Healthcare by a Pharmacist mum!

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Is there a right time to start potty training?

PLPOTTYPODgreyMilltownThe’right’ time for potty training is a topic of great debate! In America potty tends to happen before the age of two but in Ireland it’s much more likely to be over two or even approaching three! The right time is when your child is showing signs of readiness and most importantly you have the available necessary time to support your child through this large transition to avoid it becoming a negatively fuelled battle. There are certain pressures from society now which do encourage parents to take the task in hand a little earlier such as requirements by Montessori schools etc which now start earlier for many children with the introduction of a second free Pre ECCE year. This has changed the starting age for Montessori of many children to three rather than four.  Many montessoris have a requirement for children to be fully toilet trained before starting which would mean you would need to make a start on it at about two and a half years of age.

How do you know if they’re ready (are there signs to look out for)?

toilet-clip-art1-1-copyThere are many signs of readiness, these include: Continue reading

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The Wonders Of Witch Hazel!

IMG_7589Childbirth is obviously a beautiful and wonderful thing, amazing and magical all at the same time! However when you look behind the magic and under all of that happy new baby bliss sometimes you find a mum who is struggling to recover from their vaginal birth due to an episiotomy, haemorrhoids or vaginal tears.  Not every mum will experience discomfort after childbirth but in all honestly a little tenderness and inflammation is to be expected at least.  So to all new mums I would like to help you focus purely on your mesmerising new WonderBaba by explaining how exactly you can relieve your pain and soreness so it is no longer an unwelcome distraction!

Let me introduce you to the wonders of witch hazel and some other natural wonder products! Continue reading

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12 simple tips to protect your child from pollen!

Spring and summer can be a little frustrating because you want to encourage you child to be out doors but every time you do they are struck down by hay fever! Hay fever is more common in older children than babies with more boys being affected than girls interestingly.  To read my full blog on hay fever and its medical treatment you can click here or if you just want some top tips to help to avoid pollen then keep reading!

If you suspect hay fever the best thing to do is to limit your child’s exposure to the allergen pollen. This sounds simple, but once children are involved is anything actually easy?! Here’s some top tips to get you started!

  • met.ie-logo (2)Keep your child inside if the pollen count is above 50 or high.  To check the pollen count on any given day you can look up the MET Éireann website – http://www.met.ie/forecasts/pollen.asp
  • Let your child wear wrap-around sunglasses to stop the pollen from contacting their eyes.
  • Keep windows closed on days of a high pollen count. This one is hard because it’s often quite warm on these days but needs must!
  • Don’t hang your child’s clothes or bedding outside to dry as they may become covered in pollen which will cause irritation at night or during the day.
  • Don’t keep fresh flowers in the house (a good excuse for the men not to buy any!!)
  • Hoover regularly.
  • Dust with a damp cloth regularly.
  • If outdoors avoid areas where grass is being cut or has recently been cut.
  • Keep car windows closed when driving.
  • recirculated-airIf using the air conditioning in your car set it to re-circulate the air in the car instead of drawing in new air which may be heavy with pollen.
  • The best time to play outside is after a heavy down pour of rain – Irish weather comes in handy here! This is when the pollen count will be at its lowest.
  • Wash your child’s hands and face once you’ve finished playing outside to remove the pollen. Also change their clothes.

If you cannot get your child’s hay fever under control please do talk to me, your local Pharmacist or your GP.  Further information on the medical treatment of hay fever is available here!

cropped-websitefeetlogo.pngI hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help!

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Soothers – Should you or shouldn’t you!?

soother-in-mouthSoothers…. another one of those weird topics that instigate all manner of severe mammy guilt! I feel this is because we are bombarded with conflicting information as to whether or not their use is a good or bad thing! I’d like to be able to clarify whether there is a right or wrong answer to the argument but I’m afraid that will still remain the personal choice of a parent – all I can do is explain the evidence from both sides and for what it’s worth I’m happy to give my own opinion at the end!

Please note – I will use the word ‘soothers’ throughout this article to describe a device also known as a dodi, a pacifier, a dummy, etc etc etc….. Continue reading

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WonderBaba Medication Record

We all know how important it is to give your child the right medication, at the right time, at the right dose.  I’m not writing this to give you a lecture – if you are reading this you are already interested in the responsible administration of medication to your child.  I’m writing this to help you find an easy and effective way of doing it – no matter what your family or childcare situation!

The most common reason for medication errors that I have come across is a simple lack of communication between adults. It’s so easily done, everyone is in a hurry and has an awful lot of information to provide during ‘handover’ of responsibility from one parent to another, from a parent to a childminder or from a parent to a creche or school etc.  It’s simple to forget to let someone know that you have given a dose of medication, in fact with tiredness and stress involved I’d say its near impossible to be perfect all of the time!

