When the ‘little-brother’ pressure comes to bear

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SOMETIMES the problems faced by parents feel like they’ll never improve but they mercifully do! writes KATE MEIKLE. This is a sponsored post.

“WHEN will we have a baby brother, mummy?” asked my five-year-old son. 

Um, sorry kid but it’s just going to be you and your little sister, I told him. We are happy with our pigeon pair and the idea of no more babies, thank you very much.

As we chatted some more about the reasons why he wants a little brother, I found out it had more to do with the idea of being able to have bunk beds. He likes the idea of his little brother sleeping on the bottom bunk. So cute. 

But this was only because I had told him that we weren’t getting bunks because his tenacious little sister would spend every waking moment climbing up to the top and catapulting herself down to the floor. Our little boss baby would never be content sleeping on the bottom bunk because what’s the fun of that? No no, she’d be fighting to be on the top bunk every single night. 

Apart from the trips to the emergency department, the fights, my (ever increasing) grey hairs and bedtime chaos – bunk beds sound like a lovely idea, sweetie. 

Poor boy, sometimes I feel his patience is tested to the limits with the boss baby as a sister and maybe just maybe he would prefer a gentler, less demanding sibling in the shape of a sweet, little brother who would gladly take the lower bunk, never step on his railway tracks and never break his lego. You can only dream, little boy. 

I’ve been told a sibling is the greatest gift you can give them but it somewhat remains to be seen at my house at times. 

As my family grows up, all of the baby toys and books start to sit in the cupboard and all the many contraptions and hardware we needed during every intense baby phase are now being cheerfully “paid forward” to expecting friends. 

The “Jumperoo” was a godsend to me when the babies were six months and wanting to bounce up and down continuously, the musical vibrating chair they sat on as tiny babies has now comforted five babies in my friendship circle and is about to weave its magic on its sixth. 

The stages and phases are truly amazing, the things we worry about evolve, and “yes”, I can now tell you that the sleep deprivation does get better. 

My motherhood education will never be complete but what I do know is this – if I could go back in time with my babies I would have recognised that recency bias can bite new mums hard and I would have stressed less. The problems I faced sometimes felt like they would never improve but they passed by, which is what my best friend used to message and tell me. And mercifully they do! 

My boy might not get to have the wish of a little brother come true. But seeing him and his little sidekick sister, who follows his every move and passionately craves his attention, play together, share a little joke (toilet humour of course) and race each other at every chance they get, I know that the love is doubled not halved. When she declares that he is her “best friend” I know that boss babies truly do bring the spice of life to an otherwise quiet little family and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So no matter what stage you are on your motherhood journey – planning, expecting, nursing tender newborns, juggling a few kids on your hips – I hope the following feature inspires, supports and helps you along. Good luck!            

Expo’s got gifts for quick ticket buyers

CHE McGee and Joce Wilson have taken over the Canberra Baby and Beyond Expo and together they’re revamping it under the new name of Oh Baby! Canberra Baby and Beyond Expo. 

On October 26 and 27, Che and Joce, who are former exhibitors under their businesses “Tip You’re It” and “Nellie and the Cat”, respectively, are looking forward to building on the event’s legacy this year at Thoroughbred Park.

“This year we have over 100 exhibitors and we expect thousands of visitors will be attending,” Joce says. 

They’ve already sold hundreds of tickets, and for the next 800 people to buy a ticket online, Che and Joce are giving away gift bags featuring items from Munchkin, Mindful Parenting Magazine, Minty Magazine, Moo Goo and Water Wipes. But they say they’re going quick, especially with entertainment drawcards like Jimmy Giggle, author Tania McCartney and Lucy Sparkes and her fairy friends.

As for the stalls, Che and Joce say they’ll cover a broad range of areas from retail, support services, information stalls, handmade products, community groups and food trucks. 

“We want visitors to come out and have fun, find products they didn’t know are out there and be informed,” Joce says.

“Not just mothers and families but pregnant women, too. We want them to be educated on what to expect with their pregnancy.”

But it’s not all about mums, according to Joce, who says they also have things on offer for dads as well. 

