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Often midwife cooperatives will offer antenatal classes, so you could talk to your midwife about possible options. Otherwise, your best option is just to start with a Google search of antenatal classes in your area. Plunket is the largest provider of Well Child services in New Zealand, however parents are able to choose from a range of providers. Most centres have several providers including services catering specifically for Maori and Pasifika. For more information, and hundreds of expert articles, you should start here in our Babies section.

Frank McColl is a primary teacher and writes teacher resource materials for primary and secondary schools.


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She has one quirky toddler who keeps her on her toes. Babywearing or pram? It doesn't really matter, you can do either. The aisles are totally wide enough for strollers, and then you'll have somewhere to put your stuff, but with babywearing you'll be totally hands free. Up to you! Food and coffee? It's all available there, the cafe will be open and there are also little coffee kiosks. I tried to get confirmation about the exact food trucks outside but couldn't.

I'm pretty sure that there were food trucks last year. Buy your tickets first. And avoid the queues. You can purchase tickets here, and if you book before midnight on Thursday you can get some of the tickets options for a little bit cheaper. Can I bring my partner? Lot's of people tell us that their partners are scared about going, that they'll be the only guy there. Relax guys, there are almost as many men as there are women at the show. Plan when to go. The gender pay gap is also a huge factor — on average women earn between 9 and 16 percent less than men in New Zealand — and culture also plays a significant role.

These are big issues with no quick or easy fix, but if women had pay parity with men, it could free more dads to take on the primary parent role. Research clearly shows the benefits of strong paternity leave extend to the whole family. When dads take extended paternity leave or become the stay-at-home parent there are a whole raft of benefits. Children whose parents have more egalitarian relationships tend to be happier, do better at school, have greater selfesteem and fewer behavioural problems. Girls are more likely to follow less gender-stereotyped career paths, boys tend to have egalitarian relationships and fight less.

Places with successful paternity leave schemes make it mandatory for both partners to take a portion of the paid leave available. The awesome McKay Turner writes about his experiences as a stay-at-home dad to four preschoolers in this issue, and I would love to hear from more Kiwi dads who have stepped up to take on this most important of all jobs. How does it work for your family? Would you do it again? And, most importantly, what do you think should change so that more men could be encouraged become stay-at-home dads? Leigh Bredenkamp. Available from leading pharmacies.

Our youngest child, Anna, is a very special girl who just happens to be on the autism spectrum. Although her diagnosis was a little overwhelming at first she was only six when we found out , our family of six has learned how to work as a team so that every single one of us thrives! And truly, our village includes magazines like Kiwiparent that offer support and positivity to families of all abilities. My fellow parents and I are constantly sharing information and stories with each other that we think may be helpful, and I appreciate that you do the same. I would like to write something to support families with autism that you can share with readers who are starting their autism journey.

Jenny and Anna Wise. Great to hear from you Jenny and Anna! Watch out for an article from Jenny on supporting families with autism in the next issue of Kiwiparent. Susan and Alex Taylor are expecting their first child and have just joined Parents Centre. Baby Show just keeps getting better! Special thanks to our awesome volunteers who did such a wonderful job and helped to make sure that our stand was such a popular place to visit.

We never stopped being busy and met so many amazing people. Phloe contains digestive enzymes, fibre and prebiotics to help keep you regular in a gentle way. Minimise stretch marks when pregnant Bio-Oil is a simple, preventative measure to minimise stretch marks while pregnant. We suggest applying Bio-Oil twice daily from the start of the second trimester for a beautiful bump. Perfect for the beach too! Three wheels provide superior manoeuvrability, making it easy to navigate any terrain from city streets to offroad tracks, never missing a beat and enabling parents to live life without limit.

Shop the collection at babycity. A new generation of sanitary products Drion pads and liners are a new generation of sanitary products designed to support health and well-being.

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They are free of chemicals and toxins, are slim, ultra-absorbent and feel so dry you could wear one all day. Biodegradable, Drion products also have a green negative ion strip with energetic properties that promote calm cycles and minimise odours. Drion Night pads are also ideal post-birth and recommended for light bladder leakage. Premium products that actually make a difference. New FeverSmart continuous temperature monitor from Nurofen In good hands when fever strikes The FeverSmart app is downloaded to a smart device like a smartphone, then the app connects the monitor with a phone.

The monitor then reads the temperature continuously and displays it on the phone. FeverSmart clearly indicates whether temperature is normal, moderate or high and sends notifications if the fever is in the high range. It also stores temperature data for sharing with a healthcare professional and can track medicine given and symptoms other than temperature.

