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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-06-28 07:30:08




Why not do it your way?ncreasing numbers of pregnant women
“Women are to worry about - but today’s mums are also By Lisa Salmon
are personalising their labour by choosing taking back birth, concerned about how they look on the big
and it’s absolutely day, with more than 40 per cent considering
Ialternative methods and locations to excellent” make-up, hair and outfits in advance.
give birth. New research by the parenting Gone are the days of wearing an old T-shirt or
website Netmums, has found that seven out relaxation methods including aromatherapy, nightie through labour - 30 per cent of mums
of ten women select how and where they give visualisation, meditation, water birth, plan to buy a special outfit to wear, 31 per cent
birth, with choices ranging from outdoor positioning strategies, massage, acupuncture intend to get a leg or bikini wax, 12 per cent
or silent births and slow caesareans, to and reflexology. want to get their nails done, nine per cent will
swimming with dolphins. have their hair done in advance, and five per
But although the majority of mums want to cent plan to pack hair straighteners or tongs.
TAKING BACK BIRTH choose their own type of birth, 30 per cent still
don’t write a birth plan, and eight per cent of “Women seem to think about aesthetics a lot
Virginia Howes, an independent midwife mums would rather leave birthing decisions to more than they used to,” says Howes.
from the Kent Midwifery Practice, says that doctors. Another 23 per cent said they found
in the past women simply accepted whatever all the birthing options confusing. “When they’re actually in labour, they don’t
happened during labour, even if things were care how they look - in the throes of labour
done without their consent. And maternity staff have mixed reactions to you won’t care if Brad Pitt walks in and you
their requests - while six out of ten mums felt haven’t got any make-up on.
“But now there’s so much information well supported in making their birth plans,
at women’s fingertips, they’re standing one in five found it difficult to get the type of “But leading up to it, it’s about having
up and saying ‘no’ to the medicalisation of birth they wanted, and nearly half said the control of the birth and not being passive.”
childbirth,” she stresses. “I think it’s instinct - availability of birthing options depended on
they don’t want to be pushed and shoved into factors such as time of day or staffing levels. SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING
how the professionals think birth should be
any more. Women are taking back birth, and KEEPING UP APPEARANCES And mums also want to look good on
it’s absolutely excellent.” Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which are
You’d think the birthing process was enough now an extension to the birthing experience.
ALTERNATIVE AID More than half of mums (53 per cent) share
their newborn baby’s first picture on social
The Netmums study found 56 per cent of media, and ten per cent live post throughout
mums-to-be fancy including one of the new their labour and birth. Howes says: “Birth
wave of alternative birth techniques in their shouldn’t be hidden, it should be celebrated.
birth plan, with more than a third considering Women have been empowered to know birth
hypnobirthing, and almost one in five opting doesn’t have to be like convention portrays
for the experimental slow caesarean – a it, it isn’t something we endure any more, it’s
new caesarean technique which minimises something we relish.”
anaesthetic use for a more natural birth
experience. Louise Silverton, director for midwifery
at the Royal College of Midwives, says:
“Caesarian-section mums often feel they “Midwives will do their very best to support
miss out on those first few precious moments women in the choices they make.
as the baby is rushed off,” explains Howes.
“We would encourage women to discuss the
“In a slow caesarian, a woman can reach options available with their midwife, so that
down and hold her baby and bring it up to her they can make an informed choice.”
chest, in the same way as she would during a
vaginal birth.” Silverton says pressure on services often
prevents women from accessing choices
DOLPHIN PAIN RELIEF such as home births, and she stresses: “As a
woman’s pregnancy and labour progresses,
Another one in ten women aspire to an some options are no longer recommended as
unassisted birth, where there’s no medical there may be safety implications at this late
intervention, two per cent opt for a silent stage for both mother and baby.
birth, where everyone else in the room
keeps quiet, one per cent want to give birth “We would also strongly discourage, for
outdoors, and 1.5 per cent are even interested example, a birth without skilled medical
in swimming with dolphins during labour in a help or one involving wild animals such as
bid to calm themselves and ease pain. dolphins. We want women to have the best
possible birth experience, and we also want
However, Howes points out: “Swimming that experience to be safe.” WW
with dolphins is such a rare choice because of
the practicalities. It will hardly ever be done.” OVER TO YOU: What do you think of the findings?
Share your thoughts with us via post, email
A lot more accessible than swimming with or tweet @Womans_way
dolphins, 85 per cent of mums in labour use

