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maternity & infant

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 €3.75/£3.30


TOO TH KIND Caring for your baby’s teeth



BUMP STORIES Navigating your

9 772009 193014


way through pregnancy



WHAT’S IN AOvercoming NAME?

potential pitfalls

HALLOWE’EN SPECIAL Scares without the ‘mares


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BE SURE. BE SAFE. VACCINATE. Now that you are pregnant it is important that you protect yourself and your baby from influenza (flu). Vaccination is the only way to protect you and your baby from flu and its complications. Why do pregnant women need to get seasonal flu vaccine? Seasonal flu is a highly infectious viral illness of the respiratory tract that can be life threatening for those in at risk groups including pregnant women. Pregnant women need to get seasonal flu vaccine as they are at higher risk of serious complications from flu. Flu vaccine protects pregnant women during pregnancy and provides ongoing protection to their newborn baby during the first few months of life. THE VACCINE CAN BE GIVEN AT ANY STAGE OF PREGNANCY. What is the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine? Each year the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine contains three common flu virus strains. The flu virus changes each year this is why a new flu vaccine has to be given each year. How does seasonal flu vaccine work? Seasonal flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. When someone who has been vaccinated comes into contact with the virus these antibodies attack the virus. Is it safe for pregnant women to be vaccinated? Yes. The vaccine is safe for pregnant women. Seasonal flu vaccines have been given for more than 60 years. Reactions are generally mild and serious side effects are very rare. Seasonal flu vaccine has been recommended for several years for all pregnant women in the USA. Will my baby be protected if I am vaccinated? Yes. Vaccination during pregnancy will protect your baby and also helps prevent you getting flu and passing it on to your baby. Who should NOT get seasonal flu vaccine? The vaccine should not be given to • those with a history of severe allergic (anaphylaxis) reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or any of its constituents. What about pregnant women with egg allergy? Pregnant women with egg allergy can get seasonal flu vaccine. This may be given by your GP or you may need referral to a hospital specialist. When should vaccination be postponed? There are very few reasons why vaccination should be postponed. Vaccination should be re-scheduled if you have an acute illness with a temperature greater than 38°C.

FLU IS ONE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR BABY. Can the flu vaccine give me the flu? No. The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu because it does not contain any live viruses. How long does it take the vaccine to work? The vaccine starts to work within two weeks. What can I expect after vaccination? The most common side effects will be mild and may include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur. Some people may have mild sweating and shivering as their immune system responds to the vaccine, but this is not flu and will pass after a day or so. What if I don’t feel well after vaccination? If you have a temperature after the vaccine, take paracetamol, as it is safe in pregnancy, and it’s important for you and your baby to avoid fever. Do not take ibuprofen or aspirin (unless advised by your obstetrician). Remember if you are unwell after getting a vaccine, it could be for some other reasons - don’t assume it’s the flu vaccine and seek medical advice if needed. When should I get the flu vaccine? You should get the flu vaccine as early as possible in your pregnancy. The flu season usually occurs between September and April so if you become pregnant during this time you should get the vaccine. How do I get vaccinated? Flu vaccination is available from your GP or Pharmacist. If you have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘Doctor Only Card’ the vaccine and consultation are free. If you do not have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘Doctor Only Card’ you will be charged a consultation fee for seasonal flu vaccine.




On the Cover 40



HALLOWE’EN SPECIAL Ghosts and Ghouls may be great fun for older kids, but what about a tiny tot? We


have lots of ideas to make


Hallowe’en fun for preschoolers without giving them nightmares for weeks. 42

EMBARRASSING PREGNANCY PROBLEMS From piles to farting nonstop, pregnancy is full 36

of joyous moments. Here’s


how to navigate some

Hallowe’en dress up, cosy

of the more “interesting�

coats and new season picks

pregnancy symptoms.

– your guide to dressing your little ones in style! 72

FAKE BEING AWAKE Makeup is your best friend if you’ve been up all night with a teething baby. Jane Quinn on the best products to fake that glow.

75 46



Unless told by your doctor, it’s perfectly okay to have sex right up to your due

Now here’s a fashion trend

It may end up in a

we can all get behind – the

frustrating argument,

cardi. Here’s how not to

but there is plenty of

come a (Roy) Cropper‌

must pay proper attention

sex life is a must during

to our kids’ dental care.

those nine months. 56


evidence to show that we

date. Here’s why a healthy


Andrea Mara investigates.

BABY NAME PITFALLS From unfortunate initials to names that just beg


a nickname or an oh-soOCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 â‚Ź3.75/ÂŁ3.30

Zʽ ņ Z(ņ7+@ Caring for your baby’s teeth


BUMP STORIES Navigating your 9 772009 193014


way through pregnancy



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Overcoming potential pitfalls

(ˋņEkĹ@ UQ+9 Scares without

the ‘mares


MI Oct_Nov 2015_Contents .indd 1

funny comment, we take



Features 24

BURNING TOPIC: BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT We all know that breast is best – but it’s a skill


that needs to be learned

a look at some of the

From breastfeeding-

and worked on. Is there

potential pitfalls to avoid

friendly clothes to

enough support oered

when choosing your baby’s

stealing Imogen Thomas’

in Ireland – in the hospital


pregnancy style, we have

and afterwards? Could this

your maternity fashion

be contributing to our low


breastfeeding rates?


29/09/2015 16:00








Making the decision to

What made us laugh or cry

return to work can be

in blogland this month.

daunting. But there are supports out there, writes Rachel Murray.











One reader tells us her



experience before and



after her little son was



Opinion 28



diagnosed as being on 48




the autistic spectrum.

Can practicing mindfulness

Is it healthy for toddlers

help your birth and labour?

to have lots of social

Nick Wilkinson is

Dr Louise Jane Clarke tells

interaction? And what can

determined to prove



us more.

you do when a play date

he’s no scaredy cat this


turns into a cat fight over a



toy car?

Can stretch marks be prevented or healed? This





Cliodna Gilroy tells us her

Dr Nicola Davies looks at

embarrassing pregnancy

is your no-nonsense guide

weathering the transition

to dealing with those pesky

when two families with

silver lines. 52



Regulars 6










The latest news & reviews AWARDS 2015

children come together.

Autumnal purées for your


weaning little one.

Continuing our new series of practical guides to some of the biggest purchases

WIN A FAMILY BREAK IN THE This fabulous prize is the

parents, we take a look at

perfect treat for all the

one-piece buggies and

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Contents .indd 2




you’ll make as prospective

choose our favourite buys.




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The ultimate Connection stroller.

Stokke® Xplory®



Best buggy design


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Welcome There’s a bit of a theme going on in this issue of maternity & infant – and that’s all the things people don’t talk about in pregnancy! There are some people who still like to portray pregnancy as this wondrous time in your life, when you spend hours bonding with your baby, sporting a pretty pregnancy glow and cupping your neat little bump. But while we are not, even for one second, thinking we’re in any way less than amazingly privileged to be expecting a beautiful baby – there are parts of pregnancy that are painful, embarrassing and just not nice. We refer you to our feature on Embarrassing Pregnancy Problems on p42 – not in an attempt to scare the living daylights out of you, but to show you that you’re not alone. Then turn to p45 for Cliodna Gilroy’s own experience (and don’t mention Peppa Pig in her company). On the subject of scares, this is also our Hallowe’en issue. As I write this, I’m mainlining coffee as my two year old, Ellie, kept me up half the night with


nightmares. Apparently the “shadows” were out to get her and the only solution was to watch cartoons at 4.15am (don’t worry, I didn’t give in!). I’m pretty sure that a scary skull will send her completely over the edge come October 31st. With this in mind, our Hallowe’en feature is on making the holiday fun without causing nightmares for months afterwards. This is also our Awards issue – and if you are reading this at the Awards Ceremony, my drink of preference is a red wine – and we couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store this year. Turn to p22 for some exciting Awards news – and don’t forget to log on to for all the latest on this year’s ceremony and winners.

Editor: Penny Gray Editorial Assistant: Rachel Murray Intern: Jane Quinn Editorial Manager: Mary Connaughton Creative Director: Jane Matthews Design: Jennifer Reid Photography & Illustrations: Getty Images, Thinkstock 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 2014. 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

Enjoy the issue!

Penny Gray

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter







Sod the kids, I’m dying to have a go of this! Kinetic Sand, €26, Hamleys

I call Ellie my little fairy (when she’s not being a little madam), so this little outfit is perfect for Hallowe’en. Fire fairy outfit, €22.99, Mothercare

I love these boots from Zara, €69.95 – they “do” the fringing trend without being too in your face.

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6 ONLINE COMPETITIONS We’ll be giving away tickets to all the best family Hallowe’en events over the next month including The Boo Experience at Leahys Open Farm, Cork and the Rathwood Hallowe’en Pumpkin Train in Carlow. Go to www.maternityandinfant. ie/competitions to enter!

Watch out


You’ll be seeing lots of us on The Today Show with Maura & Dáithí as we get closer to revealing the all important winners at this year’s Boots maternity & infant Awards. If you miss any of the action or would like to catch up, go to maternityandinfant where we will be posting direct links to all of this year’s awards coverage.

WHAT’S TRENDING? MATERNITYANDINFANT.IE Male presenter in excruciating pain as he tries child birth simulator 10 amazing facts about your unborn baby

HIGH STREET We’ve got the seven must-haves pieces for your autumn/winter wardrobe that won’t break the bank but will have you looking fabulous throughout the cold season. www. fashion-beauty/latest-on-thehigh-street Pictured: Burgundy over-theknee boots, €59.99, New Look

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TODDLER & CHILD Read author and sleep expert Lucy Shrimpton’s top 10 tips for helping your toddler with the various transitions that you might encounter.

MUM QUERIES If you have a query and would like the opinions of other mums or dads, go to www. All questions are posted anonymously and we always get a great response and helpful suggestions from all of our lovely Facebook followers.

Stunning photos show how newborns are positioned in their mother’s womb Five secrets to raising good kids, according to Harvard University 10 things that don’t bother you since becoming a parent The low-down on childcare prices in Ireland

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Family Event Guide Autumn is in full swing but that doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house anymore! There are lots of things happening over the next two months, especially over the mid-term break.


RATHWOOD PUMPKIN TRAIN, Carlow, is on 24th-29th October. Join the pumpkin train for a spooktacular adventure where you will be greeted by friendly creatures, witches and a few spooky characters. VIRGINIA PUMPKIN FESTIVAL, Cavan. A Hallowe’en weekend filled with live music and street entertainment, fireworks display at Lough Ramor lakeshore with delicious food to enjoy too!


2 3


Bunratty Castle, Clare. All the little ‘ghastly ghouls’, ‘grisly gremlins’, ‘scary fairies’, ‘wicked witches’, ‘devilish demons’ and ‘hair-raising warlocks’ are invited to the castle on Bank Holiday Monday 27th October 12-6pm to get into practice for Hallowe’en. THE HAUNTED MAZE, Greenan Farm Museum and Maze, Wicklow, 4pm daily, 23rd October to 1st November. Prepare to be scared and positively petrified at The Haunted Maze this Hallowe’en.

4 5

THE ‘BOO’ EXPERIENCE AT LEAHYS OPEN FARM, Midleton, Co Cork, 25th October to

2nd November. Find your way to the witch’s lair and help the little old witch make a magic spell by gathering the special ingredients. Join in on the witches wiggle disco and dress up for the experience - mum and dad can too.

BABORÓ INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN, Galway, 12th-18th October The programme encompasses music, dance, theatre, literature, film, puppetry, story telling and visual arts, with workshops, performances, discussions and exhibitions running in venues throughout Galway city aimed at children aged 3-16. For more information go to www.

THE ALLERGY & FREE FROM EXPOS 2015 Dublin: 10th-11th October (RDS) & Cork: 31st October-1st November (City Hall) The Allergy & Free From Expo is Ireland’s largest event dedicated to those suffering from allergies and / or leading a gluten free, wheat free, sugar free and / or dairy free life. It is a family-oriented expo full of information, advice, seminars and demonstrations, as well as a showcase of the best free from suppliers in the country, all offering their latest products for you to try. For more information go to

BE TED MOCKINGJAY PAR T 2 WILL S DON’T FORGET THE MUCH ANTICIPA FAN S ME GA ER . ANY LIT TLE HUNG RELEASED ON 16TH NOVEMBER GE T TO SEE THIS MOVIE. LY WILL BE DELIGHTED TO FINAL DISNEY ON ICE WORLDS OF ENCHANTMENT, CITY WEST, 12th15th November. Dive into adventure with Ariel and The Little Mermaid’s undersea kingdom. The toys are back in town! Watch Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and the Toy Story gang as they try and escape from the rambunctious tots of Sunnyside Daycare, in their most daring adventure ever. Tickets are priced from €19.50 (including booking fee) and under twos go free.


SIMON FUN RUN, 3rd October, Phoenix Park, Dublin The Dublin Simon Fun Run is one of the longest-running charity events in the country, and this year they’ve extended it beyond the race and turned it into one of the best family days out of the year. Register now for this fantastic event at FunRunHome.aspx


OTHER EVENTS WORTH CHECKING OUT INCLUDE Spleodar Arts Festival: 26th-31st October, Nenagh,; Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival: 1st-31st October, Limerick, and Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food: 23rd-26th October, Kilkenny,

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29/09/2015 09:40

When it comes to your baby only the No.1 for pregnancy will do Helping to make healthy mums and babies over the last 25 years, Pregnacare® has always contained the recommended level of folic acid† and is supported by unique clinical research with mums-to-be1,2. Trust Pregnacare® for the most important time of your life.

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†Folic acid contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. Pregnacare has always contained 400mcg folic acid, the level recommended for all women from the start of trying to conceive until the 12th week of pregnancy. For more information on this research, please visit 1 Agrawal, R. et al. Prospective randomised trial of multiple micronutrients in women undergoing ovulation induction, Reproductive BioMedicine Online December 2011., 2. L Brough et al. Effect of multiple-micronutrient supplementation on maternal nutrient status, infant birth weight and gestational age at birth in a low-income, multi-ethnic population. British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 104, 437-445. *A beneficial effect can be obtained from a daily intake of 200mg DHA in addition to the recommended daily intake of 250mg DHA / EPA for adults - Annex 1 of Commission Regulations (EU) No. 440/2011. ** Professor Beckett is not cited in the capacity of a health professional, but as a product inventor and former Chairman of Vitabiotics.

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29/09/2015 16:56







SCAN PICTURE Yes it’s hard to make out but just gazing at it will bring back all the awe and excitement of the scan. HOSPITAL WRISTBAND Just to remember how little her


tiny wrist once was.


FIRST OUTFIT Save the tiny outfit you brought him home from hospital in. LOCK OF HAIR You’ll be amazed at how her hair


changes in colour and texture.


FIRST SHOES Crawlers, trainers or proper shoes – just make sure they were a first and teeny tiny! BIRTH/CHRISTENING CARDS No need to save every single


one, just the ones from close friends and family.


PICTURES Apart from the usual family pictures, keep a small photo album of key moments, eg going walking, birthdays etc. FIRST TOOTH You might need to wait a bit for this, but make sure you rob at least one from the tooth fairy.


EARLY WORKBOOK One from pre-school will do, with lots of colouring and traced letters. Cuteness.

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Does Angelina have memory boxes for her massive family?

home, meeting people, crawling,

29/09/2015 12:53



Steps to Great Pregnancy Hair


Celebrity hair stylist and Ireland AM regular Tori Keane is mum to a two-year-old Mason and one-year-old Daisy, and has just been named ambassador for the Mane ‘n’ Tail brand. So who could be more qualified to give us her five rules to great hair before, during and after pregnancy?


Take a pregnancy specific multivitamin “A

good supplement replenishes the vitamins and minerals taken by your baby for growth when pregnant. But these will also look after your skin, hair and nails, making sure they have the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Generally women have great hair when they’re pregnant, as hormone changes mean their hair doesn’t fall out at the same rate as normal, but it’s after pregnancy that you need nutrients for your hair. There’s a lot of emphasis on supplements before and during pregnancy, but I think you should be taking something after you give birth to keep your hair and your body as healthy as possible. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about a good multivitamin for your needs after pregnancy.”


Treat whatever changes that happen with your hair “Some people find that

their hair gets greasier when they get pregnant, but this is actually a good sign. It means your body is producing enough sebum and your hair is replenishing itself. It’s

MI Oct_Nov 2015_News_complete.indd 12

caused by the change in hormone levels in your body and is nothing to worry about. You can deal with any extra greasiness by changing your shampoo and conditioner; but be sure to avoid anything with chemicals that could strip your hair of colour and natural oils. Go for a gentle clarifying shampoo, such as the one in the Mane ‘n’ Tail range, which will balance your pH levels while removing the greasiness.”


Don’t panic about hair loss “Your hair

loss slows down during pregnancy, and it might look thicker and fuller than ever before. Unfortunately you will lose that hair shortly after giving birth – and there’s no getting around that. But if you look after your hair and make sure you get the right nutrients in your diet and your supplements, you can speed up the recovery process, strengthening up and nurturing the new hair. I used a hair strengthener religiously after giving birth and my hair feels so much stronger as a result.”


Watch your diet “It’s really all about nutrition and having the right vitamins

and minerals going into your body. This is good both for your body and your baby, and your hair. B group vitamins is the most important thing for hair growth, as is protein. Calcium is good too, as your skin, hair and nails are all connected. It’s hard to keep your nutrition up when you’re rushing around after a new baby, but making sure you have some good nutritious snacks on hand, like eggs, chicken, salad and wholegrain bread, is a great idea.”


Invest in good products “I can’t

emphasise enough how important a good shampoo and conditioner is post-pregnancy. The changes in hormones can change the feel of your hair, so it’s important to get something that will help it feel better. My hair felt very dry and coarse, so I found a moisturising shampoo and conditioner was the best fit. I love the Conceived by Nature range from Mane ‘n’ Tail, which is free from parabens and sulfates so is great for your hair, and it feels nice and gentle too on your scalp.”

After giving birth, it seems that your life revolves around your baby – and you come a poor second. But as Tori (above) explained, a post-pregnancy vitamin is a great idea, and it seems that vitamin experts Pregnacare agree. According to new research commissioned by Pregnacare New Mum, only 25 per cent of new mums have reported looking after their own health and wellbeing in the period of time postpregnancy. The research was launched by Jennifer Maguire, who gave birth to Florence Zamparelli in March 2015. Lack of sleep was cited to be the biggest problem, with almost two thirds of new mums reporting that they only get four to six hours of shut eye each night. One out of six new mums report that they are now concerned with the condition of their hair, with nearly seven out of ten saying they have noticed a change and over half citing that their hair has started to fall out. The answer? Good nutrition and a good supplement like Pregnacare New Mum, which provides a carefully balanced, comprehensive formulation of micronutrients to help support the nutritional requirements of new mothers throughout the postnatal period. For more information visit: www.

29/09/2015 12:54

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29/09/2015 16:57


HOW TO SURVIVE THE FIRST THREE MONTHS Yes, they’re tough. Yes, you’ll go slightly insane with the lack of sleep. Yes, they’ll feel like they’ll never end. But guess what? This too shall pass. Here’s how some of our readers survived the first three months of motherhood… <“I learnt a lot from my first baby, but most important of all: they don’t stay young for very long. So on baby no. 2, every time I got delirious with the tiredness, or felt like stamping my foot when yet another cup of tea was left undrunk, I remembered this and made sure to enjoy every quiet moment with my newborn – even the ones at 3am. Three years on, I even smile when I think of the nightfeeds and the peace I felt, just my baby and me.” Eliza, mum of two. <“I’ve had a rocky relationship with my mum over the years, but after I had my baby I never needed her more. Thankfully she was more than willing to help out. It wasn’t that I couldn’t cope – I was just overwhelmed and when you’re tired, you tend to doubt yourself more. Just having someone who was confident in what they were doing really helped. And she also knew when to quietly disappear! My relationship with my mum is amazing now as a result.” Zoe, mum of one

<“Accept help from anyone who offers it. If you have a friend nearby, get her to drop in a dinner or do some shopping. Get your partner to get some snacks or even a packed lunch ready for you so you have something handy to eat. Set up a nest for yourself in the living room where you can feed baby and rest at the same time. Keep a little kit for yourself there too – bottle of water, easy snacks etc. Make life easy for yourself.” Mary, mum of two <“Don’t feel as though you have to do everything. Bathing a baby every day is not only unnecessary, but experts are now saying it’s not good for their delicate skin. Instead, just top and tail them. And keep them in babygros for the first while – it’s easier. Concentrate instead on feeding them, burping them, cuddling them and helping them rest. That’s all a baby needs.” Caroline, mum of two <“Forget about stupid things like cleaning the house. Get a cleaner in once a week if you’re

that bothered (and you can afford it). The first few weeks pass by so quickly and you’ll have your hands full with catering to your tiny tot’s every whim. If you get half an hour of peace, be sensible and rest.” Ruth, mum of one <“Get a sling! Your baby will love the close contact with you, and it’s amazing if baby’s got reflux or colic. Plus, you save your back because you’re well supported all the time, and you have your hands free to do other things. It’s especially invaluable if you have other children to look after too. Alice, mum of four

<“My best tip is to be patient – your baby might take a while to get into a pattern, but most eventually do! Take a deep breath and understand that babies don’t follow a rulebook. Just cuddle, feed, repeat – they’ll get there. Sinead, mum of two <“Trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, get help from an expert. A public health nurse will be able to advise you on where best to get help. Even if you’re just not sure, getting reassurance can be invaluable. Siobhan, mum of one


Sorry – we have to say the C word. Christmas is coming fast and those top toys are selling out fast (see our picks on p19). Stop with the panic though – we have teamed up with Mattel, to give you the chance to win a Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends TrackMaster Shipwreck Rails (RRP €59), just one of the 12 Top Toys from Mattel this Christmas. Inspired by the new movie Thomas & Friends Sodor’s Legend, this exciting toy features incredible upside-down spiralling action and an auto-reset function that enables continuous play. Watch as daredevil Thomas climbs the steep incline towards the ships mast, then plunges towards the deck for an action packed playtime that will captivate your young Thomas & Friends fan.

To be in with a chance to win, simply answer the following question.

Who is the head of the railway? (A) (B) (C)

The Fat Controller The Tall Controller The Small Controller

MI Oct_Nov 2015_News_complete.indd 14

Send your answer to competitions@ with THOMAS in the subject line. Terms and Conditions: Prize is subject to availability and non-transferable. Closing date for all entries is 20th November 2015. Prize is non-transferable. Competition is not open to employees of Ashville Media Group or Mattel. No cash or gift card will be awarded in lieu of stated prize. If any of the items offered are unavailable or out of stock, 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.

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Boost your health and your immune system by eating the produce that’s local and in season now – you’ll be thanking us later.

