How to survive a summer pregnancy

Right, everyone is looking forward for the warmer  summer days. Clothing becomes lighter, the days are longer and normally summer also means holidays.

But last year I found that for the first time in my live I really wished that summer in UK was just one day. Not only it wasn’t, but it was one of the warmer summers I remember and quite a long one as well.

I remember my mum used to say that we should avoid having the last trimester clashing with summer time, and that is because a pregnant lady will be warmer than usual due to the baby being inside. It’s like hitting the menopause a lot easier. Heat becomes a problem, quite a big one. But this is exactly what I had. Since she was born in September, I had my last 3 months on summer and I have to admit I’ve struggled with it big time. I remember once I went to the theater with my girlfriends and I’ve almost passed out in the middle of Soho because it was 30 something degrees in London (yeah unusual I know). Then in the theater as I was in a middle sit I’ve started to boil so badly I could barely breathe and had to leave to a corner so I could have a bit more air.

So how to survive a summer pregnancy?

  • Move to a colder country – Probably not practical for most of us as we won’t be able to travel at that point either
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and drinks lots of water – Fruit was definitely my savior. I had 9 months sickness and fruit happened to be the only thing I could keep down. Water is really really crucial as you need to keep hydrated  and baby as well. So carry a bottle of water with you at all times and keep on refilling it
  • Light and comfortable dresses – I gave up on more office type dresses and was going to work in white light dresses (with a nice necklace or so), simple because I had to be comfortable and as light as possible
  • Avoid the sun – It might sound obvious but try to stay indoors during the sun peak times. Leave your walks for end of the day or early morning.
  • Get a good fan! – So in UK houses have carpets and windows that might not open fully because summer it’s not supposed to last. I had 35 degrees in my living room and it was quite unbearable. For the first time in this country I had to buy a fan. This year I’ve bought one of those tower fans because it’s important to keep the house at good temperature for baby as well
  • Avoid doing anything that will make you sweat – I mean by this stage you won’t feel like doing much anyway, but find a cool place (if they have air con even better), read a book and try to relax.
  • Find a nice outdoors coffee place in the shade so you can enjoy some fresher air. It’s a good way to pamper yourself as well
  • Nap a lot – it’s a good way to keep temperature down as well
  • Carry a spray bottle so you can refresh yourself on the go

Any other tips? Did you had a summer pregnancy too?

Starting Solids

If there’s one thing that I’ve been finding complicated is the introduction of solids. Mostly because there are loads of different rules and hard to know which one would work for you and your baby.

The well know recommendation is to start solids at 6 months for a couple of reasons:

  • That’s the point baby’s stomach has matured enough to be able to accept solids;
  • It’s also the age where baby will be able to sit unaided
  • Baby will be losing the gag reflex – the reflex that makes it to throw everything that touches the tongue
  • Baby will also start showing interest for food

Some doctors will recommend starting early for specific reasons. I was recommended the introduction of solids at around 4 months because of her reflux. I’ve kept it to sweet potato pure only, once a day, but then stopped it completely because it made more sense to follow the overall recommendation.

Then the funny part starts, how to start?

There’s 2 main approaches (ok maybe 3). The first is the classical introduction of food via purees, and the second is Baby Lead Weaning.

: Classical Approach :

You’ll start with some vegetables and pure them into a yogurt like consistency. If you have allergies in the family you should introduce 1 food at a time and wait around 2 days before introducing another one to check for reactions. If not you can start more in 1 go. I would say focus on vegetables first without introducing fruits, because babies, like adults, have a sweet tooth, so they will prefer sweet food and start rejecting everything else. Even though I’ve waited, the moment she discovered fruits she has been rejecting everything else pretty much! As baby grows you start to add more lumpy textures and more food overall.

