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Healthy Hearing Habits

27 Sep

Healthy Hearing Habits

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Hearing Disorders (NIDCD), noise-induced hearing loss is one of the number one preventable causes of hearing loss. Harmful noises and prolonged exposure to loud sounds can cause noise-induced hearing loss, and by learning how to avoid these things, you can protect yourself from hearing damage down the road.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Our ear is lined with many hair cells – small, sensitive structures that convert sound energy into electrical signals and then send them to the brain. Once damaged, hair cells cannot grow back. Every day sounds, such as environmental and household noises, normally do not cause damage to our hair cells because our ears have adapted to them, but extremely loud noise and exposure to loud noises can cause damage. Therefore, learning habits of healthy living is very important to preserve your hearing so that you do not lose it.

What sounds cause noise-induced hearing loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss is caused one of two ways. It can either be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, like a loud explosion or a gunshot, or it can be caused by the continuous exposure to a loud sound over an extended period of time. In order to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss, avoid working in areas where you will be exposed to loud noises on a regular basis, such as wood working shops. If you must work in a loud area, wear hearing protection.

Ways to Protect Your Hearing

It is vitally important to protect your hearing, because once damaged, it is impossible to get back. After losing your hearing, a hearing aid or hearing aids can help you hear at the optimal level; however, it is best to preserve your hearing before you suffer from hearing loss. Through healthy living habits, you can easily help prevent hearing loss. Avoiding loud noises is the number one way to protect against hearing loss. Turn down the volume on loud music, and reduce the amount of time spent listening to music or television that is loud. Also, keep your blood pressure and blood sugar under control, as these can affect your hearing. Do not put objects into your ear or blow your noise forcefully, as both of these things can affect your physical eardrum health.

Guest Post by John O’Connor

Do you or your children suffer from hearing loss? Let us know how it has affected your lives!

Image courtesy of  M I T C H Ǝ L L (flickr)

Vaccine Schedule

28 May

What are vaccinations and why are they given?

Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to infectious disease because their bodies have not yet built up a resistance. A vaccination helps the body to develop its own immune response that helps defend and protect it against that particular disease.

The World Health Organisation has an Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI), which has been adopted by the South African Department of Health. These are in the normal schedule of vaccines that are available free of charge. In addition to EPI vaccines, there are other vaccines that are available in the private sector. Below are detailed charts of the EPI and private vaccination schedules.

Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI)

Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI)

Private Immunisation Schedule

Private Vaccine Schedule

What are the possible side-effects of vaccinations?

The likelihood of side-effects has reduced dramatically within the last couple of years, due to newer and better vaccinations. These are the most common side-effects that can possibly occur within 24 – 48 hours after the vaccination has been given:

  • Redness, warmth and swelling at the site of injection
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability and persistent crying
  • Disinterest in food
  • Body rash


What do the different vaccines protect you against?

  • OPV: Oral polio vaccine drops
  • Pentaxim: Diptheria, Tetanus, accellular Pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b and Polio
  • HBV: Hepatitis B
  • Infanrix-hexa:  This 6-in-1 injection immunizes against Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Polio, Hepatitis B
  • dT: Diptheria, Tetanus
  • PCV (Prevenar) Pneumococcal Vaccine: Prevention against Pneumococcal bacteria which can cause pneumonia, septesimia, otitis media and meningitis which could be fatal in children.
  • Synflorix Pneumococcal Vaccine: Prevention against Pneumococcal bacteria which can cause pneumonia, septesimia, otitis media and meningitis which could be fatal in children.
  • Rotarix: Prevention against Rota-virus (gastro in babies and children)
  • Rouvax: Measles
  • Varilrix: Chickenpox. It is recommended that this is given with the Measles vaccine. Because they are both live vaccines they have to be given together. If they are given separately, they have to be given a minimum of 4 weeks apart.
  • Avaxim: Hepatitis A vaccine
  • Priorix: Measels, Mumps, Rubella
  • Gardasil: The only Quadrivalent HPV vaccine (HPV= Human Papillomavirus). It protects against HPV 6, 11, 16 + 18 (Cervical, Vulvar and Vaginal Cancers and Genital warts).
  • Cervarix: An HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine for protection against HPV 16 + 18 (Cervical, Vulvar and Vaginal Cancers and Genital warts).