Playcentres were established in the late s to offer childled learning opportunities to explore, create, get messy and grow alongside other children, assisted by parents. Sensory play encourages scientific processes because problems are solved using all five senses. Messy play helps to build nerve connections in the brain, encourages the development of motor skills, supports language development, and encourages scientific thinking and problem solving. Winner of the Huggies coverstar competition, Tegen Gerdes, shares the story behind the beautiful photo that captured the eyes of the judges.

Early in November last year, my partner Lewis and I set off on one last road trip before our baby arrived — we - ura and travelled with his Mum and brother to Kaiko Hanmer Springs. I just shrugged it off as more morning sickness as I was plagued by this throughout the early months of my pregnancy. We arrived in Hanmer early that day, too early to check into our hotel, so we decided to go for a bite to eat and a drive to a beautiful view point on the way up to the St James trail.

I also realised that I had started bleeding and we knew we had to get to a doctor as soon as possible — and as calmly as possible. We made our way down the unsealed track we were on and found the medical clinic in Hanmer Springs. Winning photo As soon as we arrived, the doctor was called to see me and assured us that our son was still doing well but he needed to ring Christchurch to summon a specialist medical team. A helicopter with a midwife was organised to come and get me. The midwife let me know that he suspected that I had had a placenta rupture and we needed to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

It was an extremely windy day so unfortunately Lewis had to drive back to the hospital whilst we were flown in by the helicopter. Not long after we arrived in the hospital, things took a turn for the worse and the staff decided they needed to take me through for an emergency caesarean. I was prepared for surgery and the medical team had all their scrubs on when — right at the last minute — Lewis came running up the corridor just in time for them to quickly prep him so he could join me for the delivery of our first child.

Before I saw him running in I had started to panic and wondered if he would be able to make it in time as I knew it would take him a lot longer to travel by road. I was over the moon to see he arrived at the most unbelievable moment. Our son Caleb was delivered via caesarean seven weeks early. I got to briefly see him before he was taken to NICU to be put on oxygen and into an incubator. I had to wait until the next day to properly meet our son. But I guess this is how our parenting story began.

Caleb was in an incubator for almost two weeks but, as everyone knows, when you are in the NICU with your newborn every minute feels like a lifetime. The saddest thing is when you have a baby, you expect them to come home when you do. Lewis and I spent every moment we could going back and forth to the hospital. Lewis had to continue working so he would spend 10 hours at work and come and meet us at the hospital as soon as he finished.

Some days he was so exhausted he would have a little nap on the recliner in the ward. Unfortunately, the first time Caleb was taken off oxygen he had sleep apnea which meant he would stop breathing when he slept. He was put straight back on the oxygen for another week and was started on a small dose of caffeine which would trigger parts of the brain to remind him to keep breathing.

Generally though, he was in good health. Luckily, he had a lot of skin-to-skin time with Lewis and me which was wonderful. I wish I could explain how Lewis and I felt this day, it was such an accomplishment for Caleb. We carefully bathed him and dressed him in his little clothes that were but were still swimming on him. And this was the moment when I took the photo of Lewis with Caleb. Soon after being out of the incubator Caleb was breastfeeding and growing at an astonishing rate which helped him come home more quickly. I spent the last five days Caleb was in the hospital with him full time.

He was finally allowed home in early December, and we got to enjoy our first Christmas at home as a family. Caleb is now ten months old and is a very healthy little man — to look at him you would never know he had such an amazing early entry into the world. Lewis and I dote on him and are so proud of what a little soldier he is. Their skin is up to 10x thinner than adults. With almost 2, entries received, we were so very impressed by the high quality as well as the touching comments that accompanied the photos.

A huge thank you to all the parents for sharing their special photos with us. It was a difficult job, but in the end all the judges agreed that the winning photo was of Caleb and his dad, Lewis, taken at a very special moment by mum Tegen inside the NICU. This was the image that resonated with the judges. We thought that image perfectly captured the loving connections between father and son — a special moment that illustrates closeness and attachment.

But there were so many gorgeous photos that we wanted to share some of them with you. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did. The Return to Work programme offers practicalities, information and tips to prepare for returning to the paid workforce. Negotiating flexible working house Contact your local Parents Centre for more information on the Return to Work sessions scheduled for the year. My husband and I were both teachers and have always adored children.

