Archive | May, 2015

“Create time to do the things you like” says Hulda when asked about motherhood in Playtimes

“Create time to do the things you like” says Hulda when asked about motherhood in Playtimes

Posted on 15 May 2015 by Kristrun

motherhoodA common topic of motherhood and the perfect balance. Angela Baura reached out to Hulda for some expert tips for balancing everyone’s needs.

“Create time to do the things you like. Make a list of all the big and small things that make you happy outside of the usual family and work routine, advises Hulda. She encourages women to also think about what they enjoyed doing before they became mums. “This is important as it helps you to maintain a side of you that you are familiar with. It reminds you that your life has some depth and nurtures all of what you grew up with and liked, so that you don’t identify yourself as ‘ just’ someone’s wife or mother, and that there is more to life, because there is.”

To read the full article on Playtimes - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book.  More information about our services on our website.

 

 

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Checklist for traveling parents by Hulda

Checklist for traveling parents by Hulda

Posted on 12 May 2015 by Kristrun

shutterstock_251728762Checklist for traveling parents by Hulda

To feel safe and to enjoy your journey when traveling with a newborn, there are several things that are important to take care of.

You can minimise the risk of any problems by only travelling once you feel confident in taking care of your baby.  This means waiting until he is a few weeks old at least and ideally seeing a doctor prior to your trip to ensure that there are no physical problems, such as ear or chest infection.   The same applies for the mother; it is better to make sure that breastfeeding, if done, is under control and well established and that adequate measures are taken to ensure this continues while traveling.

Fortunately serious illnesses or accidents during travel with a newborn are relatively rare.  Partly this is a result of the parents’ instinctive need to keep newborns close and protected. Also too, when breastfeeding, mothers supply the baby with antigens that provide a major barrier to many germs that otherwise could cause problems for the baby.

To keep in mind when traveling with a newborn:

  • Flying:

As a rule of thumb, most problems related to plane travel can be prevented or solved with breastfeeding, since the main concerns are ear pressure problems (sucking will minimize the risk of this), threat of infection in the confined area (antibacterial action) and dehydration (long flights).  If not breastfeeding, then make sure a bottle is available at all times and have boiled, distilled water to give in case of need for the suction/hydration but not the food.

  • Exposure to sun and heat:

Make sure a newborn is never exposed to direct sunlight.  Keep the baby in the shade, avoid midday outings and make sure to use sun block on the skin (after 3-4 months old). In warmer areas, it is better if baby wears light cotton clothes.  Swimsuits with UV protection are a good idea but generally spend little time in pools and only during early morning or late afternoon. Hats are good.  Aloe Vera gel is helpful in case of burning. Breast milk, water or formula needs to be available at all times and make sure the baby does not sleep too long at a time without some hydration.  Dehydration would be obvious by less wet diapers, firmer stools, fontanels on top of head dipping and sometimes lethargy.  Give fluids immediately if this happens.

  • Hygiene:

At all times when traveling, you must make sure to wash your hands regularly, use alcohol wipes for you and baby and sterilize all containers for food frequently.  Gastrointestinal infections would give symptoms like diarrhea, explosive vomiting, dry skin, sometimes fever and general irritation and crying.  In this case you must consult a doctor immediately and give plenty of fluids. Prevention of nappy rash by airing the bottom and using zinc oxide barrier creams is also important when baby has diarrhea.

  • Mosquitoes and other insects:

Always use a mosquito net when baby sleeps, have baby wearing light clothes that cover the body and use mosquito barrier on exposed areas.  If the baby gets bitten, observe symptoms such as generalized swelling, puffy eyes, swelling of the face and neck, wheezing and gasping and blotchy skin.  If this happens, call a doctor immediately. If minor swelling, lavender, lemon and tea tree oils can calm the skin.

