Tricks for coping with Chicken Pox!

Many of us are familiar with the signs and symptoms of chicken pox- if you’re not click here and have a read! Sadly it is inevitable that our little ones will deal with it at some point- so we thought that we’d put together some (tried and tested*) top tips for helping your little ones to cope with the Pox!

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(*All of the following has been tried by Harriet, with Flo, during her case of chicken pox in late July / early August. She recovered remarkably well and despite having sensitive skin, we managed to keep her comfortable and barely ever had to remind her not to itch or scratch! Her spots scabbed over very quickly and she had little other symtoms. I tried all of the below to keep her comfortable and feel that these things really helped to get her through ‘The Chicken Pox’ with ease!)

  1.  Avoid giving your child Ibuprofen at all costs! Ibuprofen disrupts the healing process and increases the risk of soft tissue / skin infections- including serious infections like necrotising fasciitis. Ibuprofen is an anti inflammatory and because of this, it can react with the chicken pox- making them go deeper into the skin tissue.
  2.  Avoid giving you child any form of Aspirin! Children who have Chicken Pox Virus can develop a potentially fatal condition called Reye’s Syndrome, which can cause severe brain and liver damage.
  3. Remember that you can use Piriton (Chlorphenamine), in children 12 Months and Older – this helps to soothe the itching and discomfort that comes with the Chicken Pox blisters healing. Please always read the instructions!  Piriton
  4.  Calpol can be given when your child has a fever or is struggling with cold symtoms that often accompany Chicken Pox. If your child doesn’t like the taste, you can try mixing in with squash.  You can buy cheaper versions of liquid paracetamol at your local supermarket or at drugs stores like Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy or Superdrug- they do exactly the same job as Calpol, often at almost half the price! Please always read the instructions! Calpol
  5. Applying Diprobase Emollient can soothe sore spots. Diprobase is often used as for nappy cream and for eczema. The emollient properties soothe the itchiness from the outside!Diprobase
  6. Using Vosene Frequent as bubble bath, at bath time can help to keep the scabs nice and dry. Florence said it made her skin feel “nice and cool and comfy again”.Vosene

7. Apply PoxClin CoolMousse to soothe itchy spots. PoxClin Is a relatively new product that you can apply to your child’s spots. It can apparently accelerate the natural healing process and prevents the infection of wounds. It is super light and fluffy so it is very quickly absorbed into the skin. Poxclin_CoolMousse8. Calamine lotion is the cheapest way to soothe those nasty spots. It is a tried and tested approach that goes back decades, just dab on with cotton wool and away you go!Care_Calamine_Lotion9. Keep fingernails short to stop the blisters from being scratched, as this can lead to scaring. In children under three you might even be able to get away with putting socks on your child’s hands to avoid scratching when they are asleep.

10.  Ice lollies are a life saver if your little one has cold symptoms with their Chicken Pox or, of their Chicken Pox has spread to their Mouth, Lips or Tongue!

11. Keep your little one very well hydrated, they might not feel like eating much- especially if they have spots in their mouth, so their usual milk or milk substitutes may help keep their energy levels up. Offer them fluids frequently as drinking lots can keep nastier symptoms at bay and can aid the healing process.

If your child is too young to be given Calpol, it is recommended that you seek medical assistance. Here are some signs and symptoms that aren’t always ‘normal’ to have when experiencing Chicken Pox, these might indicate that you need to seek further medical assistance for your child-

  • If you your child has a temperature of over 39 degrees.
  • If the skin surrounding your child’s chickenpox becomes red, sore or appears to be infected.
  • If your child has pain in their chest or difficulty breathing.
  • If your child is not managing to drink enough fluids.
  • If your child is struggling to pass urine.
  • Severe headaches.
  • Sensitivity to light (photosensitivity).
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Confusion.
  • Sleepiness, fainting, difficulty waking or unconsciousness.
  • Convulsions or seizures.

What have you tried to help soothe chickenpox?

