A crash course in parenting
Welcome to Sense by Meg Faure, the podcast that’s brought to you by Parent Sense, the app that takes the guesswork out of parenting. If you’re a new parent, then you are in good company. Your host Meg Faure is a well-known OT infant specialist and the author of eight parenting books each week. We’re going to spend time with new mums and dads, just like you to chat about the week’s wins, the challenges, and the questions of the moment. Subscribe to the podcast, download the Parent Sense App and catch Meg here every week to make the most of that first year of your little one’s life. And now meet your host.
Bailey: Hello and welcome to everyone joining us for another episode of Sense by Meg Faure. I’m Bailey Georgiardis, and I’m back for another chat with our favorite parenting and baby expert. Meg, how are you today?
Meg: Hi Bailey. I’m very good, thank you. So good to be back with you.
Bailey: We have a lot to talk about this week and I always love our chats because I find that even though I’m a mom of four and a half years, I find myself learning something new every single time. And for those of you listening, you are going to want to stick around because Meg’s got something up her sleeve that I can pretty much guarantee you we have all wished for at some stage of our parenting journey. I know I certainly have, this is literally like becoming our fairy godmother, Meg. In fact, there have been numerous times that I wish that there was a crash course in parenting. I always say like a parenting manual just to help me get through whatever stage we’re going through. Because most of the time, just when you think you had something figured out something else changes or something comes sideways and would feel so unprepared and at such a loss sometimes. And then I often joke that we have a parenting manual or wished we had a parenting manual. The thing is when you have a baby who would actually have time to read it.
Bailey: So I would’ve settled for a crash course. And I think when we want those fast answers, we can feel very overwhelmed, especially because we’re very lucky to have the internet at our fingertips, but with that comes saturation of information. So I think that sometimes we just need someone to go, “Right, I’ve got you, and this is how I can help.” Please tell me that you felt the same when you were going through it.
Meg: Yeah. I mean, to be honest, I felt complete overwhelmed and sometimes I look back and I think how much of it was that I knew too much and yet too little. So a little bit of background, I was an occupational therapist and worked with babies before my firstborn came along. And so I’d seen all the problems and I can remember in pregnancy being, terrified that there would be some sort of syndrome or that, you know, I was checking how much he was moving each day. And I was very, very, very anxious because I had seen what can go wrong and a lot can go wrong with babies. And so I had very heightened level of anxiety. Of course, James was born and I ended up having a textbook birth and ended up having this gorgeous baby, but really encountered some quite significant baby blues where, I mean, I would reach seven o’clock in the evening and I couldn’t even think about tomorrow. I didn’t how was going to make it. And then also very high levels of anxiety where I would go and see a clinic sister. And I remember seeing this clinic sister she’s deceased now, but first of all, she’d do pre and post feed ways, which is something, an absolute no-no, you know, where they weigh the baby, you feed the baby, they weigh it again and see how much they’ve taken in which of course is flawed science. But all of these things created this massive amount of anxiety for me. And I had a million questions at the time, going back quite a few years, the internet wasn’t as advanced as it is now. We’re on social media actually, weirdly we can’t even imagine a day when it didn’t exist, but social media didn’t exist, and Facebook only came out just after that.
And so, your access to information was in books and experts. And even with the books and the experts, I felt completely at sea. Bailey, I often think that when I think about my journey, working with moms, that’s been my secret power because I went through such a tough time because I can still remember it just like it was yesterday. I do identify with moms. So I know that feeling of like, why is he crying again? You know, what is this? What does the word colic mean? And does he have it? When is he going to finally sleep through the night? When do I introduce solids? Because somebody’s telling me two weeks, somebody’s saying six months. So the overwhelm when you are a new parent is real and absolutely I went through it.
Bailey: It’s incredible how leveling parenthood is no matter who we are, what our background is. I mean, I don’t take any comfort in the fact that you had high anxiety, but you’d already worked with babies where I, the first time I ever changed a nappy was with my own and it was handed to me and I just went, “What am I supposed to do with this? Who do I hand it back to?