Relatively speaking

The rise of
the preened

Is your child suddenly
spending vastly more time “59 per cent of for your tween or teen from the images of By Una Rice
in front of the mirror? girls lose their so called ‘perfection’ which are rampant
Going through pots of confidence at in magazines, music videos and social
hair-gel and spray? puberty and networking. For some tweens, striving to
Don’t panic! Welcome to many never quite look like this means in their eyes acceptance
the tween years recover it” from peers. Children can resort to drastic
measures like developing an unhealthy
It’s almost a rite of passage that once your Firstly, embrace the changes. Your child relationship with food, in order to reach
little one leaves the rich years of childhood is developing rapidly in puberty and you their weight or shape goals. Discuss with
behind, says goodbye to primary school may not recognise or even like some of the your child how these images were probably
and enters the big world of secondary behaviour or characteristics you see. Exercise tampered with from the start to get it just
school, that they will develop, rapidly, on tolerance as much as you can. Our children right and also, it’s a good idea to think about
their journey towards teen-hood. A pre- are all unique, but importantly, let them your own self image and the messages and
occupation with how they look is par for the know this. Try to be empathetic when your values you put on food and image that your
course. It’s vitally important to tweens that child shows behaviour you may not like – child is picking up on.
they ‘look the part’ in order to fit in with usually there’s a very good reason behind it,
their peers. The vast time spent preening is (like pressures that are niggling away at them Build confidence. At this age, children
arguably, quite normal. that they don’t wish to articulate) and good can be filled with niggling self-doubt and
But today, when our youth are besieged by listening skills, rather than lecturing, should seek approval from their peers – which
images from the world of celebrity, media and uncover it. they may or may not get. Working on the
social networking sites pertaining to ideas of building blocks of confidence at home, will
ultimate beauty and fitness, how can we get Just be there. It may seem like your child is help when they are out and about. Give
our message through as parents that many of pulling away from you around the ages of 11, them opportunities to grow, from setting
the images of the so called ‘perfect’ body are 12 and 13, but in essence they need you more achievable goals, recognising confidence in
often unrealistic and probably heavily edited, than ever. It’s tough, but try to remember that others, respecting themselves, and learning
and that our children are actually perfect as every time you’re shouted at or have a door that confidence isn’t a rare gift bestowed
they are – whatever shape and size. slammed when you’re talking. upon X-Factor contestants, but that it’s
something there anyone can cultivate, grow
Puberty is a time when our sons and And it’s not just a dad/son thing or a mum/ and build upon.
daughters, who want to fit in so much, will daughter thing. Just as sons benefit from their
often internalise what they see, and that’s mums, girls need their dads to be there for Challenge negative beliefs. If your child is
why it’s good to talk openly with our kids them through this period of time because her on a route of negative thinking that they’re
about growing bodies, about keeping healthy, dad is the first and main male role model in not as smart/slim/fit/skinny as a pop star
and about looking after what you’ve got. her life. It’s a great idea to pencil in regular or other idol, challenge those beliefs. Are
Confidence can take a natural dive at puberty. time out together, like shopping, an outing you harsh in your own assessments of
A survey revealed that 59 per cent of girls lose for a coffee or ice-cream or a cinema visit – people’s images? At times it may not seem
their confidence at puberty, and many never anything to keep connecting. like your tween is registering what you
quite recover it. Parents can have a difficult say, but you actually remain the strongest
job ensuring that their child has self-belief Talk about bodies. There may be no escape influence in his or her life. Be mindful how
and self love before everything else. you talk about weight and diet yourself,
don’t verbalise your own insecurities or
So what can parents do to ensure that this criticise yourself. Let your child experience
turbulent time offers as smooth a transition you recognising your good points and other
into young adulthood as possible? people’s good points. WW

