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Babyology

From nurturing newborns to taming toddlers, we unravel the art and science of parenting with real-life stories and expert advice. The hilarious to the humbling and all the nitty gritty in between. Produced and presenter by mum of two and journalist, Shevonne Hunt.

All Episodes

When it comes to living a good life, you can't ignore the role that money plays. But many couples don't talk about money, or if they do, it's to give one partner responsibility over the finances. Finance commentator Effie Zahos explains why couples need to start talking honestly about money.

Sep 21

16 min

Children today have a huge range of activities to choose from. Parents are often rushing from one extra curricular activity to the next. But are extra curricular activities a good thing for children? Anthony Semann is an educator for Early Learning teachers. He looks at extra curricular activities from the perspective of children.

Sep 20

13 min

When it comes to preparation for birth, it's fair to say that most of the information targets mums. But dads are expected to be more involved than ever before and the system is letting them down. That's according to new research conducted by the non-profit group Healthy Male. Their findings, outlined in their Plus Paternal report, show that we need to do more to help dads both before and after birth. CEO of Healthy Male Simon von Saldern and dad Adam Tardif talk about where the holes are in the system and what can be done to give dads a better start to parenting.

Sep 17

20 min

There are many different books telling parents how to raise their children well. There are different styles of parenting, ways of managing their behaviour. Now bestselling author Dr Dan Siegel says he has found the secret to raising children well. And it's as simple as just showing up. Dan talks about the research behind the power of showing up, and explains what it looks like in everyday life. Dan's book is called The Power of Showing up.

Sep 16

16 min

Helpline is taking a break this week, so we have found one of our favourite Helpline episodes with Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue. On this episode she helps with: Transitioning a two-year-old out of sleeping bags into sheets, how to stop bed-sharing with a one-year-old, ways to set up sleeping arrangements with a two-year-old and new baby, how to get a three-year-old to sleep to 6.30am, a sleep routine for 18-month-old who is waking up very early, how to keep a two-month-old cool when it gets hot, how to stop three-year-old twins fighting and helping a five-year-old feel more confident (he has a stutter).Helpline will be back on Monday. If you need any help in the meantime you can speak with an expert through Babyology's Parent School. Otherwise you can contact us by doing any of the following: Email us at helpline@theparentbrand.com.au, ask our expert during the Babyology Facebook live on Monday from 11:30am or leave your question in our Babyology Helpline Facebook group.

Sep 15

27 min

Empathy is a human emotion that involves connecting with other humans. So can such an intrinsically human experience be taught through computer games? Researchers at the Department of Human Centred Computing at Monash University think it can be. Ling Wu is a Research Fellow at the Department. She explains why she thinks this is a valid way to teach young children empathy, and how it might help other children with their social cues.For more on the research check out the Monash University website.

Sep 14

12 min

Where do you stand when it comes to swearing? Are there some words you say in front of your kids and others you swallow? How do you feel if they let a swear word slip? Dr Matt Beard is a fellow at the Ethics Centre and a dad of two young children. Matt has some very interesting ideas on whether swearing in front of your kids is a good or bad thing.

Sep 13

15 min

Aminata Conteh-Biger was born in Sierra Leone to a prosperous family. Then in 1999 when she was 18 years old her life changed forever. That was when the Revolutionary United Front invaded Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Aminata talks about what happened after that, how she survived to build a new life in Australia and why the work she does now is the most important thing she has ever done. Her book is called Rising Heart.

Sep 10

23 min

We all want our children to be safe, but how do we go about it? What is age-appropriate language and how do you explain body-safety without scaring your child? Lily Isobella is a sex educator and advocate for children.She has worked with parents around the country, and has some great tips on how we can start conversations with our kids that will help them be safer in the world.

Sep 9

13 min

When you have a baby it can feel like you haven't slept in an eternity. And while babies are born to feed, not sleep, there comes a time when a few expert pointers can lead you back to a restful night. That's where Helpline can give you what you need. Each week a qualified expert will join presenter Shevonne Hunt to answer your questions. Through email, FaceBook Live or from our direct mails on Facebook, our person will help your little persons sleep better, feed better and sometimes even behave better! This week sleep consultant Jo Ryan helps with the following challenges: Thirteen-month-old waking for an extra breast feed, three year old sleeping badly since arrival of brother, concerns about a two-year-old's speech development, one year-old dropping his afternoon nap, two-year-old speech concerns, sixteen-month-old not drinking much water, three-year-old refusing to use the potty or toilet, ten-week-old associating sleep with being fed and a two-year-old who hates baths. For help with more parenting challenges check out Babyology’s Parent School.

