Mummykind’s September Top 5

Sorry this is so late! It’s been a busy month for all of us and we’re all a combination of exhausted, delirious and happy at the same time!

So here it is… our Top 5 from September:

Top 5 Blog Posts

Top 5 Instagram Posts

Top 5 Things we did

  1. Charlie had her baby boy! Welcome to the world Baby Leon. Mummy and Baby are doing very well.
  2. Imogen not only became a big sister but also had her birthday this month! Lots of celebrations for Charlie and family.
  3. Amy had her tonsillectomy, and unfortunately managed to get an infection! She’s feeling much better now. Speaking of infections, Harriet and Paige also suffered a bit this month! They both had 2 kidney infections but are on the mend.
  4. Maria’s little boy started Reception in school (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!) He has settled in really well and his favourite lesson is Maths.
  5. Maria’s baby girl has been diagnosed with CMPA like her big brother. Maria has had to change her diet to carry on breastfeeding but it’s going well and the little one is so happy she did her first smiles!

Top 5 Photos this month

Maria’s little man in his awesome school uniform!
Sarah went on a trip to Hull to visit her grandparents with Olivia – here they are all smiling and happy at Yorkshire Wildlife Park!
Olivia and her friends at playgroup doing each other’s hair
Maria’s smiley baby girl!
Charlie and her new bundle of joy! Photo taken by new big sister, Immy!

Top 5 Other Blogposts we LOVED

  1. Rainbows Are Too Beautiful – How Autism is Like a Courtesy Car
  2. Morgan’s Milieu – How to Play with Your Kids When You Don’t Like to Play
  3. This Glorious Life – Screen-Free Ideas to Keep the Kids Happy and Entertained
  4. The Desperate Housewife – Why I am the Mum who Wears Make-Up Every Day
  5. Confessions of an Irish Mammy – The 10 Stages of a Hangover with Kids

Reviewing 2018

Recently it’s safe to say  my life has been a whirlwind, after all…I wouldn’t be me if my life was drama free, and as 2018 approaches an end I’ve looked back at everything this year has thrown at me. Friendships, Relationships, Illness, Drama the list is endless.

Lets start with the friendships. I’ve lost some, I’ve made some. I’ve wrecked some, I’ve earned some but the loyalty of my friends this year has kept me sane. The ones that have stayed awake messaging me till late at night, the ones that helped me find me when I couldn’t. The ones who still messaged me while on holiday because they knew I was at a low point, or the one who drove 80 miles to pick me up for the weekend, how about the ones who visited me in hospital. They have helped me more than ever this year, and for them. I am eternally grateful.

Relationships? Pffft, after nearly a year of being single I’ve discovered so much and learned so much about myself, and the most important thing I have discovered is I do not need a man to define me. I never have and never will need a man to complete me. It’s safe to say I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with men this year and looking back I don’t know why I allowed myself to pay any of them the slightest bit of attention. Not to mention getting hooked on a guy for the best part of 6 months, who really wasn’t phased by my existence *insert eye roll here* Maybe 2019 will hold a relationship for me, but I can honestly say I am not phased in the slightest whether it does or doesn’t. It has taken the best part of a year but I have finally come to acknowledge that I am better off without a relationship, and when the time comes, it will be with someone I deserve.

Illness…Well 2018 has seen it’s fair share. My step-father has become terminally Ill with heart failure and kidney failure. I was diagnosed with BPD alongside having endometriosis and PCOS, with the double suicide attempt back in September, this year has been insane. poor Oliver has endured measles, tonsilitis and hand-foot and mouth ( but he does go to nursery so he was bound to catch them at some point) so 2018 has been a bit of a weird one for Illness, and my recent surgery showed me that no matter what this life throws at me I can overcome it.

Drama, Ah, the thing that makes me well…me. I am the biggest drama queen ( which I will admit with no shame at all) Drama follows me where ago, and 99% of the time I don’t look for it, it comes looking for me. 2018 kept up with tradition with drama surrounding me everywhere I looked. Fortunately I feel I’m at a stage in my life where I can laugh about it, and nothing really surprises me anymore. 2018 started with me splitting with my fiance and the father of my son, with court hearings, surgery and drama filled events continuing the year. Hopefully 2019 can be ” Drama free ” but, I don’t think that would be very me. It’s not that I enjoy the drama, it’s just there. Like a shadow- very dramatic description.

