the “educational” label on them! Learning and brain development is not limited to toys and activities specifically created for children, but also by following their interests in participating in the real world. Household activities that most adults consider work are also rich with opportunities for learning. Hanging out the washing, baking, grocery shopping and weeding the garden provide many opportunities for exploration and learning – and while the task inevitably takes longer, it can be much more fun for the adult too.
Everyday life is full of naturally occurring learning opportunities. Watching the rubbish truck, road works, rain going down the drain, or a rainbow, can capture the interest of a child when shared with a parent. Take time to stop, observe, and talk with your child about the things happening around them, and when possible move on only when your child’s interest is waning. Be confident in the knowledge that you have just provided them with the stimulation they need, and it didn’t cost a cent! Rich sensory experiences that are so vital for optimal brain development are readily available in nature. Playing with the sand at the beach, feeling the bark on trees, smelling flowers, or listening to birds singing, enjoyed with a loving parent all provide stimulation prompting brain connections to form. Sensory experiences can be a messy business and children benefit from being able to enjoy such experiences fully, without anyone worrying about the washing! Playful, creative children who have had plenty of unscheduled, non-screen (TV, computer etc) time for play throughout their early years are more likely to arrive at school with their natural curiosity intact, and a strong desire to learn that will benefit them more than those whose infancy and pre-school years have been filled with scheduled activities and little time for play.
Brainwave’s aim is to raise public awareness about the amazing new findings in brain research, which emphasise the importance of early experiences on infant brain development; and to educate about the important implications of this knowledge. www.brainwave.org.nz
Keryn O’Neill, MA, PGCertEdPsych Keryn has a Masters Degree in Psychology, and Post Graduate Certificate in Educational Psychology. She has many years' experience in services for people with an intellectual disability, working in a variety of roles including staff training, and as a behaviour specialist. Mother of two daughters, Keryn is keenly aware of the conflicting information available to parents. She is passionate about the opportunity Brainwave provides to share evidence-based information about children’s needs during the very important early years.
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...using things like playdough, blocks, glue, paper and crayons to make something new.
Play is learning!
Every time your child plays, their senses, emotions, language and imagination combine in a rich mix of learning experiences. When they repeat these play experiences, the networks of connecting pathways in their brains develop and grow stronger.
This is when kids start to get creative, using things like playdough, blocks, glue, paper and crayons to make something new. Provide a variety of materials to encourage creativity. Reduce stress of mess with aprons, plastic sheets and newspaper.
The way children play changes as they grow, develop new skills and experience new things. Here’s how you can support them in learning through play at every stage.
Praise their effort, not the result – the process is more important than what they’ve created .
Playing with others
From birth babies begin to explore their world using their senses. This stage of play involves using their bodies to learn by looking, reaching, batting, smiling, cooing and babbling, mouthing and later banging, crawling, climbing.
In the early stages, kids tend to play independently of others. This stage will be followed by parallel play alongside others before their social and emotional development is sufficient for them to enjoy co-operative play with others.
Provide lots of safe colours, textures, shapes and sounds for them to explore – these don’t need to be expensive – try a basket of fabric scraps or a plastic jar with dried beans. Everything will go in their mouth at this stage, so check for choking hazards and sharp edges or bits that could break off.
Symbolic or pretend play Around 18 months you may start to see your child using objects to represent other things they’ve seen or experienced, e.g. holding a block to their ear as if talking on the phone, and next ‘driving’ it along the floor as a vehicle, pretending to cook and eat food, rocking a soft toy or maybe even scolding it complete with finger wagging! Continue checking for possible dangers such as sharp edges or choking hazards, as exploration may still involve a little sensory exploring.
28 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Playing with others develops valuable relationship skills. Let kids take the lead while keeping an eye out for conflict and lending a hand if needed, so they can learn about taking turns and sharing.
Play tips for parents and caregivers Play your way – mums and dads will play with their kids in different ways. A variety of styles is important for your child’s development. Get involved but don’t take over – try saying things like 'I wonder what would happen if…' or ‘You seem to be having a problem with … what can we do?' Describe what’s happening – this helps develop language skills, through children hearing words
that match what they’re looking at and may be thinking about. Let them lead – let kids choose what to play and have them control the pace. Be patient – be ready to repeat their favourite activities often, it might be boring for big people but repetition helps strengthen their brain connections, supporting learning. Play to their moods – children don’t need to be stimulated every minute of the day – get active with them when they’re fresh and full of energy, and try quiet activities or songs when they are tired or grumpy. Make chores into play – with imagination everyday activities like shopping and housework can be fun. No right way to play – toys and other materials can be played with in endless ways. Unless there is an obvious safety concern, try not to jump in or interfere. Problem solving skills are developed through exploring differences and looking for opportunities. Set clear consistent boundaries – e.g. for noisy or ‘outside’ toys. For toys with lots of little bits that the bigger kids love but pose a hazard for babies (or a barefoot adult), try spreading them out on a sheet/blanket on the floor – this sets a visible boundary and makes clean up quicker – just gather up and pour back into the container. Playpens can be found in second-hand shops or recycling centres – great to put the big kids in while giving the possible ‘choker’ more freedom.
Resolving problems If kids aren’t treating toys respectfully: Give a warning and clearly explain what you want to happen e.g. ‘please be gentle with that book’. If they ignore the warning and continue, immediately remove while explaining why. To solve arguments over sharing toys, try: tossing a coin for who goes first setting the oven timer/alarm clock for set period – then swapping over practicing sharing through activities that require taking turns (like cards or board games) investing 15 minutes of your time at the start of an activity to help establish guidelines about game rules, turn taking or time frames – starting them off well can help them play happily for longer. By giving them your time, loving attention, patience and a sense of fun, you’re modelling skills for a lifetime of happy play and learning. �
0800 600 998
Baby-led weaning We have a rather rascally rabbit named Rose. Exactly how she wriggles her way out of her hutch remains a mystery. She comes back a couple of days later, somewhat worse for wear. The first time it happened we were naïve; the three bunnies were about 10 days old before we realised what she’d been up to. This time we waited and watched and, sure enough, 28 days later, there were five new additions to our family. I watched Rose intently. She seemed to spend more time out in the run, eating and sleeping, than inside with her babies. “I don’t think she’s feeding them,” I told John. “What do we do if she’s rejected them?” I asked. I need not have worried. Two days later Maia lifted the lid on the hutch and shrieked: “Rose is feeding her bunnies!” I rushed out to see Rosy Posy on top of a pile of straw and the unmistakeable sound of guzzling. “Mummy I’ve never seen anything make me feel so happy!” declared Maia. Four weeks on, they have all survived. They dash from one end of the run to the other, eat grass, dandelions, apples and, now, copious amounts of dry food. I tell you this tale because it highlights for me the speed with which our babies grow. As breastfeeding mothers the time our babies rely solely on us for nourishment is gone in a flash. Weaning begins the minute something other than breastmilk passes your baby’s lips. Maia wasn’t much
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more than five months old when I came under tremendous pressure from well-meaning friends and family to ‘give her solids’. So I tried. I mashed banana and mixed up sloppy bowls of revolting, but nonetheless healthy, baby food. She really wasn’t interested. In truth Maia was probably 10 months old before she was bothered about anything other than mummy milk. To this day, she doesn’t like mushed up food; mashed potatoes, food covered in sauces etc. Oh how I wish I’d known about baby-led weaning. I could have saved myself so much stress – and mess – by skipping the slush stage and letting her select foods from my plate or by preparing a little bowl of her own finger food. It’s hard to ignore pressure and consumerism but if you watch your baby, little signs will let you know they're developmentally ready for solids; baby should be able to sit up unsupported, and, basically if they can pick up food, put it in their mouth and chew it without choking, then they're ready. “By letting your baby wait to eat table foods, you won’t have to bother with any of the baby cereals, which are really just processed starches with very little nutritional value…. You don’t have to control the amount. She’ll take care of that, just as she does when she nurses. And one of the cool things about waiting until she does it herself is that there’s usually much less mess, partly because she’s more skilled and partly because she really wants to do it.” The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding gives this and lots of useful tips in a chapter entitled “The Scoop on Solids”. Many families find baby-led
Nappy Disposal System
weaning makes life a lot easier; it can reduce battles at mealtimes and save extra work in the kitchen. It also allows babies to explore different colours, textures, smells and flavours while encouraging dexterity. It’s important to remember that some babies will eat anything, while others may not be interested in solids for many more months. Your breastmilk will continue to provide a complete nutritional package. � Finally here’s another wonderful snippet from The Womanly Art.
Sample diet of a typical well-nourished toddler Early morning: Wake up, nurse. Breakfast: Two bites of scrambled egg; dump the rest on the floor. One bite of toast. Late morning: Nurse three more times between breakfast and lunch. Several pieces of carpet lint. Lunch: Half a tube of Pulsating Pink lipstick. One handful dry dog food (any flavour). One ice cube. After lunch: Nurse, nap.
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Afternoon snack: One rock or uncooked bean, thrust up left nostril. Dinner: Pour juice over mashed potatoes. Two shreds of chicken, one green bean. Nurse. (Not to be taken seriously!)
Anti-bacterial protection is present in the film and not the other components of this product.
Lisa Manning A former TV journalist and presenter. She is married to the British actor John Rhys-Davies with whom she has an eight-year-old daughter Maia. Lisa is an at-home mum and La Leche League Leader in Pukekohe.
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first foods The texture of food plays an important role in developing good eating habits; in fact, it seems that babies fed on overly soft food for too long may be more likely to become fussy eaters later on. You may find that if you miss the mark in introducing textured foods, it can be a battle to encourage baby to eat lumpy or finger foods, so slowly increase the texture and coarseness of meals.
Fizzy drinks or soft drinks contain a lot of sugar and some contain artificial sweeteners; none provides any nutritional benefit.
Making the move from pureed food to chunks can be scary. It’s important to understand the difference between gagging and choking. Gagging is generally caused by stuffing excessive amounts of food into baby’s mouth (it’s lucky babies have such big cheeks!) whereas choking occurs when objects block the airway. It is common for babies to gag on food; remember, the oral mechanics of a baby’s mouth are still developing and they are still learning how to swallow food. If you are still concerned, it can be reassuring to undertake an accredited child first-aid course.
Wash fruit and scrub vegetables before use or before refrigerating.
Foods not for baby There are a few foods that aren’t ideal for babies under 12 months (some aren’t ideal right throughout childhood). These include: Honey should not be given to children under twelve months. Tea which has tannin and caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee have a powerful drying effect on the body’s liquid stores and tannin reduces iron absorption.
Looking after baby’s food Most of us are fully aware of the importance of cleanliness when dealing with infant food. Keep all work areas clean, make sure utensils are clean (including your hands) and be aware of food contamination and storage issues.
Use hot soapy water to wash your hands. Use appropriate cutting boards. Wooden boards have been shown to be safest. Take care when heating food in a microwave as there can be hot spots. Don’t cross-contaminate foods i.e. raw meats, poultry or eggs should not be placed together. Avoid using your fingers to handle food. Keep hair away from food. Reduce the food’s exposure to anyone who may be unwell. Wash sponges in the machine or place in the microwave for two minutes and replace regularly. If in doubt, discard food that is suspicious. Reduce the exposure of air to stored foods by using airtight containers. Don’t allow food to defrost at room temperature. Never refreeze foods that have already been frozen.
