Monday, 27 January 2014

6 Facts about Alcohol and Breastfeeding

For 9 long months of my pregnancy, I was busy making lists of things I could finally do as soon as I give birth.

I would eat sushi, have lots of coffee and take painkillers! Oh, the simple pleasures of life, denied to pregnant women in sacrifice for the health of their child!

But the first item on my list, the thing I missed the most (other than sleeping on my front) was alcohol. I dreamed of champagne served in the delivery room, the moment I’m done pushing.
What nobody tells you, of course, is that maternal sacrifice doesn’t end with the final push. Far from it, this is where it starts.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Keep your germy hands off my baby please!

Don't touch button - Keep your germy hands off my baby please. How to protect your baby from cold and flu.
Buttons by PinMeDown at Etsy

‘Tis the season to be coughing again! Everyone’s at it, sneezing and wiping snotty noses, you can almost see germs dividing and mutating in the air.

It’s one of my least favourite times in the year normally and much less so since I’ve had a baby. My immunity is not too bad, fortunately and I don’t tend to get ill often. Which is perhaps why I see it as a competition to keep my child snot-free for as long as possible.

Turns out it’s easier to protect me, a grown woman than a real cutie like my daughter.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Which is better – nanny or nursery?

Back to Roots Baby recently spoke to family and parenting experts, Rosemary Albone and Sigrid Daniel about how to choose between nanny or nursery care when you go back to work.

What is the right age for mum to go back to work? Is it better to get baby used to substitute childcare from an early age or wait until they are more ready emotionally?

Knowing when to head back to work is a difficult decision. When you start thinking about whether it is right for you, consider how you really feel. Do you feel pressure from an employer or spouse to go back to work? Know what is right for you. Consider your career goals and what you would like to personally achieve.
Having a baby instantly changes your life, so know there are going to be unexpected changes. Your decision whether to go back to work doesn't have to be a permanent choice. If you think things aren’t working, then give yourself the time to revisit your decision and make adjustments. Try your choice for six months though, so you give yourself a chance to settle in.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Why does pregnancy start at 12 weeks in the UK?

Why does pregnancy start at 12 weeks in UK?
I recently saw an episode of Homeland where Carrie (the main character) goes for her first antenatal appointment. The doctor asks her: “Why did you wait until 13 weeks with your first visit?” To the American doctor that is negligent behaviour.

This seemed funny to me, as in the UK no woman sees a doctor about her pregnancy before 12 weeks. I wonder what that American doctor would make of that.

When I first became pregnant, I was so anxious I immediately wanted to see someone who could check everything,

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Bean Stew From Bretagne to Barcelona

Bean Stew from Bretagne to Barcelona

Bean stew a la Bretagne is a dish which is immensely popular in Poland (and basically unheard of in Bretagne), probably for its simplicity and the use of sausage, which the Poles love. 

As I don’t have access to the traditional dry Polish sausage, I used Spanish chorizo which I think makes a good substitute. 
The result is more pan-European than the EU flag and I hope you like it!

Monday, 18 November 2013

My No Cry Sleep Solutions

The best books to teach your baby to sleep through the night without crying. It is possible!

Apparently, some children sleep through the night at 3 months old without their parents ever doing anything to help them.

I don’t even want to hear about those magical children.

To me, and to most of my mum friends, the question ‘how to get your baby to sleep’ has become significantly more pressing than ‘how to create world peace.’

I’ve done it all by now. During the first year of Ava’s life I spent countless hours in the middle of the night reading one parenting book after another looking for new sleep training methods

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Juggle of Modern Motherhood

The juggle of modern motherhood
As I’m writing this, my toddler – yes, not a baby, a toddler – is bouncing on my lap, fiddling with my blouse so I give her a boob to suck on. So here I am, literally juggling work and motherhood while writing about... You get the point. Damn it’s hard being a mum these days!

It didn’t use to be like that. Even in my mum’s generation, motherhood was a shared effort. Mum would have my grandma there with her almost every day to help her with the housework and anything else she needed to do. My mum certainly wouldn’t have to go about her work while breastfeeding a toddler.