Last but not least, Mummykind. When I had the idea for Mummykind I never in my wildest dreams expected it to blow up the way it did, within a year we have worked with brands, expanded with new mums joining the team and our little ones have got bigger by the day and my love and pride for Mummykind grows daily.

So 2018 has been…well s**t to say the least, but it’s also allowed me to learn a lot, from not liking Sushi to discovering I have a determined personality. I’ve learned that Oliver is the most magical boy, and every day he warms my heart with his adorable personality ( also learned he has an incredible talent to make me want to rip my hair out in record breaking time and is far too sassy for my liking sometimes) but all this aside, I’m excited for 2019 – however I will not be doing a “new year, new me” I plan on being the same Sassy, drama filled Amy you all know and love after all…that’s why you all read my posts…right?

Tips and tricks for tummy bug troubles

Unfortunately, it’s the time of year where stomach bugs are rife. I was recently in the hospital twice in the space of two days, as my little one had a severe case of gastroenteritis. While I was there, I had many in depth conversations with paediatricians, nurses and the matron, who gave me many materials and ideas about the prevention and management of gastroenteritis, and how to recognise the signs of dehydration.

Gastroenteritis (or more commonly known as the ‘tummy bug’) is an infection of the intestines and stomach which causes vomiting and diarrhoea (D&V). It is often caused by infections like the norovirus, or rotavirus, though it can also be bacterial.
D&V caused by tummy bugs is common in children younger than 5, however lots of diarrhoea and vomiting can cause dehydration, which is a serious complication. This is unusual, and most children can be cared for at home following advice from a qualified healthcare provider.  In most cases, diarrhoea usually lasts 5-7 days and has come to an end by 2 weeks, while vomiting usually only lasts between 1-3 days.
While we were at the hospital, the paediatrician told me that parents should avoid taking their children to the GP if they suspect gastroenteritis, as it is spread so quickly and easily. Instead, parents should call 111 (UK) or their GP if they are concerned. Just to recap, the symptoms of gastroenteritis are:
  • feeling sick
  • sudden, watery diarrhoea,
  • mild fever
  • vomiting, which can be projectile
  • abdominal craps
  • poor appetite

When to seek medical advice for your child

As gastroenteritis is spread so quickly, it is best to care for your child at home to avoid infecting others. However, you should seek medical assistance if your child:
  • has blood in their poo, or green vomit
  • has been vomiting for three days or more
  • has had diarrhoea for more than a week
  • has a serious underlying condition and also has D&V
  • has symptoms of dehydration –
    • sunken eyes
    • cold extremities
    • mouth and lips appear dry
    • seems to be getting worse, will not take fluids or vomits immediately after drinking
    • are floppy, unresponsive or lethargic
    • skin appears to be more baggy than usual
    • much higher pulse rate than usual
    • they have had more than 8 loose nappies per day
    • they do not have more than 2 wet nappies per day
    • no tears when crying
    • sunken fontanelle in babies

Preventing the spread

  1. Children should not attend any kind of childcare or school while they have vomiting or diarrhoea, and should not return until at least 48 hours have passed since the last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea.
  2. Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of gastroenteritis. This includes the obvious times, like after using the toilet, changing nappies, or touching food. Do not rely on alcohol hand gels.
  3. Towels and other personal items should not be shared between children or other members of the family while someone is suffering with gastroenteritis.
  4. Children should not use a swimming pool for 14 days after their last episode of diarrhoea.
  5. Disinfect any surfaces and items that could be contaminated.

Treatment

Most cases of gastroenteritis can be treated at home, with supervision from medical professionals in more severe cases.
Children should be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids, even if it is only small sips at a time. Breastfed babies should continue to be breastfed as long as they are tolerating the breast milk.
Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) such as dioralyte may be used, which is available without prescription from a pharmacy or supermarket.
A note on liquids – liquids are absorbed by the body very quickly, so if your child vomits ten minutes after drinking, it is highly likely that most of the fluids have already been absorbed by the body, and fluids should continue to be given.

Children who are vomiting

Small sips of liquid should be given to begin with, and if this is not vomited, the amount can be increased. Generally the amount of liquid a child should aim for in this phase is 1.5 to 2.5 oz per lb of body weight in a 24 hour period – for example we were told to aim for 1oz per hour for my little one. Once the vomiting lessens, a more normal diet may be trialed the next day. We found it easiest to start giving 5-10mls every 5 minutes, and did so using a bottle we would have usually used for milk – ORS can be kept in the fridge for 24 hours after mixing it from a sachet, and it is both easier to monitor intake, and less messy on your child’s part!

