Monday, 26 July 2010

The Work/home divide

Many of us working mummies encounter problems along the way associated with keeping a healthy, happy balance of work life and home life. The decision to go back to work can be a particularly hard one to make. Its even harder when the decision has been made for you. For many of us, financial ties means being a stay at home mum is just not an option.

Having tried for over five years for my little girl (and going through fertility treatment) I felt incredibly heartbroken knowing that I'd have to leave the one person I love more than I ever felt possible. Olivia being born 10 weeks prematurely didn't help. I never got to hold my little girl straight after she was born. She was rushed directly into neonatal intensive care, ventilated and put in an incubator. A necessary but difficult separation. For six weeks all I did was cry whilst sat by her incubator, willing her to get stronger. So going back to work and leaving her again felt like yet another enforced separation. But nonetheless, going back to work was what I had to do.
Thankfully, my childcare was being carried out by my mum and dad, which makes leaving Olivia that much easier. I know I can trust them and she is getting one to one care while I am at work earning that much needed crust. I consider myself and Olivia to be very lucky.

It is still hard though keeping the balance right. Off with the mummy hat, on with the work one. When your baby needs you and so does your boss it can be difficult to keep both sides happy.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Pampers and the Argentine Ministry of Health

Well, if you have read my last blog post you'll remember that we asked them if they would put a warning on the pack that it may cause sensitivity in some babies, and if affected to discontinue use and seek medical advice. UK procter and gamble refused - saying that there wasn't enough space on the pack to do this. Well, it seems the Argentinian ministry of health has ordered that a warning indeed be put on these new nappy packs.

Translated, this says that the product contains chemical agents, in the case of hypersensitivity, discontinue use and consult a doctor.

THEY FOUND SPACE THEN?? C'mon P&G - do the right thing.

Procter and Gamble meeting

So, friday 2nd July my hubby, Olivia and I headed off to woking to a meeting with the makers of pampers - that multi-billion pound company - procter and gamble. Pampers is their biggest product, they also make things like Bold laundry detergent. A few of us mums and dads were at that meeting - all of us extremely angry at our (and our babies) treatment by procter and gamble. P&G had paid for our travel to the meeting venue and also for two nursery nurses, soft play equipment and a family GP to be there. They had, surprise, surprise, Aimee Goldsmith there from their PR department, Fiona - customer relations and an american lady called Heidi from research and development.
Things quickly got down to business. One by one we put our complaints and issues to P&G. I had to hold back the tears as I described our experience. The way my daughter's bum bled and how she is so scared to go to the toilet now she holds her poo - frightened that it will once again be excruitinatingly painful. Very quickly Aimee Goldsmith cut in - apparently her boys too had had nappy rash so bad it bled when they were young - nappy rash isn't caused by a nappy.

The meeting seemed to go round in circles several times. Babies don't wee at the back of the nappy, there is nothing in the nappy to suggest it can cause a rash, blah, blah, blah...

Basically, they are going to do nothing.

One thing that myself and Jaymee, one of the other mums there, suggested was to put a warning on the pack - MAY cause sensitivity - if affected discontinue use and seek medical advice. No, they said - there isn't enough room on the pack as the same pack is used in many different countries and needs to have all the different languages on it. We were incredulous. They were going to do nothing. The new product is here to stay. In order for any kind of change in their nappies to occur, the levels of complaints about rashes needs to be much higher than it currently is. The rashes need to have medical evidence. The only thing that made me feel slightly better was that although they have changed their new baby nappies, they have not changed their new baby micro nappies. The thought of premature babies having to go through the same sort of rashes as my baby did doesn't even bear thinking about.

So here we are. A company refusing to take any kind of responsibility for the awful rashes their product has no doubt caused. Can we prove it? No. But are over 11,000 parents wrong? That is the number on the US facebook site - bring back the old cruisers/swaddlers. Our group has over 200 members - are they all wrong too?

Disheartened but not deterred, we are all fighting on...

