Milk Powder Contamination

Concerned about the recent Milk Contamination Scare? Click the link below to read Plunket’s latest advice regarding the situation.

If you are pregnant (or have ever been pregnant!) then you will know that one of the most exciting things on the journey to Parenthood is choosing  the perfect name for your little one! If you need some inspiration then follow the links below, provided by Childform, to review some of the most popular and unique names of 2013.



Winter is here and it is often hard to motivate our kids (and ourselves) to stay active during the cold weather.   The solution may lie in the humble trampoline!  Everyone knows that trampolines are great fun – but did you know that they are also an excellent form of exercise and a sneaky way to get our kids active?

There are many benefits to be gained from using a trampoline and because it is a low impact, low stress workout it is suitable for the entire family.  Benefits include:

  • Improved balance:

Because the trampoline ‘floor’ is always moving the jumper is forced to become aware of their centre of gravity and has to subconsciously fight to stay upright and balanced on their feet.  The balance learned on the trampoline can be transferred to other areas/sports.

  • Development of bilateral motor skills:

The brain is forced to function bilaterally when you are jumping in the air.  This means that both sides of the brain and both sides of the body must work together to maintain co-ordination and balance.  This action improves your children’s motor skills.

  • Improved joint, tendon and ligament function:

The jumping action will strengthen your children’s joints, tendons and ligaments and this can help to reduce the chance of them developing some forms of arthritis later in life.

  • Increased bone density:

Exercise strengthens your muscles but can also help to increase bone density – increased bone density helps to prevent broken and fractured bones and osteoporosis

  • Improved self-confidence:

It takes time to learn some moves on the trampoline and your children will gain confidence in themselves and their ability as they master new skills.  This can translate into everyday life and give their confidence a boost.

  • Improves lymphatic drainage:

When you jump on the trampoline, the short periods of weightlessness between higher than normal G-Force has a positive effect on the body’s lymphatic drainage system.  And since it is this system that helps remove waste and build-up from our body this can only be a good thing.

  • Increased learning:

Trampolining helps your children learn to control their body and their movements and this transfers to everyday learning.  The part of the brain that is responsible for moving us is also the part of the brain that is responsible for learning.  Therefore movement is fundamental in getting our children ready for school and learning.

  • And lastly it improves your fitness level and is lots of FUN!!



Yoghurt – friend or foe?!

Many of us choose yoghurt for our kids because of all the widely published health benefits, ranging from friendly bacteria to the amount of calcium they contain.  But did you know that some types of yoghurt contain the same amount of sugar and additives as chocolate desserts.  We all want to make the best, most informed choices for our kids right? So how do we tell apart the ‘real’ yoghurts that offer these health benefits and others ‘fake’ yoghurts that just taste good?!

So what is yoghurt?

The World Health Organisation defines yoghurt as “the coagulated milk product obtained by lactic acid fermentation through the action of Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus from milk and milk products”.

Say what?! In easy to understand terms that means that ‘live’ yoghurt is milk or milk products that are fermented by the true yoghurt cultures – also called probiotics or friendly bacteria – and the cultures are still active at the time of consumption.

So when is yoghurt not really a healthy choice? Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but when your yoghurt is a sweet tasting treat then it is not yoghurt but more like a dessert! You know the offenders…the ‘yoghurts’ that are endorssed by Dora, Thomas the Tank Engine and Spongebob Square pants…these are no more than cow’s milk thickened with sugar, fruits and other ingredients added.  Few of these types of yoghurt provide any nutritional benefit to our kids.

And some of the yoghurts with “added friendly bacteria” are little more than the same thing.  Manufacturers regularly add bacteria to their products – rather than make it from live cultures – to encourage us to buy their product. However often the bacteria does not survive long enough in the pot to see the inside of our tummy.

Real yogurts not only contain probiotics (such as lactobacillus acidophilus), but they are started from them (rather than having them added at the end). They are considered to have a great many health benefits, some which are listed below:

  • Probiotic bacteria can help prevent nasty pathogens including Staphylococcus, Salmonella and Clostridia from taking hold in the intestinal canal.
  • Animal studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can stop tumors and may help to prevent cancer in some cases.
  • Real yoghurts are low in lactose.  Probiotic bacteria make substances that can breakdown the lactose in the yoghurt.
  • We are all aware of the increasing issues regarding antibiotics and how they destroy our “healthy” intestinal balance.  Probiotic bacteria can put back the good bacteria after antibiotics or even after a tummy upset.
  • Probiotic can be excellent remedies for diarrhoea and rotovirus in infants.
  • Probiotics are now being shown to strongly improve allergy responses in children, especially those who suffer from eczema.
  • Probiotics are commonly added to infant formulas with the added benefit of softening stools.

What to look out for when you buy yoghurt

Read the labels on the yoghurt pots.  Compare the sweet tasting cartoon endorsed yoghurt pots with the other ones.

Once you begin to compare labels you will notice that there can be vast differences between yoghurts in terms of:

  • The number of ingredients they contain
  • Where ingredients are on the panel (indicating their relative quantity), i.e. the ingredients at the top of the list are usually the ones in greatest quantity.
  • The thickeners, additives and flavourings etc.

Some hints and tips for shopping for yoghurts:

  • Opt for plain yoghurts first, especially for children to avoid them getting ‘hooked’ on the sweeter ones.  Cartoon endorsed yoghurts should be a treat and not an everyday addition to your child’s lunch box.
  • Children under two should eat whole-fat products. Check that the yoghurt doesn’t have added sugar (by reading the ingredients panel and keep an eye out for the hidden sugars e.g. sucrose, glucose, lactose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, corn syrup, honey, malt, malt extract, maltose, rice extract, molasses, golden syrup and invert sugar).
  • Try buying Greek/Plain/Natural yoghurt and adding some frozen berries to it.  As the berries start to defrost they will sweeten the yoghurt enough that kids will love it.