AUTUMN 2017 €3.75/ £3.30
ONLINE SAFETY Keeping the kids safe
PLAY THERAPY WHO IS IT FOR?
FEEDING SPECIAL FROM BREAST TO WEANING
TIPS FOR JUNIOR INFANTS
9 772009 193014
maternity&infant Awards 2017
PLUS LUNCHBOX IDEAS * AUTUMN HEALTH * NEW SEASON FASHION
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FAMILY BREAK IN RADISSON BLU, LIMERICK! PAGE 57
On the cover
THE BURNING TOPIC: ONLINE SAFETY Children are going online earlier and earlier, and there are positive aspects to this. But are we doing enough to keep them safe?
FERTILITY & IVF In an exclusive extract from her new book, PROFESSOR MARY WINGFIELD takes us through the IVF process, step by step.
FEEDING SPECIAL From starting breastfeeding to weaning, we answer some of your common feeding questions.
BIG SCHOOL! Got a Junior Infant in the house? Read on for our top tips from our readers to navigate the year with ease. PLAY THERAPY Who or what is play therapy for? Could it help your child? We take a closer look at the benefits of play therapy.
PELVIC GIRDLE PAIN It’s surprisingly common and not very pleasant. TARA CORRISTINE looks at pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy and asks what we can do about it.
PRODUCT GUIDE TO HIGHCHAIRS Do you really need a high chair? And should you go plastic or wooden? Is there much difference between one costing €20 and one costing €200? We take a look…
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT… HEAD LICE Be prepared for that inevitable letter this new school season – here’s what to do if you suspect or see lice in your child’s hair. Anyone else feeling itchy?
MATERNITY From stylish office wear to stealing gorgeous autumnal pieces, we have all the best maternity fashion here. BABY & CHILD The very sleepsuits and comfy tracksuits for your pre-schooler, this is your guide to dressing your little ones this season!
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2 AUTUMN 2017
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TODDLER SAFETY is your house toddlerproof? More importantly, is your house safe for a determined toddler?! JEN HOGAN tells us how… IMPORTANCE OF SHOWING AFFECTION Should you be ‘toughening up’ your child or showing them plenty of love and affection. KEN PHELAN asked the question and found out the latter is the preferred option… FOREST SCHOOLS What are forest schools and are they a real alternative to traditional pre-schools? ANDREA MARA investigates.
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BACK TO EDUCATION It’s not just the kids heading back to school, plenty of mums are thinking of heading back after maternity leave. So what are your options? FAMILY BUDGETING When you have a family, running out of money mid-month is no joke. We chat to MABS about how best to budget for a family.
MUMMY MY WAY One reader tells us her experience of having an ECMO baby.
DAD’S DIARY NICK WILKINSON’s small daughter gives him a lesson on how to deal with bad behaviour.
BLOG WE LOG What made us laugh or cry in blogland this season.
TOP TEN What’s on our shopping list this season.
NEWS All the latest news, reviews and products.
BOOTS MATERNITY & INFANT AWARDS 2017 A peek behind the scenes at our judging this year…
ANNABEL KARMEL Jazz up your kids’ lunchboxes with these great recipes.
AUTUMN HEALTH SPECIAL All your autumn health advice in one place.
3 EDITOR’S LETTER
Welcome! There’s something about autumn that I really love. Yes, the summer is great, but those months running into Christmas feel extraspecial when you have kids. For one thing, there’s the excitement of a new school year, whether your little one is in pre-school or big school. Then there’s the sights and smells of autumn – feeling leaves cracking under your feet, the smell of home fires being lit, the excitement of Hallowe’en – and of course anticipation of Christmas. This issue we try to capture a lot of this excitement, whether it’s choosing new fashion for you and your little ones, navigating the first year in Big School or tackling any of the health challenges that a new season brings. If you are pregnant or have a tiny baby, perhaps you’re looking at some big decisions, such as how to feed your little one or weaning – all this is
tackled in our feeding special in this issue. It’s with a sad note that I type this letter, as it’s the last I’ll be writing as editor. I began working with maternity & infant when my youngest baby was only a few months old – Ellie has just started her first year in Junior Infants, so I feel it’s the right time to move on for all of us. It’s been an absolute pleasure editing this magazine, and being involved in all that goes with it – the website, our weekly ezines and of course our Awards. Thank you to everyone involved. And so I leave you in the capable hands of the maternity & infant team – thank you for reading. Wishing you all the joy that this parenting rollercoaster brings.
Penny Gray Editor
THE TEAM Editor: Penny Gray Editorial Assistant: Ellen Flynn Editorial Manager: Mary Connaughton Creative Director: Jane Matthews Design: Antoinette Sinclair Advertisement Design: Sara Murphy, James Moore Photography & Illustrations: Getty Images, iStock Production Manager: Mary Connaughton Sales Director: Paul Clemenson Email email@example.com or write to maternity & infant, Ashville Media, 55 Park West Road, Cherry Orchard, Dublin 12; Tel: (01) 432 2200; Web: www.maternityandinfant.ie All rights reserved. Every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is accurate. The publishers cannot, however, accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Reproduction by any means in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. © Ashville Media Group 2017. All discounts, promotions and competitions contained in this magazine are run independently of maternity & infant. The promoter/advertiser is responsible for honouring the prize. ISSN 2009 1931
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My kids are about to turn seven and five but we will never get tired of reading The Gruffalo, our very favourite book in the entire world. We’ve read it so often that Danny can actually recite it by heart (and he does…)
A raincoat is a must-buy in the rainy autumn season; I’m totally in love with the fishermanstyle ones for Ellie. She looks impossibly cute in this red version and it’s practical too.
Now I have two in Big School (!), my thoughts have turned to nutritious and filling after-school snacks. This banana, carrot and seed bread has been tried and tested – and pronounced yummy – by my two!
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10 3 TOP PRODUCTS
d e t n a Mo s t W What’s on our shopping list this autumn…
PUMP ON THE GO Designed with two-phase expression technology and based on the natural sucking rhythm of the baby, the Medela portable breast pump ensures optimal milkflow for mums on the go. This fantastic, time-saving product is easily available from Boots.
Off to the circus We love Frugi’s new
Bravado designs body silk seamless nursing bra. This ultimate nursing bra offers new mums and mums to be comfort from bump to baby! The luxuriously soft fabric moulds to your shape, so you can wear it throughout
WATCH ME GROW We’re absolutely loving
Mothercare’s new AW collection, especially their super soft newborn range of rompers, hats, and blankets. This Little Acorn romper caught our eye and we’re sure it’s bound to catch a few more this season! A perfect gift for expecting parents or one for your own hospital bag! €11.99 available from Mothercare.
pregnancy and nursing. Prices start at €47.95 and are available from www.bravadodesigns.com.
Make bathtime fun again with the Paw Patrol and Disney Bubblegel
bath range, available at Penneys. This wibbly, wobbly collection of
jellylike characters will take children on imaginary rescue missions with Chase and Marshall or fantasy journeys to the Magic Kingdom with Minnie and Mickey. The
collection with inspiration
characters become slippery and
from the circus! Prices start
slimey in the water before magically
from €7, and are available from www.welovefrugi.com and stockists nationwide.
melting away into a bath full of bubbles. They’re made from natural ingredients or ingredients from a natural source, and cost just €2.50.
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5 TOP PRODUCTS
ENJOY THE RAIN Those dark wet mornings are about to get a lot brighter with these super cool, colourful children’s umbrellas from Dotcomgiftshop. We may not like the rain, but Elvis the Elephant loves the water! The children’s umbrellas from Dotcomgiftshop have us smiling as we prep for some rainy mornings ahead.
Prices start at €12.75 from www.dotcomgiftshop.com.
OUT AND ABOUT This 2 in 1 stroller from FisherPrice is a stylish and convenient travel system for you and your baby. The child fits snugly into the harness with the five-point harness system, and the rear facing car seat features extra shoulder room for your baby’s comfort. Available from Argos.
Fox Fisherman’s Jacket, €55
CAMP JOJO We are so excited for JoJo Maman Bébé AW17 camping collection, filled with fun, colourful children’s outfits ranging from outdoor friendly wear to comfy, playful indoor wear. Their signature
DELICIOUS SKINCARE Ziaja Kids Cookies ‘n’ Vanilla Ice Cream scented shampoo, bubble bath,
Safe and snug Brand-new baby carrier brand
and toothpaste will have your kids
Izmi is revolutionising the
jumping into the bath this evening!
baby-wearing business with
Dermatologically tested for allergies by
their thoughtfully designed new
paediatricians, Ziaja products leave kids’
carriers. The uniquely designed
fisherman’s jacket has had a
skin feeling super soft and smooth. Fun
carriers allow babies to enjoy the
major update this season, while
scents and natural plant based extracts
softness of a material sling, while giving parents
their dresses and hoodies delight
help to nourish young, sensitive skin.
peace of mind with secure buckles holding it in
the wearer with hidden animals
Prices start at €2.49 and are available
place. They are the perfect way to keep babies
in secret pockets throughout.
from www.originalbeauty.ie, or
Prices range from €21 to €55.
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snug and safe all day long. Prices start at €89.99 and are available from www.izmibaby.co.uk
6 IN ASSOCIATION WITH LIDL
for LEARNERS NUTRITION When little ones start school, it’s more important than ever to ensure they’re eating well throughout the day. Lidl Ireland gives us some top tips on feeding those little learners…
oing to big school can be quite the transition for our little ones in more ways than one. Pre-school gives them a sense of routine, but generally the atmosphere is more homely than big school. For a start, the ratio is smaller and the day is shorter. And if you avail of a longer day, your little one might even get a hot dinner. In big school, however, the class size could be as big as 28 or 29, the learning ramps up as the years go on, and most importantly, your little one’s nutrition rests on you packing a good lunchbox. Ensuring that your child eats well throughout the day can take a little pressure off the lunchbox, so it’s a good idea to look at the full day of eating to make sure their bodies – and brains – are well fed.
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GOOD START TO THE DAY They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and this is especially true for schoolchildren. You want to make sure that they head off with a full tummy, ready to tackle the day ahead. If you’re a little nervous about them eating all the contents of their lunchboxes too (what parent isn’t?), then a good breakfast is even more important. ✹ Porridge is an ideal breakfast as it’s hot, nutritious, economical and tasty. Lidl’s Oatlicious Jumbo Oats cook quickly and conveniently in the microwave and taste gorgeous. Top with fresh berries or banana, or if you really want a tasty winter version, try some apple puree and cinnamon. ✹ Add yoghurt and fruit to oats to create overnight oats - perfect
for a fast and nutritious breakfast that’s tasty too! ✹ Breakfast is the ideal time for some fresh Solevita orange juice from Lidl. Remember that juice is great as one of your five a day fruit servings but no more. This is because you need the fibre value of the whole fruit rather than just the sugars. Juicing the fruit concentrates the sugars, so limit juice to one small glass a day.
7 IN ASSOCIATION WITH LIDL
LUNCHBOX SMARTS Most schoolchildren are gone from their homes for five hours or even more, so making sure they have a good lunch with them is very important. If you can, let them pick out their own lunchbox and bottle – if they like what they have they’re more likely to use it! Then fill it with a combination of the following: ✹ Carbohydrate – choose from bread, a wrap, crackers or flatbread. Or get inventive with a pasta or rice salad. ✹ Protein – cooked chicken like Lidl’s Glensallagh roast chicken pieces is idea. Or choose tuna or lean ham. Don’t feel confined to meat; hummus, beans and cheese also make great protein-rich fillings. ✹ Vegetable – add in some salad leaves, cucumber, avocado
or tomatoes. Pepper or carrot sticks are great with hummus, or add some corn into a wrap or pasta salad. ✹ Fruit/snack – most kids get two breaks in the morning. Make sure they have a snack in their lunchbox too, such as fruit, vegetable sticks, cherry tomatoes or yoghurt. Lidl’s Meadow Fresh snack pots are perfect. ✹ Drink – keeping hydrated is crucially important for everyone, but especially kids in order to keep them alert. Lidl’s Carrick Glen kids’ water is a convenient option for parents as it’s the perfect size for lunchboxes, easy to open and won’t spill thanks to its sports top.
FEED THEIR BRAIN Some kids arrive home from school absolutely ravenous, some not so much! It’s important that children have a good nutritious meal later in the day; some kids might appreciate a snack after school followed by a small dinner later on. ✹ Something hot when they arrive home can be very welcome, especially in the winter, so make sure you have something quick and easy to hand to warm up shivering bones. Soup or an egg quickly scrambled in the microwave is ideal. Pack out soups and stews with nutrient-rich pulses, such as Alesto Broth Mix. ✹ Pay attention to brain-friendly foods like Inismara Fresh Salmon, which contains plenty of omega-3 fatty
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acids, which is vital for brain health. Try to make sure your child gets two helpings of an oily fish like salmon each week for maximum brain power. ✹ Vegetables are vital for good health – but encouraging your children to eat vegetables can be an uphill battle! Try dinners such as stirfries, noodles and pasta dishes, which can include vegetables in a less confrontational way! Alternatively, dishes like bolognaise are always popular and more importantly are an ideal way to add in hidden vegetables like grated carrot or a fresh tomato sauce. Remember that Lidl offers six meat/ fish and six fruit/veg Super Savers offers every week, so it’s easy to create tasty, nutritious meals for less!
maternityandinfant.ie BACK TO SCHOOL
We’re all settled back into our school routines by now, but this year we’ve got off to a flying start with nifty lunch box tricks, quick and healthy dinner recipes, and tips and tricks to make those hectic mornings go by that little bit smoother. Check out www. maternityandinfant.ie/search/back+to+school for more!
WHAT’S TRENDING? @maternityinfant
MATERNITY & INFANT AWARDS
Parents worldwide having us laughing out loud on Twitter as they share their hilarious #backtoschool moments. Some of the highlights include:
It’s awards season over at M&I HQ and we’re getting super excited for the Boots maternity & infant Awards 2017. Check out some of the categories up for vote at www.maternityandinfant.ie/awards
@Sue_Cowley You might not be quite ready to go #backtoschool, but I’m more than ready to return my kids to you. ;) #parenting @dontcallmerach One notebook, two bottles of wine. #backtoschoolshopping @KatieShuck As a SAHM, I look forward to Mondays. This is the 1st day of the week I get to go potty by myself #parenting #toddlers #backtoschool
FR E E w eek ly ez i ne! Sign up to our weekly ezine to be the first to hear about our latest competitions, offers and features, delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday evening! Sign up through our homepage, www.maternityandinfant.ie, today!
@Mom_interrupted I need to remember my favourite #backtoschool #tip. Never let them go back upstairs! #makingmorningseasier #bringdownthesocks #parenting
E nt er & Wi n!
CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF US? WRITE OR EMAIL maternity & infant, 55 Park West Road, Cherry Orchard , Dublin 12. firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook.com/maternityandinfant Twitter.com/maternityinfant
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Are you feeling lucky? We’ve got new competitions every week on our website with prizes including some great getaways, vouchers, top of the range baby equipment and more! Recent prizes include an overnight stay with a Basq pregnancy treatment at Killashee Hotel and an Ultimate Baby Box worth €250! www.maternityandinfant.ie/competitions
@Imbartlet “I’m so glad tomorrow is Monday.” <— File that under things I never thought I’d say. #parenting #weekendsarehard #backtoschool @TheMeganLarkin We have a first day of school tradition: Forgetting to take pictures. We’re very consistent with it #parenting #BackToSchool
ESSENTIALS: 9 THINGS
9 REASONS WHY WE LOVE AUTUMN!
COMFORT FOOD We love a good excuse to dive back into our lovely warm curries, simmering broths, soups and stews this season. LAYERING UP
Finally we can change our summer wardrobes for our cute autumn boots, trendy scarves and chic coats.
3 FALLING BACK You can’t beat the feeling of that extra hour’s sleep when the clocks go back!
BLANKETS There’s something heavenly about getting into bed on a chill autumn evening.
PUMPKIN SPICE This iconic gently spiced flavour is coming out of the woodwork in coffee shops near you. CINEMA TRIPS
Autumn is definitely the best season for cinema trips. Go and check out the Oscar hopefuls!
BATHS Is there anything nicer than enjoying a lovely candlelit bath? With a glass of your favourite vino, of course! NEW BEGINNINGS Autumn is all about the excitement of new beginnings – what are
you taking up this season? BANK HOLIDAY
The October bank holiday weekend is an ideal time for heading down the country or even abroad for late sun!
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10 ESSENTIALS: PREGNANCY
HOW TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL WHEN PREGNANT
SEATBELT RULES IN PREGNANCY
There are certain moments during pregnancy that can be cherished – but other times when you feel bloated, heavy and tired! When you feel like that, it’s time to pamper yourself. Here’s how…
Wearing a seatbelt when you’re pregnant is not the most comfortable thing in the world – but it is essential. According to the RSA, unbelted women are almost three times more likely to experience the death of a foetus in a crash, compared to belted mothers.
Nine months can feel very long indeed when you’re pregnant, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to suffer some of the not-so-pleasant symptoms like morning sickness or bloating. But even women who are unfortunate enough to suffer some of more unpleasant pregnancy symptoms can get some of the nicer bits – such as glossy, full-bodied hair and glowing skin. In fact, some women can look and feel at their most beautiful during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester. Not feeling so beautiful? Time for some pampering then!
Pamper your skin Pregnancy glow is a real thing, thanks to increased blood volume in your body. But unfortunately during the first 12 weeks, hormone changes can affect your skin, and you may suffer from sensitivity, spots or dry skin. To combat this, simplify your skincare routine, perhaps switching to natural, non-irritant products. Make sure the products are suitable for use during pregnancy.
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Go mineral When it comes to makeup, consider switching to mineral makeup during pregnancy. Mineral makeup “sits” on the skin and therefore is suitable for sensitive skin and for women who are wary of skin reactions with products that could be absorbed into the first few layers of the skin.
Enjoy your luscious locks… Your hair might feel and look thicker and more luxurious; this is again due to hormone changes. Your hair goes through three stages – growth, rest and shed. Hormones during pregnancy prolong the growth period, so there is less shedding. Make the most of your luscious locks by treating yourself to a new style. Remember that nutrition has a great effect on your hair, so make sure you take your pregnancy supplement every day.
…And safely remove unwanted hair Unfortunately this extra hair is not confined to the head – you may notice that your body hair is more
abundant as well. Tweezing, waxing and shaving are all safe during pregnancy, but avoid hair removal creams. And remember, you will return to your normal level of shedding about three to six months after giving birth.
Colour safely Studies have shown that very little of the chemicals used in hair dye are absorbed into the scalp, but if you’re cautious, wait until the second trimester to colour your hair. Highlights minimise contact with the scalp as well. If in doubt, talk to your doctor or hair stylist.
The RSA has released new guidelines for wearing a seatbelt during pregnancy: ✱ Place the diagonal section of the belt across the torso (chest area) with the strap resting over the shoulder, not the neck. ✱ Place the lap section of the belt flat on the thighs, fitting comfortably beneath the baby bump, and over the pelvis (not the bump). ✱ Wear the seatbelt as tightly as possible as in this way, the forces applied in a sudden impact can be absorbed by the body’s frame.
Enjoy a soak A bath is the perfect way to soothe an aching pregnant body at the end of the day. Remember to make sure the water is not too hot, as your body temperature is naturally raised during pregnancy so a too-hot bath can be uncomfortable. Take the opportunity to really moisturise your body afterwards. Even better, get your partner to give you a little foot massage for real relaxation.
Search for the RSA’s page on www.youtube.com for a helpful video on using a seatbelt when pregnant.
HAVING A BABY IS
A BIG CHANGE AND ANOTHER AND ANOTHER, AND ANOTHER
nappy disposal system
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12 ESSENTIALS: BABY
HOW TO PREVENT NAPPY RASH Why treat nappy rash when there’s lots you can do to prevent it from occurring in the first place! Here, in association with a new barrier ointment from the makers of Sudocrem, we outline some of the ways we can help babies protect against nappy rash. Nappy rash is thought to affect up to a third of nappy-wearing babies at any given time. It appears as a rash on a baby’s bottom and can be quite red in appearance and at times can look blotchy or pimply. Nappy rash will be either dry or moist to touch, most commonly occurs in babies between the ages of 9 and 12 months, and can occur whether you use disposable or cloth nappies. Your baby’s skin may be tender, but more often than not, the effects will be mild and it will not bother your baby. The main cause of nappy rash is the skin coming into contact with urine and faeces. Prolonged exposure to wetness and faeces can result in a baby’s soft and delicate skin reacting and developing a red and blotchy rash, but sometimes if the waste matter is affected by issues like sickness, teething or changes in diet, even momentary contact can result in nappy rash. Although it’s generally not too serious, it is important to treat nappy rash when it occurs to prevent infection – but the good news is that you can actually do a lot to prevent it from happening in the first place! Try these tips to get started:
Use plain water when changing It’s important to keep your baby’s skin clean and dry, but remember that baby skin can be sensitive, so ditch the harsh soaps and use just water to clean the nappy area in between changes. Dry softly with cotton wool or a soft towel.
Go for a mild cleanser in the bath While keeping your baby’s nappy area clean and dry between changes is important, regular baths are also important. Use a mild cleanser designed especially for sensitive baby skin in the bath, and remember to rinse and dry thoroughly afterwards.
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SUPER-CUTE BABY BODYSUITS! Keep your little one snuggly and warm in four of the softest bodysuits we found.
Striped bodysuit, €12, M&Co
I Love My Daddy bodysuit, €7, Penneys
Choose an absorbent nappy brand As contact with urine and faeces is the main cause of nappy rash, keeping these away from your baby’s skin is vital. Make sure you
change your baby’s nappy as quickly as possible after soiling, and choose a good absorbent nappy. Try different brands, as some might suit your baby more than others, and always choose the right size for your baby.
