A new mum’s guide to sensitive skin… 


Ever since Madeline was a tiny newborn, she has suffered with sensitive skin. Eczema flare-ups and milk rashes dominated a large part of her first year, perhaps due to a suspected milk protein allergy. Whatever the cause, it is something that we as parents have had to adjust to. 

Madeline’s a delicate little thing and requires a little more TLC when it comes to her ‘beauty’ regime! I’m sure she will use this to her advantage in her teens when she requires mum and dad to fund all of her expensive high-end products! But, working out the products she can use, and those to stay clear of, has been quite stressful at times. It’s pretty much just trial and error. 

It’s always seemed to me that there is no real logic behind flare-ups. All I know is that if we had a wedding, birthday, holiday or special occasion, Madeline would have some form of skin irritation. Sod’s law. And, although I know it doesn’t really matter, always when there was a camera out or Maddie was meeting new relatives for the first time.

The night before we were due to get Madeline’s passport photo taken, she came out in such a sore rash around her mouth and I can remember thinking: ‘just what on earth are we doing wrong?’. It wasn’t just about the visible appearance, it really affected her mood and clearly frustrated her. All I wanted was for someone to provide me with a list of tried and tested products.

I know it’s not really that simple. Every child is different and I’m sure that what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. But, over the past year we have been in many discussions with doctors, private skin experts and parents of children with similar skin ailments and (touch wood!) seem to have cracked it. Madeline may always have sensitive skin, but at least we now have an idea of how to keep flare-ups at bay.

Here’s a round-up of brands and products that work well for us. Please do share any others that work well for your little munchkins in the comments below! 

  • Child’s Farm shampoo and bubble bath – bath time products seemed to be one of the first causes of Madeline’s eczema. Although marketed as suitable from birth, certain brands just didn’t suit her skin. Clearly labelled for eczema-prone skin, I picked up a bottle of Child’s Farm shampoo in Boots, gave it a try and haven’t looked back. It smells beautiful and leaves hair so silky smooth. We have also used the bubble bath (sparingly!) on occasions, which allows for lots of bath time fun without any aftermath soreness! 
  • Dermol 500 –  we were first introduced to this moisturiser by our GP (on prescription – bonus!). It’s a staple in Madeline’s skin care regime, which we also use as soap at bathtime, resulting in baby-soft skin – as it should be!
  • Burt’s Bees baby bee dusting powder  – this talc doesn’t dry the skin out too much and smells divine after Madeline’s bedtime bath. I just love it!
  • Hydromol – this product was first given to us as a sample when we took Madeline for a private allergy test. She had a very sore rash around her mouth, which is usually associated with milk protein allergy in babies. The results from the test came back inconclusive, but none-the-less the rash was very real and sore. Hydromol is an ointment rather than a lotion and acts as a barrier cream. I applied it constantly throughout the day, especially to protect against teething dribble and at mealtimes when certain foods may irritate. This product is a must and available on prescription
  • Hydrocortisone – for skin irritations that just won’t budge, this is a mild steroid cream that may help. A private eczema specialist prescribed this product to Madeline for a two week course until her rash around her mouth had completely disappeared. This meant we could gain some control of the irritation. It can be bought over the counter at most chemists, but pharmacists may wish to take a look at symptoms before allowing you to purchase. This cream should be used sparingly and only for a short period of time as it can thin the skin if used too regularly. Please also be sure to keep the cream away from your baby’s eyes.
  • Sudocrem care and protect nappy cream – luckily, we have never really suffered with nappy rash, perhaps due to this product. Unlike some of the others available, this is light, clear in colour and not too sticky, so it’s convenient to use for every change, not just at home but also when out and about. One to stock up on and have to hand wherever you and baby go! 
  • Aveeno moisturising cream – a wheat-based moisturiser recommended by many doctors and specialists. This all over body cream is applied to Madeline in the morning when getting her dressed for the day and in the evening, following her bath. I also find this works well as a hand cream for mummy!!
  • Weleda baby calendula body lotion – another moisturiser that works well for us and we have never had any problems with. It’s rare to find a slightly perfumed moisturiser that doesn’t immediately cause a flare-up, but used sparingly this has never caused us any issues and smells gorgeous.
  • Sunsense Kids factor 50 – I was so worried about applying sun cream to Madeline’s delicate skin and was recommended this product by a friend who’s daughter is also prone to eczema. It is a little thick and needs a lot of rubbing in, but lasts for up to 4 hours and is water proof. Definitely, one to purchase ahead of your travels. We bought from JoJo Maman Bebe.

