Parenting, review

Living with Eczema

Eczema has been in our lives since Ruby was about three or four months old. It started as a little patch on her belly. Being the over reactive mother that I am, I had her straight up to the GP thinking it was something serious like meningitis or something! Felt a bit silly when I was told that it was (thankfully) nothing more than eczema. At that time, it was relatively small and it didn’t seem to be bothering her. So my GP just said to use lots of moisturising cream on it. So I did. But having never suffered from eczema myself or not knowing anyone who did, I didn’t realise that the type of creams that you used and many other factors could effect this condition further. So I went on using a well known baby brand both on her skin and in the bath (of which the public health nurse later told me can irritate eczema prone skin), gave her a bath pretty much every night, continued to use the same washing powder etc and my poor little ladies eczema just kept spreading. The main spots were now her legs (the back of her legs, under her bum, knee creases, ankles) and on her arms in the creases of her wrists and elbows, she only got it on her face the odd time. I was back and forth to my GP and I was prescribed a topical steroid cream for Ruby and a cream and bath product called Oilatum Junior. I used the steroid cream only when her skin would flare up, but I didn’t see this as a long term solution and I didn’t want to have to use it at all if possible. I also used the Oilatum products religiously, but on Ruby’s skin, I found that it had little effect.

20171018_171142So I started reading up on all things eczema. I looked at online in forums and websites, asked for advice, read numerous leaflets and booklets on eczema and I came to the realisation that the treatment of eczema and its triggers differ from person to person. I tried numerous types of creams and emollients, all of which others swore buy. So I gave them all a go. They worked really well for a short time and then the effects just weren’t quit as good as they had been when I first started using them. I tried Silcocks Base (both in the bath* and lathered on her skin), I still find this really good when she has flare ups if I apply really think layers of it. I’ve also tried Epaderm Ointment and although this seemed to be really moisturising, I found that it only sat on top of her skin. Every time I’d pick her up she’d nearly slip out of my hands! I tried Aqueous Cream once or twice, more as a moisturiser than in the bath, not realising that when used as a moisturiser this cream can actually make eczema worse….Oops!

So for months and months I stuck with Silcocks Base, both as a cream and bath product and used the steroid cream only if she had a flare up. In that time I became familiar with some of the triggers and kept an eye out for anything that seemed to trigger Ruby’s flare ups. Some of the common triggers for eczema can include:

  • Changes in humidity
  • Synthetic Clothing
  • Detergents
  • Temperature changes
  • Sweating
  • House dust mites
  • Soap

Not all of the triggers above effected Ruby, and they will effect everyone differently. For Ruby, a change in our detergent and omitting the use of fabric conditioner when washing her clothes (I wash all of her clothes separately to ours too) had a positive effect; and I had already stopped using soap of any kind in her baths. The heat and sweating have an awful effect on her eczema and she always flares up in the summer (I have to be careful with the type of sun cream I use too). Some people have reported an improvement in the summer months and I have been told that the sun* can be good for it, but unfortunately this isn’t the case for Ruby. I also came across some information stating that too many baths, or baths that are too hot will effect the skin. So Ruby gets a quick bath at least three times a week…more if she’s ended up in a puddle of mud or in something else as equally dirty; and I keep her bath water luke warm. This seems to have helped.

20171018_171048Even though I have always sworn by Silcocks base (and still do), I was still eager to try other products that came with the promise to clear up eczema. When purchasing some steroid cream from the pharmacy, the pharmacist recommended that I try the Elave sensitive products. So I brought home the Elave sensitive body wash and shampoo. Up until this point I had just used warm water to wash Ruby’s hair. These products where brilliant for her, no flare ups at all and she could finally have some bubbles in her bath! So I have been using these products for the bath up until a month or two ago. Cream wise I was still mainly using Silcocks, but I was giving MooGoo’s Irritable Skin Balm ago, this cream initially worked miracles. It completely cleared all of the redness on the back of her legs. I was then recommended to follow up with the same brands follow up cream, Soothing MSM cream, which is supposed to keep the eczema at bay. I didn’t find this cream as good and it definitely didn’t keep the eczema at bay for long. So I kept using the Irritable Skin Balm, which was working well. One of the days I decided to use the MSM cream again. The minute I put it on Ruby’s legs she started roaring crying. Her legs went raw red looking. So I whipped her up to the bath and washed off the cream. Needless to say have haven’t used the MSM cream again. I didn’t really go back to the Irritble Cream again either. So I returned to my good old reliable Silcocks Base.

