Saturday, 31 March 2018

Dot's cows milk protein allergy story

Dot crawling on the floor

When Dot was a few weeks old, I grew concerned. I noticed that he had a rash over him, he was screaming and arching his back when feeding, especially if it was after I'd had chocolate or something milky, his poops were very explosive and stank of vinegar and he had silent reflux.

I did a bit of digging on the internet and became increasingly concerned he might have a cows milk protein allergy (CMPA). So off we went to the Drs. He prescribed infant Gaviscon to address the silent reflux - now giving a breastfed baby Gaviscon is no picnic, you have to make it up with 15ml water (or breastmilk) and spoon feed it to them before each breastfeed (bloody impossible if you ask me!). I did this once, and decided there and then I wasn't going to do it again, instead I was going to cut out dairy (and soya) from my diet to see if that helped.

A few days later I'd bought all the dairy-free (DF) alternatives I needed and was ready to cut it out. About 3 days later I saw a pretty big improvement in Dot. His rash had pretty much gone, he was calmer and the nappies were improving. Then about 2 weeks later, he was transformed to a totally normal baby, proof that he had an issue with cows milk. But I wasn't sure about soya. I'd excluded that as the protein strand for soya is very similar to cows milk, and if they are allergic to one, they're most likely unable to easily digest the other. About a month after being dairy free, I decided to test with soya - I had some vanilla custard donuts from Sainsburys that were so so amazing, they had soya flour in them.

Within hours Dot was reacting - back to screaming and arching his back on the breast, bad nappies and a very unhappy baby. I now knew I had to exclude soya too, just as I had been, not a big deal.

So far in 6+ months I've only had 2 slip-ups, first one was about a 4-6 weeks ago and it was a bad one. I'd bought some sweet potato falafals from Waitrose (I'd had them before and they'd been dairy free). For what must be the first time since going DF, I forgot to check the label. After 2 days of grazing on them, I thought to check... low and behold, milk was the 2nd ingredient on the list. Dot reacted and was bad for 6-7 days, I felt awful :( I should do better. Then a couple weeks ago, hubby bought some sausages with the weekly shop, I'd always checked them and they'd always been fine, but he'd bought a different brand to normal (Richmond). I saw a FB post in the CMPA group I'm in about how sausages all have soya in... I quickly went online to check the ingredients as we'd had Richmond sausages the night before, and 4 days before that - yep, SOYA, goddam soya, WHY? I'd done it again, failed my baby and he was paying the price :( 4 days of bad nappies, unhappy and lots of tears.

For the most part, it's been pretty easy changing my diet to dairy free, I've even filmed a YT video talking about the swaps you can make, you really do just have to be really vigilant and check every label every single time just in case the ingredients have changed (which happens...).


If you suspect a dairy allergy in your baby, please do go and speak to your GP. It can be really hard to diagnose, but be persistent if you believe that's what's wrong. And if you're breastfeeding, cut out dairy and soya and see if that helps, that should help you whittle it down :) If you're interested in following our journey, I've started a YouTube series called 'Dairy Free Friday's' where I talk about different aspects of a dairy allergy, if you want to keep an eye, our playlist is here.
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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Attack on Titan 2

Attack on Titan 2

If you're a long term reader of my blog, you'll know I have a fairly deep love of anime, as does the hubby. Our tastes differ quite a bit, I adore the more cutesy films, pretty much all Studio Ghibli and other random films like The Girl that Lept Through Time (great film!), whereas the hubby prefers anime series like Steins; Gate, Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan. So when the opportunity arose for us him to get our his mitts on a review copy of the latest series of Attack on Titan 2, he jumped at the chance. Here's what he thought.

***** WARNING, CONTAINS SPOILERS *****

Series 2 picks up where series 1 left off, focussing on the main character Eren Jeager. In the first season, you see Eren become a titan and go on to help fight off other titans, but there's distrust in the military for him as he's a titan, whereas the military is trying to fight them and stop them (think Avatar).