  • Symptoms of illness:

If your baby has fever, excessive vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea or is off food, make sure to ventilate and cool your hotel room well, give fluids as much as possible and undress the baby.  Keep the baby close to you at all times.  Observe the symptoms and if not better in few hours, especially if fever over 38´C persists, consult a doctor.

  • Last but not least:
  1. Keep your baby with you at all times.
  2. A dedicated car seat is the only safe option when travelling by car or taxi.
  3. Always have useful emergency numbers available, both local to the area you are traveling to and your doctor in Hong Kong as well.
  4. Have a First Aid bag with you.  It needs to have:
  • Infant paracetamol, Calpol (for minor fever)
  • Antiseptic wipes or ointment (70% Isopropyl Alcohol or/and Dettol)
  • Paracetamol for adults (in a case of mastitis)
  • Sunscreen for babies
  • Burn relief (Calamine, Aloe Vera)
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Lansinoh ointment (for dry lips and breasts)
  • Eye and nose drops, antibacterial and saline (Infection or blockage)
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Insect repellant
  • Insect bite soothing balm
  • Zink Oxide for diaper rash
  • Scissors
  • Gauze pads
  • Thermometer (rectal)
  • Tweezers
  • First Aid booklet

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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The newborn baby at birth – from the baby’s perspective

The newborn baby at birth – from the baby’s perspective

Posted on 12 May 2015 by Kristrun

Your newborn babyYour newborn baby will be fully conscious and flooded with new feelings and experiences – the feel of air, the force of gravity, the feel of your skin, the sight of shapes and colours & the sound of un-muffled noise. Her spine will stretch and extend fully and after a few moments she will take her first breath and feel air in her lungs for the first time. When she is breathing comfortable, she will open her eyes if the room is dimly lit and her body will gradually unfurl until her fingers unclench and she opens her arms in greeting. The process might take many minutes to complete. She will be comforted by loving surroundings, dim lighting and the sound of your familiar heart beat and voice, the smell of your body and the warmth and protection of your embrace.

Your baby is able to see, albeit with vision that is a little blurred, at a distance of 10-12 inches, so she’ll be able to see your face as you hold her in your arms. This is comforting – newborn babies like to focus on soft, rounded objects. Soon she will wriggle slowly towards your breast and when she touches the nipple she’ll latch on and begin to suck. Some babies turn very soon to the breast and begin to suck and taste the rich colostrum, but most need to establish breathing confidently before sucking. We recommend that you give the first feed within an hour of giving birth.

First movements

Within minutes of being born many babies look meditative and beautiful. Your baby may make the transition from womb to outside world with ease and equanimity, and with just a few cries to expand her lungs. Within minutes she may be calm, still, and alert, blinking as she takes in the new space round her.

At birth your baby has the reflexes and ability to begin to move and explore her surroundings. The sequence begins with a cry and breathing. Her eyes then open and her fists uncurl, she will touch her face and search the air, your breast and your skin. Her eyes will look to the sound of your voice and she will gaze at your face. At birth babies often remain awake, calm and alert for an hour or two to meet and greet their mum and dad.

Crying and breathing

Babies cry at birth not as a signal of distress, but as a reflex needed to expand their lungs, thus allowing the air to displace the liquid that filled them in the womb. This fluid is absorbed into the baby’s circulation and excreted in the urine. The baby’s system adapts quickly to accommodate this new source of oxygen, and her lips may change from blue to pink. The drop in temperature your baby feels in the cooler air at birth is the stimulus for the first breath.

If you have given birth in an upright position your baby will have been born head downwards, which helps mucous and amniotic fluid to drain away naturally and clear the passages for breathing. It is not necessary to routinely apply suction to the baby’s nose and mouth but if your baby needs assistance to establish breathing, it will be available.

Your baby may seem shocked or upset, take a while to breathe and perhaps cry for a few minutes. When she becomes calm and is breathing easily she will gaze at you with a peaceful expression. She’ll respond gently as you talk to her and touch her, count her fingers and toes, and marvel at her features. Skin to skin contact helps you to feel each other and creates a powerful bond.