: Baby Lead Weaning :

It’s quite trendy at the moment and pretty much says to not touch the purees at all, as baby will get confused and increase the risk of chocking and just let him grab the food and learn the chew himself, at his own pace. The idea behind it is baby will start to develop the necessary skills which will help him throughout childhood. Also the other advantage is to keep it simple and let baby enjoy what the family eats (as long as you avoid salt, sugar and honey).

What I’m following?

: Combo Approach :

I try everything pretty much. She enjoys the feeling of independence when she grabs her own food, but mostly she plays with it and doesn’t eat as much. She prefers the flavours when they are not pureed. The only thing she accepts with the spoon is fruit. Also, at the nursery they follow the classical approach. A lot of mums are doing the same and they find that baby doesn’t get confused. Anyway, babies can also choke with milk!

How much should baby eat?

Milk is still the main source of nutrition for babies up until they are 1 year old, so keep the milk feeds untouched. As for the food, offer as much as baby can handle. I know a lot of people say food before 1 is just for fun, but it’s actually not. After 6 months mum’s milk is not enough to provide all the levels of iron required. So baby needs meat / fish / vegetables and fruit. Try to start with lunch time, then add breakfast and try to offer an early dinner as well. And don’t forget to encourage baby to drink a lot of water otherwise they will get really constipated. My little one rejects pretty much everything, so she’s been constipated.

Ultimately you need to find what works for you and your baby. Follow your gut, you know your baby best, so if you believe something isn’t right just visit a doctor.

Any stories you would like to share regarding the introduction of solids? What method worked for you?

Why isn’t my baby sleeping through the night?

There is so much pressure on us mums about how much babies sleep. Specially after baby reaches the age of 3 months most people will ask: Is your baby sleeping through the night? Because you also have friends with babies that do indeed sleep through the night from 3 months onwards you will feel depressed. Yap, this is clearly me.

As you know, we’ve been battling reflux, which obviously affected her sleep. She would wake up in pain and need lots of cuddles and love to feel protected and go back to sleep. During the first few months I’ve only managed to sleep 3 to 4h a day and she was sleeping a total of 8h total max, mostly broken down by 30m naps on my lap. At 2 months she started to sleep longer and currently she can sleep 10 to 11h at night with lots of breaks in the middle. I am exhausted and feel I don’t have a life. All I do is function around making her sleep and trying to sleep myself. What I call a really good night many mums would say it’s a bad one.

As I write this, I’m over the moon that she had 3 good nights in a row (at 6 months). A good night for me sounds like this:

  • 19h Bath and final play time
  • 19h30 Feeding
  • 20h After a few tries and lots of cuddling she’s in bed
  • 00h Wakes for feeding back to bed before 00h30
  • 03h Wakes up again, feeding and more cuddle and goes to be before 03h30
  • 07h / 07h30 Wake up, nappy change, feed and take her to nursery

I’ve only moved her to her own room at 6 months, as the recommendation is for babies to sleep in the same room as the parents for the first 6 months. I found out that she’s a really light sleeper like both of us, so she was benefiting for a bit more quiet. Both her door and our room is opened so at the minimum noise I can hear her, but she’s not bothered if one of us snores or moves a bit more aggressively in bed. She still wakes at night, but it’s ok. When she’s ready to sleep through the night I’m sure she will because she loves sleeping, it’s just she can’t do it for long yet.

Most people are telling me to give her formula (which I’ll have to since I’m running out of frozen bags as I can’t pump as much as she feeds) or to let her cry out to see if she learns to sleep herself. When she’s happy she can fall asleep on her own, so if she gets distressed she’ll end up getting awake and then harder to help her sleep, so I don’t do let it cry it out (CIO).

Also, wanted to share with you a really interesting video I just found out which gives us a bit more comfort that is normal for babies to wake up at night, but it also prevents SIDS. At some point before she’s 3 years I hope she will be ready to sleep through the night, until then I need to be ready for boobing and extra cuddles.

Mum and baby Yoga

During my maternity leave I’ve always made a effort to go out with baby Em. It was as important for her as it was for me, to feel more like an adult and a person that can do things. It wasn’t always easy because she cried loads and would vomit herself so often that all I did was to change her  before being able to leave through the door.

