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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Swimming to Help With Hip Pain in Pregnancy

The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.

Tweet to @mummykindoff

When I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks I was halfway through a course of hydrotherapy to help with my Fibromyalgia but when I told the physiotherapy team about my pregnancy they decided that the hydrotherapy pool at the hospital was too warm for it to be safe for me to use and I wouldn’t be able to complete my course. I was absolutely gutted, the pain relief afforded to me by being in that pool was incredible. When they turned me away I almost cried.

Even before I found out I was pregnant the pain in my hips was the focus of my physiotherapy which I attribute to my son getting stuck during labour and requiring a forceps delivery. Naturally, I was apprehensive about hip pain being a problem this time and, unsurprisingly, I was right to be concerned.

As my normal fibromyalgia flares turned into sharper twinges I realised I needed to get back into the water and I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain any level of fitness on land. Having spent several years saying I should join a gym whilst also avoiding actually signing up, I finally took the plunge. I packed my swimming gear and hit the local gym after dropping my son at nursery one morning and signed up for a swim only membership there and then and it has saved me from a whole world of pain since.

I have been swimming three days a week after the nursery run for four months now, at one point I got up to 40 lengths of the pool and I was feeling really fit, since the baby decided to move into my lung space I can only manage 20 but it’s not the lengths that are important, it’s about being in the swimming pool to take the pressure off of my hips, well, all of my joints really. The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.

This ability to move about was missing in my first pregnancy, so my health suffered. I gained a lot of weight last time which I think I have been able to avoid this time… I suppose we will find out how effective it has been in a couple of months!

As my pregnancy progresses I am slowing down somewhat but there is an amazing level of support from the other “slow lane” users at the pool. When I started this I was not expecting to make friends but I have. The support from these strangers means I know I will be able to continue to use the pool until the end of pregnancy… even if I can only wander about in the shallow end in a few weeks.

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What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

It is only natural to worry about the safety of your beautiful new baby, and to do everything you can to keep them safe. I’ve written before about struggling with anxiety during pregnancy, but when I read about SIDS, my anxiety was definitely kicked up a gear in the first few weeks after having delivered my daughter. I’m very medically minded and wanted to be armed with all the facts, but honestly, my friends will tell you that I’m not very good at dealing with things that are out of my control!

So, if you’re like me and want to know everything (to be prepared, obviously), here’s the low-down on SIDS.

SIDS used to be referred to as ‘Cot Death’, however this name was abandoned as it carried to connotations that babies would only die in their cots, and were safe everywhere else. SIDS usually occurs when a baby is sleeping, though can sometimes happen when the infant is awake.

SIDS is the unexplained and unexpected death of an infant who otherwise appears to be normal and healthy.

In the USA, around 3000 babies die from SIDS a year, In the UK around 200 babies die due to SIDS. While this may sound terrifying, the statistics mean that SIDS is quite rare (in 2017 there were 679,106 live births in the UK, and 3,853,472 in the USA).

Causes

The exact cause of SIDS is currently unknown, which I found the most troublesome thing when my monkey was young. There is always research being undertaken to try and determine the cause, such as the Lullaby Trust ,who have been funding research since 1971.

It has been proposed that SIDS occurs at a particular developmental stage, and most affects infants who are vulnerable to particular stresses. Important environmental factors to remember are smoke from tobacco, baby having an illness (however small), becoming tangled in their bedding, or being unable to breathe due to an airway obstruction. It is thought that these stresses can change how babies regulate their blood pressure, temperature and heart rate.

There is also an association between SIDS and co-sleeping.

Risk factors

Because not much is known about SIDS, it is difficult to say what puts a baby at more risk. However it is apparent that babies born prematurely or at a low birth weight are more susceptible. There is also a slightly higher occurrence in baby boys than baby girls.

