The Dentist… What To Expect.

Isla has two teeth now, and a third is on its way. It’s so strange seeing little teeth when she laughs, I’m starting to get used to them now, she’s not my little gummy bear anymore.

I wasn’t actually even registered at the dentist here, I told myself I would register once Isla got her first tooth, or in time for her 9-12 month health check, whichever came first. The tooth came first, and then a second popped through a couple of days later. So, I registered at the dentist and had my appointment, I made an appointment for Isla and took away the registration form for her.

Yesterday was her first appointment. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. How long would we be in there? Surely only a matter of minutes… She only has 2 teeth! Will Isla open her mouth for the dentist? I have been trying to teach her what to do but she just laughs at me. Will she bite the dentist? Probably.

I have heard recently that some dentists have told mothers to stop breastfeeding during the night once little has teeth… What a load of rubbish! I can see why someone would say that, breastmilk is very sugary. But to stop feeding during the night? I feed Isla to sleep, she will not go to sleep any other way for me (she will for other people). I was prepared to stand my ground with the dentist and say that I would not be stopping breastfeeding during the night.

The appointment was very quick, the dentist had a feel inside her mouth, which Isla wasn’t too keen on, she asked me how many teeth Isla had, made some notes on the computer and said everything looked great. She asked if I was breastfeeding and recommended that I rinse Isla’s mouth out after every feed (haha, no thanks, some days Isla can feed every hour!). She was very pro breastfeeding, which was amazing, telling me to keep going as long as I can.

Baby first tooth

She advised us to come back in 6 months time.

high needs baby

6 Signs You Have a High Needs Baby

Friends and family might think you are over exaggerating when you tell them how long your baby screamed for, or how they will only sleep in your arms, don’t worry, I know you’re telling the truth! Some babies are easily satisfied and can just “go with the flow”, others are extremely fussy, hard to settle and require a lot of attention. These intense babies erupt into our world and create a storm of emotions for their parents. These babies are often seen as “high needs”.

Dr W. Sears & Dr M. Sears wrote an article in which they discuss 12 features of a high needs baby, according to Dr Sears, these 12 features are:

  • Intense
  • Hyperactive/Hypertonic
  • Draining
  • Feeds Frequently
  • Demanding
  • Awakens Frequently
  • Unsatisfied
  • Unpredictable
  • Super-Sensitive
  • Can’t Put Your Baby Down
  • Not a Self-Soother
  • Separation Sensitive

Following on from Dr Sears’ list, I would like to share with you the six things that made me realise I had a high needs baby.

1) You can’t get anything done

Remember when you could cook dinner, wash the bathroom, do the laundry and watch your favourite TV show all in one day? Ah yes, a distant memory. Now you find yourself having to do everything you used to do in the short bursts of sleep that your baby has. When your baby is awake you have to be talking to him, looking at him or holding him at all times.

2) Routine… What routine?

Your baby is very irregular. You look in awe at other Mums who have it down to a T, their babies are bathed, fed and asleep for 8PM every night. You can’t hazard a guess as to when your baby will go to sleep, wake up, want to feed… They are very unpredictable.

3) “Don’t Leave Me, Mummy”

When you walk out of the room your baby has a meltdown, she’s looking around desperately trying to find you. Yes, pretty much every baby goes through separation anxiety, but with a high needs baby, it is a lot more intense.

4) You feel like a zombie

What is sleep? Why do people keep talking about babies sleeping through? Are they playing a cruel trick on you? You can only get your baby to sleep by being rocked, cuddled or fed and then they’re awake again in an hour… You know you’re parenting a high needs baby when you drink a gallon of coffee a day and pray for anything more than 40 minutes sleep at a time.

5) People think your baby is “spoilt”

You’re the only one who can settle her, she cries for you, for a cuddle, sometimes for no reason. I have heard people say that Isla is spoilt so many times, that she will grow up to be a diva. You can’t spoil a baby! You can’t give too much love, and with a high needs baby, they need a whole lot of love.

6) Mood swings!

One minute you’re playing hide-and-seek, your baby is full of smiles and giggles, the next she’s inconsolable. You have a happy, chatty baby and you turn away to boil the kettle, boom! Because you’re not looking at or paying all your attention to her, she explodes.

And after all of this, they will become a toddler… That should be fun!

keeping baby cool

Keeping Baby Cool During Hot Summer

We have had highs of 35 Degrees Celcius in the UK recently, something we really are not used to! Although now it is cooler and the sky is grey, the hot weather is set to return next week. It is extremely important to keep little ones cool. Here are some things that we have been doing to stop Izzy from getting too hot.

Lots of fluids! Breastfeed more often, when the weather is hotter and baby needs more to drink, our very clever bodies change the makeup of our breastmilk to meet our babies needs. If your baby is formula fed, you can give water (cooled boiled if under 6 months) between their normal bottles.