USE SUDOCREM CARE AND PROTECT New on the Irish market, Sudocrem Care and Protect forms a protective barrier on your baby’s skin, sealing in the skin’s natural moisture and keeping your baby’s skin soft, smooth and supple, whilst protecting even the most delicate skin against external irritants and rubbing that can cause nappy rash. The product can be applied daily to protect your baby’s delicate skin from the irritants that cause the rash. Plus the handy portable tube and flip-top cap means that application is super-easy even if you have to do it with just one hand free! Always read the label carefully. Date of preparation August 2017. IE/OTC/17/0041
Winnie the Pooh bodysuit, €5, Penneys
Slogan bodysuit, €7.50, Mothercare
FAMILY PACKAGES FROM €229 Soak up the culture and tradition of the GAA at Croke Park Stadium with our ‘GAA Family’ Package including full Irish Breakfast, 3-course evening meal and enjoy a family pass to the GAA museum and stadium tour with our compliments. Contact us on: T +353 1 871 4444 E email@example.com W doylecollection.com/crokepark Terms & conditions apply. Package is subject to availability
Jones’s Road, Dublin 3, D03 E5Y8, Ireland @CrokeParkHotel
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14 ESSENTIALS: TODDLER
WAYS TO HELP YOUR TODDLER’S LITERACY
CLASSIC TALES TO GET YOU STARTED
While we all know that reading is beneficial to a child’s academic development, it can be difficult to know where or when to begin. But it’s simple – the sooner, the better! ORLA CONNOLLY has some top tips. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen
Each Peach Pear Plum, by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Read to them Reading to your child is the easiest way to encourage literacy in your family. Many parents are unsure of when to start but honestly, sitting with a book and reading aloud to even a newborn can have significant benefits for their recognition of words by the time they reach their toddler years.
Make it a routine We’re all so busy on a daily basis, we know! After a long day, it can be hard to carve out time to read and using the same logic as we do about going to the gym we think ‘skipping one night won’t hurt’. However, another important aspect of helping your child’s literacy is to do it often and a little bit (even just 10 minutes) every day or every evening will provide long lasting benefits.
Let them choose It’s important to make reading interesting if you want them to continue the practice by themselves.
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Once your child reaches toddler age, the easiest way to hold their interest is to allow them to have some choice in what they are reading. This can either be their favourite book or take note of their favourite genre and collect books in this category.
Discuss the book While reading, involve your child in the process by discussing the book with them. Ask them what they think about the characters and the situations they find themselves in. Continue this type of discussion into the following days, connecting characters and events in the book to everyday life.
Let them see the book As you read, allow your child to see the book. Even if your toddler is currently unable to read, by enabling them to see the page and pointing to where you are reading, they will begin to identify high-frequency words, helping them on their journey to literacy.
Let them help you read If you really want to advance your toddler’s literacy then, once they have had some practice, try letting them read themselves. Let them know it’s ok not to get it perfect first time, as long as they keep trying. You can guide them through their book by helping them sound out difficult words and teaching them how letters like ‘ch’, ‘sh’, and ‘th’ are pronounced.
The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
Visit the library Toddlers and children love a day out, especially if it involves quality time with mom or dad. A visit to the library can expose children to a variety of different types of reading material and genres. With a wealth of choice, they’re bound to find something they like!
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
15 ESSENTIALS: FAMILY
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED SINCE BECOMING A DAD
SNACKS FOR KIDS THAT WE LOVE TOO
James Fox, the founder of Irish company The Baby Box, tells us what he has learnt since becoming a dad – and how that inspired his business.
Let’s face it – once you become a parent, life changes forever. We’re not just talking practical things like being able to enjoy a cup of tea while it’s hot or a lie-in on a Saturday morning; even your outlook on life changes. It’s not surprising then that many mums change careers or even start up their own business – often to fulfil practical needs such as childcare, but also because they see a need for something that isn’t being readily offered. This isn’t restricted to mums either – dads learn just as much after having children and can be similarly inspired. We caught up recently with James Fox, the founder of The Baby Box, who tells us what he learnt since becoming a dad, and credits his daughter with the inspiration for his new company.
Sleep is a luxury Most new parents are functioning on four hours sleep night after night so go easy on them. And if you’re lucky enough to have a child that sleeps through the night from day one, please keep it to yourself!
Clear out your house Babies may be small but they have a lot of stuff! Prepare for it all to take over all available space.
Prepare to be ruled My daughter is one of the shrewdest negotiators in the world. You can’t get her to even consider going to bed without three stories, four songs, a game of hide and seek and a promise of a trip to the playground. If the Brexit talks start to get sticky, the government should send her in to bat.
Cherish every minute They really do grow up fast. It’s incredible to see how quickly children start to crawl, walk and talk. You blink and then they’re little miniature versions of you.
Parenting is life-changing Hearing your child call you “Daddy” for the first time is the greatest experience you can have in life.
I have such respect for mums Mothers are amazing. Seeing all that my wife does for our kids has made me realise that men have it easy!
Organix crisps Who else has snuck a pack of the Carrot Sticks or Tomato Slices to go with a glass of wine on a Friday night?
Babies can be inspiring After the birth of my baby girl, Amelia, I quickly realised how much stuff babies need in the first few months! While I was tidying away Amelia’s toys into a box one evening I recalled a story I had read about the Finnish Baby Box, a package of essentials for a baby’s first few months. Not only does a Finnish Baby Box contain all of the essentials a baby needs, but it also acts as a crib and can then be repurposed as a storage or keepsake box after the baby has outgrown it. Essentially it aims to give all children an equal start in life irrespective of their background. This concept led to my business, and our partnership with UNICEF. The Baby Box donates 10 Vaccination Kits to the Third World for every Baby Box sold.
The Baby Box offers a number of gift boxes containing all you need for a new baby. The box can be used as your baby’s first crib too. See www.thebabybox.com for more.
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Glenisk Absolutely No Added Sugar Baby Yoghurts Yes, these are for babies. Yes, we’re guilty of downing a four pack while standing at the fridge.
Keelings Snack Pots Yes, we know the bigger packs are better value, but these snack pots are just so handy!
Liga Hands up who is guilty of starting on the Liga when the biscuits have run out? C’mon now, be honest, we’ve all been there…
16 ESSENTIALS: TOYS
RAINY DAY EXERCISES
Ah autumn, how you challenge us! One minute it’s roasting, the next it’s thunder and lightning. So how do you keep your kids active while indoors?
SET A CHALLENGE! If all else fails, stick on a rain jacket and brave the elements – it’ll be worth it!
All-over print mac, €33, M&S
What do you do with kids when it’s raining outside? Most parents have some sort of rainy day contingency plan in place, whether it’s movies, crafts, baking or so on. But what about this time of the year, when it just keeps raining – and raining and raining… How do you keep restless kids happy, and most importantly, fit? There’s no reason why your kids can’t keep fit in the living room – and even better, why not join them? Try these six ideas.
Go old school
Think back to your PE lessons in school for this one – or if you’re into your bootcamps, you might be away already that you only need your body and a lot of energy for a great workout. Challenge your little ones to squats, pressups, sit-ups, burpees, jumping jacks, high knees, jogging on the spot, arm circles and more. See who can do more or set a time challenge. You’ll be fighting fit in no time.
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Get Go Noodle
Go Noodle is an app that encourages active play and mindfulness among kids. Put it up on a big screen and join in with your kids. Sing and dance your way to fitness and have a bit of fun while you’re doing it!
Build an obstacle course
This is a tried-and-tested way to keep kids occupied and fit on rainy days. Set up obstacles (furniture and sheets are ideal) for your kids to jump over, climb, crawl underneath and race. Even putting lines on the ground that they have to jump over or race around will get their heartrate up and keep them happy.
Do the housework
This sounds a bit mean, but hear us out. Kids love being useful and helping out, so why not harness this and get them to help in a big house clean? Simply asking them to tidy their rooms will end in tears; instead, give them a specific task that will burn some calories,
such as wiping the furniture with a cloth, vacuuming (a big favourite in our house), sweeping or dusting.
Play some party games
Another old school idea here – what about games of Musical Statues or Musical Chairs? Obviously you need a few people to play these, but there’s sure to be a few people on the road in need of rainy day exercise too! Musical Statues can be played with very few if the actual game aspect isn’t so important (as it isn’t for young children).
Blue bear raincoat, €50, Joules @ Childrensalon.com
Mac in pink, €91, Catimini @ Arnotts
Set a challenge!
Put Lego bricks or cotton wool balls into a container in one room, and an empty container in another. Challenge your child to move as many as he can, one at a time from one container to another, within four minutes. If you have more than one child, make it a competition. Or if you have just one, challenge him to do better the next time – or race him yourself!
Fisherman raincoat, €30, M&S
17 ESSENTIALS: BOOKS
Review by maternity & infant editor Penny (mum), Danny (6) & Ellie (4)
PICK OF THE PILE
Poppy and the Blooms
By Fiona Woodcock (Simon and Schuster) Following on from her beautiful debut children’s book, Hiding Heidi, comes Poppy and the Blooms, a really stunning picture book telling the story of Poppy and her flower friends as they race to save a park by spreading magic (pollen!). The pictures are just stunning; we loved pointing out all the characters. We like… the beautiful imagery and magical story. They’ll love… meeting Poppy’s gorgeous flower friends.
+ 3When years the World Is
2My+ years Day: First Words
+ 3Have years You Seen My
3My+ years Trains: Activity
By Gillian Shields; illustrated by Anna Currey (Bloomsbury) Rabbits Albert, Tom, Flossie and Pipkin love to play and they’re super-excited when a family of squirrels move in across the river. Problem is – in order to play with their new friends, they have to cross the river. This is a heart-warming tale of friendship and working together that every child can relate to. Especially great for kids starting pre-school. We like… the simple story with a strong message. They’ll love… The cuter-than-cute rabbits and wonderful pictures.
Illustrated by Marilyn Janovitz (Bloomsbury) It’s never too early to introduce your child to words, and nowhere is this more effective than in a simple illustrated book of first words. There’s plenty out there to choose from, but we particularly loved this new compilation, which illustrated typical scenes from a day, such as getting dressed and playtime, with the words for certain elements. The fun pictures really make learning easy and fun. We like… the fun pictures and the chance to learn They’ll love… pointing out the words on the page and perhaps adding their own!
By Michelle Robinson; illustrated by Claire Powell (Simon & Schuster) The fairground has found a new, very alluring prize – instead of giving away goldfish, they’re now giving away giraffes! Great – but how are you going to hide him when you get home? These quirky tale about a little girl trying to hide a huge giraffe is beautifully illustrated with humour throughout. Danny enjoyed reading this to his little sister. We like… The funny tale with a twist. They’ll love… the gorgeous illustrations and laugh-out-loud moments.
(Bloomsbury) This is really the year of the activity book, with Bloomsbury producing lots of different versions to suit every taste. My Trains is designed to keep youngsters happy on a long train journey – a combination of sticker activities, puzzles and colouring is designed to help teach him/her about train journeys and what happens on them, as well as keep them entertainment. We like… The various activities that will keep them happy! They’ll love… The 350+ stickers!
Full of Friends
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and Sticker Book
18 THE BURNING ISSUE
HOW TO KEEP
KIDS SAFE ONLINE With more and more younger children being introduced to digital technology, parents need to be vigilant of online safety earlier and earlier. So how do we keep our children safe? Is it something to worry about? ELLEN FLYNN investigates...
inter is fast approaching and so is more time spent indoors. Inevitably, time indoors, especially for older children, involves some aspect of screen time, whether it’s TV or computer. While screen time is not recommended for very young children, once your kids get based the toddler years, some form of screen time can be useful, both as a time out for parents and as entertainment for your little ones. We are very much in a digital age now, and it’s extremely difficult as parents to avoid technology for children. And let’s face it, there are a lot of benefits to technology, both from an entertainment and an educational point of view. But while they’re a useful tool, the question remains: how can we make sure our kids aren’t accessing frightening, even dangerous material when they’re using these devices? Going digital is by no means a bad thing. Lots of computer games have immeasurable benefits for children. Some TV programmes are engaging, educational experiences. They can encourage problem-solving skills, and develop team building, management skills, and short- and long-term strategy. This increases the likelihood of their education centering around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) areas, which are becoming some of the most desirable careers going. Activities like Coderdojo are becoming huge phenomena worldwide with centres and camps springing up all over the country teaching children the basics behind web design, writing code and game development in safe supervised spaces. But there are good sides and bad sides to everything, and while our increasingly easy access to technology is a fantastic amenity for our education, professional, home and social
MI Autumn 2017_Burning Topic.indd 18
life, it isn’t exempt from its negative points. And one area where we need to tread carefully is the internet and what our children have access to when they’re online. Through no fault of their own, they could become easy pickings for unsavoury persons lurking on computer game chat rooms or social media sites where children unwittingly share their images and information with thousands of people. So, how do we keep our kids safe when they’re online? Figures show that a third of all Irish teenagers try to hide what they are up to online from their parents. If our kids are trying to hide what they’re they do on the internet, how can parents be expected to keep their kids safe? And what about younger children – should we be doing more to keep them safe? And how do we, as parents, educate ourselves about internet safety? To find out more, we talked to Susan Grant from COSS.ie, a new website dedicated to providing parents with tips and advice on keeping their kids safe when using the internet. The Child Online Safety and Support (COSS) website was set up in 2017 to inform, advise and guide parents when they’re introducing their children to the digital world. The website is laid out into different sections for children of different ages, from the formative years right through to the teens, all with different advice and tips. For Susan, COSS came about as a result of her research into what support is actually out there for parents. A mother of two young girls who are starting to become more interested in the digital world, she realised that she needed information on how best to introduce this new world to her kids. “I realised there are talks happening in schools at secondary level, but I think the solution for children to protect them when they’re online is for parents to be in-
19 THE BURNING ISSUE
OUR SURVEY We asked 100 maternity & infant readers with kids aged four and over for their comments on online safety. Hereâ€™s what they had to say.
Have you let your children online yet?
If you donâ€™t let your child online, do they pressure you to be allowed to go online?
Do you have safety measures in place when it comes to online browsing?
Are you concerned about online safety?
MI Autumn 2017_Burning Topic.indd 19
59 % 37 % YES
79 % 95 % YES
20 THE BURNING ISSUE
TIPS TO KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE ONLINE
What age did you let your children go online? TALK IT OUT Have regular conversations about the internet, any websites they’re using such as youtube.com. INTERNET ACCESS Be aware of apps that use the internet – some apps may not look suspicious but will use the internet without letting you know in the installation process. Modify your child safety settings so that access to the internet through an app needs a username and password known only to mum and dad. MOOD SWINGS Compare their moods from when they’ve been on the iPad for an hour to when they’ve been outside for an hour. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK WHAT THEY’RE UP TO IN OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES Other parents have the same concerns as you, so don’t be afraid to double check what rules and limitations are in your children’s friends houses. FINDING BALANCE AND FORMING HEALTHY HABITS Exercise isn’t a talent that some people are born with and others aren’t – it’s a habit that is built up usually as a child when activity and sport is integrated into everyday life. Make some healthy habits in your kids by finding a sport or an activity that they love, which also keeps them and their bodies in a healthy mindful state.
MI Autumn 2017_Burning Topic.indd 20
28 5 %
6 + years
formed and aware, before they even introduce their children to the online world.” Much like the RSA rules of the road and stranger danger, two concepts which are introduced early and often in preschools, online safety should be introduced by parents before the anything bad happens, even before they begin using devices and not after. “We need to look at being proactive rather than reactive to the situation – so that before the kids even go online, parents are aware and informed and have the knowledge to be able to sit down with their kids and have that conversation,” says Susan. At the end of the day, it’s about being able to talk to your kids about the dangers that could befall them when they’re browsing online, and more importantly for them to feel safe if and when they need to share something that happened to them or if they come across something frightening. “And then, obviously to try and avoid them accessing this information in the first place,” Susan adds, somewhat wryly. Ideally, the parental controls on our broadbands would be unbreakable and impassable to our teenagers, but the reality is that a simple internet search will tell a user all they need to know to get by a parental control. So how can parents tackle this? It can be difficult to find the words to explain the fundamentals of right and wrong to a teenager, let alone a four year old. With children quickly becoming more ‘tech savvy’ than their parents, it can be easy for parents to just ‘leave them to it’ when it comes to activities or technical difficulties with the computer, smartphone or tablet. But although this attitude can be seen to encourage independence and self-reliance in children, it can be dangerous when it comes to the internet. The prevalence of cyber bullying and stalking through social media has become more of an issue in recent years and shows no signs of stopping. As well as this, stranger danger,
though a lesson learned early in childhood, seems to be a less immediate danger when on the internet. While a child knows never to go anywhere with a strange adult, parents also need to teach their kids that these rules must apply to the online world as well as the physical. If you would never tell a strange person where you live or what age you are if they stopped you on the street, why is it okay to do that on social media? The idea that parents should instill into children is that how they behave online can and will affect them in ‘real life’. The Digital Families 2015: Evolving Attitudes Around Social Media and App Use report, carried out by the YouGov market research group for Ask.fm Q&A social network in 2015, found that nearly a third of teenagers in Ireland feel the need to hide their social media activity from their parents. The study found that the reason for this was to discuss specific issues that they felt like they couldn’t approach with their families, friends or teachers. When parents are not as techie as their children are, it can lead to a hands-off approach. But Susan comments that communication is the way forward, not banning teenagers from their devices. “It’s so kids know what’s right from wrong.” If you have young kids and thinking this is years away for you yet, think again. Susan believes that this conversation should start in early childhood, as opposed to the later teenage years. If parents were more informed from the get go and could teach their kids what is safe to do online and what isn’t, it could avoid the chances of their teen engaging in or suffering from cyber bullying, stalking or other antisocial behaviour. The digital world is evolving all the time, and becoming more apart of our everyday lives with each passing day. When you weigh up the positives and the negatives, it tends to be up to the individual whether or not they balance out.
21 MUMMY MY WAY
Mum-of-three LOUISE O’GORMAN tells the story of the first few weeks of motherhood with her second child, who suffered from Meconium Aspiration Syndrome.
y waters broke on the steps of Holles Street, I was mortified. The porter did not even blink and laughed at my surprise. I can imagine now how many times that has happened. Labour was quick time was short from when the contractions started. Going into labour with my son there are no warnings of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS). He had inhaled the Meconium basically. He was my easiest to have, yet my biggest 9lbs 8oz. Matthew took one breath laying on my chest then alarm bells rang. He was taken away quickly. His skin turned a horrible grey colour instead of the lovely pink blush that should have glowed. When I went to visit him, he lay there, a big boy, all wires coming from every part of his body. My heart breaking, never to be mended again. The only man who ever broke my heart. I didn’t see this one coming. They wanted to talk. We sat opposite the two doctors in a little white room. I didn’t hear much, my husband took control and listened. His lungs were closed due to him inhaling the meconium. The only option was a team to come from Sweden and fly him anywhere in Europe that had a bed available and put him on ECMO. Seriously I think I have been transported into a True Movies film. Team, Sweden, only chance? The words slipped off me had no meaning, numbness. A team of professionals arrived to take my baby to Denmark; he was put on the ECMO machine here in Dublin before they could transport him. What is ECMO you ask? It stands for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. A surgeon makes a small incision in the baby’s neck and inserts tubes into the heart. Through these tubes oxygenated blood is provided to the heart and into urn the body to keep him alive. It gives his lungs a chance to rest and try recover on their own. It is like a big washing machine for your blood. The chances were slim but it was his only chance. We followed the next day. Arriving in Copenhagen at 1am with a two-year-old in tow was exhausting, especially bearing in mind I had only had a baby 48 hours previously. We were shown to his room, but trauma had set in. I turned and left the room just wanting to curl up somewhere and not exist anymore. My husband was distraught at my reaction. His only way to bring me back was to hit me where it hurt emotionally – by questioning my ability to be a mother. Now that is like a red rag to a bull for me. All I ever really wanted to be was a mum and I gave up a career to be just that. He knew he was risking us, our marriage, our friendship, but he was the stronger one in the end. And it worked – I marched back into the hospital with the attitude ‘I will show him’. The ECMO worked, the damage began to reverse. Brain damage recently found also reversed but we never expected a perfect baby. I told the big man above to just give him back to me, I don’t care what disabilities he has, he’s mine. Honestly, I would have fought anyone for him. Back to Dublin and it just kept getting better. The best day ever the first time I had seen his little face in seven weeks without a tube. He was feeding great, breathing clearly, he was a miracle. The funniest part in this whole drama is; a nurse who had been present when he was born walked by one day and asked was he the ECMO baby I smiled and said yes. Her reply “Oh I thought he had died” my answer “Well he didn’t” and I smiled like a Cheshire cat. Now a healthy, clever, athletic, gorgeous, nearly nine-year-old with no setbacks. One lucky little boy. A very happy mammy!
