Mastitis

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Last weekend I ended up in Urgent Care with a nasty mastitis​, and it has finally reminded me of the fact that I never posted here about the first – it was epic!

Chloe was born on a Sunday, and the following Saturday we had some friends over. I remember not feeling great, even a bit feverish, but blamed it on, you know, the fact that I had just given birth!

I should have known better as I have a motto for breastfeeding women: “if you feel like you have the flu, always suspect mastitis”. But alas, one tends to be worse at self diagnosis so I let it go (my nipples were bleeding too, but somehow that didn’t register either).

So on the Sunday things were worse, and since I was still under midwifery care, we called the postnatal ward. They said I should come in, in case it was retained placenta. So we did, with a little bit of expressed milk just in case it took a while. Little did I know I was going to stay there for three days!

To keep things short, I was not responding to anything so they kept me in with IV antibiotics (three types) plus IV paracetamol (strong dose) and still for a couple of days my temperature was around 39. It didn’t help that I was in a hospital ward that is kept at oven temperature, during a rare heatwave!!

Thankfully I had a room to my(our)self, but things ended up quite wrong when my tummy got upset (hello? antibiotics anyone?) so they quarantined us!

I also lost all mobility on my left hand due to the drip, so try looking after a newborn in these conditions, plus pump. Back then they didn’t allow men to stay overnight either and one of the midwives/nurses was quite rude when my husband even dared asking. She said “Why would she need help?”..

They even thought I was basically dying: they were making me write down all fluid input and output, without really explaining why, and when I finally got someone to tell me they said that it was to make sure that I wasn’t developing septicemia!!!

During my stay I got quite disappointed because only one of the midwives there actually took time to listen to me and help me (you know who you are!!), and also because I never saw a feeding specialist and nobody recommended it either – meaning that the diagnosis of tongue tie didn’t quite come until much later.

My plan was to pump a bit, both to clear the infection and because feeding was damaging my nipples, but keep at breastfeeding directly so she wouldn’t get “nipple confusion”.
The picture shows one of the reasons I developed the mastitis: since Chloe’s latch was rubbish, I was producing milk for England so she wouldn’t starve. That was pumped from one side in ten minutes on day 8.

El finde pasado acabé en Urgencias con una mastitis interesante, y por fin me he acordado de escribir aquí acerca de mi primera mastitis – ¡una experiencia épica!

Chloe nació un domingo, y el sábado siguiente vinieron unos amigos y yo ya me encontraba mal, como griposa. Pero pensé que era, tú sabes, ¡porque acababa de dar a luz!

La cosa es que si a mí me viene una mujer lactante y me dice que se encuentra así, le habría dicho que seguramente sería mastitis. Pero claro, en casa del herrero.. (y el hecho de tener los pezones sangrando tampoco me hizo sospechar, oye).

Así que el domingo, como estaba peor y seguía bajo el cuidado de las matronas, llamamos al hospital, a la planta de postpartum. Me dijeron que fuera, por si era un caso de placenta retenida, y allí fuimos con un poco de leche por si tardábamos mucho. ¿Cómo se me iba a ocurrir que nos íbamos a quedar tres días?

En resumen, no respondía a nada así que me tuvieron tres días con tres antibióticos y paracetamol de alta dosis EN VENA. Aún así la fiebre no me bajo de 39 los dos primeros días. Seguro que tampoco ayudó estar en un horno-hospital con una ola de calor.

Nos dieron una habitación privada, y menos mal porque se me soltó la barriga (hola, ¿antibióticos?) y nos pusieron en cuarentena.

La mano izquierda se me hinchó y perdí toda la movilidad por la vía, así que imagina cuidar así a un recién nacido, y sacarme leche. No dejaban quedarse a nadie por la noche, y una de las matronas/enfermeras se puso hasta borde cuando mi marido lo preguntó: ¿qué ayuda le va a hacer falta?

Incluso llegaron a pensar que me llegaba la hora: me pusieron a llevar cuentas de fluidos ingeridos y soltados, sin explicar nada, y cuando por fin conseguí que alguien me lo explicara me dijeron que era ¡¡para descartar septicemia!!

