A 6-week antenatal course with Cuidiu Antenatal teacher Mim Hanan Moran starts soon in Rathfarnham. The dates are as follows:  Tuesday 11thand 18th December, and  8th , 15th, 22nd and 29th January 2013.

Each class will take place from 7:00 to 9:00pm each Tuesday evening. Any preferred time or evening of the week changes can be organised by the group on the first night. Or in advance of the course by email.  A local Cuidiu breastfeeding counsellor will facilitate a breastfeeding information session as part of the course.

Mim will organise a date for the postnatal meeting in the last class.

The classes will take place at: 5 Highfield Court, Marley Grange, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. However, this venue might change, depending on the numbers attending the course.

The course will include such topics as labour, birth, postnatal issues, choices of care and parenting issues. In the first class the group will be given an opportunity to set an agenda for the course, where you can bring up any topics or issues that you may have concerns about or wish to gain further knowledge in.

Please fill out and return the BOOKING FORM

The cost of the course is €150  – €50 deposit (non refundable), to hold your place for attendance.. The fee includes membership to the local branch of Cuidiu, the Irish Childbirth Trust. We run parent and toddler groups, breastfeeding support services, evening meetings, and other activities. The fee also allows course attendees a discount on the price of infant massage courses I regularly facilitate and doula services I offer.

Please contact Mim if you have any questions mimhananmoran@gmail.com or (087) 7790293




Cuidiú antenatal teachers are often asked what the difference is between the antenatal classes they teach and the antenatal classes run at the maternity hospitals. Sometimes it’s asked on an internet forum.  Someone might then answer saying that the classes are all the same, but she/he definitely hasn’t done a Cuidiú antenatal class!

So what’s the difference? Firstly, the training – each Cuidiú antenatal teacher has spent approximately two to three years studying for the specialised antenatal education qualification. All aspects of childbirth and parenting are explored.  As well as the academic side, participants in the training course spend time on personal development to ensure that at the end of the training they are reflective practitioners who teach flexibly and responsively in order to meet the needs of the clients in their groups.  What they teach is grounded in years of experience and evidence-based research and practice.   The current qualified teachers all trained with the NCT (UK) and are licenced to practice with NCT and Cuidiú.

Secondly, Cuidiú antenatal classes are informal and flexible.  They aim to provide parents with support, information, skills and resources to help them gain confidence and make choices for childbirth and early parenthood that are right for them.  Cuidiú teachers are not confined to teaching just one particular hospital’s policies.  Instead participants learn about the policies in existence in the different maternity units and learn skills that will help them make their own informed decisions and choices.  Groups sizes are small, usually 3-8 couples, with lots of opportunity to participate and ask questions. Partners’ learning forms a very important part of the class.  A full course entitles attendees to a year’s free membership of Cuidiú, so they are automatically introduced to a wider network of support, including postnatal support, breastfeeding counselling and friendship.

Different course formats are available such as weekly classes, one-day Saturday classes, private 1-to-1 sessions and more.  Some teachers also run Pregnancy Relax Stretch Breathe classes and free Early Pregnancy Classes.    Labour ward tours, breastfeeding sessions and reunions are also included.

Cuidiú antenatal classes are about supporting parents in whatever their choices for their births, equipping them with information and skills to make informed decisions and helping them build confidence so they feel empowered and satisfied with their own birth experiences.

For info on classes in the Dublin area, www.antenataldublin.ie and for the rest of Ireland www.antenatalireland.ie

There were lots of great speakers at this year’s Association of Lactation Consultants of Ireland (ALCI) conference in Maynooth, but for me the highlight of the day was the last speaker, Mary Mahon RN, RM, IBCLC, BScN from Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. The title of Mary’s presentation was ‘Implementing The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Step 4. A Change Management Project ’. She described how she went about changing the existing practice at the hospital of separating mothers and babies born by caesarean section to implementing one which involves facilitating skin-to-skin contact immediately following delivery and lasting up to 60 minutes and beyond. This means keeping the baby with the mother in theatre and recovery – not only for the well-being of mother and baby but also because it is a key factor in helping to establish early breastfeeding. This is one of the practices recommended by the BFHI, which states that hospitals should help mothers to initiate breastfeeding within one half hour after birth (for information about BFHI see http://www.unicef.org/programme/breastfeeding/baby.htm) .

