Category Archives: Parenting

So what if my baby wears Ralph Lauren from time to time?


My baby boy is one month short of a year and I have finally decided that parenting is a full time job. It is probably the most rewarding and frustrating job you might have, but the benefits are endless and absolutely gob smacking amazing.

When it gets tough, you got no option but to get tougher. When it gets rough, you got no option but to keep going….. and when they get a cold… you get one too eventually. Worst of all is, you can’t call in sick!!! You can call friends and parents, but moaning won’t help, they’ll just tell you “that’s the way it is” and “we have all been through it”.

The big question after all is, “Are you prepared for another one?”.

I have to say that question has been swimming in my head for some time now and there are a lot of mixed emotions. I absolutely love spoiling my child. The old me would have said…”Why do kids have to wear labels, they grow out of their clothes so quickly and it will just be a waste of money?”. I didn’t realise I would  completely cut down spending on myself and just spend on my child. Anything from educational toys, fancy clothes, books and everything in between. Even dinner has become a permanent gourmet session.  Would I have to stop spoiling him when I have a second, because I would have to cut down on spending? Or would it be cheaper as you got some hand-me-downs? Do you have to share your love?

When I hugged my child tonight to put him to bed I thought to myself, thank you God for blessing me with this wonderful baby and for allowing me to become a mom. Lately I have been reading on facebook a lot of messages about how wonderful moms are. I bet a lot of those messages are written by moms. First you don’t really get to appreciate your mom until you have one. You realise how unselfish she really is. To be a mom you have to give freely, everything… literally. I mean I don’t eat half the time cause my son wants my food, even-though it’s the same as his. The best pieces now go to him, everything is reserved and booked and cooked according to the babies needs. The husband also kinda takes a backseat.

What we forget about is how wonderful our kids are and how much satisfaction you get from the little things. My parents and parents in-law are the same as us, all you hear is “Look at him, look what he is doing!” He may have done it 20 times, but it’s just as exciting when you see it happen again and again, until he masters that skill. It’s funny, because we satisfied with just a smile in the beginning and then everything they learn is like a major achievement. Every time my son goes to the toilet to do a number two in the potty I get so super excited and now he even claps for me when he is finished. I don’t see him doing that when he is 20, do you? He will probably be completely embarrassed if he had to read this in the future.

I was saying something to a friend of mine the other day that makes me look at life in a completely different light. Whenever someone ever asked me my age I would say 1 year higher than I was, I was constantly sprinting ahead. When I hit 24 I stopped that habit and now it’s like, “How old am I? Oh, I don’t know! Let’s calculated… 1..2..3…….uhm.. twenty-…?”

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When our children are first born we just super excited about having them and we can’t wait till they can roll-over, sit-up, crawl… etc. We compare them to the other kids their age. We wonder why our kids haven’t learnt to do this or that as quickly as their peers. STOP and slow down.

Do you really want them to grow up so quickly? They won’t be babies anymore.

Do you really think they won’t learn those skills eventually anyway? Of course they will.

Just because Jerry got his first tooth at 4 months and yours at 14 months! So what, did you ask Jerry’s mom how it feels. She was probably totally excited about it when it happened, or maybe under slept and then she realised she has to brush the tooth. 10 months of brushing you didn’t have to do!! Turn the negative thinking into positive thinking and let nature just run it’s course.

Anyway, I enjoy being a mom and wondering if I can repeat it all over again. Oh and who cares if they grow out of the expensive clothes, at least they look cute in them. By the way, you can buy it on SALE :).

My little boy is 7 months old already


IMG-20130503-WA0001It seems like yesterday when Dino came into this world and yet yesterday was his first name day and he recently turned 7 months.

