Eczema! Eczema! Read all about it!

This is a difficult thing to write about. On the one hand, I know that eczema in babies is an incredibly common condition, and therefore this isn’t that big of a deal. On the other, it was out first real experience of her being in a state of constant irritation and (at times) pain, which is something all parents must experience at some point (note- I did not say she is a constant point of irritation! ). Therefore hopefully this is something people can relate to on some level. The last thing I want to do is to make our situation read like an X-Factor sob story!So, back in November, Bea developed a slight skin condition on her cheek. We were told it was infected, and had our first experience of syringe-fed medication. Needless to say, it didn’t go well, as she really didn’t like the foul-smelling goo- can’t say I blame her. It got worse, and other patches began to appear on her legs, arms and back. Her face was covered in weeping skin and it’s a miracle she didn’t kick off about it more. That feeling of helplessness is something that all parents must feel at some stage. We certainly felt that way a few times. A lot of reading up online was done (see my previous post for more on that!), which was a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst there is a lot of advice out there, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the negative stories and panic. Offline, people have been brilliant in offering suggestions too (although I think we’ve had the same conversations with so many people now!). After a few weeks of getting nowhere with creams and moisturisers, we began to look for other solutions. Here are some of the practical steps we’ve taken, should you be reading this looking for advice.
Itchy Babyitchy-baby-logoOne of the first sites we turned to for help though was Itchy Baby. This is an incredibly useful starting point for anyone with queries about the condition. The main thing you get from visiting the site is the knowledge that there are so many possible factors for affecting your baby’s skin. There are some that are more common than others, but it can be a massively daunting prospect to take them all head-on! We decided that changing our laundry powder was the most obvious thing to do. Our first port of call was to change our laundry powder. Thanks to Itchy baby, we’re now using Ecoballs instead of washing powder. They’re quite loud and clunky, but work out at 2p a wash so can’t really be turned down! Alongside this, we’ve tried changing formulas, first going lactose-free, and now we’re on goat’s milk formula. It really is amazing how much is out there for babies! We’ve toned down the frequency of bath time, which thankfully hasn’t impacted on her overall routine. There have been many other considerations too, and we’ve looked into natural remedies too.
Where We’re Up ToThis week, things still weren’t improving and Bea was getting particularly frustrated. I got home on Wednesday to find my little girl wrapped up like an Egyptian mummy, with one slightly frazzled non-Egyptian mummy who’d spent a busy day with the NHS in one form or another. Actually, that’s doing Lucy a massive disservice. She has been fantastic and has done everything in her power (as no doubt every mum and dad do!) to make Bea happy and healthy. Because of her monumentous efforts, including a mad pram dash across Norwich, things seem to have taken a miraculous turn for the better (for now). Beatrice’s skin is on the mend, and is more or less back to what people expect of baby-smooth skin.I daresay it’s far from over and done with, but we’re in a much better place with it. We’re even much better at the syringe stuff now. Pinch cheeks, tickle under the chin. Looks horrific, feels really cruel, but it works…
Granted, Lucy and I are wearing protective layers to stop the emollient from ruining everything we own, and Beatrice is as slippery as anything once she’s caked up in her new combination of creams, but the effort is totally worth it. Bea’s attitude has completely changed back to the bubbly, giggly baby she was before Christmas, and is seriously enjoying her new found ability to sit up by herself! She was showing it off today whilst we enjoyed a lovely Sunday roast out in Reepham. Sorry for the long post, and for the cheesy title. I was quite proud of that pun and didn’t want it to go to waste. I’ll be sure to update you with more thoughts on how she’s doing in the future, and perhaps do a more succinct post with the various advice and products we’ve encountered. Have a good week!

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Names we should’ve chosen…

Baby names. One of the most difficult things to decide. Names are powerful things and what’s worse is that you, as parents, are totally responsible for choosing them. Do you go down the ‘Top 100 Baby Names for 2016/2017′ route? Top baby boys’ names beginning with Q?  Traditional names, modern names, family names – they all feature, and we certainly went through a fairly extensive list (including at least 3 baby naming books). Like most people, we had our shortlists. In fact, we had a boy’s name ready. We also had a fairly long list of girls’ names.