When Mary first decided to get this project off the ground, 0% of babies born by caesarean section in Portiuncula were kept in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately after they were born. So Mary had her work cut out for her! During her presentation she talked us though how she went about initiating the project by evaluating the current practice and setting out clear aims, ie to increase to 60% the number of infants having immediate skin-to-skin contact following caesarean birth, and to increase the overall number of infants remaining in skin-to-skin contact to 80%. As you would expect, she encountered resistance but she worked hard to communicate with all stakeholders (consultants, midwives, nurses, administration staff) and educate them about the benefits of the project. She also spent a lot of time doing research by talking to mothers who had previously had a caesarean birth at the hospital, and to hospitals in New Zealand and the US who already had this standard in place for caesarean delivery. Her hard work and determination eventually paid off, because she did get people on board and bring about cultural change in the hospital in regard to caesarean deliveries. The project began in January 2011 and was evaluated in April 2012 – the results were extraordinary. In little over a year, the hospital went from a rate of 0% (skin-to-skin immediately after c-section) to over 60%, and from 78% (skin-to-skin after normal deliveries) to close to 100%.

It is now standard procedure in Portiuncula Hospital for babies born by caesarean section to be kept in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately following delivery and for up to 60 minutes and beyond. The practice standard is linked to managements monthy Key Performace Indicators and critical incident reports and completed when there is non-compliance. Well done Mary Mahon, you’re an inispiration! Let’s just hope that other Irish maternity hospitals will follow Portiuncula Hospital’s lead.

Baby swimming featured in recent article in the Irish Times in April this year as one of the top 5 things to do while on maternity leave with your baby.  Baby Swimming has be around in Australia and Russia since the 60’s and in the UK for over 20 years now but  it is growing steadily in popularity here in Ireland over the last few years. Parents find it a fun and social experience a very special bonding time in pool with baby.  As Babies have spent 9 months suspended in water in your womb you could say that being in a warm pool is a home from home. Structured classes are great as parents can learn fun games to play in the bath or pool. It is all about teaching them to enjoy the water and be “water safe”, as babies and toddler lack co-ordination to learn swimming strokes just yet, they won’t be ready for until the age of three.

Infants are born with many natural involuntary reflexes one these is known as mammalian dive reflex, this gives baby the ability to hold their breath underwater and you can harness this reflex to its full potential by introducing them to the water in the early weeks of their lives or as soon as you are ready. Babies do not need to have completed their immunisations before going into a pool as chlorine in the pool kills any germs and bacteria.

What are the benefits?

  1. Healthy Life Style –    Getting into a good active lifestyle early on will set the ground for your child’s future and will become the norm in future years.
  2. Health Benefits –    Swimming has been proven to strengthen the heart and lungs and improve muscle development.  Mothers with post natal depression find the bonding time and mild exercise very beneficial too.
  3. Water Awareness and Basic Life Saving –   Children who attend regular swimming lessons will gain a respect for water awareness and water safety.  Most swimming classes now will aim to introduce basic water safety skills such as turning to hold on at a wall or back floating.  Children who regularly swim are less likely to panic in the water giving them a better chance in the event of an accident.
  4. Improved Sleep –   Children who undertake physical exercise will sleep better.  Swimming is a good form of exercise and they also learn and experience a lot in a session which helps to promote a good sleep.
  5. Social Skills –    Interacting with other babies and children, learning to wait their turn and praise the efforts of others instills ‘ good social skills, team work and independence.
  6. Brain Development –    By stimulating senses out of the normal every day experiences like word association, independence and physical awareness all encourage brain development.
  7. Bonding –    Swimming with your child is a very intimate experience, with no other distractions such as housework and telephones you can concentrate on just you and your child joining in fun activities, praising their efforts, building trust and building a firm foundation to your relationship.
  8. Confidence and Self Esteem –   Praise and recognition of achievements in swimming and water confidence will boost a Childs confidence and self esteem week on week.
  9. Physical Independence and Self-Awareness –   A baby who is used to being stationary can move about independently in the water they learn balance and co-ordination.  The motion and sensation of the water gives an awareness of self that otherwise would not be gained.
  10. Language Development –    Most baby swim classes will now use word association and repetition as part of their core learning methods, for example parents will be asked to say Kick, Kick, Kick when moving about the pool and Hold on, Turn, reach etc, the over use of these word help your baby to soon learn their meaning.


What Pools are suitable for Babies and Toddlers?

If you’re  taking your baby or toddler to the pool for the first time it is advisable to check in advance what temperature of the pool. For infants under 3 months or 12lbs the pool must be heated to 32 degrees, for over 3 months up to 4 years the temperature needs to be at 30 degrees.

You may have to travel a short distance to find a suitable pool but it will be a more safe and enjoyable experience for you both. Most special needs pools like Enable Ireland and the CRC have warm pools with public sessions and even some of the hotels have warm leisure pools also.