In a country where it’s possible to buy fresh strawberries for Christmas Days, we’ve kind of lost track of the seasons and what produce is available when. Now fruit and veg can be flown quickly from anywhere in the world or produced under artificial conditions. But there are big disadvantages to this – for both the environment and the health. Chemicals or processes used to produce food that is not native in our country or is out of season may have a negative impact on both us and the environment, while the vast air miles used to bring us fruit from the topics has an obvious impact on the environment – not to mention whatever’s used to keep them fresh for so long. Leavign that aside, there’s a taste issue – nothing tastes nicer than a fresh organic strawberry grown in Wexford at the height of the summer. Compare that to the turniplike tasteless strawberries that can be bought in the middle of winter. It doesn’t take a child to realise that produce grown locally and in season is healthier, tastier and kinder on the environment. With this in mind, here are six foods you should be filling your shopping trolley with this season.

Apples One of the first fruit crops cultivated by man, apples are available all year round, but if you want Irish apples at their best, get local varieties like Gala before the winter sets in. Apples contain good amounts of dietary fibre and Vitamin C and are best eaten raw. For babies, gently cook in a few teaspoons of water to retain as much of the goodness as possible.

Leeks As members of the onion family, but with a milder flavour, leeks are at their best during the autumn

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Colcannon Cook finely sliced kale on a high heat in butter and a little water for a minute or two. Drain off excess liquid, season and mixed with buttery mashed potato.

months, and can be steamed, boiled, fried, stir-fried, braised and baked. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin C and folic acid.

Celeriac Celeriac is known as turniprooted celery, and contains significant amounts of fibre, Vitamin C and folic acid. It can be grated raw into a salad or it can be sliced or diced and boiled first. It can also be used in soups, broths and stews. Try it cooked au gratin interleaved with slices of potato or apple and sprinkled with garlic or ginger.

Potatoes Again, potatoes are available all year around, but the main crop is coming in round about now. They’re a good source of Vitamin C, thiamin, Vitamin B6 and folic acid. Most of the vitamins and minerals are contained in or just below the skin so scrubbing them instead of peeling will help retain their nutrients. Make the most of the fresh crop available

now, as the skin should be free of bruises or eyes.

Purple-Sprouting Broccoli Green broccoli is just about going out of season now, but look out for the more exoticlooking purple-sprouting variety, which is in season now until March. An excellent source of Vitamin A and C as well as folic acid and fibre, try it Italian style cooked in the oven with onions, added to a pizza or served with pasta in a garlic and tomato sauce.


Roasted Kale with Garlic Mix kale leaves with some olive oil and a thinly sliced glove of garlic. Bake in a medium oven (180°C) for about seven minutes, or until edges of the leaves turn crisp.

Brussel Sprouts Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Brussel sprouts are at their best right now – enjoy now, as older crops can have a strong and unpleasant taste. A good source of fibre and vitamins, especially Vitamin C and folic acid, Brussel sprouts should be boiled very briefly or braised slowly in the oven. Try them stirfried with onion, ginger and almonds, or baked in the oven with cream and milk and Parmesan cheese.


Stirfried Kale with Bacon Quickly stirfry some bacon bits until crispy. Add chopped kale and cook until tender. Serve with a sprinkling of lemon juice.

29/09/2015 16:10

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29/09/2015 16:59




nay for young kids?

Out of all developmental timelines, speech can cause parents the most stress. Here’s a loose guide to what to expect as your child gets older.

Everyone knows one mother who is convinced her child is a genius – and generally that genius will be expressed in terms of speech. “Baby Einstein was speaking in full sentences by his first birthday!” Statements like this are destined to leave mums feeling inadequate and worried – why is my child still grunting while others are speaking proper coherent words? First of all, every child develops at a different rate. If you are genuinely worried, talk to your GP or public health nurse. Otherwise, take a look out at our rough guide to what to expect when it comes to speech – and remember this is just a guide.


“We had a fab time with our two little ones skiing last year in France. Our eldest was six, and well able to the ski school, while our youngest, dour, enjoyed the interaction of the snow crèche and all the fun in the snow. We got some skiing time ourselves in the morning and then enjoyed family time in the afternoon. And we all felt healthy afterwards!” Ellen, mum of two

No: “The facilities for families

Birth to three months: Crying is the main communication. As you get to know your baby, and he you, you’ll be able to distinguish between a hungry and a tired cry.

Three to six months: As your baby develops, you’ll start to hear more varied sounds, apart from standard cooing. You’ll also start hearing vowel sounds and she might start making her voice rise and fall, usually in response to your talking and facial expressions. By the time your baby is six months old, your baby should be making sounds – talk to your doctor if not.

Six to 12 months: This is the stage in which your baby starts to babble. He’ll start putting sounds together and might even have pretend conversations with you in baby talk.

12 to 14 months: Usually says her first word. This quickly rises to a range of about five. “No” will probably figure largely. If your child hasn’t said her first word by 16 months, talk to your GP.

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14 to 18 months: Will start saying some form of “mum” to get your attention. Can understand simple questions and nod and shake head. Vocabulary of between five and 20 words.

18 months to two years: Starts putting words together to make basic sentences. Your toddler will start saying new words on almost a daily basis.

Two to three years: Your child now can usually carry on a simple conversation with someone she feels comfortable with. Sentences may have lots of pauses, but they are easily understood. She may be able to say k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds. If your child is repeating your question

rather than answering you by her third birthday, talk to your doctor.

Three to four years: Children of this age can generally speak full sentences of four of five words. They will be curious and their favourite words will be who, what, why and where. They will be able to talk about what they did at playdates or preschool. It’s normal for children of this age to trip up in their words as they try to talk too quickly. If he develops a stutter or grimaces or tenses his jaw while talking, talk to your doctor.

Four to five years: Your child is ready for school and can communicate easily, using sentences to describe something with most sounds in place. The sounds, th, r and l may still prove difficult, however.

in some ski resorts were fabulous, but I wish we had waited until our son was a little older. He was only four and really had to be persuaded into the kids’ club each day. He did enjoy it, but I can’t help but think that we would have been better off waiting another year.” Maria, mum of one

Try it: If you’re considering a family-friendly winter holiday, take a look at Highlife Ski & Snowboard’s unforgettable Christmas breaks in their gorgeous Alpine chalets. Available in three French resorts – Morzine, Meribel or Val d’Isère – features include holiday parades, ice-skating with Santa, family firework displays and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Departures from Dublin on December 20, from €1120 per adult and €910 per child aged 11 or under for seven nights. Check out www. or contact the team on +353 1 677 1100

29/09/2015 12:55


Skate and Sing Elsa, €52, Hamleys

Hot Wheels Track Builder Volcano Blast, €49.99, Mattel

Minions Tumbling Stuart, £49.99, Argos

Rosebud Country Dolls’ House, €119.95, ELC @ Mothercare Paw Patrol Pup Racers, £19.99, Argos

Pop Up Olaf Game, £16.99. Argos

i-Que, £64.99, Argos Kinetic Sand, €26, Hamleys

TOP TOYS From Frozen paraphernalia to talking robots, these top-rated toys are sure to sell out before Christmas. Stock up now while the preseason special offers are still on. Wooden Workbench, €62.99, ELC @ Mothercare

Street Dog – Buster, €68, Littlewoods Ireland

Peppa Pig Kitchen, €99, Littlewoods Ireland

MI Oct_Nov 2015_News_complete.indd 19

29/09/2015 12:58


TELLING TALES Reviewed by Anne Whelton and Linda Crosbie For more children’s book reviews, competitions, recommendation and interviews with some of your favourite authors and illustrators, visit


Sir Lilypad By Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie (Simon and Schuster), €10.50 Complete with courageous heroes, a dragon and a sword-carrying princess, this charming fairytale by power duo Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie has a very powerful message hidden amongst its brightly coloured pages. The power to succeed lies within our webbed feet hero – be whoever you dream to be and don’t be afraid to go against the tide. Funny and playful rhymes makes this picture book flow easily (so be warned, you may be asked to read it again and again!) We like … reading this story aloud – great rhymes makes it lots of fun! They’ll love … chatting about all the detailed characters, from animals to wizards.


+ 3Dino-Daddy years

+ 3Brian yearsand the Giant

+ 3Herman’s years Holiday

+ 1Ten years Little Fingers

By Mark Sperring and Sam Lloyd (Bloomsbury), €11.05 Let’s face it. The popularity of dinosaurs doesn’t seem to be dying out anytime soon. DinoDaddy is busy and his to-do list is growing by the day. However, he always makes time to play lots of fun games with his two dino-tots. A nice reminder to busy parents to relive your own childhood games and find the time just to play with your own dino-mad tots. Complete your dinosaur picture book collection with Dino-Baby and Dino-Mummy. We like … the dinosaur wordplay and puns makes this book dinomite for interactive storytelling. They’ll love … the bright primary colours used in Sam Lloyd’s wonderful illustrations.

By Chris Judge and Mark Wickham (The O’Brien Press), €8.99 From the creators of Brian and the Vikings, this delightful picture book tells the tale of a young Brian Boru, the boy who grows up to become the High King of Ireland. The river in Brian’s village has suddenly gone dry and our young hero is on a quest to save the day (and the vegetable crops). With a feel of Asterix to the illustrations, this book is a good introduction to history for preschoolers. We like … dipping our toes in Irish history in a fun, playful manner. They’ll love … following the colourful stink trail with their fingers, allowing for better engagement.

By Tom Percival (Bloomsbury), €9.50 Herman and Henry are back! Finally we have a follow-up to one of our favourite picture books of the last few years, Herman’s Letter – and luckily, the two friends are on flying form again as this time they take on a camping holiday! Bursting at the seams with charm and humour, once again Percival perfectly captures the sweet relationship between these unlikely friends. With lift-the-flap postcards that little fingers will love exploring, we can’t say enough lovely things about Herman’s Holiday! We like … Herman’s selflessness – teaching little ones an important lesson. They’ll love … the interactive lift-the-flap postcards.

and Ten Little Toes

MI Oct_Nov 2015_News Books.indd 20

By Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury (Walker Books), €9.50 This is the perfect gift for expectant parents or a newborn. Written on a plane journey, this classic picture book is a reflection on what separates and joins us as a human race. Everyone knows that there is nothing sweeter than tiny baby fingers and chubby baby toes and this book shows the joy such simple things can bring to our world. This edition is a board book so is perfect for toddlers familiarising themselves with holding books and turning pages. We like … any perfect excuse to curl up with your baby and create some memories. They’ll love … the cute little babies and their smiling faces.

29/09/2015 09:51

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29/09/2015 16:59



HOSTS We’re delighted to announce that Maura Derrane and Brian Ormond are the presenters of this year’s Boots maternity & infant Awards, which take place on Friday 30th October. Here we chat with Maura about her personal experience of parenthood…

MI Oct_Nov 2015_MI Awards.indd 22

29/09/2015 12:39


ON THE COUCH We have teamed up with The Today Show on RTÉ this year to showcase the Boots maternity & infant Awards. Watch out for us on the couch with Maura and Daíthí over the next month, where we will be showcasing the People Award stories that touched us, the products that were tested and voted by the public and the overall winners from the Awards.


he Boots maternity & infant Awards are voted by parents for parents, so it’s only fitting that our hosts for the award ceremony are parents themselves. Maura Derrane and her husband, Fine Gael TD John Deasy, welcomed their son, Cal, last year, while Brian Ormond and his wife Pippa O’Connor welcomed son Ollie two years ago; Brian also has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship. So it’s fair to say that both our hosts can certainly relate to the joys and juggling acts of raising a child shared by many of our readers. Maura Derrane, who presents The Today Show with Dáithí Ó Sé on RTÉ each weekday, tells us how delighted she is to be hosting our Awards this year. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be involved with the Awards, both as MC and by following the Awards journey on the Today show. It’s a great celebration of parenting and also the people who take care of our precious little bundles, like great crèches and regular folk who go the extra mile to help parents in difficult circumstances. I’m excited to see which baby products come out on top because the awards are voted for by the public who are the best judges.” Her young son Cal is 16 months old now, so Maura is well placed to advise new parents about the tough first few months. “Like most new parents we were a bit nervous when we brought Cal home from the hospital. Every time he cried we thought there was something wrong, but the reality is that babies are a lot more robust than we think. We quickly learned to take things step by step and not panic. I would tell new parents to relax and be practical when it comes to those early weeks. Every baby is different and no baby or parenting book will tell you how to handle yours. Try and get a nap whenever you can and don’t try and be too perfect. All will work out.” The Boots maternity & infant Awards celebrates the people who help and support us along our parenting journey, as well as those who have gone that extra mile to help. So we have to ask Maura, who has helped her along her parenting journey? “My husband and my family were great and my obstetrician Cathy Allen was amazing. Pregnancy is a very individual journey. I had a great pregnancy apart from the crazy heartburn towards the end. It is amazing to see your baby growing with each

MI Oct_Nov 2015_MI Awards.indd 23

scan. It is a miraculous experience.” The other part of the Awards names the products that as parents, we find invaluable for ourselves and our babies. Our product award winners are real winners as they are tried, tested and approved by parents nationwide. Maura has her own personal favourite product. “I love La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5. It is not specifically a baby product but it’s amazing for everything from dry skin to nappy rash.” Finally, we had to ask Maura about juggling her busy media career and motherhood – thankfully she finds it as tricky as the rest of us. “I think it is difficult. I feel I am always rushing trying to juggle everything. It is tough at times but I love my job and having good childcare is the key. As long as Cal is happy and healthy and I can do both I’m happy.” Ultimately, the rushing around and the tiredness and juggling are worth it. “The biggest surprise of motherhood for me was the overwhelming love you feel for your child. There is nothing to compare to it, and it grows with each passing day.”

SIGN UP TO BE A PRODUCT TESTER TODAY! Sometimes word of mouth is the best recommendation you can get. Help us find out what products are best for your little ones by signing up today on

29/09/2015 12:40



Did you get enough support with breastfeeding in the hospital?



Were you put under any pressure, either in hospital or afterwards, to “top up” with formula?


% NO

OUR SURVEY We surveyed 100 maternity & infant readers to get their opinions on breastfeeding support.


% Q

of women wanted to breastfeed.

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68 Q % 83 Q %

Were you given enough information about breastfeeding when pregnant?

Did you try breastfeeding?



Was support offered to you after you got home?

Were you made aware of breastfeeding support, both public and private, by medical professionals?

53 % 62 % NO


29/09/2015 09:36




Despite the overwhelming evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding, Ireland still has one of the lowest rates in Europe. Could lack of support be a major contributory factor? SIMONE KENNY GLENNON investigates.




of women felt they were given support to breastfeed for as long as they could.

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here is no denying the health benefits associated with breastfeeding – both for mum and baby. Yet despite this, recent figures released by the OECD indicate that only 56 per cent of Irish mums attempt it. This figure drops to 42 per cent within the first 48 hours and more rapidly to 16 per cent (who exclusively breastfeed) between three and four months. So why do 40 per cent of women who start breastfeeding more or less stop between birth and four months? As is with parenthood generally, breastfeeding is not without its challenges – but is a lack of support during these first critical days and weeks a factor? Not in theory at least, there is a plethora of resources available – both ante and postnatal. “All mothers have antenatal discussions on infant feeding during pregnancy, and an antenatal checklist in their charts. Antenatal classes also promote breastfeeding and breastfeeding workshops may be provided,” says HSE National Breastfeeding Coordinator Siobhan Hourigan. Traditionally, breastfeeding information is passed on from generation to generation – as is the way in countries where breastfeeding is accepted as a cultural norm. However, Ireland lost a generation of breastfeeding mums “as breastfeeding rates were so low in the 60s, 70s and early 80s,” explains Siobhan. “Breastfeeding mothers in Ireland therefore need support from agencies including the health services and voluntary breastfeeding organisations.” So most breastfeeding support is provided by maternity service and community healthcare providers, as well as through over 200 support groups nationwide. “Support groups are provided by lactation consultants (international board certified lactation consultants – IBCLCs), public health nurses (PHNs) and

voluntary breastfeeding organisations La Leche League and Cuidiú. La Leche League groups are provided by trained and accredited leaders and Cuidiú groups by trained breastfeeding counsellors. Friends of Breastfeeding provide mum-to-mum groups for social support,” says Siobhan. However, despite all these resources, the figures – as well as anecdotal evidence from mums and breastfeeding volunteers, suggests adequate support is still lacking. “There is a support network available through community-based support and PHN clinics,” says Sue Jameson, IBCLC breastfeeding tutor and counsellor with Cuidiú. “What there may not be is the right person available at the right time to intervene and help the mother make a change that will ultimately improve her experience of breastfeeding. The voluntary groups in general provide the out of hours cover and this can be hit and miss as they have their own families’ needs to take care of first. Without the network of volunteers things would be a lot worse.” The timing and personal nature of the support is a key factor adds Sue. “Women need a lot more personal support in the first two weeks at least. Daily visits, as with the Domino Scheme or Home Births hugely assist with mothers’ early learning. All of this can be provided privately but it should be part of the state’s maternity care package for all women. The voluntary groups provide the bulk of mother-to-mother support but mothers have to know they exist and how to access this resource.” Maternity hospitals are the first critical source of support before and after birth. And while many are improving their care (all 19 maternity units participate in the WHO Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative devised

29/09/2015 09:36


COMMENTS We surveyed 100 maternity & infant readers to get their opinions on breastfeeding support. Here are some of their comments:

“I have recently moved back to Ireland, and feel if I had had my baby here I may not have chosen to breastfeed or have lasted as long as I did. In Australia, nearly all shopping centres and restaurants have a parents’ room, with private curtains, comfy couches, TVs, microwaves, etc. I find the facilities in Ireland very poor.” “My child rejected the breast when he was born. Nurses in hospital tried to help by getting me to call them for every feed but they were run off their feet and at one stage I was left for 45 minutes with a screaming hungry child. Ended up having to give formula as he was getting jaundice. Not a happy experience.” “Breastfed for 13 months with first child and currently feeding five month old. Level of support in hospital appalling. Community midwives were excellent.” “I had done my research and joined breastfeeding groups etc, so felt like I had the knowledge to do it; however, some women don’t or are given the wrong or misleading information and trusting what they’ve been told, decided to stop. I think more needs to be done in hospitals and in GPs.” “I got the best support from the breastfeeding nurse. But I found information about these nurses myself. I couldnt get any help at hospital. I only breastfed my baby, because the breastfeeding nurse came to visit me at home and helped with latching.” “I was lucky that I had such a great team of midwives in the Domino scheme, but I’ve seen my sister receive ridicule for both trying and giving up from different nurses. I really do believe it’s down to which nurse you are under. I was lucky that I had no issues with breastfeeding both my kids, but I have seen people ostracised over it.”

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to facilitate breastfeeding, though only nine are designated Baby Friendly Hospitals), the lack of skilled postnatal assistance is still an issue, says Sue. “Hospitals are improving in the early postnatal care for women, however many mothers express their dismay at the lack of availability of this skilled timely assistance that they feel would make a difference. “In-house IBCLCs – the numbers currently employed in that specific role is hugely insufficient. In the large hospitals, a team of 10 would be appropriate and currently there might be 1.5 – three posts for up to 8,000 births. The international recommendation is one per 1,000 births. Having said that, I feel we are on the cusp of big change, with more midwives also qualifying as IBCLCs.” According to Siobhan, of the 170-plus IBCLCs in Ireland, most are working in the health service, but not necessarily in a lactation consultant post; “there are clinical midwives/ nurse specialists in lactation posts in 10 of the 19 maternity units”. However although Siobhan sees the increase in the number of IBCLCs in healthcare positions “as positive, whether working as a midwife, nurse PHN, doctor or dietitian,” the problem is that this role is performed in conjunction with many other important roles, so due time is not always afforded specifically to breastfeeding. Once mums are discharged it can be overwhelming so this is another critical time when

breastfeeding mums need specialist support. “Support from healthcare professionals is important in the early days/weeks to assess that feeding is going well and to help if mums are having any difficulties,” says Siobhan. However, what seems to be most lacking is not the volume of resources but the frequency and quality. “Daily visits from skilled helpers can make the difference between overcoming difficulty and throwing in the towel,” says Sue. Unfortunately, there are currently no state provisions for daily visits from a lactation consultant – something Sue thinks should be addressed. “Community-based IBCLCs that mothers could access through their local health centre would be a step forward. Many PHNs are indeed IBCLCs but that is only a tiny portion of their daily workload. They also have the elderly, the chronically sick and all the range of care in the community cases to attend to, in addition to new mothers. Many express regret that they cannot spend more time with mothers in the early days.” However, society has a role to play too in offering support, such as making breastfeeding more visible in the community. “Until we address the underlying issues, such as the prominence and endorsement of not breastfeeding, paying lip service to breastfeeding without providing the necessary skilled, timely assistance, means improving breastfeeding support and rates is a slow road,” says Sue.

OVER TO YOU “I think there should be home visits from lactation consultants provided for any mother experiencing challenges until feeding is fully established.” Arts manager and performer Tríona Ní Dhuibhir lives in Dublin and is mum to Ruby (4) and Juno (2) and expecting her third baby. My mother breastfed, even though in her generation this was unusual. I knew instinctively that it was the best option for my baby but I also knew that not all women found it easy. There was a lot of breastfeeding promotion in the health system during pregnancy too, validating my decision. But my experience in the hospital was not so good, which is a pity as the first few days are crucial. The postnatal ward was chronically under resourced and there seemed to be no cohesive policy in relation to postnatal care. Each nurse during those first 48 hours had a different notion – depending on her culture or opinion – as to how to approach breastfeeding. After two days I was utterly confused, exhausted, devastated and in pain. Ruby was a petite baby and I was put under a lot of pressure from PHNs and the hospital to ‘top her up’. Luckily, when I almost caved at two weeks I was strongly advised otherwise. It just felt wrong – she was alert, happy and simply petite. I stuck to my guns and breastfed for six months. The most important support came from a local health centre breastfeeding group. The nurse who ran it was not empathetic or helpful but the other mothers compensated for this. I think there is a danger that healthcare professionals forget just how intense the first experience of motherhood is. I don’t think there is enough support for feeding mothers. Not from the hospital, the public health system or from society. Postnatal care and support was not adequate. I found PHN intervention extremely unhelpful; however, the Domino service was fantastic and my GP was very supportive. What was missing was more consistent and targeted lactation support. I think there should be home visits from lactation consultants provided for any mother experiencing challenges until feeding is fully established.