20171018_170941At the moment I am using Child’s Farm products. The sensitive baby range – the baby shampoo, baby bubble bath and the baby moisturiser. I use the hair detangler spray which is suitable for sensitive and eczema prone skin. It smells of grapefruit and tea tree. I just spray a small amount into Ruby’s hair so that there is a nice smell as the shampoo is fragrance fee. So far, all of these products are working wonders. Her skin has completely cleared up. The fact that the products are MUCH cheaper than the other products I had been using is a plus. I will add though, that around the same time I started using these products, I had also tried a range of different nappy brands to see if they might have been irritating her skin. We’ve since settled on a new brand, so this could also be the reason for the clear up in her skin. But the Child’s Farm products definitely are’t irritating her skin.

I have found the Irish Skin Foundation website and there booklets to be of huge help. For further information on treatment and the different types of eczema head over to their site www.irishskin.ie. Here are some of their tips for managing eczema:

  • Establish a daily skin routine and try to stick to it.
  • Don’t stop moisturising your skin when it is clear.
  • Teach your child how to apply their emollients correctly from a young age.
  • Avoid soap.
  • Shampoos should be clear, pH neural and fragrance free.
  • Baths/showers should be lukewarm and not too long.
  • Keep your moisturisers with you at all times.
  • When it flares, treat it at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Use topical steroids for eczema flare ups as recommended by your GP, keep track of how much you are using.
  • Always keep fingernails short.
  • If skin becomes wet, weepy, red and very itchy, think infection and seek medical advice.
  • Wear cotton clothing where possible.
  • These are are only a few tips. To read the full list head over to www.irishskin.ie

I hope this blog post was in some way helpful to anyone whose little ones are suffering from eczema. I had to do a lot of trial and error in order to fins out what worked woth Ruby, as you will probably have to do too. But at last you have a starting point with what products to try and which products to avoid.

Until the next blog.

The Irish Mammy xx

 

*When using emollient creams in the bath, they need to be diluted first. I used to do this by dissolving 1-2 tablespoons of the emollient into a cup/jug of warm water, stirring for a few minutes before adding it to the bath. 
*Always ensure that your child wears the appropriate sun protection and covers up well in the sun. 
** I have not been paid to talk about these products. All views are my own. 
Parenting

2017 V by Very Blog Awards Ireland – Long List

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I am delighted to have been added to the long-list for the 2017 V by Very Blog Awards Ireland in their parenting blog category. Even if I don’t make it on to the other lists this year, I am so happy to have my little blog recognised in some way. Blogging is something that I absolutely love, I feel like  its become an obsession for me. I am constantly thinking about what to blog about next. I have found it especially hard to get to blog as much as I would like the last month or two due to the Montessori course I am completing – I recently wrote a post about how difficult I am finding the whole mammy/partner/student/study/work life balance! I keep feeling that if I can find the time to blog (like now!), that I should be using that time to study. Role on February 2018 when my course finishes! But I am working hard to find a balance until then. So here’s hoping that I make it to the shortlist! But if not the long-list will be good enough for me – for this year anyway!

Until the next blog,

The Irish Mammy xx

Parenting

Not Enough Hours in the Day

So I have been a little bit lacking in the blogging department as of late. I assure you, I have a good reason. Life is getting in the way! Way back in December I mentioned that I was planning on starting a Montessori course. It’s a long distance course which I thought would be much easier (and handier) to do than a taught course. Wow, was I wrong! The long distance part of the course is handy, as I don’t have to travel anywhere for classes. Although, as I am beginning to realise now, I probably need to attend classes in order to get some study done as I am finding any reason not to study currently!

I am horribly behind in my assignments (thankfully I have 12 months to complete all of them), but I have a ton to do, so I really need to get myself in gear (what I really need is a big kick up the bum!). Thankfully, I have just finished my work experience placement. I started at the beginning of March and finished at the end of June. I can confirm that this has definitely cemented my thoughts in the area of early years education. I really enjoy it and wish I had decided to make this career change years ago. I also would have had more time then.

