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How can using a symptom tracker help my child?

How can using a symptom tracker help my child? 0

My daughter was just 6 weeks old when she began passing mucousy, bloody stools. We were told by doctors that this symptom combined with her poor weight gain was suggestive of a reaction to something. I felt overwhelmed and scared, especially because we had no idea what she was reacting to.

In those early days, there were so many doctor’s appointments! It quickly became apparent that I could not rely solely on my memory to recall the specific details surrounding my baby’s symptoms. The doctors needed very specific information in order to find out what the triggers were.  

I began to carry around a little notebook, jotting down my observations each time my daughter would display symptoms. Over time, this evolved into a simple symptom tracker template, which I still use today.

In my experience, the Mem & Maeve Symptom Tracker has proven itself to be a highly valuable tool. It has allowed me to create a detailed running record of my child’s symptoms, information which was used by doctors to help narrow down the list of possible triggers. The final diagnosis- dairy, egg and peanut allergies, as well as eczema.

I have found the Symptom Tracker to be an empowering tool during a stressful and overwhelming time in my life as a parent. I have used the information collected in the tracker to explore my daughter’s symptoms. This has provided me with a greater understanding of how to best manage her symptoms and thereby promote her comfort and quality of life.

Click here to download your free Mem & Maeve Symptom Tracker

How to Wet Wrap

How to Wet Wrap 0

Wet wrapping is an absolute lifesaver for us when Miss 3’s Eczema flares up. Wet wrappings help to cool and protect hot and inflamed skin as well as protect it from further damage. Miss 3 is an almost a habitual scratcher as she falls asleep – which causes bleeding and often infections on her hand and feet. As soon as I feel her skin is warm, I spy blood on her sheets, or her itching begins to interrupt her sleep, I pull out the Tubifast and wrap the inflamed areas to protect them and allow them some time to heal.
 As we are heading into the cooler months when many people's Eczema can be more problematic, I thought that this post would be a timely reminder about Wet Wrapping.
How to Wet Wrap 
  1. Get all the gear together – your steroid cream, a thick moisturiser (I use an Epaderm Ointment – it is thick and spreads easy and can also be added to her bath) Tubifast or Tubifast Garments, and some comfortable, breathable pyjamas to pop on afterwards.
  2. Bathe your little one in tepid bath water using your normal bath oils, again I simply add some ointment to her bath water.
  3. Towel dry by patting leaving the skin moist.
  4. Apply steroid/cortisone cream to inflamed areas as directed by your doctor.
  5. Apply a good thick coat of moisturiser to parts of the body to be wet wrapped.
  6. Wet the Tubifast in warm water, squeeze out excess water and apply to the body where you have moisturised.
  7. Apply a second layer of Tubifast or Tubifast Garments and then pop your child’s pyjamas over the top.
I prefer to use Tubifast Garments – I find them so much easier & QUICKER to apply – they have built in mittens and covered feet which protect the areas most scratched. They are also easier to wash and store. I was forever having to buy new Tubifast as I had cut pieces to the wrong length, or lost them in the washing! My love for these outfits and my first hand experience in just how much time you will save using them is the reason we stock them!
I have included a link to the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne Wet Wrapping Fact Sheet for your information as well.
Do you have any top Eczema Management Tips to share? We’d love to hear them!
A @  Mem & Maeve x
**Disclaimer: Information provided in this post is only based on experience and should not replace the advice you have been given from a medical professional and if you are at all worried about your child, take them to see your family doctor.
Mem & Maeve Organic Cotton Onesies

Mem & Maeve Organic Cotton Onesies 0

We love the Pea Fritters Bloga place to share allergy and intolerance friendly food and tales of motherhood. This month Ruth from Pea Fritters reviewed our very own Mem & Maeve Organic Cotton Onesies and Little Innoscents Intensive Moisturiser. Here is what she had to say.