Children who have diarrhoea but little vomiting

These children should be given more liquid to combat the liquid lost through loose stools. However, this liquid can be given in larger, less frequent amounts, and children can attempt to continue their normal diet. If your child has significant diarrhoea, it is advisable to stop dairy products during this time as these foods can make diarrhoea worse.
 
While it can seem really daunting to care for your child while they’re unwell, rest assured that gastroenteritis is very common. There are around 5 billion cases of it every year worldwide, so you’re not alone.
What have your experiences of the tummy bug been like?
 
Sources:
Cochran, W. (2018). Gastroenteritis in Children – Children’s Health Issues – MSD Manual Consumer Version. [online] MSD Manual Consumer Version. Available at: https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-gb/home/children-s-health-issues/digestive-disorders-in-children/gastroenteritis-in-children [Accessed 14 Oct. 2018].
 
Nhsinform.scot. (2018). Gastroenteritis. [online] Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract/gastroenteritis [Accessed 14 Oct. 2018].
 
Nice.org.uk. (2009). Diarrhoea and vomiting caused by gastroenteritis in under 5s: diagnosis and management | Guidance and guidelines | NICE. [online] Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg84 [Accessed 14 Oct. 2018].
Technology, H. (2018). Home. [online] East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Available at: http://www.esht.nhs.uk/ [Accessed 14 Oct. 2018].
 
With thanks to helpful conversations for the staff on Kippling ward, ESHT.

Pyloric Stenosis: when vomiting isn’t just reflux

If you’re reading this, chances are you have (or have had) a very ‘sicky’ baby. Chances are, your friends and family told you ‘it’s just reflux’. And fair enough, it might be. But it might not be. If you’re not convinced, read on to find out more.

My little monkey was always a very ‘sicky’ child. Ever since she was born, she’d be sick after every feed. While that sounds normal, the amount of sick wasn’t. She’d always vomit up at least half of her bottle, and then cry because she was hungry. We endured it for 3 weeks before we insisted on her having a medical assessment. She was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, and we were told that a hypoallergenic milk prescription would fix the issue. It didn’t. We took her back to our doctor countless times, and were berated for wasting GP time as she just ‘had reflux’. We tried countless reflux medications, but everything just seemed to make the issue worse.

Once my little one had reached 7 weeks, I’d had enough. After an evening of being covered in around 18oz of projectile vomit, I took her to A&E and insisted they run blood tests on my daughter. Sure enough, they diagnosed her with Pyloric Stenosis.

Pyloric Stenosis is a condition in which the valve allowing food to pass from the stomach to the intestine becomes too thick, and the hole closes. This means that nothing can get through, which leads to malnutrition, dehydration, and even death. Symptoms include extreme vomiting, lethargy, constipation, and less wet nappies.

Once admitted to hospital, we had to watch an NG tube be placed into our little one, to drain her stomach. She had an IV inserted to keep her fluid intake up, along with some vitamins, but she wasn’t allowed to eat. We were in hospital for 3 days in total before she had her operation, and we weren’t allowed to feed her anything, which was torture when she cried.

Eventually, we were transferred by blue light ambulance to a specialist children’s hospital for her to have laparoscopic surgery. The surgery took around an hour, and my little soldier had 3 doses of infant paracetamol in total during recovery. (What a brave little thing, adults have doses of morphine after similar surgeries).

Luckily, after having her surgery, the Pyloric Stenosis was cured and we never had to return to hospital for the same issue, however, others aren’t so lucky. PS can recur in 1% of cases, and for some people, it becomes a chronic issue which requires constant returning to hospital.

All in all, we were very lucky. Honestly, I think my stubborn nature went a long way in getting her diagnosed, as before I put my foot down, doctors were dismissing me as the ‘hypochondriac mum’.

What can we take away from this? Well,

1) Trust your instincts.
Mother’s intuition is REAL, and it can save you so much bother if you listen to it. If you think something is wrong with your little one, get them checked. The worst that can happen is that a qualified professional can explain to you (at length, if needed) that your baby is healthy, and reassure you.

