Guest Interview

Parenting and Newborn Tips with Angela Jacobsen

From 27 to 29 September 2013, Rise and Shine Expo, an informative expo to raise happy and healthy children was held in Singapore. There were more than 100 seminars, workshops and trial classes, including cooking demonstrations by Angela Jacobsen. Angela Jacobsen also gave a talk on the Sunday afternoon, ‘Preparing for the arrival of a…

Angela Jacobsen, also known as OzSuperNanny, has worked with children in different countries for more than 15 years, including for celebrities (Madonna) and ordinary parents needing help. Angela has studied child care, personality development and pediatric first aid.

OzSuperNanny Parenting Tips on EczemaBlues

We met in Singapore and there were many Google hangouts and live events where Angela’s tips had been shared on this blog. This post combined the best of the Q&As into one informative post.

Bullying & Eczema Kids

My question: Children with eczema may get picked on in school, either due to their appearance (for those with apparent eczema), or due to differences in routine, for instance, shower and moisturizing required after sports. 

What do you recommend that school, parents can do to help the child not get bullied?

Angela: Children do get picked on based on appearance; Parents can talk to teacher, who may inform the class and let them know eczema is due to dry skin. As children are naturally inquisitive, it helps to answer their questions about why a classmate of theirs look different, so that they will understand it is not anything that ought to be picked on.

Parents can empower their child with more information about the skin condition, and also build up their self-confidence.

Photographer Zurina mentioned that her child’s school had information leaflet sent to everyone, informing them that a new classmate who has psoriasis will be joining and requested the parents to help educate the child about this skin condition.

Eczema Baby Sleep Tips

What do you suggest the best routine for bedtime?

A: Routine can including feeding the baby, followed by bath, pajamas, quiet time (transition to less movement and noise), stacked bedtime for those with more than one child, so that every child has one on one time.

Eczema children often can’t sleep through the entire night and wake up frequently due to the itch and scratching. 

Is there a shortened bedtime routine during the middle of night?

A: Reduce time for each of the bedtime routine, but as with traveling, keeping a routine helps.

Q: Babies with eczema, due to Interrupted sleep, often don’t get enough hours of sleepHow can we help the baby to have sufficient sleep/rest so that growth is not compromised?

A: 12 hours of sleep for a baby and if sleeping at night is an issue, should get the baby to have more day naps or rest time during the day.

Keep bedtime, ie the staying in bed part, non-negotiable.

Preparation for Newborn

Once a woman finds out she is pregnant, there are various aspects of preparation shared by Angela:

Medical & Body Pregnancy Prep

  • Appointment with gynaecologist, and also decide and book the hospital for delivery.
  • Physically, relax as stress is not good for the mother or baby. Look into yoga and other gentle exercises. Swimming & water aerobics can be great gentle exercises too, if you can swim! Alter your diet and lifestyle suitably. Talk to your doctor about this. Sign up for prenatal and antenatal classes for you and your partner. Get more sleep! Rest when you can.

Environment – Home & Outdoor

Avoid dangerous places filled with smoke or pollution. Also create a loving and nurturing environment between you and your partner. It is worth interacting with your unborn child by touching, singing, talking, reading stories and playing music. Plan for the nursery, write a list of what you will need and a list in Angela’s book Baby Love can be used as a reference.

Working Mothers

For working mothers, there are various options how to continue to feed your baby:

If your baby is breastfed, you need to decide whether you will express milk for your carer to provide or whether to have your baby brought to you at work to feed throughout the day (if possible). Various equipment are required, namely:

Baby Bottle – A bottle with a teat that has features similar to mother’s breast is sought after for the benefit of baby’s development as well as avoiding nipple confusion. During the day, about 3-4 bottles are required.

Breast Pump – Working mothers will need to look into an electrical breast pump for frequent and faster expressing.

Breast milk Storage Devices – Working mothers will need to prepare larger quantities of breast milk for storage.Different products will cater for the needs of different types of usage. The easiest option is storage bags as they can be stacked up.

Breast milk Warmer -A breast milk warmer becomes an essential item for working mothers as they to have one for their caregiver to use.Please always test the temperature of the milk on the inside of your arm before you give to your baby. If your helper is feeding the baby while you work, she has to be taught how to use a baby warmer safely.

Breast milk Cooler Bag – This is needed for use by working mothers to transport their expressed breast milk from office to carer.

Parenting Styles

There is no set parenting style and you can mix and match various ideas, including changing parenting styles. The important thing is that both parents should decide and agree on how to raise the child. Brainstorm with your partner on your beliefs and values as a family, perhaps involve your extended family. Do discuss any conflicts that arises and try to find solutions, before the baby is born!

Parents as Role Models

Children learn from watching their parents, and they are like little sponges, taking all in long before they can talk. Therefore, model appropriate behaviour, and be consistent in what you teach and also surround your child only with people who follow the same behaviours. Those with alternative caregivers should make sure they know and follow your parenting rules. Update the rule list for your carer and be vigilant to monitor and ensure that your baby is taken care of as you would desire them to be.

Giving Time to Your Child

Angela often gets asked how much time is appropriate to spend with your child, but each parent will have their own answer to this. It is important though to spend regular time doing enjoyable activities as a family, without the interruptions of phones, iPads and computers. Set your own priorities, including that between career and family. Time spent do matters to the child and therefore it is not unexpected that some children grow attached to their carers who spent the whole day with them.

Set your own priorities, including that between career and family.

Sneaking in a question on parenting eczema children here: Very often, children with eczema itch terribly and parents usually end up saying/shouting (in exasperation!) ‘Stop Scratching!’.

Do you have any positive reinforcement ideas to distract from scratching as I understand encouraging a child works better than saying no all the time?

Angela: You can also try to redirect children into doing something else rather than scratching, use positive words and also say please don’t do that. Perhaps suggest applying cream rather than scratching.

Your sharing will help others!