Author Archives: Anna Mapson

Fevers: How to manage a child’s high temperature

With cold and flu season here, the next time you or your children are poorly, you may be reaching for the paracetamol to reduce their fever. It’s natural to worry about your child’s high temperature and want to reduce their symptoms.

But research shows that we actually need to thank our fever for helping fight off infection. That’s because some studies have shown elevated body temperature helps certain types of white blood cells, lymphocytes, to work better. This supports our immune system to fight off the bugs that make us ill.

What causes a high temperature

Fevers are normally caused by a mild viral infection. Of course sometimes a fever reflects a dangerous infection that needs medical assessment from a health professional, but if the raise in temperature is minor you can support your child’s immune system with rest and plenty of hydration. Offer lots of breastmilk if they are breastfed.

Fevers actually help protect us.

One study showed that children who had a fever of 38.3°C before they were 12 months old were less likely to demonstrate have allergies at age 6 to 7 years. In the acute phase of an infection raising the body temperature stops the bad bugs from multiplying which may reduce the length and severity of common colds and flu.

How to help a baby with a high temperature

If you decide not to treat a fever in your little one, then do keep track of the temperature through their illness. Take their temperature regularly and record it. You can help them feel better with a plenty of cool drinks and lots of cuddles and not keeping them too hot.

When to look for help (NHS advice):

  • Check your child for signs of dehydration – these can include a dry mouth, no tears, sunken eyes and, in babies, fewer wet nappies
  • your baby is under three months old and they have a temperature of 38C (101F) or higher
  • your baby is three to six months old and has a temperature of 39C (102F) or higher
  • your child develops a red rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
  • your child has a fit (convulsion)
  • they are crying constantly and you can’t console or distract them, or the cry doesn’t sound like their normal cry
  • has a high-pitched or unusual sound when crying
  • the fever lasts for more than five days
  • your child’s health is getting worse
  • you have any concerns about looking after your child at home

Stay well this winter!

 

blueberries

Help! My 12 Month Old Won’t Eat – 10 Tips For Feeding a One Year Old

In a recent 1:1 weaning session yesterday I met a one year old who had become very fussy about eating suddenly, and seemed to reject a lot of foods that were accepted before. Sound familiar to any of you?? We often hear parents saying ‘My 12 month old won’t eat, and they were brilliant before!’

We looked at everything the child had eaten over a week, and I took a brief health history too to review all his body systems (e.g. sleep patterns, digestive health, mood, skin health etc) Here are some of the things I talk about with the parents. 

  1. Look at your child’s nutrition over a week, not a day. Try not to worry if they go through phases of not eating much. We all accept times when baby’s have a growth spurt, but we’re often less happy to accept times when their appetite reduces.
  2. Know that babies rate of growth slows down between 1-2 so they may need less energy than before.
  3. Neophobia ‘fear of new things’ is common between 12-24 months and is a totally normal phase of development. Babies become distrustful of new things for a period of time.
  4. If babies begin to feed themselves at this age they may also eat less, and take longer for meals until they get the co-ordination right. Consider whether you allow enough time for meals to let them feed themselves or is there a rush to finish due to the family schedule? Also aim to end a meal within 20 minutes if they are finished so he / she doesn’t get bored.
  5. Provide a sample of different foods at each meal, some new, some well accepted foods
  6. Give small amounts at a time if food is thrown on the floor. Allow them to trial their new skills of pincer grip and give them blueberries, peas, chickpeas to pick up one by one. 
  7. Think about what else is going on for them at this time (e.g. have their passed a new developmental milestone such as learning to walk, talk) or has their routine changed suddenly?
  8. Try food in different forms if texture is an issue. E.g. beans on their own, raw mushrooms/ courgette, or roasting instead of boiling veg. 
  9. Keep on offering a range of healthy foods and if they don’t eat what you give at one meal don’t make a fuss, clear the food away and wait until the next mealtime. Don’t offer an alternative snack to fill them up, just accept they may not be hungry
  10. As always trust your instincts and if something feels wrong over an extended period of time consult your GP. Look for wet/dirty nappies, changes in mood, fever etc as normal.