After reading a bit online I found that the studio where I did the Pregnancy Yoga (you can read all about it here) also had Mum & Baby classes. You could clearly see there was a baby boom at this point as the classes were overbooked. Fortunately some people managed to move to the older babies class (above 6 months) and I’ve managed to get a place.

During the first few classes she behaved a lot better that I thought she would. She was really active and all she wanted was to move around (she can’t roll yet). Most of the other babies would fall asleep on the journey to yoga, so mums could do a bit more relaxation. It was also the first time she saw other babies and she loved it. For me, I had a bit of time to stretch my legs and do stretching exercises which all new mums will need to.

Since at this point I had to keep her upright on my lap for at least 30m after a feed, it was good to discover other positions I could do that would help me do some exercise and keep her entertained. Her favourite part was the nursery rhymes. Her favourite one is “head shoulders knees and toes” mostly because it’s one where I touch her and she loves it.

I didn’t attend the final 2 classes as she had really  bad nights and the class time was at the point where she was too exhausted.

Benefits from Mum and Baby Yoga

  • For the mum I would say the best one is that you’ll have an opportunity to meet other mums and stretch! It’s also great for your emotional well being as it’s quite a relaxing experience. Everyone is on the same boat so you’ll feel you can let go. It’s another beautiful way to bond with your baby.
  • For the baby, he’ll get to meet other babies and spend good quality time with mum. The gentle exercises will be a good foundation for when he grows and it’s said to help digestive system, as some exercises are tailored to teach mums how to help them if they suffer from colic. It keeps baby happy through the soothing sounds and nursery rhymes. They also say baby will sleep better, but in my case this wasn’t through.

It’s a shame that there are  no classes over the weekend because I would love to carry on a bit longer with these classes. Once I start to sleep a bit better I’m planning to go back to normal yoga and start to have a bit more me time.

Have you experienced Mum & Baby Yoga? What are your thoughts on it? Did you found it helpful?

Back at work

Ah time flies and little one is now 6 months old. That means I’m back at work. A lot of people have asked me how does it feel to be back at work, with all honesty it’s a mixture of feelings. From one hand feels like holidays because you’re doing adult stuff and having intelligent conversations and you’re likely to do stuff that is interesting for you, so time flies without you even noticing. In the first few days don’t expect to be productive, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people as oppose to be doing any work. Only more than 1 week on and I’m starting to adapt, but I’m sure there will still be a lot of conversations to be held in the corridor.

On the other hand I miss my little one the moment I kiss her to leave the house. I miss her smile and her giggles and all I want is to be back home and hold her again.

Common worries when you’re back at work

#1 – Where will I leave my baby?
Only a few of us are lucky enough to have someone from the family that can take care of baby while we go back to work. I’m surely not that case as my family is miles away from me. In my particular case I’ve decided for a nursery which is pretty much next door because they offer a lot of activities and there are lots of other babies around. Also, because it’s a nursery, you have more confidence that they will not mistreat your baby. A childminder is a cheaper option and takes care of less kids but to me it would have to be someone I trust. As I didn’t had any recommendations in my area I went for nursery.

You can read more on this article if you want to find the best childcare for you

#2 – If you are breastfeeding, how will you keep your supply?
This is something I’ve been struggling myself. In ideal world you should pump as often as baby would feed. The reality for most of us is that it’s irrealistic. My little one feeds between 5 to 10m and I can’t take the same quantity out of the pump in the same time. It would take me around 1h to get the same quantity. If you can try to pump twice. Once around lunch time and another mid afternoon before you leave. I also feed her just before I leave the house and will feed her once I arrive. She still has all the nightfeeds as well. You also need to check how many feeds she would have while you’re away and try to pump them. I’ve worked out that I would need 5 feeds (as it takes me 2h commute) but I’m only getting 3 max. Fortunately I had a good collection of frozen bags but will run out pretty soon.