ASK GAME ON Parenting news
THE Chase Across the Square
EXPERT (€20) is the first board CHILDREN'S BOOK OF
game from KDM THE WEEK
"My mum has Games devised by CONFESSIONS OF
got dementia Waterford woman AN IMAGINARY
and my six- Angela McCarthy. Her FRIEND: A
year-old daughter maths-based game MEMOIR
doesn't understand why was developed two years
her grandma sometimes ago and aims to help children develop their mental by Jacques Papier as
doesn't know who she mathematics skills. Children are learning without told to Michelle Cuevas
is and can say strange realizing it (result!). It’s already stocked in 40 shops (Simon & Schuster,
things. How can I best nationwide with further games to come. For a list of €8.99)
explain it to her?" stockists visit Are you ready to
chase across the square? Jacques and his sister
Dr Simon Ridley, director Fleur are the closest
of research at Alzheimer's friends. They can read
Research UK (pictured), says: each other's minds.
"Dementia isn't like a lot of Well sort of. But then, one day, Jacques
other illnesses and can be overhears that Fleur has an imaginary friend
hard to understand even for she has never told him about. Well Jacques
adults. Explaining to a child is extremely annoyed by this. He decides it
why someone they know is time to get an imaginary friend himself.
and love is changing can be a Jacques tries to find one and fails badly.
particular challenge. The last
thing anyone would want is for HEART YOU NUMBER
children to think these changes FUN
are in some way their fault or How cute are these hearty outfits from H&M? In store this
that if a relative doesn't seem month, they’re the perfect remedy to cold, wintery nights. BrainBox Maths
to know who they are it's Prices from €7.99. (approx. €11 from
because they don't care about Amazon)
them any more.
Could someone have
"To begin with, you might unlocked the secret
want to talk to your daughter to making maths enjoyable? Study one of the
about the brain - that our play cards for 10 seconds and then answer
brains are what allow us to a question based on the roll of a die; if you
think, remember who people answer correctly, you keep the card and the
are, and choose the things we person with the most cards at the end wins.
say and do. Explaining that
of the body - sometimes
become ill, can go a long Taken from My Kind Of Food by John Torode (Headline, €32) the salt until foaming. Add the sugar
way towards demystifying and beat again, then add the orange
By Áine Toner the condition in the eyes of (Makes 1 cake) METHOD paste, almonds and olive oil. Beat again.
children and will hopefully › In a separate bowl, mix the polenta
help your daughter to YOU WILL NEED › H eat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Grease and baking powder, then gently fold
make sense of the changes 2 Seville oranges a 23cm springform cake tin. this into the orange mixture until it is
happening to her grandma.” 2 lemons all mixed together.
180g blanched › Put one orange and one lemon into › Pour the mixture into the greased tin
almonds a large pan, cover with water, and and bake for 50 minutes, or until a
4 eggs place a circle of greaseproof paper skewer inserted into the centre comes
Big pinch of salt over the top so the fruit sits under out clean.
170g caster sugar the water. Bring to the boil, then › M eanwhile, make the syrup. Put the
80ml olive oil, plus reduce the heat and simmer for orange juice and sugar in a pan and
extra for greasing about 30 minutes. Take off the heat. simmer over a low heat until you have
150g polenta a glossy syrup.
10g baking powder › T oast the blanched almonds in a › T urn the cake out of the tin onto a
dry frying pan. Put them in a food serving plate and pour the syrup over.
FOR THE SYRUP processor and blitz until finely
Juice of 2-3 Seville ground. Set aside.
oranges (about
150ml) › Take the cooked orange and lemon
75g caster sugar out of the pan. Cut them in half and
pick out the seeds. Juice the other
fresh orange and lemon (throw
away the shells). Put the cooked
fruit (skins and all) and extra freshly
squeezed juice in the food processor
and blend to make a paste.