Nuts should not be given to infants because of the risk of inhaling and possibly allergy.
Discard the uneaten remainders of meals.
Small, hard foods can cause choking, e.g. nuts, seeds, popcorn, whole grapes and whole beans.
Spinach and other high oxalic acid-containing foods may also be a problem until later in the first year. Wholegrain products may not be suitable for babies due to the seeds, although light wholemeal bread is fine. Sugar and salt should not be added to food for children. Cows’ milk and other milk alternatives are not nutritionally balanced to meet baby’s needs. Fruit juices can cause tooth decay and diarrhoea (especially apple and pear juice).
32 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Most of all, remember to have fun and enjoy this time; food is not just about eating, it is nourishment for the soul and body. �
Leanne Cooper Leanne has worked in education and health for over 20 years. She is a mother of two, a leading childhood nutritionist and author of a number of infant, childhood and adult nutrition books.
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fit to be a Dads, like mums, are getting older all the time. The average age of a man to have his first child is now over 28 years, with many men and women not starting families before they are 35 or even older. For males, the hormone testosterone is a tremendous energy source, responsible for the maintenance of our muscle bulk, the strength of our bones. Testosterone levels in our blood peak in the late teens or early twenties before beginning their gradual decline.
By the mid-thirties many men start to feel an occasional ache in some bones, often a loss of their strength and increasing tiredness. Testosterone is withdrawing its support and unless we have a job involving physical labour or exercise regularly our muscle bulk and bones start deteriorating. Today, many men have their first child at an age when in previous generations they would expect to be grandfathers. Perhaps some problems we have with youth today are partly due to a parent generation that quite literally has lost its energy to deal with the physical demands children and adolescents put on us. For most men, climbing up the career ladder generally means less physical work and more and more administrative and managerial tasks, at a time when our bodies need us to be active. Being fit means being more able to focus on your child without having to compromise on your other favourite activities, it means less need to budget your energy carefully, it means having some energy to spare for your children when coming home from work and fewer nights being “too exhausted” for more romantic activities with your partner.
34 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Obviously, playing sport is key. While many dads are quick to support their children’s sports, doing it the other way around may be just as good or sometimes an even better idea. If you’re going for a run, junior may want to accompany you on their bike. Most children love taking to the water and regular family trips to the pool can be combined with lap swimming for dad. (Body) surfing, canoeing and some other water activities can all be combined with family events, so the children can be involved while dad still gets enough of a workout for his lungs and muscles. In fact, having children around offers the perfect excuse if you’re just starting to do a bit more exercise but are worried that your lack of fitness will make you look a bit ridiculous at whichever activity you choose. Some exercises are better than others. For an all-round approach to maintain or improve your stamina, strength and flexibility in your joints nothing beats swimming – however it is a rather solitary activity. For stamina alone, both cycling and jogging are excellent fitness builders, also tramping (or brisk walking), aerobics or rowing. Stamina is probably what you need most to keep feeling good as a parent. Many of the more popular New Zealand sports are not all that ideal for our health. Squash, while good for your fitness and your body’s flexibility, is the number one killer for men over forty as far as sports go – a worrying number of players drop dead from a heart attack while on court. Rugby is the most dangerous sports of all concerning injuries – on average one significant injury per 20 games or training sessions. Cricket’s main health
effect seems to stem from the fresh air you get – it does little for your stamina or strength and in this respect ranks equally with golf. From a health point of view, especially the health of your heart and lungs, it is hard to do too much sport as a man, as long as you don’t make any sudden changes in your activity levels. However, if you feel exhausted rather than invigorated afterwards, you’ve trained too hard. The experts recommend about 20 minutes exercise three times a day will keep you heart in shape, but you don’t have to worry about any of this if your job involves a lot of physical labour. You can’t overestimate the feel-good factor of exercise. Work or family stress disappears (at least temporarily) when you take a good, hard run. Exercising reasonably hard and taking a nice shower afterwards will flush your system with endorphines, the same feel- good hormones that are released after an orgasm! �
Harald Breiding-Buss Harald is a founding member of the Father & Child Trust started in Christchurch in August 1997 by a group of dads who wanted to support each other as parents, and bring a male perspective into childraising. The Trust aims to provide all fathers with help, information and support, a safe place to strengthen dad stuff, form new networks and make dads feel good about the most important job in their lives.
Stamina Excellent: Swimming, Cycling, Jogging Very Good: Athletics, Circuit Training, Football, Rowing, Skipping, Squash, Brisk Walking, Tramping Good: Badminton, Tennis, Normal Walking Don’t Bother: Cricket, Golf, Karate/Judo, Weight Training
Flexibility - Suppleness
Excellent: Swimming Very Good: Badminton, Circuit Training, Football, Squash, Tennis Good: Athletics, Cricket, Cycling, Jogging, Karate/ Judo, Golf, Weight Training, Skipping Don’t Bother: Walking, Rowing
Strength Excellent: Swimming, Weight Training Very Good: Athletics, Circuit Training, Cycling, Football Good: Badminton, Jogging, Rowing, Skipping, Squash, Tennis, Brisk Walking/Tramping Don’t Bother: Cricket, Golf, Karate/Judo, Normal Walking
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avoid injury when getting back into shape
Everyone knows that having kids is a full-time commitment. After welcoming the new addition to your family, there are often a few aspects of a parent’s life that can begin to suffer; the most commonly neglected tends to be health and fitness of new mums and dads. In an attempt to remedy this, many parents join a gym or take up a sport and throw themselves into a vigorous routine that they are no longer able to handle – injuring themselves in the process. Whilst enthusiasm is commendable, you’re no good to yourself or your family if you are laid up with various sprains and strains. Attempting too much too soon is a sure-fire way to end up injuring yourself. Putting too much pressure on any system that is not adequately prepared can have disastrous consequences. Parents would do well to learn a lesson from their children and don’t attempt to run before you can walk! Remember to always put safety first – parents spend a great deal of time laying down rules for their children, but can end up neglecting rules that they should observe themselves! ACC have sound advice for preventing injuries while exercising.
Before you start Warming up prepares the body for physical activity. It prevents a rapid increase in blood pressure, improves blood flow to the heart, increases muscle temperature and makes muscles more pliable. By warming up, players will improve their performance and reduce the risk of injury. Warm-up should focus on aerobic exercises followed by stretching and finally sport-specific exercises. Aerobic exercise: Do some easy exercise, e.g. jogging, cycling and skipping continuously for 5–10 minutes to raise the body temperature so the body is sweating lightly.
36 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Stretching: Stretch all the major muscle groups used when playing sport. Avoid stretching cold – your muscles need to be warm before you start. Avoid stretching to the point of pain – take each stretch to the point of some tension, hold, then release. The more often you do them, the more flexible you will become. Breathe normally while stretching: Avoid holding your breath. Also avoid bouncing when you stretch – take it slow and steady and relax into each movement. Pay special attention to larger muscle groups or those that you are about to work hard. If you are playing a specific sport is a good idea to perform exercises frequently used in your sport, such as short sprints, shuttle runs, changing direction quickly, shooting drills and defensive exercises. Remember to COOL DOWN with some static stretches afterwards as this helps reduce the risk of injuries and helps with flexibility. Cooling down should last 5–15 minutes and include aerobic exercise, stretching and recovery. Slow jogging around the field or court is one of the best ways to cool down or you could try low-intensity cycling and brisk walking. Static stretch for 10 minutes after the light jogging. For greater flexibility, hold the stretches for 60 seconds during the cool-down.
After you exercise After any exercise, make sure you rehydrate. Treat any sprains, strains or bruises with the RICED procedure
Rest Ice Compression Elevation Diagnosis
Find our more from acc.co.nz �
Listen to the yearnings
of your soul
Kiwi icon Celia Lashlie passed away this February, just 47 days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A proud mother, grandmother, feminist, and activist, Celia was a hugely influential figure who helped shape New Zealand’s social policy over the past two decades. As a researcher and social commentator, Celia worked on a number of projects, all of which were linked to improving the lives of at-risk children and empowering families to find their own solutions to challenges they face. She worked for 15 years within the Prison Service, starting in 1985 as the first woman to work as a prison officer in a male prison in New Zealand. Her final role within the Service was as Manager of Christchurch Women’s Prison. She was passionate about women in jail and established a programme to help released inmates and act as an advocacy group for women prisoners' rights. Even after she left the public service, Celia remained a vocal advocate for change. Celia was heavily involved in the Good Man Project, which began in September 2001 after Nelson College headmaster Salvi Gargiulo invited her to attend the Heads of Boys' Schools Conference. The project aimed to discover what it meant to be a good man, and how best to guide boys through adolescence to reach that ideal. To achieve it, Lashlie talked with 180 classes of boys ranging from Years 7 to 13. This attempt to create a working definition of what makes a good man in the 21st century resulted in Celia writing the definitive book ‘He’ll Be Ok, Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men’.
After Celia left the public service, she set out on the speaking circuit and was involved with other schemes, including a youth employment drive in Nelson, and an attempt to help poor communities realise they can deal with their own problems. The final word is best left to Celia herself. On her website she pens her own farewell. “It’s time to leave the work to others now. My wish is that others will learn to stop before I did, to take into account the limitations of their physical bodies and to take the time to listen to the yearnings of their soul. It is in the taking care of ourselves we learn the ability to take care of others.” – Celia Lashlie
“When we walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand on, or, you will be taught to fly.” “Faith” by Patrick Overton - “The Leaning Tree”
This experience gave her an insight into teenage boys, and an appreciation of men. In an interview in 2005, Celia explained: "I'm saddened by the negating of men and while I'm very clear that I'm a feminist, I do worry about the ongoing effects of the feminist revolution. One is the perception we've left with girls that they can do everything, and two is that we're in danger of some of our boys automatically assuming they're second-class citizens."
Her former boss, Kim Workman, said he was often referred to as her mentor, but it was really the other way around.
As a sole parent herself, Celia knew about bringing up children alone. In the early 1980s, her marriage broke up when her son and daughter were barely school age. She recognises there were male figures on the fringe of her life whom she should have asked to become involved in her son's life. "I could have said to them, 'Could you come and watch him play soccer or rugby, or if you're going hunting or fishing could you take him?"'