29/09/2015 09:37

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29/09/2015 17:00





BUT IMPOSSIBLE.” Amanda McGuinness is mum to Hailey, Conor and Jack, and tells us here about how Conor’s special needs have challenged and changed her as a mum.


ith tears welling in his beautiful eyes, Conor places his tiny hands on my face, bringing me close to his. With our noses all but touching he gazes, hoping if he looks just deeply enough, I will know what his heart aches to say but can’t. At moments like this I wish I could go back in time to when I was pregnant with Conor and magic away his special needs. Just shy of 18 months old, Conor was finally diagnosed with autism, sensory processing disorder, developmental delay and related insomnia. Sitting with Conor on my lap in a small hospital cubicle on a hot, sunny August day, I remember I couldn’t lift my head to look up when the doctor spoke to me. But as she spoke, Conor smiled up at me as if to say, ‘it will be alright mammy, we all know now’. By the time he was diagnosed, Conor had been consistently awake every night since the day he was born, screaming, exhausted. He spent months at a time not eating at all, couldn’t hold a bottle, had only just learned to sit up and couldn’t yet crawl or walk. Eventually he became oblivious to us all: no longer recognising his own name, speaking or wanting to play with his big sister Hailey. He was aloof, body rocking, hand flapping oblivious; it was autism. I felt lost for so long afterwards; I had panic attacks, blackouts with stress. I was so unsure of everything, how could I help my little man? Was it my fault? Maybe I didn’t hug him, kiss him, love him enough. Hailey missed having Conor to play with, and asked all the time when Conor would talk, maybe Santa would bring his voice back? I didn’t know how to explain it to her without hurting her heart. One day she waddled over, giving me a squeeze; she looked up with her piercing blue eyes and in her three-yearold wisdom said “it ok Mammy, Conor here”. She was right, he

MI Oct_Nov 2015_MummyMyWay.indd 28

was still my lovely Conor, still her handsome brother. I always had a vision of what being a ‘mammy’ entailed, yet Conor has helped me to look to the future always. To stay positive even when it seems all but impossible. I have learned to be a new kind of mammy since having my gorgeous Conor. I spend the day carrying out physio, occupational and speech therapy. Then on nights when Conor can’t sleep at all despite medication, I’ll be up watching he doesn’t hurt himself as he dances and giggles the hours away. Lately I see how it plays on Hailey’s mind more than ever, asking when he will talk; she can’t wait to finally have someone to talk to. At the same time I watch her with Conor, always the first to take his hand; protect him, to say “good boy Conor” when he masters a skill most take for granted. She is his biggest fan, has a heart filled with optimism and empathy. Recently when someone was laughing that her brother couldn’t talk despite being five she asked the boy “how would you like to be five, not be able to talk?” Later she said that little tears came out but she pushed them back in. My heart broke with pain yet with pride. She is the next generation who will protect and look out for the many vulnerable in our world. I am thankful every day for Hailey, Conor and their baby brother Jack. Collectively they have helped me see what matters most in life; the sleeping faces I kiss good night, the squeezes little arms can give each day and please God some day, the words my little ones will say. I love you Hailey, Conor and Jack. x Amanda blogs about parenting at, focusing especially on parenting a child with autism and other special needs.

29/09/2015 09:38

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29/09/2015 17:01



FLYING NICK WILKINSON’s children are convinced he is a big scaredy cat – and are going to some lengths to prove it this Hallowe’en…


e were scarily late. Even more than is usual for this time of year. I tore through the kitchen, yelling at my family to run for it. But the house was empty. I ran outside and found them waiting in the car. Weird. We were halfway to school when I felt something strange on my seat. I reached down and pulled a huge rubber spider from beneath my legs. My wife and kids squealed with laughter. I nearly crashed the car. I like a good practical joke as much as the next dad. What irked was their accusation that after grabbing the wobbly arachnoid from under my bottom, I shrieked like a big baby. This ‘shrieking’ accusation had already gone too far. It began in the summer when my son and I conquered Mr. Tayto’s mighty new rollercoaster. We gripped each other’s hands as the wagon cranked skyward. It crested the top of a wooden peak and shot down, leaving my guts in the air. I don’t remember much after that. As we came off the ride, I asked my son what he’d thought. Not bad, he decided, but he couldn’t be sure because he’d kept his eyes shut the whole way around. “That’s no fun,” I said. “I shut them when you started screaming.” He was mistaken. It was the dad behind us. I couldn’t prove it on another rollercoaster ride because the queue had grown too long. He led me to the zip wire. We were strapped into our harnesses and began climbing to the top of the tower. We passed several people climbing back down, having lost their nerve. I kept mine. At the top, we were separated and had to fly separately. Alone on a zip wire, nobody can hear you scream. When we reached the other tower, wind conditions meant that adults my size couldn’t take the return trip by wire. My son decided that he would walk back with me. I insisted that he not miss out on any fun. If seeing me slightly freaked had made him lose his nerve, then he had to get right back on the horse. The metal steps clanged ominously as we climbed again. I looked down, realised how high we were, and how much I was crushing his hand. I said something soothing about the amazing views and dragged him to the top of the steps. He didn’t seem any happier. “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” I said. “I don’t want to.”

“You do really.” He looked at me. He wasn’t fibbing. “You’ll regret it if you don’t. Look there’s a girl jumping with no hands.” A teenage girl shrieked with glee as she leaped into the abyss. “The man said that you’re supposed to hold on with both hands.” I explained that once you were in the air, the man couldn’t really do anything to intervene. “What if my rope snaps?” I struggled for an answer. “Next,” said the man. I gently shoved my son forward and gave an enthusiastic thumbs up. He managed a weak smile before he gripped the harness and stepped off the platform. He zipped away down the wire, his little body wrapped tight around the harness. I started back down the steel steps, not sure whether it was vertigo or guilt that made me feel so queasy. By the time I’d made it to the opposite tower, he was beaming. “See? You’re glad you did it.” “I don’t have to go again, do I?” he asked, suddenly alarmed. No, he didn’t. And that, I thought, was that. But the shrieking thing never went away. Perhaps the boy was still out for revenge. I don’t blame him. The Hallowe’en season has given everyone in this house the opportunity to test my metal. Hence, the spider. More attempts to coax this phantom shrieking failed. The argument was in danger of becoming heated. My wife decided to put a stop to it. She took out a photograph. It’s one of those automatic photos taken during a rollercoaster ride. It shows me, eyes wide with fear, veins popping in my neck in what could be described as mid-scream. Beside me is a child with his hands over his eyes. The girls in our house jeered. My son leaned closer and whispered. He may even have squeezed my hand. “It’s okay, Dad. I was screaming too.” Next time he decides to walk away from the zip line, we’ll do it together.

“What irked was their accusation that after grabbing the wobbly arachnoid from under my bottom, I shrieked like a big baby.”

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Dads's Diary.indd 30

28/09/2015 17:41




image: boob design

Breastfeeding in public never seems to be out of the headlines lately. We find it shocking that people still have an issue with it; that said, we do want to feel comfortable and confident while nursing. For this issue, we focus on nursing in style; trendy and stylish nursing clothes that are stunning enough to stay in your wardrobe even after you’ve got your boobs back to yourself! We’re also crushing on Imogen Thomas’s simple and elegant pregnancy style on page 34 and seeing how one simple shawl will bring you from your first trimester right through to the maternity ward and afterwards.

MI Oct_Nov 2015_StyleOpener.indd 31

29/09/2015 09:46


Trimester Trends Make a comfy shawl your ultimate style statement right through your pregnancy. This camel cable-knit nursing shawl from Seraphine can also be worn as a scarf. Try these three looks with the versatile shawl to take you right up to the maternity ward.
















3 4 4




5 6 6

7 6 1 Camel cable knit nursing shawl, €75, Seraphine 2 Maternity striped top, €30, Topshop 3 Shopper, €76, ASOS 4 Colour crush matte lipstick red siren, €13.50, The Body Shop 5 Red t-bar geek shoes, €38, Topshop 6 Maternity straight-leg cigarette jeans, €46, Next

MI Oct_Nov 2015_TrimesterTrends.indd 32


1 Camel cable knit nursing shawl, €75, Seraphine 2 Maternity black jersey midi dress, €28, Next 3 Bow suede taupe gloves, €9, Penneys 4 Laura Mercier foundation primer protect SPF 30, €41, Brown Thomas 5 F22 HD dome face brush, €13.99, Blank Canvas Cosmetics 6 Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy in Dominant, €29.99, Boots 7 Limited Edition animal print shoes, €38, Marks & Spencer

1 Indigo collection fedora hat, €35, Marks & Spencer 2 Camel cable knit nursing shawl, €75, Seraphine 3 Maternity black pocket t-shirt, €8.99, New Look 4 Tan patchwork bag, €24.99, New Look 5 Boob never off leggings, €40, Cherish Me 6 Essie “Do you speak love” polish, €1.79, stockists nationwide 7 Light brown knee-high heeled boots, €85, River Island

28/09/2015 17:55

33 1



in style

Who said nursing clothes aren’t stylish? You may have to root around the shops to find good nursing wear, but there are plenty of hidden gems that are well worth the investment.

3 4





7 9


MAIN PIC: Holly dress, €75, Bump ‘N’ Babies 1 Prenski Stone Torq chain, €23, Accessorize 2 Navy pom pom fedora hat, €40, River Island 3 Jewel block dress in biscay blue, €115, Tiffany Rose 4 Plaited tassel bracelet, €9, Topshop 5 Deep bordeaux Avenbury nursing top, €85, Isabella Oliver 6 Alessandra midnight garden front dress, €115, Tiffany Rose 7 Blue asymmetric sheer flutter sleeve nursing top, €33, Seraphine 8 Red Mary Jane shoes, €34, Marks & Spencer 9 Navy Naomi nursing dress, €125, Tiffany Rose 10 Star print maternity maxi dress, €77, ASOS 11 Navy jersey top, €29.95, Mamalicious

MI Oct_Nov 2015_MaternityTREND.indd 33

28/09/2015 17:49

34 TREND Diamond essentials pave round silver bracelet, €210, Links London

Tom Ford black orchid, €133, Brown Thomas


STYLE We love this simple look on Imogen Thomas, which is perfect for a night out with the girls or a date night with your partner. Imogen Thomas first came into the public eye after a short stint on Big Brother in 2006, but she really hit the headlines after it was revealed she was having an affair with former Manchester United player Ryan Giggs. The affair was the subject of the controversial gagging order, as Giggs was married with two children at the time. Fast forward four years and Imogen is pregnant with her second child, due this November, with partner Adam Horsley. We love Imogen’s pregnancy style, which is down to earth and stylish, just like this look here. Black is a go-to colour to make you look and feel slimmer. The longer-length dress means that not too much flesh is on show and we’ve teamed it with a leather jacket to keep you warm in the winter months and add a slight edge to the look.

ABOVE: Leather jacket, €199, H&M LEFT: Autograph dress, €76, Marks & Spencer


Black faux suede mini satchel bag, €30, River Island

Alivio shoes, €95, Dune London

MI Oct_Nov 2015_StealHerStyle.indd 34

9ct white gold 0.10ct diamond crossover eternity ring, €56.99, Argos

28/09/2015 17:50

MI Oct_Nov 2015_ads.indd 36

29/09/2015 17:03





2 9




Hallowe’enies Get the little ones looking the part this Hallowe’en with these spook-tacular costumes!


7 6


Main image: Pirate crew outfit, €16.99, Mothercare 1 Witch outfit (3-6yrs), €19.95, Mothercare 2 Hallowe’en bones all-in-one, (9-12mths) €20, Mamas & Papas 3 Fire fairy outfit (3-8yrs), €22.99, Mothercare 4 Firefighter costume (3-4yrs), €16, Smyths 5 Witch’s hat, €6, Accessorize 6 Hallowe’en brooch (three mix), €1, Tiger stores7 Hallowe’en pyjamas top, €5.99, Aldi 8 Hair band with witch’s hat, €3, Tiger stores 9 Monster costume (4-10yrs), €4.99, Lidl 10 Hallowe’en paper pumpkin, €2, Tiger stores

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Toddler_Halloween.indd 36

29/09/2015 12:45



Wrapped Up 1

COSY COATS Wrap them up nice and warm this autumn in these colourful, cosy and stylish coats.

2 2 3 3







Girls: 1 Duffle coat with fur hood (6mths-3yrs), €39.95, Zara 2 Hatley soft deer raincoat (2-4yrs), €45, Brown Thomas 3 Parka coat (0-23mths), €33, Mamas & Papas 4 RJR John Rocha designer girl’s pink embroidered padded coat and mittens (12mths-6yrs), from €61, Debenhams 5 Knit double breasted three-quarter-length coat (6mths-3yrs), €39.95, Zara 6 Billie Blush raincoat (3-8yrs), €69, Arnotts Boys: 1 Quilted hooded jacket (6mths-3yrs), €39.95, Zara 2 Zip-up sleeve padded gilet (1-7yrs), from €38, Marks & Spencer 3 Frugi blue pram suit coat (012mths), €65, Arnotts 4 Padded jacket (0mths-4yrs), €33, Mamas & Papas 5 Rubber coat with dinosaur toy (3mths-6yrs), from €38, Next 6 Quilted bomber jacket (0-2yrs), €12, Penneys

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Toddlers Coats.indd 37

29/09/2015 12:47




1 2

Wrapped Up





Autumn is most definitely here! Dress your little ones in deeper, warmer colours, boots and cosy knits for crisper and colder days. 4







8 7





Girls:1 Carrement Beau felt navy hat (3-8yrs), €38, Arnotts 2 Corduroy pinafore dress (3mths-3yrs), €14.95, Zara 3 Oatmeal stitch cardi (3mths-3yrs), €19.95, Mothercare 4 Ginger ditsy dress (3mths-6yrs), from €17, Next 5 Rose print chiffon dress (3-12yrs), €14, Heatons 6 Ochre cardigan (3mths-6yrs), from €15.50, Next 7 Little Bird by Jools toadstool skirt (9mths-8yrs), €17.95, Mothercare 8 Tulle ra-ra skirt (0-2yrs), €7, Penneys 9 Leather boots with buckle detail (1-3yrs), €35.95, Zara Boys: 1 Bobble beanie hat (5-14yrs), €11, Marks & Spencer 2 Petit Bateau solea pin-cord dungarees (12-24months), €40, Brown Thomas 3 Chain stitch bike crew neck top (3mths-6yrs), from €18.50, Next 4 Boss Kids red cotton trousers (9-24mths), €75, Brown Thomas 5 Cable funnel neck oatmeal jumper (0-2yrs), €9, Penneys 6 Nitlasse K v-neck knit cardigan (1-4yrs), €22.96, name it 7 Green bear tee (3mths-3yrs), €6.95, Mothercare 8 Knit sweater with sudette pocket (6mths-3yrs), €16.95, Zara 9 Denim jeans (18mths-10yrs), €19.99, H&M 10 Navy boots with laces (9mths-3yrs), €25.95, Zara

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Toddlers Autumn.indd 38

29/09/2015 12:50




1 2

Wrapped Up





Autumn is most definitely here! Dress your little ones in deeper, warmer colours, boots and cosy knits for crisper and colder days. 4







8 7





Girls:1 Carrement Beau felt navy hat (3-8yrs), €38, Arnotts 2 Corduroy pinafore dress (3mths-3yrs), €14.95, Zara 3 Oatmeal stitch cardi (3mths-3yrs), €19.95, Mothercare 4 Ginger ditsy dress (3mths-6yrs), from €17, Next 5 Rose print chiffon dress (3-12yrs), €14, Heatons 6 Ochre cardigan (3mths-6yrs), from €15.50, Next 7 Little Bird by Jools toadstool skirt (9mths-8yrs), €17.95, Mothercare 8 Tulle ra-ra skirt (0-2yrs), €7, Penneys 9 Leather boots with buckle detail (1-3yrs), €35.95, Zara Boys: 1 Bobble beanie hat (5-14yrs), €11, Marks & Spencer 2 Petit Bateau solea pin-cord dungarees (12-24months), €40, Brown Thomas 3 Chain stitch bike crew neck top (3mths-6yrs), from €18.50, Next 4 Boss Kids red cotton trousers (9-24mths), €75, Brown Thomas 5 Cable funnel neck oatmeal jumper (0-2yrs), €9, Penneys 6 Nitlasse K v-neck knit cardigan (1-4yrs), €22.96, name it 7 Green bear tee (3mths-3yrs), €6.95, Mothercare 8 Knit sweater with sudette pocket (6mths-3yrs), €16.95, Zara 9 Denim jeans (18mths-10yrs), €19.99, H&M 10 Navy boots with laces (9mths-3yrs), €25.95, Zara

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Toddlers Autumn.indd 38

01/10/2015 14:45

Woodland Fun Wrap Up Warm For Autmn Walks With NEXT This Season

Pinafore Dress from €14

Embroidered Skirt from €18.50

Red zip through hoodie from €30

Embroidered boots from €33

T-bar shoes from €17

Paisley print t-shirt (part of set) from €14

Tartan shorts from €24

Embroidered jeans from €12

Free next day delivery to home when you order by 10pm* (Excludes weekends) To order visit

236591_1C_Mec_Next_MI.indd 1

*Terms, conditions and exceptions apply.

30/09/2015 12:04



FOR LITTLIES H Hallowe’en can be great fun – except if your little one is easily spooked! Here’s how to enjoy the scare fest without the nightmares…

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Halloween.indd 40

allowe’en has become a really big deal in Ireland now, and everyone, young and old, loves the chance to dress up and have a bit of fun! But as adults, it can be hard to remember that what seems like a tiny scare for us can give a little one nightmares for weeks! Remember that kids can find it difficult to distinguish between reality and pretend, so it might be an idea to tone down the blood and gore. Remember, too, that the nights are drawing in, and your little one mightn’t remember the dark nights from last year – so that might be

scary enough without covering your house in glow-in-the-dark skeletons and skulls as well. However, introducing your pre-schooler to the fun of Hallowe’en in an age-appropriate way will pay off in years to come as your child learns to get into the spirit without getting scared unnecessarily – which could result in them getting a phobia about Hallowe’en that might be hard to shift. Here we’ve gathered some ideas to make the most out of Hallowe’en with pre-schoolers without scaring the living daylights out of them.

28/09/2015 17:45



FOR LITTLIES H Hallowe’en can be great fun – except if your little one is easily spooked! Here’s how to enjoy the scare fest without the nightmares…

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Halloween.indd 40

allowe’en has become a really big deal in Ireland now, and everyone, young and old, loves the chance to dress up and have a bit of fun! But as adults, it can be hard to remember that what seems like a tiny scare for us can give a little one nightmares for weeks! Remember that kids can find it difficult to distinguish between reality and pretend, so it might be an idea to tone down the blood and gore. Remember, too, that the nights are drawing in, and your little one mightn’t remember the dark nights from last year – so that might be

scary enough without covering your house in glow-in-the-dark skeletons and skulls as well. However, introducing your pre-schooler to the fun of Hallowe’en in an age-appropriate way will pay off in years to come as your child learns to get into the spirit without getting scared unnecessarily – which could result in them getting a phobia about Hallowe’en that might be hard to shift. Here we’ve gathered some ideas to make the most out of Hallowe’en with pre-schoolers without scaring the living daylights out of them.

01/10/2015 14:42




Kid-friendly trick or treating

There’s no need to miss out on trick or treating just because your child is young. Instead, modify it a bit. Try and go when it’s light outside, so if you encounter other trick or treaters (especially bigger children), they don’t look as scary as they might in the dark. Bring them to the houses of people they know, rather than every house in the neighbourhood, as some houses might go in for scary decorations or costumes. Remember – fake spiderwebs might seem lame to you, but to your pre-schooler, it could be the equivalent of meeting the devil himself. If all else fails, just bring them over to relatives’ houses and then head home. The excitement of knocking on even one door and getting praised and admired is probably enough for your little one. Look out, too, for family-friendly Hallowe’en night events in your local shopping centres – these tend to be geared towards younger families and the familiarity of the location will be comforting for your tot.


Dress-up time

Playing dress-up is fun for every preschooler, and with costumes available in shops like Dunnes and Tesco all year round, there’s generally plenty of opportunity. So what’s so different about Hallowe’en? Not much, except that rather than the friendly Disney characters and princesses all pre-schoolers love to dress up as, there’s more of a tendency towards skeletons, witches and Frankenstein monsters. And with clever make-up techniques, masks and accessories, for a pre-schooler these can look horribly scary. Introduce your child to more scary Hallowe’en characters by showing them pictures of and stories about friendly versions of the same characters – in other words, friendly ghosts, witches and monsters. Another strategy you can try is introducing your child to masks by letting them try on some, and perhaps making your own from paper and string. Let them look in the mirror with the mask on so they can see that it’s them inside the mask.


Fun with pumpkins

Children get great mileage out of pumpkins at Hallowe’en. Make getting the pumpkin a big event by locating a pumpkin farm near you – many have special events coming up to Hallowe’en or carving demonstrations. Once you get it home, Google some pumpkin designs and decide with your child which one to attempt. Then it’s time to carve it. You need a very sharp knife so this is one job you’ll have to do yourself. But your child can help by scooping out some of the seeds and helping to draw the design on the outside to give you a guide when cutting. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect – your child will be too excited to care when he sees it all lit up with the light within. For extra safety, use a battery-powered light rather than a candle. These can be easily picked up at supermarkets or convenience stores like Dealz.


Play the game


Age-appropriate “scary” movies

When you’re back in from trick or treating, curl up on the sofa with a special Hallowe’en movie – but choose your film carefully! There are lots of non-scary Hallowe’en movies that will introduce Hallowe’en without scaring your children to distraction. Some of our favourites include Caspar the Friendly Ghost, Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie, Monsters Inc, The Witches, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Look out for Hallowe’en versions of their favourite cartoons, for instance, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse often has a Hallowe’en special adventure.

Decided to go all out and have a little party for Hallowe’en? When it comes to entertainment, resist the urge to introduce your child to Murder in the Dark (they really don’t need to know about murders quite yet), and instead try some less scary Hallowe’en games. Apple dunking is always a winner, but make sure you show your child what to do and supervise them at all times. Or try a variation on Pin the Tail on the Donkey – Pin the Wart on the Witch’s Nose, by giving a blindfolded player a piece of playdoh that they must try and put on the witch’s nose. Or if you have a larger group of kids, play Musical Zombies – Musical Statues with a Hallowe’en twist.

HORRIBLE HISTORIES BONFIRES Hallowe’en has its roots in the Samhain festival, which in ancient Celtic Ireland marked the transition from the lighter half year to the darker one. It was believed that the division between our world and the spiritual world was at its thinnest at Samhain, allowing spirits to freely and easily pass through. Bonfires were lit to keep spirits away. Households were told to extinguish their own fires in their hearths to make their homes less inviting to spirits, and then to relight them afterwards using embers from the communal bonfire, which were carried home in hollowed-out turnips.

