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© Disney

Summer 2009

newgen

Inspiring and informing NCT supporters

Win! great Snapfish prizes in our new family photo competition!
Win!
great
Snapfish
prizes
in
our
new
family
photo
competition!

Tv times

Making the most of watching together

Bringing up baby The latest on parenting issues

Different rules Learning to live with autism

Making a splash Swimming with your baby

supported by

on parenting issues Different rules Learning to live with autism Making a splash Swimming with your
on parenting issues Different rules Learning to live with autism Making a splash Swimming with your

Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library

Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library 2 newgen magazine summer 2009
Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library 2 newgen magazine summer 2009
Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library 2 newgen magazine summer 2009
Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library 2 newgen magazine summer 2009
Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library 2 newgen magazine summer 2009
Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library 2 newgen magazine summer 2009
Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library 2 newgen magazine summer 2009
Photo: Mother and Baby Picture Library 2 newgen magazine summer 2009

2 newgen magazine summer 2009

© DisneyCover

photography: Dee Ramadan

© DisneyCover photography: Dee Ramadan Inspiring and informing NCT supporters Summer 2009 Inside heading contents COver

Inspiring and informing NCT supporters

Summer 2009

Inside

heading contents

COver STOry 17
COver
STOry
17
Summer 2009 Inside heading contents COver STOry 17 Summer SolStice Hello. It’s only my second edition

Summer SolStice Hello. It’s only my second edition and already I’m feeling part of the NCT furniture – not least because of all the great letters you’ve sent in about the new-look magazine. In addition to the regular features, this issue has a fascinating item on children’s TV, a moving article about autism, news of the NCT annual conference plus the results of our photo competition and news of a new one. We’re also delighted to be able to announce that Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure now sponsor Newgen. Their support will help us to reach even more parents. Comfort Pure and Persil Non-Bio are both specially designed for babies and are dermatologically tested. Enjoy the mag and have a glorious summer.

John Pinchingtested. Enjoy the mag and have a glorious summer. email: newgeneditor@nct.org.uk or write to John Pinching,

email: newgeneditor@nct.org.uk or write to John Pinching, Newgen, NCT, Alexandra House, Oldham Terrace, London W3 6NH

4 What’s new

Keep up-to-date with parenting and birth news

7 in the know

Our departments talk to you

9 come together

Find out about our event-packed annual conference

11 Your say

You tell us about your experiences

12 Picture perfect

We reveal our Flickr competition winners, plus details on a new nationwide photo contest

15 music lessons

One proud father tells us what happens when you take a ten-month-old baby to a music festival

17 Kids on film

We explore the representation of parenting and children on TV and in film

20 rewriting the rules

The highs and lows of raising autistic children

24 Going swimmingly

A look at a new initiative to get babies in the water

27 take two

Tales on pregnancy while looking after a toddler

34 First person

Garance Lawrence on antenatal training

Pregnancy and Birth line:

0300 33 00 772

Breastfeeding line:

0300 33 00 771

enquiries line:

0300 33 00 770

Calls to 0844 numbers will be charged a maximum of 5p per minute (+VAT) from BT phone lines. The price of calls from mobile networks will vary. Published by Axon Publishing, 11 Plough Yard, London EC2A 3LP www.axonpublish.com Advertising enquiries to Mongoose Media Ltd, 2 Lonsdale Road, London NW6 Contact: Ben Shoesmith Tel: 020 7306 0300 Email: advertising@nct.org.uk

Shoesmith Tel: 020 7306 0300 Email: advertising@nct.org.uk This product is printed on paper containing a minimum

This product is printed on paper containing a minimum of 75% recycled fibres, with the remainder coming from fully traceable paper from sustainable sources.

ThE NCT iS A REgiSTEREd ChARiTY No. 801395 All advertisements submitted for inclusion in Newgen are checked for compliance with our Sponsorship Commercial Relationships & Advertising policy. The NCT reserves the right to accept or reject advertising material. No correspondence will be entered into. Advertisements are accepted in good faith but the NCT cannot be held responsible for any claims made by advertisers. Please note that none of the food products advertised in this magazine is suitable for babies under six months and some will only be suitable for older children and adults.

Views expressed by contributors to newgen are not necessarily those of the NCT charity or of Axon Publishing.

Summer 2009 Newgen Magazine 3

Getty images

email: newgeneditor@nct.org.uk telephone: 020 7846 4567

News

what’s going on in the world of the NCT

fInd out morE about thE Grant You can listen and download a free podcast at
fInd out morE
about thE Grant
You can listen and
download a free podcast at
hmrc.gov.uk/podcasts,
or visit direct.gov.uk/
money4mum2be, or call
the grant helpline on
0845 366 7885.

Birth bonus

Mums-to-be get £190 grant from the Government

EvEry month, around 65,000 women in England, Wales, northern Ireland and Scotland celebrate the birth of a new child. now there’s another reason for mums-to-be to celebrate as they can now claim a new one-off, tax-free payment of £190. Every pregnant woman will get the health in Pregnancy Grant, as long as they receive health advice from a midwife or GP. the grant will act as an incentive for mums to seek out and

access this essential help. It’s easy to claim. all mums-to-be can ask for a claim form from their midwife at their first antenatal appointment after the 25th week of pregnancy. all they need to do is return the completed form to hm revenue & Customs (hmrC) within 31 days and HMRC will then pay the money directly into the woman’s bank or building society account. It is entirely up to the mum how the money is spent.

It is entirely up to the mum how the money is spent. The milk of human

The milk of human kindness?

 

Actress Salma Hayek sparks off milk-sharing debate

WHile TouriNG A HoSpiTAl iN WAr-TorN Sierra leone, the actress Salma Hayek came across a mother who was unable to provide milk for her malnourished one- week-old son. Hayek took the stranger’s baby and breastfed him. The event was documented by the American news network ABC, which was accompanying her on the African charity mission. Mexican-born Hayek, who at the time was breastfeeding her own one-year-old daughter, said: “The baby was perfectly healthy, but the mother did not have any milk. He was very hungry so i breastfed the baby. i think my baby would be very proud to be able to share her milk.” Wet-nursing, or cross-feeding, was common practice before the Second World War. Hayek’s action has sparked off much debate as to whether the practice is becoming more acceptable. We’d like to hear your opinions on the subject. Email yoursay@nct.org.uk

BegiNNiNg at home

13-20 June is National Childminding Week

Carrying the theme of ‘Home from Home’, the aim of the week is to promote the benefits of home-based childcare to parents and parents-to-be.

Visit ncma.org.uk for details.

Your voice counts!

Have your say at the 2009 NCT AGM

Your voice counts! Have your say at the 2009 NCT AGM THiS YeArS AGM Will Be

THiS YeArS AGM Will Be Held AT Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. it takes place on Saturday 27 June 2009 at 9.40am and is open to all NCT members (even those not attending the conference), plus it’s free. The Board governs the NCT on members’ behalf so this is a chance to hold our Trustees and management to account. You can get essential AGM info in the booklet sent with this issue. if you can’t come to Swansea, use your proxy voting rights or submit a question to the Board in advance. The 2007/8 Annual report and Accounts are available electronically on update.nct.org.uk/aGm. For a hard copy, please contact the Board Secretary on 020 8752 2372 or email boardsecretary@nct.org.uk.

on 020 8752 2372 or email boardsecretary@nct.org.uk . Pushing for change The NCT calls for more

Pushing for change

The NCT calls for more midwife-led support

thErE havE bEEn SEvEral artIClES In thE mEdIa rECEntly on plans to cut down on the number of epidurals provided to women in labour. the nCt is not opposed to epidurals for women who need them; it recognises that while all medical interventions add risk, sometimes the risk of not intervening is greater. however, in some maternity units, there is early recourse to epidural anaesthetic, which involves unwanted side effects, including an increased need for forceps or ventouse. The modern ‘mobile epidurals’ contain opioid drugs that cross the placenta. this can make babies sleepy after birth and interfere with feeding. the nCt recognises that as well as being safe, birth should also be positive. all too often women do not get one-to-one midwifery support, the environment is unfriendly and there is a lack of access to a birth pool or shower to help women cope with contractions. the nCt wants to make sure every woman has a midwife by her side throughout her labour. It also wants to ensure that she is well prepared and has support in order to have a straightforward birth that leaves her feeling positive.