Only spend 15-20 mins in the pool the first visit as babies tire very fast. It is advisable to invest in a little baby wetsuit for anyone less than 12 months so ensure warmth & babies comfort. We always recommend you change your baby on the floor on a suitable changing mat as babies/toddlers could easily roll on the floor from raised benches.  Do make sure that you dry the children’s hair and wrap them up well in the cold weather to keep them warm when they leave the venue.  Young children will often sleep very well after a swimming session – an added bonus!

What you need to bring with you

  • ·         A disposable swim nappy and a neoprene swim nappy this will keep in any accidents
  • A swim costume & swim cap for you the parent/guardian.
  • Your own towels and one for your baby – Always bring a towel poolside to maintain the children’s body temperature after swimming, preferably one with a hood, or a toweling dressing gown.
  • Bring a suitable changing mat and nappy bag.
  • Something for them to eat/drink after swimming. A warm bottle for after the swim if you are bottle feeding.  A snack if your baby has started solids. Swimming makes babies hungry!
    • A hat for baby/toddler for all seasons.

We recommend that you leave at least an hour before feeding your child.  If possible, wait until you have left the changing area before eating.  However, if this is not possible (children do get hungry after swimming), please tidy up after yourself.

Is submerging my little one in the water safe?

Yes it is perfectly safe with a qualified swim teacher who specialises in baby and preschoolers but this should not be the only focus. If a child is any way distressed then do not submerge them.

You can find baby swim schools by searching on the internet or get a recommendation from a friend, make sure the teacher has a current swim licence and have a specialist qualification in baby and preschool and are fully insured.

It’s never too late to start your little one’s swimming lessons!

Some swim progammes require babies to be under 12months which may make you feel a bit left out. Babies loose that natural their mammalian reflex anytime between 7- 9 months so it is good to get them in early to capitalise on this. However you can start lessons over 12months, toddlers are a bit more aware of their surroundings so a different approach will be required and a responsive swim teacher to work at the child’s pace.

Also you don’t have to start with lessons in the pool you can start today with just having some fun in the bath!

Happy Splashing & Sploshing!


Deirdre Casey

Proud Mum of two, Aisling 3 & Ryan 1

Director  & Swim Teacher at Aquababies Ireland

018944801 or 0876223300



Aquababies Ireland Finalist in “Best Activity Provider for Babies/ Tots” catagory, the Families First Awards 2012


Sue Jameson is well known in Cuidiu DSW, and beyond, for her passion, knowledge and support for breastfeeding.  She gave a talk on Tuesday organised by Cuidiu DSW called ‘Feeding Your Newborn’  aimed at expectant Mums and Dads. It was decided to encourage attendance by Dads as their support is so important if a Mum wants to succeed with breastfeeding.   This was recently highlighted by a study at Cork University Maternity Hospital (http://www.imj.ie/ViewArticleDetails.aspx?ArticleID=6853).

Sue is a Cuidiu breastfeeding counsellor and lactation consultant in private practice for twenty three years. She also gives courses on breastfeeding to HSE health professionals. In addition to her vast knowledge and experience of all things breastfeeding, Sue is vivacious, funny and warm and this is probably what made the talk so engaging and special!

She didn’t give a linear ‘here’s how you breastfeed steps 1 – 10’ type talk, but what she did do was give the whole picture. She talked about how normal breastfeeding is; not something special or an added extra you can give your baby. It’s just the normal way to feed your baby and part of the whole process of pregnancy, birth and having a baby.  Among the topics Sue covered were the importance of skin-to-skin after birth and of keeping baby close, especially during the first few weeks. She talked about the newborn breastcrawl, biological interference, the sheer joy of feeding and how even Dads can experience elevated levels of oxytocin during this time.

She also highlighted what parents should expect during the early days of their newborn arriving.  The baby will feed ten to twelve times in any twenty four hour period (normal!) and cluster feeding will occur in the evening time.  Sue reminded people that breastfeeding isn’t just about food. It is about comfort, closeness, warmth and emotional support. Sue made sure the Dads weren’t left out and gave them plenty of suggestions for how they can support their partners and be involved in caring for their new baby.

Towards the end of the talk Sue talked about the importance of support during the early days, and stressed the fact that breastfeeding should not hurt – if it does there is a problem that needs to be fixed! Sue outlined the various avenues of support available to mums, including all that our own Dublin South West branch of Cuidiu has to offer; a weekly breastfeeding support group meeting where copious amounts of coffee and chocolate biscuits are consumed, and also breastfeeding counsellors available at the end of a phone line for one-to-one support.