Allergies and eczema often go hand in hand. For us, it has been one of the first signs that all was not well with our little ones. Our daughter had eczema at her joints which settled once we were able to eliminate her allergens. Our son sadly got eczema in the nappy area if he or I had wheat. I have friends with little ones who have such severe eczema that they are being managed by immunologists and dermatologists, they are on creams and steroids, they can only wear cotton and have to be so careful with what they are exposed to.  Allergies after all, aren’t just food. For a couple of Australian mums, their experience of eczema and allergies was the motivation to set up Mem and Maeve, an allergy friendly online store which stocks environmentally conscious, socially conscious and fashionable products for babies and toddlers.

The girls at Mem and Maeve have just launched their very own signature label of organic AND fair trade 100% cotton baby onesies! Woohoo! I don’t know about you, but when I hear organic and fair trade in the same sentence I pretty much assume that only people like Oprah can afford it. But these amazingly high quality onesies are super crazy affordable at $15.00!! Thank the fashion gods!!!

When my little guy (doing his first fashion shoot here!) was tiny, before we got a hold on what was going on (turns out he had major tongue tie, food allergies and intolerances going on plus being born a bit early. Phew!), he was an absolute spew machine. I was covered in spew, he was covered in spew. We went through outfit after outfit. Knowing there is an affordable alternative to the over gendered and chemical filled clothing that is mainstream is such wonderful peace of mind. If these were around 1.5 years ago, I know what I would’ve been putting on my baby shower wish list!

These Mem and Maeve organic onesies come in 4 beautiful colours: Papaya, Basil (pictured), Plum and Dandelion. Perfect for little girls and little boys (awesome if you end up having a pigeon pair like we did!). And how refreshing to be able to dress my son in something other than blue stripes! Yes he does look gorgeous in blue, he got his daddy’s sparkly blue eyes, but it can feel a bit disappointing to pretty much be limited to blue and brown when it comes to baby boys fashion. Hurray for colour!!

I was curious to see what the quality of the make and fabric would be like but I was so amazed at how soft this onesie was both pre wash and post wash. I remember opening up the parcel and nearly forcing the onesie onto hubby’s face telling him “it’s so freaking soft!! Touch it!! Touch it!!”. The seams and stitching are super solid and soft, there’s no loose threads anywhere. The snaps actually all snap as they should (the number of times there’s a dud one when shopping at chain stores…). There’s even the beautiful Mem and Maeve logo printed into them too! Super cute!

The fit was perfect on my little man, who is now 17 months. If you have a bigger bub, I would go up a size as these are a more slim/petite fit. The Mem and Maeve organic and fair trade onesies are made in sizes 0-3m, 3-6m, 6-12m and 12-18m.

In the same bundle for me to test out, was the Little Innoscents Intensive Soothing Cream ($10.99). Renee wrote me a little note outlining some of the uses for this wonder cream. It’s a combo of shea butter, calendula and rosewood essential oil and can be used for cradle cap, insect bites, nappy rash, eczema and minor wounds. I got super excited when I read it could be used on insect bites!! My kids skin is pretty awesome at the moment, but I am an absolute mozzie magnet. I went outside for literally 2 minutes to put a pooey nappy in the rubbish bin and came inside sporting 3 new mozzie bites on my elbows. WTF!! I thought I would give the cream a go. In the name of science I even took before and after shots. Well 30 minutes later and the bites were gone. Amazing!! Fast forward a week to a friends birthday party and within 10 minutes of being there I am having trouble concentrating due to the insane itch from over 10 bites on my feet and ankles. I excuse myself and drive home to go get my magic cream. Phew! Success! I am able to have a fun night out without trying to cut off both my legs. The cream (and my special repellant essential oil) ended up getting passed around the party to other mozzie victims. So sorry, I can’t tell you much about how this was with the kids as they didn’t really need it this week! But I have been so so so so grateful to have it in my handbag. Hopefully we are able to keep the kids diet’s in check enough that we won’t need to use it on any sore skin spots. Fingers crossed!