News

straightforward birth that leaves her feeling positive. News Two’s the limit? environmental think-tank calls for

Two’s the limit?

environmental think-tank calls for population control

GreeN AdViSer JoNATHoN porriTT has labelled couples who have more than two children as ‘irresponsible’. porritt, who chairs the Government’s Sustainable development Commission, says curbing population growth must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. The optimum population Trust, a campaign group of which porritt is a patron, says each baby born in Britain will, during their lifetime, burn carbon roughly equivalent to two and a half acres of old- growth oak woodland – an area the size of Trafalgar Square. porritt, who has two children, says, “i am unapologetic about asking people to connect their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint to how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate.”

aftEr muCh PrEParatIon and planning, we recently unveiled our new nCt signage at our Alexander
aftEr muCh PrEParatIon
and planning, we recently unveiled
our new nCt signage at our
Alexander House office.
So, how do we look?

Summer 2009 Newgen Magazine 5

NCT shop

For everything you need for you and your baby, call 0845 8100 100 or visit nctshop.co.uk

and your baby, call 0845 8100 100 or visit nctshop.co.uk Earth Friendly Baby Wet Wipes are
and your baby, call 0845 8100 100 or visit nctshop.co.uk Earth Friendly Baby Wet Wipes are

Earth Friendly Baby Wet Wipes are soft, thick 100% biodegradable wet wipes with soothing organic chamomile and calendula to cleanse and soothe delicate skin. Code: 3305, £2.93

to cleanse and soothe delicate skin. Code: 3305, £2.93 The Clip and Go Musical Mobile’s music
to cleanse and soothe delicate skin. Code: 3305, £2.93 The Clip and Go Musical Mobile’s music

The Clip and Go Musical Mobile’s music helps develop baby’s hearing, while the inviting and colorful movement helps to develop her vision. Code: 4278, £16.63

Shade a Babe protects your baby from the sun with patented three-layer protection system. Fits most three and four-wheel pushchairs, prams or buggies. Code: 4492, £29.36

Melobaby Nappy Wallet and Changing Mat will hold everything you need for changing your baby when you’re out and about. Code: 4494, £29.99

your baby when you’re out and about. Code: 4494, £29.99 theBabaSling is a revolution in design,

theBabaSling is a revolution in design, comfort and simplicity. Shaped to support a newborn’s developing spine, while providing essential closeness and bonding for both parent and child. theBabaSling adjusts in seconds to fit mums, dads and babies of all sizes, 2-15kg. Code: 4476, £39.10

The UV Monitor helps you keep an eye on UV rays. Enter your child’s skin type and SPF of the lotion you’ve put on – an alarm will sound when safe exposure time is up. Code: 5063, £14.67

you’ve put on – an alarm will sound when safe exposure time is up. Code: 5063,
you’ve put on – an alarm will sound when safe exposure time is up. Code: 5063,
you’ve put on – an alarm will sound when safe exposure time is up. Code: 5063,
you’ve put on – an alarm will sound when safe exposure time is up. Code: 5063,

6 Newgen Magazine Summer 2009

NCT Activities

NCT Activities read all about us Press column press gang With Nicola Ryan AN ENThUSiASTiC ‘hiGh

read all about us

Press column

press gang

With Nicola Ryan

AN ENThUSiASTiC ‘hiGh FiVE’ FroM ThE prESS TEAM hErE AT ThE NCT. ThiS yEAr WE’VE AlrEAdy MAdE oUr prESENCE FElT ACroSS A rANGE oF UK MEdiA

AlrEAdy MAdE oUr prESENCE FElT ACroSS A rANGE oF UK MEdiA The NCT has been particularly

The NCT has been particularly noticeable on TV where our opinion on baby feeding bottles containing the potentially harmful chemical BPA appeared on several news bulletins. We are asking manufacturers to stop producing bottles that contain BPA in the UK. After initially appearing on BBC Breakfast, the story also surfaced on Channel 4 News, ITV News and in the Daily Telegraph and The Scotsman. There have also been several misleading articles in the media recently regarding the NCT’s views on women’s access to epidurals. These arise from a consensus statement; Making Normal Birth a Reality, developed by the Maternity Care Working Party (MCWP) and supported by the NCT, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and other academic researchers and concerned organisations. The report includes recommendations on positive changes that are needed to improve overall services. It is not opposed to epidurals for women who want or need them. On a brighter note the NCT has started a new campaign – New Directions – to encourage more people to train with us and become qualified breastfeeding counsellors, postnatal leaders or antenatal teachers. Keep a look out for our presence in the media as we invite people to change their lives and make a real difference to their communities. In the meantime, enjoy your summer hols!

fundraising column

Campaigns column

Taking action

It all counts

With George Pearce

We’re lookiNg forWArd To A very suCCessful yeAr AheAd, ThANks To everybody’s eNergy, eNThusiAsm ANd sheer PhysiCAl sTAmiNA over The lAsT feW moNThscolumn Taking action It all counts With George Pearce With Elizabeth Somerville AS ThE SUMMEr ApproAChES

With Elizabeth Somerville

AS ThE SUMMEr ApproAChES – ANd iT looKS liKE WE MiGhT ACTUAlly GET oNE – ThErE iS So MUCh To looK ForWArd To oN ThE CAMpAiGN TrAil

ThErE iS So MUCh To looK ForWArd To oN ThE CAMpAiGN TrAil Well done to everyone

Well done to everyone who has added their support to our campaigns so far – every voice really does make a difference. We’re currently planning the ‘breastfeeding – access all areas’ campaign to establish breastfeeding friendly signs all over the country. These signs will send out a strong message and raise the confidence of mums who want to feed their babies when they’re out and about. Your knowledge and experience is pivotal to our success so please send us your views to campaigns@nct.uk. We’re also conducting a clean-up of e-active and NCT Active – our electronic email vehicles. We can only achieve this with your help so go to nct.org.uk/active/network and tell us about yourself. Please answer as many questions as you can and, if there’s anything you’d like to add email us at campaigns@nct.org.uk. Your input makes our network stronger. We may use quotes from the research but we won’t use your names. The NCT is also supporting Jessica’s Trust, which was formed by Ben Palmer after his wife Jessica died from childbed fever. Though rare, if undetected, the illness can have serious consequences. The charity campaigns for awareness of the condition among parents, and greater diagnosis from health professionals. These provisions will save many lives and, of course, we will be doing all we can to get the message across! For more info go to jessicastrust.org.uk. If you want to get involved in any of our campaigns or if you want to start your own visit nct.org.uk/active.

This year the fundraising team are confident of raising more money than ever. Each penny helps the NCT provide the very best information about pregnancy and parenting, first class services to our members and campaigns that can really make a difference. We’ll be doing our bit too with NCT members, staff and volunteers displaying their sporting prowess in a range of disciplines including rowing, running, darts and even caber tossing! Some of us have completed the London Marathon, with many finishing ahead of the usual motley crew of celebrities and others wearing crazy attire, and no less than

24 of us will be dusting off our plimsolls for the British 10k run. On that note I’d like to pay tribute to the astonishing athleticism of the NCT’s Andy Barnes. The finance guru and fitness fanatic took part in the Paris marathon, raising a cool £1,350 for our charity. Despite an extremely impressive finishing time of three hours and six minutes, however, he threw his stop watch away in disgust after realising he hadn’t beaten his personal best! We always welcome fresh fundraising ideas. So please share yours with us at events@nct.org.uk.

LabeLs for every Tom, Dick or HarrieT anD everyTHing THey own As we all know,
LabeLs for every Tom, Dick or HarrieT anD everyTHing THey own As we all know,
LabeLs for every Tom, Dick or HarrieT anD everyTHing THey own As we all know,
LabeLs for every Tom, Dick or HarrieT anD everyTHing THey own As we all know,
LabeLs for every Tom, Dick or HarrieT anD everyTHing THey own As we all know,

LabeLs for every Tom, Dick or HarrieT

anD everyTHing THey own

As we all know, children have a habit of putting things down where they don’t belong, so it is easy to understand why mums worldwide love the fun and practical solutions Stuck on You provides to labelling children from top-to-toe. Designed especially for children, Stuck on You labels are colourful, fun and full of personality, just like children.

Stuck on You name labels will stick to everything from books, sippy cups, and toys to lunchboxes, baby bottles, and even soothers! These durable name labels have been tested to withstand the rough and tumble of the playground and are dishwasher and microwave safe, so your child’s belongings will stick around!

Stuck on You clothing labels bond permanently to fabric. They’re guaranteed to stay put even after frequent machine laundering and drying. They are simple to apply so all of your children’s clothing for pre-school, school or the weekend can be easily labelled.

When we say we have got labels to cover every situation from top to toe, we really mean it! No more coming home with one shoe, or another child’s shoes. Stuck on You shoe labels will save lost property headaches and precious tootsies too! Shoe labels are a must, especially for toddlers. The bright colours and individual icons help little ones recognise their own shoes even before they can read their own names.

Stuck on You labels are great fun and help make it easy to keep track of children’s belongings!