TRICK OR TREATING During Samhain, it became customary to dress up as scary ghosts and spirits, the theory being that if they bumped into an evil spirit, the spirit would be scared off by the costume and would let them go. Centures ago in Ireland, the poor would go from door to door singing and saying prayers for the dead in return for food (“souling”). In Scotland, children used to engage in “guising”, going from door to door in costume and carrying lanterns made out of hollowed-out turnips, looking for coins and treats.

BARN BRACK A barn brack is a traditional Irish fruit cake containing a number of items that signify certain things if you find them in your slice: 4 A piece of rag: you may encounter poverty 4 A coin: you may become rich 4 A ring: you might enjoy romance 4 A thimble: you may never marry

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Halloween.indd 41

JACK O’LANTERNS There are two stories behind the use of pumpkins – one is that hollowed-out turnips were used to bring home the ember from the bonfire (see left). The other refers to an old Irish legend that tells the story of Stingy Jack, an Irish blacksmith who tricked the devil several times and was then refused entry into heaven. As revenge, the devil wouldn’t let him into hell, and instead Jack has to wander the earth with a piece of coal inside a turnip to light his way. Scary faces were carved into turnips and lit up to keep Jack’s spirit away from houses – the turnip became a pumpkin when the Irish and Scots mass emigrated to the States as pumpkins were cheaper and more common.

28/09/2015 17:46




Kid-friendly trick or treating

There’s no need to miss out on trick or treating just because your child is young. Instead, modify it a bit. Try and go when it’s light outside, so if you encounter other trick or treaters (especially bigger children), they don’t look as scary as they might in the dark. Bring them to the houses of people they know, rather than every house in the neighbourhood, as some houses might go in for scary decorations or costumes. Remember – fake spiderwebs might seem lame to you, but to your pre-schooler, it could be the equivalent of meeting the devil himself. If all else fails, just bring them over to relatives’ houses and then head home. The excitement of knocking on even one door and getting praised and admired is probably enough for your little one. Look out, too, for family-friendly Hallowe’en night events in your local shopping centres – these tend to be geared towards younger families and the familiarity of the location will be comforting for your tot.


Dress-up time

Playing dress-up is fun for every preschooler, and with costumes available in shops like Dunnes and Tesco all year round, there’s generally plenty of opportunity. So what’s so different about Hallowe’en? Not much, except that rather than the friendly Disney characters and princesses all pre-schoolers love to dress up as, there’s more of a tendency towards skeletons, witches and Frankenstein monsters. And with clever make-up techniques, masks and accessories, for a pre-schooler these can look horribly scary. Introduce your child to more scary Hallowe’en characters by showing them pictures of and stories about friendly versions of the same characters – in other words, friendly ghosts, witches and monsters. Another strategy you can try is introducing your child to masks by letting them try on some, and perhaps making your own from paper and string. Let them look in the mirror with the mask on so they can see that it’s them inside the mask.


Fun with pumpkins

Children get great mileage out of pumpkins at Hallowe’en. Make getting the pumpkin a big event by locating a pumpkin farm near you – many have special events coming up to Hallowe’en or carving demonstrations. Once you get it home, Google some pumpkin designs and decide with your child which one to attempt. Then it’s time to carve it. You need a very sharp knife so this is one job you’ll have to do yourself. But your child can help by scooping out some of the seeds and helping to draw the design on the outside to give you a guide when cutting. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect – your child will be too excited to care when he sees it all lit up with the light within. For extra safety, use a battery-powered light rather than a candle. These can be easily picked up at supermarkets or convenience stores like Dealz.


Play the game


Age-appropriate “scary” movies

When you’re back in from trick or treating, curl up on the sofa with a special Hallowe’en movie – but choose your film carefully! There are lots of non-scary Hallowe’en movies that will introduce Hallowe’en without scaring your children to distraction. Some of our favourites include Caspar the Friendly Ghost, Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie, Monsters Inc, The Witches, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Look out for Hallowe’en versions of their favourite cartoons, for instance, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse often has a Hallowe’en special adventure.

Decided to go all out and have a little party for Hallowe’en? When it comes to entertainment, resist the urge to introduce your child to Murder in the Dark (they really don’t need to know about murders quite yet), and instead try some less scary Hallowe’en games. Apple dunking is always a winner, but make sure you show your child what to do and supervise them at all times. Or try a variation on Pin the Tail on the Donkey – Pin the Wart on the Witch’s Nose, by giving a blindfolded player a piece of playdoh that they must try and put on the witch’s nose. Or if you have a larger group of kids, play Musical Zombies – Musical Statues with a Hallowe’en twist.

HORRIBLE HISTORIES BONFIRES Hallowe’en has its roots in the Samhain festival, which in ancient Celtic Ireland marked the transition from the lighter half year to the darker one. It was believed that the division between our world and the spiritual world was at its thinnest at Samhain, allowing spirits to freely and easily pass through. Bonfires were lit to keep spirits away. Households were told to extinguish their own fires in their hearths to make their homes less inviting to spirits, and then to relight them afterwards using embers from the communal bonfire, which were carried home in hollowed-out turnips.

TRICK OR TREATING During Samhain, it became customary to dress up as scary ghosts and spirits, the theory being that if they bumped into an evil spirit, the spirit would be scared off by the costume and would let them go. Centures ago in Ireland, the poor would go from door to door singing and saying prayers for the dead in return for food (“souling”). In Scotland, children used to engage in “guising”, going from door to door in costume and carrying lanterns made out of hollowed-out turnips, looking for coins and treats.

BARN BRACK A barn brack is a traditional Irish fruit cake containing a number of items that signify certain things if you find them in your slice: 4 A piece of rag: you may encounter poverty 4 A coin: you may become rich 4 A ring: you might enjoy romance 4 A thimble: you may never marry

MI Oct_Nov 2015_Halloween.indd 41

JACK O’LANTERNS There are two stories behind the use of pumpkins – one is that hollowed-out turnips were used to bring home the ember from the bonfire (see left). The other refers to an old Irish legend that tells the story of Stingy Jack, an Irish blacksmith who tricked the devil several times and was then refused entry into heaven. As revenge, the devil wouldn’t let him into hell, and instead Jack has to wander the earth with a piece of coal inside a turnip to light his way. Scary faces were carved into turnips and lit up to keep Jack’s spirit away from houses – the turnip became a pumpkin when the Irish and Scots mass emigrated to the States as pumpkins were cheaper and more common.

01/10/2015 14:42




FACTOR T Think of pregnancy, and you think of a prettily pregnant lady gazing serenely at cute baby clothes as her baby gently kicks inside her. The truth is rather different, however, as our guide to those embarrassing pregnancy problems reveals…

MI Oct_Nov 2015_embarrasing.indd 42

here is much about pregnancy that’s beautiful – those kicks, choosing your baby’s name, going to the scan, talking nonstop about your baby and the wonderful future as a family that lies in front of you… But what nobody really tells you about is the little niggles that have you up at 3am consulting your pregnancy guide in a panic. Or those frankly embarrassing little side effects of growing a baby in your body. We have two things to say though: 1) you’re not alone, and 2) don’t be afraid to get help for whatever embarrassing problem you’ve encountered (life is too short for piles, for instance). Here’s a guide to some of the most common embarrassing problems in pregnancy – but as always, if you are worried, always talk to your GP or midwife.

28/09/2015 17:43

43 PREGNANCY Flatulence



Excess gas can surprise a lot of people in pregnancy, but you’re not alone – nearly everyone has an embarrassing fart story from pregnancy yoga. When pregnant, you have much higher levels of progesterone, which relaxes muscles throughout your body, including your gastrointestinal tract. This slows down your digestion, which can lead to gas, bloating, burping, and flatulence. In addition, as your baby grows, your uterus pushes on your stomach, which leads to more bloating and gas. This can also lead to heartburn and constipation. Nice. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Unfortunately, gas and bloating are very common in pregnancy, and you can’t completely eliminate them. You can help, however, by eating slowly and chewing well; opting for smaller, more frequent meals; sitting upright when eating; wearing loser clothing around your tummy; avoiding carbonated drinks; looking for “trigger” foods like too much fruit, sorbitol, and fatty and fried foods; avoiding chewing gum; and getting regular exercise. For heartburn and indigestion issues, there are a number of over-thecounter remedies available, so always talk to a pharmacist or GP.

Hemorrhoids, or piles, affect more than half of all pregnant women, especially later in pregnancy. Piles are varicose veins in the rectum, and can occur both externally and internally. External piles look like small bunches of grapes. They are caused by increased blood flow in the area, and pressure from the growing uterus. Constipation is common thanks to hormonal changes affecting the digestive tract, and this can add to the problem. Piles can often cause rectal bleeding (particularly if they burst); however, all instances of bleeding should be investigated by your GP or midwife. The good news is that piles generally go away after you give birth. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Prevention is definitely better than cure when it comes to piles. Your first port of call is ensuring you have a good diet, drinking plenty of water and eating fibre-rich food, to make sure you don’t get constipated. Regular exercise, including your Kegel exercises, can help circulation, which will prevent issues like piles. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time, and don’t sleep on your back – this will reduce pressure on the area. If you do get piles, keep the area clean and try a warm bath, an ice pack or witch hazel to relieve discomfort; you can also invest in a doughnut-shaped pillow if sitting is too uncomfortable. Finally, try an over-the-counter remedy for piles, or see your GP if the discomfort gets too much. Remember- there is usually always something that can be done so make sure you seek medical advice if needed.

Urinary incontinence during and after pregnancy is surprisingly common – we say “surprisingly” because it seems that no one talks about it! Hormone changes and pressure on the bladder from your growing uterus can affect the way in which your urethra relaxes and contracts during pregnancy. This can lead to stress incontinence, in which you may leak urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh or exercise. Studies have found that there are some risk factors for stress incontinence during pregnancy, such as a family history of incontinence, a higher body mass index, extra weight gain during pregnancy, and expectant mums above the age of 35. WHAT YOU CAN DO: There is plenty you can do to help prevent stress incontinence, such as avoiding an over-full bladder or watching your weight gain during pregnancy. But probably the most important piece of advice is to make sure you are doing your Kegel exercises regularly – experts suggest you do 10-20 in a row, two or three times a day. Kegel exercises are when you contract the same muscles you would to stop the flow of urine, holding for a count of 10 before releasing. These strengthen your pelvic floor. Stress incontinence generally gets better after pregnancy as your muscles recover, but some women find that the problem lingers or reoccurs later in life. A good aid is the NUK Pelvic Floor Trainer, €24.99, which is available in pharmacies nationwide. Always talk to your doctor or midwife if you are concerned about leaking before or after pregnancy.

Leaking breasts

Varicose veins

Delivery “extras”

It’s not just your uterus that’s preparing to give birth – your breasts are also preparing to nourish your newborn baby. High levels of the hormone prolactin towards the end of pregnancy can result in fluid leaking from your nipples when they are touched or stimulated. This is perfectly normal and a sign that your body is getting ready to breastfeed. WHAT YOU CAN DO: You can’t prevent the leaking (and in fact you should see it as a positive thing) but you can be prepared to stop any unsightly and potentially embarrassing damp spots appearing on your clothes by opening up your pack of breastpads early. If the leakage smells bad or looks bloody, check with your doctor or midwife in case it’s a sign of infection. In very rare cases, bloody discharge can be an early warning sign of breast cancer, so always check with your doctor if you are concerned at any stage.

Varicose veins are not just a leg issue – you can also get them on your lady bits too. Vulvar varicose veins are caused by the pressure that your growing uterus puts on the veins in your vagina. Some women are more prone to them than others, and if you had them in a previous pregnancy, you’re more likely to get them again. The good news is that they generally go away after giving birth. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Firstly – don’t panic. Vulvar varicose veins may look scary and may be uncomfortable but they are not dangerous for you or for the baby. Staying active will help prevent them from occurring or from getting worse. A support belt to help with the pressure of the bump might give some relief, or you can get a special support called a V Belt to help the issue. Discomfort can also be helped with an ice pack or chilled gel pad.

While pain and complications are naturally a worry for pregnant women when thinking of the birth, there is another concern that can interrupt sleep: the possibility of pooing during labour. It’s simple really – giving birth requires pushing – and there isn’t a magical “off” switch that ensures the baby comes out and nothing else. WHAT YOU CAN DO: The only thing you can do is to stop worrying about it. This is pretty common, but midwives and obstetricians are aware and prepared for any accidents. With the excitement of the baby coming, plus the power of epidurals, you probably won’t be aware that a little cleanup had to be done.

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28/09/2015 17:43

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29/09/2015 17:04



“JOYS” OF PREGNANCY In a departure from her usual subject matter and following on from our Embarrassing Pregnancy Issues feature, NUK Ireland breastfeeding advisor CLIODNA GILROY tells us her personal pregnancy woes. Warning – not for the faint-hearted!


uch to the delight of my children, I farted the opening bars of Peppa Pig while sitting into my car the other day. Let me explain, I’m six months’ pregnant and have very little control over these things now. But this is by no means the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me during pregnancy so I just had to shake it off. At least I impressed the kids! But this got me thinking. I am in the process of launching a new device for pelvic floor training and the more practice nurses, midwives and physiotherapists I speak to, the more I realise that lots of women are having problems with their pelvic floor and not talking about it because it is embarrassing. So I have decided to rip the plaster off and confess some of the things that have mortified me during this, and previous, pregnancies. I understand some of the embarrassing problems women face only too well; when I was five months’ pregnant with my second child I got a very unfortunately placed varicose vein. I was doing a little bit of lady grooming before a trip to France with my choir and looked down to see what I thought was a lump. My initial reaction was ‘oh dear God I have fanny cancer’, followed by a panic over what type of specialist I would need to see to treat this. Finally I had resigned myself to dying, if not of mortification, then certainly from this dreadful lump. Somewhere between planning my funeral and imagining my son having to spend his teenage years fundraising for causes he did not want to talk about, the penny dropped. Pregnant people get varicose veins. The books talk about having them on your legs, but if you look at the small print they do mention these veins can appear in other places too.

So, on my next hospital appointment I mentioned to the midwife that I had this ‘unfortunately positioned vein’. I could see a knowing grin come across her face as she said that it was quite common due to the pressure of the baby on the pelvis and to let her know if I was experiencing pain as I may need physio. The last thing I was worried about when I discovered this lump was pain and physio, I thought I was going to die! “Well you could have warned me,” I felt like screaming at her. Then I got to thinking, how many women put up with these things because they feel too embarrassed to talk about it. The answer is, too many. I met a new mother the other day who is suffering badly with haemorrhoids but didn’t buy any treatments as there were only men working in the pharmacy when she went to get the special cream, and her embarrassment took over her discomfort. One in three women have to wear a pad every day after giving birth because of a weakened pelvic floor and yet when we put the Pelvic Floor Trainer on our Facebook page I received countless e-mails from women saying that they never talk about this problem and that their doctor, friends, sisters etc don’t know about it. The problem with keeping these embarrassing issues to ourselves is that we won’t find out if there is a treatment. It’s affecting the quality of life of so many women. So if you got a giggle from this article that’s great but I hope it has reassured some of you that you are not alone and, while pregnancy can lead to many mortifications (it’s hard work on your body making a miracle), we all know these embarrassments are well worth the end result. And, if nothing else, I’m sure that all of you reading this have done your pelvic floor exercises for once!

“The problem with keeping these embarrassing issues to ourselves is that we won’t find out if there is a treatment.”

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28/09/2015 17:36


SEX & THE BUMP It may be a natural thing, but sex during pregnancy can bring up a whole host of questions and worries. We get down to the nitty gritty and ask those questions you may be too nervous to ask your GP.

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t seems odd that the very act that resulted in that positive pregnancy test can feel nerve-wracking during the nine months of pregnancy. But unless advised otherwise (and that’s only in rare cases), sex is perfectly safe and healthy during pregnancy, albeit with some modifications once the physical presence of the bump makes itself known. In fact, many women report that they desire more sex during pregnancy, and enjoy it more, thanks to the increased blood flow in the genital area. But now that you are carrying a precious baby, you naturally might have some concerns about sex. Here we ask some of the questions you might have spinning around your head.

Is it safe to have sex in pregnancy? It’s perfectly okay to have sex with your partner. Most women who have a normal pregnancy can continue to have sex right up until their waters break. The amniotic sac and the strong muscles of the uterus protect your baby, and the thick mucus plug that seals the cervix helps guard against infection. You should only abstain from sex if your doctor or midwife instructs you. However, if sex is painful, you should discuss with your doctor or midwife.

Will sex feel different now that I’m pregnant? There is no definitive answer to this question; for some women there is no change but others say it does feel different. The change is more to do with your sexual desire rather than the act itself as Psychologist Alison Bough explains: “Changes in sexual desire are totally normal during pregnancy and the majority of women will find their libido fluctuating to some degree over the course of pregnancy. “Sexual desire is influenced significantly by oestrogen levels (which is much higher at certain points in pregnancy) in women’s bodies and this also plays an important part in pregnant women’s sex drives. There is a lot going on at this time – physically, emotionally and mentally – so it’s important that mums-to-be don’t stress too much about their libido (whether it’s sky-rocketed or completely disappeared) as it’s all pretty much par for the course!” Physically you may feel too tired, moody or nauseated for sex, especially in the first trimester. In the second trimester, as hormones begin to settle down, a woman’s libido usually returns back to normal if not stronger than before. However, enjoy this change while it lasts because it is not uncommon for desire to wane again in the third trimester. At this stage of pregnancy, you may feel exhausted, uncomfortable, have aches and pains, you may feel a little self-conscious as your body balloons out in the final months of pregnancy. Remember, though, that intimacy with your partner is always a positive thing – try a cuddle if you’re not feeling up to a full-on session.

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If you are not in the mood during pregnancy and worried about how your partner will react, it’s best to address it honestly and reassure him that you still love him deeply, as Alison explains: “When there are very significant changes in either partner’s sexual behaviour during pregnancy, open communication is vitally important. If one partner’s libido has completely disappeared it’s important that the other understands the reasons for this, eg that they are feeling exhausted or self-conscious but not because they have fallen out of love. Talk to each other openly about your sexual needs and concerns and you may find a path to compromise. “In that last tricky trimester the reality is that neither of you are probably feeling much like it (not too mention that it takes about an hour to even get into a half-comfortable position). This is a nice opportunity for other, often overlooked, sexual activities to come into their own – so to speak! Spending more time on massage, kissing, and oral sex is a good way to relax, stay physically connected to each other and have some fun while you’re at it.”

What if my partner no longer wants to have sex with me? Most men find their partners even more attractive during pregnancy; however, there are lots of other reasons a man’s libido may wane during this time too. Naturally, for women our minds automatically go into overdrive and we think our partners no longer find us attractive, this is usually far from the truth. “For a lot of men that I speak to about this it has little to do with their partner’s appearance and far more to do with underlying fears about ‘harming’ the baby,” says Alison. “Common male worries include fears that sex could lead to a miscarriage or induce early labour, that the baby is ‘aware’ of what is going on or that they will ‘hit’ the baby on the head. “Even if their partner hasn’t voiced these concerns out loud, women should reassure their partner’s that penetrative sex does not have a negative impact on a normal, healthy, pregnancy. In some specific cases, such as a multiple pregnancy, where there is a history of bleeding or infection during the pregnancy, placenta previa or the baby’s head is engaged, doctors may advise against having sex but this is something that will be specifically highlighted by your doctor or midwife. If in doubt just ask your medical team.”

Is oral sex safe? In most cases yes, oral sex is perfectly safe during pregnancy. However, your partner should not blow into your genital area, as this could cause a bubble of air to get into your blood circulation; this is very rare but can be lifethreatening. If your partner has oral herpes (cold sores), it is best to refrain from oral sex al-

TAKE YOUR POSITION .... What are the best positions during pregnancy? ON TOP: Straddle your partner as he lies on his back. This way, there’ll be no weight on your bump and you can control the depth of penetration. You can also straddle your partner on a sturdy chair.

SIDE SPOONING: Lie on your side as your partner enters you from behind. This is a comfortable position and keeps the weight off the belly and supports the uterus. In the first and second trimester you can face each other for more intimacy.

ON THE EDGE: Lie on the edge of your bed with your legs spread out while your partner enters you standing. You can rest your feet on his chest or stretch them out on his shoulders for extra support. Put some pillows behind you to avoid putting pressure on your back.

FROM BEHIND: Support yourself on your knees and elbows as your partner enters you from behind.

together. If you think your partner could have a sexually transmitted disease, do not have oral or penetrative sex until he has been cleared. Anal sex is off-limits while you are pregnant.

Will my libido return to normal after pregnancy? Sometimes women expect that once they’ve been given the all-clear by their doctor to begin having sex again (usually at their six-week check-up) their libido will suddenly and magically revert to its pre-pregnancy status quo, but this is usually not the case. Babies change everything and they definitely change sex lives. Try and schedule ‘sex dates’ to get you back in the groove, because left to spontaneity it probably just won’t happen in those early days! If you still have concerns a few months after giving birth talk to your doctor. If it becomes a longterm issue then psycho-sexual counselling is another positive step that is available. Alison Bough is a psychologist, mum of three, and the clinical director of in Naas, Co. Kildare. You can find her Tweeting @AlisonBough.

29/09/2015 12:42



BIRTHING A new and very successful programme called Mindfulness for Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP), also known as Mindful Birthing, offers expectant parents help and support on their pregnancy journey, writes DR LOUISE JANE CLARKE.


rom the moment you discover you are pregnant, it is the start of a transformative process of both body and mind. For many women, it is a time like no other in their lives, filled with great excitement but also with great uncertainty, fear and vulnerability. During pregnancy many women are offered medical, dietary and lifestyle advice but unfortunately, little is offered in terms of inner preparation for childbirth and parenthood. This inner preparation is immensely beneficial for mothers and couples as it gives them the skills and resilience that is often needed during this life-changing, uncertain and transformative time. As stress often accompanies significant changes in life, it is imperative to manage stress during pregnancy. Research has shown that stress during pregnancy can cause health

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49 PREGNANCY complications for both mother and baby. Stress hormones are transferred to the foetus, which can lead to early and late births, breathing difficulties and the likelihood of the child developing anxiety in their early years. Furthermore, prenatal and postnatal mood disturbance can interfere with attachment, quality of motherinfant interactions, healthy parenting behaviours, and child development. With a wealth of evidence supporting all these facts, surprisingly little information is available to women and clinicians for reducing stress and improving mood in pregnancy and postpartum. With stress and mood playing a large part in pregnancy, research has found that mindfulness successfully decreases depression and anxiety during pregnancy and boosts positive emotions.

