baby · parenting

Baby Clothes Nonsense

I have long complained to my husband about the fact that ladies’ clothes so rarely have pockets, or – even more annoyingly – have fake pockets with zips or buttons that make you think there is practical storage available, but in fact has no actual pocket space.

So imagine my outrage recently when Little Man graduated from Newborn size clothes into 0 – 3 Months size (he’s still a dinky little chap!) and I realised that several of his new outfits included pockets. Not fake just-for-fashionable-purposes pockets. ACTUAL POCKETS. The people who design clothes, and apparently refuse to believe that adult females have any possessions they might want to store on their person, have simultaneously decided that my baby son – who is too young to understand the concept of ownership – might be in need of functioning pockets. What is wrong with these people?!

So of course this got me thinking about some other ludicrous decision-making that has gone into the baby clothes we own, and which I now screen all clothes for prior to purchasing…

Baby Clothes Nonsense

Elasticated ankles

On the face of it, this is a smart idea. We were gifted a really cute babygrow which had elasticated ankles, to ensure that baby’s feet stay at the bottom of the trousers

Except when we went to dress Little Man, we discovered that the elastic was so tight that we couldn’t actually get his feet in there (and if we had, presumably it would have totally cut off the blood supply to his legs).

Eventually the problem was resolved and the suit rendered useable by my husband breaking the elastic. This does, however, rather defeat the object of having it there in the first place. Consequently I’m now avoiding suits with elasticated ankles like the plate.

Ten Thousand Tiny Buttons

I mean, does this really need explaining? I often struggle with baby clothes that have a lot of poppers, especially at night because my hands often get a bit stiff and clumsy thanks to my rubbish joints. But when I discovered that some of our baby clothes have, instead of poppers, teeny tiny fiddly little buttons instead, I just had one question for the manufacturers: what the hell were you thinking? Those clothes have to be unfastened and refastened every time bubba needs a nappy change or just vomits all over himself. So seriously what the hell were you thinking?

Zippers are the future, incidentally.

The Blue / Pink / White / Grey Options

This deserves a blog post on its own, but – oh my god. The absolute BORING VOID OF BLAND GENDER NORMS that is most children’s clothing. I have a boy baby. But I don’t want to dress him in blue, blue, blue – or if I’m feeling racy, perhaps white or grey. THERE ARE OTHER COLOURS, PEOPLE. Whether I had a boy or girl I knew I wanted to dress them in lovely bright colours – red! Orange! Yellow! Green! Purple! So why is it so difficult to find nice jolly baby clothes that aren’t from some wildly expensive online boutique?

Moreover: why are white clothes so popular, when they’re the clothing choice most difficult to clean up as good as new after a poo explosion?

Inconsistent unfastening design

This one was suggested by my husband, and I totally agree with him. There are so many variants of how baby clothes are fastened, and often if you buy multi packs, you have no idea what the fastening scheme is until you get the clothes home. Which means you have no idea whether you are buying something that’s going to drive you insane every time you change a nappy. If only there were a couple of set designs and you could clearly identify them beforehand, it would help avoid those awkward clothes that look cute but require ten minutes of wrestling to actually get the baby into.

Your experience of baby clothes nonsense…

What baby clothes nonsense have you experienced? Let me know in the comments!

baby clothes nonsense stupid design childrens clothes the sickly mama blog
birth · health · parenting · post-partum · pregnancy

Post-Partum Body Bullshit

After having a baby, you expect to have a tummy and some weight to lose. That much is expected! But there’s so much weird body stuff that lingers after pregnancy that I didn’t really know about. I suppose that other than the weight, possible stretch marks, and any scars from c-sections or episiotomy etc., I assumed everything else would go back to normal. Oh, how wrong I was!

And even though some of it is minor in the grand scheme of things, I think it’s still okay to find it difficult that your body has changed in ways you weren’t expecting. So, I thought I’d write about it…

Post-Partum Body Bullshit: Weird Stuff Your Body Does After Pregnancy

Post-Partum Hairloss

This one is the worst! I have had issues with hair loss for over ten years, thanks to my pituitary issues. For the last four years or so, since my symptoms have mostly been under control with medication, my hair has been growing back slowly, although it’s still a bit patchy in places. But when I was pregnant, my hair improved so much! It got thick and shiny and generally great. In fact it was pretty much the only good thing about being pregnant (other than getting the baby at the end, obviously!)

