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SUMMER 2017 €3.75/ £3.30



The latest guidelines


A highly compact and comfortable pushchair that is completely modular and compatible with our From-Birth Cocoon, the ultra-lightweight Lux Carrycot and the matching Maxi-Cosi infant carrier. With one iconic frame at its base, its beautiful, seamless design embraces your child to create the

l guide

Your essentia

perfect travel system.


2017 •



Is the C section rate in Ireland out of control?


Choose from a range of perfect-match accessories

• Comfortable seat that reclines both ways • Four large puncture-free wheels for a smooth ride • Closed pushbar for easy one-hand steering • 17 standard colour packages

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• Customise your own Zapp X online





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Successful holidays with little ones


Register for your FREE Lidl Baby Box today

FREE To claim your , simply Lidl Baby Box r voucher at download you maternityand to a member it t n e s e r p d n a r local Lidl of staff at you store.

Packed with fantastic Lidl essentials for both mum & baby!

#Boot smiAwards17

Dad of the year #maxicosidad

Do you know the best dad in the world? We want to hear about dedicated fathers who go that extra mile to spend quality time with their children.


Log on to and Nominate Today!

For event enquiries, please contact Aoife, Event Manager, on 01 432 2232 or email

Box contents may vary. See for full details. While stocks last.

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On the Cover


THE BURNING TOPIC: C SECTIONS Why is our Caesarian section rate continually increasing? And do the


Contents 29

numbers tell the full story? We talk to the experts and get some feedback from our readers about their C section experience.


SUMMER HOLIDAY SPECIAL Summer holidays with your kids should be about


relaxing creating precious memories, not being driven insane by cries of ‘Are we there yet?’ So how exactly do you do that?



MATERNITY From wedding outfits to stealing Binky Felstead’s pregnancy style, we have all


the best maternity PRODUCT GUIDE TO

pieces here.

PREGNANCY SKINCARE All too often skincare features for pregnancy concentrate on the bump, but what about


CAR SAFETY SPECIAL We all want to keep our




BABY & CHILD Baby beachwear and summer brights

What do you do when

for toddlers, this

kids safe in the back of

your usually good sleeper

is your guide to

concerns such as acne and

the car, but sometimes

starts wakening up all the

dressing your little

pigmentation? We take a

ones this season!

other hormonal skin

changing guidelines

time? LUCY WOLFE tells

look at some of the skincare

can leave us confused.

us how to restore good

issues associated with

Here’s your ultimate

sleeping patterns so the

pregnancy and pick out

guide to car safety for

whole family can enjoy

some favourite products.

kids – no messing.

a decent night’s sleep.

MI Summer 2017_Contents Penny.indd 1


YOU It’s all about the shoulder this season!

16/05/2017 10:08

2 SUMMER 2017

Contents 48 63

POSTNATAL DEPRESSION Postnatal depression is surprisingly common but easily treated. The key is to know the



symptoms and seek help




Are they suitable for kids

NICK WILKINSON learns the secret to six-year-old daughter.

buzzword when it comes what are they all about?


true creativity from his

Probiotics are the latest to healthy eating, but

emotional letter to her has Down syndrome.

clinical psychologist


One reader pens an gorgeous baby, who

if you need it, writes CARLA GOWER.



and during pregnancy?

BLOG WE LOG What made us laugh or cry in blogland this season.

We take a look...


6 Features


UNIQUE EXPERIENCES Forget disposable toys, concentrate on enjoying unique experiences with




kids. From Lapland to midnight feasts, there are experiences for every type


of budget.


PREGNANT WITH MULTIPLES Expecting twins or even to a number of mums to find


HYPNOBIRTHING Did you know that


FOURTH TRIMESTER The first three months of motherhood is




Making the decision whether to go back to

the principles behind

often called the ‘fourth

work or stay at home

hypnobirthing can promote

trimester’ as your

can be difficult. We look

relation and positivity in

body recovers from

at some of the factors

other areas in your life?

pregnancy and birth.

to take into account

Hypnobirthing expert SUZY

Here’s how to survive

when making such an

ASHWORTH tells us how.

these first weeks.

important move.

MI Summer 2017_Contents Penny.indd 2

What’s on our shopping list this season. MATERNITYANDINFANT.IE What’s happening on our website this summer NEWS All the latest news, reviews and products. COMPETITION TIME Win a luxurious twonight getaway to The Rose Hotel in Tralee!

more? ANDREA MARA talks out what you can expect.


ANNABEL KARMEL Create a gorgeous picnic with these great recipes from Annabel Karmel.

70 71

STORE DIRECTORY A list of fashion stockists. SUMMER HEALTH SPECIAL All your summer health advice in one place.

16/05/2017 10:09


Welcome! As I type this, Ireland is in the grip of some really glorious early May weather – the sort of weather that makes you hopeful that we’re – finally – in for a good summer. You really can’t beat the Irish for optimism when it comes to summers! So it’s with sunshine and summer holidays in mind that we put together this issue of maternity & infant. One of our favourite fashion sections every year is our summer one – yes, the themes mightn’t vary that much, but there’s something about those bright toddler clothes than makes us so, so happy. Turn to p23 for more. We have a wide range of features to suit every stage of your pregnancy and early parenting journey. On p40, we tackle the subject of skincare

THE TEAM Editor: Penny Gray Editorial Intern: Ellen Flynn Editorial Manager: Mary Connaughton Creative Director: Jane Matthews Design: Antoinette Sinclair Advertisement Design: Sara Murphy, James Moore

during pregnancy – those pesky hormones have a lot to answer for when it comes to our skin. For those contemplating labour and birth, we have some sage advice from hypnobirthing expert Suzy Ashworth, who points out that the techniques are great for life postpregnancy too. We also look at what to expect during the first few months, the all-too-common issue that is postnatal depression, and deciding whether to return to work or stay at home with the kids. This really is a jam-packed issue! Wishing you a long, hot, happy summer full of experiences and memories you can treasure for years to come.

Penny Gray Editor

Photography & Illustrations: Getty Images, iStock Production Manager: Mary Connaughton Sales Director: Paul Clemenson Email or write to maternity & infant, Ashville Media, Old Stone Building, Blackhall Green, Dublin 7; Tel: (01) 432 2200; Web: 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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One of my favourite tasks each issue is reviewing the books with my little ones, Danny (6) and Ellie (4). We all had a great cuddle with this one – but it did make me choke up a bit...

Mothercare’s Little Bird collection really has the cool vibe boxed off. Even Danny, who usually refuses to wear anything that’s not football related, can’t resist this gorgeous retro tee...

Even the fussiest of eaters won’t be able to resists this gorgeously tasty frittata – great both hot and cold!

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1 TRAINER WINNER Hotfoot it down to Lifestyle Sports, which has launched My First Trainers, a personalised fitting service to help little feet develop as they grow. Available in over 20 stores nationwide, My First Trainers offers specialist fitting advice and a bespoke measuring service with in-store product experts, plus a huge choice of both boys and girls trainers, available from top international brands including Nike, adidas Originals, Vans, New Balance and Puma. The service is ideal for budding sneaker geeks aged between the ages of 18


months and five years.



d e t n a Mo s t W


What’s on our shopping list this summer…

3 THEY’RE BACK! Remember all the furore over the Hatchimals last Christmas – and the near riot when Smyths announced new stock that couldn’t be reserved? Well, we have news – they’re back, but


in smaller (and cheaper!) form. New

If you’re looking for a

Hatchimals Colleggtibles are small

special outfit for your little

characters that require the care and

girl, then look no further

nurturing of a child in order to hatch.

than www.angels-face.

The shell’s bright, colourful speckles, a real treasure

indicate which of the 13 families the

trove of clothing for little

Hatchimal inside belongs to, letting

ladies who love to dress

kids decide whether to keep or trade

up. The site is famous

before hatching. If the child wants to

for its luscious tutus, but

hatch the egg, gently rub the heart

look out too for some

as it changes from purple to pink,

really gorgeous tops and

indicating it’s ready to hatch. Then,

dresses, perfect for a party,

simply press down on the heart to

wedding or just a special

crack the egg and reveal the creature

dress-up day!

inside. Over 70 characters are available to collect in Season One.


LIGHT COVER UP We are loving the summer range from Aden + Anais, which is chockablock full of gorgeous

GIFTS FOR DAD It’s Father’s Day on Sunday 18th June – save the date – so don’t forget to

prints in the softest of materials.

pick out a thoughtful gift for the dads

We love this long-sleeved beach

in your life. We love Dotcomgiftshop,

hoodie, €35. Available from

a wonderful website full of quirky

a number of retailers, the full

gifts both big and small. Check out

collection can be found at

this miniature tool set, a snip at only

€9.95. See the full range at

MI Summer 2017_Top Ten.indd 6

17/05/2017 16:55

The greatest treasure is contentment

The greatest possession is health The greatest ease is sleep

The greatest medicine is a true friend

For my a difficult time

For my Friend... in a difficult time

Fergus Grimes


The greatest pleasure in life is love

Fergus Grimes


Mental health is still a difficult topic for many people to discuss; to help, pharmacist and psychotherapist Fergus Grimes has written “For my a difficult time”. The book examines the reasons as to why people may suffer from poor mental health – from job loss and financial difficulties to family breakdown and abuse – how they can recognise the signs, and the



APP FOR THAT Now here’s a handy invention – brought to the Irish market by travel solutions company Bubblebum, Oblumi Tapp is a little device that when connected to a mobile phone, converts into a digital infrared thermometer. The Oblumi Tapp has a range of capabilities that are accessed via its free downloadable app, and dosages, and profile-share within an agreed group such as family members or carer’s. The device costs €49.99 and is available from and from BubbleBum at


Looking for a holiday in Ireland but worried about keeping the kids occupied? The Lodge at Ashford Castle offers a range of adventure-filled breaks for all the family. Adrenalin junkies will enjoy zip-lining from tree to tree or going sky-high for tree climbing in the vast forests of the Ashford Estate, while those looking for something a little closer to the ground can enjoy horse riding treks for everyone from complete beginners to experienced riders. Plus, water babies can

steps they can take to get back on

glide across Lough Corrib in a kayak while enjoying a guided tour with a qualified instructor.

track. Written in an easily digestible

Choose from the Sky High Escape (from €929 per family) and the Pony or Paddle Escape

manner, the book also includes a

(from €1034 per family). Prices include two nights B&B, dinner on one night in the Quay Bar

list of useful phone numbers and

and Brasserie and choice of activity. See for more.

websites should the reader want further help. Available from Veritas Books and Book Haven for €5.



Congratulations to Irish brand

Elave, which has been awarded ECOCERT natural & organic certification for four skincare products. The certification is only given to products that are made up of at least 95 per cent plant-based and 10 per cent organic ingredients. So you can be sure that when you buy Elave’s Sensitive Baby Bath, Sensitive Baby Nappy Cream, Sensitive Baby Lotion and Sensitive Baby Cream, you are getting the purest products.

MI Summer 2017_Top Ten.indd 7


can measure body temperature, send reminder alerts to take medication, notify you of correct


FERTILITY HELP A new range of advanced fertility supplements has launched in Ireland to help give couples the best chance to conceive naturally. Available from pharmacies nationwide, the Proceive range includes supplements for both men and women that are scientifically formulated and provides the highest level of nutritional support for couples who are trying for a baby. Each of the nourishing ingredients have been specially selected to support the nutritional needs of the male and female reproductive systems and correct nutritional deficiencies associated with

conception. The Proceive range also includes a MAX range that offers extra nutritional support for older couples (35+ for women and 40+ for men) as well as those who have been trying for a baby for 12 months or more.

15/05/2017 15:54


Every day we post up new topical features on everything from entertaining your kids during the long summer holidays to dealing with seasonal health woes (hay fever, woe is us!). Log on to our home page each day for the latest, or keep up to date through our Facebook page!

WHAT’S TRENDING? @maternityinfant

We’re big fans of the Twitter account @ reasonsMySonIsCrying – here are just a few of the latest Tweets from this hilarious account 7yo: “It’s raining. It’s pouring.” Me: “Um?” 7yo: “Can you call Grandma and see if Grandpa is snoring?” “Daddy? Is that where clouds come from?” - 5yo, looking at a factory’s giant smokestack


7yo: “Can you play the ‘juice box’ song?” Me: “Um?” 7yo: “It goes ‘I love rock and roll! Put another dime in the juice box, baby!’”

We pride ourselves on giving the BEST advice from the BEST experts in the Irish maternity and parenting industry. So if you’ve got any questions at all, from fertility through to toddler tantrums, log on to and search for your query.

e! n i z e y l k e e w E FR E

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 today!

MI Summer 2017_Website Social Media.indd 8

EN TER & WI N ! We have brand-new competitions up on the site each and every week, including breaks away, baby equipment, vouchers and more! Recent prizes include a spa break away away to The Kingsley in Cork and a One4All gift voucher! /competitions

(From inside bathroom) 5yo: “Daddy, I pooped! I see corn!” Me: “Great! Wait, when’s the last time we had corn?” 5yo: “It’s definitely corn!” Wife: “I need to buy a swimsuit.” Me: “You & the boys would have a nice time at the mall together-” **DEATH LOOK** Me: “-or just go alone.” Our Leprechaun only gives the boys the kinds of candy that are being sold at the gas station down the street at 11pm on March 16th. Weird.

17/05/2017 10:50







BUBBLE FUN Chasing bubbles can provide young kids with hours of fun. Bring a big bottle! SANDCASTLE DELIGHT


Don’t underestimate the joy of a giant sandcastle for big and little kids


WATER PLAY This is the perfect place for using those water pistols you hate so much! THE BIG DIG


Challenge your Indiana Jones to dig his way to Australia while you read your book...


TREASURE HUNT Prepare a list of beachy items that your kids have to find before they can have their treat ENTER SANDMAN Snowmen are so yesterday


– try a sandman, with shells and stones as face features!


PICTURES IN THE SAND See the sand as one giant wipe-clean sketchbook for your budding Picasso SPORTS TIME Get away from your book and play a game of rounders


with all the family WATER RELAY Each child has to fill a


bucket with water collected in cups. Whoever fills the bucket first wins!

MI Summer 2017_News 9 Things.indd 9

15/05/2017 16:02


HOW TO SURVIVE THE TWO-WEEK WAIT Are you spending half the month waiting and hoping that this is the month you’ve successfully become pregnant? Here’s how to survive that two-week wait...

SIGNS OF OVULATION The window of opportunity for getting pregnant is as little as 12-24 hours each month – as long as you ovulated. So it’s very important that you know your cycle and can read by your body’s signs that ovulation is close or even happening. Look for these signs...


Look for “middle pain”

20 per cent of women report a twinge or cramp in one side of your abdomen, thought to be the release of an egg from the ovary.


Chart your temperature

Your basal body temperature is lowest at ovulation then rises for the second half of your cycle. Chart for a few months and you should be able to predict ovulation.

We’ve all been there. You’ve decided that the time is right to have a baby, done all your timings, looked for all the signs, did the deed many times and now you’re on an anxious wait to see if you’ve been successful. Known as the two-week wait (or 2ww for those in the know), time slows down to a snail’s pace as you analyse every twinge and look for any signs of your period. It’s a worrying time; here’s our five top tips to survive the two-week wait, whether you’re on your first or your 20th long wait.

Step away from Dr Google Yes, you might be anxiously reading into every twinge, but you’ll only drive yourself demented if you Google all those aches and cramps. As with everything, if you type the right combination of words into Google, you’ll get the answer you so anxiously want – but it mightn’t necessarily be true.

MI Summer 2017_News Pregnancy.indd 10

Make some plans Try to distract yourself as much as possible – and if possible, think ahead on this one. Make some fun plans, such as heading out with a friend for a day out, or a night away. You might want to take it easy, so try and make plans with relaxation in mind, such as a spa day or a nice dinner.

Don’t test too soon Yes, we’re all guilty of reaching for the tests that promise semi-accurate results days and even a week before your period is due, but you’re likely to drive yourself crazy if you test too soon. Try to hold out as long as you can before peeing on a stick (POAS, again for those in the know).

Put a limit on obsession If you really can’t help wondering and obsessing over the twinges and possibilities, especially if you’ve been waiting for a long time or going through treatment, then put a limit

on obsessing. Spend ten minutes discussing the possibilities with your partner, and when those ten minutes are up, make a huge effort to concentrate on something other than that weird ache in your abdomen.

Don’t beat yourself up Once ovulation has happened, there’s very little you can do to affect your outcome. Be sensible in what you do, but remember that essentially, you’re not going to change whether you’re pregnant or not. Also remember that sometimes pregnancies don’t progress past a few days, but this is down to a variety of reasons, none of which are connected to what you did/did not do during the 2ww. All we can say now is GOOD LUCK! If you’re not successful this time, be kind to yourself and take time to regroup. If you are successful, the real wait starts here…


Check your mucus

At ovulation, your cervical mucus resembles egg white – it’s clear and stretchy.


Buy a kit

An ovulation prediction kit can tell you on which day you’re most fertile.


Keep having sex!

To give yourself the best chance, have sex every second day throughout your cycle and every day in the middle of the month.

17/05/2017 10:49




The HSE continually reviews and revises its primary immunisation schedule to ensure that your baby receives the precautions he/she needs. Here we look at what’s currently on the schedule. Two new vaccines were added to the primary vaccination schedule last year for babies born on or after 1st October 2016. This schedule of vaccinations is offered to all babies aged from birth to 13 months; all vaccines are free from your GP and protect against some potentially dangerous diseases, both in your own child and in those who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons (herd immunity means that a large percentage of protected children can stop the diseases from breaking out in the first place and spreading to vulnerable children in which a disease can have deadly consequences).

Moving a baby out of your room and into her own room can be hard for all concerned! Try these tips to ease the transition.

A familiar place Make sure your baby recognises the place in which they will eventually be sleeping. Have some playtime and relaxation time in the new bedroom.

What are the two new vaccines? The two new vaccines are offered to babies born on or after 1st October 2016. These protect against Meningococcal B disease and rotavirus disease. The MenB vaccine is added into the vaccines at two months, four months and 12 months. The vaccine against rotavirus (a potentially serious form of stomach bug) is delivered via drops given to your child’s mouth. These are given at two months and four months.

Are there extra appointments needed? No. The schedule consists of the BCG vaccine, which is given in maternity hospitals or HSE clinics (more on this shortly) and five trips to the GP’s surgery – at two months, four months, six months, 12 months and 13 months. The new vaccines are simply given at the same time as the others.

Will more side effects be expected with more vaccines? No. The HSE assures the public that the vaccines are perfectly safe. Your child may experience a fever after vaccinations, especially the MenB

MI Summer 2017_News Baby_V2.indd 11

Ease them into it Try using their new room for a daytime nap before trying the bedtime routine. The more time they spend in their new room with mum and dad the better.

Sense of smell vaccine. After the vaccines given at two months of age, the HSE recommends administering three doses of 2.5ml infant paracetamol, four-six hours apart; ask your GP or nurse for more details after the two-month-old vaccines. As always, if you are worried about your child in any way, consult your GP or nurse.

What is the story with the BCG injection? BCG vaccine is given to protect babies against tuberculosis (TB); however, there has been a delay with the supply of BCG vaccine throughout Europe – this has been an issue since BCG vaccine stock in all areas expired at the end of April 2015. According to the HSE, the number of cases of TB has been steadily falling in

Ireland, and the number of cases of TB for the years 2014 and 2015 was at the lowest level since records began. Most European countries do not give BCG vaccine to all babies. As a result, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, an independent expert group on immunisation, and the Health Information and Quality Authority have both recommended that BCG vaccine does not now need to be given routinely to all babies in Ireland.

Leaving something with mum’s scent in the baby’s cot can help to comfort them when they’re getting used to sleeping without you.

Where can I get more information?

From bassinet to cot

The HSE has an excellent information website at www. with lots of up-todate advice and information on the primary immunisation schedule, as well as vaccines for older children and adults.

Tackle one change at a time. If you’re changing your baby’s bed too, change it before you move baby into their own room. Once they are used to the new cot, go ahead and move the cot into the new room.

15/05/2017 16:07



MADE EASY The idea of childhood vaccines is that they protect your baby from potentially serious illnesses at the start of his life. With the most common concerns in mind, we explore the often-navigated waters of baby vaccinations


hen the Public Health Nurse visits your home they will give you a booklet called ‘Your Child’s Immunisation – A Guide for Parents’. Please read this booklet carefully and keep it safe. It contains a lot of information about the immunisations your baby will be offered over the next 13 months. In the back pocket of this booklet there is a magnet with the immunisation schedule. Put this somewhere visible to remind you about the vaccines your baby needs. There is also an immunisation passport in the back pocket. Bring this passport with you to each visit and the practice nurse will write down the vaccines your baby has received. Please keep this immunisation passport in a safe place and bring it to all appointments to be filled in and kept up-to-date.