A posteriori salí muy mosqueada de la experiencia, porque teniendo mastitis y pezones sangrantes a nadie se le ocurrió mandarme a ver a una asesora de lactancia y debido a esto no se le diagnosticó el frenillo hasta mucho después. Y solo una matrona se sentó conmigo a escucharme (y le mandé una tarjetita agradeciéndoselo).

Mi plan era sacarme algo de leche, para limpiar la infección y porque darle directamente me dolía horrores, pero seguir dándole para que no desarrollara “confusión del pezón”.

La foto muestra otra de las razones por las que tuve mastitis: al tener ella un agarre malo, mi cuerpo decidió producir leche para un regimiento para que tuviera bastante. Esa cantidad la saqué de un solo lado en diez minutos el día ocho de nacida.

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Farm / Granja

Today we spent half a day at a children’s farm.

We had a lovely time, even though Chloe kept saying ‘nouhta, sustao’ (I don’t like it, scared) every time an animal made a loud noise – every two minutes more or less!

I wasn’t expecting it but we ended up involved in feeding the lambs. Very much a bittersweet feeling as I love that she mingles with nature but I really hate that the lambs have been taken away from their mums with the sole purpose of being fed by people as entertainment.

Hoy hemos echado la mañana en una granja para niños.

Lo hemos pasado genial, a pesar de que Chloe decía ‘nouhta, sustao’ (no me gusta, asustado) cada vez que algún bicho hacía un ruido fuerte – ¡cada dos minutos o así!

No me esperaba acabar dándole un bibi a un borrego, pero ahí veis. Un tanto agridulce porque por un lado quiero que interactúe con animales y demás, pero por otro me parece horrible que hayan separado a esos bebés de sus madres con el único objeto de convertir la hora de la comida entretenimiento.

Caring / Cuidando

Chloe has been really into looking after her dolls lately. Feeding and breastfeeding them, taking them for walks on their pushchair, putting them to sleep, and even bringing them along to our different activities and shopping!

The cutest thing happened yesterday. She was playing with her boy doll, and speaking English to him too! It went like this:

* Sits doll on the potty *

– Whoa poopoo. Wipe!

* Storms off to her room to find a cloth wipe *

– Done. Wait, mami wipe water. (To me) mami, agua toallita (water wipe).

* I wet the wipe and give it back *

– Whoa clean poopoo wipe. Done! Wipe bin.

* Puts wipe in wipe bin *

Últimamente Chloe está cuidando a sus muñecas muchísimo. Les da de comer, pecho, las pasea en el carrito, las acuesta, y se las trae a las actividades y a comprar!

Ayer hizo una cosa graciosísima. Estaba jugando con su muñeco, y le hablaba en inglés:

* Lo sienta en el orinal *

– Whoa poopoo. Wipe! (Guau, caca. ¡Toallita!)

* Sale corriendo a su cuarto a por una toallita de tela *

– Done. Wait, mami wipe water (Ya. Espera, mami toallita agua). (A mí) mami, agua toallita.

* Mojo la toallita y se la doy *

– Whoa clean poopoo wipe. Done! Wipe bin. (Guau limpiar caca toallita. ¡Ya! Toallita cubo)

* Echa la toallita al cubo *

Cake / Bizcocho

Today, to celebrate auntie Ashasha*’s birthday and to keep warm on our third day of no heating, we decided to bake a cake. To be fair, Chloe found a poky thing that we use to test if the cake is done and remembered what it’s for, saying ‘tatta, tatta’ so we made one.

At this point (19 months) she can hand me the eggs, pour the flour, oil, sugar etc, mix roughly, and oil the tin.

Basic yoghurt sponge recipe

3 eggs

1 small yoghurt pot

1 pot measure of sunflower oil

2 pot measures of sugar (we did just one to make it a bit healthier!)

3 pot measures of self-raising flour

Orange, lemon or lime zest

Mix, oil a cake tin, and place in the oven. Recipe said 180° for 30 minutes but it wasn’t done so we had to leave it for a total of 50 – and the crust is a bit hard so I’m guessing it should have been lower temperature and longer time!