The umbilical cord

The umbilical cord pulsates after birth giving your baby a double lifeline and source of oxygen while breathing is established. Your caregiver checks your baby’s well-being by feeling the pulsation in the cord. It is safe to do this, with your baby in your arms or on your tummy, until the cord stops pulsating; your baby’s circulation will adjust without extra blood flowing into or out of the placenta.

When the cord stops passing blood from the placenta, pulsation stops and the umbilical cord becomes white and flaccid. It can now be clamped with a plastic clamp and cut about one inch from your baby’s body (she will be totally unaware of this process) – some fathers enjoy cutting the cord as a symbolic release of their baby from the placenta into the outside world. The skin will heal naturally over the next ten days – the old cord will drop off, and a neat belly button will remain. Whether it faces inward or outward has nothing to do with the way the cord is cut. If the cord is wound tightly around the neck at birth or the baby requires urgent resuscitation, it may have to be clamped immediately.

How the baby looks

Your baby’s skin is covered in vernix, a white creamy substance similar to a rich moisturizer that protects her in the womb. It is good to leave this on the skin. Her head may be elongated from the moulding of the skull bones, and the skin on the scalp may be swollen. These changes begin to revert within hours.

Smell, listen and keep your baby very close to you to begin with. Let her gradually get used to the brand new big wide world.

Best of luck

The Annerley team

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Mothers’ Day. Every Day.

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Mothers’ Day. Every Day.

Posted on 10 May 2015 by Kristrun

mothersMy Facebook page is today inundated with messages from everyone around me about Mothers’ Day.  As a result I am reminded of the fact that it is “Mothers’ Day”.  One more time, how annoying.  From the grumpy corner in which I sometimes sit, I cannot help but think, how many mother’s days are there per year? Or how many should there be?  I find this just as annoying as all the Valentine’s Days and whatever else they are called. There seems to be no end to all sorts of special days that actually we should be celebrating every day and not restricting to an annual and public display on social media but rather to actually focus on being nice to each other, wherever we are, with those around us.

Sorry, readers, I actually am nice to people most of the time, although these words do not sound like they come from a nice person.  I just get very annoyed sometimes in between.  A little bit like the character Dr. House, if you know him.  You can interpret it the way you like.

Nevertheless, it is, in fact, Mothers’ Day.

I just sent my own mother a rather difficult email about her flaws.  But that could have been any other day, life goes on you know.  Are we supposed to behave better on these special days?

No – we probably should all try and behave, live and think a little better every day. About ourselves, our mothers, our children, other people around us in general.  Because to be human is also to be nasty, selfish and unkind.  Greed, lust and whatever all the other sins are called…  And sometimes it can be an effort to think kindly of others, or to be grateful for what we have. Not you?  Great, but most of the rest of us could do with a little wake-up call every now and again.

There are people suffering everywhere around the world.  Of course the latest on everyone’s minds is the terrible disaster in Nepal. It makes it hard to celebrate – if you start to think about it too much – your own victories and successes and good life.  But as I said before, life does go on and we carry on the best way we can.  So we can brag about achievements and our own great children and I can tell everyone how I actually ran 5 km in less than 30 minutes (if that ever happens), without feeling too guilty about the mothers in Nepal.

So I am going to tell you about two mothers that I admire.  None of them has had a tough life as such.  But they both deserve admiration for their everyday efforts to make their children happy, to keep the ball rolling and being the ones that carry much weight of the routines and rhythms of their households.  And let’s not forget – and I think us mums all agree in this – that the routines of one’s household can be quite a task to manage.