I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by. At Christmas time I had very close friends come over with their 9 month old daughter, I remember thinking to myself how grown up her baby was already. I saw her as a toddler and not as a little baby, which is really strange now because my son is 7 months and I still see him as my little baby. I guess I may always feel that way. I have immensely enjoyed every second of motherhood, yes even the bad times, as I see my son gazing into my eyes for any kind of reaction. Now he just babbles to himself and coos at me from time to time which is ever so sweet. When we wake up in the morning he wants mommy cuddles and he strokes my face, minus the accidental eye poking experience. We laugh, bath and play together endlessly eventhough sometimes I feel I am going to faint from sheer exhaustion.

I realize that giving him specific foods influences his moods also, so I have always tried to be cautious. I gave him grapes yesterday and I just couldn’t keep up with his energy levels which suddenly spiked out of this world. I keep thinking about when we finally decide to have another one how it would feel and how it would fit in with my precious boy and his demand for constant attention. Children are so precious and they really really do change your life in a drastic way, you even can’t watch movies in the same way anymore. This weekend we watch “The Impossible” and all I kept thinking was What is going through that mother’s mind? She is probably clinging onto life and her tired body for her little boy”. I feel sorry for all those people in Oklahoma or in Boston whose kids have been injured in these disastrous events. I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through. Your life is your kids, they are your everything, your heart, your mind, your soul. What would you give to them, I would give them everything of me.

More than ever I feel that nothing else material matters anymore and that the outside world can go on and try and affect me but as long as my child is nearby and healthy I wouldn’t care less.

The there is watching Toy Story 3 when the child is no longer a child but a young adult going to college and the last scene is when the mommy walks into an empty room and realises that this baby is now ready to be a man and eventually he will have his own children. All I can say is, thank god that day is still far away and I still got plenty of time.

Weaning anyone? Feed me mommy!


So I guess there are many ways to wean a baby and this post is not meant to tell you how to do it, but merely inform you on how I have gone about it.

If you are a regular reader you would know that my boy is a sensitive little chap with loads of food allergies in the family, as well as already being really tough to feed I knew this would be a challenge. I had a routine appointment with the paediatrician at the hospital and this is when I asked about weaning. I didn’t get much information at all, they suggested that I go and see a dietician and said that they believed that now that he is over 4 months and given his low weight he should be weaned.

I read a lot of things on the net about allergies and when you should or should not introduce certain foods, a few things are crystal clear and I totally agree with them:

1. Don’t wean your baby if they are younger than 4 months old

2. You should continue breastfeeding if you can, this is still the main food for your baby

3. Don’t wait till your baby is 6 months old to start giving a spoonful of something, they are more likely to become fussy eaters and by this stage your baby should be getting iron and other supplements from other foods as your breastmilk is not enough and if you have waited it means your weaning has to take a faster pace. Some children can do this, while others like my son need more time.

At 4 months and a bit I decided to start giving my baby his first taste of things. Everyone says start with baby rice cause it is easy, well my son didn’t like this at all and we started with banana mash :). One spoonful of it, the next day the same. I did this three days in a row. Then I made potato and did the same, then I did sweet potato and did the same. Every three days I introduced a new food, ever observing my son’s poo and watched out for signs of any allergies. When he had the following range of fruit and veg (apple, carrot, potato, sweet potato, banana, pear and avocado, but i found that was quite heavy), I decided to get the baby rice. I began mixing baby rice with banana and breastmilk (30 /40ml) and feeding him this 1.5 hours after he had his milk.

Mixing this range of food in different combos is limiting, but it allows his tummy to slowly get used to things. When he was around 5.5 months I started giving larger portion s and replaced first one meal at 11am and then another at 7pm. I gave the evening meal as solid with the intention to allow him a better through the night sleep. Although that worked for about a week and a half, my son now does not sleep through the night and wants milk every three hours.weaning

When I began the larger portions I introduced a wider variety of food also (kale, spinach, swede, broccoli, onions, squash, brusselsprouts, cabbage, courgette and watercress) and he has now even had fish and chicken and he is only 6 months. As well as this protein every second day I give my son 1/2 well cooked egg yolk mixed in the food, I started with 1/4 initially. He loves it!