What vaccines are provided at Baby Guardian Vaccination Clinic?

Baby Guardian has both the state supplied vaccines and also the alternative private ones that are completely optional. We also supply flu vaccines that help protect your body against the most current strain of flu (these are not advised for babies less than 6 months). With every baby wellness visit, the consultation takes about 30 minutes. During this time your baby will be weighed, measured and checked according to developmental milestones. Any questions or concerns you may have will also be discussed.

Will my medical aid cover the cost of vaccinations?

Most vaccines are covered by medical aid, but you will have to claim back for it as most clinics only accept immediate cash payments

Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 2)

17 May

If you’re reading this and you’ve already read Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 1) then you seriously have what it takes to get through the early phases of parenting. You’re tough, eager to learn and are obviously suffering from “preggie brain”!

As I mentioned in Part 1 this is a look at some of the unexpected realities of having a baby. With the help of some delightfully honest mommies, I would like to help you prepare yourself for some of the more common, yet surprising, emotions and experiences that you may run into as a new parent.

Our list continues…

11. Having a baby changes EVERYTHING!

Your life will never be the same again…but that’s NOT a bad thing! Almost every decision you make will now revolve around your baby. Visiting friends and going to the shops will revolve around your baby’s nap time. Big things like priorities, conversations, interests and relationships change. Small things like restaurants, holiday destinations, shoes and jewellery of choice will change. And your relationship with your partner will develop to a whole new level – make sure to keep your partner a priority!

12. It’s not just the first few months that they don’t sleep through, but sleep routines constantly change, especially in the first year.

I was fortunate enough to have both my children sleep through by 3 & 4 months old; but I know many moms who are still playing musical beds when their children are 7 years old! Sleep patterns are tricky and it takes constant vigilance to keep a good routine going. I would recommend any parent to try a Preparation for Parenting Course. It is a very helpful guide to the kind of sleep patterns your baby needs.

13. What surprised me was how hard breastfeeding was, but I’m glad I stuck it out because it’s definitely much easier than bottles, once you get over the first month. I can really understand now why so many women take the formula route.

I completely agree that breastfeeding is the best option, but it is not easy. Some mothers and babies struggle while others get it right the first time. Even when your baby latches properly, it’s a painful thing to go through for the first few weeks. I know what it’s like to sit there for an hour in tears because your baby is hungry and won’t latch on properly. Eventually they do get it. Stick it out moms! It will be worth it in the end. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, Baby Guardian will happily offer you the support you need.

14. “Me time” is a rare concept.

When your baby starts crawling, you’ll be lucky to be allowed to go to the toilet alone! So enjoy that special time you have when your baby is immobile. There’s no going back after that.

15. Although I try not to, I compare my baby to every other child and try to see if mine is “better”, “faster” or…(heaven forbid) “slower” than they are.

It’s only natural to compare your baby with other babies. Motherhood is a great challenge that none of us want to fail at. None of us want our baby to be “the last one” to walk or talk or be potty trained. But the reality is that all babies are different. There is no exact science, only general norms. So if your baby is marginally slower, that’s ok. They won’t be the slowest with everything! If your baby is a LOT slower, then feel free to consult an expert and ease your concerns. And if your baby is better or faster in some areas, then well done to baby! Enjoy feeling like the proud mommy you are. Just don’t unnecessarily offend other moms with too much boasting; their babies are just as precious to them as yours is to you!

16. That I would compare myself with other moms.

In our efforts to have the title of “Best Mom EVER”, we naturally tend to compare ourselves with the other moms around us. One thing I’ve learned is that “the perfect mother” you see with her child isn’t perfect. Mothers I admire the most will often be the first to tell me how many times they think they’ve failed by saying or doing something “horrible”. The reality is that you NEVER see the full story of that mom and her relationship with her children. All moms have their moods and their moments. We are all learning! It’s natural to compare, but be careful not to judge!

