Ways to ease the discomfort of Teething

26th March 2018

 

In my last blog I wrote about my Teething event with Joanne ‘The Ealing Mummy’ covering teething and dental health. Now it’s the all-important info about how we can help ease any discomfort can be eased. So here are my ‘Top Tips’:

  • Distraction – in the day time babies will be more distracted from any discomfort by playing and day to day activities. Equally making sure you factor in some quiet time if they are feeling a bit weary – or you are too!

  • Hugs and reassurance!

  • Teething rings - these can be cooled in the fridge and can offer relief. However initially some designs can sometimes be too big for the baby’s mouth!

 

Image of Teething Rings

 

  • A muslin cloth which has been in the fridge

  • Babies from 4 months can have teething gel from the pharmacy which gives pain relief when rubbed on the gums. Products include: Bonjela, Dentinox, Boots

  • Homeopathic teething granules can be bought in sachets from the pharmacy. You tip the granules into the baby’s mouth and this can offer relief. Products include: Nelson’s Teethas, Aston & Parsons, Boots

  • Emma from Brush Baby talked about how prevention is the key and keeping the mouth free from bacteria by using Brush Baby dental wipes can help to relieve discomfort. This can also be done with a clean cloth and water

  • Baby Massage strokes to the face can release tension from crying and discomfort

  • Sugar free Ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory) or Paracetamol can be given. These can ease the discomfort if the baby is particularly in pain, for example when the tooth is ‘cutting’ through the gum. Check the appropriate dose for your baby’s age, can be given from 3 months onwards

 

Foods to soothe teething:

One of the most wonderful ways to soothe sore gums is with cool foods and drink. Your little one will love the sensation of coolness to relieve the inflammation as well as being able to chew on chilled food. As appropriate for your baby’s age and stage with Weaning my top recommendations are:

 

Image of Super Foods

 

  • Cool water – simples!

  • Yoghurt – so soothing and most babies LOVE yoghurt! Full fat Greek yoghurt with fruit, milled nuts or seeds is perfect and really healthy. To be honest you can add yoghurt to anything. I even remember adding it to fish pie when Isabella was teething – sounds gross now but did the trick! If your child has a diary intolerance or allergy try goats or coconut yoghurt.

  • Hummus – any dips or hummus are amazing on chilled chopped or roasted veg for the little ones to chew and suck. A real winner and nutritious too. So many different colourful dips available now or if you feel inclined they are super easy and quick to whizz up and then I freeze them.

  • Chia mousse – this tastes sooooo good you think it should be bad for you but it’s a powerhouse of nutrition. Blend a banana with milk (milk of your choice) and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and leave in the fridge overnight. The seeds swell and make a yummy mousse. It can be eaten alone or mixed in yoghurt or porridge. Banana can a swopped for mango or other blended fruit.

  • Chilled batons of cucumber, carrot, melon, apple. Feel free to cook the carrots to the consistency you feel comfortable with. When carrots are raw they will generally just chew on them. If you cook them don’t make them too soft or they will be squashed! Batons need to be chunky so they can have a good grip and not just end up on the floor!

  • A chilled banana! Yep that easy or wedge of chilled avocado might also be a fave.

  • A piece of chilled bread – lovely for them to chew on. Let me know any other ways you find helpful to ease any discomfort from teething, especially any food ideas!

 

Take Care

Katherine x

 

Need advice on Teething?

Find out more following my ‘Teething’ event this month

26th February 2018

 

 

I get asked about Teething so much so it was easy to decide the topic for our next event. I had a fantastic time meeting lovely parents and babies at my ‘Teething’ event with colleague Joanne ‘The Ealing Mummy’ at the fab Grove pub in Ealing. As well as useful info everyone came away with a wonderful goody bag filled with great goodies from Babease, Brush BabyNibbling teething jewellery, Vitabiotics, Bibetta.

We had a taster session with Helly from Monkey Music Ealing and Acton, which was great fun and enjoyed by the parents and babies alike!

