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A blender without a lid Strategies for the terrific twos

Kiwi as Refugees making Aotearoa home

Wear don’t wheel Babywearing for beginners

Baby’s first Christmas Making memories

Boredom busters For family holidays

The magazine of Parents Centre New Zealand Inc


T N A W T ’ N O D E K A W O T ? Y B A B E TH p with that l e h n a c We

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Cover photo: Molly Maguire Melinda Roth Photography

Special Features


Kiwi as

Letters to the Editor .................................................4–5

Gemma Snowdon ........................................................ 8–11

A blender without a lid Kerstin Kramar..............................................................12–17

Just being myself

Making it easy: Breastfeeding support at ECE centres........34–36

Gaylene Chambers......................................................18–21

Parents Centre Pages............................................39–43

A different view of the world

Find a Centre...................................................................44

Altogether Autism.......................................................22–26

Wear don’t wheel Baby Wearing International and The Sleep Store....................................................28–33

Boredom busters

Find out about Parents Centre..............................45 Great reads from Gecko ....................................58–59 Winners from the last issue.....................................77

Family holiday tips.......................................................46–49

Our partners..............................................................78–79

Baby’s first Christmas


Charlotte Machin-Finch..............................................50–53

Sunshine celebration Summer sun sense......................................................54–56

Budget-friendly nurseries Resene creative team ...............................................60–65

Birth story: When life has other plans Nicola Mapletoft ..........................................................66–71

Edible gifts Helen Jackson................................................................72–76


Product page .................................................................6–7





At home in a foreign place

See Great reads from Gecko pg 58

A blender without a lid | pages 12–17 When your once placid baby reaches those terrific twos, nothing can feel like it was before – life can really seem like a tornado in a blender with everything spinning out of control. Psychologist Kerstin Kramar believes this exuberant phase of life can be full of opportunities if we understand what is happening for our tot at the time.

A different view of the world | pages 22–26 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects how people perceive the world, how they think and behave – and how they communicate and interact with others. Put simply – autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. Find out more about the joys and challenges of living with children on the spectrum.

Edible gifts | pages 72–76 The season of gift giving is almost upon us and now is exactly the right time to start thinking of gifts from the kitchen that are made with thought and care and are often more meaningful than more commercial choices. Helen Jackson from foodlovers shares some of her favourite ideas.

Kiwiparent. Since 1954. The magazine of Parents Centre New Zealand Inc Editor


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

Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Ph (04) 233 2022

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

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

Design Hannah Faulke

Proofing Megan Kelly


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.

This year, once again Kiwi families will gather at the end of the year to celebrate the festive season in the way that works for them. Many religions commemorate this time of year – Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Mawlid el-Nabi, solstice and Rohatsu. Other families do not keep religious holidays but treasure the opportunity to celebrate family, friendship and community. When you get together with loved ones on Christmas Day, spare a thought for those families who are spending their very first December in New Zealand – especially those who have resettled as refugees. Aotearoa welcomes 1,000 refugees every year, and around half of this number are children. It goes without saying that they will have had difficult and traumatic experiences before they arrived. No one becomes a refugee unless their lives have faced catastrophic change, typically violence or depravation. Or both. It has become harder for refugees to find sanctuary around the world and the debate about refugee settlement regularly captures headlines and stirs deep sentiment. All refugees have their own stories as to how they end up in New Zealand – they are not here by choice but have been forced to leave their homes. They are here for sanctuary and that is what we need to provide. 35 years ago, my husband and I left South Africa with our baby daughter and applied for refugee status in New Zealand – so I have always had an affinity with other families who have been uprooted from all that is familiar by circumstances beyond their control. New Zealand has been more than good to us and we have been able to forge wonderful lives for ourselves and our children. I am always mindful of how many people have been there for us on our journey. I can’t tell you how important it is to smile at a newcomer, invite them over for a playdate (children are fantastic icebreakers!), offer them a ride to do their shopping, share a family meal together – and most importantly ask them about their culture, home and family. We all have stories and experiences to share. Thanks to resettlement, New Zealand has more colour and diversity. It has also given us the opportunity, as a country, to show compassion, to be caring, and to acknowledge that we are bloody lucky to live where we do and that this is not the case for everyone else across this troubled world of ours. I wish you and your family peace and prosperity for the new year.

ISSN 1173–7638

Koa te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou hari


Leigh Bredenkamp

Caxton Design and Print

The magazine of Parents Centre



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Super success for Palmy Parents In October we held our first parenting Expo in Palmerston North – a great event for the whole family and the first expo of its kind in the Manawatu. The demand was there because people began queuing up 45 minutes before the doors opened and the event was attended by over 2,000 people! Local businesses came together to showcase their products and services to local families, covering areas from pregnancy right through to school.

entertainment – bouncy castles for the kids, face painting, activities, food trucks and giveaways. We wanted the event to be as family focused as possible, so we had a wonderful Parents Room set up for families to come in and feed/change their little ones if required. We have already started to plan for our 2019 expo. More information can be found at Sheree Power President Palmerston North Parents Centre

It was a real family day out with some people staying over two and a half hours to browse over 60 exhibits and make the most of the

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Supporting each other Recently, one of our Putaruru Parents Centres committee members gave birth prematurely – then found that their two-year-old daughter, Faith, has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma – a form of cancer. I have created a Givealittle page for the family to help them through this difficult time. Search for ‘Faith’s Brave Fight’ on

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Guardian Angels For most of us the thought of having a terminally ill child is unimaginable but for some New Zealanders it is their harsh and heartbreaking reality. In 2004, Aucklanders Helen Jackson, Leanne Hegan, and Anna Ross established Guardian Angels in response to identifying a very critical need in our community for support of families who not only have a terminally ill child but are also financially disadvantaged. Many families find that they are suddenly thrust into poverty when one parent (or both) needs to leave work to care for their sick child. While we cannot change the medical diagnosis, we can help with ensuring that families stay fed, clothed and that bills are paid. Guardian Angels provides immediate assistance at the “grass roots” level. Food, power, petrol and phone are the main priorities and other small requests are looked at on an individual basis. Guardian Angels has no administration costs so 100% of all donations go to helping the families in need.

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Forever young and beautiful It was with utmost sadness that the wider Parents Centre family learned of the tragic death of Jonny Keene who passed away peacefully in his sleep aged just 17 – the much-loved son of the Keene family from Greymouth. Michelle Keene has been an integral part of Parents Centre for many years – joining Greymouth Parents Centre, serving on the committee, and eventually taking on the role of President. She became a Regional Coordinator was later appointed to the Parents Centre National Board. Michelle is a life member of Greymouth Parents Centre. Whenever there is such an active member as Michelle, you know there is a hardworking and supportive family in the background, and Parents Centre could not have benefited from Michelle’s commitment, skill and enthusiasm without the backing of her husband, Jason.

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Greymouth Parents Centre President, Aleisha Jellyman, says, “Jonny has shared his mum with us his whole life. It has been a privilege to watch Jonny grow from a gorgeous, cuddly, happy baby to the generous, respectful, caring young man that was taken too soon.” The thoughts of the whole Parents Centre community are with Michelle, Jason, Ben, Alyssa and Jackson as they mourn the loss of their beloved son and brother.

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The magazine of Parents Centre




T-shirts support families living with autism Chambers & Co was founded in 2017 by Gaylene and Richard Chambers, parents of a son with autism. They recognised there was a real need for a powerful understanding and acceptance of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Chambers believe it is important that there is increased global awareness of autism. They decided to create a better understanding of the breadth of the

The best things in life are 3 Mountain Buggy’s three-wheel legacy was born from a father’s need for a buggy with all-terrain capability to enjoy New Zealand’s mountain trails with his baby. Three wheels provide superior manoeuvrability, making it easy to navigate any terrain from city streets to off-road tracks, never missing a beat and enabling parents to live life without limit.

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autism spectrum and advocate to increase support to those in the community and their families by providing an awesome selection of T-shirts printed with powerful and positive messages. For every T-shirt sold, $1 is donated to Autism NZ or the Children’s Autism Foundation.

Hang a star for Starship Christmas is coming and it’s almost time to dust off the tree and get decorating. What about a new decoration to give things a facelift? This year, Starship is launching three beautiful new ‘Stars for Starship’, each with a different festive theme. Red for Joy. White for Hope. Gold for Strength. These three qualities are shared by the designer of this year’s star, Kathryn Zhou, along with many of our other Starship patients. They are great for your own tree, or for someone you know. Available for $3 each in New World stores nationwide from November. All proceeds go to the Starship Foundation, so why not decorate your tree and home with Starship sentiment this Christmas with red, gold and silver stars? Starship Child Health is a dedicated paediatric healthcare service and major teaching centre, providing family-centred care to children and young people throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific. Starship Foundation is a socialprofit organisation that raises funds so we can better care for our young patients. Merry Christmas!

Little Unicorn – from The Sleep Store Little Unicorn is a young, new brand that designs and makes quality muslins, luxury blankets, towels and more. Little Unicorn is about the good stuff. Their goal is to create quality goods with nostalgia and function that will support your current lifestyle needs. They aim to add a little magic to the mix with hand-painted style prints, and make it affordable, because giving comfort to your baby and bolstering confidence in parenting shouldn’t pillage your pocket. They dare to be different and make styles that you’ll love and treasure.

Returning to the paid workforce?

The Return to Work programme offers practicalities, information and tips to prepare for returning to the paid workforce. Early Childhood Education choices Parental guilt & separation anxiety Negotiating flexible working hours Contact your local Parents Centre for more information on the Return to Work sessions scheduled for the year.


The magazine of Parents Centre


Kiwi as

First Christmas in New Zealand Christmas is a special time for most families, but even more so for those celebrating it in New Zealand for the very first time. That’s the case for hundreds of new Kiwis brought here as part of the Government’s refugee resettlement scheme.



New Zealand welcomes 1,000 refugees every year, and figures suggest that around half of this number are children. So that’s a lot of families who will have their first Kiwi Christmas – from a range of cultures, religious beliefs, backgrounds and countries. Many of the refugees will be separated from their wider family and find themselves in a place very different from anything they are used to – new language, new community, new home, new food. It can be quite a tough time of year when other families are together with their loved ones to celebrate summer and togetherness. Getting settled into a new country can be exciting, but also stressful, overwhelming and very lonely. Scoping out local shops, finding

It certainly helps if people simply say ‘hello’ and smile. out when rubbish is collected and where the local kindy or playcentre is – these all add to the busy period around relocating. It can take weeks to find new social groups and even meet the neighbours. Families must also get to grips with complex issues such as parenting in a new environment. And if you have trouble communicating in English, everything can be even harder. All people accepted by New Zealand under the Refugee Quota Programme complete a six-week orientation programme at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre before being resettled in Auckland, Waikato, Manawatu, Wellington, Nelson, Dunedin or Invercargill. When the refugees arrive in their new communities, they are supported by a whole range of

professionals as well as trained volunteers who help them understand Kiwi culture, learn to manage systems and do essential things like find work.

Reach out Gemma Snowdon from Red Cross New Zealand says there is plenty that communities can do to help refugees to feel welcome and integrate more easily. “The best thing Kiwis can do to help families integrate and feel welcome is to reach out to them,” says Gemma. “Whether it’s a chat over the fence or a shared cup of coffee, small acts make a huge difference. “You can volunteer to help former refugees as they navigate their new lives. Red Cross Refugee Support Volunteers are the first

friends most families make in New Zealand and are responsible for showing our newest Kiwis around their community and helping them connect with local support systems.” Getting out and about is essential so getting a driver’s licence is a key part to settling and helps families – particularly those with young children – connect with different parts of their community. “You can volunteer as a driving mentor to former refugees in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, or Dunedin,” says Gemma. “Search for the Open Road Driving Programme to find out more. Different organisations deliver the programme around the country and they do fantastic work preparing learner drivers for their tests.”

Continued overleaf... The magazine of Parents Centre


Dawt Khun with her twin boys

Have a chat Another great way that people in the community can help new settlers to integrate is to give them opportunities to practise their English. Many former refugees are learning the language for the first time and are very keen to practice with other Kiwis. Immigration New Zealand has some good advice – keep it short and simple. Use short words and sentences and avoid jargon and slang if possible. If you invite a family to the bach for a barbie and suggest they bring their togs and jandals, it could be a bit confusing! Gemma says that finding work is an important part of the settlement process because it allows people to use their skills, contribute to their new community, build networks and meet people. If you are able to employ someone from a refugee background, or know of jobs that could suit new migrants, that could be a massive help.

Life-changing new skills Dawt Khun is a former refugee from the Chin minority in Myanmar who settled in New Zealand last year



with her twin boys. The single mother spoke absolutely no English when she arrived and initially struggled in her new home. “I don’t have any immediate family here, my family are still in Myanmar and I feel a little bit lonely,” she says. She has since managed to progress her language skills and make new friends, however many of them live in different parts of town and it can be difficult to visit them, especially with two young boys in tow. Dawt approached Red Cross about joining the Open Road programme, which helps former refugees perfect their driving skills, so they can get their Kiwi licence. After only a few weeks of training Dawt was ready to put her skills to the test and passed her restricted licence with flying colours. It’s been life-changing for Dawt who can now get the kids to school with ease, even when there’s rain and wind, and she has had the chance to build her social connections. “After I got my restricted licence I could drive to the church, we could go around the city, we could visit friends’ houses that are a little

far from here, and I could volunteer at the Red Cross Shop.”

A Kiwi Christmas New Zealand accepts former refugees from varying religions and many come from multicultural countries. While they may not traditionally celebrate the Christmas holiday themselves they are often eager to learn about the traditions of their new country. “Each year we hear wonderful stories of volunteers sharing traditional Kiwi activities,” says Gemma. “Favourites include beach days, fish and chip dinners, or hosting a BBQ – with the family they’ve been supporting to help mark the holidays. This inclusivity can help make it a special time for families who have arrived in the country more recently.”

