Category Archives: Health

The best sun protection for babies and toddlers

The general advice is to keep pre-6-monthers out of the sun. But of course that’s not always possible so a good sun cream is a must, even in the British Summer (although the NHS recommends children wear sunscreen from March thru October, which might be a little optimistic!)

Even for bigger ones, a gentle, mineral based option is preferable; here are our protection picks for holiday packing (or backyard paddling-pooling)
Clarins Sun Care Milk for Children 100% Mineral Screen UVA/UVB 50+, 150 ml

Clarins Sun Care Milk for Children is 100% mineral and active ingredients include aloe vera, kiwi and olive. It comes in a spray dispenser, so easy to apply – although it is quite thick consistency – and the waterproof formula is factor 50.

Banana Boat Mini Kids Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50, 60ml

Ultra water resistant and sand repellent, this one is fab for junior surfers and little beach bunnies. A cheaper option than some, but the UVA/B protection is highly photostable (ie it won’t break down in the sun).

 

Badger Balm SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen
Badger’s SPF30 Baby Sunscreen Cream contains non-nano Zinc Oxide, plus organic Sunflower Oil, Beeswax & Vitamin E – making it a great choice for sensitive skins (plus there’s a cute badger on the tube!)

 

Green People Organic Children Sun Lotion SPF 25 ‘no scent’ (150ml)
Green People support the Marine Conservation Society, so each purchase helps to protect the oceans, as well as delicate skin. Scent free (if you find some of them a bit potent) and a good option if your child suffers from prickly heat too.

 

 

Childs Farm Sunny day SPF50+ Suncream
Dermatologist approved for sensitive and eczema prone skin, this one is suitable for over 6 month old babies. It’s a non-sting formula (handy if your kids are in and out of the pool with goggles on) which moisturises whilst it protects.

 

Need a fab sun hat that also shields from the rays? Try Little Hotdog Watson’s Children’s Bucket Sunhat with UV Protection

Stay Sun Safe.

Tommy’s launch their #AlwaysAsk campaign

Each day in the UK, 10 babies are stillborn and 152 babies are born preterm, causing untold heartache to parents and extended families.

Tommy’s, with King’s College London and BabyCentre, has launched a safer pregnancy campaign to empower pregnant women to overcome fears about speaking to professionals about health concerns.

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of women who end up with serious pregnancy complications or loss. A body of research from King’s College London has shown that women’s knowledge about their own changing body is invaluable in contributing to safer pregnancies but that they often struggle to voice their instincts and concerns.

‘Always Ask’ challenges the fears that prevent women from seeking information on how to recognise potential problems and gives them tips on how to manage the appointment, get listened to and taken seriously by healthcare professionals.

Find out more here.

SM reviews… Vitamin Injections Vitamin B Complex Patches

Headed by experienced IV/IM practitioner and skin specialist Bianca Estelle, the Vitamin Injections London clinic provides IV doses that do everything from burning fat to curing hangovers.

Their Vitamin Skin Patches can be used on the go and provide 12 hour continual doses of essential vits – apparently a much better way to absorb them than in tablet form.

We tested the Vitamin B complex 30 day supply, RRP £45

SM Tester writes: “Vitamin B boosts brain and metabolism; ie it is the one that helps you remember where you left the car keys and stops you falling asleep face down in a bowl of yoghurt. So the more the merrier, right? Well, apparently it’s all about getting a constant dose, rather than one big hit washed down with your morning OJ. 

These patches are little brown plasters you stick on your skin. You’ll start off putting them somewhere obvious and channeling your ‘inner Britney’ – but after a few cries of ‘Mum, it’s not fair, I wanna plaster tooooo…’ you’ll start sticking them in less visible spots. Suffice to say it is that simple; they stay on in the shower if you are careful and if you stuck one on your bum you will get funny looks in the gym )

Personally, I go weeks forgetting to take vitamin pills, so this format works well as I can keep them in my handbag (30 days’ supply is roughly the size of a travel card) and stick them on between meetings or on those rare occasions I’m ten mins early at the school gates (although on these occasions I might stick them on my arm not my derriere..)”

 Order online at Vitamin Injections London

Salt Awareness Week: Children getting a third of their salt before school

DW Fitness Clubs has found that children could be getting a third of their recommended salt allowance before they even get to school.

For children aged 4-6, the NHS recommends no more than 3g of salt per day.

Snap, Crackle, Pop…and Salt!

