Daily Health Tips: What Causes Green Poop?

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Q: I am a nursing mother of a 3months baby She sometimes brings green poop what could be the cause because it goes back and comes back 2. What are the signs and symptoms of a bacterial infection in babies? 3. How many times should a 3months baby poop a day? Thank you

A: Thanks for writing in.

In babies, green poo can be due to:

  • Baby not nursing sufficiently from one breast before being moved to the other breast. This means that the baby gets more (watery) fore milk than the fattier, nutrient-dense hind milk.
  • If baby is bottle-fed, it could be due to the particular formula being used. Try switching to another formula and see if it helps
  • Diarrhea
  • Inadequate intestinal flora in breastfed babies

Though this question is about babies, I’ll mention some cause of green poo in children and adults:

  • Eating a lot of veggies
  • Diet…

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Daily Health Tips: Can I Take Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

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Q: Hello Doctor, my baby is almost 2 months old and I am breast feeding. I would like to know if I can have a glass of wine once in a while even while still breastfeeding. If not, how long does alcohol stay in the blood when you take it so that I can pump and feed baby?
 
A: Congratulations on your new baby! He/she will be a blessing to you and your family!
 
Diet and indeed anything we eat, affect our breast milk and by extension, baby. These are foods to avoid or limit their consumption while breast feeding:
 
Caffeine in coffee (try decaffeinated and stick with 2 small tea cups), energy drinks, some soft drinks etc. This makes the baby irritable and by extension, makes sleep difficult for the baby. Now, you don’t want that, do you?
 
Alcohol: This should be avoided at all…

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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Graduating!

Hi everyone, had a good day so far?
Sharing another of my early motherhood reflections again today. These are posts I wrote so many years ago, as I wrapped my head around motherhood and what it takes. This one was about graduating from different phases to another. How did you handle these? Well, I share with you below, how I handled some of my children’s phases 😀 Enjoy!


The alarm went off. I woke up and still had a goofy smile on my face. I stretched, moved into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. Are those grey hairs I see? More of the goofy smile. Yeah, well grey hairs are normal as you grow older and your kids move on. Why the smiles? I was excited because the baby of the house, my last child was leaving nursery school on this day. I suddenly felt all grown up (never mind about him, the graduand! This was all about me!)

I moved around the whole day in a blur of smiles and images of graduation from secondary school and grandchildren et al! Grandchildren?! Babe, get a hold of yourself! We are just going into Primary school. Well, I don’t know how many of you have passed through that phase and went through the gamut of emotions that I’m describing but it is one of utmost satisfaction. I am not sure that any promotion I received since the beginning of my work life comes close to that joy of knowing I have been in this child’s life from the very beginning to this new phase in his/her life. It’s awesome. It comes with its challenges though, helping them settle in…. but if you’ve got more than one, by the time the last one is going in there are sibs to guide him/her through the rites of passage.Now I am passing through yet another phase: my first daughter is leaving primary school for secondary school. Here I am feeling all grown-up again. Going around looking for information on schools that fit my profile of a good school…while carefully balancing the dictates of my budget, telling anyone who cares to listen that we are preparing for entrance exams (it sounds so grown-up, yes?!) and preparing her for what is to come. Panicking over boarding and day? Whether I’ve taught her enough to thrust her into the big bad world, whether her study habits are developed enough for what is to come etc.

I’ve come to realize that I’m the one who needs to be prepared. In the midst of all my panic, my daughter looks at me like ‘what’s that all about?’. We’ve come to the point too when she sometimes looks at me and says, ‘MOTHER’ as opposed to mum (that’s my signal that I’m making a complete fool of myself and embarrassing her to boot!) and she says she wants to go to boarding school so she can hopefully, avoid all the house chores I insist they do 😀 Can you imagine?! 😀 I wonder whether her wanting to ‘escape’ for that is a good thing or whether it’s a bad thing. But hey, that part of the problem today, isn’t it? The kids have too many people doing too many things for them and as I write these last lines, my mind is made up. She will be a day student and she will do house chores. QED.

Well, this was written in the early part of 2012. And now I can tell you how that story really ended 😀 She went to boarding school and unfortunately, those house chores remained a part of her life – in school and at home 😀 So, there!

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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: How Do I Keep My Eggs Vibrant?

Q: Please enlighten me on how to know or test if one’s egg is vibrant for IVF, as in cost too.

A: I share a previous answer to a similar question. I hope this helps.

