The Tired Mummy Chicken Pox Survival Kit

img_1877Isaac has Chicken Pox! It has been 3 years since the pox last hit our house. Henry had it in the summer so we basically lived in the garden for a week. Unfortunately, it is a tad too chilly in February to be spending our days in the garden. The pox has been at nursery for a few weeks but up to now Isaac had avoided it but not anymore! I got the phone all from nursery yesterday afternoon to say could I collect him. This morning it is very clear that it is Chicken Pox.

Henry took chicken pox in his stride. He was happy as long as he wore a long sleeved cricket top and a fleece jumper.

Isaac on the other hand is Isaac. Nothing is ever plain sailing. A 15 minute battle to put camomile lotion on is testament to that. I have a feeling it is going to be a very long day, especially as Henry and Daddy are off to watch the new Star Wars movie after school. Typically the pox has arrived when Martin and I had plans for the weekend – tickets for the Calcutta Cup (Scotland v England) in the Six Nations Rugby.

So here is my survival kit and how I intend to cope over the next few days: plenty of tea, antihistamine, infant paracetamol, calamine cream, slings (my Opitai and preschool Connecta Baby Carrier Solar), suck pads for the straps of the carriers, my Boba Hoodie and copious amounts of chocolate, oh and the TV/iPad.


The antihistamine, calamine cream and the infant paracetamol are to help treat the Isaac’s symptoms. The antihistamine and calamine cream to stop the itching, and the paracetamol to treat his temperature. The slings allow me to care for his needs and want to be held. When children are poorly they want and need comfort. The Opitai is a custom size wrap conversion and the Connecta is made from the lightweight Solar fabric. Both are soft and non-irritating on his already “scratchy mummy” skin. The Boba Hoodie allows us to walk the dog and get some fresh air (yes I am as tired as I look) while both staying warm. He is refusing to get dressed in anything other than the fleece pyjamas he got for Christmas. The chocolate and tea are for me (although he has already spied the chocolate). The iPad and TV are keeping him entertained and helping him to forgot that he wants to scratch. The car will probably be coming into use too so that I can get him to sleep (he is pretending in the photo of Boba Hoodie).

 

What is your top tip for coping with Chicken Pox? I’d love him to have an oat bath but so far the idea of him going in bath or shower is apparently abhorrent.

Gideon’s Story

This piece is the third installment of our series looking at how babywearing and carrying is more than just being about the sling and how it can help families who have babies and children with additional needs. It is written by Rae, a Mum of Three. I have ‘known’ Rae for the majority of my own carrying journey as we are both members of the Natural Mamas forum and we shared our own pregnancy journey’s on its pregnancy sub forum. Here Rae will explain how using a sling helped her care for and bond with her third son. When Gideon was born he was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome or (PWS). 

At birth babies with PWS are usually very floppy (hypotonia) and this means they often cannot suck properly, have a weak cry and often do not have a full range of movement. It is a genetic disorder that is typically not diagnosed until baby has been born, although lack of movement in utero can be associated with the condition. There have been research studies undertaken to investigate if fetal ultrasound scanning can be used to help diagnose the condition but currently 99% of cases are diagnosed via genetic testing.

Continue reading

How carrying helped one child with Juvenile Arthritis.

The next blog in our series of carrying babies and children with additional needs is written by Kirsty. I was lucky enough to meet Kirsty quite early on in her carrying journey as she visited the sling library for help and support. In 2014, her little girl was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. born to carry.jpgSince Olivia’s diagnosis Kirsty has trained as a babywearing peer supporter with Born to Carry.

Juvenile Arthritis is an umbrella term that is used to describe “many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions or paediatric rheumatic diseases that can develop in children under the age of 16”(http://www.arthritis.org). Diagnosis can take several months.

In this blog Kirsty explains how babywearing has helped her care for Olivia as well as details of how she was diagnosed. Thank you for sharing your experiences Kirsty.

I will let Kirsty take over her story here: Continue reading

Using a sling after a Caesarean section – can you do it?

One of the most common questions I am asked or see posted on babywearing forums and Facebook groups is: “Can I use a sling I have had a caesarean?” and the answer is quite simple. It is probably yes. Despite what woman may have planned or hoped for 1 in 4 babies born in England are delivered via Caesarean Section (CS). The 2013-14 NHS Maternity Statistics for England show that of 646,904 deliveries, 166,081 of these (or 26.2%) were caesarean section, with 13% conducted via emergency section. Therefore there are many mums who potentially want to use a sling to carry their baby who are no scared that they can’t now do so.

2 weeks post EMCS
 

Firstly, I am not a medical practitioner, I am a babywearing consultant and sling librarian who has worked with many mums who have had caesareans and helped them to find ways to carry their babies comfortably and most importantly safely. If you are in any doubt you must always consult your Midwife or GP. What I will consider are the ways in which we can look at carrying after a caesarean.

The recovery rate after a  CS is generally longer (NHS Choices) and the fact it is major surgery can make mums apprehensive about using a carrier. The key with carrying after a caesarean is to carry “high and tight” to avoid the scar. Incidentally, the high and tight rule applies to mums who have had a vaginal delivery too. Simply having a vaginal delivery does not mean you are ok to carry.  For example it is thought that 5 in 10 women who have had children have some degree of prolapse but that only 1 or 2 women in every 10 seek medical advice due to the sensitive nature of the condition (www.patient.info).  Other post-partum complications such as haemorrhage and tearing can leave women who have had a vaginal delivery feeling weak. Therefore there is no blanket rule to state having a vaginal delivery means you can use a sling or having a caesarean means you cannot. The amount of time post partum where a woman feels comfortable and capable of carrying will vary from mother to mother, there is no ‘set’ time. Listen to your own body.

Using a sling allows new mothers to get out. A social support network is important.
 

Women who have had a caesarean delivery will typically spend 3-4 days in hospital although this can be as little as 24 hours. Women who have had a caesarean section should resume activities such as driving a vehicle, carrying heavy items, formal exercise and sexual intercourse once they have fully recovered (including pain). This means that many women will not be ready to strenuous activity until after 6-8 weeks. This does not mean that women should be confined to the house and using a sling or carrier allows them to undertake gentle exercise such as walking. Gentle exercise should be encourage to avoid clots (NHS Choices) forming. This will also help woman to start building up muscles again. Using the sling can stop mothers from bending unnecessarily. Keeping baby close can stop you from having to keep picking them up from their Moses basket or crib.


Time and care should be used when placing baby in the sling to ensure the mother engages her pelvic floor and core muscles. 30% of postnatal women will have some form of stress incontinence after birth. The ability for mothers who have had a caesarean to use is a sling is particularly important as they are unable to carry anything heavier than their baby. This therefore means they should not lift car seats or or even push heavy travel systems and prams. The NICE guidelines recommend early skin to skin contact for mothers who have caesarean deliveries (2004). Skin to skin contact has also been shown to help emotional attachment between mother and child, as well as being beneficial in promoting breast milk production both which can be hindered by caesarean deliveries, typically as because their can be a delay in offering breast. Using a sling allows them to get out and start to socialise and help with mental wellbeing and help reduce risk of post natal depression. This ability to socialise is encouraged by NICE and postnatal care should encourage mothers to have a social network of support. (NICE Pathways)

Using a sling or carrier can play a crucial role in allowing a mother to regain her strength and posture after the birth. The key is to listen to your body and to build up the amount of carrying you do. Your body will develop muscle strength and get used to carrying your baby. Do not assume you will be able to carry for hours straight away. Your postnatal body will need time to adjust and remember you will still have increased levels of Relaxin in your system, especially if you are breastfeeding. Even if you do not feel capable of using the sling it could be used to help the emotional bond between baby and other caregivers

There is no right or wrong sling to use after a caesarean section. In all cases care should be used and it is beneficial to select those which do not sit lower on the mothers’ abdominal muscles and can place pressure on their stomach and scar. Typically these are those with structured waistbands although ideally these should be worn on the wearers waist above hips and far away from scar. I have fitted all manner of slings to mothers after a caesareans. These have included ring slings, wraps (woven or stretchy) and even buckle carriers. We are simply wanting to keep the sling away from the scar tissue and stitches.

