A lovely summers evening brought twenty Mums together for a few hours of good conversation, laughter and delicious food.  The quarterly Mum’s social event enables working and other Mums to informally socialise, without their kids.

Mums from ICT two, Mums who attend weekly events regularly and some new Mums chatted and enjoyed a delicious meal. Lots of stories were shared about parenting techniques that haven’t changed for thirty years!

Thanks to everyone who came along last Wednesday and to The Lovely Food Company for a great value delicious meal.  The next social will be towards the end of the summer but there will be other events over the summer so check Facebook to keep up to date.


This article was written by Cuidiu DSW member Mary O’Sullivan for the newsletter. With her kind permission we have decided to republish it here:

Our little daughter was born prematurely at 33 weeks.  Describing all that goes with having a premature baby would fill a page of this newsletter all by itself.  But suffice it to say that a common phrase used by parents of premature babies is that it is like an emotional roller coaster.  In our mornings at the PND group I would have described it as like being in a continuous emotional boxing match.  A boxing match that involves watching your baby being immediately whisked away to neo-natal intensive care to begin its journey with wires and tubes all over it as it fights with all its strength to survive.  The journey continues with you and your partner going home without a baby and leaving her behind in the hospital night after night until you finally get to bring her home.   Then begins the journey of isolation where you are told that it is safer not to allow visitors to your house as they pose a risk of infection.  You learn that the common cold can cause bleeds in the bowel and can pose a  very serious threat to the lungs of a premature baby. All of this coupled with our baby being sick for months after she was discharged resulted in me being diagnosed with P.T.S. (Post traumatic stress), a form of post natal depression.

I read about the Cuidiú PND group in their newsletter and to be honest it took me a few weeks to pluck up the courage to ring the number.  Being in a lonely place, I was afraid to tell a complete stranger about my PND, given that many of my family and friends didn’t even know I had it.  But I needn’t have worried.  The phone was answered by a friendly and caring person who encouraged me to come along to the meeting and said there was no pressure to talk.  She assured me that I could just sit and be quiet or chat about the weather or if I wanted to chat about my story I could.  So a week or so later I arrived at Maggie’s house and was greeted by Maggie’s smiling friendly face and invited in to sit and have a coffee with the group.  When a new person joins the group everyone else in the group tells their story. Then at the end the new member can tell their story or ask questions or just sit and listen to the others chatting away.  Before going to the first meeting, I had said to myself that there was no way I was going to chat about how I felt to a group of strangers.  But as every one of the girls told their stories I realised I could relate to all or part of each of their stories and I began to feel less alone.  Having listened to their stories I decided I would say a few short words about my story and then keep quiet.

But instead what happened surprised me, as because of the warm and safe environment I found myself in, for the first time since my daughter was born I told my story and really said how I was feeling.  The warmth and encouragement I got from the women after doing this was so genuine and my heart lifted as I knew I had found somewhere where I could describe how I felt and no one would judge me or look at me shocked.  Somewhere where you could cry or rant or just be quiet and know you were understood.

As I continued to go to the meetings I realised that one thing that is great about the group is that there are women there who are all at different stages of PND, some who have just been diagnosed, others who are recovering and others who have recovered. Therefore no matter where you are on the journey you will find someone in the group who knows exactly where you are at and when you ask questions about that stage they will be able to relate to your questions and help to put you at ease.

Two years later I still go to the group. Why? Because the group of women have become a group of friends I know I can trust and who see me for what I am, I am still, and always have been Mary.  They know that PND is not something to be feared, it is an illness like any other illness.  I remember once being told, “if you broke your arm you would get help and if you had to take a pain killer tablet you would, wouldn’t you? Then if you need something to sort out PND (be it counselling or medication etc.), then isn’t it the same thing?  After all, PND is just another illness that anyone can get and that you can recover fully from”.  I know in my case, it has made me a stronger person and has gained me a great set of friends in the PND group.

