I graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Cape Town and moved to New York to work in a paediatric rehabilitation hospital. My interest in babies began 20 years ago in my work in this wonderful facility, Blythedale Children’s Hospital. Over the years, I have continued to study and grow in the areas of Sensory integration (SI), Neuro-developmental therapy, DIR Floortime, Infant Mental Health. The two areas that most instruct my work with babies are SI and the emotional health of babies.
I have been in private practice for the past 20 years. In my Cape Town practice, I see fussy babies, specializing in sleep problems, irritability and feeding difficulties.
In 2001, after the birth of my second baby, I felt compelled to write a parenting book that guided parents to read their baby’s signals and understand their little ones. I asked Ann Richardson, a friend and colleague to join me on the journey of writing Baby Sense.
Sleep, being the biggest challenge of the first year of life was the natural progression and we followed Baby Sense with Sleep Sense in 2007.
Thereafter, dietician Kath Megaw and paediatrician Simon Strachen and I teamed up to look at the exciting task of feeding babies and wrote Feeding Sense.
In 2011 I wrote a full colour version of Baby Sense – The Baby Sense Secret (Your Sensory Baby).
Colleagues Jacky Searle (Obstetrician) and Heather Wood (Midwife) and I wrote Pregnancy Sense in 2016– a thorough look at moms and baby’s health in pregnancy, birth and the first 6 weeks.
In 2017 Kath Megaw and I teamed up again to write Weaning Sense – a guide to weaning babies that has been in the top 10 of health and diet books since release.
May 2019 saw the release of Allergy Sense, a collaboration between myself, Dr Sarah Karabus and Kath Megaw. Published by Quivertree Publications, this book combines the formidable knowledge, insights and experience of an occupational therapist, an allergy specialist and a paediatric dietician. Allergy Sense provides information and tips on how to live and thrive with allergies and is officially endorsed by the Allergy Foundation of South Africa (AFSA). In addition to demystifying allergies, the 264-page book includes meal plans and over 70 delicious and foolproof recipes that use simple and inspiring ingredient combinations.
Each month I write for a variety of parenting magazines, websites and blogs.
In 2004 I founded the Baby Sense company. It has grown over ten years to become South Africa’s best-loved baby brand. It fed my passion to create solutions for moms of new babies and ensure the products met the highest standards of quality and safety.
The company was sold in 2014 and I am no longer involved in any way with the product development, branding or strategy.
In 2016, Lara Schoenfeld and I launched a new education offering for two-to-three year olds, Play Sense. Trained teachers who have the franchise to run the play groups are allocated groups in their area with up to 6 toddlers. The curriculum focuses on developing core competencies of creativity, self-regulation, collaboration and executive function through imaginary play.
Connecting with moms and therapists is what keeps it real – I love the regular talks I deliver and the questions that emerge as we deal with the challenges of early parenting.
My lectures and courses with therapists are conducted worldwide and provide a challenge to keep up with the most current research on infant development and treatment.
In 1998 I became a mom for the first time and experienced first hand ‘primary maternal preoccupation’ – I was smitten. In 2000, my first daughter taught me what a settle baby looked like and how infants signal and engage. She was so easy that she made me feel successful at mothering – I went on to write Baby Sense and to have a third baby. My third precious little one came along in 2005 and is a bright spark in our world, full of fun, creativity and laughter.
I have parented these precious children in a wonderful team and am privileged to be backed and supported in all I do by the love of my life.