In UK, employers are obliged to provide you enough time and conditions for you to breastfeed or pump. In my company I was provided with a small fridge and I also have a room in the health centre which I can use to pump comfortably. For transport I use a cooler bag with a freezer bar inside.

#3 – How will I be able to function without any sleep?
I ask that question myself every day and somehow I do. Little one wakes up at least 4 times at night and I don’t get more than 3h sleep in a row. Most likely it’s just 1h sleep before she wakes up again and needs me. I’ve left my boss know about this situation, so they’ve been really considerate and protective about my workload. Be realistic with what you can and can’t do. For example I was supposed to have enlisted myself for promotion and work out all the business case to get there, but was not going to have the time or head to do it, so I’ve said straight once getting back at work that it was something I wasn’t going to do.

#4 – What happens if the little one gets sick?
This is exactly the stage where I am now. Less than 1 week at the nursery I received the call… yes you will start shaking your legs and stop breathing once you receive a call from the nursery (or your child care provider), in my case it was diarrhoea so had to take her home as it could be a stomach bag. She’s been pooing loads so she has been at home with us. Fortunately both of us can actually work from home – although doing some actual work has been a challenge because she’s really demanding. So this is again something you need to discuss upfront with your employer because they will get sick loads and you won’t be able to keep on taking holidays every time they get sick.

Any other tips you would like to share? Any questions you would like me to answer?

What to pack in the hospital bag

I have to admit apart from baby’s first clothes and nappies I had no idea what to pack, this was something I had to learn as well. Also it might sound obvious, but you also need to pack something for mum as well!

Also I was expecting that because it’s a hospital bag I would be able to fit everything inside. Nahhh, so I’ve ended up having 2 hospital bags, one for me and another for the baby

For the baby

  • 100% Cotton Comfy pyjamas – yes you will need more than 1 as you’re still learning how to put the nappy or the baby might throw up like my little one did. I had a little bag called “my first clothing” with 2 pjs and a hat

  • Also consider when baby will be born, you might need a jacket to take him out of the hospital. My little one was born in summer so there was no need for lots of clothing
  • Nappies – It’s kinda obvious but yes bring lots of nappies
  • Muslins – I found them really handy to wrap baby and ended up using them almost as bed linen too. I had bamboo muslins which I totally loved. They are perfect to keep the right body temperature and they are really soft and light, so perfect for baby. You could swaddle baby with them. My little one hated being swaddled
Little Bamboo

Little Bamboo

  • 1 portable nappy changer – I found that the hospital didn’t had any, so I was changing her nappies on the bed… needless to say pee went all over the place a few times. I didn’t pack anything but I wish I had
  • Cotton Pads – I find these more efficient than cotton balls. I use Johnsons & Jonnsons ones because they are quite big

  • Waterwipes – I know I’m being very specific here, you can bring any wipes you fancy really, but I love waterwipes because they’re pretty much just water and no chemicals. Yes they are expensive but they are really worth it!

  • Milk – This is a bit controversial but some people pack formula in case baby can’t latch. What I would have done was to bring seringues and use the hospital pump to pump some milk in the scenario where baby wouldn’t latch. My little one was glued to my breasts as she was starving when she was born. If it makes you feel at ease, pack formula even if you end up never using it. Also, if you’ve managed to store some milk before baby was born, bring it with you. This will be quite important if baby needs to go to ICU.

And that’s pretty much it for the baby.