P.S. we also meet up at other times and go for coffee, a drink, a meal or to Dundrum to shop – in other words we can have good fun together too!

Cuidiú DSW runs a Postnatal Depression support meeting on the first Friday of the month, from 10am to 12pm. The meetings are aimed at anyone who has experienced PND. For more information phone Clare on  on (086) 8141291 or see our website http://www.cuidiudsw.ie/pnd-support/

I find myself a little uncertain about the best way to protect my kids from the sun.  I’m very sallow myself and take the sun well, so it’s an added worry to have a fair skinned daughter.  At the beach recently I wondered how often I should apply sunscreen and how long was OK to be in direct sunlight.  The internet has endless information that I found useful and I think it will be useful for other parents too. It surprised me and I realised I’m not comprehensive enough, at all,  in my own approach to sun protection.

Key Points:

  • Use a good sunscreen SPF 30-50 and make sure is in date. Apply it every two hours and more regularly if in and out of the water.
  • Plan outdoor events so that your child is indoors as much as possible between 11am and 3pm. Encourage children to play in the shade when they are outdoors.
  • Remember that ultraviolet radiation can be reflected onto your child even when they are in the shade, so use clothing, a hat and sunscreen too.
  • Dress your child in loose-fitting outfits with long sleeves and long shorts. Make sure they are made from close-woven material.
  • Dress your child in a wide-brimmed hat which protects the neck, ears and face. A hat that ties under your child’s chin may stop them from taking it off.
  • Use sunglasses to protect your child’s eyes. The sunglasses should have the European Standard (EN 1836) or British Standard (BS 27 24 19 87).


Choosing a sunscreen

Sunscreens filter out UVB radiation, they do not block it completely. For better protection go for “broad-spectrum” lotions, which filter both UVB and UVA radiation.

The Irish Cancer Society recommends that children always use the high-protection sunscreens, SPF 30-50. The correct SPF (sun protection factor) is important, but higher numbers do not automatically mean double the protection. You will still need to apply the sun lotion every two hours, and more often if your child is in the water or sweats.

Even the best sunscreen, applied regularly will not protect you fully. Do not let your child spend too long in the sun, especially if her skin is fair.

Always check the expiry date and try choosing a water-resistant sun lotion. An expensive sunscreen does not automatically give more protection.

Always use and apply the sun lotion generously, 20 minutes before going out into the sun. An adult needs about six teaspoons of sunscreen, a child of seven or eight needs abut 30 ml for the full body. This means that a 200 ml bottle should not last you more than six applications.

Our shoulders and faces are the first to get sunburned, but do not forget to apply sunscreen on hands, feet, ears and necks. If your child has a reaction to the sunscreen try a different brand, maybe one without perfume or an organic brand.

In case of sunburn and sunstroke

Sunburn is overheated skin that has been over-exposed to UV radiation. It is a type of burn and appears about six hours after being in the sun. Sunburn can take a few days to heal and can be very painful. The burn will heal and the skin peel, but your skin cells will be damaged for much longer.

Try cooling the burn with cool water, after sun lotions, wet soft towel or even cold natural yogurt.

When the body is overheated from sun exposure, sunburn or lack of fluids, there is a risk of sunstroke. Children cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults, and are more prone to sunstroke.

Your child might get a headache, vomit, get diarrhoea, fever and feel dizzy. The most important thing is to give fluids and even fluid replacements, keep her out of the sun and  let her rest in a cool room.

Contact your GP if you have any worries about your child’s condition.

You can check the daily Irish UV index online at Met Eireann.

How can I protect my baby?

Damage to our skin begins with our first exposure to sunlight. It builds up year after year. So the exposure we get during childhood increases our chances of skin cancer later in life.

A baby has delicate skin that is thinner and burns more easily than an adult’s skin. Newborn babies, in particular, and babies less than 12 months old should be kept out of the direct sunlight as much as possible.