Kiwi communities stepping up For the first time, this year New Zealand began welcoming refugees who are being sponsored by community organisations. The first group of refugees, made

“We come from everywhere. Speak peace and welcome home.” Dave Dobbyn

up of five families, arrived this year under a new settlement approach – the Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship Category. This is in addition to the Government’s existing refugee quota. The community organisations will be responsible for finding them private housing, teaching them English, and helping them adjust to New Zealand and find jobs. This new approach will help bring communities together, so they can be directly involved in supporting refugees to settle into New Zealand life. E Tu Whanau is a nationwide movement for positive change and it belongs to everyone. E Tu Whanau’s violence-free and whanau-centred kaupapa is proudly Maori but it’s proving rich and inspirational to refugee and migrant communities as well. Their values – aroha, whanaungatanga, whakapapa, mana, korero awhi and tikanga – resonate with these

Find out more assist-migrants-and-students/ keeping-it-clear/

Red Cross Refugee Programmes There are around 1,000 people who arrive to Aotearoa as refugees each year and Red Cross’s refugee programmes help these new Kiwis settle into their communities and build new lives in New Zealand. Social workers, cross-cultural staff, case workers, and teams of trained volunteers support people from

communities, many of whom come from collective, family-focussed cultures that have much in common, spiritually and socially, with Maori. Auckland-based community development kaimahi, Jenny Janif, has spent the last 20 years helping refugees and migrants settle into their new homes. Jenny’s own heritage is primarily Melanesian and Fijian Indian and she’s worked with people from Africa, Asia, South America and the Pacific. She has been a staunch E Tu Whanau supporter since the movement started eight years ago.

Wishing all Kiwi parents a peaceful festive break and a wonderful summer holiday

From the Kiwiparent team

“E Tu Whanau encourages Maori to be proud of their culture and the choices they make to create a positive, violence-free future for their tamariki. Refugee and migrant communities feel exactly the same,” she says. Leigh Bredenkamp 

refugee backgrounds through their initial 12 months in New Zealand, or longer if necessary. This support includes help with long-term plans for life in New Zealand, practical help with day-to-day tasks, and connecting new arrivals to their communities. Red Cross also runs a programme called Pathways to Employment which supports people from refugee backgrounds into the workforce. This can include help with CVs, interview preparation, and language support. The team also assists employers who offer former refugees jobs. what-we-do/in-new-zealand/ refugee-programmes

The magazine of Parents Centre




A blender without a lid Navigating the terrific twos

“Having a two-year-old is like having a blender without a lid” the American comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said. When your once-placid baby reaches those terrific twos, nothing can feel like it was before – life can really seem like a tornado in a blender with everything spinning out of control. But it does not always have to be that way. This exuberant phase of life can be full of opportunities if we understand what is happening for our tot at the time. They are driven to learn – and they will do best if they have our support. At times, this will feel challenging. But take heart, I believe the more challenging, the better a job you are probably doing! In my work with parents, they often describe this phase as being required to hug a prickly hedgehog and smooth him out. At the same time, toddlers are like little sponges and how we respond to them will help put down important foundations – particularly the ones for self-regulation. So, first let’s look at what is happening at this time, what the challenges are for parents and tots, and how to best respond to them with a view to strengthening their development. As usual, it is important to keep in mind that all children develop at different rates.

What two-year-olds do: Learn, learn, learn

big muscles, called gross motor skills, as well as in small muscle movement, called fine motor skills. As their gross motor skills develop, your child will learn to: walk, run and start learning to jump with both feet pull or carry toys while walking throw and kick a ball; try to catch with both hands stand on tiptoes and balance on one foot climb on furniture and playground equipment walk upstairs, holding on to the railing; may use alternate feet. Fine motor skills development means your child will: start brushing their own teeth and hair learn to pull their pants up and down turn on the tap and wash their hands build a block tower with at least four blocks

Physical development

start practising snaps, velcro and zipping up their clothes

As children grow in leaps and bounds, they also learn  to leap and bound. You are likely to see changes in the

hold utensils and crayons with their fingers instead of using their fist.

Continued overleaf... The magazine of Parents Centre


Cognitive milestones At around the time they turn two, children start thinking in new ways, learn new skills and find new techniques to solve problems. They are learning to: enjoy more complicated pretend play, like pretending that a box is a spaceship or assigning people characters when playing remember and talk about things that happened in the past, using phrases like “the other day” or “a long time ago” do three- to four-piece puzzles group toys by type, size or colour recite favourite books and nursery rhymes with you follow simple two-step instructions, such as “take off your shoes and put them on the shelf”.

Language milestones By the time they turn three, children usually understand much of what you say to them. They are also talking more. At this age, most children can: understand the words for familiar people, everyday objects and body parts Use a variety of single words by 18 months and speak in sentences of two to four words by 24 months, they may combine nouns and verbs, like “daddy eat” and may have a vocabulary of 200+ words by 36 months repeat words they hear being used start asking “what’s that?” and “why?” begin using plurals (dogs) and basic pronouns (me, you).

Social and emotional milestones Two-year-olds start to be more independent and grow interested in other kids. But, not having the words to express themselves can be frustrating. By the end of this year, preschoolers will likely do things like: mimic what other kids and adults do and say, as well as how they say it be happy to play near, if not with, other kids – this is called parallel play start to realise they can do things without your help disobey more than before, try doing things they’re told not to do, just to test what happens have tantrums when frustrated – which can turn into full-on meltdowns become increasingly independent and aware of themselves as their own person.

Continued overleaf... 14


Whatever touches their skin, should feel as gentle as your hugs.

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What we do: Respond, respond, respond Give children lots of practice and opportunities to use their growing abilities inside as well as outside. They will have loads of mental and physical energy to burn off. Observing, exploring and manipulating things in their environment gives them ample opportunity to learn. Dig deep and learn to be patient in the process. Everything will take longer (e.g., doing up a zip, putting their own shoes on and dressing themselves) and it would be so much easier and faster to do it ourselves. However, practice is key to efficiency. Be prepared for trial and error and for allowing selfdiscovery although you know exactly what would happen (… and you may have even told them so). Children need to experience cause and effect for themselves. Be prepared for messiness. Children are still in a phase of exploring with their senses and need to have opportunities to practise coordination (e.g., eating by themselves, stirring the cake mixture or pouring a drink for themselves). Ensure they are safe, while also letting them take risks. We need to protect our children from serious harm, however, some learning only happens when we also let them take risks. Children will forget what we say (“Don’t tease the cat”) but will not forget what they experience for themselves (“Ouch!”). Provide children with opportunities to learn negotiating with peers while playing alongside them.



Be empathetic when they make mistakes, when things do not work out for them and they get frustrated, or when they get hurt when taking risks Help them put language to their experiences which will help to give them the words so that they can learn to express themselves.

Overcoming unexpected or unexplained fears Our baby always loved her bath and bubble time. But suddenly, our two-year-old has decided that she’s terrified of the bath. Even if we say the word bath to her, she gets upset. Just randomly started one day, no idea why! HELP? Does this sound familiar? This sort of situation can be really challenging: your toddler is missing out on an enjoyable time and so are you – not to mention that giving your toddler an easy wash can turn into an absolute nightmare. Bathing is great for sensory exploration, relaxation, and it can also help calm down the senses and be a nice way to ease toddlers into sleep. Being friendly with water fosters learning through water play and swimming. Now you must get your head around enticing your toddler back into the water. Toddlers do not always make conscious decisions to not go near something or, if they do, then they usually have a good reason to do so. If you notice that they are terrified then they will have a “good” reason to not go near that thing. Now that reason may not seem

plausible to an adult whatsoever. This sort of situation commonly happens when a certain neutral or even enjoyable stimulus – like being in warm water – occurs at the same time a toddler is experiencing something that produces discomfort, anxiety, fear, or pain. This ‘something’ might be that they are overly tired, getting sick, they may be in pain, or a noise, a person, or a smell may have frightened them at the same time. Usually the water or bath is not the problem, but the other something is. The previously enjoyable stimulus is now paired with an anxious emotion, but your toddler will not be able to put that into words or may not even know – and you might not know either. You can all feel stuck because anything to do with water – even just the word bath – can trigger an avalanche of emotions. You have two options to progress on the matter. First, you could do some detective work and find out what occurred between the time of your toddler enjoying the water and being frightened of it. You might be lucky to find exactly what the trigger was. Then you would talk to your toddler and tell a story about what happened. It can be really soothing for toddlers to make sense out of things and for those scary emotions to go away. At the same time, you will also need to regain enjoyment with the water through practice while the water might serve a different purpose. You might want to get your toddler to help washing up the dishes with bubbly water or washing their shoes with a brush; you could water the flowers or plant some vegetables and “bath” your hands before and after doing those chores; then you might bath your feet, then bath the baby doll and so on. We call this graded exposure. Second, if you’re unlucky doing the detective work, then you can still tell your toddler how they loved water, perhaps with some help with photos that prove your point. Regardless of the reason that they have started disliking water, you can engage in graded exposure steps. The important thing is that you start at something they may enjoy and have lots of fun with. Then step by step you replace the fear with joy. You will need patience and endurance for this process.


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Sometimes children simply outgrow their fears given enough time. However, if you feel that you are still stuck then it might be a good idea to seek some professional help. The earlier fears get addressed, the quicker progress is made and the less entrenched anxious patterns become. And everyone will be happier for it. 

Kerstin is a consultant clinical psychologist in private practice in Wellington. She is passionate about supporting parents to raise confident and resilient children. Kerstin also specialises in children with developmental concerns and children who are adopted or in foster care. In her practice she draws on a combination of research and practice-based evidence including experience raising her own diverse children.

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Just being myself Living with our autistic son



It all started for us in June 2010, just four months after I had major surgery. Our daughter had just started primary school, so there was a lot going on around us. Together with our young son, we headed to a private paediatrician, who was recommended to us. He was blunt and to the point. We had been on a waiting list to see him for four months. Basically, this paediatrician told us, “Your son has autism, he will have it for life, he probably won’t ever get a job or leave home.” All the best... My husband and I felt crushed, numb and ripped to pieces! We had lots of tears and speechless times, not knowing where to from here and most of all questioning how this had happened – and why to us! There was no ‘how to’ manual about what to do or how we could cope, let alone what support we could get through preschool, primary school, college, and so on and so forth. We needed to digest the news, and then try and share it with our family and friends. That was tough. We wondered if the paediatrician could be wrong – perhaps we could get a second opinion? Or were we just kidding ourselves?

Finding support Firstly, we got some welcome support at preschool with the help of an early intervention teacher, and then went through the very painful long process of an ORRS (Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Scheme) application. This was a huge battle, as it is not easy getting help till you’re 21 with this neurological disorder. Even getting a disability benefit was gruelling. I was told. “We will review your benefit in one year.” I asked why and was told the autism could be gone, he may have grown out of it. I asked if they were serious! Every six months we visit the paediatrician for a follow up and review of medication. Our son takes many antipsychotic drugs to help regulate his high anxiety and constant obsessive-compulsive disorder behaviours – tics, Tourette’s syndrome, and pica (eating disorder) to name a few. Fast forward to today – our wonderful boy is now almost finished his primary school final year, and is ready to embark on a transition to college. He is excited and enjoying the visits he has had already.

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“Autism doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a parent that never gives up.” Anonymous

Normal for us Because our boy is very tall, looks normal and is big for his age (size 16 boys clothes, only 11 years of age) his behaviours do not match what would be considered normal behaviours out in the community. When going on a simple trip to the supermarket for example, our boy loves to examine the banana stand in the produce department. He says “hello” to all the bananas, touches them all, and rubs his cheek on one. This is obviously not appropriate, but for him this is a sensory and processing regulation thing – he actually needs to do this in order to be able to continue on his walk around the supermarket. He loves to clap his hands loudly, jump on the spot and squeal very loudly. This brings people to an alarming stop, and everyone turns and stares. Some wonder, some snigger, some shake their heads, and some look at us parents as if to say, OMG your parenting skills are not going so well – have you not given him his meds yet? One day I was asked, “Does he have ADHD? Have you given him his meds yet?” Each visit out for us became exhausting and very stressful. Our daughter became embarrassed by people’s glares and comments. Sometimes I would just stay at home with our boy, to avoid any sniggering or me having to explain. Some nights we would be up most of the time with our boy not able to sleep, laughing and giggling away, causing havoc in his bedroom. On some occasions, we would think he was asleep as his monitor would be quiet – but then in the morning having to clear up a tar-like mess in his bed from eating roof tiles he reached through his bedroom window, even though the windows have safety hinges! ROAR! I would always be on the “lookout” for people and be wary. I would feel I had to constantly justify our boy’s behaviours, noises, pushing, throwing himself on the floor, stripping naked at times. I was tired of it! I felt like I needed a flag with a sign on it that I could hold up so people could read it: ”I am autistic, I’m just being myself.”

A creative approach I started designing T-shirts, and got them printed with messages on them, like “Smile, I’ve got Autism, I’m just



being myself.” I put my design on rash shirts, firstly so when he was at the beach, making wonderfully happy noises of delight, people would look at him, then smile, and thumbs up to us standing behind him. Some would say: “Wow – cool T-shirt” – some would even want the details of the company (back then, I did not have a company, so I would just give them my mobile number). One Christmas eight separate people asked about the T-shirts – this put into great perspective exactly how much of a need there was. My dear father-in-law, whom I adored, often said I should start a T-shirt business. Sadly, after an abrupt, cruel illness, he passed away in August 2017. It was the saddest time. I am still struggling, but with counselling support, I know I will get through this, one day at a time! But his death inspired me to start my own T-shirt business. I got a mentor and support from Unleashing Potential, who delivered a strategic online marketing plan with targets, budget, designers, etc. It took six months in total and our business became a reality. It’s been a great project for me, but it’s not been all plain sailing. However, my father-in-law used to say “Life’s not easy, but that’s the way it just is! Get on with it!”

So, if you have a child on the spectrum, have a family member or friend on the spectrum, have autism yourself, or support someone you know, and feel tired of people judging your child/friend/yourself, you probably want to be able to make a difference! Our T-shirts are designed to make others realise your journey – they have a message, they will be recognised, and they help make a difference! You will not have to explain, nor justify, but simply observe people’s reactions. To this day I have never had a negative reaction. And for every T-shirt sold, $1 will be donated to Autism NZ or Children’s Autism Foundation to help support those in need. As parents, we are dedicated to advancing awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related conditions, increasing understanding and acceptance of ASD, and working to support individuals with autism – and their families – across the spectrum and lifespan through advocacy and support. It takes a village to raise a child but a whole community to raise a child with special needs! 