“I TOLD THE BIG MAN ABOVE TO JUST GIVE HIM BACK TO ME, I DON’T CARE WHAT DISABILITIES HE HAS, HE’S MINE”
Louise blogs at www.thestayathomemumsite.wordpress.com and www.facebook.com/thestayathomemum
MI Autumn 2017_Mummy My Way.indd 21
22 DAD’S DIARY
HOW TO BE
NICK WILKINSON’s six-year-old daughter gives him a lesson on how to deal with bad behaviour – but will he hold his nerve?
y six-year-old daughter has the focus, grit and determination of a little Iron Lady. When I see her apply it constructively, I go misty-eyed with paternal pride and think ‘that girl will go far’. When that same grit and determination is focused on being naughty, I can be a little indulgent. She does it so well. But when she sets her sights on wreaking havoc, I’m left helpless as she wraps me ever so slightly tighter around her little finger. What if she wound up going through life picking one fight after another just for the hell of it? I’m sure you know someone like that. Do they seem happy? Her ten-year-old brother moved to a new school last summer term. We assumed he’d go through all the usual getting settled issues. He did, but not for long. It was our daughter left behind in his old school, who had the hardest time adjusting. She had to take the bus on her own. He wasn’t there when she got home. And when he did come home, playing with his little sister wasn’t always top of his agenda. Unfortunately, she decided that the best way to get his attention was to bug him until he could no longer ignore her. It wasn’t just him she was picking fights with either. Our daughter loves school. She adores her teacher. But we began to find notes in her homework journal about incidents and talkings-to. We’d then have talkings-to at home. Which would lead to incidents. And tears. Lots of tears. Her’s, her brother’s, my wife’s, the child minder. I felt like we’d leapfrogged from senior infant to moody teenager overnight. Weren’t there supposed to be a few good years in between? Take a pleasant family meal for instance. It’s all gravy until daughter decides she’s not eating peas today. Or ever again. Dad vows that she will. The iron will is engaged. Voices rise. Feet stomp. Tears flow. Meal ruined. Then… a long and stony silence. Until… Dad feels guilty. Daughter feels bad. We apologise. We hug. Harmony is restored. And… Repeat.
As devoted students of parenting, the readers of this magazine will have already seen the problem. But I was in denial. It wasn’t until we were making up after yet another row that it dawned on me. My daughter invited me to tea in her Wendy house. She’d laid the table, complete with loo paper napkins and elderflower cordial served in cups and saucers. We said our sorries, hugged and then sat and sipped our drinks. “This is nice,” I said, a little forlorn as I wondered where I was going wrong. My daughter sighed. “Will you tell me how to be good all the time?” she asked. With that question came the realisation where I’d been going so wrong. I had never fully understood the dangers of negative attention or negative reinforcement before. The root cause may have been her missing her brother, but we had allowed her to get stuck in a downward spiral of using bad behaviour to get attention. It’s hard to hold your nerve when your six year old is hurting so much. You want to spoil her because you feel terrible for causing the problem and you think the attention will cheer her up. But what do you do when that just makes her behaviour worse? We came up with a plan. Good behaviour would be heaped with praise to the point of exaggeration. Bad behaviour, no matter how minor, would not be indulged. Her teacher and childminder were brought on board. It all sounded great in theory. But it hinged on one crucial and very weak link. Would I hold my nerve in the face of that steely determination? Would I tell her how to be good? I did one better. I showed her. She didn’t like at it first. Being good in this instance meant not giving in when the tears flowed and her frustration boiled over into a tantrum. It meant keeping my head when she was losing hers. And once her anger had passed, it meant being there to comfort her and tell her everything was going to be okay. Maybe that’s what being a dad is all about.
“Being good in this instance meant not giving in when the tears flowed and her frustration boiled over into a tantrum.”
MI Autumn 2017_Dads Diary.indd 22
Black multi-functional wrap, €19.99, Mothercare
There’s something really lovely about the new autumn/winter fashion collections. Let’s face it, us Irish get a heck of a lot more use out of our warmer clothes than our summer clothes, so it’s well worth investing in some snuggly bits as soon as they hit the shops. When it comes to maternity fashion, choosing some well-made basics can really take you from season to season – this issue we take a look at dressing your bump for the office and how to incorporate some beautiful autumnal shades in your maternity wear. For the little ones, ditch the pink in favour of dark shades for dresses, as inspired by little North West, or check out the latest in comfy tracksuits and separates for your pre-schooler.
MI Autumn 2017_Style Opener.indd 23
Corporate Chic Dress for success with smart colours and tailored cuts this autumn – guaranteed to make you and your bump feel confident in the office.
DAY TO NIGHT
3 4 4
6 6 6
1 Burgundy fan earrings, €9, Accessorize 2 Cream trench coat, €129, Seraphine 3 Dark grey felt fedora, €42, J by Jasper Conran @ Debenhams 4 Spot print kimono dress, €63, JoJo Maman Bébé 5 Berry shopper bag, €108, Monsoon 6 Black squaretoe block heels, €70, Monsoon
MI Autumn 2017_Trimester Trends.indd 24
1 Blazer, €229, Isabella Oliver 2 Red bardot top, €26, Top Shop 3 Masai-pattern long scarf, €30, Arnotts 4 Black maternity leggings, €55, Isabella Oliver 5 Yellow leather handbag, €33, Therapy London @ House Of Fraser 6 Black block-heel buckled ankle boots, £65, ASOS
1 Semi-precious drop earrings, €15.90, Accessorize 2 Grey fluid maternity shirt, €49, JoJo Maman Bebe, 3 Khaki maternity duster coat, €83, JoJo Maman Bébé 4 Navy maternity trousers, €75, Isabella Oliver 5 Red faux leather backpack, €45, Monsoon 6 Leopard print ballet flats, £20, ASOS
E mb raci ng
Make like the Danes and snuggle up in soft velvets, wools and suedes in classic autumnal shades of dark reds, camel, forest green and gold.
Main: Red knit roll-neck dress, €44.95, Mamalicious 1 Mustard knit beanie, €20, Nine by Savannah Miller @ Debenhams, 2 Red cable knit scarf, €30, River Island, 3 Army green parka, €179, Seraphine, 4 Camel maternity & nursing jumper, €79, Seraphine, 5 Black skinny coated jeans, €54.99, Mamalicious, 6 Gold autumn leaf ring, €18.50, Accessorize, 7 Oxblood ankle boots, £65, ASOS, 8 Emerald velvet cross-body bag, €55, Monsoon, 9 Black suede over-the-knee boots, €155, Monsoon, 10 Navy shift dress, €49.99, Mamalicious, 11 Red polo neck jumper, €155, Isabella Oliver, 12 Truffle brown nail polish, €2.99, New Look 13 Khaki green nail polish, €2.99, New Look
MI Autumn 2017_Maternity Trend.indd 25
Sunglasses, €15, Next
STYLE Actress Julia Stiles went for an understated black maternity dress and long mac in a recent trip to London – the perfect autumn outfit whether you’re pregnant or not!
Jersey tube black dress, €24.99, Mothercare
The second trimester of pregnancy is when you really feel good and show that glow. Your bump is also big enough to look pregnant, yet small enough to be comfortable. This is the ideal time to choose a figure-hugging dress to show off your beautiful bump, just like Julia Stiles in a recent trip to London. A long mac is the perfect cover-up; there are plenty of maternity styles available, but in early pregnancy, simply wearing a regular mac open is an ideal option.
Coat, €32, Penneys
Angular curve silver ring, €425.00 @ emerroberts.com
Matte lipstick, €2.50, Penneys
Hattie half-moon bag, €45, Monsoon
MI Autumn 2017_Style Steal.indd 26
Flower detail courts, €48, Debenhams
SUCCESS The ŠKODA Karoq has been unveiled, featuring plenty of space and state-of-the-art technology.
ot on the heels of the Kodiaq, ŠKODA has unveiled a smaller compact SUV called Karoq. The emotive and dynamic design with numerous crystalline elements is a feature of ŠKODA’s design language that is evident across all their entire range. New technologies including driver-assistance systems and full LED headlights are featured and – for the first time in a ŠKODA – a digital instrument panel. Five engine variants are available from 85 kW (115 bhp) to 140 kW (190 BHP), of which four are new. All powertrains feature turbo-charged direct injection units as well as start-stop technology and brake energy recovery, are extremely efficient and comply with EU 6 regulations. With the exception of the most powerful diesel, all drivetrains can be ordered with a 6-speed manual gearbox or 7-speed DSG. The 2.0 TDI with 140 kW (190 BHP) comes as standard with 4×4 drive and 7-speed DSG, while the new 1.5 TSI includes the special feature of cylinder deactivation. The ŠKODA Karoq chassis also sets benchmarks in its segment and demonstrates its quality, even off the beaten track. From the Ambition trim level upwards, Driving Mode Select with the Normal, Sport, Eco, Individual and Snow (4x4) modes is available on request. The Off-Road mode with all-wheel drive improves the driving characteristics on rough terrain.
EXCEEDING STANDARDS The ŠKODA brand stands for an exceptional package. This also applies to the new Karoq, which offers exceptional space and functionality for five people. The luggage compartment has a capacity of 521L with the rear seats in place. With the rear seats folded down, the volume increases to 1,630L. The VarioFlex system consists of three separate seats, which can be individually adjusted and the seats can also be completely removed to reveal van like proportions with a maximum load capacity of 1,810 liters. A number of Simply Clever features are also included in the Karoq, such as a virtual pedal for hands-free opening of the boot. It is also possible to comfortably transport especially long items by utilis-
ing the folding front passenger seat. The ŠKODA Karoq is at the top of its segment with innovative connectivity solutions – the second generation Modular Infotainment Matrix offers state-of-the-art functions and interfaces and is equipped with capacitive touch displays. The SmartLink+ platform, compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLinkTM, is quite likely to be standard in the new Karoq. The Karoq also offers a comprehensive range of driver assistance systems. New comfort systems include Park Assist, Lane Assist and Traffic Jam Assist. Blind Spot Detect, Front Assist with predictive pedestrian protection and Emergency Assist serve to increase safety. Additional driver assistance systems are available which keep the car at a safe distance from the car ahead, to make it
easier for the driver to change and keep in lane, to point out important traffic signs, and to assist when parking. “After the huge success of the Kodiaq our SUV journey continues with the arrival of the Karoq. As part of ŠKODA’s 2025 strategy, the brand will be continually expanding its model range over the coming years,” said Ray Leddy, Head of Marketing at ŠKODA Ireland. “The primary focus will be on broadening the SUV range.”
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION VISIT: WWW.SKODA.IE
Is there anything nicer than a sleepy baby in a butter-soft sleepsuit? We don’t think so. Here are some of our favourites this autumn. NEUTRAL
4 4 4
1 Chocolate grey bodysuit, €25, River Island, 2 Striped grey star babygro, €37.50, Catimini @ Childrensalon.com, 3 Fox sleepsuit, €22, JoJo Maman Bébé, 4 Acorn sleepsuit, €11.99, Mothercare, 5 Interlock sleepsuit, €14.99, Mothercare
MI Autumn 2017_Baby Trend.indd 28
1 Pink romper, €45, Emile et Rose @ Arnotts, 2 Green velour babygro, €36, Billieblush @ Childrensalon.com, 3 Ministylin milk natural body, €25, River Island, 4 Floral baby sleepsuit, €22, JoJo Maman Bébé, 5 Pink smocked baby sleepsuit, €22, JoJo Maman Bébé
1 Best Little Brother bodysuit, €7.50, Mothercare, 2 Navy babysuit, €57, Emile et Rose @ Arnotts, 3 Lion dungaree set, €19.99, Mothercare, 4 Blue babygro, €66, Little Marc Jacobs @ Childrensalon.com, 5 Navy stripe sleepsuit and hat, €17.99, Mothercare
ac t i o n ! Ready for
Tractor reversible hoodie, €29, JoJo Maman Bébé
Pink headband, €8, Emile et Rose @ Arnotts
Pre-school is a busy time, so make sure your little one is ready for anything in some comfy tracksuits and separates.
Ditsywhite t-shirt (twopack), €9.99, Mothercare
Happy t-shirt, €10.50, Little Bird @ Mothercare
Blue light-up runners, €20, Next
Pink tracksuit with glitter and tulle, €45, Billieblush @ Childrensalon.com
Navy tractor applique joggers, €17, JoJo Maman Bébé
Minnie Mouse canvas shoes, €12, Penneys
Dino t-shirt, €12, Next
Girl graphic t-shirt, €7.50, Mothercare
LOOK 3 Pretty joggers (two-pack), €22, JoJo Maman Bébé
Slogan fleece hoody, €15.99, Mothercare
Runners, €10, Penneys
Tracksuit, €40, Mayoral @ Chidrensalon.com
Lace-less runners, €20, Next
FIVE OF THE BEST… HATS
Sequin bow cat cable beanie, €15, Monsoon
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Batman rib beanie, €4, Penneys
Bobble hat, €17.50, Emile et Rose @ Arnotts
Blue hat, €14.40, Boboli @ Arnotts
BG long ear beanie, €3, Penneys
30 TREND Faux fur microphone bag, €22, M&S
STYLE There’s no girly pink for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter, North West. Here she toughens up a black velvet dress with some boots and a healthy dose of toddler ‘tude.
Sequin party dress, €34.99, H&M
There are some baby girls who are girly girls from the very minute they leave the delivery room – but then there are plenty who just aren’t that bothered by traditionally girlie things, and gendered clothes and toys. We reckon little North West is one of the latter, as we don’t tend to see her in too many frills – even the girly stuff tend to have a bit of edge. Is that all down to her or to her rapperturned-fashion designer dad Kanye? We don’t know – but to be honest, we don’t care, as little Nori’s party outfits make a refreshing change from the princess outfits that tend to dominate that age group.
Sparkle bow jersey dress, €35, Baker By Ted Baker @ Debenhams
DKNY hooded dress, €64, Childrensalon.com
Pink fringe boots, €17.99, H&M
YG patent boots, €18, Penneys
Cat bag, €6, Penneys
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In an exclusive extract from her new book The Fertility Handbook, one of Ireland’s foremost fertility experts, PROFESSOR MARY WINGFIELD, takes us through the IVF process.
n vitro fertilisation (IVF) literally means fertilisation ‘in glass’. Put very simply, the woman’s eggs are removed from her ovary by a minor surgical procedure and placed, with the man’s sperm, in the laboratory. All going well, the sperm will fertilise several of these eggs and some fertilised eggs will continue to grow further into embryos. One or two of these embryos are then placed in the woman’s uterus (womb) where they will hopefully implant and lead to a pregnancy. IVF was developed as a treatment for couples where the woman’s Fallopian tubes were damaged or absent and so fertilisation could not occur naturally. IVF was a medical breakthrough for infertility due to tubal disease, enabling the bypassing of natural fertilisation in the Fallopian tube. With time it was realised that IVF is actually an excellent treatment for a number of other fertility problems and nowadays IVF is a highly effective treatment for a vast range of problems. Indeed, IVF was one of the most significant medical breakthroughs of the twentieth century.
Ovarian stimulation and triggering ovulation Early attempts at IVF involved natural cycles where the woman developed one or two eggs naturally and these were then removed and used for IVF. It soon became clear that a larger number of eggs would increase the chances of success and now the vast majority of IVF programmes start with stimula-
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tion of the ovaries to produce a number of eggs. We know that not all the eggs will fertilise (usually 50–70% do) and that not all of the fertilised eggs will actually go on to form healthy embryos (about 50% do). For this reason a larger number of eggs increases the chance of success. However, too many eggs are not good either. Most IVF programmes aim to stimulate somewhere between eight and 14 eggs during each treatment cycle. The ovaries are generally stimulated with FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). LH (luteinising hormone) may also be used. FSH (and LH) must be given as injections, either daily or weekly. Women are shown how to do these injections themselves and many companies produce patient-friendly ‘pens’ to make this process easier. The dose of hormone used is decided for each woman individually depending on her age, weight and her ovarian reserve tests. Even so, all women respond differently to the drugs, so close monitoring is required. The growth and number of the ovarian follicles (which contain the eggs) are carefully monitored using a combination of ultrasound and blood tests. Generally, three or four monitoring visits are required. When some of the follicles have reached the required size (16–22 mm in diameter), the woman is ready for the procedure to remove her eggs (egg retrieval or egg collection). In order to allow the final stages of egg development, an ovulation trigger injection of the hormone hCG (human chorionic
gonadotropin) is given and egg collection is scheduled approximately 36 hours later. In addition to the FSH/LH injections, which stimulate the ovaries, a second type of hormone is also required, this time to control the woman’s own natural hormones. As the follicles grow, they cause the woman’s oestrogen levels to rise and, if not controlled in some way, this will eventually trigger a surge in the hormone LH, which will result in ovulation. If this occurs, the eggs will be released from the follicles into the woman’s pelvis and will be lost before egg collection. In order to prevent this occurring, additional treatment is given. Over the years two regimes have been developed to prevent premature ovulation. The original regime is called ‘downregulation’. It involves an injection or nasal spray to deliver a hormone which suppresses the action of the woman’s own pituitary gland and so prevents the LH surge which can trigger early ovulation. This medication is started two to three weeks before the FSH/ LH stimulation drugs and continued until just before egg collection. The other regime is called an antagonist or ‘short’ protocol. In this case the FSH/LH stimulation injections are started at the beginning of the woman’s cycle and a second daily injection of an antagonist hormone is added on the fifth day of stimulation. Again, this is continued until just before egg collection.
Egg collection Egg collection is a minor surgical procedure. It involves passing a fine needle through the top of the woman’s vagina and into her ovaries. Gentle suction is then applied to the needle and the fluid in each follicle is drained. This procedure is done under ultrasound guidance: the needle for draining the follicles is attached to the vaginal ultrasound probe and the whole procedure is done while also scanning. This means that the doctor can see the needle, the ovaries and the follicles on a monitor and ensure that she/he is safely inserting the needle in the correct place. The fluid that is aspirated (taken out) is passed to the embryologist and examined under a microscope. Hopefully the egg in the follicle will have been dislodged and is identified in the fluid. All follicles are drained but not all will yield an egg. Generally we would expect to get an egg from 80– 90% of the larger follicles but the number retrieved can vary from woman to woman. The eggs are then prepared in the laboratory. Most clinics will administer sedation or pain relief to the woman during the egg collection procedure. The type of sedation given varies from clinic to clinic but is gen-
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34 FERTILITY erally given by intravenous injection or infusion. The aim is to provide good pain relief but also to avoid overtreatment – general anaesthesia is not usually necessary. Most women will experience some discomfort after the egg collection and this will vary depending on the number of follicles and the ease of the egg collection.
Sperm collection The male partner is required to provide a semen sample on the day of the egg collection, unless sperm has been frozen prior to this time. In order to optimise the quality of the sperm, the man should have ejaculated two to five days beforehand. The sperm is then examined and prepared in the laboratory and, depending on its quality on that particular day, the final decision is made as to whether IVF or ICSI is required.
Fertilisation For IVF, each egg is placed in a drop of fluid with approximately 100,000 sperm and then carefully placed in an incubator. In the case of ICSI, the outer layer of cells around the egg is removed and a single sperm is chosen and injected into each egg. This is a highly skilled procedure performed by the embryologist using a microscope to see the tiny eggs and sperm. Great care is needed not to damage the eggs. The eggs and sperm are then placed in an incubator. The next morning the embryologist examines the eggs to detect signs of fertilisation. If the egg has been fertilised normally, we should see two pronuclei (or PNs). Each pronucleus represents half the chromosomes from each partner (23 chromosomes from the female egg and 23 chromosomes from the male sperm). These pronuclei fuse over the next couple of hours to form one whole nucleus containing the normal complement of 46 chromosomes. This is evidence of normal fertilisation. Some eggs may be abnormally fertilised and will be seen to have three pronuclei, four pronuclei or one pronucleus. Eggs that have not been fertilised will have no pronuclei evident. This assessment stage is therefore critical as unfertilised and abnormally fertilised eggs can be seen and discarded as they are genetically abnormal and will never lead to a healthy pregnancy. Usually about 60–70% of the eggs collected fertilise, but this can range from 0% to 100%. In some couples there will be total failure of fertilisation or only abnormal fertilisation and therefore no healthy embryos will develop. This happens in
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2–5% of cycles and is devastating. Thankfully, the results are generally good if ICSI is used on the next occasion.
Development of embryos After approximately 24 hours a normally fertilised egg should divide into two. An egg is one cell and this divides into two cells, at which stage we call it an embryo. These two cells subsequently divide into four cells, then eight, then sixteen and so on. Over the next number of days the embryologists monitor the development and appearance of these embryos. Once the embryos get to Day 4 they are called morulas. The number of cells is now too great to be counted individually and
cept an embryo and allow it to implant. This progesterone is most commonly taken as a vaginal tablet or gel but may also be given as an injection. It is started on the evening of the day after egg collection and taken for at least 15 days – until the outcome of the cycle is known.
Embryo transfer Embryo transfer is performed by placing a speculum in the woman’s vagina (similar to the procedure for taking a smear test) and then gently passing a very fine tube (catheter) with the embryo or embryos in it into the uterus. The embryo/s is/are then gently expelled. Medication or sedation is not usually required for this step. An ultrasound
“It certainly seems like a miracle that this tiny embryo that we can’t see, except under the microscope, could actually stay in the uterus, implant and lead to a healthy pregnancy and baby.” from this stage on the embryo is beginning to develop to what we call the blastocyst stage. The cells begin to rearrange themselves into a group of cells called the inner cell mass, which will hopefully go on to form a healthy embryo/foetus and baby, and the outer trophectoderm cells, which will go on to form the placenta and support for the pregnancy. During the days when the embryos are growing and developing, the embryologists are monitoring them carefully. Depending on the number and quality of the embryos, a decision is made as to the optimal day to transfer the embryo or embryos to the woman’s uterus. If a couple have many embryos, most laboratories will recommend allowing them to continue to grow in the incubator until Day 5 or blastocyst stage. This gives us the optimal amount of information about the embryos and enables the embryologist to choose the best embryo/s. If, however, a couple have a small number of embryos, it is likely that only one or two embryos will develop normally and in such a case there is no advantage in waiting any longer and the embryo/s will be transferred to the woman’s uterus on Day 2 or Day 3 after egg collection.
scan is generally used so that the correct placement of the catheter in the uterus can be confirmed, though this is not essential for success. Most clinics encourage the woman’s partner to be present for embryo transfer if they wish and most couples find the procedure fascinating. It certainly seems like a miracle that this tiny embryo that we can’t see, except under the microscope, could actually stay in the uterus, implant and lead to a healthy pregnancy and baby. Women often worry that the embryo will fall out after transfer, but it is truly a wonder of nature that it doesn’t. The progesterone support that began after egg collection is continued until the time of a pregnancy test, and sometimes until the pregnancy scan. The two weeks between embryo transfer and pregnancy test are often described as the most stressful time. You are waiting to see if you are pregnant, you are almost afraid to hope you are, and there is no need to go to the clinic, so it can be a lonely, anxious time.