› In a large bowl, beat the eggs with

Paternity leave

A postive step
The October 2016 Budget’s inclusion of
By Deirdre Clune a two-week paternity leave measure, “A two week we’re going to have to accept that this is a cost
is a very positive step on the road to paternity leave of business like rent, rates, electricity and
a level playing field for women in the measure is a other benefits. Populations must be replaced
workplace. Shared responsibility of caring very positive and if people stop having children because
for newborn babies is crucial to achieving step on the their careers can’t cope with a few months
equality in our labour market in Ireland, road to a level absence, then the cost to us all will be much
but at the moment the responsibility is still playing field” greater in the long run.
falling on women. Introducing two weeks
paid leave for new fathers goes some way 20 per cent. While this isn’t exactly the perfect I believe this Government’s budgetary
towards addressing this inequality, and fit for Ireland either, it is a start on the road concessions to childcare are indicative of a real
hopefully, will pave the way to a shift in our towards equality. awareness of the needs of young families. The
childcare culture. extra year of pre school and the increase in
While I know that employers, particularly child benefit, along with two weeks paternity
Paternity leave, however short, will mean in small businesses, might fear the cost of leave, are very encouraging for those thinking
that staying at home to take care of a newborn, temporarily losing men as well as women to about starting families. We need to support
is a responsibility shared by both parents. This these family friendly policies, it’s important women in the workplace as much as possible
signifies a wider societal view and addresses that we begin to address our thinking on the and do everything we can to facilitate the
the idea of rearing children as something that matter. Employees being absent is a cost to any balance between furthering their careers and
is undertaken solely by women. As a working business, especially a small one, but I think rearing families. WW
mother of four boys myself, I know that such
an incentive would have been a great help to Deirdre Clune is an MEP for Ireland South. She is
me when my children were small. a member of the Transport & Tourism committee
and is a substitute member of the Employment
Recently in the European Parliament, & Social Affairs committee, in the European
MEPs debated the Maternity Leave Directive. Parliament.
As an MEP for Ireland South, I called for
more incentives to encourage fathers to take
paternity leave, as I believe women will suffer
in their careers if they are always the ones who
take time off to mind children.

Our recent budgetary measure of two
weeks paid paternity leave will certainly help,
but there is a big cultural shift to be made to
achieve balance and government is going to
have to drive it.

A recent European Commission report
shows us that only 65.8 per cent of women
with young children in the EU are working,
compared to 89.1 per cent of men.

That can only change with laws that
are targeted at changing our childcare
culture - like the introduction of real and
progressive paternity care.

Sweden now has a system of mandatory
60-day paternity leave. After 40 years of
various paternity leave incentives which were
taken up at a very low rate, Sweden felt it had
to force fathers to take paternity leave in order
to change the culture that only mothers can
mind babies. While Ireland is not ready for
such a measure, Germany is taking a very
encouraging approach to paternity leave, to
create the necessary cultural shift. It amended
its parental-leave scheme in 2007 to include
incentives for men to take paternity leave, and
within two years the share of fathers who took
paid leave jumped from three per cent to over

Relatively speaking

There’s no doubt that motherhood can be

stressful. Everyone wants a piece of you.

But where does the buck stop?