Hair tends to get thicker during pregnancy, but not because you’re growing more hair – actually, it’s because it’s falling out less. Strange but true. Of course, what that means is that sooner or later, your scalp needs to catch up on all the hair it would normally have lost during those nine months of pregnancy. Enter post-partum hair loss, which normally kicks in about three months after giving birth.

Even though I know it’s totally normal, I’m still finding it a bit stressful to be pulling handfuls of hair out of my hairbrush on a regular basis. It just takes me back to when my own hair loss was really really bad before my tumor was diagnosed, which was a horrible, stressful time.

Annoyingly, my amazing pregnancy lips, which to be fair also looked great and incredibly plump during pregnancy, vanished almost as soon as Little Man was out! Now I’m back to relying on lipstick again…

Moles and Skin Tags

I’ve always had a lot of moles and freckles, but when I got pregnant they went into overdrive! New moles and skin tags appeared everywhere, often seemingly overnight, and they’re still here four months after having had the baby. They particularly seem to have arisen on my chest, back, and belly. Existing moles have also grown, and in some cases turned kind of scaly (ew, sorry).

The development of moles and skin tags in pregnancy is associated with all the oestrogen sloshing around your body. I’ve had my moles checked over by a doctor and she’s said that the changes appear normal and nothing to worry about. But I can’t help but be unimpressed with this new weird bobbly skin.

Weird Tan Lines

So there’s a thing that happens in pregnancy called the linea nigra, a dark line of hyperpigmented skin that runs down your belly. Typically it shows up around the second trimester, caused by pregnancy hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which stimulate the production of melanin in your skin. You may also notice skin darkening on your face and elsewhere as a result of the same process.

When you read about linea nigra online, most sites say it should disappear a few months after delivery. Well, I’m four months out and mine hasn’t faded a bit despite not getting any sunshine. And there doesn’t seem to be much consensus on what to expect, because some other sites say that the line may take a year to fade – or never go away at all.


As well as my linea nigra, I seem to have developed a patch of unpigmented skin on the right hand side of my belly. I’m quite pale so it’s not super noticeable, but it’s big enough that you can see it if you look for it. I haven’t found anything online that suggests that this is a thing which happens with pregnancy, but it definitely wasn’t there before!

What weird post-partum side effects have you had? Let me know in the comments!

fatigue · health · hypermobility · parenting · pituitary

Fatigue vs. Tiredness (It’s Not The Same Thing!)

The other day, I was sat with Little Man on my lap I’m the evening. This is, of course, a common occurrence. He’d been very difficult all day with an upset tummy and teething pain. I’d just been playing on the floor with him to distract him, doing tummy time and walking practice and licking Mr Bun Bun (the best part of playtime, of course). I sat back down with him in the armchair, and five minutes later I completely ran out of energy. And I knew I’d overdone it.

I get tired like everyone else, but I also get fatigued, thanks to my medical conditions, and although they sound similar, they’re not the same thing. These days I’m pretty good at managing my activity levels to avoid getting fatigued, but being a parent creates a new challenge in that respect, as you can’t plan for when the little man decides to kick off! So, what are the differences between normal tiredness and fatigue? How can you tell them apart?

Fatigue vs. Tiredness

How is fatigue different from tiredness?

I think a lot of people who haven’t had a chronic illness think that having fatigue is the same as being tired. Which is understandable if it’s not something you’ve experienced! Fatigue does indeed involve feeling tired, but also often includes:

  • Aching muscles
  • Difficulty concentrating or “brain fog”
  • Feeling physically weak
  • Difficulty with decision making
  • Slow responses
  • Poor memory

Plus, the sensation of tiredness/exhaustion is often quite extreme.

As well as having more extensive and severe symptoms than tiredness, fatigue is different in terms of what causes it and how you fix it. It can be caused by long-term illness, including mental illness, or stress.

Most significantly, it often doesn’t resolve with sleep, and the feeling of tiredness is disproportionate to the level of activity you’ve been doing. As a result, it can be quite tricky to understand where your limits are and not go too far. In my case, the other day I was completely surprised that I had apparently overdone it and hit a fatigue wall. I felt like hadn’t had much more of a strenuous day than usual, but obviously it was enough to tip me over the edge.

