Friday, June 17, 2011

Pass the pumpkin

When is the best time to start your baby on solid foods?
There is always much discussion among mothers about when to introduce solids. 
The World Health Organisation recommends starting when your baby is around six months, and this is also what most Australian health professionals and the Australian Breastfeeding Association recommend.
The recommendations are certainly important, because a young baby’s digestive system cannot cope well with the fats and proteins that are in other food and drinks.
An infant’s kidneys can’t handle the large amounts of sodium found in processed foods designed for children and babies don’t need the extra kilojoules that solid foods may give them.
Research has also shown that a baby will not necessarily sleep any longer when solids are introduced to their diet (both my daughters are proof of that!).
Also, babies have a natural tongue-thrust reflex that makes their tongue push out food when it is put into their mouth, and they begin to lose this at around six months making it easier for them to swallow food.
At six months of age, babies do start to need extra nutrients, and there is also less risk of food intolerance.
Plus, they are ready to experience new tastes and textures, and will start developing teeth and stronger jaws at this age.
However, a review of breastfeeding research published in the British Medical Journal earlier this year said there was emerging evidence that breast milk alone did not provide enough nutrition for infants.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Skill for life

Would you know how to help your child if they are injured?

Ask any mother how it feels to hear your child let out a chilling, ear-piercing scream and they will tell you it gives them a moment of terror, followed by a mad rush to get to their child to see what is wrong and to comfort them.
Maternal instinct is stronger than ever, and the adrenalin pumping through you makes you the fastest thing on two legs.
I’ve had a few moments like these.
Once I thought Miss Five had fallen off the cubby house (which is close to a two metre drop), but in fact she had only tripped over and was fine.
Another time Miss One bumped her head on furniture while crawling with a blanket on her head (some funny game she was playing with her sister).
When a child is hurt, all you want to do is try and take the pain away, and most of the time, all they need is a cuddle and/or a Bandaid.
But what if something far worse happens?
Would you know what to do if your child was choking? Would you know what to do if your child was found face down in the pool? Would you know how to treat a serious gash or a broken bone?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Does your child have a social conscience?

This week I have been shocked, saddened, appalled and angry, and if something can get to me so greatly then it is worth writing about.
The 4 Corners story A Bloody Business, broadcast last Monday night, exposed the horrors inflicted on Australian cattle exported to the slaughterhouses of Indonesia.
The impact this had on Australian viewers was incredible, and within 24 hours, Senator Joe Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, had suspended trade to at least 11 abattoirs in Indonesia that were highlighted in the program.
The online petition by Get Up! drew huge numbers of people signing up to send a strong message to the government to stop this abhorrent practice.
We can sign petitions, lobby our members of parliament or become vegetarians, but real action begins at home in what we teach our children through what we say and what we do.
The footage shown on television and on the internet of the cattle being tortured is far too disturbing to show children (I had to look away at times, and ended up in tears).
But we can - and should - still talk about these issues with our kids.
Besides, children are likely to overhear you speaking about the issue with your friends or partner, or they may catch glimpses of it on the television or hear it on the radio.
Their curious minds will be full of questions, and the first place they look for answers will be you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Is your child resilient?

The ability to bounce back from a bad situation is an important life skill for all children

I heard on the grapevine a story about a mum who kept her daughter home from school on the day of the sports carnival.
She told the school her daughter was sick, but it was later revealed that her real reason was that she didn’t want her daughter to be upset if she didn’t win.
Her daughter isn’t a teenager dreaming of Olympic gold, she is a five-year-old Prep student.
It made me feel sad for the child missing out on a fun school event that encourages participation, teamwork, school spirit, sportsmanship and friendly competition.
I also felt sad for the mother who clearly struggles to teach her child resilience, perhaps because she is not so resilient herself.
Being resilient is one of the most important characteristics that we need to instill in our children.
Resilience is the ability to adapt to adversity, to recover from illness, depression, stress or just bad luck.
For young children, something that seems insignificant to us – such as coming second in a school race, changing seats in the classroom, not being invited to a party or a friend saying “I’m not your friend anymore” – can actually be quite devastating for them.
The way children deal with these problems will demonstrate their resilience, which is part of their emotional intelligence.
Everyone is born with a different temperament and, depending on how it interacts with life experiences, it can determine how resilient you are.