Gaylene Chambers Gaylene lives in Auckland with her husband and two children. She is happy to share her family’s journey raising a child on the spectrum. They have started a family T-shirt business, Chambers & Co, which aims to raise awareness of ASD, as well as foster inclusion and acceptance in the community.

The magazine of Parents Centre


A different view of the world

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition that affects how people perceive the world, how they think and behave – and how they communicate and interact with others.

Because you know your child better than anyone else, you may be one of the first to notice signs that your child is different to other children. It is also possible that someone else who is close to your family will raise concerns about your child’s development – your Well Child nurse, a preschool teacher, a friend or family member.

Put simply – autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people.

If you are worried about your child’s development or their behaviour, you will need to talk to someone about your concerns – your Well Child nurse, an early childhood teacher or your family doctor are good places to start. You could also contact the Special Education department at the Ministry of Education.

It is not a disease and can’t be cured. Autism is a spectrum condition – which means that some people are more affected than others. All autistic people have different challenges which affects their lives in different ways at different stages and in different environments. No two people on the spectrum are the same.



If there are concerns that your child might be on the spectrum, you could be referred to a health professional with training and experience in ASD – like a paediatrician,

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine,” Alan Turing, creator of the first computer used to break codes during WWII.

psychiatrist or psychologist. There is no single test to diagnose autism, so the health professional will collect a range of information before making a diagnosis.

Children with autism rarely bring toys and objects to share or show other children or adults (lack of interest in joint attention).

A young child with autism might have some or all these difficulties.

They may not respond to other people’s greetings or smiles.

Communication Delays in speech and language. Difficulty understanding others. They may find it hard to communicate what they want and find different ways of making themselves understood (they may use objects or another person’s hand to indicate what they want). Their speech may have an unusual tone, pitch, or accent. They may use language in an unusual way (such as being overly formal or academic, or repeating phrases or words) They may not understand non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, body language and gestures. They may have difficulty following instructions and can take information and instructions very literally. They may sometimes appear not to hear at all. They may seem very independent for their age, particularly as they may not seek help from others.

Social interaction They may not join in with play with other children. They may appear disinterested in other children or people.

They may have difficulty with social situations, and understanding social rules (e.g. have difficulty knowing if someone is joking, or do not follow the usual social rules for polite behaviour). They may have difficulty understanding or processing others’ emotions, thoughts or actions. They may have difficulty initiating or sustaining eye contact.

Restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour A strong preference for routine and order is common. They may get very upset when their routines are interrupted. They may experience difficulty with transitioning between activities and into new environments. They may have a special interest which they enjoy talking about a lot, or spend a lot of time doing. They may use behaviour (including challenging behaviour) as a way of communicating due to problems with communication and social interaction. They may appear to be clumsy and have poor motor skills. They may make unusual movements or sounds (commonly known as stimming – for example, they may make unusual movements near their eyes or face).

They tend to prefer to play or be alone.

They may also have poor problem-solving or organisational skills.

Children with autism don’t often play pretend or make believe as often as same-aged peers.

This means they may be hyper or hyposensitive to various stimuli (link to sensory).

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What happens if my child is autistic? Providing the right support can significantly help you and your child to learn and grow. There are services and support available to your family. Each District Health Board has a developmental coordinator who is involved with children having an assessment for ASD. This is a good place to start when you are looking for support and information available in your community. The coordinator will be able to give you advice about accessing financial support to help your family cope with the additional costs associated with having an autistic child. The internet is also a good source of information – but check the source carefully. There are dodgy sites with questionable advice as well as places where you will get essential support and practical advice. Most of all, give yourself time to adjust to the knowledge that your child has ASD – coping is an ongoing process and everyone adjusts in a different way. Seek support for yourself when you need it.

See the child before the label One mum raising an autistic child says, “In the last nine years I have learned that nothing works out as expected. You simply cannot predict the future. All you can do is give your child love and support and let them amaze you with what they can do! Stop focusing on the disability and focus on the child. See the child before the label!” Article prepared with information from Altogether Autism. 



“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” Dr Seuss

Find out more Altogether Autism 0800 273 463 Autism New Zealand 0800 288 476 Ministry of Education Special Education 0800 622 222 Ministry of Health 0800 855 066

Dear parents… Many parents, when their child is newly diagnosed as autistic, or when they first begin to suspect it, feel stunned and overwhelmed. Penni Winter is an adult on the spectrum and offers her advice. Parents, I know you have big questions – such as, is it your fault, what does being autistic really mean, and what your child’s future is going to be. It’s all very uncertain and scary, and I mean no disrespect for your struggles. But there is no need to panic. Being autistic is not a calamity, or a fate worse than death, or the end of all your hopes and dreams for your child, or even of a meaningful life for yourself. People will tell you autism is caused by vaccines or bad parenting, or you’ll read stories in the media that suggest any number of bizarre causes, from corn syrup to motorways to the Internet. (No, I’m not kidding.)

You need to be aware of two things. Firstly, that the media’s, and hence popular, image of autistics is not even close to the real truth. It’s a lot of scare-mongering and negativity, for the most part, and patronising at best. The media rarely think to ask actual autistics about their views or experiences, so it gets it wrong. Secondly, that there is an entire ‘autism industry’ out there, which exists for no other reason than to fleece scared parents of their money. You may hear about a lot of very strange so-called ‘treatments’, many of which are useless, possibly illegal, and even downright dangerous. Be very selective and do only what you feel will work. The problem with trying to ‘normalise’ autistics is that autism has a huge unseen cost. Because autism is central to our neurology, trying to make us ‘not autistic’ basically tells us that we are substandard, that there is something ‘wrong’ with us, and that we must learn to hide it to earn others’ approval. Even if we learn to ‘pass’, we are still autistic underneath – and that passing is a huge struggle, setting us up for a lifetime of low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.

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Autism is genetic and neurological – we are born with different brains. Think PCs and Mac computers. No one says that a Mac computer is lesser than a PC, simply because it has a different operating system. We are the Macs of this world. Our autism is not a detachable part, a disease, or an epidemic. We simply think differently, react differently, and handle our emotions differently. And nothing is going to change that. You may train your child into a veneer of ‘normal’, but that’s all it ever will be.

Accept your child as they are Stop expecting ‘normal’ from them. Put aside your fears, and others’ judgements. Accept their autism. Put yourself in their shoes. Observe them and do your best to understand how they view and react to the world, and why. If you accept their differences, embrace them even, it will reward you.

Resist the quacks and the ignorant Beware of anyone telling you that you must do this or that, or your child is doomed, or that you’re a bad parent, or that if you do such-and-such, your child will be magically ‘cured’. Approach your child as an individual, not a statistic. If there is a specific problem – meltdowns, communication difficulties, toilet training – work on that, not attempting to eliminate the autism.

Find other autistic children for your child to socialise with Many will tell you this is a bad idea, because your child will copy the other autistic kids, and start “looking more autistic”. This is based in the ‘autism-negative’ approach, which thinks being openly autistic is a bad thing. But everyone needs their peers – and other autistics are ours. It will pay off in increased self-esteem



and self-understanding for your child. They will see that’s it okay to be autistic, okay to be themselves.

Find your own peers Find other parents who take a positive and accepting approach to autism. They will understand your problems and offer support without demanding you change your child wholesale.

Above all, listen to adults on the spectrum Yes, sometimes they will be a bit blunt or even aggressive or rude-seeming for your taste, but they’ve been there, done that, and know what your child is likely experiencing, and can offer advice on dealing with things like sensory overload or social difficulties. Keep an open mind. Ask yourself, if you wanted to know what it’s like to be a member of a particular minority, would you ask those who aren’t of that minority, or would you go straight to those who are? It’s the same here – we are the real ‘experts’ on what it’s like to be autistic, and we care about your child – because one day, they’ll be one of us. 

Penni Winter Penni is a writer and artist and is also a member of Autistic Spectrum Kiwis (, a group for adults on the autism spectrum.

The magazine of Parents Centre


Wear don’t wheel

For thousands of years, in cultures across the world, parents have worn their babies in slings and used other types of carriers like front or back packs. The Western world has been slow to catch on to baby wearing, but recently there has been a huge increase in the range of baby carriers available locally that have made it easier for families who decide that they want to wear not wheel. The key things to using any carrier successfully are finding one that is easy to put on, that is comfortable and that you have complete confidence that your baby is secure. If these three things aren’t right, you are not likely to enjoy babywearing or find it a successful way to calm your baby. There are lots of ways you can use a carrier and many situations in which you will find babywearing to be useful.

Why use a carrier or sling? The movement in a sling is just like being inside the womb, so it is a very simple way to soothe and calm an upset newborn.



Carrying your baby in a carrier or sling is much easier on your shoulders, back and arms than carrying a baby in your arms. Carrying your baby ‘hands-free’ makes it easier to get on with everyday tasks. Carriers let your baby snuggle up close to you. Babywearing is a simple way to help foster firm attachment with your baby, which helps infant brain development, confidence and contentment.

When would I find a sling useful? For babies up to four months When babies are very young, it is comforting for them (and you) to be close so a sling can help in these ways:

Going places where you can’t use a buggy, such as steps, airports, buses or crowded places.

For babies over four months Once your baby can hold their head up, you will find your sling useful for the following: Carrying an older baby on short journeys, especially once they are out of a baby capsule. Having lovely cuddles with your older baby as you walk around, rather than having them in the pushchair facing away from you. Spending more time ‘attached’ to your older baby or toddler, which can make a big difference with separation anxiety at other times of the day or night.

Calming a newborn crying.

Carrying your baby ‘hands-free’ as you get on with jobs about the house.

Carrying a newborn close to you rather than putting them in a pushchair.

Comforting your baby if they are upset, need a cuddle, anxious in new situations etc.

Carrying your baby hands-free as you get on with jobs about the house.

Anywhere you can’t use a buggy, such as steps, airports, buses or crowded places.

Assisting a newborn to fall asleep.

As your baby grows, it is a good idea to make sure that at least some day sleeps are in bed rather than just in a sling. Babies can become very reliant on the movement and cuddles a sling provides.

There are so many different styles of carriers available and it can be hard to work out what is best for you and your baby. Here are some things to consider when you are looking for a carrier. It’s best to go green and opt for a 100% natural fabric for your carrier, or a high-performance mesh carrier for hot conditions, otherwise your baby can overheat, or their skin may react. Natural fabrics are easier on sensitive skins, last well and tend to be easy to clean as well. It is often safest to choose an established brand that is known to have good quality control and conduct thorough product testing. Avoid the temptation to buy cheap copies from dodgy online sites which may be poorly made and not tested for safe fabric or high-quality manufacturing standards. Make sure to get the right size carrier. Individual products have different requirements, so it is best to ask for advice. Pouch slings are based on the wearer’s size and most are adjustable, so can be worn by different sized adults. If you want a carrier for the long haul, look for one that is suitable for toddlers as well as babies. Pouch slings are the easiest to use, as they require no adjustment – just pull it over your head and pop in your baby. This is easier than a front pack with straps that need to be done up and adjusted. Also, be aware of the weight of your baby. While a sling is easier to use than carrying your baby on your hip, you still need to take care of your back. If you have back problems, consider a front pack that offers more back support or a carrier, which you can use on your front or your back.

Get confident using your carrier before you try to be totally hands-free. And remember to choose a carrier or sling that suits your style – if you are going to use it every day and get value for money, buy one you will love to wear. Do you need pockets or other features? Additional feature cost more – fine if you are going to use them, but not worth paying extra for something you might not need. Think about who will be wearing the carrier. Some are tied each time they are used and can be worn by any size adult. Other structured carriers are a better fit on some shapes and sizes, so will need the straps adjusted each time a different adult uses it.

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Finally, think about your budget! There is a wide range of prices so ask around, see if you can try out a few different styles, and ask for assistance when you go to make your purchase.

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All slings come with detailed instructions to show you the different options and how to fit your sling securely. Learn to correctly position your baby’s bottom inside the curve in the sling so that you can be sure that baby is always safe. It pays to do your homework before you try to insert a wriggly baby into the new carrier. Also, practise at home to build up confidence before you tackle putting baby into your carrier in the mall carpark!

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Choosing a carrier

Carriers to suit every family Ring slings Ring slings are made from lengths of woven wrap fabric with two rings sewn on one end. They are used over one shoulder and will take you from newborn through toddlerhood. These slings are a great comfortable supportive option for newborns, as they’ll support the “C-shape” curve babies are born with. They are easier to use than some other wraps. Ring slings are fabulous with toddlers as you can pop them in and out easily once they’re starting to want to walk on their own but inevitably end up tired halfway through the outing. They fold up easily to be carried in a nappy bag. Ring slings are more versatile and useful than a ‘pouch sling’, as they can be used by different sized parents and quickly adjust to the size of both the adult and the child. They are a great introduction to babywearing as they don’t require any specific technique to use them – you just need to know the right position for the age of your child, and ensure you position the ring sling comfortably on your shoulder. Like woven wraps, ring slings are available in a wide range of fabrics and different designs.



Woven wraps

Stretchy wraps

Woven wraps are long pieces of specially woven babywearing fabric. They are designed to be strong and secure and have a good stretch/give across the diagonal to mold to your baby’s shape. You need to be prepared to learn how to develop wrapping techniques, and pop along to a babywearing meet/group to get some hands-on pointers. YouTube is a great source of tutorials now as woven wraps become more popular.

Stretchy wraps are lovely for newborn babies. They’re made from soft, gentle stretch cotton that you wrap around yourself before tucking your new bundle into place. Particularly in the first few months, they can let you get your hands back and are comfy enough that you can sit down and relax once baby has nodded off all snuggled up. Because they wrap right around you, they’re great for skin-to-skin contact, as baby is held against your chest listening to your heartbeat.

The fantastic thing about woven wraps is that they will fit all sizes and shapes and all ages of babies, from newborn up. Because the fabric doesn’t stretch, you can use them in lots of different styles, front, side and back. You can use them in one-shoulder and two-shoulder carries, some that wrap snugly around your chest to distribute weight and others that just are more like a backpack. Woven wraps are manufactured in cotton, linen, silk, wool and hemp blends – different blends will give different support, with hemp being the most ‘toddler-worthy’ wrap and wool blends being the most soft and cuddly. Most people of average size would be fine to start out in a 4.6m to 7m wrap and there are many lengths available depending on what carries you like or what you feel like wearing on any given day.