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Newborn vs Toddler (The Unadulterated Truth)

Remember that moment, when you had a little baby you loved to pieces?
IT WILL ALL CHANGE!
Well, not the love, that’s kind of unconditional, but the little baby will certainly change… Here’s what you need to know about the difference between a newborn baby and a toddler.

The Newborn (aka the CryBaby)

Benefits:

  1. At first, they sleep for like 14 hours a day. It’s bliss.
  2. You can do things you want to do – housework, sleep, eat, sleep, you get my drift…
  3. You can go to the toilet without a small person attached to you (unless you’re breastfeeding – I have indeed breastfed my baby whilst having a pee).
  4. BOUNCY CHAIRS – NEED I SAY MORE?
  5. Milk solves everything.
  6. Everyone still wants to help out and hold the cute little baby.

Drawbacks:

  1. They’re very boring and are terrible company. You’ll be chatting away and nobody is chatting back.
  2. You’ll try not to, and you’ll hate yourself for breaking, but YOU WILL USE BABY TALK. ALL THE TIME.
  3. They do really bad shits. Seriously bad. First it’s all sticky tar, then it looks like chicken korma. It’s just really unpleasant.
  4. They are so dependent on you for everything!!!!!!!! They cry, and you have to answer. What’s that all about? I’m an independent woman, my daughter should be too.
  5. THEY CRY ALL THE TIME AND YOU HAVE TO GUESS WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS GOING ON IN THEIR TINY BABY BRAIN TO MAKE THEM WAIL LIKE A BANSHEE AT 2AM.

The Toddler (aka the Terrorist)

Benefits:

  1. They have their own little personality.
  2. They can walk and talk and ask for things, making your job of having to guess what the baby wanted so much easier.
  3. You can have fun with them.
  4. They can play independently.
  5. They can go to the toilet by themselves. No more poo for you, mama!

Drawbacks:

  1. Sometimes, their personality is that they’re a little shit.
  2. Even though they can ask for things, they won’t, they’ll whine at you instead.
  3. They can play independently, usually at risk of criminal damage to your walls, doors, and anything else which can be drawn on.
  4. They can go to the toilet themselves, but they’d much rather piss their pants and let you clear it up.
  5. They’ll always say dad is the favourite. Fucking traitors.
So, which is my favourite?
I’ll leave that one for you to work out!
Are there any missing from the list???

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What to expect when you’re NOT expecting!

At least 3 of the Mummykind mummies were NOT expecting that they would soon be expecting (have I used the word “expecting” too many times yet?) and all for different reasons.

Harriet didn’t think she could have children naturally. Neither did Amy due to the fact that she was taking Zoladex to undergo a chemical menopause – she ended up being the 1 in 100,000 that fall pregnant on that medication.

As for me, I didn’t think I could, after being told by a really harsh sonographer that if I had PCOS it was very likely that I’d be infertile. As it turns out, I don’t have PCOS and never did, but being on hormonal contraception caused me to have small pockets in my Fallopian tubes that appeared to be cysts. The exact nature of what they were is still unknown to me, but needless to say I stopped using hormonal contraception because of the effect it had on me.

Even though I stopped using the pill, I still wasn’t expecting to fall pregnant. In fact, I’d convinced myself that I never would be able to! However, when I did fall pregnant and when we let the cat out of the bag to our family and friends that we were having a baby, there are a few things that I wish I’d been prepared for…

1. “So was it planned?”

Unless you’ve announced to Bob and his uncle that you’re actively trying to start a family, expect EVERYONE to stick their noses in and ask you if the pregnancy was planned. If you’ve ever done this, please be reminded that IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. I never knew what to say when I was asked that, because, no, she wasn’t planned, but she also wasn’t unplanned – we could easily have been more careful. Our situation wasn’t some rare exception like Amy’s! And planned or not, what bearing does that have on how much we will love our baby, or how we will be as parents? Newsflash: it doesn’t.