"When she started talking, I was transfixed. I remember her bosses coming to me once with a complaint because she had taken eight Ma-ori prisoners to meet local kauma-tua without permission - they said it was risky and unsafe. I said the only people who should feel under threat were the prisoners. She did it because she had a relationship with the prisoners, they trusted her and she trusted them." �
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The origin of Mother's Day dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, although the celebration in its current form is a recent phenomenon around a hundred years old. Today Mother's Day is celebrated across 46 countries (though on different dates) and is hugely popular. Millions of people across the globe take the opportunity to honor and celebrate their mums. The earliest record of Mother's Day is associated with the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. They used the occasion to honour Rhea, wife of Cronus and mother of many deities of Greek mythology. Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. That celebration lasted for an impressive three days and included parades, games and masquerades. Celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome! Early Christians celebrated Mother's Day on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary. In England the holiday was expanded to include all mothers and was renamed Mothering Sunday. In the 1600s, families would attend a prayer service in church to honour Mary, after which children brought gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their own mothers. On this day, servants, apprentices and other employees staying away from their homes were encouraged by their employers to visit their mothers. Traditionally children brought with them gifts and a special fruitcake or fruit-filled pastry called a simnel. This must have been a rare treat for the labouring classes in the days before minimum wages, set holidays and decent working hours! Thanks to the hard work of two pioneering women Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis, Mother’s Day gained wide-spread popularity in the USA. In the1870s, activist, writer and poet Julia shot to fame with her famous Civil War song, "Battle Hymn of the Republic". She suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mother's Day and should be dedicated to peace. She wrote a passionate appeal to women urging them to speak out against war in her famous Mother's Day Proclamation. Though Anna Jarvis never had children of her own, she is also known as the Mother of Mother's Day, an apt title for the lady who worked hard to bestow honour on all mothers. An activist and social worker, she believed that all mothers,
living and dead, should have a day dedicated to acknowledging their contributions. After her mother’s death in 1905, she resolved to fulfill her mother's desire of having a mother's day. The hard work paid off. By 1911, Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state in the Union and on May 8, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. Here in New Zealand, Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May. While it is not a public holiday, it is a perfect day to spoil Mum and say thank you for the 365 days of loving care she gives to her family. �
Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome Kiwi mums! From the Kiwiparent team
38 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Parents Centre Educating and supporting parents through the early years. Antenatal – pregnancy and childbirth education. It’s certainly not all we do but we do it so well! Parents Centre New Zealand was founded in 1952 largely through the
In this section Spotlight on Antenatal Classes Little Sprouts and a boxful of baby hope Q&A with Crystal Steiner, Putaruru Parents Centre
critical need to improve antenatal education and birthing practices in this country. Our achievements over the years are many and include:
level are immense (you can read about some of our
Successfully advocating for fathers to be allowed to be
volunteer stories in the pages following).
present during labour and birth Babies “rooming in” with their mothers and not banished to a nursery Promotion of breastfeeding as being normal and the best form of feeding for babies (and supporting the
Enquire now through your local Centre or through our website, about these fulfilling and thoroughly worthwhile careers.
WHO – World Health Organisation – code for this) Unlimited hospital visits for parents of sick children
Establishment of the only diploma level course specialising in antenatal education in the country
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Little Sprouts and a boxful of baby hope… In New Zealand some incredible disparities of situations exist, including babies born into cold and damp homes without quality clothing or bedding. How do parents afford the basics for their babies when they are already struggling financially? Eleanor Cater chats with Joanna Alderdice, proud mum of three and founder of charity Little Sprouts.
40 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Joanna Alderdice attended antenatal classes with Parents Centre in 2008 and it was at this time, in preparing for her first baby, that the idea behind charity Little Sprouts was born. Joanna realised how difficult it was for parents, even on middle incomes, to afford quality gear that their baby would need and knew that there must be some families really struggling – and not managing – to afford even the basics. Today Little Sprouts is a hive of activity with Joanna and a team of volunteers taking donations and distributing packs out into the community. They take donations from baby gear suppliers as well as used baby gear in excellent condition, package up the goods into packs for families and
Joanna Alderdice (right) with some of the Little Sprouts volunteer team
send the packs onto agencies (including Women’s Refuge, Refugee Services, Red Cross, Wesley Community Action, Birthright, The Salvation Army and the Neo-natal Trust unit at Wellington Hospital) who make sure they get to people who need them most. It’s no mean feat. Each package is worth around $1,200–$1,400 and all of the items inside, including bedding, a merino sleeping bag, reusable and disposable nappies, a wardrobe of baby clothing, digital thermometers, smoke alarms and socket covers, toys and books are of great quality. The majority of the pack items are donated by generous businesses and families from all over
“I believe in my heart that every child genuinely needs to have the best start in life. The first three years dictate that child’s whole life; get it right and it sets them up for life but get it wrong and it will impact on them forever,” says Joanna. “It’s the things that are going to make a real difference. These families are in really difficult situations. It’s been making a huge difference to the babies but also to the parents as well.” Joanna and her team of volunteers fundraise for any extra items they need for each pack. Many of those who receive packs are refugees, victims of domestic violence, families with sick or premature babies and young parents.
New Zealand. “The way families and businesses have wholeheartedly supported us has just been incredible, and has often moved me to tears,” says Joanna. “Some families even go out and buy new items of gift to our babies. And then you have companies like Merino Kids who have donated dozens of merino sleeping bags and other merino items, and Baby Online and Earthwise who've donated items to every single one of our packs. It's just beyond anything we ever dreamed of. Even our boxes are donated by Kennards, who are also a drop-off point for donations. It's become this whole community of people working together to hold hands with families that need support.”
The first packs headed out the door in late 2013 and since then Little Sprouts has taken off and has just made up its 160th pack in Wellington. They have expanded their operations to Auckland, now running under the guidance of volunteers Libby Priscott and Ruth Nelson. “Our goal was not to duplicate other organisations but to support the ones already there,” Joanna says. “People often get caught up trying to change the world and it can seem overwhelming, but if they focus on something they can do in their area, positive changes could be made. That’s what we really wanted to do to make a real difference.” Little Sprouts is making plans to expand to other locations in New Zealand and partly achieving this through working with Parents Centres across the country.
Little Sprouts take donations of new and quality used baby products – check them out on their facebook page - facebook.com/LittleSproutsNZ . They also have a Givealittle site to take donations to help them afford some of the essentials which are hard to come by.
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Crystal Steiner Recently awarded the prestigious Parents Centre’s New Zealand national ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award. Crystal Steiner with partner Doug and their children Emily and Joseph
When did you join Parents Centre and what positions have you held on the committee? I joined my local Parents Centre (Putaruru) in 2012 after attending the antenatal classes. My main goal in joining was to meet other mums because, being a first-time mum, I wanted to gain a support network of other parents. I joined the committee in 2013 after hearing a little bit about what they were doing and started off just helping out with whatever I could at the time. Since joining, I have held the roles of Secretary, acting Treasurer, parent education convenor, antenatal convenor and playgroup convenor. I currently still hold the positions of Secretary, antenatal convenor and parent education convenor.
Why have you chosen Parents Centre as the focus of your time and energies? I felt that my involvement would not only benefit myself but it would benefit my family as well as my community. So while I have two kids, I can still include them in the majority of what I do for Parents Centre.
What challenges have you faced at your Centre? In mid-2014, our Centre faced extreme difficulties. There were seven on the committee and four had left at the AGM, leaving only three of us (myself, my partner and the membership officer). A further complication was that I was about to give birth in a few weeks! This left little doubt in my mind that I just could not continue and needed to stop for a while.
42 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
But one morning I woke up and decided, “I can’t and I won’t let Parents Centre sink!” Parents Centre has done so much for me, helping me to overcome a lot of difficulties after having my daughter. I then jumped online, did a lots of advertising, made our Facebook page come alive, met with a few mums who were interested in what we had to offer. We quickly noticed our Centre picking up new members and we got three new committee members within a matter of weeks! It was extremely hard work but we ended up getting there and now have a strong committee and we will continue to bring our services to our district.
What are your Centre’s plans for the future? We are currently planning a postnatal depression evening with the hope of helping mums come out from being silent and realising that they are not alone. This year is going to be about the kids and offering events for the parents/caregivers to bring their children to.
What would you say to someone who was considering joining their Parents Centre committee? If you have a passion towards children, helping families, getting out and about then go for it! Volunteering looks great on your CV and allows you to gain more skills for the future. I love doing what I’m doing for Parents Centre and I will continue to be motivated to help local parents!
Joan Hay Shaping generations of volunteers One of the much-loved stalwarts of Parents Centres is retiring after a career spanning more than 33 years with the organisation. Joan Hay is leaving Wellington and relocating north as she moves into semi-retirement. Joan first joined Parents Centre as a volunteer back in 1982 and, just a few years later took up the challenge to serve on the National Executive between 1986-1993. This included taking on the role of Co-President with Sharron Cole in the early 1990s. Joan has always been a strong advocate for volunteers and her passion and enthusiasm for all things to do with training is legendary! For the next decade or more, Joan worked tirelessly as Parents Centres National Training Co-ordinator travelling the country to deliver both training and support to volunteers with her trademark enthusiasm and sense of humour. When I joined Parents Centres in 2003, I appointed Joan to become our first Volunteer Services Manager, a position Joan held until we later introduced the role of Centre Operations Manager responsible for the health and wellbeing of Centre’s. Following the introduction of our strategic plan in 2013, a deepened focus on building capability and development has been cemented to enable Centres to become self-sufficient and supported. Once again, Joan was at the helm and helped to spearhead this change process. She took up the position of Manager, Capability and Development and helped to grow and build support services to enable Centre’s to be the best they can be. Over the years, Joan has literally touched the lives of thousands of mums and dads from one end of the country to the other. Joan, on behalf of the Board, National Support Team and all the volunteers who have had the good fortune to work with you over the years thank you for your commitment, dedication and contribution to Parents Centres. You will be sadly missed as a deeply valued member of our team and we wish you well as you tackle new challenges and opportunities. Viv Gurrey, Chief Executive Officer, Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Joan Hay (left) pictured with Viv Gurrey.
My first memories of Joan in Parents Centre date back to the mid 80’s when she was the enthusiastic and knowledgeable front person of the caesarean section interest group within the national organisation. Those were the days when the national caesarean section rate was about 5% (now close on 30%) so the experience of women who undergone caesarean and their need for information and support was little understood and appreciated by most parents. I worked more closely with Joan from the later 1980’s when she was the National Executive member for the Southern region and I was the member for Bay of Plenty. We had regular all weekend executive meetings at Wallis House in Lower Hutt. We worked hard but also found time for lots of fun, particularly on the Saturday evening. Joan as member of the National Training Team was always to the forefront in organising our activities. How could I ever forget the games “The face of the moon is round …” or “The man walked into a bar...”. They were frustrating until you worked them out and we had a great time in doing so. Joan and I worked even more closely in the early 90’s as national Co-Presidents of Parents Centre. This was the first time there had been a shared presidency and we complemented each other’s skills. I was more the “policy wonk”, happily involved in strategic planning and organisational review. Joan was ever the “people” person with her passion for training. She understood what being involved in Parents Centre meant for volunteers – the chance to contribute their time, knowledge and energy but also to learn about how to run their Centres and to develop life skills. She never forgot that in doing these things, volunteers must be and feel valued and have fun. In all my years in working with Joan as a volunteer then as an employee, I have never seen anything less than a whole hearted commitment to Parents Centre, its philosophy, its history and everything it strives to achieve at local and national level. She has devoted most of her adult life to Parents Centre and has done so with her ever present enthusiasm and her genuine delight in working with people from every walk of life. Thank you Joan for everything you have given Parents Centre over the years. From me personally, thanks for all that but also for the good times we have shared and what we accomplished together. Enjoy your retirement – you’ve earned it. Sharron Cole, Board Chair, Parents Centres New Zealand
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Each edition of Kiwiparent profiles one of Parents Centre’s renowned parent education programmes.
