Monday, 26 October 2015

Keeping the red rash under control

An angry red rash takes over my body - a bumpy sometimes itchy infliction that is commonly known as ‘chicken skin.’ I didn’t think other people had it too, I thought it was just my skin, my horrible lumpy bumpy unsightly rough skin.

Keratosis pilaris - is a common and harmless condition where the skin becomes rough and bumpy, as if covered in permanent goose pimples. Keratosis pilaris occurs when too much keratin builds up in the skin's hair follicles. Keratin is a protein found in the tough outer layer of skin, which causes the surface of the skin to thicken (hence the name "keratosis"). and if you are of Celtic origin you are likely to inherit this beautiful skin from your parents.

My upper arm
I never spoke about it to a doctor because I thought they would say what my mother told me “must be just pigmentation!” I have Keratosis Pilaris from the top of my shoulders to my elbows and also on my upper legs. The pimples on my upper legs never really bothered me to be honest as in Ireland we don’t get much opportunities for wearing bare legs with short dresses or skirts and if we do - it is probably still a bit cold, so everyone has goose pimples! 

But the ugly red and sometimes aggravated bumps of my upper arms did and still do annoy me. I hate showing off my arms and try to wear a cardigan or long sleeved top as much as I can. 

Obviously the solution to anything these days is to take to the internet - so I did. I googled it over and over again, I tried several treatments but the sad fact is, there is no cure. 
All you can do it treat it and try to keep it under control. Something that might work for a week can wear off as skin constantly renews itself. Even laser is pointless because when your skin renews it undoes any good work.
Body from from The Body Shop for exfoliation

The only ‘temporary cure’ that worked for me was pregnancy - but that is expensive and has other long term consequences!

If you live in a warm climate that too helps, My KP is much better in Summer compared to the harsh cold winter. But although hot weather helps - hot showers and baths do not. They aggravate my skin and leave me looking diseased. 
Exfoliation and hydration are key, but don’t scrub too hard as it could set off the angry look.

Lactic acid and Salicylic acid are recommended, but to be honest I am not a big fan of chemicals on my skin, so I try to steer towards more natural products. Moisture is important and although I may not always have time to lather my whole body in cream, my arms and legs always get priority. Coconut oil has been flagged by many as the 'cure' for chicken skin. I have tried it, in several ways and I can attest it does help to moisturise, sometimes it has helped to keep the red rash look away, but the lumps and bumps remain.

Diet wise I’m unsure what can help, but I have been trying to incorporate some flaxseed in my smoothies and it seems to be helping a little ... well it hasn't made it worse.

If you have KP, what works for you? do you have any tips or advice?
Lianne's post on Keratosis Pilaris
Lianne from The Brunette Says
I am linking up with Lianne from The Brunette Says - a fellow sufferer. Lianne is looking to compile some tips and advise for KP sufferers. She is also trailing some products which are marketed at the skin condition.

So pop over and see how she is getting on - lets hope she make a break through!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Weaning from boob to bottle

The decision to quit breastfeeding and to move my baby to formula was difficult enough, but searching for information and advice on how to wean  was almost just as hard.

The actual process of how to wean, how much formula to give and how often to feed was hard to track down. I got some basic information from a friend and sort of ‘winged it’ myself. And thankfully it all worked out.

But if you are looking for some help and advice to bring your baby from boob to bottle, I hope this information will help.

You should note that Abbey had received formula in SCBU from a bottle. And when I was breastfeeding I did pump extra milk and gave this bottle most nights - so we didn't have any issues with changing to an actual bottle. We used Aptamil 1 and Tommee Tippee Closer to nature bottles and Dr Brown's anti colic bottles.

Whatever your reason for stopping breastfeeding I would recommend you do it slowly, I have witnessed the pain mothers go through if they quit breastfeeding abruptly - it really is not worth it.
This is what worked for me and my baby (born 5 weeks premature, so weighed about 7.5lbs at six weeks).

The toughest part to work out is how much formula to give. Abbey would feed for about 20 mins a time. So I pumped for 20 minutes and got about 70ml - I know she was probably getting more, but it was a good indicator for me.

At six weeks old I started her off with one 30ml bottle at 3.30pm and then breastfed at 5pm. I found her to be quite hungry, so I knew to up it to 40ml the next day etc. By day four she was on 60ml twice a day the first at 12 noon and the next at 12am. She had one or two little vomits but was taking it well.

Moving on, I either upped the amount of the formula feed by 10ml or added another formula bottle every 3-4 days. This process really worked for us, breastfeeding in between bottle feeds was slow enough to not give me with any pain and she seemed to adjust perfectly.

It actually took me over 3 weeks to move her fully onto formula as she had been breastfeeding at least every three hours a day. Once she was on full formula we started to start the process of a sleep routine. 
We used Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby and were delighted with the results. Review and details soon.

We did have some issues with colic a few weeks later, but this was down to her being in a pavlik harness. More on that soon!

If you weaned to formula, did you have any issues?