  • Dress your baby in loose outfits that have long sleeves and long pants. Make sure they are made from a close-woven material.
  • When your baby begins to hold up their head, dress them in a soft hat with a flap at the back. When your child is older and can sit unaided, use a hat with a tie under the chin .
  • Plan outdoor events so that the baby is kept indoors as much as possible between 11am and 3pm.
  • When babies are outdoors, keep them in the shade as much as possible. Use an umbrella to protect your child while they are in their pram or buggy.
  • Apply sunscreen to small areas of skin that cannot be protected with clothing, such as your baby’s face and hands.

Should I put sunscreen on my baby?

Keep your baby out of the sun and protected with clothes, hats and shade. Then you only need to use sunscreen on the areas of skin that are not protected by clothing.

If possible, use a sunscreen that is made especially for babies and children. And always patch test the sunscreen on your baby’s skin before you use it. Some babies may get skin irritation from sunscreen.

The truth about sunshine

Our skin is always exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, it is when our unprotected skin is exposed to higher levels of the radiation that we need to take care. Children often spend more time outdoors and need more UV protection than adults.

Sunlight is composed of infra-red, visible and ultraviolet light. While we need some exposure to create the necessary vitamin D, which in turn helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, it is the ultraviolet radiation that is harmful to us.

Ultraviolet light consists of UVA (ultraviolet radiation A) and UVB (ultraviolet radiation B).

UVB– makes the skin star producing pigmentation and become thicker, but also burns and is harmful to skin and eyes. The radiation varies, depending on how high the sun is in the sky.

UVA – darkens the pigmentation made by UVB radiation, but high-exposure ages the skin and can cause skin cancer.

Be aware that UV radiation is not filtered away by window glass, so be careful when letting a child or baby sleep or play unprotected by a window.

Let’s hope this great weather continues long enough to become sunscreen experts!


Anita Malzone had her first child Max six months ago. She was determined to do everything to succeed at breastfeeding him.  Friends of hers had struggled with cracked nipples, isolation, inadequate supply and poor latch causing them to reluctantly give up and offer bottles instead.

For Anita, the key to a different experience was the right support which she sought out while pregnant. I met up with her today at the Breastfeeding Support Group.

“I really wanted to breastfeed. I was quite determined it would happen. I linked in on the Cuidiu website before I had Max to see what support was available. Friends had given up for different reasons and I was secretly hoping this wouldn’t happen to me. “

Anita is still feeding Max but admits that the early days were tough; “I went through it all and if you can get yourself to that point and past it you’re on the home stretch. It’s a matter of hanging in there and getting support.”

She attends the Breastfeeding support group which runs every Wednesday in the home of a Cuidiu Breastfeeding Counsellor.

Iseult Ni Dhomhnaill Clark qualified as a Breastfeeding Counsellor last month and believes that expectant Mum’s don’t get enough exposure to women breastfeeding. She would encourage anyone hoping to breastfeed to come to a meeting before having their baby.  “The meetings can help to normalise it and provide little bits of information that can be useful when baby arrives. It can be a couple of weeks before Mum’s get out and this information can be vital in the early days.”

The meetings are a great way to breastfeed comfortably while also socialising. Anita says they have been “brilliant, on so many different levels.” “The fact that people are breastfeeding in front of each other is very natural and normal and I have received very helpful yet gentle advice from other Mums and counsellors.

If you are an expectant Mum, a new Mum or someone who has been breastfeeding for a while, you will find the meetings beneficial and the very welcoming.

The group takes place every Wednesday and further information can be found here.

With no car, entertaining children on a rainy day can be a challenge.  Play groups, friends houses, panda play cafe and gymnastics are all out for me because of distance.  As a once off, you can put a lot of effort into doing fun activities at home. The recent unprecedented days of streaming rain this Spring however call for extra effort and here are a few ideas to ensure home stays a sweet place to be all day.


Butter biscuits can be made with simple ingredients likely to be in your cupboard.  The smell of the delicious baking makes for a warming aroma on a rainy day. For something a bit healthier you could make California maki rolls. They include nori sheets, rice and what ever fillings you want. The sticky rice and filling and rolling of the nori are a novelty that will make the kids forget about the rain outside.