A serving of 30g of cereal contains:

  • Kelloggs Krave = 12% of your child’s recommended salt intake (6% for adults)
  • Rice Krispies  = 12% of your child’s recommended salt intake (6% for adults)
  • Cheerios = 10% of your child’s recommended salt intake (5% for adults)
  • Coco Krispies = 8% of your recommended salt intake (4% for adults)

Manufacturers list salt content per 30g, but that’s a very modest portion size, for a hungry child (and aren’t they all?) It would be very easy to eat two or three times that.

So if a child had a large bowl of Rice Krispies (100g) that would be 1.13g of salt, over a third of their daily allowance. Scary, huh?

Mamabee.com has time in the mornings!

We all know that ‘good energy’ basics like porridge, bananas, sugar free peanut butter, Greek yoghurt with berries or dippy eggs would be a better option here, it’s obviously just a case of having ten minutes more in the morning (as with most things…)

But worth flagging this story up if your child gets a bowl of cereal at pre-school Breakfast Club…

 

Sleep deprived? Us too…

If night feeds, sleepwalking kids or bedwetting toddlers are intruding on your shut eye time, we can’t promise a quick solution. But hopefully some of the below tips might help you maximise the forty winks you do manage to sneak…

Cyberjammies PJ set

Atomik Research conducted a study for Drift Sleep and the findings included scoffing nuts and fish. Salmon, rice, spinach, milk and almonds all promote sleep.  The magnesium found in spinach in particular plays a key role in deactivating adrenaline, whilst typtophan in milk and almonds is an amino acid which converts first into seratonin and then into melatonin which helps regulate sleep.  If you happen to own a cow, try milking it at night as it contains 24% more tryptophan than the day.

They also recommend a decent pair of cotton PJs. We love Cyberjammies, whose range is so pretty you could wear them in the daytime or on the beach too. And don’t forget to upgrade your sheets too – The Secret Linen Store has lots of elegant Egyptian cotton options at a reduced price. Shhh…

There’s so much hype about Vitamin D at the moment, it’s a wonder the human race survived without supplements. And apparently it is essential to a decent kip as well.  If you’re struggling to get out in the sun try Vega Vitamins Everyday-D 10mg (from £5.95 www.vegavitamins.co.uk), which is available in a tasty orange spray, or as blackcurrant chewable tablets.

And we don’t really need to be told twice that phones and tablets in the bedroom aren’t a great idea. Superfood UK nutritionist Shona Wilkinson explains, “Two hours before your proposed bedtime turn off all electrical gadgets such as computers, notebooks and phones as these emit a blue light which confuses the brain and reduces the release of melatonin, the chemical which induces sleepiness.” Go retro and find yourself a decent book (ie not your child’s reader from school or the Argos catalogue…)

Finally, a little lavender can go a long way when it comes to the transition into slumber. Angela Flanders’ pillow spray has calming chamomile too, to ease the day’s stresses (and doubles up as a daytime perfume, if you feel like your waking hours need some additional ‘inner calm’ too…)

Dr Sally Norton’s guide to Nut Butters…

Comment by Dr Sally Norton, NHS weight loss consultant surgeon.  UK health expert.  Founder of www.vavistalife.com 

Not that long ago, the only choice when it came to nut butters was smooth or crunchy peanut butter. Now the preserves shelves in health food shops are offering a choice of almond, cashew and brazil alternatives – but what are the health benefits?

While nuts may contain a seemingly high amount of calories and fat – they can play a role (in the right portions!)  in a well-balanced, healthy diet. Most of the fat in nuts is the healthy unsaturated type, plus they are a fabulously well-rounded source of protein, vitamins  E and B group, minerals including copper, zinc and magnesium and fibre. They are a great on-the-go snack with a low glycaemic index to help you feel fuller for longer and help suppress appetite. You can easily make your own, just by blitzing nuts (pre-roast for a few minutes if you like) in a food processor until the natural oils are released to form a buttery texture. But if you go for shop-bought, check the label to find one that has no hidden nasties like sugar or palm oil.

Here’s our breakdown of the pros and cons of the nut butter aisle:

Peanut (not a true nut, but a legume, we have included it here as it is conventionally grouped with other tree nuts to consumers):

Pros: A good source of protein; highest folic acid content (useful during pregnancy) as well as being high in healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E.

Cons: Some brands have a little added sugar but these days many have none added.

Cashew:

Pros: Highest in zinc, copper and iron – naturally sweeter than many other nut butters.

Cons: Less protein than other nuts.

Almonds:
Pros: One of the lowest in calories and the highest in protein, fibre and calcium.

Cons: Relatively few, although some brands can have a bitter aftertaste.

Brazil:

Pros: Good for men, as 1-2 nuts nut delivers your recommended daily intake of the mineral selenium, which may help protect against prostate cancer and heart disease.

