Friday, 26 September 2014

Noticing a dairy allergy / intolerance in a baby

If you've been reading my blog or following me on Twitter then you probably already know that my 6 month old baby girl, Isabelle, is dairy intolerant. We were 'lucky' that we found out when she was 11 weeks old as a lot of other babies are not diagnosed with it until a lot later - if at all! Looking back I am shocked that none of the health care professionals we saw realised what was wrong with my little girl although she had all of the symptoms of dairy intolerance! 
In hospital I didn't receive much help with breastfeeding apart from one very lovely student midwife who I'll always be very greatful for, the night staff kept offering me formula milk for Isabelle because she was continuously feeding throughout the night but I refused - I wanted to breastfeed my baby and I knew that if I started the bottle I probably wouldn't go back to breastfeeding. Luckily I had attended a pregnancy retreat run by mummy and little me, leaving me packed full of breastfeeding advice from expert midwife Alison Brown.

Isabelle very quickly came out in what they called 'baby acne' all over her little face... it looked as if my newborn was a teenager already with her skin! Then when we were home, Isabelle was very upset every time I laid her down so that bugaboo pram we got didn't really get used :( as she just hated laying flat. She was continuously feeding and her tummy was very hard full of wind. Everyone told me she had Colic so I started to use infacol and it did actually help her get some wind out. She also has eczema and had terrible nappies... oh the poor stained clothing! When Isabelle was 8 weeks I took her to the doctors as I noticed a tiny bit of blood in one of her nappies - they didn't even examine her and said she's fine just obviously hurt down there.... ? I don't know why I didn't question this at the time.

11 weeks old and Isabelle had an absolutely terrible night. Mummy had indulged in cheese on toast and loads of chocolate = baby full of dairy now! And it had been building up for the last 11 weeks. She woke up every hour to feed and cry and had so many nappies that Michael had to help me. We didn't notice the colour of the nappies until the next morning at 7am when I changed her after Michael had left for work, her poo was dark green like grass and there was blood in her nappy! Oh my god. I called Michael and told him and then I checked every nappy from the night - they all were the same. I was terrified. We got a doctors appointment and that's when I was told I'd have to stop breastfeeding as its a dairy allergy and  they'd give me special formula - I replied with Hell No, I wanted to make sure nothing else was wrong with my baby. So the doctor sent me to the local A&E and they could check Isabelle out. 

Turns out it is a cows milk protein allergy - the only way to 'really' know for sure is to cut dairy out of diet all together if symptoms go away then = dairy. They gave me details of a dietitian and made me an appointment, they gave me details of what to avoid in my diet and since that day I've been dairy free so that I can continue to feed my baby girl... don't feel too sorry for me, I've discovered pourtoi cookies - dairy free and oh so tasty.

Another big sign Isabelle was dairy intolerant is that she was incredibly slow at gaining weight and after 2 weeks she hadn't gained. As soon as dairy was out of her diet, weight gain started to improve alot! 

It's easy to see why so many babies go undiagnosed with cows milk allergy!
My advice to you if you think your baby might have a milk allergy - talk to your doctor or health visitor. Cutting out dairy if you're breastfeeding is actually easier than you might think and it's the only way to really know if it's dairy causing the problems. 

Mary-Kate, x

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sophie La Girafe - cosmetics

Most babies I know have a Sophie Girafe which is a teething toy but did you know that you can also get Sophie La Girafe organic cosmetics for baby too? Co-founded by Jonna Jalkanen, a mum of two with lots of experience within the industry of baby products which are safe as well as in the beauty industry. You can find out more about Jonna here.We've been putting them to the test and actually yes I mean we! Not just Isabelle, I've used the face cream on my face too when I had run out of mine and actually it's really good, I have very sensitive skin and it was great for me... Isabelle is alot more sensitive, she's dairy intolerant and suffers from eczema so I'm always careful with which products I use on her skin and at first I thought, oo maybe not a good idea but her skin has been absolutely fine with all of these products and I've taken a while to write this review because I really wanted to give them a proper test before telling you about them.
In the range there is; body lotion, baby oil, face cream, protection cream, bubble bath and hair & body wash.