Meg: Yeah, no, exactly. And you know, I mean, you say the word leveling and it is that. I’ve worked with many pediatricians who have referred babies to me for my practice and then they fall pregnant and they quickly on an email or WhatsApp to me to say, Meg, I’m out of my depth. I know I’m a paed. I know I should know this stuff. But I don’t what I’m doing. And so it is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a nursery school teacher, a high part executive, or pediatrician, we all totally out of our dept.
Bailey: And that’s why I like it been called parenthood because you are all part of the same neighborhood if that makes sense. So, don’t keep us in suspense because I know you’ve got something up your sleeve. What have you been up to?
Meg: Yeah. So over the last few years, the thing that I’ve been most passionate about in my entire career is communication and it has happened on different levels. So it happens in my books, in the eight books, parents can access most of my information there. And then of course in the app, which I’ve built, but in many years ago, when I built the Baby Sense Company. So this is going back to kind of the early nineties, you know, just the start of 2000s where I ran courses and seminars, and those courses and seminars have continued over the last 20 years. So I’ve always had these ongoing annually, the Baby Sense seminars, where I would talk about colic or, and Richardson would talk about sleep and somebody else, and Simon Strone would speak about infant health and vaccinations. And so I’ve always had these courses and talks over the years.
And then in the last 2014 or 2015, I launched my sleep course, which is an online sleep course to get your baby to sleep through the night, and that is hugely popular. I mean, it generally sells out every month that we run it. And so I’ve run these courses and seminars over the years. And of course, with COVID things change and people started to want to access online courses because we couldn’t do live courses. We couldn’t do live seminars. I couldn’t speak at live events. And so it was very much an online course. And so through the last two years with the app having been developed, we started to realize increasingly that actually we can take these courses that we currently run on a website and we can actually embed them into the app and deliver parenting courses in the app.
Meg: And that’s what we’ve been working on. So it’s taken us about the last three months and it’s going to be going live, it’s just gone live now. And so we’re ready to go. The initial courses that are going into the app, and the first one is obviously my sleep course, which parents can either do as a light course where they don’t actually interact with me, they just hear the 10 lectures. Or you can actually do the premium course where you really do properly interact with me. I’m on every week with you and we make sure we solve the sleep problems. Or you can do the weening course, which has got Kat Macon, she’s a dietician who works with me on everything. She’s actually our dietary advisor for the app. So those are the first two, and then we’ve got a choking course coming on and yeah, it’s really exciting Bailey. We’re going to be adding courses into the app over the course of the next year.
Bailey: That is incredible, that is amazing. I mean, that literally is having an expert in your pocket, on the net. It’s amazing.
Meg: That’s what it’s.
Bailey: I can also imagine that a lot of parents listening right now just feel completely relieved, especially when it comes to sleep. These online courses or at least the courses that are going to be on the app, how many have you launched so far?
Meg: We’ve launched three and in the next ones that are coming up in the next couple of months, the one is called Baby Sense which is actually, I’ve taken my original book Baby Sense, which was the first bestseller, and I’ve taken each of the chapters at the beginning of the book and I’ve made it accessible. So there’s a lecture, the developing world of the baby in the womb on the sensory level, we’ve talked about baby state, we talk about baby signals, we talk about colic, sleep development. So I’ve taken each of those themes and you go through the course, it’s specifically aimed at mums with young babies. So probably under four months, but any mum can do it. So that’s the next one that’s going in.
There’s an anti-natal class that’s going in. So that is going to be run by Tina Artie, who is one of South Africa’s best-loved anti-natal teachers. She’s going to be running that. Then we’ve got one, actually who’s run by a sexologist on preparing your marriage for parenthood, and her name’s Lolita Nafar. And you know, that’s a big thing, we kind of go into this and we’re very much in love with our partner, especially on the day that the baby’s born, you’ve never loved your partner more than you see them holding your baby, that baby. And then the reality comes home and flip, the next six months are hell and brimstone.