Joanne talked about Dental Health. She advised Ealing has the worst dental health in London! 1 in 4 children have tooth decay and admission to hospital for dental extractions is the biggest reason for children age 5-9 to be admitted. Scary and horrifying stats so good dental care start here! Once your baby starts to gets a tooth, start to use a toothbrush and toothpaste twice a day. Let your baby hold their toothbrush so they get used to the feel of it – even if they do not actually help brushing their teeth with it! Remember there is no place for juice in children’s diet, they will get natural sugar from fruit and naturally in food.

 

 

Here is some of the info I covered in the event about teething and in my next blog I will discuss the best ways to soothe Teething:

 

A little bit about teething:

  • Babies develop at different rates. Some do not have a tooth until over a year, while others can be born with a tooth!

  • The first teeth to come through are usually the front top and bottom teeth

  • There are 20 teeth to come through and they are usually present by 3 years

  • Some babies have very little discomfort while others find it a painful experience. They may be unsettled intermittently as the tooth travels down the gum

  • Sometimes you can feel the tooth starting to come through if you run your finger along the gum or you may see a white tooth appearing

  • As the tooth forces its way through the gum the soft sensitive tissues can become inflamed, sore, swollen and tender

 

The main signs of teething are:

  • Flushed, warm and slightly swollen cheek

  • Excessive drooling or dribbling – you will need lots of bibs!

  • The baby chewing, gnawing, and rubbing their gums with their hands, their cup, bottle or toy

  • The baby showing signs of discomfort – crying, decreased appetite, irritable, sleep disturbance

  • Teething can be associated with diarrhoea and a slight increase in temperature. Both symptoms should be mild. If you are concerned or the baby has any other symptoms seek advice from your Health Visitor or GP

 

Top tips from my lovely Dentist, Dr Pavan Bopanna:

  • Symptomatic treatment like mild pressure on the area and use of teethers can be helpful

  • Keep all sheets and blankets clean as babies tend to bite and chew on it

  • Paracetamol (Calpol) is generally safe and helps reduce pain and discomfort

  • Pain and discomfort will go away in 1-3 days, however it can carry on for up to a week per tooth in severe cases

 

Are Dummies Helpful?

  • There is evidence to suggest that it has a very soothing effect and helps babies calm down

  • We suggest it is best not to use anything as it may cause the shape of the upper jaw and teeth to procline (Move forward)

  • However it is better than thumb or digit sucking because it is easier to stop and get rid off than thumb sucking. We suggest you break the habit as soon as possible

 

The Butts Dental Practice:
Brown & Bopanna associates,
10, Boston Manor Road,
Brentford TW8 8DL
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 0208 5602583

 

I hope this has been helpful as a starting point to discuss Teething and next time the all-important ways that can sooth teething, including some brilliant food ideas!

Let me know if you have any queries or ideas.

Katherine x

 

Want to live a long and healthy life? Which ‘Pillar’ will you work on first?

Katherine Whitby, 22nd January 2018

 

I was lucky enough to go to an event on Friday with Dr Rangan Chatterjee of BBC’s ‘Doctor in the House’, who is shaking up the way not only we, but doctors look at health. He spoke about how modern medicine has become about looking at one symptom and giving one treatment ‘What’s the Pill for the Ill?’. This is partly due to GPs having only 10 minutes to see patients. Also, he argues that as our lifestyles and society have changed, putting massive pressures on our health, so medicine also needs to change. He says there is a lack of awareness and knowledge in the medical profession that many symptoms are connected and a multi-pronged approach is required. As a result, treatment is not getting to the bottom of the problems or preventing a multitude of long term health issues but merely supressing symptoms. The strain on our NHS health system is catastrophic, which I witness everyday whether in A&E or visiting families at home.

After a near tragic incident with his son, Dr Chatterjee has spent the last five years looking at how lifestyle and changes in society, over time has had a crippling effect on our health resulting in many chronic illnesses. In his bestselling book ‘The Four Pillar Plan’ he outlines how simple changes to our lifestyle in the areas of ‘Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep’ will profoundly improve our health now and in our future. The results he has seen in his practice and on BBC’s ‘Doctor in the House’ are staggering and wonderful! He even claims Alzheimer’s can be reversed. With support from big names such as Jamie Oliver and Nutritionist Amelia Freer, I truly believe he is going to make massive differences to the way we and the medical profession view health and how problems should be addressed through the growing movement of ‘lifestyle medicine’.

