Moving house with a little one? Here’s 5 top tips to keep your sanity

It’s all go here in the Piper household as we’re just about to move house. Given that this is our third house move in 2 years, you’d think we’d be seasoned veterans by now, but moving with our little one is SO much harder. She needs constant attention, which makes getting the packing done much more time consuming, and I constantly feel like there’s something huge I’m forgetting! With that in mind, I’ve come up with 5 top tips to stop you pulling your hair out on move in day.

1 – Get some help

By this I mean childcare, whether that is letting Grandma look after Little One for the day, or having an extra family member/friend/extra pair of hands around to look after them in your new home. The first is preferable, as it can be dangerous for little ones to be underfoot with big boxes being moved about. If you have to have your little one in your new place while you’re moving, try and keep them away from all the action – it’s safer for everyone, and you’ll be so busy getting boxes and furniture in to your new place and directing people as to where you want them to put things down, it will be so much harder if your baby is on you like a limpet all day.

2 – Make a box of necessities

Pack a box of all the things you are likely to need for your baby in the next day or two. Things to remember include:
  • Nappies, wipes and wash things
  • Clean clothes
  • Toys
  • Bottles (if formula fed) and food if baby is old enough
  • Any security items, like a dummy or favourite teddy
Mark this box as important and make sure it is one of the first things delivered to your new home. You’ll be grateful later down the line that everything you need for baby is in one easy to find place.

3 – Unpack baby’s room first

Make unpacking your child’s bedroom a priority to give them a better sense of security in a new place. Having your little one’s room ready first gives you a safe place to let them play while your’e unpacking, a comfortable and familiar place for them to nap and sleep, and peace of mind for you that at least one room is done – you can keep unpacking while baby has gone to bed!

4 – Stick to baby’s schedule as much as you can

Move in day isn’t just stressful for you, it’s stressful for your little one too. The difference is that you know exactly what is happening, but your little one doesn’t. Moving house can be especially stressful for toddlers who often feel the loss of a safe environment. You can read more about helping your little one through this transition here. Try your best to keep meal times and nap times to your usual schedule. This will be easier if you’ve followed tip 3 and have baby’s bed ready!

5 – Take a breath

Moving is stressful. Psychologically, it is only outranked by loss of family members, and is rated more stressful than divorce and loss of employment. Moving house can be a huge upheaval, which is all the more reason why it’s so important to just take a breather. Make everyone stop working so you can all eat together, or ask a friend to put the kettle on.
You’ve got this mama.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

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.

Mental Health Monday: 5 ways to cope with stress!

Stress!

The one thing we parents seem to have in abundance! Unfortunately, I haven’t yet discovered how to live a completely stress-free life, so instead, here are my top 5 tricks on how to cope with stress!

1. Copious amounts of tea

Ever heard the saying that none of the world’s problems cannot be solved with tea? Well, I am a firm believer! Particularly if your problems are stress-related. I know it can be hard to drink a hot drink while it’s still hot these days, but make sure you grab the opportunity when it presents itself! There’s not much else that’s better than enjoying a hot, caffeinated drink and putting your feet up for a minute while you do!

2. Play dough

This may sound daft, but this is ridiculously stress-relieving. Come on, mummies, whose kiddies do not have play dough lying around somewhere? (If not, you can check out the way to make your own here!)

If they do, and if the colours aren’t all mushed up together in some form of absolute ANARCHY, then I seriously recommend just twiddling it for a while and feeling all of your stress leaving your body as you do!

3. Yoga

Again, I know that finding time is difficult, but it could actually be the best thing you do that day to get out of the house and going to a yoga class! If not, you could easily pull up a youtube tutorial for some yoga breathing exercises. It’s incredibly calming and whenever I’ve done it, I LITERALLY feel lighter having done so. You can physically feel the tension being lifted and the positivity seeping back into where it used to be, once upon a time.

4. Classical music

I know what you’re thinking. “She’s gone mad”, “how old is she?” etc. etc.

But I am serious! Music defines our emotions so much more than we think. If all you listen to is high tempo, upbeat pop music, you might feel happier but it’s still energetic and active. I’m not suggesting you listen to Bach, Mozart or Beethoven (I mean, you can if you want to), but just go onto Spotify, pop your headphones in, and stick on a classical playlist.

My favourite contemporary classical composer is Yiruma – a Japanese artist. His music is just hauntingly beautiful, and I always feel calm and relaxed when I listen to it.

This tip could probably apply to any music you find relaxes you, but if you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend listening to a bit of pure piano magic.

5. Scream into a pillow

You really do think I’m mad now, don’t you? But I’m serious… In the same way that sometimes you need a good old cry to just get it out of your system, sometimes releasing all of that pent-up anger, upset and frustration is best done by burying your face in a pillow, and screaming loudly. You’d be surprised how much better you can feel afterwards!

So there you have it, my 5 TOP TIPS to cope with stress, and make life just a little bit more manageable!

Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips that you swear by to keep your cool!

Mummies Waiting