After we were first married, we spent time teaching at International Schools in Syria and Jordan, then came home to New Zealand in our late twenties. We began to plan our much-wanted family. I was 28 when we threw away the contraception, and we began trying to have a baby. Although I enjoyed my job, I knew that being a wonderful mother was going to be the most important thing for me to accomplish in my lifetime.

Within six months we had a positive test, but I started bleeding straight away and was told I had had an early miscarriage. This was the first connection we made while trying to start our family. My gynecologist was totally supportive, knowledgeable and proactive in addressing our situation. My husband and I underwent all the tests, and these revealed that there was only a very small possibility of us conceiving without intervention.

I began a cycle of Clomiphene which stimulates ovulation. At the time I began the cycle there was a local shortage of the drug, so I was only prescribed one sequence of doses. All our eggs were in one basket so to speak. That cycle was again unsuccessful, and we continued to experience the roller coaster of high expectations and tearful disappointments. Around this time, we tried to make other plans that didn't include a child, to take the pressure off ourselves.

We had a holiday overseas, and later booked a cruise for the Christmas break. We tried to focus on other things, rather than getting pregnant, but of course, this was easier said than done. I was a woman obsessed with getting pregnant, charting, taking my temperature, researching … it was horrendously time- and mind-consuming. We started our next cycle unassisted because of the drug shortage and were fairly despondent by that stage.

To our delight we were very surprised to get pregnant! Just like that we were finally pregnant. It had taken us 18 months and I was now 30 years old. So we cancelled our cruise! Living with the fear As I had had an earlier miscarriage, I was terrified that I would lose this baby too. I was too scared to feel hopeful and would check my knickers every time I went to the bathroom.

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But slowly the weeks and months passed. Unexpectedly, I hated being pregnant, I hardly ate for the first trimester as I constantly felt nauseous, though never vomited, thank goodness. My husband would ask me what I wanted for dinner, cook me something delicious, then by the time it was ready I would feel ill again and just want toast; the poor guy.

I struggled with swelling and indigestion, but really it was a physically easy pregnancy. Around halfway through my pregnancy I found out I was successful in getting the scholarship, so now not only would. I knew I would cope as babies sleep lots, right?! We were blessed to have a great midwife, but an even more amazing student midwife. I felt like she really understood my feelings and anxiety throughout my pregnancy.

Our baby girl, Ruby, was delivered and she was perfect. She was healthy, cute, chubby, all the things you could wish for. I was in heaven. She was the best thing that had ever happened to us. But this happy time was somewhat spoilt by my birthing experience. My waters broke early, but my contractions were too slow to start so I was given Syntocinon to speed up my labour.

This meant I had a hard and fast labour with only gas. It was horrendous, and I ended up with stitches. As an organised and slightly obsessive-compulsive person, I was totally ready for being a mum, and my postgraduate study. I had plans in place for help from my mum and mother-in-law.

Because I was getting paid while I was on leave technically I was on study leave, and not maternity leave , we were able to have the luxury of a weekly cleaner who was fantastic.

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Unfortunately, even with all the best laid plans, I was not blessed with a sleeping baby. She was difficult to get to sleep, she never self-settled, she would only nap for short periods, woke frequently in the night and did for a good four years , and I began to feed her to sleep which was a recipe for disaster. Keeping up a brave front Although on the outside, it looked like I was keeping it together, at home I was falling apart.

At around four months my family bundled me off to my doctor, and I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. I look back at the photos from this time and everything looks amazing But it was all a lie. I just felt broken inside.

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It broke my heart as our daughter was so wanted and wished for. I felt distraught. With the medication, support and wonderful family and friends, I took each day as it came and gradually began to feel better though still had, and do now have, ups and downs. Though the stress from the sleep issues continued, I just learnt to accept them and tried my best to get on with everything.

I tried to find the moments of joy as I knew these were what really mattered in the bigger picture. I finished my year of study and graduated, which was a wonderful achievement, considering how much I had struggled emotionally. By this time my daughter was nine months old. I then applied to my school for maternity leave and was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with my daughter for another six months.

She was 18 months old when I returned to full-time teaching. We were lucky enough to be able to split her care between my mum, mother-in-law and two mornings at preschool. Despite all the ups and downs, at this time we decided we would like to try for a sibling for our daughter. Reinforce to mum that there is strength in asking for help.

They may not admit it themselves, but do your best as a family member or friend to assess the situation — is this new mama coping? How can her village wrap its support so tightly around her she will never be let down? I was absolutely ready to accept the reality of only having one child if that was it, but what troubled me was not knowing either way, and wondering how hard to try and how much energy to put into it before giving up. Not knowing was the most difficult part for me. After six months without any success, we were back to my gynaecologist.