Bailey: Who’s changed more nappies? Who’s tired? How come you get to go out and I’m stuck at home? And like, and what about sex, when do we do that?
Meg: Yeah. Don’t touch me. I want to sleep.
Bailey: I’ve got two hours to sleep.
Meg: Exactly. You want sex, and I just want sleep. So we’ve got all of this coming through on the app, all of these different courses. And so, there will be something for everybody, whatever you’re going through in your new stage of parenthood will be there in the app.
Bailey: I think this is absolutely phenomenal, Meg. And it has got me thinking about parent tech. And I think it’s because modern parents use tech to help everything. I mean, absolutely everything from ordering your groceries to now being able to do a sleep course and just to sleep through the night so that maybe you can touch your partner again. You know, I think back to my parents who didn’t even have like a lot of access to, to books, let alone to this kind of tech. What is your take on how we consume this tech as parents?
Meg: Yeah, it’s really interesting. So the facts are that we have transferred our consumption of media onto technology. I mean, I love reading, but it becomes a discipline for me. So when I go away on holiday, for instance, I set aside my phone, I set aside my devices and I’ll actually be disciplined about the fact I’m going to read it like a book. It becomes a discipline. And I love it. Bailey when I do that and I’m immersed in paper. I love it, love it. But the truth is that nine out of 10 parents, and especially parents currently are what we call digital natives. So in other words, the current batch of parents who are actually born post the internet days, you know, I was born pre-internet, current parents are all post-internet and are therefore digital natives. So this current generation parents consume most information through technology. Of course not all technologies are created equal because you’ve got probably, we could batch it into three broad categories. One being the internet, one being social media, and one being apps. And there’re actually very, very different kind of domains of technologies.
So taking social media, social media is interesting because parents who’re actually taking advice from social media really, really increasingly more and more. So the current batch of parents are mainly taking advice from TikTok, which fascinates parents who had babies five years ago. You can’t imagine taking, in fact, if somebody had said to me three years ago, parenting advice will be on TikTok. I would go, no, no, that’s for kind of you know, music, videos, and little dances. And of course, it isn’t, it really is a good place to consume information. And that’s where a lot of parents are consuming information. The risk with social media is by nature of how it is designed. It’s designed to take you down a wormhole and therein lies the risk. So you go on because you want to find out why is my baby crying? And before you know it, you’re watching a little reel about some guy going to order McDonald’s burgers or whatever. You end up in a place that you just haven’t planned to be, and before you look up, it’s 20, and all the breast feeds over, and I hadn’t even looked at my baby in that whole time because I went on to look about colic, but now I’ve actually lost 20 minutes.
So I think that social media holds some value because we can get curated information because I trust what you think Bailey and so when you put something up on your social media, I then go and have a look at it. So it is curated and trusted inform and kind of socially verified information. However, it runs the risk of taking us down this wormhole, which are not good for our babies, because when we go down a wormhole, we are not in the present with our baby. And I think that is something that as parents, you know, little bit of a warning sign and a warning signal is, don’t just be aware of how much you go down that worm hole and how much interaction you’re doing with your baby while you are in that wormhole, because you are in a separate place. The word social means that you are socially not engaged with your baby. You are socially engaged with somebody else and something else.
Bailey: On the screen, yeah.
Meg: And and it’s in the screen. And so there’s big warnings there for parents who are doing too much and therefore maybe not engaging properly with their baby and also ending up taking in and consuming a whole lot of rubbish because a lot of it in that wormhole where you started off in a good place, you’ve gone down somewhere that isn’t positive. So that’s your first category.
Your second category is the internet, which people actually don’t use as much anymore. I mean, you end up in the internet because social media’s directed you there, you don’t often start off in Google and then go down a wormhole and Google. If you go on to Google because you want to search for what’s the root cause of colic, you’ll find that article. You might click around a few more pages, but you’ll come out quite quickly.