I also introduced two spices oregano and black pepper. He also has been eating blueberries, papaya and mango. I make him juice from carrots, apple and pear. He also just started drinking some mineral water from a sippy cup, which i introduce 4 times a day to get him used to it.

They say using the teat bottle at this age is not appropriate and it can ruin their bite.

We don’t use baby rice any more, my son eats risotto rice which has been pureed slightly. We give him fruit to eat from ripe fruit directly and he feeds himself. He bites pears and bananas, sucks on apples. We bought him his own cutlery with little stoppers so he doesn’t choke, so he can feed himself. We also try to give the food in more chunkier pieces.

My boy is not the heaviest, but he is in the 91% for height. It seems his focus is on growing tall!

I have also introduced the potty, so now he poos in it every day and sometimes wees in it, so I don’t have to change any nasty looking diappies.

I try to make a batch of food in one go, you need a lot of veggies to make food. I try to put 5 different veggies in his evening meal with a bit of rice, which is cooked in breastmilk. In the morning we eat our fruits.

If you think your child might not be allergic to milk then you can go ahead and give them some of those products, but I have seen a lot of kids reacting getting snotty and mucussy and having diarrhoea.

I don’t give any breads, baby cereals, yoghurts, cookies, biscuits, no sugars, no additional salt. I believe all those things have no real nutritional value and they are harmful to your baby. If you are breastfeeding your baby is getting enough calcium and this is confirmed by our paediatrician. Biscuits and such things are just additional gluten products that can allow for candida to grow in your babies bowels and then they will be susceptible to allergies, getting sick etc. You are also teaching your baby their eating habbits for the future, so do be careful what you get them used to. We don’t do snacks at the moment, but when he is older the only snacks will be fruit and such, I would not want to encourage obesity from eating cookies etc. As those cookies will contain sugar even if the baby ones don’t.

This is ofcourse my opinion and my experience, you have the choice to do what you want and enjoy every moment of the journey. Good luck!

All the products that I use are organic, when an organic alternative is not available then we are using what we can to achieve a balanced diet.

One thing I would recommend is to start your baby early if you wish to do baby led weaning, because by the time they are six months they need to extra nutrition. We do a combination of baby led weaning now, but we didn’t do it in the beginning as we wanted to prepare our son’s tummy and bowels for the foods he was about to receive in larger quantities. The set meals are always fed by me and at the end he can eat on his own if he wants to, so I ensure he gets enough of what he needs and if he is interested in something that I am eating I will give him a piece if I think it is ok for him to eat it, he will grab it and put it in his mouth. He doesn’t have any teeth, but he chews really well.

I do not recommend you force your child to eat something, they usually know what they want. If you force them, they might not want to eat it again. So let them guide you to the quantities they feel comfortable to eat. My son eats over 150ml of food during his feeds.

I decided to feed my son my own cooked food because I didn’t trust what was sold commercially and because the ingredients used concentrates etc.

I have really been proud to have fed my son healthy food and to see him flourishing.

Turn the TV on or off for baby?


I have noticed that from birth my son has been fascinated with the moving images on the TV and my ipad. I wondered a lot whether this was really bad for his eyes or in general. So as I always do… I did some research.baby-with-ipad1

Most moms believe that TV is actually good for their babies, as it stimulates their mental development and they are too little to understand or become hooked on it. As long as you not making an excuse of putting the child in front of the TV cause you need it for babysitting. There was however one lady who quoted the following:

The more television that toddlers watch, the more likely they are to have ADHD when they are school age, according to a provocative study in the April 2004 Pediatrics. The study followed more than 2,600 children, initially at ages 1 to 3. The overall rate of ADHD at age 7 was about 10 percent. But for the top 10 to 20 percent of television viewers, the ADHD rate was about 3 times higher – and increased by about 9 percent for every additional hour of daily television watch. This study did not look at different kinds of programs, and certainly does not tell us what caused what. Perhaps kids who already had short attention spans were more drawn to TV. Or their parents were more likely to need the TV for relief. But it’s also possible that exposure to the rapidly shifting images of television during those years of critical brain development changed the way that those brains developed. Until we know more, it is wise to be cautious about excess television viewing in the first 3 years.

