A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

Baby Hip Health Awareness Week – Hoping My Little Girl Won’t Be Affected

In the UK, approx 2000 children a year are diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), which describes a range of conditions from mild instability to total dislocation of the hip. Detecting this early means DDH can often be corrected by simple treatment, but if found later or misdiagnosed it can mean a child requiring hospital stays, operations or even a permanent disability.

As many of my regular readers will know, unfortunately for me, I am in the latter category now. After being diagnosed with DDH as a child I now have a permanent disability with exceptionally limited mobility in one of my hips and a slight discrepancy in the length of one leg compared to the other. (However I am an exception to the norm!)

traction 1

When I had my first daughter I wrote a post entitled Would My Disability Run in the Family? which talked about my experiences as a child through to today and my eldest daughter having to have a hip scan, which thankfully showed as being ok. Now it’s the turn however of my baby girl. We recently attended our local hospital to have the necessary scan and unfortunately on this occassion it hasn’t been as clear cut. The doctors told me that her hips appeared to be sitting high and have asked us to return in 3 weeks time. Apparently this could be due to her being premature and the fact that her adjusted age at the scan is different to that of a baby normally scanned so they are hoping that when they next scan her they will have dropped and everything will be ok. I can but hope! For me it is all too close to home and I don’t want my baby, or any other child for that matter too, going through what I did. That’s why I want to spread the word as much as possible about the importance of hip checks and looking for any signs of problems.

According to the charity STEPS “Many parents felt that there was a lack of information about Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). Parents also reported that there is a lack of awareness about risk factors such as family history.”

This week (11th – 17th March) is Baby Hip Health Awareness Week, a yearly event run by the charity to to raise awareness amongst parents and health professionals of the vital need to check babies’ hips during the first few weeks of life to prevent unnecessary pain and disability in later years.

STEPS have created a Baby Hip Health booklet which explains why baby’s hips are checked at birth, what the tests are and what happens if a problem is found.  It also explains how to keep your child’s hips healthy.

STEPS baby hip health booklet

All babies are physically examined after they are born and checking the hip joint is part of this examination but hip tests are not 100% accurate and in childhood dislocated hips are not always visible or painful, so STEPS have also created a poster “5 Ways to Check Your Baby’s Hips” which highlights any signs that may indicate that further investigation is needed.

STEPS baby hip health poster

Tight swaddling and spending long periods of time in baby car seats used can also hinder normal hip development.

As with my girls, some babies are more at risk of developing DDH. The risk factors are:

  • Genetic factors (ie someone in the immediate family has also had a developmental problem with a hip).
  • Position of the baby during pregnancy ie a breech presentation.
  • A multiple birth

If your baby is in either of the groups above, they should have an ultrasound examination before 6 weeks old as we have had to. Hopefully for the majority of people there won’t be any issues or any problems can be corrected easily. However if you have a child with a hip condition or require support or information you can contact the STEPS Helpline on 01925 750271 or email info@steps-charity.org.uk Alternatively visit their website www.steps-charity.org.uk My family have found the charity a huge help over the years as the stories and advice in their newsletters have provided much reassurance and support. I hope others can take full advantage and feel the same.

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My Birth Story Second Time Round: Siblings

Prior to baby arriving I had been so worried about how my daughter would feel about her baby sister and how the dynamics of our family and life in general would change. For the last two and a half years my daughter has been my sole focus and the centre of my world. I suddenly felt a sense of guilt that she would have to share her mummy and daddy and this in turn made me worry about my acceptance of my new baby. However I needn’t have worried…

I’ve had no bonding problems whatsoever with baby, and toddler has been great so far. She loves her baby sister and is very affectionate towards her, asking where she is every morning, saying how beautiful she is and giving her lots of kisses, which is lovely.

I think talking about baby’s arrival and buying bedtime story books about new babies really helped prepare our daughter for her sister’s arrival. We also stressed what a fantastic big sister she was going to be and since baby’s arrival we have involved her with things, such as asking if she wants to help at bathtime etc. I think the fact that people keep buying her presents too is probably helping a lot too!!!