If you’d like some individual support with feeding your family please get in touch. Anna comes to your home to talk through all your feeding issues and your baby can be there too, but it’s not essential. Book on info@the-gentle-touch.com or call 07812010412

Fertility – Sleep may affect sperm quality

Are you trying to conceive? So much attention is focused on a woman’s fertility because our reproductive systems and hormones are more varied and complicated. You might be exercising, eating well, perhaps taking some herbs or acupuncture. You may have also thought about your partner’s sperm quality and it can be improved.  

But have you made sure your partner is getting enough sleep? 

Some new research has just come out linking the length of a man’s sleep to the quality of  his sperm. 

A research project in China has shown that sleeping for less or more than seven hours a night could reduce men’s sperm quality.  

Researchers found that sperm from men who slept for more than nine hours or less than six and a half hours a night had lower volume of and lower total sperm count

Scientists noted that the sperm quality was at its best when men snoozed for seven to seven and a half hours a day.

Fertility Nutrition

Anna, our Nutritional Therapist, can work with you on your diet if you are trying for a baby to get you in the best shape for pregnancy. Sometimes simple dietary changes can improve your hormones, immune system and feelings of wellbeing. 

The best results come from both partners looking at their diet and getting into top pre-conception form, and we can run double appointments if you’d like to come along together.  Contact Anna for a free 15 minute appointment to discuss what you are looking for. Even if you don’t book she may be able to provide some ideas for you to investigate and try at home. 

Anna – 07812010412 or email on info@the-gentle-touch.com 

 

Pregnancy Nutrition

Pregnancy Diabetes – what is it and what to eat?

What is Gestational / Pregnancy Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes means you’ll have too much glucose in your blood. This happens because an increase in pregnancy hormones means you’re less sensitive to insulin, which helps glucose get into the cells where it can be used.

What are the issues with having diabetes in pregnancy?

Complications associated with gestational diabetes are an increased risk of a large birth weight babies, which increase the risk of complicated delivery and caesarean section. There is also links between gestational diabetes and your baby being overweight or developing Type 2 Diabetes in later life.

It’s possible you won’t know you’ve got diabetes when pregnant until your midwife tests your urine. The signs include passing urine more often, increased thirst, and extreme tiredness – but these are common pregnant complaints anyway!

How to manage gestational diabetes

When you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you should be given equipment so that you can regularly test your blood glucose levels at home.

You can significantly reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes by managing your weight before and during pregnancy, eating healthily and keeping active.

Here are our food tips for managing your diet when pregnant:

  1. Careful with the carbs

Choose complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, e.g. rye, and get your carbohydrates through starchy vegetables (sweet potato, parsnips). Avoid sugary cakes, breakfast cereals, white pasta & bread. Eat nutritious grains such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and millet. Avoid ready meals which are full of sugar and salt. Bulk up your meals with protein and lots of vegetables. 

  1. Focus on nutrient value of food

Carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) foods help to control blood glucose levels – such as whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, granary bread, all-bran cereals, pulses, beans, lentils, muesli and porridge. Ensure you’re getting lots of healthy plant based fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, as well as oily fish to help boost your body and feed your baby. 

  1. Avoid sugary foods

Aim to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet. You can do this by:

  • Better snacks – swapping cakes and biscuits for fruit with seeds, rice cakes or oatcakes with marmite / nut butters
  • Make some energy balls with nuts and seeds and dried fruits instead of chocolates and cakes.
  • Add ground seeds and nuts to your porridge for extra protein.
  • Swap juice and squash for water flavoured with fresh lemon, mint or cucumber.
  1. Eat small meals often

Avoiding long gaps in between meals and focus on three main meals a day. This will help you control your appetite and blood glucose levels. Ensure you are including lots of protein (fish, eggs, meat, beans etc) at each meal to keep you fuller for longer. 