The main message Sue gave during the talk was that breastfeeding is normal and that ninety eight percent of mothers will be able to breastfeed. More than anything else what they need to do is trust their bodies and follow their instinct. And of course reach out and enjoy the company of other breastfeeding mothers.

The responses below of the Mums who attended sum up the value of the experience:

“I really wish she had given this talk during my pregnancy because I know I could have avoided formula in the hospital had I been armed with the info from the talk as well as Sue’s phone number.” – Aisling, Mum to three month old Rhyss.

“I thought Sue’s talk was excellent. As a first time Mum to be Sue’s talk on breastfeeding was very informative with lots of practical advice. Sue really boosts  your confidence in relation to breastfeeding. My husband Liam really benefited from the evening also as he had very little knowledge about breastfeeding prior to this.” – Eileen, pregnant with baby number two

“I thought it was great. I would give her a 10 out of 10. it was very informative but in a relaxed atmosphere, clear, with plenty of out of life experiences and presented with the Irish sense of humour. I was talking to a Canadian couple afterwards and they were very impressed with her talk too. Well done to sue. I have to admit I even felt really great afterwards as if someone showered me with a lot of positive thoughts and reassurance (that what ‘you’ are doing or intending to do is right no matter what anyone else says). “ – Kornelia, Mum to Simeon aged 4, and pregnant with number two.

“It was such a positive and empowering talk…I wish I had gone to her talk before my first baby was born. She completely reinforced my feelings on feeding my little girl and I left with lots to consider for when baby number two arrives! The most important thing I took with me is ‘follow your instincts…if it feels right you are doing the right thing!’” – Shona, Mum to eighteen month old Lia, and pregnant with baby number two.






Guest Blog post by Sheila O’Malley www.practicalparenting.ie

Are you struggling with their anger or tantrums?

With a new awareness in our parenting we can make new choices & take new actions

As I write this blog, I have to put my hand up and say that I did not do much of what I am now advocating  when my children were this age, I regret it but with a new awareness now I can do something different. When I respond differently, my children respond differently so conflict needs to be seen as an opportunity for positive change. Every parent does their best, with what they got as a child, with what they received. I say to parents ‘Give yourself a break, you may be parenting as you were parented, you could not  give what you never got or experienced, however for you and I; now with a new awareness of what a child needs, we can do something different and, you will get a different response.

A distressed, upset child needs compassion, soothing & physical comfort to bring him/her back into balance.

A challenging child is not trying to make your life difficult; rather they may be trying to tell you how difficult life is for them. Therefore, it makes sense that the only way to be with a child is to be kind, yet firm, compassionate not cross. We may need to get in charge of our behavior, in order for them to learn how to get in charge of their behavior.

Children need help with their big feelings

Provide consistent comfort and calm when a child is experiencing a ‘big’ feeling that overwhelms him, he really needs an adult to help him to calm down. As we have learnt more about the brain, we find that it is vital that children are helped with their intense feelings of anger, frustration, and distress. If however, you were left in childhood to manage your painful feelings on your own, it may not come naturally to offer the empathy you never received.

What can you do to help your child?

Take it seriously & show you understand i.e. ‘I know you don’t want to put your shoes on honey….’

Show empathy & acknowledge their feeling

Empathy is trying to stand in your child’s shoes and feel what they are feeling for example, they may want to eat the sweet that fell on the street. ‘You wanted that sweet pet; you’re cross it fell on the street & you’d want to still eat it; even if it’s dirty, I know that’s not easy losing your last sweet, you poor boy’.

Physically soothe them

Reach out to them with a silent hug to communicate that you know they are sad

When they feel understood and listened to, it takes the intensity out of their feelings

Stay calm yet offer clear boundaries

Offering Choices can be helpful as it gives the child something to think about and they feel they have some decision and power. If you have to say No, ensure its clear and firm said with kindness.

The child is always more important than the behavior

‘I love you, but that behaviour is not okay’ means we separate the child from their behaviour. Too often we confuse our children with their difficult behaviours and the child feels they are only loved when they get it right, or when they are good or quiet.

‘I can’t let you eat that sweet off the street that is dirty, but I can give you a piggy back’

‘I hear you are upset; but I cannot talk to you until you calm down’

And finally, never ever underestimate the power of using Humour and Distraction early on.

Do not reward attention seeking behaviour with attention

The more you reward bad behaviour with attention, the more attention seeking they will engage in. Therefore, go on about your tasks (unless the child is distressed in which case you console) until the behaviour improves, and the moment it improves gives their good behaviour, positive attention. The more we ‘catch them being good’ the more good behavior we will get.