However in the last week I have noticed that my toddler is starting to seek my attention more, despite me desparately trying to ensure they both get equal attention. We have had a few mood swings and sulks and lack of cooperation (probably not much more than an average toddler would display anyway). I’ve even been called “nasty mummy” out of the blue and for no reason. However so far her attitude towards her sister hasn’t changed, she constantly wants to cuddle her on the sofa  and give her kisses. Any negativity there is (small as it is) seems directed at me, which I guess I can take, after all she knows I love her, I am constantly telling her this and displaying my affection. It’s just a transitional period during which she’s adapting to the huge change and as a toddler this is her way of displaying her feelings.

I know things are never going to be perfect and I am very sure we will have our moments but at present I’m quite happy with the way my daughter has accepted her baby sister and generally behaved. I can only hope that her attitude directly towards her sister remains positive and that her attitude overall doesn’t change any further.

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Friday Favourite: The Savoy!

This week I have a rather unusual Friday Favourite to share with you all.

This week my Friday Favourite is something that has saved me from the most extreme pain and enabled me to have a little more sleep…

This week my Friday Favourite is….

The Savoy Cabbage!

image_riviera_savoy_cabbage

No I haven’t lost it completely! I promise!

I am trying to wean off breastfeeding and move towards bottles with my little girl. However I learnt this week that I really have to do this gradually and can’t go cold turkey!

Last time I came off breastfeeding I was more established and my daughter was starting to wean so dropping her bottles too. However this time my body must be so confused as I am still building my milk supply and consequently I have had the most painful breasts!

In desperation I asked around and read up on what’s the best way to stop breastfeeding and I was told all about the wonderful Savoy Cabbage!

Since the early 1800’s cabbage leaves have been recommended to reduce swelling in moderate to severe engorgement and cabbage compresses have been used to reduce the swelling in sprains and broken bones. There isn’t much research but published studies and anecdotal reports seem to support the view that it can reduce breast engorgement.

Cabbage is known to contain sinigrin (allylisothiocyanate) rapine, mustard oil, magnesium, oxylate and sulphur heterosides and herbalists believe that cabbage has both antibiotic and anti irritant properties. It’s thought that this mix of natural ingredients helps reduce tissue congestion by opening small blood vessels which improves the blood flow in the area.

Whatever the science behind it one thing is for sure it does work! It saved me from being soooo uncomfortable and that is why the simple Savoy Cabbage is my Friday Favourite!

Respect to the Savoy!

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My Birth Story Second Time Round: The First Month (Part 2) – The Feeding Challenge

I decided to try breastfeeding again this time. I managed it for four and a half months with my toddler and do agree that it gives babies a great start, as well as being cheap and at times relatively easy. I say “at times” and use the word “relatively” as breastfeeding can be very, very hard and I have to say I have found it hard this time.

I always prepared myself for the fact that I would likely combination feed, if not stop completely as I know how time consuming and demanding breastfeeding can be and couple that with a demanding existing child and you can imagine the picture! I have found this to be the case this time!

Baby clusterfed all night most nights for the first week at least and after that I was up for huge periods of the night, so by the end of week two I was exhausted. My body was physically shaking and I felt like I had a bucket on my head, I was so tired I couldn’t take in what people were saying, everything was just echoey and almost distorted. I realised there was no way I could be awake all night and function to look after a toddler the next day, so I introduced an evening bottle of formula to try to see baby through the night a little more and it did work.

The day my husband returned to work I realised I also couldn’t exclusively breastfeed during the day, as my daughter was wanting me to play and demanding my attention, but baby was also demanding my attention and feeding constantly. I kept having to tell my daughter to “hold on” and found myself saying “mummy won’t be a minute” or “mummy can’t right now darling” and this made me get a bit emotional as I felt like piggy in the middle and bad that I couldn’t give my daughter the attention she has always had from me. So I have also introduced a bottle or two during the day too to fill baby up and reduce the time spent with on / off breastfeeding, as well as an additional bottle during the night. I guess I could officially say I am at present combination feeding, but potentially heading towards solely bottle feeding.