  1. Exercise

Physical activity that raises your heart rate also lowers your blood glucose level, so regular exercise such as swimming, brisk walking or yoga can be an effective way to manage gestational diabetes. Aim for 150 minutes a week in 30 minute sessions.

  1. Get your 7 a day (5 vegetables and 2 fruit)

Use veg to bulk up your meals and snack on vegetable sticks instead of sweets, crisps and biscuits. Fibre in the vegetables will help you manage your insulin release. Don’t drink fruit juices and smoothies which are high in natural sugars. Eat no more than 2 pieces of fruit a day and eat with some protein to slow the absorption of sugars.

  1. Support your gut microbiome

Several recent studies have found taking a probiotic during pregnancy can reduce the risk and severity of complications associated with pregnancy diabetes. Consider taking a probiotic or eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir to support your gut bacteria.

If you’ve found these tips useful why not come along to our pregnancy nutrition seminar on 18th November where we’ll cover all sorts of pregnancy ailments. We also look at the key nutrients you need in pregnancy, and what to eat to meet these targets. http://the-gentle-touch.com/booking/pregnancy-nutrition-workshop/

 

 

Baby Sleeping in mothers arms

Did you know cuddling your baby can help you with stress reduction?

We hear a lot about the importance of skin to skin around the time of birth, and this is because the cuddling helps to release oxytocin for baby and mum.

Skin to skin – Benefit to baby

There are numerous benefits for the baby, and evidence has been shown from cases in NICU where babies show better temperature regulation, better breathing patterns, less stress, more effective glucose regulation and many more. 

Skin to skin – Benefits for Mum

It’s not just all for the baby though, there are also benefits for you as a mum post birth. When you cuddle your baby skin to skin your brain releases beta-endorphin. Beta-endorphin is a pain reducing hormone that helps you respond to your baby. This hormone also reinforces the pleasure in the cuddles, and increases feelings of calmness. It can also reduce stress levels in mums 

If you need any more excuses for another cuddle with your newborn there they are. Some studies have shown even smelling that gorgeous newborn smell is enough to evoke positive feelings. We all love that baby smell, and it’s been shown even a whiff of your little baby can send out reward message from the part of the brain responsible for pleasure. 

So next time you feel awash with love when you’re cuddling you know you’re not imagining it, your body is tuned in to your baby on a chemical level.

Baby Massage

If you’d like to spend more time with your baby learning how to soothe and comfort them try our Baby Massage classes. The release of oxytocin during the skin to skin strokes can help both you and your baby relax. Look at our Booking page for details of classes near you, or we can arrange a private class. Our classes are a great way to meet new people in your area too, it’s friendly and welcoming. Many parents enjoy sharing tips and stories on parenting to help get to know each other. 

pregnancy heartburn

Pregnancy Heartburn

How your body changes during pregnancy

Pregnancy Heartburn or Reflux can be very painful. You don’t have to ignore this and carry on, there are some small changes you can make to reduce the impact of the changes during pregnancy. 

As your pregnancy progresses the stomach is displaced upwards and rising progesterone levels relax the oesophageal sphincter so food and acid is more likely to come through. Also relaxin slows your digestion which means food stays in the stomach for longer.

How to help pregnancy heartburn through your diet

  • Eat less, more often – smaller meals will be easier for your body to digest rather than 3 big meals a day.
  • Avoid foods which make heartburn worse – such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, greasy or fried foods, spicy foods, chocolate, coffee and fizzy drinks and alcohol (some of these you should eliminate anyway!).
  • Liquidise – smoothies, soups and slow cooked stews are easier to digest. Keep up your vegetable intake through a daily smoothie mid-morning, or soup for lunch.
  • Avoid eating before bed or lying down so food doesn’t come up.
  • Peppermint tea also opens the oesophogael sphincter so avoid directly before bed.