It’s the end of a busy week. You collapse in “Authentic DON’T MICRO MANAGE By Una Rice
a heap on the sofa and wonder where time relationships and
went. But you’re still not off duty. Your child unconditional You don’t have to oversee the minutiae of your
won’t go to sleep so you’ve got an hour of acceptance child’s every waking minute. Ease up on the
cajoling to get on with, plus there’s a birthday by friends micro-managing and watch your child’s sense of
party tomorrow and you’ve yet to buy and are essential responsibility soar while your stress levels fall.
wrap a gift, and you’ve got to be on the ingredients to keep
sidelines hours later cheering on your child’s a mother grounded SEE YOUR FRIENDS
football team enthusiastically. In the rain. and happy”
Motherhood can often seem like a relentless Don’t wait until breaking point before you meet
to-do list, with your children’s activities and The number of children you have may play for coffee or dinner. See your friends routinely
commitments coming first every day, to the a part in how stressful you find motherhood. and let your hair down – minus the kids.
point where your own needs and desires Previously, a poll of 7,000 mums found that
are squished to the bottom of a very jaded three is the magic number of children when it SHUSH, DON’T MENTION
list. And most mums are happy to operate comes to feeling stress – more than one or two. THE CHILDREN
selflessly, taking care of everyone else’s needs Interestingly, stress doesn’t increase when
and requirements, remembering important there are four or more kids. Perhaps by then a When you meet with friends, it’s tempting to
dates and appointments, organising lifts mum is used to all the juggling required. converse totally about where the kids are at and
and playdates, and creating masterpieces in what they’re doing. Instead, from time to time,
the kitchen. Arguably, whether you are in Meanwhile, research from Australia promise there’ll be no chatter about the little
a relationship or are a single mum, you are pinpoints decision making when it comes to ones and just focus on mums.
the glue that holds it all together. But who is purchases for children as a stressor for mum.
looking after you? The survey which focused on 1,000 mothers HAVE A BREAK FROM ROUTINE
Now, some new research from the US found that 51 per cent of mums feel stressed
reveals the important factors behind keeping when making a major purchase decision for Step off the parenting treadmill once in a while
you, the mum, psychologically in tiptop their child, with 29 per cent suffering from for a couple of nights away, again, where the
condition. The research from Arizona State anxiety. In 12 per cent of cases, this stress led focus is not on the children.
University, claiming to be the first of its to arguments with partners.
kind to probe into aspects of motherhood, TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY
reveals that both authentic relationships And pressures don’t ease up whether you
and unconditional acceptance by friends are stay at home to look after your little ones or It may seem impossible at first with all your
the essential ingredients to keep a mother go out to work. A third of working mums family demands and commitments, but if there’s
grounded and happy. claim that their kids are great at making them something you’ve always had an inkling for, it’s
For the research 2,000 mums were queried feel guilty when they’re not available for the worth pursuing. Joining a book club, learning to
about what exactly their coping mechanisms school run, that’s according to UK parenting knit, or taking up a new sporting activity could be
are for the demands of motherhood. There website Netmums. just the de-stressor you need.
were four main factors which had an impact
as far as keeping a mother’s stress at bay Mums at home full-time can find that while DELEGATE
is concerned. They are: unconditional enjoying the benefits of full time motherhood,
acceptance, feeling comforted when required, the domestic non-stop demands can be If you’re at home full time, the natural tendency
authentic relationships and satisfying overwhelming, with very little ‘off duty’ time. is not to delegate because you’re there to carry
friendships. Interestingly, while being married everyone and do everything. The reality is, this
is not linked to your psychological wellbeing, So, if being refreshed and stress-free is is often too much for one person. Releasing
certainly marriage quality is, if you are wed. paramount as a mum, in order to then be able yourself from some runs and commitments will
Why is the research so important? Because to ‘give’ to those around us, what can mothers do you the world of good. WW
typically, mums, as you may recognise, are start doing to get a break from pressures?
hugely emotionally invested in all aspects
of their children’s lives, because mothers
are usually the primary caregivers. And
these days it’s not unusual for a mum to be
combining this care-giving role with a work
role as well. As a mum you’re arguably the
foundation, and ensuring your happiness is
paramount overall.