Prevention

Unfortunately, SIDS can’t be completely prevented. However, a big part of tackling this issue is practicing safe sleep for your baby. Here are some key things to remember

  • Always put your baby to sleep on their back. Babies put to sleep on their stomach or sides are more at risk of choking, and young infants cannot turn themselves back over. Once your child is able to roll themselves, you do not need to worry.
  • Always put your baby to sleep in the feet to foot position. Place your baby in their cot or moses basket with their feet touching the end. This means that baby is unable to slip down under any blankets in their sleeping environment, and is less likely to have their face covered. This applies to all sleeping environments in which you are not holding them, i.e. a cot, moses basket or pram. Don’t let your baby sleep in a car seat, swing or stroller for a long period of time.
  • Keep baby’s sleeping environment clear. Don’t use cot bumpers, pillows, quilts or soft toys in baby’s bed.
  • Stop smoking. Do not smoke while pregnant or after baby is born, and do not allow anyone to smoke near yourself or your child. Research shows that 60% of SIDS deaths could have been prevented if the baby was not exposed to smoke.
  • Sleep in the same room as baby for the first 6 months to halve the chances of SIDS
  • Don’t let baby get too hot or too cold. Feel baby’s temperature by touching the stomach or back (don’t use their hands as a measure for their temperature as they are often cooler than the body). If baby is sweating or her stomach is very warm, remove a layer of blanket from them. The best sleeping temperature for a baby is 16-20 C.
  • Do not Co-Sleep if you or your partner has taken drugs, smoked or been drinking alcohol
  • Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby.
  • Breastfeed as long as you can, or consider using a dummy (pacifier). This is a tricky one. Breastfeeding is thought to provide protection from infections which could raise a baby’s SIDS chances. I wasn’t able to breastfeed my daughter (cue mum guilt) so I settled for a dummy instead, which came in handy when my daughter had her surgery. Research shows that using a pacifier can reduce the risk of SIDS, though researchers are unsure why. So, if you’re feeling worried like I was, it could be worth a shot.

While this seems like a lot of overwhelming information, the best thing a parent can do is follow safe sleep advice, and try and enjoy the time with their new baby. If you have any concerns, speak to your GP or paediatrician right away.

In Emergencies

If you notice any of the following signs, call 999 / 911 immediately.

  • If your baby is struggling for breath
  • If your baby stops breathing or turns blue
  • If your baby is unconscious or seems unaware of what is going on around them
  • If your baby won’t wake up
  • If your baby has a seizure for the first time, even if they seem to fully recover.

25 easy candy free Easter gift ideas for kids

Everyone loves gift-giving, and there is something especially magical about giving gifts to children. But have you ever considered the sugar content in those sugary treats?

A Dairy Milk buttons easter egg fits in the palm of your hand and also comes with a small pack of chocolate buttons. While that may seem ideal for a child, the egg itself contains 40g (10 teaspoons) of sugar, and the buttons contain a further 8.1g (2 teaspoons). To put that into perspective, a child aged 4-6 should have no more than 19g of sugar a day, and this increases to 24g in children aged 7-10.

What are the alternatives? Well, anything that isn’t super sugary chocolatey treats, basically. So, in the spirit of Easter, here is a list of alternatives.

Outside fun

  • Pavement chalk
  • Bubbles
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimming costumes
  • Ride on toys
  • Scooters and rollerblades
  • Tickets to amusement parks, zoos and other attractions
  • Hula hoop
  • Frisbee
  • Plant seeds

Inside fun

  • Easter themed movies
  • Play dough
  • Finger paints
  • Fridge magnets
  • Lego
  • Colouring books and crayons/pens (age dependent)
  • Puzzles
  • Books (Easter themed)
  • Dolls/ toy figures
  • Bath toys
  • Educational playing cards such as wild cards
  • Stickers
  • Child’s first Bible
  • Board games to play as a family
  • Dressing up clothes

As a child, we had an easter egg hunt every year, complete with a treasure map. While I won’t be giving my daughter excessive amounts of chocolate this year, you could still recreate the classic easter egg hunt, just with other, healthier gifts which will enrich your kids for much longer than the 10 seconds it takes them to scoff that egg!

What are your plans for Easter this year?

Postpartum haemorrhage : what you need to know

While delivering my daughter, I suffered a primary postpartum haemorrhage (PPH). I knew it was likely, because due to my EDS I’m prone to bleeding and have weak connective tissues. However, during my recovery in the postpartum period, I was surprised by how little others knew about PPH, but I understood every mother’s fear about suffering excessive bleeding.
Here’s what you need to know about postpartum haemorrhage.

What is it?

