Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our School Dance Was Never Like This!

Our school dance (formal, prom, whatever!) was never like this. You have to laugh I guess...


Don't Eat Too Many Sweets in First Trimester!

Well here is another twist!  As if there aren't already enough no-no's for the pregnant mum, we find yet another study, another no-no!  Apparently, there have been a few studies in USA about what happens when women eat too many sweets, sugary drinks, biscuits etc. during their first trimester of pregnancy.

Their findings were that women who consumed too many sweets were more likely to have obese babies, than those who ate fewer
sweet things.... uh huh ....

 They also found that mums of normal weight who drank sugary drinks in the first trimester were at a higher risk of having big babies than women who didn't have many sugary drinks. OK...

That overweight and (here's that word again) obese women who gained more than 20% of their calories from sweets, had more than twice the risk of having an overweight or obese baby at birth, and at six months. This was compared with heavier women  who consumed less than 20% of calories from sweets. Yep, ok again...

And, well we all know this eh?  If you do have too much of the good thing, just do a little more exercise, e.g. an extra walk or bike ride to shed some of the calories.

Reading all the information given, I had to giggle, because there is nothing new under the sun, is there?  And things we know without scientific studies suddenly gain immense weight and importance because someone does a few trials and studies - voila!   We all know that we have to watch our calories, eat healthily, and do at least some exercise whilst pregnant!  I guess I shouldn't laugh, but I can't really help myself.

Who's The Boss? Midwife or Obstetrician?

Oh my - I sit here shaking my head with disbelief at what I am reading - have maternity wards in the U.K. gone totally backward into the 19th Century?  To a time when the midwife was queen of the birthing process, and men were to be banned at all costs?
"The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement’s guidance for midwives, for instance, instructs them to ‘focus on normal birth and reduce the Caesarean rate’.   Doctors, it says, should ‘only enter the room of a labouring woman when asked to review (the patient) by a midwife’."

Excuse my ignorance, but I would have thought that the obstetrician had precedence over the midwife in any decisions about whether a Caesarean or other intervention is required?   And why should a doctor NOT check on a patient during labour, midwife or not?   I am quietly stunned by this attitude, as the obstetrician surely has far, far more training than a midwife?
"And despite objections from obstetricians, the RCM’s high-profile Campaign For Normal Birth has the slogan: ‘Intervention and Caesarean shouldn’t be the first choice — they should be the last.’ "

Perhaps because I am not a medical person, I really can't understand why the different professions are fighting each other - surely to goodness the one thing they should all agree on is that the outcome of the labour is a healthy baby and a healthy mother?  No matter what intervention is required, and Caesarean or not.
Now I imagine we would all agree that the vast majority of midwives do a sterling job, but we all know stories of those who did far less than sterling jobs, and stories of ones who were outright overbearing, rude and dismissive of their pregnant or labouring patients.
"Gill Edwards, a leading clinical negligence solicitor with the firm Pannone, is in no doubt why these fatal mistakes continue.  ‘Too often, we see a desire for autonomy, sometimes verging on arrogance, on the part of some midwives,’ she says.  ‘It leads them to ignore National Midwifery Council rules that require them to call on the skills of other health professionals whenever something happens which is outside their sphere of practice.’ "
Perhaps this is what is going on at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria, where police actually launched an investigation into the deaths of five babies and two mothers, and where another baby's death is also going to be investigated?  

The U.K. statistics for stillbirths show an average of 11 per day, through NHS hospitals.  You would believe this was a third world country.  And everyone seems to point the finger at everyone else - but the general consensus is that midwives need to integrate with the obstetricians and gynaecologists, that the safe delivery of the baby is the goal when all is said and done.
You would hope and pray that the government is prevailed upon to allocate better funding for midwifery training, and the NHS as a whole.   It appears, from the article in the "Mail Online"  that midwives are not receiving training they require, and the RCM
"warned last week that cuts in training budgets mean that for many midwives, training has to be self funded and largely online."
This is surely rather like learning to cook in a virtual kitchen?  And the maternity staffing shortages have been going on for more than four years.  Meanwhile, until these issues have been addressed and dealt with, parents are advised to:

"Ask the right questions, says solicitor Gill Edwards.
‘So many maternity hospitals sell themselves by pointing to low rates of intervention or Caesarean sections, with the emphasis on the peace and quiet or the number of birthing pools. But the real test is the number of healthy births at the unit.’ "
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2044875/Is-obsession-natural-birth-putting-mothers-babies-danger.html#ixzz1Zn2ePojh 

I wonder what would happen if the Prime Minister became pregnant and had to go into an NHS hospital to give birth? Terrible shame he is a fella, isn't it?