2) Know your stuff.
While doctors often chastise patients for having a look at good old Doctor Google, sometimes it is your ally, and a tool to be used. Before Mini Me was diagnosed, a doctor incredulously asked me “what do you think is wrong with her then?” When I replied ‘Pyloric Stenosis’, a lightbulb obviously went off for him. He ordered several blood tests and an ultrasound, and sure enough, she was diagnosed. While I’m not saying that you should use Google for everything, but when you’ve been having the same issue for weeks, nothing seems to be helping and things aren’t adding up, maybe you should consider it.

3) Be kind to yourself.
While we were in hospital, I went through a phase of blaming myself for my monkey’s illness. As a mum, its only natural to want to fix things, but some things can’t be fixed by guilt. No, most things can’t be fixed by guilt. I felt awful for the fact I hadn’t put my foot down sooner, but eventually, I was just glad that I had done it at all. I often think about what would have happened if I hadn’t said anything to our doctors, and I’m so glad I did, because the outcome could have been so much worse.

Unfortunately, Pyloric Stenosis can’t be prevented, but it can be cured, and more new mums should know that it exists. If your little one is struggling with vomiting, especially in the first few weeks, please get them checked out, and if you’re unsure, get a second opinion. While Pyloric Stenosis is rare, it isn’t worth excluding as an option.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Learn to love yourself

The title says it all really, all I have seen lately is people beating themselves up whether they are too thin, too fat, too tall…the list is endless, but when did it become okay for us to beat ourselves up this way? Essentially, we’re torturing ourselves whenever we look in the mirror.

You could say that since becoming a single mum I have been doing a bit of soul searching and a bit of self discovery and gradually I am coming to love the things I used to hate. You see I am a rather tall being 5ft 9 and a size 14 with a bit of a bum on me, and I always used to harshly criticise myself for this but lately I’ve learnt to love my curves and my height, after all they’re what make me, me. Besides, what kind of image am I setting for my son if all he ever hears and sees me doing is loathing myself?

I also have Excoriation Disorder which does mean my back, shoulders, chest and legs are covered in scars and skin blemishes which I still struggle to accept but i’m sure as time goes on i’ll come to accept them.

This might all seem a bit “Pie in the Sky”, especially for those battling with their own mental health, but I promise you, you are worth so much more than you think! Love what is quirky about you and what makes you stand out from others. In the space of a few months I’m wearing the type of things that once upon a time I never would of dreamed of wearing let alone leaving the house in it!

What I’m trying to say in all of this is: next time you’re stood in front of the mirror, just remember that for every flaw you find, there are possibly 5 qualities to counteract that flaw, and that flaw is what makes you, you! And one day your little girl or boy will come to you pointing out every flaw they can find with themselves and it’s our job as parents to help to show them a way to love themselves and be confident in life.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day

HG Awareness Day, also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day, is being observed today! It has been observed annually on May 15th since 2012 to raise awareness of a dangerous and chronic condition that plagues many pregnant women.

Here is Mummykind’s H to G (well, more A-Z!) of Hyperemesis Gravidarum for HG awareness day! 

H Hospitalisation – In more severe cases of HG, a woman may require hospitalisation. Treatment for this may include tube feeding and intravenous fluids to restore lost nutrients and hydration to both mother and baby.
Y– You. As an individual you know the limit that you can get to before needing help- bare in mind that with another little life thrown into the mix, you may need to seek help more quickly than you would do if you only had yourself to look after. A good rule to stick to, is if you’d need a doctor for a condition if you weren’t pregnant, you definitely need one if you’re are pregnant. Self care is important, look after yourself!
P– Peppermint – Interestingly peppermint tea can be used to combat nausea and often can alleviate sickness symptoms, even if only for a short while. However using mint toothpaste is one of the biggest triggers for nausea in pregnant women!
E– Everybody – HG does not discriminate , an body can fall victim to Hyperemesis and it’s debilitating symptoms.
R– Royalty – Kate Middleton, the Duchess or Cambridge has suffered with HG and Severe morning sickness with all three of her pregnancies. Although I hate to think about how unwell she must have felt and how hard it must be to suffer HG in the public eye- I’m very grateful for the awareness she has raised for this debilitating condition!
E- Emotions – Hyperemesis gravidarum can make sufferers unable to do even the most basic of tasks, simply going to work can be impossible for some women. This makes many sufferers feel depressed and unhappy. These feelings could develop into postnatal depression, so it’s a good idea to seek support with a counsellor or see a doctor for anti-depressants.
M– Morning Sickness – 80% of all women experience morning sickness in the first 3 months of their pregnancies. only 2% of pregnancies are affected by Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
E-  Empathy – If someone in your life is experiencing HG try hard to be empathetic. Offer to help when and if you can. I faced so much stigma when I had HG because people around me just didn’t understand. The last thing a lady suffering from HG wants to hear is “well, I had morning sickness and I was fine.”… HG and morning sickness are worlds apart!!!

