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Nought To Five

Series 1, Episode 2: The early months

The Early Months: smiling to crawling

We meet 4 month old Manawa and his separated parents Marama and Paul who co-parent him, along with their own daughters from previous relationships. Manawa is exclusively breastfed which makes this unique family all the more admirable.  Clinical social worker Lauren Porter, whose area of specialisation is attachment, discusses co-sleeping as an option for a wakeful baby.  We also meet 5 month old Willow, her parents Renata and Glen, and big brother Cato who's 20 months.  Their issues stem from Willow's silent reflux which causes her to be demanding and needy.  Gill Connell has ideas to make tummy time enjoyable, and we show you how to make a 'feely' cloth to stimulate babies' sensory awareness.

What happens at this age and stage?

At this stage babies this age are intent on interacting with those around them. Sure, they'll still cry to let you know how they're feeling, but they're starting to laugh and smile now too - a heart-warming sight for bleary-eyed parents! 'Bonding' is what it's all about at this age as babies learn to trust the world around them. Lots of cuddles and reassurance is what they're after. On the physical front, it's all go, as they learn to roll from side to side, and from stomach to back (and back again). Given plenty of tummy time, they'll begin to lift their head and chest up off the ground, readying those muscles for crawling. Teething is underway; very likely accompanied by a few sleepless nights, and by around six months of age, most babies will have begun solids.

About Lauren Porter
Lauren is a clinical social worker. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from New York University and has worked as a psychotherapist specializing in families and children since 1995.  For the past few years, since having two children of her own she has concentrated on continuing her training, consulting and speaking as well as doing some professional writing.  Her focus is the attachment theory and creating optimal relationships for all families. She is a co-director of the newly established Centre for Attachment that will be holding its first conference next year.

About Gill Connell
Based in Christchurch Gill is our Active Movement presenter.  She has an impressive amount of information about the importance of children being active, and imparts this to our families along with a series of activities they can do with their little ones to ensure they ultimately reach their genetic potential.  Gill travels the country with her company 'Moving Smart', educating early childhood educators, primary school teachers, parents and caregivers on the all-important link between movement and learning.  A primary-school teacher and mother of 3, Gill has co-written a book for parents called Moving To Learn, and is about to write a sequel.  She was part of a reference group that worked with SPARC to develop a national framework and guidelines for physical activity in early childhood. This work was the basis of the world-leading national initiative Active Movement, a philosophy targeting the 0-5 age group. NZ is the only country in the world to have a nationwide focus on the under-fives in this regard.  Gill continues to work with SPARC in a mentoring capacity.

Craft Item: Feely Cloth

  • Approx. 6 different pieces of textural cloth 14mm x 14mm 
  • Velcro (sew on)
  • Stuffing

To make the stuffed version, sew ends of cloth bits together, as if making a scarf, then sew down the length of the cloth (inside out), as if making a sock. Close off one end (inserting in velcro strip as you sew). Turn right side out and stuff, hand stitching closed the other end.
Or, make the scarf version without the stuffing, by edging all pieces with pinking shears or zig-zag stitching. Sew on velcro strips to both ends.
Craft Item: Spon Friend     

  • Small wooden kitchen spoon (approx 21cm)
  • Colourful ribbons
  • Black biro (not felt pen because it smudges with moisture)

Draw a happy face and a sleepy face onto the lower portion of the spoon. Tie on ribbons to decorate.