Most people will find that day-to-day use of a stretchy wrap will finish when baby is around eight or nine kilograms, as the stretch in the fabric means it becomes harder to hold baby close to you. Keeping their weight close to your centre of gravity is what keeps a carrier being comfortable, but they are not appropriate for using with back carries.

Soft structured carriers (SSC) SSCs are super quick to pop on and very supportive. While you and your baby may take a little time to get used to carrying and working out the most comfortable position for you both, SSCs do not require any learning or technique like a woven wrap does. This style of carrier is very popular with those who like quick on and off. They consist of a buckled, padded waistband, buckled padded

shoulder straps and a back panel with a sleep hood. These carriers can be used for front or back carrying and from newborn – though you might need a separate insert. They are fabulous for long walks and provide good support for long-term wearing. They are a great way to comfortably carry children for longer periods of time. SSCs can be used from newborn through to about four years of age or around 20kg. Check the age and weight information for each brand before making your choice. Unless specified, carriers should only be used with baby facing inwards towards the adult, i.e. front carried facing parent or back carried like a piggyback. While some new models of SSC have an adjustable position for facing outwards with older babies, the recommended position for babies is facing towards the adult.

Onbuhimo Carriers Based on a traditional Japanese way of carrying, Onbuhimo have become a popular baby carrier choice. With comfy shoulder straps but no waist band, Onbuhimo are ideal for during pregnancy or for those who prefer not to have a waistband. Onbuhimos are more compact than a regular buckle carrier and can be very reasonably priced. They are generally worn with a toddler who can help put it on by sitting on a chair or standing.

Giving it a go in Gore Gore Parents Centre has set up a Carrier Library and will include demonstrations at their Childbirth Education classes. They will include a demonstration time at their Baby and You class (aimed at babies up to four months of age) and their Moving and Munching class (for babies from four to eight months). The committee also plans a general interest session

solely on ‘babywearing’ with knowledgeable speakers and parents who will be able to share their own baby wearing experiences. These sessions will all have a focus on safety. Gore Parents Centre President, Vicki Ramsay says: “We have some keen babywearers on our committee and amongst our members and we have decided we would like to help others in the community have the chance to give it a go.” 

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Mei Tai

Baby carrier safety

Mei Tai are based on the traditional Asian style carrier. They are more structured than a woven wrap but without the padded waistband and buckles of a structured carrier. They are versatile in the way you can wear them and can fit any size as they are tied to fit each time you wear them.

Babywearing done properly is very safe, but, as with any other baby or child product, it is important to observe a few basic safety tips. Always follow the carrier instructions exactly and, if possible, learn how to safely use your carrier from a qualified babywearing consultant who has had expert training in babywearing safety.

A Mei Tai has four straps (one at each corner, and the top two straps are longer). Tie the shorter straps round your waist, like an apron, then position baby and lift up the back panel. Then wrap the longer straps over your shoulders and across to secure in front of your baby. These carriers are often available in beautiful designs and are made by small boutique businesses. They represent the middle ground between the learning of a woven wrap and the simplicity of a soft structured carrier.



Make sure your child’s airway always remains open while babywearing The best way to do this is to keep baby in an upright position, high enough on your body to monitor breathing and ensure that their chin is off their chest. Babywearing International (BWI) recommends that infants only be held in a horizontal

or cradle position while actively nursing and return to an upright or vertical position as soon as they have finished.

It is important that your carrier supports your baby’s developing neck and back Ideally baby should be held with their knees higher than their bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee, although with older babies and toddlers full knee-to-knee support is not always possible or even necessary. An ergonomic carrier (whether a soft structured carrier, Asian-style carrier, sling, or wrap) will provide better support for baby and will be more comfortable for the caregiver as well.

Consider how much learning you want to do. Some carriers are simple to use and require little learning to be a confident user. Others, like a woven wrap, have a simple to learn technique but lots of other techniques you can learn for older children.

Always inspect your carrier for wear or damage before use Examine it for weak spots, loose stitching, worn fabrics, etc. BWI recommends purchasing a carrier from a reputable manufacturer to ensure it meets all current safety, testing, and labelling standards.

Practise all carries until you are completely confident Practise over a bed or couch, or low to the ground. A babywearing meeting is the perfect place to learn new skills or ask for tips from a friend who has been wearing for a while. In most cases it is best to be comfortable with front carries before attempting back carries.

will let baby slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and hurt your back. In view at all times – you should always be able to see your baby’s face by glancing down. The fabric of the carrier should not be so close around them that you have to open in to check on them. In cradle position your baby should face upwards. Close enough to kiss – your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss baby on the head or forehead. Keep chin off chest – baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict breathing. Ensure there is always space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.

Baby carriers are not an approved child restraint or flotation device and should not be used in moving vehicles or boats. Avoid babywearing in any situations where it would not be safe to carry an infant in your arms.

Supported back – in an upright carrier baby should be comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position and their head and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose baby can slump which can close their airway. A baby in a sling should be positioned with their bottom in the deepest part of the sling so it does not fold them in half. 

Give babywearing five ticks

Article prepared with the assistance of The Sleep Store and Babywearing International

Tight – slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby to you. Any slack or loose fabric

Use common sense while babywearing

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Making it easy Breastfeeding support at early childhood education centres

Too often parents are led to believe they will have to give up breastfeeding and should get their child onto formula when they start at an early childhood centre. But, if the centre is well organised and welcoming, this should not be necessary. When you are looking for an early childhood education service (ECE), ask how it supports mums to continue breastfeeding – hopefully you will be surprised and delighted to find that it provides a good supportive environment for mum and baby.



Breastfeeding-friendly ECE services are the ones that also know about and support parent-child attachment, infant brain development, health, and family well-being. For women still breastfeeding when their baby, toddler or preschooler enters an ECE setting, encountering a supportive environment or knowing that such a culture exists may result in an extension of the duration of breastfeeding, with the associated health protection for both mothers and babies that this practice offers. ECE settings are natural places for promoting breastfeeding – both for active breastfeeding by the mother,

and where this is not possible, feeding the infant with the mother’s breast milk.

Down to practicalities The World Health Organisation recommends that babies should be breastfed at least until they are six months of age. When solids are introduced at around six months breastfeeding should continue if possible until the child is between one and three years of age – even if it is only at nights or if milk is expressed for baby to have when they are in daycare.



ECE services should provide a comfortable space and seating for parents to sit and breastfeed – and this space should not be a bathroom or cupboard! Expressed breast milk should be kept in a sterilised bottle or sterilised plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. It will keep at room temperature for around four hours and in the back of the fridge for up to two days. It may be kept in a freezer for up to three months. Frozen expressed milk should be defrosted in the fridge or the container of milk should be placed in warm water until the milk thaws.

It should be warmed up to body temperature in a bowl of hot water. Experts do not recommend using a microwave for either heating or defrosting breast milk. Test the temperature of the milk by putting a little on the inside of your wrist, and then use the milk immediately. It is not safe to either reheat or refreeze breast milk.

Introducing making life simple for mums who express Our Express and Go range makes everything easier. By using a single pouch to EXPRESS, STORE, WARM and FEED, there’s no need to transfer breastmilk between bottles so you’ll never lose a precious drop!

Babies over six months may be given water, but cow’s milk should not be offered before baby turns one. Cow’s milk contains high levels of protein and salt which are great for calves but not safe for babies as it doesn’t have the vitamins and minerals a human infant needs.

Continued overleaf... The magazine of Parents Centre


Storing breast milk safely Express your breast milk into a clean, airtight container with a sealed lid and remember to date all stored milk. Refrigerate or freeze breast milk as soon as possible after you have expressed. Store it in the bottom half of the fridge or freezer and towards the back. Store breast milk for: 4 hours at room temperature (keep it cool in a damp towel) 48 hours (2 days) in the fridge 2 weeks in the freezer box in the fridge 3–6 months in the separate freezer part of the fridge-freezer +6 months in a separate chest freezer. If expressing at work, store milk in fridge or chillybin with ice packs until you get home.

Things to look out for when choosing an ECE service An openness and willingness among staff and managers to learn more about the requirements for supporting breastfeeding in the childcare setting, including correct techniques for storing, handling and feeding expressed breast milk and appropriate complementary feeding.



A clearly written breastfeeding policy outlining support for breastfeeding at the centre and the way breast milk expression can be encouraged.

A physical environment and a positive attitude that will encourage mothers wanting to stay in the centre to feel comfortable about breastfeeding.

An awareness among the supervisors and other members of staff of their role as ECE educators and development specialists. Where appropriate, they should be able to advise parents about optimal infant nutrition, including ways to continue breastfeeding.

“When I first started coming here, there were often two or three of us sitting in there breastfeeding away, getting each other glasses of water. It was very easy.”

Information they will provide for parents and caregivers on accessing health professionals and breastfeeding specialists. An emphasis on great communication between families and staff. This includes written and verbal communication about the centre’s policies and provisions for breastfeeding, including for storing and preparing expressed breast milk as well as the parents’ expectations regarding infant feeding, including breastfeeding schedules.

“Our ECE centre has the parents’ room upstairs and that makes it easy to go up there and feed him and have some quiet time.” It is also important that all staff have a non-judgmental and supportive attitude towards families that make – or have already made – the decision not to breastfeed or to continue breastfeeding. Staff should have good knowledge and awareness of correct methods of preparing breastmilk substitutes. Article prepared from a report by Sarah Alexander and Judith Galtry to the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust and written by My ECE experts. 

An understanding of family requests for infant feeding and identifying ways in which staff can support and encourage the breastfeeding relationship. The way mothers are reassured if they are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding, and how they can support mums with the time they need.

Find out more

More comfort, more milk When you are comfortable and relaxed, your milk flows more easily. That is why we created our most comfortable breast pump yet; sit comfortably with no need to lean forward and let our soft massage cushion gently stimulate your milk flow.

Comfort breast pumps

The magazine of Parents Centre




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It's easy to get stressed juggling family, washing, cooking, cleaning, money, getting from A to B and so on. And it can get even worse in the build up to the festive season. Sometimes everything just seems too huge and too hard. Here are some proven tips on managing stress.

Sands New Zealand is a network of parent-run, nonprofit groups supporting families who have experienced the death of a baby with over 25 groups/contact people around the country. Most members/supporters are also bereaved parents. They offer empathy and understanding. While they are not counsellors and do not give formal advice they do offer an opportunity and environment to share experiences, to talk and to listen. SANDS promotes awareness, understanding and support for those dealing with the death of a baby at any stage in pregnancy, birth or as a newborn, and due to medical termination or other forms of reproductive loss. �


Things that could help

children need � Think about how you react to certain situations. Are there some things that wind you up more than others? Talk about these with someone else and think of ways you could manage them better.

� Take deep, slow breaths when the pressure builds.

Laura Mackay

� Sometimes just accepting "I can't do anything about it, it's not my problem" is a relief.

Laura lives in Wellington with her husband and children. She is a Childbirth Educator at Lower Hutt Parents Centre.

Children need just six things to grow into happy, capable adults.

Love and warmth You can never spoil a child with too much love. Showing warmth and affection builds trust, positive self-esteem and strengthens your relationship.

Talking and listening

� Be realistic. If you've got small children keeping the house really tidy is impossible. Set aside a time at the end of the day when you all put the toys away together.

Guidance and understanding

� Exercise. Set yourself a goal - maybe walk three times a week, 20 sit ups every morning or 15 minutes digging the garden.

Children are more likely to co-operate when they understand why we want them to do something. Clear, simple explanations are the most effective.

� Set aside some time for yourself. Sit and read a book for 10 minutes, or watch TV. Don't spend all the time your children are asleep rushing around trying to do things. Use that time for yourself. Unplug the phone and take a bath, write down your feelings, mow the lawn, lie in the sun, ring a friend.

Consistency and consequences

� Make friends. Join a Coffee Group, Playgroup, Playcentre or Kohanga Reo. Find support by talking with parents of the children your child plays with, this can lead to friendships and a show you you're not alone in your feelings.

Consistency involves predictability. From an early age, children learn that action have consequences.

Things that won’t help

� Being critical of yourself; no one does everything perfectly all the time.

Talking with kids and really listening to what they say� makes them feel heard and builds their confidence. �

Limits and boundaries

A structured and secure world

Being aggressive to others; take a deep breath and walk away.

Safe, supportive environments provide security and reduce conflict. 

Falling into the trap of not eating enough, eating too much, drinking lots of coffee or alcohol.

� Yelling just winds things up leaving you and your children feeling upset.

� Getting so tired that everything seems too hard. Try to lie down and relax when your children are asleep.

Rules keep things safe and fair for the whole family. Go to bed early. Driving too fast. They need to teach mostly ‘what we do’ rather than �� Avoiding people. ‘what we don’t do’. They need to work for everyone – for children and parents.

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In this section Visiting Marlborough Celebrating half a century in Kapiti Snippets from around the Centres Moving and Munching

Volunteers The lifeblood of Parents Centre

Find a Centre

Those who can, do. Those who can, do more! What is a volunteer? Basically, it is someone who is socially conscious. It takes an exceptional person to recognise the benefits that go with giving something of themselves and their time, sharing their skills, without needing payment as a reward. Volunteers are the lifeblood of Parents Centres around the country. We simply wouldn’t exist without the extraordinary enthusiasm and energy of so many generous and proactive people nationwide. Volunteering is rewarding, skill-building, good for communities and, let’s not forget, it can be great fun! It fosters a strong sense of belonging and community connection. Time and again we hear that our volunteers are people who are full-time parents, have paid jobs as well as other commitments, yet who still manage to find the time to volunteer for their local Centre. It’s heartening to see the wide number of benefits that volunteering brings. These include career opportunities, the ability to expand a CV for returning to the paid workforce, friendships, personal and professional growth, and the overall satisfaction that comes from being able to contribute to other parents and their families. Read the stories on the following pages of Centres that are making a huge contribution to their communities – all powered by inspirational volunteers. If you are not already enjoying the benefits of volunteering – why don’t you have a go? Your local Centre will welcome you with open arms!