Preparation of the woman’s uterus lining
The Fertility Handbook, by Professor Mary Wingfield, is published by Gill Books, priced at 16.99.
Because of the drugs used during stimulation to suppress the woman’s own hormonal responses, it is necessary for her to have extra progesterone hormone after egg collection to ensure that the endometrium or lining of her womb remains suitable to ac-
Home is the place where memories are made. There are 5,000 people homeless in Ireland. One in seven people accessing homeless services is a child. By remembering Focus Ireland in your Will, you can provide more people with a place to call home, a place to create their own happy memories. We understand that when making your Will, youâ€™ll want to care for those closest to you first, but once you have, any contribution to Focus Ireland can make such a big difference. Please contact Pauline Costello in Focus Ireland, in complete confidence, on 01 881 5900. Thank you.
1850 204 205 www.focusireland.ie
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SHOOT HIP FROM THE
Pelvic girdle pain is more common than you might think in pregnancy. Dr Sharon Cooley, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Rotunda Hospital, tells TARA CORRISTINE about the very real problem that is pelvic girdle pain.
elvic girdle pain or pelvic girdle dysfunction is an umbrella term for people with pain in their pelvis during pregnancy. We used to diagnose pubic symphysis dysfunction, a separation of the joint at the front of the pelvis between the two pubic bones, but because the pelvis is made up of so many bones, there are a number of joints there that can each give difficulty.
There’s no doubt that the primary cause is hormonal: relaxin and particularly progesterone. It causes laxity or looseness in the joints and movement between bones. Research shows that the difference in the pelvis in those women who don’t get pelvic girdle pain is between 30-60 per cent mobility. You have bone moving on bone with cartilage crushing between them and that causes significant pain. Over the course of nine months the aver-
compromised making lifting him difficult. Changing him, lifting him in and out of the bath and his car seat is very difficult. “Weight is a big thing as the heavier you become, the more pressure goes on the joint and more pain you find yourself in. I’ve been trying not to eat for two! A lot of people avoid exercise but it is vital to keep your core strong. I took Pilates in the first three months, which was brilliant as stretching the muscles is good for them. Now I swim regularly. “You are told that the cure is having the baby,
which doesn’t help. People say, ‘I got out of bed after the birth and it was gone, unbelievable.’ “You are limited in how you can treat it, you can’t take anti-inflammatories so I use heat packs and ice packs and I sleep with a pillow between my legs – that really helps. I rest and try to avoid walking distances. A physio support belt is great to take the pressure off the bump. For me that didn’t work because the pain is all in my back. Bring everything you need for the day downstairs to avoid going up and down.”
FROM EXPERIENCE... Laura, 35, shares her experience of pelvic girdle pain during her second pregnancy. “It started to become a problem in week 15 of my pregnancy. My issue is mainly with my back, the sacral joint is too loose, there’s too much mobility. I had it as a result of delivery of my first baby. I find any amount of walking painful and every time I get out of bed, which could be up to seven times a night. Having pelvic girdle pain with a toddler is a nightmare: your balance is
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age weight gain is between 12-14 kilos on a pelvis that has already been softened by hormones so that is another contributing factor. There is also some evidence suggesting that collagen production isn’t as good in pregnancy and that there’s an impact on enzyme production. One in five women will get pelvic girdle pain – we have at least 1,500 women presenting with it this year – and it’s a significant cause of immobility and pain. Activities we would normally do on autopilot all of a sudden become challenging and painful, like turning over in bed, standing up, getting in and out of the car, pushing a trolley or lifting children. According to Scandinavian research, it is a significant cause of absenteeism from work because they can’t sit for periods of time and there is a difficulty getting to work. It has an emotional impact too: You’re afraid to do the little things that before brought you comfort like pottering around the supermarket or meeting up with friends. Chronic pain changes how you view life, particularly when it isn’t just one limb affected, if it impacts on everything that you do on an hour-by-hour basis, it’s hard to get away from it.
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Identifying the problem and getting help early is key. Pelvic girdle pain can be mild, moderate or severe, and for a percentage of women they may need crutches, along with coping with the pain. One of the key people we look to is the physiotherapy department as they are a wealth of information, from exercises to strengthen your pelvis, the benefit of non-weight bearing exercises and pain relief. Massage, acupuncture and pelvic belts that can lift some of the pressure off the pelvic bone are some of the options that can help. The best pain relief is an anti-inflammatory but they are not approved in pregnancy so look for paracetamol and codeine products like Solpadeine. Unfortunately when pelvic girdle pain happens in pregnancy, it’s unlikely to go until the baby is delivered. Before women get to labour, we look at joint mobility. Our physiotherapists want to see if a woman can bring her hips up and out to give baby its base to deliver. If you are on your back it creates additional pressure on your pelvis, so being on your side or on your knees can relive some of the pressure, but they pose their own challenges if you have an epidural. We need to make sure that we are not putting undo pressure on the hips, because it’s not just the delivery we have to affect, it’s her longterm health. While one in five of us will experience PGD during pregnancy, five per cent of that population will continue to have pain afterwards. Most women will see some improvement post-natally because the weight of the baby is off the pelvis, and the majority will be almost completely better by about six weeks, but there is research that suggests it can take anywhere from 12-24 weeks for simple activities to be pain-free. Unfortunately 90 per cent of us who get pain in one pregnancy will experience it in a subsequent pregnancy and there is a trend towards that pain presenting earlier. There’s no doubt that some women delay thinking of a future pregnancy, not because they don’t want any more babies, it’s to try and recover from what happened to them, and to summon up the courage to face into it again. My advice is to enter the pregnancy as healthy as possible. We would recommend a course of exercises working on the joints where the pain was previously, strengthening the muscles and ligaments around that joint to try a limit the mobility that caused the pain. With pelvic girdle pain, there are things you can do to make it better: being educated, being reassured that baby is okay and the follow up support is there, it makes a big difference to women.
TOP TIPS FROM THE ROTUNDA HOSPITAL AND THE HSE ✱ Be as active as possible within pain limits and avoid activities that make the pain worse ✱ Rest when you can – you may need to sit down more often ✱ Pull in your tummy before going from sitting to standing, and from standing to sitting ✱ Go up the stairs one leg at a time, leading with the pain free leg first. You may need to try going upstairs backwards or on your bottom ✱ Sit on the seat first, if getting in and out of the car is painful, and try to keep your knees together or step them into the car. A plastic carrier bag on the seat may help you to swivel ✱ Sit down to get dressed and undressed: Wear flat supportive shoes
✱ When turning in bed, it can help to keep both knees together and try to turn under rather than over on your back in one smooth movement. ✱ If using crutches have a small rucksack to carry things in ✱ Change toddler’s nappies at waist height and kneel beside the bath when bathing toddlers.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW:
FROM BREAST TO WEANING Many new parents would put feeding at the top of the list when it comes to big decisions and worries about a new baby. Here we look at some of the big issues facing new parents and what you can do to help.
I really want to breastfeed but I’m nervous. Can I prepare when pregnant? Absolutely. There are various guides you can buy or you can check out the HSE’s website, www.breastfeeding.ie. Although you won’t know how it will go until your baby arrives, reading up on the subject or – better still – talking to breastfeeding mums will help you feel confident in your choice and have some idea of what to expect. Pop down to your local health centre to find out about the local breastfeeding group and perhaps drop in during your third trimester. Familiarise yourself with the local support groups in La Leche League or Ciudiu. Know who to contact should you find breastfeeding more difficult than expected.
Why do I hear so much about the importance of breastfeeding from birth? The first milk your breasts produce is called colostrum, which is usually produced in small amounts to meet the needs of your baby in the first few days of life. Colostrum is very high in antibodies so it is very important in helping your baby fight infections. Even if you don’t continue breastfeeding, getting some of this valuable stuff into your baby will be beneficial. As your milk supply develops, the amount of milk increases and your breasts may feel fuller. This later milk also contains lots of antibodies and other ingredients to ward off illnesses as well as providing all the food and drink your baby needs to grow and develop.
I’ve heard a lot about tongue-tie. What is it?
Tongue-tie is where the frenulum under a baby’s tongue is too tight; as a result, the baby might be less able to stretch the tongue in order to cup the nipple to feed, leaving the baby
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frustrated and hungry and the mum in pain. Up to one in ten babies may be born with tongue-tie. If breastfeeding is painful, if your baby seems frustrated after a feed, or if your baby is failing to thrive, talk to your GP, midwife or public health nurse about tonguetie. If this is diagnosed, a small procedure called a frenotomy can make a massive difference. In severe cases, tongue-tie can cause speech issues, problems with swallowing and chewing food, reflux, misalignment of teeth and tooth decay, so it’s important to fix.
I’m breastfeeding. How do I know if my baby is drinking enough? You’re not alone. Many new mothers worry that their baby is not getting enough food while breastfeeding. But there are a number of signs that your baby is thriving: ✹ Your baby is producing wet and dirty nappies ✹ Your baby is putting on weight ✹ Your breasts feel softer and lighter after feeding ✹ You can hear your baby swallowing frequently and sucking steadily ✹ Your baby is calm and satisfied
How do I express milk?
Whether you choose to hand-express or to express by hand/electric pump, the milk may take a minute or two to flow after you start expressing. Express from one breast until the flow slows or stops. Change to the second breast and when the milk stops flowing from that breast return to the first breast and start again. Repeat this several times until you can no longer get any milk from either breast. To encourage your milk to flow while expressing, try the following: ✹ Try to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Sitting in a quiet room with a warm drink may help. Have your baby close by. If this is not possible, have a photograph of your baby to look at instead. ✹ If you can, have a warm bath or shower before expressing, or apply warm flannels to your breast (especially when you are learning to express). ✹ Gently massage your breast. This can be done with your fingertips or by rolling your closed fist over your breast towards the nipple. Work around the whole breast, including underneath. Do not slide your fingers along your breast as it can damage the skin. ✹ After massaging your breast, gently roll your nipple between your first finger and thumb. This encourages the release of hormones, which stimulate your breast to produce and release the milk.
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I’m struggling with breastfeeding. Is there help? There is, and we’d encourage you to know where to look even before your baby is born. Breastfeeding is natural, but like everything you and your baby must learn the skill. Many hospitals offer breastfeeding support after the birth. Talk to your midwife or your GP about what’s available in your area. Or you can contact your public health nurse (based in the local HSE Health Centre – see local telephone directory for number). Public health nurses hold drop-in well baby clinics and provide home consultation visits to mothers and babies. Alternatively, there are usually local breastfeeding support groups available, either through your public health nurse or through La Leche League and/or Cuidiú. Another option is to make contact with a private lactation consultant. There are an increasing number of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) providing private breastfeeding information and support. Consult your local telephone directory or the Association of Lactation Consultants in Ireland, www.alcireland.ie, to find out if there is an IBCLC-qualified lactation consultant in practice in your area – there is a cost for this service.
How long should I breastfeed for?
How can I ensure that bottle-feeding is safe?
There are advantages to breastfeeding for even short periods. But to maximise the health, social, emotional, environmental advantages of breastfeeding, aim to continue for as long as you can. The way to ensure you and you baby get the most out of breastfeeding is to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and then continue breastfeeding while also giving your baby nourishing solid foods until the baby is two years old or older.
Make sure your bottles, teats and lids are completely cleaned and dry. A dishwasher can be used to clean your bottles, but remember that you must also sterilise them. A microwave or plug-in steam steriliser is the best option, although you can also sterilise equipment by boiling in water for at least three minutes or with a chemical steriliser like Milton. Follow these steps for making up bottle feeds: ✹ Use equipment that has been cleaned and sterilised ✹ Boil 1 litre of tap water and leave to cool for 30 minutes (no longer)
✹ Follow the guidelines on the formula tin to
measure out the ratio of powder to water. Remember that using too much or too little formula could make your baby sick. ✹ Cool prepared feeds quickly by running sealed bottle under the cold tap. Test temperature of the milk on the back of your hand (it should be lukewarm) ✹ Either use the feed immediately and throw away anything left over within two hours or store made-up bottles are the back of the fridge (the temperature should be 5°C or lower) and use within 24 hours.
How do I know if my baby has reflux?
A baby’s digestive system is immature so posseting (spitting up) after a feed is normal, and eventually they outgrow it. Reflux occurs when the swallowed milk comes back up into the oesophagus or mouth and causes distress and irritation. Babies have a ring of muscle where the oesophagus joins the stomach. This muscular valve opens to let through milk the baby has swallowed, and closes to keep milk in the stomach. Babies usually get reflux because the ring of muscle hasn’t developed fully yet so milk and stomach acid can come back up the oesophagus, causing discomfort akin to heartburn in adults. Sometimes this is vomited out, or sometimes it just moves up and down in the oesophagus (silent reflux). If you suspect your baby might have reflux, visit your doctor, who may prescribe antacids. If the antacids help, treatment may be continued until it’s time to wean.
What are the symptoms of colic?
Colic is a term used to describe uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby often at the same time of day, frequently in the late afternoon or evening. It usually appears when the baby is two or three weeks old. It is defined as a baby younger than five months old who cries for more than three hours in a row on three or more days a week for at least three weeks. If your baby has colic, the abdomen may look enlarged. You may notice that they alternately extend or pull up their legs and pass gas as they cry. It is important to bring a baby with suspected colic to the GP to check for any other medical reason for the crying. Colic tends to peak around six weeks, then improves significantly between months three and four. By five months it has generally resolved itself. To help, comfort your baby when needed, and get support for yourself as a colicky baby can be stressful.
How do I know if my baby is ill?
Bringing up milk or occasional vomiting after feeds is nothing to worry about. However, seek immediate medical attention if you see green vomit, blood in the vomit or stools containing blood, or if your baby is lethargic and uninterested in feeding. Most importantly, go with your instinct – if you are worried, seek medical advice.
Why do I need to give my baby Vitamin D drops?
When should I think about weaning?
It is now a public health policy that all infants born in Ireland must receive Vitamin D3 drops from birth, whether babies are breast- or bottle-fed. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for every cell in the body to function properly. It is made by our body when the sun shines on our skin – but unfortunately the sunshine is scarce in Ireland, particularly from October to March. In addition, infant skin is very sensitive and burns easily and should not be directly exposed to the sun. Babies are only born with 50-60 per cent of their mum’s stores of Vitamin D, and if the mum is deficient in Vitamin D in the first place, this means that it’s even more critical for the infant to receive Vitamin D in other forms. Rickets, a condition that affects bone formation, has re-emerged in Ireland thanks to Vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, it is now widely accepted that insufficient calcium and vitamin D in early childhood can lead to osteoporosis in later life. The recommended form of vitamin D supplement for infants is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). It should be given as an oral supplement in a liquid or drop form and should contain only vitamin D3. It should provide five micrograms (5ug) of D3 daily.
It is recommended that you start weaning when your baby reaches six months old if breastfed, and between four and six months if formula fed. Your public health nurse will be able to advise on the best time for your baby. Don’t attempt to wean until your baby is at least 17 weeks old, as weaning too early puts the baby at risk of developing allergies. First foods should be bland and runny in consistency. Ideal first foods include baby rice (mixed with breastmilk or formula), root vegetables like carrot and nonacidic fruit like stewed pear. Your baby will only take a spoon or two at first, but you can gradually build this up as your baby begins to get used to eating from a spoon. Remember you can mix your baby’s usual milk with any puree to make it more palatable.
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Product Guide to:
HIGHCHAIRS A highchair can be a handy piece of kit from weaning onwards, but with such a variety now on the market, how do you know which is right for you? We take a look at some of the main points to bear in mind when choosing a highchair.
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t seems like every stage you go through with a baby, a new set of concerns replaces the ones you’ve just overcome. For instance, with a newborn, where do you put them when they’re not asleep or lying in your arms? When they start getting mobile, where do you put them where they will stay still for long enough in order to finish a meal or – shock – allow you to change a wash? In terms of feeding and sitting, a highchair can be a really valuable piece of kit – not only will your little one be safe and secure when eating (therefore allowing them all the time in the world to play with, sorry, eat, their food), but it can also be a great option for crafts or painting. These days there are plenty to choose from – and in fact, choosing one can be nothing short of bewildering. Here we outline some of the basic questions to ask yourself when choosing a highchair.
Do I really need a highchair? We’re pretty sure that some mums have managed without a highchair, or even used an insert for a regular chair, but for most of us, it really is a great investment. The good news is that you really don’t need one until your baby is weaning/has weaned – so at about six months or so. So this is one decision you can put off until your baby is firmly established in your house and your life (and until you know you absolutely need one and what you need from it).
Why is there such a huge range of prices? Much like travel systems and push chairs, really you can get a highchair to suit any budget. Even people who might have been in the market for a highchair as recently as five years
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ago would comment that there is so much more variety available now, and at different price points. The reason is that you can get a highchair to suit a number of different scenarios now. For instance, some highchairs can take you from birth to weaning and beyond, while others are designed to convert from a highchair into a normal chair for older children. Then there are wooden ones, wipe-clean plastic ones, lightweight foldable versions, space-age podstyle chairs – the list goes on.
If I buy a conventional highchair, how do I know when my baby is ready for one? As mentioned before, some highchairs convert from a newborn ‘pod’ into a highchair; others come with an extra cushion to support small babies. In general, however, your baby is ready for a highchair once they are able to sit up unsupported and with confidence. This is usually around six months, but be guided by your own
baby and their individual development. Make sure your baby is secured in the chair with a strap between the legs and a five-point harness.
What sort of safety marks should I look for? When it comes to highchairs, safety is everything. Make sure you’re happy with how sturdy the chair is, and when putting it into your home, ensure that the ground is level, and not slippy. Check that your baby can’t reach out and knock over things when in the chair or grab onto something to try to get out of the chair or topple it over. When buying the chair, make sure the safety straps are in place. The harness should comply with BS6684. The chair itself should conform with BS5799. Finally, never leave your child unattended in the highchair.
Apart from safety, what other concerns should I look out for? Remember that your baby most probably will be eating in the chair – and not too tidily too! For peace of mind and sanity, choose a chair that is easy to clean. Consider the cover and tray – can these be removed for cleaning? Even better, can the cover be removed and washed in the machine? Look out for nooks and crannies that might harbour dirt and bits of food – can these be cleaned easily? Think about the space in which you want to put the highchair: can the highchair sit out all the time or must it be folded for storage? Will it be in the kitchen or the living/dining room? If it’s not in the kitchen, you may want to choose a colour or a material to fit in with your furniture or décor. Think about what functions you want your chair to do – do you want something that will let your baby sit at the table with the rest of the family? Perhaps a chair that is tall enough for the breakfast bar? Or would you like one that converts from a newborn seat into a highchair and then into a seat for an older child? There are many other options to look out for, including an adjustable footrest, expandable tray, extra seat cushioning and removable and replaceable covers and cushions. Narrowing down what works for you will help you in your choice.
Highchairs OUR TOP PICKS There are lots of great highchairs on the market today – here are just a few of our favourites.
WOODEN ORIGINAL STOKKE TRIPP TRAPP, €189, WWW.STOKKE.COM One of the original highchairs that grow with your child, Stokke’s Tripp Trapp revolutionised the category back in 1972 when it was first launched. It is designed to fit right up to your dining table, and can be adjusted to suit your baby as they grow into small children.
FROM NEWBORN TO CHILD ICANDY MICHAIR, FROM €325, EIRE.ICANDYWORLD.COM The new iCandy MiChair may be pricey, but when used with a special pod, can be used from birth onwards. It can also be converted into a rocking chair, or as your baby grows up, changed into a stylish chair.
BARGAIN CHOICE ANTILOP WITH TRAY, €16, IKEA A really basic lightweight chair, Antilop is an excellent choice for people on a budget. It’s high enough so your baby can sit at the table with you, but it’s extremely lightweight – so our advice is to ensure it’s placed on an even floor surface.
WIPE CLEAN GRACO TEATIME BOW TIME BEAR HIGH CHAIR, €39.99, SMYTHS A more traditional highchair that’s both sturdy and practical, Graco’s Treatime chair is a great chair at a great price. The cushion is wipe clean and the tray is extra big so it’s suitable for all stages of weaning, including baby-led weaning.
PORTABLE SEAT SUMMER INFANT SIT N STYLE, €27.99, LITTLEWOODS IRELAND Suitable for slightly older children (from nine months upwards), a booster seat is a great option for travelling or occasional use at a relative’s house. Choose one that can be secured to the seat and that has its own removable tray.
FROM NEWBORN ONWARDS BLOOM FRESCO CHROME, FROM €386, WWW. CLEVERCLOGS.IE The new Fresco Chrome introduces a booster seat and pad that can be inserted into the chair for smaller infants, and a re-engineered safety bar that can be used in the three recline positions. The chair can be adjusted to suit babies from birth until school-going age.
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STYLE MEETS PRICE BLAMES HIGHCHAIR WITH TRAY, €55, IKEA A more sturdy choice from Ikea, Blames is also more stylish than Antilop, so scores well in terms of both safety and looks. There is the option of purchasing a cushion too (Pyttig).
FOLDABLE HIGHCHAIR MOTHERCARE TRANSPORT HIGHCHAIR, €58.99, MOTHERCARE Mothercare’s sturdy wipe-clean chair comes in a number of bright prints and features a three-position back recline and a height-adjustable footrest. The food tray on the front can also be adjusted. Then, after dinner, the whole chair folds up for storage.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…
HEAD LICE Yes, it’s that time of the year again, where every parent fears that letter coming home, warning of head lice in the classroom… Here’s all you need to know!