Mindful pregnancy and labour During pregnancy we are working with nature, but unfortunately nature is not always perfect or straightforward. Taking time to learn mindfulness can help you skilfully manage the inevitable stresses of pregnancy and the uncertainty of the birthing process. Many people who complete the MBCP programme report that their confidence increased, their fears decreased, their pain reduced and that it prepared them not only for the birth but their journey after the birth into parenthood. Furthermore, couples who have attended the programme have also reported that the course helped to being them closer as a couple. Mindfulness is also beneficial during the stages of labour, helping to to reduce fears and working with pain. In MBCP, we learn to work with pain, but we also learn ways to live each moment fully, to be aware of our automatic reactions and learn ways that we can notice these reactions and make conscious choices to gently respond to them. Furthermore, it helps women to notice the time between the contractions, which is often missed due to the anticipation of the next contraction. Mindfulness helps to ground you back in the moment, let go of anticipation and preserve energy.


Incorporate these tips into your daily life during your pregnancy and beyond.


Embrace the experience: Begin by slowing down

to ensure you capture the unique moments of your pregnancy. The nine months go by fast! Slowing down is important for your body during pregnancy but it’s also important for your mind.


Focus on the breath:

Regular breathwork during pregnancy can be a wonderful preparation for childbirth and parenthood. The breath is with us all the time and can be practised anywhere. Not only is the breath important for delivering oxygen to the body and in turn to your baby when you are pregnant, but it also helps to ground us in the present, especially during times of stress. The breath also helps us to actively let go of unhelpful/worrisome thoughts and grounds us back in the present. It gives us a place to ground ourselves in the midst of chaos. Therefore it provides a place of calm, clarity and focus, which in turn helps us to respond effectively to stress as opposed to reacting to stressful situations. Your breath is important for your mind and body and for your baby too as they can also sense their parents’ anxiety. For some, connecting with the breath can be difficult as we are conditioned to be ‘doing’ and ‘striving’ and therefore can be uncomfortable when we are just ‘being’. However, with practice and compassion we can learn to just ‘feel’ the sensations of the breath, observing them and letting the breath be as it is, coming and going.

THE MBCP PROGRAMME The MBCP programme consists of eight weekly 2.5 hour classes and one full day class (on a weekend). Following the birth there is a follow-up/reunion session. The course is for birthing partners who attend the full programme to ensure that they support each other and connect during the ever-changing parenthood experience. The course is also suitable for single parents who would like to bring a close relative or friend to enhance their support. KEY SKILLS LEARNT: 4 Learn how to work with pain & fear during childbirth 4 Learn skills to manage stress and anxiety in pregnancy, parenting and daily life.

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4 Build confidence to cope with labour and birth 4 Develop a deep connection with your baby 4 Enhance partner communication skills

4 Cultivate wellbeing & prevent ill health 4 Prevent depression & reduce stress 4 Become more aware of our own approach to parenting and attachment

4 Information on labour, feeding, the postnatal period and the social and emotional needs of the newborn 4 To be part of a community of new parents


Take time to be with your baby: In the chaos


Don’t get too caught up in birth plans: Know-


Continue after the birth: As a new parent,

of day-to-day life before your baby is born, take time out for just a few moments of quiet mindfulness to be with your baby. Simply pause and tune into your physical sensations. Place your hand on your stomach and connect with your baby’s movements and the movement of your breath. Your unborn baby will communicate. Mindfully taking time to stop and pause to ‘be’ with your baby strengthens the connection. Let your baby’s movements serve as a reminder to come to the breath throughout your day.

ing and researching about the kind of birth you want is an important step to making conscious choices about your childbirth. But it’s equally valuable to acknowledge that things often don’t go according to plan. Unfortunately, we can’t plan birth no matter how much we want to. We can’t plan or control the timing or the length of the labour. When and how you deliver may be beyond your control. What you can control is how you deal with the unexpected and how you feel and respond to what unfolds. Be open and flexible to your experience, to benefit from a calm and happy mind.

mindfulness is much more about being present with your baby. You can incorporate mindfulness and being present with your baby when breastfeeding, going for walks with your baby, having ‘you-time’ or when feeling tense or overwhelmed, taking a deep breath to re-balance and regulate and being compassionate to yourself.

Dr Louise Clarke, Reg. Psychol, AFBPsS, is the director of The Irish Mindfulness Centre of Excellence and is offering MBCP courses. For information on upcoming courses please refer to: www. Twitter updates @drlouiseclarke

28/09/2015 18:00

The product most recommended by pharmacists for scars and stretch marks. Retail pharmacist study, 2013

UK’s No.1 selling scar & stretch mark product.

“The one thing my pregnant friends and I discussed at length was stretch marks once you’ve got them, they’re there for good! I used Bio-Oil throughout, morning, noon and night... in fact, I haven’t stopped using it since Liam’s birth. Now that I’m pregnant with twins, I’m going to be using it more than ever! What’s also nice is that it’s not oily. You’ve no idea how many friends and family I’ve told about Bio-Oil!”

IRI, 2015

Tracy with Liam

Bio-Oil® helps reduce the possibility of pregnancy stretch marks forming by increasing the skin’s elasticity. It should be applied twice daily from the first trimester. For comprehensive product information, and details of clinical trials, please visit Bio-Oil is available at pharmacies and selected retailers at the recommended selling price of €10.99 (60ml). Individual results will vary. Distributed in the UK and the Republic of Ireland by Godrej Consumer Products (UK) Ltd.

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29/09/2015 17:05




Stretch marks are a common side effect of weight gain/ loss and pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know about the formation of stretch marks and how and when to treat those pesky unwanted lines.


What are stretch marks? Stretch marks are a

form of scarring caused by the skin stretching during pregnancy, puberty or weight change. During these periods of weight and shape change, collagen and elastin fibres in the skin are stretched, causing a stretched-like scar to appear. Stretch marks form mainly on the thighs, belly and breast area, but can also appear on the bum, hips and back.


What causes them? Stretch marks are caused by the thinning and loss of elasticity in the skin as it is stretched. The weight change certainly contributes to the formation of stretch marks, but hormones produced at this time can also contribute. Elevated hormones released from the adrenal glands during weight change called glucocorticoids can result in the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin to tear when stretched, resulting in the stretch-like scar medically called striae, more commonly known as stretch marks, to appear.


What do they look like? At first, and in

their early stages, stretch marks appear raised and are usually red, pink or purplish in colour. After time, the mark will fade to a white or silvery line, signifying their mature stage. They are hardest to treat in the mature stage, so it’s important to try and help stretch marks as early as possible after they begin to appear.



How do you get rid of stretch marks? There are many different old wives’ tales that tell of magical ways to get rid of stretch marks, from oils to egg whites and lemon juice – we’ve heard and tried them all! But the truth is that each treatment is different for each person. Completely getting rid of them when they have hit the white/silvery mature stage is unlikely, so the trick is to treat them as early as possible. Stretch marks will fade in appearance by themselves naturally over time, but you can take it into your own hands to try to reduce their appearance by exfoliating the skin regularly and keeping it moist. Some credit cocoa butter, coconut oil and vitamin E creams as effective reducers of the scars, but each treatment depends on the person. Laser treatment and microdermabrasion are also an option; however, these can be quite expensive. Watching your weight will help prevent more stretch marks from occurring, as well as regular exercise, as stretching and movement can help the skin better adapt to any expanding weight.

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4 5


How long does it take for stretch marks to fade? There is no set time for the fading of stretch marks as this can vary hugely from person to person. For some, stretch marks fade naturally quite quickly, while for others it can take a lot longer and requires a lot of attention and effort. The key is to find a solution that works best at reducing their appearance for you and stick with it, and your stretch marks should begin to fade gradually over time.

28/09/2015 17:22


Product Guide to:


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A one-piece buggy can be a really useful addition to your baby haul – and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here we look at some of the best one-piece buggies on the market and how to pick the right one for you.


o you’ve invested hundreds of euro in a beautiful travel system that the manufacturers promise will do you until your baby is old enough to run a marathon – you’re sorted, then, right? Well, yes you are – but many parents report that a simple one-piece buggy, the kind you can kick into shape on the pavement while holding a squalling toddler, is a lifesaver at certain times. Travel systems are great, especially when you’re using the baby seat on the chassis, but as your child gets older, a simple buggy you can sling into the boot (let’s face it, those travel systems can be a bit on the bulky side) or use when travelling is invaluable. One-piece buggies often tend to be lighter and more compact so they’re perfect for walking or shopping too. The great news is that you don’t have to spend a bomb on a buggy, although of course the option is there should you require one that allows you to run or to use it from birth. Here we look at some of the common questions parents should ask themselves before investing in a buggy – then turn the page for some of our favourite models.

How is a buggy different from a travel system? Buggies, strollers, pushchairs, travel systems… There are lots of terms bandied about as transport devices for your baby. We define a travel system as a multi-piece system that allows you to use a pram, car seat and pushchair on the same chassis. On the other hand, we refer to a lightweight onepiece stroller as a buggy. Some can be adjusted to suit a growing child, but on the whole, they’re simple strollers that can be easily assembled (usually with one hand and/or foot) and slung into the boot of a car.

Do I really need a buggy? Strictly speaking, no you don’t. If you already have a travel system, then this will transport your child until he is three or four. But travel systems can be bulky, and once you don’t require it for the car seat or the pram, it might feel a bit cumbersome for a simple run down to the shops. That said, most travel systems are strong, durable and comfortable, so many parents are happy to stick with their travel systems most of the time. We’re not suggesting that you do away with your travel system, but a buggy is a great addition for the boot of the car, or for travelling – it is infinitely easier to deal with a buggy on a plane or abroad.

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Like everything, before buying, weigh up your options and only get one if you need it.

How much should I spend? Budget is a big concern when it comes to buggies, but the good news is that you can spend anything from a few euro up to a few hundred. If your buggy is for an older child and an addition just to sling in the boot, then it’s probably not worth spending a huge amount of money. On the other hand, some buggies can be adjusted to suit different age groups, or are built for certain activities such as running – if this is the case for you, then you might want to look at spending a little more in order to get good quality and the extras you need. As always, look at the options available within your budget and go online to see what other mums think of your choices.

Can I use a buggy from birth? Some buggies are suitable to use from birth – simply look to see that the seat can be adjusted to lie flat, as newborn babies need to lie flat on their backs. Also look for such features as decent padding on the seats and good suspension. Generally, a buggy that is suitable for a baby from birth is going to cost more than one for an older child, as a newborn baby requires a lot more “luxury”. That said, if you are prepared to do without a pram or the option of putting a car seat onto a chassis, a buggy that lies flat can be a real alternative to a travel system, so it’s worth spending a little more.

Check your car boot size as if you can only just squeeze the pushchair in there, where’s all your shopping going to go? Also check that double buggies can fit through your front door and through narrow hallways.

What should I look for when buying a buggy? Look at your budget and look at your needs. Ask yourself when are you most likely to use a pushchair and go for something that will suit that activity. Mothercare Ireland offers the following advice: If you prefer the car to pounding the pavements, choose a lightweight, compact fold pushchair. Some of the telescopic fold pushchairs are so compact they will fit into the smallest boot. If you do a lot of shopping on foot, you’ll need a large shopping basket underneath the seat unit. Pushability, manoeuvrability and a smooth ride are essential for country walks and can be a plus for uneven city pavements. Threewheeler pushchairs really come into their own on uneven terrain! If you frequently use public transport, a lightweight, easy folding, compact pushchair is really important. Consider the size of your home. Manoeuvrability is vital up and down stairs and through your front door, so check the size of your pram. You’ll also need space to store it. Check your car boot size as if you can only just squeeze the pushchair in there, where’s all your shopping going to go? Also check that double buggies can fit through your front door and through narrow hallways. If size and weight is an issue, move on to a stroller as soon as your baby is old enough and select an aluminium-framed pushchair.

Can I buy secondhand? Yes! If budget is a concern, then a secondhand buggy is a great idea. Your best bet is to do your research on a new buggy, decide what you want and take a note of the price if buying new. Then start looking at DoneDeal, Ebay and the other popular sites for secondhand versions of the model you want. Be patient and always inspect before you buy. Look for potential issues such as dents in the frame that could indicate it was in an accident. Check that you can easily fold up and assemble the buggy. Look for any rips or stains in the material – and check to see if the covers can be removed and washed if needed. Finally, make sure the extras such as a raincover are included – and if not, that you can get a replacement fairly easily and cheaply. There are plenty of buggies changing hands on the secondhand websites, so don’t buy unless you’re completely happy.

29/09/2015 09:34


Buggies: OUR TOP PICKS Don’t know what buggy to choose? Here are some of our favourite models on the market today.

Best of both

QUINNY ZAPP XTRA2, €325 The Quinny Zapp Xtra2 straddles the gap between stroller and travel system. It can be used as a compact one-piece stroller (no need to remove the seat before folding), but has such features as the ability to face the parent or face forward and a fully reclinable seat. It’s also compatible with Maxi-Cosi infant seats so can be used as a travel system. And it’s suitable from birth!

From birth

SILVER CROSS 2015 MICRO STROLLER, €129 This more budget-conscious choice is suitable from birth to 15kg thanks to its fully reclinable seat unit. It’s incredibly easy to fold, and standout features include SPF 50+ hood to protect your little one from sun, removable padded seat and backrest for easy washing and adjustable calf support.

Luxury for older

UPPABABY GLUXE STROLLER 2015, €249.99 Even if your child is older, there’s no need to sacrifice a bit of comfort. Suitable from three months to 55 pounds, the G-Luxe features a reclining seat and adjustable footrest. It’s easily folded using the hand triggers, and can be stored standing up. The carry strap means you can carry it over your shoulder.

Easy Fold

MAMAS & PAPAS ARMADILLO, €325 Comfort yet functionality is the idea behind the Armadillo, which includes a full recline and a big seat to let your child stretch out. But what we really like is the onehand assembly triggers, which allows you to open and close it within seconds using just one hand. Suitable from birth to 15kg.

Sturdy Choice

Three Wheeler

Budget Buy

Award Winner

BABY ELEGANCE FLOW STROLLER, €130 This budget-conscious choice is lightweight yet sturdy, and is suitable from birth. The single front wheels make it a breeze to steer, while the heightadjustable handlebars are perfect for parents of all heights. It also comes with a protective raincover and compact fold for easy transport and storage.

BABY JOGGER CITY LITE PUSHCHAIR, €294.99, ARGOS A three-wheeler is a great choice for its maneuverability. Suitable from birth, this pushchair is lightweight and versatile, and features front wheel suspension for a smooth ride. Simply fold up by clicking a button and lifting the strap, and the auto-lock feature locks the hold.

BABYSTART PUSHCHAIR WITH UV30, €43.59, ARGOS There are plenty of cheaper versions out there – and cheaper even than our budget pick from Argos. The Babystart Pushchair with UV30 weighs only 5kg and features a compact umbrella fold so fantastic for sticking in the boot for shopping trips. Suitable from six months to 15kg.

MOTHERCARE NANU STROLLER, €79.95 Voted Ireland’s No.1 lightweight stroller, the Nanu is suitable from birth and features multi-position seat recline that is easily adjusted. The five-point harness can also be adjusted in three positions, and along with the adjustable hood and calf rest, this makes the Nanu a fantastic buy for your growing child.

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29/09/2015 09:34


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29/09/2015 17:05



NAME I TRAP It’s probably one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when you’re pregnant – what to call your new baby! While we would always recommend you go with what you like, there are a number of pitfalls to look out for that you might like to consider before heading to the register’s office…

f you’ve read our feature this issue on embarrassing pregnancy problems, you would be forgiven for thinking that pregnancy is a long road filled with worry, discomfort and embarrassment. But pregnancy also brings with it lots of joyful moments, excitement and anticipation – when the little flutters turn into gentle kicks, the first sights of your baby at your scan, when you’ve gone past that “fat or pregnant?” stage and can show off a prettily growing bump… And of course there’s the task of choosing a name for your little one. If you’re not beholden to a family name (more on that later), the choice can seem overwhelming – and full of potential pitfalls. The key is to go for something you like while using a little common sense. We’ve compiled our top ten considerations when choosing a name – tried and tested, as always!


Look for historical precedents

Remember the episode in Friends when Chandler persuaded Joey that Joseph Stalin was a good stage name? Make sure you don’t

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fall into this trap by ensuring your child isn’t inadvertently named after a serial killer or drug smuggler. In the same vein, but perhaps a little less harmful, is to consider celebrity names – if your surname is Pitt, you might want to avoid calling your son Brad. Google is your friend here.


Cute doesn’t last forever


Think of the siblings

Think about your chosen name as an adult – it may be tempting to call your little girl something cute like Bunny, but is this a good name for a serious adult going for a job interview? “I read somewhere that you should think of your little child as a High Court Judge when considering names,” says Julie, mum to Ben and Millie. “So I chose names that could be shortened when they’re little – Millie is short for Amelia – so they have the option of going back to the longer versions when they grow up.”

Remember that you’ll spend most of your time calling your children

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“She’s been Ellie Belly since she started in crèche, and my four year old thinks calling her Smelly Ellie is hilarious! It’s nothing too harmful at the moment, but we will have to keep an eye on her weight and cleanliness as she gets older!” sible nicknames when we settled on Ellie as her shortened baby name,” says Penny, m&i’s editor. “She’s been Ellie Belly since she started in crèche, and my four year old thinks calling her Smelly Ellie is hilarious! It’s nothing too harmful at the moment, but we will have to keep an eye on her weight and cleanliness as she gets older!” That said, don’t get too hung up on possible nicknames unless it really bothers you – something really innocuous is easily laughed off.


Edit the family connection

It’s a lovely tradition to keep a family name going by calling your child after a beloved relative, but what if the name doesn’t appeal to you? Firstly see how important the tradition is. Could you use it as a second name? Or use a different version of the name? Another alternative is to use the name but shorten it to make it more modern, eg Harry for Harold. Remember, too, the grandparent rule – names tend to skip a generation in popularity, which explains why old names like Ruby, Lily and Fred are coming back into fashion. So what might seem old-fashioned right now might prove popular again in a few years’ time.

in groups, so think of how the names sound together. “I really wanted to call my baby girl Ella – it’s a beautiful name and went well with the surname. But I already have a boy called Sam, and read together – ‘Sam and Ella’ – sounds like a dodgy stomach upset!” says mum-of-two Mary.

how they would pronounce/spell the name, just to put it into context. If you are going for an unusual spelling, go for something with a bit of meaning behind it, eg the Irish version. At least then there’s a logical explanation for your child, rather than a suspicion that her parents can’t spell!



Look at the initials

You may have spent lots of time looking at how your chosen name goes with the surname, but have you looked at the initials? Patricia Isabelle Grant is a perfectly okay name until you see the initials – PIG. It might seem like something inconsequential, but kids pick up on this is school, plus you’d be surprised just how often your initials are used when you hate them.


Watch the spelling/pronunciation

Unusual names are great, but remember that your child will spend her life correcting people! If you’re tempted to go for something a little less ordinary, maybe ask some friends

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Consider the popularity

Every year, a list of the ten most popular names is released – and it’s well worth keeping an eye on these. While it’s fine to go for a popular name, bear in mind that your child may be in a class with other kids with the same first name. If you’re looking for something a bit more unusual, steer clear of the top names, and watch out for celebrities naming their babies – for instance, there were quite a few Harpers born after Victoria Beckham had her little girl a few years ago. Similarly, you can expect a lot of Charlottes thanks to Kate Middleton.


Think of the nicknames “Ellie was named after my mum, Elizabeth, but I didn’t think about the pos-


Think of the jokes

Some names just inspire the same jokes over and over again. “I spent my entire school career being called Penelope Pitstop,” says mum-of-two Penelope. “There’s no harm in it but it gets very tiresome after a while, especially when the people who make the joke think they’re unique and hilarious.” We’ve also come across an Eden who is understandably tired of people asking how her garden is doing.


Go your own way

All of these pitfalls are well and good, but our best advice is to not get too hung up on your baby name. Do a bit of investigating and use some common sense, but at the end of the day, if you like a name, go for it. A quick search on the Internet will reveal a plethora of baby name generators, so it’s not difficult to get inspiration. Remember, it’ll be you yelling the name for the next 18 years so at least you should like it! If your child doesn’t, point him towards the deed poll office when he turns 18. Simples.

28/09/2015 17:33



WHITES Dental care in small children has hit the headlines recently, with reports indicating that cavities in milk teeth are on the up. What can we do to prevent problems? And does tooth decay in first teeth spell problems for the adult teeth when they come through? ANDREA MARA investigates further.


rushing our three-year-old boy’s teeth is the nightly chore that my husband and I try our hardest to delegate to one another. Like most small kids, mine wants to brush his own teeth, and sometimes it’s tempting to give in. After all, they’re only milk teeth – what harm can it do? Actually quite a bit, it turns out. Unfortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, problems with children’s dental health are on the up. “Anecdotal evidence suggests that cavities in children are on the increase,” says Dr Rose-Marie Daly, a consultant paediatric dentist at the Bon Secours Hospital Tralee, Co Kerry. “According to a number of regional surveys, approximately one third of children have experienced decay by the age of three.” The last available published research is from the North South Survey of Children’s Oral Health in Ireland 2002. It showed that 55 per cent of five year olds in non-fluoridated water areas, and 37 per cent of five-yearolds in fluoridated water areas had tooth decay. “It’s our most common chronic childhood illness,” says Dr Daly, “More common than asthma.” So why, in 21st-century Ireland, is tooth decay in kids on the rise? Fluoride avoidance – using filtered water, or low-fluoride toothpaste – may be contributing to this increase, along with the consumption of “no added sugar” drinks, which parents assume are a safe option.

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There’s also a lack of awareness about how early children should have a check-up. “The majority of parents think children don’t need to see a dentist until they’re in primary school,” explains Dr Daly. “This is probably a hang-up from the screening provided by the HSE dental service. Unfortunately the evidence shows that by second class, a lot of damage is already done. It’s important to emphasise that state-funded

dental services for children are school-based. Other than an entitlement to emergency care, the service for preschool children is completely under-developed. It could be argued that this vulnerable cohort are being discriminated against.” In fact, children should visit a dentist when they first get teeth, or at least by the time they turn one. Yet most parents don’t go until there is an issue.

BRUSHING TIPS Make a game of it – the food particles are hiding in between the teeth, and the toothbrush is a magic wand or lightsaber, tasked with attacking the food. 4 If your child enjoys the bath, try brushing teeth in the bath – she may be more relaxed. 4 Brush your own teeth at the same time – children love to copy what parents are doing – then take over to make sure the job was properly done (small children need to have their teeth brushed by an adult.) 4 Similarly, ask an older sibling to demonstrate. 4 Count the teeth one by

one to make sure they’re all done. 4 Play or sing their favourite song when their teeth are being brushed. 4 Using an electric toothbrush may help – it’s not necessary for dental health but might make it more fun for your child. 4 Name the teeth and list them off one by one – toddlers don’t like for anyone to be left out (this one could take some expert

memorising on your part!) 4 Look in the mirror – concentrating on the mirror image helps some children to stay interested while you’re cleaning their teeth. 4 Don’t bribe, and don’t use the dentist as a threat - it’ll put them off. 4 And remember, change your child’s brush regularly. If the bristles aren’t standing upright, replace it, as it won’t remove plaque after that.