What causes the behavior?

Often it is simply Boredom, Frustration or Disappointment. Therefore in the supermarket give your child interesting tasks and activities. Acknowledging their feelings when they are frustrated does help ‘It is hard to share your toys, isn’t it? You had just begun with your tractor; when she came and took it’.

Be Proactive not Reactive in Parenting

So often, if we have a heart to ‘hold’ their feelings and the head to understand what is going on for them, we respond proactively with warmth they need and they respond more positively, than when we react a little harshly.

by Cuidiu breastfeeding counsellor Carmen Stara

Claire has 3 beautiful girls all delivered by Caesarean section in UCHG. Her first was an emergency section, her second was performed as she was 10 days overdue and having had a previous section, the obstetrician wouldn’t induce her and the birth of her third daughter, Grace, was an elective section performed at 38.5 weeks. She had hoped to have a VBAC on her second pregnancy, but scans showed that her pelvic cavity wouldn’t have been able to accommodate a vaginal delivery with the girls’ heads all measuring on the 97% percentile. So in Claire’s case, caesarean was the only option. Claire went on to feed all three of her girls until they were 1 year old. When asked what she attributes her breastfeeding success to, she highlighted the following:

a)     Being very motivated to breastfeed, particularly after finding out that her eldest daughter had a congenital condition diagnosed when she was 9 days old.

b)    Having excellent support from one particular Australian midwife in the hospital and a very supportive public health nurse who helped with any breastfeeding issues during her home visits in the early weeks.

c)     Having the support of her husband who is very pro-breastfeeding

d)    Having a good supply and found it very reassuring that the girls all gained weight very quickly.

Fortunately Claire was able to breastfeed almost immediately after the delivery and all 3 girls latched well from the outset. She didn’t notice any lethargy or difficulty latching as a result of the spinal anesthesia or pain relief she received. Claire fed on demand, and this encouraged her milk to come in at the end of day three, which is quite early for a Caesarean birth. As with all Caesarean deliveries, she had to position the babies away from the scar. One such position, shown to her by one of the midwives, was to place the baby on its side on the bed, while Claire pulled up a chair to the bedside, facing the baby and latched her on. This allowed her to feed without having to hold the baby constantly. She also used a breastfeeding cushion to cover the scar. Fortunately, in her case, her scar healed very quickly, so it didn’t prove to be a barrier when feeding or cause her any undue discomfort.

Claire overcame surgery, postpartum hemorrhaging, jaundice and still fed very successfully, which shows that regardless of the mode of delivery, the mother’s motivation to breastfeed is the main determining factor in whether they persist and go on to enjoy a happy breastfeeding relationship with their baby.

In many ways, Claire’s story is quite unique. With some 27% of Irish births being performed by Caesarean section, the repercussions of surgical delivery and its impact on breastfeeding, is something that thousands of women have to deal with each year. Unfortunately, research indicates that after a caesarean, fewer women initiate breastfeeding at all or give up with the first month. Di Matteo (1996) Perez-Escamilla (1996) Weiderpass (1998) and Dewey (2001) all show that women who had a caesarean had lower breastfeeding rates. Although many women may plan to “try” breastfeeding, they often feel physically and emotionally exhausted after a Caesarean, or groggy from medication and change their minds.

While there are certainly a few additional challenges to getting breastfeeding established after a section, it is absolutely possible and indeed preferable for these mums to breastfeed their babies. In fact there are some specific advantages to breastfeeding after a Caesarean.

i.            The babies’ sucking stimulates the mother’s uterus to contract more quickly and speeds healing.

ii.            Breastfeeding will create a bond between mother and baby

iii.            It can help the mother feel competent and whole, especially in the case of an emergency Caesarean section, where she may feel like she wasn’t in control of the birth.

The uterine contractions that accompany breastfeeding help accelerate healing. A study by Negishi (1999) found that caesarean mothers tended to have larger uteri at one month postpartum than mothers who had had a vaginal birth. So uterine involution may be of special concern to women who have had Caesareans.  Furthermore they also found that by 3 months postpartum, mothers who were breastfeeding 80% or more per day, had smaller uteri that those who breastfed 2% or less per day. So breastfeeding strongly aids uterine involution.