Every woman is born with about 1 million eggs. These eggs in the ovary die steadily such that by the time she gets to puberty, she has just about 300,000 left. These eggs are released every month in sync with the menstrual cycle. A woman will release about 300 to 400 eggs in her lifetime. As a woman ages, the quantity and the quality of the eggs reduce. Indeed, the ovary’s ability to release eggs reduces until it can no longer release any eggs (menopause). The quality also reduces such that as one ages the eggs are more prone to having problems leading to miscarriage, birth defects etc
How can you improve the quality of your eggs? A study by some scholars at medical school shows that calorie restriction, which has been shown to reduce age-related problems and diseases, is also useful in improving quality of eggs even in old age. Calorie restriction involves limiting one’s normal calorie or food intake with the primary aim of slowing ageing and indeed, improving health. So this is an option. You will be losing weight or keeping trim while improving the quality of your eggs 😀
Egg freezing is also an option to preserve the quality of the eggs you have now, if conception is not yet on the cards.
Other lifestyle factors that may help give you a better shot at pregnancy include:
Eat healthy.
Keep your weight healthy. Avoid the extremes of weight: underweight or overweight
Exercise. Ensure that you are active at least 30 minutes every day. Goal is at least 150 minutes every week
Stay away from tobacco, alcohol and other drugs of addiction.
You can have more of an in-depth discussion on this with your obstetrician who can also let you know other procedures available to you based on your specific history.
Have a positive attitude too and keep those fingers crossed 
Have a great night, y’all 😀

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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Letting Go!

What school prepares you for motherhood? The questions you will be asked by innocent enquiring minds? The advice you have to give? The times you have to stand by the sidelines and watch them sort out situations for themselves knowing that interfering makes it worse for them? Nothing. Just praying and experiencing the events every day one step at a time. The song, One day at a time readily comes to mind at this time.

How do you help your child fit into a new school after she just joined? How do you make the children include her in their games? You just hope that you have taught her enough self confidence to eventually deal with these issues and move on. We teach our children not to fight and to walk away when it appears someone is on their case. But sometimes, it makes sense for them not to walk away. I’ll give you an example. I travelled with my children. At the airport there was a game for children to play. Now another child came and wanted to play. He could have asked politely, bit no, he just had to hit my son. My attention was called to the drama when I heard my son speak angrily what’s wrong with you. I asked to find out what was happening. He told me what had happened while the other boy just glared at him belligerently. Of course, I , the earth mother told the two young men there was no need to quarrel but that they would all take turns to play. Thus, he would play once my son finished his turn. No change in his demeanor and so I turned back to my book.

Next thing I know, he was trying to push my son off the chair and my son gave a push, right back. The young man fell to the floor. I rushed to them and said all the right things. No you shouldn’t have pushed either of you etc. But guess what, I was inwardly pleased my son gave back exactly what he got. Life is full of bullies in the work place, school, neighborhood etc. I can’t fight all your battles.  There comes that time in your life when you have to stand up for what you believe in and speak up for it. It should not involve the use of fisticuffs but it should clearly show what your values are and advertise the fact that you will not compromise on those core values.

This is the same fear that parents have when their children are about to hit significant milestones. Very first day at school, graduation (yes, graduation from nursery school or kindergarten), fisrt day in primary school, graduation from primary, entering the secondary school (especially if it’s boarding), going into the university (at which time the children who are not children anymore are told they are entering the big bad world). We worry whether they can fight life’s battles for themselves, whether we’ve taught them enough to go forth into the world and do the right things. We pray and hope that they don’t make mistakes and that they do not mix up with the wrong crowds.

But guess what, we’ve got to let them go. In those early formative years, we need to be sure that we have spent time teaching them the right values, spend quality time with them and listen to and answer their questions. We also need to visit and touch base with them when they are in boarding school or university. This way, we can easily pick up on warning signals when they appear. Most importantly, we need to commit them to God everyday knowing that, more than I the mother, he loves them more and will look after them. Consciously, I make the effort to let go and let God.                          

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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: The First Time!

If you’re a parent or guardian of a girl-child, do you remember when she first got her period? Do you remember the mixture of emotions you felt? Well, below, I share my own reflections when I went through this with one of my daughters, a while back.


Mum, I saw a red stain on my panties. I’ve had to change my panties about three times today and it still keeps happening. Is this my period?’This was my nine-and-a-half-year-old daughter, asking. I looked up from what I was doing and tears filled my eyes. I knew this moment was coming. I knew it was just a matter of time. But we love to live in denial, don’t we? Especially when it comes to our children. When they are growing older, it certainly means that we are growing older (scary thought and very vain too, aye? Well, I didn’t claim to be a saint, did I? 😀 )