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28/09/2015 18:01



“No matter how careful you are, you can have dental issues, so it’s important to keep on to of it” LUCY O’CONNOR IS A MUM OF THREE, HR PROFESSIONAL, AND BLOGGER AT LEARNERMAMA.COM As a new mum, I had heard about teething – lots and lots about teething. But not so much about more general dental health. We got a stark introduction when I noticed that one of my five-year-old daughter’s teeth looked odd. We took a first trip to the dentist and found out that the tooth had crumbled. It had to be taken out, in pieces. Roll on a couple of years and she woke with severe tooth pain. I checked her mouth and again noticed a tooth looking odd. Another dental visit followed – it turned out she had an abscess. It resulted in a week of antibiotics and eventual extraction of the tooth. She is now back on track, but has space issues and may need orthodontic treatment. A very recent dental trip for my second child resulted in a completely clean bill of dental health. The overriding lesson: no matter how careful you are, you can have dental issues, but keep on top of them with regular checks and if a problem arises, get it seem to immediately.

“The quickest fix is to cut the juice. There are between two and five teaspoons of sugar in every glass, and children don’t need juice in their diets; giving them water is much better for their teeth.”

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Causes of dental health problems Dietary and feeding habits are a major factor – babies feeding at night from bottles after teeth have erupted, and children sipping fruit-flavoured drinks throughout the day. Grazing between meals is a problem too. With five “meal moments”, and twice-a-day brushing, saliva can control the acid produced by bacteria during meals. But more than five “meal moments” means normal saliva may not cope. Different types of bacteria can cause decay – bacteria can be passed by parents to children through normal day to day interaction, or sharing brushes. Tongue-tie can mean children are unable to remove food particles from their teeth, and teeth with deeper fissures and grooves may be prone to decay, especially the molars.

What can we do? The quickest fix is to cut the juice. There are between two and five teaspoons of sugar in every glass, and children don’t need juice in their diets; giving them water is much better for their teeth. Establish a good tooth-brushing routine. And yes, this is hard with babies and small children (see previous page for tips.) Book a dental appointment. This is the biggest hurdle to overcome, because it’s ingrained in many parents that it isn’t a necessary step – they’re waiting for the primary school screening. Consider fissure sealants: this is a plastic resin placed into fissures and grooves on back teeth, and sometimes pitted front teeth, to block out bacteria and food. This protects teeth from developing cavities by about 40 per cent. Parents often wonder how soon they should start brushing a baby’s teeth. “It’s important to clean a baby’s teeth as soon as the first one comes through,” says Dr. Daly. “When a baby is feeding from a bottle the teeth become bathed in the liquid. Formula, cows’ milk, juices and breast milk all contain sugars that can cause decay. The teeth are especially vulnerable at night when the mouth is a little dryer. This can lead to ‘early childhood caries’, an aggressive condition that spreads quickly and always affects multiple teeth. This can lead to very small children requiring extensive dental treatment. It’s identifiable by brown, yellow or white spots on the teeth and parents should always seek professional advice if they notice any of these signs.” To clean a baby’s teeth, it’s fine to use whatever works – a wet facecloth or a soft toothbrush, and a lying-down position may be best. It’s important to stay positive and avoid showing frustration. It’s recommended that until about the age of seven, parents

continue to brush children’s teeth for them. After that, they should monitor their children’s dental hygiene.

Effect on baby teeth How much of this matters, when we’re talking about “baby” teeth? Quite a lot, it seems. Dental problems with primary teeth – the “milk teeth” that start to fall out from the age of five or six – can be quite serious if left untreated. “Decay in children can lead to disturbed sleep, pain, infection, facial swelling, dental anxiety, increased risk of decay in adult teeth, and lack of confidence if the appearance of front teeth is affected,” warns Dr. Daly. “It’s the most common reason for preventable general anaesthetic in Ireland, and often requires specialist care and hospital admission.” Of course, all of this has particular resonance at this time of year, as children arrive home on Hallowe’en night with bags and buckets of the very worst kind of sweets. But paediatric dentist Abigail Moore ( has some suggestions. “Hallowe’en is one of my most stressful times of year, both as a dentist and as a mum of two young kids – mainly due to the amount of absolute rubbish that children are exposed to from all angles. I don’t think we can change the customs of Hallowe’en, nor would I want to, but here are a few Hallowe’en tips for parents: “Jellies, toffees and lollipops are the worst things. Apart from the additives and the poorer quality, they are sticky and longlasting – ideal for rotting teeth quickly. “Chocolate is a less harmful treat (in moderation of course!) as the texture is less sticky so it lingers for less time in the mouth and around the teeth. “Offer alternatives: fruit, nuts, crisps, stickers, or party bag fillers. “The longer teeth are in contact with sugary things, the more damage is done – the frequency of eating sugar is more important than the amount of sugar eaten – in other words, best to eat all treats in one go rather than a little at a time. “Perhaps have a count-up of sweets and assign scores. Arrange to swap the sweets for something more desirable – Match Attacks, Lego mini figures and a Kinder egg. “Encourage children to drink water or milk after sweet treats. Sugar-free chewing gum can also be helpful as it encourages saliva flow that neutralises the acid of sugar.” If your child is brushing twice a day, limiting sugars between meals, and visiting a dentist regularly, Hallowe’en isn’t going to cause a major problem. Especially if thoughtful parents help out by raiding the stash for themselves. Only to save the children from themselves. Of course.

28/09/2015 18:02

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29/09/2015 17:06


Socialising for BEGINNERS Teaching children how to play together and socialise is an important part of early childhood, but with countless opportunities for socialising in terms of crèche, playgroups and organised sports now available for even tiny tots, how much is too much? And how young is too young? DAWN GEDDES looks at how we can avoid the tears and tantrums at toddler playtime.

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hile sitting at my local parent and toddler group observing two children in full-on battle mode over a piece of Lego that had seen much better days, I couldn’t help but question the importance of ‘socialising’ our toddlers. Everywhere I looked, children were crying or giving each other the death stare to protect their newfound possessions, while keeping a beady eye on Henry the biter who was serving time on the naughty step. There’s no doubt that playtime for toddlers can be somewhat stressful for parents. You think that you’re doing a good thing when you arrange for another child to come over or take your toddler out to a class; after all, it is supposed to be fun! But all too often it seems to end in toddler tears and tantrums. And yet there are no end of opportunities for toddlers to spend time together – with playdates, rhyme time, toddler classes and visits to the local playgroup all on the agenda, there’s no doubt that they have a better social life than we do. But do they really enjoy it? Or are they just too young to negotiate a relationship with their playmates? My own experiences of toddler playtime have been varied. While both my daughters were always excited by the thought of having friends over, the happiness would often bubble over into hysteria. While some playdates would be great fun, others would result in my children becoming possessive and territorial. All of a sudden the dolly that had been hidden away in the cupboard for months would become their new favourite thing! Or they’d have a meltdown about someone else drinking out of their cup or even stroking their cat! Our little visitors would often behave just as badly, guarding the toy they brought along with their life and screaming every time one my girls went near it. Inevitably social occasions at my house always seemed to end with somebody crying, occasionally me!

Horror playdates One spectacular playdate fail occurred after my eldest daughter’s second birthday when she received a pink keyboard complete with microphone and matching stool. She hadn’t even paid much attention to it until her little friend decided to sit down and play a tune. That was before my daughter dragged her off kicking and screaming by her hair! Cue much red-faced apologising from me. Thankfully my lovely friend completely understood and we were soon laughing and comparing playdate horror stories while our children were distracted by Peppa Pig. “Why can’t they play nicely together? They’re normally little angels!” we wondered, gratefully offloading to each other. It was then that it occurred to us: our regular meetings were more for us than the kids, and we’ve been meeting in the evenings

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for wine ever since. Thankfully we’re not alone in the horror playdate stakes. Ailie, mother of three, had to step in after a lunchtime meet-up went wrong. “When my son Connor had his friend home for lunch after nursery one day, it quickly escalated into chaos! Within half an hour one of the boys had pushed the other and the other had been put in to a head lock – not by me I should add! They’re best friends now though!” Polly, mum of two, experienced a traumatic end to a playdate when her two-year-old boy and his friend came to blows. “After spending a lovely day together, my friend and I thought it might be a nice idea to bath our boys together. We were wrong! One minute they were playing so nicely, the next they were hitting each other over a bath toy! It ended in such a rabble that my friend ended up taking her son home naked in the car. Thankfully we’re good friends and laughed about it later.”

Interaction tips So why does toddler playtime so often end in tears? Surely it’s important for them to spend time together? Not according to Sarah Ockwell-Smith, author of ToddlerCalm (Piatkus). “Many parents believe that it is important to take their toddlers to playgroups or to nursery in order that they learn to socialise, but this is not true. The best way for toddlers to learn to socialise is not with other children, but with their own parents in the home environment in

the course of everyday life. Not only is this the best way for a toddler to learn to be sociable and to learn skills such as turn taking and communicating, it is also the most effective.” Sarah says that the reason for this is that toddlers simply aren’t equipped to socialise with each other yet. “The frontal, mature section of a toddler’s brain is incredibly under developed. This part of the brain is responsible for what we would consider “social niceties”. It is also responsible for impulse control and emotion regulation. They cannot regulate their behaviour so they don’t understand restrictions on time when it comes to things like ‘turn taking’. “If you watch toddlers interacting, you’ll notice that they tend to play with others in the way that older children might either, they do something known as “parallel play”, for example, they may play alongside another toddler who is also playing, but they don’t interact, play together or make friends until a few years down the line.” So that explains it then, our toddlers aren’t being difficult when they struggle to spend time together, they’re just not developed enough to play harmoniously together. But what about when toddler interaction is unavoidable or when parents need a little bit of adult time to break up the day? Getting toddlers together shouldn’t be completely avoided - simply follow these golden rules below to make your toddler’s playtime as fun and as stress free as possible.








None of us are at our best when we’re hungry, thirsty or tired! So it’s little wonder that our toddlers don’t get on well under these circumstances. When planning a get together, pick a time when your child will be well rested and make sure you have some healthy snacks on hand for when their sugar levels dip.

Asking a child to share is “biologically impossible,” Sarah advises. “Playdates in toddlers’ own homes can be very stressful as they don’t understand why their toys are being given to other children to play with.” Meet on neutral territory instead where your child won’t be forced to share their favourite things.

When planning a playdate or to attend an activity class with your child, avoid situations or emotional triggers that are likely to upset them. Are they overwhelmed in large groups or scared by loud noises? Think carefully and pick a child-friendly location that will suit everyone and will still be lots of fun.

4 MAKE IT FUN: Think of activities that they can do without having to share, eg a craft activity where everyone has their own paper and crayons. Sarah recommends sensory play as a great toddler activity. “Fill up a washing up bowl with shaving foam and hide animals in it, or going outside and getting active is always a good bet.”

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Parenting your own child can be challenging enough, but when it comes to creating a blended family, with a combination of children from previous relationships, particular skills are needed, writes DR NICOLA DAVIES.


ore and more families can now be called “blended”, with children from previous and new relationships being raised in one household. In such situations, there is always a period of adjustment, and some specific parenting skills may be required. Transition from a primary family, no matter how dysfunctional, creates stress for children, as they have already bonded with their birth parents. It is therefore essential for them to see that the problems they now face aren’t insurmountable – that they will adjust and will be happy again. Don’t try too hard in the beginning, as children will often feel they are betraying their biological mother or father if they show that they are enjoying the company of step-parents – so it’s a continual push-pull relationship. Simply be there to offer companionship, but don’t force it. Younger children – up to the age of ten – often find it easier to accept a step-parent. However, for preteens and teens it can be difficult, and the time frames lengthy – often longer than five years. Jill Willows, a counsellor with substantial experience of working with blended families, provides the following advice in relation to the transition period: “In blended families, it is important to strive to honour the biological parents no matter how inadequate you think they are. A child who is feeling let down or

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abandoned doesn’t need to be reminded of their parent’s failings. If you need to vent about the other parent then say it to your spouse but definitely not to the children.” Some of the resilience strategies that can be initiated during family transitions include allowing children to connect with their biological parents without passing judgment. It is also important to make sure they maintain contact with old school friends, particularly if they have been required to move schools or town. By making the effort to help them maintain existing links, you will also be paving the way for your own better relationship with your stepson or step-daughter. It is also a good idea to encourage activities like painting, music, drama or writing, where children can express their feelings. Above all, remember the dichotomy of their feelings – one moment they will be supportive and loving, making you think you have finally created a bond, and the next moment you will be told, “You’re not my mother – I hate you!” Keep calm in these circumstances – it is like cooking a stew – tough at the start and incredibly tender when done.

Resilient-based approach Dr Melody Terras, lecturer in psychology at the University of West Scotland, believes that a resilience-based approach can be useful. Re-

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65 FAMILY LIFE silience is the way in which people react to adverse situations. According to Terras: “Resilience allows us to cope with difficulties or changes, and to view them in positive rather than negative terms.” Resilience can play a crucial role in helping children transition to a new family situation. Jill Willows says, “Surviving the process of separation and divorce and negotiating the relationships in the blended family is made easier for a child if there is a neutral space where they can make sense of all that is happening.” In this respect, counselling or play therapy, depending on the age of the child, can be invaluable. She adds that counselling can provide children with a haven where their experience is normalised; they can speak without fear of taking sides or hurting anyone’s feelings; they can dis-invest from parent-related problems; and they can clarify their own feelings, solutions, and goals.

“It’s not fair!’ This is a frequent cry in all families and even more so in stepfamilies. The children in blended families measure themselves against the other children in terms of time, attention, money spent, and affection – all seen as signs of how they are loved and valued in the new home. Children are more at risk when they lose their position in the family, as happened with Casey in the case study (see box). She was no longer the eldest – she had been ‘dethroned.’ Striving for pedantic fairness isn’t the solution. Be different: take one child with you to the shop, encourage your partner to take a child alone on an outing, ask for another child to help you in the kitchen. Notice what they enjoy and engage them in that activity. Treat them separately and according to their needs. A guideline to strive for is for each parent to try to find half an hour for each child alone, each week. Children particularly want time alone with their biological parent as they can really miss this in reconstituted family situations.

“In blended families, it is important to strive to honour the biological parents no matter how inadequate you think they are. A child who is feeling let down or abandoned doesn’t need to be reminded of their parent’s failings.”

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FIRST PERSON “Now Casey had to share her precious mother, not only with her demanding little sister, but also with her step-sister AND with Kevin!” COUNSELLOR JILL WILLOWS OUTLINES ONE OF HER MOST RECENT CASES. When Casey’s mother and father divorced, Casey (aged 6) and Carmen (aged 4) lived with their mum, Alison, only occasionally seeing their father on weekends. In time, Alison met and then married Kevin, who happened to be the father of Casey’s best friend, Roxanne. Kevin and Alison had started chatting at school events and things had grown from there. Many years before, Kevin had become a single father to his two children, Chris, 8, and Roxanne, 6. In its initial stages, Casey and her friend Roxanne were amused by the unfolding romance, but as it became serious Casey became hostile and would do her best to prevent their time alone. Once they married, Kevin was a decent stepfather, who did and said all the right things, but Casey decided that she was not going to like him. She was barely civil to him. What made it worse was the fact that Roxanne, whose own mother had been very neglectful, apparently adored Alison and sought out her time and attention. Now Casey had to share her precious mother, not only with her demanding little sister, but also with her step-sister AND with Kevin! Chris, the eldest in the blended household, seemed to have his own life with sport and friends and was not looking for another mother. Carmen was the baby of the household and also seemed to find her place. She seemed to adore Kevin, liked to sit on his lap and wanted to call him “Daddy.” With two six year olds under one roof, Alison had a huge challenge. Roxanne had been desperate for a mother figure but Casey was miserable and threatened and the two best friends were now rivals. Roxanne and Casey fought constantly and became competitive. Alison was exhausted! Most weekends there were four children in the household, each with their own needs, moods and demands. Although she had great compassion for needy Roxanne she was frustrated that Kevin’s ex-wife was so inadequate and absent. She had to reign in her urge to express her feelings. After all it was no-one’s fault. It took time and effort to create a stable family home, as well as the support of a family therapist. However, eventually Casey and Roxanne learnt to be sisters, and Alison learnt to juggle her relationship needs with those of raising her now rather large family. The key? Patience and consistency.

28/09/2015 17:45

The must-have family Cooking app Filled with delicious recipes for the whole family to enjoy and a fun interactive cookery course for children, Annabelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s app is the ultimate kitchen staple. Download from the app store

MI Oct_Nov 2015_ads.indd 36

29/09/2015 17:25



WEANING Suitable from four months

Give your little ones a taste of the season by puréeing fresh ingredients such as butternut squash, parsnips and carrots, before moving on to different flavours and textures by adding meat and fish.

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Suitable from six months

From page 65

First Tastes: Apple Suitable from four months Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking: 8 minutes Makes: 4 portions < 2 sweet dessert apples (such as Pink Lady, Royal Gala or Jazz), peeled, cored and chopped < 4-5 tbsp water or pure unsweetened apple juice

Put the apples into a heavybased saucepan, along with the water or apple juice. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, until really tender. Alternatively, steam the apples for 7-8 minutes. Purée in a food processor or using a hand blender. If steaming, you could use some of the water from the bottom of the steamer to thin out the purée.

Suitable from six months

Butternut Squash, Carrot and Sweetcorn Suitable from six months Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking: 10 minutes Makes: 3 portions < 300g butternut squash, peeled and chopped < 1 medium carrot (approx 75g) sliced < 40g sweetcorn, frozen or tinned

Put the butternut squash and carrot into a saucepan and cover with 150ml boiling water. Cover and cook for 7 minutes. Add the sweetcorn and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Blend to a purée in an electric hand blender. SALMON WITH CARROT AND ORANGE

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Salmon with Carrot and Orange Suitable from six months Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking: 25 minutes Makes: 3 portions < A knob of butter < 200g carrots, peeled and diced < 180g tomatoes, deseeded and chopped < 25g orange peeled, white pith removed, and chopped < 300ml unsalted vegetable stock < 100g boneless skinless salmon fillet < 15g cheddar cheese, grated

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the carrot and tomatoes and coat in the butter. Add the orange and stock and bring everything up to the boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes until tender. Add the salmon after 10 minutes and cook through. Blend until smooth for small babies, or mash for older babies. Stir in the cheese until melted.

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Suitable from six months CHICKEN, PEAR, PARSNIP AND CARROT

Chicken, Pear, Parsnip and Carrot Suitable from six months Preparation: 10 minutes Cooking: 20 minutes Makes: 5 portions < A knob of butter < 1 large leek, trimmed, washed and chopped < 125g carrots, peeled and diced < 100g pears, peeled, cored and diced < 100g parsnips, peeled and diced < 100g boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped < 300ml milk

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Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the leek and fry for 5 minutes until soft, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring up to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes until everything is soft and cooked through. Blend until smooth or for older babies, blend half, finely chop the rest and stir together.

Keep your baby on track this autumn with Annabel’s Quick and Easy Weaning book (Ebury Press). Filled with 100 delicious recipes from first foods to exploring more tastes, Annabel’s on hand to get your purée journey off to a flying start. For more weaning information visit

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MI Oct_Nov 2015_ads.indd 36

29/09/2015 17:07


Sugary Solution Last issue we highlighted the very urgent need for childcare reform in this year’s Budget (and with our Mums & Work feature on returning to work, this is very much still at the forefront of our minds). The Budget will be announced on 13th October, and there is another campaign that we would like to put our weight behind – and that’s the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. Childhood obesity is a very real problem now, and is forecast to reach epidemic levels in the years to come. In a preBudget submission, the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) called for a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. This would raise revenue of over €44 million, which should then be used to establish a Children’s Future Health Fund to fund various schemes, such as fruit and vegetable subsidies. According to the IHF’s recent poll, 58 per cent of people would support such a tax. A health impact assessment for the Department of Health also found that a 20 per cent tax on these drinks could reduce obesity by 3 per cent in adults alone – about 22,000 people. We reckon this is a bit of a no-brainer, and we really hope the Government is listening hard.

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29/09/2015 12:52



et’s face it, whether expecting a little bundle of joy or already a busy mum, we don’t always get our eight hours of beauty sleep each night – in fact, we’re lucky if we get five! Whether you’re up all night with pregnancy bladder, doing the night feeds or sharing your bed all night with restless babies, the lack of sleep can take its toll and leave you with skin that looks tired and dull, along with those pesky black bags under your eyes that we all dread. Whatever it is that keeps you up and leaves your skin looking less than its best, we have the cure to make you look like you’ve slept eight hours, even if you’ve only had two.

WASH AWAY A BAD NIGHT’S SLEEP After a rocky night’s sleep the first thing you will want to do is splash your face with a little water to wake your skin up. The most important step each morning is cleaning away dirt and oil that gathers as you sleep, so try not to let tiredness prevent you from washing your face properly in the morning as it makes the world of difference when it comes to make-up application afterwards. Clear away these impurities and brighten dull and tired looking skin right up with Aveda’s Embrightenment Cleanser, €33, which claims to be clinically proven to improve skin’s clarity by an impressive 52 per cent.

ALL ABOUT THAT BASE The key to faking a healthy glow that makes you look like you’ve slept for days is all in your moisturiser and base. Try The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser, €21.50, to revive your skin

HOW TO ...

fake AWAKE Looking wide awake and “glowing” can be tricky when you’ve been up half the night with a colicky baby. But thankfully there are plenty of tips and tricks you can try, reports JANE QUINN…

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with its natural vitamin C source, the ultimate antidote to tired-looking skin. Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base, €30.50, is a moisturising base that illuminates and corrects your skin tone, while hydrating and soothing with moisture-rich Katafray bark extract.

ILLUMINATE Illuminators are our hero when it comes to creating a healthy-looking glow and are a huge trend in the make-up world at the moment. Apply them before foundation on the cheekbones, bridge of your nose, the corners of your eyes and the Cupid’s bow for a glow worthy of a Goddess!

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MAC Strobe Cream, €33.50, is a miracle worker for brightening up dull, tiredlooking skin, giving you that beautiful ‘I’ve slept for days’ glow. For an extra added beam to give you a healthy, refreshed look pop some No7 Skin

you’re feeling tired, a striking, bold lippy can bring you from grunge to glam in seconds. We’re loving Max Factor’s new lipstick range Lipfinitity, €12.49, and its vibrant life-giving colours.

Illuminator Radiance Boosting Beauty Fluid, €14.25, to your cheekbones.