2. Every lifestyle choice you make will be scrutinised.

I don’t just mean by the midwife, though, of course, being told to change your vegetarian diet to a meat one so that you don’t have an iron deficiency and having to stand on the scales to be told that you’ve put on too much weight (even though you STILL have a healthy BMI despite being 6 months’ pregnant) is utterly ridiculous.

As much as I’d like to pretend that this was an isolated experience with my midwife, I’ve unfortunately heard similar tales a few too many times.

But, the scrutiny isn’t just going to be from your midwife or other health professionals. It’s going to be from wider society, your friends, family. Apparently, everyone you’ve ever shook hands with or had a drink with now has an interest in what you do. I was very good when I was pregnant; I wouldn’t touch a drop of alcohol, ate relatively healthily and wasn’t irresponsible, but that didn’t stop a friend questioning me over whether or not I could eat some god damn mayonnaise.

3. The awkward food baby phase

There’ll come a time at around 4 or 5 months’ pregnant where “you just look like you’ve had a big lunch”, as my dear, lovely friend said to me one fine morning as I sat down to a lecture on our dissertation module. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last very long and you’ll begin to look properly pregnant soon enough (you poor, poor thing).

4. Money, money, money

Oh. My. God.

BABY THINGS COST SO MUCH MONEY.

This really shocked me when we found out we were having a baby. We didn’t go crazy, but a pram, a crib, a carseat, clothes, nappies, sterilisers, bottles, breast pumps, etc. can easily add up to a grand or more. We are quite money savvy anyway and don’t tend to overspend on things – we got our pram and carseat in the mothercare January sale for £475 altogether instead of £775 (we weren’t due until May but the forward planning saved us a lot!). It can be overwhelming when this is sprung on you a bit unexpectedly, but do your research and you will find some good deals.

5. “Is it a boy or a girl?”

Ummm…. WHY DO YOU WANT TO KNOW IF MY BABY HAS A PENIS OR A VAGINA?

Taken out of context, this is a very weird question. In what other setting would you ask somebody whether they had male or female genitals? YOU WOULDN’T! However, what’s worse than this is people asking if you wanted a boy, instead of a girl. No, I want a healthy baby, and that’s what I’ve got, thank you very much. Also, I’m not big on gender stereotyping anyway. Yes, Olivia likes dolls and prams and has a newfound obsession with unicorns, but I didn’t make those her only options. She chose to play with those things, and I will never stop her from choosing who she wants to be (unless she decides she doesn’t want to be a lawyer, because that’s just unacceptable).

Have you encountered anything else that you weren’t expecting when you were expecting?

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Confession: I didn’t enjoy pregnancy

Endometri… What?

Stop Asking When I’m Having Baby Number 2

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Guilty Mummy Moments

Let’s face it, we all have those moments when we all just want 5 minutes of peace, or a snack to ourselves or even just a wee in peace! But how far will we really go to get this? We’ve asked on social media and have compiled our top 10 ‘Guilty Mummy Moments’

1. My girls hate onions. there was 1 muffin left. I told them it was a onion muffin so I could eat it all to myself.

2. I ate my son’s last curly wurly the other day and told him it had melted so I had to bin it.
3. I hide ben and jerry’s ice cream inside a frozen pea bag so I don’t have to share with kids!!
4. I put my daughter to bed and persuaded my husband that it had taken me 2hrs to settle her and that’s why he had to do all the housework by himself… infact id been sat in the hallway, whilst she was asleep (had taken 10mins to get her down) watching Netflix on my tablet just so I could have some peace.
5. My daughter is at nursery until 3.30pm each day… I will not pick her up any earlier than 3.29pm so I can enjoy the 30mins of peace after I’ve finished work… in this time I will have something to eat (so I don’t have to share) and go and sit on the loo for at least 10mins so I can have a wee in peace… I sometimes feel bad because she’s always the last one picked up but I need at least one pee a day to myself!
6. I hid a bag of liquorice behind the sofa cushions after my toddler saw and made a beeline for them… This mummy doesn’t share!
7. I tell my daughter that mummy has a poorly tummy just so I can sit on the toilet in peace and play games on my phone.
8. When I’ve had a day of no housework, I tell my partner that I’ve had a really tough day with my son so he doesn’t complain about me doing nothing and does it for me.
9. Every day, after my daughter has gone to nursery, I tell my partner I’m going to the gym but actually go to Costa for a hot cup of coffee and then just get changed into my gym clothes before I see him after nursery.This mumma needs some alone time too!
10. I tell my 3 year old that she has to be 4 sometimes to do things, or that if I’m eating something nice she would find it too spicy.
We’d love to know your best ‘Guilty Mummy Moments’, no matter how sneaky or cheeky they may be!!