This month: Spotlight on
Antenatal programmes Many incredible changes occur to a woman’s body when she becomes pregnant. The wonderful thing is that it all happens without conscious thought. For example, the baby’s fingernails begin forming without mum looking up developmental stages and thinking ‘this week it’s nails!’ How incredible is that? So, why attend antenatal (pregnancy and childbirth) programmes or classes if a growing baby happens without a textbook or instructions; surely birthing and breastfeeding will be the same?
can be a lifeline for couples who want well researched, up-to-date information on the basics of childbearing. Parents Centre antenatal programmes cater for all situations, including when labour doesn’t go to plan and troubleshooting for times when breastfeeding can be challenging. Information is power and, in an often medically oriented birthing situation, this knowledge is empowering for both parents. Many parents also find it extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to take time out of their busy lives to dedicate a couple of hours a week to planning for the birth of their
The answer is ‘yes it is’. Giving birth is a natural physiological
baby. The ‘coffee groups’ that follow on from the classes
event, as is breastfeeding.
become a lifeline for some. To network with other parents at the same stage of life, experiencing similar challenges and
In this modern world, however, we are no longer surrounded
joys, is confidence boosting and very rewarding.
by birth and breastfeeding in the course of our lives. For many women the first experience they have of birthing is when
The programmes are run by qualified professional Childbirth
they give birth themselves. This is not helped by the media’s
Educators who are skilled in knowledge and in facilitation,
widespread portrayal of birth which is often far from reality.
to ensure that your experience of antenatal classes is fun, interactive, valuable and informative.
Sadly this leaves some lacking in confidence and the mother lacking in the knowledge required to trust her own body. This
Go to www.parentscentre.org.nz to find out about
is where antenatal – or childbirth education – programmes
antenatal classes running in your area.
44 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
PARENTS CENTRE’S NEWS n Wairarapa Parents Centre was on hand at Wings Over Wairarapa, Masterton, over Wellington Anniversary weekend. Centre representative Liz Mason said, “Thousands of people attended with temperatures reaching 30 degrees! Fortunately for parents the Wairarapa Parents Centre team was on hand with sunscreen, a discreet breastfeeding area, and nappy changing facilities. It was a great family event with impressive aerial displays. There were many grateful parents who very much appreciated somewhere for them and their little ones to cool off and chill out. We were thankful to be a part of such an impressive event in our region and very thankful to our sponsors Huggies and Neutrogena who provided nappies, changing mats and sunscreen samples.” The Centre is looking forward to providing the same support at the event in 2017.
behind the multisport complex has been approved by the council for long-term lease. They now have building consent and resource consent granted, with confirmed funding of $800,000 and another $200,000 application in with Community Trust of Southland. The final $500,000 is being applied for through Lotteries Commission. Fundraising events are in full swing at Gore Parents Centre to add to the total of $1.5m for this exciting and ambitious project for Gore! Watch this space as their plans unfold throughout 2015.
n Mana Parents Centre and PND Wellington have started a fortnightly ‘Listening Group’ for parents who want time and space to relax and to talk about the challenges of life with baby. It’s a group for any parent who has found parenting difficult at times, for anyone who has felt tired, anxious, low or overwhelmed. A registered counsellor facilitates discussion and is there to provide guidance or assistance where and when required. The initiative is supported by PORSE Mana who provide the venue free of charge and has been well attended since its inception in January. Wairarapa Parents Centre’s changing facilities at Wings Over Wairarapa
n Wairarapa Parents Centre were also involved in their local Waitangi Day celebrations and hosted a children’s area with toys and games as well as giving out Huggies and Neutrogena samples. It’s been a great start to 2015 and great visibility in their local community! n The Gore Kids Hub project continues to gain momentum! This is an exciting new project to build a purpose-built building to house several local organisations which cater for pre-school children and their families in Gore. The project is being spearheaded by a team from Gore Parents Centre, Playcentre, Toy Library and Barnardos Kidstart. Project completion is targeted for December 2015 and a site
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a in pain the back Osteopathy- Natural healing during and post pregnancy
46 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Pregnancy is a unique and powerful experience. Enormous physical, hormonal and emotional changes take place over a relatively short period of time. The body has to adapt to carrying up to 20lb of baby, waters and placenta, which can impose physical strain on all the organs and tissues. Osteopath NZ member, registered practitioner and mum, Angela Procter advises all mums to check in with an osteopath to detect any underlying issues that may impede delivery. “Osteopathy is safe – we are highly skilled and undergo a minimum of four years tertiary-level training and are regulated by legislation.” Based in Papamoa, Angela specialises in treating expectant mums and their babies and often receives referrals from doctors, midwives and lactation consultants who send patients her way to check on the position of baby and aid in labour. She treats back and sacroilliac pain and eases heartburn, indigestion, constipation and pain in the buttock, groin or leg (commonly called sciatica) which are common discomforts experienced by her pregnant patients. Some even report reduced morning sickness after an osteopathic treatment. “An osteopath resolves what we call ‘mechanical issues’ that can crop up when you are carrying. Pregnancy can aggravate old physical injuries due to the relaxing of the body which impacts on posture.” Angela takes a cranial osteopathic approach that is safe and a particularly gentle way of working with the body’s own natural mechanism for releasing and re-balancing tensions, without force.
Post-partum Ensure good pillow support when breastfeeding to avoid neck and shoulder pain. Position close to baby when lifting and engage core to prevent back strain. Avoid twisting and take care when leaning into cars when lifting baby capsule.
How can osteopathy benefit you? Osteopathic treatment during and after pregnancy helps in a number of ways by: Easing some of the physical discomforts of pregnancy from back pain to nausea and vomiting Preparing for the demands of labour. Helping the mother to recover after birth.
Aches and pains Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body changes shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. This involves considerable changes to posture. If the mother has existing back problems, or strains in her body from past accidents or trauma, it may be more difficult for her to accommodate these changes, and she may suffer more discomfort as a result. The ligaments of the whole body soften during pregnancy due to the action of hormones. This allows the bones of the pelvis to separate slightly during the delivery to facilitate the passage of the baby’s head through the pelvis. Unfortunately this softening affects the whole body and makes it more vulnerable
Angela recommends seeing an osteopath to also reduce the possibility of dystocia. “It’s basically defined as difficult labour and is something that every woman wants to avoid!” She says that the pain and exhaustion caused by long, difficult labours often leads to multiple medical interventions which can be physically and emotionally traumatic to mother and baby. Research reveals a reduction in labour times and less intervention in women who have had osteopathic care during their pregnancy. Remember, your baby can suffer long-lasting effects from the moulding process during birth, so talk with your LMC about an osteopathic check-up.
During pregnancy Always lift from the knees. Draw in your belly button to engage the core before lifting. Try to sit in a straight-back chair instead of a slouchy sofa. Keep your knee below your hips to allow for optimum foetal positioning. Spend time on all fours to allow baby to be in a good position pre-labour.
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to strain during the pregnancy. Postural changes may cause backache, neck-ache, headaches, aching legs and undue fatigue. Osteopathic treatment can help the body adapt, and make the pregnancy much more comfortable. As baby grows and takes up more space within the abdomen there is less space for them to move about, and they will find their own preferred position. The mother’s posture has to adapt to accommodate the position of the baby, and if this conflicts with her own postural needs it may cause undue aches and pains. This is the reason that one pregnancy may be much more uncomfortable to carry than another.
Symphysis pubis pain Osteopathy helps relieve the symptoms of symphysis pubis dysfunction by gently improving the mechanics of the lower back and pelvis. This helps women achieve a normal, active delivery, unhindered by the pain that this condition can cause.
48 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Low back and sacroilliac pain The most common reason for women to seek treatment with an osteopath. Not only does this cause a difficult, uncomfortable pregnancy but again, treatment of the mechanical strains that pregnancy causes on the body can aid in an active delivery.
Nausea and vomiting Osteopathy can help by releasing debilitating physical strains caused by vomiting, and restoring ease and balance in the body’s soft tissues. Treatment to improve the circulation to and from the liver can help reduce nausea.
Heartburn As the uterus expands, it can stretch and squash the diaphragm contributing to heartburn. Osteopathic treatment can often reduce tension and relieve heartburn.
Breathing difficulties Postural changes through the lower ribs and spine can impede the action of the diaphragm and make breathing difficult. Osteopathic treatment to improve function of the whole rib cage allows full use of available lung capacity.
Varicoseveins and haemorrhoids Tension within the pelvis or diaphragm area can increase resistance to the return of venous blood to the heart from the lower half of the body. This can cause or aggravate varicose veins in the legs, and haemorrhoids. Osteopathic treatment to release tension in the pelvis and diaphragm regions is helpful in the prevention and treatment of these conditions.
Preparation for labour and position of the baby
child on one hip. Unresolved childbirth stresses in the mother can contribute to ongoing back problems, period problems, stress incontinence, constipation, headaches and more. Osteopathic treatment can help the mother to return to normal after birth by releasing strains from both pregnancy and labour. This allows her to relax and enjoy her new baby. Talk with your LMC about visiting an osteopath during and after your pregnancy. �
The National Osteopathy Awareness Week will be held 19th-25th April 2015. www.osteopathsnz.co.nz
As labour is likely to be more difficult if the baby is not lying correctly, it is worth trying to help them to move into a better position. The baby generally settles in a head downward position and facing backward with his spine curled in the same direction as his mother’s spine. This puts the baby in the most advantageous position for passing through the birth canal during labour. An important part of preparation for childbirth is to ensure that the mother’s pelvis and spine are structurally balanced and able to allow the passage of the baby down the birth canal. Trauma to the pelvic bones, coccyx, lumbar or sacrum at any time in a mother’s life can leave increased tension in muscles and strain within the ligaments and bones of the pelvis. This can limit the ability of these bones to separate and move out of the way during labour, and thus limit the size of the pelvic outlet.
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body changes shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus.
Treatment after birth Birth can be traumatic for both mother and baby, and osteopathy is effective at helping both to recover. The mother’s pelvis is vulnerable to lasting strains from the forces involved, particularly after a difficult delivery. Some of these strains can have a profound effect on the nervous system, and contribute to postnatal depression. After giving birth, the body not only has to recover from the changes it made during pregnancy but also from the effects of delivery. All this whilst doing the physically and mentally demanding job of caring for the new baby. Caring for a baby can place enormous strain on the back, during such activities as nursing in poor positions, lifting car seats especially in and out of the car, reaching over the cot, or carrying a
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it’s all in the mind changing
your thoughts on food New Year’s resolution to lose weight and eat better, tick! But… if you are anything like me, as always it’s beginning to ebb into nothing more than a lost thought. UGH!
If one of your resolutions was to loose weight – this article may help you.
The ultimate ‘diet’ is easier than you might expect
So many of us have tried every diet known to human kind. But in all of this what we fail to admit to ourselves is that viewing food as something to fear, restrain ourselves from, count, reduce and so on has never worked, unless you are the 5% of the population who are classed as ‘successful restrained eaters’, and if you are then you’re probably not on a diet anyway. For the majority we still can’t help ourselves from finishing up the kids’ meals (‘waste not, want not’), or devouring every last morsel on our plates and then thinking ‘Yum, I’ll have a bit more of that’, or devouring a whole block of chocolate, or … the list goes on. Who hasn’t uttered those quintessential Christmas lunch words ‘OMG! I’ve eaten so much I feel sick!’ It seems we can eat such enormous amounts that we no longer even recognise the discomfort that comes with that, it’s almost part of the ‘meal experience’.