ASK THE EXSPpEReTcParentingQ&Afromthoseintheknow
I’ve recently weaned my eight- My baby is a few weeks old and I’m

month-old baby and I’ve been giving concerned that during winter he’ll
her cows’ milk to drink as I know it’s pick up lots of bugs. How can I judge
nutritious. Is it okay for her to drink a if he just has the sniffles or if it’s
something more serious?
lot of this kind of milk now?

ADr Pauline Emmett ADr Su Laurent, My two-year-
from the University a consultant old constantly
of Bristol, who paediatrician has a runny
recently jointly at the Royal nose and quite
led research into Free Hospital often a sore throat and cough.
the weight gain in London, says: Should I take him to the doctor
of infants fed “Young children every time he gets sick or is that
different types get colds quite often just wasting their time?
of milk, says: because their immune
“When a baby is system is still developing. They can catch as Dr Jeremy Mellins says: “In young
no longer receiving many as eight to 12 a year and they normally children, it’s normal to get several minor
breast milk, a type of milk pass within two weeks. While they aren’t illnesses every year. Often a child will
that’s as similar as possible to breast milk usually serious, it’s important to look out for start to recover from one illness, then
is needed; infant formula is the best option, signs it might be more than a cold. quickly pick up another. There’s usually
as it contains a good balance of additional no need to see your GP as most coughs
vitamins and minerals including iron and is “Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection and colds will be gone within seven to 21
very much better than cows’ milk. affecting babies and young children - one in days. Most coughs and colds in otherwise
three will have the condition before their first healthy children are viruses.
“Cows’ milk contains very little iron and birthday yet despite this, more than half of
our previous research showed that a quarter parents with children under five are unaware There is no treatment for viral infection
of babies fed cows’ milk as their main drink of the illness. and antibiotics cannot help,but can cause
at eight months of age were anaemic. Babies side effects. It’s rarely useful to see the
with anaemia can be slow developers. “For many children, bronchiolitis is no GP with minor illnesses but it is worth
more severe than a cold, but for others they knowing some ‘red flags’ so that you will
“Once your baby’s eating three meals a may struggle to breathe and feed and may seek help at the right time.
day, she should naturally reduce the amount need hospital care to help them recover. A
of milk she drinks to less than 600ml per recent survey has found that, on average, “These are: Illness lasting more than
day, with additional fluid from water. Stay paediatricians spend almost half of their time three weeks; temperature above 38C that
clear of cows’ milk as a main drink until during winter months looking after children won’t come down with paracetamol or
your child is over a year old. with bronchiolitis. ibuprofen; c an’t drink or have stopped
passing urine regularly; a rash that
“In our recent research, we found “It’s important that parents know what doesn’t go pale when pressed, stiff neck,
children fed large amounts of cows’ milk bronchiolitis is, what to look out for and how inability to tolerate bright light (dial
at eight months of age put on weight faster they can reduce the risks for their children, 999); illness that gets suddenly worse; d
and were heavier than breastfed children particularly if their baby is premature ifficult to wake or unconscious (dial 999);
right up to 10 years of age. We also found or has other health complications, such trouble breathing or the chest sucks in
that children who were fed 600ml or more as lung or heart conditions, which could with each breath (dial 999); coughing up
of formula each day put on weight faster in mean they’re at higher risk of developing bloodstained mucus.
infancy and were heavier than breastfed severe bronchiolitis. The early symptoms
children up to two and a half years of age. of bronchiolitis are similar to those of a “In the main, if the child is alert, cool,
common cold, such as a runny nose and drinking and passing urine, with none of
“Gaining weight very fast in infancy has cough. Further symptoms then usually the above signs, then you should be quite
been linked to obesity in later childhood develop over the next few days, including a safe to manage at home.” WW
so it’s important when bottle feeding to be high temperature, a dry and persistent raspy
sensitive to the amount of milk your baby cough, difficulty feeding and rapid or noisy
really needs. If she doesn’t seem to want to breathing (wheezing).”
finish a bottle then take that as a signal
she’s full.”

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