Should I give my baby a dummy?

Ah, this is one question that possibly all new parents consider at least once! In fact, I’m considering it right now as my daughter screams her head off, refusing to go to sleep, and she’s nearly 2! However, when you’re a first-time mum, there’s a lot of overwhelming information about why you shouldn’t give babies dummies, or how long they should have them for, etc. etc.

So, here is the story of how my daughter came to have a dummy, and how she came to stop using it!

Day 1

8.5 hour labour.
Distressed baby.
Breastfeeding ALLLLLLLL night.
Screaming ALLLLLLLLLL night.

Luckily enough we were the only family on the ward at the time, but my god was I so exhausted. The following morning, the midwife did her rounds and asked how we were.

“Why won’t she sleep?” I said, “isn’t she supposed to be tired, too?”

She sort of smirked at me, and while you may appreciate that it was a bit of a daft question, my baby had literally not slept a wink that day/night. My NCT classes had equipped me with the information that labour and birth would be equally as hard and sometimes traumatic for the baby as it is for us, so they should be doing a lot of sleeping in those first 48 hours.

  I told the midwife that Olivia had been latching on and off all night and then she said the words that would change everything for me and my baby.

 “She’s too sucky, she needs a dummy.”

I was confused. I’d heard all about teat confusion and asked her if it would cause problems with me breastfeeding. She said no, and repeated that my baby was too sucky and needed one. Exhausted and acting on the advice of a professional, my partner Jamie went down to the hospital shop to find one, which she wouldn’t take. I remember feeling relieved. I never wanted to use a dummy for her. In my mind it meant that she’d have it for years and that she’d end up as a toddler with a speech impediment and still using a dummy. Of course, that was completely irrational, but I wanted to avoid them as a matter of personal preference.

Day 2

We were allowed to go home, and amongst the many gifts we had been given were some tommee tippee dummies.

Amid more screaming and constant breastfeeding during the night, and a baby who wanted to constantly not only be on me but be latched onto me ALL. NIGHT. LONG…

(Again, I know you’re reading this thinking “well what did you expect, you stupid cow?” The truth is, I have no bloody idea what I expected. It was my first time in that situation. I didn’t read any books or blogs or prepare myself in any way other than going to NCT classes, especially having been told that parenting books were a waste of time. So what I expected was nothing. I knew absolutely nothing.) 

We tried again with the dummy, and eventually after a few nights she began to settle with it and took it quite well. Breastfeeding was going well, and she was gaining weight well too. There were no issues with teat confusion at all and everything seemed perfectly fine.

Week 8

Her weight began to drop very steadily with no reason at all. She had a little bit of reflux but no other signs that she wasn’t taking enough milk. I was expressing regularly as well as giving her regular feeds. Teat confusion still wasn’t a problem at all – we were able to alternate very easily between tommy tippee bottles, avent bottles, dummy and breast. I remember feeling incredibly lucky compared with other mums I knew whose babies were very fussy with teats. We had a very good eating and sleeping routine and seemed to have found our little groove together.

I was told to go to a local breastfeeding group, where the lactation consultant told me my latch was wrong, and, oh yes, attacked me for giving my baby a dummy.

