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Archive for November, 2009

34/40 – Moving

Since the early stages of this pregnancy, and certainly since I have started this blog, there has been an elephant in the room that I haven’t spoken about. It’s been on my mind and the tip of my tongue, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to sit down and write about it. Well, the elephant has stood up, and has started to dance the lambada, so I can ignore it no longer.

We’re moving house next week…..
It’s not that I don’t want to move, I love our new house, I am really excited about having a place of our own again. We’ve been renting since we moved home from the UK, and it’ll be great for the toddler to have her own room, complete with Peppa Pig/ Dora / Barney (or whatever character is in toddler vogue) accessories. I’m looking forward to choosing my own curtains and light-fittings – for the last number of months I have been staring in part amazement, part horror at the ones in our living room, wondering did someone pay real money for them, were they given free, or better still, was the landlord paid to take them?

It will also be great to settle down somewhere. Since this millennium kicked off, I have regularly piled my belongings – which initially fit into a battered red suitcase – into various forms of transport and taken off to a new home, crossing the length of India, the Irish sea, and even the Liffey to do so. It has been really exciting, and I wouldn’t change a thing, but as well as picking up lots of shoes on my travels, there is now a husband, a toddler, a house full of furniture, and all manner of other “essentials” from candlestick holders to smoothie makers, which need to be transported. Moving has become harder every time – the period of chaos before and after has extended each time, to the point that I feel that I have only just got over the last move (March) and now we’re off again. So I am pinning my hopes that this is the last one – that the husband and I have found our forever home, and that we will settle down to a life of domestic bliss and smoothies in the candlelight there together.

But before we can kick off with the domestic bliss, we need to get through the move with our sanity and our marriage intact. I’m almost 8 months pregnant, and my ability to see both sides of an argument deserted me about 6 months ago. The toddler, who has a similar approach to me on arguments, can best be termed as “change-resistant”. (She doesn’t like a new type of pasta, just how she will react to a new home is anyone’s guess). There are builders in situ in the new house at the moment and while they confidently insist that it will be habitable next Friday, I am dubious – I suppose it depends on the definition of habitable really, doesn’t it? And of course, there is a baby on the way. I want the baby to come, preferably a little early, but I want the house to be ready, and looking just right, before it does. When I first articulated that hope it sounded reasonable, but as the time approaches it has become obscured in packing materials and builders’ muddy footprints.

On the plus side, even though we are only moving about 3 roads away, we are getting movers in. Previous moves have involved the husband and a van, aided by whoever he could coerce / bribe / threaten. He feels that to pay for professional movers is crazy, when there are able bodied males around who can do the honours. I listened to his arguments (or pretended to) while remembering the way that my Waterford crystal got handled the last time, and patiently pointed out the hidden cost of doing the move himself. Namely, divorce. Quotes were swiftly obtained, and funnily enough, the movers are all booked in now. It pays to be pregnant in some cases.

So if I block out the mess, and the fact that I won’t be able to find the hairdryer/ potato peeler until next May, and the poor toddler feeling disassociated, I can start to look forward to the first of many Christmases in our new home. At least until we get itchy feet again…

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Don’t Rush To Lose Pregnancy Weight

According to information published in ScienceDaily, overdoing early weight loss after pregnancy could have a negative impact on breastfeeding. Once the baby arrives, many new mothers want to return to their former weight quickly – just like film stars who appear in the media in bikinis just weeks after giving birth or like our previous blog article Too Soon To Go Out describes. But according to the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), women should not put themselves under too much pressure straight away.

Kilos often melt away by themselves – but there is no guarantee

Gaining weight in pregnancy is not only normal, it is necessary. The mother’s body has to nourish the growing baby. Her body needs to take on more fluid to support the extra circulation the placenta and baby need. Some of this added weight will usually be lost as soon as the baby is born. “Often, the extra effort women have to make to look after a new baby and breastfeed after giving birth means the kilos just melt away without effort,” according to the Institute’s Director, Professor Peter Sawicki. “But for about half of all women, the weight will not go away as quickly.”