Give refreshing snacks (for babies over 6 months) such as cucumber sticks or a breast milk ice lolly.

Thin, loose clothing, such as a loose dress or a t-shirt which is a little bit big. When it has been very hot, you might even want to forget about the vest. On a night time, Isla has been sleeping in just a nappy & sleepsuit/vest (depending on the temperature in the room) with a very thin blanket.

Do not cover pram with anything, it might seem like you are doing good by keeping the sun off your baby, however, it can be extremely dangerous, as it actually makes it hotter in the pram for your baby, it prevents the air from circulating. I found this graph from Which? extremely helpful. pushchair overheat covered

Keeping your baby in the shade and try to avoid going out during the hours of 11AM-3PM, as this is when the sun is highest in the sky and therefore the hottest time of day.

Close the blinds. Open the windows. Keeping the blinds closed during the day can help keep the room cool and opening the windows will create a through draft.

A cooler bath before bedtime can keep baby at a nice temperature. Try and do relaxing things before bed, so that baby does not get worked up or excited.

Enjoy the hot weather!

Why Is My Baby So Clingy?

Have you noticed that your baby has become quite clingy recently? Isla has always been a high-needs baby, but over the past month or so she has definitely been more clingy, crying more often and being more cranky.

The most likely reason for this is because at around 7 months babies go through a cognitive leap. During this leap, your baby will begin to realise that you and she are separate people. This is often referred to as “separation anxiety”, you may notice your baby becomes very upset when you leave her, whether that be for a few seconds to go to the loo, or a few hours to go to work. She doesn’t yet understand that when you leave the room, it isn’t for good and you’re coming back.

Up until now, your baby has thought of herself and you as one person, a single unit. And why wouldn’t she? After 9 months of being physically attached to you, it makes sense that it would take a while for your little one to start to learn that they are their own person.

So how can you help your baby through this?

  • Try and leave baby with people they know and see regularly (e.g. Dad or Grandma)
  • Have some routine to when you leave her and who you leave her with, for example, if you are going to work, it would be the same time each day. This way, your baby will begin to learn that when she is left with X person at breakfast time, Mummy will come back
  • When you leave baby, also leave something you wear often, such as a pajama top, your scene will be comforting to baby
  • It is a good idea to say “goodbye, I’ll be back soon” to your baby when you leave her, as she will begin to associate this with what is happening
  • It is better for your baby to see you leave, that way she will not panic when she realises you are not there.

Separation anxiety is generally something your baby will grow out of in time. Yes, it can be a very hard time for both Mum and baby, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Let’s Talk About Reflux

Vomiting and reflux are two different things. When a baby vomits, it’s muscles forcefully contract, reflux is when your baby brings up whatever they have just drunk/ate. Reflux is very common in babies, and usually isn’t something to be concerned about. It could be cause for concern if; reflux starts after 6 months, lasts longer than a year or your baby has any of these symptoms:

  • spitting up feeds frequently or refusing feeds
  • coughing or gagging while feeding
  • frequent projectile vomiting
  • excessive crying or irritability
  • green or yellow vomit, or vomiting blood
  • blood in their poo or persistent diarrhoea
  • a swollen or tender tummy
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • not gaining much weight, or losing weight

There may be an underlying cause for your babies reflux, so it is good to speak to a health professional if you are concerned.

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So what actually causes reflux in babies? It’s quite simple really, it usually occurs because a baby’s oesophagus is still developing. In some cases, it can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as gastro-oesophegeal reflux disease, a cows milk allergy or a blockage.

Signs and symptoms that your baby may have reflux include, spitting up milk (this may happen several times a day), appearing to be in pain during or after feeds, struggling with feeds (choking, gagging or even refusing a feed), persistent hiccups, a slow (or no) weight gain.

What things can you try to help your baby?

Giving smaller more frequent feeds and regularly burping throughout a feed. Hold your baby upright for around 20 minutes after feeding. If your baby is formula fed, you could try using a thicker formula, these are available without a prescription, but only try them if advised by a healthcare professional. If your baby is breastfed, you could try cutting out spicy foods, coffee and alcohol, although there is no evidence to support this, a lot of people seem to think it helps!

In most cases, reflux does not require treatment, for example, if your baby is happy and gaining weight. However, some babies will need medication, for example, if your baby is in pain or not gaining weight. Your GP may suggest something such as Gaviscon for babies, which is fine if your baby is formula fed, but a little bit tricky to administer if your baby is breastfed. Your GP might also prescribe Ranitidine or Omeprazole, which are weight dependent so it’s always good if your baby is on one of these medications that you get them weighed frequently and the dosage adjusted as and when needed.

With Isla, we were given Gaviscon at first, which as I mentioned above was really quite tricky to give to her, with her being breastfed. The GP told me I had to express and just give bottles, I thought that was ridiculous! But I did for a while, although it didn’t seem to help much, Isla seemed to be struggling to poop, so we stopped giving it. Then a few weeks later, Isla brought up bright yellow sick and I knew that wasn’t right, so I called 111 and got an emergency appointment. After seeing the GP and discussing how we had tried Gaviscon and it was no good for us, we were prescribed Ranitidine. We later found out that Isla also has a Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA).

Have you any experience of reflux in babies? Was there an underlying reason?

My Baby Is Yellow: Newborn Jaundice

First let’s talk about what newborn jaundice is. Newborn jaundice is very common and is when babies have a high level of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced when the normal break down of old red blood cells occurs. When a baby is born, it’s liver is not fully developed, therefore, it is less effective at removing the bilirubin from the blood. An estimated 6 out of 10 babies develop jaundice, however only 1 in 20 have a bilirubin level high enough to need treatment (Isla was that 1).

Some symptoms of jaundice in babies include; the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, yellowing of the palms of hands and soles of feet, dark yellow urine and pale coloured poos.

Most cases do not need treatment, symptoms usually pass within 10 to 14 days. Treatment is recommended when levels are high as there is a small risk the bilirubin could pass into the brain and cause brain damage.

Treatment for a baby with high a bilirubin level is often Phototherapy, which is when a special type of light shines directly only the babies skin. The light alters the bilirubin making it easier to break down by the (not fully developed) liver.

When Isla was born, I honestly didn’t think twice about her skin colour. In my eyes, she wasn’t yellow at all, I was a first time Mum, I didn’t know what to look for, I didn’t even know what newborn jaundice was! The midwife spotted it, she came on when Isla was 3 days old, a routine check up which all babies and Mums receive. She noticed that Isla was a bit yellow (I still couldn’t see it), so she took a little bit of blood to test back at the hospital. Unfortunately, the blood had clotted by the time she got back to the hospital and she wasn’t able to test it, she called me and asked if I would take Isla up to the hospital so she could get fresh blood and take it straight for testing. We walked up to the hospital, the midwife took the little sample of blood and off she went to test it.

When she came back, it was not what I expected, she told me that Isla had high levels and would need treatment. I was scared, what did all of this mean?

Isla has to be stripped off and wearing eye protection, they said she would have to have 24 hours under the light and then they would check her bilirubin level again. It was so weird because I had this tiny 3 day old baby, who I wanted to kiss and cuddle, and just hold! And I couldn’t do that, she had to be under this light in a plastic box, I could only take her out to feed her or clean her if she weed or pooed. The blue light made it extremely hot in the small hospital room, I couldn’t open the window for obvious reasons. I was sick with worry, no one had really told me what was going on and it had all happened so fast. I couldn’t sleep, with the heat, the light and the worry.

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24 hours passed, they took another blood sample. The levels were lower, but not low enough. Which meant another 24 hours under the light.

After a full 48 hours under the special light, her bilirubin levels had lowered enough that the doctors were happy that she could come out from under the light. She was still yellow (at the time I didn’t see it, still!) it took quite a long time for her pigment to change. In fact, it took about 3 months for her skin to be a “normal” colour!

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When I look back at photographs I see she was quite yellow, but at the time I had no idea!

Vitamins, Should I Be Giving Them?

The day after having Isla, a lady was going round the maternity ward giving out Bounty packs. I had picked up two Emma’s Diary gift packs while I was pregnant, you can find out how to collect your packs on the webiste, the packs were great, they contained small freebies, such as Bepanthen, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, Fairy Non-Bio and more!

In the Bounty pack from the hospital there was: Pampers nappies, Sudocrem, Sanitary towels, a magazine, lots of vouchers and some Vitamin D drops. I was also given a bottle of Vitamin K, off the midwife, and told to give the Vitamin K every day that Isla had more breastmilk than formula (so every day, as she was exclusively breastfed).

Now, being a new parent is a big thing, you have a lot to think about, a lot to worry about, never mind having to remember to give these drops every day. Isla probably got her drops 3 times a week… We used the whole bottle of Vitamin D, the Vitamin K is still sitting somewhere half full. Our health visitor mentioned when she was about 4 months old that I should still be giving Vitamin D, so out I went and spent about £7 on this tiny bottle of drops (which has never been opened).

Do our babies need these vitamins? I can understand myself needing vitamin and mineral supplements with breastfeeding, but do I really have to be giving them to Isla? I was always under the impression that whatever Isla needed, she would take from me, leaving me (probably) a little bit deficient. However, the other day we saw the dietitian, who again mentioned vitamins. What is the obsession with vitamins?! She suggested giving Isla a multi-vitamin now that she is 7 months.

I’m not convinced she needs them, what do you think about giving vitamins to our babies?