The military suspect that there are other soldiers that can turn themselves into titans but they're torn - as much as Eren wants all the titans dead (thanks to them destroying his mother in season 1) they also want to learn more about them (again, think Avatar).

Eren

During the season they discover a new type of abnormal titan, a beast titan (a bigger and more fierce titan that's seriously strong) and they find a big horde of titans have breached the wall. The scout regiment set out to take down the titans and find the breach in the wall, but despite searching they can't find the breach. 

They do however find villages that appear to have been attacked by titans. The villagers appear to have escaped, but they've left all their horses, and there's no sign of blood or bodies. The plot thickens!

After the scout regiment survives a siege of titans at an abandoned castle, two titans (an armoured one and a colossal one) kidnap Eren. Does he escape? Does he destroy his captors? You'll have to watch to find that bit out :)
beast titan

I really liked how the series is very un-typical of the usual anime tropes - so in this most of the women don't have giant boobs and are actually well covered, so it doesn't play to the typical young teenager target audience. 

The continuity between both seasons is great - continuation of story line and fantastic animation. It's easy to pick up where it left off and be re-absorbed back into their post-apocalyptic world, fighting to save humanity from the Titans.

If you're looking to dip your toe into the world of anime series, Attack on Titan is a great window in to the anime world (obviously start with season 1), but be warned, it can be very dark. It doesn't have the cheery upbeat of a Miyazaki film, but it is absorbing and engrossing. I'm really looking forward to seeing more.


You can pick up the DVD/Bluray from good stockists from around £19.99 upwards.

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*Bluray copy supplied for review purposes
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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

I have this thing for...

A picture of my front door, a floor I like and my bedding

You know how you see these hashtags on Instagram #IHaveThisThingForFloors and #IHaveThisThingForDoors? Well, that's me. I massively have a thing for doors, so much so when we bought our house nearly 2 years ago I spent quite a bit of money getting rid of the horrid mahogany uPVC door that was there (with the tiniest window) and updated it to a lovely light green composite door that looks very beautiful.

A picture of my front door

I also have this thing for bedding. Yep, sounds boring, but OMG I love a good duvet cover! Sad I know, but for me, I see it as a way to really dress up and refresh a room, regularly, and much more easily than painting the walls or wall papering. Most days I venture over to the supermarket opposite my house to browse their bedding (and cushions), or filling my virtual basket over on Groupon and TK Maxx with fine linens that behold a high thread count that I know will feel like the best hotel linen when I get into bed. Lets face it, the day you change your bedding over is pretty awesome, everything feels so soft and crisp. And over the years my tastes have really changed - I used to like plain colours for bedding, but now I'm really floral (getting older tastes I think!).

A picture of my bedding

Lastly, I also have this thing for floors, beautiful tiled floors, oh how I wish I could have a beautiful tiled floor in my hallway! I've had quotes for up over £2,000 to do it, and it's not exactly a big hall way - maybe one day I'll save up and get it done, I know it'd be beautiful and add value to the house. Ok maybe not 2k's worth, but it would still look fantastic :) 

A picture of some floor tiles I really like

I also have a bit of a penchant for taking pictures of floors and putting them on Instagram when I find them. In fact, you might say I have a thing for tiles more than floors. I'm already planning on having our downstairs bathroom re-done, and with pretty extravagant tiles - a nice plain white suite and of course, a beautiful floor.

What do you have a thing for?
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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

2018 Goals

Dot on his tummy

Initially I wasn't going to set any goals for this year, but as time went by I kept thinking of things I wanted to achieve this year, so thought it made sense to actually make and set some goals for myself. Not so much new years resolutions, but things to work towards to achieve.