My experience of fatigue

Firstly I should say that I’m fortunate because my fatigue has improved a lot over the past few years. I first experienced fatigue when I had glandular fever at university and afterwards was left with post-viral fatigue syndrome for a number of months. Then once that started improving, my pituitary tumour started giving me more symptoms…including fatigue!

It’s gradually improved since my second pituitary surgery, when I started taking medication to treat my tumour (lanreotide). The improvement has been so slow as to be imperceptible, but looking back five years it’s a huge change in retrospect. I think as well that I’ve got much better at managing my fatigue in general. I can usually do a busy day or a late night, as long as I have nothing to do the next day. I’m also fortunate that my husband is really helpful at understanding and helping me manage my symptoms.

For me, it’s about ensuring enough downtime around periods of activity. It doesn’t need to be sleep necessarily, but just rest time without much physical or mental exercise. For instance, if I’m doing housework, I need to make sure I sit and have a short break every 15 – 20 minutes or so. If I don’t, I can end up so exhausted I’m useless for the rest of the day. When I got married, my husband had to act as a consultant for my bridesmaids organising my hen do, to ensure that it was enough of a balance of things that I’d be able to make it to the end!

When I’m tired, I can usually power through. Also, even severe tiredness tends to come and go over time, so I’ll feel better for half an hour before the tiredness hits again. When I’ve got to the point of being fatigued, though, there’s no powering through. I am completely useless.

What’s your experience of fatigue? Let me know in the comments!

tiredness vs fatigue they're not the same thing the sickly mama blog
baby · child development · colic · parenting

Why Are Babies’ Digestive Systems So Utterly Useless?

I can’t be the only parent who has looked at their beloved baby, covered in vomit at 4am after waking up crying because of trapped wind, and wondered… Why are babies born with such completely useless digestive systems? Are we the only mammal this bad at eating and pooping? Do baby monkeys get colic? And when will my child finally be able to get through a day without continuously leaking milk curds from the sides of his mouth like a pint-sized Vesuvius?

Reflux and Spitting Up

In young babies, the lower oesophageal sphincter, which separates the stomach from the oesophagus, is weak and immature, and consequently does a terrible job of keeping the contents of baby’s stomach where they’re supposed to be.

Additionally, it can take a while before baby’s stomach gets into the swing of it’s normal squeezing pattern, meaning that milk may sit in the stomach longer than normal.

The good news is that reflux should subside in around four to twelve months!

Painful Wind

Babies are rubbish at eating properly, so they take in a lot of air when feeding. Then because they just lie around like lazy little beached porpoises all day, they can’t easily eliminate the gas via the normal route of burps and farts.

Tiny bubbles of gas then cause pressure and stomach pain. And that causes very grumpy babies. Here’s the irony: crying babies also often take in excess air. Which causes gassy pain. Which causes more crying. You see where I’m going with this. It’s kind of a vicious cycle.

In theory, this should improve around 3 – 4 months of age, or when the baby starts rolling on his own, as this helps to get the gas out.

Tummy Upsets

Humans are supposed to have a (delightfully named) “digestive mucosal lining” or layer of mucous, which protects their digestive tract from microbes and other contaminants in food. In babies, this layer is thin and does a bad job at protecting their gastrointestinal tract from infection.

Weaning

Current recommendations are to avoid weaning babies until they are about six months old. Why? I found it really interesting to read about this:

  • Babies can’t produce digestive enzymes to digest starches until they’re six months old.
  • They don’t produce enough enzymes to digest complex carbohydrates until nearly seven months.
  • Their bile and lipase for digesting fats don’t reach full levels until six months.
  • Until about six months, babies’ guts allow large molecules to pass directly into the bloodstream. This is to allow antibodies from mum’s breastmilk to pass into baby’s blood. But it also allows larger molecules from solid food through, which could create a risk of infection or allergy.

Little Man has had a bad tummy ever since we got him home from hospital. I think a lot of it is due to him taking in air when he eats, because when he was in intensive care and then on the ward with me, we fed him through a naso-gastric tube, and he didn’t vomit as much or have anything like as much trouble with his tummy. Can’t wait until it all settles down, but it doesnt seem like it will be happening any time soon…

birth · health · hypermobility · pain · pregnancy

My Experience of Joint Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and Pregnancy

I thought it might be useful to write a post about my experience of Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (formerly known as Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, apparently rheumatologists like renaming stuff) during pregnancy, as I would have found it helpful to read something like this when I was pregnant!

What is hypermobility spectrum disorder?

