Saturday, 21 January 2017

Our Battle with Tongue-tie

I'm taking the rare step of  writing about something not allergy-related, but which was a big part of our story in the early days - tongue-tie. Oh the things I so wish they had told us in ante-natal class!

Tongue-tie - just in case you don't know - is where the tongue is anchored down in the baby's mouth by some extra skin, or just membrane really, in the early stages. In our case it was like a line of skin, under the tongue. It stretched down the middle, from the back to the front, which tightened the tongue, forcing the tip of 'Baby's' tongue into the classic heart-shape. 

Once upon a time (so I have heard), all babies were checked at birth and it was common-place for midwives to snip a tongue-tie there and then. However, these days, some professionals believe it will just grow out by itself, and should be left alone, whilst others believe that it hinders a baby from feeding (whether by breast or bottle) and should be snipped. It's so confusing when medical professionals cannot agree on a given subject, following our experience... well I'll let you decide for yourself...


How it all began...

On the first morning after our beautiful baby was born, she was checked over by a pediatrician, who soon spotted her tongue-tie. 

'But it's nothing to worry about he assured us, she's got such a good, strong suck.

This he demonstrated by sticking the tip of his finger in her mouth. Instantly her sucking reflexes kicked in. We took his word for it.

At that time, and in that area of the country, tongue-ties were just not seen as a problem... 

'Oh don't worry, she'll grow out of it.' 

...we were told by the private pediatrician we saw four weeks later. But we were worried!

By this time, my boobs were already looking battle-scarred and feeding was getting even more tricky than I had found it in the first place! I was so desperate to breastfeed, but was dreading each and every feed. The pain was so excruciating, I quite often cried aloud, as she latched on. Meanwhile, 'Baby', oblivious to my agony, was feeding quite frequently...

'Feed through the pain,'

...was the frankly quite unhelpful mantra, I came across. But, feeling unable to cope, and on the verge of giving up altogether, I soon began to express off my worst side, and deliver it through a bottle, hoping it would enable the craters in my nipple to heal, as I just couldn't bear it. 



It wasn't meant to be this way...

I nearly gave up...

Not being able to express more than an ounce or so at a time, I reluctantly began to top up 'Baby's' feeds with a specially prescribed dairy free formula, but this was not what I had expected and was not at all what I had wanted for my little one. All my naive little dreams of motherhood lay fragmented on the ground - induced premature birth, forcep delivery, jaundice that had us readmitted to hospital, milk allergy and now THIS

At my wits end, and aware that The Hub was beginning to wonder who on earth this deranged woman that he'd married was, I felt there really MUST be a solution to this thing - I was Googling left, right and center!

Tongue-tie came up every time - 'Baby' ticked all the boxes - including the 'clicking' sound as she tried to feed. But how to get help, when all the experts said it wasn't a problem??


The solution...

Fortunately, the Health Visitor, came to my rescue - she told us that in the next county there was a La Leche League breastfeeding counsellor who could assess us, for potential surgery. Desperate for help, we checked her out. Her room was packed with other unhappy mothers (and fathers) with their babies, all desperate for help 
and she was amazing! It didn't take her long to decide we were suitable and we were put down for the 'snip' by a maxillofacial surgeon.

I have to admit, I had my reservations - about my little one being strapped down and... what if the surgeon got it wrong? This was a daft thought, but I was pretty sleep-deprived by this stage - pumping and sterilising was going on day and night, so it was fair to say I was missing a quite a lot of sleep! Bizarrely driven on by my teaching instincts - I didn't want my child to be potentially mocked at school for having a speech impediment - we went ahead.

As it turned out, my doubts were assuaged, the moment we fed following the op (I say 'op', but because she was so young, it was actually over, quite literally, in seconds). We were taken to a side room to try her out, and straight away I could tell her gape was wider and she fed properly latched on - for the first time ever - without being forced on (as one nursing assistant had tried to do). 


Hallelujah!

The other thing I noted, was that her cry had changed - no longer did she wail 'Laa, laa,' she seamlessly changed to the 'Waaa, waa' sound, which you normally hear from babies.

Unfortunately, having got into bad habits, 'Baby's' latch slowly slipped back to her normal position and try as I might, I couldn't get her to feed the way I was 'supposed' to (I can't help feeling that if it had happened at birth, her latch would have been fine). BUT as my boobs healed (with, by now, the help of antibiotics, as I had developed an infection), the pain began to go, I was able to step up feeding, get her back off the bottle and properly breastfeed - the way it should have been all along!


Following on...

Since then, I have met soooo many other mums in the same boat, including, more recently, my younger sis', who has just been through the exactly same thing. For her, unfortunately it has taken multiple appointments to get properly diagnosed, and the operation, taking place at a later date, was far more traumatic than 'Baby's' had been.

Yesterday, I came across this petition online. If, like me, you would like to prevent others from having to go through the same problems, please sign this petition, and then share it as widely as you can. 


Thank you!

And if you're struggling with breastfeeding too, for whatever reason, I would heartily recommend the following:

La Leche League

Kelly Mom


Further reading:

NHS Choices - Tongue-tie

La Leche League - Tongue-tie


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Happy New Dairy Free Year!!