What is head lice?
Head lice are tiny wingless insects that are grey-brown in colour. They are the size of a pinhead when they hatch and 3mm long when fully grown. They are spread by head-to-head contact and feed by sucking blood from the scalp. They are most common among small children due to their way of playing, which usually involves close contact, so head lice can affect crèches and preschools as well as ‘big’ school.
How can I treat head lice?
Wet detection combing can successfully treat head live; however, a special lotion or spray to remove lice may be more effective. There are several pesticide-based solutions available, or a treatment like Hedrin, which is pesticide free and can be used on everyone from six months old to adult. Ask your pharmacist for guidance especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or if you or your child have a special medical condition. Medicated treatments should only be used if a living head louse is found. Crème rinses and shampoos are not thought to be effective and are therefore not recommended. Head lice die after a day or two of being away from the human scalp so there is no need to wash or fumigate clothing or bedding that comes into contact with head lice.
What is detection combing?
Detection combing can be carried out on dry or wet hair; wet hair is more accurate as lice remain motionless when they are wet. Use a special fine-toothed head lice comb (not a nit comb) with a tooth spacing of less than 0.3mm to trap the smallest lice. For wet detection combing, first wash and condition the hair. Do not rinse out the conditioner. Comb through until all tangles are gone. Then, using the head lice comb, slowly comb the hair and check the comb for lice after each stroke. Remove lice by wiping or rinsing the comb. When you are finished, rinse out the conditioner and repeat the process. For dry detection combing, first use an ordinary comb to untangle the hair. Then switch to a head lice comb, and slowly comb from scalp to the end of the hair, combing each section of hair three to four times before moving on to the next section. If you see a louse, trap it against the face of the comb with your thumb. Continue combing the hair, section by section, until the whole head of hair has been combed through.
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How are head lice diagnosed?
Contrary to beliefs, head lice doesn’t cause the scalp to itch, unless you have an allergy to head lice. They are difficult to detect on the head; unhatched eggs or nits (empty eggshells) alone are not enough to diagnose an active head lice infestation. This is because it can be difficult to distinguish between eggs and nits that are dead or alive. To confirm an active infestation, a louse must be found through a reliable method, such as detection combing.
Can head lice be prevented?
Head lice are not easily prevented. Remember that head lice infestation is not the result of dirty hair or poor hygiene; they can affect all types of hair irrespective of its condition or length. They cannot be passed to and from animals, so a household with pets is not more likely to suffer from lice. Early treatment is best, so regular detection combing is the most effective way of diagnosing head lice and treating them quickly. There are some natural sprays that use ingredients like Tea Tree to help prevent head lice. Always follow the instructions if you are planning on using such products.
46 TODDLER SAFETY
In an extract from her new book, mum-of-seven JEN HOGAN tells us her top tips on making your home as safe as possible for your toddler (and protecting your sanity at the same time…)
hen my daughter was born, my neighbour’s mother popped in to have a look, to congratulate me and to pass on some words of wisdom: ‘Enjoy this stage, this is the easy part’, she said. In my sleepdeprived, milk-leaking, stitch-hurting, highly emotional state I figured she was quite obviously barmy, so I nodded at her in a near sympathetic manner.
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Everything’s relative of course, and what she really meant was that one of the joys of a very young baby is that they generally stay where you put them. As the weeks and months pass though, and your baby starts to move, simple tasks like popping to the toilet become more of a challenge. In line with the growing ability to ‘get places’, Houdini-like escape artist skills also begin to develop. In due course, trips to the bathroom and taking a shower alone be-
come a distant memory, as no solace can be taken from the fact that your toddler is asleep at that moment in time. The sides of the cot are a mere baby-climbing frame, to be scaled with ease – though the descent needs some work. And so the time comes to toddler-proof your home. Danger lurks everywhere for the inquisitive child and while trips to A&E can be necessary in spite of our best efforts, prevention is better than cure, always.
47 TODDLER SAFETY
SAFETY EQUIPMENT Corner protectors for tables are a must-have. Toddlers have a wonderful tendency to run with their heads down, and even when they don’t their brakes aren’t very efficient or effective. Heads and eyes are particularly vulnerable as toddlers are the perfect height for table collisions. The protectors might not prevent them running into the tables but should help lessen the impact. Corner protectors are a great idea for fireplace corners too.
Socket protectors are another essential. After many months of watching you use the sockets for the hoover, hairdryer and the like, a mobile toddler is just waiting to see what happens if they stick a pencil, a finger or other random objects into it. Be warned, however, some socket protectors are so effective that it’s not just children who will find them difficult to remove – as is the case with the ones I used in a low-down double socket in my kitchen. We haven’t been able to access it since the birth of my fifth child.
Drawer, press and fridge locks are very important in not only protecting tiny little fingers from damage but also in preventing toddlers from accessing potentially dangerous sharp knives or heavy tins that cause a lot of pain and damage if they fall on precious little toes.
Toilet locks can seem like a huge inconvenience, but after your phone ends up down the toilet for the third time you’ll begin to appreciate its benefits. All manner of things can go down the loo when you have young children in the house. Once your child is past the age of four it’s generally an accidental occurrence. Before that age, however, a toilet appears to have a magnet-like draw for toddlers and they can feel an overwhelming desire to put anything down it. A threenager may attempt to fish the offending item out with a toothbrush. A toddler will normally just chuck the toothbrush down the toilet too. For this reason, a good rule of thumb when you have a toddler in the house is to check the toilet for missing objects.
Safety clips for blind and curtain cords are just a nonnegotiable essential with small children in the house. Cords should be kept taut and out of children’s reach at all times and a child’s cot never placed in position that might facilitate more easy access.
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Stairgates are needed as soon as baby is mobile and are required at both the top and bottom of your staircase. They can also be used between doorways to restrict access to certain rooms. You’ll need lots of patience with them. While they’re very easy to install, unless you secure them to the wall, older children and absent-minded partners will step on them as they walk through and bring them crashing down, frequently. They have also been known to trap unsuspecting grandparents who are not familiar with double-locking systems.
but colourful dishwasher and detergent capsules that can resemble large sweets or jellies are also something to be aware of. As for medicines, grateful as we may be of their lovely sweet taste when trying to encourage a reluctant and poorly toddler to take some, that same taste means a child will be drawn to them when they’re well too. Childproof caps are great, but out of sight, out of mind is definitely the best policy.
ABOUT THE HOUSE
Indoor keys: The easiest thing here is to remove them. There is usually no advance warning that a toddler has mastered the art of key turning until they’ve locked themselves in a room. Be mindful of keys when you visit other people’s houses too. It’s easy to forget that in non-toddler households people are used to being able to lock the bathroom door.
By their very nature, a toddler can make anything dangerous. Trying to spot the hazard before your toddler does is the challenge:
Chairs: the kitchen and dining-room type – are easy to move for a strong-willed toddler and a mere stepping stone to danger. We have had to resort to stacking our chairs on top of our tables, such has been the determination of our toddlers. Chairs have also been used to gain access to mantelpieces and kitchen counters, and on one occasion, a quick interception was required as one particular toddler attempted to escape out the sitting-room window to visit his dog. Nowhere is inaccessible to a toddler if there’s a chair in sight. While stacking them on the table when you’ve finished eating has an essence of schooldays about it, the comparative peace that you’ll have in the long run is worth it.
Choking hazards and poisons: So many things can fall into this category but there are some things a toddler will naturally be drawn to. Coins are one, especially if they’ve ever seen or tasted the chocolate variety before. Toddlers can be destructive little creatures too, so be careful to take note of any toys with moveable or potentially removable-by-force pieces. Medicines and detergents: Anything brightly coloured is likely to catch their eye. Bleach may be an obvious danger
Chests of drawers and storage units: These need to be secured to the walls. Toddlers and small children love to climb and unsecured these can cause serious injury or even death. The weight of several drawers open at the same time can lead the chest or storage unit to topple, even without a climber.
Cot bedding and cuddly toys: While adorable fluffy bedding, pillows and teddies can make your toddler’s bed look very cosy and appealing, they can be used to assist your little one with a middle-of-the-night or early-morning escape. In your toddler’s eagerness to be reunited with you, the contents of the cot can be used to build a platform to facilitate a bid for freedom. Getting down the other side can prove the real difficulty though and bring a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘things that go bump in the night’. READ ON Extracted from The Real Mum’s Guide to (Surviving) Parenthood by Jen Hogan, published by Orpen Press, price 14.99
48 STARTING SCHOOL
WAYS TO HELP YOUR
JUNIOR INFANT! Got a little one who has just started Big School? Make sure Junior Infants lives up to his/her big hopes with our top 12 tips from mums!
every child learns at different rates. The whole concept of reading didn’t even register with Danny until Senior Infants, but now he’s better than 90 per cent of the class! Everyone is different.” Penny, mum to Danny, 6
“If you can, I’d really encourage parents to have kids over for play dates. It encourages friendships and there’s nothing that makes your little one feel bigger than to show off their home and toys. If you work during the week, maybe have someone over on a Saturday morning or meet up at a playground at the weekend. It’s really worth the effort.” Victoria, mum to Sean, 5
ven though every child goes through some sort of preschool now, the transition to ‘Big School’ is still a massive step for both the child and the parent. And why not treat it as such? It’s exciting for your child to be moving into a new phase of life, and this should be celebrated. But once the excitement of the first day is over and a new routine begins, how can we, as parents, ensure that our children get the most out of their first year in school? We asked 12 parents for their top tips.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SOCIAL
“I soon learned that Junior and Senior Infants placed a great emphasis on the social aspect of school, and on letting children try as wide a range of things as possible. I thought it would be solid learning from Day One but it wasn’t – and to be honest, I was relieved. Learning through play is so important at that age.” Marie, mum to Luke, 7
DON’T PUT THEM UNDER PRESSURE
“I learnt quite early on not to be comparing my child’s learning with other schools or children. Every school has different systems when it comes to reading and writing – and
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ENCOURAGE PLAY DATES
DO THE SPORT
“I’d always encourage parents to seek out an extra-curricular in some sort of sport if possible. It’s a way of seeing schoolmates outside of school, and for your little one to broaden their social circle. It’s also a way for your child to keep in contact with friends from preschool if they end up going to different primary schools. And, after all that learning during the week, it’s a great way for them to blow off some steam!” Vicky, mum to Emily, 5
ENCOURAGE THEIR LEARNING
“Kids are naturally curious, but you also don’t want to hurry the learning or put them under pressure. So take advantage of their curiosity by bringing learning in through other methods. Join the library, read every night, encourage counting when you’re out and about, introduce them to music, sports, nature and more. There’s more to learning than reading and writing.” Edel, mum to Sally, 6
MAKE HOMEWORK EXCITING
“I was surprised that Anna had any homework at all in Junior Infants but it actually kicked in before October even began! Within a week, she was moaning about it. We decided to make it into a big thing – giving her a corner of my work desk, with her own pencil holder a paper pad. Then we’d sit down together and work. It made her feel really important and like we were ‘sharing’ the time together.” Jennifer, mum to Anna, 6
49 STARTING SCHOOL
LIVEN UP THE LUNCHBOXES
“By far, packing the lunchbox was my biggest heartache in Junior Infants! In preschool, Joshua was given a hot meal, so the lunchbox was just a snack, but now it’s their main lunch! To get away from the tired ham sambo, I took Josh shopping with me and we worked out lunches together (within reason!). It meant that he came home with empty lunchboxes and a full tummy every day.” Caitriona, mum to Joshua, 7
TALK TO THE TEACHER
“The biggest change I found from preschool is there’s less interaction and feedback in school. There was a parent-teacher meeting midway during the year but that was it. I think it’s important to talk to the teacher regularly if you can, even just saying hello, and to bring up any issues you might have. I found that the teacher was more than willing to chat if you needed to talk over anything – and it helped.” Emily, mum to Heidi, 6
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“My biggest tip is to talk to your child every day about their day in school – what they learned, any special moments, who they played with, and so on. If you think something might be worrying them, that time between reading a story and going asleep can be a good time to bring up any issues. Showing your child that you’re interested in their schoolday will encourage him/her to come to you with any worries.” Sinead, mum to Tom, 7
DON’T BE NEGATIVE
“If school wasn’t your favourite thing in the world, try not to be negative. Kids pick up on everything you say and usually try to copy you. Jack heard me giving out about Irish in school and all of a sudden he took against learning Irish! I didn’t know why for ages! Now we have pledged to learn the language together and we are enjoying it! (Not so sure I’ll be re-reading Peig though!)” Aoife, mum to Jack
“If you can at all, I’d recommend any parent to get involved with the school, even if it’s just something little, like volunteering at the Christmas Fair. It makes you feel involved with the school, you’ll see the workings of the school from a different angle, and it’s the one time that your child will be pleased and proud to see you around the school – believe me, that soon changes as they get older!” Emer, mum to Andrew, 7
REMEMBER IT’S A MARATHON
“The best advice I can give to any parent whose child is starting school is to calm down. Your child will be in junior school for eight years, and in secondary school for six – that’s a long time. Don’t feel that you have to do everything and know everything straightaway – you don’t. If you’re relaxed and calm about school, you child will be as well.” Susan, mum to Harry, 8
Love Tender ME
We hear a lot about the ‘snowflake’ generation, children who are so cosseted that they’re not quite able for the rigours of adult life. Are we showing our children too much affection? No, argues KEN PHELAN, who explains that affection is crucial for both children and parents…
ffection for our children comes naturally, and while it is crucial for their overall emotional growth and development, it greatly benefits mum and dad too. Affection is reciprocal, a special bond between child and caregiver, and is one of the things that makes it so rewarding to be a parent. We show our child affection because we want to show our love, to make her feel secure, to help her grow and to make sense of her world. We express our love in a number of ways, from kissing, cuddling and comforting, to holding hands, offering words of encouragement or simply sharing smiles. Affection to a child is arguably as important as food or water; for a
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newborn, skin-to-skin contact is vital in offering a sense of security and warmth, but throughout childhood, it is equally essential. Despite what some may claim, when it comes to showing love for your child, you simply cannot overdo it. Not only is affection vital for emotional growth, it also determines brain development, physical growth and long-term mental health. How a child experiences affection – or lack of – in early childhood will largely shape how they mature, and in turn, how they themselves are able to show affection as adults. A child who has been loved affectionately will grow to be confident, self-assured and have strong self-esteem; she will be empathetic, caring and emotionally strong. As psychologist Dr David Carey says: “The affectional bonds of childhood set in motion the affectional abilities throughout the life span. When children are hugged, kissed, caressed and nurtured emotionally they grow to be adults who can do the same to their loved ones. Hugging, kissing, touching, caressing, talking, smiling and listening are all the royal roads to giving children affection.” Simple displays of affection tell our child ‘I love you’, ‘I value you’, ‘I will always protect you’. They teach our child the value of relationships and give them a foundation from which to grow. How we show our child affection greatly influences how they will grow. Given the right environment, a child will always flourish; deprive a child of affection and he/she will become depressed, angry and confused, often into adulthood.
Give me all your lovin’ Studies have shown that children who have been shown affection will do better in school, are more self-confident, have high self-esteem and are generally able to cope better in life. In contrast, children who do not receive affection often stagnate, not only emotionally, but physically and cognitively too. Children who have not been shown affection can often grow to be difficult, aggressive and controlling. These children sometimes do not have the prerequisite skills to form meaningful or healthy relationships, since they find it difficult to relate emotionally to others. A child’s sense of self-worth or self-image can become so confused they may find it hard to initiate or maintain relationships, and they may struggle with placing trust in others. “Children who are reared without affection grow up to be adults who can’t show affection and have difficulty understanding themselves and others,” explains Dr Carey. “A child who is cruel to others, who is a bully, who intimidates others may well be a child who grew up in an affectionless environment.
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AFFECTION TIPS Use the whole armoury: kisses, hugs, words of encouragement, hand on the shoulder, bedtime stories, holding hands, laughter, even pulling funny faces! Be a shoulder to cry on and an invaluable confidant Discipline gently Place boundaries for showing affection Make sure Dad is on track
“Affection helps the parts of the child’s emotional brain grow and mature. Affection changes neuronal brain growth in a positive way – there is ample research about this. The brain regions are critically important in maturing to become an adult capable of love and kindness to others.”
The changing face of parenting Concepts of parenting and childhood have changed dramatically through the ages. Philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) portrayed children as being inherently evil and in need of firm discipline and control. Hobbes favoured an autocratic, harsh form of parenting largely at odds with modern parenting practices. John Locke (1632 - 1704) theorised that
this, then therapy and counselling may be the means of helping him learn.” The modern Irish man is thankfully a more enlightened species than before, from pushing a buggy and changing nappies to hugging, kissing and generally being more affectionate to their children.
Boundaries Of course, there are always boundaries when it comes to affection, and it is vitally important our children are aware of them. Children need to understand when different displays of affection are appropriate, and with whom, explains Dr Carey. “Children should be taught the process of social greeting such as shaking hands, making eye contact, saying hello, etc. They need to know that sitting on someone’s lap, hugging and kissing are things we do with close family members, not strangers.” On the issue of disciplining children, several studies have in fact suggested that appropriate displays of affection when disciplining are more effective than just discipline on its own. A gentle hand on the shoulder, a soft, calm voice, a hug after the child has been disciplined with ‘I know you’re going to be a good girl’ etc, all create positive associations with the discipline itself. Of course, there will be times when you may need to be a little firmer, but a reasoned, calm approach will always win through, as Dr Carey says: “Making eye contact, holding a child tenderly and using a soft voice (when
“Affection changes neuronal brain growth in a positive way – there is ample research about this. The brain regions are critically important in maturing to become an adult capable of love and kindness to others.” children were essentially born as ‘blank slates’, who were shaped by their experiences and perceptions of them; he emphasized the importance of nurturing and, in an age where corporal punishment was the norm, he wrote that “children who have been the most chastised seldom make the best men.” On the subject of men, these days men should be encouraged to be affectionate, to play, laugh, squeeze and hold – something that was slightly alien even in the last generation. “Fathers are just as capable of showing affection as mothers provided they received it in childhood themselves, says Dr Carey. “Giving your child a hug and a kiss, even if the kiss in on the head, is the best way to become an affectionate father. If a man is incapable of doing
appropriate) while disciplining children is important. Remember to focus on the behaviour that the child exhibited.” Affection shown to our children is not only of benefit to them in the short term, but throughout their lives. We all want our children to be happy, content, confident, capable of showing emotion and maintaining healthy relationships – most importantly, with their Mum and Dad. So give them a big squeeze, a surprise kiss, a secret smile or encouraging word - however much affection you give, you’ll get twice as much back. You’ll love your child in whichever way, and they will love you too, just remember to love them tender, but mostly love them true...
52 EARLY EDUCATION
LEARNING The latest buzzword in preschool and primary education is Forest School – but what are forest schools? And how does it differ from forest kindergarten? ANDREA MARA investigates…
orest School and Outdoor Kindergarten – they’re terms that conjure up images of Enid Blyton-style magic trees, whispering grass, and pixies peeping out from under toadstools. But far from being the stuff of fairy tales, outdoor education is a very real ethos in practice around Ireland today. So what exactly is Forest School, how does it differ from Outdoor Kindergarten, and how do both work in practice? “Forest School is based on opportunities to be outdoors, in natural settings, over time. It’s a play based approach, with the leader taking a backseat to let the children lead the learning,” says Joan Whelan, chairperson of the Irish Forest School Association. “It’s about tuning in to each other and bringing back a bit of magic and mystery to learning. It’s about promoting storytelling
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as a way to communicate with each other, all in the natural setting of woodland. Storytelling is a big part of Forest School and that’s of course as ancient as the hills, and maybe something as parents and educators we have lost a bit of in our busy world.” It sounds wonderful in theory – magical even – but what does it mean in practical terms? Joan explains that most Forest School programmes run for six to eight weeks, and each weekly session lasts about four hours, whatever the weather. “Children are taught about the risks, for example the children are involved in setting out the boundaries of the area the Forest School is using. As they are part of the decision, they are more likely to uphold it. How much better for young teenagers to learn about fire and tool-use in a setting such as this, rather than unsupervised with their peers? Forest Schools abide by
the ‘Leave No Trace’ philosophy. Sessions are also closely related to the curriculum for the child’s age and stage.” Forest School is often run through childcare settings such as crèches and preschools – this is the model Trisha McLoughlin follows with her Forest Friday Educational Programme in Co. Sligo. “The purpose is to deliver a range of outdoor, naturebased sessions to children aged three to 12 years through existing childcare services, any day of the week. When participating in our programme a child is engaging in outdoor natural spaces in an explorative, sensory and physical way to support Aistear’s advancement of outdoor play in Ireland. Sessions can involve den building, construction, setting up camp, nature embodiment games, creative bush crafts, and reflection time.”
53 EARLY EDUCATION for the outdoors. Some primary school children are dropped in as parents head to work; they get the bus to school and return after school. Other children are there all day, as they would be in a more traditional crèche setting. “The day starts with free play until all children arrive, followed by group-time and planning,” says Sally. “Then it’s the ‘Do’ – children follow their plan and do things. ’Review’ is where they talk about what they did, who they worked with, if they made changes and why. ‘Large group’ concludes the day with songs, stories, and games before heading home.” For those of us used to indoor crèche settings, it’s hard to imagine that preschool takes place outdoors, but that is ineed the case. “Everything happens outside 90 per cent of the year,” says Sally. “There is an indoor classroom, which children can access freely if they wish. In winter this may be used occassionally with children going in and out, rarely staying in a full day. Children carry out a risk assessment on the weather and decide if it’s safe to go out or not. Notsafe days are if there are high winds blowing objects around – then we stay in.” Mary Martin has four children, three of whom attend Glen Outdoor School, and her baby will start there in September when she goes back to work. Initially, her reasons for choosing outdoor school were practical. “We live right beside it – I don’t know if we
plenty to choose from, with swings and slides, bikes and trikes, a building workstation, and a polytunnel with crops.”