Basically it’s an overarching term for a group of conditions relating to joint hypermobility – i.e. in simplest terms, your joints extend more than they’re supposed to. I was diagnosed with it when I was 17, although at that point they called it joint hypermobility syndrome.

I actually meet the diagnostic criteria for a condition called hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) although I’ve never been formally diagnosed with it. I did once see a dermatologist about something totally unrelated, and as it turns out he specialised in the dermatology of hEDS and was very excited to run a bunch of tests on my skin.

Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and Pregnancy

How can hypermobility spectrum disorder affect pregnancy and birth?

I was referred to an obstetrician once I was pregnant, thanks to all my stupid medical conditions, and she discussed the key potential issues from my hypermobility spectrum disorder and pregnancy, basically:

  • Risk of the birth progressing quite quickly once you reach 4cm dilated.
  • Risk of poor or slow wound healing.
  • Risk of resistance to local anaesthetic.
  • Risk of waters breaking early.
  • Risk of additional pain during pregnancy due to the extra weight and hormone changes placing stress on the joints.

So which of these issues did I actually encounter? I’ll go over them in order…

Increased joint pain during pregnancy

Oh boy did I get this one. It actually started very early too, around week 12 or 13 – well before any significant weight gain, so I assume the issue was caused by the hormone relaxin, which your body produces during pregnancy and causes joints to loosen. If you already have loose joints, that’s not great.

You’re recommended to sleep on your side during pregnancy, but I found that when I slept on one side, the hip on the bottom would gradually partially dislocate during the night and it would eventually wake me up with the pain. Then I’d swap sides, and it would repeat on the other side. By the end of the night I would only be getting maybe half an hour on each side before the pain woke me up, and my joints were so sore and stiff in the mornings. It was not fun.

I did, however, find that physiotherapy really helped. I saw a great NHS physio who have me exercises to strengthen the muscles around my hips and it made a massive difference to my pain levels, although it didn’t cure it completely.

I’m now four months out from the birth and I would say that although the sleeping pain resolved basically as soon as I have birth, I can feel that the pregnsncy has had a lasting effect on my left hip joint, which feels noticeably less stable and more often painful than previously.

Premature rupture of membranes

My waters broke at 36 weeks and 5 days, which is technically premature, but only just (37 weeks is technically full term). Premature rupture of membranes (waters breaking early, if you’re not a doctor) is a risk of hypermobility, so it’s possible that it was related.

Rapid labour

I didn’t go into labor naturally but was induced due to my waters breaking. I was put on the syntocinon drip and told to expect to progress by dilating about half a centimetre per hour. The midwife said she would check on my dilation at about the four hour mark, and that she expected me to progress about half a centimetre dilation per hour.

Two hours later I was in massive amounts of pain, they weren’t letting me have gas and air (because they said you had to be 4cm dilated first) and I felt that I definitely couldn’t cope with another 12 hours or more of it, so I asked for an epidural. The midwife put in the request, but the anaesthetists were in theatre so it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Shortly afterwards, I got the very distinct feeling that my body was starting to push. I told the midwife but she didn’t seem that bothered. Fortunately, my husband then insisted that she check how dilated I was. She had a look, realised I was fully dilated and that I was indeed pushing.

Then it was panic stations! The midwife apparently had to write loads of stuff on the computer at this point, and thus had to call in a second midwife to take over with me.

Although the dilation stage had happened really quickly, the pushing stage did not. Fortunately they did let me have gas and air at last, which helped a lot with the pain.

They wanted the baby out within two hours of starting pushing (not sure if this is standard or due to the fact my waters had broken a long time before and they were worried about infection). At some point, a doctor appeared and said that if I didn’t make good progress in the next two pushes, they were going to do an emergency caesarian. Seemingly I did make enough progress, because she went away again. Then, some time later, a couple of other doctors appeared and said I had two pushes before they would do a ventouse (suction cup) delivery.

Resistance to anaesthetic

In order to get the baby out, they had to do an episiotsomy, which then needed stitches. They gave me local anaesthetic before the stitches, but it really didn’t work, I kept telling the doctor doing the stitching that I could feel it. So I guess I did have the resistance to local anaesthetic issue.

