A C-Section Birth Story

A Cesarean birth – or C-section – is sometimes needed because of medical problems that may endanger the mother or the baby, or both.

1.What is the difference between NORMAL delivery and CESAREAN?

For me the difference is choice. I didn’t choose my delivery because of how it was progressing so having an emergency section was completely out of my hands. I now also know there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ delivery, there’s ‘vaginal’ and then c section (or sunroof as my surgeon put it!)

2. How long does the pain last after C section?

My baby is 12 + 3 (12 weeks, 3 days) and I still have pain and numbness on my lower belly all at the same time. I’ve found I can’t sleep comfortably on my side anymore – I guess everything is just healing. 

3. What are the side effects of cesarean delivery?

Some people have a very smooth c section delivery. For me it wasn’t the case, so there have been a few side effects – I lost 1.2 l of blood during delivery and because of this and because it was a traumatic delivery, my milk production was affected. I don’t make enough milk for my baby (😭), unbeknownst to me she actually became dehydrated and wasn’t gaining weight because I couldn’t feed her enough. Who knew that blood loss and stress would do this?! (I now topping up with formula and she is very happy and thriving!!)

Also you are not as mobile after having a c section, I honestly didn’t feel like I could even walk up hills until week 5. Recovery is definitely longer.  

4. How long does it take to recover from a cesarean section?

They say 6 weeks, but everyone is different. I still don’t feel 100% myself. 

5. How do you find “me time”?

I am so lucky that I have my partner Paul, he is such a great team mate and will often insist I go get my nails done, or he’ll take our baby out for a walk while I have some ‘’me” time. Without him and my mum and sisters I doubt I would get any time alone! But actually that’s not a bad thing as my baby rocks!! I love spending time with her

6. What’s the most useful baby product you have?

Ooh good question. I love her bath bean bag which makes bath time a lot easier! And Shame on me but her dummy…She loves it! She doesn’t need it all the time but my goodness does it come in hand sometimes! 

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5 Tips To Promote Healthy Eating in Children

‘Infancy and early childhood is perhaps the most critical time for establishing food preferences and dietary patterns’– (Public Health England)

Healthcare professionals emphasize the importance of our children forming healthy
habits for life, but why is this important when it comes to choices in food and drinks?

As parents, we purchase our children’s foods and drinks, and when selecting and
choosing between products, we base our choices on the types of products available,
marketing and messages on packaging in addition to their nutrient composition.
Some of the messaging and marketing is conflicting with national recommendations,
resulting in confusion amongst parents. So what do you need to know and look for?

Here are my top tips –

  1. SUGAR
  • Avoid adding sugar, fruit juices, honey and fruit purée to baby food and recipes to reduce sugar content and sweetness, also do not add salt to foods.
  • Sugary foods (including dried fruit) should not be provided between meals.
  • Look out on labels for fructose, glucose, added fruit concentrate and added fruit purée. If these are higher on the ingredients list then the product is likely to be high in sugar.

2. BABY FOODS – including pouches

  • Try to offer vegetables as first foods as opposed to fruits otherwise their palate gets used to sweet tastes and they may reject the ‘bitterness’ of some vegetables.
  • Home made is always best and ideal. If you have a child with allergens, you know exactly what’s in the food BUT (some) prepackaged baby foods and pouches are ok in moderation too.
  • Pouches are great for convenience. I have used them myself in the past on occasion -The issue arises if parents are giving what they think is vegetable based products which are in fact fruit based ones as their children’s meals 3x daily. 

3. SNACKS

  • Dentists advise a maximum of two low sugar snacks in between meals to reduce the frequency of sugar consumption.
  • Opt for whole fruit as a snack when your child is old enough – fibre and pulp of fruit contains the sugar so it isn’t a free sugar, and doesn’t count towards your child’s maximum daily sugar allowance  and the sugars are less available to teeth.
  • Try steaming fruits rather than purée and try and offer fruit as finger food to keep sugar in its natural state. 
  • Snacks contribute to excess energy intake. Half the sugar consumed by 4-10 year olds are coming from snacks.
  • Dried fruit should be consumed as part of a meal and not as a snack. 

4. DRINKS

  • Breast milk, infant formula and water should be the only drinks offered to children between 6 and 12 months of age.
  • Drinks other than milk, water or diluted fruit juice (1-part juice to 10 parts water) are not recommended for children aged under 5 years. Only milk and plain water should be offered between meals.