Bridget Best and local Mayor K (Guru) Gurunathan help Kapiti Parents Centre celebrate 50 years

To all our volunteers who have been before, who are with us now and will join us in the future, Parents Centres New Zealand is thankful for your input and honoured to work alongside you to support parents throughout New Zealand. We hope you all have a wonderful summer break and we look forward to a wonderful 2019 together! To locate a Centre near you and to find out more about volunteering with Parents Centre visit: 

The magazine of Parents Centre


Save the Date! Parents Centre NZ are holding their annual conference on 4 May 2019

Come along and connect with other Parents Centre members and committees, hear from some amazing speakers and learn more about new parenting initiatives.

Watch this space for more details



Visiting Marlborough In September, Parents Centre Chief Executive Heather Hayden and Parent Education and Operations Manager Liz Pearce travelled to beautiful Marlborough to attend their Parent and Child Expo. After the Expo, Heather and Liz joined the committee and volunteers to debrief and relax. One committee member had relocated to Auckland

but wanted to come back to Marlborough to help with the Expo because she had been involved in the planning right from the start. Fantastic work and dedication from Marlborough Parents Centre and friends! ď Ž

Celebrating half a century in Kapiti In September, Kapiti Parents Centre celebrated 50 years of providing awesome antenatal classes and fantastic parent education programmes on the Kapiti Coast. The celebrations took place over a full day and included such essentials as a petting zoo, music and Zumba

sessions, bouncy castles and a craft area organised by PORSE. The events were attended by current and past members, present and past committee and childbirth educators who had served the community over the years. The weather was kind and

it was a highly successful day which culminated in the cutting of the cake by local Mayor, K (Guru) Gurunathan. Parents Centre Board Co-Chair Josie Pagani and Chief Executive Heather Hayden took part as well. Congratulations Kapiti – a wonderful milestone! 

Photo above: Current Kapiti Committee Members Anna Burns, Liz Pearce, Bridget Best, Mary-Ann Moore, Genna Marshall-Dunn, Karyn Arndt, Bilyana Todorova

Photo: Past committee members reunited: (from left) Lynne Hinton, Irene Strand, Jackie Stringer and Helen Hutchings.

The magazine of Parents Centre


Always there when needed Stalwart of Dunedin Parents Centre, Chantelle Rowe, was presented with an honorary membership recently. CBE Bookings Coordinator Kirsten McGreevy says that Chantelle has held various roles with their centre over the past five years. “She stepped down from the committee at our recent AGM,“ Kirsten says, “but Chantelle remains a great friend of the committee, still offering her help to the Centre when needed.” Thanks for all you have contributed to your Centre, Chantelle! 

A new generation of Kiwiparent readers Kiwiparent graphic designer, Hannah Faulke and her husband Justin welcomed a new daughter Zara into their whanau in October – much to the delight of big brother Ethan. Congratulations to the whole family!





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

This month the spotlight is on:

‘Moving and Munching’ ‘Your baby’s emerging exploration of the environment and discovery of first foods’ It’s an exciting time. Your baby is moving on; discovering first foods and becoming more active, and already (or soon to be) making those first attempts at crawling. As a new parent it can be difficult to know how to go about introducing solid foods and what issues you need to be aware of now that your baby is (or is getting closer to) being on the move! The ‘Munching’ focus of this programme explores the following: When and how to start to introduce solids into your baby’s diet How to continue to include milk in your baby’s diet Exploring the need for changes in textures, tastes and the quantity of solids over time Ways to encourage your baby to develop healthy attitudes to food. The ‘Moving’ focus of this programme explores the following: Identifying areas of your home environment that might need safety-proofing now that your baby’s mobility and manipulative skills are developing Encouraging the development of your baby’s fine and gross motor skills by identifying age-appropriate play and toys

Development milestones vary widely from child to child. This programme includes information on physical, cognitive (or intellectual), language and social (emotional) development. It stresses that no baby can be compared to another when it comes to development – they are all unique and all reach developmental milestones at different times. Throughout the programme you will hear from a variety of expert guest speakers, all of whom are familiar and experienced with the changes your baby is going through in this 6–12 month age group. Speakers may include a dietitian or nutritionist, a paediatric or Plunket nurse, a paediatrician or an infant feeding advisor. Parents often ask what the signs are for development stages, both in terms of movement and in terms of diet. This programme gives you the opportunity to openly discuss concerns and to learn about balancing baby’s dietary intake as well as understanding and exploring a variety of activities that you as a parent can introduce and enjoy with your little one. Developmentally, the ‘Moving and Munching’ 6–12 month old stage is a fascinating one, and parents who are armed with the right information will enjoy it all the more. Contact your local Centre through for details for programmes running in your area. 

Identifying areas of language, intellectual and social development that helps to stimulate your baby’s learning.

The magazine of Parents Centre


Find a Centre near you Parents Centres span the entire country with 46 locations around New Zealand. Contact your local Centre for details of programmes and support available in your area, or go to:

North Island Auckland Region 1

Bay of Plenty





Bays North Harbour


Hibiscus Coast




Auckland Region 2

New Plymouth

Auckland East



South Taranaki


East Coast North Island


Central Hawke's Bay

Auckland Region 3

Hawke's Bay

West Auckland

Central Districts

Central Auckland

Palmerston North

East & Bays







Lower Hutt




Upper Hutt


Wellington North Wellington South

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



Great parents

grow great kids

Arm yourself with knowledge as you grow as a parent alongside your child, by taking part in one of the Parents Centre programmes that run nationwide. Having a new baby is a time of significant change – your brain is working overtime with questions and your body is going through amazing changes. It's quite a journey. Parents Centre has been supporting parents for 65 years. Become a member of Parents Centre and we can support you too! You’ll get access to quality pregnancy, childbirth and parent education that will help you gain invaluable knowledge on your pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting journey. It’s a great way to meet other new parents who are on the same journey as you. They often become lifelong friends. You get support through coffee groups that meet on a regular basis, and ongoing education programmes to help you navigate the stages of pregnancy and parenthood. With 46 Centres nationwide, we provide many opportunities for social engagement for both parents and children. Many of our Centres offer playgroups and music classes, and these are a great way to learn with your children while you get to socialise with other parents at the same time.

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

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

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

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

Tinies to Tots – positively encouraging your emerging adventurous toddler.

The magazine of Parents Centre




Will you be packing up the family (and half your worldly goods) into the car and heading away for a well-earned holiday during the summer break? A bit of advance planning and heaps of preparation will make the holiday – and the journey – a whole lot easier and give you the chance to get a break as well as make fantastic memories together.

Baby’s first holiday It is best to wait until your baby is over six weeks old and has been immunised before travelling too far from home. Organisation is key! Plan your trip well in advance, know how long it is going to take to get to your destination and plan accordingly. Have plenty of changes of clothes,



nappies and wipes in case of spills – pack what you think you will need and then add extra. Chances are, you will need those extras. Don’t forget to pack a few changes of clothes for yourself as well. Try to limit the amount of time your baby spends in the car. Take frequent breaks on long trips so you can take baby out of their capsule. Some parents find that it is easier to travel at night-time to make the most of baby’s usual sleep routines. Babies can also overheat easily, so make sure that the inside of the car stays at a low temperature. Put a shade up on the window closest to baby so that the direct sunlight does not beat down on them – you don’t want them to get sunburnt. Babies can get very dehydrated, especially in the summer months, so make sure you feed more regularly than usual – another good reason to stop frequently.

Toddler travels You could consider travelling during your toddler’s usual nap times – if they are asleep you will have a quieter, calmer trip. If they do wake, have some stops along the way to visit parks or playgrounds – this will provide a welcome chance to let off some energy. If your toddler has graduated from nappies and is wearing underwear, place a waterproof insert into the car seat in case of accidents and have spare clothes on hand. When you arrive at your holiday destination, give your toddler time to settle in an unfamiliar bed. With preschoolers, it is a good idea to base yourself in one place for several days or weeks, rather than travelling around from one destination to the other. This way your toddler will have a chance to get used to their new surroundings

A word to the wise – pack an ice cream container, wipes and a plastic bag in case dreaded car sickness strikes.

and be more likely to be settled – and go to bed and stay there.

the unpleasantness with a bit of forward thinking and planning.

If your summer holiday includes lots of time spent outside, get them into the habit of wearing a hat whenever they are outside. Make sunscreen a daily ritual. When the novelty has worn off, make it fun by getting them involved and drawing sunscreen pictures on their skin, then smudging them away. And remember to reapply every two hours regardless .

Set your expectations carefully – children usually adjust to the parent’s belief in them. If you let them know that you expect them to be pleasant passengers, they will know that that is what you believe will happen. Conversely, if they hear you complain about how awful the trip will be because of all the fighting and complaining, they will probably live up to that too.

On the road again with preschoolers Family road trips are a classic part of holidays but can be viewed with dread as squabbles and squawks and general moaning from the back can ruin the trip for everyone. There are some things you can do to minimise

Sometimes, despite your best endeavours, squabbles break out in the back seat. Yelling at them to stop is not usually successful. Try stopping the car as soon as it’s safe and let the children know you will not start again until they can be polite to each other. The more they fight the longer the car trip will be and the less time they will have at their holiday destination. When things have settled down, set off again. Repeat as necessary.

Super snacks Children are more settled when they are well fed and watered. Hangry is not an ideal state. Keep a good supply of nutritious snacks on hand and plan to break the trip for lunch so that they can expend a bit of energy. Have a sipper bottle and snacks within arm’s reach. And take a few special treats as well – it is a holiday after all!

Car trip karaoke What would a family road trip be without great music! It creates a fun atmosphere in the car with everyone singing along, even if no one can hold a tune. Enthusiasm and volume count for a lot! Build a playlist that is enjoyable for both parents and kids and get everyone to add their own favourites. That way you won’t get stuck with endless repeats of The Wheels on the Bus or the theme song from Moana.

Continued overleaf... The magazine of Parents Centre


Win well, lose well Things can quickly fall apart when children are in competition with one another. If your child wins a game, teach the others to congratulate the winner and teach the winner to be humble and gracious. Learning to lose is as important as learning to win.

The boredom part can be kept to a minimum by having a good selection of car games to play. Try some of these ideas to keep the little (and not so little) passengers entertained during the trip to visit the family, the beach or the bach.

Bingo This one can be as elaborate and pre-planned as the printing of prepared bingo cards, or as simple as a few pens and some paper. But the basic premise is the same – each player gets a bingo card (or hastily scribbled scrap of paper) with a range of common roadside sights on it. The first player to check off all the items on their card wins.




Colour it up

You can configure this game to suit different player ages, skill or even the length of the journey. The basic rules of the Alphabet Game are each player must find the letters of the alphabet, in order, on road signs they pass. The word must begin with the letter, and a sign can only be used once (KFC only counts as K). Whoever spots the sign first is the only one allowed to use a letter from it.

A variation on the previous game – each player picks a colour and keeps track of the number of cars they see in that colour. Set a time limit and the player with the highest number wins. Again, make the colours a bit rare – if some clever clogs picks silver or white, then it’s game over before it has even started.

Yellow car Simply yell out “yellow car” when you see one. Or orange car – or green car. Best to avoid silver and white as they are everywhere! The first one to get to ten wins.

Who’s in the car next door? This one works best on a busy road, when you are stuck in a traffic jam. Each person takes turns making up a story about the people in the car next to you and the person with the best story wins. Or you all just keep making up wilder and wilder stories and completely forget about the competitive aspect of the game.

Parenting Solutions For Everyone Struggling with confusing behaviour that is hard to cope with? Worried about your child’s development? toiling with routines? We offer experienced professional consulting to support your child and families natural dynamic and philosophy on life and parenting. Behaviour management Family routine Grief support Simplicity parenting Developmental goal setting Early Intervention Rhythm & rhyme of transitions & the day Benefits of nature exposure Technology use Developmental assessment of your child Ages verses stages assessment Educational support within Early Childhood settings Solo or Co parenting solutions Blended family parenting solutions Toilet solutions

I packed my bag and… The first player saying: “I packed my bag and in it I put...” followed by any object they like – a book, a ball, a banana… The next person then repeats “I packed my bag and in it I put…” followed by the original suggestion, then adding their own item. If anyone forgets one of the previous items or cannot think of a new item to add to the bag, they are disqualified.

Ssshhh The last resort of any parent on a long car trip, the Quiet Game generally works best on very young children who don’t realise they are being conned. Simply say, “Let’s play a new game and see who can stay quiet the longest!” This only works on the young and gullible. A worldly

wise four-year-old will not be so easily taken in. Still, after hours of giggling and silliness, you’ll probably be willing to try anything for a few brief moments of welcome quiet.

We offer support for any learning or behavioural needs for your children & family. Please contact us to discuss how we can help

Aimee 021 147 5070

Tablet time While unlimited screen time is not always a good idea, on long car trips tablets can be life savers. But to avoid a massive tech toddler tantrum (also known as an ipaddy) ensure your device is charged before setting off and that you have downloaded movies the night before. Don’t rely on having coverage while you are in the car, or even at your destination. But most of all, enjoy both the journey and the destination, and take time to make memories with your family that will last a lifetime! 

Happy holidays! Article prepared with ideas and suggestion from parents who have learned from experience and want to share their tips with others

The magazine of Parents Centre


Baby’s first


Or “How to be prepared for baby’s first Christmas for a closet Christmas Grinch”

Did I seriously just dive down the black hole that is googling ‘Baby’s first Christmas’? YIKES. I am that person who hates with a passion hearing carols playing in the Warehouse months out from the day. I mean, seriously. It’s almost as if Mister Burns is hanging out watching people start to frantically spend, thinking ‘exxxx-cellennnnnnt’ as we line his pockets. But here I am, thinking about Christmas in OCTOBER, people.



For most of my adult life, Christmases have become about planning and cooking a delicious meal together with my family. Sleep ins and champagne brunch have become the run of the mill. But now that it’s bubba’s first real Christmas, I’ve been thinking about what childhood traditions I’d like her to have. I want it to be much more for her than the commercialised trash fest it has become for so many. So, here are a few of my ideas, gleaned from friends, family members and various Pinterest posts read at 1:00 am when I can’t sleep.