Happy New Year!!

This pic is a bit of a metaphor for my life, at the mo - muddled and mismatched, with bits missing!


Okay, okay, I'm a bit late I know, but Christmas was sooo busy and I needed to get the Kiddo back to school, myself back into routine, and my house back into some kind of order, before getting back to blogging again! First two achieved, ho hum on the second!

You may have noticed an absence of blog post recently, well the last three months really, and it's not because I didn't WANT to, it was simply a case of not-enough-time-in-the-day. Face Book and Twitter might have got a cheeky little look in from time to time, but certainly not to keep up with longer messages and blog posting - hence lots of posts from the archives on FB, which although perhaps helpful for newbies, not so great for those who have read them before! I've heard it said that young people only get done 1/3 of what they actually plan to do. Well I'm not so young as I was, but it's certainly true of me!


So where have I been? 

Well apart from going on holiday (post to follow), it's been loads of mundane stuff shopping, washing etc. etc. (especially following the holiday), plus birthdays, plus Christmas, plus visiting family, plus seeing friends, plus running a toddler group, plus caring for our pets, plus, plus, plus...

Our house has really suffered - not helped by a lively Kiddo, who is apparently brilliant at tidying and being helpful at school, as well as being incredibly well-organised, but at home?? Not so much!! 


I think a clear out is definitely in order!

This, despite countless boxes, drawers, cupboards etc. being provided for her storage: 


Eeek!



So how did I get into this muddle?

Last year was not a great year for many people - certainly, personally, there were some spots where I was quite poorly, which didn't help the smooth operation of our home, or anything else for that matter. It has felt like fighting an uphill battle to get my health and life back on track. So my plans/resolutions for the New Year are these:



  • to clean up/reorganise my house
  • to eat more fruit and veg. in the hope that my body will co-operate (I've noted that eating fresh salad every day and drinking orange juice helps)
  • to get more exercise 
  • to get enough sleep (bad sleeping patterns haven't helped, I think)
All these are so that I can stay healthy enough to get everything else done and be the wife/mother that I want to be.


Hmm! Not setting myself too high an expectation I hope! I don't like setting myself up to fail (note - no diets mentioned here)! 

So, apologies to those who have expected replies and had to wait for them - hopefully I'll catch up with you soon.


Moving onwards...

Meanwhile, on the plus side, 2016 brought new breakthroughs in understanding of how allergies develop and how they might, in some cases be prevented (particularly regarding the prevention of nut allergies*), as well as bringing lots of great new products our way. Some of my personal favourites, this year, were: Koko's new dairy free yogurts (see here), this great new dairy free ice cream by Alpro and these new dairy free choccies by Kinnerton - yum! 


Now, I'm really looking forward to all that this new year will bring, how about you?? What are you looking forward to this year??


Whatever your hopes/dreams/aspirations, I sincerely hope you will have a happy and healthy New Year!



* NB: For more information about the prevention of nut allergies, please see Dr Carina Venter RD's  excellent blog


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Deck the Trees with Dairy Free Chocolate... Tra la la a la, la la la la!

In a previous post (see here), written a few years ago now, I shared with you my efforts in making my own Christmas tree decorations - dairy free chocolate ones being in short supply in those days. These days, I know you can get some from D & D Chocolates (an online company that only makes free from chocolate - see here), but I still love the fun of making my own... and so does 'Baby' - well 'Kiddo' these days!!

However, having munched through the supplies of chocolate coins I had bought from Tesco (yikes) and found that Sainsbury's had mysteriously suddenly not got any (after having them on the shelves ALL year), I realized an alternative was required!! Hence this post!!

Ta da! An alternative has surely been found - in the shape of Tesco's new chocolate fondant truffles! And very nice they are too (I've been taste testing, don't you know)!! I got my inspiration from some Christmas Tree decorations I designed for the craft table at the Toddler Group I help run.

Now I've just got to find some discipline not to eat all truffles too! :)


Where there's a will, and all that! :)



What you will need:

Box of Tesco Dairy Free Chocolate Truffles
Star shape gift tags 
Glue Dots
Stick-on Gems



Using gift tags makes this so easy peasy, that young children can easily make them.



How to make your decorations:


1. Stick two/three glue dots on the back of your truffle - it may help to make sure you cover the bit where the foil joins at the back - you don't want your choccy falling out after all!
The danger is that the truffle wrapping might come adrift!


2. Attach your foil wrapped truffle to the middle of a star-shaped gift tag - mine are from Waitrose (on offer, at two for three), but I'm sure you can find them elsewhere, either that or you can cut and make your own.
Already looking good!


3. You could leave your decorations just as they are, but I love a bit of bling. If you do too than you can embellish your gift tag with stick-on gems, like so:

Bling! Bling!

4. Now don't forget to tie the ribbon at the top of your tags, and they're all ready to hang on your tree!


Now to actually put my tree up... ho hum!!



Related Posts











Please note: 

This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's).

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Oo ah! Christmas Chocolat 2016

Uh oh!