You know the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Polish Potato Pancakes

Polish Potato Pancakes Recipe

I cooked potato pancakes for my daughter recently to give her the first taste of what I remember to be the flavour of my childhood. They're something every Polish mother cooks for her child, which speaks to the level of devotion Polish mothers have for their kids as this dish is a nightmare to prepare without a food processor.

I would not attempt potato pancakes if I didn't have a grating/slicing/chopping machine at home, or at least a husband who's willing to do the grating. With grating out of the way, the dish takes minutes to prepare and all kids love it so it's definitely worth it.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Make him a better dad

5 lessons from the best fathers in the world

How to be a better dad. Lessons from Aka pygmies
When baby Ava was first born, I was a jealous mother.  I was convinced the only person in the world who could read and respond to her needs was me; no one else, not even her dad, could be trusted with her care.

When I think back to that time now I realise that a large part of the reason why I felt that way was because of the image of parenthood I had implanted in my head. I grew up with a very attentive mother and somewhat emotionally distant father and went on to believe that this was the natural order of things. Mothers are for affection and security and fathers are for playing with, is what I believed to be a universal truth.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Coping with Baby Jet Lag

How to Beat Baby Jet Lag
As you may have noticed from my lack of update last week, I have been away, off to celebrate my Mother-in-law’s 60th birthday in Memphis, Tennessee. We went as a large family group, with baby Ava as an honorary member and first-time long-haul traveller.

She has actually flown a plane many times before (her first time was when she was 2 months old) but never as far as the States before. I wasn’t really worried about how the flight and the journey would affect her as she is just the perfect plane baby. I always have strangers coming up to me at the end of the flight to congratulate me on how well she’s behaved. And this time was no exception; we had a breeze of a flight both ways and a delight of a holiday. But boy, was I not prepared for what came next!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

3 Toys You Thought Were Safe

Dangerous toys
We all want the best for our kids. That’s the only reason why we spend hundreds of our hard-earned pounds on toys and other baby paraphernalia. Just in 2011, British shoppers blew £2.96 billion on them. I know I stocked up on every child gadget known to man in an effort to keep my baby happy, engaged and mentally stimulated.

Some of the toys we got were very useful, like the uber-plastic, brightly coloured V-Tech Baby Push-Along I said I didn’t want at first but then Ava played with for hours. Others seemed fine until I learned about their not-so-pretty drawbacks. The thing is, I’m very careful about my daughter’s safety and would never get her anything I wasn’t absolutely sure was safe. But the toys listed below are all widely accepted as safe and even beneficial to babies, so many parents could be forgiven for not knowing about their hidden risk. So I prepared this list to share what I learnt and perhaps save you a few pounds. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Whooping Cough and Pregnancy

whooping cough baby vaccination poster
When I was about a month away from my due date, my anxiety was fully focused on one particular threat, delivered to me in the form of a Daily Mail headline. The Whooping Cough, as my Mother in Law, a faithful Mail reader, duly informed me, has reached the scale of an epidemic and had already claimed the lives of 10 babies.  

My Mother in Law, who is probably the only person in the entire universe who is even more anxious than I am, is constantly on the lookout for things I should be worried about, thus making the period of my pregnancy and early motherhood significantly more exciting. Fortunately, she also happens to be a lovely person, so I forgive her for occasionally causing me to panic!

Unwillingly, I became faced with a choice: to take a Tdap shot for pregnant women, at that point offered by the NHS to women before 38 weeks of pregnancy, or go without and hope the epidemic passes my lovely Surrey village by.

Monday, 2 September 2013

How to tell if your child has allergies?

Baby food allergy
My friend’s baby was taken to hospital last week with an anaphylactic shock after having some formula milk for the first time.

The truth is, I’m a little angry with myself for not saying anything to her earlier, as I had been suspecting something was up for a while. The baby had really bad eczema, cradle cup and was a little irritable but - as I’m trying to practise English politeness lately - I thought it was best to leave it to her doctor to point out it may be because of allergies.