She prescribed another round of Clomiphene which we started immediately. The day my period was due I took a test. Immediately it came back with an extremely strong positive result. I was ecstatic.

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I was also starving hungry and ate constantly which was completely different to my first pregnancy! However, for the full nine months I still suffered major anxiety — I was worried I would lose a baby again. This pregnancy our student midwife had now graduated, so I rang her straight away. She arranged for us to be booked in for an early scan at seven weeks. The excitement lasted about a month before being replaced with pure terror, considering our experience with our first child.

Early on in the pregnancy I joined Multiples New Zealand, an organisation which provides nationwide, parent-led advice and support for families expecting multiple babies. I was blessed to have a lovely buddy mum who answered all my questions, and a huge village of multiple mums within an online support group.

At every stage, there was a mum who was facing the same problems or milestones — or had been there! Our gynaecologist now became our obstetrician — a woman of many hats. It was another difficult pregnancy, with terrible swelling, pain and stress on my body. I gave up work at 24 weeks and stayed at home with my daughter, who was now two. At 35 weeks I went into premature labour and was flown by the Life Flight plane to Wellington, where they stopped the labour.

I stayed in hospital for four days. Say Goodbye to Baby Woes! Works even in the toughest cases! Soothing support for Wind Colic Upset Stomach Available nationwide from selected pharmacies Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist see your health professional. Not for long though; at 36 weeks I was again in labour and sent by Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Wellington again. This time I stayed five days.

Throughout this time, the staff in both our regional hospital and the city hospital were amazing. My husband was also treated so well and spoilt at Ronald McDonald House, a charity which will always be dear to our hearts as a family. I held onto the babies until 37 weeks when my waters broke. I was so happy my pregnancy was over I almost skipped into the maternity ward. It was finally safe enough to have the babies at our regional hospital.

My waters broke at pm, and the babies were delivered by caesarean section at pm due to their breech position. The babies were gorgeous, Xavier and Lilian. Perfectly healthy, no special care needed, and they both fed straight away. Adjusting to a new normal After the initial few weeks of pure insanity, we settled into a groove. My two wee bundles together were far easier than my first child ever was. As a mother of twins, with another child under five, we were entitled to home help hours, which was a wonderful gift. We employed a lovely woman who would come and help with the washing, do a bit of cleaning, or just cuddle one of the babies.

This made life infinitely easier, and she is still a close family friend now, over four years later. My next step on my parenting journey was taking my children to Playcentre. All three of my children have been Playcentre kids and have thoroughly enjoyed being at a parent-led centre. This meant I was able to have adult company and conversations, while my children were having fun. Over the next four years I continued to volunteer my time with Multiples New Zealand, helping coordinate events and writing for their magazine.

Then in , I was made Editor of the quarterly magazine and I now sit on the eight-member National Executive. It is a big responsibility supporting our families throughout New Zealand, but I love my role. It just takes time I still struggle through some days, but they are few and far between now. What helped was purely time … time with my children, time with myself, and just taking one day at a time. My parenting journey has been one of definite highs and lows, but through it all I have learned to take each moment, hour, day, as it comes, and know that things will eventually get better; to enjoy the little things, as one day you will look back and realise these are the big things in life; surround yourself with people who will love, support, listen, laugh and cry with you; and most importantly of all — everything happens for a reason.

It is not always apparent at the time, but there are lessons there eventually. When one door closes, another opens. If you or someone you know is expecting multiples, send them to www. This is the best thing you can do as it is all their support, friendship, and knowledge in one spot. Then, treasure the new parents, just as you would a parent of one new baby … make them meals;.

Connect help with their laundry, cleaning or dishes; take the babies for a walk while mum has a decent shower; and most importantly keep asking if they are doing okay. Throughout our parenting journey we have made connections with so many wonderful professionals, but also volunteers. Now that my first child is seven, and my twins are nearly five, I can see the most beautiful connection we have made is with each of them. There were years when I wondered if I would ever be a mother, and now I look at my three little people and know how blessed we are to have them.

Especially when they are all asleep … kidding … not really. Receive entry to prize draws, free product samples, plus relevant info emails through each stage. While juggling seven-year-old Ruby, and four-year-old-twins, Xavier and Lilian, she also works as a photographer and graphic designer, and teaches intermediate students in these areas.