I am one for structure and being organised, even though hubby calls me organised chaos! I like to know where I am and what to expect and I have felt this time with breastfeeding that I am totally disorganised and can’t plan my day like I want to and effectively plan in quality time with my toddler too. So this is probably another reason for my decision.

I’ve got mixed feelings about moving from breast to bottle. I don’t feel pressure or guilt in any way, it is certainly the best option for me and so far I have given her over a month of breast milk. I am probably more gutted that I now have to wash and sterilise loads of bottles and constantly buy formula! I am also feeling the pain! My breasts have been really engorged and I’ve even resorted to the Savoy Cabbage tactic to try and ease the pain (have to say it seems to have worked a bit!)

It’s early days in the combination feeding stakes and I am still trying to find a structure in breast v’s bottle feeds, as I keep mapping it out but then baby wants more food and I end up popping her on the breast for a quick thirst quencher if the bottle isn’t due or ready, which then has a knock on effect on the next feeding time,  but we’ll see how we get on… You would hope that things will only get easier!?!

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My Birth Story Second Time Round: The First Month (Part 1) – C-Section Recovery

Wow! My baby girl is a month old now! Where did that go?!

This first months seems to have absolutely flown by!

I was in hospital for the first four days and on returning home found my recovery harder than expected. I was fortunate enough to have my hubby around for the first 3 weeks and I am soooo glad for that!

I know that c-sections aren’t easy to recover from, having been there before. However this time round I was getting a lot of pain beyond what I probably should have and found it very hard to move. Then I discovered a small raised area above my scar on the left so I called the midwives and they arranged for a midwife to come and see me on an emergency appointment (as it was a weekend). The midwife was lovely but didn’t know if it was scar tissue or an infection so she kept me on beyond the normal discharge period and came regularly over 3 or 4 days and also called me to see how I was managing. Luckily by day 4 the pain had subsided compared to what it had been and I was discharged.

However the raised area was still there and a bit tender and a few days later I had a heavier bleed than I had been having and ended up on the phone to the labour ward, who said they wanted to see me immediately. Only problem was it was 11pm at night, I couldn’t drive, hubby had had a drink and we of course had the kids in bed anyway. Unbelievably everyone else I called had had a drink too! All my options to get to the hospital were out and it wasn’t even a weekend! I then called a local taxi firm, who said they had no cars available and wouldn’t for quite a while. Couldn’t believe my luck! However my amazing neighbour came to my rescue bless her and drove me there, even waiting for me for an hour and driving me home! (I bought her a big bottle of wine the next day!)

The outcome of my trip back to the labour ward was that there was no immediate sign of infection, but they couldn’t be sure and gave me antibiotics just to rule out anything that could be brewing. I have to say I think there probably had been an infection as a week later and the raised area had gone and I was moving around so much easier!

The first couple of weeks didn’t see much happening due to my recovery period, but seeing that I was starting to climb the walls, my hubby decided to get me out in the car in my second week and we headed to our local Mothercare to get me measured for a nursing bra. However this one little trip was enough for me as only parking up right outside, walking in and coming out again nearly finished me off! By week 3 I managed a short walk with hubby and the girls and in week 4 ventured further, walking to a friends house near where we live. It was great to get out and about and to finally start getting used to going out on my with my girls and looking after them on my own.

As I write this 5 weeks have gone by and things feel much easier, I have no pain or pulling. However I feel 2-3 weeks behind in the whole caring for my girls and getting used to having two. I’ve only actually done half a dozen bath times on my own with both girls and left the house 3 times on my own with them both. Everything is taking such a long time! The first morning I got up on my own with them both took me two hours to get me showered and dressed, them up, washed and dressed and all of us breakfast! I haven’t got an exact bedtime routine down as such, I’ve been trying a few different things but am proud to say that so far I have got tea / bottle, bathtime and bedtime all done in good time and my baby has been seen to and put down in her basket in good time to enable me to keep my toddler’s bedtime to the same timeframe and straucture. We will see how long this lasts but not too bad so far!