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Monday, 5 July 2010

pampers - the fight

Armed with what I thought was pretty good evidence of these new dry max nappies causing Olivia's awful burn-like rash I contacted BBC Watchdog. The thought of another mum, dad or guardian going through with their baby what we had with Olivia didn't even bear thinking about. I was still quite shocked though to recieve a phone call from one of the watchdog researchers asking me to appear in the show. Yes, I said, definately. I was so eager to get our story out there. So, off we went to a lovely childrens soft play area in Putney called Eddie Catz where we were interviewed by Alice Beer. A truly lovely woman. We spent roughly three hours telling our stories to the camera. I met there two other mums who also had experienced problems with the new dry max nappies - one of whom I'm sure will be a friend for life and who has been such a support and advocate for mums and dads out there experiencing the same rashes I have. Two weeks later the show was aired. At 8pm as we were sitting down to watch it a phonecall announced that my segment had been completely cut - but they still had loads of footage of my little girl. The reason for this? Time constraints. That ol' chesnut. It turned out to be "legal reasons"- they were afraid of being sued!

Undeterred, I had watched the pampers PR rep, Aimee Goldsmith, present in the studio being interviewed by Ann Robinson - she was good. Obviously PR suited this girl. But no, they weren't going to change back to the old active fit that we all know and love. These new dry max nappies were here to stay. The only word I can think of to describe this woman was arrogance. She had it in buckets. The words "no-one likes us, we don't care" sprung to mind as she casually dismissed any sort of suggestion that us mums were right.

I had been in contact with Procter and Gamble for quite some time by this stage and had sent back a medical questionnaire with details of the rash and with consent for them to contact Olivia's doctor. I have nothing to hide. One of the doctors had said that he'd never seen a rash like it. I am still waiting for a response to this.

Next came a meeting with Procter and gamble. I felt like I was walking into the lions den.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

New dry max pampers nappies

So, as many of you mums and dads are probably aware, the nappy giant Pampers have decided to change their active fit and new baby nappies. Gone are the nappies with know and love and in their place are much thinner nappies with a new "dry max" core. They are billed to be much drier and, as one of Procter and gambles (the multi billionaire makers of pampers nappies) Research and development people said "feels like underwear but absorbs like a nappy".
The trouble is - I don't think there are many of us that actually WANTED a change in a nappy that worked brilliantly well in the first place.

The first anyone of us actually knew about a change was when we ripped open the packet and a little purple card fell out asking us to fill out a questionnaire about our experiences with the new nappy. There is nothing whatsoever different about the packaging. Nothing on the outside to tell you that what is inside is different. Did I fill it out? No, I was too busy changing my baby's pooey bottom. On went the nappy, the card went in the bin...

The new nappies look very much different to the old active fit. There is no soft mesh netting inside and the cottoney pulp has also gone. Add to that the absorbent gelling material only goes a short way to the back of the nappy and you are asking for lots of miffed mums and dads.

So, we started using the new improved active fit (size 4) and weren't at all worried. Why would we be? Pampers are well known for producing a fantastic nappy that you can trust not to let you down and to give your baby the best in comfort.

Then Olivia developed a nappy rash. Again, we weren't worried. All babies have nappy rash from time to time - she must be teething. My husband and I made sure to change her nappy every 2 hours or at least to check and add more sudocream/bepanthan. Usually her rashes would go very quickly, within a few days. This one seemed much more persistant. A few days later and far from going away seemed to be getting worse. In fact it got so bad that I took her to our emergency doctor service as it was a saturday. He gave us canesten - give it a couple of days. I was far from convinced. Being a nurse I know what a fungal nappy rash looks like - this didn't look the same. But off I went. When the next day it started to bleed and was covering her whole anal area, back I went to the emergency doctors. He gave me yet another funghal nappy rash cream. And so on and on we went. Multiple doctors visits with me pleading with them to listen - this isn't a funghal nappy rash - look at her open bloody sores!! I have never in my life seen anything like this before. But still I never thought it could be the nappy. Nappies just don't do that. So throughout this we were using the new pampers active fit with dry max. I was buying boxes upon boxes of them as they were so cheap - and we were changing so frequently.