In her spare time she volunteers with the Shine on Kaitaia project, which aims to bring free family events to the Kaitaia community. These concerns do become a reality for some parents if their child does not meet some or all of their developmental milestones. The struggle of parenthood can be real, for any parent, from all walks of life, but some parents are faced with parenting their little gems through more challenges than others.

These little treasures are here to teach us more about ourselves, about inclusion and about the importance of celebrating diversity. Typical or normal child development is a broad and large subject, there are a range of ages to achieve developmental milestones and varying ability within each of the developmental areas. These varying ages fit within an age bracket — for example, a toddler typically learns to walk between nine months and 18 months of age. Parents love to share the achievements of their child, as if it is a reflection on their parenting abilities.

Sometimes, this can mean overlooking what is. Atypical child development — or the development of a child that does not meet typical milestones or behaviours — is also broad and very complex. Sometimes atypical development affects one area of development like physical development or comprehension. But more commonly atypical development affects multiple developmental areas — for example, a child could struggle with communication and comprehension as well as social development.

Many children receive a diagnosis to explain their developmental delays, but others do not. Sometimes, parents are declined referrals when they first ask for help, but you need to keep reaching out. Continuing to advocate for your child is imperative and often the hardest job. Finding a team of professionals who really listen to your concerns, who offer ideas, strategies or referrals is vital. Some parents even begin to question their reasoning and concerns, and can be left feeling defeated.

Parents who have a child with atypical development have to learn to navigate many more areas than a parent with a typically developing child. They face multiple health and education appointments, learn. If you feel that you need help or support please reach for help, there is help available and an option that suits your needs. Your child deserves it. Professionals are often working on different goals and strategies aiming to provide better outcomes for the child.

This can be hard to navigate as you consider the implications of what different professionals. Some parents can have ten or more different professionals all working with their child at once. Asking for help is the first step Deciding that you and your child need help is the start of the process for gaining better outcomes for your child. The earlier you can gain support for your wee one and yourself, the greater the potential outcomes. But where do you start? The minefield of professionals and options can appear overwhelming.

Start with someone who knows your child like your general doctor or your early childhood teaching team — this is a safe place to start, somewhere to share your concerns and reasons why you feel this way. If you are not supported by these professionals, then speak to someone else. There are many different organisations that can support you. Finding the right help and advice can so often be about finding the right person to support you within these groups.

They can include, but are not limited to, specific professionals within the Ministry of Health, your doctor, Plunket, pediatrician, Ministry of Education, early childhood teaching team, Early intervention teachers, private consultants and. All these professionals can offer supportive advice and referrals if needed. When should you ask for help? Practical advice for parents If your child shows signs of atypical behaviour, find support in family and friends, someone to share your journey with who you will feel comfortable confiding in, sharing your deepest challenges and concerns and celebrating the smallest of achievements.

The feeling of knowing another parent is going through a similar journey to you can be comforting. It can also be a source of ideas, support and understanding. Take time for yourself each day, remembering that taking ten minutes to yourself will help you be a better parent. Your child and family need you in a healthy state of mind. This may be reading, exercise, painting your nails or sitting down outside with a hot cup of coffee.

Question professionals, as they are a wealth of knowledge. Understanding the reason why and theory behind their strategies, goals or treatment is imperative to you feeling. Parenting Solutions For Everyone Struggling with confusing behaviour that is hard to cope with? We offer experienced professional consulting to support your child and families natural dynamic and philosophy on life and parenting. Remember your child is a gift that challenges you, loves you unconditionally and teaches you more about yourself and the things you can achieve than perhaps you thought you were ever capable of doing.

Discuss your ideas with professionals, maybe what you have read about or learnt from others, so you can understand if this is an option for your child. This could require talking to education professionals about suitable options, visiting several centres or schools and discovering what extra support is available for your child. Continue to advocate for your child, as you are their greatest strength and support.

This can be overwhelming at times but take a moment to appreciate the effort.


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Find professionals who are on the same wavelength as your family and that you feel can offer you the support you need. Remove yourself from relationships and situations where you are not included or treated with respect. These negative relationships require a lot of energy that can be well spent in other areas. You do not want or need others' negativity dragging you down. Celebrate the smallest achievements; these are the tiny steps towards the bigger steps that you are working towards.

Your child is on their own individual journey; you may encounter regression but remember that there have been achievements and progress has been made. Please contact us to discuss how we can help. They want their child to be seen as just another little one in the group or at the playground. Acceptance of diversity is imperative modeling for children and this is a wonderfully powerful learning opportunity for all children.