Cons: The most expensive option when it comes to nut butters.

 Walnut:

Pros: One of the few vegetarian sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, ALA  some of which can be converted to long chain omega 3 known to be involved in heart health.

Cons: Bitter aftertaste, slightly lower protein and slightly higher in fat than some other nut butters.

Hazelnut:

Pros: One of the lowest percentages of saturated fat (along with pine nuts and almonds); highest proanthocyanidins (PACs) content of all nut butters. The antioxidant capabilities of PACs are likely to be 20 times more potent than vitamin C and 50 times more potent than Vitamin E.

Cons: Often found to be coupled with chocolate spreads so read the label carefully!

TIP: Most nut butters characteristically separate when stored, this doesn’t affect their nutritional value, simply stir to combine before eating.

Tommy’s launch premature baby app

Today is world prematurity day so fittingly Tommy’s have chosen it to launch their new app, which is free and aimed at parents of premies.

My premature baby is available on all devices (phones, tablets) by going to www.prematurityapp.org.

The app contains all the prematurity information from the Tommy’s book: Having a premature baby. This book was published in 2011 and has received a Highly Commended Award in the British Medical Association Patient Information Awards (2014).

In addition to providing all our information in an easily-searchable format, the app also has the following features:

  • a development diary – allowing parents to record events, thoughts and milestones
  • a feeding log – allowing parents to record times, type and amount of food given
  • ability to easily share information with family and friends on Facebook
  • ability to track the baby’s weight on a growth chart
  • ability to find other parents going though similar experiences on a map.

The app is web app and it functions on all devices: phones, tablets and desktop computers.

We checked out new pregnancy app NaturalCycles.com

Natural Cycles is a new App which uses an intelligent algorithm that quickly learns your cycle and accurately detects and predicts ovulation, and thus, your fertile window. You take your temperature each morning, input the data and can then view your cycle as – essentially – days on which you can and can’t get pregnant.

They asked us to check it out. We got into the groove.

Editor writes: whilst both my elder children were happy accidents, our baby was most definitely planned. It’s funny the way that – as blithe young women we muddle through our twenties worrying about every late period, split condom or tryst in the heat of the moment and never stop to actually think about how many days into our cycle we actually were. 

When we decided to to try for our third child, I actually did think about it. So did my other half – similarly, who had sailed through a decade of sporadic girlfriend panics too, again without questioning the actual dates. I got the calendar out, did a bit of counting and told my other half that come rain or shine, hell or highwater (or bad backs, headaches or late nights at work) we were damned well having sex on the 14th November. And we did. Nine times. Sure enough – we have another child to show for it. 

In my case, I just guesstimated the date – based on GCSE level Biology knowledge and having had two previous kids. A scan later confirmed that I had guessed 5 days out (but sperm can hang around for a few days) – so essentially, we were lucky.

Obviously there are a lot more mitigating factors that go into conception (gynecological health, sperm count… wine!) but knowing where the right window is would be a useful starting point, right?  

So – Natural Cycles is an app that promises to give you your money back if you don’t fall pregnant within one year of using it. A bold offering? Maybe not, when you think about the science of it all. And if you don’t conceive, the readings provide useful data for a doctor to figure out why. 

So – you pay £49.99 for the App for a year (plus a free thermometer) and take your temperature before you get out of bed in the morning. The only downside (if you already have children) I’d envisage would be this one – as hands up which of you were ‘untimely ripped’ from your beds this morning because either a) you overslept and had ten minutes to get the kids to school or b) one of your children poured their tadpole experiment over your duvet?

But – that part aside – once you start telling the App your temperature it can then tell you when you are pre-ovulation, releasing an egg and the few days around this when sperm can still survive. Furthermore, once you are pregnant, knowing your daily temperature means the App can monitor fetal health as well – a comfort I’m sure you’d agree. 

For me, the most interesting benefit of this App means that I am aware of the days on which I am unlikely to get pregnant. The idealistic vision of not needing to worry about contraception at all. In my world, this translates to five days crossed out on our kitchen calendar (next to swimming lessons and PTA meetings) whereby my other half knows he may as well work late, go and see DJs who aren’t on til 2am or finish the rest of the bottle of red wine in the pub with his chums – as the gates to my lady garden will be bolted. But the rest of the time – we can be footloose and fancy free, bereft of ingested hormones or latex (assuming we have a few minutes to ourselves between bedtime stories, night feeds and sleepover midnight feast demands…)

I currently have a few friends who are ‘trying’ and many more who have brought little ones into the world through IVF because of months of repeated disappointment. Natural Cycles is definitely an interesting way of looking at things. I say cliched things (in the office and to my own kids) like ‘knowledge is power’ (I know, I know…) but (just like algebra or sorting out a fashion shoot) conception is easier when you know where to start.