5. TEXTURES

  • If you are blending foods, go for purées initially, gradually increasing the texture and then moving onto mashed, lumpy or finger foods as soon as children can manage them. – This is important developmentally and in terms of sugar intake too.
  • Variety is key and go for a well balanced and varied offering for your children from all food groups.

by the @dentalmummy

What To Look For On Food Labels

Food labels should be used to help you choose between products and restrict the products that are high in added sugars, fat and salt. Some foods can appear healthy but you need to take a closer look at food labels-claims on packaging can be misleading, check the ingredients too.

The nutrition label is usually in the back of products and will include information on energy (kJ/kcal), fat, saturates (saturated fat), carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt, the information is per 100 grams and sometimes per portion.

In an attempt to make things simpler, colour-coded nutritional information tell you at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt:

  • Red means high (so try and not eat too much of that, having as occasional treats only)
  • Amber means medium (which is generally fine as part of a balanced diet)
  • Green means low (this is the healthiest choice)
 *recommended intakes for adults-portion sizes and %RI should be adjusted for children depending on child’s age as per current recommended guidelines*

4 Tips On Food Labelling:

  1. Go for foods that have all or mostly green on the label so you know straight away that it’s a healthier choice. Be aware that the manufacturer’s idea of a portion may be different from yours.
  2. Children should get most of their calories from their breakfast, lunch and evening meals.
  3. If children are snacking regularly or are hungry between meals and are looking for a packaged snack, remember to stick to 100 calorie snacks, two a day max.
  4. Aim to include foods from the 4 main food groups across your children’s meals and snacks, ensuring you are providing enough energy, vitamins and minerals. (see The Eatwell Guide www.NHS.uk)

To work out how much sugar is in products, divide the amount of ‘carbohydrates of which sugars’ by 4, this will give you the amount in sugar cubes, which I find much easier to count and keep track of, plus it’s easier for children to add up if you are getting them involved in keeping track. Don’t forget to do this on the portion or serving size, rather than the per 100g, as sometimes a portion can be more or less.

There are 56 different names for sugar, common examples include fructose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, sucrose and syrups. Generally, the higher up on the nutrition list (or food label) the ingredient is, the more likely the product is high in sugar, as they are listed in order of weight.

There is presently no official maximum intake for sugar consumption for under 4s, but food and drink with added sugars should be restricted as much as possible

Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in free sugars increases the risk of obesity and tooth decay. Ideally, no more than 5% of the energy we consume should come from free sugars. Currently, children (and adults!) across the UK are consuming 2 to 3 times that amount….this equates to an excess of around 8 cubes DAILY .

According to Public Health England, the average UK 10 year old has consumed the recommended sugar intake for an 18 year old by their 10th birthday.

For further information and tips on sugar swaps, see the Change4life campaign, which supports families to cut back on sugar.

by  @dentalmummy

*based on current UK guidelines.

Easy Recipes To Bake With Toddlers

In an attempt to keep the kids happy and quiet I’ve found we spend at least an hour a day in the kitchen. If it’s not baking its another form of messy play or splashing about with the sink.

Here are a couple of easy and messy recipes to bake with toddlers. Baking with kids is a stimulating and diverting screen free activity which encourages sensory development and aids knowledge of cause and effect, increases curiosity and is an all round brilliant way to enhance cognitive skills. At worst its a really messy way to enjoy something yummy- so its win win

CHEESE SCONES

I really got into this as a messy play activity that would encourage my eldest daughter to eat something savoury as she wasn’t great with the whole weaning thing. The thing is these are really tasty and you may end up consuming half a batch by the 8th episode of Peppa you’ve watched that day.

ingredients
  • 200g Self raising Flour
  • 50g butter
  • 50g mature cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 120ml Milk
  • You will need a round cutter (we used 7cm for 12 scones)
method

1) Preheat oven to 200 C or gas mark 5 and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper

2) Rub the butter and flour together until crumbly (and your toddler has asked for sufficient juice, having eaten a lot of dry flour).

3) Add in your grated cheddar and slowly add the milk until you have a sticky dough.

4) Get plenty of flour on your worktop and roll out to about an inch thickness (add more flour if it’s too sticky). Use your cutter to get as many circles as possible. If your kids are like mine you won’t have any involvement in this bit so enjoy a rare moment of peace and let them crack on.

5) Pop your scones into the oven for 10-12 minutes or until well risen and golden.

6) Enjoy when still a bit warm with plenty of butter.

Kids love cupcakes and they are our go-to recipe whenever we fancy a bit of baking. Here’s what you need to bake some delicious Fairy Cakes:

FAIRY CAKES

Ingredients 
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 Eggs 
  • You will need cupcake cases and a 12 cup muffin tray
Method

1) Preheat your oven to 180C or gas mark 4

2) Beat the butter and sugar together until it’s all mixed (very technical of course). Beat in the 2 eggs.