What Happens Next? ✱ At your baby’s 6 week check you will be given a leaflet with more information about your baby’s immunisations. ✱ The HSE will write and ask you to arrange to visit your GP (doctor) for the first of your five visits. If you do not hear from the HSE, you should arrange to visit your GP (doctor) when your baby is two months old.

To provide the best protection for your baby it is important that they get all their vaccines on time.

Can I Give My Baby Anything Before They Are Vaccinated? You can give your baby milk a few minutes before their vaccination. This can help to

HSE_DPS_CP_MI.indd 12

reduce pain at the injection site. Do not give infant paracetamol to your baby before you go to your GP (doctor) surgery.

What Happens Before Immunisation? Before your baby is immunised, the doctor or practice nurse will check with you that your baby is well and able to get the vaccines. If you have any worries or questions about your baby’s immunisations, ask the doctor or practice nurse before your baby is immunised. There are very few reasons why your baby should not get a vaccine.

After Immunisation ✱ Your baby may have a sore leg or fever after they get their vaccine. ✱ The MenB vaccine given at 2 and 4 months may give your baby a high fever. ✱ We recommend you give your baby 3 doses of liquid infant paracetamol 2.5 mls (60 mg). This will reduce the fever. ✱ You do not need to give infant paracetamol routinely at or just after their 6, 12 and 13 month vaccines. But, if your baby is distressed or has a high fever, you can give them plenty of fluids and infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen. ✱ You can feed your baby at any time after their vaccines including after the rotavirus oral vaccine.

If you are worried about your baby, please contact your GP (doctor), practice nurse or public health nurse for further advice.

Where Can I Find Out More Information? ✱ From the booklet ‘Your Child’s Immunisation – A Guide for Parents’ ✱ From the leaflet given at your baby’s 6 week check ✱ From the leaflet given after your baby’s immunisation ✱ Online from our website

Where Can I Find Out More Information About The Vaccines Used? This information can be found in the patient information leaflet (PIL) and the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC). It is also available on the following websites ✱ ✱ ✱

You need to know the name of the vaccines to search these websites. The product name of each vaccine are available on our website


Your baby needs five visits to your GP to complete their course of vaccines. Remember to bring your baby’s immunisation passport to each visit.

15/05/2017 15:39


What common reactions can my child get after being vaccinated and what should I do?



At 2 and 4 months (Visits 1 and 2) A fever is common after MenB vaccine

Soreness, swelling and redness in the area where the injection was given Mild diarrhoea after the rotavirus vaccine

✱ Give liquid infant paracetamol 1 Give 2.5 mls (60mg) at the time of the immunisation or shortly after. 2 Give a second dose of 2.5 mls (60 mg) 4-6 hours after the first dose. 3 Give a third dose of 2.5 mls (60 mg) 4-6 hours after second dose. 4 Give a fourth dose 4-6 hours after the third dose if your baby still has a fever. ✱ Make sure clothes are not too tight or rubbing against the area where the injection was given.

✱ Give extra milk to drink ✱ Wash your hands carefully after changing and disposing of your baby’s nappy.

AT 6, 12 and 13 months (Visits 3, 4 and 5) Soreness, swelling and redness in the area where the injection was given

Headache or irritability

✱ Give liquid infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen to relieve aches and pains ✱ Make sure clothes are not too tight or rubbing against the area where the injection was given ✱ Give liquid infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen to relieve aches and pains.

Immunisation Schedule (For babies born on or after 1 October 2016) Age


2 months

Visit 1

6 in 1+PCV+MenB+Rotavirus 3 Injections+Oral Drops

4 months

Visit 2

Visit 2 6 in1+MenB+Rotavirus 2 Injections+Oral Drops

6 months

Visit 3

Visit 3 6 in 1+PCV+MenC 3 Injections

No Rotavirus vaccine on or after 8 months 0 days 12 months

Visit 4

Visit 4 MMR+MenB

EXPERT OPINION DR. BRENDA CORCORAN, SPECIALIST IN PUBLIC HEALTH MEDICINE HAS THIS ADVICE ON THE COMMON CONCERNS THAT PARENTS HAVE ABOUT VACCINES. Vaccines are given at an early age because young babies are most vulnerable to these diseases and need to be protected as early as possible. For example, babies younger than 6 months are at the highest risk for serious complications of whooping cough (6 out of 10 need to go into hospital, and 9 out of 10 deaths from whooping cough are in this age group). The MMR vaccine is not usually recommended for children under 12 months unless they are going to a country with a measles outbreak because it may not work properly. Some parents worry that giving several vaccines at once will overload their child’s immune system or that the vaccines may not work properly. However, there is nothing to worry about as your child’s immune system can easily cope with vaccines. Studies have shown that vaccines are just as safe and just as effective when they are given together as when they are given separately. A number of injections are needed to give your child the fullest possible protection, so it is important to complete the course. The ages at which vaccines are recommended are chosen to give your child the earliest and best protection against disease. So make sure your child is vaccinated on time every time.

2 Injections

13 months

Visit 5

Visit 5 Hib/MenC+PCV 2 Injections

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.IMMUNISATION.IE All vaccines used by the HSE are licensed by the Health Products Regulatory Authority and the European Medicines Agency.

HSE_DPS_CP_MI.indd 13

15/05/2017 15:39



HOW TO BOOST YOUR CHILD’S CONFIDENCE Teaching children how to have confidence in their skills will help them blossom and set the tone for the rest of their lives. Try these six ways to help boost their confidence.

Novelty monster hat, €9.99, Mothercare

Plain sunhat, €8.99, Mothercare While us adults can put on a show of confidence when we’re not feeling confident at all, the same cannot be said for children – they are what they feel. Encouragement and praise will help your child feel confident in his/her abilities, and when a child feels confident, he/she is more likely to achieve more. Conversely, if a child is constantly criticised and efforts go unrecognised, they’re less likely to try new things or to feel confident in their abilities – and this pattern can continue throughout their life. So how can us parents boost our children’s confidence? Here are six ways...


Stop comparing your child to others

If your child is reluctant to try something or join in, it might be tempting to compare him/her with others, but this may promote feelings in inferiority. Instead, concentrate on your child’s strong points and encourage those. So your child like art classes? Encourage that activity by booking a class and letting your child meet like-minded people.

MI Summer 2017_News Toddler.indd 14


Explain what’s going to happen

it’s easy for a child to feel ill at ease in a strange environment. It will help if you explain what’s going to happen and answer any questions they may have. For instance, if you’re going to a birthday party, explain who will be there and what you’ll be doing. This will help ground your child and give them confidence that they can cope with what’s happening.


Praise your child’s efforts

Rather than looking at what your child hasn’t done, focus on what he/she has achieved. For instance, if your child has managed to put on a top but not a pair of trousers, praise the top and show him/her how to put on the trousers.


Err on the side of praise

Keep a personal tally of when you praise and chastise, and make sure you praise way more than chastise. This is especially important if your child is acting up; remember to criticise the behaviour, not the child, and to praise good behaviour

more than to chastise for bad behaviour.


Don’t push your child too far

Studies have shown that children whose parents push them too far too quickly end up withdrawing even more. If a child is feeling unconfident, gently encourage him/her with the task. Forcing a child to do something is more likely to promote anxiety about the task and make it less like that he/she will attempt it the next time. Try to encourage but don’t push it if your child is adamant he/she doesn’t want to do it.


Shower your child with love

The final and best way to instill confidence is to constantly show your child that you love him/her and you’re super proud of his/her achievements. This will help your child feel secure, which will boost confidence. Plus, knowing that you have your child’s back at all times will make it more likely that your child will try new things in the future.

Diesel green sunhat, €35,

Striped baby sunhat, €14, JoJo Bebe Maman

Billieblush neon sunhat, €16,

15/05/2017 15:55




Summer is here – which means two whole months of no school is looming. If you’re tempted to book a summer camp to break up the time at home, read on for our top tips...

They say you’re more likely to stick to an exercise and achieve your aims if you work out with a friend – well, the same could be said for a family who work out together! We may not all be aiming to win (or even enter) Ireland’s Fittest Family, but here are three sports that are great for all the family to enjoy – and why...



TEMPTED TO START YOUR RESEARCH? A great resource is the summer camp finder on – see kids-camps

There is nothing like a local GAA club to bring a community together. If you aren’t a member but introducing your child to the nursery classes, seize the opportunity to get involved too by becoming a mentor or just joining for the social angle. Most clubs will welcome parents who have more enthusiasm than experience.



If you can afford it, a summer camp or two can be an excellent way of breaking up the long summer break for both you and your child. The good news is there’s plenty now to choose from, where ever you’re located in the country – but with lots of choice comes the need to make a decision! Here are a few things to consider… Think of your child’s interests Some kids are sporty, some are more academic. Think about what they like to do and choose a camp based on this. If you’re lucky enough to have the funds for two camps, perhaps choose one sporty one and one more crafty or skill-based. Think, too, about your child’s preferences in terms of social activity – do they like to run around and make friends? Or are they happier in a smaller group in a more quiet environment? Some camps offer a variety of activities, rather than just sport or craft; these can be a great option for smaller kids.

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Check the staff As part of a safe recruiting procedure, all staff working on a children’s camp should be garda-vetted, and there should be a strong child protection and supervision policy in place. Some of the more established camps stress that their staff are all fully compliant, but if in doubt, it’s a good idea to check out the situation yourself.

Suit your child The activity offered by a particular camp is important, but so too is the level of staff interaction. Smaller children might need more supervision, or if a camp is based on a skill, you might want to check that the ratio of staff to children is small enough so your child will get the most out of the camp.

Shop around Camps can vary hugely in price. Ones that require lots of supplies can be more expensive, while others that need little in the way

of equipment might be cheaper. Bear in mind the hours of a camp too – you may find that per hour, the cost is actually cheaper than your childcare option. There also might be discounts for siblings, so always ask if you have a few children interested in camps. There are some camps that are particularly good value for money, such as Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps, which are approximately €60 for one week, but drop to €35 if you book a second Cúl Camp for your child. There are also discounts for siblings attending the same camp. See www. for details of camps in your area.

The rainy day option If you are going for an outdoor camp, don’t forget our rather, ahem, soft Irish climate. Make sure there’s a decent alternative in place for rainy days – and if a camp is likely to be cancelled if the forecast is bad for the entire week.

More and more studios (and parents) are recognising that the calming and meditative powers of yoga are as good for children as they are for adults. Seek out a parent/child class in your area and enjoy that bonding experience with your child.


Tennis It’s summer, so make the most of those sunny days by getting out in the sun and discovering your local tennis courts. Contact your council for details of public courts in your area; usually you can book these for an hour or two and play with your whole family.

15/05/2017 15:56





We’re optimistically predicting a long hot summer – so get out there with your kids and teach them some old-fashioned outdoor games.

Traditional wooden rounders game, €41.93, Dotcomgiftshop

Chad Valley castle ball pit and pool, €77.99, Argos


Red Light, Green Light

This is a pretty simple game and can be played with as many or as few people as you want. One person is the traffic light and stands down one end, while everyone else stands at the other end of the area. When the traffic light is facing towards the players, he/she says ‘Red Light’ and everyone must freeze. Then he/she turns her back and says ‘Green Light’ and the group tries to get as close to the traffic light as possible. The traffic light then turns around quickly, saying ‘Red Light’ and anyone spotted moving has to go back to the start. The goal is to be the first person to get to the traffic light.


Simon Says

This one is easy peasy too, and can be played anywhere. One person is Simon and begins the game by saying ‘Simon says [insert action]’.

MI Summer 2017_News Toys.indd 16

Everyone playing must then do the action. Simon continues to give out instructions, but if he/she gives an instruction without saying ‘Simon says’ at the start, anyone who does the action is out. The last person standing is Simon for the next round.



Grab some chalk and draw out a hopscotch grid from numbers 1 to 10. Use a small rock or a coin for playing. Start by throwing the rock onto Square no. 1. Avoiding the square with the coin/ rock in it, hop with one or two feet, according to the hopscotch grid, all the way to the end, turn around and repeat to the square with the rock. Bend down and pick up the rock and go back to the start. Continue by throwing the rock onto the second square and repeat the process. Continue to the 10th square. If you throw the rock and miss the square, your turn is over and the next person gets a go.


Duck, Duck, Goose

Everyone sits in a circle on the ground except for one person who is ‘it’. The person who is ‘it’ walks slowly around the circle tapping each person gently on the head saying ‘duck’ each time until he/she decides to call one person ‘goose!’. The goose then gets up and chases the person who is ‘it’ around the circle – if ‘it’ gets back to sit in ‘goose’s’ place without getting caught, then ‘goose’ becomes ‘it’.


Piggy in the Middle

This can be played with three people, or with many people all in a circle. The person designated the piggy stands in the centre and has to try and intercept the ball as it’s thrown from one person to another over his/her head. If the piggy gets the ball, the person who threw the ball is now the piggy.

Water Play Table, €54.99, ELC @ Mothercare

Little Tikes Easy Store Giant Slide Green, €139.99, Smyths

Pop-Up tunnel, €12, Tiger

15/05/2017 15:56



Reviewed by maternity & infant editor Penny (mum), Danny (6) & Ellie (4)



+ years

I‘ll Love You Always

By Mark Sperring; illustrated by Alison Brown (Bloomsbury) My kids are going through a bit of an affectionate phase at the moment – in fact, yesterday they had a heated argument over who loved me more. I’m choosing to make the most of it, because at six and four, they’re beginning to get more independent and sooner rather than later, I’ll be the uncool mum embarrassing them by looking for hugs at the schoolgate. So it’s no surprise that I loved this schmaltzy, gentle tale about a parent’s love for a child. It’s the perfect bedtime story to leave everyone feeling sleepy, warm and fuzzy (me included). We like... the gently rhyming story of love They’ll love... the cute pictures!


+ 5Danny yearsBrown and

+ 4Supertato: years Run,

+ 3Four years Silly Skeletons

By Brianog Brady Dawson (O’Brien) I am proud to say that my sixyear-old son Danny’s reading is finally coming on, and he’s now looking for more of a challenge with books. The Danny Brown books are perfect to get him onto that next level. The language is simple enough for him to still sound out, and the colourful pictures keep him engaged. And it’s mischievous enough for him to enjoy... We like... the simple story that’s perfect for young readers. They’ll love... Danny Brown’s latest escapades!

By Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet (Simon & Schuster) It’s very nearly Sports Day in the supermarket, and all the veggies are hard at work in training. However, a new competitor has entered the event, accompanied by The Evil Pea, and is determined to win all the prizes – can Supertato save the day? The latest in the hilarious Supertato series is a colourful, exciting escapade that is sure to keep children captivated. We like... The colourful pictures and clever story. They’ll love... Supertato’s latest adventure and the twist at the end!

By Mark Sperring; illustrated by Sue Hendra (Bloomsbury) This book is like the meeting of two greats – Mark Sperring is the author of the Dino books, while Sue Hendra’s credits include the very excellent Barry the Fish with Fingers (a favourite in our house). This book lives up to its two authors’ high standards – the gentle rhyming story is both zany and hilarious, while the full-page illustrations draw the reader right into the world of the silly skeletons. This is one of those stories that the whole family will love. We like... the gentle rhyming story that is made to read aloud. They’ll love... the whacky illustrations and silly story.

the Talking Teeth

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Veggies, Run!

+ 3Where’s years My Jumper? By Nicola Slater (Simon & Schuster) My kids love a book that DOES things. There’s a place in their hearts for simple stories that they can fall asleep to, but give them a story with counting, cut-outs and flaps to reveal surprises and they’re sold. This clever story of Rudy’s search for his lost jumper delivers on all these fronts, making this book a complete hit in our house. We like... testing them on their counting skills. They’ll love... the cute-as animals and discovering the hidden surprises on each page.

15/05/2017 16:08


RHONA CULLINAN pens an emotional open letter to her baby daughter Molly, explaining why Down syndrome is a gift, not a reason to limit her life...


our dad was the first to see you – he just looked at me and smiled and said she’s beautiful but yes straight away he could see you had Down syndrome. But you were alive and didn’t need any help with your breathing so we were just so relieved. Suddenly Down syndrome seemed to be the least thing we were concerned about. You had it – so what – we were instantly madly in love with you! Our families welcomed you and also fell madly in love with you. Gone were the fears I had of people feeling sorry for us. We got you home – no tubes – no wires – just gorgeous little you. The quietest most placid baby we’d ever seen. When feeding you or holding you we’d just feel the warmth of love as you gaze up at us. Only home about a week and I got a call from the community Down syndrome nurse, who congratulated us on what was about to be the best journey of our lives! She came out to us and explained all about Molly’s upcoming appointments for early intervention – physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy etc. When she left I have to say we were flabbergasted, not from all the appointments, but on how positive she made us feel! As things settled I decided to do a bit of research about Down syndrome to see how hard of a journey we had ahead. OMG how wrong we were! The first week home I saw a programme starting on TV called Born this Way, a documentary following the lives of several young adults who all have Down syndrome – one getting engaged – one getting a job – one starting her own business – one becoming a rapper! I was gobsmacked! I went online – all I could see was positive comments from parents groups and pages saying how amazing their child was and how blessed they were. I realised you that could do everything I imagined. Maybe a bit slower than other kids but you’ll do it. As Meagan, a young woman on Born this Way says “Just don’t limit me!” So Molly, I want to apologise – for not enjoying your pregnancy more – for doubting you – for trying to limit you before you even start. We promise we will push you to be the best you can be – we will show you off to the world, we will treat you the same as your siblings and love you with unconditional love – because that’s what you deserve! So that’s why I’ve set up a Facebook page for you …to blog your journey, so hopefully other expectant and new parents of a child with Down syndrome can read this and see that it’s ok to be afraid…but maybe just maybe it might be ok and here’s why… You’ll most likely be smaller and more baby like for longer – meaning we have more time to hold and cuddle you and keep you our baby. Every milestone with you will be a huge achievement for you – we will appreciate it so much more. Down syndrome children and adults are so happy, smiley, warm, loving and caring – you’ve proved that to us in just 20 weeks already. Society has changed – years ago children with Down syndrome were hidden away, uneducated, discouraged, stared at, but not anymore. The help and support and early intervention is amazing. You’re about to gain a whole network of friends and fellow parents around the world who will support and help you every step throughout your journey.


So Molly, thank you for being you – I wouldn’t change a single thing. Love always, Mum xxx

Follow her story here:

MI Summer 2017_Mummy My Way.indd 18

15/05/2017 16:09



CHILDHOOD It takes a six year old to show NICK WILKINSON the true meaning of creativity...


re you stupid enough to think you’re smarter than a six year old? Be honest now. “What is creativity?” I asked my daughter. “Will I show you?” came her reply. We were doing homework. Yay. Usually I have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the kitchen table for homework, but this was fun. I followed her as we went on a little odyssey of creative exploration. We began in the kitchen, at the fridge. Our’s is a sleek, stainless steel piece of aspirational folly that wouldn’t look out of place in the International Space Station. Except that it’s festooned in bits of paper. School notices, bills, reminders, timetables for 2017, and if I’m honest, 2016 and 2015 too. It is also covered in several artistic masterpieces executed by my children. My daughter appeared to be regarding these. “They should make fridges covered in stuff you can stick pins in,” she said. “Or, if the fridge was made of paper, we could just draw all over it.” Genius. What’s the point of buying a sleek, stainless steel appliance and covering it with bits of paper? I’d go for the cork board fridge every time. In fact, imagine a world where children designed all our appliances. Goodbye clean white lines and chrome. If they designed homes, we’d be a lot fitter – what with all the ropes and slides instead of stairs. When friends of ours built their house, they incorporated a child-sized door and little ‘tunnel’ that led from the playroom out to the back door. It’s brilliant fun. And with amazing foresight, the kids who designed it have guaranteed a way for their teenage selves to sneak in and out of the house. That’s the kind of smarts I’m talking about. Anyway, back to my own little genius. She loves drawing, sewing and making things but I don’t always take the time to really appreciate them. I joined her at the fridge, hands clasped behind my back, perusing the work. We could have been in the National Gallery. “Do you like the way I made a piggy face from a plate?” I had to admit that it looked very piggy. Abstract yes, but

an unmistakable evocation of pigginess. I asked the artist to explain her process. “I got a plate, then I got some pink and brown paint, then I kind of mushed it all in because piggies have kind of mushedup faces. Then I stuck on the little piggy eyes. And now it’s a pig.” So simple, yet very effective. If I had tried to create a pig, or even the impression of one, I’d have laboured over a stick drawing which, if I was lucky, might end up looking like a prehistoric cave painting. Except it wouldn’t. It would end up looking like a child’s drawing. Or at least an adult’s idea of a child’s drawing. Because children are much better at drawing than their parents. Moving on through the gallery, the artist led me to another of her works. A mixed-media installation made from stone, plastic, wood, cloth, buttons, crayon, leaves, dead butterflies, glue and glitter. “Tell me about this piece.” I said. “Well, sometimes I start making something and I don’t know what I’m making until I’ve made it and then I see what it is. This is a butterfly house. When they wake up they can go and live outside.” As this was art and not biology homework, I decided not to touch on the fact they they were dead butterflies. If I was a butterfly, what a place to live (let alone lie in state on a bed of glitter-covered leaves). I felt we had answered the homework question. What is creativity? As a stupid grown-up, I see that it is shoving your adult mind out of the way and taking pleasure in the creative act itself. I thanked my daughter and asked her to check my homework. “It’s very good, Daddy, but you need to keep practicing.” I’ve been taking a course in unlocking creativity. I know I’m not very clever because when I watch my daughter’s creative mind at work, I have to ask myself what kind of idiot would lock their creativity away in the first place. Only a grown up would do that.