For Mum
Now this is where people tend to pack things they will never use. In my case I can say I haven’t use any food since I’ve ended up in emergency C-section without ever going into natural labour. Most people will pack cereal bars but labour makes you really thirsty so this is what I had packed:

  • Coconut water – as labour makes you sweat loads! You need something you can drink fast and helps with the heat as well
  • Fruits
  • Porridge – because provides a slow release of energy. I had the instant ones where you just need hot water
  • Big bottle of water
  • Cheap knickers- the disposable ones are not very comfortable
  • Maternity pads – believe me you’ll need them
  • Comfy clothing – for labour and when you are at the hospital. I had cotton trousers and t-shirts and a large dress
  • Nursing bras and breast pads
  • Toiletries and a towel – You will need a shower after all the hard work and don’t forget flip flops so you don’t go barefoot into the hospital bathroom
  • Lip balm and hair ties – again handy if you’ll end up in long labour and you’ll feel like you’re in the desert!
  • Hospital notes and plan…. although I would say my plan was really useless
  • Something for you to read – I had my kindle
  • Phone and phone charger
  • Ipod or music on your phone

For dad

  • Ensure dad knows your birth plans and knows how to assemble the car seat
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Lots of snacks as he won’t be getting any food while he’s supporting you and drinks too

The biggest tip I would say is, if you need to stay overnight in the hospital try to get a private room, otherwise your partner won’t be able to stay with you and help you out. My first night in the hospital was horrible because I could barely move, I was thirsty all time and I still had to manage to hold baby. On the 2nd night we went to the private room and at least he could stay with me and help me out a bit. Made tons of difference. You can have a female partner with you, so if you have a family member that can stay with you, that’s great.

It’s always handy to have the hospital bag ready as soon as possible, so in the case you need to run to the hospital everything is ready and you both know what you need to do.

5 things I wish I knew about Breastfeeding

Once I discovered I was pregnant one thing became really clear to me: I wanted to breastfeed. It’s brilliant that in UK most midwifes really advocate for breastfeeding to encourage mums to go on. Some of my friends might argue that they’ve become breastfeeding nazis and don’t really understand that in some instances Mums have no choice but to go to formula.

Whatever your choice is: A feed baby is the important thing, regardless of how!

Anyway, I thought that breastfeeding was going to be a lot easy. When you watch in the movies everything seems to smooth and easy but it’s not easy at all. I went to a breastfeeding class, provided by the NHS so I thought I new it all:

  1. Nose to nipple
  2. Wait for the big yawn
  3. Push baby into the breast

Sounds pretty straightforward but it’s not

#1 You need a lot of support in order to start a good breastfeeding journey, from the moment baby is born
I was lucky enough to be followed by a private midwife (well, lucky that I could afford it), so they’ve really ensured that my breastfeeding wish was going to be met. I was still in “coma” and my baby was already at my breast having a decent feed. In my case it also helped that she was starving, as she had not been fed properly inside my belly for the last 4 weeks. She was born with only 2.5kg (5.5lb) and all she wanted was to feed. In fact, the first person to hold her was my other half and she went to search for his nipples. So whereas some babies, like mine, will be born hungry and wanting to feed in most cases they probably just had a main meal and are to amazed by being outside and are not interested in feeding.

Many mums will give up on breastfeeding because they don’t get the correct support especially in the first hours when they are still in pain.

#2 Skin to skin is crucial in the first hour of baby’s life
Even though it seems babies are born knowing exactly what to do, they need to be guided as well. One big piece of advice I was giving while pregnant was: “skin to skin”. As soon baby is born just go ahead and do it. Bond together for at least a good hour. The benefits are incredible for both mum and baby. Both will calm down and get used to each other. Oxytacin (the “one hormone” to rule them all) will kick in helping with the milk production. Baby will eventually follow the clues and start to search for the breast once he wants to feed.

#3 There are a few things that might complicate the whole journey…. tongue tie
Normally at the hospital they are supposed to check if baby has tongue tie, as it does complicate breastfeeding a lot, but in some cases babies are not diagnosed and then mum ends up in pain and baby feels frustrated because he can’t feed efficiently. My little one had posterior tongue tie and it was only diagnosed because my nipples were absolutely in pain and getting damaged. She ended up drinking blood and I was really struggling with the pain. To cope with it, I was using nipple shields, but nipple shields decrease the milk production. In the end, because she had lip tie she was checked by a private midwife, they’ve analysed how she was moving her tongue and there she was, she had it! Once she was snipped I’ve managed to get rid of the nipple shields. Tongue tie tends to lead to inefficient feedings and a lot of air swallowing which triggers colic and potentially reflux as well. So if no matter what you do baby doesn’t latch properly and you have sore nipples you might want to check for lip tie.