I hope this helps some of you new parents out, especially as you’re eyeing up for purchase the vast number of baby products out there. Feel free to share your tips and recommendations too… I like baby to be well stocked up!! 

Keep going mummies. We are all just doing the best we can 😘 xxx 

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I’ll be there for you – a mother’s promise to her child 


What a week it’s been. The most testing since returning to work and one that I’m glad to see the back of. Let’s just say, a poorly baby, lack of sleep and a mountain of work equals one stressed out mummy.

I will spare you the details, as I’m sure those of you following me on Twitter will have seen my endless mummy rants throughout the week. I do apologise. At times I just needed to vent and believe me, I held back. But, these babies really do get it tough don’t they? 

It all started last Sunday while we were enjoying a family day at Bournemouth air show with the in-laws. Madeline had gone to bed the previous evening not wanting any of her tea, which was a little strange but not abnormal and had woken up early that morning in tears, instead of her usual cheeriness (I think we have a morning person on our hands!).

I knew something was up; her temp was a little on the high side, nothing major, but all she wanted was cuddles. This is always the way when you’re trying to get out and do something nice, right? I assumed she was perhaps in pain from the molar I could feel making it’s way to the surface…. Ouch! 

Either that or Madeline had previously suffered from a cow’s milk protein allergy and, after a recent negative allergy test, we were going through the gradual process of weaning her back onto dairy… a long and stressful story I will save for another day. I wondered if this change to her diet was causing her discomfort and we needed to take her back a step on the weaning ladder. If only these babies could tell us, or at least give us a little hint, as to what’s up.

As the day progressed it became quickly clear that Madeline just wasn’t being Madeline. Usually so independent, she wanted mummy cuddles all day – that part was nice actually, I’m not going to lie. But, she wouldn’t eat anything other than a nibble of a little Organix ginger bread man and was so lethargic. So, we took her home, had a terrible night and the next morning I made the necessary arrangements with work to stay home and look after my little girl. She needed her mummy.

I can’t tell you the worry I felt at leaving my team in the lurch at such a busy time in the office. At the back of my mind I had a stack load of to-dos that needed completing. I knew the team would be understanding and help out by picking up anything urgent, but I couldn’t help feeling like a bit of a let down. Yet, if I had gone into work and taken Madeline to her auntie’s for the day as part of the usual Monday morning routine, I would have felt like the world’s worst mummy and probably sat at my desk in tears (as I did later on in the week!!). I couldn’t help but question what my colleagues were thinking though. Madeline was definitely not right, but was teething really a strong enough reason not to go in?! 

I know I said that I would save you all the details, but that would make a pretty boring blog post! I will, however, save a bit of time by not going into each individual doctors appointment we attended and late night out-of-hours trips we made over the next couple of days. Madeline was first prescribed Penicillin for a terrible bout of tonsillitis before later in the week being diagnosed with a nasty viral infection complete with an all over body rash. Seriously, could anything more be thrown at my baby in one week?!

My goodness, how glad I was that I stayed at home for her on Monday as the guilt of ‘abandoning’ my poorly baby girl would surely have haunted me for quite some time. I swear now that I will never again question leaving my little girl’s side while she is sick. She is my priority first and foremost and always will be.

That said, the reason I work is for my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been ambitious and enjoyed working. I’m the type of person that gives 100% to what they do. If I’m going to do something, then why do it half- heartedly? Having a family was also very important to me, but perhaps came a little sooner than expected and I certainly wasn’t in the position or earning as much as as I would have liked before starting a family. So, now it is all about working hard to grow in my career, but mainly to ensure that Madeline and my future babies never go without. I suppose this is why I also find it difficult to ‘just take time off’. 

For this reason, after a night of no sleep, I ventured into work on Thursday, feeling full of emotion but confident that Madeline was on the mend and her nana was looking after her at our house, so she could have another day at home to recover. I arrived at the office, sat at my desk, switched on my laptop and before I knew it, had tears streaming down my face. Bloody hell! What is wrong with me?! Thank goodness I work in an office of mainly women who understand hormones and sent me  home to work for the rest of the day. I had to be with my baby until I knew she was fully back to herself. There seems to be a theme to these posts that I’m a bit of a crier – let’s just go with it! But, please tell me this has happened to someone else?!