Just as we now understand ‘We are what we eat’ Dr Chatterjee has found in extensive research the accumulative effect of stress, sleep deprivation, eating processed foods, lack of movement in our day to day lives, the inability to switch off and relax because we are always ‘switched on’ due to our phones, social media, TV, bright lights. We have moved away so far from what our bodies we intended to do.

As parents, we need to consider how our children will cope with this effect on their health as they grow up. Huge rises in depression, mental health problems, high blood pressure, dementia, gut related illnesses, allergies - the list goes on are a result of years of pressure on often at times, seemingly ‘healthy’ bodies resulting in chronic illness. Type 2 diabetes now accounts for 10% of the NHS’s budget - £1 million an hour!

Here are the simple changes he recommends to slowly introduce. He says to aim to work on each pillar equally say 2 or 3 changes in each rather than aiming for all in one pillar as all 4 pillars have equal importance.

 

Relax and Eat pillar

Move and sleep pillar

 

I am so excited to see the changes ahead in the world of health and working on my pillars! I highly recommend the book, it’s easy to dip in and out of even if you don’t have much time to read it. Have you read Dr Chatterjee’s book and tried any small lifestyle changes? Let me know what you think.

 

Pillar image

 

Here’s to a healthy 2018.

Katherine x

 

Handy tips for a safe and successful Christmas

By Katherine Whitby 14th December 2017

 

While you may be in full swing with Christmas shopping and wrapping the presents, here are a few tips for staying safe and well over the silly season, plus a few presents ideas. Let me know if you think of any others!

 

Christmas present ideas

  • For any parent, parent to be, grandparent or anyone looking after kids - fab, compact First Aid kits by Baby Aid. Perfect for a nappy bag, the car or when travelling.

 

 

  • Give yourself or any loved ones a real boost by getting in touch with our friends at Nature Doc Shop for supplements, vitamins, fish oils tailored to you. Also take a look at their gorgeous natural products, from baby snacks through to lovely toiletries for little ones and for you, toys and a whole range of other goodies!

  • How about endless family days out with National Trust membership? Loads of running around, fresh air and fantastic places to explore which are kiddie friendly. The National Trust may not be your bag or local but there might be other memberships nearby which could be great yearlong gifts.

 

If you are going to stay with relatives or friends:

  • Give them the heads up if your little one/s is on the move to make sure no medication, cleaning products (e.g. bleach by the loo), alcohol (!) or gardening chemicals are in reach. We are hopefully more relaxed over the holiday season. Babies and children can be busy exploring while you are busy chatting and find all sorts of things!

  • When people don’t have little ones themselves, they aren’t in the same red alert state you are, so it’s just worth thinking about whether there are any tricky staircases, table corners, blind cords hanging down, large objects such as vases that could be hazardous for little heads or equally tiny objects for little hands!

 

 

 

A word about candles...

  • I absolutely love candles especially at Christmas time. Again, I know it sounds obvious but I see these accidents happen - make sure candles are out of reach, not left unattended and are away from curtains, ribbons etc. If you decide to use the fake ones remember they have button batteries so be very sure no little hands can get to them. So much to think about!

 

 

During the holiday season when your GP will be closed or on reduced hours, make sure you are aware of the nearest medical facilities:

  • GP 24/7 – Our newest service ’GP at Hand’ enabling you to book a GP appointment via an app. They have had some good reviews

  • NHS 111 - 24-hour non-emergency phone line. They can give advice, signpost you to services and arrange out of hours GP appointments – been a lifesaver!

  • Late night pharmacy – check out opening hours as its’ so often the way you need something late at night

  • Urgent Care and A&E – these services will be stretched over the holiday season but if you feel you need urgent treatment make sure you are aware of your nearest Paediatric A&E wherever you are staying.

 

Stock up! Make sure you have plenty of:

  • Tissues

  • Cold remedies – vapour rubs and drops, plug in vaporisers, saline drops.

  • Check your First Aid kit is up to date

  • Pain relief (hangover?!)

  • Check all your safe proofing is in place for little visitors

  • Along with all the Christmas treats have some healthy fruit, veg and snacks to give your digestion a helping hand. Nut butters, avocados, bowls of nuts and seeds (minding little hands can’t reach big nuts) vegetable crudities and humous at the ready to keep those good fats and proteins topped up. How about a lovely big bowl of Christmassy clementines for a shot of Vitamin C? They smell amazing too!