#4 Growth spurts might make you believe your milk is not enough
Here’s a thing I knew nothing about… growth spurts. Growth spurts are associated to development leaps. Typically baby will sleep a lot a few days before and then have a few days of eating all the time. Many mums will take this as a sign that her supply is not good enough or the classic: you’re milk is not nutritious enough for your baby. Growth spurts are precisely to increase supply. It takes around 2 days for mum’s supply to adjust to the babies needs, so babies knowing they will be needing more milk they ask mum in advance so production has time to catch up. It’s absolutely normal. You will feel really tired and exhausted but it will pass! The main ones are on the first days at home, 7 to 10 days, 2 to 3 weeks, 4 to 6 weeks, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months but each baby is different. For instance my little one has her first growth spurts earlier than the calendar above and I haven’t noticed anything around 4 months. But if you noticed one, don’t give up, it’s just your baby making a request for milk he will only need in the future.

#5 Food restrictions
Whereas most mums can eat pretty much what they want as long as they try to maintain a healthy diet – which is hard considering you’ll be hungry all time and no time to prepare stuff, some of us have to be careful with the food. Cows Milk Intolerance or Allergy (CMPI / CMPA) is quite common, so if your baby has eczema, colics or reflux you might want to go 6 weeks dairy / soy free (since the protein is very similar anyway) to see if your baby improves. In the case of reflux you’ll have to cut all acidic food. You should also restrict coffee and chocolate consumption. I thought I would be able to eat pretty much everything once baby was born…. had no idea I would have to be so restricted but it’s for a good cause. Some mums have no other choice but to sweet to a specific formula.

So if you’re planning to breastfeed good luck!!! Hope you get the support your need.

You can find more information here and here. Also your health centre will also host weekly breastfeeding support groups.

Any experiences you would like to share? Was it easy for you?

Pregnancy Yoga

I wanted to do yoga for a long long time but I’ve never managed to set myself into actually do it. Once I’ve decided I had to start eliminating stress and take better care of the baby in my belly (and myself too) I’ve decided straight away to join Pregnancy Yoga Classes.

Photo from Yoga 4 You

Photo from Yoga 4 You

I have to say I loved them! It was great to take some time out and be able to stretch and learn breathing techniques. I totally recommend it to all mums, seriously. You won’t have that much me time left once baby is born, so make the most of it!

Main benefits for Mum

  • It teaches great breathing techniques which are crucial during labour
  • You’ll meet other mums in your area
  • It’s great for relaxing and learn good postures for labour and also to deal with the pregnancy itself
  • Lots of pelvic floor exercises which will also be key during and post labour
  • Helps to handle the pressure (and pain!) in the hips

Benefits for the baby

  • If mum feels relaxed baby will feel relaxed and nourished as well
  • A smoother labour for mum means it will be easier for baby too

I found a great article that explains the main benefits into more detail here.

Have you done pregnancy yoga? Did you enjoyed it? Tell me your thoughts. Once baby is born don’t forget there is Mum & Baby Yoga too!

Baby Reflux

Oh yes, my favourite topic, reflux….. I wish I knew nothing about this topic but it’s now a matter close to my heart.

What is baby reflux?
All babies suffer in some shape or form and it’s linked with the stomach maturity. Pretty much after a feed the contents travel back from the stomach and babies spit up a little bit, in some cases it’s mostly identified due to the amount of vomit after a feed. For most babies this is not a problem, it’s just means a bit more washing to do. For some babies though, there are other symptoms which make the matters worse because there’s a lot of acid coming up as well which burns the oesophagus and all the way to the throat.