3) Add the flour and mix in until it’s all combined into a nice beige batter.

4) Pop the cases in the muffin tray and spoon in the mix.

5) Bake in the oven for 12- 15 minutes or until lovely and golden.

If you’ve enjoyed these there are more recipes over on our blog at baking-with-kids.com or on our Instagram page @bakingwithkids

Easy and Messy Recipes to Bake with Toddlers

Do you ever feel like since becoming a parent of small people there’s just not enough mess? Do you look for opportunities to scrape partially dried dough off your kitchen units? Ok, Possibly not…

So, I’m going to be honest from the get-go, if you have rose tinted memories of big wooden spoons and licking the bowl from when you baked with your grown-ups as a kid, just set those aside for a minute. There is no bigger mess than baking with little ones – It is however well worth the clean-up. The kids will have a good hour of screen free fun and get to eat some pure sugar. While they’re getting messy you can have a hot coffee on the go and probably even get to drink a few mouthfuls!

Plus, when it’s done you can enjoy eating something freshly baked and maybe even grab a few photos for Instagram, #SoBlessed

If you’re ready to embrace the mess, here are a few of my favourite easy recipes to bake with little ones.

Gingerbread people

Always a family favourite this is a great rainy-day activity as between the mixing, cutting and then decorating; you can make the mess last all afternoon!

We used a standard cutter from hobby craft (5″ approx.) and got over 30 gingerbread people.

ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 100g butter
  • 180g soft Brown sugar
  • 2 large tablespoons golden syrup 
  • 1 egg
  • Icing tubes, sweets etc. to decorate

method

1. Preheat oven to 190c or gas mark 5 and grease 2/3 Baking trays or line with baking paper.

2. Mix flour and ginger together. If your toddler is like mine they’ll already been shovelling this into their gob. It’s hilarious and horrific in equal parts as they end up with an incredible dry mouth.

3. Rub in the butter until it’s nice and crumbly, and then add the sugar. Commence further eating of mixture by kids.

4. Next add your egg in and mix to form a stiff dough. If it’s not completely coming together, add a teaspoon of water.

5. You should get a nice ball of dough now. Cover the workshop with a good sprinkle of flour and get rolling and cutting. You often see the term ‘roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness’, which is meaningless to me so a toddler finger width is just fine!

6. Pop the cut shapes onto the baking trays and cook for about 10 minutes until they’re golden and smelling lush.

7. Once cool, ice with funny faces using your icing pens and whatever sweeties you haven’t already eaten

If you’ve enjoyed these there are more recipes over on our blog at baking-with-kids.com or on our Instagram page @bakingwithkids

Five Important Postnatal Depression Warning Signs

source: iStockphoto

“Dark, horrific, suffocating, lonely, confusing, debilitating.”

When asked in an interview for our Nurture YouTube channel to describe what postnatal depression feels like, this is what 4 women answered. It’s an honest and shocking insight into a condition that 10-20% of new mothers will experience, and that can also affect fathers. Yet according to Mum’s Enterprise Ltd, up to a quarter of women who suffer from PND will remain undiagnosed. For a variety of reasons, including the societal pressure of experiencing ‘ideal motherhood’ that is perpetrated by the media, as well as the stigma related to mental health, too many women do not receive the help and treatment they need.

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Month, we have researched important warning signs that might encourage you to reach out to a friend, family member or health professional.

Anxiety, irritation, unpredictable and unprovoked mood swings are all symptoms of what is known as ‘The Baby Blues’. Every childbirth-expert refers to this phenomenon as ‘common’, with up to 80% of women experiencing at least 2 weeks of this intense emotional distress. Yet if these symptoms last longer, or develop later, they may indicate a more serious problem…

5 WARNING SINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR

“I would have very disproportionate reactions to very little stress.”

@fnorbyn – Robyn Wilder Heritage

1. easily irritated

  • A constant feeling of sadness, guilt, restlessness, hopelessness
  • Irritation, agitation and excessive anxiety
  •  Paranoia and self-loathing    
  • Frequently bursting into tears for no obvious reason

“I didn’t think I had postnatal depression, I just thought I was tired… I slept a lot, I didn’t really want to be around people”

Cookie Turner

2. Tired and lack of energy

  • Persistent trouble sleeping at night
  • Extreme lack of energy during the day
  • Panic attacks
  • Self-neglect (not sleeping/washing/eating enough to maintain health)

“I didn’t bond that quickly with my baby.”