Give a gift to a child in need Last year I started by donating unneeded baby gifts to the Salvation Army tree at Kmart. This year I have signed up for the Wellington Shoebox Christmas. I do this in memory of my Nan, who I helped wrap presents for the donation when I was a child.

Carols We aren’t a particularly religious family, but I was a choir girl growing up and it just isn’t Christmas to me without singing. And I mean REAL singing.

Something to wear, something to read, something they want, something they need

I’ve read about hot chocolates for those in the Northern Hemisphere. So maybe as she grows up we’ll figure this out. Chocolate and fruit fondue maybe? (Our current adult version is a glass or two of Baileys!)

Keep presents sensible

At a carol service, with harmonies. Not “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” on repeat at Warehouse thanks people.

A special family tradition on Christmas Eve A friend always watches a Christmas movie with her now teenagers. Other families I know open one present on Christmas Eve. I like the idea of opening a new pair of pjs and snuggling down together to watch the Christmas movie with treats that we ONLY have this one night a year.

I have heard the “something to wear, something to read, something they want, something they need” bandied about Facebook recently, and it seems a fabulous way to stop yourself from getting carried away. As children, we always got pyjamas, and a calendar or diary for the new year. My cousins got their new pair of togs for the coming year, and jandals for the summer. Awfully sensible if you ask me! Now the division of Mum and Dad vs Santa is different in every family. But, in ours, our one ‘big’ present always came from parents, and Santa just gave the smaller things – so that other children didn’t wonder why Santa didn’t think they were good enough for that new bike!

Giving and receiving together This may be freakish, but from when we were very young, we all sat

around together (after waiting until the 7am golden hour) and took turns to give and open each and every present. We still do this now, and it verges on the ridiculous how long it takes! But for us, this is celebrating the ‘togetherness’ that Christmas is about – not just mindlessly ripping paper in a self-absorbed fashion.

Afternoon activities Rather than falling into a food coma until it’s time for leftovers, we like to play a game of backyard cricket, go for a family walk, or get in the pool. Activities that are, again, about making the most of being together. So, whether you agree or disagree with my ideas, take a few moments to think about how you’ll keep Christmas manageable and fun this year. Yes, I’m speaking from the ultimate position of naive optimism here – I’m sure things will become very different once my wee one is old enough to see the ads, feel the peer pressure and begin writing lists for Santa. But keeping things ‘real’ at Christmas is going to be my priority, and hopefully by keeping this in mind we can create special memories of togetherness for the years to come.

The magazine of Parents Centre


Fast forward two years… Two years on, have I taken my own advice, or has reality given me a harsh smack upside the face? We continue to support Wellington Shoebox Christmas – with each of my children giving a gift to a local 5-year-old this year. We are also looking ahead to our first Christmas in our own home – hosting family here rather than travelling out of town. I’m sure the cousins from up north can’t wait for a Wellington “beach” Christmas... so we’re starting our regular sacrifices to the weather

gods now, and I’m on the lookout for a fondue set fit for eight cute cousins to enjoy together. A personal present-giving goal this year is to minimise plastic as much as possible, and buy quality handcrafted items rather than chain store tack... such as a lovely wooden heuristic playset. I’m also on the lookout for joint presents for the kids to enjoy together in years to come – maybe one of those tennis balls on a string you can whack around only to have it boof you unexpectedly in the head? One big lesson I’ve learnt though, is that with kids around it’s time to turn down the ambitions food-wise.

No more home-cured salmon gravlax or multi-flavoured panna cotta towers for now... just plain old delicious glazed ham, fresh berries and a pav will do us fine now, and if the Welly wind stays away, we’ll be away singing:

“Christmas on the beach, Christmas on the beach, Pack your picnic hamper up, we’re gonna have a feast. Underneath the huge pohutukawa tree, CHRISTMAS ON THE BEEEEEAAAACH!” 

Charlotte Machin-French Charlotte lives by the beach in Plimmerton, Wellington with husband Peter. She is Mum to Celia (nearly 3) and baby brother Emerson, born in February. Charlotte is currently Vice President for Mana Parents Centre, and has been volunteering as their CBE Bookings Coordinator since May 2016. She plans to return to paid work as an English teacher in mid 2019.



because home-made is best for your baby

Create your own family gift-giving traditions There are plenty of ways to encourage children to see Christmas as a time of giving love and hope to others, either at home in your own community or further afield in countries ravaged by conflict or natural disasters. Here are some ideas you may like to try. Decorate shoeboxes and fill them with small treats like a deck of cards, small games, pencil crayons and puzzle books for kids who have to spend Christmas in hospital. Google shoebox Christmas and see if there is a group operating in your area. Clean out the toy box for some preloved treasures to give to your charity shop – make sure they are in good condition. Buy a new toy and ask around for organisations who are collecting for those who are facing a lean Christmas – City Missions, shopping malls and churches all have places you can leave gifts for other families. If you have finished having babies, give all your nursery gear to an organisation like Pregnancy Help. Donate some tins to your local food bank. All towns and cities will have food drives to collect enough to see families in need through the festive period. Several charities offer the option of buying a gift that keeps on giving. Choose a special gift card; inside the recipient can read details of how the gift associated with that card will help children and families in need. For instance,

$9 donated to ChildFund New Zealand will buy a fruit tree for a family in a developing country, or pay it forward by donating to the Good Registry – a social enterprise that simplifies giving, helps good causes, and reduces waste. Clear your wardrobes of clothing that your children have outgrown and take to your community charity shop. Make up a special meal for someone who is housebound – you will not only deliver food but also companionship. Check with local churches if you don’t know anyone. Consider sponsoring a child – there are plenty of sponsorship programmes to choose from. When they are old enough, encourage children to do something that requires a little more commitment, such as volunteering at the local City Mission on Christmas Day. Or encourage them to think of others all year round by suggesting they save some of their pocket money in a moneybox. At the end of the year their savings can be donated to a charity of their choice. Walk the talk. Through your own actions, you will demonstrate to your children how to make giving to others part of your family traditions at Christmastime. Whatever you decide to do, it is important to involve your children and explain to them the value of their actions. This way we can ensure children grow up in a culture where altruism is valued and encouraged, and the joy of giving to others is celebrated. 

2 compact baby food freezing trays with lids. 1.2L capacity for maximum storage recipe e-guide with 27 recipes for starting solids and beyond

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank

The magazine of Parents Centre




The sun makes life on earth both possible and enjoyable. Nothing draws people outdoors like a sunny day! BUT, sun exposure is more than the warmth and light you can feel and see. It is particularly important to be SunSmart in the sunniest months between September and April, especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm when ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels are very high. But beware, in winter it is also important to be careful of the sun’s strength at high altitudes and around snow or water. UV radiation travels to Earth from the sun in one of three forms: UVA, UVB or UVC. UV radiation is harmful. Prolonged or excessive exposure may cause skin damage including sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer. It can damage the eyes and weaken the immune system – making it difficult for your body to fight off infection and disease.



The levels of UVA and UVB radiation reaching you depend upon six factors. Time, season, latitude, altitude, weather and ozone layer. To help with this, NIWA produces the Sun Protection Alert which tells you when you need to protect your skin. Protection is required when UV radiation is damaging (when UV levels are 3 or higher). Limiting how much ultraviolet radiation (UVR) children get from the sun during their early years could reduce the rate of skin cancers in later life. Skin cancers are the most common form of cancers in New Zealand. The rates of skin cancer in New Zealand and Australia are the highest in the world. Sunburn, particularly in childhood and adolescence, increases

The shorter the shadow the stronger the UV rays.

If you have a history of one or more sunburns before you turn 20, research suggests you have a much higher chance of getting melanoma skin cancer as you age.

the risk of getting skin cancer. Children under the age of 12 months should be kept out of direct sun as much as possible – always seek out some shade.

Slip – into a shirt (long sleeves are best), especially between 10am and 4pm when the ultraviolet rays are most fierce, and slip under some shade.

People of all ages and skin colours can be diagnosed with skin cancer but those at a higher risk are people who have:

Slop – on sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors so it can be absorbed into the skin, and then reapply every two hours and after swimming or physical activity. Use an SPF30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen that meets the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZ2604.

fair skin and red or fair hair fair skin that burns easily no matter what hair colour had one or more severe sunburns – especially in childhood and adolescence used sunbeds, particularly at a young age had previous skin cancers a family history of melanoma (parent, brother, sister or child) large, irregularly shaped and unevenly coloured moles a large number of moles. Prevention is best, so keep your kids safe during the sunshine months with this easy to remember message: Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.

Slap – on a hat with a brim or flaps. More people get burned on the face and neck than any other part of the body, so a hat is very important. Model good behaviour and wear a hat yourself. Wrap – on a pair of sunglasses. Choose close-fitting, wrap-around glasses that meet Australian Standard AS1067. Even though there is no agreement among ophthalmologists over whether children should wear sunglasses, there is evidence that overexposure to UVR early in life can cause a predisposition to eye problems later on. Getting children into the habit of wearing sunglasses will stand them in good stead when they grow into adults. And remember, try to seek shade whenever you take the family outdoors.

Continued overleaf...

Free “Organic Birth” Labour Check-List Guide


Free “Why They Cry” baby guide

NZ’s No.1 best-selling book on childbirth & infants since 2005! The magazine of Parents Centre


Did you know around 80% of UV radiation can still get through on a cloudy day?

New Zealand’s skin cancer rates are among the highest in the world. This is due to: high levels of UV radiation in New Zealand during daylight savings months

Wrong: Your windburn is actually sunburn caused by UV radiation. The wind may make you feel cooler but UV radiation can still be high on a windy day.

low ozone levels over New Zealand

Sunscreen blocks out all UV radiation.

our outdoor lifestyle and tendency to ‘seek the sun’

Wrong: No sunscreen filters out all UV radiation – you still need to limit your time in the sun no matter what sunscreen you’re using, and cover up.

a high proportion of people with fair skin.

Simply not true – sunshine myths

Wearing a T-shirt in the water will protect against sunburn.

I won’t get sunburnt on a cloudy day.

Wrong: A wet T-shirt may offer only half the protection it does when it is dry. If you are going to be in the water, a rash shirt and sunscreen is a good form of protection – or even better, a full-body wetsuit. 

Wrong: You can still get sunburnt on a cloudy day. This is because UV radiation can get through light cloud cover, so unprotected skin can still be damaged.

I can tell by the temperature if I will get sunburnt. Wrong: Heat from the sun is caused by infrared radiation, not UV radiation. UV radiation can still be high even on a cool day, when infrared radiation is low.


I’m windburnt not sunburnt.


Find out more

Prepared with input from the Cancer Society of New Zealand

Truly natural with proven results




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Plump and Renew Serum

Dark Circle and Wrinkle Correction Eye Cream




Skin Refining Cleansing Oil

Know more, because it’s on your skin. *Tested under dermatological skin specialist control. 30 women after 6 weeks of application of the product. The magazine of Parents Centre


Great reads

from Gecko

Gecko Press is an independent, international publisher of curiously good children’s books, based in Wellington. Our team hand-pick books by some of the best writers and illustrators in the world – books of good heart and strong character, excellent in story, illustration and design. We try to choose stories children and parents will want to read hundreds of times, for ages 0 to infinity. We choose books to kick-start a lifetime of reading, and books that tickle our funny bones. Sometimes we choose books that ask big questions, books about friendship, and books with a lot of human nature in them. We choose books by writers and illustrators we love. We choose books that slow you down, or speed you up … books that tell us things in beautiful ways. Here are some of our favourites – we hope you enjoy them too!



Have you seen Elephant? An exciting debut picture book about a small boy and his elephant. Elephant wants to play hide and seek. But you’ll need to try your best — he’s very good! This is a perfect book for sharing with children, who will love finding the elephant (and being better at it than the boy in the book!). Watch out for the dog and the tortoise, too... A book that tickles the funny bone of children and adults. Part of the humour comes through the juxtaposition of the subdued, beautiful illustrations and the absurdity of an elephant trying to hide inside a standard lamp.

Waiting for Goliath A warm and surprising story about waiting for a friend. Bear waits patiently for his friend. The robins fly to the south and the first snow falls. When Bear awakes from a long sleep, he hears a noise like a hand sliding slowly across paper. Goliath is coming! But Goliath’s identity is a big surprise. This is the best sort of story that surprises you every time, even though you know what is going to happen. The bear is the most faithful of friends and a very good waiter!

That’s Not a Hippopotamus A deft, delightful tale packed with word play and madcap energy. A class trip to the zoo descends into a chaotic hunt for the missing hippopotamus. Teacher, zookeeper and all the children join the search. The noise and drama reach a pitch, and no one thinks to listen to quiet Liam, who really might know where the hippo is hiding. Awarded NZ best picture book 2017.

Poo Bum (also available in te reo Maori: Paraweta) Once there was a little rabbit who could only say one thing... In the morning his mother would say, ‘Time to get up, my little rabbit!’ He’d reply: ‘Poo bum!’ At lunchtime his father would say, ‘Eat your spinach, my little rabbit!’ He’d reply: ‘Poo bum!’ One day, he meets a hungry wolf. Will the little rabbit learn his lesson once and for all? Gecko Press bestseller! We’ve never seen a child who didn’t like it.

The Old Man A book about homelessness, and the way children see what others refuse to look at. Day breaks over the town. Wake up, it’s time to go to school. It’s time for the old man to get up, too. The night was icy and he’s hungry. His name? He no longer knows. This is the story of a person with no job, no family, no home. But his day changes when he is noticed by a child. Drawn in soft, watercolour pencil, this is an important story. This gentle, compelling book will appeal to children’s sense of justice and to readers’ compassion. Behind its dark topic, it’s a bright book – about children’s non-prejudices, generosity, honesty and about hopefulness.

Who’s Hiding? (also available in te reo Maori: Ko Wai E Huna Ana?) A simple book, full of surprises. Who’s hiding? Who’s crying? Who’s backwards? Look carefully! Is it dog, tiger, hippo, zebra, bear, reindeer, kangaroo, lion, rabbit, giraffe, monkey, bull, rhino, pig, sheep, hen, elephant, or cat? Can you tell? Look again...18 fun-loving animals can be found on each question-posing page, sending readers into an upclose, attention-to-detail discovery. This book is fantastic to read aloud, especially the final two pages. Children learn the names of animals, to recognise expressions, colours, and how to count. 