When I was little, my mother had me, a total nightmare child that was all over the place from day one.  She was 20 years old and had moved from the capital of Iceland where all her family lived, to a very small town of 150 people in the rural north of Iceland, 650km away.  Three to four months of the year there was so much snow there, that the cars were snowed in and could not be moved, but most families did not even have a car so that did not matter anyway.  When we were out playing with our friends in the village, our parents would have a certain light turned on in the house to indicate to the other parents that we were playing at that place, because in those days there were no phones in most homes, so  it was not possible to call and check. The young families of Iceland in those days had little money and none extra, and made do with whatever they could, so my mother and grandmothers hand-made much of our clothes and fixed the ones that broke.  They baked the bread and the cakes at home and there were few days in my youth where there was not freshly baked and yummy food available for our teatime snack.  Because my mother had gone to “Good Housekeeping School” (for the lack of better translation), good housekeeping was definitely important and the standards were not dropped when my three siblings were born, two within a year, in December and January of the same year, and my youngest sister six years later.

My mother annoyed the hell out of me when she was running the household in her very organized way.  I was so pissed off as a child or teenager to have to participate in all the chores and cooking and babysitting, it must have been hard to chain me down to do all of this.  And I think the reason that I like Baby Led Weaning (another concept that pisses me off – why do we have to label everything, so that some greedy person gets royalties every time a child sticks a carrot in its mouth) is because I fed my siblings so often as a kid that I got the overfeeding-others-disease.

But she did a fantastic job in her mummying and housekeeping, my mother.  Despite me being rather un-upbringable, I did learn stuff, and I was well loved.  I learned to be sustainable and take care of myself and others at a young age.  I learned that things don’t get done unless someone (I) does them.  And that playing with your siblings is actually way more fun than playing with anyone else.  I learned to fix things, to bake and to cook, and a lot of other practical household skills that have, even in Hong Kong where everything seems to be done by a specialist, gotten me far.

I also was very much loved, despite me being annoyed by my mother. There was always time for us children, and our parents took extremely good care of us through our hobbies and school, without hovering over our heads all the time, but by supporting our uniqueness and our strengths by nurturing them further. Mostly I did not see all the little things that my mother did for the household, or for me, while I was busy playing in my worry-free world as a child.

While my mother had friends amongst the 30 or so other mothers her age in the village, there were few “me days” like we get nowadays.  There were certainly no mani–pedis and dream on about suggesting that she would go out for a little morning jog before everyone woke up. If not too exhausted by yesterday’s work, there was plenty to be done each day, other than “me” stuff.  And as it was not until I was quite old that my parents got a decent washing machine, the laundry piled up easily in a household of five and later six.  I think that my mother was happy though, and she got her me-times differently; through drop-ins between the mums in the village where they would give each other a cup of coffee and a taste of the latest bakings, gossiping about what had happened in the days before.

Funnily enough, these kind of drop-ins is something that I have often thought that the mums in Hong Kong could so do with.  Casual and non-prepared, just genuine friendship and a check to see that everyone is doing fine, while children play without the mums being in a structured paid playgroup environment.

I can only imagine that sitting down with a friend must have been great after chasing after me, taking care of my one and two year old siblings and managing all the household chores at once without help.  Just going to the shop that was open a few days a week, with snow up to your waist and having to pull and carry all three of us, to buy milk – took two hours.

You are wondering, where was my father?  Just like today, in those days, many fathers were working a full day and in the year 1976, it was more common for dads to have a social life after work than for mums to have it.  They would play Bridge, volleyball and go to a Kiwanis meeting (a mens’ club) in the evenings.  No offence to my father, he is also a great man and did lots of great things with us, but this was the atmosphere of that time.

There are so many things that I could say about my youth and my mother and I am certainly not writing this about our life to have you think that we were very poor and struggling.  This was just the life that the year 1973 in Iceland offered and everyone had to get on with it in the best way.

In 2015 in Hong Kong, we have other battles and joys, quite different ones, us mums here in Hong Kong.  A lot is shared and many feelings are the same, as when my own mother was raising us.   It may be worth it, while we moan about our helpers and complain that we cannot have a shower before lunch with our singleton child in our 100K a month flat, to think a little bit to the year 1973 in a small town in Iceland, and then perhaps moan a little less.