Personally I completely disagree with the article above, I think kids who are prone to having ADHD are more likely to get hooked onto the tv screen because they are predisposed in this way.  If you looked into ADHD you will find that these kids can focus on things that are of interest to them, because they are so creative.

They might be good at maintaining focus for a long time when watching TV shows they like, doing art or building Lego models.

When asked why they can pay attention so well for these favored activities and not for other important activities, such as school or work, they often explain that they can pay attention easily on activities that are interesting to them, but cannot make themselves pay attention to tasks that do not really interest them, even when they know it is important. This makes it look like ADHD is a willpower problem, but that is not the case.

I personally think that ADHD is something that is not well understood by the paediatricians and it is a label I like to avoid. A lot of this hyperactivity and lack of concentration is down to nutrition or lack thereof, allergies or behavioural problems attributed by psychological problems at home, school or in the near environment to the child. babyipad

I do however believe that doing everything in moderation and creating a balance is important. Television and electronics are part of our lives now, avoiding these things will probably slow down your child’s development in the long run, because things are all done using these devices. Unfortunately they do however have Electromagnetic Frequencies that may pose some health problems to particularly sensitive children, so do be aware if your kids become restless at night time due to these things you may want to avoid them as the day passes by.

Babies can get scared from the things they see and hear on TV so try and be careful what you show them.

Another writer, Farhad Manjoo, for slate magazine agrees that the research is based on flaky evidence:

—is that really so bad? No, it isn’t. After digging into several studies, I found that there’s little to support a zero-tolerance policy on screen time. First, the prohibition against television for babies is based on shaky evidence. While some studies show television is bad for kids under 2, others present a murkier picture. The evidence against phones, tablets, and PCs is far slimmer. As far as I can tell, there’s no research showing that letting your baby play a game on your phone for a short while will harm him in any way.

 

Week 17 to 20 has been tough


It is unbelievable how quickly time has passed us by. I sat on the couch this evening reminiscing and going through all the “old” photos of my son. I used to take a couple of pictures a day, that has gone down to a few a week now. I like to take more videos as I am recorded the drastic changes in behaviour and movement on a daily basis.

I thought I had it all figured out, feeding times, nappy changes and sleep times. All the things you read about being ready and there, then all of a sudden out of the blue everything changes. Well that did happen to us on week 16/17. My son decided not to sleep and stay awake until 12/1 in the morning. To wake up through the night again and feed every 2 to 3 hours. He also decided that he wanted CONSTANT attention, if you don’t pay him attention then things get worse and tempers rise.

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I found that part so hard, not having a baby taking a proper nap during the day so that I could feed myself, bathe, cook dinner, dress properly and do some housework. No sir! That plan is out!
Instead I’ve been losing weight and when I get a chance I use it to go to the loo :).

Hyperactive you say, well I think the very word is too bleak to describe it. Crying and kicking and fussing and laughing at the same time, definitely not something I fully understand.

I then came across an article of a mom desperately trying to get the message passed along that after week 17 things change and they become more needy with tendencies towards separation anxiety.
I also began looking into the developmental milestones of this age, and I found a really fascinating website.
http://www.babyzone.com/baby/baby-week-by-week/_page-2

My friend also posted a really interesting article about needy children and I also found that pretty informative. http://jessswales.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/high-need-babies.html
It definitely defined my son to a T and I realize now that I need to just keep going at it and I do so with more love and patience.

Just wish I could get some extra sleep.

When can my baby go swimming?


A lot of mommies that I know have wanted to take their kiddies swimming including me. I even went as far as buying the swimming nappies which are now too small for my little man’s butt.

Foam-born baby

Why did I decide to go against it? Well it is a really good thing to have medics in the family who open your eyes to the possibilities of risks out there. The one thing that I do not do is take things for granted and always do my research, so here is a piece of it so that you can decide whether you want to take your baby or when the right time for you is.

By the way many mommies have taken their babies and they have been fine in the long run however their full experiences with their children have not been recorded or observed. For example the rate of illness at home etc. and therefore we have to rely on scientific studies instead of word of mouth to show us what is truly happening.

Dr Howard Reinstein, a pediatrician in Encino, California and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do not take your baby swimming until they are 6 to 12 months old as the babies cannot regulate their body temperature well. Also, he mentions that the bacteria present in the pool can cause diarrhoea and can be very harmful, as well as exposing your vulnerable baby to illnesses.

Otitis in the book of Medical Microbiology – Chapter 93 Infections of the Respiratory System

Infections of the ears are common events encountered in medical practice, particularly in young children. Otitis externa is an infection involving the external auditory canal while otitis media denotes inflammation of the middle ear

The reasons why they occur

The narrow and tortuous auditory canal is lined by a protective surface epithelium. Factors that may disrupt the natural protective mechanisms, such as high temperature and humidity, trauma, allergy, tissue maceration, removal of cerumen and an alkaline pH environment, favor the development of otitis externa. Prolonged immersion in a swimming pool coupled with frequent ear cleansing increases the risk of otitis externa.

Acute otitis media commonly follows an upper respiratory infection extending from the nasopharynx via the eustachian tube to the middle ear. Vigorous nose blowing during a common cold, sudden changes of air pressure, and perforation of the tympanic membrane also favor the development of otitis media. The presence of purulent exudate in the middle ear may lead to a spread of infection to the inner ear and mastoids or even meninges

So the medical books say that an alkaline pH environment does cause otitis, while this something that kids may get during their lifetime it is probably not the best when they are little.

So the result is that you risk your child having a perforated eardrum and potential degradation of their hearing. It is curable with antibiotics of course, which will disturb your babies tummy flora. Definitely not something I would want for a little baby.

Acute otitis media occurs most commonly in young children. The initial complaint usually is persistent severe earache (crying in the infant) accompanied by fever, and, and vomiting. Otologic examination reveals a bulging, erythematous tympanic membrane with loss of light reflex and landmarks. If perforation of the tympanic membrane occurs, serosanguinous or purulent discharge may be present. In the event of an obstruction of the eustachian tube, accumulation of a usually sterile effusion in the middle ear results in serous otitis media. Chronic otitis media frequently presents a permanent perforation of the tympanic membrane. A central perforation of the pars tensa is more benign. On the other hand, an attic perforation of the pars placcida and marginal perforation of the pars tensa are more dangerous and often associated with a cholesteatoma.

In the journal for

Con: Respiratory Risks Associated with Chlorinated Swimming Pools – A Complex Pattern of Exposure and Effects

 The authors studied a cohort of 5,738 children born in 1991–1992 (the ALSPAC cohort) who were followed up until the age of 10 years.

And yet, the idea that chlorination products (CPs) contaminating the air of swimming pools pose no risk to swimmers is increasingly challenged by reports of respiratory problems among swimming pool attendees. Studies conducted in France (2), in The Netherlands (3), and in Italy (4) clearly show that swimming pool workers, and in particular lifeguards and trainers, are at increased risk of developing irritation and asthma symptoms.

It has been known for more than two decades that elite swimmers present a higher prevalence of asthma, rhinitis, and respiratory allergies than do other athletes (68). This poorer respiratory health of swimmers is partly attributable to the selection bias due to the lower asthmagenicity of indoor swimming compared with other sports (8). However, researchers now increasingly acknowledge that these respiratory problems may be caused by chlorine used to disinfect pool water (910). Concern about the dangers of chlorinated pools was really aroused with the finding in a Belgian study that the attendance at indoor chlorinated pools correlated with lung epithelium hyperpermeability and asthma prevalence in schoolchildren.

Consistent with this chlorine hypothesis, an ecological study across Europe has brought to light strong associations between childhood asthma prevalence and the availability of indoor chlorinated swimming pools .