@clemmie_telford – Clemmie Telford

3. trouble bonding with baby

  • A loss of interest in, or trouble bonding with your baby
  • No sense of pleasure in the baby’s company
  • Taking care of the baby only out of a sense of ‘duty’
  • General apathy and indifference

“I just didn’t have the resources to function in a way I was used to.”

@annamathur – Anna Mathur

4. no longer enjoying former pleasures

  • Sudden, self-imposed isolation
  • Ignoring all reassurance and rejecting comfort from friends and family
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problems concentrating, and making decisions, losing all sense of time
  • Unable to enjoy the world around you, and no longer enjoying former pleasures

“The overwhelming feeling of being an absolute failure. That I was failing my children…”

@annamathur – Anna Mathur

5. having INAPPROPRIATE thoughts

  • Frightening, aggressive or inappropriate thoughts
  • Suicidal ideation or self-harm
  • In the most extreme cases, entertaining thoughts even about hurting your baby

Postnatal depression reveals itself in different ways. As a result, many women don’t realise until years after that the torment they suffered through was more than merely the emotional toll of childbirth, especially as PND can develop gradually, and start anytime in the first year after childbirth.

You may not feel the way you think you should about the “wonder of childbirth”. You may feel that the fear and distress that follows childbirth is something you have to brave through, alone and in silence. But if you feel the symptoms listed above apply to you, the most important thing you can do is seek the support and treatment you need.

source: iStockphoto

But if you feel that the symptoms listed above apply to you, the most important thing you can do is seek the treatment you need. Remember not to blame yourself, that your depression is not your fault, that it doesn’t make you a bad parent, and that a range of effective help and support is available.

4 WAYS THE NHS SUGGESTS TO OVERCOME PND:

  • Self-help
    • Exercising regularly, a healthy diet, sleeping as much as possible
    • Talking to your loved ones about what you’re experiencing
    • Making time for yourself to do something enjoyable
    • Dietary supplements
  • Speaking to your GP or health visitor
    • Honest and open communication with trained public health nurses or midwives is one of the most recognized and effective intervention methods 
    • They may helpful techniques and can offer advice as to more treatment methods 
  • Psychological therapy
    • Cognitive behavioural therapy, talk therapy, interpersonal or group therapy
  • Referring to local andnational organisations for advice
  • Antidepressants

5 tips for Caring for Your Oral Health During Pregnancy

Bleeding gums; strange and sweet cravings; altered taste sensation; morning sickness (sometimes just a day and sometimes into the second trimester); gag reflex when attempting to brush your teeth; and changes in your dietary habits. These can all have a negative impact on your oral health during pregnancy.

Naturally, growing a baby takes priority at this time, and you may have to adapt some normal habits to stay well during your pregnancy, but being aware of your oral health at this time is very important.

1.Practice good oral hygiene

  • Clean your teeth thoroughly twice daily with an appropriate fluoridated toothpaste. Night time brushing is the most important.
  • Use floss and interdental brushes to clean the in-between surfaces of teeth.
  • Use an alcohol-free mouthwash in the morning. If you have morning sickness, rinsing your mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash or plain water will help to prevent the acid in the vomit from attacking your teeth.
  • Do not brush teeth straight after being sick as they will be softened by the acid in your stomach – wait around an hour.
  • Sometimes milder tasting toothpastes can help with nausea.

2. Visit the dentist!

  • Dental care is free during pregnancy (with a valid maternity exemption card – ask your doctor, nurse or midwife for form FW8) and for one year after your baby is born. When you go to the dentist, make sure you inform them that you are pregnant. Some of your treatment options may be different during pregnancy, and your dentist may defer some treatments until after your baby is born.
  • Discuss with your dentist if any new or replacement fillings should be delayed until after your baby is born. The DoH advises that amalgam fillings shouldn’t be removed during pregnancy. Although there is no evidence that amalgam fillings are a health risk, these are not recommended during pregnancy or whilst you are breastfeeding.

3. Restrict the amount and frequency of sugary foods and drinks

When you are pregnant you must have a healthy, balanced diet that has all the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need. Calcium is particularly important, to produce strong bones and healthy teeth. Calcium is in milk, cheese and other dairy products.

4. Quit Smoking and Alcohol

Stopping smoking and drinking alcohol will reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth. Smoking is also one of the main causes in gum disease, and smoking and alcohol use are causes in oral cancers.

source: iStockphoto

5. No tooth whitening

Tooth whitening procedures are not recommended in pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding.

And finally… (not exclusively provided by dentists but something we get asked a lot about!) Dermal Fillers and anti-wrinkle injections are also not recommended in pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding.

For more information and relatable tips and advice on your oral health during pregnancy, follow my Instagram @dentalmummy

*based on current UK guidelines.