“Eating for two” in pregnancy can cause problems if you are overweight

The Institute analysed recent evidence and new US national guidelines on weight gain in pregnancy, and the message is clear: women who have become overweight or more overweight during pregnancy have a higher chance of ongoing weight problems if they are not back to a normal weight within six months or a year after having a baby.

“Avoiding weight problems after birth means already being careful about balanced and healthy eating during pregnancy,” says Professor Sawicki. “It is not a good idea to ‘eat for two’ in pregnancy and forget about your weight until after the baby is born if you are at all overweight – or prone to overweight – already. Women need to eat well enough for themselves and their baby, but pregnancy is not a time to overeat.”

A lot of exercise in the weeks after birth will not necessarily help

Even though many magazines have “get your bikini body back quickly” diets on their covers, promising women they can achieve their ideal weight in time for summer, it is not getting quick results that counts the most. This is particularly true after pregnancy. It is normal for it to take three to six months for women to lose the weight they gained in pregnancy.

Exercise is important when people are overweight, but after pregnancy, a lot of exercise does not necessarily help a great deal. The Institute summarised the research evidence about the best ways to lose weight after childbirth. The evidence shows that a balanced diet helps – with or without extra exercise. Very strenuous exercise programmes soon after childbirth did not lead to extra weight loss. This means that women do not need to have a bad conscience if they take it easy in the busy weeks after giving birth. However, Professor Sawicki stresses that even though the birth of a baby can throw life completely out of kilter, it is important for women not to leave it too long before they start looking after themselves again.

 

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Too soon to go out?

You may, or may not, know that Colleen Rooney (wife of Manchester United and England player Wayne), gave birth 2 weeks ago to a baby boy.

There has been a lot written about Colleen in the last few days, commenting on her decision to go to a Beyonce concert with ‘the girls’ and stay out drinking until 1.30am a week after giving birth.

At first this seems ridiculous. Who in their right mind would even want to go out a week after giving birth? I could barely string a sentence together, let alone paint my nails and put ‘proper’ ladies shoes on.

I think it was 7 weeks after my son was born when I attempted to go to a work christmas party. I had a thoroughly miserable time. I felt awful as none of my clothes fit me.  I wasn’t drinking as I was breast-feeding and driving. I had to keep going to the toilets to express milk and despite an initial flurry of excitement to see me, everyone soon lost interest in me and my life as a new mum, and quickly turned their attention to the next bottle of wine.  My life had just changed dramatically. Their’s hadn’t and it all felt a little awkward.

I can understand Colleen wanting to prove to herself – and possibly the watching world – that life does go on after you have a baby and to give her some credit she did look amazing in her elegant shift dress and towering heels (no doubt ably assisted by a team of stylists). But I wonder how she really felt deep down? Did she actually enjoy her night out so soon after the birth? Was she secretly wanting to be back home with Wayne and her little boy? Is she just going to pick up her celeb lifestyle where she left it before getting pregnant?

She certainly isn’t the last celebrity mum to be chastised for her behaviour, and I’m sure she won’t be the last. Was it really that terrible of her to have a few hours to herself? Perhaps not, in the big scheme of things

It’s an interesting debate.

Mom’s Vote Eumom No.1

We are delighted to announce that Eumom were winners at the Maternity & Infant Awards 2009 held in the Shelbourne Hotel last Thursday!!

Eumom.ie, who won the award for best “Family-Friendly Website of the year”, was up against finalists such Pampers, Rollercoaster, Mumstown and Magicmum.

Commenting on the Awards, Jim Kelleher, CEO of Eumom, said: “We are thrilled but also touched by the support & feedback we received from our members. It is very important to us that our members, going through this precious and wonderful transition in their lives, have easy access to all relevant information. Our website, like our company values, is aimed at facilitating this through our caring, online community where concerns, queries and discussions are always welcomed”.

Eumom management & staff would like to thank all our members most sincerely for your support & loyalty.

Our warmest regards & thanks,

The Eumom Team

 

 

Too many toys?

So, there are now only 51 shopping days left until Christmas – gulp! The toy stores are opening until 11pm every night and the TV ads are on festive over-drive.