Have you got your free Pregnancy Superfoods eBook yet? Download this from our website today. 

Pregnancy Nutrition Workshop

Join us on the 18th Nov to meet other expectant mums and learn what makes a healthy pregnancy diet. Find out how to support your body and your growing baby through food during pregnancy. Book online or contact us with any questions. 

Saturday 18th November, 10.00-12.00. 

The Elephant House, 1 Dean St, Southville, BS3 1BG

The workshop will be jammed with information about how you can easily eat healthily during pregnancy, and you can ask any questions to our registered nutritional therapist, Anna (BANT, CNHC). It’s fun, and there is no judgement about your diet, it’s supportive and gives you the tools to make healthy diet choices during pregnancy.  

Hope to see you there! 

 

BLW – Dealing with food waste

How do you deal with food waste in Baby Led Weaning (BLW)?

Baby Led Weaning can lead to some wasted food as your baby explores the motions of eating. For some babies picking up food, putting in their mouth can be rather messy with lots ending up on the floor. How should you deal with this food waste? 
 
If you’re giving your baby finger foods and a lot ends up on the floor how do you feel about it?
 
Some babies throw everything on the floor, it’s a kind of game to them, to see what happens when food gets dropped off the side of the highchair. They can see it as a kind of game and relish the reaction you give, so think about how you react when it happens. 
 
Some things you can consider are:
 
  • Limiting portion sizes so you only give a small amount at a time. When that’s eaten give a bit more.
  • If your baby throws the bowl off the highchair you can get bowls and plates with suction pads on to fix them to the tray.
  • Try a clean plastic floor covering (like a table cloth) under the high chair so food can be picked up and put back on the tray.
  • Remember it’s only a short while and whilst no-one wants to waste food it won’t be forever that your baby is exploring food in this way.
  • Limit meal times to 20 mins max – babies can get bored if left in their chair too long.
How do you deal with any food that gets dropped / thrown? Send us your tips or join our Facebook group (Baby Nutrition & Weaning) where we discuss tips for starting your baby on solid foods. 
 
If you’d like to learn more about Baby Nutrition and Weaning come to our next class or organise one for you and a group of friends at your home. Our bookings page has details of all our classes or email us to ask about organising a 1:1 session or private group class – info@the-gentle-touch.com 
 
 

Pregnancy Nutrition: Constipation

Hormonal changes during pregnancy have a relaxing effect on the digestive tract, which can slow down transit time through your bowels. Pregnancy constipation often occurs mostly in the first trimester, but 4 in 10 women get constipation during pregnancy.

What to eat to help pregnancy constipation

  • Ground flax seeds can help form a soft stool
  • Include prunes, dried figs and raisins
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables to increase your fibre
  • Include beans, lentils and pulses in your diet

Flax Seeds

Lifestyle changes

  • Keep moving, walking is excellent exercise and helps regulate the bowels. Aim for 30 mins a day.
  • Drink lots of water or herbal teas.
  • Raise your feet up on a low stool when doing a poo. Squatting is a more natural position and can help the bowels to open.
  • Always go to the toilet when you feel you need to poo, holding onto it interferes with the nerve connection which allows us to let go.
  • Set a certain time of the day when you try to go, perhaps first thing in the morning, and after a meal.
  • Check your iron tablets if you’re taking them. Iron in the form of ferrous sulphate can cause constipation so look for an organic iron if this is a problem.
  • Avoid taking bran which can irritate your gut and inhibit the uptake of iron, calcium, magnesium and other minerals.

 

If you’ve found these tips useful why not come along to our pregnancy nutrition seminar on 7th October where we’ll cover all sorts of pregnancy ailments. We also look at the key nutrients you need in pregnancy, and what to eat to meet these targets. http://the-gentle-touch.com/booking/pregnancy-nutrition-seminar/

 

FREE Pregnancy Suprtfoods eBook – find out which foods can help you boost your nutrient intake during pregnancy to support a healthy pregnancy

 

Tongue Tie – Medically known as Ankyloglossia

What is a tongue tie?