Outdoor learning The preschool follows the Aistear curriculum, but in a way that’s tied with the outdoor environment. Mary explains: “They do counting, but it’s outside – so the counting would be ‘go get ten stones’ or ‘go get ten leaves’, then they would do sorting by weight or colour for example. They’re feeling all the textures, asking if the colour is the same, is it heavy or light, or would it float in water.” But what about those days when the weather is a bit miserable – do her children ever resent being outside? “They don’t have to go out – there are lots of little shelters and nooks. They go into the house if they want a hot drink, and there’s the polytunnel, and a chalet at the back for doing art. They’re never made to go out, it’s always their choice – but really, they just like being outside.” Joan Whelan explains why children thrive on being outdoors. “The evidence seems to be that being outside to good for us all. For children, being outdoors seems to lend itself to more diverse and imaginative play, and all of this leads to optimal social, emotional and cognitive development. That is borne out by the recent
“Forest Kindergarten means children spend most of the day outside – for example in Sally O’Donnell’s school in Donegal. She was a pioneer in this regard, and is celebrating ten years of her outdoor setting this year.” Forest Kindergarten This differs from Forest Kindergarten, as Joan explains. “Forest Kindergarten means children spend most of the day outside – for example in Sally O’Donnell’s school in Donegal. She was a pioneer in this regard, and is celebrating ten years of her outdoor setting this year.” Sally O’Donnell set up Glen Outdooor School in Glenswilly, Co Donegal, ten years ago, and it’s effectively childcare or crèche that takes place outdoors, all year round. “We cater for children from six months to 12 years, meeting all required regulations. Our curriculum is ‘Play Based with High Scope, Plan, Do and Review’,” explains Sally. The school opens at 7.45 each morning with children of all ages arriving dressed
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would have travelled if there was another crèche closer,” says Mary who is a secondary school teacher, “But knowing what I know now, I think I’d have chosen the outdoor option.” So how does a typcial day go, when 90 per cent of it is spent outside? “The kids go in wearing fully lined wet gear, with old clothes underneath, plus wellies, hats and gloves. They have changes of clothes in there, so if they get wet, they go and get changed.” They start the day by discussing what they’d like to do, and she says that element of self-determination is something her children really enjoy. “They get to guide what they want to do in the morning – they can plan their day. They sit and discuss it - at preschool level they might draw it out. They don’t all have to do the same activity – there’s a real sense of freedom. And there’s
Heritage Council report here, Children and the Outdoors, and all the thinking in recent policy documents, such as Aistear and Siolta. We see Forest School as helping to transform the culture of schools, early learning centres and organised activities outside school and within communities, so they are dynamic and inspiring places for children to learn and teachers to work and families to live.”
Parents interested in Forest School should ask their local preschool if they provide outdoor learning opportunities, or log on to the Irish Forest School Association Facebook page or website www.irishforestschoolassociation.ie
54 PLAY THERAPY
THE IMPORTANCE OF With the US beginning to make play therapy readily available for adults as well as children, it may come as a surprise to hear that the practice is still in its relative infancy in Ireland. Despite this, play therapy is becoming more and more popular as awareness of the importance of mindfulness and mental health grows.
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55 PLAY THERAPY
ou can discover more about a person in an hour of play, than in a year of conversation” – so said Plato, circa 429-327 BC, showing that play has long been at the centre of childhood and indeed, key to the evolution of developmental psychology. More recently, Anna Freud and Frobel have published the benefits of letting children engage in non-directive play during psychological practices, utilising it to analyse children’s emotional and behavioral lives. The CEO of Play Therapy Ireland, Bernie Kelleher, states that it’s “one of the most effective ways of helping children who are worried and unhappy”. Play Therapy Ireland is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the use of play and creative arts in helping children reach their full potential. But what’s the difference between play therapy and drama therapy, music therapy or even just plain old psychotherapy? The key is in the name. “Play therapy uses the child’s natural communication of play,” explains Bernie. A nonverbal form of therapy, it uses play as the main means of communication between therapist and child. The result: invaluable time spent playing, where the only expectation of the child is to play, exactly as they wish. No winning or losing; success or failure. For children suffering from trauma, or who are simply too afraid to talk about their fears with an adult, this time can be a refuge, or a means to express themselves, all in a safe, familiar environment. By playing, the child ultimately reveals the thoughts and concerns that they may have hidden or subconsciously ignore on a regular basis.
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How does it work? Play therapy uses a variety of different mediums to draw the concerns and thoughts out of child, without putting them in a position where they have to explain themselves. Art, drawing and painting are used as emotive mediums for the child to play out what they’re feeling. Other mediums used are puppets, figurines and dress up for role play or pretend play, as well as musical instruments, and different textures like sand and water. Bernie comments “the pounding of clay is very therapeutic in instances where the child holds a lot of anger or resentment… Role play, pretend play, dressing up, movement, therapeutic stories – all of these mediums get children to express themselves, because play is a natural way of communicating for children.” But what goes on in a standard session? Bernie explains that she uses a non-directive approach, meaning that the child leads the play. “I would say to children in the session ‘you be the boss of play and I’ll be the boss of safety’ because it’s very important that children feel safe and that they can look up to the adult they’re with.” Trust also plays a big part in this relationship between child and therapist and Bernie is very clear on the confidentiality and private nature of the sessions. “It’s very important that parents buy into what play therapy is, and that they are aware of how play therapy works.” Parents are encouraged not to ask too many questions when their child comes out of a therapy session. Questions like ‘What did you do today?’ or ‘Did you have fun?’ puts pressure on the child that they are supposed to achieve something during their sessions, and indeed, enjoy them. “It’s important the
WHAT IS PLAY THERAPY? According to the National Association Of Professional Play Therapists, play therapy is: a mode of therapy that helps children understand painful experiences and upsetting feelings. As play is a child’s natural form of expression, it can allow them communicate at their own level without having to put it into words. Play allows the child to release needs, fears and wishes. It also helps them to address emotional and behavioral difficulties it provides your child with emotional support it can help them make sense of life experiences by playing them out at their own pace by allowing your child to make sense and understand their feelings it will in turn help them cope with the future it can help your child to deal with conflict/angry feelings in more appropriate ways play therapy can help you understand your child’s world
child is aware that this is private and confidential. I mean, obviously the child will probably talk to his parents about what he played with, etc.” One cannot control the mouths of babes it seems, but similar to other forms of therapy it is up to the patient to decide what they share with others. In the case of a recurring theme or an issue of a particularly sensitive nature arising, Bernie assures me that these are discussed appropriately to ensure the safety and protection of the child. Though sessions revolve around the child and their journey through play, they do not begin that way. Like in life, play therapy begins with the parents. Bernie outlines that there is an intense one or two sessions at the beginning with the parents or carers on their own getting background, history and context before private sessions are started with the child. “It can go over one or two sessions depending on the history of the child, going right back to formative years when the child was born, the pregnancy, how the child got on in the first two years of life, how was mum, did she suffer from post natal depression and so on.” Questions are asked going right through the developmental stages of the child’s early life, up to around their fifth or sixth year, depending on
56 PLAY THERAPY
HOW DO I TALK TO MY CHILD ABOUT PLAY THERAPY? Trying to find the words to explain play therapy to your child can be tough. The Irish Play Therapy Association website (www.ipta.ie) has some concise advice for answering some of your child’s questions about play therapy. Here’s what they said: WHY AM I GOING TO PLAY THERAPY? The play therapist has been asked to see you because you feel a bit sad or angry, or perhaps something horrible has happened to you. Maybe you can’t stop crying or you feel bad about yourself. Maybe you don’t like to go to school anymore or get into fights with other children. It can be very hard to talk about our feelings, so the play therapist will help you to feel better without having to explain things. It’s called play therapy because children play their feelings better than they talk about them. WHAT WILL MY PLAY THERAPIST DO? Your play therapist will meet with grown ups who know you best, like your parents or guardians, and maybe your teacher to learn about you and plan how to help you. Then you and your play therapist will play together to get to know one another, for about one hour once a week for a few weeks. WHAT WILL MY PLAY THERAPIST TELL MY PARENTS OR GUARDIANS? When you first meet, your play therapist will tell you about what’s private and what’s not private during play therapy. During play therapy some things will be kept private between the two of you, and some things your play therapist might have to share with grown ups. Your play therapist won’t share details about what goes on between you, just the some general information to make sure that you are safe and okay. Your play therapist will sometimes talk to a grown up to see how you are, and what you’ve been up to during the week. If your play therapist is really worried about you, they will tell other grown ups this and try to figure out how best to help you. DO I HAVE TO KEEP IT A SECRET? That’s up to you – play therapy isn’t a secret and you can talk about it to anyone you want to. But you don’t have to. If you want to keep it to yourself, then that’s okay too.
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“Although play therapy is highly recommended for children with special needs or children who are on the autism spectrum, children from all walks of life can benefit from it.” their present age. Play therapists look for a strong, healthy attachment between parents and baby in the developmental years, as this informs the child’s behaviour in their early childhood and primary school years.
Who is it for? Although play therapy is highly recommended for children with special needs or children who are on the autism spectrum, children from all walks of life can benefit from it. Children who are suffering from trauma, neglect or abuse, anxiety or stress all will benefit from play therapy. Other groups of children who benefit are those going through bereavement or separation, those in adopted or foster care, and children who have been bullied or have perpetrated bullying. Bernie has come across all of the above in her time as a play therapist and she goes on to outline that children who simply have difficulty getting up in the morning, or going to school could be dealing with underlying issues that could benefit from a third party perspective in a non-invasive environment. Play therapy caters to any child
who is, as Bernie puts it “feeling a bit stuck at the moment.” It is a gentle, familiar means for a child to process the trauma they’re going through, and help them reach their potential as learners and growers in their early education. Qualifications and training courses in play therapy are now becoming accredited with universities around the country. To take a course in play therapy you don’t have to be from a counselling or medical background. Teachers, nurses and carers are among those who can benefit from taking a course in play therapy, as well as those in a psychological or therapeutic profession. Parents too can avail of a course in play therapy to assist with their child’s well being, mental health and care. One of the goals of Play Therapy Ireland is legislation that will maintain and advance the profession throughout the country, making it more available to children and perhaps in the future adults too.
MORE INFORMATION: If you would like to find out more about play therapy, got to www.playtherapy.ie
Congratulations to Karen Myers, winner of our summer competition!
WIN! TWO-NIGHT FAMILY BREAK IN THE
RADISSON BLU HOTEL & SPA, LIMERICK!
et on 20 acres of rolling green fields, there is plenty of Halloween treats and trickery to be enjoyed onsite at Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa, Limerick - a world of adventure awaits for the little ones in your life with the Global Explorers Kids Club - the fun starts at check with goodie packs for each child to ensure their adventures begin the moment they arrive! It’s all treats and no tricks at the fantastic Global Explorers Kids Club with a range of activities on offer designed to entertain and engage children of all ages from the new Base Camp kids room, the ideal space for kiddies to make new life-long friends including pumpkin painting, decorating, Halloween games, spooky storytelling, trick or treat treasure hunt, hoverball archery, mystery clue hunt and spooktacular movie nights. From exploring and adventure to indoor entertainment children can enjoy an unforgettable adventure, all onsite at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick. In the evening, with the explorers suitably tired after a day of fun, enjoy a family dinner and catch up in Porter’s Restaurant with delicious dinner options especially designed to keep those fussy eaters happy – and mum and dad too! Children under 12 eat for free from the children’s menu. To celebrate the Halloween family packages, Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick are giving one lucky Maternity & Infant reader a chance to win a 2-night break for 2 adults & 2 children with a super buffet breakfast on both mornings and an evening meal on the night of your choice at Porter’s Restaurant. If you’re not lucky enough to win on this occasion visit www. radissonblu.com/en/hotel-limerick to find out more information on the fantastic family offers available at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick this midterm.
HOW TO WIN To enter, simply log on to www.maternityandinfant.ie/radissonlimerick and answer the following question correctly:
What is the name of the restaurant in the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa? a) Porter’s b) Explorers
T&Cs: Prize is 2BB1D for 2 adults & 2 children is non-transferable, subject to availability and not valid Christmas, New Years and Bank Holidays. Kids Club is available at weekends and school holidays only. Closing date for all entries is 30th November 2017. Competition is not open to employees of Ashville Media Group or Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick. No cash or gift card will be awarded in lieu of stated prize. If any of the items offered are unavailable, a suitable alternative will be provided. Winner will be selected at random from a draw and will be contacted by phone. Competition entrants must be resident in the island of Ireland. One entry per person. Competition is also subject to all usual terms and conditions. T&Cs apply – subject to availability.
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Radison Blu Hotel & Spa, Ennis Road, Co. Limerick Tel:+353 (0) 61 456200 www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-limerick
A Big Thank You!
. . . t o al l o u r p ro d u c t t est ers!
Upon discovering you're pregnant and as a new mum or dad, it can open up a whole world of baby products that one knows little about. There can be so many products that it can seem daunting to choose what products to buy. The Boots maternity and infant Awards, is here to help. When you register on our website as a product tester, you could be picked as a product tester for our Academy Testing Day or as a home tester.
Where it took place: Royal Marine Hotel, DĂşn Laoghaire When it happened: 11th July 2017 Over 80 parents came along to our Academy Day to test our products. These includedÂ car seats, travel systems. baby monitors, baby carriers, innovative product of the year and strollers. All the entrants were put through numerous tests and analysed.
Get the latest news by following us on twitter, facebook and on our website maternityandinfant.ie/awards @maternityinfant #BootsmiAwards17
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ACADEMY DAY QUOTES
SURVEY From who would you/did you take pregnancy advice?
I have been looking at investing in a certain car seat and it was great to try it out today, to see if it is worth it! Thank you! This was a fantastic day where I could compare all the products and really get to see which one is best Great event as you get to see all the products that are on the market and new ones that have only just come to the market!
ACADEMY DAY STATS
Brilliant day where I got to chat with other parents about their experiences and test all the baby products!
For more information contact Niamh on (01) 432 2286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
100% Cyan 95% Magenta
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NEW FROM THE UK’S NO. 1 IN CHILDREN’S COOKING *
ANNA B E L KA R M E L’S
Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Book
Filled with all-important advice, top tips and 120 recipes to let your baby take the lead, Annabel’s NEW Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Book is a kitchen essential, whether you’re baby-led weaning or looking to introduce finger foods and family meals alongside purees.
annabelkarmel.com annabelkarmeluk Untitled-3 1 241949_1C_Annable Karmel_JM_M&I 12.03.indd 1
@annabelkarmel 21/09/2017 29/06/2017 16:34 14:14
61 ANNABEL KARMEL RECIPES
SHAKE-UP Back to school season is the perfect time to shake up children’s food routine – try offering different foods to keep kids interested and lunchboxes exciting. These delicious recipes from Annabel Karmel’s new Baby-Led Weaning book will help to ease you back into the busy school season and liven up those lunchboxes!
S ee O v er TRIO OF FINGER SANDWICHES
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62 ANNABEL KARMEL RECIPES
DAIRY-FREE! Colourful Quinoa Salad Prep time: 10 minutes (exc. chill time) Cook time: 15 minutes Makes: 6 child portions ✹ 250g cooked red and white quinoa (or 150g dried quinoa) ✹ 198g tin sweetcorn, drained ✹ ½ sweet red pepper, diced ✹ 4 spring onions, finely sliced ✹ 4 tablespoons chopped cashew nuts (optional) ✹ 30g sultanas or raisins ✹ Freshly chopped parsley, to garnish Dressing ✹ 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar ✹ ½ garlic clove, crushed ✹ A pinch of sugar ✹ 6 tablespoons light olive oil
If using dried quinoa, rinse it under cold running water before cooking. Once cooked, leave uncovered for about 5 minutes, then fluff up with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients to the quinoa and season. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl; pour it over the salad and mix to combine. Chill for 30 minutes then garnish with parsley to serve.
F ro m p ag e 6 7 Trio of Finger Sandwiches Prep: 10 minutes Makes: 9 finger sandwiches 3 slices wholemeal bread 3 slices white bread A little margarine or butter, for spreading Tuna Mayonnaise with Sweetcorn: ✹ 60g tinned tuna ✹ 1 tbsp mayonnaise ✹ 1 tbsp tinned sweetcorn ✹ 6 slices cucumber Club Sandwich: ✹ 1 tbsp mayonnaise ✹ ¼ cooked chicken breast ✹ Sliced iceberg lettuce, shredded ✹ 2 slices Gruyère cheese ✹ ½ tomato, sliced ✹ 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced Tomato, Cream Cheese & Chive ✹ 1 tbsp cream cheese ✹ 1 tsp chopped chives ✹ ½ sliced tomato
Prepare each filling on a slice of buttered wholemeal bread. Sadwich together with a slice of white bread. Cut the crusts off and cut into three.
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Veggie Bites Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Makes: 15 veggie balls ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹
1 large white potato (about 440g) 40g dried or Panko breadcrumbs 50g carrot, grated 4 spring onions, chopped 50g brown mushrooms, chopped 40g grated Parmesan cheese 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme 2 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp sweet chilli sauce 1–2 tbsp plain flour 2 tbsp sunflower oil
Prick the potato and bake it in the microwave for 7-10 minutes until soft. Leave to cool, then cut it in half and scoop out the flesh – you will need 250g potato. Put the cool potato and remaining ingredients (except the flour and the oil) in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, season and shape it into 15 equal-sized balls. Lightly coat the balls in flour. TChill for 15 minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot. Fry the balls for about 2 minutes until golden all over and heated through. Serve with cucumber sticks and halved cherry tomatoes.
63 ANNABEL KARMEL RECIPES
Mini Energy Balls Prep time: 20 minutes (exc. chill time) Cook time: 5 minutes Makes: 30 balls
✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹ ✹
200g pitted dates 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter 3 tbsp sunflower oil 40g desiccated coconut 3 tbsp sunflower seeds 125g porridge oats 40g raisins 20g pecans, very finely chopped 1 tbsp chia seeds 20g Rice Krispies A pinch of salt (for babies over 12 months old)
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Put the dates in a saucepan with 100ml boiling water. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Blitz until smooth. Melt the peanut butter and date mixture in a saucepan until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well, then shape into 30 equal-sized little balls. Chill for 1 hour before eating.
Whether you’re in need of more lunchbox inspiration or simply looking for new baby-friendly finger foods and family meals to help liven up your mealtimes, Annabel Karmel’s new Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Book is out now and filled with 120 quick, easy and nutritious recipes, essential advice and tips to let your baby take the lead. Visit www.annabelkarmel.com for more information.
64 MUMS & WORK
BACK TO EDUCATION
Many mums use maternity leave as a time to reflect on their priorities in terms of work/family life – and often a change in direction can result in further education. SAMANTHA WEAVER looks at the flexible forms of education that can really help mums further their careers.
here are those days when being a mum feels like the absolute zenith of fulfillment – what could ever compare to the sheer joy of seeing your new baby smile for the very first time? Or the uncontainable pride we feel when they take those first faltering steps and tumble into our arms? When you’re immersed in that baby bubble, it’s a wonderfully warm and fuzzy place and the very idea of missing even a moment of your precious baby’s progress is unthinkable. Maternity leave is great – it gives you a chance to switch off from work and focus completely on your new baby, a few fleeting weeks of wallowing in a world of talcum powder and cuddles. However, it can also be a time for reflection, a time to reassess priorities and contemplate how to achieve a work/life balance that will fit in with your new lifestyle. For some mums, this can mean negotiating a return to parttime or more flexible working conditions, whilst for others, starting a family can be the catalyst for a complete change of career direction. Whether you’re returning to the same job or looking for a better (or different) one, gaining new skills and qualifications is always going to stand you in good stead, as well as showing an employer that you’re invested in your career – which means he or she is more likely to be too.
Staying on top Derval Chambers Petit, a life & business coach and trainer based in Dublin, recom-
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mends staying abreast of what’s happening in your profession, particularly if you’re extending your leave to take a career break. “In some sectors, such as HR for example,” she says, “there can be lots of changes in legislation so it would be important to keep up with that, but this can easily be achieved by maintaining membership of professional bodies or by accessing relevant material online through webinars and podcasts.” For mums planning a complete change of career when returning to the job market, Derval works with clients to look at the transferable skills they have and how to use these skills to transition into a new role or a different sector. “I’m a big fan of education and professional development,” she says, “but it’s also about pulling out what you have and how you can move that onto something else.” Lots of organisations and institutions run courses with a very limited time commitment, some as short as one day, and these will often be in computer-based skills such as Advanced Microsoft courses and Adobe Photoshop – all increasingly important skills to have in your repertoire as the online world continues to grow. Methods of teaching can vary from traditional classroom-style to elearning and remote, mentored learning. The Open University was the trailblazer for distance learning and has a fantastic reputation with a wide range of courses, but lots of other institutions now offer distance-learning options too, with a multitude of resources and supports in place to help you to succeed.
65 MUMS & WORK
â€œThe Open University was the trailblazer for distance learning and has a fantastic reputation with a wide range of courses, but lots of other institutions now offer distance-learning options too...â€?
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66 MUMS & WORK
QUESTIONS TO ASK IF YOU’RE PLANNING A CAREER CHANGE...
Can you fix/change what’s wrong in your existing job?
What do you want to do?
Ask yourself what you don’t like about your job. Lack of flexibility? Workload? Type of work? Then ask yourself if it’s something that can be fixed. If that’s a possibility, talk to your manager and see what happens.
Take time out to reflect on what you really want to do. List what you like doing and what you don’t like doing. Look at jobs that reflect your likes and explore how you get these jobs. Alternatively, ask a friend, colleague or professional career coach about what they think might be right for you.
Is your ambition realistic?