Oh Baby! Canberra Baby and Beyond Expo, Thoroughbred Park, 1 Randwick Road, Lyneham, 10am-4pm, October 26 and 27. Visit ohbabycanberra.com.au

Sharon’s hampers celebrate new babies

A LOCALLY sourced and beautifully presented hamper full of goodies makes a perfect celebration gift to send to a new family, says the owner of Sharwood Hampers, Sharon Isherwood.

Owner Sharon Isherwood.

Sharon, who started the business after discovering a talent and passion for making up thoughtful gift hampers for her children’s teachers, says she loves creating beautiful hampers to suit the needs of each recipient.

“All the products are from around the Canberra region and are personally curated carefully by me to the client’s requirements,” says Sharon, who prides herself on customer service, personal touch and fast delivery. 

When celebrating the arrival of a new baby, Sharon says the most popular hampers include a collection of items for mum, baby and dad, too.
“It’s really a celebration of the new family,” she says.

“We have lovely non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and pamper items for mum, beer and snacks for dad, and bibs, washcloths, rattles and soaps for the baby.”

When people call Sharon to book a hamper, she says she discusses what the needs are and can substitute items to make up the perfect hamper.
“Ordering off the website is also easy. We have hampers for any occasion and celebration,” says Sharon. 

Sharwood Hampers. Call 0403 093715 or visit sharwoodhampers.com.au

Practice takes images to new dimensions

INSIDE Out Ultrasound, the only non-diagnostic practice offering 3D and 4D images in the ACT, is providing a special glimpse into the experience of pregnancy, says its director Sarah Bianchi. 

“There’s not many other options out there [like this] which is why we offer it to the women of Canberra,” says Sarah.

“There are others that provide this service at home but so many women prefer to come to a practice rather than anywhere else.”

Established two years ago, Sarah says women love the value for money they get when they come in for their 3D and 4D images, too. 

“The prices we offer are better value compared to going through a medical practice,” says Sarah, who offers women three packages – an early gender scan, a 20 minute ultrasound and the full package, which provides a half hour scan with 2D and 3D images, and a 4D video that shows the baby moving on CD and USB.

One of the biggest appeals for clients is the ability to see the movement of the baby, says Sarah.

“They are quite amazed. A lot of people are surprised at how clear the images come through,” says Sarah.

While it is not a diagnostic practice, Sarah says their fully qualified sonographer and high-tech GE ultrasound machine impresses clients, too.

“We have a big ultrasound room and so they often bring friends and family to watch with them,” she says. 

“[But] if the baby is in a bad position or something is covering the face, we offer them to come back for a short free session.”

Inside Out Ultrasound, Suite B8, 161 Strickland Crescent, Deakin. Call 6260 5822, email info@insideoutultrasound.com.au or visit insideoutultrasound.com.au

Hospital promises maternity care at every turn

CALVARY John James Hospital has been providing excellent services with great patient outcomes to pregnant women and parents since 1994, says director of clinical services Jo Mitchell. 

Offering a continuity of care, the hospital has services helping mums through all stages of pregnancy such as antenatal care, through to the delivery and postnatal care. 

“You choose your obstetrician, who cares for you from early pregnancy, through your pregnancy, labour and post-delivery,” she says.

“Our mums link in with our team of midwives during their pregnancy through the antenatal classes (run onsite at the hospital) and then our midwives care for them during labour and following delivery in conjunction with the obstetrician. 

“And we have great rapport between our midwives and obstetricians who work together to get the best outcomes for the mums and their bubs.”

Jo says it’s about being comfortable while getting high-level medical support with many great reasons to stay in the unit such as partners are welcome to stay, freshly cooked meals, a 24-hour onsite doctor, emergency cover and a special care nursery located in the maternity wing.

“We provide a lactation specialist for mums to see post delivery and we also offer mums and bubs physiotherapy exercises,” she says.

“Our experienced maternity physiotherapists have designed a program that is safe and sympathetic to the special exercise needs of new mums, in a baby friendly environment with volunteers available for cuddles.”

Call the Maternity Unit at Calvary John James Hospital on 6281 8730, email maternity.physio@calvarycare.org.au or visit calvarybabiesjj.org.au

The many benefits of ‘aquanatal’

EXERCISING in water while pregnant gives an exhaustive list of benefits for mums and bubs like no other, says Ira May, the owner of Aquanatal Canberra.

Aquanatal Canberra owner Ira May.