This time of year is very much a double-edged sword for me. Within a space of 3 weeks from the end of October to mid-November, we have both the boys’ birthdays – closely followed, of course, by christmas. This means that I get endless phone calls from well meaning grandparents and aunts and uncles asking what the boys would like as presents and, I panic.

When I do think of something they might possibly need, this means that there really isn’t much left for ‘Santa’ to bring which leaves me wracking my brain for ideas again.

For weeks, we seem to have an endless array of friends, relatives and postmen arriving with presents, which although all very lovely and exciting (I’m a sucker for a celebration), inevitably leaves us grown ups feeling a little uncomfortable.

I get stressed about where everything is going to go and try desperately to re-organise everything so it looks as though we don’t live in an actual toy shop. I feel bad that some toys are hardly played with and do my level best to rotate them, but of course despite my best intentions this never happens.

We have started to ask the boys to choose one of their older toys to give to charity at Christmas time – which I hope goes some way towards helping them understand that not everyone is as lucky as they are, and perhaps helps them to appreciate what they have. Does it? I don’t know.

I wonder whether with the recession affecting so many households this year, will we see a more sensible approach to present-buying for the children? I hope so, because I really do think that children get so, so much these days (gosh, I sound like an old woman!), and I have to think that this can’t be a good thing in the long run.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

32/40 – Grandparents Rule

Many are the new parents who will say that they only started to appreciate their own mother and father when they had kids themselves. And, from the early stages of my first pregnancy, right through to now, this has continued to hit me with increasing force. I like to think that I have always got on well with my Mam and Dad. We had the wilderness years of course, when I spent my time listening to Pearl Jam and cursing anyone over the age of 23 (for some reason when I was 17 or 18, 23 was a mythical age, the point when all the questions were answered, and after which everything went downhill. I was wrong on both counts naturally and thankfully). But it really is only since becoming a parent, or more accurately realising that I was expecting, that I understood exactly what their job was with me, and how much harder it was than I had ever given them credit for.

Over the last two and half years this realisation has dawned at many and varied intervals – whether it’s been swigging from my bottle of Gaviscon at 3am (and realising that my mother had to do that times four), to cleaning up toddler vomit (times four again!!!!), to delivering the toddler and equipment to them one wonderful Friday morning and returning to a happy, safe and well-fed toddler on the Sunday afternoon. This weekend was another prime example – as you all know, I am 32 weeks pregnant, and my mood is, errrr, a bit iffy to say the least. The husband took himself off to Berlin with the lads, his last hoorah – and while I was glad for him to go, I was deep green with envy and struggled hard not to be bitter and miserable. So, to cheer ourselves up, myself, the toddler, and my bad mood booked into my parents house for some TLC.

I’m a changed woman since – it’s amazing what a well-cooked meal, a happy toddler and some extra sleep can do for a girl. The toddler loves it over there, the relationship between kids and their grandparents is lovely to watch. When I rolled out of bed at 10am (yes, 10am. Between 3 and 5 hours later than usual!!!) Sunday morning, I looked out the window, to see a small child holding her granny’s hand and pointing at the “doggie inna window” – a dog belonging to a neighbour and a favourite attraction at Granny and Grandad’s. I had a shower in peace, without having to sing nursery rhymes / shout warnings or stop mid-suds to extricate the toddler from some mischief, and wandered downstairs to a cooked breakfast and a nice cup of tea prepared by my Dad. Heaven.

Of course it’s not all perfect – parenting ideas have changed somewhat in the last 25-30 years, and sometimes advice given, even with the best intentions, isn’t well received. But when I see a rash on the toddler, or feel strange myself, or just need someone to tell me that it’s normal to feel bewildered at this parenting lark, it’s to my Mam and Dad that I turn. It worked out nicely this weekend for the husband too. When he arrived home, a little tired and emotional himself (maybe the beds in the hotel weren’t that comfortable or something?), he was a little unsure whether his pregnant wife would be welcoming. But he was met with a lovely reception, a relaxed and happy mother and child, the picture of familial bliss – so much so that he is talking about a weekend in Spain with the lads next year!

