All posts by amanda

When can I leave my child alone?

This is a question that all parents ask themselves and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer, hence the stories in the paper about 8-year-olds being returned by the police when catching the bus by themselves. Personally I remember catching 2 buses to primary school, so times they are a-changing, indeed!

I am currently studying to become a NSW Primary School Teacher, and as such become a mandatory reporter in issues of children at risk of harm. The following comes from the Mandatory Reporter Guide which can be found online at  the NSW Community Services Website and could help clarify the matter.

 

Child/young person MAY be considered in danger if left alone longer than indicated in the following table. These times are a guide only. Times would be dependent on the environmental context and the individual characteristics of the child/young person. For example, a toddler who is unable to swim should not be unattended near water for any amount of time. The greater the environmental risk, the shorter the time a child/young person should be unattended. The circumstances listed provide examples of conditions that, if present, may mitigate risk.

 

Age / Developmental Age of
Oldest Child / Young Person
Time Alone Circumstances
Infant/Toddler May be briefly unattended with parent/carer in another room. • Another responsible adult is present.
• Child is asleep or in safe setting (e.g., play pen, child seat,protected area) while parent/carer sleeps or attends to other responsibilities, including self-care.
Preschool 5–15 minutes, parent/carer within hearing of child Child is asleep, quietly playing, or in safe circumstances and has been given instructions child is capable of following for remaining where he/she is.
Ages 5–7 15–60 minutes, parent/carer within hearing of child Child is asleep, quietly playing, or in safe circumstances and has been given instructions child is capable of following for remaining where he/she is.
Ages 8–9 2 hours Child is in safe circumstances and has been given instructions child is capable of following for remaining where he/she is.
Ages 10–13 12 hours, and not alone between 10:00p.m and 6:00a.m. • There is a backup adult available to child who is accessible, on call and able to give assistance.
• Not responsible for supervision of more than two other children.
Ages 14–15 24 hours • There is a backup adult available to child.
• Child has demonstrated ability to self-supervise.
• Not responsible for supervision of more than two other children.
Ages 16–17 More than 24 hours Assess safety based on young person’s capacity to live independently. Refer to ‘Lack of Shelter’ decision tree if needed.

Munchkin Nappy Disposal Unit

I received a Munchkin Nappy Disposal System from The Soup to trial and I was impressed!

It holds the same amount of nappies as a shopping bag, as I discovered by emptying a munchkin bags into one, and it does reduce the odour significantly.

The system works by twisting the top of the bag when the lid is shut, and sprinkling baking soda into the bag as well. Unlike some other NDS the nappies all remain in the bag which you then clip shut and remove, rather than ending up with a “sausage roll”.

Personally I found the replacement bag price a little steep, but I am assured it is comparative with other Systems (expensive when viewed against my free shopping bags). However it is possible to hack the system to use other cheaper bags (by chopping the bottom off one of the “real” bags and placing the cheaper bag inside of it. I really like that you can refill the baking soda dispenser, which screws into the lap, with any old baking soda you get from the shop.

I really like this system and would probably use it if my change table was not set up in the laundry. I only have room for one bin (the Munchkin is approx the same size as a regular kitchen bin) and I find myself wanting to put lots of other stuff in it (like lint, plastic wrapping, price tags) which just seemed like a waste. 

If you are going to use a Nappy Disposal System, then I would definitely recommend this one.

Difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic Ginger Beer

The difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic is all a matter of sugar (and time).

Here are the directions from a commercial home brew pack (900g of mostly malt which is a type of sugar) makes 23 litres:

For ALCOHOLIC ginger beer:

  1. Add 4 litres of HOT water (not boiling), contents of Home Brew Pack, and 1kg of raw sugar to sterilized Fermenter, dissolving thoroughly.
  2. Add an extra 18 litres of cold water. When the temperature of the brew is 35C or less sprinkle in yeast and nutrient. Seal Fermenter.
  3.  After fermentation has ceased (after approximately 6 days at 25C, AND when hydrometer reading is between S.G 1.005 and 1.000), add 1 heaped teaspoon (7g) of sugar to each of 30 x 750ml clean and sterilized bottles. Fill, seal and store bottles for a minimum of 3 weeks.

For NON-ALCOHOLIC Ginger Beer:

  1.  Add 4 litres of HOT water (not boiling), contents of Home Brew Pack, and 150g of raw sugar to a sterilized Fermenter, dissolving thoroughly.
  2.  Add an extra 18 litres of cold water. When the temperature of Brew is below 35C, vigorously stir yeast and nutrient into brew.
  3. Seal fermenter and leave for 2-3 hours, stir brew gently and then bottle. DO NOT ADD SUGAR TO BOTTLES. Store bottles for a minimum of 3 weeks before drinking.

So, from the above we can see the only difference between the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic versions, in the ingredients, is the amount of sugar added.

This makes sense because yeast eats sugar and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2), so the more sugar you add the more alcohol you produce.
For non-alcoholic ginger beer you need to walk the fine line between enough sugar to produce enough CO2 to give the ginger beer its fizz, but not enough to make it alcoholic.