Operating out of Canberra’s south since 2001, Ira has brought her Aquanatal classes all the way from Saint Petersburg, Russia, to share the advantages with the women of Canberra and their partners.

“New research shows that while mother builds up her cardio stamina, her baby also builds cardio resilience, so both improve their chances of normal birth and healthy outcomes,” she says.

Ira believes this puts mum and bub in a better position for a successful and healthy future and says it can enhance better sleep, decrease oedema and constipation, uplift mood and depression symptoms, reduce lower back pain, lessen the chances of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

The classes provide individual guidance even in groups of up to 12 people, but mostly, they enable a comfortable and safe environment for expectant mothers, says Ira. 

“Being in warm 32C water is not only a great pleasure but water’s specific characteristics of buoyancy, turbulence, resistance, pressure and thermal conductivity allow even heavily pregnant women to feel safe, supported and exercise until labour sets in,” she says.

And there’s more than just health benefits, according to Ira, who says it creates a community as well and dads and soon-to-be fathers can come and join in at no extra cost.

Aquanatal. Call Ira on 0438 235333 or visit pregnancy-exercise-canberra.com

Building on a baby’s natural swimming ability

BORN with a natural affinity to water, Alena Sarri, the managing director of Aquatots swim school, says it’s instinctive for babies to learn to swim at a young age.

“It only makes sense – as they have spent time before birth in the embryonic sack, they are then born with the ability to swim,” she says.

Beginning in 2002, Aquatots became Australia’s first swim school to give infants the opportunity to grow and develop in the water from as early as six weeks old. 

Aquatots is what Alena regards as helping children not only learn survival skills but assist intellectual progression.

“It benefits the mental and physical development,” she says.

“There is in fact a study that has shown children that start at a young age are ahead in literacy and numeracy development.”

Using a teaching method developed by the principal instructor, Debbie Sarri, Alena says classes are designed to keep little ones and their parents comfortable by placing them with others of similar age and engaging them in correct swim technique.

She says the classes also help build child development by incorporating educational activities where colours, numbers, letters and nursery rhymes may all be learned.

This year, Aquatots will be exhibiting at the Oh Baby! Expo to showcase their aim for early life swimming, which is to teach natural buoyancy and encourage children to develop reliance and confidence in their own abilities while learning efficient swimming techniques.

Aquatots. Call 6162 0507 or visit aquatots.com.au

Capturing the rare beauty of newborns 

CAPTURING the first moments of life is something photographer Holly Treadaway, owner of Holly and Sage, cherishes deeply.

As a contracted photographer at John James Hospital and Calvary Bruce Private Hospital, Holly provides in-house newborn photoshoots that capture rare moments, without mothers needing to get dressed or even leave the bed.

“We find that with new mothers time often escapes them and a lot of them say: ‘We are so glad you caught those moments’,” she says.

Backed with 15 years’ experience, Holly has combined her freelancing work with her hospital photography service to offer more for every customer.

“I have decided to open the door and combine my work with the hospitals and my own freelancing to offer more types of photography services such as newborn services, family services and birth stories services,” she says.

After having her first child, Holly began birth stories in 2013, and says her own experience showed her the importance of capturing these beautiful moments.

“It’s raw, emotional, intense and a very private time and I feel very privileged to be a part of it,” says Holly, who describes her presence as a fly on the wall and stresses each situation is treated with the greatest sensitivity.

“Photographing these scenes really challenges me to find light, to find the connection of the couples and it’s so exciting to see it all come to fruition.” 

Holly and Sage. Call 0408 205519 or visit hollyandsage.com.au

The Kidstart Southside Education and Activity Cente team.

Welcoming centre makes learning fun  

CANBERRA’S south holds a unique place where children from all backgrounds are growing and learning, says Kristen O’Connor, owner of Kidstart Southside Education and Activity Centre.

“We have a lot of new families from other countries come to us and we help them learn the Australian education system,” she says.

Kristen, who speaks English as a second language, says Kidstart is playing a key role in children adjusting to schooling in a different country.

“The unique part of it is the love of learning that these kids develop while they’re having so much fun,” she says.

Beginning as a small operation in Rivett in 1996, they have since moved to bigger premises in Wanniassa to cater for a lot more families.

Kristen says they run two age-based programs, one for children under three, where families can come and join in on the fun, and another for children older than three, which is an independent group where kids come to learn, listen and explore away from parents.