 

No matter what you are up to over the festive season I wish you a safe and healthy and happy holiday. Take the time to rest in any way you can and enjoy the magic that Christmas can bring.

Thanks for all your support in 2017 and here’s to an exciting 2018!

Warmest wishes,

Katherine x

Continuing my mission to revamp our breakfasts!
Here are some more time saving ideas...

By Katherine Whitby 28th November 2017.

 

T’was the night before work/ nursery/ playgroup/ school or just dashing out of the door! Here are breakfasts you could make in advance which can last 2-3 days and be hugely time saving. They will increase our energy levels and importantly give little growing brains and bodies the best start to the day.

They have been a big success with my own children and many families I have worked with!

  • Cook up some quinoa (fantastic protein) or buckwheat and put in a bowl in the fridge. In morning mix some with natural yoghurt (full fat or coconut). Add in any of the ‘little extras’ featured in my last blog to make this a bowl of heaven. Soooo good!

  • Overnight oats or ‘bircher’ whatever you prefer to call it! Soak some porridge oats in the milk of your choice overnight or whatever time you have in the morning it still works. Again in the morning mix with any of the ‘little extras’. Grated apple is a massive favourite with cinnamon and some milled seeds. Again so yummy!

 

 

  • Home made granola – to make this put some greaseproof paper onto a baking tray and pre heat oven to 170C/ 150C fan/ Gas 3. In a bowl mix 180g roughly chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit and porridge oats, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, pinch of salt, zest of an orange, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Tip onto tray and cook for approx 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container. When I made this for the first time I wondered why I had never made it before it is so easy! Add to yoghurt, fruit, milk. You may feel this is too crunchy for babies. You could soak in milk overnight to soften for them.

  • Chia mousse - those who have been on Weaning course will know I am a huge fan of this (check out page 8 of my Weaning book!). It is soooo delicious you feel it should be bad for you! Chia seeds are a ‘powerhouse’ of nutrition. Add a couple of spoons of chia seeds, a banana and milk of your choice into a blender or Nutri Bullet. Whizz up and leave overnight and you will have an incredible mousse you could add to yoghurt, porridge or just have on it’s own. You can use mango, strawberries or any fruit of choice instead. ENJOY! 

 

 

Let me know what your family things of these suggestions and please let me know if you have any to add. These ideas really changed our breakfasts and made us move away from usual cereal and toast. We love them!

If you need any advice or support around meal planning, weaning or feeding please get in touch, as I would love to help. I can offer 1:1 advice at home or online or I run Weaning courses at home or venues.

Katherine x

Super quick and healthy breakfasts for the whole family

By Katherine Whitby 12th October 2017

 

We see recipes online, in magazines and books, for yummy, nutritious breakfasts but so rarely have time to make them! It is so easy to have the same breakfast everyday. Most children in the UK have cereal and/ or toast with jam, with crisps being the third most common breakfast food in secondary age children. (Doctor-Patient Partnership (DPP). As a result they (and many of us!) start the day with sugar and carbs leading to a mid morning ‘dip’ which is not conducive to learning in nursery or school or for the littlies avoiding tantrums! A good breakfast is essential for parents’ energy levels too! It may take time to change taste buds but you can gradually introduce these ideas along side their breakfast of choice. This will encourage them to give it a go.

 

Key tips:

Eat the same breakfast - this saves time making separate breakfasts and they are much more likely to eat well when eating with you, giving you all a healthy start to the day.

  • As much as possible (when time!) from toddler age, let them have an input into the making, spreading, adding, stirring etc as they will love the feeling of independence and be way more interested.

  • Stay chilled - a new idea might need to be offered a few times in different formats before it’s a winner!

  • Put out the ‘little extras’ for them to choose - see below! While Jamie Oliver’s fab new book and TV series promotes 5 ingredients let’s go even lower – 2!

 

Four Super quick ideas as voted by my children are…

1. Cut an avocado in half. Remove the stone and spread nut butter into the hole and on the top. Bigger hands can use a spoon to scoop out or for smaller hands remove the skin and do slices or mash up this combo. Nut butters are a wonderful, convenient protein and way to gradually introduce nuts to babies.