The video highlights my main goals, but there's a couple extra I've thought of since I filmed that. So in addition, I'd also like to:

7. Continue to be healthy. A little while ago I decided to cut a lot of the crap out of my diet. I was having syrup in all my coffee's at home, I was having a packet of cashew nuts each day (honey roasted) which was also expensive! and I wasn't getting any exercise, oh and I was having hairbo fairly often. I've cut syrup out, no longer order cashews or haribo, and I'm out walking every day, if not multiple times a day. As a result, and also thanks to breastfeeding, I've lost about a stone in the last few weeks (half a stone in the last 2 weeks!). I've not cut everything out, I still have sugar in and on my porridge and don't measure the olive oil I use to cook with. I'll have the odd bag of haribo, but they're treats, not the norm. I'm now nearly 2 stone lighter than when I fell pregnant with Dot.

8. Commit myself to my YouTube channel. In the video above, I talk about wanting to grow my channel, but my journey has been frought with issues recently. From my MacBook not being up to the task of editing video's any more (so slow), to not being able to find the charger for my video camera, and losing the memory card for my DSLR (no auto focus though). I felt like I was being knocked down at every turn. So yesterday I've made a big investment in my channel, I've ordered a new and good vlogging camera, and an iMac for my video editing. I've also had a long chat with my hubby who is fully supporting me and will be looking after the baby more in the evenings so I can film/edit, so expect a lot more video content from me coming up and appreciate your support :) 

What goals have you set for yourself this year?
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Friday, 26 January 2018

Getting it right the second time around

Squidge and Dot on their newborn photoshoots

Regarding children, a friend once said to us "You make all your mistakes with your first", we didn't think much of it and carried on our merry way.

Well, now that we have Dot we really understand what he meant, and more to the point, I feel filled up with guilt that I didn't do better by Squidge. There's so many things I could have and should have done better with Squidge, but I just didn't know.

Early weaning

This pretty much makes me feel sick to my stomach... Squidge was slowly weaned onto solids at 18 weeks, 1.5 - 2 months earlier than recommended. I thought he was ready, and I was impatient. I'd give him a couple spoons of baby rice each day for a couple weeks, then moved on to puree's. I had no idea what I was doing, but I thought it was right, even my health visitor said it was fine to do (and shouldn't have really). I'm not making that mistake this time. I'd mistaken Squidge watching us eat as him being ready to wean and hungry - not the case at all, it's not an indication that they're ready, they're just interested in everything we do, and around that time they become interested in our mouths, so naturally they'll be interested in us eating.

Formula fed

Dot is breastfed exclusively and I'm really proud of that. With Squidge, I always said that he couldn't breastfeed - he'd scream and scream when he went near the breast. But I had no support and no knowledge... if I knew then what I know now, I'm pretty sure I could have made it work. I had no idea about breastfeeding support groups on Facebook - they have been an incredible source of knowledge to me and have helped so much. I wish I could say that Dot hasn't had any formula, but sadly it was his first feed :( Despite telling them that my wish was to breastfeed, after he was born the midwife or healthcare support worker, literally walked in the room and fed him formula - I was overwhelmed by the birth and had a room full of visitors. He then had formula top ups for the first couple weeks until I decided to ditch it and go EBF.

Naps away from me...

When Squidge was a small baby, I was advised to get him to nap in his cot and not the poddle pod, to get him into a routine - at the time he was about 4 months old. I had no idea what was right or wrong so I went ahead and did it. But I've since been informed that babies should have their naps in the same room as their parents until they're at least 6 months old. I seemed so keen to get Squidge through each stage so fast, I didn't stop and think whether what I was doing was actually best for him. This time I'm making sure all day naps with Dot are in the same room as me, and typically on me, gotta drink up all those cuddles while I can :)

What would you do differently second time around?

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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Dot 5 month update

Dot smiling and 5 months old

It's hard to believe Dot is now 5 months old, 5 whole months he's been in our lives filling us with joy. He's such a different baby to Squidge... Squidge definitely cried more, but slept better. Squidge was quieter, didn't babble as much and didn't move as much, whereas Dot doesn't stop moving! He's so chatty too, it's just lovely hearing him. I'm filled with such a mix of emotions with Dot, I'm making sure I'm savouring every last second of him being a baby, as he's our last planned child. I really can see how people end up having massive families!