So to summarise… things I love about the Mem and Maeve Organic Fair Trade Onesie:

  • Beautifully soft
  • Incredibly well made
  • Not gender specific
  • Amazing price
  • Organic AND fair trade
  • Mumma run business

And what do I love about the Little Innoscents Intensive Soothing Cream:

  • It rubs in really well
  • Not greasy
  • Smells nice
  • Organic
  • Not just a bum cream
  • Suitable for little bubs, big kids and grown ups
  • Helped hugely with my mozzie bites (I will send out the before and after pics to my newsletter peeps, don’t want pictures of my elbows on the internets hahaha).
Let’s talk fussy eaters... we've got some hot tips to share

Let’s talk fussy eaters... we've got some hot tips to share 0

One of the biggest areas of stress for me as a Mum is meal times!

When my eldest first started on solids, I thought I had it pegged! I had done my research and I knew without a doubt if I offered her a variety of textures and flavours she would develop a fine palate (ha)! I cooked all of her meals. Between the ages of 6 and 12 months she ate what we ate, dining on meals like spice rubbed fish with roast vegetable quinoa salad, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, lamb meatballs and homemade hommus wraps. You get the picture...I was smug! I thought all my hard work was rewarded with a great little eater. It was all because of me! How wrong I was.

When my little darling turned 1 that all began to change. She refused to eat what I cooked and would only willingly eat carbs. Sandwiches, pasta, rice, mashed potato. I resorted to trying to hide vegetables in everything (without much success). Our family meal selection started to revolve around what little Miss would and wouldn't eat.

Then baby number 2 came along. When she was old enough to start on solids,  I found that she very quickly picked up from her big sister a fussy mentality towards food. If sis didn't like it she didn't like it either! I have always persevered trying to provide them with healthy meals that appeal to their palate. My rule is they don't have to eat what is served to them, but if they choose not to eat it there is nothing else! They have always had small appetites and at times they have skipped meals altogether because they chose not to eat what was placed in front of them.

I used to love cooking and trying new cuisines. Since having kids, it is a job I loathe. I stress about what to cook for them. Will they eat it? Will they go to bed hungry? I have lost sleep thinking about whether they are healthy enough. Am I failing as a mother because my kids refuse to eat broccoli?

Recently, Anna and I had the pleasure of meeting Simone from Play with Food for one of her signature play dates. I am really excited to write about her visit because I know there are other parents out there with fussy eaters who would gain so much from her service like I did. So if you have a fussy eater, listen up! There is help out there!

Simone is a mum and a feeding therapy assistant, with a list of professional qualifications in food and nutrition as long as your arm! She runs private classes/workshops for fussy eaters and their parents both in person and via skype. We were lucky enough to meet her in person for a lovely play date with three of our little darlings who are all fussy eaters.  

Simone started off with some parachute play and singing which the kids enjoyed. It was a great way for them to all engage with each other at the beginning of the play date. From there, we headed to the table for some sensory food play. Simone provided a range of healthy snack options for the girls to explore using their 5 senses. She guided the girls in their play with the food, encouraging them to touch and smell each item and discuss the different colours and sounds they made when munching on them. At no time were the girls made to taste a food if they did not want to. They constructed food faces and played with cucumber swords, completely unaware that Simone was watching, assessing and collecting information to share with us Mums at the end. 

Watching the girls during the play date was really interesting. Simone provided multiple opportunities for them to be exposed to and engage with new foods in a way that was not intimidating or threatening for them. She gave them the choice to interact with new foods as little or as much as they felt comfortable. One example is that of asparagus. My eldest initially said "yuk! I'm not eating that". However by the end of the session she was happily using the asparagus spear as a 'lipstick' to paint her lips.