And as long as you know, what information you’re looking at, that’s good, except that, of course it’s not curated. So you don’t know who’s writing it, where it’s come from, is it fake news? Has it been curated by somebody you trust? But that’s the second category would be the internet.
And then the third area of take is apps, and I like apps. And the reason that I like apps, side from the fact that I have the Parent Sense App, but an app is not a wormhole. An app is a closed defined area where you know what you get and you’re there because you want just that exact thing. So in the case of the Parent Sense App for example, you’re not going to find out about potty-training when you’ve got a three-week-old baby, you’re there for colic. We know you’re there for colic and that’s, what is delivered is exactly specific to your baby’s age on that day. So you’re not going down wormhole. We’re not taking you into another domain that you don’t want to be part of or that you hadn’t thought of. And also in the case of apps, it’s carefully curated, so whoever you choose to download the app of is generally because you trust that person. So I mean, if we take Joe Wickson his exercise, or Suite 1000 and Kayla Imus, two different exercise kind of gurus, you would’ve chosen that, you would’ve said, okay, well, I like that theory. I like the way that he exercises me, whatever it is, and you’ve chosen it, you’ve picked it and that’s all that you get. And so the nice thing about apps is it’s specific to you. It’s specific to your age and stage. It’s specific to your day, it’s closed-ended. It’s not going to take you down a wormhole and it’s curated. And that’s really for me where the use of tech for parenting has a lot of value. So value in all three, but very different tech experiences.
Bailey: So we know that the podcast is sponsored by Parent Sense, which is the all-in-one Baby App that really does take the guesswork out of parenting. Is this why you decided to make the courses of available in the app?
Meg: Yeah to keep people in that ecosystem, they don’t have to go and look elsewhere. They’re going to get all of their parenting information. The courses are in the free section of the app, so you don’t have to subscribe to the app if you don’t want to subscribe to it. And you just want the general information plus the courses, that’s absolutely fine. If you want the full app, obviously you’ll then have to subscribe for it. But that was the idea, to just keep people in a space where they know it’s trusted, they know who, you know, that I’ve looked through it, I will not put any courses on that app unless I know which medical professional. And by the way, everybody will be a medical professional who’s developing our courses. For me, that’s important. If you are coming to me because you trust my voice, I’m going to make sure that I’ve curated the information so that you know, that it’s responsible.
This episode is brought to us by Parent Sense, the all-in one baby and parenting app that help you make the most of your baby’s first year. Don’t you wish someone would just tell you everything you need to know about caring for your baby? When to feed them, how to wean them and why they won’t sleep. Parent Sense App is like having a baby expert on your phone, guiding you to parent with confidence. Get a flexible routine, daily tips and advice personalized for you and your little one. Download Parent Sense App now from your app store and take the guesswork out of parenting
Bailey: Meg, this is the part that I know moms and dads absolutely love because they really get access to you by sending in the questions. And you are welcome to send in your questions, just remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Here’s one mom who did the sleep course, and she says that it was the best thing she could have done for her family. She says the whole house was feeling the strain of months of broken sleep and the course really helped you understand her second little one better. And just getting that sleep routine in place that means everyone is happier and more rested.
Meg: I mean the sleep course is actually a fascinating thing Bailey, very often you end up with moms who, and you’ll hear it all the time, people get advised like, just let your baby cry out, all, just do the Feber method or whatever it is. And it basically all involves letting little ones cry it out. So what we did with the sleep course is very different. We said the very last step that you’re going to need to do with a baby potentially to help them sleep is to do some sleep training, which by the way, does not have to involve cried out or, you know, the extinguish method or the Feber method. So put those out of your mind for now. But, regardless of how you do that last step of behavior training, it should be the last step.