First thing we tried was body lotion on a tiny bit of her body and when she was fine with that we used it all over her, she's got a very dry back and it helped a little (not even steriod cream has helped completely, it just needs lots of regular cream applied). £14.99

I then used the face cream myself before I even used it on Isabelle - oopsy! But I had competely run out of face cream and my face is so sensitive that on days I actually wear make up, when I remove it I need to put face cream on or my face just feels horrid. I used the face cream and actually my skin felt lovely, like I had put an expensive face cream brand on my face instead of my babies one! Isabelle has a sensitive little face too, she had terrible 'baby acne' when she was newborn - we know now that actually it was the dairy intolerance instead of 'baby acne', every now and then she gets a tiny bit so it's really important to use that we keep her face well moisturzied, their little faces need something a little more sensitive. It's not thick, it's light and absorbs very quickly into the skin leaving it feeling baby soft. Retails for £11.99

 Then we moved onto Hair and Body wash - great two things covered in one! Once we had use the first two products we trusted this brand with Isabelle's skin and again it's fantastic, smells nice but not too strong. You don't need to use too much, a small amount will be fine to clean little ones hair and body. £11.99

Baby oil - oh so many uses for this one. You can use a few drops in your babies bath for the days when you want something a little different it's also great for cleansing on a cotton pad just apply a little to your babies skin, for baby massage if your little one likes it - Isabelle likes her legs but don't even think about touching her arms or hands - she needs those in her mouth. - warning though as with all baby oils, it leaves them slippery so make sure you've got a tight grip on them. £14.99

Bubble bath, Isabelle thinks this is fantastic and it's so much fun to see her splashing about. Every little one deserves a bubble bath and it's great that this organic product isn't going to upset the delicate skin. £10.99
Finally the protection cream, this is great. A three in one cream solution, weather cream for wind/sun which is great as it's very hard to find an organic cream for babies that protects against UV rays, trust me I spent ages looking. It's second use is for nappy rash and I will be honest, I prefer sudocrem I'm not sure why but maybe because thats just what I used with Oliver and I'm a creature of habit, this one is also very good though. The thrid use is as an sos cream, relieves itching and redness. £14.99
They would also make fantastic gifts, the packaging is cute and looks really fancy, it doesn't look like it's made for babies and if you have a bathroom that you'd like to keep looking like a grown up relaxing one then these wouldn't ruin that being on the side of the bath. People have mentioned that under Isabelle's changing unit they look 'posh' hehe, I think due to the price of these most people wouldn't like to buy these for every day use, however if like me your little one reacts to alot of things you just want something that is very good quality and not going to upset their skin, so the price tag represents that. Also they would make great new baby gifts, baby shower gifts or just a present for baby as a treat. 

We have absolutely loved putting these products to the test and think they are great. 

You can find SLG Cosmetics on twitter - @SLG_Cosmetics and over on facebook too Sophie La Girafe Cosmetics facebook

Mary-Kate, x 

please note that these products were sent to use for the purpose of this review but all of the views are our own. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Isabelle is 6 months old

I can't believe that it has been 6 months since I had my beautiful little baby girl, how quickly does time go? I absolutely adore spending my life being a mummy to my lovely mini people.

I love these baby milestone cards and regret not using them more. I feel very lucky to have my little lady here. We have started weaning, she's been rolling over since about 3 months but she can't sit up yet.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Weaning update

So I know that I'm a second time mum but how did I actually get Oliver eating the same as us? When did he actually start eating mashed foods and then normal foods, I just can't remember and after my original weaning post I realised actually I have no clue what I'm doing and after a meltdown at a blender not making the carrot completely smooth I thought - better get some advice! So off we went to a weaning course at a local children centre and it was brilliant, I learnt so much there and really recommend if you're about to start weaning you attend one. I had no idea about baby led weaning and I was saying, no no that's not for us but now it makes sense to get little ones eating normal food with the rest of the family as soon as possible. 