Being disabled I have felt a strain on my back and hips when we have been out as I am lifting two and pushing a bigger pushchair etc but I am hoping that, along with timing too everything will just fall into place and become quite natural and hopefully easier!

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Friday Favourite – Supabath

I was dreading having to bathe my first little girl on my own once my husband went back to work. I’ve got a bad back and hips and had to have a c-section so was really worrying how I would manage.

I did a lot of research into the products that were out there and came across the Supabath from Mothercare, which was a god send then and is proving the same this time round having just had my daughter!

So this week my Friday Favourite is the Supabath

supabath

This is a fantastic product that sits over the top of the bath meaning its raised height makes bathtime a whole lot easier. There’s less need for bending over and I can easily hold my little girl and lift her in and out. The bath doesn’t slide under my taps when it was level with the bath sides but if we tip it ever so slightly we can slide it under and still fill the bath easily and then just tip it slightly again to slide it back without losing any water. We also have a shower head on my bath so can fill it with this too if needed. The Supabath has a handy little plug in the bottom that you just push up and it allows the water to be released easily into the bath below. Only downside is you have to hold it while the water drains, it could have down with a catch or some element to enable it to stay open while the water drains.

The Supabath can be used for at least the first 2-4 months of your baby’s life (depending on the size of your child). I would definitely recommend it to any parents out there! Especially if you are recovering from a c-section!

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Carry on Constipation is still… erm… carrying on!

Any regular readers of my blog may have read my post OMG Carry on Constipation, about issues we were having with our toddler. I wrote the post back in October 2012, about the trials and tribulations of a toddler with constipation and just how much it affects their behaviour and eating.

We had been prescribed laxatives by the health visitor and at the time I hadn’t wanted to give her them too much as I wasn’t sure if it was going to have any long-term implications. Things seemed to briefly improve but it wasn’t long before we were back to the same old cycle of her holding it in, writhing and rocking on the sofa, refusing to play, complaining she was tired and not eating properly.

We discovered however that if we could get her to stand up for a couple of minutes, she would eventually go as she couldn’t hold it in any longer. Whilst this seemed a quick fix it was soon apparent that it was probably having an even more negative effect as she was so traumatised and upset by it, it seemed to be making her worse so we stopped forcing the situation too much.

I had an appointment with the health visitor in January to discuss in more detail and to hopefully find a solution but with our little girl arriving 5 weeks early I ended up in hospital instead so we had a couple more weeks before we could deal with the issue.

We’ve met with the health visitor a few weeks ago and they prescribed a powder laxative to put in her drinks that not only acts as a laxitive but also helps treat the bowl and get it back into it’s regular routine and condition. However, my daughter only drinks water and immediately sussed there was something in her drink and refused to drink it. My husband persevered in trying to give it to her but I became worried that she was going to stop drinking water completely and I would then have a dehydrated daughter on my hands too so I made him stop and we sought further advice.

The health visitor told us to put it in her milk as she wouldn’t taste it in that. However (yes, another however!) We had stopped putting my daughter’s milk in a bottle to encourage her to drink it from a cup instead, and being the stubborn toddler she is she was, after two weeks, STILL refusing to drink the milk. The health visitor told us to go back to the bottle, which we did, but unbelievably she refuses to drink the milk out of a bottle too now!

At our wits end and having tried the tactics suggested for several days we called the health visitor yet again who came out to see us. She told us we can put the powder in things like soup, yoghurt and custard, or her cereal milk / porridge, so we have been doing this and thank god it has worked! We had also gone back to a basic, syrup laxative when we hadn’t been able to get the powder into her and have been giving her this via a syringe, which she has been taking fine.