To check out the labels that combine practicality, quality and fun, go to www.stuckonyou.biz or call 0845 456 0014 for a free brochure.

Annual conference

supported by

Annual conference supported by Don’t miss the AnnuAl ConferenCe AnD nCt Joint forum on Friday 28
Don’t miss the AnnuAl ConferenCe AnD nCt Joint forum on Friday 28 June, 26 to
Don’t
miss
the
AnnuAl
ConferenCe
AnD nCt
Joint
forum
on
Friday
28 June,
26 to Sunday
Brangwyn
Hall,
Swansea

Call of the valleys

With interesting workshops, fascinating findings and lively discussions promised, why not get involved and join the fun by coming along to our annual NCT conference…

The souNd of NCT voiCes will soar above the valleys as we celebrate our 53rd year in the delightful welsh coastal city of swansea. Come along for a range of fascinating presentations, special guests – including Penny Nicholls from The Children’s society – and a host of stimulating workshops. other notable highlights include the brand new NCT strategy for the next ten years, a panel discussion on labour pain and, back by popular demand, the volunteer awards. There will even be a performance of ‘The father Monologues’ – a hugely entertaining dramatisation of how fathers can, and should, get involved with bringing up their children.

Meanwhile, the Joint forum will involve discussions, a presentation from rose McCarthy on running courses for diverse groups and debates about issues affecting parents in all situations. we will also be delivering the results of our three-year PoPPY (Parents of Premature Babies Project) study and findings from the evaluation of NCT antenatal classes. we’ll also be announcing the winners of our first ever Specialist Worker Awards, sponsored by Medela. don’t miss out on your chance to join this unique occasion. Please note, just because it’s called ‘conference’ it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a hall full of ‘suits’ using management speak. Your contribution is absolutely vital in shaping

the future of our charity. we’re looking for record numbers of branch workers, committee members, volunteers and specialist workers. it’s going to be an inspirational, fun, educational and enlightening celebration of the year gone by and, who knows, you might even make some new friends! After the serious stuff we’re going to hit the conference party for some intoxicating beverages and, no doubt, a few spontaneous dance moves! we’re also going to throw in a traditional Ceilidh band for good measure.

If you’d like to come and join us for a splendid weekend by the seaside, go to update.nct.org.uk/conference

Model and clothes by Isabella Oliver www.IsabellaOliver.com

Peace of mind before, during and after pregnancy

Peace of mind before, during and after pregnancy From Boots, Superdrug, Holland & Barrett, leading
Peace of mind before, during and after pregnancy From Boots, Superdrug, Holland & Barrett, leading
Peace of mind before, during and after pregnancy From Boots, Superdrug, Holland & Barrett, leading

From Boots, Superdrug, Holland & Barrett, leading supermarkets, chemists, health stores & www.pregnacare.com

chemists, health stores & www.pregnacare.com Pregnacare ® supports www.nct.org.uk
chemists, health stores & www.pregnacare.com Pregnacare ® supports www.nct.org.uk
chemists, health stores & www.pregnacare.com Pregnacare ® supports www.nct.org.uk
chemists, health stores & www.pregnacare.com Pregnacare ® supports www.nct.org.uk
chemists, health stores & www.pregnacare.com Pregnacare ® supports www.nct.org.uk
Pregnacare ® supports

Pregnacare ® supports

Pregnacare ® supports
Pregnacare ® supports
Pregnacare ® supports

www.nct.org.uk

www.wellbeingofwomen.org.uk

WIn! £30 oF nCT SHop VouCHERS
WIn!
£30 oF
nCT SHop
VouCHERS

Every issue, the writer of Newgen’s star letter will be sent a £30 NCT Shop voucher to spend on whatever they like. Visit nctshop.co.uk

voucher to spend on whatever they like. Visit nctshop.co.uk Letters Your say As usual you’ve been

Letters

to spend on whatever they like. Visit nctshop.co.uk Letters Your say As usual you’ve been keen

Your say

on whatever they like. Visit nctshop.co.uk Letters Your say As usual you’ve been keen to send

As usual you’ve been keen to send us your views on the NCT and respond to the spring Newgen – share your opinions on this issue at yoursay@nct.org.uk

– share your opinions on this issue at yoursay@nct.org.uk Breast is best! STaR LETTER My reaction

Breast is best!

STaR LETTER
STaR
LETTER

My reaction to Facebook’s banning of a group featuring photographs of breastfeeding, is one of both annoyance and, unfortunately, a lack of surprise. It is a sad world that we live in when something as natural as breastfeeding is continuously slandered as being ‘inappropriate’. It seems to me that the majority of these individuals offended by breastfeeding are finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that they view the breast as a sexual object and therefore become uncomfortable with its presence in a public place. It’s as simple as this – if you don’t like it, don’t look! If it comes down to child-Facebook-viewer’s protection, I really don’t think that a picture of a mother feeding her child is going to cause them any harm. There are far more harmful computer games and TV programmes within easy reach! I am planning to breastfeed my baby who’s due soon and will not resort to anything less just because I am worried that a few may find it offensive. Having spoken to my husband about our plans to ensure our baby is breastfed, I asked him what he felt about the issue. He confirmed that he did not find it at all offensive and saw it as a completely maternal act i.e. the baby getting his lunch. Rhiannon

Thank you!

I just wanted to get in touch and say thank you for highlighting the issue of antenatal depression in the article ‘Alone With Everybody’ in the winter edition of Newgen. I suffered with antenatal depression from the sixth week of my second pregnancy, but was able to find out very little about it. My GP and midwife were both flummoxed by the condition. I was six months pregnant when I had an emergency referral to a psychiatrist at my local hospital. This was the first health professional I had encountered who was familiar with the illness, and was able to prescribe medication and cognitive behavioural therapy, which helped me to slowly recover. It was great to see the Pregnancy and Birth Line detailed as a place to go for help with this issue, and I was also pleased to see a reference to the website depression-in-pregnancy.org.uk. If antenatal depression is, as your article states, at least as common as postnatal depression, there is a great deal of

work to be done to ensure that health professionals recognise, and are able to deal
work to be done to ensure that health
professionals recognise, and are able
to deal with, the illness.
Jane, Bury and Rossendale branch
Rings around the world
How great to see an article about From Bump
to Breastfeeding in the latest issue. It’s a shame,
though, that you didn’t mention that the DVD
is also voiced over in Welsh, Polish, Somali,
Urdu, and Bengali.
Lindsay

Support system

Thank you NCT for the wonderful support offered to me through antenatal classes and my local breastfeeding counsellor. My husband and I attended the NCT antenatal classes one month before my due date. I thought at this stage I’d prefer to remain ignorant about the whole birthing experience, but I am so glad I changed my mind! The classes were really informative about all aspects of the impending birth. The teacher ran the course in an informal and inclusive way and made everyone feel comfortable to ask any questions – including the men! By the end of the day I felt genuinely empowered and fully informed as to the choices that would shape my birthing experience. Without this class I would not have had access to the information or had the courage to go to a midwife and ask about a water birth. Jill, Teesside branch

Look around

I read with interest your article ‘Bumpy Ride’ in the spring issue of Newgen and must admit I too was overjoyed the first time I was offered a seat on the London Underground, only to be deflated when I realised that I was being offered the seat by another pregnant lady, and could not possibly take the seat from her. I very loudly thanked her for her kind offer and then said “What kind of world are we living in when the only person willing to give up their seat for a pregnant lady is another pregnant lady?” to which I was then offered the seat next to her that I took. The majority of the time I found that other commuters would either look away from me throughout the journey or raise their papers so high as to obliterate their faces from view, seemingly operating on the principle, ‘if you can’t see the pregnant lady standing beside you, she isn’t there’.

Jennifer, East Grinstead branch

1 3 sponsored by 2 4 1. Jonathan Bateman and Judith Winters. Baby Saul is
1
1
1 3 sponsored by 2 4 1. Jonathan Bateman and Judith Winters. Baby Saul is pictured
3
3

sponsored by

1 3 sponsored by 2 4 1. Jonathan Bateman and Judith Winters. Baby Saul is pictured
1 3 sponsored by 2 4 1. Jonathan Bateman and Judith Winters. Baby Saul is pictured
2
2
1 3 sponsored by 2 4 1. Jonathan Bateman and Judith Winters. Baby Saul is pictured
4
4

1. Jonathan Bateman and

Judith Winters.