They didn’t seem to be clued up on my hypermobility and the plan for it, because they also used the normal dissolvable thread for the stitches, instead of the silk sutures I was supposed to have, to assist in case of poor wound healing. The dissolvable stitches were okay for me in the end fortunately. One stitch broke,but that could have been because I did so much walking to and from the neonatal intensive care unit in the week after Little Man was born (he developed a very serious case of jaundice and had to go into NICU). I didn’t notice any issues with healing, thankfully.

To be fair, the mess up with the stitches and the insufficient local anaesthetic may have been due to the fact that after Little Man arrived, I had a big post-partum haemorrhage. The alarms went off and lots of doctors and nurses suddenly appeared in the room, luckily I didn’t need a blood transfusion but was put on a drip and super woozy. So it was all a bit crazy in the delivery room, and I can see how things were missed. But I did think it was disappointing that, despite having flagged a lot of these potential issues well before the birth, we were still left with them not being managed very well – especially the rapid labour. Looking back I am annoyed that I was in so much pain with no pain relief and they didn’t even think to check my dilation to see whether things had progressed further than they were expecting.

What advice do I have for other hypermobile mamas-to-be?

If you’re pregnant and have hypermobility or hEDS, I recommend flagging it early to the hospital but being prepared to advocate for yourself in the delivery room. It’s hard to do when you’re actually in labour yourself, so make sure your birth partner knows about your condition and how it can affect birth, and that they’re confident to advocate for you. I dread to think how long I would have been pushing before they thought to check my dilation, if it hadn’t been for my husband advocating for me.

I also highly recommend physiotherapy, as early in the pregnancy as possible. A lot of hospitals have long waiting lists for physio, so try to get on the list as early as possible.

Are you a mum who’s hypermobile? Let me know about your experiences with pregnancy and birth in the comments!

baby · child development · colic · parenting · sleeping · teething

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child: Thank You

We’ve been having a pretty bad time the last couple of weeks with Little Man. He has long had bad trouble with wind that wakes him up at night and upsets him regularly. But his teething has now got really bad as well.

We’re currently struggling to feed him at all, because any time the bottle goes near his mouth, he goes through the roof, even with having given him Calpol and teething gel – which obviously we can’t give every feed. Plus it’s waking him up every 40 – 60 minutes throughout the night, so we’re seriously missing out on sleep as well, and thanks to lockdown we don’t have access to any external or family support that we would normally have. So it’s tough.

One thing that is really positive though is all the help that we’ve had from friends and family who have shared some great tips and ideas for things that might help. Ideas from using a teething glove, to freezing ice cubes out of formula to rub on sore gums, to trying herbal teething powders or teas, and trying the next year size up, have all come from our friends, family and colleagues. Even if they don’t all work, at least we can feel like we’re being proactive in how we’re trying to deal with it and help the poor little dude.

It’s especially appreciated at this time. Normally, I would be going to baby groups and socialising with other mums and chatting about what they do or what products they use, but I can’t do that at the moment thanks to the lockdown. It can feel really isolating. So I really want to thank everyone who’s taken the time to share their experiences and their advice. Not only is it really useful, but it makes me feel better to know that other people have had the same issues. When you’re stuck in the house with a crying baby who won’t eat or sleep, it’s easy to get worried about what is it isn’t normal. It really brings to mind the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child. We’re very lucky to have you all in our village.

So thank you, everyone. And thanks also to everyone who’s just checked in on us or let us have a rant or even sent a gift. These are weird and challenging times to have a new baby, as if having a baby wasn’t weird and challenging enough…

baby · parenting · sleeping

Baby Sleeping Better. Mama Sleeping Worse.

When you have a baby, everyone always asks about their sleeping and how many feeds they need in the night. For quite a long time now, Little Man has had a feed around 2 – 3am and then not needed another until 7 – 8am. Sounds great! Except he has such bad tummy troubles that we get woken up regularly with those, instead of feeding. Usually he manages to get through to the 2am feed either without waking or with just one waking, but after that it’s frequent wakings through to the next feed, waking up crying and needing to be winded, burping, farting, and vomiting on us until he feels better and can go back to sleep.

Now the past couple of weeks, we’ve had what should, on the face of it, be an improvement. He’s not waking up crying with wind anything like as much as he used to. Instead he’s developed a weird habit of lifting both legs up in his sleep and slamming them down, which appears to be his own unique way of getting those farts out, and generally making fussy noises and wriggling… All while pretty much asleep.