Do you have the skills required?
Can you network?
Have you re-focused your CV?
You may hanker after being a fashion designer but do you have the skills or the talent? It’s time to be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Remember, you most probably have to make a living from your job too.
And if not, have to worked out how to get them? Is it possible to get where you want to be via courses or your existing skills? If you’re changing industry completely, you may need to work your way up to the position you want – are you prepared to do that? Have you worked out the steps you will need to take and how to get there?
Sometimes the right job can be about who you know. Do you have the right contacts within your business network in order to get the job you want? If not, could you use networking events or even resources like Linked In to get the right contacts?
When looking for a certain job, you may need to re-focus your CV. For instance, if you were in a sales role, but want to go more into marketing, you may need to emphasise that part of your work experience more.
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UCD has the oldest programme of lifelong learning in Ireland, along with the UCD Access programme for people who may not have accessed university first time around and want to come back at it, and ‘Open Learning’ where anyone can attend and study any one of more than 200 undergraduate modules in subjects ranging from Art History to Philosophy. “If you can manage your care responsibilities,” says Dr Bairbre Fleming, Director of Adult Education at UCD, “then this option can really work for those on parental leave or career breaks. You come in, find a module you’re interested in and only do it one module at a time, so you don’t have to overly commit.” Each module has a stand-alone value but can also be used to accumulate credits towards a Certificate or Diploma in Open Learning. “This option works well for a lot of people as a taster,” says Dr Fleming, “as well as giving them access to all the benefits of this fantastic university.” UCD also has an onsite childcare facility for students. NUI Galway has a fully online degree course in Business and Commerce as well as a range of online diploma courses, while IT Sligo has a huge offering of online options ranging from level 6 to level 9 qualifications on the QQI framework, meaning that, whatever your current level of qualification, there’s something out there for everyone. If you prefer traditional classroom style learning, Dublin Business School offer lots of part-time evening degree options with choices including psychology, marketing, journalism and film. Most areas also run a range of FETAC Level 5 and Level 6 courses (also known as PLC courses) with subjects varying across the country but popular choices include business or legal studies, childcare, hairdressing and beauty therapy. Other colleges such as the Fitzwilliam Institute also offer short certificate or diploma courses which might have a time commitment of just one evening a week over several months or fully online courses with live lectures which are also available on demand afterwards in case you get caught up in mummy-related tasks and are unable to tune in. It’s important to investigate the certification offered if you decide to take up one of these courses, so check in with your boss or work colleagues for some feedback on how a qualification from one institution is viewed against
another and make sure what you’re paying for is going to have real value when you add it to your CV. In terms of making your CV stand out if you’re going after a new job, make sure you tailor it to the specific role you’re applying for. “Anyone can say ‘I’m motivated, enthusiastic and a great worker’,” says Elaine Ferguson, Principal Consultant with Brightpath Recruitment in Sligo, “but you have to be able to back it up with facts and specifics. Refer to actual targets you’ve met or campaigns that you’ve worked on and practise your interview technique with a family member or friend.” There’s lots of advice and information online, says Elaine, adding “do your research, and get comfortable talking about your abilities ahead of your interview.”
Going it alone It may be that you’re no longer interested in working for someone else now that you’re a parent, and you want the freedom that comes with being self-employed so that you can work from home. It’s true that being your own boss has many benefits, not least being able to determine your own timetable, but it takes a very disciplined and self-motivated individual to be able to avoid the distractions. If this is the route you choose, then contact your Local Enterprise Office to see what they can offer you in terms of training or upskilling. Often there are subsidised courses in subjects such as business accounts, taxation and social media as well as trained staff who can advise you on setting up your own business. Very few of us are in the position of not having to go back to work, so why not turn work into something you love? The adage ‘create a life you don’t want to escape from’ rings particularly true here. A happy, fulfilled mum makes for happy kids, and that’s a winwin all round. Coming home from a job you hate with a nightmare boss is going to take its toll, not just on you, but on the whole family, and that’s just not sustainable in the long-term. So back to that wonderful baby bubble – enjoy this precious time with your infant, make the most of every moment of your leave and take the time to reflect on your new priorities. Look at the opportunities around you and take steps now to make your job work for you – and not the other way around!
“So back to that wonderful baby bubble – enjoy this precious time with your infant, make the most of every moment of your leave and take the time to reflect on your new priorities.”
67 STORE DIRECTORY
Image: M & Co.
Accessorize Stores nationwide; www.accessorize.com Arnotts Henry Street, Dublin 1; www.arnotts.ie ASOS www.asos.com
Boots Stores nationwide; www.boots.ie Brown Thomas www.brownthomas.com
Cos 6-8 Wicklow St, Dublin 2; www.cosstores.com Childrensalon www.childrensalon.com Claire’s Stores nationwide; www.claires.com
Debenhams Stores nationwide; www.debenhams.ie Dorothy Perkins Stores nationwide; www.dorothyperkins.com Dune London Stores nationwide; www.dunelondon.com
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Gerry Weber Stockists nationwide; www.house-of-gerryweber
Harvey Nichols 16 Sandyford Road, Dublin 16; www.harveynichols.com Hatley Stockists nationwide; www.hatley.com Heatons Stores nationwide; www.heatonsstores.com H&M Stores nationwide; www.hm.com
I J L
Isabella Oliver www.isabellaoliver.com JoJo Maman Bébé www.jojomamanbebe.ie
Littlewoods Ireland www.littlewoods.ie L’Oréal Stockists nationwide; www.loreal.com
Marks & Spencer Stores nationwide; www. marksandspencer.ie Miss Selfridge Stores nationwide; www.missselfridge. com Monsoon Stores nationwide; www.monsoon.co.uk Mothercare Stores nationwide; www.mothercare.ie
Name it Stores nationwide; www.nameit.com Natural Baby Shower www.naturalbabyshower. co.uk New Look Stores nationwide; www.newlook.com Next Stores nationwide; www.nextdirectory.ie
River Island Stores nationwide; www.riverisland.com
S T Z
Seraphine www.seraphine.com Topshop Stores nationwide; www.topshop.com Zara Stores nationwide; www.zara.com/ie
Penneys Stores nationwide; www.primark co.uk Phase Eight Stockists nationwide; www.phase-eight. com/eu Polarn O’Pyret www.polarnopyret.co.uk
68 FAMILY FINANCES
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When you run a busy household, things are always going to get tight from time to time, especially when you throw children into the mix. This is where a good budget comes in â€“ we chat to MABS about the best way to budget.
69 FAMILY FINANCES
udgeting is not just a way to save money, it‘s also a great way to understand your family’s spending habits. By monitoring where the money goes on any given month, you can see unnecessary bills and meaningless spends just by taking a look at your budget. A budget can help families make the most of their income and set reachable goals for themselves without breaking the bank. It’s not about rummaging through all your receipts in despair at the end of the month. A better way to look at it would be week by week, taking into account that most families do their weekly grocery shop, rather than a monthly one. We’ve run through some simple steps to help families start their own budgets. Why not try yours today?
How do I start? When starting a budget it’s important to have some goals in mind. Be specific – what do you want to do with the money? You can continue to buy your lunch or take away coffees every day, or you can do something else. Michael from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) says that “budgeting gives you the option to do something else – whereas if you don’t budget those options don’t come to the fore.” Budgeting is about answering the questions that give you the options you want. Do you want to take the family on a holiday this summer? Or do something really special for Christmas? Answering those questions, and setting specific goals that you, your partner and your family can keep in your sights will help to keep your budget on track. An area where a lot of families can get caught out is tracking their spending. If you don’t track what you spend and where you spend it, money can tend to disappear. This can be on small items like coffee or lunch, which feel like minimal purchases at the time, but at the end of the week can add up to a big chunk of cash. The trick is to ask for a receipt and keep it. Make a folder for weekly receipts that you clear out of your purse or wallet at the end of every week. Make it easy for yourself to see where you spend your cash. Debt is another area to keep in mind when starting your budget. It can be overwhelming and for some families, living out of debt is a far off idea. Whether you’ve invested in a loan and are still trying to meet repayments, or trying to get a headstart on your mortgage to avoid rising interest. Setting a budget and sticking to it will help you meet those repayments sooner rather than later. It’s not all doom and debt that comes with budgeting – there are positives too. Not only will you fix the break in your bank, but you’ll also teach your children how to manage their money by example. Learning young what to do with money (other than spend it!) is key to
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START SMALL AND ANSWER THESE THREE SIMPLE QUESTIONS:
What do you get? This should include all incoming money into your household; including any wages, income from businesses or room rental, and any social welfare payments you’re entitled to (child benefit, one-parent family benefit, back to school clothing and footwear allowance, etc).
What do you have? What is currently resting in your bank accounts (or under the mattress)? Take stock of all the pennies and the pounds in the piggy bank and count it all up – you might have more than you think!
What do you spend? Be ruthless here as there’s no point lying to yourself only to get caught out later. Look at your typical day and what you spend. Do you get public transport? Or do you drive? Count up how much you spend a week on petrol, on car insurance or your weekly LUAS, bus or DART ticket. Do you go out for lunch or coffee a few days a week? Do you see a top in Penney’s and buy it immediately? Don’t forget about your bills and utilities and that little bit extra for unexpected costs like healthcare and socialising. And don’t forget to include your rent or mortgage as well as any other repayments.
Once these questions are answered, as truthfully as possible (little point lying to ourselves about that large latte at this stage in the game), you should be able to roughly map out your budget.
learn in childhood and it’s important to give children options on what they can do with their money. Sure they can go out and spend on a brand new pair of runners (that they’ll grow out of in six months) or maybe, they could save it? Or invest it one of their parent’s schemes and generate interest from it? Whatever you decide remember that your children
are learning from you and making habits that they can sometimes keep for life. Passing on good skills like cooking, DIY and budgeting will make your child self sufficient and independent. When you’re knee deep in receipts and your filing cabinet resembles your sock drawer rather than a neatly arranged ream of letters from Revenue, how do you channel all that disorder in a clear goal and reasonable weekly budget?
Small changes... ...to ensure that you are receiving your due. All families with children up to a certain age are by right entitled to receive child benefit. If you’re a single parent, you can also avail of the one-parent family benefit. Below is a list of social welfare payments for families, as seen on citizensinformation.ie ✹ Family income supplement ✹ Maternity benefit ✹ Paternity benefit ✹ Child benefit ✹ One-parent family benefit ✹ Adoptive benefit ✹ Health and Safety benefit ✹ Pregnancy and social welfare payment ✹ Back to school clothing and footwear allowance ✹ Deserted wife’s benefit ✹ Back to work family dividend ✹ Deserted Wife’s allowance ✹ Transition from One-Parent Family payment
By now, you should have a pretty good idea as to what’s going into your bank account and what’s going out again on a fairly regular basis. Sit down with your partner or a trusted friend or family member and see where you can make cuts. There might be some small, easy ways to save without drastically changing your family’s life. Things like shopping at a different supermarket or switching from certain brand named products to own brand products can save a wad of cash at the end of every week. A tip from MABS is to take note of your tax, and claim back what’s owed to you. Through revenue.ie, individuals can claim back on medical expenses like GP visits, dental visits and prescription costs no matter what health insurance package you have. So do some research and see what you’re entitled to.
MORE INFORMATION: If you’re concerned about your family’s finances, please don’t hesitate to call MABS’ anonymous helpline at 0761 07 2000 or visit www.mabs.ie
70 PROFESSIONAL HELP
Support & Advice Need some expert help and advice? Our directory of useful contacts will make sure you locate the right resource.
CHILDBIRTH, BREASTFEEDING & NEW MUM SUPPORT
HSE, Oak House, Millennium Park,
Naas, Co. Kildare. Tel: (045) 880400
9 Bullford Business Campus, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow. Tel: (01) 287 8466
Miscarriage Association of Ireland,
Doras Buí – A Parents Alone Resource Centre ,
Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7.
Bunratty Drive, Coolock, Dublin 17. Tel: (01) 848 4811
Tel: (01) 873 5702
LoCall: 1850 24 1850 Email: email@example.com
Early Childhood Ireland,
Hainault House, Belgard Square,
Tallaght, Dublin 24.
One Family, Cherish House,
Cuidiú – Irish Childbirth Trust,
Tel: (01) 405 7100
2 Lower Pembroke Street,
Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7.
Email: info@ earlychildhoodireland.ie
Dublin 2. Tel: 01 662 9212
Tel: (01) 872 4501
Web: www.cuidiu-ict.ie Home Birth Association of Ireland,
LoCall Info Line: 1890 662 212 Web: www.onefamily.ie
DEPRESSION AND MENTAL HEALTH
Tel: 087 164 0847, (0906) 405267
Treoir 14 Gandon House,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.miscarriage.ie
MULTIPLE BIRTHS Irish Multiple Births Association, Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. Tel: (01) 874 9056 Email: email@example.com Web: www.imba.ie
SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN AND PARENTS UNDER STRESS
Email: enquiries@ homebirth.ie
Aware, 72 Lower Leeson Street,
Dublin 2. Tel: (01) 661 7211
Custom House Square, International Financial Services Centre, IFSC, Dublin 1.
LoCall Helpline: 1890 303 302
Tel: (01) 670 0120
LoCall Info Line: 1890 252 084
Barnardos, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8.
Aware conducts support group meetings across the country. Manned by trained volunteers, their Depression Helpline is a listening service that operates Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm. Aware also provide an email support service. Please visit their website for more information.
Callsave: 1850 222 300
La Leche League of Ireland, Please refer to your local telephone directory. Email: leader@ lalecheleagueireland.com Web: www.lalecheleagueireland.com Maternity Benefit Section, Department of Social Protection, McCarter’s Road, Ardarvan, Buncrana, Co Donegal. LoCall 1890 690 690 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Post Natal Depression Ireland,
Administration Building, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Co. Cork.
CHILDCARE SERVICES The Childcare Directory Ltd, 98 Foxrock Avenue, Foxrock, Dublin 18. Tel: (01) 201 6000 Email: email@example.com Web: www.childcare.ie
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Support Line: (021) 492 2083 (Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10am to 2pm) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.pnd.ie Monthly support meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month at Cork Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork.
Tel: (01) 453 0355
MISCARRIAGE AND CHILD LOSS SUPPORT
A Little Lifetime Foundation,
Childline, 24-hour Freephone
18 Orion Business Campus, Rosemount Business Park, Ballycoolin, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Tel: (01) 882 9030 Email: email@example.com Web: www.alittlelifetime.ie First Light- Irish Sudden Death Syndrome Association, Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. Tel: (01) 873 2711 LoCall Helpline: 1850 391 391 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.firstlight.ie
Helpline: 1800 666 666 Text: ‘TALK’ to 50101 (2pm-10pm daily) Web: www.childline.ie Parentline, Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. Tel: (01) 873 3500 LoCall: 1890 927 277 Email: email@example.com Web: www.parentline.ie
71 EXPERT HEALTH ADVICE
Autumn is an odd time, weather-wise, in Ireland. It can start off really warm, thanks to that wonderful back-to-school Indian summer, but just when you think those winter woollies will never be needed, along comes a cold snap that chills you right to the bone! Between this changeable weather and the inevitable round of bugs that goes with the kids heading back to school, autumn can be a challenging time for us in terms of health. Over the next eight pages, we take you through some of the common autumn ailments and what you can do to help yourself. Plus, thereâ€™s plenty of advice from our panel of experts. Have a great autumn!
Got a question or need some expert advice in a hurry? Our website, www.maternityandinfant.ie, is packed full of great features and advice, while our community of mums and experts are available 24/7 through our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/maternityandinfant) if you have a particular question that you canâ€™t find an answer for through our website. So get reading, get clicking and most importantly, get talking!
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DOES MY CHILD HAVE A COLD OR THE FLU? M&I KNOWS ...
It’s pretty common for Irish people to say they have the flu when they have a cold – if they believe a cold won’t be taken seriously enough. But there is a big difference between a cold and a flu, even though they may start out with the same symptoms. Proper flu tends to happen between the months of November and March, and if there is an outbreak, often the HSE issues an alert to doctors and the media.
What is the flu? With a cold, your child might have blocked or a runny nose, headache, tiredness and a cough. With flu, the symptoms tend to be more severe and include bad muscle aches, a high fever, headaches, extreme tiredness and weakness, and a hacking cough. Many children recover from the flu with time, rest and over-the-counter remedies for uncomfortable symptoms. However, in a few cases, complications could arise such as pneumonia. Flu can also worsen existing conditions such as asthma.
How can I help my child? Colds and flus are usually viral and therefore antibiotics will have no effect. Instead, keep your
What is glue ear? child at home and make sure they rest, keep warm and drink lots of liquids. Talk to your pharmacist about pain relief; age-appropriate paracetamol or ibuprofen can help relieve your child’s muscle aches, headache or temperature.
Should I keep my child off school/pre-school? Yes. Remember that the flu is highly infectious; your child will be infectious a day before symptoms start and for five to six days afterwards. Keeping your child inside will help minimise the spread of the disease. In addition, teach your child the importance of good hand hygiene and to sneeze into a disposable tissue. Don’t forget to wash your own hands if you have helped your child to blow their nose.
When should I look for help? Generally, your child’s symptoms should begin to ease after a few days. If your child seems very sick or the symptoms last more than a week, then see your GP. Children with chronic conditions should see the doctor asap, as there are special anti-viral medications that may need to be prescribed. These work best if the child starts taking them within 48 hours of the symptoms beginning. Children with chronic medical conditions could be at risk of serious complications if they get the flu; your doctor may recommend the flu vaccine to prevent the risk of such complications.
Where can I find more information? As with everything, if you are worried, ask for help. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to advise you and suggest remedies. You can read more about treating colds and flus, plus the symptoms of complications such as pneumonia, on the HSE’s website, www.hse.ie. This website also contains details about the flu vaccine – remember, the vaccine changes from year to year to treat the current strain of flu, so it’s important that if you’re at risk, you get the vaccine every year.
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Glue ear is a common childhood condition in which fluid builds up in the middle ear. The most common symptom of glue ear is some loss of hearing, which can range from slight to moderate. The hearing loss of glue ear is similar to what you would experience if you put your fingers in your ears. Fifty per cent of cases of glue ear will resolve within three months (this figure rises to between 75 and 90 per cent in cases where glue ear is followed by an ear infection). Surgery is usually only recommended if your child has moderate hearing loss that is affecting both ears or has a pre-existing health condition, such as Down syndrome or blindness, that could affect their development in conjunction with glue ear. Commonly, grommets are used to treat glue ear surgically. A grommet is a very small ventilation tube that is inserted into your child’s ear through a small cut in their eardrum. A grommet will drain away fluid in the middle ear, and it will also help to maintain the air pressure in the middle ear cavity. A grommet will help to keep the eardrum open for several months. As the eardrum starts to heal, the grommet will slowly be pushed out of the eardrum and will eventually fall out.
73 EXPERT HEALTH ADVICE
ASK THE FERTILITY EXPERT M&I KNOWS ...
DIFFICULT DECISIONS I have had several rounds of IVF without success. I am not sure what to do next. Should I just give up and try to adopt or should I keep trying IVF? This is a really hard question but one which we get asked all the time. If the doctors are gently telling you that you should consider stopping IVF, they are suggesting this for your own good, devastating as this news is. That said, you have to be mentally ready to do this and sometimes it takes a little longer to get psychologically prepared for this. Firstly I recommend that you speak with a fully trained and experienced fertility counsellor. He or she will be key to helping you get through this difficult period. Secondly, make sure you get all the information from your clinic about your options. You may be a candidate for egg donation. While there are no donor banks in Ireland, there are a couple of clinics in Ireland, including my own, who will facilitate treatment using donor-derived embryos from reputable donation services overseas for patients who do not wish to travel abroad for treatment. This treatment option may allow you to get pregnant and have a baby if your fertility issue is related to your eggs. It is a very successful option for older patients particularly and those who have been through a number of cycles of IVF using their own eggs without success. There are countless support groups and counselling services available for people who are at a similar crossroads to you. It is really important for your own health that you reach out to them to get support.
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What happens in a pre-pregnancy check up? SUCCESSFUL CONCEPTION I am 30 years of age and I’m due to get married next year and I want to start trying for a family straight away. What precautions should I take to ensure that I can conceive as quickly as possible? The best advice I can give you is to make sure that you are fit and healthy before you start trying to conceive. This means a few really “common-sense” but easy things you can do to prepare yourself (and your husband-to-be!) Make sure that you are both eating a varied, healthy diet with plenty of lean protein, fruit and vegetables. Make sure that you are getting as much of your vitamins as you can from your food but do make sure you are taking a folic acid supplement every day, if you aren’t already. All women of child-bearing age should be taking folic acid daily. Keep active. This doesn’t necessarily mean running marathons though, just make sure you are exercising, even if it is just a brisk walk 3 times a week. Your BMI should be within the normal range, if you are over or under weight this will affect your chances of conceiving. Weight, diet and activity levels play a part in the fertility of both male and females so make sure to look after yourself in the run-up to your wedding. If you are anxious about your fertility you could attend your GP or a fertility clinic to have some basic hormone tests done. This might give you peace of mind before your wedding. It will certainly highlight any issues that may be there. If these have a simple fix, which they often do, at least you can take action immediately and before you get married. Finally, be gentle with yourself. No matter how much you prepare sometimes it can take six months to a year to conceive, and quite often longer than that. If you are trying to conceive at the age of 30 for more than a year without success, then we would suggest coming for some tests.
More and more women are visiting their GPs before trying for a baby to make sure they’re in the best position possible for conceiving. Every GP will differ in his/her approach, but you can expect some combination of the following: Advice on lifestyle choices, such as diet, alcohol, smoking and exercise Weight loss tips and advice if applicable Checking if you are up to date with health checks such as smear tests and vaccinations Advice on folic acid supplementation Blood test to check for immunity to German measles (rubella) If you have any chronic diseases, your GP may review your medication to make sure you can continue to take it when pregnant or refer you to a specialist Discussion of any fertility issues, plus potentially blood tests to check ovulation A pre-conception GP appointment is an ideal time to discuss with your doctor any worries you may have about having a baby.