2. Banana with nut butter – slice or cut in half as a finger food or mash.

3. Banana or avocado on their own or mixed together (they actually go really well together promise!) spread onto toast, oatcakes, crumpets and cut as suits the size of hands!

 

 

4. Natural yoghurt, full fat or coconut, (or Porridge if you have time to make it) with the ‘little extras’ (see below). So yummy!

 

 

The ‘little extras’

I found a huge change in my children’s enjoyment of meals after presenting them with a little ‘buffet’ of things to choose from. They think it’s all up to them! You can put these into jam jars or little containers to pop out on the table in the morning (or night before) and let them dig in or for babies give them a go, as you feel comfortable adding to yoghurt and porridge.

  • Ground almonds (perfect protein and way to introduce nuts for babies)

  • Seeds (can be bought milled for babies or use the milling blade of a nutri bullet) – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, linseed, poppy, hemp, chia….list goes on!

  • Dried fruit – chopped as you feel comfortable

  • Pomegranate seeds (need to be in fridge)

  • Home made granola (recipe to follow next time)

  • If you have time grated apple or carrot to add sweetness

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Vanilla Extract

  • Honey (for over 1) – a good runny honey can save time and mess!

  • Why not crush up Weetabix or Shredded Wheat or add Rice Krispies to get them interested and add in (ideally not Coco Pops!)

  • Add pieces of fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts on their plate – as appropriate for their age

 Let me know what you think of these ideas and how they are received!

 

Next time I will look at breakfast ideas, which can be prepared, in advance ready for a few days ahead.

If you need any advice or support around meal planning, weaning or feeding please get in touch, as I would love to help. I can offer 1:1 advice at home or online or I run Weaning courses at home or venues.

Katherine x

Be prepared at home or out and about

By Katherine Whitby 24th May 2017

 

Whether you need to blow the dust off an First Aid kit you have had a while, fancy buying one ready to go or are starting from scratch check out my latest video for all the essentials for children.  As we enjoy the warmer weather it is worth considering what you might need when you are out as well as ensuring you are all set at home, maybe giving a kit to family and having one for the car.  

Let me know if you think of anything else!

 

Take Care and enjoy the sunshine

Katherine x

The checklist continues!

By Katherine Whitby 28th April 2017

 

So first up was putting all the hazardous products, medications and batteries well out of reach. Then perhaps a toy clear out last bank holiday weekend.  Now we have another lovely long bank holiday weekend is ahead of us. Whilst you may have plans and save these ideas for another day, extra time at home might be the perfect time to make sure extra safety checks are in place.

This time we are looking further at safe proofing our homes particularly to reduce the risk of head injuries.

  • Change your baby’s nappy on the floor. Babies can roll and wriggle off beds or changing tables in seconds – even very young ones.

  • Don’t put your bouncer chair or baby car seat on tables or work surfaces. A baby will subtly rock and can come off the raised surface.

  • Hold onto the hand rail when carrying a baby or small child down stairs. Don’t be tempted to carry extra things and keep stairs clear of clutter.

  • Watch out for signs that a baby is starting to crawl. Fit safety gates to stop them climbing stairs or falling down them. Remember to close them. Take time to find the right one to fit the width of your staircase. Those that drill into the wall rather than screw against them are safest (sorry!) as they like to stand and rattle them like they do their cot sides and they can become loose.

  • Teach young children how to use stairs safely and supervise them while they learn. Also teach them never to play on stairs.

  • Ensure they wear a helmet on bikes and scooters.

  • Fit window locks or safety catches to stop windows opening more than 6.5cm (2.5 ins). But make sure family members know where keys are kept in case of fire.

  • Baby walkers are dangerous as babies can gain high speed and are associated with a high incidence of accidents. They also do not promote walking as babies are not taking their own weight.

  • As babies learn to walk they are very unsteady. So fit soft corners on low tables and padding around edges such as a hearth. Use fireguards to stop babies falling into fireplaces. These cushion corners are widely available online at Clippasafe or on Amazon.

  • Use a five point harness to stop a baby falling from a highchair or pushchair.