“I joined my daughter at the fridge, hands clasped behind my back, perusing the work. We could have been in the National Gallery.”

MI Summer 2017_Dads Diary.indd 19

17/05/2017 16:56


OUR SURVEY We took a sample of 100 maternity & infant readers who have had C sections to find out about their experiences


Did you have an emergency C section?

81% YES


Would you have preferred a vaginal birth?

59 % YES


Were you given adequate information about the recovery time for the procedure?

27 % NO

MI Summer 2017_Burning Topic_2.indd 20

15/05/2017 16:12




CONTINUOUSLY RISING? Caesarean sections continue to rise every year and it’s increasingly difficult to pinpoint the cause. Are we “too posh to push” or are there justifiable reasons behind the increases? ELLEN FLYNN investigates...

Q 4% % 7 15% 5% % 71

What was the reason for your C section?

Gestational Diabetes

Multiples (twins etc)

Breech presentation


Other* *The most common reasons for ‘Other’ are baby in distress and failure to progress

MI Summer 2017_Burning Topic_2.indd 21


or nearly 30 years the international healthcare community has considered the optimum rate of Caesarean sections (C sections) to be between 10 and 15 per cent as recommended by the World Health Organisation. An integral part of modern medicine, C sections not only save lives but also give women options when consulting with their maternity service. However, C sections, and more specifically the rising rates, continue to be a touchy subject in the media, igniting outrage at times when women are asked if they’re ‘too posh to push’ and so on. In 2014, the rate of women delivering by C section in Ireland was 24.6 per cent. In 2015 that rose up to 32.3 per cent for first-time mothers. Many reasons have been thrown around for the rising percentage: the rising age of first-time mothers (average age of 30.8 years in 2015), conditions like gestational diabetes in pregnant women, larger babies, more multiple births and increasing cases of obesity in expectant mothers, to name but a few. But perhaps the real question we should be asking is not why the rates continue to rise, but why is there such a lack of clear, consistent, upto-date information in our maternity services regarding the reasons and outcomes of women who deliver by caesarean? Krysia Lynch works for AIMS, a voluntary service that canvasses and researches for improvements to the maternity services here in Ireland. AIMS finds that “information is variable, the outcomes are variable, and the birth statistics are variable” from hospital to hospital throughout the country.

Classification system This viewpoint is shared by Dr Michael Robson, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in the National Maternity Hospital in

Holles Street. Robson is responsible for the WHO-approved Ten Group Classification System, which is used as a starting point by healthcare services and communities worldwide to understand C section rates. He explains that taking the generalised rate of C sections, eg 32.3 per cent for first-time mothers in 2015 in Ireland, doesn’t give a clear, distinct view of why the rate is what it is. This is where the Robson classification system comes in. The system outlines ten groups of women and classifies them according to the type of caesarean they received. The groups are: 1. First time mothers over 37 weeks in spontaneous labour, 2. First-time mothers over 37 weeks induced or elective C section before labour, 3. Second or subsequent mothers over 37 weeks in spontaneous labour, 4. Second or subsequent mothers over 37 weeks induced or elective C section before labour, 5. Second or subsequent mothers over 37 weeks with a previous C section, 6. First time mothers with a breech presentation, 7. Second or subsequent mother with a breech presentation, 8. All mothers with multiple pregnancies, including previous C section, 9. All mothers with an abnormal lie, including previous C section, 10. All mothers over 36 weeks including previous C section. “Once you’ve got a good classification can join the groups together or split them up but there are only three reasons why there will be a difference.” Robson indicates that those reasons can be either that the actual quality of information isn’t good, or there may be epidemiological reasons: bigger women, older women, foetal distress, etc, or thirdly, it could be a difference in practice. A problem within the services as Robson states is “to ask somebody what their actual results are to specific groups of women... seems to be a problem in some units.” Rob-

15/05/2017 16:12


COMMENTS From our maternity & infant readers “The section was necessary for the safety of me and my son, we followed my doctor’s advice. I get very frustrated and upset when I read negative articles about having a section.” “There is a huge emotional side to a C section that is forgotten about. It’s a major operation on your body; physically you feel very unwell but the next day you’re expected to be up attending to the baby having shower etc, which I found difficult. You walk into the hospital fine but you don’t walk out fine, as it takes time to heal physically and emotionally while also trying to cope and with a newborn who is totally dependent on you.” “While the idea of a gentle section is nice, in reality in an emergency situation where both myself and my child were in danger I was happy for it to be as fast and ‘medical’ in nature as needs be.” “Many women look at C sections as being an easier alternative, but the majority of women don’t choose a section, there’s a medical reason for having one.” “I have to say I don’t think anyone would have one unless they have no choice, as recovery is awful. It’s so sore everytime you have to move, especially getting up at night feeds . It annoys the hell out of me when some women have the neck to say you haven’t given birth because you had a C section or you’re too posh to push. I’d like them to have to go through the pain and recovery while looking after a newborn and see how easy it is then.” “I really felt very overwhelmed by my first section. Theatre was a daunting concept so I just did what I was told. With my others I was much more vocal and refused staples and a drainage bag. So many women do not realise that even if they end up with a section they can still have a voice and make decisions.” “I dont think there is enough discussion regarding third degree tears and having to have a C section to ensure no further damage.”

MI Summer 2017_Burning Topic_2.indd 22

son is part of a team creating an electronic patient record that will provide leads of clinical communication and care, while also being “a source of truth for the information so we can actually look...and use classification systems and compare crude data between different hospitals and maybe learn from each other” called The Maternal and Newborn Patient Management system. Within the next three to four years, it will be “one clinical management system for maternity and newborns” throughout Ireland, the first of its kind worldwide. Dr Robson is hoping, with good reason that this will put an end to the discrepancy around media coverage of caesareans, when anyone can see once and for all the justifiable reasons and causes, as well as the clear outcomes of C sections.

Medical reasons A cause for the rising percentage of caesareans can be described as epidemiological, or reasons with justifiable medical-based evidence. These include dangerous medical conditions like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes as well as circumstances of the baby such as an abnormal lie and multi-births (twins or triplets, etc). Each of these conditions can be, and largely are treated with delivery by C section. In some cases it can be elective, and in some cases an emergency operation; both, however, will be deemed to be the best option for mother and baby by their consulting obstetrician. Taking into account these epidemiological reasons, all of which justify a caesarean as the best option for mother and baby to deliver safely, we can see how the rates would rise. Our mothers are having their first babies at an older age than in the past, and advanced medical screening means that doctors no longer take chances with conditions like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. Not wanting to tot the benefits of caesarean section without reasonable cause, Robson further states that “there

are real reasons why delivering normally is better... but it should not be at all costs”. As for the comment that women wanting an elective section because they’re too posh to push, both Krysia and Dr Robson had the same response: women, fundamentally, want to do what’s best for their children. Period. As Dr Robson has expressed, it is only after we have looked at and classified the accurate and up-to-date data, and the epidemiological reasons can we turn to differences in practices throughout the maternity services in this country as a cause for the rising rates of caesareans. Since at the moment that information is difficult to come by, we cannot point the finger at a difference in practice in our maternity services. The arrival of The Maternal and Newborn Patient Management System will allow the maternity services to increase their knowledge and communication regarding the causes and reasons behind C sections. The system will allow services to consult and “learn from each other” as Robson explains, and give services the opportunity and indeed the “responsibility to present our results and to explain our results”. He believes that the first measure of quality in any unit “is knowing what your results are” and not simply the numbers. In the future, Robson hopes that a woman could enter a service and ask “how many nullives, multives, previous scars, how many spontaneous, induced – very simple things” and the information be to hand to show and explain. With regards to the rate, is the 10 to 15 per cent the ideal rate for C section? “I don’t know,” Robson admits, “it may be different in different places, but you should know what it is and have an opinion on it – and the outcomes, and the babies at the same time, and NICU, episiotomy rates, oxytocin rates, blood loss rates.” Put simply, the percentage of C sections means little without the data to support it, but that hopefully is about to be rectified in the future.




Were you offered any of the following aspects of a gentle Caesarean?


Deferred cord clamping



Drapes lowered



One hand free



Skin to skin immediately following birth

15/05/2017 16:12




Dress, £95, Isabella Oliver

At time of writing, Ireland is enjoying its first heatwave of 2017 – and like the optimistic souls we are, we’re convinced it won’t be the last! The only snag is, if you’re in the middle of pregnancy, hot weather can bring with it a host of nasties, from swollen feet to unwanted sweating! The key is to keep cool, whatever your plans are for the summer. Our fashion features this month look at the floral trend in maternitywear and the latest wedding looks for a summer big day – all with the aim of keeping you stylish yet cool. Plus, Made in Chelsea’s Binky Felstead shows us how to do smart meets casual for the hot summer months.

MI Summer 2017_Style Opener.indd 23

15/05/2017 16:12


Trimester Trends Floral is a great choice for summer holidays, whether you’re staying at home or going abroad.













2 3







5 5


1 Sunglasses, €16.99, Vero Moda 2 Red floral print tea dress, €64, Topshop 3 San Pedro Parrot Wow tote, €39, Accessorize 4 Hat, €14.99, Vero Moda 5 Ring detail sandals, €27, M&S Collection

MI Summer 2017_Trimester Trends.indd 24

1 Gold star earrings, €6.99, H&M @ Littlewoods Ireland 2 Black floral lace trim duster, €55, River Island 3 White Joni jeans, €52, Topshop 4 Clubmaster sunglasses, €12, Accessorize 5 Lipsy embelleshed toe trainers, €65.33,

1 Beaded tassle necklace, €11, 2 Blue floral maxi dress, €55, Jo Jo Maman Bébé 3 Wide-brim sun hat, €21.99, Vero Moda 4 Tan saddle bag, €25, Accessorize 5 Embellished slip-on sandals, €45, River Island

15/05/2017 16:16


Green onyx earings, €95,

Necklace, €169, Coral dress, €135, Seraphine

White Kim lock bag, €15, Accessorize

Silk floral cocktail dress, €215, Seraphine

Tan mid-heel sandals, €44, Topshop

Bracelet, €33,

Pink pleated midi dress, €27,

Wed d i ng PASTELS For a summer wedding, give some fresh pastels a touch of glamour with some gorgeous accessories

Jade beaded midi dress, €85,

Star earings, €50,

KOKO couture blue faux suede clutch, €29, Topshop

Gold charm ring, €70,

MI Summer 2017_Maternity Trend_V2.indd 25

Blue two-tone dress, €240, Tiffany Rose

Blue heel, €105, Dune @ Arnotts

15/05/2017 16:19





Filigree shapes choker, €6, Accessorize

Made In Chelsea star Binky Felstead has casual meets smart summer style down to a tee, with a short loose dress, comfy plimsolls and a smart jacket.

When you’re heading towards your final trimester, it can be difficult to navigate that fine line between comfy and stylish. You’re feeling larger by the day, you’re sweating and your ankles are beginning to swell – yet you want to look stylish and a little smart. Take a lesson from Made in Chelsea’s Binky Felstead, who arrived at the ITV studios recently in an effortless breezy white dress and a smart long jacket. The look was kept casual by the addition of super-practical plimsolls in a neutral colour. We’ve lightened up the look for high summer with a jersey embroidered jacket from Next rather than a longline jacket that might be a bit heavy for hotter days.

Ivory crochet lace dress, €65, Seraphine

Black jersey embroidered jacket, €67, Next


Bag, €148.50, Nine by Savannah Miller @ Debenhams

PS PRO ultrashine lip gloss in pink, €3, Penneys

Felicity premium flattop sunglasses, €19.90, Accessorize

MI Summer 2017_StyleSteal.indd 26

Metallic trainers, €35, Next

15/05/2017 16:22

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Baby’s First Beachwear Taking your family on their first beach holiday is exciting, but it’s important that they’re kitted out properly. Whether your little one is brand-new or already a toddler, choose from our selection of great beachwear.









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1 White broderie sun hat, €8.99, Mothercare, 2 Baby wetsuit, €26, JoJo Maman Bebe, 3 Girls’ Sunuva protective float swimsuit, €51, 4 Boys’ Sunuva protective float swimsuit, €51,, 5 Baby swim float €21, JoJo Maman Bebe

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1 Tropical fruit hat with flaps, €7.99, Mothercare, 2 Light blue sun-safe suit, from €30, Baker by Ted Baker @ Debenhams, 3 Girls’ two-piece swimsuit, £20, Frugi, 4 Swimsuit with nappy, €25, JoJo Maman Bebe, 5 Pate De Sable white sun hat, €54,

1 Quick-drying sun hat, €17, JoJo Maman Bebe, 2 One-piece sun protection suit, €26, JoJo Maman Bebe, 3 SunSafe fish suit, €24, bluezoo @ Debenhams, 4 Whale board shorts, €8.99, Mothercare, 5 Aqua socks, from €12, bluezoo @ Debenhams

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29 TREND Farm T-shirts, 3-pack, €14.99, Mothercare

Wide-brim hat, €13.50, bluezoo @ Debenhams

Novelty denim sun hat, €8.99, Mothercare

Little Bird @ Mothercare

Super 74 t-shirt, €10.50, Mothercare

Girls’ navy marl leggings, €8.99, Mothercare

Rain and Conker yellow bib, €6, Avoca Happy t-shirt, €10.50, Little Bird @ Mothercare

Penny compact red skateboard, €99.95, Avoca


BRIGHTS Great kids clothes should always be colourful, but in the summer, step it up a gear with tropical shades of orange, yellow and bright blue. These clothes scream happiness!

Flox jelly sandals, €52.50, Mini Melissa @

Rib-waist denim shorts, €11.50, Mothercare

Skater shoes, €17, Next

BRIGHT EYES Protect your little one’s eyes with a pair of sunglasses just for kids. Fun and functional!

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Wrap-around sunglasses, €9, bluezoo @ Debenhams

Red Wayfarer sunglasses, €7.99, Mothercare

Sunglasses, €8, Next

Solaris sunglasses, from €20, Vision Express

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30 TREND Flower sunglasses, €6, Next

Girls’ black butterfly choker and long necklace, €10, River Island



STYLE Swedish actor Peter Stormare is known for playing dark brooding characters in TV series like Prison Break and The Blacklist, but it’s the festival chic of his youngest daughter Kaiya that has grabbed our attention this issue. Gone are the days when chilcdren’s clothes were either formal or casual, with barely a nod to fashion. Now you can let your little one dress for whatever occasion they want and in whatever style they like. Swedish actor Peter Stormare’s daughter Kaiya is obviously getting all set for the festival season here, with a gorgeous combo of shorts and a loose top. The hat and strappy flat sandals give the look a cool edge while being practical for a hot day.


Embroidered collar blouse, €8, Next

Cream flurry cardigan, €20, M&S

Ivory trilby, €150, Gucci @

Mini girls pink gem embellished sandals, €21, River Island

BG denim shorts, €6, Penneys

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HAPPY DAYS? Holidays are supposed to be relaxing, a time to recharge your batteries and indulge in the things you love – but how can you do that and look after a baby?! Mum of five SAMANTHA WEAVER has some great advice for making sure the whole family enjoys the holiday – including you!

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o, you’re taking your baby on holiday for the first time? How hard can it be? They feed, they sleep, rinse and repeat - no problem. Except….we all know that that’s not all they do - sure, they feed and they sleep - they also cry, cut their teeth, get too hot, don’t like flying, eat snails (I’m not joking)... the list goes on. If you spent enough time dwelling on all the negatives you’d leave those suitcases gathering dust in the attic until the poor infant is fully grown and ready to plan her gap year. Organising a holiday with a baby is as easy or as complicated as you choose to make it. Yes, it will be different and yes it’s not necessarily going to be all sunsets and palm trees (if that’s what you’re used to) but don’t let that put you off. A caravan in Cork can be just as magical as a condo in Colorado, and as someone who has driven, ferried and flown everywhere from Achill to the Austrian Alps with five small children in tow, I can honestly say that (with the exception of a very minor mishap in Meribel), we’ve never had a bad holiday. With a little bit of planning (but not too much!) you can have an amazing time and come back refreshed and relaxed with the batteries recharged - what more encouragement do you need?

ADVANCE PLANNING Babies need their own passports so don’t leave it until the last minute to get yours. For starters, there are serious delays in the passport office right now thanks largely to Brexit, and you also need to factor in possible errors. Travelling abroad when your infant boy is listed as a girl in his passport (yes it happens!) is not for the faint-hearted – even the passport office makes mistakes, so factor this in and plan ahead.

HEALTH TIPS Check with your doctor well in advance whether your baby will need any extra immunisations and make sure you include him or her on your travel insurance.

HOLIDAY OR HOLI-STAY? If the thought of leaving your nest just as you’ve managed to settle into a routine fills you with horror, you might find it less of an ordeal to spend a few days away closer to home where you can just pile into the car without having to worry about squeezing all that baby paraphernalia into a couple of suitcases. It’s almost certain not to be too hot at home and the beauty of Ireland is that you can drive from one end to the other in less than a day. Then again, if the thought of going abroad is all that’s kept you going through the long, wet winter months – hooray – travel is probably the one thing you buy that actually makes you richer when your children are babies. Bear in mind that these are going to be the cheapest family holidays you will ever have – under twos travel virtually for free and there’s usually no accommodation cost either, so it’s an ideal time to take that trip. Most airlines will give you a free infant baggage allowance as well as carrying two items of baby equipment free of charge so take advantage while you can. Plus, if your baby hasn’t yet made the transition to solids, eating out isn’t going to be an issue for you either.

Feeding on the move Take extra powdered or ready-made formula in case of delays Consider using disposable bottles or try pre-sterilised disposable liners Prepare and freeze baby food in advance and pack into a cooler bag Bananas and avocados are easy to prepare quickly Stick with familiar foods – this isn’t the time to experiment! Use disposable bibs so you can leave any mess behind continued...

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TO FLY OR NOT TO FLY? Flying can be quite stressful with young babies, particularly if they’re teething, but it does have the advantage of getting you to your destination quickly – very important if you’re only going for a short break. If you have the luxury of time on your side, consider driving and going by ferry, as being in control of your travel timetable takes away a lot of the stress – instead of being stuck in an airport lounge with a fractious infant, at the mercy of delayed flights or missed connections, you can stop and start at your leisure, you can get out and stretch your legs or stop off for a snack and if you take the ferry to Europe you can even take a nap in your cabin. For anyone who doesn’t do travelling light, this can be the perfect choice – your car is your suitcase, so no tiresome luggage restrictions, and instead of stressing about whether there will be a decent cot/highchair etc, you can take your own.

Tips for flying with baby Avoid long-haul flights where possible (or take a night flight it it’s unavoidable) Book an aisle or bulkhead seat to give you extra space Feed your baby during take-off and landing to prevent ear-popping Bring a favourite toy and a new one – the novelty factor works wonders! Don’t forget the Calpol and teething gel plus a couple of sterilised soothers if you use them Pack extra nappies/change of clothes in case of delays

If you’re taking the car Book your vehicle in for a service before you go Make sure you have breakdown cover in case of any mishaps Get removable window shades to protect your baby from the sun Keep anything you might need on the journey in an accessible place Ensure your baby has enough to drink – it’s easy to become dehydrated on long journeys

CAMPSITE OR CHATEAU? This may well be a factor decided by your budget, but remember that babies (unlike teenagers!) won’t know the difference between a tent and a five-star resort. I used to be of the firm belief that caravans were strictly for pensioners until the offer of a free weekend by the sea persuaded me otherwise and although I did draw the line at joining the Caravan Club, the summers we spent camping in France – one at seven months’ pregnant and another with a five-week-old infant – were some of the most relaxed holidays we ever had, right down to the supermarket café suppers. Whether it’s a wall to wall luxury hotel or a back to basics B&B, don’t overthink it. Robert Louis Stevenson once famously said “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” so don’t stress too much over where you’re staying or nowhere will live up to your expectations. Websites like Tripadvisor are invaluable for getting an honest review of a place, so do your research, get something booked and just look forward to the break.