And leading up to that last step is actually 10 very important steps. And that’s what the Sleeping course is all about. I’ve given you 10 steps that will get a baby to sleep through the night. The last step of which would be a form of sleep training without crying it out. Now each of those 10 steps as you head towards the behavior management, or the sleep training is actually a critical part of parenting.
So for example, the second master class is the nutrition master class. Now what’s incredible about the class is that it doesn’t just impact on sleep, it impacts on health, it impacts on behavior, it impacts on just so many other aspects. The next master class is the health master class. So we go through everything that babies will go through and what moms should be, and dad should be looking at in terms of keeping their babies healthy. So when this mom said it really helped her to understand her little one, her, second one, it is actually that. The sleep course is about more than about sleep. Yes, your baby will get to sleep through the night, but it’s not about that, it’s about the whole journey, which will impact every other area of parenting. So I do think that the sleep course, if it’s the only course you do out of the course, probably it’s the most useful course that we have.
Bailey: Questions come in from another mum. She wants to know what the courses are that are in store for her.
Meg: Yeah. So as we mentioned there’s a number of courses coming through. They are going to be your health courses. So your health courses will include choking, CPR, breastfeeding, so how to establish breastfeeding, lactation, and that’s going to be a fabulous course that we’re going to have later in the year. We have got two psychologists who are working on courses as well. One is working on a course on attachment, so that’s a really exciting course. I think she’s got 25 modules, really short videos on how to form an attachment relationship with your child, which is the basis of all other future emotional development. And then we’ve also got two up occupational therapists who are actually going to be doing an attachment play group. So once a week you’ll do the video and then you’ll actually do a play, a live play session with them on zoom, just like you would, if you were going to a mom and baby stimulation group, but it’s all centered around your baby’s emotional world. So that’s another one.
There are the relationship based ones, the one of which is the preparing your marriage for parenthood, by the sexologist- Lynette. And then there’s the anti-natal classes, the sleep classes, we’ve also got our toddler classes. So our toddler courses, one is on potty- training; how to get your baby potty-trained. And then the other one is on picky eating and how to make sure that you don’t have a picky eater. And then the final, one of the final categories is actually going to be for therapists. So any therapists who listening know that I do an enormous amount of training of therapists globally, and I’m taking all of my training for therapists and bringing it into the app as well. So I have my ISIT course, which teaches therapists how to treat babies. And I’ve also got my weaning sense course, which is with Kat Macon on how to treat, all sorts of feeding disorders. And now those two particular courses are going to cost a lot more because they’re actually a therapist training course, but we are not actually excluding parents from doing it.
So if a parent wants to understand a whole lot more in-depth information, we’re going to bring those into the courses as well. So we’ve got a number of courses that we are going to then be pulling into the app, both for therapists and for parents as well.
Bailey: I think this is absolutely fantastic. I mean, you have just covered so much. And with so many to choose from, where would you recommend that parents start their crash course?
Meg: So we are going to give parents one course for free as they come in. So, when they come into the app, they will get the sleep sense online course light, which is the light version that doesn’t have physical interaction with me. I don’t have a zoom class with you, but it’s got exactly the same lectures. And so parents can actually choose to attend that absolutely for free, or they can also choose to do the full course, which obviously has all the interaction with me where I meet with you once a week. And I would probably start there, that last sleep course covers just so many aspects of parenting. And then from there, it’s really going to be based on what the crisis points are for parents. You know, has it got to do with your baby’s health? Has it got to do with your babies—. Is it stimulation you’re looking for? Is it their emotional world? And each of those will have a course to go through.
Bailey: Meg, thank you for sharing your incredible wisdom. And parents, please remember you are never, ever alone. This is why Meg is here to take the guesswork out of parenting. Thank you for listening to this podcast and we will chat again next week.
Meg: Thank you, Bailey. Cheers.
Thanks to everyone who joined us. We will see you the same time next week until then download parent sense app and take the guesswork out of parenting.