S- Sickness – About 45% of pregnant women suffer from nausea with vomiting while an additional 25% suffer with nausea only.
I- Impact – Thankfully there are no known links between HG and adverse effects for the foetus.
S – Safe – There is a significant decreased risk in fetal loss among women with HG versus women who do not vomit during pregnancy.
G- Go Galllll! – Hyperemesis is debilitating, if you’ve had HG and you’re here to tell the tale (or been brave enough to go on and have another baby!)- give yourself a massive pat on the back. You’re so much stronger than you know!
R- Rest – Bed rest is commonly prescribed to women with the HG and can be vital in helping to regain strength.
A- Amy – Mummykind’s own Amy and Harriet have experienced HG first hand.
V- Vomiting – Lightheadedness, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, dehydration, vomiting and fainting are the most common symptoms and characteristics of HG.
I- IV – In severe cases of HG intravenous fluids have to be administered under inpatient conditions to keep ladies and their unborn babies hydrated.
D- Differences – Those with morning sickness suffer from nausea, but may not always experience vomiting. Usually, the condition lasts during the first trimester, yet some women experience it beyond the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy. Women who do vomit are unlikely to become dehydrated. In contrast, HG results in severe vomiting and, for some women, constant nausea. The condition can last for the entirety of pregnancy and can lead to extreme dehydration. It can also result in the loss of 5 percent or more of a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight and aversions to certain foods.
A- All associated symptoms – A full list of symptoms consists of… dehydration, malnutrition
weight loss, slowed metabolism, increased heart rate,
bloodshot eyes,
stress and depression,
heartburn, reflux, stomach ulcers, constipation, ketosis,
deep vein thrombosis,
hallucinations,
low birth weight in the baby and premature birth.

R- Re occurrence – Around 80% of women who experience HG in their first pregnancy will go o
n to experience it in their next.

U- Untreated – Fortunately, unborn babies won’t be affected unless the nausea and vomiting goes untreated for an extremely long time period. The majority of babies will get the nutrients they need from the reserves stored in their mother’s body at the mother’s expense – this means her teeth and bones can become brittle, and her hair and skin can become dry and dull.
M- Motion Sickness – Traditional Motion / Travel Sickness remedies can often be beneficial to women suffering from HG. Peppermint and ginger teas. Ginger products like sweets, gum or biscuits and even anti travel sickness wrist bands have been used by women to ease HG symptoms.

Mental Health Monday: a poem for my daughter…

Depression is a friend of mine.

I know it’s hard to understand,
But there’s something that I must explain:
From the first moment that I first held your hand,
I was overwhelmed with pain.
I’m a mum without a mum,
And in a way I always was,
So meeting you on the outside
Was terrifying.
Your arrival meant her arrival,
Untimely, and unwanted
Just like me.
The loneliness consumed me…
I didn’t know how to be.
I was now a mother, determined not to let you down,
Spurred on to be the best I could with no role models around.
Two short weeks and your dad left, too,
Back to work he went.
I guess a part of me always knew
That I wouldn’t cope –
Would have no hope –
For anything getting better.
My dark days became darker.
I let you down, and couldn’t forgive myself.
I should have fought harder,
But a first-time mum is never believed,
Never listened to,
And never taken seriously.
My downward spiral became far worse,
And I didn’t know when it would end.
I felt like I had no-one,
No family. No friends.
And now I’m in that dark place once more,
But I’m trying to make a change.
I want to learn how to be my best
And to feel okay again.
I love you so much, with all my heart,
And I doubt that you’ll ever see
Just how important you are in my life,
For, without you, how could I be me?
I’ve learned to be your mummy
In spite of all the trouble
And I love you and myself now,
In fact, nothing can burst our happy bubble.
I may be facing darkness
But you give me light
And when my hope is flickering
It’s you that makes me fight.

 Monday Stumble Linky

Tales From Mamaville

Being a chronically ill parent

So it’s no secret that at 16 years of age I was diagnosed with endometriosis and a year later I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Now I’ve always been very open in discussing my health as I always try to raise awareness of Endometriosis.