Hoy, para celebrar el cumple de la tía Ashasha* y para entrar en calor después de  tres días sin calefacción, decidimos hacer un bizcocho. En realidad, Chloe encontró el pincho que usamos para ver si ya está hecho y se acordó de para qué lo usamos, diciendo ‘tatta, tatta’, así que nos animamos.

Ahora con 19 meses me pasa los huevos, vierte la harina, el aceite, el azúcar etc, mezcla así a grandes rasgos, y unta de aceite el molde.

Receta básica de bizcocho de yogur

3 huevos

1 yogur

1 medida de yogur de aceite

2 medidas de yogur de azúcar (nosotras pusimos sólo una)

3 medidas de yogur de harina (o bien de la que trae levadura, o bien le pones también levadura aparte)

Ralladura de naranja, limón o lima

Mezclar todo, untar el molde con aceite, y meter en el horno. La receta decía que a 180° durante media hora, pero no estaba hecho así que lo acabamos dejando 50 minutos en total – y visto lo crujiente que ha quedado por fuera creo que lo suyo habría sido ponerlo más flojo y más tiempo.

*Alexandra

Rear Facing / Contramarcha

Depending on where you live, the laws regarding infant and child car safety can vary massively. As an example, some EU countries allow very young babies to be in a carrycot attached to the seatbelt, and children as young as 5 to use normal seatbelts.

It basically boils down to this: car safety (seatbelts and airbags) has been designed for adult sized occupants. So for anyone that’s not adult sized (within an average range), adjustments need to be made.

UK law has recently changed to make sure infants and young toddlers (15 months) travel in an appropriate car seat, facing the rear of the vehicle. Why the rear? Because science (crash tests) consistently shows that it’s the safest way to travel in case of an accident – this is how air stewards travel, by the way.

We went a step further than the law, by getting a car seat that rear faces until 18 kg (for Chloe this will be around 5 years old if she carries along her usual line of growth!).

When reading about rear facing, I was flabbergasted by the amount of people out there that doesn’t like this! Reasons range from the price of the seat (mine goes from birth to 25 kg for £200, which is roughly £10 a year) to the lack of space for the legs (aren’t children made of rubber anyway?).

I honestly think that when it comes to safety, we should be looking at what’s optimal. After all, when I was little one didn’t even have seatbelts in the back seat, and I’m here, but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t wear them!

Según el país donde vivas, las leyes de tráfico variarán en lo que concierne a cómo deben viajas los niños. Por ejemplo, algunos países europeos permiten que los bebés vayan en un capacho sujeto con el cinturón, y que los niños puedan ir con el cinturón normal desde los cinco años.

La idea se puede resumir así: los sistemas de seguridad de los coches (cinturón, airbag) estan diseñados para pasajeros tamaño adulto, y cualquiera que no entre dentro del rango normal de persona adulta tendrá que adaptarse de alguna manera.

La ley ha cambiado hace poco en el Reino Unido, de forma que los niños deben ir en sillitas a contramarcha hasta los 15 meses. ¿Por qué a contramarcha? Porque la ciencia nos dice que es la forma más segura de viajar en caso de accidente. Así es como se sientan los azafatos en los aviones, por cierto.

Nosotros hemos ido más allá del mínimo que marca la ley, comprando una sillita que va a contramarcha hasta los 18 kg – ¡en el caso de Chloe si sigue creciendo en su línea tendrá unos cinco años!

Leyendo acerca del tema me quedé alucinada con la cantidad de gente que no está de acuerdo. Las razones van desde el precio de las sillas (la nuestra va desde recién nacido hasta 25 kg por 250€, que viene a ser unos 12€ al año) hasta el poco espacio para las piernas (¿pero los niños no eran de goma?).

En mi opinión, cuando estamos hablando de seguridad, siempre deberíamos tirar por lo mejor. ¡Cuando yo era pequeña no teníamos cinturones en el asiento trasero, pero no por eso paso de ponérmelos ahora!

