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Guest Post: Tummy Time

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Thanks to Camilla from Mini Gymbaroo Coffs Harbour for this guest post….



Only a few short years ago I remember bringing home my first baby, it was both an exciting and daunting moment. While I adjusted to this new life as a mother, I began to realise I had no idea what I was doing! Advice came from everywhere – Grandparents, Mums, Friends, Nurses, Doctors etc. While some of it was good advice, some of it didn’t feel quite right. One thing I was told most was from the professionals was about Tummy Time. “Are you giving your baby lots of tummy time?” they asked. “It’s important to put your baby on their tummy,” they continued. I heard them, but my baby didn’t like tummy time and it didn’t feel good to push him when he complained and cried. It wasn’t until I attended a local GymbaROO centre with my son that someone finally explained to me the importance behind tummy time and how vital it is to an infant’s development.

To begin with, our little ones must learn to lift their head against gravity – which as you can imagine is not an easy feat after months in the womb! – but by providing lots of opportunity for them to be on their tummies, we are helping them to strengthen their muscles in the neck, back, arms, shoulders, hands, legs, feet and also eyes. This time allows our babies to overcome the primitive reflexes present at birth and gain voluntary control and movement over their bodies. Plus, all creeping and crawling takes off from being on their tummy. Remember, tummy time takes a lot of effort for your little one, so it is best given in short bursts but often while they’re awake. The stronger they get through tummy time opportunities though, the more they’ll want to spend time on their tummies. So this is WHY tummy time is important for our babies.

If an infant is sleeping on their front (please note: health professionals recommend sleeping an infant on their back only), tummy time when awake is still needed. Your infant is learning all the time and they use this time awake on their fronts to gain head control, muscle tone, balance, visual skills and body awareness.

If a baby isn’t sitting by themselves, then sitting them up isn’t recommended, as their muscles are not fully developed to hold their body weight. If you need to sit them, ensure they are leaning back, that there is something behind them to take all their weight and only for a short period of time.


Here’s a few handy hints if tummy time doesn’t agree with your little one (like my first baby!);

  • Try rolling up a towel and place it underneath their chest and underarms so the arms and hands fall over the top and the chest becomes lifted.
  • Get down on the floor with them and mix it up. Lie down and have some chest to chest time. You can stroke the back of their head to encourage them to lift it up.
  • Try holding a book up for them to look at, have some noisy toys, balls or toys that can move along etc.
  • Give them a massage while on their tummies so they can feel their whole body, using your hands or try different types of materials and textures etc.
  • Try tummy time on the bed, outside on the grass, in the pram, on your tummy or even over your extended leg etc. Also, a baby will reach out the side, so position items to the left and right. If it looks like they want to push off, put something behind their feet so they can feel the motion of pushing off.


If you would like to learn more about the benefits of Tummy Time and other developmental activities for your child, GymbaROO/KindyROO has just released a wonderful new free online series for parents of babies (newborn to crawling). There are 12 episodes full of important information and great activities for parents to do with their baby in the comfort of their own homes. Go to  or  and click on the Active Babies Smart Kids TV link.


If you’d like to join in the fun learning social experience your local centre Mini GymbaROO Coffs Harbour is currently running sessions for ages 8 weeks – 3yrs during the school term on Fridays at the Botanic Gardens.

Follow us on Facebook at  or for bookings contact Camilla 0410231422 or email



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bethThanks to Beth from Coffs Harbour Fitness Studio for writing this guest post…

My name is Beth and I am very proud to be a 40 year old Mummy to two wonderful girls and also very proud to be a Fitness Trainer.  I love being fit and healthy and I love that I can set my girls a good example.

However, this hasn’t always been the case.  I was an active teenager and pretty good at running but somewhere around my late teens, I stopped all activity and other than the occasional intermittent bursts of attempting to get fit again, I pretty much did nothing for approximately 15 years.

Then at the age of 32 I found myself pregnant and somehow learned the skill of eating too much whilst feeling sick at the same time.  Yes…. morning sickness 24 hours a day up to 20 weeks and I still managed to gain weight – incredible!  After sickness subsided, I decided to ignore all the warnings about NOT ‘eating for two” and had me and my body a little food fest party… which lasted several weeks!  I have never been one for unhealthy food, but massive portions of home cooked, carbohydrate laden delights was leading me to a very hefty weight gain, whilst telling myself I could just lose it again after baby was born – yeah, right!

But luckily fortune came to rescue me as around twenty eight weeks, I was diagnosed as having gestational diabetes.  All due to my love of Spag Bol and Magnum Ice Creams!!

I was sent to see a dietician and was shocked at how little food I was going to be permitted to eat…. surely no one could really eat those tiny portions…. EVERY day???  I was also given a little kit and had to finger prick and test my blood three times a day and record for the Doctor to see and check.  This showed me how high my blood sugar levels were and I soon began to realise there was no getting out of this…. I was going to have to stick to the miniscule eating plan or it would be there in ‘blood and white’ what a greedy guts I had become.