The very fact that Olivia had a dummy meant that the real problem went unnoticed for a further 3 weeks.

This is the reason why, with hindsight, I wish I had stuck to my guns and never given her one in the first place.

Week 11

Olivia was diagnosed with a tongue tie, and finally referred to a specialist tongue tie clinic in London. This was also the last week that I was able to exclusively breastfeed my baby girl, and I had to introduce formula. Up until that point, her tongue tie hadn’t stopped her from breastfeeding, even though it was an anterior tongue tie and she couldn’t move her tongue from side to side! If you want to know more about breastfeeding a baby with tongue tie, click here.

I was sobbing in Tesco, putting the Cow & Gate through the checkout. I know how stupid that seems. It’s made no difference to her development whatsoever – she’s still as clever as she always would have been, but it’s just so devastating that it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I wanted her to get her nourishment from me, not an artificial replacement of me… But she had plummeted from the 75th percentile to the 0.9th, so what other choice did I have?

Week 14

Unable to stop using bottles, we sacrificed dummies. She adjusted instantly, and didn’t miss it at all. In a way, I am glad that we had to stop using dummies at that stage. I honestly believe that once babies begin to have a proper awareness of what it is and what it’s for, it would be so much more difficult to take it away, and then my dreaded fears of having a toddler with a dummy would have been realised! There’s nothing wrong with that if it’s your choice, but, for me, I just don’t like them, and the truth is they really can affect speech development if they are used for too long.

So, all in all, dummies have their ups and downs. My main concern if I ever had another baby (which I don’t plan on doing) would be that I would have a similar issue. It was never fair for the lactation consultant to attack MY choice as a mother to give my baby a dummy, and I just couldn’t face that judgemental attitude again if I had a second baby with a tongue tie.

If you’re planning on breastfeeding, I would really recommend waiting to see if you can go without one. Teat confusion IS a thing, and although Olivia wasn’t affected by it, she is pretty much the only baby I know who can easily adapt between different teats and the boob. In my mind, they’re not worth the hassle of trying to take them away when your little one gets older, and although every baby needs comfort, they can get it just as easily from you, a teddy, or even a little blanket with far less complicated issues that can come up.

Let me know how you managed to get rid of dummies or why you decided to use or not to use them in the first place!

Deciding to Use Cloth Nappies

When I first found out I was pregnant cloth nappies weren’t something I had even thought about, in my head they were hard work and prone to leaking. They were plastic pants, complicated folding, safety pins and buckets of poo-ey water.  I was so very wrong.  It’s easy, can be better for babies’ skin, better for your wallet and much better for the environment. It’s also really not as complicated as it can appear. You can read about the bare basics of using cloth nappies with TeamMills here
A friend of mine was six months ahead of me in pregnancy, actually not too far from giving birth when I finally had my positive test. She had started posting pictures on Facebook of the cloth nappies that she was buying for her little boy and they were seriously cute. It was not at all what I was expecting, so I started looking for more information and it wasn’t long before I found some figures showing how much money I would save which was a huge factor in the beginning. I was determined to save money and the idea of spending £10 a week on nappies was more than a little daunting.

Pop-in nappy
Close Parent Pop-in Lions nappy (ft. my son’s beautiful chubby leg)
I started researching cloth nappies and I soon found myself in way over my head; the vast amount of information out there about different brands and styles of cloth nappies can be incredibly overwhelming. It can be conflicting and sometimes biased towards companies that can pay more for advertising because their websites will come up first time and time again. At the time, I didn’t have access to a cloth nappy library near me and I had no idea how easy it was to buy preloved cloth nappies. 

Cloth Nappy Stash
My son’s nappy collection at its peak
I spent a few days solidly sat at my desk, reaching over my growing belly, trying to decide which nappies to buy. By this point I was about 80% sure I wanted to use cloth but I was (naturally) scared about making a relatively big investment before knowing if it really was going to be manageable for me. Spoiler – it’s totally manageable, even with my Fibromyalgia.  Ultimately, I made a fairly good decision on what to buy but not really the best for us – I decided to go with all one type of nappy that turned out to be a bit too big for my tiny newborn. In hindsight, I should have chosen a couple of different types and some smaller sizes.