Vaccination plan to target at-risk groups

An article released in the Irish Times today states that pregnant women and people with chronic underlying diseases will be the first to receive the H1N1 vaccination

TODAY MARKS the beginning of a national swine flu pandemic vaccine campaign organised by the Health Service Executive (HSE). It starts with the vaccination of those who are most at risk from the pandemic flu and its complications. Pregnant women and people with chronic underlying disease, aged between six months and 65 years will be vaccinated first.

Why have these 500,000 or so people been selected? About 50 per cent of those who have required hospital admission in Ireland to date have been in “at-risk” categories. In the case of pregnant women infected with the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 bug, it is estimated they are four times more likely to require hospital admission than the general population. People who require intensive care usually do so as a result of developing pneumonia about three to five days after first experiencing swine flu symptoms.

In some cases this progresses to a condition called adult respiratory distress syndrome; the seriously ill patient requires mechanical ventilation and other specialist procedures at this point.

The flu virus can also trigger serious complications such as kidney failure and inflammation of the brain in a small minority of people.

If you are in an at-risk group what should you do? The best advice is to make contact with your GP to see if he or she is participating in the campaign and to request an appointment to get the vaccine.

The vaccine is supplied in 10 dose vials, so most GP practices will operate special clinics where they will vaccinate groups of patients together. While there is some disagreement about the level of GP participation nationwide, your family doctor is the best person to administer the vaccine because of his knowledge of your medical history and possible contraindications to you getting vaccinated. If your GP is not participating in the programme, you can be vaccinated at a HSE clinic.

Details of 45 HSE vaccine clinics are available at http://www.swineflu.ie: an online booking can be made on this site.

Alternatively, just turn up during clinic times and you will be vaccinated on a first come first served basis.

Who should not get the swine flu vaccine? It should not be given to children under six months and should be postponed if you have a temperature over 38 celsius.

Anyone with a severe allergy to eggs or other substances in the Pandemrix vaccine should not be immunised. (A separate vaccine, Celvapan, is not egg-based.) If you previously had Guillain Barré Syndrome, a rare neurological condition brought on by viral infection, then the vaccine is not for you.

How many doses of the vaccine will I need? Despite a declaration from the World Health Organisation on Friday that a single shot of swine flu vaccine is sufficient to offer protection, the HSE continues to advise that at-risk groups need a second dose of vaccine at least three weeks after the first dose. However, it is likely that one dose of vaccine will be enough to protect those aged 13 years and over, and expert advice may change to reflect this.

What side effects are linked to the swine flu vaccine? The most common side effects are mild and include soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site.

The use of booster adjuvants in some approved vaccines may increase the severity of local reactions.

Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur. Severe or life threatening allergic reactions to vaccines are rare.

Is it safe for pregnant women to be vaccinated? Expert advice, including that from the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists here, is that the H1N1 vaccine is safe in pregnancy.

Although there is as yet limited data on the swine flu vaccine, seasonal flu vaccines have been used for a number of years in pregnant women in North America without any major concerns emerging. Some pregnant women may wish to opt for Celvapan on the basis that it does not contain booster additives.

One study of influenza vaccination examining over 2,000 pregnant women demonstrated no adverse foetal effects associated with influenza vaccine.

Canadian researchers reported earlier this year that influenza vaccination is warranted to protect women from needing flu-related hospital admission during the second half of pregnancy.

However, separate research found that infants born to women with laboratory-confirmed influenza during pregnancy do not have higher rates of low birth weight babies or congenital abnormalities, compared with infants born to uninfected women.

VACCINATION: WHO SHOULD SEEK IT

Pregnant women – from 14 weeks of pregnancy to 6 weeks after giving birth.

Anyone aged over 6 months and under 65 years who has: Long-term lung disease such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive airways disease. Long-term heart disease, for example heart failure or coronary heart disease. Long-term kidney disease such as kidney failure. Long-term liver disease such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. Long-term neurological disease like multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Immunosuppression: meaning those undergoing cancer treatment and those being treated with newer “biological agents” for rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.

Diabetes, severe obesity, with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40.

 

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