Are you all set or is there something you haven’t thought of yet? Do get in touch about any experience or ideas that you have had, would love to hear from you.

As ever make sure you have done a First aid course so you are confident managing emergencies big and small – including a head injury. Don’t delay and arrange a Baby Steps course for friends and family at home or come along to a local venue.

Enjoy the long weekend.

Take Care

Katherine x

The Big Toy Clearout

By Katherine Whitby 14th April 2017

 

The long Bank Holiday is finally here. Are you away somewhere nice for the Easter break? Or having a 'Staycation'. If so you may be planning a bit of DIY or having a clear out – are either possible with kids?!! Doesn't seem 'taking it easy' is an option either! We've had fun today making Easter nests – William's face was covered in chocolate! Isabella had a lovely time decorating them. We also made some healthy snacks which I will share with you soon.  

Easter Cake Treats
Easter Cake Treats

 

We’ve been having a big toy clear out which has been really satisfying. Have you got toys your kids no longer really play with? We’ve passed things on to friends and also made a bit of pocket money selling things on Facebook. Sad to see things go but great to get organised and have a bit more space... ready for the next things!

Are you toys stored so no one can trip over them? More accidents happen with people tripping over toys than because of the actual toys! Are any at a height where they might be tempted to try and reach for them?

My son used the bottom drawer of his chest of drawers as a step to reach things on the top (yes just like the viral clip of the twins and it was the same IKEA set of drawers!!). Absolutely heart stopping – do you have any furniture or a flat screen TV which would benefit from furniture straps

It might be time to look at clever, effective and safe storage solutions. Under bed boxes are brilliant as children can pull them out by themselves as they are usually on wheels and such great use of the space.

Good luck with the toy clearout! Do get in touch about any experience or ideas that you have had, would love to hear from you.

Whether a toy clearout is on your agenda or not this Bank Holiday weekend enjoy the Easter Egg Hunts and some family time,

Happy Easter, 

Katherine x

 

Time to make sure your home is as safe as possible

By Katherine Whitby 6th April 2017

 

After some gorgeous sunny days Spring has really sprung! With the lighter evenings and with the long Bank Holiday weekend approaching, it is time for many of us to have a spring clean.

 

Out of reach – hazardous substances

First up are those risky things, which may be all too easy for your little one to get hold of. Is it time to clear out things you don’t use or need and most importantly rearrange where you keep them? They need to be at a height so you may need to swop some cupboards around. This will reduce the risk of any accidents and also reduce your stress level as you cannot be watching your children all the time!

  • Move bleach away from the loo - 20% of children under 5 can open child ‘resistant’ lids. They are not child proof!

  • Ensure cleaning products under the kitchen sink are moved to a cupboard out of reach as cupboard locks could break or become loose.

  • Whilst attractive to children dishwasher tablets are corrosive and will burn the inside of the mouth and washing capsules can burst and squirt in the eye.

  • Beware of Mummy’s handbag – pain killers, medication, car key fobs, perfumes.

  • Beware of button batteries they are very dangerous

  • Keep out of reach/ locked away:

    • Medication

    • Garden chemicals – weed killer, slug pellets !

    • Alcohol

    • Cosmetics and Essential oils

Watch about the risk of ingestion :

Watch about first aid response for ingestions :

 

Look out for the Bitrex logo, a bittering agent which deters children from ingesting harmful substance. Also both the Child Accident Prevention Trust and the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents provide brilliant info about these home safety hazards.

Bitrex logo Home Safety

 

As parents we often do not get a second to think about these points so I am trying to be one step ahead for you! With the Easter weekend coming up it’s a good chance to rearrange or secure a few things... next time there will be more things for the Spring Cleaning checklist!

Have you got all these things out of reach? Do get in touch about any experience or ideas that you have had, would love to hear from you.

As ever make sure you have done a First aid course so you are confident managing emergencies big and small – including if they have ingested something they shouldn’t. Don’t delay and arrange a Baby Steps course for friends and family at home or come along to a local venue.

Take Care,

Katherine x

Make sure you know the latest advice on 'Safer Sleep'

By Katherine Whitby 22nd February 2017

 

Hot from my annual update and Regional Meeting in London with the Lullaby Trust I wanted to share with you their latest advice and findings in their work to reduce Sudden Infant Death (SIDS); the sudden and unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found.

