An alternative to the Karvol Vaporiser (now discontinued)

Thanks to all who helped out with this, the best product we could find to replace the now discontinued Karvol Vaporiser was the

Two separate mums recommended this highly.
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Just had word from the company that owns Karvol and it looks like they have no idea about when it’ll be back… Here’s the email I received.

Dear Mrs. Duncan,
Thank you for your enquiry regarding Karvol.
Unfortunately, there is a long term out of stock issue with our Karvol range and we are unable to confirm when this product will be back in stock.
We can only recommend you to speak to a healthcare professional for an alternative treatment, as we do not manufacture any alternative product.
We apologise for this inconvenience this may cause.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact us.
Kind regards,
Patricia Mendez
Consumer Affairs Representative

Word on the grapevine is that it was discontinued due to a potential fire hazard in the unit… However, this isn’t actually the case, Karvol have manufacturing rather than safety issues, so don’t be alarmed if you have been using their Vaporiser!

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Things no one ever tells you about breastfeeding..

To say I’m a big fan of breastfeeding would be a massive understatement. I LOVE IT. I find it convenient, snugly and a wonderful source of comfort for me and my little one. I also know lots of women who just didn’t get on with it. I support all women in whatever way they choose to feed their baby, breastfeeding suits some women and not others and that is just fine with me.

The reality is that most mums will give it a go but are not always supported if things get tough. Here’s a list of good and bad things about breastfeeding that I didn’t know until I started doing it. This wont be the same for everybody and although some of these sound quite bad they are fleeting. Please add your own experiences in the comments box!

1. For the first two to three weeks, it is sometimes excruciatingly painful. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, our nipples aren’t used to such vigorous sucking. We assume that they’ll just get on with doing what they were made to do, but they do not. They put up an almighty fight and scream to be left alone. Secondly, when our milk actually comes in, the breasts can get so engorged that the nipples flatten, so hungry little baby can’t latch on without some serious and agonizing pinching.

The best bit though, is that this awful pain does pass and when it does, the elation of overcoming it is fabulous. So, if you’re reading this within the first two weeks of your baby being born and breastfeeding is painful, then hang on in there. If your nipples are cracked and bleeding though, go and see your doctor! This may be mastitis, which is something different and will need treatment.

2. If you get this pain it doesn’t just happen with the first baby you breastfeed, but all the others too. Bummer.

3. It’s quite common for bits of skin on the nipple to come off during those first few weeks. It’s a bit like when you get a blister on your toe, when the blister heals that bit of your foot gets hardened and can stand the pressure. This isn’t cracking or mastitis, it’s just a bit grim.

4. Breastfeeding seems to make nipples very stretchy. You’ll be amazed at the lengths they can go to when little one decides to have a look around whilst latched on. You’ll be pleased to know this doesn’t hurt, it just looks rather alarming.

5. It is a great way to lose weight initially and it certainly helps getting your tummy back in shape, but beware, breastfeeding also makes you HUNGRY! I don’t mean a bit peckish, I mean, Mama bear just came out of hibernation, ravenous.

6. It’s harder to lose weight when you’re breastfeeding as your body just goes in to storage mode. It wants to make sure you have enough energy to make tasty milk for your baby, so hangs on to extra fat ferociously. Marvelous.

7. When breasts produce a lot of milk, they get a bit leaky, which is why breast-pads were invented. What happens with breast-pads though is that you always forget to put them in on the day your boobs decide to leak. I’ve lost count of the times my boobs have leaked in public, but it has been often and it has obvious. However on the bright side, breast milk doesn’t seem to stain, woo hoo! If it did then all my tops would look like they had headlights.

8. Boobs are VERY clever. They adjust the amount of milk they produce according to how much milk your baby needs. Say you went away from your baby for a few days and your milk levels went down during that time, it would only take just over a day for your boobs to get the message that they need to start producing milk again. Breasts don’t stop producing milk overnight, you’d probably find that you could have 3 months off and still have some milk!

9. Breastfeeding is great for lazy people. I know this because I am one. The idea of sterilizing bottles and making up formula seems like a lot of hard work to me, but then I didn’t sweep the kitchen floor for over a month once so I’m hardly an expert on hard-work in the home.

10. It’s possible to be very discrete when breastfeeding in public. You don’t have to wap out your entire boob if you’re out and about, you can use a scarf or just utilize the fact that you now have super stretchy nipples and feed the baby under the table.

11. Some babies can feed for ages and they’re not necessarily feeding for food, it may just be for comfort. Sam did this, and it was fabulous. We spent hours cuddling on the sofa watching rubbish telly. They were such lovely snug times and I’ll always remember them.

12. Although people may tell you that breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your baby, nobody can prepare you for the wonder of looking down on your suckling babe, catching their eye and giggling with them whilst they ping your nipple in great hilarity. Now, that is precious. 😉

Please note, this is neither my boob, nor my baby. It is however a very cute picture.
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Do you have a Favorite Child?

I often wonder about this. It’s a very sensitive issue, but I’ve met several parents who I, as an outsider would say, have a favorite child. They would never admit that or say it out loud, but if can see it, then surely the “other” child or children can too.