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Don’t forget to pack... Sunhats (plural – you’ll lose at least two!) A pop-up tent for shade on the beach Swim nappies (do you really want to be responsible for closing the pool down?) A baby sling for going to places the pushchair can’t go Your own baby sheets – the familiar smell will be soothing in a strange place A fold-up changing mat A basic first-aid kit

I’d love to be able to say that it’s all in the planning, but actually it’s just not true. However well you plan, there are always going to be one or two little bumps in the road – the trick is to remember that bumpy roads often lead to the best places. A good dollop of spontaneity makes for the best memories – some of the most enjoyable holidays we’ve ever had as a family were the ones where we just piled into the car at the last minute and pointed due south (even if said car did break down on the way there…).

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with his children has its rewards too.



EXPERIENCE Forget about plastic toys that kids play with for about half an hour before they break – give your kids memories that will last a lifetime by organising a unique experience for the entire family to enjoy.


e’ve all seen the ads and the YouTube videos that have gone viral – those gorgeous reactions from kids who are told that their present is a trip to Disneyland or some other dream place, and you just know that this is a trip that they will always remember. “We surprised our two kids with a trip to Disneyland Paris last Christmas,” says Lisa. “We had actually booked it a year ago, but waited until a couple of months before we were going to tell them. It was their main Christmas present. I was a bit worried in case they wouldn’t realise the expense of it and feel a bit cheated that there wasn’t more underneath the tree, but not at all – they were thrilled and so, so excited.” Lisa and her family are just back from their memorable trip and says it was well

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worth the planning and expense. “Don’t be fooled – this is expensive, even if you know all the tricks and book well in advance. But the looks on the kids’ faces made it well worth the hassle and the money. No way would they get the same buzz or memories from toys or a normal holiday. It was really a once-off for us as a family, but it’s something we’ll always remember and cherish.” Tracey Carney (pictured on right) took her son to Lapland last Christmas. “I asked my son yesterday what was his best three holidays ever, and he said Lapland, Santa North Pole and the snow - it was a three in one holiday that we will never forget. It was only 48 hours but it was a five-star experience from start to finish.” Tracey travelled to Lapland with Sunway and says that everything was thought of on the trip, including elves to entertain

the kids on the plane – but it was Day Two that really was memorable. “We started early with a short bus ride to the magical Joulukka forest., where we were met by real elves and led down through the snowcovered forest to Santa Command Centre. Inside the centre was the radar with reindeers on flying practice and elf cam. It was here we met the man himself – the real deal Santa, we sang Jingle Bells and a magical door rolled back to find Santa sat in his study – it was a real goosebump moment.” Lots of touring around the command centre and elf games were enjoyed afterwards, followed by a reindeer sleigh ride, and a very fast husky sleigh ride. “The evening was a Christmas Show with dinner and elf entertainment and to top it off when we left the building we go to see the Northern Lights – bucket list ticked...”

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37 SUMMER SPECIAL had – as we were in the country already for our holiday.” “We decided to book a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Florida theme parks with my sister and her little ones,” says Ciara, mum of one. “Our parents came too. This meant it was a real experience for us all as an extended family, it gave our parents an opportunity to spend some real time with their grandkids, and we also saved a bit of cash as we were able to split the cost of a villa between us all. I’m not going to lie, it was expensive, but as a one-off, it was a great experience. We saved for two years to go but it was worth it.”

Saving cash You might be reading this and thinking ‘well for them, they must have plenty of money’, but it’s important to remember that it’s not about the expense of the experience, but the actual experience itself. If you want to go the full hog and try for a holiday like Disneyland, there are tricks that can bring the cost down. “There is some great value to be had if you do your research,” says Sinead. “If you book early, you can avail of offers like “free kid places” or discounted tickets. If you can, avoid school holidays and midterm breaks. Even better, go midweek, and you’d be surprised at the cost difference.” If Lapland is more your bag, shop around for some great package prices. Tracey travelled with Sunway, and is full of praise for

or less had the run of it from morning until night. “Despite my great memories, I got it into my head that a caravan or camping holiday wouldn’t have the same appeal for my kids,” she continues. “I just thought that kids these

“You might be reading this and thinking ‘well for them, they must have plenty of money’, but it’s important to remember that it’s not about the expense of the experience, but the actual experience itself.” Spending time together A big part of the concept behind experiences over toys is the chance to spend time together as a family. Two parents are often working, so might miss out on the everyday experiences with their children – as a result, those memory-making experiences are packed into a short holiday. So why not take it further and turn it into something really memorable? “We combined a trip to Disneyland Paris with a camping trip,” says Sinead, mum of three. “We usually go camping as our summer holiday, but this year we hacked three days in Disneyland onto the end of our holiday. This had the effect of making it into a real experience for us all as a family (and of course it meant that we were there for the full build-up of excitement to the main event), plus there were cost savings to be

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the tour. Alternatively, one of our favourite blogs,, included a post in 2016 from the blog founder’s sister Corrina, who managed to book a trip to Lapland for two adults and five kids for just 1,826 – and that included flights, a return trip on an overnight train, five nights in Airbnbs, tickets to Santa Park to see Santa and a day trip across the Baltic Sea to Tallinn, Estonia. We also need to point out that unique experiences are not just the big ticket items like Lapland and Disneyland. “I’m an Eighties child, and when we were growing up, we spent our summer holidays in a caravan in Limerick,” says Penny, mum of two. “We’re talking a very basic caravan too! But I have such amazing memories of those holidays as we had such freedom on them – we used to stay on a big estate in Limerick and more

days are too sophisticated for such holidays, and in any case, they can’t have the same freedom as we did – for safety’s sake.” But two summers ago, she realised that these holidays can still make great memories. “We were particularly broke two summers ago and no way could we afford a summer holiday. But my uncle offered me the use of his mobile home in Wexford. I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly excited about it – my husband even less so! But the kids had an absolute ball, and even though they were still little, they had quite a bit of freedom within the small park, which had a playground at the end of our row of mobile homes. We got to sit on the deck having a sneaky beer while the kids made friends down in the playground. That was two years ago, and the kids STILL talk about it – way more than any fancy sunny holiday!”

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Babies ON BOARD With Beyoncé’s twin pregnancy announcement so closely followed by Amal Clooney’s, you’d be forgiven for thinking multiples are this year’s latest spring/summer trend. Even Madonna got in on it, adopting twin girls from Malawi. So what is it like to carry more than one baby? Three mothers share their stories with ANDREA MARA.

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here’s no doubting that pregnancy can be tough, especially in the very early and in the very late stages – but is it tougher when you’re carrying more than one baby? Kate Thornhill, whose boy-girl twins were born in October 2016, remembers being surprised at how tired she was when she first found out she was pregnant. “It was just before Easter, and we were going down the country with my parents and mother-in-law. I knew the early days of pregnancy could be tiring, but I was totally exhausted. So when the following week I had a scan and the midwife said, ‘Yes, there’s the second one,’ we were a bit overwhelmed, but very happy!” Anna Murphy, who also had boy-girl twins born last October, was surprised at how sick she was in early pregnancy. She also has an older child, so knew something felt different, but still didn’t suspect twins. “I went for an early dating scan, and I was talking about how sick I was, that I couldn’t keep water down. I remember the consultant was talking about anti-nausea medication, then he did a quick scan and said, ‘There are two heartbeats, I’m just making sure there’s not three.’ I was in shock!” When Janet Mahon had her first scan, to her complete surprise, she discovered there were three babies. Janet also has an older child, and she says there was no comparison between the first pregnancy and carrying triplets. “I could feel a bump at seven weeks - my stomach was much fuller, much quicker. At the first appointment we were told we were high risk, so it’s always at the back of your mind - with triplets, every day you get through is a mini success.”

Monitoring closely Twin and triplet pregnancies are generally considered higher risk and therefore require more monitoring – even then, it depends on whether they are identical or non-identical, explains Dr Karen Flood, who runs the semiprivate twin clinic at the Rotunda. “Identical means two babies sharing one placenta, so issues can arise with unequal sharing of the placenta or abnormal sharing of blood between the babies.” It varies from clinic to clinic, but in the Rotunda, mothers carrying identical twins are usually seen every fortnight. “This is to make sure the babies size and fluids remains equal to out-rule conditions such as twin-to-twin transfusion or growth restriction.” For non-identical twins, there’s a little less monitoring – in the Rotunda they’re seen every three or four weeks, then more frequently in the third trimester. “But if all is going well, and there are no blood pressure or diabetes issues with the mum, we might not need as many scans,” says Dr Flood.

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Physical symptoms For mothers carrying multiples, it’s clear that getting bigger goes with the territory, but there are many other physical symptoms that manifest earlier and more significantly. For Anna, it was quite a change from her first pregnancy. “I was very sick up to four months with the twins, whereas first time round there was early stage nausea but that was it. I felt huge – at 12 weeks with twins I looked like I was 20 weeks! And whereas with my first pregnancy the middle part was quite nice, I never got that ‘glowy’ middle time with the twins. Actually I spent the entire time comparing it to a singleton pregnancy!” Anna’s twins were born at 36 weeks, when she went into labour two weeks before her planned C-section. Kate had fewer physical pregnancy symptoms but also didn’t get the famed second trimester reprieve. “Apart for those early weeks when I was really tired, I had quite

Janet found that from 26 weeks it was difficult. “I had finished work but I still had to get Abigail to school. By the end, I couldn’t sleep comfortably at all – my husband was kicked out to spare room at about 30 weeks, and I couldn’t roll over in the bed - I’d have to get out and walk around to turn over! It wasn’t fun, but it was a balancing act – how uncomfortable I was versus how good it was for them to stay in for another few days.” In the end, Amelie, Avery and Alicia “stayed in” all the way to 34 weeks, which was Janet’s planned C-section date.

Delivery Kate, Anna and Janet all had their babies delivered by Caesarean section – I asked Dr Flood if that’s common for multiples, and what factors influence the decision. “It depends on the type of twins and the background history of the mum, and on

“For non-identical twins, there’s a little less monitoring – in the Rotunda they’re seen every three or four weeks, then more frequently in the third trimester.” a good pregnancy. Though I never got the second trimester burst of energy that some women experience - I don’t think it happens with multiples. I’m quite tall, and I was careful about my weight gain, and thankfully I didn’t suffer too much with back pain.” Then towards the end of her pregnancy, she had placenta previa, whereby the placenta is low-lying or covering the cervix. “I ended up on bed rest at home from 33 weeks, after a small scare. Then I had another scare about two weeks later and ended up back in Holles Steet hospital for 10 days before they did the C-section. So I made it to 36 and a half weeks!” For Janet, carrying triplets meant a whole new level of symptoms. “I got to about 17 weeks feeling okay, and in a single pregnancy that’s when you start to feel great. But the babies were getting very heavy, very fast, and at 26 weeks I was a similar size to 40 weeks! However, I had no morning sickness at all – I was very lucky.” With multiples, Dr Flood says that 32 weeks can feel like being full term. “By that stage, women have a term-size uterus and start experiencing term symptoms. They may need to reduce working hours or work from home – it’s good to prepare in advance for that. There can be an inability to sleep and mobilising can become more difficult so it’s no harm to plan ahead with your employer. Commuting if you’ve been awake all night isn’t ideal.”

whether it’s a pre-labour or an emergency section in labour. I usually tell my parents that there’s a 50:50 chance it will be a C-section. If they’ve had two previous Csections, it will definitely be a section, and even if a woman has had one and wants a section again, that’s fine. Personal preference also plays a role – women who’ve had a long road with infertility treatment and have a higher risk pregnancy; if they’re requesting a C-section, I think that’s very reasonable.” But lots of twins are born by vaginal delivery, says Dr Flood. “There are a few criteria to have a vaginal delivery – the first baby must be head down and there must be no major growth discrepancy between the twins. It is preferable to avoid the situation where the presenting twin is significantly smaller than the second baby, particularly if the second baby is breech presentation.” So are there more twins than ever before? “It’s approximately 3 to 5 per cent here, but it varies from unit to unit. In the Rotunda we’re a tertiary referral centre so we’d see over 400 multiples a year – out of approximately 8,500 deliveries. The rate is increasing all the time with older mums and with advances in assisted reproduction technology.’’ So it’s not your imagination – there really are more twin buggies on our streets and in our parks – and I suspect coming soon to celebrity Instagram feed near you.

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Product Guide to:



Pregnancy brings with it a whole new set of skin concerns – it’s not just about stretch marks, you know! We take a look at some of the common skin complaints and pick out some of our favourite products to use during pregnancy.

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h, pregnancy – it’s just non-stop glamour. From piles to swollen ankles, it’s one long pampering session. Actually, though, joking aside, pregnancy has its upside too – many women report luscious hair and glowing skin for at least part of their pregnancy. But even if you are lucky to enjoy the upside of having a bump, there are some skincare issues you should look out for and perhaps protect against. In fact, pregnancy is the one time in your life when it’s virtually compulsory to pamper yourself. Happy days.

What causes stretch marks? Probably the most common skin complaint in pregnancy (or afterwards) is stretch marks. Caused by the skin stretching when pregnant (they are also common when you gain or lose weight), stretch marks most commonly form on the belly and breast area, but can also appear on the thighs, hips, bum and back. They usually form in the last trimester of pregnancy when the skin expands at a more rapid pace. The good news is that stretch marks generally fade into silvery fine lines between six and 12 months after pregnancy. Michelle McDonald, pregnancy expert at Blue Sky Products, the distributors of celebrity-endorsed pregnancy skincare brand BASQ NYC, explains further: “Stretch marks are small, depressed streaks in the skin caused by tiny tears in the elastic supportive tissue that lies just underneath the skin to help it stretch. Stretch marks usually appear on the abdomen in the later stages of pregnancy when the belly is rapidly expanding to accommodate a growing baby. Women can also get them on their buttocks, thighs, hips, or breasts. Stretch marks can often appear after dramatic weight loss or growth spurts and are treated the same way.”

Does every woman get stretch marks? No – and there is no rhyme or reason to why some people get stretch marks and others don’t – some experts point to genetics as a reason (a good indicator is to ask your mother if she had them), while others swear by a good skincare routine to prevent them. Michelle explains further: “Many women have been able to prevent marks even with family members showing a tendency to mark. While genetics matter, skin condition and skin care routine are very important when it comes to stretch marks. the occurrence of stretch marks is highly dependent upon how elastic one’s skin is and that is usually a matter of genetics and rate of weight gain. In addition, the amount and speed of stretching impacts the likelihood of stretch marks as well. Gaining weight rapidly, carrying multiples or a big baby can impact whether you get stretch marks.”

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Can stretch marks be prevented?

What is the ‘mask of pregnancy’?

“Women can do a lot in the fight to prevent stretch marks,” explains Michelle. “Bolstering the skin’s elasticity and resiliency with deep, regular hydration is the best preventative defence. We recommend that women hydrate and nourish their skin several times daily both as they try to prevent stretch marks and help skin bounce back after pregnancy. Try a product like BASQ Resilient Body Stretch Mark Oil, which includes a powerful combination of Essential Fatty Acid-rich oils that fuel collagen and elastin build. Skin-strengthening Vitamin E Wheat Germ, Grapeseed and Rosehip Oil and Eucalyptus work to replenish deep down while soothing itching.”

Also known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’, chlaosma is a dark, discolouration of the skin. “The increase of pregnancy hormones can change the pigmentation of your skin and create dark patches. These generally can be seen along the cheeks, upper lip and the side of face. Over 50 per cent of pregnancy ladies can experience this. Use a high factor sunblock during all seasons, even in winter time! Chloasma can get worse with sun exposure, so stay in the shade if you can. Use a cover-up camouflage cream that is a slight tone darker than your own skin tone.” As always, if you notice anything strange about your body during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or medical care team.

Can I get acne in pregnancy? Simple answer – sadly yes. The increased levels of hormones coursing through your body can play havoc with your face. If you have previously suffered, or suffer, from acne, you may find that it gets worse or happens again during pregnancy. Your body also retains more fluids containing toxins, which can also contribute to acne. If you break out when pregnant, be

What is a linea nigra? Linea nigra is a dark line that runs from the navel to the pubic bone. It usually appears in the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy, and is caused by pregnancy hormones (yes – that old chestnut). The bad news is that

“Bolstering the skin’s elasticity and resiliency with deep, regular hydration is the best preventative defence. We recommend that women hydrate and nourish their skin several times daily both as they try to prevent stretch marks and help skin bounce back after pregnancy.” aware that some ingredients can be harmful. Michelle stresses the power of a gentle touch. “Touch your skin like you are touching your new baby when he/she arrives. Wash gently with a mild soap or cleanser twice a day, avoid certain products such as facial scrubs, astringents and masks. Don’t scrub your face with a facecloth, as this can irritate the skin. Pat your skin dry and follow up with an oil-free moisturiser. Resist the urge to squeeze, rub or pop your pimples as this will aggravate the problem and could lead to scarring. If you wear makeup, use products that are water-based rather than oil-based and that are labelled “noncomedogenic” or “nonacnegenic,” meaning they won’t clog your pores and cause breakouts. Be sure to wash your makeup off thoroughly before going to bed too. Ask your doctor or midwife before using medicated gels or lotions. A number of over-the-counter and prescription products help clear up acne, but some of the ingredients aren’t safe for pregnant women or haven’t been well studied in pregnancy. If your acne is severe, you may need to see a dermatologist.

it’s not preventable, but the good news is it will likely fade once baby is born. Not every woman gets one, but if you have darker skin, you’re more likely in general to gert one. An old wives’ tale used to say that if your line only runs up to your belly button, you’re having a girl, and if it runs right up to your ribs, you’re having a boy!

Should I be worried about skin tags? Skin tags are tiny flaps of tissue that hang off the skin from a connecting stalk. They are usually found on the neck, chest, and back, in the groin area and under the breast. Skin tags are quite common in pregnant women and usually disappear as quick as they came after childbirth. Skin tags are not sore and there is no need to worry as they are benign (non-cancerous). But of course like everything when pregnant, if you are worried, see your GP rather than getting unnecessarily stressed, as that’s never good for the baby!

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Pregnancy Skincare OUR TOP PICKS There are lots of great skincare products suitable for pregnancy concerns - here are some of our favourites.

OILY TUMMIES BASQ NYC RESILIENT BODY OIL, €30, BASQNYC.CO.UK Available in three scents, this omegarich oil fuels the build of collagen and elastin essential for better stretch mark prevention and post pregnancy bounce back. Plus, supermoisturising hazelnut, sunflower and sweet almond oils hydrate dry, stretched skin.

SENSITIVE SKIN CLEANSE OFF MITT, €5.95, WWW.CLEANSEOFFMITT.COM This clever reusable mitt removes 95 per cent of dirt and makeup from your face using just water thanks to its clever fibre composition, which is comparable to most cleansers. Great for sensitised pregnant skin.

FAIL-SAFE FAVOURITE BIO-OIL, €12.49 The original and still one of the very best fighters against the dreaded stretch marks, Bio Oil contains Vitamin A, Vitamin E, calendula oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil and chamomile oil, and is great for ageing skin, scars and uneven skin tone as well as preventing stretch marks.

NATURAL TANNING TANORGANIC SELF TAN LOTION, €19.99, STOCKISTS NATIONWIDE TanOrganic’s Aloe Vera-based formula contains no synthetic ingredients, parabens, colours or fragrances, and is perfect for all skin types, even sensitive. The brand’s DHA comes from a natural source (sugar cane), which means you can be sure the products are safe during pregnancy. Plus, the formula keeps your skin super hydrated and you tan will fade naturally and evenly.

NEW ON THE MARKET COLIEF MUM TO BE MOISTURSING CREAM, €9.99, PHARMACIES NATIONWIDE & WWW.COLIEF.COM New Colief Mum To Be Moisturising Cream is a blend of natural, rich plant oils and essential vitamins to nourish and care for skin during pregnancy and beyond. A ket ingredient is Pro-Vitamin B5, a powerful natural skin healer and protector.

ESSENTIAL SKINCARE YON-KA VITAL DEFENSE, €52, SALONS NATIONWIDE Perfectly safe to use during pregnancy, Daily Defense is specially formulated to combat damaging environmental factors that cause oxidative stress, such as pollution, smoking, and exposure to UV rays and climate variations. It’s also deeply hydrating and perfect for stressed pregnant skin.