Breastfeeding can bring mother and her baby emotionally closer and help with the bonding process. This can be of particular benefit following a traumatic birth or if the mother and baby were separated after the delivery. If the mother isn’t able to hold her baby due to medical interventions, then the partner / father can provide some valuable skin to skin until the mother is well enough. Research from Sweden show that a father can soothe his newborn as effectively as a mother and more  effectively than if just placed in a crib during the first two hours after birth. Father – baby skin to skin also facilitates the newborn’s “pre-feeding” behavior of seeking the breast. The development of nursing reflexes such as mouth movements and rooting is similar to that of infants who have skin to skin contact with the mother. This makes the child fully prepared for the first breastfeeding when reunited with the mother.

Caesareans births have been associated with delayed lactogenisis with many women’s milk only coming in between days 4 – 6.  Breastfeeding the baby as soon as possible after the birth ensures that all the hormonal processes involved in milk supply are activated. Research indicates that the optimal timeframe is within the first hour after birth. Early and frequent feeding, positively impacts on the production of oxytocin and prolactin, which are needed as part of the milk ejection process. Babies who were fed early and often had longer periods of milk ejection than those who were started later. Establishing early feeding also increases the probability of Caesarean born infants of being breast fed for longer. (Sozmen).

Having a Caesarean can affect how a mother feels about herself and her baby. She may feel upset or cheated out of the birth experience she wanted, particularly with unplanned sections. The mother can also feel emotionally detached from the baby if she was unconscious during the delivery and if the labour was curtailed, so too are the hormones that are produced to help with that bonding.  Having time to do lots of skin to skin contact and just get to know the baby, what the smell and feel like, having a bath together or caressing them will help build a nurturing bond. It will help with getting them to latch, which they may have difficulty doing especially after a traumatic birth. The sense of empowerment that comes from being able to breastfeed and sustain your baby will help make the mother feel competent and will build her confidence.


Medications given to the mother during labour or during the Caesaeren can have implications for breastfeeding. For example several studies have found that breastfeeding rates are significantly higher after regional anaesthesia i.e. epidural or spinal than after a general anaesthetic. This could be due to a number of causes, but one reason could be faster bonding because the mother is alert and awake. Under general anaesthetic the mother often feels groggy and out of it and not inclined to feed or may delay feeding. General anaesthesia also affects the baby by depressing their responses and rooting reflexes for some time and by making them more lethargic. It could mean that they are more disinterested in feeding or that they’re less efficient at emptying the breast. There is even some evidence to suggest that regional anaesthetic like epidurals affect the newborn by making their movements more disorganized. In a recent study, 100% of babies of non-medicated mothers initiated instinctive breastfeeding behaviours and successfully self-attached and suckled. In the group whose mothers received the epidurals less than 33% of them self-attached and fed. Even IV fluids can make both the mother and babies glucose levels abnormally high and can lead to hypoglycemia in the baby. In the mother, all the additional fluids can lead to an overload and cause engorgement. This is turn can make it more challenging for the baby to latch. Even antibiotics which are sometimes prescribed if the mother is recovering from a post-op infection can leave her and consequentially the baby, prone to thrush.


After a Caesarean, most mothers find it difficult to find a comfortable feeding position. As well as the scar, they may have an IV line in their arm which can make movement awkward and uncomfortable. There are a few positions that are helpful for the C-section mum:

i.            The football or clutch hold – where the mother sits upright with the baby facing her breast and with his body along the mother’s side. A pillow is useful to support the baby so they’re almost sitting up. One advantage of this hold is the baby approaches the breast from underneath and so is more likely to get a more of the areola and a deep latch.

ii.            Side lying – where both mum and baby lie on their sides facing each other.

iii.            The cradle hold with the support of a pillow so the scar is protected. The baby lies horizontally chest to chest to with the mother.

iv.            The position used by Claire, where baby is lying on its side on a bed and the mother sits in a chair facing the bed. The bed should be at the height of the mother’s chest. This way the mother doesn’t have to hold the baby and in this position, is more likely to sit upright and have good posture, rather than hunched over the baby putting strain on the shoulders and neck. There are endless variations and holds but the important thing is that the baby gets a good latch for efficient milk transfer and that both mum and baby are comfortable.


Caesareans are an increasing trend worldwide despite the WHO recommendation that it should not account for more than 10% – 15% of all births. Therefore mums need to be aware of how a section will impact them and their babies, particularly if they hope to breastfeed. Despite some challenges, if the mother is informed and determined then there is no reason why they won’t be able to successfully nurse their babies. Peer support groups and breastfeeding counselors can play an important role. If the mother attends such a group during pregnancy, she can get information and share anecdotal information with other mums that may have attended the same hospitals about what the local practices and procedures in their maternity units are. Once the baby arrives, Caesarean section mums, do need some extra help and support from lactation consultants and the midwives in the hospital. As C-section mums tend to be hospitalized on average 4 -5 days for recovery, they are even more dependent on the hospital staff to provide practical assistance with positioning; lifting the baby and even the mother’s general mobility is affected. But just as importantly, they need to provide the environment and the encouragement, which will ensure that they are still breastfeeding upon discharge and for months or years beyond.