free time meme

My biggest problem right now is time management. Trying to fit in teaching, house work, caring for Ruby, life in general, blogging and study/assignment writing and research! Don’t get me started on trying to fit in exercise! I had tried to do study while Ruby was having her daytime nap, which would be fine if I had no other work to do. You see, it is during this time that I normally get most of the house work or dinner started. Things that I find very difficult to complete with Ruby awake. She’s at that stage where she wants me to be playing with her constantly or up in my arms. I’ve also tried to do some reading while she plays beside me, but she’ll have none of it.  So it’s the choice of getting some course work done and letting the house fall down around me, or finding another time to study. This is another reason why my blog posts have been lacking. I feel guilty writing a post because I feel if I can find the time to blog, I should be using that time to study! I then had every intention to study once Ruby was put down for the night. But to be honest, by the time 8pm arrives I am absolutely exhausted. To be honest, I just like to have my own head space and watch something other than Peppa Pig once Ruby is asleep. That being said, I have also been known to stay up till the early hours watching Netflix, which isn’t doing me any favours. I am my own worst enemy.

All-These-Moms-Are-On-Pinterest - Copy

 

I am also aware, that there are other parents out there with full time jobs, who are busier than me, with more than one child, who are completing degrees etc (and probably succeeding more than I am, in the study side of things). My hat goes off to you all. I don’t know how you do it. I had a little melt down about it when things got a little stressful. You are all superwomen/supermen….please share your secrets!! As I write this I am sitting here internally screaming at myself to go and study. But unfortunately, my time is up. I had a short window, but Ruby is now back from the shop with her dad and I must get the dinner started! I’ve no doubt that I’ll get everything finished, but as usual it will probably be a last minute, world-wind of stress, left down to the last second of my course deadlines. Pray for me!

Until the next blog (I’ll try to not leave so long this time)

The Irish Mammy x

Pictures accessed through Google images and  taken from http://www.funnybeing.com/50-incredible-mom-memes/ and  https://thinkbiblicallyblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/not-a-super/
Parenting

Keepy – Organize and Save Kids’ Artwork & Memories

1048257_651517224886880_1005599632_oI was contacted a few weeks ago by a lovely dad of two boys named Offir, who is the CEO and co-founder of Keepy. Keepy is an app for parents to save their children’s artwork, schoolwork, photos, videos and mementos. There is also an option to add voice and video narration to anything that you upload. You simply save your memories on Keepy and you’ll have a unique, interactive, family scrapbook to cherish for now, for later, and for ever.

Key Features:

_0001_2– Share your photos and videos with grandparents and loved ones.
– Safe and private, accessible based on invitation only.
– Quickly saves your family’s best photos, videos, quotes, videos, notes     and more.
– Easy commenting with text, high quality video and voice recording.
– Family “fan” invites that keep everyone in the loop.
– Easy to use cropping tools.
– Unique timeline for every family member.
– E-mail, web or phone notifications.
– Private Keepy website to view your family’s memories.
– Secure, private platform, accessible from all devices.
– Print mugs, T-shirts, greeting cards and more directly from the apps       store.
– Auto Sync with Dropbox.
– Available for: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Kindle Fire and Web.

Screenshot_20170330-092344I downloaded the app from the Play Store on my Samsung and applied for the unlimited plan. The unlimited plan allows you to save more memories, without it you are limited to the amount of data you can upload. To go unlimited you can subscribe for €2.41 per month or €11 for the year. It will also give you 50% off products in the app store and allows unlimited keepy uploads. For €2.41 or €11, its a very reasonable price.

Personally, I think its a great app! You can easily tag and invite family members to the app so that they can all view the pictures you upload. I love how you can organise pictures by category and that you can save information like the who, what, where and when in the pictures.  The automatic notification through Facebook is great too if you’d like to share there. Even photos from years back on Facebook can be added through the Facebook ‘On This Day‘ section. There is also the Keepybot reminders in Facebook messenger. It asks if you want to save statuses, photos, etc to Keepy, which is a quick reminder to log things away regularly.

Its not just pictures you can upload either, you can take pictures or scans of your children’s art work and upload those too. Then you can go to the apps store and turn your pictures or artwork into picture mugs, photo-books, photo gifts, of which there are all kinds of options. Which would make nice gifts for mother’s or Father’s day and any other celebrations.

To learn more about this app or to download it, go to: http://www.keepy.me/

I was given the app, including the unlimited plan in return for this review.

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Parenting

Wait…you’re not pregnant? Gulp

About this time (8pm) two years ago I was busy scrubbing out my oven. Cleaning, and I mean MAJOR cleaning, seems to be something that I tend to do in times of shock, upset or sheer panic! In this instance it was due to pure shock and a little bit of panic, if I’m honest. I had just found out that I was about 4-5 weeks pregnant.