It increasingly appears that chlorinated pools might also promote the development of common upper airways allergic diseases such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis. In a retrospective analysis of a cohort of adults, Kohlhammer and colleagues (20) found that early school pool attendance was associated with an increased risk of hay fever. In our recent study among adolescents, we also found that the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed hay fever increased dose-dependently with the time spent in chlorinated pools. An increased risk of sensitization to aeroallergens, and especially to house dust mite, was observed in adolescents having regularly available outdoor chlorinated pools before the age of 7 years (14), and a similar finding was made in children having ever attended an outdoor pool before the age of 2 years (15). Further complicating the picture, studies in Norway (2122) and Belgium (2324) provide quite consistent data suggesting that attendance at chlorinated pools during infancy increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infection and especially of bronchiolitis. In a recent Belgian study (24), infant swimmers who had bronchiolitis had a much greater risk of developing asthma and respiratory allergies in subsequent years than infants who never swam during infancy.

Another study for the

It was also observed, that infants attending swimming pool during the first year of life have higher frequency of RRI and otitis media (Nystad et al., 2003). 

If you do decide to take your baby swimming follow Dr Sear’s advise:

    • If you want to get your baby used to the water then use the bath and help them do so, find a salt pool and try avoid heavily chlorinated pools. If it smells like chlorine when you walk in, it is way too strong for your baby
    • The pool should be slightly warmed. The tinier the baby, the warmer should be the water. Babies have a large surface area relative to their body weight, so it’s easy for them to get cold. If the temperature is comfortable for you from the moment you enter the water, it’s likely to be comfortable for baby. Limit the amount of time your baby spends in a cold pool – especially when you first start out. You might look into finding a heated pool or spa for baby’s first pool exposure.
    • Avoid pools loaded with chemicals. Pool chemicals are necessary to keep the bacteria count of the water down, but overexposure can be unhealthful to baby. Baby’s skin, eyes, and breathing passages are more sensitive to chlorine than are adults. If you walk into the poolroom and immediately smell chlorine, assume it’s too strong for baby. Try to avoid heavily chlorinated indoor pools. Seek out pools that use the newer ozone filters – these are becoming more common in spas and pools. Ozone-filtered water is clean and very baby-friendly.
    • You must take sensible precautions to protect the pool from babies doing what comes naturally – having a bowel movement in the pool. Use “swim diapers” specifically designed for going in water. Check and clean the diaper area before entering the pool. And it’s best not to take baby into a pool immediately after a feeding when a BM is most likely.
    • Discourage water swallowing, not only for safety’s sake, but in rare circumstances older babies can swallow too much water, which can be harmful to their body’s chemistry. Pool water is for swimming, not drinking.
    • The buoyancy of water brings out freedom of movement. Hold your baby securely underneath the arms and let him enjoy the sensation of movement in lessened gravity. Some tiny babies sense it’s fun to move in water. In our experience, the combination of water exercise and water relaxation often sets baby up to enjoy a nap after pool time.

I could probably bore you with more and more studies suggesting an increased rate of upper respiratory infection etc. but I won’t do that because I think I have armed you with enough knowledge to make your own decision about swimming when you child is still very vulnerable.

I would recommend you start at minimum when the child is 1 year of age and best when your child is over 2 years of age.

Parenting


parentingParenting skills come with experience and also with knowledge transfer. It isn’t always easy to know what to do and sometimes you relying on people, “specialists” to guide you. Sometimes the specialists get it wrong, so what do you have? Parenting instincts, mother’s instinct! Trust it, it is the most powerful thing in the world.

Why?

Because it is formed on love and admiration for your child. It is important to share experiences and many have recognized this and formed parenting / mother and baby groups. Sometimes these have been distorted into an excuse to get out the house and gossip thereby lessening the learning experience. We have now apparently formed classes to teach young mom’s how to play with their children, because somehow those skills never got passed on.

Well don’t worry, there are moms out there like me, who don’t mind sharing 🙂 and there are parents like you who like to read.

Match made in the internet (heaven).