It’s all about changing how you eat, including your environment around you. You could say it’s the proverbial ‘mountain coming to Mohammad’. Changing your view of food and eating, I know sounds twee, but it’s actually so simple and it’s more effective than most diets. Research has shown us that we need to change our behaviour around food, not just our knowledge. Let’s start with just three simple strategies, one of which has been shown in studies to be one of the single most powerful tools in portion control.
Change your table scape Cast your eyes over the image below. Imagine these are green dinner plates with the meal sitting in the middle. Do you think one has more than the other?
The mantra of ‘eat less, cut back, skip meals, avoid eating out’ has long failed us! Here’s the ultimate diet… the ‘don’t diet, change your behaviour’ diet! Yes, that’s right let’s get it out there, restriction dieting DOES NOT WORK! I am yelling, because we need to understand this! 95% of us will fail our restriction diets and end up regaining any lost weight, maybe more, within months. We may not be able to alter our personalities in a major way but we can certainly change what is around us! ‘What? It sounds too good to be true? Can’t be that easy!’ I hear you say! Let me show you…
Where have we been going wrong? The top offenders would be restriction and deprivation. This is how it works; when we severely restrict our energy intake (many diets have you eating barely enough to sustain your body at rest) we reduce energy for our brain. Your brain requires energy to sustain prolonged activity, such as restraining yourself. At the same time this cognitive effort depletes us. In other words, the very act of having to restrain ourselves depletes us of our mental staying power. We literally use up our brain energy resisting foods which leaves us so depleted we can’t keep it up for long leaving us vulnerable to poor decision-making. To add ‘salt to the wound’, depriving ourselves of things we like tends to make us feel as though we are going without and has the effect that our want and desire for the ‘thing’ we are restraining ourselves from goes up, making the task even harder. BUT! As often happens in life the challenge gives us clues to the answer. There is a much easier and more successful way to ‘diet’ (if we are to use the word). How many times in life have you found that we over-think things and miss the simple but effective solution? Lots. Eating is no different!
In fact they are absolutely identical. True. It’s just the illusion created by the space between the food and the plate which makes the smaller plate look like it has more because there is less plate showing. So, your first food-rethink is actually about your plate. Change down your plate size to a side plate. Studies have shown that this single action has the largest positive effect on portion control and body weight. To back up this point it’s interesting to note that our meal plate sizes have grown like our waist-lines. Since the 70s we have gained an extra 4.5cms of eating real estate – the average size of a dinner plate has grown from a radius of 25cm to 29.5cm. Simply by going back to eating on smaller plates you can significantly impact on your waistline and of course health.
20:20 rule Now we know that feeling deprived does us no favours. But there is a point at which we actually can’t tell if we are going without or not. It seems we can cut back by up to 20% without feeling like we are missing out. When we don’t notice the reduction we don’t feel deprived. Use swapping strategies, this avoids feelings of deprivation; instead of just getting rid of the extra helping of pav, swap it for some fruit. That’s the first 20 of the rule, the second is to wait 20 minutes before going back for more! It takes 20 minutes for our tummies to signal our brain that we are full. Yes, that’s why we can eat to excess, we simply haven’t taken time to allow our body signals to tell us where we are at. Again… simple!
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Know hunger and satiety Lastly, it’s time we reconnect with food in a positive way. It strikes me as funny that the very thing that sustains us, gives us life and keeps us healthy can be viewed in such negative ways. We should be able to eat all foods without fear or guilt and be in the driving seat so we overall eat healthfully without too much fuss. So my final tip is to get to know hunger and satiety signals again.
I feel as if I could be sick
My stomach is gurgling from hunger pains
I’m not really hungry but don’t feel satisfied
I feel light-headed, shaky and fuzzy
I really need something in my stomach and can’t stop thinking abut food
I don’t feel hungry Satisfied fullness
I’m starting to feel full and have stopped eating I feel nicely full
Excessively I really need to loosen my belt and feel full too full I have eaten way too much and feel very uncomfortable and sickly And there you have it, three simple strategies, you wont feel like its hard work, you may even feel like its to easy to be true, but the research supports it! When you are ready, grab your copy of Change the Way You Eat and make some more changes. Don’t diet. You know it doesn’t work for more than a few short-lived months. Escape the cycle of restriction, punishment and failure. Instead, do something positive. Food is positive — we just need to have a better relationship with it!
Simple strategies to change the way you look at food Strategy 1 Hunger and bad food choices are joined at the hip, so avoiding hunger while still being tuned into your body signals will go a long way in helping you stick with healthy eating options.
Rate your hunger before you dish up your meal or go back for more. Use the figure below from ‘Change the Way You Eat’ by monitoring your eating; you’ll only need to do this for a month or so before you begin to do it more naturally. Begin to notice what it feels like to be uncomfortably stuffed, or extremely hungry and aim to move towards the middle. Satiety, that lovely feeling of being comfortably full is our end goal. The key is ‘comfortable’.
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It takes roughly 20 minutes for the process of satiety to occur. In other words, it take 20 minutes from the time you start eating to the time your body signals to your brain that you are full. Avoid judging your level of fullness or hunger within 20 minutes of a meal; If you decide just 10 minutes after your first helping that you need more, the answer will likely be a resounding “yes!”.
Strategy 3 Become more aware of how long it takes to become noticeably hungry, how long before you begin to be uncomfortable, or when you can’t take your mind off food through when you exhibit actual signs of hunger, such as shaking or nausea. Also become aware of what it feels like to be comfortably full and
then consider how it feels to be overfull. Perhaps this includes ranging from feeling as if your abdomen is so stretched you need to loosen your pants to feeling as if your stomach is so full it could almost make its way back up your oesophagus.
Strategy 4 A simple way to improve your eating is to focus on variety – variety of food groups, variety of colour. So many of us eat yellow – pasta, apples, milk, cereal, bread and so on… sound familiar? This is even more so for children. While there is variety in food groups, increasing the variety of colour is an easy way to improve the nutrient diversity in your diet. �
Leanne Cooper Leanne is the Director of Cadence Health and Food Coaching Courses, one of Australasia’s top health and food coaching colleges. Leanne initially studied psychology but through her own health challenges moved into nutrition and is a registered nutritionist. As a mother of two active boys Leanne finds her work and home life blend nicely, creating a beautiful balance. Leanne is the author of Change the Way You Eat; The psychology of food (Exisle Publishing 2014).
Win a set of reusable food pouches from Kai Carrier Enter the draw to win a 10 pack of pouches (each pack holds 140ml) and two Pouch Spoons. The convenient, no-mess solution to having fresh, homemade food on the go from Kai Carrier. RRP $30.50.
www.kaicarrier.co.nz Enter online at kiwiparent.co.nz and follow the instructions. Entries must be received by 5pm 6 May, 2015. Winners will be published in issue 266.
Encourage healthy eating, help save your family money and reduce your carbon footprint! Kai Carrier has an extensive Encourage healthy eating, help save your family money and range of pouch products designed to meet your family’s needs: reduce your carbon footprint! Kai Carrier has an extensive range of pouch products designed to meet your family’s needs:
flu fighting Winter is looming and it can be tough to get through the chilly months ahead without someone in the family coming down with a cold or worse, influenza. Colds are bad enough but influenza or ‘flu’ is not the same as a cold. Inﬂuenza is highly contagious and anyone can become infected. You can pass on ﬂu even before you know you are sick. It is a serious disease and complications can put you in hospital. In worst case scenarios, it can even kill. That’s why influenza immunisation is free for those most at risk of complications from this disease. Around 1.2 million New Zealanders were vaccinated against influenza in 2014. Influenza immunisation is free as soon as vaccine is available (in April this year) and until July 31, 2015 for New Zealanders at high risk of complications – pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, and anyone under 65 years of age with ongoing medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma), kidney disease and most cancers, as well as children under four who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness. Influenza immunisation is also available, for a fee, from a doctor or nurse or participating pharmacist for those in the family who are not eligible for free immunisation. By being immunised you can also protect those around you who may be vulnerable to complications but for whom the vaccine is less effective. The call to immunise comes from the National Influenza Specialist Group (NISG), a group of Kiwi doctors and nurses whose aim is to promote the benefits of immunisation for
54 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
those most at risk. It was formed in 2000 by the Ministry of Health to increase public awareness of influenza, its seriousness and the importance of immunisation to prevent the spread of disease. NISG spokesperson and virology expert, Dr Lance Jennings says that all pregnant women and newborn infants are at particularly high risk of severe outcomes from flu. Pregnant women are at particularly high risk because of a range of changes that occur during pregnancy including changes to lung function, increased heart output and oxygen consumption, and changes to immunity. Lesley Dixon, Midwifery Advisor for the New Zealand College of Midwives urges pregnant women “to talk to their midwife and seriously consider seasonal influenza immunisation to protect themselves and their newborn. The vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy and is normally given at your GP surgery by your GP or practice nurse, although some hospitals also offer the flu vaccine to pregnant women through antenatal clinics,” she says. Research has shown that healthy, pregnant women are up to 18 times more likely to be admitted to hospital when suffering from influenza than non-pregnant women. There is also a range of influenza-related complications that can affect the unborn baby, and can even cause premature birth or miscarriage. Immunisation in pregnancy also offers protection to the newborn infant during the first few months of life. This is especially important because children under six months cannot get influenza vaccinations themselves and are at high risk of getting influenza.
Is it just a cold – or is it flu? Influenza virus is different from a cold virus. A cold virus only affects the nose, throat and the upper chest and lasts for a few days.
Influenza immunisation is free for those most at risk of complications from this disease The influenza vaccine can be safely given during any stage of pregnancy. There is no increased risk of reactions to the vaccine for pregnant women and you cannot get the flu from the vaccine. The influenza vaccine will not harm your unborn baby. It may be reassuring to know that the influenza vaccine does not actually cross the placenta into your baby. The vaccine simply stimulates your own immune system to make antibodies that can fight off the virus. Influenza infection in young infants can result in hospitalisation and can lead to pneumonia or middle ear infections. Infants of immunised mothers are nearly 50% less likely to be admitted to hospital with influenza than those of unimmunised mothers. Vaccine is expected in surgeries in April and autumn is the best time to be vaccinated as it can take up to two weeks from vaccination to develop immunity and influenza will be on its way, advises Dr Jennings.
Sudden onset of illness. Moderate to severe illness lasting 7-10 days
Fever (usually high)
Headache (may be severe)
Mild headache (congested sinuses)
Dry cough may become moist
Sometimes a cough
Muscle aches uncommon
A runny nose
Bed rest necessary Can suffer severe complications (e.g. pneumonia)
Find out more: www.fightflu.co.nz www.health.govt.nz call 0800 IMMUNE 0800 466 863.