Sep 8

31 min

Reading, writing, maths, language. All of these skills are improved with the addition of music. That's according to a new book by Dr Anita Collins called The Music Advantage. Anita has looked at the neuroscience behind learning and engaging with music, and there are some astounding findings about just how much music can influence the development of our brains. Anita goes back to the very beginning, and explains how even babies in utero are developing an ear for music. She also tells us all the ways you can engage your child in music to enhance their other skills. The previous podcast mentioned in this interview, The Lullaby Effect, can be found on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Sep 7

14 min

Giving birth for the first time can be overwhelming. There's a precious new life to care for, new skills to learn and sleep deprivation. But what happens when you're bringing a baby home to a blended family? How can you make step children feel like a part of the experience, and still have time to get settled into your new role? Lana Sussman is a counsellor at The Parents Village. Lana talks about ways you can negotiate a potentially tricky time.

Sep 6

13 min

Peter O'Brien was only twenty when he accepted a post in Weabonga, a town two-days travel from Armidale in NSW. He had eighteen students aged between five and fifteen years old. It was a school that had trouble retaining teachers, and Peter had signed on for two years. He wrote about the experience that had a huge impact on him and his approach to teaching in Bush School. Peter talks about what it was like living and teaching in a small, remote town in the 60s.

Sep 3

21 min

If you're not carrying a child, it can feel like you're not really involved in the pregnancy. Former Master Chef contestant Aaron Harvie discovered one of the best ways he could be involved was through food. He did his research and came up with some of the most delicious recipes to cook for his pregnant wife. The result is A House Husbands' Guide, Cooking for your pregnant partner. Aaron talks about some of his favourite meals from the cook book.

Sep 2

10 min

When you have small children and things are tough it's hard to have enough perspective to set things back on course. That's where our Helpline experts come into their own. On today's episode Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue helps parents with the following challenges: A two-year-old unsettled after night waking, a sixteen-month-old waking through the night, toilet training a two-and-a-half-year-old after training has gone off track, how to stop a seven-and-a-half-month-old waking for a second time in the night, three-week-old feeding routine, a four-and-a-half-month old not sleeping enough during the day, a nineteen-month-old who has become unsettled at bedtime, a seven-week-old who needs to be held to sleep and a fourteen-month-old waking early. For help with more parenting challenges check out Babyology's Parent School.

Sep 1

33 min

When it comes to break-ups, money might be the last thing on your mind. If you're a parent, chances are you're thinking about your children and how they are going to handle the family separation. But there are ways of being prepared and financial costs to consider. Dr Andrew Fuller is a psychologist who helped to analyse some research commissioned by Real Insurance. Andrew talks about things to keep in mind when you're separating from your partner.

Aug 31

17 min

Breastfeeding doesn't come naturally to everyone. In fact, most women struggle at some point in their breastfeeding experience. And yet we don't talk a lot about how challenging feeding a baby can be. According to recent research by Philips Avent a third of Australian mums are too embarrassed to talk about their feeding issues. So why, in an age where we embrace the expression 'breast is best', are women struggling to talk about the reality of breastfeeding? Edwina Sharrock is a midwife and founder of Birthbeat. She talks about her own challenges with breastfeeding and why women still struggle today.

Aug 30

12 min

When Scott Stuart's little boy wanted to wear his Elsa costume to the movies, Scott made a decision. It was one that challenged his own upbringing and what he had been taught masculinity was all about. Supporting his son to make his own choices inspired Scott's book My Shadow is Pink. Scott talks about how people reacted to his son's love of skirts, both the good and the bad.

Aug 27

21 min

Many primary school teachers will tell you that homework is not mandatory. Yet children are still sent home with different amounts of work to do. So is homework something children should be doing? Justin Coulson is a parenting educator and father to six girls. He explains why homework is a problem for children.

Aug 26

13 min

The world might be battling a pandemic, but children don't know the difference. For our smallest humans the world keeps on turning, and each day can bring new challenges. If your baby's not sleeping, or your toddler keeps hitting in your face, it might be time to call in the experts. Every week Helpline invites an experienced expert on the show to answer your questions. This week we're joined by sleep consultant Jo Ryan from Babybliss. If you'd like to book a private consultation with Jo or another of our experts check out Babyology's Sleep School. In this episode she helps parents and carers with the following challenges: Getting a three-year-old back to previous bed time (before day nap was dropped), stretching the morning wake time for a twelve-week-old, how to transition an eighteen-month-old from rocking-to-sleep to settling-in-cot, a fussy-eating two-year-old, a three-year-old who doesn't want to wear pull-ups to bed (but still has a wet nappy in the morning), getting an eleven-month-old to sleep beyond five am, getting an eight-week-old to sleep better after one am (currently waking up every hour) and what it means when a six-and-a-half-month-old pulls their ear.