I tried every single cream that you can think of. Prescribed and non prescribed - non made a difference. We were all at a loss as to what was causing this awful open weeping sores. Sores so wet that the cream wouldn't even stick to it. Till one night.

We had an estate agent round to take photos of our house ready to go on the market. Olivia had only had a nappy on for a short time - just long enough for us to meet with our estate agent. When he left my husband and I went upstairs to change her and the blood that greeted me as I removed her nappy made me feel physically sick. I managed to sob out above my daughters agonised screams - we are taking her to A&E - they must be able to do something!! Once again off we went. The doctor - lovely as he was couldn't do anything to help us. I said to him - it looks like she has a burn - how do you treat severe burns? Can we have her swabbed? Yes, certainly - at our GP's.

The swab came back clear for all signs of fungus - her open sores were infected with bacteria from her gut. We were prescribed another cream and in the meantime stopped using the pampers nappies. I had come across the huggies superdry that said they were super breathable. No nappy on as usual during the day but if necessary stop using the new pampers and put one of these superbreathable huggies on her. Let the air get to her. Within days her rash had started to heal.
Then the penny dropped. A friend had emailed me the link to the US Facebook site "bring back the old cruisers/swaddlers" and on it was a photo of a rash almost identical to Olivia's.

I have never had a problem with a rash like this since I stopped using the new pampers dry max. Whenever her rash would start to heal before and I put a dry max nappy on her the rash would come back with a vengence. I thought this was because her rash wasn't exposed to the air - I now know better.

These nappies are the cause of my daughters horrendous rashes. And also a factor in her developing functional fecal retention - a subject I'll talk about in a later post.

My fight with pampers was just beginning...

Monday, 31 May 2010

Nappies and sleep issues!!

So, I was going to write a bit about how life has been since becoming a mummy but instead I'm now dealing with two distressing mummy worries.

How do you get an 18 month old back into her old bedtime routine? Feel like the worst mummy in the world, hearing my beautiful baby girl absolutely sob her heart out for me as I leave her in her room. This technique is called controlled crying, and although we have used it successfully in the past, it doesn't make it any easier hearing your child so distressed. So, here we go again, waiting for the routine to kick back in.

The other worry? Nappies. You'll see in further posts why I have such worries in this area. Let it be enough said that the words "Pampers" and "active fit with dry max" are banned in our house! But now we are thinking about switching to chemical free cloth nappies. I am so concerned with what is in contact with my daughters skin that I am now really starting to feel anti-disposable after reading about the chemicals in them.

So this is my rambling post for today.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

My first ever mummy blog!

Well, welcome everyone who reads!

This is my first EVER blog and I'm very much the novice of blogging. Probably keep my first few posts quite short and sweet, don't want everyone to log off before the end!

I suppose this would be a good opportunity to describe myself and my reasons for writing this blog.

As the title suggests, I'm an honest, working mummy to a little girl, a toddler aged 18 months who you'll grow to know more as my blogging experience increases. I'm in my twenties and live in the sunny south East of England, Married, with a family cat.

My reasons for writing this blog? Mainly just as a vent for my creative side. As a little girl I loved nothing better than writing. My favourite subject at school was English Language and I still do find it fascinating.

I'm an aspiring mummy blogger. Becoming a mum was something that I yearned for for a long time. When that little white stick returned two thick blue lines I don't think that you could have met someone happier than me. Five long years of heartache were on their way to an end, but that is a subject for a different post...
hence becoming a mummy blogger. Some may say this is a boring subject - what could be so interesting about nappies, and weaning and baby sick? What would be the point in writing about the 100th time of being covered in your daughters posset? Because in being a mum, you are helping to shape the next generation of politicians, nurses, lawyers, doctors, shop keepers and, well, mummys/daddies! The interest lays in watching this teeny, tiny minature human being grow and develop into a toddler, a child, a teenager and an adult.

So that is me and my reasons for being here.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this first post, and it has left you wanting to read more.