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CREAMY MOISTURE MAMA MIO TUMMY RUB STRETCH MARK BUTTER, €27.95, WWW. CLOUD10BEAUTY.COM A great alternative to an oil is Mama Mio’s Tummy Rub, which is packed with Omega 3, 6 and 9 to build your skin’s strength and elasticity to prevent your tummy from stretch marks. Key ingredients include shea butter, coconut oil, and argan oil.

TOUCH OF LUXURY CLARINS TONIC OIL, €49, CLARINS COUNTER NATIONWIDE For a real treat, try the legendary Tonic oil from Clarins, which contains plant extracts including Rosemary, Geranium and Mint to help firm, tone and improve elasticity, smoothing the appearance of stretch marks. Hazelnut Oil locks in moisture to leave body skin soft, satiny-smooth and elastic.

15/05/2017 16:37

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15/05/2017 18/04/2017 15:51 10:07



POSITIVE BIRTHING We’re hearing more and more about hypnobirthing in the media, as celebrities like Fearne Cotton, Gisele and even the Duchess of Cambridge talk about how they have used hypnobirthing techniques. But did you know that that those techniques can boost positivity elsewhere in your life? SUZY ASHWORTH tells us how...


ypnobirthing is changing the way that women give birth. And that is a great thing. With more and more celebrities talking about how they managed to stay feeling calm, relaxed and positive during their pregnancies and birth, interest in the technique has grown – and some have started to think about how the benefits can translate into every day life. The theory behind hypnobirthing is that women are often feeling anxious and scared during labour, and that it’s these emotions that cause childbirth to be painful and uncomfortable, not the actual process of giving birth. By teaching women that birth is a natural thing, the fright is taken out of birth, and the mums-to-be learn to relax their bodies and let nature take over. There are many hypnobirthing classes now available, and these begin by teaching the mechanics of giving birth – how the muscles work in harmony in order to bring a baby into the world. Mums-to-be and their partners are then guided through relaxation, breathing, visualisation and deepening techniques that can be used during labour. Partners are also taught how to use massage as a way of releasing the body’s own pain-killing endorphins. Some studies have shown that women who use hypnobirthing techniques experience shorter labours and are less likely to need intervention during birth, such as Caesarian sections or a forceps delivery. Women also report having a more positive experience of labour. It’s important to remember that hypnobirthing isn’t a magic wand that cures all pain, but it can really help with the process and promote a positive experience.

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Remember, too, that the techniques learned through hypnobirthing is not just for labour and birth. It’s about knowing your body and learning how to relax and be positive, which is something we could use in all areas of our lives, pregnant or not. Pregnancy coach, mentor, TEDx speaker and author of The Calm Birth Method Suzy Ashworth here gives us her top ten ways to ensure relaxation and positivity through hypnobirthing.

Hypnobirthing will give you confidence If you’re looking to let go of the fear that many women have about the first time they give birth, or if you are fearful following a previous bad birth experience, then taking back control through hypnobirthing can help. Understanding how your body works during birth and then exactly what you need to do to work with youwr natural physical responses to stay calm, relaxed and positive is how you build your confidence.

It reduces pain There is a growing body of evidence that scientifically explains how relaxation, mindfulness and being able to relax your body on demand helps to reduce pain by releasing natural endorphins that act as “nature’s painkillers”.

The techniques empower your partner As your birth partner learns exactly how they can help you during your labour and birth in a hypnobirthing course, you will also feel more at ease that when the most vital moments arise, they will know exactly how to be useful, instead of useless!

It makes you fearless about birth Fear plays a huge part in preventing women giving birth feeling calm and at ease. When a woman is afraid, her body tenses and that tension that causes pain. Most good hypnobirthing programs will have a series of relaxing MP3s for you to listen to on a regular basis; these will help you feel calm and even excited about giving birth during your pregnancy and labour.

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The Calm Birth Method, by Suzy Ashworth A practical guide for modern mamas to breathe a calm positive hypnobirth, by Suzy Ashworth, is published in June 2017 by Hay House UK.

Watching it in action will give you confidence Most good hypnobirthing programs will encourage you to watch other women giving birth calmly and positively to give you a frame of reference of what is truly possible for you. If you haven’t done so yet, type in hypnobirthing birth into YouTube and see what comes up.

Hypnobirthing helps you manage stress more effectively in other areas of your life Hypnobirthing isn’t just about your birth, it’s about learning tools that will help you manage stress in all areas of your life calmly and positively. Think about how useful this can be when you’re tired and dealing with a night time baby who doesn’t want to sleep!

Practice makes positive! The motto for our students at The Calm Birth School is ‘practice makes positive’. This means whether you give birth in a hospital, birth centre at home or even in a taxi, the preparation you undertake with hypnobirthing will help you stay calm and feel positive whatever way your baby enters the world. Perfection only exists in the dictionary so positive births are a great focus.

It makes you happier

It teaches the importance of reparation

A course forces you to take some essential down time

When you have an important meeting with a potential client or your big boss, what do you do? Prepare, of course. When it’s a big meeting sometimes that preparation will take place months in advance. It’s what helps you to feel calm, confident and ready for action. The preparation you will do in your classes and more importantly in between your classes will leave you feeling ultra-prepared and ready for birth.

Slowing things down is something that most busy, modern mamas and mamasto-be find tough, especially if you already have older children. Taking a hypnobirthing class either in person or online helps you to connect with your body and your baby during pregnancy, which helps you during your birth AND gives you the time you need to think about what you want for your birth.

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Oxytocin and endorphins are hormones we release during birth that help you to birth calmly and with ease. They are known as the hormone of love and our happy hormones. As you learn how to use visualisation, something that has been used for top athletes to prepare for major events for years. You will learn how to flood your body with these happy hormones on demand both during your pregnancy and labour. All these tools and techniques can change the way you birth AND live. So if feeling calm, positive and relaxed about your birth during pregnancy, as well as having the techniques to keep you feeling this way during your labour and birth makes sense to you, hypnobirthing is the way forward.

15/05/2017 16:39



TRIMESTER We read so much during pregnancy about how our bodies are changing – but what can you expect once your little one is born? A lot of changes, as TRACEY LATTIMORE reports.

Stretch marks

Hair loss


While your pre-baby skin might have been smooth and blemish-free, many of us get stretch marks during pregnancy. According to Dr Douglas McGeorge, co-founder of Science of Skin, stretch marks appear when the skin is being stretched faster than it is able to naturally grow, causing a tear within the skin’s deeper layer – the dermis. “Whether you get stretch marks or not depends on the elasticity of your skin,” he says. “If the skin is less pliable, it can tear as the baby bump continues to grow. This leaves a scar within the dermis.” Use a cream specifically designed to soothe and reduce the appearance of new stretch marks two to three times a day. And just remember that any battle scars are well worth it once you have your bundle of joy to cuddle!

You’re enjoying a rare five minutes to yourself in the shower when suddenly you realise that your hair is falling out in what seems like handfuls, blocking up the plughole. What’s going on? First up, don’t panic. Hair loss is natural once you have given birth, and it doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly going bald. When you’re pregnant, rising oestrogen levels prolong the growth phase of your hair, so it doesn’t fall out as often as it would normally, making it look thicker and healthier. Once those levels fall, the old hair falls out in what seems like clumps. This often happens around three months after birth and continues for around 12 weeks. Hair texture can often change during and after pregnancy too. “My normally curly hair grew straight during both of my pregnancies,” says 37-year-old Marie Hipkin. “But as soon as I’d given birth, the new hair came back curly.”

While some new mums know to expect some vaginal bleeding after giving birth, a lot of people don’t. The bleeding – or lochia – is much like a period, and will be bright red to begin with, fading to pink then dark brown before it ends. You may also pass some clots to begin with. Expect it to last between two to six weeks, and if you have any concerns, speak to your public health nurse or GP.

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Your sex life Having sex is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re sleep-deprived, sore and with a body that’s still wobbly and definitely not feeling sexy. But at some point you’re probably going to want to get into the groove again with your partner. It’s up to you as to when you want to begin having sex again, but experts recommend

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This is the let-down reflex and it can happen at any time, so be prepared. Wear breast pads inside your bra to help absorb any milk that leaks, and keep a good stock of spares in your bag. Also remember to wear a bra with breast pads in at night to avoid sleeping in a wet patch. One final point about breasts is that a day or so after giving birth, your milk comes in and they can feel so hard it’s like they are made of concrete! Remember that this will pass – breastfeeding or expressing milk can relieve the pressure.


Clothes crisis Don’t expect to have your baby and then slip straight back into your pre-pregnancy clothes, because the chances are that’s not going to happen – at least, not right away. So what to wear? Don’t feel bad about wearing some maternity clothes to begin with, especially if you’ve had a C-section and your wound is tender. “I wore my favourite maternity jeans for months after my son was born,” says Fiona O’Connell, mum to Lily and Joseph. “They were just so comfortable around my waist.” Invest in some long vests that you can layer up with your normal tops, which might feel a bit short in the body. Loose dresses can be teamed with leggings, and tops with ruching around the tummy help hide those wobbly bits. A couple of cheap t-shirts, larger than your normal size, will tide you over for the first couple of months – vnecks can be more flattering if you’re conscious of size.

Your pelvic floor

waiting for six weeks to allow your body to heal and any bleeding to stop to avoid possible infections. Start gently – it’s natural to feel anxious or worry that it might hurt, and this can cause you to tense up and make sex uncomfortable. Try to relax and take things slowly. And don’t forget about contraception – you can be fertile before the return of your period, so be careful!

Leaky boobs You’re finally out of the house, having successfully made it to a café with baby, and attempting to breastfeed. But – eek – what are those wet patches on your top? This comes as a bit of surprise to firsttime mums, but most have experienced leaky boobs at some point. A clue that milk is about to flow is a tingly sensation, a bit like pins and needles, around your nipples.

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Been doing those pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy? Keep doing them! More than half of new mothers experience bladder control and pelvic floor problems. If you had an assisted delivery – such as forceps – you might find that your pelvic floor muscles are very weak. Practise pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible after birth, as often as you can. A good routine is to do them every time you feed your baby. “Your posture is very important when you are performing pelvic floor exercises,” says Caroline Bragg, postnatal personal trainer with &Breathe. “If you can’t hold the right posture standing or seated, try lying in a semi-supine position and focus on the breath.” Lift your pelvic floor when you exhale, and release it when you inhale. Try it for a slow count of six, then let your pelvic floor release. Build up to a count of eight, then 10. You could also try a pelvic floor device such as Elvie (199,, which tracks five-minute workouts via Bluetooth.

NICKY RABY, 35, IS MUM TO 16-MONTHOLD OSCAR “My baby was 9lbs 10oz and I am 5ft 2ins, so the last weeks of pregnancy were very trying. After the birth, I noticed I had zero core strength. I have danced for most of my life, so I took it for granted. It was only when my son was 11 months old that I felt physically strong enough to return to exercise. I chose hot yoga and it has been wonderful for building my stamina. The ‘flow’ classes are great for clarity; I often leave much more clear-headed. My top tip for new mums would be to do what is right for you and your family. There is so much advice thrown at you – some unwelcome – so borrow the stuff that works and ignore the rest. Remember, ‘this too shall pass’. When you are going through a tricky time, it feels neverending – and then in a blink of an eye the moment is over and you are onto the next phase. I make a conscious effort to try to be in the moment, however challenging it may be.”

Your emotions You might feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster during those first few weeks, but that’s normal. Your role, responsibilities, priorities and sense of identity have all shifted – plus you may not be getting much sleep – so it can be hard to keep your energy levels up, says Olivia Horne, &Breathe postnatal’s happiness coach. “Go easy on yourself and know that you’re doing an amazing job.” If putting makeup on makes you feel good, then make it a priority each morning. “Do something simple for yourself every single day, whether it’s a hot(ish) cup of tea, a quick stretch or a few deep breaths,” advises Olivia. “And get out of the house as often as you can for a change of scene and some fresh air.”

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Postnatal depression is surprisingly common but easily treated. The key is to know the symptoms and not be afraid or ashamed to seek help if you need it. It’s time to break the silence, writes clinical psychologist and mum of one CARLA GOWER.

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he experience of pregnancy and birth can be an emotional rollercoaster: the heart-pounding moment you take that test, the excitement of the first kick, the anxiety of scans and the tears when your local newsagent has run out of Jelly Babies (or maybe that was just me?!) Along the way, you’ll probably find yourself swinging between anticipation, anxiety, anger, excitement and everything in between. No matter how many books you’ve read, how many antenatal classes you’ve attended, or even how many kids you’ve had before, the physical demands and massive hormonal changes of pregnancy and birth mean that those emotions still tend to hit, and hit hard. But these mood swings are to be expected, as is the low mood that many women experience two to four days after birth.

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49 EARLY DAYS Known as the ‘baby blues’, this is a completely normal response affecting around 80 per cent of new mums. A sudden drop in hormones along with exhaustion and the emotional experience of birth can take their toll, leaving a new mum feeling drained and vulnerable. You might feel anxious and irritable or worry about your ability to look after your baby. You may also struggle with feelings of guilt if you haven’t immediately and instinctively bonded with your newborn as you’d expected. Although many women are afraid to admit to this, it’s a surprisingly common occurrence. Despite what we might be conditioned to believe about birth and the mother-baby relationship, bonding isn’t a single-moment, instantaneous thing; it’s a process which can take hours, days or even weeks. For most women though, the ‘baby blues’ tend to pass relatively quickly as they settle into their new role and get to know their little one.

sleeplessness and your physical recovery after birth, while getting used to your new identity as a mum and changes in your relationship can be stressful too. And I think it’s safe to say that virtually every new mum has moments of overwhelming anxiety when they feel they can’t manage. For me those feelings usually hit at 3am when the house was dark, I was covered in baby poo and/or sick and I couldn’t get babs to stop crying. It’s normal in those moments to feel lonely or worried you’re doing something wrong, but not necessarily normal to have those thoughts persistently even when baby is settled

Something more...

and content. And that’s where the difference lies between the ‘normal’ postnatal adjustment process and PND: although motherhood can be challenging, it shouldn’t be so overwhelming and distressing that these feelings take over and start to affect your wellbeing. If you feel sad, anxious, angry or trapped more often than you feel happy and well, maybe something else is going on and you need some help.

But what if the ‘baby blues’ don’t pass? What if you can’t shake those feelings of inadequacy or you still don’t feel like you’ve bonded with your baby and it’s impacting on your health or your relationship? What if your baby is several months old when you notice your mood has dipped, you can’t sleep or are increasingly anxious? If that’s the case, you might be experiencing postnatal depression (PND). If so, you’re not alone. PND, which can develop at any time in the first year after birth, is estimated to affect around 1 in 6 or 15 per cent of Irish mothers, though some studies have found even higher rates. So chances are, you know someone who has experienced it. The problem with maintaining the silence around PND is that shame or embarrassment can stop women seeking help. PND is a very treatable condition, but the earlier it’s identified the easier it is to treat, so it’s important to know the signs. Think back over the past week and whether you’ve noticed any of the following: Sadness Withdrawing from family and friends Irritability Feeling anxious Trouble sleeping Feeling tearful or you want to cry but can’t Not looking forward to things like you used to Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope Feeling guilty or inadequate Difficulty concentrating Eating too much or too little Aches and pains with no physical cause No interest in sex It can be difficult to distinguish between the normal process of adjusting to motherhood and indicators of PND. After all, tiredness, irritability and less interest in sex can be down to

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they’re the only ones struggling. There can also be a genetic element to PND, so if your mum or sister had it, be extra vigilant about the symptoms.

Seek help It may be difficult to admit to others (and sometimes ourselves) that we’re struggling but it’s the first step to getting better. Don’t be afraid to be honest with family and friends and remember, having PND is no reflection on you or your love for your baby. Getting help is the best thing you can do both for

“Many experts also point to how unrealistic media images of motherhood can put pressure on new mums to effortlessly bond with and care for their baby while maintaining the perfect home, body and relationship.”

Can happen to anyone What’s important to note is that PND can happen to anyone, even those in the public eye who on paper might ‘have it all’. Singer Adele described feeling “very inadequate” and “like I’d made the worst decision of my life” in the aftermath of her son’s birth, while model Chrissy Teigen explained in a recent open letter how it took months of tearfulness, physical pain and fatigue before she was diagnosed with PND. She admits that she didn’t think it could happen to her: “I have a great life. I have all the help I could need…but [PND] does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it”. Nobody knows exactly why some women develop PND and others don’t. You may hear people say it’s caused by hormones, but it’s not that simple. We know from the ‘baby blues’ that a drop in hormones after birth can have an impact on mood, but research has also shown that certain risk factors make PND more likely. These include a complicated pregnancy or birth, lack of support, relationship difficulties, stressful life events like bereavement or financial problems and a history of depression. Many experts also point to how unrealistic media images of motherhood can put pressure on new mums to effortlessly bond with and care for their baby while maintaining the perfect home, body and relationship. Failing to meet these unattainable standards can leave some feeling inadequate or that

yourself and your little one. Talk to your GP about how you’re feeling too. Practical support and rest can be enough for some women while others may need anti-depressants, counselling or a combination of both. There is also lots you can do to help yourself. Sleep when you can, ask for and accept help with cleaning or cooking and get out for a short walk if you’re up for it. Eat a balanced diet (little and often if your appetite is affected) and avoid alcohol, which can make your mood worse. Make time for yourself every day; do something relaxing like listening to music, reading or having a bath. Guided relaxation tracks are great too, especially if you’re struggling to calm anxious thoughts. Remind yourself that this is temporary; life won’t always be this way and recovery IS possible. And give yourself a break! The perfect mother doesn’t exist, so don’t try to be one; we’re all human and although it may seem like everyone else has this mothering thing sorted, we’re all just bumbling along in our own messy way. Above all, remember that you’re not alone. It’s amazing how much weight can be lifted off your shoulders by sharing with just one person, so start that conversation today. Countless new mums have walked this journey and survived, and you will too. Be gentle with yourself and take each day at a time. You’ve got this.

Resources Postnatal Depression Ireland ( Nurture ( Cuidiu (

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WHEN BABY LEADS THE WAY Moving away from the traditional puree approach, The Babyled Feeding Cookbook advocates offering baby the same food all the family eat in bite-size pieces. It allows babies to take control and regulate their own appetite, using their natural abilities to explore taste, texture, colour and smell and helps to develop hand-eye coordination and chewing. Among the delicious salt-and-refined-sugar-free recipes you’ll discover are Three-Ingredient Banana Pancakes, Sweet Potato Super Muffins, Tuna and Quinoa Fish Cakes, Avocado Pasta, Chicken Korma Pies, Buddah Bowls and treats like Frozen Yogurt Buttons and Aileen’s healthy version of a Wibbly Wobbly Wonder! Aileen also includes advice for how to get started when your baby is read to be weaned.

Gold Winner Best Irish Parenting Blog and Best Irish Food and Drink Blog - Irish Blog Awards 2016




A new healthy way of eating for your baby that the whole family will love! OVER


Wave goodbye to weekend’s lost to pureeing and cooking separate meals. With The Baby-Led Feeding Cookbook you can enjoy watching your baby effortlessly develop a happy relationship with food for life!


There is growing recognition that baby-led weaning is the healthiest way for children to develop a love of good food. In this beautifully photographed book, mother of three Aileen Cox Blundell shares over 150 delicious, healthy recipes she has successfully used to wean her own children this way.


150 &





With a foreward by Roisin Gowan - Registered Senior Paediatric Dietician CATEGORY PARENTING/COOKERY

Cover design by Sweet! Design Studio Cover image Oscar © Aileen Cox Blundell

Book Cover FINAL.indd All Pages

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If feeding your baby bowls of mush really doesn’t appeal, then a system called baby-led feeding could be perfect for you. Here, AILEEN COX BLUNDELL tells us how to get started and offers a few of her delicious recipes to try.


here is a growing recognition that baby-led feeding is the healthiest way for children to develop a love of good food. It allows babies to use their natural abilities to explore taste, texture, colour and smell. It also lets them develop their hand-eye coordination and encourage chewing, as well as helping them learn how to self-regulate the amount they eat. You may have heard of baby-led weaning – baby-led feeding is similar, but in this case, your baby eats what you eat. To help, Aileen Cox Blundell has just published her first book, the Baby-Led Feeding Cookbook, which includes over 150 nutritious recipes free from refined sugar and salt, that are yummy enough for the whole family to enjoy. Here Aileen offers some tips on getting started.

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How much should I be feeding my baby?

What should my baby be drinking?