After a week or so of the syrup and a couple of days of adding the powder also, we seemed to be getting results and our daughter started going more regularly and without tears or any pain, albeit with the occassional help from us, such as stretching out getting undressed at bed or bath time (meaning she had to stand up) and going for walks / soft play etc. Fabulous, we thought, we are on to a winner!…. or maybe not!

My daughter has the most unbelievable will power! Even with 3 doses of laxative a day she seems to be able to once again hold her bowels! As I write this we have had 2 days without a poo, with my daughter laid on the sofa, staring at the TV, refusing to play, complaining she’s tired and that her tummy hurts, as well as having some great tantrums! You can visibly see her holding it and how uncomfortable she is. We have sat and time and time again explained to her that it is better for her to let herself go when she feels the need than hold it in, we’ve explained that’s why her tummy hurts and that the longer she holds it the worse the pain and the harder it will be to go etc etc. However, being two years old she either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to understand or listen!

She cries and demands her nappy is changed when she has gone, so obviously doesn’t like the feel of it in her nappy, however she flatly refuses to use a potty or toilet and gets hysterical. It’s becoming apparent that she is actually getting a phobia of poo as she has started getting upset when we change her sister’s nappy (which being that of a newborn is constantly of a brown variety!)

All we can do at present is persevere with the laxatives and keep trying to encourage her, but I am at my wits end and dreading hubby going back to work in the next week or two as it is a long, long day when she is like this and factor in a newborn to the equasion I feel I may be climbing the walls! lol!

Has anybody else experienced this? Any advice or suggestions would be hugely welcome!

x

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Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

During both my pregnancies I really, really struggled to sleep. They say that it’s all preparing you for the sleepless nights that are to come, and whilst that’s lovely I would have preferred to just have had the sleep prior and dealt with the sleeplessness once it arrived! lol!

During my first pregnancy I got insomnia in the last few months and would sit up on facebook or watch telly at ungodly hours, only to fall alseep at the crack of dawn shortly before I needed to get up for work! However on the plus side, I could come home from work and just go to bed if I wanted, or have a massive long lie in at the weekend.

This time round… no such luck! When you have a toddler you have no time for lies in or resting once you get home from work. The tiredness can really, really, really catch up with you! This time round I had trouble sleeping from 8 weeks onwards! I was surviving on average with 4 hours sleep a night and was so run down and tired by the time my little girl came.

As my regular readers will know in each pregnancy I no sooner finished work for my maternity leave than my baby arrived! First time my daughter came at 37 weeks and this time round my little girl arrived 5 weeks early. So R&R didn’t really happen for me during my so called maternity leave and sleep was once again very limited, but this time due to night feeds!

I did try lots of things…

Going to bed early

I struggle with going to bed too early, as I feel my evenings are my “me” time so by the time I have put my daughter to bed and had my tea it’s often not that early anyway. However many mums I know swear by going to bed really early to get a good night’s sleep.

HorlicksHot milky drinks like Horlicks before bedtime

A milky drink is nice and enjoyable and is certainly better than a cup of tea or coffee, which has caffeine and will keep you awake.

A warm lavender scented bath

Yes, you can’t beat a bath for winding down and making you feel refreshed and relaxed.

Not watching television or being on the laptop too close to bedtime

I can see the arguments for this, as your mind is active and concentrating on what you have just been watching or doing. Many people say that reading is better for you, however I am not always sure as in my view your mind is still concentrating on what you are reading. In my mind you would be better going to bed and listening to some calming music or even ding relaxation techniques or meditation.

Using a pregnancy cushion (during my pregnancy), such as the Dream Genii  or general cushions to support my bump and back

Cushions are every woman’s best friend during pregnancy! I have had the Dream Genii and it did support me to a certain extent, however after a while my hip did ache (but this is probably due to the way the pillow supported it and the way my hip sits due to my disability). When the Dream Genii didn’t work for me I surrounded myself by normal pillows at the front and back and these supported me just as much… just wish our bed was bigger!