Baby Saul is pictured wearing

a headtorch illustrating the NCT’s gentle guidance 2. Julia Duff and friends

A literal interpretation of how the NCT brings mothers together

3. Bedtime

Both this image, and picture 4, emphasise our charity’s keenness to get dads involved

4. Richard and Mya Fowler

5. Halo Honey

Beautiful babies – enough said

Mya Fowler 5. Halo Honey Beautiful babies – enough said 5 Looking good We’ve been delighted
5
5

Looking good

We’ve been delighted with the response to our spring photo competition – so much so that we’ve now launched a new nationwide parenting picture contest that’s open to everyone…

We had a great response to the photo competition in the last edition. Thanks to everybody who emailed, posted or submitted images to our official Flickr Group on the theme of what the NCT means to you. The standard and variety of photos was very impressive. Our judging panel had quite a task selecting the ten winners from the entries we received. But, after much deliberation we’re confident that our top ten (showcased above) capture the essence of what it means to be a NCT member – and all in such different ways.

ENTER OuR NEW COMpETiTiON!

Building on the success of spring’s contest, the NCT has joined forces with Snapfish to create the most fun and

exciting photo competition in the land! This summer we’re staging a brand new national photo competition. We’ve

a host of incredible prizes to give away,

so if your image seizes our imaginations, you could win a state-of-the-art laptop or photo printer. If you’re an enthusiastic snapper this is a great chance to show off your photographic prowess. Alternatively, it could be an opportunity to dust the

cobwebs off your camera if it’s been

in hibernation for the winter.

Absolutely everybody is welcome to enter – even non NCT members – so if you know someone who’s a bit flash with a camera, spread the word! There are also no age limits for people who want to submit their shots but, beware of children who are better with technology than their parents!

12 Newgen Magazine Summer 2009

Photo competition

Photo competition 8 10 sponsored by The rules Enter between now and 9 August. Each participant
Photo competition 8 10 sponsored by The rules Enter between now and 9 August. Each participant
8
8
Photo competition 8 10 sponsored by The rules Enter between now and 9 August. Each participant
10
10
sponsored by The rules Enter between now and 9 August. Each participant can enter up
sponsored by
The rules
Enter between now and 9 August.
Each participant can enter up to
three photos. Winners of the
regional contests will be
determined by public judging and
will be announced by 20 August
2009 on the Snapfish site. Winners
of the overall uK contest will be
determined by private judging
and will be announced by
10 September on the Snapfish site
and the Autumn issue of Newgen.
please make sure you check your
inbox because winners have to
accept the prize by 13 August
otherwise it will be assigned to
the next highest scoring photo.
No purchase necessary.
See complete rules at
snapfish.co.uk/nctfamilycontest
See complete rules at snapfish.co.uk/nctfamilycontest 7 9 6 6. Melodious Williams We felt this image reflected
7
7
See complete rules at snapfish.co.uk/nctfamilycontest 7 9 6 6. Melodious Williams We felt this image reflected
9
9
See complete rules at snapfish.co.uk/nctfamilycontest 7 9 6 6. Melodious Williams We felt this image reflected
6
6

6. Melodious Williams

We felt this image reflected our aim to support the whole family

7.

Rachel Thomas

A

precious parenting moment

8.

Tina Dowell

Celebrating the NCT’s

commitment to breastfeeding

9. Sophie Kempe

We believe skin-to-skin contact

is essential, so it’s great to have

an image showing this 10. Dave and Roshi We thought this illustrated the countrywide nature of the NCT

The theme this time is ‘My Family’. We want to see what you can encapsulate in one frame that best illustrates your family. This theme will conjure up a myriad of ideas, so the concept is deliberately left open to your own interpretation. Family could mean how you spend your time with loved ones, where you live, the people you live with or even your extended family – such as friends. The idea of family may mean special occasions, getting back in touch with relatives, helping each other or having fun with other families. The notion of ‘My Family’ will be different for everyone. You can be as adventurous and imaginative with the brief as you want. The competition is already live and will close on 9 August – so there’s plenty of time to get snapping if you don’t have the perfect shot already. Get a head start by uploading your favourite photos onto Snapfish now. Initially, your entries will be entered into one of six regional sections (North England, South England, Midlands,

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) according to where you live (it doesn’t matter where you take the shot – it could be in Outer Mongolia but if your home is in Dudley your submission will be made to the Midlands region). You will be allowed to submit three photos in total onto an especially developed NCT and Snapfish photo competition page on the Snapfish website. A public voting system will decide the regional winners, who will progress to a national final where an expert panel of NCT and Snapfish judges will decide the ultimate winning photos. To get you started, Snapfish are offering all NCT members 40 free prints when they sign up to the service. You can claim yours at snapfish.co.uk/nctoffer.

it’s easy to take part. All you need to do is register with Snapfish so you can upload your photos and submit them to the contest. The photo contest is live at snapfish.co.uk/nctfamilycontest.

Out and about

Out and about Musical youth Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very
Out and about Musical youth Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very
Out and about Musical youth Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very
Out and about Musical youth Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very

Musical youth

Out and about Musical youth Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very
Out and about Musical youth Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very
Out and about Musical youth Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very
Out and about Musical youth Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very

Live music lover Matt Evans tells us about his first, very special, festival outing with his ten-month-old daughter Freya and why it pays to be prepared

confused and alarmed the staff, who didn’t think babies were allowed. Managers were summoned. they eventually let us in. Butlin’s may not have been prepared, but we were. daytime was family festival

time; Freya riding in her sling or pushing her trolley. at night we’d take it in turns to see bands while the other stayed in the chalet with the baby, watching dVds in the dark. the ear defenders were fantastic. Just as she hates wearing a hat indoors but not outside, Freya left them alone when they were needed. and they were certainly effective, as demonstrated when she dozily breastfed through a frantic set of experimental thrash metal. I was concerned that Freya would be bored, but she probably had more fun than we did. extremely sociable and a show-off, she was the only baby there and got a lot of attention. She couldn’t have been happier, and she spread plenty of joy, too. then, one afternoon, between the Butthole Surfers and Fantômas, she was inspired to walk unaided for the first time.

a truly memorable time and place for such

a momentous achievement! I’m not sure

what she made of the music, but children don’t have the cultural prejudices of adults. Festival-going as a family was easier than I anticipated. It just takes a little extra planning. the biggest downside is that your nocturnal activities are solitary, but it’s a small price to pay. Freya’s presence enhanced the experience immeasurably – she loved it, and therefore so did we.

What’S your Story? Have you embarked on any adventures, musical or otherwise, with your baby?
What’S your Story?
Have you embarked on any
adventures, musical or otherwise,
with your baby? If so, we’d love to
hear from you.
Email us your account at
yoursay@nct.org.uk
hear from you. Email us your account at yoursay@nct.org.uk WHeN My partNer GeorGIa aNd I Met,
hear from you. Email us your account at yoursay@nct.org.uk WHeN My partNer GeorGIa aNd I Met,

WHeN My partNer GeorGIa aNd I Met, we immediately bonded over music – particularly the projects of Faith No More’s Mike patton. So we nearly exploded with excitement when it was announced that he would be co-curating the Nightmare Before Christmas (NBC) festival. However, just one month before the announcement, our beautiful daughter Freya was born. We’d been to many festivals, but never as a trio… NBC takes place in december, which seemed eons away when we naïvely bought the tickets. Freya would be ten months old by then, surely old enough to spend a weekend with Granny? By late summer, Freya was still breastfeeding and waking often at night. We had no desire to switch to bottles, and expressing attempts had proved fruitless. It wouldn’t be fair or practical to leave her with Granny – and besides, we’d miss her too much. to our surprise, the festival website stated that kids

much. to our surprise, the festival website stated that kids were welcome, and crèche facilities would

were welcome, and crèche facilities would be provided. excited but anxious, we decided to take her along. the festival would be a cacophonous affair; tiny eardrums must be protected. I tracked down baby ear defenders online. A few clicks later, our bright-pink mufflers arrived. Freya hated them – as soon as they were on, they’d be yanked off again, hmm. december soon came around. after a long journey, we arrived at Butlin’s – and things started to go awry. Freya’s presence

PhotograPhy: liNda PelliNg
PhotograPhy: liNda PelliNg

16 Newgen Magazine Summer 2009

Getty Images

Media watch

Getty Images Media watch coVer STory WhaT’s on The box? As a parent you’ve no doubt
coVer STory
coVer
STory

WhaT’s on

The box?