Window cleaning / Limpiando cristales

Today’s housework activity: cleaning the windows.

The spray bottle is toddler sized and soft enough, and contains water, vinegar and lavender oil (to counteract the chippy smell!).

Toddlers love water play and helping, so why not direct their energies towards something useful!

(I have to confess though that the water mixture is currently all over mami, babá, toys, walls..)

Actividad del día de hoy: limpiar cristales.

La botella es de tamaño niño, y la lleno con una mezcla de agua, vinagre y aceite esencial de lavanda (¡para contrarrestar el olorcillo a fish&chips!).

Con esta edad les encanta jugar con agua, y también ayudar, así que por qué no encauzar sus energías hacia algo útil 🙂

(Tengo que confesar que ahora misml estamos mojados yo, el padre, las paredes, los juguetes…)

Knickers / Braguitas

By popular demand, here it goes: the story of how Chloe went nappy free at 15 months!
I’ve been meaning to share this for a while now, but first I didn’t want to jinx it, then I was too busy, and eventually it became the new normal so I haven’t thought much about it! But it’s still worth sharing as so many people want to know.

It all started around 8 months when we introduced the potty and the grunts. She soon got the hang of it and would wee in the potty when offered. I also became an expert at predicting poop so I only ever had to change one more pooey nappy! That in itself was a huge success 😀

I also introduced standing nappy changes as soon as she could support herself. This makes them more aware of what’s going on and it’s more similar to wiping yourself after using the loo. It’s recommended that you move nappy changes and potty to the bathroom but we had a nice setup in her room so I never did.

By the time she was one, she had been walking for a month so she was able to take herself to the potty. We did a few trial runs in the garden, which resulted in her making it to the potty 50% of the time, and me realizing that a) she needed a wee every 20 minutes and b) she didn’t know with more than a few seconds notice. All this made it obviously impractical to even try outside the house!

We kept at it at home though, with her wearing legwarmers and a top most days: her bladder capacity started to increase and also her communication skills (she would bring the potty over for example). Around 14 months we wouldn’t have any accidents if it was just the two of us at home.

I had a go at (cloth) training pants but they didn’t work for her: if she was wearing one she would think it was a nappy and go in it!

So I bought a portable potty (with disposable bags) that always came with us, and I spent a couple of weeks reminding her before getting in the car, or if she was busy with other kids, and still very few accidents.

She was still wearing nappies for naps, but since she always woke up dry I stopped using those as well.

She had them at the creche too, and at this point it really felt disrespectful to keep using them. If she is aware of her needs and can let me know, why would I force her to wet herself? (If you struggle understanding this, imagine it’s a grown up we’re talking about). So we went nappy free there too, although she kept having accidents because of all the distractions I presume.

Then we went to Spain for a few days and that was the final test. She had nappies for the trip but refused to use them, asking for the toilet instead. Then I could leave her with my mum and she would tell her too. So at the tender age of 15 months she was nappy free!

Most interesting part of all this, apart from all the well meaning comments, was finding underwear! Turns out the smallest size available is 2-3 years, and Chloe has always been on the small side 🙂

Issue b) above was still around, so we carried the portable potty everywhere we went, but by now she needed a wee an hour (roughly like me!) so it was much more manageable. Around 17 months she was able to tell me a bit in advance so we have time to find a toilet, and now I don’t carry anything. Possibly a change of clothes just in case!

Most nights she wakes up dry, or will wake up during the night asking to use the loo, but others she does wee so we haven’t removed those yet. Still, my washing loads have decreased dramatically!

Something I bumped into when reading about “early” potty learning was that some people believe that until the child can dress and undress themselves they shouldn’t be using the potty. To me it sounds ridiculous, because what determines this is the type of clothes you put on them, so if they can use the potty naked that’s really not a reason!

As to the big question: did cloth nappies make a difference? I’m not sure if they did to her, since she never ever cared about sitting on a dirty nappy. But they probably did to me, as I was more aware of waste etc, and the earliest we stopped using them, the better for the environment – and for my laundry routine!

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