Still we are introducing only one new item for 3-4 days to make sure she's ok with it after the dairy intolerance we want to make sure she's ok with everything and it's the only way we'll be able to tell. We started with Neocate spoon which is a dairy free version of baby rice and we've now moved on to root vegetables - parsnip, sweet potatoe and carrot which she is loving.

At the introduction to weaning group I learnt that if you start weaning your baby at 6 months which is the suggested age then basically you've skipped the
pureed stage and mashed will be fine - something I didn't know! I also didn't realise that you could give your baby finger foods from such a young age. We learnt about various baby food products - which obviously with a dairy intolerant baby I need to be careful with but there is some out there that are dairy free so that's really handy for when we're going out or when I want her to try something new that to buy fresh would be expensive or just end up being wasted as she'll only eat a tiny bit at the moment. I was amazed to learn that you can have your baby eating the same meals as your family by the time they're 7 months old - obviously chopped up finger foods, not sure why but I pictured the weaning stage to be so much longer and harder than it actually is. It is scary though because it's new and out of your comfort zone of just giving your baby milk.

How did your little one take to weaning?  

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Isabelle meets food (neocate spoon...dairy free weaning)

Hello! We've decided that we're going to keep a little weekly dairy here of Isabelle's weaning for two reasons, firstly because Daddy is at work so he will get to catch up on things and not 'miss' anything from her weaning and finally to share with you, hopefully help someone else that is weaning or about to start weaning (and also some of you can hopefully help us too). We aren't going to be doing blw but I am going to be making 99% of her food.
steamer at the ready!
So as Isabelle is dairy intolerant she's going to be weaned dairy free using Neocate Spoon which we got on prescription, it comes in a sachet and you mix it with 60ml of cool boiled water - it looks just like baby rice. I've tasted it and I've made Michael too. I don't know why but I taste everything that she has for the first time... teething gel, new foods... crazy lady? I done it with Oliver too when he was a baby - I'm not still doing it though or I'd have to taste yucky antibiotics.

We were so excited to be sent some lovely products by Oxo Tot, I'm already a fan of the brand Oxo so to be able to introduce them to Isabelle at such a young age is great. I like using brands I trust with her and these are super convienent. I already have my eye on a few of their other items.

They sent us a bowl which is obviously essential to weaning, there is lots of bowls out  there to choose from so why is this bowl the best in my opinion? It's the only bowl we have and I think it's the only one we need actually because it isn't just your average baby bowl, this bowl is called 'divided feeding dish' which means you have two sections in one bowl. Ideal for if you've got two different things at meal time each section is a good size which is able to hold 120ml each (that's a stage 2 jar if you're going to use them, I'm not but it's still nice to know size wise as you can picture it better). It's ideal for pureeed foods with it's outer ring meaning you can easily get the food on the spoon and you can wipe of any not needed. There's also a lid which is fantastic for us because we won't be in every lunch time! So we needed something that could be used on the go, all of the bits come apart for cleaning and then fit together nicely again.. the bowl then the lid then the outer bit goes on top for compact storage. It's ideal for ontop of high chair trays with it's non-slip bottom, it will be harder for baby to push it away and also when little one gets to an age when they would like to feed themselves a little bit - or just give it a try, then the bowl won't slip away from them on the highchair tray. haha! Mummy's wised up second time around (on a few things). It's ideal for little ones that have two different foods for one meal but hate both touching each other, keeps them separate. Oliver went through a big phase of 'it's touching!' Screaming! so to avoid those Argghhh moments, I'd suggest this bowl. These retail for £8.17 and you can even find them on Amazon (I love it when things are on Amazon, I can order everything I need in one place! Lazy).

We were also sent a very clever little spoon, like the bowl it's ideal for meals on the go because it's got it's very own case. It's called the 'on the go feeding spoon' which has a shallow silicone spoon meaning baby isn't going to get too much in one go - ideal for beginners like Isabelle. It's compact in size and ideal for changing bags so you've always got a spoon with you. These are also available in three colour ways, green, blue and pink. We have the raspberry (pink) colour way, perfect for a little girl. These retail for £4.50 which I think is a great price considering it's a travel spoon and it's going to stay clean at the bottom of your bag, so if you're out and about at meal times atleast you know you've got a clean spoon with you if nothing else because you can pop into a shop and get something. What's really great is it can be popped in the dishwasher - so can the bowl actually, we have only recently started using the dishwasher and I now find myself thinking "Great!" when things can just be popped in there. 
The final thing we were sent is a something we haven't used yet, it's a 'sippy cup set with handles' again in the raspberry colourway. This will be ideal in a little while when she's having a little drink so I will tell you more about that soon.

