Poorly Poppets – Baby Health Advice for Mums in Bristol

If you are a mum, you will know how worrying it can be to have a baby who is unwell. Poorly Poppets provides baby health advice to help parents in such situations by informing them and boosting their confidence at the same time.

Poorly Poppets was created by two mums from Bishopston, Dr Tamsin Woodbridge, a Senior Paediatric Registrar and Dr Claire Perks, who is a GP. 

Claire and Tamsin hold Poorly Poppets sessions four times a year at Cairns Road Baptist Church, Westbury Park. It is aimed at mums and dads of approximately 4-8 month-old babies, although Claire and Tamsin welcome parents with children of any age.

The aims of Poorly Poppets are explained by Claire: 

Our primary goal is to make new parents feel more confident about looking after their babies when they are poorly. Any baby less than three months old with a temperature should be seen straight away by their GP, but as they get older and their immune systems mature, managing poorly babies and children at home is part of parenting.” 

“We no longer all live with our mothers and extended families who help teach us about this aspect of being a parent. As doctors we try to tell parents what they need to know but there is just never the time to talk properly. Midwives do a great job of preparing us for the labour and delivering our babies. Health visitors are wonderful at helping us look after our new babies and supporting us as they grow through childhood. No one really prepares us for nursing our children through the viral illnesses which are so common and necessary for their immune systems to develop.

I went to a recent Poorly Poppets session and found it very useful. It was refreshing to receive medical advice from a mum’s perspective and I found it reassuring to hear how Tamsin and Claire still worry about their own children when they are ill, despite their medical backgrounds. They both clearly understood how frightening such situations can be. 

As Claire explains: Despite the number of night shifts I spent in Birmingham Children’s Hospital looking after feverish children, nothing can really prepare you for the feeling of worry when you are by yourself at home in the middle of the night with a hot, miserable baby.” 

Poorly Poppets cover sources of help and support that can be accessed when your baby is poorly, such as Health Visitors, A & E and NHS Direct, as well as which of these would be most useful according to the specific ailment of your baby. 

The session covered particular ailments and illnesses, signs and symptoms and when help should be sought from a medical professional. What I found particularly useful were the different scenarios given, such as high temperatures, rashes, coughs, diarrhoea, vomiting and choking. The signs and symptoms of each were explained, what action to take and when to seek urgent medical advice.

Claire and Tamsin talked about the signs of a temperature and steps that parents could take themselves such as Calpol and/or Neurofen. First aid situations and tips were also covered, including what to do in the events of burns, bumps and nose bleeds.


Claire and Tamsin are keen to stress that they don’t wish to advise parents away from approaching the GP when their babies were sick. Claire explains: 

The idea of the session is not to discourage parents from going to see their doctors but to advise them how to recognise illness, when to call the doctor and what sort of things the doctor might ask them.”
The next Poorly Poppets session is on Tuesday 24th September at 3.30pm at Cairns Baptist Church. There is a charge of £5 and there is no need to book. Babies and children are welcome and refreshments are included.

Disclosure: I was invited along to a Poorly Poppets session free of charge in exchange for a review of it. However, as always my views are my own.

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