Even at the time, at least 24 hours after she was born we still weren’t 100%.

Now, she totally is Beatrice. Or Bea-bea. Or Bea. Or little Bea to her cousin. We love her name, and she loves to hear all the different variations!

However, back to the title. Despite our happiness with her actual name, it’s almost certainly only in the top five, maybe top ten names we regularly call her. No-one tells you that you not only get to choose someone’s name, but you are also the sole creator of their pet names, nicknames and other loving terms of endearment.

bricks.jpg

I’ve also noticed a bit of a pattern forming in terms of the names I call her, so I wanted to share this little ‘Baby Name Generator’ with you. It’s fairly simple, take a word from the first list, and follow it with a word from the second one. It’s not exhaustive, but certainly covers a lot of her names!

List 1: 

Wriggle / Cheeky / Little / Happy / Gorgeous / Bouncy / Cutie

List 2:                                

Bottom / Pie / Girlie / Baby /Monkey / Monster / Pops       

Okay, so maybe ‘Gorgeous Bottom’ doesn’t work. I’d love to see your pet names in the comments, they can really stem from almost nothing and have no meaning to anyone but your little family unit- which is exactly as it should be!Big thanks to all of you who read the last post. It was my most successful to date! If you’ve seen the last couple of posts, you may have noticed a Tots 100 logo appear at the bottom. This is a site that lists the top UK parenting blogs. I’m a long way off of that at the moment, but the more views, likes and reach the posts get, the further I could go up the list- curse my inner competitive streak! I’ll let you know in February how I’m getting on (your position gets updated monthly). Enjoy your weekend!

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6 thoughts from 6 months

Six months (185 days) in. This time 6 months ago, I was sat next to Lucy on the maternity ward, having spent the previous fifteen hours getting to know our little girl. Grandparents had driven hours to say hello, the nurses and midwives were absolutely superb and we’d been running on that feeling of pure adrenaline that all parents are all too aware of. At this point, our baby girl didn’t even have a name. All that mattered was that our tiny (well, average) daughter had arrived safely into the world and our journey as a family could begin. I was completely in awe of the pair of them. All the build-up, anticipation and meticulous planning was over. Our lives were changed, and have been changing ever since.

bea close up.png
Early posing for the camera – think this was in the first couple of weeks

I thought I’d celebrate this post with a mixture of musings and memories from the last 6 months that I hope other parents can relate to. As always, the downsides of parenting (basically all the repetitive messy stuff) are taken as a given on here. We’ve had our fair share of public poonamis and we’re currently working out how best to treat some pretty mean eczema. Today’s not the day to talk about those!

Thought #1:  Do the reading

Once I knew we were expecting, I came back from the library with a couple of books, ready to go. If I’m really honest with myself, the need to do this came (a tiny bit) from that scene in Knocked Up where he has a bit of a meltdown and doesn’t read up on anything. I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ so I made sure I read up on things. I can’t actually remember which books I read now, which is a bit rubbish. I do remember that it left me feeling less terrified about the months ahead and excited to see Beatrice develop.

Thought #2: You will become addicted to Google.

“What age do babies blink?”

“Do you need to brush their gums?”

“Which cafe has the best changing facilities (so far it’s our local Sainsbury’s)?”

“How long are they supposed to sleep?” Hopefully this is followed up with ‘Should I let them sleep longer if possible?” (to which the answer is always yes!)

“What do you do when they start staying awake for longer?”

All of these are some of the millions of thoughts you and countless other parents have had. They range from the practical to the absolutely ridiculous, but be careful- there’s a high chance your baby’s first words could be “Ok, Google…”

Thought #3: Be Fearless

And no, I don’t mean go on extreme hikes with your all-natural baby wrap on day one. However, you’ve no doubt had a whirl on the travel system, the change bag has probably been packed for a month or so and you spent a fair whack on the car seat. Use them! Lucy and I took Beatrice out for a quick walk in the pram, then ventured out in the car a day or so later. After we’d got it sorted once, it was so much easier to head out for cake. If that’s not an incentive in itself, I don’t know what is!

bea-close-up-2
The smile I get home to every day!

Thought #4: The rewards come thick and fast, so keep up!

I’ve been amazed at how quickly things have moved so far. The phrase ‘they grow up so fast’ is particularly true at this early stage. I find myself regularly looking through photos and she has changed so much – she’s far more robust now, and sitting up! There have been so many little moments that have surprised us. Her first chuckle will be a very long-lasting memory in particular.

Thought #5: Prioritise your priorities

I’ve made sure that every evening possible, I’ve got home and spent all my time with Bea until she’s asleep. It has changed my attitude at work, made me more efficient and bizarrely more practical around the house. However, all of those things are to allow me maximum time playing, ‘chatting’ and giggling when I’m home. I got spoilt in those first two months!

Thought #6: Teamwork

It’s all about teamwork. That’s not just mum, dad and baby, but the wider network too- friends, grandparents, and workmates are all there to support you in loads of surprising and generous ways. If you’re a dad, remember that there’s a lot you need to be doing. It’s even better if you remember to do it without being reminded to…and make sure you get a day with your child from time to time (I know Lucy’s had some good days out when I’ve had my daddy/daughter days!). It also pays to be grateful to your other half for letting you get addicted to this blogging thing…

Feel free to leave any other thoughts for the next six months in the comments, and I’m going to try and get some regular features up and running in the next couple of weeks or so. I’ve also dipped my toe into Instagram, you can find me/us here if you like that sort of thing!

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A bed of her own

Happy new year everyone!  You probably missed my last post (why not subscribe…ahem) on New Year’s Eve, as you were probably out having a good time being sociable. That, or you are also new parents, and New Year’s Eve passed you by in an alternative stupor – we pretty much forgot to actually say it to each other (thanks Lucy for the reminder!). There’s even the chance you decided it wasn’t worth all the fuss and went to bed early and missed it too. It was a list reflecting on a range of firsts for us as a family. I left one of those out somewhat deliberately in order to blog about it later.

Christmas day night was the last night Beatrice slept in the same room as us (for now- I’m not naive enough to think that she won’t be toddling in when she gets older!). She has been everpresent in her Moses basket since that Friday in July.

Before Beatrice was born, we were pondering which bits of parenting came down to common sense. This was one of them- when should she go to her cotbed? When she’s too big for the Moses basket (also see when should we swap out the carrycot in the travel system…?). As ever, I’m sure there are a million and one different theories for timing the big move, and all of them would be fine. For us, we loved having her there next to our bed. It was even one of the first things I blogged about. Granted, we’ve been incredibly lucky – she enjoys her sleep, and with both of us having time off during the summer, her sporadic sleeping hours at the start were definitely bearable. That said, I’ve almost certainly jinxed her (and our) sleep patterns with making this public knowledge…

What are the pros and cons of her new digs then?

Pros

  1. I can read a book in bed at night – I’ve missed this a lot!
  2. Getting up to go the loo in the night no longer requires the skills of a trained ninja
  3. The nursery I decorated is being put to good use!
  4. I can get changed with the light on in the mornings, meaning I look like a normal, everyday person and get things on the right way round. I think I spent every night in November putting my t-shirt on either inside out or back-to-front before getting into bed.
  5. The value of our baby monitor increases every day…
  6. Travelling gets potentially easier. The basket and stand take up a lot of room!

Cons (this is probably where it starts to sound soppy. I’m not apologising.)

  1. The only noises we’ll probably hear from her in the night aren’t going to be the little whimpers and sighs we used to. It sounds ridiculous to be nostalgic about something that was only a couple of months ago, but we are! We’re fairly heavy sleepers, so we won’t hear those on the microphone.
  2. I can’t sneak in so easily to give her a quick kiss goodbye before setting off to work. I daren’t even poke my head round the door for fear of waking her up. Her new room doesn’t have the familiar noises that our room would have had, so I’m worried that any additional noise might change things – Lucy probably goes in and sorts stuff every morning with her fast asleep in there though…
  3. It means she’s growing up! The last couple of weeks have been a real chance to take stock of our memories so far as parents. There have been loads, and I don’t know how people coped without hordes of digital photos to help them in their efforts.

So, there you have it. Our little girl, who is completly unfazed by the whole thing, no longer shares a room with us. It makes me a little sad, but also proud that she feels comfortable and safe enough to sleep soundly in her own room.

 

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