17. That it hurts and I take it personally when someone says “No Kids Allowed” on the wedding or party invite.

Us moms need to stop reading this as “YOUR Kids Are NOT Allowed” and start reading this as “Mom’s Night Off”, because that’s closer to reality. I haven’t been to a wedding without at least one of my kids in the last 6 years because my daughter keeps being asked to be a flower girl. The next time someone asks, I’m saying “NO”! I WANT to have a party and not worry about leaving early to get my kids to bed a decent hour. Enjoy the night off mom!

18. You forget how to talk about anything other than your baby; and you take it personally when friends without kids actually DON’T want to know what your baby’s poo smells like or that she said “teddy” again or that she can now walk 5 steps without falling.

Your baby takes up a lot of your attention, you know your baby more intimately than anyone, you LOVE your baby; naturally you’re going to want to talk about her. But your friends without babies won’t understand you until they experience it for themselves. Then it will be your turn to listen to how cute it is when their babies try to crawl, what their poo looks like and how precious it was when they farted with a smile! Until then, turn on a radio or read a magazine and catch up on some news and celebrity gab.

19. Nobody told me that nappies don’t actually work half the time. And when small babies poo, it squishes out their nappies and up their backs. And that this will happen when you’re on a plane.

I laughed when I read this, because the EXACT same thing happened to me on a plane (see, you’re probably not alone even in the most arbitrary experience!). Breathe easy moms-to-be, this doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen. Babies who are only drinking breast milk have very soft poo that may sometimes squish out the nappy. Be armed with at least 2 babygrows when going on an outing!

20. What about that moment (most likely between week 3 and 6) when you’re completely overwhelmed and are in tears out of complete frustration and exhaustion. You actually feel like throwing your baby out the window/against the wall/burying them in a very deep pit. You wonder if there’s a return policy on this thing and regret ever deciding to have a baby. And then you feel SOOO guilty about feeling that way.

It sounds horrendous but almost every mom I know has confessed to feeling like this at least once & feeling EXTREMELY guilty & shameful, even though – thank goodness – none of us actually DO it! Moms are secretly famous for experiencing extreme feelings of frustration, anxiety, shame, guilt, hurt and confusion; but we bury these feelings behind a smile because we don’t want other people to judge us and think of us as bad mothers. One bad moment does not make you a bad parent! You are not a bad mother for feeling overwhelmed. You’ll make it through and prove that you’re tougher than you ever thought you could be! If you think you could be suffering Post-Natal Depression then please speak to a professional and get the proper attention you need.

If you’re already a parent, I’m sure you’re identifying with what has been shared; and probably ecstatic to know that you’re not alone! If you’re a parent-to-be, I hope you feel a little more ready for the reality of what your precious bundle will bring! If you’re planning on having a baby, I dare you not to back down now. Parenting is something that changes your life and I promise you that your children will bring you more joy than you can imagine! So here’s some advice to be taken with a pinch of salt…you will be fine! If not, put some brandy on the gums and have a sip for you!

Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 1)

17 May

babies are cute

Babies are cute, that’s how they trick you!

This was some advice I received from a dear friend of mine about having babies. It came 6 years, 2 months and 1 day too late! I was the first of my friends to become a mom so I didn’t get this kind of advice sooner. And people of my parent’s age seem to forget some of the headaches of having a baby…or they just want to watch us young moms suffer by playing the silent game! Either way, through my 6 years of being a mom, and my friends eventually starting to join the “Mommy Club”, I have realized that there is a LOT they don’t tell you about having a baby.

New moms, BEWARE!

What you are about to read is potentially life changing. This is an unveiling of the raw, uncutesy, “what was I thinking?” side of having a baby. This is not meant to scare you, but rather help you to embrace motherhood with everything it has to offer. I asked a group of women about things they were never told or didn’t expect about having a baby. Listening to other moms is so helpful, because we often experience “abnormal” situations, emotions and reactions that are actually VERY normal. Here is Part 1 of some of the beautifully honest responses I received.

1. Childbirth is completely unattractive and undignified. There are no personal boundaries. But you don’t seem to care.

You will be poked, groped and prodded throughout the birthing process. Your cervix will be measured, you will receive an enema, your waters may need to be broken, you might receive an epidural, your knees will end up past your ears and your most private lady parts will be on display for all to see. The good thing is that you will be so eager to “GET THAT THING OUT” of you that you will eagerly go along with it all.