Approach the conversation carefully and slowly, ensuring it is a safe and private environment — it could be an emotional conversation. You could meet with resistance and denial. Make sure you say that you care and are there for them if they need you at any time. This also gives the parent of the atypically developing child the chance to share information if they want to. A walk in the forest, a swim, a coffee, birthday parties or a play date.

Atypically developing children are often overlooked for social experiences with their peers. Aimee Christie Aimee is an educational consultant for Early Learning Consultants NZ who provides support to children and families through the challenges they are facing, including developmental and behavioural support. Aimee is a mother of four and has over 15 years of educational experience. And you will need to be able to trust your stroller, buggy or baby carrier to safely hold your little one when you are out and about. But there are so many choices on offer, it is easy for parents to feel totally overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a stroller or buggy.

You will find there are strollers for jogging and strollers for walking, lightweight strollers and heavy-duty 4WD strollers. There are combo strollers and travel system strollers, single strollers and double strollers. And this is only a start; the choices are, quite simply, endless. To help you navigate the complex world of strollers, here are a few things to consider before you invest. Safety first One of the most significant factors to consider when buying a stroller is safety. While most safety features are mandatory and products are in line with New Zealand and Australian standards, it's still important to be aware of them.

All strollers should have a suitable restraint that will keep your child secure and prevent them from falling out; a five-point restraint with waist, crotch and shoulder straps provides the best safety. Make sure a tether strap is present to loop around your wrist to prevent the stroller getting away from you easy to happen if you are out in hilly terrain. Some strollers even brake as soon as you let go of the handle.

What will suit your family Decide what you'll mainly be using your stroller for. If you're an active person who plans on running or even. Look out for a model that has the option of adjusting and locking wheels, as these features can make it easier to run over different terrains. If you're looking for something to keep in the back of the car for use around the shopping centre, when taking older children to school, playgroup or kindy, or for generally using in a more urban environment, you could invest in a lighter stroller.

While these are generally not as sturdy, they're lightweight and easier to fold and carry if you are going to be in and out of the car multiples times a day. If this is your first stroller and you're planning on having more children, it's a good idea to look at models that will allow you to install additional seats or even funky skateboards later. There are many options available and investing a bit more in a model that can grow with your family could save you in the long run.

How strong are you? The weight and size of a stroller varies according to its purpose — something like a rugged all-terrain stroller will weigh more and be bigger than smaller collapsible strollers. It's important to check that neither parent or caregiver will struggle to cope with the weight and size when pushing the stroller — or will find it difficult to lift it once it is collapsed. Also consider how much having a child, a nappy bag and a couple of shopping bags will affect the weight and manoeuvrability of the stroller.

Many families that purchase a bigger stroller end up investing in or borrowing a lightweight stroller as well; that way you'll have a lightweight one that's easier to carry and transport for quick trips. Steering a safe course Make sure you're able to comfortably steer your stroller and feel confident in manoeuvring it in and out of tight spaces. You should be able to walk with the stroller using your normal stride, without hitting your shins or feeling as though you have to alter your normal gait.

It is good to consider strollers that have enough storage space to suit your everyday needs. If the stroller is going to be used by a number of adults on a regular basis, it's worth finding a model that has an adjustable handle to allow for any differences in height. This can be an essential back saver for anyone pushing for a long duration, and means the stroller will work for either parent, as well as for other caregivers.

Easy to collapse? This is more important than you would think! Ensure that when you check out the strollers in the shops, you're confident in your ability to collapse it yourself — and then practice when you get home so that you have the technique down to a fine art. Storage space Before you leave the house with small children, you must pack for every circumstance — spare nappies, change of clothes, warm jersey, spare blanket, favourite toys, snack, drink… Inevitably you will leave with a bag which is the same size as the rucksack you used when you backpacked around Europe in your twenties.

You only need to add a couple of shopping bags and a keep cup of coffee, and you might find yourself out. Some parents like the idea of an 'all-in-one' system that allows you to transfer your baby straight from the car into the stroller. If this sounds like a winner, you could consider a travel system. This is a stroller with a compatible infant car seat that clips into the stroller.

An alternative is a universal stroller frame. This lets you attach your car seat to the bottom of it without waking up your baby and means that you can decide on a stroller once baby is a bit older and grows out of their first car seat. What will it cost? A little bit of research goes a long way in determining what you can get for your money, and this is a good starting point. Hop online and see what is on offer — this will give you an idea of the costs you will face and help you to set a realistic budget. As much as possible, try to stick to it — it's very easy to get overwhelmed by choice and get led astray once you're in the shop.

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