A postpartum haemorrhage is defined as losing more than 500ml of blood from the female genital tract after a natural delivery, or more than 1L after having a caesarean section.  There are two types of postpartum haemorrhage –
1) Primary – this occurs within the first 24h after giving birth, and affects 5 in 100 women. A severe primary haemorrhage is much more rare. This affects 6 in 1000 women, and involves losing more than 2L of blood.
2) Secondary – this occurs between 24h and 12 weeks after delivery, and affects 2 in 100 women.

What causes it?

A PPH happens most commonly because the womb doesn’t contract strongly enough after birth. It also happens because part of the placenta was left in the womb (retained placenta), or because of an infection in the lining of the womb (endometritis).

Who is more at risk?

How is it prevented?

During labour you will be offered an injection of Oxytocin as your baby is being born to stimulate contractions to help deliver the placenta.

How will having a PPH affect me?

It is important to treat a PPH quickly, as it can be life threatening. Once treated effectively, it is important to remember that having a postpartum haemorrhage can worsen the tiredness all women feel after delivering a baby.  If you had a previous PPH you have a 1 in 10 chance of experiencing it again,

How is it managed?

PPH is managed in different ways depending on the severity of the bleed. Treatment can involve massaging the uterus to stimulate contractions, inserting a catheter to empty the bladder to help the uterus contract, injections to make the uterus contract (which may cause nausea) and checking to make sure there is no retained placenta. If bleeding continues heavily, blood transfusions or surgery may be required. 
The NHS has a fabulous leaflet with more detailed information on more detailed management of PPH here.
While the concept of a PPH is scary, the reality is that doctors and midwives are trained in controlling heavy bleeding, and bleeding after childbirth is quite normal. Have you experienced a PPH or know someone who has? Let us know your story below.

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Children’s Dental Health – Preventing Gum Abcess

We have been fortunate enough to have special contributions on serious topics of parent’s and children’s health in the past from Chrissy, and this post is another very important factual piece in conjunction with RnR Dental on how to keep our children’s gum’s healthy!

What Parents Should Know About Gum Abscess in Children

Over the last four years, the number of hospital operations to remove teeth in children in the UK has gone up by nearly 20%, according to statistics obtained by the Local Government Association. A gum abscess is one of the contributing factors for tooth loss in children that parents should know about. However, good oral care and healthy eating habits in children, especially following Christmas and during the upcoming Easter holidays, can help to curb this problem.
 
 
 
In this article, you will learn more information on the causes, symptoms, treatment and preventive measures for gum abscess in children:
 

What is a Gum Abscess?

 
With the advancement in dental procedures, it is possible to have a pleasant smile even if you lose a tooth or teeth due to dental problems. In spite of that, good oral care for you and your child is essential to prevent dental issues. One of the common dental ailments is gum abscess. A gum abscess, also known as a gum boil, is the draining point of deep tooth infection, mainly caused by bacteria found in the mouth and poor oral hygiene. It appears like a red, white or yellow bump below the gum line. Diagnosing and treating a gum abscess in children at the initial stages may prevent the infection from spreading to other areas such as the jaw and other teeth.
 

Main Causes of Gum Abscess in Children

 
A gum boil in children is mainly caused by tooth cavities. When your child fails to maintain good oral hygiene, bacteria can attack enamel and gingiva, producing abscess form and pus on the root of his or her teeth. Trauma to the tooth due to injury and pressure to the teeth during grinding can result in a broken or chipped tooth, which creates space for the bacteria to accumulate and cause an abscess.
Above all, taking sugary foods such as chocolates, candies, cakes and the rest without following good oral practices can be top causes of gum abscess. With the festive seasons such as Christmas having just passed us by and Easter fast approaching, the intake of sugary foods increases significantly in children. As a re

sult, this can encourage the growth of bacteria in plague and may lead to cavities and in the end an abscess. As a parent, it’s important to watch out for this and limit your child’s intake of sugary treats while ensuring that proper brushing and flossing procedures are being followed.

 

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis of Gum Boils

 
The most visible symptom is the swelling of the gum near the tooth. Other signs and symptoms can be darkening of the tooth, secretion of the pus from the swelling, severe pain while chewing, foul breath, swelling of gums and cheeks and high fever. In some rare cases, the tooth might lose its sensitivity hence no pain felt. In such cases, a CT scan can be done to diagnose the extent of the infection. It’s good to consult your pediatric dentist to ensure your child gets the best treatment.
 