Aug 25

29 min

In May this year the Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures showing that almost one million Australians have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. That's not including people who have had their hours reduced. It feels like the worst possible time to be looking for work, so how can people find opportunities? Do they even exist? Kirsty Levin is a careers counsellor at The Parents Village. Prior to the pandemic she helped people change careers after a break in work, or when they wanted to do something new. Kirsty explains what she calls the 'Covid Pivot' and why she thinks it's still possible to have hope in an otherwise bleak time.

Aug 24

16 min

It's not easy to get out of the house when you are a new mum with a new baby. Right when you get to the door they could have their first bowel movement in a week. Or you could get five minutes down the road and they start crying uncontrollably. Arabella Gibson is the CEO of The Gidget Foundation Australia. She's noticed how well telehealth counselling works for new mums going through a hard time. Arabella explains how it works, and whether easy access will continue post-COVID.

Aug 23

11 min

Monogamous relationships aren't always easy and when children come along your partnership can change. But when is that change so great it's time to leave the marriage? Holly Wainwright is the head of Content at Mamamia and author of I give my marriage a year. Her book explores a question that many couples ask: Should I stay or should I go? Holly talks about what inspired the book, and how she managed to tell both sides of the story.

Aug 20

17 min

How do you raise a boy well? We're living in a time when what is expected of men is very different to when we were growing up. How do we help our precious sons to become good men. Maggie Dent has raised four small boys to be good men, and she's been helping others do the same ever since.Maggie gives us her no nonsense advice about raising boys, with a healthy dash of humour and compassion.

Aug 19

12 min

Each week we have a Babyology expert join us to help you find a way through sleepless nights and unruly behaviour. This week Mothercraft nurse and author of Bringing Baby Home Chris Minogue joins us to advise on the following challenges: A six-month-old waking constantly through the night, a nineteen-month-old who is not a fan of sleep, a ten-month-old waking through the night, eighteen-month-old twins who like pulling hair, whether it's time to let a two-and-a-half year old drop their day nap, a thirty-two-month-old who is refusing day naps, a nine-month-old who is not crawling and whether it's time for a four-and-a-half year old to give up his day nap.

Aug 18

30 min

When it comes to vaginal birth, you can't get a more important set of muscles than the sling that makes up your pelvic floor. But it's also one of the most overlooked part of a mother's health in her postnatal check ups. Amy Dawes from the Australasian Birth Trauma Association wants this to change. She's set up a petition through change.org to ensure that every woman gets the pelvic floor support they need - both pre and post birth.

Aug 17

14 min

Twenty-five years ago Peter Downey was a new dad trying to find his way through parenthood. He wrote a book called So You're Going to be a Dad thinking it may help others who were following in his footsteps. Now Peter's children are grown and are feeding and clothing themselves, but his advice remains in demand. Peter talks about what has changed since he first became a dad, and what remains the same.

Aug 16

18 min

Co-parenting can be challenging when life is normal. Trying to manage a separated family while under lockdown or social distancing restrictions can be even more challenging. So what is the best way to navigate the fraught space of co-parenting during a pandemic? Elisabeth Shaw is the CEO of Relationships Australia NSW. She shares her best advice on how parents can get through this difficult time.

Aug 13

16 min

Learning to read can be tough, for both kids and their parents. Literacy expert Brian Caswell from Mindchamps believes it takes patience and time, but the rewards are great for everyone. Brian explains how you can best support your child in their reading journey.

Aug 12

17 min

Sometimes when your baby or child is going through a challenging situation, it can feel like you've tried everything. That's when it's time to ask an expert, like Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue.Chris has had over thirty years helping families negotiate sleepless nights and tantruming toddlers. This week on Helpline Chris helps parents with: A 13-month-old who is gagging at meal times, a three-year-old who has replaced a dummy with their thumb, an early-waking three-year-old, dropping night feeds for a seven-month-old, how to help a four-year-old starting a new daycare during COVID, a three-and-a-half-year-old who refuses to poo in the toilet, an almost four-year-old who wakes up from naps crying, a three-month-old who keeps pushing out her dummy, a six-month-old refusing solids, a six-week-old who won't sleep during the day without being held, introducing formula to a seven-month-old and a three-year-old who's afraid of the dark.To book an expert to help with your own challenges check out Babyology's Sleep School.

