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Where do babies come from?

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I wasn’t expecting THAT question to come this early. Small one is only three!

Stork Mail: (c) dunedhel (IconBug)

To be fair, her nursery teacher just had a baby so it has been a subject of much discussion at playschool. She seemed pretty certain about it all when we were watching Dumbo a couple of weeks ago – “Storks DO NOT deliver babies Mummy”. Oh no…. “Postmen deliver babies!”

Then the lambs at the farm. She knows that lambs come from their mummies’ tummies but there was the tricky question of where mummy sheep come from. Again, we got off lightly. She decided that “Mummies and Grandmas knit the mummy sheep and then the babies go inside”. Sorted!

So I wasn’t really expecting this last night:

Olivia thinks babies come out of their mummy’s tummy, but they don’t – they come out of bums!

Erm! I always promised I would be honest when she asked, so I agreed but then explained that she had actually been taken out of my tummy by the doctor as she got lost on the way out. Possibly more detail than she needed, as the next question was…

Well WHICH babies came out of bums then???!!

That one was simple at least – your brother and your sister did, darling.

Anyone else dealing with difficult questions at the moment?

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How to make going back to work a success: Guest Post & Giveaway

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To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (1st-8th August, 2012), MilkChic is hosting lots of giveaways to give mums a boost. Today (a day late due to 3rd birthday celebrations at MilkChic Manor), Greatvine are offering one lucky reader a free call and follow up email worth up to £40 with their Mothers Returning to Work Coach, Joycellyn Akuffo.

Woman working on an airplane motor at North American Aviation, Inc., plant in Calif. (LOC)Here are some tips from Joycellyn Akuffo, Greatvine expert and founder and editor of Motherswhowork.co.uk on how to make going back to work a success:

Going back to work can be unnerving for a lot of mums – just how do you keep on top of the school run, extra curricular activities for the kids and work?

1. Make a plan
Planning is the key to every working mum’s success – without a plan, you plan to fail. So, get off to a good start by investing in a good diary, where you can keep track of the family’s important dates, and key dates for work so you don’t get caught short.

2. Use technology
Set reminders on your mobile phone so you don’t have to remember things – everything from birthdays, school plays and school assemblies should go into your phone, it’s a great way to keep on track…and it’s free to do.

3. Call in your favours
While you’ve been off work, you’ve probably helped out friends and family with one thing or another. Now’s the time to call in those favours. Speak to friends and family to see what they could do to help if your days comes a-cropper. For example, if there are train delays, could they pick up your toddler from nursery for you, or take in your child who walks home from school? Get to know who you can depend on (and help out), so it’s not a major panic when things go wrong…they will, sometimes.

4. Superwoman wore a cape…do you?
One of the perils of being a working mum is that you work and still come home to all the chores that need doing. Some days, you’ll have next to no energy to do anything, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. You are human, after all, and it can be more draining doing things for other people (your family) and working than we give credit for. Don’t feel like you’re useless just because you can’t keep your home pristine during the week like a Stepford wife.

5. A problem shared…
Delegation is a skill that every working mum needs. If you’re cooking, get your partner to do the homework with the kids. Or get them to read the toddler a bedtime story, while you do some chores. If you try to do it all, you’ll get half the work done if you’re lucky, and it will feel like you haven’t achieved much every day, which will demotivate you. Get your children involved – teach them how to tidy up after themselves and it will soon become a habit you don’t have to nag about.

You can do it…you may not have the whole cake to eat, but you’ll definitely get more than a slice if you have a plan.

Win a free call and follow up email worth up to £40:

If you’d like to win a one to one telephone call and e-mail with Joycellyn, just leave a comment below telling us what you most worry about / most look forward to about work. For a bonus entry, share this on Facebook or tweet the following on Twitter:

I want to win a @Greatvine 1-to-1 phonecall & e-mail for #mums returning to #work @MilkChic http://milkchic.co.uk/60017 #workingmums

Don’t forget to enter all the other World Breastfeeding Week Giveaways too!

Giveaway Terms & Conditions: UK only. Closing date: 22/08/2012, 23:59. No cash alternative. Winners will be drawn randomly from all entrants. If the winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, an alternative winner may be drawn.

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Win A Crave Maternity Nursing Dress: World Breastfeeding Week

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World Breastfeeding Week is 1st-8th August 2012 and to celebrate, MilkChic has teamed up with lots of breastfeeding friendly retailers to give nursing mums a treat. Today, Crave Maternity are giving away a gorgeous dress, that will stretch from the first weeks of pregnancy right through until you finish breastfeeding!

Pregnancy is a great excuse to shop, but if money is tight it’s hard to justify buying a whole new wardrobe for less than 9 months wear. You can reduce the guilt, and the strain on your purse-strings by picking breastfeeding friendly items that you can continue to wear in the months after baby is born*.

*I am acutely aware that if pregnant me had read that last sentence, I would have been horrified… wear maternity clothes? For MONTHS after I give birth??! But you will… so they might as well be nice.

Sod’s law also dictates that you will need to attend a christening, wedding, or similarly dressy event within 8 weeks of your baby’s birth. If you are breastfeeding, you will then need to buy a flattering, breastfeeding-friendly outfit for a body you haven’t yet adjusted to and which will helpfully continue to shape shift hourly, and you’ll need to find it with a squealing newborn in tow. MilkChic is obviously the destination website for this kind of dilemma… but having a versatile dress in your wardrobe that will cover the crossover from pregnancy to new mum is a godsend – you might even get to wear it a few times before maternity leave too!