Available Treatment for Gum Abscess

Treatment for abscess depends on the severity of the condition and the area formed. In a case where the abscess is at its initial stage, the dentist may recommend draining the pus from the swelling and clean it with saline water. If the tooth is completely damaged, the dentist may opt to remove it to prevent the infection from spreading to the nearest tooth or teeth. The dentist can also save the tooth from total damage by performing root canal treatment. In some cases, antibiotics may be subscribed to treat the infection.
 

Preventative Measures

 
As a parent, preventing a problem is way better than curing it. You can do that by being conscious of your child’s oral health. Some few preventive measures are – ensuring your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day, cutting down on sugary foods, addressing any trauma to the tooth by promptly visiting the dentist and having regular dental checkups.
 
The fact that kids will always enjoy treats that may include sugary stuff during festive holidays like Christmas and Easter, their dental health care should be prioritised to ensure their teeth remain healthy. Adopting some of the tips on this article might go a long way in managing your child’s dental health and in avoiding problems like gum abscess.
 
 
Thank you again Chrissy! 
 
As a parent, have you ever had gum abscess, or have your children needed treatment? Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments!

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Making a Safe, Accessible Space: Tips for Disabled Parents

You’ll need to know what alterations are required and how you’ll pay for the more expensive ones. Don’t be dismayed by the presumptions of people who don’t understand that disabled individuals can be just as amazing parents as anyone else. After all, it is estimated that there are more than 4 million parents with disabilities in the United States today, according to the National Center on Parents With Disabilities.

This post is something which is very important to me having witnessed my mother-in-law’s daily struggles with her disabled daughter – it’s easy to think of disabled children and I can bet we all know one person with a disabled child, but how many disabled parents do we know? Paige and Amy have previously both shared posts on their disabilities and how it has affected their lives (see the thumbnails at the bottom of this post to read more!).

Parenting is a scary thing for all of us, but for disabled parents there are even more factors that need to be taken into account.

Here is a fantastic piece from Ashley at disabled parents.org on things that can make parenthood that little bit less daunting for disabled parents in the US.

Thank you Ashley!

Tips for Disabled Parents

Disabled individuals make excellent parents by learning to adapt their physical capabilities and living environment to the needs of a newborn. Preparation is the key – address accessibility and safety needs in advance so you’re able to provide responsive care unimpeded and without fear for your safety or that of your child. That means making modifications to your home and in your habits. That can be easier said than done, especially given the cost of making structural changes to your space.

You’ll need to know what alterations are required and how you’ll pay for the more expensive ones. Don’t be dismayed by the presumptions of people who don’t understand that disabled individuals can be just as amazing parents as anyone else. After all, it is estimated that there are more than 4 million parents with disabilities in the United States today, according to the National Center on Parents With Disabilities.

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Modifications

Anyone who’s ever been an expectant parent has made some changes to their physical living space. Accommodations need to be made for baby and childcare equipment and supplies so parents have ready access to their child both day and night. Exterior stairs need to be bypassed with an entrance ramp for parents who are in a wheelchair or who have some other form of mobility limitation. Bedrooms should be relocated to the first floor so interior stairways don’t present a safety hazard. Replace carpeting with laminate or tile flooring for easier movement, and note that doorways may require small transition ramps to level out the space between rooms.

If doorways are less than 32 inches wide, consider installing expandable hinges to improve access. Bathrooms can be particularly hazardous places for disabled individuals, the site of more falls than any other room in the house. Grab rails should be installed alongside the toilet and in the shower, and skid-resistant mats placed in front of the sink and toilet. Light switches and electrical outlets should be lowered for easier access, and door knobs replaced with levers.

Financing options

Many of these modifications can be made with relative ease and quite affordably. However, others can run into the thousands of dollars. Fortunately, there are a number of options for financial assistance made available by the government, including Home and Community-based Medicaid Waiver Programs, for individuals who receive assistance via a Medicaid waiver.

The USDA also makes loans and grants up to $20,000 to low-income homeowners for repairs and improvements through its Rural housing Home Repair Loan and Grant Program. Eligible veterans have access to a loan for home modifications through the VA’s Home Loan Guarantee Services.