The magazine of Parents Centre


Create a fun feature wall with Resene Wallpaper Collection design 30801. 60




Once you have organised all the necessities of a baby’s life, like somewhere to sleep, clothes and nappies, you may feel there’s not much budget left over for decorating the nursery. Here are some of our budget-friendly ideas on getting your nursery looking great in time for the birth.

Stick to a theme Picking a theme and sticking to it means that you won’t waste money going off on a tangent and buying items that end up looking odd in the room. If you spot something early on that you like – whether it’s bunnies or reindeer, clouds or rainbows – then everything else you acquire will fit right in. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to ideas; this is the one time you can go all out and indulge yourself. If you want flowers sprouting up the walls and over the ceiling, go for it! If you want to go all cutesy with a full woodland of animals, this is your chance. You may want to keep it simpler early on, when your baby is young, then break out the theming when your child becomes a toddler and starts to voice their own preferences. They’re only babies for a short time, so get in before they start complaining about your decorating tastes and only want sports heroes and characters from the latest animated blockbuster movie.

Choose an adaptable colour scheme Colour makes a huge difference to any room of the house but especially a nursery. As with anything, there is a fashion and – at the moment – it’s away from rose petal pink and fresh blue. The trend right now is towards more gender-neutral schemes based on colours like soft sage green or warm greys and fleecy whites, such as Resene Secrets, Resene Flotsam and Resene Merino. One benefit in using more versatile colours like these is that they will last the distance and grow with

your child. They will continue to act as an adaptable background for changes of colour in accessories or bed linen. Pastel tones are certainly psychologically soothing so are a great choice for any room where you want to create a calming environment – even if it’s for your nerves rather than the baby’s. Babies rooms or nurseries can be small, and light colours make small spaces feel larger.

Get creative with testpots If you’re after something a bit more interesting than plain walls, check in with your inner artist, buy some affordable Resene testpots and some masking tape, and paint your own mural. If you’re uncertain of your ability, stick with something simple like a mountain range profile, or some fun stripes. Don’t forget the ceiling. Babies spend much of their time on their backs so think about painting the ceiling a colour – maybe taking the wall colour up and over the ceiling. Or use Resene FX Nightlight glow-in-the-dark paint to create a starry effect that will glow then slowly wane once the lights go out.

Use wallpaper for great effects If you really, really don’t think your creative skills are up to the mark, check out the huge range of fun and whimsical wallpapers at your local Resene ColorShop. Chances are you’ll only need two or three rolls if the nursery is a compact one, or you might use wallpaper as a feature wall.

Continued overleaf... The magazine of Parents Centre


Upcycle with paint One person’s trash is another’s treasure and nothing is truer when it comes to old furniture. Whether it’s a bedside table, an old change table or a set of drawers or shelves that can often be bought for very little second-hand, Resene paints or wood stains can be



used to smarten up anything. Use Resene Enamacryl for projects like this – it’s a hardwearing, waterborne enamel, so easy to use and clean up after painting. It has a gloss finish but if you want something more matte, use semi-gloss Resene Lustacryl. Semi-gloss and gloss finishes will be much easier to wipe clean than lower sheen finishes.

Top tip... Use Resene Zylone Sheen Zero paint for your baby’s room. It gives you a lovely low-sheen finish, is very low odour and has no added volatile organic compounds.

Upcycle furniture or accessories with paint for a cost-effective result. This old crate has become a toy box with some cheap castors added and using Resene Alabaster stripes with spots in Resene Hi Jinx, Resene Pretty In Pink, Resene Blackout, Resene Spotlight and Resene Bellbottom Blue. It’s finished in Resene Aquaclear urethane. The chest of drawers has been given a fire-engine theme and is painted in Resene Enamacryl tinted to Resene Rocket (red), Resene Blue Jeans (blue), Resene Cotton Wool (white) and Resene Bright Spark (yellow).

Make your own mobile With a bit of twine or fishing line, and some simple blocks or shapes, you can make your own mobile to hang over the cot. Paint threadable beads or old Christmas decorations in different colours using Resene testpots and string them either directly from the ceiling or tie them to a securely suspended coat hanger.

Make your own art Buy some cheap frames and stretched canvases from the local craft store or homewares budget chain and go to town with those testpots. You could do little hand or foot prints, use simple animal stencils… whatever takes your fancy.

Keep safe Keep clutter at bay so that you don’t trip on anything, or bump into anything, or sit on something unexpected when you’re on night-feed duty. And here’s a useful tip – always plan for more storage than you think you will need.

Continued overleaf...

Let your ideas loose all over your walls with Resene Write-on Wall Paint.


! g n i t i r w

Simply apply over your existing light coloured wall paint. Then once dry and cured you can use whiteboard markers to write all over the wall without damaging the surface. And when it’s time to delete an idea just grab a soft cloth or whiteboard eraser, rub out the marker and start again. With Resene Write-on Wall Paint there’s no limit to your ideas.

The magazine of Parents Centre

0800 RESENE (737 363)




Did you know… that Resene has a specially compiled collection of colours to suit all ages and stages of childhood with its KidzColour range? It includes everything from soft slipper pinks to fiery reds and bold blues, as well as some fun metallic paints. Inspiration from our designers Gender-neutral colour schemes (left) are flexible and on-trend. The darker colour on the lower walls, Resene Westar, makes the room feel cosier. The upper walls are in Resene Quarter Merino. The mobile hanging from the coat hanger on the left was made by painting wooden Christmas decorations in Resene Romantic. Use wallpaper to create an easy neutral scheme with Resene Wallpaper Collection design 219291 featuring cute bunny motifs. This fun galaxy wall uses ‘planets’ painted in Resene FX Nightlight, a waterborne glow-in-the dark paint. You don’t need much skill for this look on the right, just a roller and two paint colours. This room uses Resene Ruby Tuesday orange and Resene Point Break blue, with the blue roughly rolled over the basecoat of orange. Article supplied by the creative team at Resene. 

Find out more Go online to to find some inspiration.

The magazine of Parents Centre


Poppy with big brothers Zac and Ryan.

Photo: AimeĂŠ Birth and Family Photography



When life has

other plans

Poppy’s birth story

This is the birth story of my daughter Poppy. It was weird being on this end of maternity care when I have been so involved in other aspects – in Parents Centre, the College of Midwives and the Maternity Services Consumer Council. I wanted one more baby. Easy, right? Get pregnant, have a worry-free pregnancy, a beautiful birth. Done. Well life had other plans. It took four and a half years and some heart-breaking miscarriages to conceive. When we found out in March 2012 that Valentine’s Day had proven rather productive we were cautiously happy. However, bleeding at seven weeks had me convinced that unfortunately this pregnancy, like others, was going to end in tragedy. I couldn’t relax even though a scan showed a baby with a good heartbeat. Another big bleed at nine weeks and another anxious wait for a scan which I was positive would show my pregnancy wasn’t viable. That nine-week scan showed a beautiful baby, lovely heartbeat and it also gave us a reason for the bleeding. I had a subchronic haematoma. No one really knows how scary scans can be for a woman who has experienced miscarriage. I don’t think we offer enough support for women either. Just a phone call before or after to let her know someone understands would be so valuable. It was an anxious time waiting to get to 12 weeks. Every time I went to the toilet I was positive I would find more blood. Every day I thought that I was going to lose my baby. To be honest that fear never really left until she was born. At 19 weeks I fell and broke my ankle. It was my own stupid fault, running down stairs in the wet, but this accident was the changing point in my pregnancy. The hospital wanted to do a scan to check on the baby after the fall so I went off anxiously. While the baby was fine the scan did show that it wasn’t growing as well as it should be. The baby measured about two weeks behind and even though they were fairly sure this was because of the subchronic

haematoma, they wanted to watch it closely.

My dreams went up in smoke Suddenly my dreams of a normal pregnancy were up in smoke. Two weeks later I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes as well. Nothing seemed to be going right. At this point my care was transferred to a team at Auckland Hospital and I had to say goodbye to my midwife I liked and trusted. From then on, my pregnancy became more about tests and scans than about this amazing baby growing inside of me. Fortnightly scans showed baby was not growing well, blood flow from placenta wasn’t great and blood flow to uterus was impaired. Also, just to add a new dimension, they noticed the baby had an odd head shape and they weren’t sure why. At 24 weeks they started to prepare me for the possibility that my baby was not going to make it to 40 weeks and I had my first hospital stay. I was admitted for two nights for monitoring. At this point the baby weighed only around 400 grams and I must admit I didn’t hold a lot of hope that if she was born then, I would ever take her home. We decided to take the offered steroids to help develop the baby’s lungs in preparation for a premature birth. I got to go home again which was great, but I was back in twice a week for scans and monitoring. Over the next nine weeks I would spend more nights in hospital than at home. The shortest stint I had was two days. The longest was two whole weeks before the birth. At 30 weeks we opted for another course of steroids to develop the lungs as they just weren’t sure how much longer my placenta would hold out. We chose not to have an amniocentesis to see if there was any reason for her head shape, as we would not have done anything regardless of the results and there was a high risk of it putting me into labour.

Dealing with conflicting advice One of the hardest things about my pregnancy was conflicting advice and comments from various people.

Continued overleaf... The magazine of Parents Centre


In hospital I would see people from the “team” looking after me and they would be following one plan and have one view, and then I would see other people in the weekend or after hours who had other ideas and other views. Even with a good knowledge base, I felt confused and unsure. I felt adrift in the system. I didn’t feel like I had a central person who was my “go-to” person when I had questions or concerns. No one was looking after my emotional state and no one was there to give me the support or shoulder to cry on that I desperately craved. Yes, I have wonderful family and friends who supported me, but I wanted someone who knew all the ins and outs and wanted me to understand too. It is hard when you are up against this medical wall of tests, scans and everything is evaluated in risk, but all you really want is to know you will get to hold your baby. I had lost control and I felt like there was this wave just carrying me along by myself. While sometimes I managed to come up for air and be in a good place, the next day something would change or I would be unsure again and this wave would sweep over me. I wish I could have just had some key person who was there for me and not just focused on my body and my baby. Not only did we know that the baby would be premature, but she was also small. She was consistently measuring three to four weeks behind in growth so I couldn’t even begin to imagine how tiny she



might look. I grieved over those nine weeks in hospital. Not just because I was worried for my baby, but also because I had lost control. My pregnancy seemed to be measured in terms of tests, scans, discussions on viability, and I had lost the chance to have the birth I wanted. Given the baby’s small size, concern over the head shape and the potential for bleeding, we had chosen to have a caesarean section. This grief wasn’t ever really acknowledged by any of the staff and it led to me feeling a bit detached from my pregnancy and my baby. I found missing my other two children especially hard. The hospital staff tried their best to keep me upbeat, but hospital isn’t home. My family visited me when they could, but we did have to balance that with trying to keep the boys in their normal routine mostly. It was great when I got to have home visits but being away from my family for so long left me feeling a little isolated. I often ended up sharing a room and this made things harder. You can’t spend the night crying when someone else is in there with their own fears too.

Can you see the fear behind my smile? At 33 weeks I had a scan and was told to prepare that if that scan didn’t look good, the baby would need to be born. I didn’t really believe it was going to happen. I thought it would be much of the same, stay in hospital, have tests. I thought I probably had more time. I didn’t.

The baby had not grown much in two weeks and today was going to be her birthday.

person but in this situation one support person isn’t enough as you want someone to be with the baby too.

It was a scary wait for a theatre to be free. Can you see the fear hidden behind my smile? Once we made it into the operating theatre it was pretty quick for Poppy to be born. I got a quick view as the obstetrician lifted her up, and then she was whisked off to the next room. Daniel went with her as we’d planned, but I found this hard, being alone in theatre, not knowing how she was doing.

Once Poppy was put into her incubator she was wheeled off to NICU and Daniel gave me a quick update and a kiss before going with her.

Poppy was born on the 28th of September at 12:26pm, weighed 1500 grams and was 41cm long. It was so bizarre lying there and being so uninvolved with my baby after her birth. No one gave me her details. They were all busy and so I just lay there, silently crying, wondering what I had had, and how my baby was doing. The anaesthetist realised I was struggling and so chatted to me and went and found out about Poppy for me. I was encouraged to hear that she was trying to breathe on her own. It is very surreal to be lying there and not having your baby lying skin-to-skin. Also, everyone was so busy doing their jobs that no one talked much to me and I felt so scared. It would have been so great for someone to sit with me, hold my hand and just distract me. I know this is usually a support

Struggling on my own When surgery was completed I was transferred to recovery. The nurse left me to go find medication etc, so I was alone in recovery waiting and waiting. This was incredibly hard as I wasn’t sure what was happening with Poppy and I had no one to talk to, or to cry with. All around me I could hear parents with their babies and I had no baby and no support. Again, I wish someone had told me about this or someone took the time to see I was struggling. If I had known, perhaps we could have got someone else to sit with me. I guess it is hard to prepare for the unknown, but some guidance would have been good. Finally the nurse had me all organised and I was wheeled into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Nothing prepared me for that moment. There was this tiny wee girl hooked up to machines and all I could do was touch her hand. I wasn’t able to hold her. It broke my heart and I wanted so badly just to hold her.

Continued overleaf...

The magazine of Parents Centre


As I had been alone in recovery and was struggling from the birth and not knowing what was going on, I had a wee meltdown in the Specialist Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and yelled at the staff (I am so sorry if you are reading this). I just felt like everyone else was getting to touch my baby and know everything while I was in the dark. My poor husband copped it too. I wish I had been prepared more for what would happen after the birth and what I could expect. No one took the time to tell me that there would be people around her, what they would be doing, or what Poppy’s set up would be in NICU. They assumed I would know. I stayed for as long as I could in NICU but had just had surgery, so I needed to rest. Once I was settled on the ward we went about ringing family and friends. Originally, I was told that I wouldn’t get a private room and would be sharing. I got a bit upset and annoyed at this. I was already coping with so much and couldn’t handle the thought that I would be sharing while I cried over my baby. Thank you so much to the midwife who managed to get me a private room. It was a positive thing when it all looked so bleak.

