Ask Sister Alex

I am often asked, what makes a good parent?

Sister Alex Answers:

This is a difficult and loaded question to answer. There are so many factors that go into parenting; upbringing, religion, age of the parent, personalities the list is endless. I suggest a different approach. What if we turn it around and imagine that children could list the characteristics of parents they would like. (List loving mothers; please note this is merely a discussion!)

So what do children want and need?

I recently asked my boys for their input which made of an interesting discussion! Foremost, children need parents that make them feel safe. Loving a child is relatively easy; making them feel safe takes effort and insight. Children need parents with a firm but measured approach to things. Secondly, parents with a sense of fun. Children of all ages are natural comedians so a team giggle is relatively easy. Thirdly, children need time together with their parents. They need nurturing and touch. Ironically my eldest insists that children should not be spoilt with material things. This from a child who gave me stick in Musica recently over a stand off on a game!

Finding those moments during a busy day to reconnect with your child are important. Using bath times for a massage, stroking a head while shopping, chatting or singing in the car, having a family dinner, planting together; there are many small opportunities available to us. We just need to use them.


I am tearful all the time and am very anxious about my baby’s wellbeing. Could I have Post Natal Depression?

Sister Alex answers:

It is possible. I would suggest you look at the Post Natal Depression group of South Africa, where you can complete an online questionnaire at: There national helpline is 0828820072. I would also suggest to find a healthcare professional or counsellor with experience in PND to give you support. Please remember, you are not alone


My baby often roots on his hands and on his blankets. I have fed him but am concerned he may still be hungry. Do I feed him again?

Sister Alex answers:

I would check to see that your son’s weight gain is adequate. If formula feeding, check with your healthcare provider that the volume of formula is correct for his weight. I breastfed baby often requires “dessert” after the main part of a feed, which involves a 5 to 10 minute snack before going down. The rooting is a reflex which all babies have in the first 3 months. Suckling on a dummy or a clean finger can also help to soothe the baby

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