It may not work, again, all our troubles and emotional ups and downs may be very relevant to each one of us as we go through them – and despite all the real sufferers of this world – but it may well make our challenges a tiny bit smaller.

Happy Mothers’ Day my dear mothers in Hong Kong and around the world, I hope my own mother one day realizes how happy I am with her upbringing, love and support for all of the 42 years that I have managed to spring through.  And I so dearly hope that my own children will love me as much as I love her, despite all my flaws and grumpinesses, for another 42.

This blog entry has already gone on far longer than I planned, so I will tell you about the second mother in my next post.

From the very imperfect mum of 4,

Hulda Thorey.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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“Call the midwife” Hulda interviewed by Playtimes in April 2015

“Call the midwife” Hulda interviewed by Playtimes in April 2015

Posted on 06 May 2015 by Kristrun

Call the midwife - playtimes Annerley“Hulda Thorey midwife from Annerley, says: “It is very common to have some spotting, especially early in the pregnancy. If [it happens] later than 20 weeks [into your pregnancy], see your doctor – it might be a haematoma or placenta problem, which needs to be watched. There are many reasons [spotting might occur] but it is always better to check.”

Hulda midwife from Annerley says: “Don’t worry. If there has been no bleeding or infection, you and baby are safe, and you should let it [your worries] go. The exact amount of alcohol that a woman can drink during pregnancy has not been fully researched. The baby is amazingly well-protected inside you. But [now that you know you are pregnant] any kind of intoxication is something that should be avoided.”

To read the full article on Playtimes - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book.  More information about our services on our website.

 

 

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Your Relationship Plus a New Baby: See Allison’s advice on Sassy mama

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Your Relationship Plus a New Baby: See Allison’s advice on Sassy mama

Posted on 04 May 2015 by Kristrun

SassyRelationsihpallisonYour Relationship Plus a New Baby: What to expect and how to support your partner

 ”A baby neither makes nor breaks a marriage; a baby can, however, highlight the weaknesses and strengths of a marriage and will inevitably change it. How a couple chooses to respond to this change can set the tone for years to come — for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

What changes after the baby arrives:

Labour arrives and so too does the baby. The initial moments and months can be an intoxicating, maddening mixture of delight and frustration. Who is this soul, and how do we care for him/her? How do we care for ourselves? And, what happens to the marriage?”.

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

 

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Cars seats and slings – have both

Cars seats and slings – have both

Posted on 03 May 2015 by Kristrun

Quality time

My girls – used to travel in a sling

I hope you have a car seat for your baby.

I also hope you have a sling or a carrier for your little one.

How often do I see people carrying their babies down the steps on Pottinger streets, just carrying them in their arms?  Often.

Unfortunately we do sometimes need to learn from a bad experience to make the right decisions.  When I was 24 and had my first baby – I still remember this day to a detail – I was on my way from our 4 floor building to our baby swimming class.  I was carrying him in my arms to the car where the car seat was fastened and just before I reached the car, I slipped a little and  - BOOM – first automatic response was to flair my arms in the air and what was in my arms – my baby – flew up into the air, like a Frisbee disc forward.

You can only imagine my emotions, for the one second until he landed on his back on the concrete and neither could I even check him properly nor fasten him into his car seat, I only picked him up, put him on the seat next to me in the car and drove straight to hospital (2 minutes away) and ran straight into A and E for help.

They looked at me in surprise and almost laughed a little when I arrived.  And when I, with my short breath and tears running down my face tried to explain that most likely he had a fractured skull and something more even horrible, they smiled even more.  „He is smiling and shrieking, he seems perfectly fine. “  I was not convinced but not long after, when he had been checked properly, it seemed that he actually was.  I took us to Silver Bee Photography right away after and I had a few pictures taken. I was such an emotional mess.