After our first full night’s sleep all week, on Friday I successfully managed a day in the office with only a little mummy guilt. I kept my head down, cracked on with that to-do-list and got back on top of things before rushing home to my much better daughter. Madeline had enjoyed a lovely day with her nana, eaten all of her meals and been her usual cheeky self. Now, we are having a nice and relaxed bank holiday weekend – life is good.

I’m not going to beat myself up about the week just gone, it’s been a tough one, but it’s also only my third month back since maternity leave. I’m confident it will all get  easier… Well, maybe. One thing I know is that Madeline must always come first from this day onwards. If ever there are days when only mummy will do, I will be there for her. That is a promise.

Keep going mummies. We are all just doing the best we can! X

I get by with a little help from my family…

 

img_9298-2A friend of mine sent me a message last week saying that she had enjoyed a lovely holiday away and thank goodness for grandparents! After a lovely long weekend away in Spain with my family, I completely understand where she was coming from – I feel refreshed, relaxed and ready for what life has to throw at us (and that’s even after a late night flight home with only a few hours sleep!!)

Before returning to work last June, I thought it would be nice to have a holiday just the three of us, mummy, daddy and Madeline. The perfect end to an incredible 11 months off work. We stayed at a beautiful villa in Burgau, Portugal. It was just off the sea front, with our own private pool just a few feet away from our patio area. It was absolute bliss. Yet, it was so different to any of our pre-baby holidays.

Our usual routine would have been a lazy morning, leisurely getting ready, having a chilled-out breakfast in the sunshine before packing a small bag of essentials for a long day at the beach, sunbathing and reading our books. We would have a paddle in the sea, eat our picnic and maybe play a game of bat and ball, before returning ‘home’ to get ready for a night out. Not that I would change life as we currently know it, but I wish I’d fully appreciated how bloody brilliant that really was!

We did, however, have a fabulous holiday and it was lovely spending time together as a family – Fraser off work and the three of us just hanging out together for two whole weeks. Madeline loved the attention of having both mummy and daddy around and we quickly learned what a little diva she really could be in the sunshine!

Obviously, things have changed and as parents we have to adapt. This holiday was all about walks down the harbour, visiting Zoo Marine (a sealife tourist attraction that was absolutely fantastic and you have to stop by if ever in the area) and stopping off for child-friendly lunches. We would grab an hour by the pool while Madeline napped and that was enough  (well, maybe just ten minutes more would have done the job!). Our evenings were spent in the comfort of the villa, enjoying a lovely evening in with delicious food and drink. We did venture out into the quaint little village one night in the fist week and decided it was just easier not to again – a story for another time.

We had a lovely time and it really was the perfect end to maternity leave. If you get the chance, I would recommend a family holiday to anyone soon to be returning to work. However, we quickly realised the benefits of travelling with the wider family.img_9234

So, when my dad phoned me up recently and asked whether we would like to join my parents, brother and sister for a few days in Espana, we jumped at the chance! Last week, we stayed at a beautiful apartment at Monte Halcones, Benehavis (close to San Pedro, Marbella and Puerto Banus) with stunning views to ponder upon each day. Madeline certainly loved the morning sunrise…


Each morning her grandparents, auntie and uncle would fight over who got to look after her while mummy and daddy had a little lie in (only until 8am, but when you’re usually used to a 6am start, this was just the best). Her nana would ask to feed Madeline her milk, change her nappy, get her ready (like she had to ask!). Grandad would offer to prepare her breakfast, lunch and dinner. Auntie and uncle would play with her in the pool and help entertain her whilst out. They just couldn’t do enough for my little pickle and mummy got plenty of time to sit by the pool and relax or spend some quality time with daddy for a change!img_9271

I just loved watching Madeline bond with her family. Her face so happy as they played with her, tickled her, sang songs to her, took selfies with her. She would wave frantically and reach out to each of them for cuddles as soon as they walked into the room. It just proved to me how many people it really takes to raise a child. We don’t have to go it alone…


Fraser and I are truly blessed with wonderful families on both sides, who are always there for us and ready to offer us a helping hand whenever we need it. I know this isn’t true for everyone, so for that I am grateful. Yet, I often feel bad for ‘palming Madeline off’ to others, so that mummy can have a little break. But, who can do a good job at anything when they are exhausted?! It’s not a #fail to ask for help.

When Madeline was very little I found it difficult to let her leave my side and often kept her all to myself. But, I now feel it’s important for babies to spend time with their wider family too and really get to know them. I have the most treasured memories of days spent with my grandparents when little and want the same for Madeline. It also seems that family (and friends) will jump at the chance to help look after your little one. So, let them.