To Be Amanda Knox, or Not To Be

I guess it is all over now except for the media hoo-hah and bally-hoo, and the opportunity for Ms. Knox to earn a considerable sum of money.

And nobody will ever know the real truth of the matter, except for the people concerned.  The only reason I am writing this is because our papers are reporting that Ms. Knox said 

"It has been often stated that I am a different person from what I seem ... that it is not understood who I am." 
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/who-is-the-true-amanda-knox-20111004-1l5y1.html#ixzz1ZmmUf3V2

It was said in court that she had a split personality (which is extreme, to say the least - and very rare!).  And now our journalists are "intrigued" as to who is the real Amanda Knox.  Apparently she is going to write a book which will shed more light on her character.
In a nutshell - media people out there?  Who gives a damn?

Why Not Give Them a Lobotomy? Why Only 32 Months for Torturing Babies?

I have just read the most horrific news item I think I have seen for a very very long time.  Frankly, it is unbelievable what people can do to their own children.  In my mind, this pair of evil, twisted, corrupt psycopaths need a frontal lobotomy at the very least. 

And they videod themselves torturing their children?  How sick can you get?  Can you get any worse than this?  They forced a SPIDER into a toddler's mouth, pinning her down as she screamed and cried. 

They made another child hold a BABY against a RADIATOR, and the baby received severe burns.  The article says a paramedic discovered the baby in a shower, and he was taken to a burns unit.   This foul,  sadistic, unthinkable act was their undoing.
I would like to know how long they took before contacting someone for medical treatment for the poor poor little baby, as this was part of the charges against them.   How could anyone inflict such cruelty?  Their own children?  Anyone's children, for that matter.

They said the spider incident was a "joke that went too far"...??  However, on the video they are seen to be smiling? It disturbed me even more that "relatives of the children cried as the videos were shown" .... apparently they had been torturing the children for a very long time, so how come nobody seemed to notice anything wrong?   The children are reported to have problems.  Well, gee, why am I not surprised?

They had sex in front of the children.  Oh nice, you foul creatures, really entertaining isn't it?   

They blew an AIRHORN in the baby's ear?  Why in the hell would you do something like this?  This pair are totally corrupt.

The judge said :

'You mercilessly inflicted suffering. You sounded an airhorn. When you did it you recorded it for posterity, or more likely so you could look back at it for your own enjoyment.
It is unbelievable, these children were terrorised systematically"
Rachel Drinkell 24

James Kirman 31
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2044578/Grimsby-couple-James-Kirman-Rachel-Drinkell-spider-toddlers-mouth-jailed.html#ixzz1Zj6VHQLQ
So, I ask WHY oh WHY do they only get such a short sentence?  The children are scarred psychologically for life, and this disgusting pair get off virtually scot-free.  What price justice?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Whooping Cough - What Do You Know?

Whooping cough is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.  Sometimes other bacteria can cause an illness like whooping cough. Bacteria enter the air passages and damage the lining of the windpipe and the main air passages in the lungs. The inflamed airways produce mucus, which then causes the irritating cough. The bacteria are passed from person to person by the infected mucus during coughing or sneezing.

Whooping cough (Pertussis)  is highly infectious.  It affects people of all ages, and is most severe in children. It was first recognised after an epidemic in Paris in 1578. It was then called the ‘dog bark’, the ‘chin’ cough or ‘kin’ cough, meaning ‘convulsive’ cough.

Whooping cough can be a life threatening infection in babies. In babies it can lead to apnoea (pauses in normal breathing), pneumonia, feeding problems and weight loss, seizures, brain damage and, in some cases, death. Older children and adults can get whooping cough too and pass it on to babies.