Rather than beat ourselves up about not being ‘WonderParents’ all of the time I feel it’s a lot more constructive to identify that everyone is only human after all, and to try and find a system to put in place to prevent any medication errors from occuring.

I have designed the following record so that it can be used in a home, childminders, creche or school environment.  Ideally it could be stored in the box of the medication so that it is easily found but can even wrapped around the bottle with an elastic band or hair bobbin if needs must!  I really hope you find it useful as the most important thing is the health and welfare of our fabulous WonderBabas and I know this is a system we will be using in our house from now on when one of our three is unfortunate enough to need medication.

The Record can be downloaded and printed off by clicking the following link:

WonderBaba Medication Record download!

wonderbaba medication record download! pic




I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262.  I’m always happy to help!


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The WonderBaba Cure for a Working Mammy’s Guilt!

slingMaternity leave comes to an end all to quick. Precious days spent getting to know this amazing little person who has just joined your family.  It almost feels like they are just starting to blossom into  their new personalities when it’s time to go back to work.  Some people have the option of taking a year off, some people only a few weeks, whatever your reasons, choices and commitments it boils down to the same thing…you have to leave your baby.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of mums out there who are excited to go back to work, I was one of them in many ways, but even with the best job in the world it can be a phase of major adjustment, upset and turmoil!  Otherwise known as ‘the mammy guilt’.  Rather than going down the road of discussing why people make a choice to go back to work or to highlight that many people don’t actually have a choice in the first place I thought it might be refreshing to focus on the positives! So this little article is for all of you working mammies out there who are struggling to cope with the guilt of having to leave your baby whether it be for a couple of half days a week or a five day full time working week.  This article is a focus on the positives – and actually I’m amazed by the length of it!!!

Work Life Balance Signpost Shows Career And Leisure Harmony


When I was expecting my most recent little addition I came across an amazing group of women who were all in the same boat (LOTP you know who you are!).  Out of the group many of the women have gone back to work and some are just returning now. There are also some stay at home mums who went back to work after having earlier babies but have chosen to stay at home this time around.  Of course there is a collection of full time stay at home mums and I have to say – being at home is just as hard a job as being at work – I think this will become even more evident as this article continues!!  After a few hard days at work this week I was feeling a bit exhausted and wondered if I had the choice to be a stay at home mum would life actually be any easier? In the interest of a bit of a giggle and a bit of perspective  I asked this group of women a simple question “what are the positives about being a working mum”?  Here is a sample of the answers to cheer any of you emotionally drained ‘working mums’ up!  Let’s be clear..this article is not my ‘norm’.  You will not find any evidence based guidelines or medical research here…but sometimes, just sometimes…laughter is the best medicine!

What are the positives of being a ‘working mum’?

  • cup-of-coffee-Being somewhat appreciated for what I do.
  • Saying ‘I’ll do it in a minute’ and your word being accepted instead of being asked again and again every 5 seconds until you give in.
  • Going to the toilet in peace and without an audience.
  • Coffee in peace – and it’s even hot!
  • Lunch in peace – again even hot if wanted!!
  • Feeling like you have done something productive instead of the ‘futility’ of housework etc.
  • “I’d quit my job but its the only place I get any sleep!”
  • Exercising my brain.
  • ‘I like those 16 mins a day when I’m on my own in the car.  I like that I’m me and not just mammy.  I like that at the end of my shift I can just stop what I’m doing’.
  • Feeling like I have a goal apart from eat, sleep, clean up mess, repeat.
  • The feeling of having a purpose other than being a mammy to help retain a sense of identity.
  • Being called by my name.
  • musicThe commute and singing along to the radio without the kids asking 20 questions!
  • ‘Adult conversation..being a stay at home mum I can go days without adult conversation apart from husband! Sometimes I go to ALDI for a chat.’
  • ‘I go to my local shop – I now know all of the staff!’
  • Dressing in work clothes.
  • Listening to talk shows on the radio.
  • ‘Eating…alone like. And swallowing’
  • Putting on make up.
  • Having the craic with colleagues and friends.
  • makeupSitting down.
  • People listen to me when I speak and don’t respond with ‘why’?
  • Not being pooped on.
  • Not talking about poop.
  • Going for lunch with friends.
  • ‘I love my house being clean because we are not in it to mess it’
  • Lunch cooked by canteen staff.
  • Wearing high heels.
  • Work people don’t steal food off your plate.
  • Browsing on the internet without feeling guilty about ignoring the kids.
  • Talking about things other than power rangers and dinosaurs.
  • Being a person other than ‘mammy’
  • phone‘Not being called mammy, however being a teacher I do get called mammy at work from time to time!’
  • Being on your phone without someone wanting to snatch it from your hand.
  • Facing different challenges and exercising different skills to what I do at home.
  • Financial benefits help make it feel worthwhile.
  • ‘Having new things to talk to hubbie about at dinner time other than the consistency of poop and the price of food in Tesco’.
  • Sharing night time baby duties and early wakings as both of us at work.
  • ‘not having to chase an energiser bunny all day – jesus it’s exhausting!’
  • Not having to try and get the baby to nap.
  • Wearing clean clothes.
  • Being able to wear jewellery.
  • Lunchtime shopping.
  • If you’re sick you can go back to bed as the kids have childcare as being at home minding kids when your sick is no fun!
  • Not bringing a buggy.
  • Walking with two free hands.
  • Husband gets a taste of what it is you’ve been doing whilst ‘off’.
  • ‘Not having to get my boobs out for eight whole hours’.
  • ‘Being better at my job because of having children…can survive on very little food and drink for days on end and can go without sleep – every employers dream!’
  • Being appreciated.
  • Getting to carry a handbag with things in it just for me.
  • Having lunch at lunchtime.
  • Being able to drive with the music blaring at ridiculous levels.
  • ‘Those sneaky mental health days as me and husband call them where we take the day off and still send the kids to creche and go to the cinema.’
  • little handComing home to big cuddles.
  • The look of joy/relief on their faces when you collect them or get home.