7 Tips For Keeping Your Children’s Teeth Healthy!

by @dentalmummy

As a parent myself, I know how hard it can be to do what is best for your children. I too rely on my friends, online searches and social networks as a source of information. However, a lot of the information that is available can be confusing and conflicting and can leave you overwhelmed! Additionally, what can be good for general health can actually be harmful to teeth. In an attempt to help other parents and caregivers, I’m going to give some tips on how to keep your children’s (and your own!) teeth healthy.

The most common reason for hospital procedures for children under 10s is tooth extraction, which in 9 out of 10 cases is due to largely preventable tooth decay. Staggeringly, in England, a child will have a tooth removed in hospital every 10 minutes.

A lack of awareness, fizzy drinks and sugar consumption are just part of the problem. Many parents give seemingly ‘healthy’ snacks which can contain free or highly concentrated sugars. Access to dentists is a problem in some regions and inadequate toothbrushing also plays a major part. So what can we do to prevent this problem?

1) Toothbrushing

Start brushing when teeth start to come through (at around 6 months). Night time brushing is the most important time, and brush on at least one other occasion,

using a fluoride toothpaste;

A smear of toothpaste for under 3s (at least 1000ppmF)

A small pea sized amount for 3-6 year olds (more than 1000ppmF)

For children 6 years and over the recommended amount is pea size 1350-1500ppmF (family toothpaste).

The recommended time is 2 minutes toothbrushing, encourage your child to spit out but don’t rinse the toothpaste, supervising brushing until your child is at least 7. Circular motions are best, but technique isn’t as important with this age group, provided they are cleaning all tooth surfaces.

2) Dental Visits

Visit the dentist at least once per year and then as advised by your dentist. We encourage dental visits for children when their teeth start to come through and ideally by their first birthday.

3) Sugar Consumption

Reduce the amount and frequency of sugar intake, sticking to meal times for treats if you are going to give them (once per day maximum). Sugar, honey or any other natural or artificial sweetener should not be added to weaning foods or drinks. If your child is teething, only give your child frozen foods(examples include watermelon, melon, pineapple and plain natural yoghurt) or teething biscuits if they are are already on solids and opt for sugar free versions.

Be aware of what children are consuming with other care providers, including grandparents and in nursery settings.

Recommended maximum daily sugar allowances

5 cubes for 4-6-year olds

6 cubes for 7-10-year olds

7 cubes for 11 years and over.

One cube sugar is approximately 4g of sugar. (There is presently no official maximum intake for sugar consumption for under 4s, but food and drink with added sugars should be restricted as much as possible)

4) ‘Healthy Snacks’ and No Added Sugar

‘No added sugar’ doesn’t mean no sugar-concentrated fruit juice or fruit puree, even as ‘natural sugars’ as added ingredients make products sugary as this is not fruit in it’s natural state. Sugar free means there are no sugars (less than 0.5g) in the products, but often these can be acidic and erosive to teeth, examples of these include sugar free carbonated drinks, flavoured waters and adding fruit to water in water bottles.

If possible stick to fresh fruit and vegetables in their whole form to ensure correct portions are being consumed.

Dried fruits (eg raisins) and smoothies can contain lots of natural sugar, so things perceived as a “healthy” snack can alone contain children’s recommended daily allowance of sugar.

Examples of healthy snacks include fresh fruit and raw vegetables, low salt breadsticks and rice cakes, low salt cheese, whole grain toast and sandwiches, homemade popcorn with no added salt or sugar, plain natural or Greek yoghurt (which you can add whole fruit to), baked crisps and pitta bread with dips.

5) Drinks

The best drinks for teeth are plain milk and plain water. The maximum allowance of fruit juices and smoothies should be 150ml and should ideally be consumed with a meal and occasionally only. Sugary drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet.

Regarding bottle feeding, only ever give milk or plain water in a bottle and introduce free-flow sippy cups from around 6 months. From age 1, drinking from a bottle should be discouraged.

6) Bedtime Routine

Aim for nothing to eat or drink except water in the last hour before bed. It may be impractical to do this with younger children but as your child increases in age, start eliminating the bedtime and night feeds.

7) Dummy Use

And finally, prolonged use of a dummy can be associated with speech and dental disturbances. NHS recommendations are to stop dummy use by one, in reality two may be a more realistic goal for parents, take some steps to start reducing dummy use.

By following the simple steps above we can give our children healthy smiles that will last a lifetime!

For more information and relatable tips and advice on how to look after your children’s teeth, follow my Instagram @dentalmummy

*based on current UK guidelines.