However, the GP also failed to say anything, instead prescribing steroid creams and refusing to refer my friend to a dermatologist until she tried them.

Friday, 23 August 2013

What Do Japanese Babies Eat?

What do Japanese babies eat? Healthiest diet in the worldAs I was planning my family meals last week – trying to balance highly nutritious with easy-to-make, dairy-free and low cost – I became suddenly aware of the importance of my task. In my hands, I realised, I hold not only the pots, but quite literally my husband and baby’s health and wellbeing. The sense of responsibility hit me: am I doing enough to keep them fit till a hundred? Am I giving my daughter the best nutrients to build her tiny organism with? Can I do better?

The realisation came from my current read, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. The book is a rather lengthy account of Campbell’s research into the link between the consumption of animal protein and contemporary Western disease like diabetes and cancer. Having completed conclusive research using animal subjects, he became part of the largest ever human study on the effects of diet on long-term health, known as The China Study. The resulting recommendation is to completely eliminate all animal protein, especially dairy, and to switch to an entirely plant-based diet.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Teething Granules for Babies

Baby chewing on teething granules
It’s taken me a while to sit down and write this essay because I’ve been too tired to form a coherent statement lately. Since my baby’s upper teeth started to come out, she’s been trying to kill me with sleep deprivation. Ava has never been a great sleeper but last night she reached a new level of parent cruelty when she refused to go back to sleep again after waking up at 2 am. Both S and I kept trying to calm her down until she finally gave in at 7 am. Fortunately, I could spend the rest of the day pottering around the house in my PJ’s but my poor husband wasn’t as lucky. When he turned up to his important meeting that morning, his boss took one look at him and recommended the only thing that ever worked for him and his kids – the Teething Granules. Obviously, this wasn’t the first time I heard of those. Whenever the subject of teething comes up, somebody always mentions Teething Granules and how brilliantly they worked for their screaming child.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Baby falls asleep at the breast - is that wrong?

The subject of baby sleep is at the forefront of every mother’s mind. The hours of conversations I’ve had with my friends – and random strangers at the supermarket – about Ava’s sleeping patterns could make for a very long and uninteresting novel.

When she was first born I didn’t know what to expect really. I knew there would be a lot of wake up calls in the middle of the night and general sleep deprivation but I couldn’t really picture the practicalities of getting a baby to sleep. I probably imagined I would give her a cuddle, a kiss on her forehead and put her down in her bed so she drifts off to sleep naturally. So obviously, that never happened.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Vitamin D for your baby

Baby sunbathing

The majority of topics I’m interested in come to my attention purely on account of me being a foreigner. I’m bringing my child up in the UK and I’m educated by NHS doctors and British media but I also travel abroad and talk to my European friends, often to be faced with contradictory advice. The anxiety this provokes leads to many a panic attacks and numerous searches on the internet, in-depth reading of my numerous help books and calls to private doctors. The process is very stressful but I do learn a lot.

One of the first topics I spent hours researching after having a baby is Vitamin D supplementation. It started when I took my then 6-month old daughter to the Motherland and mentioned to one of my friends that I will be looking to get some vitamin D tablets for her. To this my friend reacted with utter horror, shocked that I have deprived my baby this essential vitamin up to that moment.

So why should you listen to me?

So why should you listen to me? Oh, you shouldn’t really. I mean I have no medical training whatsoever and watching Dr House a lot is as close as I ever came to being a doctor. You should always check with your GP before making any decisions to do with your baby’s health. If I’ve done my job right, hopefully you will know exactly what questions to ask them to get the best care and advicely fun. a moan together. ose issues - hello,t my approach is largely anti-NHS, strongly pro-attachement puff i' us for your child and to make informed choices.

I don’t mean to say I don’t know my stuff. Everything I write about is always based on solid, extensive research, which I intend to quote and reference for your use. My OCD-esque obsession with researching the hell out of everything which interests me means that I actually do know what I’m talking about.