The disease causes sudden attacks of an irritating cough that often, but not always, end in a high-pitched whooping sound as the child takes a breath. Although immunisation has reduced its severity, it is still a common infection. Regular epidemics occur every in Australia 3 to 4 years. It is particularly severe in children less than one year of age. You can hear the sound of the whooping on the following .wav file.  It is quite distinctive:

Small Child With Whooping Cough (wav file) 

If your child contracts whooping cough and has not been vaccinated, he is more likely to develop pneumonia. A severe case of whooping cough or pneumonia could result in brain damage or death. If your child has never had the disease and has not been vaccinated against it, he is likely to get whooping cough if he comes into contact with the bacteria. Whooping cough is also dangerous in elderly people, but does tend to be less severe in adolescents and adults.

Whooping cough is spread when an infectious person coughs bacteria into the air which can be inhaled by people nearby. If they are not treated early, people with whooping cough are infectious in the first three weeks of their illness.
Whooping cough spreads easily through families, childcare centres and at school.

The symptoms of whooping cough commonly develop about 7 to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria, but can occur any time from a few days to a few weeks. Whooping cough symptoms can be divided into 3 stages. The cough commonly persists for up to 3 months.

  • Whooping cough usually begins like a cold with a blocked or runny nose, tiredness, mild fever and a cough.
  • The cough gets worse and severe bouts of uncontrollable coughing can develop. Coughing bouts can be followed by vomiting, choking or taking a big gasping breath which causes a "whooping" sound. The cough can last for many weeks and can be worse at night.
  • Some newborns may not cough at all but they can stop breathing and turn blue. Some babies have difficulties feeding and can choke or gag.
  • Older children and adults may just have a cough that lasts for many weeks. They may not have the whoop.
Anyone can get whooping cough. People living in the same household as someone with whooping cough are especially at risk.  Immunisation reduces the risk of infection but immunity fades over time. You can still get whooping cough even if you've been immunised.

Whooping cough vaccines provide good protection from infection but immunity fades which means that boosters are needed.

Babies need to be immunised at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months (Australia). The first dose can be given as early as 6 weeks of age.
Getting your baby vaccinated on time gives them some protection when they are most at risk of severe illness.
If your baby's vaccines are overdue, see your GP now to catch up.
A whooping cough booster is needed at 4 years of age.
In the UK, children are vaccinated against whooping cough at two, three and four months of age, and again before starting school at about three years and four months of age.)

A booster for adults is recommended for:
Both parents when they are planning a pregnancy, or just after the baby is born
Other adult household members, grandparents and carers of infants under 12 months of age.
Adults working with young children, especially health care and child care workers. For a limited time, a free booster is available from GPs for new parents grandparents and carers of babies under 12 months.

If you are a close contact of someone with whooping cough:
If you have been exposed to someone with whooping cough early in their illness while they are infectious, watch out for symptoms and see your doctor if you get a new cough.

Some babies and some pregnant women need antibiotics to prevent whooping cough infection if they have had significant contact with an infectious person.

How is whooping cough diagnosed?
Your doctor may ask about your symptoms and whether there you've had any contact with whooping cough. If your doctor thinks you have whooping cough, a swab from the back of the nose or throat can confirm the diagnosis. (I think it is a great idea to video the cough to show the doctor.)

How is it treated?
Some babies may need treatment in hospital or in intensive care.
Antibiotics are used to treat whooping cough in the early stages and can help prevent spreading whooping cough to others. People who are not treated early with the right antibiotics can spread the infection in the first 3 weeks of their illness. After 5 days of antibiotics, you are normally no longer infectious.

The cough often continues for many weeks, despite antibiotics.
Infectious children are restricted from going to pre-school and school. Un-immunised contacts may be excluded from child care unless they take the special antibiotics.


Weaning Your Baby - What Foods and Not Foods!