Usually when this happens he doesn’t need anything more than me to pick up his dummy and maybe switch on his white noise owl (Ollie the Owl, a godsend gift from my lovely sister) for him to fall back into a deep sleep. But it’s often happening pretty much every twenty to forty minutes for several hours towards the end of the night, so I am constantly up and down with him and it is so tiring!

Plus to add insult to injury, his teething has got much worse lately – so often when he’s semi-awake like this, he starts chewing on one hand, and unless I intervene by taking away his hand, giving him his dummy and rubbing his belly until he goes back to sleep properly, he ends up waking up screaming because he’s bitten his hand too hard. Urgh. Sometimes I’m too slow getting to him and he’s already woken himself up a bit chewing on his hand, so then I have to hold him until he falls asleep and then attempt to transfer him into the cot without waking him up, which feels like a Krypton Factor challenge.

I’m hoping that to some extent, as far as his tummy goes, this is a good thing – a sign that his stomach is starting to improve, so his colic is lessening and he can get more wind out without needing our intervention, but from my perspective it’s definitely a case of things getting worse before they get better! Plus, once the teething is added into the mix, it’s absolutely exhausting. Fingers crossed things start to improve soon…

baby · parenting · sleeping · top tips

Baby Parenting Hacks I Wish I’d Found Out Sooner

So Little Man is now four months old, which is hard to believe! And I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned in four months of being a parent, and some of the tricks I know now, that I wish I’d known four months ago. So the time seemed ripe for a blog post about it…

The Hold

We discovered this when Little Man was nearly three months old, which was a shame because it meant I found him a bit big to actually use it. Basically it’s a way of holding a young baby that is very effective at soothing them. My husband found it really effective with Little Man, but I do think it’s easier if you have big hands! It would have been super useful when the little dude was really tiny and screaming the house down.

The Magic of Horsey Rides

This is a discovery from the last month or so which I wish I’d found sooner! Basically, sitting Little Man on my knee and gently bouncing him for a ‘horsey ride’ (ideally with sound effects included, and/or the silly Horsey Ride Song which I’ve made up) is incredibly soothing for him. It’s a great way to chill him out when he’s being really grumpy.

The Chill Wind

Little Man is a baby boy, and as we discovered to our detriment, apparently baby boys have this reflex which means that there incredibly likely to pee when you take off their nappy and the cold air hits them. Consequently for some time, nappy changes were like a weird, very damp game of dodgeball, with me and my husband leaping out of the way of wee jets at regular intervals, and the little dude managing to pee on his own face on more than one occasion.

Then we discovered that if you opened the nappy to let some cool air in, and even blow into the opened nappy, before shutting it up quickly, it usually helps to make him pee before the main nappy change takes place! According to the internet, this is called the “cold activation method“, which sounds very sciencey indeed.

The Try Before You Buy

I’m due a rant about baby clothes any time now, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. It’s not really a hack per se, but just having the knowledge and forethought to check how baby clothes fasten before buying them. Poppers = okay. Zips = better. Hundreds of tiny buttons = every parent’s nightmare at nappy change time!

The Peg Swaddle

Okay, bear with me on this one. When Little Man was a teeny baby, we got into swaddling him to help him sleep (in line with safe swaddling guidance). However, once he got to about three months old, he was strong enough to sometimes be able to partially escape from the swaddle during the course of the night, so we stopped swaddling as there was a risk of him ending up tangled in blankets or with the blanket on his face. I was worried that he wouldn’t go to sleep well once we stopped, but actually he transitioned fine and would fall asleep happily without the swaddle.

At least… Until a week or two ago, when he developed a bad habit of fussing at his face with his hands. I think it’s a combination of teething and itchy eyes from hayfever. When he’s sleepy, he will fuss like mad, poke his own face, bite his fingers, pull out his dummy and then cry because he’s hurting himself. Understandably, this makes it very difficult for him to fall asleep!

We were staying to lose both our minds and a lot of sleep as a result of this, because it was just so hard to get him to fall asleep. Then I invented the peg swaddle! I basically wrap him up in a blanket as if he were being swaddled, but crucially don’t tuck any part of the blanket underneath him. I fasten it at the side with a peg. It keeps his arms away from his face and allows him to fall asleep. Then when he’s sleeping soundly, I undo the peg, open out the blanket and tuck the ends underneath the mattress so there’s no loose covers. Obviously we only use this when he’s supervised, but it’s just such a useful trick for getting him to fall asleep!