But the decision was made and it was by no means a bad one, we just had to wait a while before we could use our gorgeous nappies. I have since started a cloth nappy library to help other parents use cloth and make their choice a little easier.  You can find your local cloth nappy library on this website: http://www.uknappynetwork.org/find-a-library.html  and if you don’t have one near you there is no reason not to contact whichever library is your closest for impartial advice, us librarians are a friendly bunch and a little nerdy about nappies – we’ll talk endlessly about nappies and most other reusable products to anyone who’ll listen.

 
Nappy Library
My son’s nappies and my first set of library nappies.
I will, of course, be writing more about cloth nappies in the future and writing some reviews (and maybe even hosting a giveaway!) but this was just a little insight into how I came  to the decision to use cloth for my little guy. 

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No Second Thoughts

Concentration is a thing of the past. Long gone are the days I could recall information. I’m pretty sure that when people have conversations with me that my eyes are glazed over and I just smile and nod in agreement.

What are our plans for tomorrow?
What food do I need to prepare for tomorrow?
What clothes are ready for tomorrow?
Am I prepared for potential night feeds?
And breathe… I can sit down to relax.
Oh! I forgot I need to eat!!
Sound familiar? The life of a mum, (or dad).
I don’t know about you but I just cannot think straight. My head is like cotton wool all of the time. People did warn me about baby brain but I think I underestimated it. I’m not even sure there is much of a brain in there… it’s most definitely shrivelled a bit. Concentration is a thing of the past. Long gone are the days I could recall information. I’m pretty sure that when people have conversations with me that my eyes are glazed over and I just smile and nod in agreement. At work I ask questions constantly because I can’t remember what the new systems are. I don’t know how long I can get away with “Oh it’s just that I’ve been on maternity leave and I’m trying to get settled back in.”

The thing is I really want to be able to sit and chat about things the way I did but all I can think about is my daughter. I have a one track mind now. I worry that I seem uninterested in other people and that I’m not a good listener anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to know what other people are up to, or that I don’t care, it’s more that I can’t stop thinking about my day ahead, my daughter’s day ahead. I’ll admit I’m not the most organised of people and this is probably why I am trying to plan things constantly because I’ve only made myself stressed out when I’ve not thought things through very well in the past. It’s as though the part of my brain that is still functioning is trying so hard to get on top of things that there’s no room in my head to think about anything or anyone else. When I try to enter into a discussion I end up talking about myself and my family because that’s all I know about at the moment. I feel that I’ve become selfish. I’m so eager to have adult conversations with people but I have no idea what to talk about. Love Island anyone? I watched about 3 episodes but I know people at work loved it so it’s a possible topic… maybe? How about The Twirlywoos, now that’s a TV show I can talk to you about. I know you know all the theme songs too!

I don’t know about you but I worry about how people may be perceiving me right now. I am still Charlie though. I may not currently have the interest in, or more importantly the time to do the things I once did and I may have disappeared into the background a bit but I will find myself again! When you talk to me I hope you still find me interesting, just bear with me, I’m just getting used to my new role; I’m finding my feet. I’m juggling. I don’t have the hobbies and interests that I once had that maybe made me a bit more interesting to talk to. My conversations are about my daughter, this is my new life. My role at the moment is “Mumma.” I am the entertainer, the cleaner, the chef, the comforter, the launderer, the driver… Is it any surprise that I can’t concentrate? That I’m constantly tired? All those parents out there balancing their different roles with ease, or at least showing it, I’m envious!

I’m still learning, perhaps it gets easier. Time will tell, but for now I’m planning for tomorrow… oh and cooking my dinner!
This blog is my journey to find my new self. I hope it can help you too if you feel a bit lost. Maybe we can explore some new adventures together.

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