All babies are different, and although it is advocated that we wean onto solid foods at six months, there are times when babies are weaned earlier, for health reasons for example.   There is a big clue baby will give you when she is ready for solids - she will watch what you eat very closely, may smack her lips and even reach for your food!  However, as babies are different personalities we can't predict whether she will enjoy solids immediately she tries them, or whether it will take a little time for her to become used to the idea.  I always felt that if I listened to what my baby was telling me I couldn't go far wrong as far as what she would eat.  Some tiny ones are happy for a long while with purees, some are more adventurous.

The reasons for weaning at six months of age  that at this age her digestive system and immune system have been slowly becoming stronger, and are now able to cope with more than liquids, and also that at six months she has almost depleted her stores of nutrients - especially iron - and needs to replenish these from food.  Obviously, she still needs her milk as well, and this will continue until twelve months old.

If you have to wean before six months it is advisable to have a talk with your doctor or Health Visitor before doing so.  There are quite a number of foods that are not suitable for her before six months, including gluten - this is found in cow's milk, in eggs and in grain.   At six months, because baby's system is ready for solid foods she is not as likely to have a reaction to foods she has eaten.

Depending of course on how well baby takes to solid foods, you can give most foods, and you can introduce new ones fairly quickly.   To begin with you can offer

  • pureed or creamed cooked vegetable - e.g. carrot, squash, parsnip, broccoli, cauliflower, potato, sweet potato
  • baby rice or cereal - mix with baby's usual milk
  • puree fruit - e.g. pear, cooked apple (ripe only), papaya (pawpaw), mango.  Or mashed  fruit such as banana or avocado (ripe only).

Remember, baby's gums are very hard, and they can learn quite quickly to chew food that has soft lumps, even before there are any teeth.  Just make sure that the food is mashed well.  I showed my daughter, and she showed Fifi how to "chew chew chew", moving our mouths in a chewing motion and telling her as well.  We both repeated this every time baby had food, so that she learned quickly to chew automatically. Baby usually becomes used to eating from a spoon quite quickly, and once she does you can add to the variety of foods offered to her.  I found also that adding new foods and varying foods helped her from becoming bored with the same thing over and over.

You can then add the following foods, ensuring that food is cooked well, and all bones are removed.

  • Blended, or pureed meat - e.g. chicken or fish. 
  • Custard, yoghurt (whole milk), fromage frais (no cow's, sheep's or goat's milk until 12 months)
  • Pureed vegetables e.g.  cabbage, peas or spinach.  (a word of warning - spinach can produce gas and discomfort, so not too much)
  • Well mashed or pureed pulses - e.g. split peas, lentils, chick peas

It is best if you can prepare food yourself for baby, but it's fine to use bought baby food for the odd occasion. Actually the jars of baby jelly etc., are quite luscious.  You can check the contents of the bought jar or packet and if the foods are what your little one is happily accepting, there is no reason why she can't be given food from the group labelled seven months onward.  Just  check on the consistency of the jar or can and give a further puree or mash if required.

The time that our babies started on solids is the time we stopped putting salt in with the vegetables as they cooked.  We did extra of the foods she could eat, pureed it and put into ice cube tray, froze, decanted into plastic bags and labelled with the contents and the date.  This was a real time-saver, and at times when we were ill or very tired was also a life-saver.  You can buy small pots or cubes in which to freeze baby's food, and I did get some of these for my daughter.  If memory serves me well these are larger than the standard ice cube trays.

A word of warning here about salt  sugar and honey for babies less than 12 months old.  At this age their kidneys cannot handle salt, and adding salt to meals or giving foods high in salt can damage their kidneys permanently.  With honey, this contains some amazing properties, but occasionally it can also contain a bacteria that is poisonous to baby's intestines.  No honey under twelve months.   Sugar is unneccessary, and is a bad habit to develop at any stage. It is harmful to teeth, can promote weight problems and encourage them to  have a "sweet tooth".

Other foods which are  not suitable are drinks which contain artificial sweeteners, and tea or coffee.  There is tannin in tea, and this can prevent baby from properly absorbing the iron from her food.  Caffeine is not good for baby, in any drink.  I am just thinking how hyper caffeine would make an already overtired, hyper child.  Not a good thought!

Whole nuts are not advisable as baby can choke, also apple peel is another choking hazard at this age.

I hope these suggestions are helpful, and I will add to this blog with a followup for feeding from 7 months.