The long ferment in the alcoholic version is to allow the yeast to convert all the sugar into alcohol while allowing the CO2 to escape, then the sugar in the bottle is for the yeast to convert into CO2 to provide the fizz. While the non-alcoholic version is bottled almost immediately to trap the CO2 in the bottles for the fizz.

There are a number of recipes for non-alcoholic ginger beer on the internet and they mostly seem to say 1 cup sugar per litre of water. This is much more than the amount required in even the alcoholic version of the directions above. Which explains why my ginger beer always turns out alcoholic, even if I put it straight in the fridge, using those recipes.

For non-alcoholic ginger beer you want more like 1 cup of sugar per 20 litres of water, or better yet just add a teaspoon per litre when bottling. The same yeast is added to both versions, so you can buy a commercial starter, or use a home grown ginger beer plant for either alcoholic or non-alcoholic ginger beer.

Breast Milk: How Much to Express?

One question that breastfeeding mothers always ask at some point is…

How much breast milk do I need to express for my baby?

The answer is: It depends

Accurate, but not very helpful. However there are a couple of different guidelines that I found useful while breastfeeding:

Method 1: Average Intake

Age Per Feeding Total Daily Average
0-2 Months 2-5oz (60-150ml) 26oz (801ml)
2-4 Months 4-6oz (115-180ml) 30oz (887ml)
4-6 Months 5-7oz (150-210ml) 31oz (915ml)

 

Baby Weight Amount in 24 hours
8 lbs (3.6 kg) 21.3oz (639ml)
9 lbs (4 kg) 24oz (720ml)
10 lbs (4.5 kg) 26.7oz (801ml)
11 lbs (4.9 kg) 29.3oz (879ml)
12 lbs (5.4 kg) 32oz (960ml)
14 lbs (6.4 kg) 37.3oz (1,119ml)
16 lbs (7.3 kg) 42.7oz (1,280ml)

 

Method 2: Calculate

Approximate Conversions:

1oz = 30ml    2.2lb = 1kg

Take your baby’s weight in pounds and multiply it by two and a half or three times. Then, divide this number by the total number of  feedings a day to arrive at the approximate feeding amount, in ounces, for each feed.

 Formula in pounds and ounces:

Baby Weight x 2.5 = Daily Min                Baby Weight x 3 = Daily Max

Daily Min / Feeds per day = Min Feed

Daily Max / Feeds per day = Max Feed

Approximate amount per feed = Between Min Feed and Max Feed

Example: For a 10lb baby who feeds 8 times a day (includes night feeds)

10 x 2.5 = 25    10 x 3 = 30

So the baby will probably be drinking between 25oz and 30oz per day (in a 24 hour period).

25 / 8 = 3.125      30 / 8 = 3.75

So the baby will probably be drinking between 3oz and 4oz at each feed.

——————

Formula in kilograms and ml:

Baby Weight x 2.2 x 2.5 x 30 = Daily Min    Baby Weight x 2.2 x 3 x 30 = Daily Max

Daily Min / Feeds per day = Min Feed

Daily Max / Feeds per day = Max Feed

Example: 4.5kg baby who feeds 8 times a day (includes night feeds)

4.5 x 2.2 x 2.5 x 30 = 742.5       4.5 x 2.2 x 3 x 30 = 891

So the baby will probably be drinking between 742.5ml and 891ml per day (in a 24 hour period)

742.5 / 8 = 92.8125     891 / 8 = 111.375

So the baby will probably be drinking between 90ml and 120ml at each feed.

———————

Of course every baby is different, but this gives you somewhere to start. Try the approximate amounts and if the baby is still hungry try increasing it by 1oz or 30mls at a time.

TIP: Use an electric pump as they are easier to use and you can get more milk in each session. The ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) has some pumps that they recommend, check out their website.

Also many chemists will hire out pumps, definitely try before you buy so you get one that works for you.

Pants Style Cover

I was looking for the new plastic pants, but couldn’t find them so I made some myself.

Using Baby Dry Pul Fabric and a pretty cotton fabric, all you need is some elastic and there you have a pretty waterproof covers, which don’t add a lot of bulk.

The yellow lining is the waterproof Poly Urethane Laminate layer, just turn over the edges at legs and waist to make a tube, and thread swimwear elastic through them. I like to use the overlocker to sew the PUL layer to the cotton layer first, with the laminate side of the PUL against the wrong side of the pretty cotton layer, then treat it as a single piece of fabric. Sew up the side seams, and then turn over the edges.

To make the pattern I bought the old style plastic pants which are something like $2 for 3, and cut the elastic out so it would lay flat, then cut down the outside of the leg to open it up to trace around. Normally you set it out so that the pattern is the right way up over the bum, so it is upside down at the front.

The plastic pants come in all sizes (eg. 000, 00, 1, 2) so you can make a couple of each size as your baby grows. Or you can make one to match every dress if that’s the way you roll 🙂