The right equipment

Much of the equipment commonly used in baby- and childcare has also been modified in recent years to meet the needs of disabled parents. Side-entry cribs allow wheelchair-bound parents to reach directly into the crib for diaper changes and late-night feedings, and swiveling child-safety seats make it much easier to move a little one in and out of the car without placing undue strain on the back. For bathing, small plastic baby tubs can be placed at tabletop level, with the hose from a kitchen or bathroom sink providing the water. A shoulder strap sling, which can be purchased for about $50, makes carrying a baby or small child much easier as you move around the house or run errands.

Preparation is key for an expectant disabled parent. That includes making any physical alterations to your home to ensure adequate accessibility and safety, and it makes good sense to invest in equipment designed to make parenting as easy as possible for a disabled individual.

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Underwater Swimming – Yay or Nay?

You may have seen my post a little while back about getting your children into clubs and hobbies as early as possible… Well, following on from that, the latest club we have joined is Tadpole Tots Swimming Lessons.

I know, I know, Olivia is only 2. She can’t really be taught to swim, right?

WRONG.

Today we had our first lesson and it was amazing. Her confidence in the water at first wasn’t great, and she gripped onto me like there was no tomorrow, but by the end of the half an hour session, she was diving off the side of the pool into me, rolling off of a big float into the water, and more happily went underwater with me.

I won’t lie, going underwater with her terrified me… A LOT. I’m pretty sure she inhaled/drank a fair amount of pool water…

I’m not a confident swimmer – I’ll be the first to hold my hands up to that! Jamie on the other hand is a pretty good swimmer and goes quite often. Kiera, my stepdaughter, had swimming lessons when she was about 6 or 7, and we saw a big difference in her ability over a few lessons (but she is now doing them regularly at school). This is why it made sense to me to get Olivia into these lessons.

We debated it a little, Jamie and I, as the lessons were obviously pricier than dancing or even Olivia’s French classes that she is now doing every Saturday. However, Jamie rightly pointed out that Olivia will be far better off by getting used to the water now, while she is still little and doesn’t have the time or experience to become scared of the water! I can safely say that after one lesson, she is so much more confident. She still isn’t a fan of going on her tummy and would much prefer me to sit her on my side, bobbing around in the pool, but I was amazed at how willingly she kicked her feet to swim on her back (with a float of course), and at how willing she was to glide through the water to the teacher and back to me again… Actually, coming back to me took a little bit of coaxing!

I am so pleased that I did take the plunge and book these for her, as she will benefit immensely in the future and will hopefully be a far better swimmer than I am! In fact, she probably already is!

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Taking Care Of Toddler Skin In Winter

You may remember that Chrissy wrote a post on spotting the early signs of lung cancer for us last year, and today, she is sharing her top 3 tips for taking care of toddler skin in the winter time!


Lots of children suffer with eczema and I know how dry even my skin gets during the winter – I hope that these tips will help someone who’s little one is suffering in the cold weather!


Thank you Chrissy!
 

3 TOP TIPS TO HELP YOUR TODDLER’S SKIN DURING THE WINTER

British winters can be freezing – last winter’s average temperature was at 3.6 degrees – but they can also be magical and full of exciting new experiences for your toddler. That said, raising toddlers in the chilly climate has its own set of challenges. Between helping them battle inevitable colds to keeping them warm and occupied, making sure their skin remains healthy and soft should be the least of your worries. Here are the basics for keeping their young complexions happy and smooth as you introduce your child to the wonders of winter.

Be prepared for skin ailments

As mentioned above, it’s all but inevitable that your little one will come down with some kind of sickness. Runny noses coupled with the contrasting indoor and outdoor environments are the perfect recipe for painfully chapped lips and noses for both yourself and your toddler. In addition, winter weather conditions make your child even more susceptible to skin conditions such as eczema, cold sores, and wind burn. The good news is that there are plenty of natural remedies for these ailments that can reduce discomfort and hasten healing. Stock up on these moisturising treatments such as petroleum jellies and aloe vera gels so that you can soothe an ailment as soon as it appears.