As a parent you’ve no doubt thought about the influence mass-media has in shaping your child’s outlook. We’ve spoken to mums, an academic expert and Nancy Kanter, senior vice-president of Playhouse Disney, on the issue, and here’s what they think

T he role TV and film has in our children’s lives has often been the subject of debate among parents. What do you let your children watch? Does TV and film

hinder or cultivate your child’s imagination? Can TV and film really educate? Lots of mothers say that one of the nicest things to do as a family is to cuddle

up on the sofa and watch a movie. They say it gives them a chance to relax with their children, enjoy a shared experience and it also provides an opportunity to discuss any thoughts that come up during viewing. Mum, Karen Nash sees film viewing as a time for valuable bonding with her two- year-old son. “I love watching films with

Thomas,” she says. “We never watch a film all the way through – we’ll normally play through it or pause it. Plus I get cuddles.” Amy Aidman, Ph.D. Senior Research Fellow in Media at Emory University and contributor to the book Media and the Make-believe Worlds of Children:

When Harry Potter Meets Pokemon in Disneyland, recognises this. She also exercises a note of caution:

“Some families develop rituals around media use that bind them as a family,” she says. “But some media habits, such as long periods of viewing alone, isolate family members from each other. Children can learn positive messages from film and TV, but they can also learn from the negative

messages. Just as there is good literature for children, there are good films and video content for children.”

TV monitor So how do parents avoid isolating their children and harness the positive aspects? Aidman says parental control is the key:

“Parents should minimise exposure, monitor content, and support industry and governmental policies for a child- friendly media environment. There are ways to use TV and film to the family’s advantage but even advantageous use should be in moderation.” Daska Davis, mum to Nancy, aged seven, and Lily, aged three, maintains strict control

over her daughters’ viewing habits. “When I was growing up, dad didn’t let me watch ITV, only BBC kids shows, so maybe we repeat our parents’ behaviour,” she says. “I have deliberately avoided pre-teen programming because it overlays quite a lot of ‘adult’ content – boyfriends, fashion, peer pressures – which, quite frankly, I can do without. Nancy is going to be into the teen angst stage soon enough, so I don’t feel the need to fan the flames before we get there naturally. Both kids love the classics – they’re very safe too. I sometimes marvel that Snow White still entertains kids even though it was made in 1937.”

Modern methods In the modern world of the internet and on-demand, multichannel TV, children’s films and television programmes are becoming more and more innovative. Playhouse Disney are one of a growing number of organisations that incorporate all sorts of radical techniques to ensure that programmes are stimulating, interactive, educational and attractive to young eyes. Perhaps most significantly, it relies on young children themselves to help develop concepts. Part of Disney’s modern

to help develop concepts. Part of Disney’s modern production journey involves showing kids an early version

production journey involves showing kids an early version of a new show in a specially created viewing area. Producers, meanwhile, busily analyse the reactions behind two-way mirrors. It’s also fascinating to observe how different children react to the programmes. Some sit quietly and intently, whereas others are inclined, when prompted, to dance or sing. The producers also regularly liaise with notable child and educational experts to make sure shows encourage social

Children’s film and television programmes are becoming more and more innovative

interaction, problem-solving, language, teamwork and even maths. The organisation also aims to reflect the changing times, tackling subjects such as green issues (with a revamped Pooh Bear’s adventures in Hundred Acre Wood encouraging pre-school learners to reflect on their own surroundings) and social diversity. The latter issue is explored using the character Handy Manny (pictured right), a Hispanic immigrant who lives in the multicultural community of Sheetrock Hills.

are you for real?

A look at the NCT’s campaign to improve parenting programmes

There’s a wealth of TV programmes that show us a multitude of parenting techniques. But can ‘good telly’ provide useful guidance for parents and when does ‘factual programming’ become exploitation? It was precisely these questions that NcT campaigns Manager Anne Fox and her team began to ask after watching the channel 4 reality TV show Bringing up Baby. The programme took the guiding principles of three of last century’s most influential childcare manuals and observed six families as they put into practice their chosen method for the first three months of their babies’ lives. Alarm bells had already started ringing when one of the channel’s researchers approached the NcT for advice. “We raised concerns but they weren’t listened to. Then we’re listed in the credits as ‘organisations we spoke to’. We thought this was a very dangerous show so naturally we were worried about our association.” Particularly troubling for Anne was the advice given by claire Verity, which was based on the philosophy of Dr Truby King that was widely practised in the 1950s.

18 Newgen Magazine Summer 2009

The advice recommended parents feed babies at strict four-hour intervals, to not make eye contact with the baby and ignore the child no matter how much it cries. “The NcT is an evidence-based charity and in the light of years of scientific evidence, what Verity was recommending is potentially harmful to small babies. We were not objecting to looking at different parenting methods but we felt it was wrong that very young babies and new parents were subjected to theories that have long been disproved. There are other programmes too that raised similar concerns.” The NcT wishes to ensure that all reality TV shows featuring young children and their parents are produced with the best interests of parent and child in mind. Anne is at pains to point out that the campaign certainly isn’t anti-television. “We all understand that TV is a very powerful medium and has an enormous influence on parents. In fact we’d like to see more, not less, good quality parenting programmes, as we realise for some parents it’s the only way they’ll access such information and feel supported in their decisions.”

handy Manny – one of Playhouse Disney’s latest creations © Disney
handy Manny – one of Playhouse Disney’s latest creations
© Disney

According to Nancy Kanter, Playhouse Disney’s senior vice-president, the character “Illustrates how interesting and fun living in a diverse community can be and the importance of social interaction.”

Quality not quantity The powerful influence of TV and its role as an educational tool is acknowledged by parents, as Lucy Callington illustrates. “My two-year-old daughter Poppy’s love for Thomas the Tank engine was a useful tool in explaining what a train is,” she says. “It sparked off a love of waiting at the bridge in Walthamstow, watching the trains.” Karen Nash agrees: “My son Thomas does base a lot of his play around his favourite TV and book characters and has become interested in things like firemen

because of Fireman Sam. It’s a powerful medium so it must be used wisely. When children’s TV is good, kids are given the chance to see programmes covering different jobs, how to behave well (the morality tale is alive and well) and get to know characters with disabilities, or from different cultures.” According to Amy Aidman, TV and film should be handled with care. She has the following viewing advice for parents: “Babies need human interaction and they need to play in order to develop optimally. Young children need to play and interact with others as well. It’s vital to minimise screen time with young children and, when they watch, make sure it is age appropriate programming and that you’re watching with them and discussing content.”

Media watch

Box oFFIce BABIeS AND TV ToTS

John Pinching takes a look at how babies and their parents have been represented on TV and film in years gone by

SoMe MoTherS Do ’AVe ’eM

(1974-78)

Frank Spencer went through life causing chaos and losing jobs. However, scenes with daughter Jessica proved that Frank was a wonderful father. His daft songs and imaginative stories brought a new dimension to the character and recognised the bond between father and child.

The LIKeLy LADS (1976) Babies interacting with each other aids social development and some people are friends virtually from the day they’re born – just like well-loved characters Bob and Terry.

The WALToNS (1972-81) Set during the Great Depression, the Waltons documents how a close loving family can provide a good foundation for the individual when dealing with the most adverse situations.

The oMeN (1976) In a dubious last minute baby-switch, orchestrated by monastery folk, baby Damien is taken home by the affluent Thorn family. It doesn’t take long for the tiny infant to start instigating merry hell, literally. This really does bring new meaning to ‘little devil’.

 

coMPeTITIoN WIN hANDy MANNy’S TooLS!

We’ve got four sets of Playhouse Disney character Handy Manny’s tool box to give away. To be in with a chance to win, simply answer the following question…Who owns the hardware store that Manny and his tools often visit? Send your answers to

interactive@nct.org.uk

Parenting

“Autistic children rewrite the rules”

With two teenage sons with autism, and one son without, Charlotte Moore,

the author of George and Sam: Two Boys, One Family and Autism, provides

her own very personal account of living with the condition…

own very personal account of living with the condition… I belong to a reading group. We’re

I belong to a reading group. We’re all mothers, all roughly of an age; we’ve met once a month for the last 12 years. In theory we discuss our chosen book of the month;

in practice, of course, we talk about everything that concerns us – our work, our men, our homes, our bodies, our children. Maybe our children more than anything else. The focus of these conversations has changed. In the early years the joys and frustrations of parenthood affected us in similar ways; how, in essence, could we save a little time for ourselves amidst the demands our adorable but exhausting infants made on us? How could we salvage some sense of the carefree young women we once were from the maze of broken nights, tantrums, sibling squabbles and laundry mountains generated by these enchanting but relentless little beings? Now, more than a decade later, the concerns are different. The toddlers are teenagers; maternal worries focus on drugs, sex, self-harm, use and abuse of

money, gap years, university choices, first jobs, broken hearts etc. Some of us now go home to an empty nest. Not me, though. I’m the only member of the group who still needs to employ a babysitter.