Well I hope reading that little list which was created by fellow ‘working mammies’  has helped you to realise that actually maybe going to work isn’t such a bad thing!  Going to work may actually help you to be a better and more tolerant parent by allowing you some very precious ‘you’ time.  You may actually spend better quality time with your kids during your time off than you ever would if you were with them every day of the week.  So let the ‘working mammy’ guilt be gone – consider yourself cured!  You are now free to move on to any of the following common forms of mammy guilt:

  • My child doesn’t eat enough fruit and vegetables guilt.
  • My child watches more than 5 minutes of TV per day guilt.
  • My child just licked a dirty floor guilt.
  • I gave my baby formula guilt.
  • I use disposable nappy guilt.
  • I pretended to go to the bathroom just to get a minutes peace guilt.
  • I dress my child exclusively from Pennys guilt.
  • My child ate a lollipop guilt.
  • I fed my baby food from a sachet (without a spoon) guilt.


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wonder Tip! Save Your Couch!


Wonder Tip!

Toilet training is a difficult enough time without having to scrub down the furniture every five minutes!

Something which may seem obvious but we have only really done on our second child is put a Huggies Dry night bed mat on the couch and convince your child it’s a super special big girl blanket that big girls sit on when they get big and start using the big girl potty like a big girl…see how many times I have to say big girl in a sentence now!!!

Doing this simple trick may just save you and your furniture from a lot of scrubbing and a lot of stress! Continue reading

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Breast Feeding Top Tip…Literally!

Breast feeding mums!

A health care tip this is not….but a top tip it sure is!!

I’ve read this a million times online so on no level am I trying to claim credit but on baby number three it’s my first time to actually try it! 

Wish I had given it a go much sooner! I really begrudge spending money on specific breast feeding tops because they are so expensive for what they are! I always say I’ll just make do with using a string  top under a normal top but always get really annoyed and flustered when I’m trying to feed my baby when out and about as I seem to spend more time fiddling with tops trying to preserve my dignity and building up a panicked sweat than actually feeding my baby! The whole debacle leaves us both stressed out and a little traumatised!! I really don’t mind feeding in public at all but at the same time I don’t want to be flashing myself and everyone around me – despite what my family would say I’m actually quite shy (I can hear the laughter already!) and so really always want to be comfortable when feeding my baby and doing as little fussing at tops and bra straps as possible so as not to draw attention to myself! I’ve always ended up admitting defeat and dashing into H&M etc to pick up some nursing t shirts – which to be honest I don’t even like the look of! Continue reading

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Trouble giving your baby medicine? Here are some Wonder Tips to make life easier!

Hopefully you won’t need this particular article and your baby won’t need to take medicine for any reason big or small but if you do you will be glad you had a read!

Without going into to the various reasons a child might need medicine and debating those it’s safe to say that many babies will, at some stage, need a dose of Calpol or Nurofen, an antibiotic, or even medication for a long term illness.  It could be something as simple as a response to vaccinations but in any case when you and your healthcare advisor have made the decision that it is appropriate for your little one to take medication orally you may be left wondering how on earth you are meant to actually administer it! Continue reading

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Tip! How long to keep sun cream!


Have a look at the back of your tube of sun cream to see how long it will remain good to use once it has been opened! This symbol indicates that the product is safe to use from twelve months from the day it’s opened! It’s good to get in the habit of writing the date you opened the tube on it with permanent marker so that you are sure the product you are using is still of sufficient quality to protect your child from sunburn – I know in our house we could have cream sitting there opened for years as the Irish weather does not exactly encourage you to finish a tube!! Continue reading