Protection from the elements

As unappealing as the chilly weather and short hours of sunlight can be, venturing outdoors and breathing fresh air for just a couple of hours a day is a great way to keep your toddler occupied, soak up vital Vitamin D and banish fatigue brought on by inactivity. That said, the cool dryness of winter air sucks the moisture from your toddler’s skin as much as it does to yours, and the sun can still do damage even though it doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything at all. To protect your child, make sure you apply sunscreen of SPF 15 or above. It’s also important to dress them well in a coat, a warm hat, scarf, and insulated gloves. Be aware of bundling them up too much though, as this can cause blocked glands and skin irritation.

When indoors, beware of keeping the heating too toasty as an artificially hot, low-humidity climate will also dry out your and your toddler’s skin. Make the air warm, but just cool enough to be wearing a couple of light layers.

Extra care for healthy skin

Your daily routines within your home can have a considerable impact on the health of your toddler’s skin in winter time, and there are a number of simple changes you can make to stop ailments occurring in the first place. Perhaps the most obvious habit to make is to moisturise your child straight after their bath when their skin i

s still damp to lock in as much hydration as possible. However, be careful of the products you use on your toddler’s skin. Go for no-fragrance, soap-free cleaners suitable for sensitive skin to best retain skin moisture and avoid skin irritation. In addition, keep bath time short and in tepid rather than hot water and pat your toddler dry to be as kind as possible to their young skin.

Though it comes with its own set of tough challenges, winter can still prove to be a delightful time with your toddler. By applying nourishing natural treatments to ailments as they appear, protecting them from the harsh climates, and adapting skin-friendly household habits, you’ll maintain your toddler’s smooth, healthy skin and make winter a wonderland to be enjoyed by the whole family.

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What Hyperemesis Gravidarum meant for me

This week, I spoke to my lovely friend Becki about her experience of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. For those of you who don’t know, around 10,000 women in the UK suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) every year. It is often dismissed as normal morning sickness in pregnancy, but in reality can leave the women who experience it with PTSD, a torn oesophagus, burst blood vessels and eroded tooth enamel. 



What did you know about HG before you were pregnant?

I can remember reading a news article online about the Duchess of Cambridge suffering from it when she was pregnant with Princess Charlotte and feeling sympathy for her, but not really understanding exactly what it was. It was initially described by the media as “extreme morning sickness” which I’ve come to learn is not the case at all. I knew next to nothing and I didn’t think I’d ever need to educate myself. My friend Roo has also suffered with it, but I had no idea to what extent it affected her- it was pure ignorance. 

 What treatments were you offered through your pregnancy to combat HG? Did they work?

When I was finally diagnosed in September 17, I was initially prescribed cyclizine and ondansetron-both anti-emetics. I was advised to take them in tandem with each other, but the ondansetron soon ran out. It’s the more expensive for the NHS to prescribe. Unfortunately for me, cyclizine didn’t do the trick on its own. I continued to take it, but it wasn’t effective and I ended up back in hospital a few times, quite poorly.  People did make suggestions for foods that helped them. There were some foods that helped for a time, but my body seemed to tire of them really quickly and I’d end up not even able to think about them, let alone eat them, without throwing up. 
In the end, rest and putting my body and it’s needs first was the only thing that kept me going. It meant missing out on a lot of stuff and sacrificing things but I needed to be selfish.

What strategies or coping mechanisms did you employ to deal with your HG?

Hypnobirthing techniques and mindfulness breathing really helped, especially when I felt completely overwhelmed emotionally.  Baths helped too. Washing my hair always made me feel better again after feeling really lousy. Having a risk assessment and plan in place at work, as well as a few key people I trusted who I could warn if I was having a bad day and they’d keep an eye out for me. 

 What was your HG like at its best and worse?

At my best- I could manage a nice meal and a day out and go to bed and sleep without being sick. Our anniversary weekend away was one such time.
 
When it was bad- I remember kneeling on my bathroom floor at 3am, after being sick for the 7th time that night, crying and apologising to my husband for the umpteenth time, and just wishing I hadn’t gotten pregnant. 

At its worst – We thought we were losing our baby, and could do nothing about it. 
 

 

How did HG affect your mental health?

It made me feel so guilty. All the time. Guilty that I was possibly and inadvertently harming my baby, that they were suffering (they weren’t), guilty for putting my husband through it, guilty for bailing on parties and birthdays and events, guilty for being angry at people who just didn’t understand and made flippant comments, guilty for wishing I wasn’t pregnant, when I knew full well I had friends who were struggling to conceive. I felt guilty for myself, that I wasn’t having the pregnancy I had envisioned and I felt like I’d cheated myself somehow. 
 