 

Car Seats

Initially Charlotte Daman Willems, Consultant Paediatrician, discussed the latest research about infant car seats. Overall any possible risks to babies travelling in car seats, is overwhelmingly overridden by the safety they provide and reducing injuries.   Since 2006 they have reduced the risk of infant deaths in cars by 70%.

There was discussion about the length of time a baby might spend in a car seat when it is part of a travel system, so becoming the child’s buggy too or parents may leave a baby to sleep in the seat once they come home. It is not advisable to have the baby in the car seat for any prolonged period. A pilot study has suggested the upright position; particularly with simulated motion (in a vehicle) can potentially have adverse cardiorespiratory effects as their airway is not in the same position as when lying flat. Dr Willems advised car manufacturers had been to the Lullaby Trust to discuss designs of car seats which could have new-borns in a flatter position. I would like to highlight this was a small study and other risks included babies being fed whilst in the car seat, therefore presenting a choking hazard, or when the seat was used as a cot. The key safety factor remains having a baby in a car seat to reduce the risk of injury.  Make sure you understand the latest rules on baby car seats

baby car seat rules 2017

Safer Sleep Week 2017 and Latest Advice

The Regional Manager Cheryl Pearce discussed the upcoming Safer Sleep Week 13th – 19th March 2017. 25 years since the ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign was headed by TV Presenter Anne Diamond who sadly lost her son to Sudden Infant Death, The Lullaby Trust have decided to go ‘Back to Basics’ and remind parents of the simple messages about safer sleep. The 1992 campaign reduced Sudden Infant Death by 75% making it the most successful health campaign of all time. Whilst the latest figures show Sudden Infant Death has decreased again, a recent study showed a decline in those aware the safest position is on the back (rather than the side or front), until babies are able to roll.

So here is the latest advice to reduce the risk of SIDS which will be highlighted during Safer Sleep Week:

 

Things you can do:

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep

  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth

  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months

  • Breastfeed your baby (if you can)

  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition

 

Things to avoid: 

  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby (this increases the risk 50 times)

  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, have drink alcohol, have taken drugs or medication or are extremely tired, or if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight

  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot (16-20C is the recommended room temperature)

  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head whilst sleeping or use loose bedding (the Lullaby Trust recommends grobags/ sleeping bags as long as they are the correct size for your baby’s weight)

 

To avoid accidents remove all pillows, soft bedding, cot bumpers and soft toys from the cot.

The Lullaby Trust is still trying to understand the mechanisms that cause unexplained deaths in infancy; therefore it is not possible for any manufacturer to say that a particular product will prevent SIDS. It is possible, however, to significantly lower the chances of it happening by following this safer sleep guidance.  This advice is based on strong scientific evidence where, unlike many products, safety has been proven. You should try to follow the advice for all sleep periods where possible, not just at night. Dr Willems highlighted how important it is for parents not to rely on monitors but to observe their babies and follow their instincts.

 

Fact sheets

All of this advice is available on the Lullaby Trust website along with brilliant factsheets including ones about ‘Sleeping Products’ (bumpers, supports and pillows) and mattresses and bedding, swaddling, dummies, room temperature bed sharing . It is very confusing for parents with all the products out there but sticking to the advice offered by the Trust will ensure you are keeping your baby as safe as possible.

 

Snow Suits

In the cold weather be wary of babies becoming too hot in snowsuits. Think how hot you can feel coming in from the cold outside into a warm place and want to take layers off. So don’t be tempted to leave them done up if they are sleeping, they could overheat – I know how you don’t want to disturb them! They also should not be wearing snowsuits in a car seat due to getting too hot but also they cause a dangerous gap between the child and the straps.

baby snowsuit 2017

Baby Check App

The Lullaby Trust also has a fantastic app called Baby Check App which asks you a series of questions about your baby’s health and gives you a score at the end which indicates if you need to see a doctor.

For more information visit the Lullaby Trust or contact them on 0808 802 6869 where they can offer practical, reassuring advice or do get in touch with me to share your thoughts and tips,

Take Care,

Katherine x

 

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