Don’t overload your baby’s plate with too much food. Offer small amounts (one minimuffin at a time, for example) and then look for their cues to see if they are still hungry. If they are, give them a little more or mix it up by giving them some softly roasted vegetables on the side or some fruit and natural yogurt. Remember that babies’ tummies are much smaller than older children’s or grown-ups’ and they don’t need as much food. They also can fill up easily on bread so make sure you are giving them a varied, colourful diet so they grow up healthy and strong for life! One of the best things about this way of feeding is that your baby will selfregulate. Once they are full they will just stop eating.

If your baby is breastfed then continue to nurse on demand, as your baby gets all the liquid they need from breastmilk. If you want your little one to start using a sippy cup, you can express a little milk and offer it to them if they are thirsty at mealtimes. As long as your baby is producing regular wet nappies you know they are getting enough liquids. For babies who are formula fed, you can give them a few sips of cooled boiled water in small amounts, particularly if they are constipated.

The Baby-Led Feeding Cookbook, by AILEEN COX BLUNDELL (Gill Books, 19.99) is out now.

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MAC ’N’ CHEESY BABY MUFFINS Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This recipe is my take on the traditional American dish and they look so cute when cooked in a mini-muffin tin. I make a big batch and freeze as they are handy for busy evenings.

IMPORTANT COW’S MILK is not suitable as a main drink for babies under the age of 12 months. It is OK to use cow’s milk for cooking.

SUGARY DRINKS Babies and toddlers do not need sugary drinks.


260g macaroni pasta 50g unsalted butter 2 tablespoons flour 250ml milk 125g cheddar cheese, grated 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg black pepper, to season 1 slice wholemeal bread, blitzed into crumbs

Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack. When soft, drain and leave aside while you make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, then whisk in the flour and stir well until it forms a roux (or paste). Keep stirring for a further 2 minutes to allow the flour to cook in the butter and then, very slowly, add the milk a little at a time, making sure to stir vigorously as you do to prevent lumps. Keep going until all the milk has been incorporated, then remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cheese, nutmeg and pepper. Stir well until the cheese has fully melted. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix well, then spoon the mixture into a well-oiled mini-muffin tin for smaller babies or a regular muffin tin for older toddlers. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with breadcrumbs and bake at 200ºC for 25 minutes.

MANGO, COCONUT & TURMERIC CHIA SEED PUDDING Using chia seeds to make an overnight pudding is a great way to introduce them to your baby’s diet. Overnight, they expand to soak up all the liquid, making them easily digestible for little tummies. This chia pudding is yummy and babies love it! Use pre-loaded spoons for smaller weaning babies, as it can be quite messy otherwise. 400ml coconut milk 1 banana 4 tablespoons chia seeds 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 medium-sized mango, peeled, stoned and roughly chopped 1/2 teaspoon turmeric slices of dragon fruit, to serve

Place the coconut milk and banana in a blender and whizz until smooth and silky. Pour into a jug and add the chia seeds, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir well to ensure the mixture is fully combined. Divide about half of the mixture between 4 small bowls or jars, leaving the remaining chia seed mixture in

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the jug. Leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. When you are ready to serve, blend the fresh mango with turmeric until smooth. Spoon 2 tablespoons of this mixture into each bowl or jar, then fill them up with the remaining chia pudding mixture from the jug. Finish with another spoon of mango and add a piece of dragon fruit to the top for extra flavour. Keeps in the fridge for about 3–4 days. Leftovers can be frozen and defrosted in the fridge overnight.

Babies and toddlers do not need juice, as it is full of empty calories.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PANCAKES Butternut squash not only tastes great, it is also one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. It contains significant amounts of fibre, is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and, if that isn’t enough, it’s really filling. The combination of butternut squash, goat’s cheese and rosemary with pancake batter may sound a bit crazy but it really works and is a delicious snack for your baby.

150g plain flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 250ml milk 1 egg 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter 200g roasted butternut squash, puréed 3 tablespoons goat’s cheese small sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped rapeseed oil, for frying

Sieve flour and baking powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, egg and melted unsalted butter. Make a well in the flour and slowly whisk in the liquid mixture until completely combined. Fold the butternut squash purée into the batter and then crumble in the goat’s cheese and add the rosemary. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. For each batch of pancakes, use about 1 teaspoon rapeseed oil. Spoon 2–3 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Cook until you see bubbles forming (about 1–2 minutes). Flip over and cook the other side. Serve warm or cold.

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LITTLE ONES SAFE Car safety is of paramount importance when it comes to small children. Here are the latest guidelines for infant car safety in Ireland, including the controversial subject of booster cushions.

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ar safety is important for everyone, but when you have children it’s vital for parents to be aware of safety guidelines when it comes to keeping kids correctly protected in cars. According to the Road Safety Authority (RSA), in a crash at just 50km per hour, a child who is not adequately restrained would be thrown forward with a force 30 to 60 times their body weight. So not only they would be very seriously injured, but they would also act as a human missile within the car, injuring or even killing others. Between 1996 and 2012, 262 children were killed in car crashes, and almost a third of those were not using child seats or seatbelts. More recent statistics from the RSA show that over twice as many children were killed in crashes in 2014 than 2013. These statistics prove just how important it is that your child is using the correct seat and restraint for their height and weight – and even more vitally, that the seat and belt are correctly fitted, as according to the RSA, as many as four out of five child seats in Ireland are incorrectly fitted. Scary...

What does the law say? The first thing to remember is that age is not used as a guide for child seats anymore, simply because every child grows and develops at different rates. The law states that all children under 150cms in height or 36kgs (79lbs) in weight must use a child restraint system suitable for their height and weight while travelling in a car or goods vehicle (other than a taxi). There is no law preventing a child from travelling in the front seat, as long as they are wearing the correct restraint system. However, it is illegal to use a rearward-facing child seat in the front seat where the airbag has not been disabled. If an airbag was to open up in front of a rearfacing child seat, it could cause serious injury or even death. If you are caught using a rearfacing child seat on the front seat where the airbag was still active, you could receive at least three penalty points on your driving licence as a penalty.

l standard of builtISOFIX, the internationa fit child seats in attachments points to

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CHOOSING A CAR SEAT Child restraint systems are categorised in groups according to the weight of the children they are suitable for. There are four main child car seat groups – Groups 0, 1, 2 and 3. However, some child restraints systems are convertible and can be adapted as the child grows. 2016 Boots Outstanding Achievement Award win ner Ron Richardson, whose advice on carseats save d the life of a client’s daughter.

GROUP 0 Rear-Facing Baby Seat


What is ISOFIX and i-Size?

GROUP 0+ Rear-Facing Baby Seat


If you have a relatively modern car, you may have heard of ISOFIX as a family-friendly feature. ISOFIX is the international standard of built-in attachment points in a car’s structure to fit a child seat – this makes it far easier to fit a child seat, therefore greatly reducing the risk of an incorrectly fitted seat. i-Size is a European standard called Regulation 129, which was introduced in Ireland in September 2014. i-Size standard seats can be fitted to most ISOFIX systems and they provide increased support for the child’s head and neck. They also provide better side-impact protection in the event of collisions. An i-Size seat also allows your child to stay rear-facing for much longer (up to 15 months in a rearward-facing baby seat). The categorisation of these seats is based on height and size rather than height and weight. i-Size (Regulation 129) and Regulation R4403/04 (the older European quality standard) are both legal for use and will run alongside each other until the R4403/04 is phased out.

How do I fit a car seat? The best way to ensure your child seat is correctly fitted is to buy from a reputed retailer who can fit the seat for you and show you how to fit it yourself if you need to move it. You should also make sure to keep in a safe place the instructions on how to fit it should you need the instructions in the future. The RSA has also produced a DVD that gives examples of how to fit some car seats – order your copy on When the car seat is fitted correctly, it should sit firmly on the back seat with no forward or sideways movement when tested. If you are in any doubt, visit the RSA’s Child Car Seat Checking Service – Check it Fits. Look for dates in your area at

GROUP 1 Rear- or forward-facing child seat 9-18kg GROUP 1/2/3 High-Back Booster with Removable Harness


GROUP 2 High-Back Booster Seat without Harness


GROUP 2/3 High-Back Booster Seat without Harness


GROUP 3 Booster Cushion


When buying a car seat, it’s important to choose the right one for your child’s weight and to regularly check that it’s still appropriate for your growing child. Make sure the seat adheres to EU standards UN ECE Regulation 4403/04 or Regulation 129 (see section below on i-Size). Look for the ‘E’ mark. In addition, never buy a secondhand car seat or restraint system as you don’t know the history of the seat. If a seat has been in a collision, do not use it, as the safety of the seat has been compromised.

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CHOOSING A FAMILY CAR A family car is a big investment, and one you don’t want to rush into. Try these five tips to make sure you get a car that’s right for you. ISOFIX connectors are a great feature as they help to ensure that your child seats are correctly fitted. If you are buying new, they should be named as a feature; if you are buying seconhand, ask if they are included rather than assuming they are, as some brands/models mightn’t have them as standard, even if they are relatively new. If you need to fit three seats across the back, make sure there are tachments for three seats, or at least room for three. If you want to put a rear-facing baby carrier in the front seat, make sure there is no airbag in the passenger side, or that the airbag can be easily immobilised. Do your research about safety information relating to the model of car you’re thinking of buying. A good source is Euro New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), which gives an independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. One of their criteria is child occupants – you can see which models scored highly in this category. See their website at for more information. If you are buying secondhand, remember that safety is of paramount importance. Get a trusted independent mechanic to check out your car; plus, make sure to ask the right questions when you’re buying. Consumer Help (www. offers a leaflet outlining some of the main questions you should be asking when looking at a potential car. Finally, think about what you need from a car. Storage is important, especially for small children if you need to transport around travel systems or buggies. Big doors and easily adjustable seats can also be helpful with children; for older children, power outlets and DVD screens/players can also be useful additions if you plan on taking lots of long journeys.

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What are the common fitting mistakes? A statistic from the RSA that’s often cited these days is that as many as four out of five child seats/restraint systems are incorrectly fitted, rendering them ineffective in the case of a crash. Some of the more common errors include: Too much slack in the safety belt, cauisng the seat to be loose Safety belt not routed through the child seat correctly The safety belt buckle is resting against the frame of the car seat, which in a collision or during normal movement of the car could cause the buckle to open. The child seat is too big or too small for the child The child seat is too old or damaged (remember to never use a child seat that is secondhand or has been in a collision) The seatbelt or harness is not correctly adjusted for your child (you should only be able to fit two fingers between your child and the belt)

Should I keep my child in rearfacing seats for longer? You should keep your child in their rear-facing baby carrier until their head has reached the top of the seat or they have gone over the maximum weight allowed by the manufacturer. Rear-facing seats are safer for your baby than forwardfacing seats, as a baby’s head is five times heavi-

er on their bodies than an adult head on an adult body, and therefore babies need extra support to protect their neck and head from a whiplashtype injury. Rear-facing car seats provide more support for your baby’s head and neck than a forward-facing car seat. In a collision, the force is spread out much more, rather than being focused completely on the baby’s neck, as would be the case in a forward-facing child car seat. Look for extended rearward-facing seats that can accommodate children up to 25kgs in the rear-facing position. They are larger than the Group 0 rear-facing seats and need to be fitted into the car. Make sure they are fitted by a professional, or use the RSA’s Check It Fits service if you’re unsure.

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Congratulations to Jen Quinn, winner of our Spring competition!




o celebrate the long lazy days and bright evenings, The Rose Hotel in Tralee are giving one lucky reader the chance to win a romantic retreat for two in this charming hotel in the heart of the kingdom. The Mid-Summer Romantic Retreat package at The Rose Hotel includes a two-night stay with a delicious breakfast on each morning and dinner on one evening of your choice in the elegant Rose Room restaurant. You and your guest can also enjoy the beautiful Kerry coastline with a kayaking adventure with Wild Water Adventures. The Rose Hotel will even send you off with a packed lunch for your day of exploring! Authentic and easeful, warm and welcoming, The Rose Hotel is the perfect place for a romantic retreat in the heart of the Kingdom this summer! If you’re not lucky enough to win on this occasion or to find out more information, visit or call 066 719 9100.

HOW TO WIN To win, simply log on to and answer the following question: Where is the Rose Hotel located? a) Tralee b) Killarney

Terms and Conditions: Prize includes 2 bb + 1 dinner with kayaking adventure experience , non-transferable and subject to availability. Prize is not available on bank holiday weekends. Closing date for all entries is 30th July 2017. Competition is not open to employees of Ashville Media Group or Rose Hotel, Tralee. 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. Not valid on bank holidays, etc.

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The Rose Hotel, Dan Spring Road, Tralee, Co. Kerry Tel: + 353 (0) 66 7199100 |

15/05/2017 17:03





If you’re blessed with a good sleeper, congratulations! And a big well done if you’ve managed to turn your bad sleeper into a good one! But we have some bad news for you – sometimes even good sleepers can get into a bad sleep routine. In an extract from her new book, maternity & infant sleep expert LUCY WOLFE tells us how to get your child back into a routine.

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emember that your child’s sleep is a work in progress. It requires upkeep and maintenance and refining as they transition through the various stages of childhood. It is not unusual for me to hear from a parent that their dream sleeper has turned into an awful sleeper. My first question will be ‘What has changed?’, and although the parent may report that nothing has, that will rarely be the case. So I have prepared a list of seven remedies to apply if this should happen to you. There are many possible reasons, but the most common culprits are: Recent sickness or bout of teething A holiday Nap transitions Developmental milestone Bedtime that has become too late Dropping the dummy

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The problems can be initiated by any one of or a combination of these events and, of course, others that I haven’t listed, each of which contributes to a cycle of overtiredness and fuels the sleep issues, until sleeping through the night becomes a distant memory. I often describe this scenario as the elements of a perfect storm. So what can you do to get back on track?

Change what you do Forget about what you used to do and have a new plan of action to remedy the situation. The greatest solve-all solution to a large percentage of sleep issues is to bring bedtime forward. When a child is not sleeping, maintaining your original time for sleep adds to the problem. To undo the overtired cycle, significantly adjust the time you start your bedtime routine. Consider your child’s mood and behaviour in the early evening. Many parents observe that their child’s mood can change between 5pm and 6pm with irritable or even hyper behaviour – even if the child has napped well. This is where going to bed early can help. Aim for your child to be asleep by 7pm – even earlier if they are visibly tired. This is not necessarily a long-term solution, but it can certainly be implemented to correct the current issues. Once they are resolved, bedtime can become later again. Further, don’t worry that an early bedtime will encourage an early wake time. To start with, we want to ensure that consolidated, uninterrupted sleep returns to your family unit; sleeping later in the morning can come with time. Also, the early bedtime can often produce a late wake time anyway, so don’t let that stop you from implementing the advice.

Start the day Make sure you wake your child in the morning no later than 7-7.30am. Even if they have had very disturbed sleep, allowing them to sleep later will make the problem worse and dig your sleep deprivation hole even deeper. Consider this a corrective phase. Once the problems are fixed you can go back to what you were doing before, but to help change come, you need to change what you do.

Re-establish the daytime sleep Sleep issues feed each other. If your child is under five and not sleeping well at night, consider reintroducing the nap in an effort to help them become better rested. Most children up to the age of three will still biologically require a day sleep, so help it happen. After 18 months a lot of children need just one nap, and the ideal time for that to happen is from 12 noon onwards. If they are resistant to napping in the cot or bed, just help the nap happen in any way possible – car, buggy, couch. If a nap is

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“If your child is under five and not sleeping well at night, consider reintroducing the nap in an effort to help them become better rested.” not achievable, encourage quiet time instead. Make sure that quiet time does not include television but rather reading or listening to audio books, for example.

energy. On its own this strategy may be ineffective, but along with the aforementioned changes it will have positive implications for sleep.

Add extra time to your bedtime routine

Be consistent in how you manage your child’s sleep disturbances

Your child may feel that they are not seeing enough of you, or at least getting enough of your undivided time. Bedtime is the perfect time for families to indulge in one-to-one time. Make it work for you where sleep is concerned – be in the bedroom, with the lights low. Make sure that it is non-stimulating and calm. Spend more time than usual in order to correct the issues.

Limit the use of electronic media and television Obviously in the last hour before bedtime, but also through the course of the day. As parents, we can often rely more heavily on gadgets than we would like and routinely their use derails sleep – cutting short the amount of deep, restoring sleep children have and alerting the waking part of the brain when we want it to slow down. It can be challenging to alter our use of devices, but a challenge that can really pay off.

Get more active Spend more time outside, specifically in the morning and after the midday sleep. This can help to regulate sleeping patterns and ensure that children are burning off their excess

Routinely, sleep problems are further exacerbated by how we as parents respond. Try not to operate a ‘sometimes’ method for sleep, chopping and changing how you respond to your child. Pick an approach and stick with it; go back to the start of the stay-and-support strategy if it would help, and work through the stages again. This way you avoid giving them mixed messages and in turn ingraining unwanted activity. It has been my pleasure and privilege to get you this far with your sleep improvements and I wish you and your family well going forward. Sweet dreams.

This feature was extracted from The Baby Sleep Solution, by Lucy Wolfe (Gill Books, €14.99)

15/05/2017 17:04




It’s the latest buzzword in healthy living, but are probiotics really that vital in your diet? And should we be giving probiotics to our kids? Here’s all you need to know.


What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for you as they help to keep your digestive system healthy. They are naturally found in your body, but our levels of “good” and “bad” bacteria can be disrupted by several different things, including antibiotics (which can’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria and instead kills ALL bacteria), stress and lifestyle. It’s only in the last few decades that probiotics have come into the mainstream as a supplement or food additive, and they are now widely recommended by doctors and other health professionals to help with certain digestive problems.


How do they work?

Most probiotics come from two groups: Lactobacillus (commonly found in yoghurt and fermented foods) and Bifidobacterium (found in some dairy foods). Probiotics can help keep you healthy by balacing your levels of good and bad bacteria, and replacing good bacteria if your levels are low due to antibiotics, for instance. Probiotics help move food through your gut, and are commonly recommended for conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease, and diarrhoea caused by viruses, bacteria, antibiotics or parasites. In addition, others have reported that probiotics have helped with concerns like eczema, urinary and vaginal health, preventing allergies and colds, and oral health.


Can children take probiotics?

Yes they can, and there are specific probiotic products for children now available. IBS is increasingly recognised in children and doctors recommend that children experiencing abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating or change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea) for more than six months should be assessed for IBS. It’s hard sometimes to tell if your child is really chronically ill or even just a little anxious, but the usual telltale sign is a pain around the belly button or deep in the gut. Bloating or cramping are other key symptoms. You may also notice your child having to rush to the toilet during or shortly after eating, or experiencing constipation and pain. Keep an eye out for any change in bowel habits such as having to go to the toilet several times a day, or only a few times a week, changes in the appearance of stools and a feeling like you haven’t finished after going to the toilet. If you notice any of these signs in your child over a period of time, consult your GP, as probiotics may be a useful supplement for your child to take.

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Can everyone take probiotics?

Probiotic foods and supplements are generally thought to be safe for most people, but if you have an ongoing health issue or an immune system problem, talk to your GP or pharmacist first. In fact, it’s always best to talk to your GP about any supplements before trying them. If you go ahead and take probiotics, look out for any reactions, such as an upset stomach, diarrhoea, gas or bloating, and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. If any mild side effects don’t go within a few days, or you think they are not agreeing with you, stop taking them and see your GP.


What about probiotics in pregnancy?

Probiotics are generally considered safe in pregnancy, but talk to your GP first if you are planning on taking probiotic supplements. There is evidence to suggest that probiotics could be helpful during pregnancy to counteract some of the effects that pregnancy can have on your digestive system, such as constipation, and to boost your immune system. But again, talk to your GP if you have any ongoing health issues or immune system problems.

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At maternity & infant, we have the whole family covered. Log on today for great competitions, expert advice, pregnancy and baby features, lifestyle ideas, recipes and much, much more! Sign up for our weekly ezine to be first in the know for our great competitions and offers!

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EAST AFRICA There is a bad hunger crisis in East Africa, but Trócaire is on the ground, helping those most in need.


rolonged drought is causing a widespread hunger crisis across East African countries. Somalia, South Sudan and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya are the worst affected. The numbers of people exposed to severe food shortages and hunger are stark and difficult to process. However, with a strong, unified effort, governments and NGOs could deliver the support needed to prevent widespread famine. 1. Over 20 million people in the region are experiencing ‘severe food insecurity’ according to UN estimates. And this is set to rise even further, following a poor March to May rainy season. 2. 6.2 million Somalis, half the population, are experiencing severe food insecurity. The conditions are being compared to 2010-11, when famine took the lives of 250,000 people there. 3. 5.5 million South Sudanese are expected to be in need of urgent food support by the height of the ‘hungry season’ in July. 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine has officially been declared. An additional one million people are on the brink of famine. 4. 5.6 million Ethiopians require emergency food assistance in southern Ethiopia, in addition to the 7 million who are

Mary Akoye is one of 12,000 people in Yirol East State receiving monthly food rations from Trócaire and its partner CAFOD.

already receiving government support. 5. 2.7 million Kenyans are in need of emergency support. A national disaster has been declared in Kenya, with the government appealing for international assistance.