And then it reminds you that you’ve got to have THE TALK with her, explain the whole birds and bees concept and actually admit to yourself that this is the beginning of the bigger milestones (secondary school graduation, entry to university and graduation from it, wedding etc). Then you remember again, the little girl you brought back from the hospital, a couple of years back. All these thoughts race through your mind while you look at her vacantly. With these thoughts, I also fast forward to the fact that she is a lady now and I start to wonder whether I have taught her enough: Can she hold her own in social and intellectual discussions? Is she self-sufficient? Does she know her way around the kitchen (and I have also equipped my son for this skill – Cooking (and indeed all tasks) are gender-neutral in my home)? Not enough to cook a Cordon Bleu meal (not a bad idea though) but at least the beginnings of a future MasterChef; How soon should I enroll her in a driving school and perhaps, I should start off by teaching her how to change car tyres? Does she know how to comport herself in social gatherings etc? I know some of these were futuristic…but they were thoughts running amok in my head, anyways…


‘Mum? ‘And then you are back to the present. You start the process of telling her what the blood means and it suddenly strikes you…she already asked you if it was the period. You pause for a moment and ask her where she saw that or how she knew that. Stupid question really, what with the internet and television and books. Well, as it turned out, she’d read about it in a book. And so already knew a lot about it. But I still had to explain the whole process to her, including how the blood comes about, the implication of this for her and how to handle the monthly periods and cramps. This information session is important and must be ongoing because at this time they have a number of friends going through the same thing who may be giving them different information, most of it not true.


I go get my daughter a pack of sanitary towels and hand them over. I smile to myself and give her a big hug. My daughter has started her journey to womanhood.

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#HLWDK Motherhood – Practicing Enough Tough Love?!

Another instalment in my ‘motherhood’ series. I must have written this at least 10 years ago, but it still resonates! Enjoy…


Do you remember the first time you smacked your child? Oh dear, I said the S word! Remember the absolutely gorgeous, toothless smile, giggling and always forgiving baby you brought back from the hospital? Yes that one. Remember the first time you had to raise a finger against him? It probably hurt you more than it did him. I am not advocating for mothers to beat up their children but then again, I am also not advocating for mothers to allow their kids to run wild without some discipline. If you look around these days, in shops, restaurants etc, you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of children throwing tantrums because they want some toy and they are not getting it. Mothers prefer to pick up after their children than teach them to do it…from the earliest age.


This same scenario has now been transferred from home to the schools. Teachers can no longer discipline their students for fear of the parents raising a row and worse of all…horror of all horrors withdraw their children from school. Children come late to school, talk back at their teachers and get away with murder because no one is willing to say and/or do what needs to be done.Remember those days when we were in school, if you dared come late to school, you would approach the gates with trepidation because you knew the headmaster was certainly going to make sure you were disciplined – stay back during break, cut grass (yes) etc If you were asked to go to the head master’s office, you shook with fear (except you were being called for some heroic or brilliant academic work that you had done) because appropriate punishment will be meted out.A friend told me the story of a child who did something really bad in school. The mother was called in for a meeting while the headteacher explained what had happened. Everyone expected some manner of outrage from the parent about what the child had done. Well, the mom listened patiently, nodding her head intermittently and then said, well, this child has done something bad and thus as punishment, I will ensure that this summer vacation, you will not travel 1st class but economy class. Really? You mean this child still gets to travel this year? You’ve got to be kidding me! I guess the stories of parents paying people to take exams for their children is now old…but still shocking.Another instalment in my ‘motherhood’ series. I must have written this at least 10 years ago, but it still resonates! Enjoy…headteacher explained what had happened. Everyone expected some manner of outrage from the parent about what the child had done. Well, the mom listened patiently, nodding her head intermittently and then said, well, this child has done something bad and thus as punishment, I will ensure that this summer vacation, you will not travel 1st class but economy class. Really? You mean this child still gets to travel this year? You’ve got to be kidding me! I guess the stories of parents paying people to take exams for their children are now old…but still shocking.

If we do not start practising tough love, then we may not be helping our children much, as we will be breeding the next generation of people who will put our nation into more trouble than we already are in.

But what do I know, I’m just an ordinary mother!

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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Motherhood

Looking through my hard drive today and came across some posts I had started writing in my early days of motherhood. I’ve never shared them here but they are very interesting 🙂


Today, I share with you one of the very first, about my thoughts on getting married and becoming a mother. What did you think about your own experience getting pregnant and delivering your baby? Were you one of those earth mothers – fully prepared and ready to go? Let me know how it went with you! Below, I share my own experience – I feel vulnerable reading the uncertainty and yes, the vulnerability in my words. If I could tell my young self anything, it would be, ‘don’t worry. You’ve got this! It will all be fine!’ Same thing I say to every other young mother…don’t worry. You’ll be fine.
Enough already 😀 Here’s the post…

I remember when I found out I was pregnant. It took weeks of ‘malaria-like’ illness, feeling nauseous etc for the message to finally sink in. When it finally did, I decided to just do a scan and confirm this and from that moment, I fell in love with this life I was carrying inside of me. I was in awe of what was expected of me…carry this baby to term and thereafter ensure that this child is presented as a well brought up child to society. I wasn’t even sure I was all grown up myself and yet I had to do all this (I was all of 27 years at the time).The year I had my first baby also started an important tradition in my life. That of spending my birthday getting ready for my daughter’s birthday. Our birthdays are 2 days apart.