So Isabelle was introduced to Neocate spoon... She's been really interested in what we've been eating, the lovely sandwiches, crisps and cakes so I feel a little bit bad just giving her this - she looked at it and then looked at me as if to say "would you eat this?" but then she started to try to 'suck' the spoon like she would if she was drinking milk and then I realised that this Neocate spoon isn't really for taste or look of it, it's just to get her used to having something different, a different texture in her mouth and get used to 'eating' rather than just drinking. Plus this doesn't last for long and we will be introducing something tasty (a carrot) soon. She got the hang of it after a few licks but then she decided that her feet needed to be involved and decided to eat them too so they got very sticky with neocate spoon all over them... lovely. We knew it would be messy but feet?

I really love the bowl, I think the two sections are really handy and the spoon matches it perfectly being able to get every bit out of the bowl, easily out of the corners too. I love that the spoon is metal, like a normal spoon underneath the baby safe silicone, meaning it's really easy to use. It's also fantastic for getting bits of food off babys face due to it's shape. Oliver had some really cheap plastic ones that just didn't feel comfortable in my hand but these are lovely to hold. My fav feature is still that you can take it out and keep it clean!

If you're about to start weaning I'll recommend having a look at Oxo Tot's items, they also have two lovely high chairs in their feeding range which look really good too. We still haven't sorted out a highchair, as you can see at the moment shes sat in her bouncer. You can find Oxo Tot on facebook too - Oxo Tot Facebook
I'll tell you tomorrow how Isabelle gets on with her next lot of Neocate spoon and I would love to hear from anyone else weaning at the moment too :) Have you got any reciepe ideas for first foods that don't have any dairy in them?

please note that the bowl, spoon and sippy cup were sent to us by Oxo Tot for the purpose of this review but all of the views are our own.
Mary-Kate, x

Binky Linky

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Lets get weaning ?

We've been busy getting everything ready to start weaning our little lady Isabelle who's not 6 month's yet but she's so ready for some food, you can just tell and shes so jealous every time anyone eats anything. She has licked my food a few times and she reaches out and ends up with a hand covered in pesto or something so now we've seen the dietician due to her dairy intolerance we're ready to start weaning her! 

Not going to be doing Baby Led Weaning (blw), we decided it wasn't for us and we would rather do the whole puree thing. Isabelle's dietician agreed that blw wouldn't be the best for her either. We don't know if she's intolerant to anything else and we need to introduce one thing at a time for a few days.

We have got things ready and she's got her own section in our cupboard... 

Isabelle is starting with Neocate Spoon which is basically baby rice for milk allergy sufferers, it looks the same as normal baby rice Oliver had and actually it doesn't taste too bad (yes I've tasted it), I know it's important to remember that babies have different taste buds and what we think is yucky they may think is the bee's knee's! Also it takes a baby several times of having something before they like it, I remember Oliver spitting food at me nearly every time he had it for the first time. 

I'm going to be making 99% of Isabelle's food because then I know what's in it, it's better for her and more convinient for me as well as being cheaper in the long run! We discovered 'Fill n squeeze' at the baby show last October and we are so happy we brought it then, it means we are able to make our own pouches to take out with us, so home made food on the go :) I'm also lucky to have been sent 3 items from Oxo Tot to review, I'll tell you all about them soon. I've got the steamer out ready on the side and the blender is easy to get in and out. So a week of Neocate spoon and then things will get exciting! 