If you want to carry and are unsure of the most comfortable way to do so it is worth having a consultation with a babywearing consultant as they will have the time , knowledge and experience to help you find carries which are comfortable. Remember there is no date by which you must have started carrying. You should only begin using a sling when you feel comfortable, do not rush your body. If you want your baby to get used to being carried in a sling ask your partner, grandparent or even a friend to carry them for you.


References and links

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/caesarean-section/pages/recovery.aspx

Click to access pi-pelvic-organ-prolapse.pdf

http://pathways.nice.org.uk/pathways/postnatal-care#content=view-node%3Anodes-first-week&path=view%3A/pathways/postnatal-care/care-of-women-and-their-babies.xml

http://pathways.nice.org.uk/pathways/caesarean-section#content=view-node%3Anodes-care-after-caesarean-section

http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG132/chapter/1-Guidance#care-of-the-baby-born-by-cs

 

Slings made me the Mother I am

Today is my 6th Mothers Day as a Mummy. My two beautiful boys are my world. Back in 2010 I was still at the start of my carrying journey and it was my first Mothering Sunday. My baby boy was just 7 weeks old. I was yet to discover the mass array of slings and carriers available. I was muddling through  motherhood the best I could and learning on the job.



Henry at 7 weeks old



Unlike birds our babies cannot sit quietly in a nest. They are not like four legged mammals who can get straight up and walk and run with their mum from birth; they want to be held. They turn their feet towards each other to hold on, they grasp with their tiny hands. Babies are a clinging young. They need us and want us. Slings became my secret weapon to let me meet their needs (and hey mine – it meant I got to eat a meal while it was still hot for example). I didn’t need slings to be a mum but once I did discover them they definitely made me the mum I am. Slings and breastfeeding my babies (both till way over a year) became part of who I am. If they needed soothing because they were tired or upset these became my tools to calm them: Without them I think I would have gone mad. 



I was muddling through motherhood the best I could and learning on the job.

Six years down the line slings are part of me. I have lost count of how many I have owned, holidayed and simply tried but they remain a constant. This week my youngest (2 years 10 months as the prescription form informed me yesterday) had an operation. A relatively minor operation to help his breathing overnight by removing his tonsils and adenoids (he was diagnosed just before Christmas with Obstructive Sleep Apneoa). However, the operation still required a general anaesthetic and a night in hospital. He is still feeling pretty rough five days later. While waiting nil by mouth for his operation he asked for a cuddle in the sling. 



Not the best FWCC I have ever done but post-op if got Isaac settled and back to sleep.



In the recovery room coming around from his anaesthetic he was screaming “Mummy ing” (he struggles with first sounds of words) over and over, back on the ward upset and feeling sore he asked for “ing” before falling asleep. That night when tired but scared because he was in a strange place he was wrapped to go to sleep and when I transferred him to the hospital cot he wrapped himself back up in the wrap using it like a blanket. We have had lots of sling cuddles since we got home. Slings to us both mean security and reassurance. They are also practical for me. He wants to be held but he is 14kg my arms simply won’t let me hold him for the length of time he wants to be held. 

I did not need a sling to be a Mum, I probably could have muddled through without slings but I know they have made my life simpler and less stressful. I cannot imagine the start of my boys lives without them.

Motherhood to me means responding to my boys needs first and foremost; slings (and mummy milk) were my means to do this. Happy Mother’s Day to mummies everywhere. Treasure your babies for they for they don’t stay babies long. But they will always need their mum.