Aug 11

30 min

Life with small children isn't always conducive for big trips overseas. There is more luggage, sleep schedules to consider and it can all just feel too hard. But now Peter and Bridget Helliar's kids are older, they have a truckload of great memories spent travelling with them. And they want you to have the same experience. Their book is called Trippin' with kids, how to have fun on family holidays - just like you did before you had kids. While launching a travel book in the middle of a pandemic may not seem the best choice, Peter and Bridget want you to dream of a time when travel is possible once again. And when it comes, they want you to be ready.

Aug 10

21 min

The coronavirus pandemic has led to some positive improvements in health and well being. Parents have reported spending more time with their kids, others say slowing down has helped calm chaotic schedules. But it has also led to an increase in alcohol consumption. So why are parents drinking more, and is it too much? Craig Martin is the Head of Evidence and Innovation at the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. He talks about the most recent research, and what is known about the way parents are drinking.

Aug 9

10 min

Families come in all shapes and sizes, but for some reason the nuclear 'traditional' family is still seen by some as the way all families are meant to be. Susan Golombok is the Director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge. She's been researching family units, and how children are doing, since the 70s. Her book We are family, what really matters for parents and children delves into the facts on what it takes for children to thrive. Susan talks about why single parents by choice, same sex families and other families that diverge from the 'traditional' model are proving that their way works too.

Aug 6

27 min

Face masks are now mandatory for Melbournians, and the NSW Premiere has strongly recommended that her State mask-up when shopping or on public transport. It feels like we are all moving to a more consistent use of masks. So should our children be wearing masks? And what can we do if they won't even wear their hats? Dr Margie Danchin is a paediatrician at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. She explains the Government statement on kids and face masks, and what we can do if we want our kids to wear them.

Aug 5

9 min

It's almost six months into the coronavirus pandemic and there are no signs that life will be returning to normal just yet. In June the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne conducted their National Child Health Poll, investigating how parents and their children were coping during the crisis. Paediatrician and Poll Director Anthea Rhodes runs through how families are faring across a wide range of activities, including sleep and eating habits.

Aug 5

15 min

Like a toddler who gets too attached to their bedtime bottle, or another who can't sleep without their dummy. Whatever age or stage your child is at, we're here to help. This week paediatric nurse and sleep expert Jo Ryan helps with the following: A 15-month-old who doesn't want to give up their bedtime bottle, a two-year-old who refuses to sleep after giving up their dummy, a six-week-old who can't be settled by their dad, a two-and-a-half year old whose sleep has regressed, a two-year-old who is refusing to swallow their food, a four-month-old who hates tummy time, an otherwise gentle 19-month-old who keeps biting and a four-year-old who has regressed to wanting to be a baby. For more time with Jo Ryan you can book her through Babyology's Sleep School.

Aug 4

32 min

Most parents appreciate that the toddler years can be tough. Our little humans are designed to push boundaries at this stage of their lives. But sometimes it can be too much to handle. Dr Jane Kohlhoff from the University of NSW School of Psychiatry is the lead author on a study Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with Toddlers, which explores the ways parents can manage challenging toddler behaviours. Jane explains how the study helps parents understand more where their toddlers are coming from.

Aug 3

18 min

How would you feel if your child was never invited to birthday parties? Or worse, if they had their own party but no other kids showed up? Katherine Peereboom is a mother of three boys on the autism spectrum and the founder of Spectrum Support. She says that this is a reality for many parents with children on the spectrum. Katherine explains some of the more challenging social aspects with kids on the spectrum, and how we can help our children to be more accepting of neural difference.

Aug 2

24 min

Family histories can be a fascinating mix of fact and fiction, depending on who is telling the stories.Brad Argent is a family historian and researcher at ancestry.com. He strongly believes that when we look into our past we will always uncover something previously unknown. Brad talks about the times a family history search has changed people's lives, and the secret within his own family that he uncovered.

Jul 30

14 min

When your baby starts solids it's exciting to watch them explore different tastes and textures. But sometimes our children will decide they don't like a certain food. What then? Will your child become one of those dreadful "fussy eaters"? Dr Jen Cohen, AKA The Fussy Eating Doctor, tells us how to define a fussy eater, and whether or not we can avoid them altogether.