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“We know many people believe they can develop a ‘natural immunity’ to influenza without the vaccine. Being generally healthy, however, won’t stop you from getting influenza. “You are never too fit to get hit. You can only be immune to a particular strain of the virus if you’ve had it before. And, as the virus strains keep changing each year, most people are unlikely to have natural immunity. For example, there will be two new strains covered in the 2015 vaccine, along with one other. That’s why annual immunisation is so important to give protection from the strains most likely to circulate during New Zealand’s winter season.” �
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4 reasons why children
are not like pigs
Everybody â€“ and I mean everybody â€“ has thought of their children as pigs at some stage (George Orwell thought it more than most).
"Oh, you messy pig," I think, as I wipe off the table after dinner with a chisel and paint scraper. "Oh, you little piglet!" I exclaim, as my two-year-old son shovels a whole sandwich in his mouth before gagging it all back up (cue chisel and paint scraper). "Oh, you mean pig!" I moan in despair, as I cradle my sobbing one-year-old daughter who's been hit in the face with a plastic train by her determinedly unashamed brother (as a teen, will he be shaving cats and tagging gravestones? Just one of the nagging fears that will wake a mum at 3am). It is easy to think of our children as pigs. And yet we shouldn't. Here are four reasons why.
1: Pigs are smart Pigs are incredibly intelligent. They are at number four on the list of intelligent animals – outranked only by elephants, dolphins and chimps. Children do not feature on this list at all. This is why they have to go to school to learn how to do basic stuff, like sharing and sitting cross-legged. Children do dumb things, like inserting chopsticks into the dehumidifier grill and rendering it unusable, or pooing on your fave tee and rendering it unusable, or jabbing hairpins into light sockets and rendering hairpins, light sockets and themselves, unusable. Pigs do not.
2: Pigs are clean Give a pig a choice and it will prefer to be clean. The only reason why so many are dirty are because they live in muddy homes. Most children do not live in muddy homes. And yet, given children the same choice, they will choose filth over cleanliness any day. This can be proven by giving your child a wash. Your attempts at basic hygiene will be met with: a) squirming, wriggling, kicking and hitting b) bloodcurdling screams of “I hate you, I hate you,” c) running and hiding, or d) all of the above. Pigs do not do this.
3: Pigs taste good Pigs can be turned into many delicious food items. Sausages are cheap and choice. Nothing beats bacon and eggs after a night on the lash. And succulent roast
pork with sticky, crunchy crackling is a delight that was surely invented by the gods. Children do not taste nice. Anyone who has had an intrusive finger jabbed into their mouth on an otherwise inoffensive Sunday lie-in knows that children taste like bogeys, jam, drool and carpet fluff.
4: Pigs eat anything They will. It doesn't matter if it's rotten or one of their own, pigs will eat it. Children will not. Besides junk food, children will only eat fruit, yoghurt and pasta. Anything else will be thrown, ridiculed, ignored or smeared. Someone should invent fruity yoghurt pasta. They will make a fortune. So, you can see why it is misleading and incorrect to think of our children as pigs. Some pigs might even consider it hurtful. Therefore, let us not refer to our children as 'messy pigs', 'mean pigs' or 'greedy pigs' ever again. Children are not pigs. �
Stephanie Matuku Popular blogger, Stephanie Matuku, is an accidental stayat-home mum to two busy preschoolers. In a previous life she was a radio creative writer, voiceover artist and occasional actor. She is an award-winning playwright, sporadic exerciser and aspiring novelist. She regrets once being a childless person who liked to dispense parenting advice. Sorry.
The build up to the birth of any child is enormous and expectations of things going according to a particular plan, a constant focus. Whether you are expecting your first or fourth baby, each brings its own joys and challenges.
Most of us have read the books and journals with the serene mother cradling her baby on the outside swing with plenty of time and space to croon and no interruptions. The reality for most busy mums is very different! Many young mothers are balancing running businesses from home, juggling the rest of the family, working to continue on with their sport or fitness, trying to cook (anything will do) as well as managing the emotional ups and downs that come with the hormonal changes after birth and beyond. Homeopathic remedies, other complementary medicine and a practical approach can support new mothers and their families through some of these challenges.
Practical advice Don’t try to be a Supermum. There is a rollercoaster that goes with the highs and lows of a new baby. When you need a rest, put a note on your door telling people. Don’t answer it! Ask your mother/ mother-in-law/ someone else to come and stay to do your washing or cooking for a week or so while you get feeding established. Accept every meal that anyone offers to bring to you. You’ll soon be back cooking!! Say yes to any friend / family member who is happy to take your other children for an hour or who wants to take your baby for a walk so you can sleep. Laugh at the dust balls under the couch and the sticky kitchen floor – you won’t have them forever. One day, when you actually have some energy you will blitz them, or better still, your friend might – let her do it – she has been here before! When you have a moment’s calm, do something for yourself – read a book, go for a walk, a swim or listen to some music. Sleep when your baby sleeps – you have to snatch those few hours when you get them! Eat like a feeding mother! Don’t succumb to the pressure to look like a model. If you are breastfeeding, your baby needs good nutrition and so do you. Your feeding days will be over in a flash! Laugh – at yourself and anything else you can. Stress is the greatest cause of problems for you and your baby.
Complementary therapies Use lavender – in the bath, in creams and hand lotions. It smells good and is relaxing. Drink herbal breastfeeding tea or similar – usually these herbal teas have a list of ingredients that will calm your baby’s digestion as well as ensuring you have a good milk supply. Visit a therapist who can offer you cranial sacral therapy, osteopathy, reflexology, massage or another body alignment treatment. Carrying a baby, the birth process and feeding can leave you in need of some gentle adjustment and it can make a difference to how you feel. Flower essences – can be bought at most health shops for anxiety, stress, emotional ailments or fears. Ask the staff or make an appointment with someone who prescribes them. Relaxation techniques – if you can grab a quiet ten minutes, restore your energy. Put on some relaxing music and visualise being at your favourite place in the world, peaceful. Music therapy – sing and dance to your choice of music. It shifts your body and your energy and restores you.
Piles/hemorrhoids can also be helped with homeopathic remedies. These after effects of birth can be downright painful for many women so diminishing the symptoms make a difference about how you can cope with life. Oedema (fluid retention) is often a residual postnatal symptom especially when there has been severe swelling of the limbs in the late stages of pregnancy. Homeopathic remedies, in conjunction with reflexology, are a successful combination to assist the body to return to normal. Sleep can be disrupted not just by a waking baby but by an overactive mind, changed patterns and excessive joy. Homeopathic remedies are a great natural way to assist a good sleep pattern. An unsettled baby can benefit from calming remedies for colic, teething etc. See your homeopath sooner rather than later and arm yourself with remedies that might help. Whatever you choose to do to establish your own patterns and life, remember that there are no rules, just things that work for you and your family. There is a wealth of good advice at hand if you want it and plenty of natural therapies out there to help you on your way. …And there IS life after birth! �
Homeopathy At times, you might need a remedy for physical or emotional balance. Find a local homeopath that you can relate to. They will be a great source of ongoing support for you and your growing family and once they get to know you, can prescribe quickly and effectively for you and your children to nip ailments in the bud. Many of the physical problems that occur after your baby is born can be swiftly assisted with a good remedy. Breast infections are an example of these. Left unchecked, they can be nasty to deal with but given the accurate homeopathic remedies, can be quickly alleviated. This avoids the after effects of often prescribed antibiotics which some people may experience – thrush, diarrhea and skin rashes.
Judy Coldicott RC Hom Judy practices as both a homeopath and reflexologist from Pleasant Point in South Island’s rural heartland. She is a senior staff member for the College of Natural Health and Homeopathy, primarily involved in curriculum matters and student support. Judy’s passion is to make homeopathy user-friendly and accessible to the general public and she loves to inspire people of all ages to feel confident in its use.
autumn health check
– setting goals
An autumn chill is in the air and it’s likely your New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory! With winter and the year’s mid-point fast approaching, here are some ideas to help ensure you continue on the right foot financially as 2015 goes on.
goals and make you aware of the options available to you. They will also help you understand your appetite for risk so you can make appropriate investment choices you will be most comfortable with within your tolerance levels and timeframes. When you have your financial plan, they can advise you on how you can put it into action. Remember, talking to an adviser is obligation free!
Plan (and save) for what you expect
As a family, we’ve always done our own financial planning and budgeting, and have found a key piece to the puzzle is having goals we’re working towards – whether it’s a holiday, paying a specific amount off the mortgage or, personally, that fabulous new handbag! (If my husband was writing this he’d replace ‘handbag’ with ‘mountain bike’ or ‘drum kit’!)
Each year brings changes and new expenses that can impact your budget. Many are surprises, but chances are you already know what a few of them will be, for example an increase in insurance or home-loan payments, or new tyres for your car. Instead of waiting until later in the year to save for them, or throw them on a credit card, plan ahead to make sure your big expenses don’t throw your finances out of whack.
Planning for the future When it comes to meeting your financial goals, planning is really important. You may like to create your own financial plan and identify your own goals, or you may like to speak to an authorised financial adviser to get some help with them. An authorised financial adviser can help you establish what your financial position is, clarify your
Setting goals Think about your financial goals and the timeframe over which you’d like to achieve them. Part of this process is to consider your life and work requirements, your spending and savings habits and decide what you are and aren’t willing to give up to achieve these goals. Your financial goal might be specific, like buying a home, a car or a holiday; or it might be more general, such as building your retirement nest egg. Whatever it is, if you're clear about your destination, you'll have a greater chance of getting there.
Setting the timeframe
Here’s a little gem I’ve learnt along the way: goals are more achievable when they’re ‘SMART’: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely. For example, instead of having a vague goal to ‘take a holiday’, aim to put aside a set amount each pay (whether it’s $20 or $200) in a savings account to take a family holiday in the winter. My family and I like to take a holiday each year so we make sure we put $50 away each pay cycle – it certainly makes those dinners out on holiday more enjoyable!
It’s important to figure out if you’re setting a short, medium or long-term goal so it’s a good idea to ask yourself: W here do you want to be this time next year? Are you planning to save for a deposit for a house or set up a business in the next five years? Is there a longer term goal you're planning for such as your children's education, a holiday house, or even retirement?
Your financial goals may be closer than you think – with a little planning, by this time next year you might be basking in the sun on a tropical island! �
So what’s the difference between these goals? Essentially, short-term goals focus on the immediate future and may include making extra repayments on your credit card, starting a savings plan or saving for a holiday. Medium-term goals consider the next three to seven years, for example paying off personal loans or other smaller debts, upgrading your motor vehicle or buying a house. And long-term goals look further into the future, like growing superannuation savings or paying off the mortgage.
The content of this article is sourced from the Davidson Institute, an education initiative of Westpac Banking Corporation www.davidsoninstitute.edu.au
Karen van Praagh
WE S 1 4 4 4 K i w i _ p a r
Karen is a part-time working mum to a busy two-year-old daughter. As Senior Sustainability Manager at Westpac, Kate is responsible for programmes relating e n t Ato . financial pdf Peducation, a g e 1social 2 9 / and affordable housing and diversity.
Visit www.westpac.co.nz and click on the ‘Managing Your Money’ tab for helpful tools including saving and budgeting calculators, videos and online tutorials. You can also check out if there is a financial education workshop coming up near you. There are even tools for kids including some cool online games to get kids 0 6 / 1 2 thinking , 1 1 about : 4 4 money A M and how to save – click on ‘Your Life Stage’ to find out more.
