Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Russian Roulette of pregnancy

Is it really okay to have the odd alcoholic drink when you’re pregnant?

Quite often when you’re pregnant, the subject of alcohol comes up, particularly if you’re at a wedding, family event or ladies luncheon.
You’ve probably had a few glasses of wine before you found out you were pregnant, and most women will then abstain from drinking alcohol throughout the pregnancy, and beyond if they are breastfeeding.
But talking to a some friends, it seems there are very different opinions on what’s safe, what’s acceptable, and what is not.
One example is the woman pregnant with her first baby who said she was allowing herself to have the “standard recommended amount” of one glass of wine per day. Yes, per day!
She later found out her GP had said one glass per week would be okay, and promptly changed her ways.
Then there are women who have been trying for a baby for so long that they wouldn’t dare jeopardise the baby’s health or increase their risk of miscarriage.
I tend to fall into the latter category, but will admit to having a couple of glasses of champagne in February at my cousin’s wedding, as well as a glass of wine at a work lunch.
But there’s no alcohol in my house so there’s no temptation.
So what exactly is the “standard recommended amount” and what does alcohol do to the developing foetus?

Monday, May 24, 2010

WIN skin soothing lotion for your baby!

Many readers will know that I am a big advocate of all things natural (such as cloth nappies instead of chemical-filled disposables, and organic skincare). So it was a real treat to roadtest some products from Natural & Baby Concepts.
Created by Olivia Chan, her products contain more than 75 per cent certified organic ingredients, no genetically modified ingredients or petrochemicals, making it one of the “greenest” skincare and mineral make-up ranges in Australia.
The Baby Concepts skin soothing lotion was formulated with premature babies in mind, with a very subtle scent and gentle enough for delicate skin. It’s was a bonus to discover that 20 cents from every bottle sold goes to the Bonnie Babes Foundation.
When applied I found it to be non-greasy, absorbed well, and has minimal scent. It would be fine to use after bath time for a gentle baby massage and sensitive enough to use on eczema, rashes or other irritations.
Calendula is chosen as the main oil in the baby range range due to its anti-inflammatory and gentle properties, which is wonderful for rashes, eczema and sensitive skins.
The Room & Linen Spray is a really pleasant spray for use on linen, in the car, or around the room. The scent is not overpowering, and it won’t stain your clothes or linen.
The 2-in-1 gentle hair and body wash was designed for dry and sensitive skin. It includes lavender oil, making it ideal for baby’s bath before bedtime. It's silky texture does not lather very well, but this is indicative of natural products – more bubbles equals more chemicals.
The Barrier Balm includes some really yummy ingredients including macadamia oil, shea butter and calendula, all of which work very well at healing and soothing sore bottoms, insect bites or other irritations. It is quite creamy and also has minimal scent.
Natural & Baby Concepts products are available at
Weekender has five 125ml bottles of Skin Soothing Lotion to giveaway.
To enter, visit
Entries close 9am, Thursday, May 27.

Another bonus of breastfeeding

We know breast is best, but it’s now been shown to improve your child’s mental health

Earlier this year, a report was released from Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, that showed children who are breastfed for longer than six months have a lower risk of mental health problems as they enter their teen years.
The research, led by Associate Professor Wendy Oddy, found that breastfeeding for a longer duration appears to have significant benefits for the mental health of the child into adolescence.
“There has been much evidence about the benefits of early breastfeeding, but the importance of this study is that it shows continued benefits from extended feeding,” Dr Oddy said.
“Given the rising prevalence of mental health problems, interventions to assist mothers to breastfeed, and to breastfeed for longer, could be of long-term benefit to the community.
“As with any of these types of studies, it should be stressed that the findings do not mean that individual children that weren’t breastfed will have mental health problems, it’s about lowering the risk at a population level.”
The research team analysed data from more than 2000 children involved in Western Australia's Raine Study. The participants underwent a mental health assessment when they were 2, 5, 8, 10, and 14 years old.
At each of the assessments, the research team found a link between breastfeeding duration and behaviour.
It’s not something commonly discussed among parenting circles, but many children have mental health problems that interfere with normal development and functioning.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I couldn't agree more!

This is an column from The Punch in April which I've been wanting to link to for a while now. Written by Catherine Warnock, she is a writer who encourages us to be positive role models for our kids.
Please take the time to read... especially if you have teenagers!

Honey, we wrecked the kids

Keep your marriage alive

Despite the chaos that comes with kids, parents need to stay connected

If you want to put a strain on your marriage, the quickest way is to have children.
All the freedoms, flexibility and spontaneity you once had usually become a distant memory and your energy is now devoted to the little people in your life.
Throw in the sleepless nights, behaviour challenges, and the endless activities of older children, and it’s no wonder parents rarely make time for each other.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Setting a good example is a vital element of child rearing, so if children see their parents communicating well, showing affection and working as a team, this further teaches our children about good relationships.
If parents are together because they love each other and are friends, it will benefit their children’s life, particularly when you have to deal with the more challenging parts of parenting and keeping a home functioning.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why a disease made me the mother I am today

When I first fell pregnant, I initially dismissed my aches and pains as pregnancy symptoms. Then I was hit with the devastating news – I had rheumatoid arthritis. Despite the daily pain, I am having another baby and have written this story about my difficult path and why I have chosen it

Birthdays can come and go as far as I’m concerned, but Mother’s Day is a reminder of what’s really important in my life.
The day I became a mother, I remember thinking very clearly that from that moment on, my life had a purpose. My reason for being came when my daughter was born.
To anyone who doesn’t have children, this probably sounds ridiculous. Of course, all life has a purpose whether you’re a mum or not, and being a mother shouldn’t define you.
But this profound, life-changing event really has shaped the person I am today because it also uncovered a hidden autoimmune disease.
The first signs of my illness started when I was nine weeks pregnant with my daughter in August 2005. I had a pain in my shoulder which I thought was from playing tennis, but it spread to my other shoulder, my knees, hips and wrists.
I thought it was “normal” pregnancy aches and pains, so I tried physiotherapy and acupuncture, but it kept getting worse. My doctor tested me for all sorts of exotic diseases thinking I may have picked up a virus, but tests kept coming back negative.
At 20 weeks pregnant, I was referred to a rheumatologist who confirmed I had rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Room for improvement

It’s good news for mums, but what about the children?

Did you know that Australia is the second best place in the world to be a mother?
According to Save The Children’s 11th annual State of the World’s Mothers report released on Tuesday, Australia has moved from last year’s third place to second place in the Mother’s Index for 2010.
The index is based on an analysis of indicators of women’s and children’s health and wellbeing. It illustrates that providing mothers with access to education, economic opportunities and maternal and child health care gives them and their children the best chance to survive and thrive.
The top 10 best places to be a mum are Norway, Australia, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The bottom places include Afghanistan, Niger, Chad, Guinea-Bissau and Yemen. In the bottom-ranked countries, women face disadvantage at every level, with little education, low income ratios to men for equal work, and a high likelihood of losing at least one child.
But it’s not all good news for Australia.