After packing up and sending the kids off to play, Simone sat with Anna and I. I was surprised when she immediately asked if my youngest has a tongue tie (she does). The impact of this is that she nibbles her food rather than taking big bites. This can lead to early fatigue and consequently unfinished meals (even though she may still actually be hungry). This made perfect sense to me as often Miss 2 will tell me she's finished, only to want to return to finish the same meal 20-30 minutes later...I'm guessing it's just a self initiated break from all the hard work involved in chewing...

Simone gave us practical, sensible advice about mealtimes with our fussy eaters. She reinforced that as parents our role during mealtime is to decide what, where and when our children eat; while they are in charge of whether to eat and how much. While so basic, it was a timely reminder. Simone emphasised the importance of mealtime routines and explained that grazing is not recommended for children as it supresses their body's hunger and full cues. She recommended following the two hour rule, where there is a minimum of two hours between meals. This made sense to me as too much snacking means that my children (who only have a pretty small appetite anyway) won't eat their main meals.

A lightbulb moment for me was when Simone said that not every new food exposure needs to be at a mealtime. You can direct discussion and/or create art and literature experiences around the topic of food. You can also let the kids help in the kitchen. I am not great at this. I find it frustrating! However, as Simone said - it can just be a sensory play opportunity and doesn't actually have to be helpful. I have been slowly giving my girls more time in the kitchen. They enjoy helping to peel the vegetables for dinner, collecting all the scraps, counting them and lining in them up in size order (during which time I am quickly getting dinner underway)!

I have been following the advice outlined in Simone's new book "Afternoon tea: The next most important meal of the day", and creating playful afternoon tea sessions with my girls. We have been making creations with our food- cucumber boats, vegetable flowers, fruit platter rainbows. We sit and eat our creations together and talk about the food- what colour is it? Does it have a big smell or a little smell? Is it a noisy food or a quiet food? It is a great activity for the end of the day and provides them with a fun, positive way to interact with food.

Simone reinforced what I already knew but had given up on doing- exposing my kids to new foods in a positive, neutral way. I have been trying my hardest to stop serving the same old meals that I know the kids will eat and have been adding some new foods to the dinner table- peas and beans- for them to interact with. I'd stopped cooking them an age ago because the kids refused to eat them. But I'm following Simone's professional advice and have been adding them to the table. For now, the girls will only touch, smell and lick the peas and beans, but hopefully with time they will become more familiar with these veggies and eventually progress to eating them.

My next goal is to let my children become more involved in the entire meal time process. Setting the table, serving themselves, cutting up their own food, clearing the table. I need to worry less about the time and mess involved, and relinquish more control. I'm taking baby steps, but we are seeing some improvements already.

If you have a fussy eater, I would highly recommend Simone's services and products. Check out her Play with Food website  to find out more about how she could help you and your fussy eater. Her site is also full of fabulous free resources and content (Ellie's cooking show is a favourite with my kids - you should definitely check it out. It's very cute)! You can also find her here on social media (Facebook & Instragram). Follow and like her pages if you are a parent who values great content about kids and food.

And finally....a giveaway! Simone loved the BugaBee books that we stock in our online store so much that she has decided to give a copy of "The BugaBees: Friends with Food Allergies" away, along with a copy of her own book "Afternoon tea: the next most important meal of the day".  You can check out her blog to see a review of the book and to find out more about how you can enter. Entries close Sunday 4th December. Good luck!

R @ Mem & Maeve x

 

 

Managing eczema as the weather warms up

Managing eczema as the weather warms up 0

We have the trifecta in my house, asthma, eczema and food allergies and surprisingly the eczema is the trickiest to deal with.

As the weather warms up Miss 3’s skin is flaring up! She has had eczema since she was 6 weeks old but each new age brings new challenges.

Here are my top tips for managing your little ones eczema in the warmer months.

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

I know you hear it everywhere but hand on heart it is the best defense. Try carrying little tubs and tubes of moisturiser everywhere, make sure you have them in the nappy bag, in your handbag, in the glove box, next to your bed EVERYWHERE. Beg, bribe, do anything you need to get them to sit still at least twice a day to be creamed. I hear you, easier said than done, especially when they enter the toddler years.