Before I go any further I should probably give a brief outline as to what endometriosis is, this being said I’ve decided to  include Endometriosis UK’s take on endo.

Endometriosis (pronounced en- doh – mee – tree – oh – sis) is the name given to the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity” For more information, please feel free to click the link above which takes you to Endometriosis Uk’s page.
Endometriosishas always had a hold on my life, with frequent hospital trips and stays, but I never once stopped to think how it would affect me being a parent, after all I never thought I would have a child of my own naturally, and it was always something that played on my mind.
My pregnancy with Oliver was far from easy as I’ve mentioned in other posts, but I still had countless doctors say to me, “there is a myth that pregnancy can cure endometriosis”, which gave me hope, except it was just that…a myth. Oliver was about 3 months old when I had my first severe flare up following his birth and I remember sitting in an arm chair with one paramedic tending to me, and the other entertaining Oliver. “Your little boy is fine Amy, don’t worry. Focus on yourself and take deep breaths”. I was doubled over in pain crying, and I had Entonox (gas and air). I was admitted to hospital and spent my first few nights without my son, except not for positive reasons. My mother-in-law at the time was supportive, helped take care of Oliver and even brought him up to see me. I remember laying in my hospital bed thinking, “I have no idea how I’m going to make this work”, as Oliver cuddled up to me in bed playing with my IV lines.
A year on and this blog post today is brought to you by me sat at home after being sent home from work due to a flare up. I can’t begin to describe a flare up…it’s one of those – if you know, then you know – sort of things. When having a flare up, my body is left drained. I’m left feeling sore, empty, nauseous, tired and in horrible pain. I could sleep 12 hours straight with a flare up and still wake up feeling like I’ve barely slept, and with a 1 year old thrown into the mix, the challenges are insane, Though I am very fortunate in the sense that Oliver is a really good boy and will happily cuddle up with me and watch Disney films, as well as having incredible family members and amazing friends who always offer to help. So here are some top tips for being chronically Ill and a mother.
1)      Take your time, try not to rush around as this will stress you and baby out…resulting in the flare up getting worse ( we all know stress is the biggest cause of feeling unwell or run down)
2)      Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, being a mother is challenging enough let alone with a chronic illness.
3)      Find a good support group. I’m part of a few support groups for my health and always find it comforting knowing there are people going through similar situations and they can sometimes give suggestions to what things work for them.
I think the thing I struggle with is stepping back and admitting some days that I’m not well and that I need help. I have oramorph (liquid morphine), Morphine patches, Tramadol and diazepam prescribed for my flare ups, however I really don’t like taking it when Oliver is with me, because the minute I take it, I need someone to help me with Oliver.
Although being a chronically ill parent is far from ideal, it just makes me that little bit stronger, a little more determined and ultimately more accomplished. I won’t ever let my illnesses affect my parenting skills, though when I’m older I do 100% expect Oliver to let me live with him where he can cook me breakfast everyday and drive me everywhere when I don’t feel well.
So to all you chronically ill mums out there, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep pushing forward because you’ve got this, your health does not and will not define who you are as a parent.

Spotting the early signs of lung cancer

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Thank you very much to Chrissy, working with http://www.seniorsandhealth.com, for this guest blog post on how to spot lung cancer early! A difficult subject that nobody really wants to consider, so we hope these tips will help someone who is feeling a bit unsure about what is going on! 

Early Signs of Lung Cancer That Parents Should Never Ignore

We all know that when you’re a parent, you need to stay healthy. You need all the energy you can get, and you certainly don’t want to become ill – who’s going to look after the kids then? One of the best ways to maintain your health is to listen to your own body. This can help you to spot the early warning signs of a whole range of illnesses, including lung cancer. And the sooner you notice that something is amiss, the sooner you can get yourself checked out and, if it turns out to be necessary, begin treatment and start fighting back.

A model of the human body reflected in a window

The symptoms that will be experienced by someone with lung cancer can vary a great deal, and unfortunately, some people don’t notice any symptoms for quite some time, giving the cancer a chance to get out of control. This means that it’s doubly important to keep a close eye on any changes to your lung health. That way, you will notice if anything is amiss.

What are the early warning signs?

Here’s a guide to the warning signs of lung cancer that you need to be looking out for and that you should never ignore. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can. In most cases, the doctor will be able to reassure you that nothing serious is wrong, but in those cases where cancer does turn out to be present, it is much easier to treat, and there is a much higher rate of recovery, if it is caught early. Cancers that are left continue to grow, and spread throughout the body, so don’t delay making that appointment.

