The Blue Sky philosophy is :
v to offer mothers, babies and kids in Tokyo (foreigners and Japanese alike) a friendly and supportive niche where they can have fun together at a reasonable price. Fathers are welcome too.
v to offer up-to-date and evidence based breastfeeding information through workshops conducted in English for expectant and new parents. Ongoing guidance and support for breastfeeding is offered on an individual basis. (Home/hospital visits are subject to scheduling constraints.)
v to offer Japanese mothers, babies and kids a place where they can experience English in a personal, family-based, fun learning environment. Fathers are welcome if they would like to come.
v to offer special events like picnics, potluck lunch parties, a Halloween party and Christmas events for the Blue Sky community.
v to offer selected activities/products which
enhance the mother/baby bond, including sales of Maya Wrap Baby Slings. (Of course Dads can sling too!)
b) support thoughtful and gentle parenting
c) encourage playful learning and an appreciation of the creative arts
v to recommend books which reflect a respectful attitude to parenting, children and families
to protect, promote and support breastfeeding
Blue Sky began as the alter-ego of Iona Macnab, mother of 3 Australian/Japanese kids, long term Tokyo resident, Lactation Consultant and all-round teacher of little kids. Iona graduated from Melbourne University with a Law degree and an honours degree in politics and criminology. She worked as a lawyer before moving to Tokyo in 1988 where she taught English for some years both privately and at Berlitz, while studying Japanese. She also has over 15 years experience as a qualified swimming instructor, mainly teaching little kids.
mother and having almost every breastfeeding drama under the sun with her
first child sparked her enthusiastic advocacy of breastfeeding. After several
years as an accredited La Leche League Leader with the Tokyo Central LLL group
supporting foreign mothers breastfeeding in Tokyo, she became an International
Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is a member of the International
Lactation Consultants Association (ILCA), a
full member the Japan Association of Lactation Consultants (JALC), a volunteer breastfeeding counsellor/group administrator, accredited in Australia as a Baby Friendly Hospital assessor and a member of various mother-to-mother breastfeeding support networks.
As a foreign mother in Tokyo herself, Iona can identify
with the joys and challenges of raising bilingual, bicultural children here.
Distance, crowds, and expense are also a fact of life in Tokyo. When Iona’s
kids were small there were few playgroups for mothers and babies together, so
she started her own (now Little
Angels). Later, there were no reasonably priced music and movement/activity
groups for her toddlers nearby, so she started her own (now Go
Baby Go!). After building a new house in Setagaya-ku in 2001 with her husband and 3 kids and painting it
bright blue, Blue Sky was born and now has its own beautiful child-friendly
room. Iona enjoys the networks
that have started at Blue Sky. Mothers from breastfeeding classes or playgroups
have found friendship at Blue Sky that for many of them continues through
toddlerhood and beyond. End of term pot-luck lunches, the annual Easter egg hunt, the Halloween party
and the Christmas party are always highlights of the Blue Sky calendar.
In late 2006, Iona set up the online blog Babycafe Japan a collection of interesting articles and information for families in Japan.
In 2009 Iona started up her online lactation consultations via skype as a way to reach more mothers around Japan (and even the world) with breastfeeding help.
Blueskytokyo.com supports the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, and the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding.