Friday, July 30, 2010

On-the-job learning

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs you will ever do but it isn’t always easy
Although I’ve been writing about parenting issues since 2007, it might surprise you to know that I still feel like I’m not doing a very good job of it.
I survived the early baby years, the toilet training, the toddler tantrums and yet I am still questioning my parenting decisions.
And this makes perfect sense because families are not static. Family life changes as children grow older, as new members join the family, while others leave the nest.
I do find myself seeking out books to guide me on this never-ending journey of raising children, so this week I immersed myself in Kathy Walker’s latest book called Parenting: A practical guide to raising preschool and primary-school children.
Walker is a former teacher and university lecturer who now works as an education and parenting consultant running workshops on a range of topics, including school readiness, self-esteem and resilience.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nasty additions

Food additives don’t just cause bad behaviour, there’s now a risk of cancer
Just over a year ago I wrote about the link between artificial food colourings and preservatives and children’s behaviour, but new research suggests there is an even greater risk to our children.
Australian food authorities may ban artificial food colours from breakfast cereals and confectionary items following new scientific evidence that shows it may pose a cancer risk, as well as causing hyperactivity and allergic reactions to children.
The research, conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in the US, found that common colours were contaminated with known carcinogens and shown to cause cancer in rats.
CSPI recommends the colours be banned, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) will assess the data from the study this week before deciding whether to make changes. But it has no plans to follow Europe’s lead by requiring manufacturers to apply warning labels.
European food manufacturers are now required to carry a warning if their products contain the artificial colours.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When baby is breech

The best laid plans can often go awry when it comes to having a baby
A month has passed since I welcomed my second child into the world, and I thought it time to write about my breech baby, and the fact that the term “birth plan” is an oxymoron.
Before I had even reached the half way mark of 20 weeks in my pregnancy, I was already planning how my peaceful water birth would go.
My first birth experience was a positive one, but not exactly the ideal scenario I wished for even though it was a drug-free natural delivery, so this time I was putting plans in motion for my idea of the perfect birth.
I swotted up on how to achieve the birth I wanted. I borrowed several books from the library on natural birthing, including water birth, trawled the internet, meditated, and tried to stay positive.
And a week before my daughter was born, I even attended an antenatal course to quiz the midwife about achieving my desired outcome.
What I didn’t count on was that my baby decided she was far more comfortable in a breech position.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tried and tested

There are endless new products on the market for mothers and babies, but which ones actually make life easier?
There’s no shame in admitting that one of the perks of my job involves road-testing new products, and since my newborn arrived a month ago, I’ve had great fun trying out a number of things just for mum and baby.
First up is a lovely range of skincare products for baby from Nature Within.
Developed by Australian aromatherapist and mother Nadine Hall, Nature Within products are made with natural, organic ingredients.
As baby skin is five times thinner than an adult, this means they are far more sensitive and can irritate easily.
Nature Within products contain skin nurturing oils such as avocado, evening primrose, calendula and shea butter, and there are no synthetic oils or fragrances making it completely aroma-free.
I tested the baby moisturiser and bottom balm.
My newborn Paige had very dry, peeling skin in her first two weeks, so the moisturiser was applied every day.
It made her skin very soft and helped address the peeling problems. Now we keep it next to the bath and moisturise any dry patches when she’s clean and relaxed. Mini massages have been fun for both of us.
The bottom balm is a very nice creamy texture and only a small amount needs to be applied to get the benefits of a rash-free bottom.
Just as my first born reacted to disposable nappies, so has my second child, so we have already made the transition to cloth and are seeing a lot less nappy rash than we did in the early days.
It’s a handy little tub suitable to pop into the nappy bag or keep by the change table.
The next product I tested is surprisingly simple idea which works really well.
Qubies is an upside-down ice cube container which makes 30ml cubes.
Instead of filling individual cubes with baby puree, breast milk, stock, lemon juice, coconut milk, pestos, water, wine or whatever liquid you need frozen, the design allows you to fill an entire tray, then snap on the lid which features non-stick silicon dividers.
You get eight cubes per tray and the secure lid eliminates any freezer burn or freezer smells.
Once the liquid is frozen, you can then store the individual cubes in a freezer bag, and reuse the Qubies for something else. Qubies is also dishwasher and steriliser safe.
Designed in Australia, Qubies comes in lime or aqua colour.
I tried the Qubies with passionfruit pulp, and later breastmilk. 
Both times it was handy to have a maximum fill line to make sure I didn’t put too much into the tray, and when frozen, the lid comes off very easily leaving eight perfectly frozen cubes.
There’s no doubt that picking up fruit and veges at Rusty’s Markets has become routine for hundreds of families in Cairns, but why not look the part as well?
The Market Basket Company has recreated gorgeous and very functional and practical baskets which will replace all of your plastic or green bags.
The baskets are hand made using traditional methods, so no two are exactly alike. They are made from strips of woven palm leaves which are sewn together and built up in “rounds” into the traditional triangle shape.
Genuine Moroccon leather is used to make the handles which are fixed to the basket and come in either elbow length of longer shoulder length.
Not only are they environmentally friendly, but these baskets are really versatile.
While they are traditionally used by the French to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, wine and flowers, they can also be used to carry a picnic, beach gear, gym gear or baby gear.
When I first gave it a go, I was amazed at how much I could actually fit into my basket and was impressed at the number of people who took a second glance when I went out shopping.
The French market basket certainly has stylish appeal, but is also a really handy bag for all sorts of occasions.

Friday, July 2, 2010

WIN a Euky Bear Prize Pack!

With the cooler months upon us, it’s also a time when colds and flu can strike.
Coughs, sneezes and runny noses are not fun for little children, but Euky Bear has a range of gentle, natural products to help make the sniffles easier to manage.
The Euky Bear Steam Vaporiser is a natural product which can be used to treat colds, flu, croup and bronchitis. It is quiet, safe and easy to use, and comes with a two-year warranty.
Using the Euky Bear Inhalant with the vaporiser will help release soothing medicated vapours in steam to help reduce irritation and relieve nasal congestion, allowing your little ones to breathe easier.
Weekender has four Euky Bear prize packs to giveaway to lucky readers.
Each prize pack is valued at $80 and includes a Euky Bear Steam Vaporiser, Euky Bear Inhalant and information brochure.
Entries close 9am, Thursday, July 8.

Boredom busters

If you’re stuck for ideas to entertain the kids, try these 10 fun and free alternatives
“Muuuum, I'm bored!”
This cry is no doubt echoing across Far North Queensland as the last week of school holidays drags by.
You’ve already spent a small fortune on movie tickets, go-kart racing, tenpin bowling, trips to the shopping centres and takeaway outlets, and now you’re only one dollar away from sitting them permanently in front of the TV or video games.
Well, I’ve got a few ideas that might help and can be tailored to suit most ages.