Christmas is almost upon us, the season of Advent is about to begin and I have not yet completed my annual dairy free chocolate post. However, of course there is more to Christmas chocolate than Advent calendars, so PHEW we might still be of some use to you! As always, this list is not exhaustive, but hopefully you should find most of the main brands listed here.

It's fabulous to see the choices for the dairy free community really expanding this year - although in Sainsbury's and Waitrose there have been very few changes this year, there are a few changes to some of the other store ranges, with a new entry by Asda stocking Kinnerton's new chocolate mints box. 


Great for lovers of dark chocolate - Kinnerton's new selection box




Unfortunately, last year's Asda Santa has not reappeared! :(

Tesco also have a new box of chocolates available (which I suspect are Choices caramels dressed up in a Tesco box, but of course I could be wrong)!



Tesco's new choc box

as well as an Advent calendar by 'Chocologic'. 


New kid on the block - Chocologic's Advent Calendar


It seemed a bit lightweight to me, when I picked up the box, but was cheaper than most, at £2.50. There hasn't been much stock available in my local store, so don't hold your breath finding one of these in yours! Made with soya flour, it was no good for me, so stayed firmly on the shelf!

Tesco have also opted on the Choices selection box this year - as have Asda and Holland & Barrett, but again, my local Tesco was very short on stock - not seen any since I bought these!


More by chocolate labelled 'Tesco' but made by Choices

Here is the same box, in Asda packaging:

Choices, Choices...

If you want something a bit more individual, then check out Cocoa Libre's range at Holland and Barrett. 


Fun shapes!

Kiddo loves their chocolate shapes. They're a bit more pricey, but that is because they are handmade.


So you can see there's plenty of places to choose from, so as in previous years, I've attempted to help you cut through to the information you need, by creating some handy comparison charts, which hopefully you will find useful.


This table shows the different products created by the major free from brands and where to find them:


Advent Calendar
Selection Box
Chocolate Novelty Figures
Chocolate Boxes
Chocolate Coins
Tree Decorations
Booja Booja
x
x
x
Waitrose,
Holland & Barrett Ocado
x
x
Choices
(also make Tesco, Sainsbury’s & Asda’s free from chocolate)
Sainsbury’s  Asda

Holland & Barrett
Ocado
Asda
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Asda
Holland & Barrett
Sainsbury’s Holland & Barrett
Ocado
Tesco
Asda
X
Chocologic

Tesco
x
x
x
x
x
Cocoa Libre

x
x
Holland & Barrett
x
x
x
D & D Chocolates
Online only
Online only
Online only
Online only
x
Online only
Holland & Barrett
Holland & Barret
x
x
x
x
x
Kinnerton

By pre-ordering online only (see here)
x
Asda
Ocado
Kinnerton
x
x
Moo Free

Sainsbury’s
Waitrose
Asda
Ocado
Sainsbury’s Ocado
Holland & Barrett
Holland & Barrett
x
x
x
Plamil

Online only
Online only
Online
Holland & Barrett
x
x
x

NB The chances are that not all Holland & Barrett items listed here, will be available in your local store, however, you can order online and have delivered either to your home or to your local store.


This table shows the main brands and some of the major allergens that they are free from:


Dairy Free
Gluten Free
Soya Free
Egg Free
Nut Free
Vegan
Booja Booja
ü
ü
ü
ü
x
ü
Choices
(also make Tesco, Sainsbury’s & Asda’s free from chocolate)
ü
ü
*Lecithin
ü
ü
ü
Cocoa Libre
ü
ü
*Lecithin
ü
ü
ü
D & D Chocolates
ü
ü
May Contain
ü
ü
ü
Kinnerton

ü
ü
*Lecithin
ü
ü
ü
Moo Free

ü
ü
ü
ü
x
ü
Plamil

ü
ü
May Contain
ü

ü

*Soya Lecithin is the oil from the Soy bean. Technically, this should not cause a reaction in those allergic to soya, as the protein has been removed, but those who are particularly sensitive may still react. If unsure please consult with your Doctor/Dietitian.




ONLINE

The good news is that should you find it difficult to find dairy free chocolate locally, there are places you can buy it online. Try the following websites if you are struggling to find dairy free chocolate locally:







AND... CHOCOLATE THAT IS NOT QUITE DAIRY FREE ENOUGH FOR US

Not all 'dairy free' products are equal! Although Vegan products are made without milk, they may be made on factory production lines where other products that do contain milk have been made. This could mean that they contain traces of milk, which can cause problems for those who are quite sensitive to milk. However some people choose to be dairy free and those who are allergic to dairy have varying levels of sensitivity, so here are a few other brands that might interest those of you who are okay with traces of milk:

Aldi 
Hotel Chocolat
Lidl
Montezuma's dark chocolate
Zero Zebra - claim to be allergen free but are made on production lines where allergens have been handled and have caused mild allergic reactions in some allergic individuals.


FINALLY:

Hopefully this post has provided you with the information you need to find the chocolate that is right for you. The information included in this post may change over time, so follow @dairyfree on Twitter or Dairy Free Baby and Me on Face Book, to keep track of any updates.



Please note: 

This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's).


RELATED POSTS: