Supporting Irish National Breastfeeding Week – Planning to Breastfeed?

If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, you are providing nature’s own immunisation protecting baby against a wide variety of illness and conditions. It’s designed perfectly to meet your baby’s every need. It’s ready when baby needs it at the perfect temperature and comes neatly packaged with no need to sterilise!

Your breastmilk contains essential enzymes, hormones and immunoglobulins vital for your baby’s normal growth, development and good health. And despite decades of research by formula companies, science still cannot replicate the wonders of your own breastmilk.

Breastfeeding is the ideal start for your baby. The goodness of breastfeeding will last you both a lifetime, it’s probably one of the single most important things you can do for you and your baby’s health. Breastmilk gives your baby all the food and drink they need for the first six months of life, and continues to be an important part of their diet, as other foods are given, for up to two years of age and beyond.

(Source: The benefits of Breastfeeding: a DOH initiative.)


While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, it is a skill that you and your baby develop over the first days and weeks.  One way to help you prepare is to go to breastfeeding classes held by lactation consultants and midwives.  Ensure that you pack your hospital bag with Multi Mam Compresses to relieve soreness immediately and help prevent the occurrence of mastitis.  Also have Multi Mam Lanolin and Balm to help condition your nipples to prevent soreness and irritation.

multi mam group image


Trying for a Baby? – How you can give you and your partner the best chance to conceive.

If you and your partner are in good health, you will improve your chances of getting pregnant and of having a healthy pregnancy.  You can also help yourselves by taking fertility supplements.

76% of Irish women who are trying to conceive believe taking a fertility supplement can help them conceive*.

What factors can affect the chance of having a baby?

Medical issues

Medical issues such as diabetes, asthma and being overweight can affect your pregnancy.

Diet and Exercise

Being overweight – For women if your body mass index (BMI) is between 20 and 25 you have a healthy weight.  Women whose BMI is more than 30 or under 19 may find their fertility levels suffer.  If a men’s BMI is more than 30, his fertility may be lower than normal.

It is important to be active for general feeling of wellness.  Being active and fitter helps with stamina and ability to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life.

Alcohol and smoking

Excessive alcohol drinking may affect the quality of a man’s sperm and smoking may reduce fertility in women.

Age can be a factor

For women, the most fertile period is in their mid –twenties and fertility starts to decrease after the age of 35.

For men, sperm is strongest in their mid-twenties and starts to decrease after the age of 40.

The importance of taking a good quality fertility supplement with the right ingredients and dosage levels.

While it is so important to do the best you can by eating well and exercising moderately, you can also help yourself and your partner by taking a high quality fertility supplement when trying for a baby.   It is very difficult, in today’s environment to get all the nutrients we need from food.

Indeed, the latest research amongst Irish women trying for a baby show that 76% of them believe in the importance of taking a nutritional supplement to aid conception*.

PROCEIVE is the new Irish Fertility Supplement specially made for men and women who wish to have a baby. It contains 33 nutrients, vitamins and minerals, at high quality dosage levels.  Each nutrient performs a role in maximising the quality of the eggs (for women) and the quality of the sperm (for men).

proceive range

Talk to your LloydsPharmacy teams – we are trained extensively in the value of nutrition and can give you helpful advice, recommend the correct fertility supplement to take in a safe, discreet and caring manner.

Don’t miss our Fabulous Pharmacist Laura Dowling who will be part of a panel discussing Fertility on Ireland AM on Monday 24th July at 9.20am.

*Source Mummy Pages July 2017/

Controlling your bladder during and after pregnancy

Pregnancy places a lot of new additional stress on your pelvic floor muscles, causing them to weaken in as little as twelve weeks. At times it may feel as though your baby is playing a game with your bladder at the most inconvenient times.

If you are having trouble controlling your bladder while pregnant, here’s a few tips to help you manage the symptoms:

  1. Do your pelvic floor exercises!
    Pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises are designed to support and strengthen the pelvic floor. Correct contraction of the pelvic floor muscles involves squeezing and lifting under the pelvis up into the body, around the vagina. Other parts of the body should be completely isolated avoiding activation of the glutes and inner thighs. Complete at least 30-40 contractions a day, aiming to work up to 10 seconds per contraction. For instance, complete 10 repetitions, 3-4 times per day. We know it can be difficult to find the time but you will be grateful in the end. And even if you can only manage a handful of some days that will be better than none at all.
  2. Keep your weight gain moderate
    Ensure your weight gain during pregnancy is progressing moderately by staying active and exercising within your limits. Follow a healthy and nutritious diet, as well as including fibrous foods to avoid constipation as this can add additional pressure on the pelvic floor.
  3. Don’t cut back on water intake
    Avoiding water will not solve the issue and may make you prone to other conditions such as urinary tract infections and dehydration. It is advised to keep drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day.
  4. Avoid foods and beverages that irritate the bladder
    Beverages such as tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks can increase bladder activity, as well as acidic products and spicy foods can also irritate the bladder. Try to avoid these items, however continue to include essential fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  5. Manage the issue
    If you suffer leaks during pregnancy, it is advised to use panty liners to absorb any urine. This will help you cope rather than to restrict your activity or interfere with daily life.

Despite continuing with pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy, it is possible that your pelvic floor will weaken due to the weight of the baby and the impact of child birth. Innovotherapy is recommended from six weeks after giving birth, with significant improvements in as little as four weeks.1 Ensure you seek medical approval from your doctor before using the INNOVO® device. Now available in LloydsPharmacy stores and online here.

1) Soeder S, Tunn R. (2012) – Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) of the Pelvic Floor Muscles using a Non-Invasive Surface Device in the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI); A Pilot Study. IUGA Poster Presentation Conference, Dublin, Ireland (2013)


Reflux In Babies

infant-refluxHow many of us have been there…you’ve had a beautiful new baby and spent the first week or two boasting to all your friends about how good they are, how they only cry when they’re hungry and how much they sleep. Life is good. Then one day, usually somewhere between the second and fourth weeks, they start vomiting. Bawling indiscriminately while arching their backs. Refusing feeds. A visit to the GP confirms your fears. Reflux. Those dreaded words. The next 6 months suddenly stretch out in front of you like a prison sentence. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic. Honestly though, that’s how I felt at the time.

Reflux in babies is due to the fact that their digestive systems are immature. This results in their stomach contents occasionally washing up into their oesophagus. As these contents are acidic, they cause pain for the infant. Your GP may prescribe an anti-acid medicine in this case. Not all babies suffer discomfort though – some just bring back up feeds. This type of reflux is very common and will usually improve in time without any treatment. If your GP has examined your baby and is happy that they are growing well they will often send you home with no extra tools in your handbag to stem the rising tide of regurgitated milk that seems to be appearing everywhere you look. This was the category into which my small man seemed to fall – inexplicably piling on the pounds despite reproducing his feeds six times a day.

So off I went (with my industrial sized nappy bag containing three changes of clothes for the small man and two for myself) looking for over the counter options. Some recommendations I got were to

  • Feed little and often
  • Wind more frequently
  • Hold him upright for at least 30 minutes after every feed
  • Slightly elevate the head of his crib while he slept by placing books under the legs at the top
  • Avoid tight clothing
  • Avoid car journeys immediately after feeds
  • Try a baby massage class

Holding upright is very effective but not so attractive at 4am….after a particularly bad night during which a single night feed continued over almost two hours my public health nurse was called upon. Your PHN can be a mine of information – as can the other four mothers you meet with the same issue in the waiting room! PHNs may suggest

  • Thickening your baby’s feed with Carobel®
  • Swapping to anti-regurgitant milks like SMA Staydown®
  • Adding InfantGaviscon® to feeds.

All these options will thicken feeds so you will need a new set of teats if bottle feeding. For breastfed babies, Carobel® can be spoon-fed as a paste, and Infant Gaviscon® can be added to cool boiled water. Unfortunately these options may also cause constipation, so may not prove to be useful for many babies. Your pharmacist will be able to recommend a suitable remedy to treat constipation.

A combination of these suggestions should go a long way to improving your baby’s symptoms. However, you should always speak with your pharmacist before initiating any new medicine or feed. Once solids are started things may improve further. Reflux will gradually disappear by the time your baby is 18 months. Until then plenty of muslins, a sling and a huge change bag…

Written by Aoife

Ear infections in babies and children

03dc4dac46d84669baf0303c29d3703dBjpwXfUnfortunately, an ear infection is something most mothers will come across at some stage in their child’s first few years. Symptoms include

  • Earache
  • Dulled hearing
  • High temperature
  • Occasionally the eardrum bursts and the ear becomes runny for a few days

My first experience with an ear infection was when my baby was 9 months old. He was very restless and cried more than usual for two days or so but had no temperature. Like many mothers I put it down to teething. However on the third day I picked him up from his nap to find discharge running out of his right ear. I hadn’t even considered an ear infection. There followed a trip to the GP, an antibiotic and a gradual return of my confidence as a mother.

In general, ear infections tend to be infrequent but in some children they are relentless. The small space behind the eardrum in the middle ear is normally filled with air. However in some children it is filled with fluid. These children are said to have glue ear, and are more prone to ear infections. And so it was with mine. He continued to get ear infection after ear infection for the next 6 months.

Although our first instinct is to attend the GP for an antibiotic, antibiotics are not actually advised in most cases of uncomplicated ear infections. This is because the infection usually clears within 2-3 days on its own (an antibiotic often takes this long to work anyway). Occasionally, a GP will prescribe an antibiotic but ask a mother to hold off giving it for a couple of days. In the meantime, pain and fever should be treated with over the counter painkillers. Calpol and Nurofen can be alternated every 3-4 hours in babies as young as 3 months. However, you should always speak to your pharmacist for advice on the use of pain relief for children.

Antibiotics should be given:

  • To babies under 2
  • If infection is severe
  • If infection is not settling after 2-3 days
  • If any complications develop

A burst eardrum will usually heal over within a few weeks by itself once the infection clears. It appears quite dramatic but is actually associated with reduced pain (pain can be due to the build up of fluid putting pressure on the bulging eardrum).

If there is fluid behind the eardrum which is causing frequent infections, an ENT consultant may advise the insertion of a grommet. This is a small tube placed in through the eardrum which will allow the fluid to drain. In most cases this tube will remain in place for a minimum of 9 months. Roughly one in three children who get grommets need a second set, and one in three of those who get a second set need a third.

If your toddler reaches this stage it may be worth undergoing allergy testing. In some cases certain triggers like cow’s milk or pollen may cause excessive mucus to be produced which can build up behind the eardrum and become infected. However it is not advised to take a toddler off dairy unless this is proven to be a contributory factor.

Written by Aoife.