Crave Maternity are giving away the French Navy Panel Nursing / Maternity Dress worth £75, pictured above to one lucky winner. The dress is made of soft, stretchy jersey and includes a panel just over the belly which allows for nursing, making it a great investment piece.

To enter the giveaway, visit the Crave Maternity website and then leave a comment below telling me what your favourite item is from their range.

For a bonus entry, share this giveaway on Facebook, or tweet the following on Twitter:

I want to win a @CraveMaternity #maternity & #breastfeeding dress with @MilkChic http://milkchic.co.uk/59453 #WorldBreastfeedingWeek

Crave have lots more breastfeeding friendly maternity styles. This is what I would choose!

This Taupe Tea Dress is stylish, easy to throw on and will work for day or evening – just change accessories to completely change your look. The stretchy crossover front will give nursing access, while the flattering shape will skim the wobbly bits.

After baby is born, a nursing vest like the Amoralia Shapewear Nursing Chemise will give you extra body confidence

You can also get 20% off at Crave Maternity with code: NEWMUM until 31st August 2012. You can find some more breastfeeding friendly Crave designs here.

Giveaway Terms & Conditions: Entries restricted to UK & Ireland only. Closing date: 13th August 2012, 23:59. Winners will be chosen at random from entrants and announced at http://www.milkchic.co.uk. No cash alternative. If initial winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, we reserve the right to draw an alternative.

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Group B Strep – have you heard of it?

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Group B Strep SupportWell, if not, you’re not alone. Last November, a survey found that only 54% young women in the UK had heard of GBS and, of those who had, only 20% knew what it was.

Here are the key facts:

  • Around 20-25% of women carry Group B Strep (also known as GBS and Strep B) as part of their healthy vaginal and rectal bacteria, where it is normal, has no symptoms and causes no problems to the carrier.
  • GBS also causes infection though and is the most common cause of serious infection in newborn babies. Without preventative medicine, around one out of every 300 babies born to women carrying GBS will develop infections such as sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis.
  • Most babies will recover from their GBS infection, but even with the best medical care, around one in every 10 of these sick babies will die and some of the survivors will be left with long-term problems, especially when the baby has had GBS meningitis

Ok, who knew that? We’re told about spina bifida, sickle cell disease, Down’s Syndrome but not about GBS – how come? Maybe nothing can be done about it? Well, no… more facts:

  • Most GBS infections in newborn babies are preventable by giving Mums whose babies are at raised risk antibiotics (usually penicillin) in labour
  • A Mum carrying GBS who has antibiotics in labour has a less than one in 6,000 risk of her newborn developing GBS infection, compared with around a one in 300 chance if she doesn’t.
  • Key risk factors for GBS infection in newborn babies are:
    • A sibling having GBS infection
    • GBS found in the urine or from a vaginal or rectal swab during the current pregnancy
    • Labour starting or waters breaking before 37 weeks of pregnancy
    • Waters breaking more than 18 hours before birth
    • Mum having a raised temperature in labour
  • GBS infection usually shows early – normally on the first day of life. After the first week, these infections are rare and after ago 3 months very rare indeed.
  • Key signs/symptomsof GBS infection in babies include
    • Age 0-6 days: grunting; lethargy; irritability; poor feeding; very high or low heart rate; low blood pressure/ blood sugar; abnormal (high or low) temperature; and abnormal (fast or slow) breathing rates with blueness of the skin due to lack of oxygen (cyanosis)
    • Age 7-90 days: fever; poor feeding and/or vomiting; impaired consciousness; plus typical symptoms of meningitis, including any of: fever, which may include the hands and feet feeling cold, and/or diarrhoea; refusing feeds or vomiting; shrill or moaning cry or whimpering; dislike of being handled, fretful; tense or bulging fontanelle (soft spot on the head); involuntary body stiffening or jerking movements; floppy body; blank, staring or trance-like expression; abnormally drowsy, difficult to wake or withdrawn; altered breathing patterns; turns away from bright lights; and pale and/or blotchy skin.
    • If a baby shows signs consistent with GBS infection or meningitis, call your doctor immediately. If your doctor isn’t available, go straight to your nearest Paediatric Casualty Department. If a baby has GBS infection or meningitis, early diagnosis and treatment are vital: delay could be fatal.

The number of newborns with GBS infection has been rising: up nearly a third since ‘risk-based’ prevention measures were introduced in 2003. UK pregnant women aren’t offered screening for GBS, which may explain this – many western countries routinely screen pregnant women for GBS (usually at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy) and have seen their numbers fall by between 71-86%.

Some enlightened NHS trusts offer some of their pregnant women sensitive tests for GBS carriage (the tests usually used by the NHS were not designed to detect GBS carriage and give high false-negative results) and – if women want to be tested – they can obtain reliable home-testing kits for around £35. Labs listed at http://www.gbss.org.uk/test offer the sensitive ECM (Enriched Culture Medium) test, following the Health Protection Agency National Standard Method.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, when asked, young women say they want to be told about group B Strep, they want to be offered tests for GBS as a routine part of their antenatal care and, if found to be carrying it, they want to be offered antibiotics in labour.

Prevention is better than cure, particularly when we’re talking about life-threatening infections in newborn babies.

Isn’t it about time the UK caught up with other western countries on this?

During GBS Awareness Month, please help protect babies by:

From Mel at MilkChic: This is a guest post from Jane Plumb MBE, of Group B Strep Support. Please take the time to read and share this information and if you have a website, consider downloading a badge. As a Group B Strep carrier myself (routinely swabbed in pregnancy) and having been educated about the risks, I was horrified by the lack of knowledge when I moved to a new area. Preventative measures are so simple for Group B Strep – protection shouldn’t be down to luck.

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