We’re addicted to the golden, pearly shine this fluid gives.

FLAWLESS FOUNDATION Use Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation, €11.29, to achieve a bright and fresh face. With its peptides and a vitamin moisturising complex it’s the perfect anti-fatigue fighter.

BRIGHT EYES The eyes give us away when we’re tired, so the trick to creating a more alert and brighter eye is in your eyeliner, mascara and concealer. Try L’Oréal’s

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING Know you’re not going to get your full eight hours’ sleep tonight? Use Vichy’s Idealia Skin Sleep, €28, as your night cream to stimulate cell regeneration. This lovely product contains caffeine plant extract, which drains and decongests the skin to help to counter signs of fatigue,. It also contains hyaluronic acid, a hydrating and plumping sugar that accelerates circulation, helping your skin look rested and revived, even if you are far from feeling it yourself.

TIP Lyndsey Cavanagh, a top makeup artist for Max Factor, gives us her top tip for faking a brighter and wider eye. “The finer the line you create, the bigger your eyes will appear. Use the edge rather than the tip of the liner and glide along the roots of the lashes to include the entire width of the eye, from the tear duct to outer corner. This gives a wide, opened eye effect. Also, add your mascara mainly to the base of the lashes and hold the wand against them for 30 seconds at a time this will lift the lash line and add to your bright-eyed look.”

True Match Correcting Concealer, €10.75, to banish those black bags

in an instant by evening out your skin tone. Eyeliner does wonders for opening the eye and making us look more alert. Whether you opt for a fully lined eye with a slight flick to create length, or a half wing to lift and widen the eye, the secret to wide-awake eyes is eyeliner. Max Factor’s Masterpiece High Precision Liquid Liner, €10.99, has the intensity of

a liquid eyeliner with the precision of a pencil for easy application. Rimmel’s new Wonder’Full Wake Me Up Mascara, €9.99, with vitamins and cucumber extract helps keep your lashes conditioned throughout the day, helping tired eyes appear brighter.

LIPS & CHEEKS There’s nothing quite like a pop of colour to the cheeks to give you an immediate lift to your complexion. We love Clinique Cheek Pop, €20; with its silkysmooth formula and its handy compact you can apply it in seconds for a quick and refreshing tint to your cheeks. When

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OUR WINTER WISH LIST Get new season ready with these new make-up beauties on our wish list

1 2

Inglot AMC Stardust Eyeshadow, €16. Make your eyes sparkle

with this season’s colours with Inglot’s vivid and warm coloured, sparkly eyeshadows. Dazzle darling! SoSu by Suzanne Jackson Gel Nail Polish in Chocaholic, €7.99. We love

a darker nail and Irish fashion and beauty blogger Suzanne Jackson’s new Autumn/Winter gel nail range has all the colours you’ll need for on-trend Autumn/Winter nails this season.


The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipstick, €13.50. New on The

Body Shop’s shelves this season is the Colour Crush lip range – and we love the range’s dark and warm colours. We love the shade Berry Me, perfect for subtly changing your make-up look from summer to autumn.


No7 Airbrush Away Foundation and Primer, €22. Achieve that flawless

look and picture-perfect skin without the filters with No7’s Airbrush Away Foundation, while reducing the appearance of pores, hiding fine lines and smoothing uneven skin tone with No7’s Airbrush Away Primer. Now you’re party ready!

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Accessorize Stores nationwide; Alex and Ani Stockists nationwide; Arnotts Henry Street, Dublin 1; www. ASOS Argos


Boots Stores nationwide; Brown Thomas www.brownthomas. com Bumps ‘n’ Babies www.


Cos Stores nationwide;

Debenhams Stores nationwide;

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Dune Stores nationwide;


Easons Stores nationwide;

Fabucci Footwear www. Frugi www.


Harvey Nichols 16 Sandyford Road, Dublin 16; www.harveynichols. com H&M Stores nationwide; House of Fraser Dundrum Town Centre,


Isabella Oliver


Kilkenny Shop Stores nationwide;


LEGO Stockists nationwide; com Littlewoods Ireland L’Oréal Stockists nationwide; www.


Mamalicious www.mama-licious. com Mamas & Papas www. Marks & Spencer Stores nationwide; Monsoon Stores nationwide; Mothercare Stores nationwide







Name it Stores nationwide; www. New Look Stores nationwide; www.newlook. com Next Stores nationwide; Penneys Stores nationwide;

River Island Stores nationwide;

Seraphine www. Smyths

Topshop Stores nationwide; Tiffany Rose Tiger stores Stores nationwide

Vivien Walsh S93 Monkstown Rd, Monkstown, Dublin; tel (01) 2145444; www.vivienwalsh. com Zara Stores nationwide;

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75 TREND Gerard Darel striped jacket, €340, Arnotts


Lipsy asymmetric buckle cardigan, €44, Next


Soft geometric scarf, €25.95, Zara

Oke red boots, €155, Dune London

Navy loosefit trousers, €29.95, Zara

Colourful patchwork bag with tassels, €29.99, New Look

Black faux fur snap-on cuffs, €20, River Island

Lipsy kick flare jeans, €66, Next

Kensington black satchel, €44, Accessorize

High leather ankle boot with fringes, €69.95, Zara




LOOK 3 Cardigan, €79.99, H&M

The cardigan is having a bit of a moment this season - and what’s not to love? It’s understated, classy and the epitome of daytime dressy without being over the top.

Soft shoulder bag with foldable lid, €99, Cos

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Black ribbed funnel neck top, €20, Topshop


Cord button front midi skirt, €29, Topshop

Danni red bag, €95, Dune London Limited Edition polo neck, €35, Marks & Spencer

Black suede heeled ankle boots, €95, River Island

Navy pointed croceffect shoes, €98, Topshop

Cropped trousers, €99, Cos

Black knit cardigan with pockets, €17.95, Zara

29/09/2015 09:48



BUSINESS Whether it’s through choice or necessity, making the decision to go back to work can be daunting, especially if you’ve had a long break away from the workforce. We take a look at what support is available for you as you make that transition.


ou may only want to return to work on a part-time basis, or feel you need to up-skill before you start to look for employment again. You could want a career in a completely different industry to what you were employed before you had children or you could just simply need some help fine-tuning your CV and your interview technique. Everyone’s situation is different, but the good news is that all of the above is possible. Bringing up children is one of the most challenging roles anyone can undertake, and it requires a number of skills that are highly sought after by employers: organisational skills, time-keeping, multitasking, dealing with stressful and demanding situations, all thrown in with the huge responsibility of being a parent. Therefore, you should never underestimate the skills and abilities you have acquired during your time as a parent. Firstly, you need to decide whether you would like to return to work on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis. Or you might be budding with great ideas and decide you would like to start your own business. With the leaps and bounds the tech world has taken in the last number of years it’s now possible to work from the comfort of your own home. And remember, if you are not confident in your abilities there are always ways to up-skill or re-train.

Training and education There is a wide range of Further Education and Training (FET) courses available. Anyone who is unemployed, made redundant or no longer in full-time education is eligible to take part in a FET course. There are short and long day courses, online courses, blended learning and evening courses available. This scheme

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is perfect for mums who still need to be available to drop and collect their children from school because both courses and work placement take place in your local community. For further information on the courses available to you, go to Springboard is another fantastic initiative in Higher Education; this was first launched in 2012 and is available to anyone who is unemployed. Courses target areas where there are job opportunities and growth. Springboard courses are mainly part-time but there are some full-time courses. There are 280 free courses to choose from, ranging from certificate level, to degree, and even post-graduate level. Courses are available in pharmaceuticals, business, finance, food and beverage, and communications. For a full list of courses, go to Momentum is a new initiative that provides education and training to assist longterm unemployed people gain for free the skills needed to access work in sectors of the economy where there are job opportunities. There are full and part-time projects available. Projects are from level three to six on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) or to an industry-required certification. Momentum will provide eligible jobseekers with access to a range of education and training projects, links to identified job vacancies and employers, work placement and support and NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) Certification. Visit for more information.

The ladder to employment Visit a Jobs Week event in your local area and find out how about upcoming recruitment

events, career advice workshops focusing on CV skills, interview techniques and job seeking tips, and information on jobseeker supports and opportunities. These events are completely free and take place on a regular basis go to www. to find out when the next Jobs Week event will take place near you. You can also download a pack for Jobseekers from aspx, or call into your local social welfare office where the pack is freely available. JobPath is a new programme of employment activation intended to assist jobseekers to secure and sustain full-time paid employment or selfemployment. JobPath will provide support for people who are long-term unemployed. The

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Do your research Do lots of research on the company before the interview. You are certain to be asked specific questions about the company, on things like the company’s ethos, their previous year’s profits or latest product launches.


Practice your answers Although you can’t guarantee what questions you will be asked, there are certain questions that will come up in one form or another: your personal strengths or weaknesses, your previous experience, and why you would be the best candidate for the job.


Look the part Appearances shouldn’t matter, but in an interview environment they do. Make sure your shoes are polished, your clothes fit correctly and that your accessories and make-up are subtle.


Stay calm Good preparation is the key to staying in control. Plan your route, allowing extra time for any unexpected delays and get everything you need to take with you ready the night before. Remember to speak clearly, smile and remember that your interviewers are just normal people, and they may be nervous too!


Ask questions You should always have some questions for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position. Prepare a minimum of five questions, some that will give you more information about the job and some about the company’s history or future plans.

programme is being rolled out on a phased basis at the moment, with the aim of being available nationwide this October/November.

Dressed for Success So you’ve re-trained or brushed up on your interview skills – now all you need is the look and the confidence to bag the job you really want. This is where Dressed for Success steps in. The main aim of the organisation is to help women with suitable clothing for their interview so they feel confident and clothing is not an obstacle when it comes to getting the job. Dressed for Success provides interview outfits as well as a workwear outfit if a person is hired. “For us, it’s about giving women the confidence where they feel ‘I can do this’, ‘I can fit

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in’. When you feel like you belong, you are not pulling on your jacket, or worrying about what you are wearing – you are concentrating on what you are saying and doing. You act in a different way when you feel confident,” explains Susan Butler, the operations manager at Dressed for Success. Since first opening its doors in 2011 Dressed for Success has grown beyond providing suits for interviews. Now when someone goes for their suiting appointment, they first go to their career centre, where they get a chance to sit down and discuss what they need with a team of HR or hiring professionals. The Dressed for Success team all work on a volunteer basis and have a vast knowledge of employment trends in recruitment and interviewing styles.

Unemployed women are invited to visit the Dress for Success office through referrals from agencies, including local employment services, jobs clubs, community groups and other nongovernment organisations (NGOs).

And finally… We’ll leave you with the words of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, who has a net worth of $1.7 billion and still manages to get home at 5.30pm to have dinner with her two children. She says: “Choice is good, and so is aspiration. Ambition is great, and so is telling your boss that you want to have children. Working hard at your job is important, and so is finding a way to leave the office early enough to be home for dinner with your kids.”

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Congratulations to Marguerite Gahan from Co Dublin, the winner of last issue’s competition!



aternity & Infant has teamed up with Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, to offer one lucky reader the chance to win two nights’ accommodation for two adults and two children in this stylish hotel overlooking Athlone Marina. Start each morning with a super buffet breakfast and enjoy a delicious family dinner on the evening of your choice in the hotel’s Elements Bistro. Also included in this wonderful family prize is a family pass for an exciting Viking Ship Cruise along the River Shannon! You and your family will hop aboard the Viking Cruise Ship across the Marina at Athlone Castle where you will be taken on a cruise along the Shannon. After a day spent on the majestic Shannon, Radisson Blu Athlone is the perfect place to relax and unwind with the whole family – enjoy a drink on the terrace overlooking the river, sit with a coffee and the paper in the Quayside Bar & Lounge or watch a movie in your family suite. Located in the heart of Athlone, which is in turn at the heart of Ireland, guests will have no shortage of sights to see and visit in this maritime town, from Athlone Castle located just across the river from Radisson Blu Athlone, to the selection of individual boutiques and high street stores on the doorstep, along with nearby Derryglad Folk Museum and Clonmacnoise, just a 20-minute drive from the hotel. Even if you are not lucky enough to win this fantastic prize, you can still pack up the family for a wonderful summer break at Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone at a fantastic rate. Visit: and radissonathlone for great rates and offers.

HOW TO WIN To be in the draw for this amazing prize simply answer the following question correctly:

What is the name of the restaurant in the Radisson Blu Athlone? Email your answer and contact details to, with RADISSON BLU ATHLONE in the subject line. Or send a postcard with your answer and contact details, marked RADISSON BLU ATHLONE, to maternity & infant, Ashville Media Group, Old Stone Building, Blackhall Green, Dublin 7. Terms and Conditions: Prize includes 2BB1D for 2 adults and 2 children and is valid for 12 months. Prize is subject to availability and non-transferable. Closing date for all entries is 20th November 2015. Prize is non-transferable. Competition is not open to employees of Ashville Media Group or Radisson Blu Athlone. No cash or gift card will be awarded in lieu of stated prize. If any of the items offered are unavailable or out of stock, 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.

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Northgate Street, Athlone, Co Westmeath Tel (090) 644 2600 Web:

29/09/2015 12:35



EXPERTS We have a wide range of experts on hand to answer your questions on everything from pregnancy and birth to sleeping, feeding, fitness and general wellbeing. If you have a question that needs answered, get in touch!


Dr Julius Parker


Dr Declan Keane


Dr Parker is a general practitioner with HSF Health Plan’s free 24-hour GP advice line and answers healthrelated questions for young families. For more information on HSF Health Plan, visit or Lo Call 1890 473 473.

Dr 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

Jenny 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. For more information visit

Sleep Consultant


Jenny Branigan


Lucy Wolfe

Dr Sam Coulter-Smith

Sarah Keogh

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

Dr Coulter-Smith is a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, master of the Rotunda Hospital and a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal College of Surgeons. Visit

Sarah is a dietitian with the Early Feeding Clinic, which offers advice on becoming pregnant, nutrition during pregnancy and feeding your baby. For more information, visit

Ask the experts... If you have a question regarding any aspect of your pregnancy, new baby or toddler, please get in touch. Email us at or write to us at maternity & infant, Ashville Media Group, Old Stone Building, Blackhall Green, Dublin 7.

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SIS explained I have been recommended to have an SIS – what is this? An SIS – Saline Infusion Sonography – is a type of ultrasound test in which a small amount of saline is passed into the uterus to visualise the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes. It is one of the more basic forms of checking that the cavity is normal and the tubes are open – the practitioner watches the fluid travelling on the scan to assess these factors. It is quick and relatively pain free (although it can sometimes induce period-like cramps) but most people don’t feel any pain. It can determine some important factors – what direction the neck of the uterus is facing, if there are any polyps or fibroids present and if the fallopian tubes are open and not blocked.


Clinic guidelines What guidelines are in place when I enter a fertility treatment clinic? All fertility treatment clinics in Ireland are required to prove that they adhere to strict rules regarding the quality and safety of a patient’s tissues and cells. These rules were set down by the European Union in 2004 and were transposed into Irish Law in 2006 and 2007 in two separate legislative instruments. For individuals/couples attending for fertility treatment, this should give comfort as it means that each fertility treatment clinic in Ireland must have strict policies and procedures that describe everything they do to ensure the sperm, eggs and embryos (often referred to as tissues and cells) are protected from harm at all times. These procedures are present to protect both the patient and their tissues and cells. Each clinic also has strict rules on the type and dose of medication a patient can be given, the criteria at which a cycle must be cancelled for the health of the patient and the criteria upon which the fate of embryos is decided. There are also rules regarding the method by which tissues and cells must be cultured in the laboratory to ensure that a patient will only receive their own sperm, eggs or embryos. Each fertility clinic is required to undergo vigorous inspections by their regulator, the Health Products Regulatory Body, formerly known as the Irish Medicines Board. These inspections occur at least once every two years and cover every aspect of the clinic’s operations. This regulator has the power to suspend a licence or to request that a clinic improves their procedures to better ensure the safety of the patients and their tissues and cells.

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Twins & IVF I’ve heard there is a greater chance of having twins when going through IVF treatment. Is this true and if so, how do I minimise the chances? The IVF process is designed to allow the clinic to collect and fertilise as many eggs as possible, hopefully allowing you a good quality embryos/ blastocysts that can then be used for transfer and freezing. At the time of embryo transfer, most patients will opt to have two embryos replaced to give them the best chance of success. It is possible that both of these embryos will implant in the womb, resulting in a multiple pregnancy. The best way to minimise the chance of twins in a cycle is to have one embryo replaced in your treatment cycle. Any good quality embryos not replaced can likely be frozen and used in another attempt. Whilst the replacement of one embryo will minimise the chance of a twin pregnancy it cannot completely exclude it. There is a small possibility (less than 5 per cent) that the embryo can split in two and therefore identical twins will form.



What is… ENDOMETRIOSIS? Endometriosis refers to a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside it. Cysts or scar tissue develop and cause the surrounding area to thicken. Classic symptoms include pain before and during your period, or when having sex. It affects up to 10 per cent of women, and it’s estimated that about a quarter of sufferers can have fertility issues.


All about… FERTILITY RISK FACTORS If you are under the age of 35 and have a reasonably healthy lifestyle, having problems conceiving could be down to your medical history. Talk to your GP if you have had the following: <Endometriosis <Uterine Fibroids <Polycystic ovary syndrome <Sexually transmitted diseases <Pelvic inflammatory disease <Chronic illness such as thyroid issues, diabetes or cancer, or certain prescribed medications.



If your periods are regular, estimate when your next period is due, count back 12 days and then another four. You’re most likely to ovulate during this five-day range. Or you can track your basal body temperature using a special thermometer – a few days after you ovulate, your BBT rises by 0.4-1°F. Finally you can track your vaginal discharge – around ovulation you will produce more cervical mucus, and it will resemble raw egg whites.

29/09/2015 12:27




Food for Fertility

Nutrtionist v Dietitian I have been trying to have a second baby, but it looks like I’ll need IVF. I went to a nutritionist who recommended lots of tests and said I was intolerant to a lot of foods including dairy, gluten, beans and lentils, nuts and red meat. But is such a restrictive diet harmful to my chances of getting pregnant?

Should I be eating certain foods in order to boost my fertility? The key nutrients to look at for fertility are zinc (found in meat, nuts, seeds and fish) and selenium (found in fish, shellfish and Brazil nuts). If you don’t eat these foods, it is great to start, otherwise, you will need to take a supplement. You also need plenty of protein (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and nuts) as well as iron (red meat, chicken legs, spinach, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, eggs, shellfish). Overall, you need a well-balanced diet that is giving you something from all of the food groups. A good rule of thumb is that your plate for lunch and dinner should be ¼ carbs like wholegrain bread, pasta, rice or potatoes; ¼ protein and ½ vegetables or salad. Add a glass of milk and some yoghurt for calcium and snack on some fruit and you will have most of what you need.

I am sorry that you are having such a hard time trying to become pregnant this time around. You mention that you had trouble getting pregnant the last time but the fact that you have had one baby is very positive. Nutrition plays a role in fertility – both in getting pregnant and in having a healthy pregnancy – but it is not the only factor so it is great that you are talking to your GP and a fertility consultant to see if there are medical causes. There is a lot of information out there about nutrition and a lot of it contradicts itself, which is why people get so confused. It is great to look at what you eat but you do need to start with someone who is properly qualified. In Ireland, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist even if they have never studied nutrition. Start by looking for a Dietitian. The title Dietitian is protected by the Irish government and people have to be qualified to a very high standard to be able to call themselves a dietitian. If your nutritionist is not a dietitian, then do look carefully into their qualifications before you start. Not all nutrition courses are equal and some background research can save you from making some serious nutritional mistakes. You can find qualified dietitians at





I am weaning my baby and I am nervous about food allergies. I have been giving her one food and waiting three days to see if she reacts. Am I doing the right thing or should I let her try anything?



Although there has been an increase in allergies over the past few years, levels are still quite low. It is no harm in the early days to just add one or two foods but if you continue at that pace, your baby will be about 25 before she has her first stew! The most common foods that cause allergies are cow’s milk, soya, fish, wheat, egg and nuts. You can pay more attention when adding these but all other vegetables and foods are fine for your baby to try. Herbs and spices (not chilli!) are good as well as garlic so that you get your baby interested in lots of different flavours. Some parents prefer to wait until their babies are older before they try foods like cow’s milk or peanuts but we now know that giving babies these foods at an earlier age actually reduces their chances of developing an allergy. Once your baby is over six months then she can start trying cow’s milk, bread and pasta, well-cooked eggs and smooth peanut butter. Waiting until they are older seems to be more of a risk than trying them when babies are younger. The best thing, is to focus on letting your baby try lots of new foods and move her on from purees, to mashed foods and to solid foods, letting her get used to all the new textures as well as tastes. If she does have a reaction, do see your GP and remember that the headline-grabbing, lifethreatening reaction is a lot less common than you might think.

Experts now encourage you to include as many different natural colours on your plate as possible, as the substances that give fruit and veg their distinctive colours are usually antioxidants to help prevent serious diseases like cancer. For instance, lycopene is the substance that gives tomatoes its red colour, and this has been proven to cut the risk of certain cancers, including prostate and breast.

Toddlers are bundles of energy, and they may seem extra excited at a special event. Many parents blame sugar, but the truth is that toddlers get over-excited at times and it’s perfectly normal. Sugar enters the bloodstream quickly, causing a surge of energy followed by a slump, so this could heighten their excitement. It’s best to keep sugary treats to a minimum due to the link between sugar and obesity in later life, however.

Some children refuse to eat meat because of its texture. Try offering softer forms of meat at first, such as extralean minced beef and chicken. Sausages and meatballs are good to offer too, as long as they are low in fat and high in lean meat, and don’t contain too much salt. If all else fails, try making a bolognaise sauce with minced beef and whizzing it for a few seconds in a food processor.

Food allergies in babies

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Low blood pressure

Ectopic pregnancy

What are the symptoms of low blood pressure and why does it happen during pregnancy?

What is an ectopic pregnancy? Is it more difficult to have a successful pregnancy after an ectopic one?

During pregnancy your body goes through some dramatic changes. Your cardiovascular system is one of the systems that has to adapt considerably to pregnancy. Your heart will be required to push a much greater volume of blood around your body and in order to make sure the womb gets an adequate supply of blood and oxygen for the growing baby, your heart beats more quickly and the blood vessels in the lower half of the body dilate. This is one of the reasons why varicose veins and haemorrhoids are common in pregnancy. Blood pressure changes go hand in hand with these other adaptions. In the middle of pregnancy, 24-32 weeks, blood pressure can fall from its normal levels; this can cause you to feel lightheaded or faint. This can be a particular problem if you are standing for a while, if you have a warm bath and get out too quickly or even moving from a sitting or lying position to stand quickly. Low blood pressure is not usually a problem and does not need to be treated. In most cases, blood pressure goes back to normal levels as you get close to term.