Trócaire’s response in the region Trócaire is engaged in a major humanitarian response in East Africa. In Somalia, we are focused on healthcare and tackling outbreaks of potentially lethal cholera and acute watery diarrhoea. Trócaire has a strong, longestablished presence in the Gedo

region in southern Somalia. We currently fund and run three hospitals, 10 primary health units and four health centres there. We are also supplying clean water to 15 schools and three hospitals in the region. We are working in partnership with other international NGOs in the country to deliver large-scale nutrition support to malnourished children, and pregnant and nursing women. In South Sudan, Trócaire is providing monthly food rations to 12,000 of the most vulnerable people in Adior and Pagarau Counties of Yirol East State. We are hoping to reach more people

in the coming months with food aid and cash transfers, as well as repairing water boreholes in the East Lakes State. In Ethiopia, Trócaire is currently providing food aid and support to help preserve livelihoods to 58,500 of the most vulnerable individuals (9,765 households). And in Kenya, we are currently trucking water to six schools in Barpello, East Pokot (Baringo County), as well as delivering supplementary feeding for 2,000 children in three medical units in Loima, Turkana County. We are working to secure funds to scale up our response in the country.


Charity numbers: ROI Charity No: 20009601. NI Charity No: NIC103321.

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The must-have recipe app for your baby & toddler New & updated with over 250 delicious recipes, Annabel Karmel’s Baby & Toddler Recipe App is the ultimate kitchen essential. Untitled-2 1

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A beautiful summer’s day wouldn’t be complete without a fabulous al fresco feast. Bring your picnic to life with these colourful lunchtime favourites from leading children’s cookery author Annabel Karmel!

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F rom p ag e 6 3 Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 35 minutes Makes: 5 portions 1 medium potato, unpeeled (approx 150g) 70g salmon fillet Squeeze of lemon juice Knob of butter 2 spring onions, chopped 1 tsp sweet chilli sauce (optional) 2 tbsp tomato ketchup 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise 1 tbsp seasoned flour 1 egg, lightly beaten 50g breadcrumbs 2 tbsp sunflower oil for frying Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Boil the potato in lightly salted water for 25 to 30 minutes until tender when pierced with a table knife. Drain and when cool enough to handle, peel and mash. Cook the salmon in the microwave for a couple of minutes with the squeeze of lemon juice and knob of butter. Flake onto a plate and leave to cool slightly. Mix the potato with the spring onions, chilli sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the flaked salmon, being careful not to break the fish up too much. Take tablespoonfuls of the mixture and form into small cakes. Dust in seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the fishcakes for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden.



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Pesto Rice Salad


Cook: 15 minutes Makes: 4-6 portions

Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 10 minutes Makes: 1 frittata

200g long grain rice ½ red pepper, deseeded and diced 1 x 180g can sweetcorn 150g cherry tomatoes, sliced into small pieces 1 bunch spring onions, sliced 2 cooked chicken breast, cubed 100g French beans, sliced 75g small broccoli florets

4 tbsp fresh pesto 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar 3 tbsp olive oil 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 tsp sugar 3 tbsp basil, chopped

Cook the rice in boiling salted water, drain and cool. Measure the pepper, sweetcorn, tomatoes, spring onion and chicken into a bowl. Either steam the beans and broccoli or cook in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the vegetables. Add the rice, beans and broccoli and season. Chill until ready to serve.

2 tbsp olive oil 2 small onions, sliced 8 new potatoes, cooked and sliced thickly 5 medium eggs, beaten 2 tbsp milk 30g mature cheddar, grated 8 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 tbsp chives, chopped

Pre-heat the grill. Heat the oil in a small (7-8 inch) non-stick omelette plan. Add the onion and gently fry until soft. Add the potatoes, mix together and season. Add the cheese to the eggs and season then pour into the pan. Gently heat until set around the edges. Arrange the tomatoes, cut slide up on top of the egg and sprinkle with chives. Place until a hot grill for about 5 minutes until lightly golden and set in the middle. Slice in wedges and eat hot or cold.

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Turkey, Broccoli, Pea and Tomato Pasta Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 15 – 20 minutes Makes: 4 portions

125g fusilli 75g broccoli florets 40g frozen peas 2 cooked turkey breasts, diced 60g canned sweetcorn, drained 110g cherry tomatoes, halved 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Dressing 4 ½ tbsp light olive oil 1 ½ tbsp vinegar 1 tsp Dijon mustard ½ small clove garlic, crushed (optional) A dash of sugar

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Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Add the broccoli for the last 4 minutes and the peas for the last 2 minutes before the end. Drain and refresh in cold water. Tip into a bowl. Add the turkey, tomatoes, sweetcorn and basil. Mix all of the dressing ingredients and pour over the pasta. Season well.

For lots more food inspiration, discover a world of recipes at Plus, join the AKClub for exclusive recipes and ideas, top competitions and unmissable offers.

15/05/2017 17:10



GIRL As your maternity leave draws to a close, deciding whether to return to work or stay at home can be daunting. TARA CORRISTINE considers some of the issues.


he early days of new motherhood are consumed with measuring and timing feeds, analysing nappies and snatching precious moments of sleep. What’s left of your functioning brain is devoted to finding something clean to wear and wondering where you left your cup of tea. So it’s hardly surprising that when maternity leave ends, many women are unsure what to do next. Do you want to stay at home but feel guilty asking your partner to shoulder the finances? Are you are eager to return to work but worried it will be bad for baby? Like everything, there are pluses and minuses to each decision; it’s important to think about your individual circumstances and make the decision that’s right for you and your family. When it comes to deciding whether to stay or go, for many, it’s simple case of economics: “Can I afford to quit my job?” Take a moment to really crunch the numbers. While you may be losing your salary, look at what it costs to go to work: train fare or car-park costs, your morning Starbucks and deli lunches coupled with potential childcare costs. To really know whether your family can survive on one income, list all of your family’s monthly outgoings – from the mortgage to phone bills to credit card debt – and match it to your partner’s monthly salary and any savings you are willing to dip into. If the financial pressure is off, the next

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question is, are you ready for this? Being a stay-at-home mum isn’t easy – it is long days filled with a never-ending round of chores with little appreciation. After the initial excitement fades, this may prove difficult for those used to working in a team or in goaloriented roles where success is rewarded. To offset frustration – and avoid feeling like an unpaid cleaner – speak to your partner about sharing the housework: ask them to cook the occasional meal or take on certain chores such as the ironing. Create personal projects in the home to prevent boredom – print out and hang all those new baby photos, learn to knit or plant a herb garden. Set aside time for these activities which, when finished, will give a feeling of accomplishment. Loneliness can also be a factor for many stay-at-home mums or dads so look for opportunities to meet other parents. Many community centres hold mother and baby mornings for the price of a cup of coffee, visit the park and chat to the mums you meet there, or check out parent and baby swimming classes at your local pool. Not only will you get a chance to chat or ask for advice, but your little one can also socialise with other children. Maintaining your sense of self can be difficult after leaving the workplace, so where possible return to earlier hobbies or find new ones: take up squash, join a running

group or take an online course in something that interests you. Adult interaction, overcoming challenges and upskilling can all help to maintain your sense of identity and self-worth, vital for your own happiness and if you intend to return to work in the future. Make the decision as a family. While you may love the idea of being there for your child, your partner may worry about being the sole earner. A clear budget can go a long way to ease their concerns. Share the reasons why you want to stay at home: to enjoy these early years with your children.

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ANDREA MCDONNELL has four children, James (8), Anna (6), Clare (4) and Ciara (3).

Back to work For those returning to work, a different set of worries present themselves: what kind of childcare should I choose: crèche, childminder or a relative? Will my child settle and be happy? Denise Cash, mum to Charlie, is still on maternity leave but beginning to think about the transition back to work. “Charlie will be nine months old when I go back to work, and I’ve been so lucky to have been in the position to take all this time off with him. I’ve been in a baby bubble since he was born and I’ve loved every single second of

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it. He’s my whole world. “Financially it makes more sense for me to return to work, but I’m also looking forward to reclaiming ‘me’. While I love being at home with Charlie, I love the challenge of work and meeting new people every day. I haven’t arranged childcare for Charlie yet as we’re still trying to work out the logistics and working around family members who have very kindly offered to help us out. I think that’s what makes me most anxious about the whole process of returning to work. Who will mind him for us? Will he be happy? Will he be fed properly? Will

“I worked until I had my fourth child. I was commuting from Carlow to Dublin and we had a childminder. Financially, it was an easy decision to make, between the commute costs and childcare costs. It was also the lifestyle the children would have had – being stuck in a car doing school runs with a childminder. They wouldn’t have been able to enjoy their childhood. I thought I might have embraced being a stay-at-home mum more passionately than I have. When you stay at home, it’s endless laundry and emptying the dishwasher and school runs. You don’t get validation from anyone. My job was very project-based and I didn’t expect that I would miss the sense of achievement as much as I did. But it’s worth it for the kids, I enjoy that I get to see them grow up. When I collect them from montessori they bring me in to show me what they have done, when they get out of school and they have all the chats. If you’re not there for that download, you miss it. You can become involved in the community and schools so you don’t miss that adult contact. I took over running a local toddler group and joined the parents association at my kids’ primary school. I’ve made some good friends that way. People don’t talk about their kids all the time if they have a job, and in the beginning I was aware that I didn’t have a whole lot more to say. I love learning so I have become addicted to online learning facilities that offer taster courses. Even if you can’t get out of the house, you can sit at your kitchen table and engage in forums with the class. You have to do what’s right for the family, it can’t just be right for one partner. I’m very lucky that my husband is totally supportive of me being at home. I’m here as the mother of the children and that’s our aim. It is important that your partner is supportive of the fact that you aren’t bringing in money, because that resentment can come in.”

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MIRJAM NEELEN has two boys, Morris (9) and Frits (6) “I started an internship when our oldest child was five months old. I felt guilty and I didn’t like the idea of him being in the crèche all day long. When our youngest was born, I went back to work when he was four months old. The oldest was in a family care facility and he really liked it there. I felt more comfortable putting our youngest one in the same place. I love my job. I love that I have the opportunity to work on stuff that I’m really passionate about. I think it’s a good example for our sons that their mom is working. I really enjoy being with my children. My job is very flexible and our weekends fairly quiet so I feel that we get enough quality time. Sometimes it is hard to juggle work and home. I think it’s about accepting that you can only do so much and not feel guilty about everything that you don’t do, like selling cakes at the school bake sale. I try to balance things by trying to ‘be’ with my children when I’m home. Dinner and bedtime are really nice moments to talk about things. What’s surprising is that my children don’t mind that I work. I check with them every year if they’re still okay with the after-school setup and they prefer crèche: ‘We want to play with our friends.’ Sometimes I think it would be nice to work a little bit less but that is mostly when I’m really busy. I would like to be able to be with my children ‘at point of need’ more easily. Sometimes they’re just a bit ‘off ’ or sad and then I would just like to be able to drop everything and be with them. My advice is to do what you think is best for you and your family and don’t listen to people’s opinions. You know what works best for your situation.”

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they cuddle him when he’s upset? Will he miss us? Will he adjust properly? Will he be okay? It’s also hard knowing someone else will be spending more time with him than me. “All these questions and concerns run through my head but I know it’ll all fall into place eventually, and the smiles and cuddles at the end of the day, will make it all worthwhile. Of course I’m worried about him but I know he’ll be fine. He’s adaptable and mixing with others will give him independence and will help him to develop in ways I can’t teach him at home.” The key is to explore all of your options, factoring in costs and drop off and collection times – and start your search early as child places can book up fast. If you are considering a crèche, ask to speak to some of the parents about their experiences. Seek

advice from working mums with childminders or live in au-pairs about the pros and cons of each. Whatever option you choose, accept that it may take some time for your child to settle into their new surroundings and routine. The same can be said for mums, and feelings of guilt and loss can be overwhelming in the first few days back at your desk. Knowing that your child is in the best possible hands when you are at work will help, as will fully being present when you are home: turn off the phone and the laptop and enjoy them. Finding time to cook, clean and shop with a small baby and a job can feel like a mammoth task. Look for short cuts – opt for online shopping where possible and make meals in bulk and freeze them. Call on grandparents to spend time with your children while you and your partner share the household chores, ensuring that no one feels they are shouldering the bulk of the work.

“Finding time to cook, clean and shop with a small baby and a job can feel like a mammoth task. Look for short cuts – opt for online shopping where possible and make meals in bulk and freeze them. Call on grandparents to spend time with your children while you and your partner share the household chores...”

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Nautical cord floppy hat, €20, Accessorize

TREND Blown glass necklace, €95, Sunglasses, €4, Penneys

Caroline Constas off-the-shoulder striped top, €420, Brown Thomas

Freshwater pearl earrings, €165,

Rochelle Shiffley off-the-shoulder dress, €108, Monsoon

Ring detail cropped trousers, €38, Next

Sandals, €82.50, J By Jasper Conran @ Debenham

Bag, €58.50, Floozie by FrostFrench @ Debenhams

Trousers, J By Jasper Conran @ Debenhams Double clove cuff, €85,

Top, €60, Star By Julian Macdonald @ Debenhams

Dress, €18, Penneys



Suede ruffle mules, €52, V By Very @ Littlewoods Ireland

STYLE It’s all about the shoulder this summer, with pretty Bardot-inspired tops and peakaboo dresses. This is a perfect holiday look – or dress up with heels and jewellery for a great night-time outfit. Embellished flat sandals, €48, River Island @ Littlewoods Ireland

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Image: Penneys



Accessorize Stores nationwide; Arnotts Henry Street, Dublin 1; ASOS


Boots Stores nationwide; Brown Thomas www.brownthomas. com Boohoo


Cos 6-8 Wicklow St, Dublin 2; www.cosstores. com Childrensalon www. Claire’s Stores nationwide;


Debenhams Stores nationwide; Dorothy Perkins Stores nationwide; Dune London Stores nationwide;

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Enibas Stocked in Kilkenny Stores nationwide

Gerry Weber Stockists nationwide; www. house-of-gerryweber


Harvey Nichols 16 Sandyford Road, Dublin 16; Hatley Stockists nationwide; Heatons Stores nationwide; www. H&M Stores nationwide;


Isabella Oliver

JoJo Maman Bébé Juvi Designs


Littlewoods Ireland L’Oréal Stockists nationwide;


Marks & Spencer Stores nationwide; www. Miss Selfridge Stores nationwide; www. Monsoon Stores nationwide; Mothercare Stores nationwide;


Name it Stores nationwide; Natural Baby Shower www. N ew Look Stores nationwide; Next Stores nationwide;


Penneys Stores nationwide; www.primark Phase Eight Stockists nationwide; Polarn O’Pyret


River Island Stores nationwide;


Seraphine Topshop Stores nationwide; Vivien Walsh

Zara Stores nationwide;

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We’re not known for our great summers here in Ireland, but despite our poor track record, us Irish are always optimistic that this year will be different. But despite our optimism, we tend to lap up every bit of sunny weather we get, just in case that’s it for another year. But this in turn can bring issues – such as the effects of the sun on our pale skin, hayfever and even insect bites. As well as presenting some more questions and answers from our esteemed panel of experts, this issue’s health section looks at some of these common skin concerns and how you can help you and your family navigate successfully through the season.

Got a question or need some expert advice in a hurry? Our website,, is packed full of great features and advice, while our community of mums and experts are available 24/7 through our Facebook page ( if you have a particular question that you can’t find an answer for through our website. So get reading, get clicking and most importantly, get talking!

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We all associate sneezes and sniffles with wintertime, yet for those of us with allergies, the summer can be the worst time of year for general nasal discomfort. Summer allergies can make what should be a lovely summer’s day a complete misery, but by knowing your triggers and taking precautions, you can escape some of the worst symptoms.

How do I treat insect bites and stings? Insect bites usually cause mild symptoms, such as itching and mild swelling. Occasionally, they could result in a severe allergic reaction, which typically feels like your throat and tongue are swelling up fast. You may also feel dizzy or sick, or go into shock. If this happens, you need to seek medical help straightaway.

What causes summer allergies? The most common type of summer allergy is what we call hayfever, which is usually triggered by trees in late spring, and grasses and weeds in the summer. The pollen spread by common grasses like ragweed can travel for miles in the wind, so even if you avoid grassy areas, you could be affected by it. Other common causes of summer allergies include spores produced by moulds, dust mites (which reach a peak in the summer) and smog.

What are the symptoms of summer allergies? The symptoms of summer allergies are often mistaken for a cold: runny nose, itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, coughing and dark circles under the eyes. If you are suffering from these symptoms and suspect they might be allergy-based, go to your doctor to be checked out. You GP may refer you on to a specialist to undergo testing for allergies. Once diagnosed, there is a range of products suitable to treat summer allergies. These include antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays and eye drops. Be careful if you’re pregnant as a lot of these remedies are unsuitable for you; try non-

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Ice it drug treatments like a saline sinus rinse or nose spray. Similarly, if your child is under the age of 12 and has been diagnosed with allergies, be guided by your GP and pharmacist re treatment.

Can I prevent them? As with lots of other things, prevention is key. Try these tips from the Asthma Society of Ireland to help stop symptoms from occurring. ✱ Check the pollen forecast before venturing outside. ✱ Keep doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high. ✱ Vacuum regularly and dust surfaces with a damp cloth to remove any lingering pollen or spores. ✱ Smear Vaseline inside your nose. This can help to stop pollen and spores from settling on the lining of your nose. ✱ If you enjoy gardening try to choose a day when the pollen count is low, wear wrap-around sunglasses to

protect your eyes and a hairnet to protect hair from pollens. Do not wear gardening gloves inside as allergens cling to clothes. Try to avoid mowing the lawn or weeding as these activities can create clouds of pollen and spores. If you need to do these activities yourself it may be helpful to wear a micro-fibre mask. Regularly splash your eyes with cold water to flush out any pollen and soothe sore eyes. Keep furry pets out of the house during the hayfever season. If your pet does come indoors, wash them regularly to remove any lingering pollen from their fur. Ask people to refrain from smoking in your home, as this irritates the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways and can make your hayfever symptoms worse

See for more.

For mild reactions, apply ice to the bite area to ease any swelling. Remove the stinger if applicable.

Pain relief If you are experiencing pain, take an over-the-counter painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Topical cream A topical cream like hydrocortisone can help pain and itching on the area. Talk to your pharmacist first to make sure this is the right treatment for you.

Antihistamines A topical antihistamine like Anthisan can also help itching, especially for a mild sting. Alternatively oral antihistamines can help. Again, talk to your pharmacist first.

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EGG FREEZING I am 32 and not currently in a relationship. I am afraid that I will not be able to have a baby in the future if I wait too long. Should I freeze my eggs?

Should I choose a fertility clinic based on location or recommendation? Try both Go for a consultation in both the clinic closest to you and also the one recommended to you. Not everyone will have the same experience and people chose their fertility clinic for a variety of reasons but often it is the gut feeling you get after you meet the team that will be the deciding factor.

It’s hard to gauge an individual situation without knowing the full picture, so what I recommend as a first port of call is that both of you attend a fertility clinic for a consultation with one of the medical team. It is not entirely unheard of that a couple have difficulty conceiving even when both partners have had children in the past either together or with different partners. A blood test and a scan for you; and a semen analysis for your husband will tell a lot. It’s really important that you have these carried out under the instruction of a Fertility Clinician so that they can make the appropriate recommendations for either or both of you once the results are available. We get a lot of queries from people who just want a test carried out to tell them if they have fertility problems, but each person and couple is different and the doctor will order the best tests for your particular case based on what they learn about your history at the consultation. I wish you the very best with this sensitive situation.

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Make an informed decision

ALCOHOL & IVF I am about to undergo IVF but it’s wedding season, which means I have loads of hen parties and weddings and events to attend. Can I have a drink when I am going through this process? Believe it or not, the staff in our clinics get asked this question all the time! If you are currently in a treatment cycle, while it is not strictly contraindicated, we would advise that you pass on the alcohol and look after yourself as if you

were pregnant. Eat well: plenty of fresh fruit, lean meat and vegetables. Exercise lightly and avoid alcohol. If you are anticipating or preparing for an IVF cycle I’m afraid the advice we give is not too different! You can certainly have a glass of wine or beer but moderation is absolutely key. We want to make sure that you are in the best possible condition before you undergo treatment! Remember once you have had your embryo transfer make sure you presume you are pregnant until told otherwise!