There’s actually quite a few more that I can think of, but in the interests of making sure this isn’t the longest post ever, I’ll save them for another time…

baby · health · hypermobility · pain · parenting

Hypermobile Mama

I thought it might be good to write something about my experience so far of being a mama with hypermobility. I have hypermobility spectrum disorder, which basically means rubbish joints that bend too far and hurt, and technically I meet the diagnostic criteria for Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) although I’ve never formally been diagnosed with it other than by a random dermatologist at an appointment about something else (long story).

My worst joints are probably my hips and knees, although I also get pain in my shoulders, elbows, ankles, hands and feet (so basically everywhere other than my spine!). So what is my experience so far of parenting with hypermobility spectrum disorder?

Parenting with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder

The Advantages

I always like to try to stay positive and actually, as it turns out, there is at least one advantage to having hypermobility with my baby! His dad always complains that the little dude pinches and claws at his hands and arms when he holds him in his lap, and I was wondering why he didn’t do it to me… Except actually he does! But because I have skin that stretches more than it should, it doesn’t bother me when he grabs handfuls of it. This is the same superpower that led me to be immune to Chinese burns when I was in primary school…

The Disadvantages

The main disadvantage so far is just the ability to treat pain when it arises. I normally try to avoid taking medication for my joint pain unless it’s really bad, and I like to manage it using heat – hot water bottles or baths especially. But you can’t put a hot water bottle on a sore hip when you have a baby in your lap, and my opportunities for taking baths have been significantly reduced! Plus even when it’s bad and I want to take painkillers, if Little Man has just fallen asleep in my lap then I’m not going to go moving him.

For the first time the other day, when I was feeding Little Man and he was quite fussy with teething pain, he was pushing back against my arm so hard that it was making my shoulder partially dislocate even with me trying to brace the shoulder against a cushion. By the end of the feed, my shoulder was so sore!

He’s still only four months old, so I’m definitely worried that as he becomes stronger, it will become easier for him to accidentally injure me. All I can really do is try to build up the muscles around my joints which helps to hold them in place better. So I’m currently doing a tonne of yoga to try to strengthen my joints as far as possible.

Are there any other hypermobile mamas or papas out there with tips for taking care of your joints and a baby at the same time?

hypermobile mama my experience of parenting with hypermobility spectrum disorder the sickly mama blog
baby · Just for fun · parenting

The Baby Olympics

I’ve been entertaining myself lately by speculating about what events Little Man could medal in at the Baby Olympics.
Most actual “Baby Olympics” events held around the world (notably including in Bahrain in 2018 and on the Ellen de Generes Show) include boring events like crawling races, as well as featuring participants up to five years old which, frankly, is cheating.
No, I’m talking about a REAL Baby Olympics, testing the athletic skills that babies really practice and hone every day at home. Events such as…

The Long-Distance Dummy Spit

Little Man is a champion at this. One minute he has his dummy, the next minute it’s flying past my ear in high velocity slow-mo like something out of The Matrix. How does he get it to fly so far with, seemingly, no effort at all? It’s a closely-guarded secret.

The Fussathon

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Some babies, trying to keep their parents up at night, go for the Explosion Of Fury approach. Now, Little Man is a proponent of that approach, but he knows it’s hard to keep up over the long term, without just ending up tired. Instead, the true connoisseur baby keeps his parents up while simultaneously remaining asleep himself, by fussing, thrashing around, and making loud grumpy noises in his sleep. Now that’s something that can be continued almost indefinitely. What a pro.

The Baby Biathlon

An event where top prizes are awarded for simultaneous eating and pooping. Little Man is a true champion at this, but I recommend against volunteering to be part of the stadium clean up crew afterwards. Let the Japanese do it.

Kneeplechase

Little Man loves being bounced on my knee on an imaginary horsey ride. Weirdly, it is sometimes the only thing that will calm him down. We even have a special horsey ride song we sing (well, okay, I sing). The Olympics don’t currently feature a steeplechase, but I think the Baby Olympics should introduce it as an event.

Greco-Roman Bunny Wrestling

Up until very recently, Little Man has not really been interested in toys. But all that has now changed and he will sometimes grab Mr Bun Bun a.k.a. Peter Rabbit, and suck on his leg or bash him repeatedly into the ground. No doubt about it, he could definitely take Mr Bun Bun in a fight.What events do you think your baby could medal in? Let me know in the comments!