It turned out that in Iceland, where the temperature is 3 degrees, we all dress our babies in thick overalls that keeps the baby warm and almost stiff, and it is so thick.  And these have a hood on, so the head, already dressed in a hat, also has a protection from behind.  And as a result, when my boy flew those 2 metres or so, he landed on this thick padding, evenly distributed on his back and legs rather than head, so he was perfectly OK.  At this time, he was 3 months old.

Obviously, things could have been difficult.  But, as I was reminded of my luck and second chance there, I was also told that in fact, no-one should carry their little child like this for any distance.  The first response to a fall is ALWAYS to flair your arms out the way mine did.

And drop what is in them.

After that, all four children, – mine travel on me in a sling.

Onto the next.

My car seat was fastened in the car at that time, as it was heavy to carry down the steps with a baby in, so we usually just kept it in the car.  We lived in a small town with very little traffic. Car accidents, I actually think there was never an accident there when we lived there.

But would I dream of traveling without my best 3-in-1 car seat?  Never.

So how come, in a city of 8 million people, with hundreds of thousands of car accidents per year, very heavy traffic and HORRIBLE drivers, there are plenty of people who never use convertible car seat options. The only method that properly protects our children from a bad crash. If you have been in a car accident contact one of these lawyers who sue car insurance companies.

Some may not afford it, and it is actually understandable.

Most, think it is too inconvenient.

Cannot be bothered with carrying the car seat around town.

Don´t own a car (but still travel in taxis, again, often with horrible drivers).

What else?  Many other excuses.

The main reason, I think, is because “everyone” else is doing it.  You look around and see so many that are doing this, for the reasons above. You also have the same reasons, and they are all doing it.

So it makes it right, right?

Of course it does not make it right.  If you were somewhere like in my old home town, where actually one sometimes would think “well, it is only a few hundred metres that I am going” it would often have been tempting not to use a car seat.  But would you dare to be seen doing that, something that everyone knows is less safe for your child?  Never.  Plus it is illegal.  And you know that your own little precious baby is indeed not as safe.

I was going to Australia a few years ago and a friend asked me if I had a car seat with me on the flight, for my infant.  “No, I will just borrow one in Australia, from a friend. “  “But how will you get from the airport to Brisbane?”  I had not thought about this, but said, well, I guess I will just carry her in the sling, in the taxi, although not ideal.  The horror on my friend’s face was obvious.  “You can not do that, it is totally illegal, the police will actually possibly jail you.  And a huge fine.”  I had not thought this through but obviously changed my plan and took with me the car seat.

It is also illegal in Hong Kong to travel without a proper car seat for an infant.  And the trip in the taxi from Hong Kong airport to town is not much different from the one in Brisbane.

But no-one is doing anything about it, as it is inconvenient to travel with a car seat, once out of the car.  I know all about this.  I am guilty, just like you and you and you.  I have done it many times.

At some point I reminded myself of the fact that I am just being lazy like everyone else and I went and got a Bee stroller that I could so very easily strap the baby seat to.  And Bingo, much more easy than even carrying the baby.  Now they could continue their sleep for longer, no need to disturb them, and just a little clip onto the wheels and we were going.

The glass is either half full or half empty.  You have just got to get your head around how you look at this.

In my case, I simply don’t look at it as an inconvenience, no more than I look at putting on clothes or brushing teeth. It is simply not an option to travel with an infant without a car seat.

This blog is not intended to offend anyone or point a finger.  I am you, or rather, I was you. Luckily I have never had a car accident with a baby in the car.  But I know the chances are, in a city like Hong Kong, that it will happen.  And my firm belief is that if we all start to think like this, then perhaps Hong Kong will be like any other developed city, where there is a zero tolerance for not using the methods available to increase safety of our babies.

Spread the word please. Or else, answer the question, what is different about Hong Kong traffic, compared to other cities?

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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