Friday, August 27, 2010

Unique 4-way baby carrier


I have been very fortunate to be able to road test a very unique baby carrier that has recently arrived in Australia.
The Combi Magical Compact Carrier allows you to carry your baby in four different positions.
Many baby carriers allow you to carry baby on your front, on your back, or on your hip, but this carrier also has the ability to hold baby in a cradling position as well as face-in cuddling, face-out cuddling, or on your back.
Most carriers do not provide much support for baby’s back and head, but the clever folk at Combi have designed a removable snuggle bed for head and back support which allows you to use it for your newborn in the cradling position.
The carrier then adapts as your baby grows and can be used right through to the toddler stage (or up to 14.9kg).
All of the straps are padded, made of a soft washable and breathable fabric. 
When I first tried the Combi Magical Compact Carrier I attempted to put it on myself before putting the baby in, which resulted in my baby laying very awkwardly.
So then I read the instructions!
Unlike other carriers, the Magical Compact requires you lay your baby in it first, then lean over and attach the straps.
I found this method much safer for baby and easier than some of the other brands on the market, where you have to juggle your baby in one hand and sort out straps with the other.
Once you stand up with baby securely in place, it is a very comfortable carrier.
There are no plastic buckles or metal rings poking into you, and all of the adjustable straps are hidden underneath soft padding.
Only one single central buckle needs to be fastened to secure the baby, and another central one-touch buckle to secure behind your back, making it very simple to use.
The head support has a collar designed to support baby’s head, or folded down so baby can look around.
In the cradling position, the baby’s back and head is well supported by using the firm insert, and it’s possible to breastfeed while baby is in the carrier.
I have tried quite a few brands of carriers and slings for my children, and this one is of a very high standard. The quality of materials and construction is excellent, and once you get the hang of it, carrying your baby is easy – just be sure to read the instructions before use!
Combi is one of the largest and oldest specialist producers of baby products in the world with a heritage dating back to 1957 in Japan.
Combi’s product design and innovation is largely influenced by feedback from parents which is enhanced and realised by a team of experienced designers, engineers and medical experts.
The Combi Magical Compact Baby Carrier retails for $229.99 and is available at leading specialty stores nationally. Call 02 8399 2223 for stockists or visit www.combi.com.au

Time for a break


Need a little respite from the nappies or screaming kids? Time to schedule some ‘me-time’
A good friend of mine has a daily ritual of leaving her two children with her husband early in the morning and heading down to her local McDonald’s for a coffee and to read the paper before heading back home. 
This is her “me-time” and she strongly believes that this time out from her role as wife, mother and freelance writer, is essential to keeping her happy.
“I thought I wouldn’t manage it after my second child was born, but now I deserve it more than ever,” she says.
“I’m back on ‘night shift’ mothering, as well as day shift, my husband has slept like a baby whilst I’ve been up and down out of bed like a yoyo – I have earned my 45 minutes of me time!
“I’d prefer a real coffee shop, but Maccas is the only one open at the time I sneak out.”
“Me-time” is a term that probably didn’t exist when our mothers were raising us in a time when getting married and having children was expected.
Popping out for a coffee with a friend without the children was unheard of back then, but is very common among today’s mothers.
Some women believe “me-time” is essential to stay sane among the endless laundry, dirty nappies, toddler tantrums, and so on.
While other mums actually struggle with “me-time” as they feel guilty or worry about their children when they’re not with them.Strangely, fathers never feel this guilt and manage to schedule their “me-time” on a regular basis.
How many dads out there have no problem enjoying Friday night football, weekend golf or fishing with mates?
It’s time for mothers to follow my friend’s example, and just do it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

WIN a Go Trike!


Most little munchkins like to flex a bit of muscle when it comes to getting around. One day they love being in the pusher, the next day they absolutely refuse to use it. One day they want to walk, the next they want to be carried. It’s hard to keep up.
The new Go Trike from Giant Steps makes getting out and about with your toddler fun and easy for both of you.Kids love the freedom this trike offers. They feel like they are controlling the journey and can steer using the handlebars and use the hand brake to stop or slow down.
A five point seat belt means your little one can’t fall off or do a runner when you’re not looking. There’s also a sun shade, tray, parent handle and freewheeling front wheel allowing parents to control the trike without their child knowing.Unlike some trikes on the market the Go Trike has soft tyres making it a quiet ride.
For more information check out www.activeoutthere.com.au
We have one Go Trike valued at $159 to giveaway to one lucky reader. Entries close at noon on Friday, August 27. CLICK HERE to enter! Good luck!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Childish chores


How much housework should we offload to our kids?
Now that I have a newborn at home, I have found myself asking a lot more of my eldest child.
I’ve always encouraged her to keep her room tidy, and occasionally she will help with easy household duties such as taking washing off the line, but I’ve never really asked her to do much more because I’m happy to do it for her.
I don’t think housework should be part of a four-year-old’s day, unless of course she wants to “help Mummy”.
However, now that I’m caring for a baby, I have sometimes wished she did a lot more for herself.
So what do other parents think about kids and chores? Is a four-year-old too young to chip in with home duties? Or should she already have a schedule of jobs that must be done enabling her to understand responsibility and contributing to the running of the household?
Well, the answer is probably ‘yes’, she should do more because it not only gives me a little relief, but helps her learn the value of participating in family life.
Children need to learn that housework is everyone’s responsibility and not something to do just because they will get a reward in return.
However, an occasional reward for finishing chores, can be a great motivator to continue helping each day.
For my daughter, the reward at the end of the day is praise for being “mummy’s helper”.
Of course, parents shouldn’t overwhelm their kids with housework in an effort to combat laziness, but they should be able to handle a few jobs around the house that will inevitably give them life skills when they are adults.
For example, knowing how to do the laundry, use the vacuum, clean the toilet, cook simple meals and wash dishes, are all skills they must do when they leave home.
The trick is to know what duties are appropriate for age.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Get rid of the guilt


Another study and a Premier knock mother guilt on the head
When it comes to parenting, the best advice anyone can give you is “do what works for you and your family”.
After all, each of us live in different family situations.
Some of us have multiple children, while some have just one. Some of us have a partner, while some are single parents. Some of us work, while some don’t. Some of us have a great network of support, while others are more isolated.
But unfortunately many parents (read mums) compare themselves to others and are often overcome with mother guilt.
I think the biggest causes of mother guilt come from feeding your baby formula instead of breastfeeding, and returning to work instead of staying at home with the children.
I’ve done both and yes, felt guilty, but I soon got over it and stuck with the mantra of “do what works for you and your family”.
However, two news stories hit the headlines this week that gave me a glimmer of hope that some of the guilt mothers carry might fade away.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Young at art


One of the greatest and easiest ways to help your children express themselves is through art
My eldest daughter, who is four and a half, has an obsession with paper.
It started when she was a baby tearing up magazines and newspapers with glee, but has turned into a daily “fix” where she must write or draw on something.
Only once has she ended up drawing on the wall which I might add (in case my landlord is reading) we were able to remove.
I have battled with her many times as she insists on drawing rainbows on every sheet of Reflex paper in my home office, instead of on the scrapbook I bought her, but it doesn’t stop there.
She has also got numerous colouring-in books, jumbo activity books, little notepads, loads of scrap paper and even a roll of butcher’s paper.
Yet, if I happen to start writing a shopping list, well, that’s where the next butterfly masterpiece has to go.