The result?  I lost six kilos in two weeks whilst I was pregnant – all unnecessary body fat!  By the end of my term of pregnancy my overall weight gain was 10 kilos, which is a healthy amount and other than the baby bump, I was much slimmer than when I first fell pregnant.  Most importantly, my little baby girl was healthy and I had gained new eating habits and had a far better understanding of how I should be treating my body.

Pregnancy number two came along and my diabetes check was negative.  All due to portion control and consistent exercise!  I had taken up running again in between pregnancies and when running became too much for my body, I found a gym and trained on the Cross-trainer right up to a day or two before birth.  I then became a bit of a gym junkie which eventually led to me qualifying as a Personal Trainer.

I just love fitness – it has so many benefits!  For me personally, Gestational Diabetes saved me from becoming overweight, feeling crappy about myself and probably gaining depression.  What kind of example would that have been to my girls… I shudder to think.

I now own and operate Coffs Harbour Fitness Studio and provide fitness sessions for Mums and babies/children can come too.  Mums on the Run is a Fun, Outdoor, Fitness Group and we train four mornings a week at The Botanical Gardens in Coffs Harbour.

Contact or 0408 270 447 or Like our Facebook Page Coffs Harbour Fitness Studio.

For information on Gestational Diabetes check out



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Watermelon Cakes

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wm cake 2Thanks to Tanya from Tootle for Toddlers for writing this guest post…

When it came to my youngest sons birthday I wanted him to be able to take something into preschool to share with his friends.  I had to bear in mind that there are many children with allergies and lets face it, a container full of icing coated cupcakes isn’t sending the healthiest message to our toddlers.

I decided that I would make a “cake” from a watermelon, I had carved one into a dinosaur head and filled it with fruit for a previous party so my creative mind was set in motion and I thought “seriously how hard can it be”!

At first I was going to make a school bus, quite fitting as he was taking it to school, but a little boring all the same.  It was then that the lightbulb turned on – Fire Trucks are red and surely all little boys love Fire Trucks.

I bought a whole watermelon and chopped the bottom so that it was flat and then cut the sides so that I was left with a brick shaped chunk of watermelon.  I removed a slice so that the front cabin was formed and then embellished it with other fruits, kiwi for the wheels, rock melon for the windows and pretzels for the ladder on top.  Half a banana with blueberries and grapes formed the lights and a couple of slithers of watermelon skin finished it off with windscreen wipers (yes I know these aren’t edible).

My boys helped with the creation offering words of encouragement “wow mum how did you do that” It was a big hit at school and I received lots of lovely feedback through my facebook page, and so when asked to share my creation in a guest blog I decided to attempt something for the little girls parties out there, I was pushed for time but think that this little princess carriage would also be a winner.  It shows that fruit can be made into whatever your imagination decides, why not grab yourself a watermelon and get creating for your next party/bbq.

The food picks and shape cutters are available from my website

wm carriage (2)

Tanya is a local Mum and owns , which does not only sell fantastic little backpacks specially designed for toddlers but has heaps of great recipes and activities as well. Make sure you have a look at the website and Facebook page.


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tree and me

Coffs for Kids would like to welcome Emma Caller as our newest contributor! Emma will be doing a Thursday night weekly Facebook post as well as a blog post once a month. It’s great to have Emma on board. Like Essential Health on Facebook or better still, drop in and say hi – it’s a beautiful store.

So who is Emma Caller aka Emma the Naturopath?

I remember sitting on the floor in a circle in grade one at Sandy Beach Primary and being asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. Popular answers included ‘fireman’ and ‘princess’, but when it came to my turn, I told the class that I wanted to be a naturopath.

Fast forward 18 years to 2009…

I graduated from the Australian College of Natural Medicine with a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Nutritional Medicine and an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy. Which is just a fancy way of saying I’m a naturopath and nutritionist!

The next chapter

One week after my last exam I bought my family’s health food shop Essential Health which is a beacon of fresh air amongst all the franchises in town. When I’m doing consults on a Thursday and Friday, Vanessa Vidler, is my wonderful naturopath who takes over the show.

Eczema? Acne? Let me at it!

I have a consultation room inside the shop called The Essential Health Clinic where I help people with all sorts health issues but I looooove dermatology: acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, autoimmune skin conditions, etc.

Why am I different?

I’m not your run of the mill naturopath. I don’t over prescribe supplements or put people on restrictive diets. I love the Hippocrates quote “Let your food be your medicine” so I try to encourage people to get their nutrients out of their diet. I want to help people take health out of the “too hard” basket by making it simple and fun. Wellbeing is about getting back to basics, which means a balanced diet and also a balanced lifestyle that brings you happiness.

What is the best thing about your job?



Emma the Naturopath xx


Phone: 0266 514 533


Facebook: Essential Health Coffs

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