The year I had her, I woke up on my birthday with the realization that my delivery bag was not fully packed and ready and then decided to go to the market on that day to complete the shopping for the event. The next day I was in the hospital and delivered early in the morning the following day.Remember those ambivalent feelings when the baby is first placed into your hands. The fear that you might mistakenly throw the baby down, the responsibility that this child was yours to mould, the awe that God could make this amazing creature come from you and the heart breaking love that you feel as you look into the eyes of this child that is your own flesh and blood. Nothing can quite describe that feeling. I could hardly sleep the first night for excitement!And then the baby starts to grow and you get used to what needs to be done: bathing the baby, the late-night cramps, the fever that comes with some immunizations, the whole teething palaver and then pre-school. At this time, you start to feel accomplished and on top of things. You hope and you pray that as they grow you will have more time to do things you used to love to do ( you actually believe this!). But for the moment, you are entirely thankful and grateful to God that you’ve got a tiny tot (born by you or adopted ) to call yours, to love and care for. This is one being, at least at that time, who loves you totally unconditionally. We can all do with some unconditional love here, can’t we?

🤗

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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Why Is My baby Crying?

Q: Hi, my baby is crying a lot, day and night. What can be the cause, and how can I cure it?

A: What’s my baby saying when he whimpers, when he cries, when he … what does it all mean. It can be pretty overwhelming trying to make sense out of it all, I know J

Let’s help you out: Here are some signals babies could be giving out when they cry

Hunger:

If your baby isn’t full after a feed, he would cry at the end of it and before the next one. Babies also don’t feel hungry at regular intervals and so there are days when he appears to need a feed more often and other days when he needs it infrequently.

So, offer a feed if you’re not sure what signal he is giving out.

Needing to be held:

We all worry about whether we will spoiling our babies if we carry them whenever they cry. Well, if your baby needs a cuddle and that’s why he is crying then you just need to carry him…and you won’t spoil him! A front carrying baby sling may be a good idea.

Otherwise, Carrying or gently rocking your baby is also a good idea. Rocking is better than vigorously joggling him up and down, because this may prevent him from drifting off to sleep.

Tiredness:

When a baby has had way too much excitement and stimulation, it can tire him out, making him irritable and unable to sleep.

Make a habit of putting your baby down in a quiet, darkened room and leave him for a few minutes, even if he’s crying, to see if he will settle and go off to sleep.

Too hot or too cold:

For those living in the tropics, this one is for you! J  You know those warm and woolly caps we wear on our children at all times, whether the weather is cold or hot? Bad idea!!! Babies can feel uncomfortably hot or cold, just as older children and adults do.

If your baby is sweating or his tummy feels hot to the touch, remove some of his clothing. If he is in his cot, take off some of the bedding. Remove hats and extra clothing as soon as you come indoors or enter a warm car, bus or train.

The room that a baby sleeps in should be neither too hot nor too cold. Please do not use a hot water bottle or electric blanket for your baby. Do not also place them in direct sunshine. These prevent overheating and significantly reduce the risk of cot death as well making him more comfortable.

Wet or dirty nappies:

Well, this bothers some children more than the others! However, regardless of which category your child falls in, please change the nappy as soon as you realize it’s wet or dirty. This helps to prevent nappy rash, which would almost certainly cause your baby discomfort.

Now you know what to do when your baby starts crying…let those maternal instincts kick in 😀 But if s/he continues to cry after figuring these out, you lose nothing by checking in with the doctor. Better safe than sorry.

All the best!

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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: What Is The Treatment For Goiter?

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Hi! Doctor, Please I’ve being battling with goiter for the past three years now and I am scared of surgery. Please, is there any suggested treatment for it? Thanks

A: Swelling of the thyroid gland which is seen as a neck swelling is called goiter. But how does this develop? I’ll start from the beginning.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when your body produces too much thyroid hormones. These hormones are usually produced by a butterfly shaped organ located at the front of your neck, called the thyroid gland. These thyroid hormones produced typically control the rate at which the body converts food t energy (metabolic rate) and also controls a whole lot of other cells and tissues like your bones (the hormones determine how your body incorporates calcium into your bones), the rate of your heart beats, your muscle contraction, cholesterol levels etc

Most cases of hyperthyroidism is…

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