Using a scented room spray, such as the Cussons Mum & Me Relax & Unwind Sleep Mistcussons mum and me sleep mist

The lovely people from Cussons Mum & Me were kind enough to send me some of their Relax & Unwind Sleep Mist to try when they heard I was having trouble sleeping. I have used Sleep Mists before and this one did smell lovely and combines Camomile and Lavender to help you unwind. I have to confess, during my pregnancy, it didn’t send me into an instant slumber, however I don’t think a sledgehammer frankly would have done that, but it did have an initial calming aroma and seemed to help me sleep a bit better once all the pregnancy side effects had gone.

I’d love to hear any of my readers top tips for getting a good night’s sleep as I am sure over the coming months of night feeds I will be implementing many of the above tactics and any new ones would certainly be welcomed!

Disclaimer: this is NOT a spponsored post. No payment was received for writing this post. A Cussons Mum & Me Sleep Mist product sample was received to try but the views are entirely my own.

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Happy Blogiversary to Me!

one year blogiversary

Today is my one year Blogiversary! I’ve lasted a whole year so far and what a year it has been!

I’ve met the most amazing people, the parent blogging community really are a fantastic group of people and whilst I haven’t yet made it to Britmums Live or Blog Camp to meet people in person, I feel like I know so many people really well. Everyone has been so, so supportive and there are so many wonderful, creative, funny, inspiring and kind-hearted people out there in the parent blogging community (too many to mention individually!). It has been a pleasure and an honour to be welcomed into it!

During this first year I’ve enjoyed not only sharing my own experiences and views, but also actively getting involved in the blogging community to help support some wonderful causes, such as Blogitforbabies, ONE Thrive Food. Farming. Future Campaign and Netmums United Kindmums to mention a few. I also joined forces with the lovely Tea & Biscotti to launch and coordinate our own blogging campaign called Blogging4Madeleine where we got over 40 bloggers to join forces with us worldwide in releasing posts on madeleine’s birthday last year.

My Blogging4Madeleine post remains my number one post on my blog followed closely by the ONE Thrive post, Making Over a Big Girl’s Room for My Little Girl and 30 Things You Should Know in Your Second Pregnancy. My reviews and book posts are also popular too.

Madeleine McCann, Aquadoodle, Minnie Mouse Bedroom and Pregnancy rate high in searches that brought people to my blog. The most random searches being telephone in the wash and toilet grandma! No idea how these terms brought them to me but hey ho!

I didn’t quite know where I was heading when I set out blogging and my posts have been varied from posts about family life, challenges we’ve encountered, experiences and days out we’ve had, products and books we like or have tried, as well as posts supporting good causes and charities. I am really enjoying my little blog and am learning new things every day! I’ve ventured into the world of Google+ and Twitter for a start!

In my first year I’ve had around 25,000 views to my little old blog and received over 1,000 comments which I know may not be as huge as some other blogs out there, but I am pleased with what I have achieved.

I am thrilled to have been nominated in the MAD Blog Awards this year. It feels like a real sense of acknowledgement. I am up against some amazing blogs and to be honest I don’t expect to win, but to simply receive a nomination alongside so many other amazing bloggers is enough for me!

It’s been a great first year and I just wanted to say a big thank you to all my readers for their wonderful support! I’m looking forward to a new year and a new chapter in my blog following the birth of our second daughter and hope you’ll join me for the ride!

x

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Valentines Dedication

Valentines Day

With it being Valentines Day today I wanted to write a short post dedicated to the very special man in my life, my Hubby.

As regular readers of my blog will know, the last few months have been particularly hard with a tiring pregnancy, shock early arrival of our little girl and hard recovery post c-section. However through it all my hubby has been my rock. He’s had a considerable period off work with paternity and holiday, during which he has taken on so much and run around after myself, our toddler and newborn for the best part of a month.

I don’t know what I would do without him and whilst I can have my moody irritable moments, where it may not seem how much I appreciate what he does, I want him to know that I do very much appreciate it and I love him so much.

This post is dedicated to you hubby, happy Valentines Day, thank you for being there and for all your support, I love you so much

xxx

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