An ectopic pregnancy is one that implants outside the womb. The most common site is the fallopian tube. The reason we worry about these pregnancies is because as the pregnancy grows, the tube can rupture causing extensive and sometimes life-threatening blood loss. Sometimes the ectopic is caused by previous damage to the tube as a result of infection or inflammation and the fertilised egg cannot get back into the womb before it implants. The treatment can involve either medical or surgical intervention; in either case the tube will be either damaged further by the ectopic or removed in some cases. It is still possible to have a successful pregnancy after an ectopic, but you are at increased risk of a similar problem in a future pregnancy. When you do find out you are pregnant next time, make an early appointment at about 6-7 weeks and have an early scan to establish the site of the pregnancy.


Overdue baby My first baby was overdue and I nearly went mad with the waiting! I’m coming up to term with this baby – is there anything I can do to encourage labour? The first thing to clarify here is what does overdue actually mean. Most people think being overdue is going past your due date. This is not what your doctor or midwife means. Full term is defined as 37-42 weeks with your due date at 40 weeks. So in fact, very few people actually go overdue. Most hospitals have a policy where induction of labour is planned for 10, 12 or 14 days over your due date. There are lots of old wives’ tales about how you can bring on labour, including intercourse and hot curries, but there is little or no evidence to show if these things work or not and you’re better off to let things evolve naturally. You will be seen by your doctor or midwife weekly coming up to term, they can let you know if the baby’s head is well down, and some doctors will do a vaginal examination at this stage to see if the cervix (neck of the womb) is favourable. If this is the case they may do a cervical sweep in an attempt to move things on. Ask your doctor if you are concerned and he/she will advise you on what action if any is most appropriate in your particular case. It’s important to remember that unnecessary intervention can complicate the situation and being patient for a few days can pay dividends.

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Dealing with… EXCESSIVE THIRST It’s natural to need more liquids during pregnancy, and very wise to keep hydrated throughout, but excessive thirst could indicate gestational diabetes. Talk to your doctor if you are worried, as a simple glucose tolerance test can pick up on gestational diabetes between weeks 24 and 28. Gestational diabetes is generally easily treated by exercise and dietary changes; occasionally insulin treatment is needed.


When should I… PACK MY LABOUR BAG? It’s recommended that you have some sort of basic bag packed by 32 weeks, earlier if you are considered high risk, or you are expecting twins or more. However, it’s never too early to be organised, and having the bits and pieces bought and packed can take a lot of stress out of the final weeks of pregnancy.


All about… GAS AND AIR Entonox is an equal mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen that’s given to women through a mask or a mouthpiece during labour. It’s quick and effective, but doesn’t completely remove the pain. There are no known harmful side effects for you or for baby, but dry lips, lightheadedness and nausea can occur.

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First six weeks

Pelvic exercises & C sections

My baby boy is just 10 days old and I also have an active two year old. I feel tired and my back is aching. Is this normal?

Do I still need to do pelvic floor exercises if I am having a Caesarean section?

This is a common problem, but there is a lot that you can do to help! When feeding, sit with your back supported with a pillow/cushion. When breastfeeding, place baby on pillows so you don’t have to actively hold him to the breast Be aware of your neck and shoulder muscles and try to relax them during the feed – gazing down at him while he feeds will strain your neck. Avoid bending when changing baby’s nappy. Keep your back straight and change baby on a table at waist height (never leave him unattended on it as he may roll off as he gets more mobile). Avoid carrying your toddler on one hip, as this leads to increased stress on your already weakened spine. If you need to lift him, bend your knees and use your thigh muscles (quads) to do all the work, not your back. Try to get your partner to do the heavy work with your toddler, as you are still recovering from the birth and are more at risk of an injury at this time. Be aware of your posture when standing and sitting. Stand tall as if you are being pulled to the ceiling by an invisible string. Try to tuck your tailbone down, which lengthens your back and takes the pressure off your back while activating your abdominal muscles.


Exercises in pregnancy I’m pregnant with my third baby and didn’t have much time after my second to get fit again. I’m worried that this may make for a more difficult birth. What exercises can I do now if I haven’t been exercising prior to my pregnancy? Many women, once they realise they are pregnant, wonder what they can do to maintain fitness. Regardless of your pre-pregnancy levels, your fitness goals during pregnancy should be aimed at maintenance and not dramatic gains. It is important to keep your back and legs strong to support you as your bump is growing. Regular exercises, like walking or swimming will target the large muscle groups in these areas. Pool workouts are very beneficial as the buoyancy of the water will support you while working your abdominal muscles. Pregnancy Pilates or yoga classes can be very beneficial, but make sure you have an instructor specifically trained in pregnancy care. Pelvic floor strengthening should also be done from the time you find out that you are pregnant, as these muscles will need increased strength and stamina as your uterus grows and becomes heavier in the later stages of pregnancy.


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Yes! Both pregnancy and childbirth can adversely affect the pelvic floor and cause weakness. Even if you plan to have a Caesarean Section, the weight of your growing bump needs to be supported by strong pelvic floor muscles. Therefore as soon as you discover you are pregnant, you should begin your pelvic floor work. This will allow for gradual strengthening of these muscles as your bump grows. The pelvic floor muscles are made up of layers of muscle which stretch from the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis to the tail bone at the back. The pelvic floor supports your uterus, bladder, bowel, vagina, anus and urethra. The pelvic floor muscles are some of the most important muscles a woman has, yet they are often neglected. Pelvic floor exercises are responsible for good bladder and bowel control. If you had to have stitches, or have bruising and swelling post birth, these exercises can also help in the healing process. Aim to do your pelvic floor strengthening 3 times per day, aiming for 10 repetitions at a time. You may have heard of the lift analogy where you draw up your pelvic floor to the 5th floor, and then relax it all the way down to the basement. The relaxation of the muscles is as important as the contraction. Contact your local Chartered Physiotherapist who specialises in women’s health if you need help with these vital exercises.



Question… CAN I DO DOUBLE LEG LIFTS POST PREGNANCY? Double leg lifts are very difficult to do at any time. This exercise should not be part of a postnatal workout. If you have back pain doing this exercise, this is because you cannot counteract the weight of your legs when they are lowered as your hip flexor muscles, which attach to the lower back, are strongly contracting and causing you to arch your back.


Why is… SWIMMING A GOOD PRENATAL EXERCISE? Swimming is often considered a very low impact sport, and it’s particularly good for expectant mothers as the water partially supports weight, decreasing the burden on spine and limbs. Plus, no big adaptations need to be made to accommodate the growing belly or increase safety. Simply observe the same precautions as other exercise: stay well hydrated and avoid getting your heart rate up too high.


How to… PERFORM A ROLLDOWN Stand with your back against a wall, knees slightly bent. Inhale. As you exhale, draw in your abdominals, moving your chin toward your chest as you roll your torso down one vertebra at a time. “Roll” as far down as comfortable. Inhale, and as you exhale, slowly “roll” back up. This exercise can be performed on a chair when pregnant with your feet wide apart to make room for your tummy.

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Q Nappy rash

Clicky hips

My eight-week-old baby has developed a nasty nappy rash, causing her skin to bleed in places. Our GP has suggested a steroid-based cream but I’m reluctant to use it on my tiny baby. I would appreciate your advice.

My two-month-old daughter was born with clicky hips. The doctors say she will need to be put in a splint for 12 weeks. Is there anything else I can do to speed up her recovery?

Many parents do worry about steroid creams being prescribed, but used appropriately they are a safe and effective treatment. Your GP has probably prescribed a low-strength cream, such as Hydrocortisone 1%. Sometimes this will be a combination product, also containing an anti-fungal cream. Having a severe nappy rash is distressing for a baby, and steroid creams will help settle the skin inflammation. Remember, you’re only applying the cream to a small percentage of your baby’s total body area, and will be using it for less than a week. All the usual advice to help a nappy rash still applies. You should change your daughter’s nappy regularly, carefully bathe the nappy area with water (no soap) using cotton wool and gently pat the area dry. Apply a barrier cream after each nappy change. This approach is usually enough to settle most cases of nappy rash, but if it’s more severe you shouldn’t worry about also using a short course of steroid cream.

Unless you have a family history of clicky hips, or congenital dislocation of the hip, this has probably come as a complete surprise. It’s natural to feel anxious, but most babies have no discomfort wearing the splint. Over the next three months the splint will hold the “ball and socket” that makes up the hip joint in exactly the right position. The surrounding ligaments will tighten and the bones will form a properly shaped socket around the head of the femur (thigh). You should try to carry on with everything you would normally do with your baby. Changing nappies can be fiddly initially, and you will find buying some larger clothes now makes dressing and undressing much easier. If you are breastfeeding finding a comfy position may take some practice. Don’t forget plenty of hugs and cuddles. Most parents find it hard to remember the splint when they see their child running about in a few years’ time.


Q Wetting the bed




My ten-year-old boy still wets the bed. While we are managing this at home, he cannot go on any sleepovers with friends. He is beginning to feel left out. What else can we do?




Although approximately 1 in 14 ten year old boys still regularly wet the bed, by this age it is becoming a much more distressing symptom that can affect your son’s social life and self-confidence. It sounds as if your son has never been reliably dry, and the older a child, the more likely any psychological issues are a consequence rather than a cause of bedwetting. First, see you GP to rule out any underlying medical condition. This is more likely if your son has daytime symptoms as well, such as needing to go to the toilet frequently or urgently. Constipation is a well-recognised and sometimes overlooked cause of bedwetting. It can also run in families, especially on the father’s side. Restricting evening fluid intake is sensible, and should at least reduce night-time urine volume. Going to the toilet regularly during the day and before bed will also help as will planned night-time waking and toileting. I think your next step should be an enuresis alarm, which you can buy but may be available for loan from a local clinic; you can check with your GP. I’d recommend at least a three-month trial of this. If this hasn’t helped, your GP may be prepared to prescribe Desmopressin, especially if your son is otherwise fit and well. This is available in two strengths and the lower dose should be tried first. Desmopressin is usually well tolerated and again I’d suggest at least a three-month trial.

Night-time sweating is very common in children, as they spend longer in deep sleep, their temperature regulation systems are not as developed as an adult’s and they have a higher proportion of sweat glands. If they are sweating earlier in the night, or you think they are sweating more than usual, check that they are not over-heating or if there is no underlying health problem, such as a cold or an infection.

Approximately 5 per cent of children are estimated to suffer from a food allergy. Over 160 foods have been found to cause allergies, but there are eight that are most common. These are: < Milk < Eggs < Peanuts < Tree nuts (eg, almonds or walnuts) < Soybeans < Wheat < Fish < Shellfish

Symptoms can occur a few minutes up to an hour after eating the affected food. Indigestion issues or headache may indicate a sensitivity to the ingredient rather than an allergy. Symptoms of allergy include: < Mouth itching < Difficulty swallowing or breathing < Vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain < Hives and eczema < Coughing and wheezing < Light-headedness and dizziness < Anaphylaxis (sudden drop in blood pressure) – seek immediate attention if this occurs.

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Sleep per age group Does my child need less sleep than other children? Last year the National Sleep Foundation released new guidelines on the amount of sleep required per age group. The figures per 24 hours are as follows: Newborn-3 months: 14-17 hours 4m-12m: 12-15 hours 1-2 years: 11-14 hours 3-5 years: 10-13 hours Most children will fall within that bracket, with some needing slightly more, some slightly less. Your child should have an age-appropriate nap and sleep consistently through the night without requiring parental intervention outside of biologically necessary feeds. If their mood and behaviour is generally good and they appear to manage without a personality change and their sleep amount is somewhere in the same bracket outlined, then it will be safe to assume that they are reaching their own personal sleep quota. If on the other hand, your child does not sleep through the night or nap well without high levels of parental input, and if they can be variable in terms of their mood, then it may be fair to assume that they require more or better quality sleep and you can start to address this for them. Sleep can always be improved on and when you address sleep issues, it is likely that parents will also report enhanced mood and behaviour, increased appetite and a better ability to manage time on their own.


Moving to single nap My crèche really want my 14 month old to move onto one nap, since they started this approach he has gone from waking at 6.15am to wanting to start the day at 4.15am – help! What can I do? I would suggest that at 14 months and based on how he has responded that he is just not ready to have one nap per day. I don’t generally see this as possible until somewhere closer to 15-18 months. Certainly if you change the nap layout and everything remains the same and sleep is intact, then that is fine for that child. But if this transition is made prematurely, as in your case, then you may experience a case of early rising or indeed a resistance to sleep at bedtime. I would recommend that you have a meeting with your crèche in order to establish how they will meet your child’s current sleep needs; it is not unusual for a day care facility to encourage a single nap once they head into the wobbler room, but for your little boy, it’s not the right approach and he and you will start to suffer in a cycle of overtiredness. You will need to revisit the two- nap day a while longer until he is completely ready. If your hands are tied and there is limited flexibility where he is being looked after, then you could try to have two naps on the days that he is not in crèche and an earlier bedtime on the days that he is there.

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Second nap issues Is it normal for my 15 month old to take longer getting asleep for the second nap compared with the first? My daughter is sleeping 11 hours through the night, goes down for her first nap three hours after waking up. I then wake her up after an hour, and put her down three hours later for the second. She has been consistently taking longer (30-40 minutes) to fall asleep for the second nap. Is she ready for one nap? Definitely the second nap can be more challenging than the first nap and can take up to three weeks-plus to establish. If you have been doing this for a while, it probably isn’t a sign that she is ready for one nap, although that time is close; you just need to shorten the length of the first one to around 45 minutes in order to create enough sleep pressure for the second nap to happen within 15-30 minutes of putting her down. Make sure that you are giving her a good enough winddown of about 10-15 minutes before sleep time and that the room is not too warm and it is very dark as well. One nap is coming soon, but I would think the shorter first nap will suffice for now. Keep up the good work!




Why does… MY BABY SNORE?


Snoring is usually nothing to worry about, especially if they have a steady rhythm. It could be the sign of a cold, in which case try putting a wide bowl of hot water in the room (well out of the baby’s reach). Persistent snoring or intermittent snoring with gasps could indicate a blockage in the tonsils or adenoids. Consult your doctor for advice, particularly if this is a new issue.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is rare, thanks to the policy of putting a baby to sleep on his back, but it is still the leading cause of death for babies aged between one and 12 months. Babies between one and four months old are most at risk, and 90 percent of cases occur in babies under the age of six months. It is believed that the baby’s brain development and increased physical strength results in the risk dramatically dropping after the age of six months.


Tip… CLASSIC READ One of our favourite bedtime books is Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. This simple book has been around since the 1940s, yet children from baby age onwards are still enchanted by the little rabbit’s evening ritual of saying goodnight to every object in his room. The illustrations start out detailed and intensely coloured, and slowly fade and grow darker as the little rabbit (and hopefully your little one) gets more drowsy…

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


Early Childhood Ireland,

One Family, Cherish House,

Hainault House, Belgard Square,

2 Lower Pembroke Street,

Tallaght, Dublin 24.

Dublin 2. Tel: 01 662 9212

Tel: (01) 405 7100

LoCall Info Line: 1890 662 212

HSE, Oak House, Millennium Park,



Naas, Co. Kildare. Tel: (045) 880400



Miscarriage Association of Ireland, Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. Tel: (01) 873 5702 Email: Web:

LoCall: 1850 24 1850


OPEN – One Parent Exchange and Network, National Centre,

Cuidiú – Irish Childbirth Trust,

Aware 72 Lower Leeson Street,

Tel: (01) 814 8860

Irish Multiple Births Association,

Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7.

Dublin 2. Tel: (01) 661 7211


LoCall Helpline: 1890 303 302


Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7.

Tel: (01) 872 4501




Treoir 14 Gandon House,

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.

Custom House Square, International Financial Services Centre, IFSC, Dublin 1.

Information and advice resource for unmarried parents

Barnardos, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8. Callsave: 1850 222 300

Post Natal Depression Ireland,

Tel: (01) 453 0355


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


Email: Web:

Home Birth Association of Ireland, Tel: 087 164 0847, (0906) 405267 Email: enquiries@ Web: La Leche League of Ireland, Please refer to your local telephone directory. Email: leader@

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

Tel: (01) 874 9056

Tel: (01) 670 0120 LoCall Info Line: 1890 252 084 Email: Web:

A Little Lifetime Foundation, 18 Orion Business Campus,


Rosemount Business Park,


Ballycoolin, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Tel: (01) 882 9030 Email:

First Light- Irish Sudden Death Syndrome Association, Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street,

Tel: (01) 287 8466 Email:




9 Bullford Business Campus, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow.

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Childline, 24-hour Freephone Helpline: 1800 666 666 Text: ‘TALK’ to 50101 (2pm-10pm daily) Web:


LONE PARENTS Doras Buí – A Parents Alone Resource Centre B unratty Drive, Coolock, Dublin 17 Tel: (01) 848 4811

Childminding Ireland,



(Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10am to 2pm)

Email: Web:

7 Red Cow Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7.

Support Line: (021) 492 2083

Monthly support meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month at Cork Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork.


Parentline, Carmichael House, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7.

Dublin 7. Tel: (01) 873 2711

Tel: (01) 873 3500

LoCall Helpline: 1850 391 391

LoCall: 1890 927 277





28/09/2015 17:39



Enable Ireland, 32F Rosemount Park Drive, Rosemount Business Park, Ballycoolin Road, Dublin 11.

Irish Wheelchair Association,

daily) Tel: (01) 678 8858

Áras Chúchulainn, Blackheath Drive, Clontarf, Dublin 3.


Tel: (01) 872 7155

Tel: (01) 818 6400

Email: communications@enableireland. ie Web:


42-43 Amiens Street, Dublin 1. Meningitis Research Foundation,

Helpline: 1850 445 464 (10am-1pm, Monday-Friday)

Advice and support for women and children experiencing domestic violence.


Tel: (01) 817 8886

The Hope Project – Inclusion Ireland (Disability/Autism), St Joseph, Ballinabearna, Ballinhassig, Co. Cork.


Tel: (021) 488 8503

Dublin 1. Helpline: 1800 413 344

Department of Justice and Equality,



Tel: (01) 819 6931

94 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.



Tel: (01) 602 8202

Gardiner House, 64-66 Lower Gardiner Street,

Lo-Call: 1890 221 227

Cleft Lip and Palate Association of Ireland, Tel: 087 131 9803

National Council for the Blind,

Email: Web:

Tel: (01) 860 1878

Whitworth Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9. Tel: (01) 830 7033


LoCall: 1850 92 3060

Maternity Benefit Section,



Department of Social Protection, McCarter’s Road, Ardarvan, Buncrana,


Irish Deaf Society, Deaf Village Ireland, Ratoath Road, Cabra, Dublin 7.

Web: Down Syndrome Ireland,


Citylink Business Park, Old Naas Road, Dublin 12. T el: (01) 426 6500

Co. Donegal.

LoCall: 1890 374 374

The Irish Society for Autism, Unity Building, 16/17 Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin 1. Tel: (01) 874 4684




Women’s Aid, 5 Wilton Place, Dublin 2.




Helpline: 1800 341 900 (10am-10pm


LoCall: 1890 690 690 Tel: (074) 916 4491

In Africa women do

80% 5%


but with only


Text ‘PETITION’ followed by your name to 57856


Texts will be charged at your standard network rate


In Africa, the hand that rocks the cradle also tills the field. In addition to raising children, preparing food, carrying water and collecting firewood, African women do up to 80% of the farm work. But they get as little as 5% of the support in training, seeds, land and credit. You can change this. Add your name to the petition to demand increased support for African women farmers. Find out more at

Petition organised by

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28/09/2015 17:39




I’m JENNIE, and in my blog (shortlisted for the Blog Awards Ireland 2015) I take a light-hearted look at the world of motherhood. In this post I laugh about the stress of supermarket shopping with a toddler in tow...


used to view the weekly shop as a boring chore, but since having a baby, I have now come to think of it as a series of obstacles that have to be overcome. I could compare it to an Olympic event, and in that case, getting home with all the shopping intact is like winning a gold medal. It’s definitely as exhausting anyway… The first mission is to get a parent and child parking space, and if I’m successful with that, then it feels like we’re off to a good start. At least I have room to pull in and reverse out with ease even if I am in the process of singing Baa Baa Black Sheep whilst being whacked over the head with flying toys. There’s also enough room to manoeuvre the trolley right next to the car to get the little one in and out without fear of giving anyone a prang… Next challenge: no matter how much I feed him before we leave the house the minute we step inside the store I will be faced with a starving child. The trouble is even the snacks I’ve packed in the changing bag won’t suffice; it has to be something off the shelf. Thankfully supermarkets seem to be very understanding about this predicament and don’t bat an eyelid, so I’m obviously not the only one faced with this dilemma. Apples are first on the agenda and while at home they would be washed, peeled and cut into chunks this now goes out the window; the bag is torn open, and the one at the top is grabbed and bitten into like it’s the first thing he’s eaten in a week. Anything else that looks edible is sampled before tossing it back into the trolley now covered in saliva. Once he is full to the brim it’s no longer a case of wanting to eat the produce but to help carry it. Every item we select I hear him chirp up ‘I’ll hold it’. It is then a case of making some quick judgements about what is

and isn’t safe. Some are more obvious than others and unfortunately I’ve had to learn the hard way. While breakables are a clear ‘no’ I had thought that flour was a safe bet; won’t get damaged, isn’t harmful, doesn’t roll, isn’t cold, no sharp corners… I hadn’t taken into consideration the fact he was teething so safe to say he ended up looking like Frosty the Snowman. The aisle I always dread the most is the one we absolutely have to visit: the baby aisle. It is both cunning and cruel that my local store positions the nappies directly opposite the most desirable toys. They know full well that while mums are stocking up on the essentials their children are eyeing up the latest musthave purchase. The occasional whinge that ensued before this has now become a full-blown wail. Distraction is the only answer and it is trial and error as to what will work on a given day; I may have to burst into song, play an impromptu game of peekaboo or race the trolley like he’s on a roller coaster. The security guys watching the CCTV must love it. The final hurdle is the checkout; unfortunately with many of the packets of fruit and snacks ripped open it is a juggling act to keep everything contained. In addition, any items that are being clung onto now have to be removed from his tight grip so any understanding cashiers that are quick to swipe these through are a life saver. If they also have a bit of banter with the baby, I am grateful for the entertainment they provide while I’m bagging up the goods. With it finished for another week I am just grateful that I have six days to psyche myself up for our next trip… Footnote: Just got back from today’s shop and he was an angel the whole time! Someone’s obviously been reading over my shoulder!

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Maternity & Infant Oct/Nov 2015  
Maternity & Infant Oct/Nov 2015