Getting back to work? We can help it work for you. Now you can balance your career with your family and help them both grow. We’ve got a variety of exciting career opportunities available, including roles with flexible hours to suit your busy lifestyle. With positions available on a casual, part time or full time basis, there’s sure to be something to suit you. If you have the drive and passion to deliver a great customer experience, and want to join a team of people that are passionate about helping Kiwi’s get ahead, then we want to hear from you.
Interested? Check out westpac.co.nz/careers for all your options.
Westpac New Zealand Limited
wool, wool, wonderful wool!
Wool shawls and other items, lovingly crafted by grandmothers, mothers and aunties, were once handed down through the generations. At the first hint of a pregnancy, these industrious ladies would break out the needles. “This still happens but probably less often,” reflects Anne Clarke, Pregnancy Help Invercargill Branch volunteer, “as these grannies and aunties are likely to be still in the workforce.” “It would be difficult to oversell the qualities of wool when considering how to keep your baby warm and comfortable” says Anne. “It is a natural fibre that allows the skin to breathe while retaining warmth. In past times wool suffered a reputation for being difficult to care for but technology has solved that problem with modern washing machines having wool cycles. However, a little extra care pays off, as the wool garment will retain its “fresh off the needles” look. Synthetic garments may be more easy care but are also much less durable due to pilling and loss of shape.”
62 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
An amazing fibre Wool is known to be one of the most biocompatible materials with the human body, which means it’s safe. It is naturally fire resistant, non-allergic and antibacterial. It allows temperature control, is hypoallergenic, and is supporting and soothing to the baby.
Did you know? The temperature of an infant is fundamental to their overall safety and a vital component of safe sleeping. The elements of which are bedding, clothing and environment.
Parent and Caregiver Information, researched and published by Capital and Coast District Health Board, explains “During pregnancy your body ensures your baby is kept warm at the right temperature. Baby’s temperature regulation systems are turned off whilst they are in utero as they are not needed. Once a baby is born it will take 24 – 48 hours for baby to begin to control their own temperature. Adults can
sweat when they are hot to cool themselves down. If they are too cold they can shiver and move about to make themselves warmer. Babies are unable to do this and their parents or carers need to make sure they do not become too hot or cold.” Parents should refer to reliable health-based services for advice on how to identify and or recognise if a baby is to hot or too cold. These services are provided by your midwife, Well Child Provider, Plunket nurse, GP or Healthline.
Your baby should be warm in bed, not too hot or too cold Make sure that the room they sleep in: is well aired, with the door open (especially if you use a heater) is at a temperature that feels comfortable to you without wearing extra layers is not too hot – if you’re using a heater, an electric heater with a thermostat is best (fan heaters may overheat the room and gas heaters can give off dangerous fumes)
To make sure your baby is warm enough in bed: put a blanket under the bottom sheet, and a blanket or blankets on top to keep them warm check your baby’s back using two fingers. If it’s warm, your baby is warm enough. If their back is hot, take off some covers you can heat the bed with a hot-water bottle, but make sure you remove it before you put baby to bed don’t use a wheat bag to heat baby’s bed – wheat bags can overheat and burn.
Help is available! One of Pregnancy Help’s visions is to see that all babies have the best start possible with warm clothing and bedding, with which to begin their lives. This type of support assists in promoting infant health and wellbeing, says Sharyn Crawford, National Coordinator. Pregnancy Help services are about providing practical support and advice to prepare for parenthood - te tautoko - te ma -tuatanga. This includes me te tohutohu awhina mo practical assistance such as clothing, bassinets, bedding and other essential baby items including woollen garments.
subscribe online at www.kiwiparent.co.nz –
(and some types of daywear) must carry a fire hazard label. The label provides to caregivers information aimed at helping to reduce the risk of death and injury from fire hazards. A low fire danger label does not mean NO fire danger. All fibres will burn. Whatever fire hazard label children’s nightwear is required to carry, there can still be a risk of injury or death if a child wearing the clothing is too close to a fire danger. Make sure children stay at least one metre away from any heat source such as a heater or open fire. This could reduce their risk of injury or death from a fire hazard. �
Find out more: Commerce Commission New Zealand www.comcom.govt.nz/fair-trading/product-safetystandards/children-s-nightwear/
During winter, warm clothing, including knitted items, is in huge demand, particularly in the south. As well as being warm, wool is considered by many as being the fibre of choice for babies.
Ministry of Health www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/babiesand-toddlers/keeping-baby-safe-and-warm-bed Capital and Coast District Health Board Information Sheet www.healthpoint.co.nz
Our volunteer knitters are an integral part of our organisation’s philosophy. Through their expertise and passion in their craft we are able to provide thousands of knitted garments to families throughout New Zealand. But any mum who comes to Pregnancy Help will be given beautifully knitted and crocheted garments and bedding to keep their little ones warm and cosy. All Pregnancy Help branches are supported by an army of knitters, some of them well into their nineties. This link between the babies of a new generation and their elders is to be treasured.
Be sure it’s safe! Children’s nightwear and limited daywear has a mandatory product safety standard. This product safety standard aims to ensure that all clothing that is suitable for children to wear at night is either designed to reduce fire danger or is made of fabric that is less likely to burn. All children’s nightwear
Chris Ottley Chris is a parent and grandparent and has been involved in Pregnancy Help for 12 years. She cares passionately about the work Pregnancy Help does and the impact that it makes. She also feels strongly that people are the taonga of the organisation – the people that are helped and the people who contribute so that help can be provided.
Knit your own baby apple hat Pattern: With red and circular needles cast on 72 (80, 88) sts and knit for 11.5cm (12cm, 12.5cm) Change to DP needles and shape crown n as follows Row 1: k6, k2tog (repeat to end) Row 2: k5, k2tog (repeat to end) Row 3: k4, k2tog (repeat to end) repeat the decrease progression until 2 sts remain on each of three needles (6 sts total) Attach brown yarn and knit for 6 rounds Next: k2tog around (3 sts remain) Break yarn and thread through yarn needle to secure tail
Leaves: Size: 6 months (1 year, 2 years)
Materials: 100yds red worsted and a small amount of brown and green wool Needles: 40cm circular and DP (double pointed) needles size 6 or 7
(make two of these)
With green cast on 3 sts and work two rows in garter stitch Continue in garter st increase at each end of next and following alt row (7sts) Work 5 rows straight decrease 1 st at each end of next and following alt rows (3 sts) Next Row: sl1, k2tog, psso and fasten off Sew leaves to hat at stem base www.knittingonthenet.com
Wellington mum, Veerle Van Cooten-de Vries, shares her experience of birthing her second child at home after her first child was born by Caesarean. I wouldn't exactly call my first birth experience traumatising. There are much worse stories out there. Yes, I had a long and painful labour, with my baby in a posterior position. I didn't get to have the water birth I had hoped for, because my labour “failed to progress”. I got an epidural, then syntocinon, and then the whole 'cascade of interventions' happened, with fetal distress being the main concern leading us to decide to have an emergency caesarean. We had a very happy and healthy baby daughter, and I was doing fine as well. Elouise became the shining star of our life, and the way she was born didn't really matter. But I felt somehow dissatisfied. Like I didn't give birth, but the baby was just taken out of me by strangers, it was as if I wasn't even part of the birth. I thought I had prepared really well for the birth, with Parents Centre antenatal classes as well as reading the entire New Zealand Pregnancy Book and some books on natural childbirth. I thought I was going to have an interventionfree birth. But it just wasn’t meant to be. The worst thing was that Elouise was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit right after the birth, and it took a couple of hours until I could hold her in my arms and get that important skin-to-skin contact. That had a big impact on my initial feeling of bonding with my baby.
66 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
So the second time around I decided it would have to be different, and I was ready to try anything to make that happen. This time I wanted to give birth at home! Having a Vaginal Birth after a Caesarean (VBAC) at home, is not something that is commonly tried, and it wasn’t easy to find a midwife in Wellington who was willing to take that journey with me. I was very lucky to find my amazing midwife Susi, who at least didn’t say no from the start. An important factor was to consider my hospital notes from the C-section, which stated that the surgeon found no complications indicating I should avoid having a vaginal birth. So that meant I could safely try to have a VBAC. Second time around I decided it would have to be different, and I was ready to try anything to make that happen. This time I wanted to give birth at home! I had a consultation with an obstetrician, who explained all the risks and benefits of the different birthing options, including an elective repeated Caesarean, a natural VBAC, or an induction should I go over my due date. I took in all the advice, and still felt confident to try having a homebirth. Comforted by the fact that we live five minutes away from Wellington hospital, so we could always go there if needed.
Preparing for my journey So I set about my journey to prepare for the homebirth. I took in all the information I could find. I volunteered as a class coordinator for an antenatal class with Parents
Centre, so I got a catch-up of all the lessons. Having experienced a very painful back labour before, I knew what I might be in for, and planning not to have any medical pain relief was not something I took lightly. But I learned about Oxytocin and the other hormones that are present in our bodies while giving birth and how medical interventions can disturb this natural process. When I saw the documentary Orgasmic Birthing, by Debra Pascali-Bonaro, I realised that it should definitely be possible to experience birth without pain, and if it was possible for other women, that meant that I could do it too! I was interested in hypnobirthing, and my midwife recommended the “Calmbirth” method, for which my husband Mark and I did a weekend course. This gave us lots of information about childbirth, and practice with relaxation exercises. It emphasised the role of the partner in the birthing process, and gave Mark practical ideas that he could use to support me. I also took pregnancy yoga classes which taught me movements, positions and breathing techniques which were helpful in preparation for, and during labour. I started hand-expressing colostrum about six weeks prior to my due date. I kept it in the freezer in case my baby might have feeding issues. But in addition to that, it prepares your nipples for breastfeeding, and expressing produces oxytocin, the hormone that gets your labour started.
Assembling my support team I hired a doula. These are women who are experienced birthing assistants, who are there to give support, help, and advice during pregnancy and during and after the birth. My midwife had already worked with this doula before, and when I met Renee, I was so pleased to have the chance to get her on my “team” of support people during the birth. Also on the team, were my friend Mieke and my mum, who had travelled from the Netherlands to be at the birth, as well as a second midwife supporting Susi. The only form of pain relief that would be available to me was water, so I rented a birthing pool. My doula is also a homeopath, and she assisted me with homeopathic remedies that could help me cope with the intensity of the contractions and pain. But the greatest tool I used during labour was the calm breathing technique, which kept me focused and made me feel in control of each contraction. This was combined with massage and (acu-)pressure on specific points on my shoulders and lower back. One of the most important things for me was that the whole team was supportive and positive about my birth plan. They were there to empower me and remind me that I could do this, and encourage me to keep going when it would get tough. I wrote down affirmations on pieces of paper, which were put up on the wall to be read out to me during labour, reminding me of things such as “Remember to relax your face”, “You can do this!” and “Let it happen”. They were phrases I picked which were reassuring for me, and I found it
very helpful to hear them between contractions. It also helped the team to know what to say to me. All my plans and wishes were discussed with everyone in the team, and written down in three different birth plans, including one for the homebirth, and two for a hospital birth in case of VBAC and in case of an emergency caesarean. All-in-all I can say I did everything I could have done to ensure that I could have a natural birth at home. I realised that I had no guarantees that it was going to happen the way I envisioned. I guess that was my main worry. I knew there was a chance I would still have to go to hospital for whatever reason and I would have felt like all the preparations had been for nothing. But I allowed myself to visualise having a perfect, natural, relaxed water birth at home, and I believed that visualising it might increase the chance of it happening.