When Miss 3 was younger it was a simple part of our routine but these days I have to use any distraction possible, I even sneak and in moisturise her in her sleep. It can be exhausting! If you have been an eczema mum for a while now, you will be nodding your head as you read this and if you are a new to managing eczema TRUST ME moisturiser is your new best friend.

Cover up

The next most important tip is to cover up sensitive skin. All my kids have super sensitive skin (and are very fair) so covering up helps with eczema as well as sun safety. Long cotton clothing, particularly that which covers the legs, protects them from elements such as grass, dirt, dust, and animal hair, while also making it harder for them to scratch. It is really important to use a natural fibre and avoid anything synthetic that will make their skin too hot and sweaty. Cotton, bamboo, and linen are all great – avoid wools, although natural they really heat up the skin and can be really scratchy.

This goes for bedding as well – cotton is the answer, a light fabric that is super breathable. Miss 3 also has a dust mite allergy which aggravates eczema, so washing regularly in a small amount of detergent especially for sensitive skin is really important, just a dash, too much detergent can cause weeks of itchy skin!

Keep it cool

Cool skin is happy skin! As parents it is our natural instinct want to bundle them up, tuck them in tight at night… but when eczema prone skin gets over heated it get angry!! Cool baths, fabrics that breathe, cotton bedding all help.

Miss 3 has a few particularly nasty patches of eczema at the moment which is a direct result of the warmer weather. No matter what I’ve tried it has just gotten worse. I have hit it with everything; moisturiser, steroid creams, wet wraps at night, keeping it cool and clean. Today I finally took her to the GP and they recommended a bleach bath… Scary hey?! I have read so much about them over the years but when she was a bub and her eczema was at its worst wet wraps, a silk balaclava (remind me to give them a shout out in another blog), mittens and heaps of cream did the trick.

The GP armed me with the Royal Children’s Hospital fact sheet (I have added the link below), I am pretty nervous, we don’t even keep bleach in the house! I would love to hear from any Mummas (and dads!) who have given in a try!

Bleach Bath Fact Sheet

I would love love love to hear from you all on your best tips to control the itch.

Email me, comment below, or hit me up on Facebook or Instagram

 A @ Mem & Maeve x

**Disclaimer: Information provided in this post is only based on experience and should not replace the advice you have been given from a medical professional and if you are at all worried about your child, take them to see your family doctor.

Organic Skincare

Organic Skincare 0

As a nurse, I understand the importance of protecting the skin and promoting future skin health. As a mother, I have always therefore been very selective about the skincare products I choose for my children. Bubba Organics is one such brand that I love and trust for my family. Their products are Australian made and owned, not tested on animals and packed full of natural ingredients. No harmful chemicals or nasties!

In my household, we are big fans of the Bubba Organics Australian Goats Milk range. We use the hair and bath wash from this range on the girls. It makes a great natural bubble bath too! Being scent-free and non-drying, it is gentle and nourishing for their dry, sensitive skin. Following up with the moisture lotion after a bath helps seal in hydration, and is a nice, soothing part of their bedtime routine.

I have a confession to make- I may have stolen the Bubba Organics Australian Goats Milk Bottom Cream from the nappy bag and popped it in my handbag. Fellow Nurses with very dry hands, take note- this stuff makes for the best hand cream! I have it on good authority that it makes for a wonderful shaving cream too.

My business partner (and bestie!) can't use the Goats Milk range in her home as one of her children has a milk protein allergy. Luckily there is also a Bubba Organics Lavender and Chamomile skincare range. It smells divine and is soothing and nourishing for the skin.

No matter which range you choose, you will be happy knowing that you have selected pure, natural, organic ingredients for use on your families skin.

Check out the range:

http://www.memandmaeve.com.au/collections/skin-care

R @ Mem & Maeve x

 

 

  • Renee Samoluk