Eternal childhood

I have three sons. George is 19, Sam is

17 and Jake is 11. Despite their ages, childhood hasn’t ended, for them or for me, because George and Sam are both autistic. Jake, so much the youngest, will achieve independence long before they do – if, indeed, they ever achieve it. In many ways, George and Sam are like a pair of outsize toddlers. Physically they are fully grown, but the forces that motivate most boys of their age are almost absent. They have no ambitions and few social instincts.

They’re not interested in money, status or possessions. They don’t want to go to

parties or learn to drive (thank goodness). They don’t know what’s in fashion and they never look in the mirror. The special schools they attend teach them to do as much for themselves as possible, and

I try to encourage them to take control of

their own lives, but the urge that turns most of us from children into adults just

isn’t there.

Small steps

I don’t mean to suggest there’s been no

change or progress. George, always the more verbally able and sociable of the two, is thriving; I had a ‘big’ birthday recently, and George put on a suit and tie and acted the part of a waiter in a way he couldn’t possibly have managed a year or so ago. Sam can’t cope with crowds and is very much a loner, but he’s now able to occupy himself with a range of activities – his keyboard, picture books, jigsaws, colouring books; time was when destroying things was his only self-generated activity. I no longer have to supervise their every waking minute. But there’s still an absence of common sense, a lack of intuition that means that I can never leave them alone in the house. In an emergency, it wouldn’t occur to either of them to use the phone or fetch a neighbour. They don’t recognise

danger. I have seen George sit with his shoes propped on a burning log contentedly gazing at the smoke curling up from the smouldering soles. The other day Sam, fed up with something, threw a breadknife across the room. Cause and effect is still a closed book to them.

What iS autiSm?

autism is a lifelong developmental condition. it is part of the autism spectrum and is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder, or an aSD. the word ‘spectrum’ is used because, while all people with autism share three main areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in very different ways. Some are able to live relatively ‘everyday’ lives; others will need specialist support.

The three main areas of difficulty that all people with autism share are sometimes known as the ‘triad of impairments’. They are:

Difficulty with social communication

Difficulty with social interaction

Difficulty with social imagination

Difficulty With Social communication People with autistic spectrum disorders find it difficult to use or understand facial expressions or tone of voice, jokes and sarcasm. They also find it difficult to ‘get’ common phrases. So sayings such as ‘it’s cool’ – which people often say when they think that something is good, but, strictly speaking, means that it’s a bit cold – are confusing. It helps if other people speak in a clear, consistent way and give people with autism time to process what has been said to them.

Difficulty With Social intEraction People with autism often have difficulty recognising or understanding other people’s emotions and feelings, and expressing their own. This can make it more difficult for them to fit in socially. They may not understand the unwritten social rules that most of us pick up subconsciously: they may stand too close to another person, or start an inappropriate subject of conversation. People with autism can also appear to be insensitive because they haven’t recognised how someone else is feeling and prefer to spend time alone rather than seeking out the company of others. Difficulties with social interaction can mean that people with autism find it hard to form friendships:

some may want to interact with other people and make friends, but are unsure about how to go about this.

Difficulty With Social imagination Social imagination allows us to understand and predict other people’s behaviour, make sense of abstract ideas, and to imagine situations outside our immediate daily routine. Difficulties with social imagination mean that people with autism find it hard to understand and interpret other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions. They will also have difficulties engaging in imaginative play and activities: children with autism may enjoy some imaginative play but prefer to act out the same scenes each time. People with autism will find it hard to understand the concept of danger, may struggle to cope in new or unfamiliar situations and find it difficult to prepare for change and plan for the future. Difficulties with social imagination should not be confused with a lack of imagination. Many people with autism are very creative and may be, for example, accomplished artists, musicians or writers.

for hElP anD aDvicE? Our Autism Helpline offers confidential information and advice on autism and related issues. Tel: 0845 070 4004 (open 10am-4pm, Monday-Friday) or email: autismhelpline@nas.org.uk.

Source: The National Autistic Society, nas.org.uk.

Summer 2009 Newgen Magazine 21

Parenting

Parenting Observe the child you have and try to see the world from their point of
Parenting Observe the child you have and try to see the world from their point of

Observe the child you have and try to see the world from their point of view

you have and try to see the world from their point of view then and now

then and now Understanding and awareness of autism has increased enormously since George was born back in 1990. Certainly I knew little about it then, and what I thought I knew was mainly wrong. I had no reason to suspect that my bright-eyed baby boy had a life-long condition that would affect every aspect of his experience of the world. I was aware that George slept much less than other babies, but I decided that was because he was extra bright. I think it’s just as well that I couldn’t foresee that he wouldn’t sleep through the night for 13 years. Even now, with increased knowledge, it’s very hard to detect autism in young babies. There’s as yet no blood test, no prenatal screen. It’s genetic, but subtly so; we had not known autistic members

in our families, though when we looked more closely we realised that there were clusters of eccentricities possibly related to autism. Most autistic babies are physically healthy; many (mine included) are exceptionally good looking, though angelic cuteness should not to be taken as a symptom! So what are the signs to look out for?

Identifying autism Autism is, above all, a social disability. It’s not about academic intelligence – autistic brains cover the whole IQ range, from severe impairment to genius level. But it is about social intelligence, social connectedness. Most babies learn social behaviour from watching and interacting with their carers; they are programmed to do so. Autistic babies are not. An early

sign is the absence of the “shared point”. If I asked George or Sam at about ten months “where’s the light?”, no problem – they would point at it. But they never drew my attention to things that interested them by pointing. Long before Jake could talk, he was pointing out everything to me, eager for my participation and approval. George and Sam, aloof and apparently self- sufficient, did not. With George, I religiously consulted my babycare book. It slowly dawned on me that nothing in it applied to him. Autistic children rewrite the rules; if you have one, forget everything you thought you knew about child development, observe the child you have, and try to see the world from their point of view – a key feature of autism is that they can’t see it

Clockwise from left: Charlotte, George, Sam and Jake; George, aged ten, blocks his ears due
Clockwise from left: Charlotte,
George, Sam and Jake; George,
aged ten, blocks his ears due to his
sensitive hearing; Charlotte and a
seven-year-old Sam on the garden
wall (which he spent a lot of time
running on top of); Charlotte with
george aged seven and Sam aged
five – Sam is holding his owl, which
he carried everywhere, and George
holding his ‘flapper’; according to
Charlotte “George always twiddled
something”.
to Charlotte “George always twiddled something”. from yours. I learned to accept that a treat for

from yours. I learned to accept that a treat for Sam was a trip to the launderette, because he developed an obsession with washing machines; however, a birthday party was torture for him. George hated being given a present, because he was afraid of surprises; it was therefore much kinder to leave the toy lying around, unwrapped, where he could discover it for himself. I became so familiar with my boys’ peculiarities that they became second nature to me. Therefore it was a shock – a pleasant one – to find that Jake did everything a little boy was supposed to, making friends, loving team sports, joining in. But the “otherness” of George and Sam has its own compensations. When I listen to my book group friends talking about their teenagers, I realise

there’s a lot I’ve been spared. With autism goes an innocence, a lack of malice. George and Sam don’t compete, or put each other down; they don’t lie or insult or undermine. My evenings are still dominated by the age-old routines of feeding, bathing and putting them to bed – left to themselves, none of this would happen – but at least I don’t lie awake at night wondering where they’ve got to. My two autistic sons are complete individuals, as different from each other as either of them is from Jake. My job is to balance three sets of contrasting, often conflicting, needs, while still finding a little time for my own. It’s a constant challenge, but keeping our bizarre show on the road brings its own rewards and satisfactions.

“Different”

An NCT member on life with her autistic child

When my son Edward was born he was a joy. Watching him grow and change, I gradually became aware that he was different. I realised that he didn’t seem to need me in the usual ways. He never showed affection and didn’t seem to be comforted by me when he was scared or in pain. He’d become more distressed if I tried to touch and reassure him. I learned that distraction was a way to avoid terrifying tantrums during which he lost all sense of danger. In his fury, he’d try to throw himself downstairs, onto roads and against walls. Nothing in the baby books seemed to make sense for us, but I learned that humour was vital in keeping him relaxed in high stress situations. No matter how stressed I might feel, I had to smile and keep all tension out of my face and voice so that he might be calm. This was a way I could love him. He was diagnosed with autism when he was three. After that followed the awful realisation that I’ll never have a spoken conversation with him, he’ll never ask me about myself and that he’ll never tell me he loves me. There are so many contrasting emotions… The joy of seeing him happy, the fascination in watching him work things out, the pain in seeing his frustration when he doesn’t understand, the hurt seeing someone afraid of him because he’s different, my joy when someone smiles at him. There’s also the absolute delight of knowing that when he shows pleasure it’s genuine and the terrible worry of knowing that he cannot tell me when he is in pain. This is not what I planned, but I have a child I love and I am grateful, which I think makes me the same as any other mum.

What’S your Story? Does your child have a condition that affects your day-to-day life? We’d
What’S your Story?
Does your child have a condition that
affects your day-to-day life? We’d like
to hear about your experiences,
so please write in to:
newgeneditor@nct.org.uk

Building confidence

Building confidence Water babies We look at a new project that gets babies from as young

Water babies

We look at a new project that gets babies from as young as six weeks old into the water, building their confidence and strengthening the bond between parent and child

A fter stepping on to the medal rostrum so many times during her career you’d think four times world champion swimmer

Karen Pickering MBE would feel she’d given everything she could to the sport. However, after retirement, Karen still wanted to give something back. That’s why Karen founded the Baby Swim Foundation, which encourages parents to introduce their babies to water at the earliest opportunity – even as early as six weeks after being born.

Getting involved in this exciting activity has given Karen a chance to use her experience to help produce the swimmers of tomorrow. “This is my passion – I want to get as many people as possible to enjoy swimming,” she enthused. “It’s really important that babies have fun at the swimming pool and, as they get older,

associate it with enjoyment. There are so many pools now where these classes are available and attending them is a great foundation for learning. Swimming will give children an appreciation of exercise that will last as they grow older, making them healthier and happier.”

In a class of their own The Baby Swim Foundation programme is administered by fully trained professional instructors, at pools located all over the country. During the sessions they take the tiny students and their parents through a wide range of stimulating activities. The exercises start with a sing-song while the parents move their babies around in the water. The babies are then encouraged to pursue a shiny toy. This enables them to focus and form a kind of stroke as they attempt to reach the object. The baby’s reward is to be

attempt to reach the object. The baby’s reward is to be I want to get as

I want to get as many people as possible to enjoy swimming

I want to get as many people as possible to enjoy swimming turned round and once

turned round and once again greeted by the sight of their mum or dad (this is absolutely essential to maintain baby’s confidence). With confident babies it is sometimes possible to briefly propel them through the water on their own. Using the momentum and the movements that

Mums and babies get into the swim of things on the Baby Swim Foundation programme.
Mums and babies get into the swim of things on the Baby Swim Foundation programme.
Mums and babies get into the swim of things on the Baby Swim Foundation programme.
Mums and babies get into the swim of things on the Baby Swim Foundation programme.

Mums and babies get into the swim of things on the Baby Swim Foundation programme. Founded by Karen Pickering (pictured top left and bottom right), the scheme enables babies to get swimming from an early age through gentle exercises, including floating babies on their back while getting them to focus on a mirror

they have subconsciously learned they will happily ‘swim’ and keep their head above the surface for several seconds. Another tried, tested and hugely popular part of the session is to float the babies on their backs while holding a mirror above them to help them watch their reflection. This is another method to get babies to appreciate the water in a relaxed way. The babies are also encouraged to turn around and reach up for the side whenever they get into the water. A simple instruction followed by physically moving them to the side will be repeated until it is second nature. The results of this practice recently came into sharp focus when a baby girl, who had been on one of the courses, fell into a pool and immediately grabbed the side without panicking and waited to be retrieved by her grateful parents. However, the classes don’t just answer a practical need. “It’s a very moving and emotional experience – the child is entirely dependent on its mother or father,” says Karen. “While splashing around the babies look at their parent for security and this enhances the bond even further. From a parent’s point of view it’s also a great way to

meet other people, exchange parental experiences and get some exercise,” Karen continues.

Basic instinct Those with concerns about babies being overwhelmed or scared in this environment can rest assured. When a baby enters the pool for the first time it’s normally a joyful experience. They are so young that the concept of fear is not developed enough for the water to be as scary as it may be when they reach one or two years of age. Up until about six months old, babies can deliver an amphibious kick when temporarily set adrift by a careful parent. The instinctive movement is an evolutionary echo from a time when ‘we’ were sea-dwelling creatures, millions of years ago. Babies also have the ability to go underwater for a short while without swallowing water. These prehistoric techniques are all extremely useful in this very modern venture! If you’re interested in getting in the pool visit babyswimfoundation.co.uk. For more on Karen’s swim schools go to karenpickering.co.uk/swim.

PICKERING PROFILED Karen was born in Brighton in 1971 and began swimming at a very
PICKERING PROFILED
Karen was born in Brighton in 1971
and began swimming at a very
early age. By 14 she had been
selected for the British team.
The fearlessness of youth and her
exceptional talent produced some
memorable performances, signalling
the beginning of an illustrious career.
Over the next 19 years she secured
no less than 73 titles including four
World Championship gold medals
and more precious metal at the
Commonwealth Games and
European Championships. Karen
also represented Great Britain at the
Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and
Athens Olympics before finally
retiring in 2005. In 1994 she was
awarded the MBE.
Karen reflects: “I loved being a
professional athlete. You had to eat
and drink the right things and train
constantly, but making sacrifices was
worthwhile, because I was always
determined to win.
“It was difficult at first when all that
came to an end and I had to think for
a long time what I wanted to do. It
would be impossible to replicate the
feeling of winning major medals but I
can use the knowledge and passion I
have to make a difference to people’s
lives and that’s really rewarding.”
As well as supporting the campaign
to get babies in the water Karen
runs her own swim schools and
commentates on BBC Radio 5 Live.
What’S your Story? Have you had any memorable experiences in the pool with your baby?
What’S your Story?
Have you had any memorable
experiences in the pool with
your baby? Why not let us
know by writing to:
newgeneditor@nct.org.uk

Plan your pregnancy online

www.nhs.uk/

pregnant

26 Newgen Magazine Autumn 2009

Plan your pregnancy online www.nhs.uk/ pregnant 26 Newgen Magazine Autumn 2009

Experiences

Experiences Two’s company Three mums tell us about their experiences of pregnancy second time around and

Two’s company

Three mums tell us about their experiences of pregnancy second time around and their thoughts and feelings on the impact it’s having on their toddlers

and feelings on the impact it’s having on their toddlers MAurA GillieSpie , MuM to ZAk,

MAurA GillieSpie, MuM to ZAk, AGed 21 MonthS And ZArA, AGed 12 weekS

I found out I was expecting when I was 16 weeks pregnant. I’d fully breastfed my son Zak and must have conceived when weaning him. I didn’t have the crippling tiredness that I’d had during the first trimester of my first pregnancy but I had no time to think about being pregnant this time so once a week I’d go to pregnancy yoga so I could focus on my second baby. I wanted to take more control for my second birth – the first time around i thought a midwife would help and support me during the birth. this was not the case. it was a very lonely and

“I was excited that Zak would be having a baby sister or brother”

scary experience and, rather than having support, my husband and i were left alone. i had no idea how to cope with the pain so i ended up asking for an epidural. it then surprised me that i had a midwife allocated to me full-time to watch the monitor – i’d have preferred that attention when i was labouring naturally! My waters broke at 36 weeks this time around and, while i didn’t get the water birth that i wanted, i did have a positive birth experience. At 11 months old, my son Zak was too young to understand that I had a baby in my tummy when he was first told but he did enjoy rubbing cream on it as I grew. At first I was scared that when i carried my son or when he leaned on my stomach during story time he’d squash the baby, but my midwife allayed my fears and explained that the baby was well protected. to help prepare Zak, we got a picture book called My new Baby by Annie kubler that we looked at together to explain what would happen when we brought home his little baby brother or sister. i also got him a baby doll so we could play babies – but with the baby coming a month early we didn’t do as much role-play as i thought. when i was pregnant i was excited that Zak would be having a baby sister or brother to play with but i was also a little sad as Zak was still a baby himself and would now have to share my attention. I need not have worried, as the first time my husband brought him to see me and baby Zara in the hospital he was so excited with her. his third word was her name – well ‘rara’ to be precise. i am sure this will now stick as her nickname. it took me a few weeks to get used to having two babies; splitting my time, working out what to do when i had a newborn and a toddler both crying at the same time, but 12 weeks down the line i can’t remember what it was like just having one.

Experiences

Experiences kAthryn holMe , 35 weekS preGnAnt And MuM to reuBen, AGed three My husband and

kAthryn holMe, 35 weekS preGnAnt And MuM to reuBen, AGed three

My husband and I were six months into a two-year placement as VSO volunteers in Eritrea when I found out I was pregnant the first time. We made the decision to come home at the end of the academic year when I’d be just over three months pregnant. The first ten weeks were

difficult as I had morning sickness, which made work very hard. it was also hard for my eritrean colleagues to understand why we wanted to return to the uk rather than have the baby there. we wanted to make sure we had the best possible health care provision so did not consider for a moment staying in east Africa for the birth. luckily, everything worked out ok and i spent the six months before reuben’s birth sorting out our new house and relaxing. i particularly remember taking a nap and a bath every day as well as tuning into diagnosis Murder. this time our pregnancy was planned. with reuben approaching his third birthday and being completely toilet trained (even at night) we felt it was a good time to try for another baby. Again the first ten weeks were difficult but with tiredness this time, not sickness. i found myself unable to do

very much, which reuben found distressing as he’s used to me playing with him most of the time given that i am a full-time mum. reuben has, however, been incredibly excited about the baby who he’s named Susie (we don’t know the sex). whenever we go into a shop he picks things up and says “oh, shall we buy this for Susie?” he also talks to ‘her’ and asks her when she will be coming out. I am confident that he will be a caring, loving big brother.

“We felt it was a good time to try for another baby”

“We felt it was a good time to try for another baby” MyfAnwy thoMAS, 37 weekS

MyfAnwy thoMAS, 37 weekS preGnAnt And MuM to finn, AGed 15 MonthS

i have always felt assertive about asking medical professionals for what i wanted, but second time around I am much more confident that I’ll get the best care possible. I had a wonderful midwife with my first child finn who kept me calm throughout the whole process, even though i had to be transferred from having a lovely water birth at the last stages to the consultant-led unit because of meconium in my waters. Finn is a bit young to know that my growing bump is unusual. However he sometimes laughs and pats my tummy, which is quite sweet. If he sees me getting dressed he sometimes does a double take! I’m worried about coping with two children so close in age. Financially I’m concerned about whether to go back to work or not. If we had them both in nursery it’s doubtful whether in my current job I could earn enough to cover the cost – so we may need to look for alternative arrangements. I am expecting Finn to be upset and jealous, but I’m hoping that as he’s still so young he will very quickly forget what it used to be like with just him. We have made some practical arrangements in the house like moving him into a much bigger and more fun room with lots of toys to keep him entertained – we did this well in advance so that he doesn’t

“I am expecting Finn to be upset and jealous”

associate it with the new baby ‘pushing him out’ of his old baby bedroom. Once the baby is born my husband is going to take quite a bit of time off work so that Finn will always get attention from one or the other of us when he wants it – at least in the first few weeks!

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holidays

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A warm welcome awaits families at our rural haven in West Devon. 10 cottages and
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Feed the ducks on our wildlife pond. Well equipped and safe for children. Easy access to
access to Devon and Cornwall, the coast and many family attractions.
Devon and Cornwall, the coast and many family attractions.

30

30 newgen magazine Summer 2009

newgen magazine Summer 2009

Let us take the stress out of holidays with young children by supplying as many
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Pagel “When the children are happy we all have fun” A wonderful holiday experience at Pagel.

“When the children are happy we all have fun”

A wonderful holiday

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or Mark on (01273) 249617

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Family Farm Holiday Cottages In Glorious Devon Idyllic setting * Welcoming * Comfortable * Cosy
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Family Farm Holiday Cottages In Glorious Devon

Family Farm Holiday Cottages In Glorious Devon Idyllic setting * Welcoming * Comfortable * Cosy Join

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Join us on the farm, help feed the animals:

Large gardens, play room, games room. Lots of play space. Outdoor heated swimming pool. Very special * child friendly * relaxing * Highly recommended. VisitBritain 4 & 3 stars Torridge House Cottages

Little Torrington, Devon 01805 622542

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NORTH NORFOLK’S BEST CHILD-FRIENDLY COTTAGES

Big Sky Barn, Brancaster The Stables, Thornham Manor Norton Cottage, Burnham Norton

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Big Sky Barn, Brancaster The Stables, Thornham Manor Norton Cottage, Burnham Norton

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Have a real “home from home” experience and enjoy the unspoilt beauty and wide sandy beaches of the North Norfolk coast between Old Hunstanton and Wells-next-the-Sea.

Based in Burnham Market we have around 120 of the best holiday cottages in the area, most of which are much-loved second homes. All are very well-equipped and furnished to a high standard, with bed linen and towels provided. We can provide cots and high chairs in all of the cottages, arrange experienced baby-sitters, offer advice on the best child-friendly places to eat and suggest local places worth visiting.

Please contact us and help us find the right place for your family: Telephone: 01328 730880 E-mail: info@sowerbysholidaycottages.co.uk • www.sowerbysholidaycottages.co.uk

Elmfield Farm Cottages

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Tel: 01227 709404 or visit www.elmfieldfarmcottages.co.uk

Le Vieux Café

Pretty, 3 bedroomed cottage in SW France. Sleeps 8. Comfortable and child friendly. From £250/week 10% discount to NCT members

www.holidaycottageinfrance.com
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Looking for a child-friendly holiday in Spain? Detached family villa with large garden and private

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C oombe M ill Child friendly farm holidays on idyllic Cornish 30 acre estate. 01208
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baby & you

01208 850344 www.coombemill.com m m m baby & you holidays CHARENTE MARITIME, FRANCE Pre-school toddlers

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North Norfolk Cottages Two adjoining brick and flint cottages sleeping 8 each plus cot. Recently
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32 32

newgen magazine Summer 2009

newgen magazine Summer 2009

32 newgen magazine Summer 2009 newgen magazine Summer 2009 “CHRISTENING GOWNS” Everything you need to dress

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Summer Summer 2009 2009 newgen newgen magazine magazine 33 33

Experiences

Learning curve

Helping patients has always motivated nurse Garance Lawrence, so it’s no surprise she’s training to become an NCT antenatal teacher. She tells us how she got there

I’ve been interested in women’s health for as long as I can remember. In fact, this passion became my career when I worked on a gynaecology ward as a staff nurse. After four very rewarding years on the ward I decided it was time for a change so I moved into district nursing. I enjoyed visiting and caring for people in their own homes and I also got a lot out of working with patients – teaching them to care for themselves and giving family members advice on how to give care to their relatives when I wasn’t there. However, I missed my specialist involvement with women’s health and wellbeing. Initially I’d considered training to be a midwife, but it’s a big commitment and, with a young family, I knew that I would be putting unrealistic pressures on myself. So I began to research other avenues. Poised at the computer, I began to search for other specialities that were connected with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

It

was during this search that I stumbled

across the NCT website and discovered its

specialist worker training. I downloaded the information pack on becoming an antenatal teacher and began to read; it sounded ideal

a perfect combination of providing care

and guidance to people that needed it and

a

chance to get involved in an area I was

passionate about. The next step was to talk to the tutor for my area, Ann Roberts. She was enthusiastic and encouraging. I spoke to her about my worries regarding juggling my training while looking after a young family. She reassured me by explaining that yes, the diploma will be hard work, but I’ll be able study at a steady pace. Most importantly, she

I’ll be able study at a steady pace. Most importantly, she In my area there is

In my area there is a shortfall of antenatal teachers. We’re working hard to change this

of antenatal teachers. We’re working hard to change this explained that the training is ‘family friendly’
of antenatal teachers. We’re working hard to change this explained that the training is ‘family friendly’
of antenatal teachers. We’re working hard to change this explained that the training is ‘family friendly’

explained that the training is ‘family friendly’ with the additional bonus of a huge amount of support from Ann and fellow students. After that phone call, I attended the next monthly tutorial to meet the other students and to ensure I’d made the right decision – I haven’t looked back! Prior to this I had no involvement with the local NCT branch and I was unaware that such specialities existed. Indeed, in my area there is a shortfall of antenatal teachers and these classes were hard to source when I had my children. We’re working hard to change this. Preparing for the course has been fascinating – I’ve had to learn to leave my experiences of pregnancy and childbirth to one side. This has been difficult. It’s very hard not to talk about such a monumental event in one’s life. I realise it has little place when teaching parents-to-be, as they will be coming to learn about their pregnancy and how to prepare for their own birth. But my experiences will allow me to be empathic and understanding. I’m really enjoying researching different births (homebirths and waterbirths for example), which, sadly, I didn’t do when I had my children. I am extremely lucky to have my friend Lizzie, who is a very experienced senior midwife at our local midwife-led birthing unit, who has given me lots of advice and help. Thank you Lizzie! At the end of this month I am taking on the role as class supporter at one of the local NCT antenatal classes. I am really excited about this; it will give me an insight into what I am really letting myself in for. It will be an absolute privilege to be part of these people’s lives and their momentous

road to parenthood.

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Splash About International Ltd is a UK registered company number 5581094 Photography © daniellaboutin.com; waterbabies.co.uk; ABCbaby.co.uk; Firstfocus.co.uk; Swimbabes.co.uk