Reflux and Silent Reflux
There are 2 types of reflux. The first type, which ends up being easier to diagnose is mostly identified by the amount of vomit. But there’s also Silent Reflux, where baby doesn’t vomit but seems to bring the contents up anyway and a lot of acid which causes a lot of pain.

Reflux is NOT colic
I get cross when people tell me reflux is normal. Yes, I understand it’s normal, but not when it causes so much pain to the baby. Most of the times parents don’t even know the baby has reflux (especially if it comes as silent reflux) because GP’s just say it’s colic and that it will get better. But this is not the case all the time. In some cases it requires medication and further support from a gastro paediatrician.

The best way I find to distinguish between colic and reflux is watching out the body. When it’s colic, babies tend to bring their legs up to their stomach. When they are suffering from reflux they get really stiff, you can’t bend their legs at all and they tend to arch their backs a lot and potentially starting to refuse feeds.

When is reflux a problem?

  • Regurgitation -If vomiting becomes more forceful (projectile), looks green or yellow-ish in colour or looks to have blood in it.
  • Exceeds one year of age – If you are still seeing reflux issues after one is over a year.
  • Feeding issues – If your baby can’t feed.
  • Losing weight, or poor weight gain – If he or she starts to lose weight or you see that the weight gain on your babies growth chart is poor.
  • Unusual changes?? – If you see any changes that worry you or anything gets worse.
  • Extreme crying – He or she won’t stop crying for long periods of time or is very distressed.

There are 2 ways babies start to handle reflux, either they start rejecting feeds because they link feeding with pain, or they do comfort feeding where they don’t stop feeding because the milk helps to neutralise the acid. But if they drink too much it makes matters worse.

What can you do to deal with reflux
Before you go down the medication route (which I have avoided for a long time) there are a couple of changes you can try to introduce:

  • Try to feed in upright positions
  • After a feed ensure you burp your baby (this is valid for colic too) and keep him upright for at least 30m. Yes, at night too!!! (I can tell you this is so hard because it breaks your sleep completely)
  • Raise your cot so your baby is sleeping at an angle. There are some pillows too such as the wedgehog which are placed bellow the mattress. As my cot is round, it’s not easy to raise it up by the feet so I use a wedgehog. This helps the acid not to come all the way up while baby sleeps
  • Avoid changing nappies after a feed (during the first 30m) and when doing so, try to keep baby at an angle. This is really hard if it’s a poo, because then you have to decide whether to change immediately and baby to vomit a lot or to try to hold on the 30m.
  • Dress light clothing and be careful around the belly area

If you are breastfeeding be careful with your food too. Avoid any acidic foods such as tomato, oranges and so on.

What if the steps above are not working, what else can I do?
If none of the steps above are working, I would look into Cows Milk Intolerance or Allergy (CMPI / CMPA). This tends to be one of the culprits from reflux. If you are breastfeeding you’ll have to cut all dairy from your diet for 6 weeks and believe me, there’s milk everywhere!!!! Some babies will also react to Soya as the protein is very similar. If your baby is in pain and you’re not sleeping believe me it’s worth the try. If you are formula feeding, try to find a dairy free formula.

If cutting dairy doesn’t help, the next step is to try a thicker. A lot of the GPs will prescribe Gaviscon, but it’s quite common that it will cause constipation, hence baby will have pain anyway. But there are other thickeners such as Carobel or Thick and Easy. I would try a normal thickener before trying Gaviscon.

If nothing else works and you need to ask for medication, I would film your baby and show it to GP, as GPs tend to ignore reflux and dismiss it by saying it’s colic. You know your baby best, if you believe it’s not colic keep on fighting for it.