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

When you know what type of treatment (if any) may be recommended for you, you can make an informed decision on the time and distance factors.

Base decision on travel IVF can be very time consuming with lots of visits to the clinic required during your treatment cycle. Both clinics will tell you how many times you are likely to have to attend before and during your treatment, so that you can decide whether the extra travel time to the recommended clinic is something you can fit into your lifestyle.

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How can I ease my fear of childbirth?

I’m 30 weeks pregnant, and I’ve been told my liver function is up. I’ve been reading about something called HELLP Syndrome – what is this and could I have it? There are several reasons for liver enzymes to be raised during pregnancy. There is probably not enough space in this answer to deal with all of them. The most common reasons that relate to pregnancy are obstetric cholestasis where the patient develops an itch usually in the latter half of pregnancy and is due to slowing down of the circulation of bile in the gall bladder, which in turn affects the liver. This can be treated with tablets but will require close monitoring and sometimes early delivery of the baby. The second reason for raised liver enzymes is HELLP Syndrome, which is a variant of pre-eclampsia sometimes called toxaemia of pregnancy. HELLP stands for high blood pressure, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets. It is a condition that affects both mother and baby; it too requires careful monitoring and usually admission to hospital with early delivery often being required. Both conditions start to get better when the baby has been delivered. There are other conditions such as viral hepatitis, which can occur and affect liver function but they are not specific to pregnancy and can occur at any time.    

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It is perfectly normal and natural to be anxious about giving birth, you have never been in this situation and you no doubt will have heard stories both good and bad. Good preparation, good information and being able to relax are the most important factors in successfully getting you through labour and delivery.

Talk to your midwife

IRON IN PREGNANCY Should every woman take iron supplements in pregnancy? Can you overdose on it? Should you wait for your doctor to recommend/prescribe them? During pregnancy your body goes through some major changes, one of the most significant of these is an increase in your circulating blood volume. This has to happen to allow for large volumes of blood to circulate through the womb and to provide oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus. The increase in volume means the red blood cells, which contain haemoglobin, are diluted in a bigger volume of fluid and your body needs more iron in order to make more haemoglobin to keep up with the demand. Secondly, all women lose some blood at delivery up to half a litre (over 1 pint) is not unusual so it is a good idea to keep your iron stores up during pregnancy. For women with a good diet a simple pregnancy multivitamin is all that is required; for others additional iron may be advised. It is not easy to overdose on vitamins and minerals your body only absorbs what it needs and excretes the remainder. Women with a condition called haemachromatosis, where their bodies accumulate stores of iron, do not require iron supplements in pregnancy.   

Talk about your concerns to your doctor or midwife, then go along to your antenatal classes and learn about labour and delivery, see what are the options for pain relief and most importantly learn about relaxation techniques.

Hypnobirthing Try a hypnobirthing class (see p46 for more on hypnobirthing); these are great and will help further with relaxation.

Ask for support If you are by nature a very anxious person going to see the mental health support midwife at your hospital may also help.

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

Discuss your fears A very small number of women have a real and very extreme fear of giving birth vaginally. If that is the case you will need to discuss this with your doctor.

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TUMMY TIME My six-week-old baby cries when I put her on her tummy. The district nurse told me to persevere. I am worried that it is hurting her, as she really seems to hate it. Please help! Don’t worry, tummy time is not hurting your baby. Some babies just do not like it, usually because they are not used to it. Tummy time gives babies a break from being on their backs. It is a very important part of baby’s development and helps them strengthen their neck and arm muscles in preparation for crawling. Tips to make tummy time more fun: ✱ Don’t try it when your baby is fussy or hungry ✱ Begin with tummy time three times per day (even just 20 seconds each), and build up slowly ✱ Place baby on your chest while you are lying flat; babies love looking at faces!

Five rules of sun safety Skin cancer is one of the most avoidable forms of skin cancer there are. It’s not necessary to avoid the sun altogether, just follow the SunSmart code (www.

Seek some shade Stay in the shade as much as possible, but remember that UV rays can still reach you indirectly, so don’t rely on shade as your only protection. Even windows don’t protect you completely. ✱ As your baby gets stronger, place her favourite toy in front of her or on either side of her, just out of her reach ✱ Make it fun! Lie down on your tummy and interact with your baby to distract

her from the fact that she is on her tummy! ✱ If baby falls asleep during tummy time, do not leave her unattended. Place her on her back to continue sleeping.

THUMB PAIN I am a first-time mum. My thumb and wrist have been sore for the past few days, and flare badly when I lift my baby, who is now six weeks old. Is this normal?

Slip on some clothes Go for cool materials like linen, cotton and hemp, which offer good sun protection, and cover up as much as possible.

Slap on a hat A broad-brimmed hat offers the most protection. Set your kids a good example by wearing a hat yourself.

Wear sunglasses This is a common problem caused by irritation of the tendons that pass through the forearm, wrist and into the thumb. It is known as de Quervain’s syndrome or “Mommy thumb” and is caused by repeatedly picking up your new baby. This injury can also occur in new dads! Top tips for dealing with postnatal thumb pain: ✱ Apply ice 4-5 times daily – wrap ice in a cloth to prevent an ice burn and apply for 10 minutes

✱ Wear a wrist splint daily, especially when you are lifting and feeding your baby ✱ Ask your partner to take over the lifting of baby as much as possible and take help from friends and family when you can ✱ Avoid thumbs cocked up into an “L” shape; this happens commonly when holding baby in one hand, facing away from you ✱ Keep your thumb against the

side of your hand as you lift your baby ✱ Avoid scrolling and typing on your smartphone This condition responds well to physio, so call your Chartered Physiotherapist if you have pain lasting more than 2-3 days. In very persistent cases an injection may be required, but if you deal with it as soon as you notice the symptoms, this can usually be avoided.

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. 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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Long-term exposure to the sun can result in cataracts and cancer in the eyes. It’s also possible to get sunburn in the cornea. Protect your eyes with wraparound sunglasses that have UV protection. Look for European Standard EN1836 and British Standard BS 27241987.

Use sunscreen Wear sunscreen with SPF15 or higher (SPF30 or higher for children) and UVA protection every day in April-September. Use half a teaspoon to cover each arm, the face, neck and ears. Use one teaspoon for each leg, the front and the back of the body. Reapply every two hours.

Know the UV index Check the UV index each day as a reminder to protect yourself from the sun. When the UV index is three or more you are at greater risk of skin damage that can lead to skin cancer.

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LONG-TERM BREAST-FEEDING Is there any benefit to breastfeeding past the age of two? Should I wean or is my toddler still getting a health benefit from breastmilk? Lots of people have opinions on when you should stop breastfeeding. When you stop is up to you and your baby. After six months, breastmilk is still providing the immunological benefits; however, it is not meeting all of your baby’s needs nutritionally. Keep breastfeeding as long as you wish for the immunological benefits in conjunction with a balanced diet for a baby. A healthy diet for a baby is not the same as a healthy diet for an adult and this is something I cover in my baby nutrition classes.

BIG BABIES & WEANING My fourth baby is bigger than the others were at five months. I’m wondering does that matter when deciding to introduce solids? It is best to look at each baby individually and not judge introducing solids based on size alone. In Ireland we recommend introducing solids for full term babies ‘at around six months (26weeks) and never before 17weeks’ (FSAI 2011). Not every baby develops at the same rate so not all are ready at exactly the

same time. We know that all babies should be on solids at six months as their stores of many of the nutrients that they were born with are depleting yet their nutritional requirements are increasing. Also, 6-12 months is considered the ‘feeding window’ where we shape a child’s intake to eat the foods and flavours that we want them to eat, setting a good foundation for life. You don’t say if you are breast or bottle-feeding. If milk feeds are going well and your baby is satisfied then continue as you are. If your baby is waking more than usual over the space of a few days/ week, if they are sitting up and have good head and neck control, if they are just not satisfied, you could consider introducing solids.

Sometimes going back to work when your baby is 26 weeks is a consideration for parents. If you do introduce solids before 26 weeks it is best to take things slowly until they are 26 weeks. There are no nutritional aims in the first week or two of weaning and you should not reduce their milk intake. It should be a relaxed and enjoyable experience for you and your baby. Let them get messy. Choose savoury flavours like vegetables before sweet flavours (fruit). Your baby was born with a sweet tooth and in weaning we are trying to help them develop a taste for more savoury flavours. After 26 weeks you can progress through different flavours and textures.

How to cope with travel sickness Travel sickness, or motion sickness, is most common in children aged between three and 12 – the good news is that most kids grow out of the condition. It’s mostly associated with travelling in a car, ship, plane or train, and is believed to occur when there’s a conflict between what your eyes see and your inner ears (which affect balance) sense. Try these tips to ease travel sickness whether you’re an adult or a child: ✱ Choose a seat in the middle of a boat or plane, as this is where you’ll experience the least amount of movement. Try to keep your head as still as possible; a pillow or cushion can help. ✱ Fix your eyes on the horizon or on a stable object. Closing your eyes may help too. ✱ Distract yourself by listening to music. Don’t read or play games as this could make your sickness worse. ✱ Open a window or move to the deck of the boat in order to get as much fresh air as possible. ✱ Avoid a big meal, fatty foods or alcohol before a big journey. Instead, eat lightly and keep hydrated with water. ✱ Talk to your pharmacist if travel sickness is a concern. There are some overthe-counter remedies for both adults and children that you can try, such as acupressure bands.

Cathy Monaghan has been a practicing Paediatric Dietitian for nearly 10 years. Her website, 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

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HEAT & SLEEP What are the best ways of managing the heat and maintaining good sleep? When the weather improves we can all having trouble sleeping well with the heat and although we shouldn’t complain, it can certainly have an impact on your child’s sleep.  Try these tips to keep your child cool during this warm season and maintain their good sleep practises. ✱ Children will sleep much better with a recommended room temperature in the region of 16-20 degrees Celsius.  ✱ Dress your child appropriately to avoid over-heating, strip down to nappy and vest if necessary and consider using no vest but a super light weight sleeping bag. ✱ Remove any unnecessary bedding from the cot, to allow air to circulate freely; remove padding, bumpers and also waterproof sheets if you are using them.  A cotton sheet along with the mattress is adequate bedding. ✱ Aim to keep the room cool during the day by ensuring that you open windows throughout your living accommodation to allow for a through-breeze, pull down the blinds early in the day to prevent the sun heating up the room. ✱ Consider using a fan in the bedroom before bedtime, but make sure that it is out of reach when your baby is going to sleep.  It may be helpful to place a bottle of frozen water in front of the fan to prevent re-circulating warm air around the room. ✱ Have a cool bath close to bedtime to help regulate the body temperature ahead of sleep time.  ✱ Be careful about sleeping

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your child on the go.  If you are using prams and buggies for sleep, be aware that this environment can become hot and airless rapidly.  I would avoid sleeping in the car also.  The temperatures inside a parked car can rise very quickly, even with the windows open, so a word of caution in this regard and transfer your baby from

the car whenever possible. ✱ Make sure that your child is well hydrated during the day. ✱ Check your baby regularly to see if he or she is too hot. Look for sweating or feel the baby’s tummy –hands and feet will usually be cooler, which is normal. If your baby is hot, remove clothes as you feel appropriate.


Barbeque food safety If you’re planning to make the most of the better weather with a barbeque for family and friends, make sure you follow a few simple rules to leave happy memories rather than memories of the dreaded food poisoning.

Clean thoroughly If this is your first barbeque of the season, give the grill a good scrubbing with an oven cleaner or bicarbonate of soda. Rinse with lots of warm, soapy water.

Keep food in the fridge

COMBATTING JET LAG Sometimes when you come back from a holiday as an adult, the best way to combat jet lag is to immediately get back into your old routine. Is this the same for children or is it best to budget a few days for them to get back into their routine? Yes, the first few days are the hardest and experts suggest that it can take a day for every hour of time difference, but I normally find that within a week or two, the body readjusts.  The key is regularity.  A sensible wake-up time, 7.30am, and then a suitable bedtime for a young child, which until age 10 is suggested at somewhere from 6pm-8pm.  Exposure to bright, natural or artificial light on wake up and plenty of physical activity can help reset the body clock.  In turn, creating a dim environment within the hour before sleep time can help the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.  Avoiding television, screen time, stimulating activity in the run up to sleep time can also help.  Sometimes, all the best efforts won’t make a difference and you just need to go through it….remembering what a great holiday you had!

Keep your food in the fridge until you’re serving or cooking. Separate raw meat from cooked meats and other items like salads. Thoroughly defrost frozen foods before cooking.

Light in advance Remember that a barbeque takes time to heat up. Charcoal barbeques should flame and then smoulder – don’t cook until the coals have turned white.

Cook in confidence Make sure your food has been cooked all the way through, especially poultry, pork, minced and skewered products . They should be piping hot all the way through and the juices should run clear.

Watch the leftovers 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

Leftovers should be covered and allowed to cool down in the kitchen. Put them in the fridge within two hours of cooking and use within three days. Reheat only once until piping hot.

For more, see

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MORNING SICKNESS & TEETH I am eight weeks’ pregnant. Is there anything I need to be aware of when it comes to looking after my teeth during pregnancy? Congratulations! Most pregnant mothers focus on the health of their babies but it is important to remember your own health too. Unfortunately, the changes in your hormone levels and immune system can lead to dental problems, particularly with your gums. I thought I’d go through some of the issues and suggest some tips to help: ✱ Morning sickness: If you’re struggling with regular morning sickness this can cause the enamel of your teeth to be worn down by acid and lead to sensitivity. Alkaline foods such as cheese

can help as well as rinsing with water gently after vomiting. Avoid brushing your teeth soon afterwards as they will still be soft and this can make the problem worse. You can also use an enamel protection toothpaste. ✱ Gum problems: Many pregnant mothers will suffer from pregnancy gingivitis at some stage, especially during the first trimester. This is indicated by red, inflamed, bleeding gums and can be uncomfortable. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing well, and attending the dentist or hygienist for a cleaning. Often to keep on top of these problems, you will need to spend more time on dental hygiene than may have been the case prior to your pregnancy. Studies have linked more extensive gum problems such as periodontal disease in the mother with premature and low birth-weight babies, so keeping on top of your oral health will be of benefit for your baby too. ✱ General dentistry: It is safe to have most dentistry done when your pregnant. The second trimester is generally the best time for treatment although routine work can often be left until afterwards if you prefer.

BLACK MARK ON TOOTH My two year old has a black mark on one of her back teeth – is it possible that she has a cavity? Should she get a filling or can we wait until her adult teeth come along? It is definitely possible that a black mark on your toddler’s teeth could be a cavity. It is always important to get any changes in your children’s teeth checked by a dentist. If it is a cavity, at the age of two we are often able to apply fluoride to early areas of decay. This allows us to monitor the tooth to slow or hopefully stop the process. This is a great opportunity to make changes

to diet and tooth-brushing. If the decay does progress, we could do a filling when the child is a bit older. Unfortunately, occasionally if the tooth is badly decayed at the age of two then extraction under general anaesthetic can be needed. It’s tempting to think “but they’re just baby teeth- they will get another set of adult teeth”. But not looking after baby teeth can lead to problems such as pain and swelling. Losing baby teeth early can lead to severe crowding of the new adult teeth as they arrive. It is also important to set down the foundations for healthy teeth at a young age. Children with decayed baby teeth are more likely to have decayed adult teeth.


Holiday first aid kit It’s a good idea to pack a basic first-aid kit for holidays, especially if you have children. Bring some basic plasters, bandages and antiseptic cream, but consider a selection of the following too. Remember your pharmacist can advise and guide you on assembling a good first aid kit:

Painkillers: Bring some paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets for the adults and some children’s painkiller liquid for the kids, such as Nurofen for Kids or Calpol.

Insect repellent spray: If you’re travelling to a hot spot, consider bringing some insect repellent spray. Look for one with a high level of Deet for effective protection against mosquitoes and midges. Talk to your pharmacist about a suitable product if pregnant or for children. Bite and sting cream: A topical antihistamine can be a godsend for insect stings and nettle stings. A product like Anthisan is suitable for age two upwards, and is ideal for reducing pain and swelling from a minor sting quickly. Rehydration sachets: If you’re unfortunate to get a stomach bug, make sure you have some rehydration sachets to help replace your body’s salts and prevent dehydration.

MI Summer 2017_Health.indd 78

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.

15/05/2017 17:22


Support & Advice Need some expert help and advice? Our directory of useful contacts will make sure you locate the right resource.


Childminding Ireland,

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:

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@

Dublin 2. Tel: 01 662 9212

Tel: (01) 872 4501



Web: Home Birth Association of Ireland,

LoCall Info Line: 1890 662 212 Web:


Tel: 087 164 0847, (0906) 405267

Treoir 14 Gandon House,

Email: Web:

MULTIPLE BIRTHS Irish Multiple Births Association, Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. Tel: (01) 874 9056 Email: Web:


Email: enquiries@

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@ Web: Maternity Benefit Section, Department of Social Protection, McCarter’s Road, Ardarvan, Buncrana, Co Donegal. LoCall 1890 690 690 Email:

Post Natal Depression Ireland,


Administration Building, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Co. Cork.


Support Line: (021) 492 2083

The Childcare Directory Ltd, 98 Foxrock Avenue, Foxrock, Dublin 18. Tel: (01) 201 6000 Email: Web:

MI Summer 2017_Useful Contacts.indd 79

(Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10am to 2pm) Email: Web: Monthly support meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month at Cork Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork.

Tel: (01) 453 0355



A Little Lifetime Foundation,

Childline, 24-hour Freephone

18 Orion Business Campus, Rosemount Business Park, Ballycoolin, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Tel: (01) 882 9030 Email: Web: First Light- Irish Sudden Death Syndrome Association, Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. Tel: (01) 873 2711 LoCall Helpline: 1850 391 391 Email: Web:


Helpline: 1800 666 666 Text: ‘TALK’ to 50101 (2pm-10pm daily) Web: Parentline, Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. Tel: (01) 873 3500 LoCall: 1890 927 277 Email: Web:

15/05/2017 17:20



SAD NOTES Hi, I’m SHARYN and I blog over at Here I write about my son Jacob’s first school year – and his first “sad note”...


aster Jacob is almost finished his first year of being a Big School attendee and so far, so like a duck to

water. I anticipated that he would be clingy at the beginning and kick off the way he used to at creche and preschool, begging me not to go and bawling his little heart out. But on those first few days he just skipped in like he owned the place. Says I to Ass Monkey; “False start. I give him a week and he’ll be super-glued to our ankles, demanding to be brought home from this godforsaken place called school. We’ll be morto in front of his teacher because no other kid will ever have loved their parents so much. MORTO, I tells ya”. Ahem. There have been no clingy moments from our Jacob. He pulls the ol “I don’t want to go to school” when we’re trying to get him dressed in the mornings but that’s more to do with his disinterest in being dragged away from his Lego than anything else. The things is – he really likes school. He likes his mates, he likes his teacher, he likes his after-school activities and he even likes his homework. “I have catch-up to do,” he’ll sigh as he dumps the contents of his bag on the kitchen table. And then he’ll spend the next half an hour filling in the gaps of his latest epic piece of art. On the second week of school we had a note sent home. “I got a sad note,” my little man said,

extending the piece of paper my way. The ‘Sad Note’ was a message from teacher to say there had been a lot of rough play in the yard that day and despite being asked to stop, Jacob and his friends didn’t and so.. home with a Sad Note. He and I had a word about doing what he’s asked in the school yard and respecting his teachers by listening to what they have to say. We signed that one and sent it back in with an apology. Teacher explained that the class are very physical this year and she’s doing her best to put a lid on it before someone gets hurt. Two weeks after that we got another sad note for the same offense. This time grandad was asked to have a word – I was bleedin’ mortified. I don’t know what was said between Jacob and his hero Grandad but I believe there was some sort of arrangement around lollipops for good behaviour and that a cap of five Sad Notes in any given school career was issued. Grandad said he only got five in his lifetime (the liar). Yesterday, Jacob pulled a note out of his bag and with solemn face said, “Mammy, I got another sad note”. I instantly got annoyed and was starting to raise my voice with; ‘Jacob! You absolutely cannot get another Sad Note home! What did mammy and grandad tell you about…” And then he grinned. “Just kidding,” he says. “This one is about tennis”. That school is making him WAY too smart.


w w w . rai s i ng i reland . com If you’re a parenting blogger, we want to hear from you! Email us at

MI Summer 2017_Blog.indd 80

17/05/2017 10:50

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Successful holidays with little ones


Maternity & Infant Summer 2017  

Summer 2017