When I shared this with another of my friends she suggested that once her tweenage daughter reaches dating age she might get her using Natural Cycles and then ground her on the fertile days… She was actually only slightly joking 😉

Find out more at NaturalCycles.com or follow #HappyPregnancy @NaturalCyclesNC 

Sponsored post.

SM chats to… Melissa Mead, a Mother Without a Child

We (and most of the internet) were rendered blubbering wrecks when we watched Melissa’s brave, eloquent, moving and incredibly sad video raising awareness of Sepsis following the loss of her son William far too soon.

We were grateful that Melissa shared a few words with us – and hope that our readers will contribute to William’s JustGiving page.

image: itv
image: itv

SM: First of all, how are you feeling? Baby #2 must be pretty close to arriving?

Melissa: Baby number two is arriving on the 27th September so very close now! Due on the 9th October but due to a few complications on my part it’ll be a planned c-section. We are very excited about the baby, however it’s very much tinged with sadness that William isn’t here to share it with us. With our experiences with William it has made us incredibly anxious and fearful that we will lose the baby. We like to think of this baby as a gift from William, our little ray of hope, we can only take one day at a time, and we both accept that sometimes it’s ok to not be ok.
SM: Now that (thanks to your video) we have heard of Sepsis, what would your advice be in terms of how to handle the situation if we suspect any of the signs?
Melissa: If anyone suspects any of the signs and symptoms of sepsis either in themselves, a loved one or child then it is always best to consult a GP / out of hours or A&E, especially if there is history of infection. The one thing that is absolutely key to say is, ‘could this be sepsis’, sometimes all it takes is for two mutual people to suspect it and the golden hour of treatment can begin much earlier than waiting. Suspecting sepsis is half of the journey. Sepsis is so quick so do not delay, and never be afraid to voice your concern or thoughts.
SM: our fight has generated some amazing support and seemingly lots of stories of shared experiences, loss and positive action. Do you feel there is a ‘next step’ now to your campaign?
Melissa: Last Tuesday, I, along with the UK Sepsis Trust and the Government launched a public awareness campaign for sepsis. 1 in three Britons do not know what sepsis is, however, a recent poll from YouGov/UKST shows that this year there has been a 47% increase in sepsis awareness since William’s story was highlighted in the media. I think the way that we have conducted our campaign and worked with the Government means that we all have a shared objective and the campaign can be constructive. I recorded my video just ahead of the campaign launch, but it’s so important to remember that as a charity the UKST do not get any Government funding and is entirely self-funded through people like me fundraising. The campaign so far will consist of resources in the areas your would hope to see them, so local doctors, A&E’s, Out of hours, pharmacies etc. but the next step is to raise enough money to create a television advert to really reach people in their homes. 70% of sepsis cases are acquired in the community, so it shows we really need to be reaching people in their own environment. So, I will continue to try and raise awareness and funds for as long as I live, for me this gives me a purpose, it still allows me to be William’s mum and create a legacy for him. Sadly, there is no vaccine for sepsis, as it is bacterial so it’s really important that we have a campaign in place that runs year on year.
Please donate to: www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead or you can text SEPS77 with an amount to 70070. This always pays into William’s Just Giving page. 
Follow Melissa’s story at amotherwithoutachild.com

Clever Clogs Products: Nimble Babies Milk Buster

Whether you formula feed or express, if you’re using bottles, one thing is for sure; they get cloudy.

Some might think cloudiness isn’t the worst thing in the world – it’s when milk fat mixes with plastic – but sterilizing alone won’t shift it and the milk residues can hold bacteria. Plus, the bottles just look… let’s politely say unappealing. (‘Boggin!’ said our tester)

You’d have thought a product like this would have come along aeons ago, but it took a chemist called Von and the arrival of his baby niece back in 2012 – plus a few experiments – for this magic potion to be invented.

Simply spray a few squirts into a cloudy bottle (a little more if you’ve left the offending receptacle under the buggy or in the back of the car for a couple of days – hey, we don’t judge!) and then give it a wash to reveal a squeaky clean, cloud free bottle.

For an even lazier approach, add a couple of squirts before you put bottles in the dishwasher…

And the best bit – the product is made from sugar, amino acids and coconuts, so no fear of nasties getting transferred or the bottle ‘taste’ being altered.

Find out more and order yours from Nimble Babies.