Win win! 😎☀️

Returning to work… you’ll survive and so will baby!


 Is the return to work after maternity leave looming over you? Something you know is approaching far too quickly, but you just can’t bring yourself to think about just yet? I know that’s exactly how I felt earlier this year as June drew closer and the timer on my year off, getting to know my beautiful bundle of fun, frantically ticked away. Just where had the year gone?!

I’m not sure what it was that I was worrying about most. That Madeline would feel I’d abandoned her? I’d miss key moments in her life and those all important firsts?  That I wouldn’t remember how to ‘work’? Or, I’d just simply miss having all that time at home, leisurely planning my days and fulfilling my own agenda? But, what I’ve learnt since my return is that I needn’t have worried so much. Life is good.

Madeline loves her days spent with her grandparents and her auntie who also has a little boy only six weeks older for her to play with. I won’t lie, she really does cry when I leave her in the morning and that’s tough. Really tough. But, I always listen in as the door closes and she stops right away, the cheeky monkey.

As for firsts, she’s developing quickly, learning something new every day and it’s lovely to see. I don’t feel that I miss anything majorly and there are even a few things that she’s learnt as a result of spending time with someone else. For example, she’s learnt the actions to a sunday school song that her nana taught her, it’s very cute and she is full of smiles as she shows me her new trick. If I’m honest, I’d be a little upset if she took her first steps while I’m busy at work, but all the family are under strict instructions to give her a gentle push if it looks likely (I’m joking! Ha!).

And, work? I’ve actually really enjoyed it. I get to have a bit of me time while sat at my desk surrounded by adult company and, of course you don’t forget how to do your job. You’ve had a baby, not a brain transplant (although, I know sometimes everything feels a bit hazy, especially after that all-nighter your tinker decided to pull before your first day back!). 

If anything, I feel that having a baby has improved my efficiency and organisational skills at work. I mean, all mummies know that you have to learn to get things done quickly after having a baby. There’s no time for procrastination. Those nap times don’t last long and you have to sort the washing, clean the whole house and prepare lunch in that time, right? Well, this is a transferrable skill!

I’m going to list a few of the positives of returning to work in the hope that someone googling how to survive their first week back at work (as I did), will stumble across the post and realise it’s not that bad. It’s completely understandable that you will miss that beautiful little baby that lived within you for nine months and has been attached at the hip ever since, and I’m sure that at some point in that first week you will shed a tear or two. But, there are perks – every cloud and all that!

  1. If you have an office job*, you get to sit down for fairly long periods of time. None of that up and down you have been used to on maternity leave and continually chasing after a baby on the move. You may have to occsionally get up to use the ‘ladies’ (really should have taken those pelvic floor exercises more seriously!) or pop into your boss’ office. But, hey, this isn’t an excuse to be lazy!
  2. You can drink a whole cup of tea/coffee while it’s still warm. And, not just one… you can have as many as you like. Why not treat yourself and have a biscuit too. If you’re really lucky, someone might even make it for you. Got to love the tea round (unless it’s your turn!). The same applies to lunch…
  3. You can enjoy adult conversation (I don’t mean x-rated, unless that is your thing. In which case, I will mind my own business). I mean, it is lovely watching Phil and Holly each morning, but it’s really not the same as having a proper grown-up chat. I look forward to going into work and having a good giggle with work colleagues (just remember to cross off those to-dos at the same time). And, even discussing work related issues, it’s great to engage in sophistocated conversation, as opposed to spending each and every day singing nursery rhymes and playing peek-a-boo. NB. I do love this too!
  4. People take you seriously when you are responsible for a little one. Being a parent makes you a grown-up now, apparently. Once you have a child, it doesn’t matter about age, class, education or seniority, to a certain extent you are on the same level as anyone else that has a child. You have a shared understanding and something you can always talk about. This is great for meetings and networking, so be sure to use to your advantage.
  5. You get a little bit of you back again. It’s fab being a mummy and we wouldn’t change it for the world. But, we are allowed our own goals and aspirations too, right? Our children will be our motivation to progress in our careers and become a success for them. So, this is your chance to remind yourself of your skills, talents and the things that make you you.

*Apologies to teachers, doctors, police officers, carers, childminders and all other occupations where you don’t get to sit down all day. I take my hat off to you. I’m afraid that a lot of these positives may not apply to your job. Feel free to share the perks of returning to your profession in the comments below. I’m sure there must be plenty.

Keep going mummies. We are all doing the best we can! x