 What do you wish people knew about HG?

That it isn’t “bad morning sickness” or even morning sickness at all. It’s a genetic and hereditary condition that affects around 1% of pregnancies and has an 84% chance of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies. It’s so debilitating that some days getting out of bed is hard; keeping water and food down is hard. I lost weight in pregnancy because I struggled to keep things down- that was a huge worry. Some women report being sick of 50 times a day. 

Personally, I wish people knew how lonely HG is. It’s so lonely sitting on the floor of your bathroom crying because you’re in pain from the stomach muscles used to be sick, or your teeth ache and throat hurts from the acidic vomit. It’s hard but I promise you, it does go. Within minutes of her being born, my nausea lifted and I honestly felt instantly better. 
 

How can family and friends best support you if you have HG?

  • Be there. My husband was a complete and utter rock. He was up with me every day and  night no matter how many times I was sick; he rubbed my back, held my hair, let me cry and didn’t judge or make me feel like I was doing a bad job. He helped educate those around us who just didn’t know and ensured I was supported at work. Having a support network was one of the most fundamental blocks we needed during our pregnancy and we are really grateful for that.
  •  Be accommodating. If someone you know has it, expect them to cancel on you. Don’t make them feel guilty about it. But also, don’t stop inviting them! There are good days where I could go out and I honestly lived for them. 
  • Educate yourself on the facts surrounding HG. My family were brilliant at doing that and so knew triggers and anxiety points and how to avoid them. My Dad and husband in particular loved the phase I went through where only a certain fast food chain’s greasy burgers and strawberry milkshake would stay down!
  • Avoid strong perfume or cologne- my poor Husband had to retire his expensive bottle because I couldn’t stand the smell. It still remains a trigger for me. 
  • When you go to the loo, run some toilet cleaner or bleach round the bowl and floor. Not for your benefit, but for the poor girl that can’t face cleaning it but knows she’ll have her head in it later! 
  • Remind them they’re doing an incredible job. Pregnancy is tough full stop. HG in pregnancy is horrible. 

What was the most helpful and unhelpful thing people said and did in regards to your pregnancy?

The most helpful thing was along the lines of  “Yeah. This is really really crap and it suck that you have to go through this. I’m sorry”. To have acknowledgement from someone that actually yeah it wasn’t great and glamorous (!) was so affirming and refreshing. It didn’t make it go away and it didn’t make me physically better, but it made me feel less lonely. 
The least helpful comments included “It’ll all be worth it in the end”, “maybe it’s all in your head?” “It’s just bad morning sickness- mine stopped at X weeks”, “I hear ginger helps”, “Try eating certain foods or doing certain exercise, maybe

that’ll help”, “it’ll soon be over and you’ll miss being pregnant”, “maybe you won’t have it with the next baby”… I could go on!

What advice (if any) would you give to someone who has (or thinks they have) HG?

Tell your health practitioners- your doctor, midwife, consultant whoever. There is much more advice and info out there now, so if you think you have it, find out about HG and take that info with you. Not all maternity health care professionals are fully up to date or even aware of the symptoms. You CAN take anti emetics safely in pregnancy. If you need them, ask for them! 

Ketones are NOT a lone accurate indicator of dehydration in HG. Make sure that if you aren’t well for a long period of time, you get yourself checked and if necessary, admitted to hospital and on an IV drip.

**I’m not a medical professional, but at times I had to really push to be listened to**

There’s so much support out there. Pregnancy sickness support UK is an incredible charity that helped me through and continues to help others. It’s partnering with specialists throughout the world to develop more research all the time. Their helpline is a lifeline for when you are really struggling, because these are real women who have experienced it and they can give you practical advice, as well as a shoulder to cry on when you feel really lonely. 

Embrace every craving. Seriously. You may only like it for a short period! One day I chowed down on an entire bag of iced gems. They revisited me a few hours later, but I really enjoyed being nostalgic for a time! 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

 My blog, “Dear Luna: Love letters to my Daughter” talks quite openly about my experience in pregnancy and HG and the various times I was hospitalised.

Would you like to know more about Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or had experience with it yourself? Let us know in the comments below

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