Reflux Medication
In UK at least, the following medication is available:

  • Omeoprazole (PPI blocker) – stops the acid production at the stomach. It seems to work with a lot of babies whereas others react to it. My little one seem to suffer from stomach pain. Other side effects are sleep disturbance. This is weight dependent, so as your baby gains weight the dosage will have to increase. There is a liquid version of it, which makes it easier to give it to babies.
  • Ranitidine (H2 blocker) – There are several compositions of ranitidine. Ranitidine acts as an anti-acid and helps to deal with the acid pain. Ranitidine is also weight dependent. The simplest version of ranitidine (the 5ML / 5mg) seems to have less side effects – mainly diarrhoea – but it’s also quite expensive. A bottle of 100ML costs around £100, so GPs are quite reluctant to prescribe it.
  • Domperidone (Zantac) – This one accelerates digestion, which in turn helps to reduce the amount of food that comes up. Unlike the other 2, this can’t be prescribed by GPs as it can lead to heart problems. If you have heart issues in the family it’s not recommended.

Each baby is different so some babies might need a combination of the meds above. I would say that whereas you might need the meds to help your baby to cope with the pain and eat better, you should try to understand what’s triggering your babies reflux. In many cases it’s linked to food intolerance, allergies and you’ll require paediatrician support to get there.

I’m still fighting to get somewhere with my little one, as she refuses feeds and struggles to sleep – and I’m a zombie mum – but hopefully will get to the bottom of it all. All I can say is good luck if your little one has reflux and trust your gut. Keep on fighting until you have answers!

If you want to know more about reflux please check the Living with Reflux community. There is also a facebook group which is really supportive!

Pregnancy – Hypnobirthing

I don’t know about you but I can tell you that one of the scariest things for me was actually labour. Because I had strong pain during my periods and had fainted a few times in the past, especially in really hot days, I was really scared about the thought of going into labour and being hours in pain.

I hate hospitals every since I know myself. Again I’m the fainting type. The smell of the different products, the lack of fresh air, needles and blood makes me feel really dizzy, so I was scared the moment I’ve discovered I was pregnant.

Then I did something that made the matters worse, I’ve started reading hospital reviews (UK) and got even more scared. It felt it was a matter of luck if you were going to have a good support or not. On my first ante-natal appointment and because I have been throwing up a lot, I was really week and feeling dizzy, so I’ve asked to lay down while the midwife was doing my bloods. She answered: “I don’t have all day you know?”. I’ve ended up getting out of the room almost about to faint to try to find some chairs so I could sit down. If I was concerned before, now this was the peak of it all. I wish I was stronger but I’m not, it’s just the way I am.

At around 5 or 6 months I’ve decided to get a private midwife to support me through pregnancy and the first days with baby. (I’ll write about my overall experience in a different post)

One of the things she advised me was to look into Hypnobirthing. I had no idea such a thing existed.

What is hypnobirthing?

“Hypnobirthing is a complete birth education programme, that teaches simple but specific self hypnosis, relaxation and breathing techniques for a better birth.”

You can find more about it at hypnobirthing.co.uk

Why I found it useful?

  • It explains all you need to know about labour, how your body reacts, how the hormones play such an important role throughout pregnancy and after
  • It also goes through positive birth stories (normally you only ear about that friend that was in labour for 3 full days in agony)
  • But it also tells you what can go wrong and what you can do to deal with it

Overall I found that most of my fear around labour was directly related to my lack of knowledge. I knew nothing about pregnancy or babies. Zero. Throughout my reading, I started to relax a lot more because I knew what to expect.

I’ve bought this one at amazon and really liked it. Really informative

The book also comes with relaxation techniques and exercises, but I’ve ended up not doing them as much as I was doing meditation daily and also having the yoga classes. I just couldn’t focus 40m in doing the daily exercises. But loved the book.

As you’ve probably read on my planning story, everything went away from the plan, but at least by knowing what to expect I felt really relaxed in my final stages of pregnancy and I’ve ended up making the most of my last Me time in a long long while.

Have you done hypnobirthing before? Did it worked for you? Were you afraid of labour as I was? Let me know your stories and your thoughts 🙂

Have a lovely weekend,