Weaning

We're holding out for him to be 6 months, I'm making sure I'm doing it right this time (I started gently weaning Squidge when he was 18 weeks... feel awful about that now, I really thought I was doing right by him). And we're doing baby led weaning - I've been reading up about it, and love that you skip doing puree's (that's meant for babies who are being weaned early). So as long as he can sit up unaided by 18th Feb (when he's 6 months old), and doesn't automatically push food out of his mouth, we'll be beginning our weaning adventure then, exciting!

Clothes

Dot living in babygrows
This boy... he costs me a ruddy fortune in clothes :P He's such a big boy! So, at 5 months old he's in size 6-9 months currently - doesn't sound extreme, but he's been in that size for about 4-6 weeks, and now some of those baby grows he's growing out of already! He has a drawer full of proper clothes (from nice places like Next) and he's not worn half of them as I tend to keep him in baby grows (keeps him looking more like a baby) :) 

Sleep, ha!

Dot asleep in the pram
Well, given that he's a breastfed baby, I don't expect him to sleep through the night, but oh my goodness, a stretch longer than 2 hrs would be very welcome! Because he feeds so regularly (every 2 hrs) we've started bed sharing with him as when he was sleeping in his cot I'd physically be up every 2 hrs, then it'd take me a while to get him back to sleep in his cot - so I'd be getting a lot less sleep every night. This way when he stirs, I offer the breast, he has a feed and goes right back to sleep, as do I. We make sure we follow the safety guidelines for safe bed sharing, and so far it's working for us, it's particularly lovely waking up to his little face just inches from mine each morning :) Funnily enough, while I'm writing this he's putting in a really long day nap (sods law!), currently at 3hrs 40 mins... if only he could do that at night eh?

Development

He's doing well, I think he's probably doing things around the time he should. He can roll over and over to get around the room, although he can't roll in both directions yet, just right and right and right :) He can do a couple/few seconds of sitting unaided, but I think that's more accidental than anything. He also loves standing, he has really strong little legs. He'll do brief periods in the Mamas & Papas Snug I bought for him, and still goes on his Fisher Price keyboard play mat, but as he rolls so much he's never on it for long. He's also loving his Disney Finding Nemo jumperoo and has started using it properly (bouncing).

He's also teething at the moment - I can see some bumps where the teeth are right under the gums, but I don't feel like any teeth will be poking out soon. Sadly, because of his dairy allergy he can't have Nelsons teething powders (the ones we used to give to Squidge) as they have lactose in them, so we're sticking to teething gel when he seems to need it. His gums are definitely getting rougher!

He's also said 'Mama' a couple times, usually when he's distressed (aww).

Anyway, I think that's about it :) I'll be back next month with his 6 month update and hopefully a pic of his first taste of food - now to decide what that should be for my little dairy-free boy :)

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Monday, 22 January 2018

I'm back!

time for a fresh start banner

Ahoi! You may remember a sunny May in 2016, when I said farewell on this blog and started up a new blog www.pixiedoes.com? Well I gave it my best, but it dawned on me the other day that this blog, without being updated still gets more views each day/month than my other blog, and it has better credentials, so I'm bringing it all back to here.  If you didn't follow me over to pixiedoes.com you're in for a bit of a surprise! I've had another baby! Nickname is Dot, he's 5 months old and just perfect :) I'll do a little 5 month update on here this week as he's only just turned 5 months. I've also started up my YouTube channel again - we've all been struck down with awful horrible colds this last couple weeks so I'm a bit behind, but I have lots of videos planned.

I'm currently on maternity leave until May and I really want to start getting blog posts up regularly and YouTube videos, so watch this space :) I'm so excited to be back here, it feels right. I'll miss blogging over on pixiedoes.com, but it doesn't make any sense to carry it on.  So for now, I'll leave you with some pics of us as a family of four, welcome to the blog Dot :)

Dot in the jumperoo
Me and dot smiling
Dot newborn photo shoot

Squidge portrait

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