Art and crafts

You can bring the outdoors in by drawing leaves, tress and any birds you might see from your window.   The internet provides limitless ways to reinvent your usual crafting activities that might make them last a little longer. Here a few ideas to get you started.

Muddy Puddles

If you really want to get out,  wet gear and welly boots will keep everyone dry. Puddles form right outside our gate so although you don’t have to go far or for too long, a trip outside can burn some energy and break the day.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is on Merrion Square so is accessible by public transport. The amount of time you can spend there will depend on the age of your child. They have a host of incredible life size animals from all over the world.  It’s on two floors but with no lift it can be awkward to get upstairs with a pram. It’s changed very little in over a century and has a dedicated display of Irish animals, featuring giant deer skeletons and a variety of mammals, birds and fish. The first floor hosts the more exotic species including tiger, my daughters favourite, and zebra.

You Tube

There is an incredible abundance of videos in You Tube to meet the needs of the most curious child. It’s an incredible educational resource and a fantastic place to find footage on animals in their habitat and songs that will keep you ‘singing in the rain’.

These are just a few ideas of my own. Of course there is no end of games and creative play you can invent yourself. Enjoy!



Excited and happy faces were worn by the children who attended the new Cuidiu playgroup in Churchtown last Monday.

Fifteen Mums, one granny and twenty one kids played with the array of engaging activities including a tunnel, gym equipment, play dough and a range of toys.  It rounded off with some sweet songs sang by all Mum’s and kiddies there.

The group is the initiative of Cuidiu committee member Averil Rafferty. Averil lives locally and was keen to organise an event that she could get to without using the car.

Healthy snacks and organic fruit will be on offer for the Mum’s and kids as a healthy alternative to the normal sugary biscuits that can have adverse affects on us all.  “I was hoping to provide fairly healthy food as my children tend to get a bit cranky if they have too much sugar and also I’m trying to cut down on sweet things!  I suspect a lot of mums are similar,” she says.

Averil’s favourite bit is the sing-song at the end, “It’s so cute to see the little ones get really into”. With a funding application submitted to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Coco, Averil hopes to purchase a sand pit and small trampoline to keep the kids busy. Fingers crossed!

It takes place in the hall of Our Lady’s Clonskeagh at the Windy Arbour Luas stop and runs from 10-12 weekly and is especially useful for a rainy day. Playgroups are also a great way to meet other parents and minders to laugh about the trials, tribulations and joys of young children

Having something set each Monday will take the pressure off making arrangements and will make a social and positive start to the week. If you haven’t visited yet, next one is May 14th.

Exciting news – Cuidiú is going digital! The newsletter is being replaced by an informative and up to the minute online blog on our branch website www.cuidiudsw.ie where we will post articles and branch information. If you would still like to receive a hard copy of the events sheet sent to you, please let us know by emailing us at info@cuidiudsw.ie. Otherwise, you will be able to view all events information and download an events sheet on our website.

The main reasons for dispensing with the newsletter and replacing it with the blog are to

  • save the branch money (the cost of posting it out was particularly high)
  • give the committee less work to do! (most of them have small children and babies)
  • be more environmentally friendly J

We have also designed and printed a new branch flyer, which we are in the process of sending out to Public Health Nurses, maternity hospitals and GP’s.

There are lots of branch events happening at the moment; the new playgroup on Mondays in Windy Arbour, the breastfeeding support group on Wednesdays, the Ballinteer playgroup on Thursdays and the Mum and Baby group on Fridays. We also have a night out planned for Wednesday 30th May at The Mayfield Deli in Terenure (https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/293846590703332/) so we’d love to see you there. For more details see the website or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/cuidiudsw/.

We value your feedback so if you have ideas on how we could do things better, please email us at info@cuidiudsw.ie or talk to one of our lovely committee members!

The Commitee