Both programs encompass activities such as music, arts and crafts, parachute play and activities which incorporate gross motor skills. 

The programs, according to Kristen, not only aid children but benefit parents, too, because she says they know their children are growing in an educational, fun, play-based atmosphere.

Kidstart Southside Education and Activity Centre, 65 Sternberg Crescent, Wanniassa. Call 0422 406622 or visit kidstart.com.au

Specialist group helping women of all ages

THE multidisciplinary team operating out of Specialist Services Medical Group in Deakin offers conservative and surgical treatment options for women of all ages, says specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Elizabeth Gallagher. 

Dr Gallagher says the team is made up of obstetrician, gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon Dr Omar Adham, obstetrician, gynaecologist and fertility specialist Dr Tween Low, physiotherapist Marita O’Shea and psychologist Lia Bain. Gynaecologist Dr Ivy Tan and paediatrician Nahal Payman have also recently joined the group. 

“Dr Tween Low offers a full range of fertility services and Dr Ivy Tan is taking on a general gynaecology role. Dr Omar Adham also offers comprehensive gynaecology and obstetric services including advanced laparoscopic procedures,” she says. 

Dr Gallagher treats women with problems such as prolapse, incontinence, abnormal bleeding, vaginal pain, abnormal pap smears and other general gynaecologist needs. 

“There’s often something we can do or we might need to investigate further,” she says. 

Located one block from the Mint, Dr Gallagher says the newly renovated rooms are light and airy. 

“We have easy access to disabled parking and other parking that’s close by and free,” she says. 

Specialist Services Medical Group, Lidia Perin Building, 12/12 Napier Close, Deakin. Call 6282 2033, 6162 1649 or email deakin@specialistservices.com.au

Physios help strengthen mums for motherhood

Principal Maureen Bailey.

PHYSIOTHERAPY is often associated with injury or rehabilitation but at Maureen Bailey and Associates Physiotherapists, the team of experts nurture mums through their post-pregnancy journeys, says owner Maureen Bailey. 

She says the team devote all of their knowledge and skills to assess each individual for the best informed outcomes.

“With our varied expertise we offer the individual woman a team approach as needed to optimise her experience of motherhood,” Maureen says. 

As a great and safe way to increase abdominal and back strength, and to improve posture, Maureen believes their post-natal pilates classes are the ideal first step.

“Our post-natal classes are run by a very experienced pilates instructor, and once the mum has been assessed by one of our physiotherapists, we’ll let her know if she’s ready to start,” she says.

Maureen believes the team’s academic achievements are paramount to success at Maureen Bailey and Associates Physiotherapists. 

With a combination of staff qualifications in clinical physiotherapy, musculoskeletal physiotherapy and in assessment of pelvic floor function, Maureen believes they offer a comprehensive professional service.

“We offer evidence-based advice for each individual so they can resume varied activities to minimise potential issues both immediately and in the future,” Maureen says. 

Maureen Bailey and Associates Physiotherapists, Unit 2, 12 Barker Street, Griffith. Call 6295 7563 or visit maureenbailey.com.au

Megan Fox from the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

Association supports mums at any hour

SOCIAL acceptance of breastfeeding is at the heart of the Australian Breastfeeding Association, says ACT manager Megan Fox.

And at this year’s Oh Baby! Expo, they will be holding a stall to support mothers through their journey of parenthood.

Offering expert advice, information on services and a discount for anyone who signs up to their monthly breastfeeding classes during the expo, Megan says they also want to alert people of the association’s 24/7 helpline and the launch of their new “Mum2Mum” app.

“[The helpline] provides peer support counselling and is for women facing a challenge, wondering if what their baby is doing is normal,” she says. 

The new “Mum2Mum” app, however, is a handheld solution to help with any concerns, according to Megan, who says it links to useful information and also features a live chat, which is active on weekdays from 8pm to 10pm.

“We are also supporting the expo this year by providing the feeding area, which gives mums a safe space to sit and be calm with their babies,” says Megan.

Providing various ways for mums to connect, Megan says the community aspect is important because it’s good to know there’s someone there listening and helping

Australian Breastfeeding Association, 3/70 MacLaurin Crescent, Chifley. Call 6162 2716 or visit breastfeeding.asn.au


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