With school almost out for summer many parents find themselves researching various ways to entertain their kids. There is no shortage of activities available.  Here are a few to give you a flavour of what is on but the list is not exhaustive so do keep an eye out yourself.

City Centre:  Eco Explorer summer camps weekly from 9th July – 20th August 016625491

Blackrock:  Soccer & Rugby: at Stradbrook  2th July – 24th August Ages 5 – 13

Book online at www.jetasports.ie        9.30am – 3pm

Dundrum: ArtZone in Taney Parish Centre: Sarah 01 4990614 or book on-line www.artzone.ie

Rathfarnham:  ArtZone in Ballyroan Parish Centre: Sarah 4990614 or book on-line www.artzone.ie


Lets Knit, sew and bake, Parish Hall, Divine Word, Marley  Three camps  2nd – 6th, 9th – 13th and 16th – 20th July.  To book contact Barbara 0872653608 or barabraorahilly@eircom.net

Touch Typing for children: 1 hr per day for 4 weeks. To book: Searsol 6303384 or www.searsol.com

FAI Soccer at Leicester Celtic 30th July – 3rd August. Girls only in Bushy Park 2nd Jul y- 6th July

Rathgar: Artzone Zion Parish Hall. Call Sarah 01 4990614 or book online at www.artzone.ie

30th July – 3rd August (mornings)

Learn it Lego Camp: 2nd – 6th July & 13th – 17th August. 10am – 2.00pm To book go to www.learnit.ie or 01 524 0004

Speech & drama: July 9th  – 14th July  Emma Coogan –01  2945508 or www.emmacoogan.com  to book

Anyone 4 Science: 23rd – 26th  July–Christine to book  01 404 4056

Tennis camps in Rathgar Tennis Club (afternoons) All Summer 01 490 2082– all ages sponsored by Dublin City Council www.parkstennis.com

Tennis in the Park – afternoons in Hertzog Park – Rathgar Tennis Club  – all summer – very good value! €35 per month    8338711 or      parkstennis@eircom.net

Tallaght:  Basketball Arena – email : info@basketballireland.ie  for details

Templeogue: Summer Soccer – FAI  www.fai.ie or call 1890653653 to book

Swimming Classes – Templeogue Pool 490 1711 – July

Mezzo Music Camps – 21 KCR Estate, Dublin 6/12 Teenagers: guitar & drumming 2nd – 27th July (3 separate weeks) Kids ages 5 – 13 dates as above To book: 087 8170666 or info@mezzomusicacademy.ie

Terenure:   Bus to Pine Forest Arts & Crafts Centre, 294 1220 – all summer

Tennis in the Park, Bushy Park. Dublin City Council organise this –

all year 10.00am – 2.30pm very good value! €35 per month 01 8338711

Multi Sports Camp in Terenure Spots Club– 2nd – end  July 9.00am – 3.30pm Book online : http://www.terenuresportsclub.ie/   Ages 5 – 13

Lets Go Summer Camps: Monday 23rd  July 9.30am – 3.30pm. Ages 4 – 14. www.letsgo.ie  Terenure College/St Columbas

Parent information lines: 1890 538746

For Kids cultural camps and exhibitions see www.ark.ie



It doesn’t get much easier than this……….

350g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

250g caster sugar

zest of 2 lemons

250ml natural yoghurt

5 large eggs

250ml sunflower oil

1 or 2 punnets of raspberries

and For the lemon drizzle, 200g icing sugar and juice of 2 lemons

  • Pre-heat oven to 170 degress/gas 3.
  • Line a 23cmx32cm tin.
  • Sieve flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
  • In another bowl mix sugar, eggs, oil, yoghurt and lemon zest with electric mixer. Pour this into flour mixture and mix well.
  • Pour mixture into tin and dot the raspberries over the top.
  • Bake in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes until goldern brown.
  • Turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool before icing.
  • Whisk together icing sugar and lemon juice and spread over the top (i think the cake is sweet enough without the icing though).



by Caoimhe Whelan

Our second son Lorcan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last September when he was just 13 months old. It was a huge shock to my husband and myself, despite the fact that there is a history of type 1 diabetes in my family (my father and one of his sisters had it). I breastfed Lorcan and he was always a healthy and robust little fella. I certainly never expected him to get diabetes, or any other serious illness for that matter.