How to spot your little one is ready for weaning? Sometimes you my notice a few of the signs and other times you may just 'know' your little one is ready. Just a few of the signs include; baby makes chewing movements, curious about what you're eating and waking in the night where previously slept through. Health visitors recommend weaning from 6 months onwards but I weaned Oliver at 4 months because he was massive and really ready, Isabelle is still 5 months and unlike her older brother she isn't massive but she's also really ready. Oliver also slept through the night from 7 weeks old and Isabelle has only just started sleeping upto 10 hours at night. It's just important to remember that every baby is different and to start safely when your little one is ready, I'd advise to talk to your health visitor (or for me, as I don't know a health visitor I personally like, I see a nursery nurse instead).

What age did you wean your little one? & remember to check back to see how Isabelle gets on!

Mary-Kate, x


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Xeno - one for the christmas list!

We were invited to the press/blogger event at London Zoo to celebrate the launch of a new toy  by Flair called Xeno who has already featured in this years top 10 christmas present list including; Amazon, Hamleys and Tesco. We went with Michael's mum and had a great time meeting him! After we met him we got to go around the Zoo to see all the animals which was lovely. There's so much to see and we were there until they closed. We were really excited to find out more about Xeno, a cute interactive baby monster. (I think he's so ugly he's cute?)

Firstly I just need to say this bit - we watched a dvd about Xeno when we arrived at the event and the main thing that stood out to me was 'Xeno is a lovable baby monster who really interacts and plays with you! He lives within a magical world under kid's bedsand comesout at night-time to play via a secret trapdoor. Xeno is not just a cheeky baby monster but a friend for children to play with, care for and love.' = amazing idea for children who are scared of monsters being under their beds? ok ok confession time, I can remember many of times calling for my brother, James (who's 6 years older than me) to come and get me because I was just too scared after having a nightmare and I genuinely thought 'something' was under my bed and therefore I wouldn't put my feet down on the floor to go to my parents room without someone being there incase 'it' got me! I knew he would be awake... Sorry James! 
Ok blushing... so the idea of making the 'thing' under the bed, just a lovely cute 'baby monster' is a fantastic idea - if something has to be under the bed then make it something nice, cute and friendly? So well done whoever's idea that was... did you too suffer from monsters under the bed? Clever idea.
I was amazed at how clever this toy actually is, technology eh? Where have I been. At first it reminded me of my furby from when I was little but then I realised this is just on a completely different level, it's so much smarter and cooler and I loved my furby so sorry Mr Furby in the loft but this monster is cuter. He has lots of emotions (10+) including happy, sad, scared, hungry and unwell which are really shown through his eye expressions, of which he has 50! If you think that's a lot then what about the 80 tailor made sounds? 

We got the chance to learn all about Xeno's features, games (Xeno loves to play but like most toddlers he's very good at tantrums too- it's nice for the child to see them for once too!!) and also the free app that you can get which lets you play even more games so it continues the fun for no extra! It was so so cute how Xeno got scared when there was a monster on the app and also when you dry Xeno's ears on the app - the actual Xeno's ear stick up! I thought it was so clever how they were connected. He has features that will appeal to both boys and girls, he likes the dance to music and he's really tickly... Boys might like that he burps and farts too! The green snot actually is liked by children, not so much by parents though. 
If you have two Xeno's infront of each other, they will have a little chat! The games are various levels, there's some that my son, Oliver, who has just turned 5 years old would be able to understand but theres some that would take a while longer which is great as it would grow with the child. You can feed Xeno by putting your finger in his mouth - Oliver thought that was fab.

I love this bit... corr arent I soppy lately? 'As Xeno is only a baby, he needs  to be treated carefully and doesn't like to be pulled too much or prodded too hard! Treat him how you would like to be treated yourself' = fantastic thing to teach children, treat other's how you'd like to be treated. 

Xeno retails for £79.99 and is available in three colours; blue, orange and voilet.
Isabelle absolutely loved Xeno, although she's only 5 months old! Her arms were flapping about everywhere really excited - she wanted to eat it I think! But then her face lit up with a massive smile when she realised it moves. Oliver obviously thought it was fantastic, he's never seen such a smart toy and he keeps asking for one. He got a goody bag from the event which had a Xeno mug in it and I really hope he doesn't break it because he's rather attached to it already.

What do you think of Xeno?

Mary-Kate, x