Tongue tie is where the strip of skin, frenulum, between the underside of the tongue and the floor of their mouth is shorter than usual anchoring it down and restricting movement.

If your baby has a tongue tie it will hopefully be picked up by your health professional at birth during their routine check.  However, lots aren’t and sometimes it is only noticed some weeks later, and a few weeks for a newborn is obviously a significant amount of time.

Does it cause any problems for baby?

Sometimes a tongue tie doesn’t cause any problems and if this is the case, then no treatment is needed at all.

However, it can interfere with feeding your baby.  Especially breastfeeding as commonly babies can’t open their mouths wide enough to latch on securely to withdraw milk from your breast.  To have a successful and comfortable feed, babies need to be able to take some breast tissue into their mouths and not just the nipple.

If they aren’t latched correctly you may hear a clicking or sucking noise as their mouths slip off.  This might also mean they take in more air when feeding so adding to a gassy tummy too.

Although it’s common for babies to feed often, sometimes every hour, if this is constant and combined with an unsettled and unsatisfied baby consistently after every feed, it is worth checking their tongue for a tie.

How can I check if my baby has a tongue tie?

Always see your health professional as soon as you have any worries about tongue tie.  It is quick to diagnose and worth getting it looked at because it can really impact whether you and your baby are successful at breastfeeding due to the difficulties it can cause.

You can also have a look at your baby’s mouth yourself, some tongue ties are much more obvious than others.  An obvious thing to look for is the actual string of tissue, like a little thread from tongue to floor of mouth. 

It is also worth putting your clean fingers in their mouth and sliding from one side to another, underneath their tongue.  Sometimes you can’t always see an obvious frenulum but you may be able to feel the tightness there.  The best position for your baby to be in to do this check is lying down with their head on your lap, facing upwards, feet pointing away from you.

What can be done if my baby has a tongue tie?

A trained medical professional can snip the frenulum freeing up any tension it is causing and allowing the mouth to gain full range of movement.  A frenotomy is a quick procedure with a very good success rate.  You may need to spend some time afterwards relearning your latch again as it may feel very different to both you and your baby.

 

Baby Weaning: My 6-9 month old baby isn’t interested in food!

It can be stressful if your baby doesn’t seem keen on solid foods. You want the best for your baby, and we all have an innate desire to feed the things we love (just see kids poking grass into a rabbits cage!) 

If your baby isn’t keen on eating as you introduce solid foods there are a couple of things to consider. (These pointers are for babies between 6-9 months in the first few months of weaning) 

  • Some people don’t take to food straight away – allow your baby time to explore food, putting together a picture of the smell, taste and texture of each food. 
  • Babies go through stages of growing, sometimes they eat more than others, so try to look at the trends over a week / month rather than a day.
  • Try not to panic – if your baby is still getting regular milk feeds with wet and dirty nappies he is still getting enough nutrients. At this stage food isn’t a major source of nutrients. The nutrient content of milk (mum’s milk or formula) won’t compare to a bit of carrot and some banana.
  • Offer what you’re having every time you sit down to eat and don’t make it a big deal. Sit down at the table together, put your baby in a highchair and give him the same as you, or offer him bits of your food whist you eat. 
  • If you’ve got to a point where you feel nothing is working and you’re really stressed then take a break for a couple of days.  Go back to milk only, and then start again 

If you’ve got past 9-10 months and your baby still isn’t interested in any food it might be worth getting some additional advice. Anna’s Baby Nutrition consultations are £45 for an hour, held at your home. FREE 15 minute phone consultations are available to see if you’d like to book a full session. 

Contact us for more details about the consultations or with any questions on weaning – info@the-gentle-touch.com.