2. No one told me how the afterbirth works! You think when the baby is out it’s all over, but that’s not true. And it looks so awful too.

When you have a natural delivery, you will have to push the afterbirth out as well. And it’s not pretty. You should be informed about this and other birthing processes if you attend an ante-natal course.

3. A Caesarian is quite traumatic, especially when you’re expecting natural.

Many moms choose natural delivery. They want to have their baby the way God intended, when the baby is ready, and they want to enjoy a quicker and less painful recovery. But gynecologists/obstetricians are often concerned about the baby and insist on a scheduled Caesarian. Other times there is an emergency during the birth when the baby needs to be delivered by Caesarian. This can be very traumatic for moms, the body and baby too.

4. What I learnt by default is that not all advice is good advice, especially from pediatricians and obgyns!

The lady who made this statement followed it up with “The best advice I got that I cherish to this day – follow your gut!” – which I can only agree with. When I moved to Johannesburg I was 6 months pregnant and needed to find a new gyne. I went to a highly recommended one but didn’t feel comfortable with him. My internal alarms went off when I told him I wanted a natural birth. His immediate response was to list reasons why women may need Caesarian. Trusting my gut, I didn’t go back. I later found out from an intern at the hospital that he had not performed a natural birth in over 300 deliveries! I’m convinced he would have found some excuse to conveniently schedule me into his diary (between golf and a weekend away) and add me to that list. New moms are constantly bombarded with well-meaning “good advice” from their mom, grannies, aunties, friends, doctors, pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, parenting books, magazines, TV shows, and (most frustratingly) the expert stranger who doesn’t know a thing about you, your child or your parenting capabilities apart from the last 2 minutes they’ve witnessed you trying to scrape your crying toddler off the shopping mall floor! In the end, go with your gut! I also recommend taking a parenting course. It will help you discover a method of parenting and solutions that you and your partner can agree on.

5. Your whole body changes and buying new clothes is a nightmare.

Don’t bother shopping for a new wardrobe soon after baby has arrived. Your boobs, hips and weight will be changing quite substantially in the first few months. I went shopping when my second baby was 6 months old, thinking my body was pretty much doomed to keep this extra weight (I lost my weight immediately with my firstborn). In the next 6 months I managed to lose 10kg and my new jeans didn’t fit as well anymore. Everyone is different when it comes to gaining and losing weight, but you can be guaranteed your body will change; so try not to splurge too much in the first few months!

6. Preggie/porridge brain is a permanent condition.


moms never rest

7. No one told me that you never get a rest, NEVER, not even when you’re sick.

Being a mom is a full-time job! Every situation is different, whether you are single, married or dating, have 1 child or 5, are working, working from home or a stay-at-home mom (which is a full-time work anyway). Moms never stop. Even when we’re sick, we’re still cooking (or picking up the phone to order pizza), cleaning (and trying VERY hard to get our older kids or partners to pitch in) and doing every other thing that doesn’t even exist in a man or child’s world.

8. You have to schedule in a shower!

As you have just read, parenting is a full-time job. When your baby takes a nap you need to prioritise which chores need to be done first. Washing? Dirty dishes? Sterilise bottles? Make fresh baby food? Feed the pets? Shower? Get that desperately needed nap of your own? If you’re lucky you will have a domestic lady or a partner to help you with chores. If not, get scheduling!

9. No one told me about baby reflux.

Urgh! Be warned…you WILL need burping towels with you wherever you go for the first few months. A smelly, unattractive accessory for every mom; and a huge reason for the necessity of scheduled shower time! Make sure you have spares and a plastic bag so you can hide the wet, smelly ones away.

10. That I would feel guilty every time I go out without my baby.

I felt completely naked the first time I went out without my baby and it’s only been marginally better since. To go from carrying a baby, nappy bag, blanket, burp towel, snuggly toy and perhaps even a camping cot to just a handbag is incredibly distressing! You have that constant feeling that you’ve forgotten something. And you have…your precious little munchkin that you’ve carried in your belly for 9 months who is probably lying awake fretting about how you’ve just abandoned her! This is not really the case (your baby will be FINE for a few hours without you), but it is certainly how it feels.

Keep a look out for Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 2)

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