Jul 29

22 min

When life gets challenging with your small humans it can help to have an expert give you some guidance. Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue joins us on Helpline to help parents with the following problems: When and how to introduce cow's milk to a one-year-old, a six-month-old who doesn't self settle at night (but can during the day), coping with a four-year-old who chatters constantly, how to get a five-year-old to drink more water, what time to get a two-and-a-half-year-old to have their daytime nap, a two-year-old who will only sleep at night after breastfeeding, whether a two-year-old is ready to toilet train, how to help a two-and-a-half-year-old drop their daytime nap, weaning an eleven-month-old off breastfeeds (and on to cow's milk), a four-year-old who wakes every morning at 5.30am, managing a stubborn two-year-old's behaviour without squashing their independence and a three-year-old who can't share toys or humans. For one-on-one time with Chris Minogue or another of Babyology's Sleep School experts book a session here.

Jul 28

34 min

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, it could be argued that we are parenting in extraordinary times. The rapid pace of technology, the so-called 'intensification' of parenting and the demands of juggling work and family life make this point in time a unique one in which to raise a family. Throw in a global pandemic and you have all kinds of demands on parents. Eloise Rickman is a parenting educator who responded to the pandemic by writing a book; Extraordinary Parenting. Eloise explains why she thinks parenting is a radical act, and how we can all cope in uncertain times.

Jul 27

27 min

When your child is a toddler you learn that tantrums are a normal part of their development. As they grow older you may start to wonder why they are still happening. Child development expert Karen Young from Hey Sigmund says that the path to emotional intelligence is long, and that it's very normal for older kids to have tantrums. Karen explains what to do when your child is struggling to manage their anger.

Jul 26

20 min

Jono Lineen is in love with walking. He is so in love with walking that he wrote a book about it, it's called Perfect Motion, How Walking Makes Us Wiser. In this book he includes the history of evolution, some philosophy and personal stories about his own life in extraordinary places. Jono explains how he first came to fall for such a simple process, and why it could be the salve for many parental frustrations.

Jul 23

19 min

Babies go through so much change in the first year. Sometimes it can feel that they change in a day! One of the biggest challenges can be understanding why sleep patterns change during this time, especially given when they're not sleeping, neither are you. Fran Chavasse is the author of The Tresillian Sleep Book and says it's much easier to ride the waves of sleep deprivation when you know what to expect. Fran outlines the general development of sleep in the first year.

Jul 22

15 min

It's a cliche but babies really don't come with a manual. And even when you've read all the books and googled all the problems, sometimes you just need someone to talk to. Karina Lane is a parenting coach, a postnatal doula and an expert with Babyology's Sleep School. On this episode of Helpline she tackles: A three-year-old who refuses to toilet train, an eleven-month-old who won't let dad help, a three-year-old who is always touching himself, a three-year-old always getting in to his parent's bed, night toilet training a four-year-old, how to get rid of cradle cap on an eight-week-old baby, weaning a two-year-old off breast feeds, a 19-month-old who wakes screaming in the night, helping one ten-week-old twin to sleep as well as another and a three-year-old who has become constipated during toilet training.

Jul 21

29 min

These days quality children's content is not hard to come by, but some of the best shows have been broadcasting for decades. This year, Sesame Street is celebrating fifty seasons in Australia. Autumn Zitani is a Content Producer at Sesame Workshop. She talks about the enduring mission of Sesame Street, and how the program is still relevant today. You can catch the fiftieth season of Sesame Street on ABC Kids.

Jul 20

15 min

The coronavirus pandemic has not impacted all families equally. Some families will be living as they always have while others will be battening down the hatches as they try to recover from job losses or hours cut. There is still a lot of uncertainty around what will happen come September when the Job Keeper financial support package comes to an end. Melissa Browne is a financial advisor and author of Budgets Don't Work, But This Does. Melissa talks about how we can navigate uncertain times, and what to expect when Job Keeper ends.

Jul 19

18 min

Time is not something parents have a lot of, so many of us think very carefully about how we will spend the time we get. Maybe you love to collapse in front of Netflix or to bury yourself in a good book. Isaac Kuruvilla is a dad of three who spends his spare time volunteering for the Starlight Foundation, and he's been doing it for the last twenty-three years.Isaac talks about why he started volunteering, and why he keeps going back.

Jul 16

12 min

When you sign up to a long-term monogamous relationship, chances are you also sign up to being a part of an extended family. And while you may choose your partner, you haven't chosen their parents. So what happens when there is tension between you and your in-laws? Ginny Lindsay is a psychotherapist at From Two to Three. She gives us some pointers on how to handle challenging relationships.

Jul 15

14 min

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