I don’t judge these parents, because they can’t help it, it’s just the way it is. In many ways it must be a nightmare. We all start off thinking we would never have a favorite child, but sometimes there’s a connection or a meeting of minds that’s beyond anyone’s control. Is that wrong? I’m not sure. I do think it would be wrong to consciously or actively differentiate between children, but unconsciously, what can you do?

I don’t have a favorite child, but I’m sure that at some point all three of them will think I do. I can see it already, If I reward one child for something well done, another will think that’s unfair and that they’re being left out.

The reality is that at various stages, all of them are either easier or harder to like. At the moment, Izzy is super cute. But come on, she’s one! She’s toddling, giggling, singing. What’s not to like? Apart from the sleepless nights of course… If Maisie was my last baby (she’s the middle one) she’d so easily be the cutest, but unfortunately next to Izzy she’s just not as cute. Do I like or love her any less? Of course not, but a baby is cuter than a stroppy pre-schooler, FACT.

My eldest, Sam, was a horror between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, 364 days. He was stubborn, contrary, noisy and basically pretty unpleasant. He would “bray”, and “hoot”, he would roll around the floor in fury, he was a total pain in the butt cheeks. He was also coming into his own character, a character that was very different to the one I’d expected. I’d expected my children to be like me – showy and upbeat, but horror upon horrors he wasn’t! He wasn’t the child I imagined I’d have, who’d jiggle when they heard music, or giggle outrageously, he was shy, and sensitive and very, very stubborn. Now, I can’t imagine where he got it from, but it wasn’t me and that took some getting over.

When I did get over it, when I got over that (gird your loins folks, I’m gonna say something terrible) disappointment, I was finally able to just love him, Sam, the person. Did I suddenly understand him all the time? No. But I did accept him and in doing so was free to enjoy him and see the world from his point of view. Today, Sam, is like a jewel in my heart. His sensitivity breaks my heart and his person brings me great joy and inspires great tenderness, he’s a genuinely lovely boy who still has the capacity to be a horror.

But that’s children isn’t it? They’re not silent little sponges who absorb the best of us, they’re little individuals who have to find their own way, initially with our help.

I hope you don’t think I’m a bad Mum for admitting my initial disappointment, but what I want to do, is put it out there that we can’t help our reactions, it’s how we follow up those reactions that counts. Just because we become parents, doesn’t mean know what we’re doing. We’re all learning every day and as long as we actively love our children for who they are, then we’re doing alright. Alright!? 😉

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Day 9, 10 and 11 of totally, out of control crying.

Over the weekend, after my ridiculous declaration that we’d cracked it, my smallest daughter has decided she doesn’t do sleeping. Especially at night. Especially when I’m trying to get her to sleep at night. So I’m considering drastic measures. Here are the options; soundproofing, (expensive and inconvenient but probably worth it) hiring a wet nurse, (old school but creepy) or running away,(cheaper than soundproofing with no inconvenience to me and not creepy. Downside, no home, although that also means no housework. Mmmm sounds good.)

But REALLY what do I do? Last night she kept at it for 2 and a half hours after starting at 12pm, that’s a big chunk of deep sleep time. Even then she only stopped crying because I fed her. I’m making her sound like the enemy here, a very small, gorgeous enemy, but that’s not how I feel. I just feel… Over it.

I know this time will eventually pass but it’s hard, my Mum’s about to have a serious operation to treat bladder cancer and I want to be able to give her my all, to be peppy and positive, but at the moment I’m constantly half asleep and she must feel like she has a zombie for a daughter. Add to that 2 other children who need a loving, attentive mummy rather than a screeching harpy with wild eyes and you’ve got a recipe for tumultuous chaos.

What’s the solution, assuming she’s not going to start sleeping through consistently? I guess we just plug away at it and pray for strength, I think we’re going to need a miracle!

Day 8 controlled crying *whispers* “I think we’ve cracked it…”

It’s almost as if I’m a real human being again, 3 good nights sleep in the past week have made me feel like super-woman! My kids even ate real home cooked food for the past few days instead of something frozen. Yeh I know, pretty awesome. It just made me realise how hard it is to be a functioning and pleasant mum/person, when you’re completely knackered.

I remember when I got pregnant in February 2011, in the midst of morning sickness, constipation, indigestion and poor sleep, I thought to myself, “in a year and a half, the hardest bit will be over and I’ll see light at the end of the tunnel.” In the end, it’s taken longer than that, but at last I feel able to really enjoy my family instead of just about being able to cope with them. For me, having three kids has definately been harder than having two kids, and I don’t mind admitting that I found the newborn months extremely rough. I’ve never taken Izzy for granted or wished time away, but I did look forward to when things would be easier and at last they are. Hooray!

I’m sure Isabelle is far from sleeping through consistently but really going for the sleep training over the past 8 nights has clearly shown me that there are 2 things she really needs in order for her to get a good nights sleep. Firstly she needs to have at leat two hours of sleep during the day and secondly she needs to eat enough. For her the sleep training bit was about learning not to need a feed in the middle of the night. Sounds a bit obvious but that’s it!

If you’re in the middle of or embarking on your sleep training journey then hang on in there and listen to your instincts. No one else’s opinion really matters. It’ll mostly be you putting in the hard work, so you get to make up the rules. Good luck and God speed!