  • Do you have a cough that you can’t seem to shake, or which sounds or feels different than coughs you’ve had before?
  • Are you getting more chest infections than you usually do?
  • Are you short of breath, or becoming wheezy, when you are doing things that you used to be able to do without any trouble?
  • Are you coughing up blood? If you do, don’t panic. There are several things that could cause this, but you do need to get checked out by a doctor.
  • Have you lost your appetite for no reason?
  • Have you lost weight for no reason, without dieting or doing more exercise
  • Are you feeling unusually tired or lacking in energy?
  • Do you have an ache or pain in or around your shoulder?
  • Are you having difficulty swallowing?

For many parents, the thought of not being around to see their kids grow up is the best incentive there is to stay fit and healthy. So, while many of these symptoms could be harmless and related to a common bug, it is always best to seek medical attention and get the necessary check-ups to diagnose if anything more serious is present.

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6 tips to help your toddler through a cold

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Winter is here and it brought my son the gift of a snotty nose and a sore throat. Toddlers end up suffering colds so badly because they don’t understand what is happening and they can’t dose up on cold and flu medicine.

1. Honey and lemon

This classic cold remedy is brilliant once your little one is over a year old.  If they are under one year old this is isn’t suitable because honey contains Clostridium Botulinum. Paired with their immature guts, there is a (very low) risk of them developing botulism.
The honey is good for sore throats because of its antibacterial and potentially antiviral properties and the lemon packs a nice punch of Vitamin C.

I struggled for ages to make it the right temperature quickly without making it taste gross. The answer? Frozen lemon. Buy a few lemons, quarter them and freeze them. Pop one or two slices into a hot water and honey mixture and wait a couple of minutes. Give them a little squeeze and voila! Perfect toddler temperature honey and lemon. We pop ours in a sippy cup with a lid so the lemon can stay in the drink without getting in the way.

2. Vapour rub

Maybe it’s obvious, but vapour rub is brilliant. Don’t just buy the normal strength one though, make sure you get the kids one; the adult one can be a little bit too potent. Most baby ones are fine from six months, but always check the label.

3. Vapour Oil

There are child strength ones available but they are just diluted versions of the normal one. We use Olbas oil  which has instructions for use with children from six months, they also make a children’s one which has a different ‘dosage’. As long as you follow the instructions either is fine.  When my son was still in his cot it we were able to put Olbas in his room in a bowl of boiling water but now he is in a bed we can’t do that. My solution is to put a drop or two on a little square of cotton or a tissue and put it under his mattress so he can’t get to it. It’s strong stuff so it will definitely work through that many layers. Please contact a qualified aromatherapist for advice if you have pets in the home as some essential oils can be harmful to animals.

4. Paracetamol

I try to avoid turning to infant paracetamol regularly, but I always have it on hand for those times it’s unavoidable. If his colds get really awful I know his sinuses are going to be hurting, easing one symptom can really help manage the others.

5. Muslins or Handkerchiefs

Tissues are a huge waste of time, resources and money just to make your nose sting when you blow it. We all know how sore your nose can get with a cold, now imagine if you had super delicate baby skin? Ouch. We opt for the muslins my son had as a baby – now he doesn’t spit up they may as well get some use. They are soft, gentle and reusable. We’re totally cool about germs, we’ve all been exposed to them if someone in the house has a cold but if it concerns you, a 15 minute soak in sterilising fluid or a 60 degree wash will kill any lurking nasties. If it’s a bug rather than a cold you’ll likely be doing some hot washes anyway.

6. Patience

This one can be so difficult, especially if you have a cold as well.

It’s 2am and your toddler is just crying at you, completely inconsolable and not listening to a word you say. They won’t calm down and it’s making them cough and rasp and you can see the more they cry the more upset they become. You’re freezing because you heard a cry, went straight to them without grabbing a dressing gown and you’re tired because…well it’s 2am (and they did this last night as well). It is so easy to get frustrated but I just think about how much I would panic if I woke up not able to breathe. They don’t understand and they don’t realise you’re trying to comfort them. The best thing I’ve found is to try and distract my son. If I can get him to laugh we are half way there. We already know we’ll be exhausted in the morning – that’s inevitable now, so we might as well have a giggle.

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