Dr Declan Keane is a senior clinical embryologist with 20 years’ experience. He is director of ReproMed fertility clinics in Kilkenny and Dublin, with a third clinic opening in Limerick this year. For more information, call Declan on (01) 685 6755 or visit www.repromed.iev
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ASK THE OBSTETRICIAN M&I KNOWS ...
How to treat colds/flu during pregnancy
I’m four months’ pregnant and I’m still impossibly tired every day. I’m falling asleep in work and crawling into bed the minute I get home. I know tiredness goes with pregnancy but surely it should have lifted by now? Should I be worried? There are times during pregnancy when you will feel very tired and this is normal. There will also be times when you feel you have much more energy, so give it a bit of time and it will settle. I would advise you to eat well, sleep well and exercise at a level with which you are comfortable. There is an association between tiredness, lack of energy and anaemia or low iron levels. In pregnancy, your haemoglobin levels (the iron in your blood stream) fall because your blood volume increases. It is important to make sure your iron stores are good and this will have been checked at your booking visit. Most people are advised to take an iron supplement during pregnancy; this tops up your iron stores and allows you to make haemoglobin, which is the way you carry oxygen in your blood to all the areas that need it. This is good for the health of your pregnancy and also makes sure that when you lose about 500ml of blood at delivery and after delivery of the placenta, you have enough stored iron in your system to allow your body to recover more quickly.
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During pregnancy, your immune system is compromised, which means you’re more at risk of colds and flus. Many of the traditional over-the-counter remedies are unsuitable during pregnancy so it’s always a good idea to talk to your pharmacist about what you can take. Otherwise, try these natural remedies.
Rest up and keep hydrated, and make sure you’re eating well Steam and Vicks are safe for helping unblock your nose, while a spoon of honey in water with lemon can help relieve a sore throat. Try elevating your head when sleeping.
I had a very late miscarriage and I’ve just found out I’m pregnant again. A friend mentioned that you can have a stitch put in to prevent me from going into labour too early - what is this and should I ask for it? Miscarriages can happen at a variety of stages during pregnancy and the causes can be very different. Very few pregnancy losses are caused by a weakness in the cervix (neck of the womb). It would be important to have your doctor review the notes from your first pregnancy to help decide whether your need a cervical suture in this pregnancy. A review of your past medical history should be able to identify any risk factors for late miscarriage or premature labour, and a review of the events around you late miscarriage should be able to assist in deciding if the cause was related to any weakness in the neck of the womb or whether there were other factors involved. You should raise your concerns with your doctor or midwife at your booking visit and make sure to ask that your old notes are reviewed.
Talk to your doctor if you’re running a high fever, if you can’t eat or sleep, if you’re coughing up green or yellow mucus, if you have chest pain or wheezing, if your sinuses are sore and if your cold last for more than a week or so.
Dr Sam Coulter-Smith is a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, former master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, and a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal College of Surgeons. Visit www.rotunda.ie
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ASK THE PHYSIOTHERAPIST M&I KNOWS ...
VARICOSE VEINS My mother and aunt have varicose veins, and I am worried that I will develop them now that I’m pregnant. Have you any tips to avoid them? Many women first develop varicose veins, or find that they get worse, during pregnancy. Varicose veins are swollen veins that may bulge near the surface of the skin in your legs or elsewhere in the body. Tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin, especially on your ankles, legs, or face are called spider veins and are also prevalent during pregnancy. The good news is that varicose veins tend to improve after you give birth, particularly if you didn’t have any before you got pregnant. If varicose veins do not improve after 4 months, consult your GP for advice on the
variety of ways to treat them. There are a few things you can try during your pregnancy to help prevent them developing: Exercise daily. Just a brisk walk around the block can help your circulation; Elevate your feet and legs, above your heart, whenever possible; Don’t cross your legs or ankles when sitting; Don’t sit or stand for long periods without taking breaks to move around; Wear special support tights, which facilitate blood flow back up towards your heart. This helps prevent
Four reasons to take folic acid NOW
Unplanned pregnancy swelling and may prevent your varicose veins from getting worse; To prevent blood from pooling in your legs, put the tights on before getting out of bed in the morning, while you are still lying down, and keep them on all day.
We need more
CARPAL TUNNEL I am 32 weeks pregnant. In the past few weeks, I have noticed a tingling sensation in both my hands when I wake up. They also feel numb at times during the day. Is this normal? It sounds like you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, which is common in pregnant women. The symptoms you describe usually appear from the second trimester onwards, when women tend to retain more fluid. Usually symptoms are in both hands and will go away after you give birth, as the swelling from pregnancy subsides. Typical symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include tingling, numbness, burning, pain or dull aching in the fingers,
hand, wrist and even up the arm. In more severe cases, your hand may even feel clumsy or weak. If you have discomfort at night, a splint can help to stabilise your wrist in a neutral position. This should reduce your symptoms considerably, so please see your Chartered Physiotherapist for advice. Other ways to reduce carpal tunnel symptoms include: Avoiding forceful, repetitive hand movements. If your job requires this kind of movement get advice on
wearing a wrist brace; Checking your office work station via an ergonomic assessment. Make sure your wrists are not flexed as you type by adjusting the height of your chair. Taking frequent breaks from computer work and from using your phone, in order to stretch your hands; Avoiding sleeping on your hands, or sleeping with your wrists bent.
Jenny Branigan is a chartered physiotherapist and partner at Total Physio in Sandyford, Co Dublin, and sees many women during and after pregnancy, treating issues like pelvic girdle pain. She is also mum to Jamie and Holly. Jenny runs pregnancy pilates courses through Total Physio. For more information see www. totalphysio.ie These answers are not a substitute for a full assessment by your chartered physiotherapist. If you are suffering with any pain or injury, please contact your local chartered physiotherapist who specialises in treating pregnant and postnatal women. It is vital to deal promptly with these aches and pains and they will only get worse as your bump and baby get bigger and heavier.
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The recommendation now is that all women of childbearing age should take a folic acid supplement – simply because up to half of all pregnancies are unplanned and the time when you need it the most is the time immediately after you get pregnant – before you might even know.
Women need an extra 400 micrograms of folic acid in early pregnancy and because it’s impossible to get this extra amount from a healthy balanced diet, we should be taking it in supplement form.
Protect against NTD Folic acid helps to protect against NTDs, or neural tube defects, which happen when part of the unborn baby’s brain or spine doesn’t develop properly. Spina bifida is the most common NTD.
Compelling evidence A whopping 70 per cent of NTD cases can be prevented by taking a daily folic acid supplement. So what are you waiting for?
Already pregnant? Take it anyway! If you haven’t been taking folic acid but you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, start taking supplements immediately and keep taking them until the 12th week of your pregnancy.
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ASK THE DIETITIAN M&I KNOWS ...
Jazz up that lunchbox!
My little one has just started Big School. Can you make some recommendations for her lunchbox please? Children have very little time to eat in school. On a practical level choose a lunch box and drink bottle that are really easy for your little one to open and close. A balanced lunch box contains a mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fruit /vegetables. Try and include something new in the lunchbox when you can and ask your child to taste it but it doesn’t matter if they don’t finish it.
Sick of your kids not eating their school lunches? Give the humble sambo a lift with these ideas from safeFood.
First, pick a carbohydrate Wholemeal bread/ Bagel/ Bun/ Wraps, Pitta pockets, Pizza Muffins from freezer
Then some protein Cheese /Cream cheese, Nut spread (check with school if nuts are allowed), Meat (ham/ turkey/chicken etc), Boiled Egg, Hummous, Pesto
Then two portions of fruit and vegetables (a portion is your child’s fist) Berries, Apple, Banana, Pear, Grapes (chopped lengthways), Pineapple (fresh or tinned in own juice), Kiwi, Orange, Carrot sticks, Cucumber, Pears (fresh or tinned in own juice), Olives
Then water as a drink
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LOW IN IRON My little girl had a bad dose of chicken pox recently and looks so pale and tired. Could she be low in iron? Should she be taking an supplement and if so, what one? Chicken pox wouldn’t cause low iron but your child could of course be low in iron. Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common deficiency in Irish toddlers. Red meat is the most concentrated and easily absorbed source of iron and is great for small stomachs with high requirements. A portion is considered the size of your child’s palm. While she is recovering I would give red meat 4-5 times per week and then reduce down to three times per week. If you are really concerned you could talk to your GP about iron deficiency anaemia. I always encourage parents to look at dietary changes prior to supplementing. If you do choose to supplement it should only be a short-term thing. Animal and vegetable sources of iron should be given to all babies from the introduction of solids.
Cathy Monaghan has been a practicing Paediatric Dietitian for nearly 10 years. Her website, www.weaning.ie aims to teach parents about the nutritional needs of their baby, with the aim of preventing many of the common nutritional problems of childhood. Cathy runs weaning classes in Dublin; find details on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter @weaning.ie
Try to offer different foods every day – no one wants to be eating a ham sandwich five days a week! Vary the types of bread eg pitta bread, bagels, wholemeal rolls – keep a stock in the freezer Cook extra rice/pasta in the evening – these can make interesting salads Theme your lunchbox on a different country, eg Italian – try a pasta salad, Mexican-filled flour tortillas Home-made soup (in a Thermos flask) is great for cold days, while salads are light and refreshing for warmer weather. Both are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Check your school’s policy on flasks, however. Fluids are important for children – up to six cups of fluid should be encouraged daily. Milk and water are the best options. Straws and brightly coloured drinks bottles can make rehydrating more interesting!
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ASK THE SLEEP EXPERT M&I KNOWS ...
GIVING UP THE SOOTHER
When can I stop worrying about SIDS?
My 2½ year old gave up her soother over two months ago and since then it is taking up to two hours to get her to sleep. She doesn’t ask for it anymore but seems to be missing something to soothe her. I tried a new teddy but it doesn’t seem to work. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Giving up the dummy it is a huge milestone, whether it is a voluntary transition or something that has been initiated by the parent; it is a massive event for your child. Some children will give up the dummy or their bottle without a backward glance and others mourn for the loss deeply and this can also have an big impact on your child’s emotional wellbeing and of course their sleep. Dummies are typically used by the older child as a soothing mechanism. She will likely have sucked on her dummy at bedtime and nap time to help her to fall asleep and now that it has been removed there is a void and an inability to self regulate in the absence of this prop. In this instance your child is missing the sucking and now needs to learn what she can do to comfort herself and it is likely that you will be required to help her learn, at least in the short term. I am going to read between the lines a little now and make some assumptions based on the fact that now she is taking two hours to go to sleep. With or without a prop this represents overtiredness, so it is possible based on her age and on the recent events that she also has stopped napping too-this makes bedtime even harder. Then with a few late bedtimes in play, a cycle of overtiredness starts to build and
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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is rare, thanks to the policy of putting a baby to sleep on his back, but it is still the leading cause of death for babies aged between one and 12 months. Babies between one and four months old are most at risk, and 90 percent of cases occur in babies under the age of six months. It is believed that the baby’s brain development and increased physical strength results in the risk dramatically dropping after the age of six months. Try these other tips to minimise the risk:
then nothing works-even a dummy. Go back to basics. At this age, I still would encourage a day time sleep. The best time for this sleep is 1230/1pm for 1-2 hours depending on what you feel she needs. Don’t worry if you can’t do this in the cot-use the car or the buggy and just make it happen. Then you will need to work on bedtime. Bring forward your bedtime process really early and start this about 630pm. It’s not a long-term adjustment but a strategy I use effectively to find what her natural bedtime currently should be. Establish a formal bedtime routine, making sure that the television and electronics are turned off an hour beforehand. Also, make sure that any drinks are provided 1 hour before bedtime too. I always have this age group place the bottle or cup in the dishwasher or sink and say goodnight to it. A drink too close to sleep time can recharge your child’s body further increasing the problems with the long onset of sleep. If you already have bedtime routine just add to it and lengthen if for now. Work on a 20 minute process in the bedroom where she will sleep. Spend lots of one
to one time together reading books and preparing her for sleep and then by 650pm turn off the lights, music etc and if she is upset comfort her-my stay-and-support approach is perfect for this. Initially it will still take you about 1 hour but then it will shrink and a certain time will start to feature-that is the natural bedtime so now adjusts the start of the routine to meet this. 45 minutes in advance works really well. Finally, you will also need to ensure that she is getting enough outside activity and exercise by day. Lots of high level activity jumping, running and playing. Ensure that her sensory diet is filled. Now that she no longer is sucking on the dummy, give her crunchy apples and carrots to chew on and fill her needs this way. Make sure that she is getting lots of one to one time with you too and don’t be afraid to talk about the dummy now that it has gone. As with all transitions it will pass, but making these adjustments will make the transition away from the dummy easier for everyone.
Use a new firm mattress for every baby Don’t put any bedding or soft toys in the crib; try a baby sleeping bag instead Don’t smoke around your baby – or let anyone else smoke around your baby Keep your baby in your room for the first six months Breastfeed for as long as you can Make sure your baby is not overheating at night
Lucy is a paediatric sleep consultant and mum of four. She runs a private sleep consulting practice where she provides knowledge, expertise and valuable support to families across the country. Visit www.sleepmatters.ie.
78 EXPERT HEALTH ADVICE
ASK THE DENTIST
TODDLER TEETHBRUSHING My 18 month old doesn’t like me brushing his teeth and tends to cry and bite down on the brush. I’m not sure how to get him to brush his teeth. Should I use toothpaste? Here are some of my tips to help encourage tooth-brushing: Play time: Brush a favourite toy or doll’s teeth together. Demonstrate: Have your child watch you brushing your own teeth. Best time: Bath time is a good opportunity to introduce the concept of
tooth-brushing as most children are relaxed and enjoying themselves. Have fun: Put on a favourite song and make it fun. It could become a regular bathroom disco. Get them involved: Let your child pick a new toothbrush and let them play with it. Reward: Try stickers or a reward chart. Start early: Starting regular brushing early as a baby makes it much easier. Good habits start early. Mains water is fluoridated in Ireland so we recommend a soft toothbrush with just water on it until the age of two and a smear of toothpaste beyond this.
FISSURE SEALANTS My friend mentioned her daughter was having her teeth fissure sealed. What is this? A fissure sealant is a plastic film like coating that is placed on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. It bonds to the deep pits and fissure in these teeth and acts as a barrier to protect it. The most common
teeth to be fissure sealed are the ‘first permanent molar’. This is a big adult tooth that comes through usually around age six. Studies have shown 80 per cent less tooth decay on biting surfaces that are sealed. A dentist or hygienist applies the sealants. It is a fast and simple procedure to do and often helps build the child’s confidence about visiting the dentist.
M&I KNOWS ...
When should I start using toothpaste with my child?
What to use: Don’t use any toothpaste until your child is two years of age. Then, use a small pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste that contains at least 1,000 ppm F (parts per million fluoride – this will be indicated on the packaging). Supervise: Make sure to supervise all children under the age of seven when brushing and encourage them to spit and not rinse after brushing. Technique: Encourage a gentle scrubbing technique involving short sideways movements. Morning and night: Brush twice a day, most importantly at bedtime. Buy new toothbrushes regularly: Replace children’s toothbrushes regularly to ensure they retain effectiveness and are hygienic.
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Dr Lyndsey McTavish is a general dental practitioner at Swords Dental in Co Dublin. She has a special interest in treating children and anxious patients. Lyndsey is a mum of three. For more information visit www.swords-dental.ie.
79 EXPERT HEALTH ADVICE
MENINGITIS: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
which includes the mumps virus. Babies and toddlers are at a heightened risk of developing meningitis as their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
Meningitis is caused by an inflammation of the lining around the spinal cord and the brain that can be caused by both bacteria and viruses. Bacterial meningitis is quite uncommon, but is very serious and requires urgent medical attention and an intense course of antibiotics. Viral meningitis is a less serious version of the condition, but cannot be helped by antibiotics. The symptoms of bacterial and viral meningitis are very similar, so to determine between the two, hospital tests are required. A condition closely related to bacterial meningitis is septicaemia, which is a type of blood poisoning. The same bacteria that causes bacterial meningitis causes septicaemia, which sees the break down of blood vessels under the skin, and is characterised by rashes of purple bruises and blood spots on the skin.
Symptoms of meningitis If a person begins to show symptoms of meningitis, they will become very ill quickly, and will require urgent medical attention. However, be aware that they may not show all of the symptoms at once,
but will still require attention. The symptoms of meningitis in children are fever, with possibly cold hands or feet, refusing feeds or vomiting, high pitched moaning, crying or whimpering, dislike of being held, neck retraction paired with arching of the back, a blank and staring
expression, the child is difficult to wake and they have a pale or blotchy appearance. A rash may also occur with some forms of meningitis. You can test whether a rash is caused by meningitis by doing the Tumbler Test. If a glass tumbler is pressed firmly against a rash and the marks will not fade, seek medical attention immediately. Time is everything when it comes to meningitis, so it’s important that if your child has any of these symptoms and you suspect meningitis that you seek medical help immediately.
Contracting meningitis At any time, a number of people in a population could be carrying the bacteria that causes bacterial meningitis or septicaemia. Many people would carry the bacteria in the back of the nose or the throat, without any adverse affects for the carrier. However, some people’s immune system may not be able to ward off the bacteria and they pass through the lining of the nose and throat and into the blood stream. Viral meningitis is caused by groups of viruses,
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There is no vaccine for all strains of meningitis; however, there is a vaccine available for Group C Meningococcal Disease. It is included in the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme and is offered to all infants, and available free of charge for people up until the age of 23. In addition, a vaccine to protect against Men B was introduced into the primary programme in October 2016 for all new babies; older children who have not received it can opt to have it privately (at their own expense) at a GP’s surgery. It’s important to have your children vaccinated against these dangerous diseases, but it’s equally as important to know the symptoms as not all strains can be guarded against.
After-effects & complications Recovering from meningitis can be a long and arduous process. Fortunately, however, many of the after-effects improve and disappear over time. Some after-effects include memory loss, lack of concentration, clumsiness, residual headaches, deafness, learning difficulties, epilepsy, weakness, speech problems or changes in sight. Most people recover with no after-effects and the likelihood of developing permanent aftereffects depends on the type and severity of the illness.
Where can I get further help? ACT for Meningitis is an Irish charity that offers a range of free support services to those affected by meningitis while continuing to raise awareness of the disease. For more information, log on to
80 BLOG WE LOG
THE CALMING EFFECT OF
BABYWEARING Hi, I’m GERALDINE and I blog at Over Heaven’s Hill. Here I write about babywearing and how it helped my anxiety levels…
ately, my anxiety levels have lessened. Since accepting that I’m suffering from postnatal anxiety after the birth of our second daughter, Devin, in May this year, I’ve uncovered a few coping mechanisms that have truly helped. One being babywearing. For the past two months I’ve been using a baby sling and a baby carrier to keep my daughter close. I didn’t realise it until recently, but babywearing has been pivotal in helping me cope with anxiety. When Devin was born, my connection with her was so strong that at times when my anxiety was unbearably intense, being alone with her was the only thing that helped balance me. With her, I’ve completely relaxed into caring for a baby again. I’ve taken all of the hardships of the first year, like night feeds, lack of sleep and being overwhelmed by the responsibility of a newborn, in my stride. Despite being in control of the baby days, I’ve developed anxiety that takes over multiple times a day. Being with Devin calms all of that down to an extent because I feel in control of her little life while everything else around me is unpredictable, quick and loud causing panic and anxiety attacks that can leave me floored. As I’ve said, I’ve learnt to control the attacks through meditation and refocusing my mind, and the attacks have lessened over the weeks. But babywearing has been my saving grace. I’m a rookie when it comes to babywearing, having never tried it with our first daughter, Allegra, but I knew this time around I wanted to. I didn’t realise how much I would need to though. Wearing Devin as we go for walks in the park, while doing
the weekly food shop or even around the house has been simply amazing. I’ll admit it took me a while to figure out how to safely and comfortably wear the baby but once I got the hang of it – which really isn’t that difficult, to be honest – I fell in love with it. With babywearing there are so many benefits but what has helped me is the psychological affect this deep bonding has had on me, the mother. The connection I feel, holding my baby so close to me has helped my mental state in more ways than you can imagine. If you are debating whether or not to wear your baby, all I can say is try it. Of course, it’s not for everyone but before you discount the idea, consider the benefits with convenience being high up on the list. But there’s so much more. Holding your baby close to your heart, breathing in their sweet scent, feeling their soft downy hair against your chin, and listening to their gentle coos is an experience you will never tire of. Feeling their little legs and arms hug you tight and watching them sleep on your chest is pure beauty. For me, the convenience of wearing your baby has also been paramount. Because of babywearing, I have been able to stay close to Devin while being there for Allegra. I have been able to teach Allegra to ride her bike while happily wearing the baby. We have painted countless masks and decorated birthday cards with Devin safely holding on to me. But more importantly, I have had both of my girls close to me at a time when I needed them most. Connecting with my children has eased my anxiety as my life with them has taken precedent over any anxiety I feel, which I graciously push away in favour of being there with my daughters.
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w w w . o v erh eav en sh i l l . c o m If you’re a parenting blogger, we want to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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WE DON’T WANT TO SAVE CHILDREN’S LIVES Children’s lives shouldn’t need saving from entirely preventable causes. Every day tens of thousands of children worldwide die needlessly from illnesses such as measles, tetanus and diarrhoea. UNICEF wants you to help prevent these deaths. We believe that one child dying is one too many. We believe in zero and we desperately need your help. Call 01 878 3000 or visit unicef.ie today to give your support.
Believe in zero.
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Published on Oct 10, 2017