Much faster than I expected The birth of my second daughter went so much faster than I had imagined. I had had a lot of Braxton Hicks for at least two months prior to the birth, but when my waters broke during the night at 41 weeks, I knew the contractions that followed the next morning were the real deal. I thought it would take ages before it would progress further, but it just kept on progressing really quickly. When the surges got really full-on, Mark knew exactly what to do, who to call, when to do what, so I could just concentrate on breathing through the surges. When they were regular and coming about every five minutes, I started needing help to be able to breathe through them. Mark was right there to let me lean on him, and applying pressure on my lower back. One by one the team started arriving while I hardly noticed what was going on around me. They all got really involved in different tasks, including massage, checking the baby’s heartbeat, offering me drinks, playing my music playlist, reminding me about the combs that I could hold and squeeze into my palms during contractions (this worked magic for me!), giving acupressure, etc. The team started preparing the birthing room without me having to ask them anything. They set up the pool, the affirmations on the wall, a mattress and the many scented candles I had bought.
The alarms went off! Then all of a sudden, the fire alarm went off! An incredibly loud, piercing, high pitched noise went thought the building. In our apartment building, this means we have to evacuate until the fire department checks that it is safe to go back inside. I just thought there was no way I was going to go outside, unless there was really a fire. I remained very calm, focusing on my breathing exercises. I knew that if we did need to evacuate, my adrenalin would set in and slow down the labour. My contractions did temporarily slow down. But we realised pretty quickly that the fire alarm was definitely set off by our candles so we decided not to evacuate. The surges immediately came back full-on!
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When the fire department arrived they had to check our apartment to see that there was no fire. My friend Mieke was very concerned about my private and safe environment being disturbed by strange men, which could compromise my labour, so she tried to keep them out, eventually letting one of them in after he promised to be quick and not make noise. He was sure to get out of there as soon as he could, especially when he heard me have another strong surge, but not before someone took a picture!
stage, and I tried to resist this urge as much as I could at first, blowing raspberries and trying to relax. We realised that during contractions, the baby’s heart rate dropped down quite a bit. It could have been a little scary, hearing the heartbeat of my baby going so slow. But somehow, it didn’t worry me at all. I felt she was fine and in between surges the heart rate went up to totally normal again, which meant the baby was happy. Soon enough, Susi checked and told me that I was fully dilated, meaning I could get into the pool.
Soon after that we moved into the birthing room. I had chosen our spare room, which is now the baby room, to be the room my baby should be born in. It looked so amazing when I came in! It looked exactly like I wanted it to look, so warm and welcoming. The pool was set up in the middle of the room, there was a bed spread over the white curtains to make it a bit darker, and there was also a mattress on the floor in case I might want or have to get out of the pool to give birth. I felt so comfortable in this room, which was in my own home, and had nothing and nobody in there that I did not know or chose or trusted.
Getting into the pool felt amazing. Suddenly, this feeling of weightlessness, and warmth surrounding me, was so very comforting. In the pool the contractions seemed to become a lot less intense. But before long I got the “green light” from my midwife, I was ready to push the baby out. I was holding Mark’s hand and moved into different positions, while people moved around the pool to give acupressure, drinks, and take pictures as well. It was incredible to feel my baby moving down lower and lower. When the head was almost out, I was giving it so much, but it almost seemed impossible to get any further. Then Mark gave me an intense, passionate kiss. This is supposed to bring on Oxytocin, and I’m sure that’s right, because the next surge was a lot stronger and with that push, the head came out! Then there was one more great push with the next contraction, and our daughter Nina was born.
Susi was checking my and the baby’s heart rate regularly, as this could give early indications in case of uterine rupture, which was after all a risk after my previous caesarean. My body started pushing at some
68 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Whatever choice you make in birthing your baby, is totally yours to make
was a bit of tearing which was the only thing that wasn’t perfect about the birth. I was able to breastfeed my baby while I was getting stitches, and I listened to the Calmbirth guided relaxation at the same time, which helped me to totally relax.
What a miracle
Looking back at it, I think that each of the things I did in preparation played an important role and I couldn’t name one single thing that made the biggest contribution. I don’t know if I could have done it without any one of these things. But I do know that combined together they gave me the courage to do what I believe every woman is capable of doing. To call on your own inner power to birth your baby naturally.
Susi caught her before Mark and I brought her to the surface of the pool together. I put her on my chest where she looked so comfortable and peaceful. Susi told us to blow onto her face, and as soon as we did, she gave us a cry, as she took her first breath. It was amazing. At that moment we got Elouise to come in and greet her new sister, and we all sang “happy birthday”. Within a couple of minutes, I was holding the baby as she looked right at me, eyes wide open. What a miracle… We left the cord unclamped, until after the placenta was born, and I was giving her the first feed while Mark got to cut the cord. There was an atmosphere of joy and celebration in the house as I felt surrounded by people that meant a lot to me. It was the perfect environment for my daughter to be welcomed into the world. There
I’m not sharing my story to tell people that this is the best way to give birth. I strongly believe that whatever choice you make in birthing your baby, is totally yours to make, and will no doubt be the best choice for you. But I hope that my story can inspire anyone who wants to try to have a VBAC at home, to stand by their right to choose and make their own informed decision to have the birth they want. �
You can do it, just as I did!
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but deadly Coin sized lithium battery-related child injury is an emerging safety risk in New Zealand. From 2011 till 2013, the National Poisons Centre has received 175 calls regarding children under six years swallowing or inserting batteries in their nose and ears. A worrying 63 children have been treated at the Starship Children’s Health Emergency Department from March 2009 to February 2012.
Flat, coin-like batteries are common household items used in watches, cameras, hearing aids and all manner of electronic games. If they are swallowed, they can easily lodge in the throat or stomach – or they are sometimes shoved up the nose or pushed into the ear by adventurous toddlers. If they leak, serious burns may occur. They appear harmless and are enticingly small to tempt little people. When a lithium button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva triggers an electrical current that can severely burn the oesophagus in as little as two hours. Once burning begins, damage can continue even after the battery is removed.
70 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Kids under six are at the greatest risk. Many button batteries can appear ‘invisible’ to parents because devices come with the batteries already installed, but we all know how curious children can be and a battery can look enticingly like a lolly.
To keep your children safe: SEARCH your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain button batteries. SECURE button battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children and keep loose batteries locked away. SHARE this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family and wha-nau.
Don’t hesitate, get help fast Keeping these batteries locked away and secured in devices is key, but if you suspect that your child has swallowed a button battery, don’t put off getting help. Unfortunately, symptoms may be similar to other childhood illnesses, such as coughing, drooling and general discomfort, so make sure you let the health professionals know you suspect a battery is involved. It is much better to be over cautious so if you are even a bit concerned, seek help. If you know your child has swallowed a battery, follow these steps: Go to the nearest hospital emergency department immediately. Tell doctors and nurses that it might be a coin-sized button battery. If possible, provide the medical team with the identification number found on the battery’s pack. Do not let the child eat or drink until an X-ray can determine if a battery is present. In most cases an x-ray will be required to determine the position of the battery in the gastrointestinal tract. When X-rayed, the battery can be mistaken for a coin, so make sure you let the health professional know that a battery is involved. Do not induce vomiting.
If you think your child has been poisoned Call the New Zealand National Poisons Centre immediately on 0800 POISON (0800 764 766 (24-hour 7-day toll free emergency phone service)
Dial 111 for an ambulance if: your child is unconscious or having difficulty breathing you are worried that your child looks very ill the Poisons Centre suggests you to do so Do not try to make your child vomit or give food or liquid until you have been given advice. Remember to remain calm and bring the product container of the poisoning agent to the phone if you can, so you can provide any additional information asked by the poison information office. If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, act immediately. Go to your nearest hospital emergency department. � Find out more: www.kidshealth.org.nz www.poisons.co.nz www.thebatterycontrolled.co.nz
On December 15th 2014, eight-month-old Devon Hacche swallowed a large lithium-ion battery which trapped inside his oesophagus. Mixed with his saliva this caused an electro-chemical reaction which resulted in extreme corrosion burns to the soft tissue of Devon's trachea (breathing tube) and oesophagus (feeding tube). At the time of going to print, Devon was in pediatric intensive care. Since the accident Devon has had multiple surgeries including one on Christmas Eve where his chest was opened up. His heart and lungs were stopped and kept alive by a cardiac bypass machine while surgeons attempted to repair and cut out as much burn tissue from his trachea and oesophagus as possible. Before swallowing the battery, Devon was a happy and healthy baby boy meeting all his milestones. Devon now faces an uncertain future and years of medical treatment. Even then Devon may never breathe unassisted and possibly never talk or make a sound again. A give a little pages has been established. givealittle.co.nz/cause/devonbaby Devon’s mum, Amanda Hacche, has spoken out on Facebook to raise awareness of lithium battery poisoning. “In sharing Devon's story my hope is that we can save others this fate. “These prevalent and seemingly benign objects that are spread throughout our homes are not widely enough understood to be as fatally dangerous as they can be. We need to get the message out there. If ingested lithium ion button batteries are lethal. “We don't treat them the same as we do house hold poison yet they are every bit as harmful. “The frightening thing is that a baby or child can swallow a battery and it's not immediately obvious like a poison usually is. However time is of the essence as these batteries can start having lethal effects in as little as 2 hours after ingestion. “If you think a child has swallowed a button battery get to the hospital emergency room urgently. It's very important to get help as soon as possible - immediately is only just quick enough. “Please tell everyone you know.” Amanda Hacche
Congratulations to the lucky winners From issue 263
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72 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
Congratulations to the lucky winners From issue 264
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Shopping cart Become a Childbirth Educator increasing the awareness and knowledge of expectant parents
hildbirth educators are essential to increasing the awareness and knowledge of expectant parents through many choices and challenges related to childbirth education and the ongoing care of babies. Aoraki Polytechnic offers the Diploma in Childbirth Education (CBE). Offered on a part-time basis, through distance learning the programme also includes two workshops and constant tutor guidance and support through a variety of technology. The Diploma is a 2 year programme and trains you to become a childbirth educator competent to teach pre-natal classes to expectant parents in a wide variety of settings.
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76 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
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78 kiwiparent â€“ supporting kiwi parents through the early years
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win great giveaways Win a monthly supply of Huggies Nappies and Baby Wipes When you use Huggies Nappies you get peace of mind that you are not only using New Zealand’s most popular disposable nappy, but also one which is clinically proven to help avoid nappy rash. Your baby will stay cleaner and drier for longer as a result of our unique 3 layer design, including a surge layer and soft liner. Use Huggies Nappies and Baby Wipes together to ensure your baby stays dry and happy all day long.
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80 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years
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