Type 1 diabetes is insulin-dependent, meaning that treatment with insulin is necessary from the time the disease is first diagnosed. In type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed in a process in the body known as “autoimmunity” (ie a process in which the body’s cells attack eachother). This eventually leads to a total loss of insulin production. Without insulin, glucose remains in the bloodstream and is passed out of the body in the urine without ever reaching the cells in the body.

Unlike type 2 diabetes which isusually related to diet and is preventable, type 1 diabetes is not.

When Lorcan was diagnosed, the doctors could only speculate as to why he got it – one theory was that it might have been caused by a virus. I’ve wondered if there’s something I could have done to prevent it (I think that’s just every parent’s natural response when their child is diagnosed with a serious illness), but I came to the conclusion that it was just plain bad luck on Lorcan’s part (coupled of course with the fact that he was genetically predisposed in the first place). There are lots of theories as to why the rate of type 1 diabetes is higher in Europe and the USA , eg some studies have linked it to drinking coffee during pregnancy, others to drinking cows’ milk, but none of the are conclusive.

So what were the symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

Lots of people have asked me this since Lorcan’s diagnosis.  I think all parents, particularly those who are aware of a history of diabetes in their family, should know what the main symptoms of type 1 diabetes are, because the earlier it is diagnosed the earlier it can be treated. The symptoms are:

  • Very Thirsty – Lorcan used to wake in the night and drink half a pint of water. And during the day he always seemed to be looking for a drink.
  • Passing a lot of urine  – in Lorcan’s case we had lots of big sodden nappies and leaks during the night.
  • Lethargy/Weakness -at times Lorcan felt completely lacking in energy, almost like a ragdoll in my arms.
  • Acetone smell off the breath – as soon as I noticed this sweet, acetone smell off Lorcan’s breath alarm bells rang. I immediately suspected the smell was ketones and we decided to bring Lorcan to our local GP. (Ketones are produced by the body when the cells don’t have enough energy and the body starts to break down fat).
  • Weight Loss – This is often a symptom of diabetes but in our case Lorcan was diagnosed relatively early so there was no noticable weight loss.

When we took Lorcan to the doctor, he checked the level of glucose in his blood. It was unusually high, so he gave us a referral for Crumlin A&E and off we went. I couldn’t praise the staff at the hospital more highly. Lorcan was seen within minutes of arriving, and as soon as it was confirmed that he had diabetes he was treated to stabilise him. I then stayed in the hospital with him for 2 nights. During that time my husband tried to absorb the shock of Lorcan’s diagnosis and started learning how to manage Lorcan’s diabetes, ie. give injections, manage his diet and check his blood sugar level. It was a huge learning curve.

It’s still a huge learning curve. Initially I thought we would just go home, just give Lorcan an insulin injection in the morning and that would be that. But unfortunately it’s not that straightforward! Lorcan has to eat meals and snacks at certain times of the day and we have to check his blood sugar level at least 4 – 5 times daily . What we’re trying to do is prevent his blood sugar level getting too high (over time this can have serious health implications) and ensure that Lorcan doesn’t have ‘hypos’, ie a blood sugar level of lower than 5. The worst case scenario with a hypo that is not detected and dealt with is a diabetic coma.

For the first couple of months after the diagnosis I was anxious all the time as I looked after Lorcan and tried to get used to giving him injections, checking his blood sugar, monitoring his diet, and being constantly alert to the possibility of him having a hypo. I remember thinking to myself “so this is what anxiety is”, because I had never actually experienced anything like it before. I just couldn’t relax, and I suppose there was an element of delayed shock and a sense that it might have been something I did that caused the diabetes. There were also lots of tears and times when I felt completely overwhelmed and unable to cope.

But nine months on we’re managing much better and Lorcan is doing great. He’s a happy and healthy toddler. Managing his diabetes has just become part of our lives and we’re feeling so much more confident about it. Last week Lorcan got his new insulin pump – a small electronic device that he will wear, and which will deliver insulin directly into his bloodstream, so no more injections (yay!) and a great deal more freedom in terms of when he eats. We still have a couple more training sessions at the hospital on managing the pump, but we should be up and running with it in a couple of weeks time. Can’t wait :-)

p.s. There is a Private facebook group for parents of children who have type 1 diabetes in Ireland and I have found it immensely helpful and supportive https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/217346238337444/

There’s also The Diabetes Federation of Ireland www.diabetes.ie which has a club for children with diabetes called Sweet peas.