Its funny though, if you really listen to your body, it can tell you exactly what’s going on without taking any tests at all. I’d say about three weeks prior, while driving to work, I developed an awful feeling of nausea. This happened for about three mornings in a row and I remember thinking “gosh I’m not pregnant? Ah sure I couldn’t be”. And that was that. I pushed the thought to the back of my mind. But slowly as the weeks went on, even though I wasn’t feeling very nauseous, my body was giving me major signals that something was definitely going on. I was due the old monthlies about four days before Christmas Eve. And even though I had a really strong gut feeling that in fact I probably was pregnant, I said I’d wait to see if they showed. Four days in and no sign. I knew. But I still pushed off taking the dreaded pregnancy test. Cause you know, that made it real. And technically it wasn’t real until the test was done and showed those two little lines.

So Christmas Day came. I didn’t enjoy it at all. All I could think of was taking the dreaded test. I was even thinking of putting it off until after New Year’s Eve. But to be honest, with the knowledge that I would probably be out having a few drinks on New Year’s Eve and the possibility of being pregnant – my conscious wouldn’t allow me. So the next morning, St. Stephen’s Day 2014, as soon as the shops were open I set off to buy a pregnancy test (I bought six and did every single one of them! – just to be sure!). And just as I thought, they were all positive and telling me I was approximately 4-5 weeks along. I was numb. Then I realised that I had to tell Andy. So, later that night, after I had finished cleaning my now sparkling  oven, I asked Andy to come into the kitchen because I needed to talk to him about something. I must have been acting strange or had a funny look on my face, because before I even opened my mouth he said “wait…you’re not pregnant are you?”. And with that I broke down crying, and I mean bawled my eyes out. The stress and fear that I had been bottling up over the last few weeks just came pouring out. I think it was also the realisation of hearing someone else say it aloud that made it more real to me. I have to say, Andy was great about it. Any fear and panic that he was feeling, defiantly didn’t show. He was exactly what I needed. We had a long chat about everything late into the night and over the next week, discussing all our options. In the end we decided that this was something that we both wanted. It was something we had already started to bring up in conversation nearly a year previous. We just hadn’t planned on it happening so soon! But they say everything happens for a reason. Something I firmly believe.

The next seven weeks were pretty tough. We decided not to tell anyone until we had our 12 week scan. Just to make sure that everything was ok and was going to plan. But hiding the fact that I was expecting was incredibly hard. I had severe morning sickness – or in my case, all day sickness. From about six weeks until around 16 weeks was very bad. The drive to work in the mornings was particularly tough. Let’s just say I had to pull the car over at least twice every morning. The only food I seemed to be able to keep down were ginger biscuits first thing in the morning and porraige (just about). The trick was to eat little and often – to stop any vomiting sessions. But nothing worked for the nausea. The only time I craved anything was during these months. I craved Eddie Rockets M50 burgers and chicken super noodles!! Not the best thing to be eating, but they stayed down!

So the 12 week scan day arrived. I was weighed, measured and asked every question under the sun and it turned out I was a week further along than I thought. I was 13 weeks and due on the 26th of August. So we headed home to tell our families. They were shocked as they hadn’t expected it so soon, but happy. My mam had her suspicions – mammies alway know. So I spent the next months working every hour under the sun, reading every pregnancy book available and sleeping! I was so tired. I would come in from work and pretty much sleep on the couch until bed time and sleep again until morning. Although, for the last two months of the pregnancy I had insomnia. I would wake up at about 2am in the morning and fall back to sleep at about 5.30/6am and sure then I was up at 7am for work. I was beyond exhausted.

I also found out that I had developed pregnancy diabetes. Something I was very upset about. EVERYTHING I ate had to be monitored and carefully selected. I found this the toughest part of the pregnancy (well, second toughest after the morning sickness). But it was worth it for the health of my baby. The good news though, was that it went away once Ruby arrived – within two hours after she was born. But it kind of messed up my birth plan. I had an idea that I wanted to move around and change positions etc and to have as natural a delivery as possible. But because of the diabetes I had to be monitored during the delivery at all times. So that idea went out the window fairly quickly. But that story is for my next blog. Lets just say, things didn’t go quite to plan in the run up to, during or after my pregnancy.

Until the next blog.

The Irish Mammy x