She didn’t feel like mine Overall Poppy spent five days in NICU at Auckland. I spent those five days expressing as much milk as I could for her, having cuddles as often as I could and recovering from the birth. One of the hardest things in those five days was that she didn’t feel like mine. I often asked permission to touch her, felt like I couldn’t disturb her if they had put a cover over her incubator and was scared to ask to hold her as often as I would have liked.



I found it quite hard to combat the pain team after the birth. Even though I was not really using the pain pump, and found it hard to carry around to NICU, they kept pushing me to keep it just for another day. I felt more encouraged to stay on it than helped and supported to get off the pump as soon as possible. I wish I had felt more empowered to be more forceful and insist it be removed, but with all that was going on, it became a battle I didn’t fight. In hindsight, I should have as I developed a slight infection in the site and had a sore back. On day six Poppy was transferred to Waitakere Hospital as we were from the Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) area and she was stable. This was a hard day for me as nothing can prepare you for going home but leaving your baby in someone else’s care. Something that would have been helpful was if I could have had just one night at Waitakere Hospital with her to get used to the new surroundings. Having Poppy transferred and me being discharged all in one day was too much. I was looked after by a community midwife following the transfer as my ADHB Gestational Diabetes midwife didn’t do postnatal visits out of area, and while they were lovely this meant every time I met with someone, they wanted me to go through my story again. I am sure they had notes, but they wanted to hear my side. The problem was that my side of the story was painful to tell. Consistency of care would have been so much better; seeing the same midwife may have eased my transition.

I finally had a baby! We were lucky and finally after 20 days in care Poppy passed all her tests and we took her home. I finally felt like I had actually had a baby! Poppy is thriving and is now a happy and busy six-year-old who is well and truly spoilt by her adoring family. I am so thankful every day that she is here and that despite her rocky start, her progress has been very positive. I want to say thank you so much to my

wonderful independent midwife, you know who you are, because even though you had to hand over care, up until then you exceeded my high expectations! Thank you, too, to the staff at Auckland Hospital on Ward 96/98, the gestational diabetes team, my ADHB Gestational Diabetes midwife and my team at the clinic who looked after Poppy and me. You do amazing work, even in difficult situations. 

Nicola Mapletoft Nicola lives in Waiuku, Auckland with her husband Daniel and children Zac, Ryan and Poppy. She has been involved with Parents Centre since 2008 including serving on the Board and facilitates Childbirth and Education and Parenting Classes for Parents Centres throughout Auckland. Nicola also works for Franklin Family Support, supporting parents in the Franklin Community through the Parenting Passport programme enjoys spending time with her friends and family when she gets a rare free moment.

Baby and You Following on from antenatal classes, Baby & You offers tips and strategies as you begin your remarkable journey into parenthood. Baby & You explores the first three months of your baby’s life and gives you the much-needed tools to enable you to grow in confidence as a parent. Contact your local Parents Centre for more information on their upcoming Baby & You programme

The magazine of Parents Centre


One of my best finds is the recipe for Hot Chocolate Mix sent in by Danielle Whakarau. It sounds fantastic and, as it requires no cooking, it is perfect for children to make. Our 12-year-old is planning to do this for her friends and accompany it with a mug and chocolate spoon to make a lovely gift. Along the same theme as the chocolate mix is Sand Art Brownie. The layered ingredients in the jar look attractive and are also easy for children to make. Christmas is the perfect excuse to indulge in shortbread and indulge I do! I try and moderate my intake over 11 months of the year but come December I am ready for shortbread in all its guises. I don’t have any fixed opinion on shortbread flavour and enjoy it with ginger, pistachio & orange, chocolate chip or the classic shortbread made from an old DIC department store recipe.





Next to shortbread, nuts are one of my favourite things about Christmas food. My mother-in-law Jan makes delicious Christmas Walnuts – you can also make them with pecans, but fresh walnuts are easier to find. There are plenty of other tasty nut ideas online, but Amy Cooper’s recipe for White Chocolate Rocky Road looks stunning. The colour combination of pistachio nuts and Turkish delight are completely in tune with the festive season.

The season of gift giving is almost upon us and now is exactly the right time to start thinking of gifts from the kitchen that are made with thought and care and are often more meaningful than more commercial choices. When we asked for favourite gift ideas from foodlovers readers we had a wonderful response, so here are some of my favourites to share with Kiwiparent readers.

Truffles are so Christmassy and great for an after-dinner treat. These Rich Chocolate Truffles are luscious and creamy and make lovely, indulgent gifts. Russian Fudge has had quite a lot of discussion on our foodlovers forum – but I must admit to really liking this Russian fudge recipe that came from my friend Mary. Yes, you do have to cook it for 20 minutes or so while stirring continuously but it makes a lovely creamy smooth fudge.

Danielle’s hot chocolate mix



2 cups dry milk powder

The recipe makes enough for four gift-size portions. Include a tag with the following instructions: “Spoon 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of cocoa mix into your mug (depending on the size), add boiling water, and stir well. Add milk to taste.”

3/4 cup sugar

Measure all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until they are evenly blended.

1/2 cup cocoa (preferably good quality) 1/2 cup chocolate chips (again, higher quality is better!)

Store the mix in a tightly covered container at room temperature until you are ready to package it. Makes about 4 cups of mix.

1/8 teaspoon salt

The magazine of Parents Centre


Sand art Chocolate brownies Include a decorative tag with your jar with these instructions for making the brownies. Combine contents of jar with: 1 tsp vanilla 2/3 cup oil 3 eggs Pour into a greased 9" x 9" pan.



Add to a wide mouth preserving jar in this order:

The ingredients should pack firmly into the jar with no space at the top as the ingredients will shift and ruin the effect.

1/3 cocoa 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 + 1/8 c flour 2/3 cup brown sugar 2/3 cup white sugar 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes.

1/2 cup white chocolate chopped 1/2 cup nuts



Classic shortbread Ingredients 250g butter 3/4 cup icing sugar 2 cups flour pinch of salt

Method Preheat oven to 160°C. Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Mix in flour and salt and mix well. Turn out onto a bench and lightly knead. Roll into logs approximately 4cm in diameter and cut in .5cm slices. Place on a cold tray and bake for 15–20 minutes until firm but not coloured.

Christmas walnuts Ingredients 500g walnuts (or pecans) 1/2 cup melted butter 1/4 cup sugar Chop marshmallows and Turkish delight into small pieces.

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Gourmet white rocky road

1 teaspoon salt


Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.

2 tablespoons sherry

Method Dry roast pecans at 180°C for 15 minutes, taking care that they do not burn. Remove from oven and toss with butter, sugar, sherry, nutmeg and salt. When cool, store in an airtight container.

300g pink marshmallows 300g Turkish delight 1/4 cup shelled pistachio nuts 450g good quality white chocolate

Method Grease two 8cm x 26cm bar cake tins. Line base and sides with baking paper.

Combine Turkish delight, marshmallows and nuts in a large bowl. Working quickly, stir in the melted chocolate. Spread the mixture into the prepared tins and press mixture down firmly to flatten the top. Refrigerate until set then cut as required.

The magazine of Parents Centre


Chocolate truffles Ingredients 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cream

Use a melon baller or a rounded spoon to scoop out chocolate balls, place on a sheet of baking paper and return to the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll in good quality cocoa and store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

45g unsalted butter 300g dark chocolate chopped


These can be stored for up to a week.

Bring cream and butter to the boil in a saucepan, remove from heat and add the chocolate.

Mary’s Russian fudge Ingredients

Leave to sit for a few minutes and then gently stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

2 cups sugar

Pour the ganache into a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon golden syrup

125g butter pinch salt 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1/2 cup milk

Method Mix ingredients over a gentle heat to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil and cook for 15–20 minutes until mixture is a dark caramel colour. Stir regularly. Remove from the heat and beat until thick, then pour into a buttered dish and allow to cool. Cut into squares. 

Helen Jackson Helen is not only mother to Daisy, Jemima and Freddie, and married to Ed, but is a renowned NZ foodie, food editor, author, radio co‐host and cook. Helen set up 15 years ago, and it continues to be one of New Zealand’s busiest recipe-based sites. Helen loves to travel, experiencing new cultures and cuisines, allowing her to discover new dishes to share with budding cooks, or to invent new ones through her discoveries along the way. A confirmed philanthropist, Helen established and runs a trust – Guardian Angels – which supports families with a terminally ill child who are also financially struggling.




Congratulations to the lucky winners from issue 286

Maxi Cosi Nova 3 Wheel Stroller

Newborn carrier

Gemma Fisher Palmerston North

Shasa Lawrence Upper Hutt

Bio-oil gift pack

Hape Beach Prize pack

Tracey Musty Hamilton

Tonya Wills, Whakatane April Tubby, Hawera

Messy play

Mountain buggy Unirider and helmet

Cole Johnson Whangarei

Solei Baker Auckland

Meal Planner Ana Passadore, Whangarei Tharani Gupta, Lower Hutt Sandra Young, Auckland

The magazine of Parents Centre


Our Partners Announcing a new partnership I’m excited to announce a new partnership with Resene. We look to develop meaningful partnerships with organisations that can deliver a genuine member benefit to our families and members. It’s a time in our members lives when they are preparing for additions to their families, and this often results in decorating and creating a lovely space for their new babies. Resene has committed to making that easier for our members.

advice and help with their decorating projects. Our Centres will benefit from joint fundraisers and discounted supplies. We’re quite excited to be working with Resene to create a Parents Centre colour palette made up of a range of colours including those from our brand and logo.

With a vast network of Resene ColorShops around the country, our members will be able to access discounts,

Taslim Parsons Strategic Partnerships Manager, Parents Centre New Zealand

A word from Resene There is nothing like a new child to encourage you to rethink those white painted walls. Resene is delighted to be working with Parents Centre to help Kiwi children experience more colour in their lives. Decorating a nursery or child’s space is such a popular way to celebrate an impending birth or a new arrival. Our Resene ColorShop staff can help expecting and new parents add colour to their homes with Resene Environmental Paint choices, wallpaper and handy application advice and tips, and special Parents Centre member discounts. As a family-owned company, we know just how important families are. We’ll also be helping promote the services Parents Centre offer to a wider audience so that more kiwi families can benefit from all the valuable advice and support that Parents Centre has to offer. Nick Nightingale Managing Director, Resene

Huggies online pregnancy and parenting PC member benefits: All attendees of CBE get a Huggies gift pack, attendees of Baby and You and toilet training programmes get gift packs. Phone: 0800 733 703



Johnson & Johnson

Philips Avent

PC member benefits: All attendees of Parents Centre CBE and Baby and You get a J&J baby bath gift pack and information on science of the skin.

PC member benefits: Supply breastpads to our members and give a $30 discount on the purchase of breast pumps.

Phone: 0800 104 401

Supporting Kiwi parents

0800 222 966 /

Baby On The Move

The Sleep Store


PC member benefits: 20% off car seat hire for all members.

PC member benefits: 20% off selected items which are regularly updated.

PC member benefits: Heavily discounted hourly rate for childcare.

Phone: 0800 222 966 content/parentscentre

Phone: 0800 023 456

Reckitt Benckiser Group

Life Pharmacy & Unichem


PC member benefits: $20 off when you purchase the Nurofen Feversmart Thermometer.

PC member benefits: Local discounts and offers for our Centres.

PC member benefits: Various discounts on decorating supplies and paints with Parents Centre membership card.

Phone: 09 839 0200

Au Pair Link New Zealand PC member benefits: 25% off placement fee for Parents Centre Members.

PC member benefits: 30% discount on water safety package.

If you want to partner with Parents Centre, or would like to discuss how this may work for your business, contact Taslim on:


The magazine of Parents Centre


Win great giveaways Win a newborn carrier worth $219 from The Sleep Store The Beco Gemini Cool Mesh is filled with excellent features: Comfortable padded waist with storage pocket. Padded straps which can be crossed, with easy to use buckles. Attached, padded head support and leg supports for baby’s comfort. Chest strap adjusts easily with a slide rail.

Two Resene ColorShop vouchers to be won Do you want to add colour or wallpaper to your nursery or child’s room? Enter the draw to win one of two $100 Resene ColorShop vouchers!

Win a Zuru prize pack worth $157

Enter online at and follow the instructions. Entries must be received by 5pm January 25, 2019 Winners will be published in issue 289

Win a copy of ‘OH GROW UP… Toddlers to PreTeens Decoded’ From NZ’s best-selling birth-babiesmotherhood author since 2005, win one of four copies of Kathy’s popular sequel book “OH GROW UP…Toddlers to PreTeens Decoded”. Kathy describes OH GROW UP as “triadic wholistic” parenting, of parenting your child’s Body using Physiological IQ, parenting their Mind using Intellectual IQ, and parenting their Spirit using Soulful IQ – including Kathy’s 21 Parenting Golden Insights, and 21 Parenting Universal Principles. RRP$39.95

4 sets of Mini Muffs to be won from Banz Modern life means little ones are at risk of hearing damage, at home and away. Top-quality, comfy Banz ‘Hear No Blare’ Mini Muffs, made just for children under two years, will prevent hearing loss! Banz Carewear NZ is giving away four sets of Banz Mini Muffs, each worth $44.50 – choose from Silver, Pink or Blue! View the full range at

Each pack contains: 2 x BOB Splash to Win 3-pack 2 x BOB Filler/Soaker 1 x Rainbocorn

Win 1 of 3 Made4Baby Starter Packs

1 x Robo Alive Dinosaur

You’re a new mum, so many choices, so many decisions. Made4Baby’s Rebecca McLeod has done the thinking for you. She worked at the OECD in Paris, France deciphering the impacts of chemicals in skincare for 30 countries and is an Executive Board Member of Cosmetics NZ. A safe choice.

1 x Robo Alive Snake 2 x Smashers S2 3-pack



KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE As the driver, it’s your responsibility to make sure your children are appropriately restrained and secure. Under 7 years old? The law says all children must be secured in an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. Under 148cm tall? Best practice recommends children stay in a restraint or booster seat until 148cm tall. Rear facing? It’s much safer to keep children rear facing until they’re at least 2 years old. Child restraint installed securely? Try to move it with your hand – if it moves then it’s not installed correctly. Had your child restraint checked? Make the time to have it checked by a registered child restraint technician. More information at

Call us today 0800 023 456 | Visit

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